Thursday, 1 December 2011

lessons in saving money and budgeting

otherwise titled, 'what i learnt from the big budget challenge'. thanks to Laura for being a wonderful host for the last two months, and for doing round-ups of everyone's very interesting and helpful posts.


i've personally learnt loads from having done this challenge, and so today i want to share with you all some of the wisdom i've gained, and a few practical tips for ways you can reduce your grocery budget. because, really, it'd be a little pointless if i didn't share my secrets with you all!

first though, let's look at some numbers that have accumulated in the last 2 months...
  • 39 receipts from 11 different places
  • 16 of those were from Waitrose, where a total of £150.60 was spent, with an average of £1.36 per item
  • 9 of those were from Lidl, where a total of £136.93 was spent, with an average of 80p an item
  • 5 of those were in Tesco, where a total of £56.73 was spent
  • the others were from the market, local Nisa, Well Natural, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury's, the local Garden centre and tool shop - totalling £55.71
  • all in all £399.97 was spent over 2 months for all the food and household items for 3 people. that's £6.45 each day, or £44.44 each week.

things i learnt:

1. we are so very blessed!
2. using herbs and spices to their full potential is key.
3. that using what you have in stock, or what's on offer is far cheaper than planning your meals.
4. foraging wild produce is exciting, delicious, easy and free!
5. eating seasonally is essential for health, happiness and your wallet. local markets are the best place to find good deals on seasonal fruit and veg.
6. growing your own veg is ultimately rewarding.



7. keeping things simple is key - simple flavours, simple combinations, simple meals.
8. that Lidl's is awesome!
9. that shopping around is the best way to get a good deal, and by keeping receipts or a cost book you can figure out where is the cheapest place to buy essential staples.
10. beans and lentils truly are the cheapest and healthiest sources of protein out there, and can be used in a variety of different and exciting ways.
11. making things from scratch is way cheaper.



12. i really don't need any more clothes for a long time...
13. it's easier to be healthy if you spend less money, because you'll be reducing your expensive meat and dairy intake, and increasing the amount of cheap veg and fruit.
14. i don't NEED an everyday intake of dark chocolate and yogurt to keep me going! my body is well equipped to survive and thrive on whatever sustenance i give it :)
15. free exercise is the best exercise!


check out each weekly post in detail for more info on exactly what was spent where and why:
week 1 - in which i lay down my rules for the challenge, and tell you how much we used to spend on groceries...
week 2 - where i bought antique knives for £1 at a local fair, made chickpea marrow torte and foraged lots of blackberries from hedgerows near our house
week 3 - learnt to make barley chappattis, finished my patchwork quilt and went to my first car boot sale where i purchased a huge jumper for only £1
week 4 - where i realised that what we spend on food is ridiculous in comparison to those who have NO food, and we cut our weekly spending budget by £15.
week 5 - when i made raisin oat bannocks, foraged wild apples by the side of the road and enjoyed a hot picnic feast at the allotment with ginger parkin.
week 6 - i discovered sweet red bean paste, had a delivery of woodchip at the allotment and discovered pinhead oatmeal
week 7 - when i made brown rice congee, bought our Christmas ducks for the freezer and roasted allotment squash
week 8 - in which i foraged mushrooms with my brother from an obliging field, sold a coat in a trade store and at chili chutney with everything

currently listening to: god rest ye merry gentlemen by annie lennox - yes, the Christmas playlist has now commenced!

1 comment:

  1. Comments previously added via IntenseDebate:

    keephealthstyle: Thanks so much for taking part Alissa, I've looked forward to every single one of your posts and have been motivated and inspired - thanks to you I now have my own little allotment!

    sharon @ bitofthegoodstuff: You did so well Alissa! There's 3 people in our household and I imagine that we've spent way more than £400 over the past 2 months on grocery shops. I've got to wait until November's credit card bills arrives before I'll know for sure. I've been putting all the grocery shops on the credit card so that I can easily calculate our expenditure (plus I do love all the Tesco vouchers I get with the Tesco credit card - I've had £500 free stuff this year :) )

    I'm definitely going to revisit all your budget posts and get some pointers on how to cut our budget even further. Thanks so much for sharing all your tips xx

    natalie: Well done. I think that I should take a leaf from your book. I have noticed since I stopped eating as much meat and started using a veg box scheme that I have saved some money and no longer find myself popping to Tesco everyday. I have also discovered that I love cooking vegetarian food!

    tamzin: Jeez I so need to start budgeting!!!!!!! x x

    anna: I just found your blog and this is a great post! It's so difficult sometimes to budget and save money, but you're right..it can be done! :)

    cass@ foodmyfriend: You are amazing and I love reading your stories!! It was only the other day that my partner and I decided that we really need to knuckle down and do some serious saving. I have read all of your posts but I am going to go back over them and pick up any tips I missed.

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