Friday, 19 April 2013

Keeping to a Budget

AND eating healthily.

Frugal Friday

Two of my favourite topics all rolled into one!

If you are a regular visitor to my blog you will be aware that I like a bit of a bargain me! I hate to pay over the odds for things. 


I don't think so - just wising up a bit in my old age to how quickly the old dosh slips through the fingers when we don't think about how we spend it. 

I like to have money spare to spend on clothes, make up, holidays etc and this only happens if we are accountable in other areas .

One of the main areas of expense ( as I've said before) in our house is 


I try and shop wisely so my family can eat well and we don't over spend each month, but there is constant temptation to buy cheap when it is available. However this of course doesn't always equate to quality and I always try not to compromise quality over price.

We are trying to follow a few of the EAT CLEAN by Tosca Reno principles at the moment. I juice regularly anyway as I find this keeps my energy levels up, but for health reasons we are trying to eradicate some other elements from our diets.

Tosca Reno

This often means buying products that are more expensive and organic and obviously the consequences are that cost goes up.

At a time when we are paying out on building works I can't really afford to allow the budget to run away with us. SO to accomodate our changes in diet these are the things I find help keep that budget down.

  • Shop in bulk for items such as nuts and wholegrains - this works out soooo much cheaper in the long run.
  • Shop in bulk for the everyday items such as toilet roll, fairy liquid, soap, washing powder etc
  • Spend money only on the things that really matter to you for organic produce - e.g meat and a delivered box of veg
  • Check in advance for deals that are coming up on produce at Lidls and Tescos.
  • Use every voucher you can get your hands on. I plan on doing my first Sainsbury delivery - to get a £12 off!
  • Shop in bulk and store items that you use regularily when you see they are on offer - again this saves you money in the long run.
  • Be inventive with veg - not every meal has to have expensive meat in. Protein is in many things other than meat.
  • I would say batch bake ( but I no long have a freezer - boo hoo)
  • Plan, plan,plan - shopping lists and meal plans - then there is little waste and you only buy what you need. 
  • Get the kids on board with the planning and the cooking. They are more likely to eat what's on offer if they are involved ( and the clearing up - unpaid of course - this is their house too and they should contribute... did I say that out loud?)
My budget each month for food and household essentials was hovering around £400. We are buying more organic items and fresh fruit to juice. I am spending about £50 more at present. This still keeps me below my £500 threshold that I don't want to go over. 

I know some families who feed their brood of 8 for less than I feed 5 and others who marvel that I spend "only" £450. I suppose it comes down to what you are used to spending or what you are prepared to spend. I know I could spend less, but I don't wish to compromise on the quality of what I feed my children or eat myself. I could feed more meat (other than mince) and the budget would go up an awful lot, but they are good eaters and are happy with meals bulked out with sweet potatoes, veg, lentils and the like. They love big home made soups and rolls and are beginning to cook again every Friday too now. My son did us a chicken mexican in wholegrain pancakes last week - yum yum. I'm not sure we will get such adventurous meals now my gas hob is out of action though. 

My cooking is being done on this induction ring and a microwave at the moment!

Do you include organic produce in your menus or do you think it is a waste of money?


  1. You are so right, I always have a food budget, which I try to stick to, but then there is a quick supper for friends which needs a special ingredient and what starts as just come and have what we are eating, turn's into something that cost's way more! I did have an amazing find the other night I got off the train about 9pm and there was a Tesco Metro....selling off everything at crazy prices...I had 2 x Pizza Express for 40p!Bagels 10p, Aubergine 10p, salad 10p!So if you have nothing better to do at 9pm check out Tesco Metro! xx

  2. Wow what a steal! I know a friend who visits Tescos late on a Sat night and follows the man around with the reduction machine! She stocks her large freezer with bread, rolls, meat - anything that can be frozen - all for pennies!! Dedication - not sure I'm there yet.... X

  3. I'd love to do more proper 'meaty meals' - my kids do love their meat but it gets so expensive to do too often. I often fall back on mince and bulk things out as you say - makes it last and do for more meals - it's got to be done! I always buy regular products in bulk and when on offer - the only problem is I often run out of storage space! Bet you can't wait to have your big cooker and oven back! xx

    1. Me too - never know where to put it . My hubby has been known to ask "why are there big bags of lentils in my office?!"

  4. I do not think organic produce is a waste of money. Some studies have shown that 50 % of food borne illnesses come from produce! I know that organic still has to be washed, but I think you reduce your chance of ingesting things that shouldn't be ingested when organic is chosen.
    The payoff is in the long term benefits, rather than the quick save of buying non-organic.

    I'm really trying to cut out things that I shouldn't be eating...but its not easy! I'd like to give juicing a try.

    1. I love juicing - it really makes a difference with energy levels I find. I agree with the organic. We have always had a veg box, but am trying to pick other organic things where we can afford to as well. x

  5. I don't think it is a waste of money if you can afford it but if my food budget went any higher I would never have new make-up or clothes. Food is expensive enough and it's a shame organic is so much more so. You might be interested in I went on a cookery course a few months back, thinking healthy food was boring but I soon changed my mind and now regularly cook the meal the learnt on the day and it has become a firm family favourite x

  6. Firstly, my hat off to you for managing to cook for a family on a small induction hob and microwave. That can't be easy (but I know it will be worth it in the end) I completely agree with what you say about food. I budget on things like household cleaners etc., but tend to spend a little extra for organic veg and (when it's not too extortionate) organic meat. I do believe that it makes a difference to our health.