I'm not promising regular weekly updates to this, but I do plan to try to update it on at least an irregularly regular basis, preferably when I feel we have something to say.
We've long been fans of ensuring that not only is our money used wisely, but so is our time, and sometimes a compromise between the two things is needed, or just chosen. MrEH was away over the weekend doing preparation stuff for the Great British Beer Festival (August, Olympia, be there or be less full of really good beer!) so I had the need of finding a couple of lunches just for myself for a change. I already had an idea in my head that I fancied something vaguely burger-y, but also vegetably-y. We had some brioche buns in the freezer, and I had a vague thought of making some of Jack Monroe's 9p burgers (you know, the things with kidney beans, and carrot, and onion) but then while shopping on Saturday morning I spotted a couple of packs of yellow stickered Falafels, and rather than the time taken to make the burgers, they seemed like a good option, also saving me from needing to buy additional carrots for the burgers too. One pack went straight into the freezer, the other was used across the two weekend days stuffed into the buns with mayo and salad. I also really fancied some cheesy nachos - and that again played into the hands of "stuff we already had" as a pack of tortilla chips had been sitting in the storecupboard for a while, and we have rather an excess of cheddar at the moment thanks to bringing half a block back from holiday with us to add to the half block already in the fridge when we went away. While "too much cheese" isn't a phrase that ever bothers us overmuch, it did seem to be a plan to actually use some of it, and I never need much of an excuse to eat cheese. A little ceramic pot stuffed with tortilla chips and grated cheese, and popped into the oven for the last 3 minutes or so of the falafels baking time to melt the cheese, absolutely hit the spot. My lunches on both days were completed with some greek yogurt along with more yellow-stickered bargains - some reduced price British strawberries and some blueberries - both checked carefully to be sure that they were worth the price being asked for them.
As well as trips to one of the budget supermarkets and a larger one featuring the letter "T" in it's name, we also popped to our most local farmers market on Saturday morning. Always enjoyable - we've been going there long enough now that the stallholders we buy from regularly recognise us and always have a chat, and we trust their quality and know what are the best bargains to look out for. This time £19 was spent - we pounced on the lamb man's last pack of sought-after liver, and also nabbed a half-shoulder from him for a roast in a future week as yet unspecified. The beef stall netted a pack of their delicious haslet, for lunchtime rolls, and a piece of beef skirt which will get lobbed into the slow cooker at some stage with assorted veggies for a delicious stew which will probably feed both of us for two nights. The lamb, too, will be used for several meals after being slow-roasted for long enough to ensure that the meat gets an almost "pulled" texture. Unusually for me I'd not meal-planned in a particularly structured way, opting to wait until after we had seen what was available at the farmer's market - but a plan of sorts was sketched out verbally on leaving there and so my shopping list was formed from that. Without question shopping from a list saves us money and cuts waste - and I like the feeling of knowing when I reach the end of a week "everything has been accounted for" or will carry over to the following week to make meals then, in some cases. So the pack of bacon that was part used for Friday night's fry-up will also feature again as co-star alongside that liver tonight, and in an omelette for MrEH tomorrow. Half of the pack of sausages that were also cooked for Friday's tea have been set aside in the freezer and will make sausage & onion pasta along with the last of this week's mushrooms and tomatoes, on Wednesday. The last of the YS'd fruit will be eaten after tea tonight with yogurt. The lettuce that was bought on the Aldi Super Six offer will be added to lunchtime rolls through the week. Nothing will be wasted.
I also seized some time over the weekend to go through my wardrobe, musing over the contents. A few bits were selected to add to the charity shop pile - a skirt which is an unflattering shape and length, a top which just feels "wrong" on in spite of being a shape and style that should really suit me. A dress which is just plain too big now - it gapes under the arms and doesn't flatter in the least. For now everything else has gone back - there are a few more items which I have earmarked as needing an eye kept on them - if they don't get worn in the near future then they will also be joining the charity shop pile, and one shirt which I have worn today has helpfully reminded me that the reason I was considering getting rid was that it's really not comfortable, so after a wash that will be heading to the charity pile as well! Some more wintery items will be making their way to storage in the large plastic box in the top of the wardrobe - it will be interesting to see if I actually remember they are there when Autumn rolls around - if not then those too will be able to go. At some stage I need to reflect on what items I might need for the summer, and what needs replacing ahead of next winter - those will make it to a list and then I'll make a plan for purchasing as I see the right item at a decent price. I already know that winter boots will be on that list - my knee-highs are fine, and one pair of ankle boots are still OK, but my second pair are past the point of redemption and will certainly not see me thorough another winter. By planning ahead now I stand the best chance of getting something that I really like, at a good price, ahead of the point when I need it.
Also last week I made good use of a freebie - I buy a monthly gym pass for the gym I use close to where I work - and that pass is cheaper bought through a third party (Hussle) than if I bought it direct from the gym. Hussle have recently re-branded and as a result were offering a click-to-enter competition with the chance of winning various prizes - but just for entering I earned a free day pass to another gym of my choice, which I decided to use on one local to home - the fitness centre of one of the local hotels has a nicely equipped small gym and a little half-length 4 lane swimming pool which I visited at zero cost on Friday morning. It fitted in nicely as I had missed a regular gym visit earlier in the week due to plans changing at our end - so great timing and always nice to get something for nothing!
Finally for now and also related to the gym, the water bottle I've been using for the last 9 months or so gave up last night - the drinking spout pulled straight out of the top so it wasn't fixable, and rather than taking it home I popped in into the bin at the gym where it will go for recycling. As it's been used multiple times a week since I've had it I do rather feel I have had my money's worth from it! Instead of going to buy a replacement I will find a spare one at home and put that into use.
Are there any areas that you are trying to focus on being more conscious about currently? If so what are your goals in that area, and how are you working towards them?