Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Shop Green (not Orange, or Blue, or Yellow)

Many people have been asking me how the £10 and 13 days has been going.. to be truthful, £10 went in about 3 days! Its been one of those months where the cupboards start running bare and you can't figure out why and then you remember, there are five weeks in this pay period but I only budgeted for four! I also had a think to myself yesterday as I felt that I should give an account as to why I couldn't stretch £10 over two weeks and I thought, if I were single, I would have easily been able to last on £10 I'm sure, but then I might have decided to skip a few meals or live on my all time favourite of pasta and cheese which is just not possible when you have a hungry husband and a hungry bobbler. (This is my new name for in-between baby and toddler, Eben is crawling now and just doesn't seem like a baby any more but he's not exactly toddling either!)

(A few people have asked me what our budget is as I have referred to it a few times in my blogs so I am just going to be frank about it). I just can't seem to stick to my allocated £210 per month and we're not exactly eating luxury meals and I shop green, (not orange, or blue, or yellow) and then today I spoke to a friend whose budget is £70 less than ours and that surprised me, but also encouraged me that it must surely be possible!

So, what to do then? I think I need to start doing more frequent shops rather than a monthly shop because if I do it like that perhaps I will have better foresight about what we're doing and it might give more flexibility. So currently I am spending about £120 - £130 at the online Asda (Green) shop for the month, this includes food and household items such as loo roll, laundry detergent, lightbulbs etc and then I usually spend about £30 at Sainsburys (Orange) getting the things that are cheaper than/not available at Asda such as own brand fairtrade tea, coffee & sugar and eco nappies, then I allocate about £10 per week to spend at the greengrocers on fresh fruit & veg and any other things like milk and bread so I am usually left with a £10 - £20 buffer for unforeseen or forgotten things! Generally, however, I forget some items or I forget that I did a shop right at the end of the last pay period that was actually meant to come out of the next budget so figure out at some point in the month that I need to readjust the amounts. I need to start writing everything down so I can really properly keep track of what I am spending. I enjoy doing that kind of thing, that's why I'm writing about these things because I enjoy being resourceful and seeing how far I can stretch the pennies.

So blog readers, the new pay period starts on the 15th September, so I will have a go at trying the fortnightly shopping and writing everything down and I will let you know how it goes. Next week I will blog on meal planning because that's what I'll be doing sometime next week!

I will leave you with today's recipe which is from an excellent book which I highly recommend if you want to cook great meals for the family on a budget: 'How to Feed Your Whole Family a Healthy, Balanced Diet (with very little money and hardly any time, even if you have a tiny kitchen, only three saucepans (one with an ill-fitting lid) and no fancy gadgets - unless you count the garlic crusher...) Simple, Wholesome and Nutritious Recipes for Family Meals' by Gill Holcombe - yes the title is actually that long!

Here are 'Fastest-ever Fishcakes:'

Makes 6:
1 large tin of salmon (red or pink)
2oz (50g) self-raising flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp lemon juice

- Drain the fish and mash in a bowl with a fork, picking out any extra big bits of skin but leave bones in and crush with the fish.
- Add the beaten eggs, lemon juice, parsley, seasoning and sifted flour and mix well.
- Warm enough oil in a large frying pan to cover bottom of pan and drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil, pressing gently into shape with the slice and turning once.
- Serve with lemon wedges and salad

(if on slimming type thing, I suggest frying with fry light or baking in the oven, use a bit more flour to help them keep their shape also serve with sweet potato or ordinary potato chips sprayed with frylight and baked in the oven).


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