Monday, March 01, 2010


Now we come to the results of the 'restricted budget challenge' over the last two months. To re-cap, the idea was to use the stores already in the kitchen/larder, and to avoid buying any food as far as possible. Realising that some fresh foods would eventually need replacing (milk, eggs etc) a weekly budget of £10 was there if needed, but even so, managed to last all of January without buying any food at all.

During February fresh foods did need replacing, and it does seem on reading through my list (shown below) perhaps less money could have been spent (buying stores own brand baked beans, cheaper eggs and sausages) . But you know me - at the moment quality counts. However, quite a number of the foods bought have still to be used, so the final total is not quite as bad as first seems.

Here is what was bought during February:
vegetables and fruit: celeriac; celery; small potatoes; baking potatoes; mushrooms; iceberg lettuce; tomatoes; carrots; bananas; lemon; frozen string beans, frozen peas; frozen chips.
dairy: butter; cream; milk; eggs; cheese; yogurt, Flora spread.
meat: sausages; chicken; bacon, corned beef.
groceries: Thai green curry paste; casserole mix; cup a soups; baked beans; 4p tins of curry sauce.
bread: total 3 loaves incl. fruit loaf.
Total cost: £44.93p (works out at £11.23p per week, but see below).

Out of the above, only one breast of the chicken has been used, the remaining breast and joints are in the freezer. The carcase was used to make stock.
Only a few frozen beans have been used, and still half a bag of frozen peas and frozen chips still in the freezer.
Most of the celery is still in the fridge, as are half a bag of carrots. Still four baking potatoes to be used.
In the larder (from the above purchases), there is a casserole mix, two cup-a-soups, a tin of corned beef and a tin of baked beans not yet touched.

Returning to January, as the £40 (budget allowed) was still in the 'budget purse', all but £2 went on that offer pack of top quality meat (which included free liver and kidneys to the value of £22) and what a bonus THAT was. Because this was paid by credit card, it was only this weekend that payment need to be was sent ( in time to avoid interest being charged) - so it will actually be March before the cheque is cleared.

This meant (after buying the meat) £42 could be spent during February, and yes - although did go over that by nearly £3 - because not all the food purchased has been eaten (a good amount of the 'offer' meat left, plus others shown above - all worth far more a lot more than £3) feel that this was a challenge that has worked, especially as both B and myself (esp B) are now eating meals of a quality not previously reached even when using a normal shopping budget. Can't say fairer than that.

Almost certainly, could keep going for months of the £10 a week allowance. All because of stores that have - over the months - been built up to a useful 'collection'. Having a wide variety, means the jars are rarely empty for there is always something else we can eat instead. Keeping to a low weekly budget, leaves money to spare, which (in the Goode kitchen) buys better quality when offered at the right price.

However much we feel that we can cut costs without the help of others, it will seem more enjoyable when readers of this site join in and have a 'group hug', each sharing their highs and lows. In the same way that it is easier to diet when joining a slimming club, so it is when culinary-cost-cutting.