I’ve been husbanding my resources for exactly a year now.
I’ve kept a log of what I’ve been spending on food. Every. Single. Penny.
There’s a spreadsheet. There’s a graph.
I know how much I’ve spent each week. I know how much I’ve spent over the year in total. And I know my monthly, weekly, daily and even per-meal average spend.
Knowledge is power.
It’s food only – including alcohol, takeaways, and anything spent in cafes, restaurants, pubs etc. It doesn’t include the other stuff that I might buy at the supermarket – cleaning products, toiletries etc etc etc. And it’s for one adult (and occasional visitors).
In total, for the whole year, I’ve spent £945.99 on food.
That averages out at £79.05 per month, £18.19 per week, £2.60 per day, or 87p per meal.
I think that’s pretty bloody good.
I don’t feel I’m denying myself in any way. I’m eating healthy food (unrefined carbs, lots of fruit and veg, fish twice a week), I’m having the odd treat (takeaway once a month, bottle of wine now and again, coffee out with friends, bikkies).
I plan my meals for the week and I only buy what I need. I organise it so that the leftovers get used and I throw very little away. I hate throwing food away.
I keep a shopping list on the end of the bench, and as things get used up I jot them down on the list. I then go through the cupboards and the fridge and jot down anything else that needs replacing. If there’s anything that needs to be used up I’ll make plans for it. It also means that I don’t accidentally buy something that I’ve already got plenty of.
I’m evangelical about Rubber Chicken.
Homemade soup is cheaper than chips! And more interesting. And more nutritious.
Takeaway portions are huge, so I eat half and freeze half, and the next month I use the one in the freezer. It means I have to have a bit of self-control and not eat it sooner. The same goes for my pizza on a Friday night. I eat half, with a salad – and freeze the other half for the following week.
Keeping a record like this gives me a feeling of control. I can see week on week how my spending is going. I can see how it’s gradually increased over time – at the beginning I was still using up the stores that I had in the cupboards, but as they ran out and needed to be replaced my average spend went up.
Back at the beginning, my average weekly spend was around £15, but gradually it’s had to creep up. I hit £18 for the first time at the end of July, after living like this for 5 months. And since then, I’ve pretty much plateau’d/plateaud/plateaued (is that even a word?). The average has never gone above £18.79.
It’s sustainable. Now and again I get a bit tired of chicken, so I give myself a week off. But the shopping generally costs more in a ‘non-chicken’ week, so by the following week I’m happy to go back to normal. I ring the changes by doing the potatoes in a different way, or having different veg, or a different sort of stuffing. And it’s my favourite meal, so there’s no hardship really!!
And it’s important to remember why I’m doing this. I’m doing it (and many other things) so that I have control over my expenditure. I’m doing it so that I can become less dependent on the business that I run with my husband (you remember him – he left just over a year ago). I’m doing it so that, hopefully, in the long term, I’ll be able to afford to do some of the things that I’ve always wanted to do.
Compared to how much I used to spend (or rather, how much I think I used to spend – I didn’t record it, so I don’t know for sure), there’s a huge difference. I think I was spending roughly £50 a week at Aldi before my husband left. And that’s just the supermarket shop – that’s without adding in top-up shops, meals out, takeaways and coffees. I could easily have been spending £75 a week on food for two adults
And I’ve got it down to £18.19 for one adult – actually, that’s phenomenal. That’s about a quarter of what I used to spend!!!
Of course, I could spend even less – I could stop having takeaways, I could cut my alcohol spend to zero, I could stop buying biscuits. But it would be a bit dismal. I know I can afford what I’m spending at the moment, I know it’s sustainable – and I know I could cut it even further if I really needed to.
My plan is not to need to.
Watch out for a post about how I make soup – coming soon!
Scroll all the way down to Follow, Share, Like or Comment on this. And check out my ‘Sixty and Me’ badge.
I always reply to Comments from nice people.