Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The Year of Less - Less Food - From Full to Empty - May

The Year of Less - Less Food               Haha....who am I kidding!!
At the end of yesterdays post I put the words .... I have a confession to make and I shall have to stand up and admit it, well I have to ..... there's evidence I have the pictures :-)
This is not one of the pictures, this is my shopping from Monday after I had completed my budget for April on the £2 House Keeping Challenge page, don't worry I went back and confessed all, and worked out the new figures, it makes for a depressing read ...... or does it.
It would seem I've issued myself with a REAL challenge!
My confession is that although the budget has been tight, somehow with using the housekeeping budget, the coupons and recommendation fees etc I have once again built up the supplies in the freezer to epic proportions (well epic to me).
The £2 House Keeping tin at the start of April ......
... and then again this morning.
I now have £106 to last me the rest of the year.

That is a weekly budget of £3.21.
So I decided as soon as I got home that I better get cracking and make the very best of everything I had just bought.  It all has to last me as long as possible.
I had done pretty well with my shop, it came to £35.81 which was a bit shocking as I went out for 10 bottles of Sparkling Water which would have set me back £1.70, but hey ho, it's done now.  (I did get the bottles by the way although they are not in that top picture, I always drop them straight into the utility room on my way in there's a lot of weight in a bag containing that many bottles of water).
As soon as I had unpacked and photographed the shopping (this is getting very habit forming) I set to to divide the bargains into freezable portions.  I had managed to get quite a few yellow stickered items including free range chicken pieces, salmon, cream, mini quiches and two packs of ten good quality sausages reduced from £4.50 a pack to just £2.50 (Lovely Hubbys favourites) so it was a good shop, just one I was not expecting to make.
The sausages were all snipped apart and put onto trays for open freezing (I also kept the trays they came on, brilliant little trays for open freezing small amounts in the future and totally free). 
The chicken portions, thighs, breasts and legs, were all individually wrapped. 
The bread was opened and the slices loosened so they can be removed one slice at a time for toast etc, and then refastened. 
The bagels (reduced to £1 on offer) were all sliced in half so that we can take out exactly the number of slices we want at a time and pop them straight into the toaster on it's frozen bread setting, so much better than trying to slice through a frozen bagel and potentially losing a finger!!
It was when I came to put it all in the freezer that I realised just HOW MUCH FOOD WE HAD!
I was shocked, I suppose I should also be pleased with myself in that I have managed to build up these supplies whilst shopping on such a tight budget, but still!!
It's the actually going to the supermarket that tempts me into spending more than I should, so I need to stop going.  I read a brilliant quote yesterday on a Blog that I have just read from start right up to date over the last couple of days, read it for yourself it's called One Pound Per Day.   If you click on the 'Table of Contents' heading you can go right back to the beginning of his challenge, it makes for inspiring reading.  He's currently doing the  Live Below the Line challenge, which is how I found him, his original challenge was done last year for himself.  Anyway his quote was ...
‘The main product that supermarkets sell you is not food. It’s convenience.’
This is so true. 
Shopping for ready made items whether it be whole ready meals, bread, yogurt or even sausages is food bought in convenient form, just ready for us to cook, and it made me think even more of all the foods I have in stock and that I was still buying, even though it was much more occasionally.  Why for instance had I bought bread, I have enough flour and yeast in stock to make enough loaves for the entire year.  Yes it is my favourite bread and is sliced, but surely I can experiment and add seeds and things to my loaves and fish out my electric slicer and slice up a loaf to pop in the freezer in just the same way and for much less money.
And that was it, my inspiration for the next few months.  If I am able to I want to pull this paltry weekly average of just £3.21 up by NOT buying any foods for as long as possible.  I have even cancelled the milk from the milk man, we have some in the freezer that will last us for about two weeks or so and then it will come out of my normal shopping money, it's so much cheaper at the supermarket, unfortunately.
The New Rules of the Challenge
To use up as much food from our stock as possible before buying anything else.
Not to shop (even visit the shops) unless absolutely necessary.
Everything is to come out of the budget except pet foods.
Photograph the freezers and cupboards regularly and post photos on specific Blog page.
(I'm not sure whether this should be weekly or monthly what do you think?)
Make another stocktake list of all the foods in the freezers and keep it updated this time.
To menu plan where possible.
To look to myself for inspiration.
*** *** ***
I did start to photograph the foods in stock yesterday ......

