Friday, 1 February 2013

Frugal February...Week 1.

It feels very appropriate to be posting the first "proper" Frugal Feb post on the first day of the month. Sticking to the theme of posting Frugal stuff on a Friday also of course means that my summarising post at the end of the month will fall on 1st March of course, immediately after finishing the challenge. My purse has been emptied - completely - and I'll get getting a lump of my spending money out of the bank tomorrow...and attempting NOT to spend it!
I'll be heading off to the shops shortly, with my minimal budget in hand. We do have a few secret weapons lined up to help keep the shopping costs to an absolute low:-
- £10 given to MrEH as Diesel Money for an away trip with some rugby team-mates
- £5 Morrisons voucher gained via puchasing fuel for the cars and using their "miles" card
- £12.50 of Nectar Points which will get spent in Sainsburys.
My intention is that this week I will shop at Tesco, and visit the Farm Shop, using the Clubcard Plus in T's, and the £10 cash at the Farm Shop. Then next week I'll visit Morrisons (using the voucher and any change I have from the cash), then comes to the turn of Sainsburys to see what we can get for those Nectar Points. Finally, for week 4, it will be back to Tesco again. Although we have the Clubcard Plus I like to shop about a bit - keeps them on their toes that way and they send me better vouchers! at the end I'll post a "total" spend figure, and a "hard cash" figure, too.
My shopping lists will be kept mostly to basics, fruit, veg, milk, and I'll stick to the lists (says she optimistically) although I will be keeping my eyes out for yellow-stickered bargains. This week I'll be buying....

The Seville Oranges MAY necessitate buying some more sugar, and the seasonal veg is question-marked because it depends what the farm shop has.

...and our meals for the next week will look something like this:

Breakfasts: Toast or cereal or Home Made (HM) fruit flapjacks or muffins
Lunches: Sat - Soup & HM Bread, Sun - Slow cooked lamb Tagine, weekdays - Filled roll & Fruit
Evening Meals: Cauliflower & pasta cheese with bacon (x 2 days), Fry-up, Pasta with bacon & white wine sauce (bought yellow-stickered for 9p!), Cheese & crackers, Soup & HM Bread, Toasted Crumpets & cheese. the first four of those meals are designed to fit together to get the best value from a packet of bacon. Puddings are usually a yogurt, fruit, or something home-baked. We're neither of us really snackers, but if anything extra is needed there is always fresh or dried fruit.
Breakfast can easily be quite a high-spend meal for a lot of folk who have to leave home earlier than they really want to eat. A posh coffee & a muffin in a London coffee shop, for example, will leave you with little change from £5, and even assuming that the spend is only half that, that's still well over £500 per year! We have our first drink of the day at home before leaving, and then home made breakfasts. The muffins I've posted about before I think. The flapjacks have evolved as a less fiddly way of using the same ingredients as the fruit slices I've made in the past, and they are made like this:
Put 3 oz butter and the same of baking marg to melt over a low heat with 1tbsp Golden Syrup or honey
In a large bowl mix 6oz each of plain flour and porridge oats, 3oz light brown or demerara sugar and a few good handfuls of whatever dried fruit you have in.
You can add chopped nuts if you have them, or seeds, sunflower are particularly good.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix thoroughly
Tip the lot into a lined tin - I use a square one about 7" in diameter - and press down really well with the back of a spoon. The mix needs to be compacted really well with no gaps
Bake at approx gas 6 (do your own conversions!) until golden brown, turning the tin through 90 degrees every 15 minutes
Remove from the oven, mark into squares and leave to cool in the tin before turning out
These last a good fortnight in an airtight box, and a batch can be knocked up easily and cheaply from the storecupboard. You will get 9 generous or 16 slightly smaller flapjacks from one batch of mix.

As for the rest of the meals - weekday lunches are MrEH's department, while dinners are mine - so I'll be prepping cauli/pasta cheese in advance over the weekend, leaving it just needing topping with grated cheese and breadcrumbs (salvaged from "end of the loaf" and frozen) before heating through, and the soup, and sauce, will just need taking out of the freezer. Everything else can be made quickly and easily from scratch.
All in all, we're looking positive for week one, so I'm off to stick to my shopping list!


Historian said...

We are currently working our way through a huge bag of chickpeas recently found in the "ethnic" section of Tescos. Chickpeas with sweet potato, chickpeas with cauliflower, chickpeas blitzed - that's hummous - chickpeas with tomato as a filling for jacket potatoes ... Also an enourmouse of pasta quills and a big bag of red lentils ... same source.

Wendy said...

Good luck with your frugal Feb challenge; your flapjacks look delicious!

Scarlet said...

When I was at uni a few years ago I used to take a flask of coffee, and a home-made flapjack or some toasted HM raisin bread( I like cold toast). I'd get there in plenty of time so that I got a parking space, then have my breakfast. I used to get some funny looks by people passing-by but it didn't bother me - I also kept a duvet and pillow in the car and went for a snooze during long gaps if I needed to!

Robyn said...

Chickpea curry - yum! I have a simlar bag of red lentils. keep your eye on Tesco's "Discount Brands" pasta though - 3 x 1kg bags of that is often cheaper than the big 3kg bag, I've found!
Thanks Wendy - this week's flapjacks have cranberrys, mixed nuts and pumpkin seeds in them!
Scarlet, I eat my flapjack in the car most days, as I often arrive and park up earlier than I need to be in the office. As I eat cereal dry, I've been known to take a plastic box of that, and a spoon, and eat that in the car too - now THAT does get funny looks!

Orkneyflowers said...

Goodluck me dear. I'm looking forward to this journey and seeing what amazing things you come up with.