You might remember that I mentioned in last Friday’s post it had been a challenging week. I didn’t want to talk too much about it then, but basically we’ve had some pretty crappy news: James has been laid off from work. We did know that this could be a possibility, and luckily James is much better with his money than I am, and we should be ok financially for a while until he finds work. However it does put the whole Big Budget Challenge into a much more serious light for me. We are certainly trying to stay positive about things, but my own Big Budget Challenge is likely to last a lot longer than the end of November! Anyway, that aside…
Well I have to admit I have been struggling a bit. I’m well over my set grocery budget for the month, although I’m not beating myself up too much as that did include a week when we were both off work. I saved some money on petrol and that has been transferred to the grocery budget to get me to payday next week.
I have had some great little grocery runs like this one to Aldi:
I got kitchen roll, cream crackers, brown oven bake bread buns, bananas, parsnips, swede, onions, savoy cabbage, spinach, romaine lettuce, red cabbage and carrots for just £6.50 which I think is excellent.
I’ve also made some thrifty meals like this tasty broth:
I’ve been having this for lunch with fruit and home made raw kale chips. I made a massive pan at the weekend which gave me five servings – it contained 2 onions, 2 leeks, 3 grated carrots, 2 cups of green juice pulp (waste not want not!) and 1 cup of broth mix plus veggie stock. So cheap and so tasty!
I also had a quick visit to Tesco and raided their whole foods section:
I had been comparing prices of raw nuts on Healthy Supplies and Holland and Barrat, however, these 300g bags of almonds and cashews are pretty much the same cost per 100g (although not organic) give or take with delivery charges, plus, as much as I’d love to buy in bulk I really don’t have the space in my kitchen to store much like that! I also picked up a 500g bag of red lentils. Here’s a tip for you – when comparing different products look at the bar label for cost per 100g. I almost bought the 1kg bag of lentils, but when I looked at the cost per 100g it was actually more expensive than the smaller pack!
I wanted to talk a bit about prioritising spending. I’ve started to run out of a few things now, but I know that I can’t afford to buy everything I’d like! For example I have / or am running out of:
- Vegan multi vitamins
- Shoyu sauce
- Cashew butter
- MSM powder
- Popcorn kernals
- Maple Syrup
I know that I can’t afford to buy it all, so I’ve assessed what things are more essential than others. For me, vegan multi vits are very important to ensure I’m getting my B12. I also can’t imagine not having tahini in the kitchen as its such a great ingredient! I also love shoyu and have it on almost everything, so for me its an essential item. Although its a bit of a luxury, the thought of seeing through an autumn without maple syrup makes me very sad indeed! Popcorn kernals are pretty cheap and you good value for money so I’ll be getting them too. The rest of the items, as much as I love them, may have to be left for another time. I could easily make some home made cashew butter and even home mixed muesli. I still have plenty of Midori Greens powder I can add to smoothies in place of spirulina when it runs out too.
I also need to think about what I need to get next month using my £50 ‘pocket money’!
I guess the approach I take is to think really hard about what is going to give me best value for money, balanced with what is going to make me smile the most! How do you go about prioritising your spending?
Other Big Budgeters joining in so far:
Deise Gal @ Witty Blog Name Pending…
Danielle @ Love Life Eat Laugh
Sarah @ Sweet Potato Sarah
Emma @ Coming up easy
Eleanor@ Eating like a horse
Maria@ Running Cupcake
Big thanks again to everyone taking part, it makes me feel like I’m not in this alone! Please do check out True Penny’s post, I share a lot of her thoughts. I have to say that in light of what has happened with James job, its made me realise how material things really don’t matter. Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are people far worse off than ourselves, and I’m thankful every single day for what I have. I can survive without buying new clothes, magazines and expensive health food products, well, most of them ;-) – I feel like I’ve become more aware of what is truly important and that I’m wealthy in ways other than money, having an amazing husband and a wonderfully supportive family and group of friends makes me very lucky!
Has cutting back spending ever changed your perspective on things?