Sunday, January 07, 2007

Looking at Cooking - the Books !

Yesterday, the eggs (2), sausages (2), baked beans (1/2 a can) and chips went down SO well, and my huband was a very happy bunny. My pizza also was great athough I didn't bother with the 'sides'.
The chips were bought 'oven' type, Beloved bringing me in a larger pack than requested because it said 25% more on the bag. But they will last. It necessitated me having to move things around the freezer to find a space for it, but I discovered things I had forgotten about. Other items were bought which he thought I needed (in other words that he wanted), such as grapes.
Tip: Keep grapes in the fridge and they last a lot longer.

Yesterday saw me trying to cost out the food used from stores and the food bought during the week. The latter list was easy to work out, lettuce (79p), tomatoes (94p), bag chips (£1.99),
2 avocados (99p), 1 big box value mushrooms £1.18), grapes 99p. A total of £6.88.
But to that I have to add £5.11p for the salmon, and 52p for the two cans of new potatoes previously bought.
Both added to the initial expenditure (£58.97) it seems that ALREADY £71.48 has been spent, and no foods yet added as 'bought from store'.
Here I have to admit a problem. Do I buy a whole bag of flour from myself, or just cost the ounces used? Likewise, do I charge for a whole bag of walnuts, or only a few? What about the frozen prawns, I used three. Do I cost each prawn separately or pay myself for the whole bag?

It is tempting to just add the odd penny here and there to show that I will have money left at the end, but for some items I have charged full price - things that I know will be used up within the ten weeks, like a whole jar of mayo (and thank goodness that was a bogof - because when I use the next one that will be the freebie), but need to cost things like prawns separately (they worked out at 5p each- bought at reduced price), as I may not use them all.

Here is the 'buy from myself' costing as taken from store this week:
Baked beans (17p), 1 jar Mayo (99p), bread mix for two loaves and one pizza base (£1.70),
I tub chicken livers from freezer (45p), 3 frozen prawns (15p), flour (as used - 16p), 1 can pineapple (25p), sugar: granulated and dark - (50p), nuts (30p), tomato puree (as used) (10p), can tomatoes (17p). Dried fruit- as used (30p). 4 bananas (20) p Total £5.27.
Grand total: rounded up to £77.00 to allow 25p for oddments such as a spoon of port, the dash of HP sauce, etc.
Not a lot left of the budget, is there? Oops.

On the good side, there is some money left from the meat allowance, and also the milk bill as I have been able to cancel Greek yoghurt, and one pack of butter for this coming week, and last week cancelled some milk and cheese. This has left me more than enough money from the milk allowance to order more eggs, and some potatoes.

But now I must tighten purse strings. Whilst chicken liver pate sounds expensive, it has proved not to be. But avocados, grapes, even lettuce and tomatoes are now to be looked upon as pure luxuries. There are fruits and vegetables far cheaper. In any case I still have plenty.
This coming week, shopping is banned (except from my own stores). Maybe also the following week. For the time being no more fruit cake will be made (the one I made was intended to have lasted a month if Beloved hadn't munched his way through it). With nine weeks to go and only £43.00 left this means less than £5 a week to play with.
Trying to find light at the end of the tunnel, even if I do go over budget, there should be quite a lot of food left at the end of the challenge: canned foods, meat etc, and the cost of these will be deducted. All I can say is stick with me and we will see just what happens. If anything, this is turning out to be a much harder challenge than expected (due to me trying to be clever and adding extra weeks), but then I do enjoy a challenge !

Today's meals will be a 'brunch' (can prove slightly cheaper than breakfast AND lunch), probably a soup or pate or even the remaining beans on toast. The main meal (supper) will be a beef casserole: stewing beef, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, served with some broccoli. Ice-cream to follow, but only if we have room. With these meals all ingredients will already have been accounted for. Thank goodness.