Hopefully our budgeting tips in my last post have inspired you to make some changes of your own.
In April we saved £45. Here are some more of the changes we made to achieve this:
– Baking bread
I never thought I would be able to or have the time, but once you get into a routine you find a way – sometimes I make up the dough whilst I’m doing the evening meal and put it onto bake later that evening. I make 2 loaves a week with a 1kg pack of Sainsbury’s multigrain seeded flour.
Total cost for 2 bloomers is £1.73 (£1.09 flour, 12p fast action dried yeast (a sachet from an 8-pack box), 30p butter, 2p salt. I’m also going to add 20p towards electric for baking in the oven). Saving £1.17 on the two shop bought loaves we’d normally have.
I have also made foccacia bread to go with pasta, which I have calculated cost less than 40p a time and is super easy to make (15p 225g strong white flour, 6p half sachet fast action yeast, plus 7p for salt, sugar, garlic* and rosemary, 10p baking cost). *I sprinkled some chopped garlic on top which isn’t included in the original recipe.
– Making soup
I’ve done this before but never to save money. I’ve made Tomato, Lentil & Carrot soup, Potato & Leek soup, and Spring Vegetable soup. All were easy to do and the cost was minimal as they’re vegetable based. I froze portions so that we could have enough over a week for lunch.
– Baking more!
I keep a well stocked store cupboard of different flours, dried fruit and sugar, so if we want a sweet treat, it’s pretty easy to whip up a batch of scones or biscuits. It doesn’t actually cost too much as I add one or two things to the shopping list every week to keep the cupboard topped up, and have used Sainsbury’s basics flour mixed in with slightly more expensive flour to stretch it further (seems to work fine!).
I’m keeping track of our May shops now and am hoping that our changes will have saved us more money this month! Our food budget does include household items and Baby stuff (including Aptamil baby formula which is very expensive). With Tiddler weaning, I’m hoping we can lose one of his bottles a day soon, plus Toddler will be potty training in June, so am hoping to save a bit on his nappies too.
I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for more recipes and information on how to stretch our budget further and managed to find a gem of a book at the library which I have since bought on Amazon as it was so handy – ‘How to feed your family for £5 a day’ by Bernadine Lawrence. A lot of the advice we do already (bulk cooking and freezing), making a list and sticking to it, weekly meal planning etc., but I found lots of extra tips, and some excellent recipes too.
I have also found some brilliant blogs and websites:
Chilli, Sage and Lemon – Jess is doing her own grocery challenge and posts lots of yummy recipes along with updates on her monthly spends. I’ve successfully tried a few of her recipes now including Mushroom and pea pasta and no knead foccacia, and will be trying out the chilli recipe tomorrow.
The Family Recipes site has a wealth of hints, tips and recipes. They have suggestions for feeding a family of four for £100 a month. Yes, I know, amazing! Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily follow their suggested meal plans, I have found some new and interesting recipes, so definitely worth a look.
Money Saving Expert site – the grocery challenge thread on the forum – make sure you have plenty of time to browse, I ended up spending a whole Sunday evening on there!
With the money saved, Mr N has kindly agreed to let me use some of it for a treat for myself (as I’ve been spending half my life in the kitchen in the past few weeks I could do with a treat). I’ve purchased a spa day voucher for £35 which includes full use of gym /spa faciliites plus a Swedish back and shoulder massage – I can’t wait to use it!
If you’re planning your own grocery challenge, let me know how you get on, and good luck!