Friday, 5 September 2008

£4.71 food shop

With only £6.88 left in this weeks budget, I decided to spend the cash on food before the weekend set in and I was drawn to the Plough for a couple of pints. As I have mentioned before the cupboards are not bear yet, but I need a few items to keep the meals coming until Sundays arrives and the budget is renewed.

I've been to try out Lidls - the home of cheap food. A new experience for me as I generally head to Morrisons on the way home from work, or M&S in my lunchtime or Sainsurys if I fancy a walk. Lidls is a different beast altogether and rather than make a list of what you need and buy from it, you need to see what's on the shelf and work out a meal from wht you've got. More creative kicthen skills required - must work on that.

But I've spent £4.71 and came away with 3 tins of tomatoes, ragu sauce, 2 salmon fillets and a lettuce. Using things I already have I am sure that will keep me going and is more nutritious than toast and beans.

This leaves me with £2.71 for tomorrow. But I have a beer in the fridge and I'm quite happy to swim and watch a film this evening and and have a a spag bol type meal.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

£2.29 per day left

So I thought I was doing so well, but I was lured to the pub by my sister.  However, she knows of my experiment and bought me a half and a pie. It wouldn't do to live completely off charity so i bought my round back.  My sister rightly said that she owed me on the food front as I've fed her all week.  Fair enough.  And it was nice to sit in the pub.

That means that today's total is £5.40 for 2 pints of shandy - it's a school night !

Remaining weekly budget is £6.88 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Daily £2.29.  

If I wanted to visit mum in the BRI I couldn't get there on the remaining money. In fact, if I can't make the food in the house last, I am going to struggle to make it through the week.  Amy has packed a salad for lunch tomorrow, I have enough bread for toast for breakfast and I am confident that I can rustle something up for tea.  

I have had 2 frivolities this week - a pint of shandy for my sister and one for me this evening and a hot choc in town yesterday  while I was waiting to meet my friend.  I haven't bought a lunch, any petrol.  

However, if I had been more organised, I could have brought tampons from home instead of being caught short and having to nip to Boots to get extra.  But on the bright side, they will get used at some point.  The menopause it quite a way off.  

So although not frivolous, non of the items on my list have been essential, live giving items - no food.  This £30 isn't pocket money, it is the money I have to live on.  Food must come out of it as well.  I am going to have to plan next week carefully if this is going to work. 

At present the money I have left has to get me through a weekend. The lumber has been round this evening and said that he can come round to fix the leek in the bathroom on Saturday. At the moment, my sister and I are going to the local pool for our showers so as not to exacerbate the problem in the bathroom.  £10 is a good rate for a plumber, but on top of that he will charge me for materials,  estimated to be only another £10  So will this £20 come out of next weeks £30?  It's going to have to.  

This is how the problem snowballs.  

To rub salt into the wound, the washing machine is on the blink.  It seems to be making some kind of burning smell.  It's lasted well - must be over 10 years old.  So I've had good use out of it.  But now it needs replacing, it's going to be a few hundred quid.  How many lots of weekly budget will that be? 

I can't think of anything I particularly need apart from food but it's the weekend.  I'm going to want to sit in cafe's and watch the world go by.  I'm going to need to be creative about how to have a fun and cost free weekend. 

Bad day for spending yesterday.....

Bad day for spending yesterday. £9.80 on trainfare to see mum at the hospital, but walked from there.

92p on a water

Took sandwhiches for train, took lunch to work, but met a friend for coffee £2.30

I'm down to £12.28 for the next 4 days. that's £3.07 a day

So that's no going out, not trip to the seaside for chips on the front. No nothing. In fact, I'm hoping I can be creative enough with the food in the house to make it last. Difficult but not impossible - I'm positive!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Totally Broke

This is a test.  For a long while I have known that I am completely broke - that my out goings far exceed my incomings.  I'm not particularly frivolous, I just don't earn that much and have had a few unexpected expenses.  No different to anyone else.  I have also known that to put my self back on an even keel, I need to re-dress my spending habits.  The first step is to balance my incoming cash knock off all the bills and then live within my means for a month.  That is the test.  

It's not complicated, but it could be tricky! I have £30 a week to live on.  When my credit cards are paid off this will all change, but unless I stick to this, and keep putting cash on the credit card it never will. 

I have some food in the cupboard and with some imaginative meals I should be able to use up some items that should have been used long ago and clear up some space.  I don't need to by cleaning stuff as I have a mountain of that and I don't need to drive to work as I can walk or cycle.

Cut backs
However, this still means that I will have to change some habits.  I am an organized so rarely take lunch to work and spend a fortune on lunch in town.  I like a beer down the pub, at home in front of the tele.  A night on the beer could easily wipe out my entire weeks budget, so that will have to go. 

Although I will be able to feed myself for a few days, Ill need to shop before long and most of the £30 budget will have to be spent on food. Also, while mum is in hospital, I will have to put aside £9.80 a week for the return fare to Bristol to see he.  The train is cheaper than petrol and parking and is quicker.  I must go to see her and this will be once a week, so the reality is that I actually only have £20.80 left from the £30 budget.

So is it possible?  I' m 2 days in to the experiment and spending so far looks like this:

Sunday - nothing.  
Not really a triumph because I was hungover from a hen weekend and couldn't be doing with facing the world.  Good job the experiment didn't start last week or I would have failed at the first hurdle. 

£1.60 on tampons - cross about this as I have a stash at home, but was caught short so have to make emergency run to Boots
10p on a steam - government have made a steam a luxury item so it's no longer included in my swim membership at local pool.