..... and confused poor Suky completely. A Pug looks confused/worried/puzzled etc so easily!
You can almost read her mind "What is Mum up to now!!"
I will finish off today photographing every bit of food in the house and then the Challenge starts in earnest.  Just how much of that £106 will I have left by the end of this month?
Sue xx


  1. Do it weekly Sue, a month is a long time and increases the chances of it running away with you.
    You have inspired me to haul my stock out of the freezer and draw up a meal plan. I put about 6 months worth of wild garlic puree in it last week and it is pretty full.

    1. You're right, I think weekly is the way to monitor progress more accurately and plan better, although for the first few weeks the cupboards might not look too different.

      We could of course just play 'Spot the Difference'.

      I'm totally jealous of you finding lots of Wild Garlic, I have yet to discover any!!

  2. My initial thoughts are to update your specific blog page with pictures regularly; weekly or fortnightly. Utilise the page and make it work the best way for you.

    Good luck!

    1. I think this is what I'll do, try and take the same photos on a weekly basis and post them on a separate page. That way any folk that are not into 'food porn' will not be subject to the inside of my cupboards too regularly.

      Personally I love looking in other folks cupboards - but then I'm just nosy :-)

  3. When the veg in garden gets going, that will help the budget lots.

    But £3.21..... Hmmmm..... You'll have to keep that thinking cap on very straight : )

    1. I can't wait to get some outside planting done, but we keep getting really heavy frosts overnight and I can't subject even my little radish seedlings to such bitter conditions. Oh well I can get the next lot of seeds going in the greehouse I guess.

      Fingers crossed that my neighbour is right she has just told me there is an expected heatwave promised for May with a drought and possible hosepipe ban by the end of the month - WHAT!!

  4. Weekly, definitely. Thanks to wanting to re-stock our freezers we're currently running towards the very opposite problem, but that will be alleviated with the "bulk meat purchase" which is happening soon. I'm thinking that I do need to make good use of all our storecupboard and larder ingredients though...

    Good luck with your £106! Eat My Pig is another great blog on the subject of avoiding supermarkets.

    1. I'll look out for Eat My Pig, it sounds like my sort of reading ... but poor piggy :-( Lol. xx

  5. I think you are doing brilliantly, and applaud your revised challenge rules! And slicing bagels before freezing is a very wise thing to do. Apparently the ER departments in US hospitals have a specific name for sliced hands- they cll it "The Bagel Injury" !!

    blessings xx

    1. Ouch!!

      It came about because usually I just have half a bagel and Lovely Hubby likes a full one, he kept eating my left over half, not good for his waistline or his diabetes. (And of course it saves me lots of lovely pennies now I do it this way.)

  6. Hi Sue this is just the post I need before heading out to do my monthly shopping this morning....and I'll be open freezing my sausages when I get home. I always freeze them in packs (!!!!) and end up with too many sausages for a meal.
    I'm addicted to taking pictures of my shopping too :)

    1. It's not a bad habit to get into this photographing the food is it .... Lol. I love nipping over to yours to get my fix of food porn!!

  7. No truer quote. We could do with writing that on our kitchen wall! Thanks for the blog link

  8. I think the biggest problem you (and all of us face) is habit. It is a habit to go to the shops once a week (or whenever your habit dictates and it does dictate). Whilst trying to live of our freezer (and it is nowhere near as full as yours but still full for us) I still couldn't stop myself making each meal stretch to two. So yes, I have started to empty it but at the same time, I am still putting things in, though not new things. Good luck, keep up the fight!


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