I have been lurking on the board for a while but have had nothing to post as I am one of those people who have always said 'I work full time so order online for convenience' and although I stuck to a list and tried to be careful I know I could have been doing a lot more. I followed and did the February £28 challenge though as I hadn't done any preparation some of it was a bit samey and by this weekend we had nothing in except dried stuff. Yesterday i actually went shopping. It's a rarity for me but there is a good and inexpensive butcher in the next town so I made a plan to park up and walk via greengrocer/butcher (it's a joint enterprise) on to Lidl and Morrisons. In total I spent just under £100. 5kg british chicken breasts 2kg shin beef 16 spare rib pork chops 2.5kg beef mince that they minced in front of me a huge cabbage a cauliflower a giant butternut squash a big net of onions a net of carrots courgettes 8 bulbs garlic about a kg of small red peppers spinach leeks 20 large eggs some frozen prawns calamari talapia (which I'll have to work out how to cook) fresh ginger iceberg tomatoes cucumber 4 jars passata 2x200g kenco coffee some pistachios 700g mature cheddar wraps, bread, sugar, milk, loo rolls, deodorants, 2 bottles of wine 5kg easy cook long grain rice mushrooms plain and self raising flour pizzas and a lot of other bits (incl cleaning products) I've forgotten about. I'm buying a sack of spuds for £8 today from the farm. I am so completely chuffed: I bagged up the meat for the freeezer in sensible portions; made three big pans of soup which are portioned and frozen for DPs lunches; have menu planned for the whole of March using up herbs and spices from the cupboard and won't need anything except salad/fruit and milk for the whole of the month. That's all meals for 4 of us all week, 7 at the weekends. I even haggled in the butchers to get a discount as I was buying loads, and they carried it all to the car! Thank you for this board! Reading all your successes has really encouraged me to get my house in order. I just hope I can keep the momentum going into April.
So we're now almost 2 weeks in and as expected I have run out of the quick and easy options (so lazy) and am relying more on the batch cooking I did that first weekend (thank goodness) in my flurry of thrifty zeal. I spent £8 on a big sack of potatoes. So far we have had to buy 8 pints of milk (£2), a loaf of bread (£1), some toiletries (£4) and a tub of butter (£2). I will need to buy more salad stuff this weekend and some more wraps. Monthly spend so far for March £116.45. We have been eating lovely things like chicken breast stuffed with cheese and wrapped in ham, curries, pilafs, veggie pasta with home made foccaccia, baked potatoes. The girls have been requesting rice or pasta salad for lunch most days (YD hasn't had a school dinner yet this month, ED has had one). I'm going to get all enthusiastic again this weekend and batch cook some more things with the mince, just so I can stick with it even when I'm flagging a bit!
It went a bit wrong this week as I invited friends for sunday lunch and then found out they couldn't eat what i had envisioned feeding them and had to shop for desserts! And then we ran out of dishwasher tablets and food composting bags which are a shocking price. Food/composting bags shop: £27.16 incl a half bottle of cognac of which I've only used a cupful. Dishwasher tablets (on offer) £2.99 No school dinners in the last week. Total spend in March so far: £146.60
....and need to share that the spare rib chops are gorgeous. So moist and meaty. I may never go back to a 'better' cut!
Have spent £3 on milk, £1.96 on bread, £2.49 on butter, £2 on toothpaste, £1.19 on shampoo and £3 on fruit this week. A friend who keeps chickens gave me 18 eggs at the weekend. Total March food and toiletries spend: £160.24. I won't need anythin else this month.
I have run out of stock cubes, mirrin, evoo and ground cumin and lots of other store cupboard bits, but we still have some of the meats and several tubs of frozen soups and 'ready meals' I made up batch cooking. I reckon that we'll make it to the end of the week with no problems but will need to stock the cupboards back up next week. It's been an interesting exercise but I don't think I could do it every month. Certainly I will continue doing a mixed-shop rather than ordering online if I have the opportunity. I have also discovered that both my children really like pasta or rice salad (leftovers allowed to go cold with a little rice vinegar stirred through) and have both asked for repeats for their packed lunches. I reckon that if I spent £10 per week on toiletries/cleaning stuff, then we've averaged less than 30p a meal, with 416 meals prepared in our house this month.