This week, our final week, we’ve been trying to clamp tightly down on our budget.
We got our veggie and fruit box from North Aston Organics again, but I’m going to see if I can book a different box from a different location each week as they have all been fantastic, and I want to support them all.
We visited the Monday Shop and bought some beautiful Kale and coriander for donation only which we made Kale aloo with. I also indulged in some Cornfield bakery Rye Sourdough bread – this ancient method of baking with natural yeasts is much easier on the digestion and I’m a huge fan. We’ve been missing bread this month but I’m planning on getting into some baking of my own!
We made hummus out of sprouted chickpeas and enjoyed it on the bread, and I baked some chocolate pumpkin brownies using the roasted pumpkin instead of butter as we had run out! The results were delicious and moist – a wonderfully successful experiment.
We’re getting a bit bored of home made peanut butter so I’m planning some almond butter next month.
If you’re interested in seeing what we’ve been eating all week, here’s our complete menu and budget breakdown. We eat porridge (I bought bulk oats in the first week but we’re now running low) with peanut butter and sugar for weekday breakfasts. At weekends we eat eggs of some kind either with bubble and squeak or in pancakes. Lunch is provided by either dinner leftovers, soup or hummus and bread. The pumpkin brownies and fruit have been fulfilling our sweet tooth this week too, and we’ve even eaten out of the food waste bin when we made potato peeling crisps!
Bubble & Squeak with poached eggs and beans
Roast chicken, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, cabbage.
Chicken Curry & Rice
Cabbage anchovy spaghetti
Kale aloo & rice
Carrot soup & rye sourdough bread with hummus
Children over for tea – sausages, rice & peas
Pumpkin Risotto – for myself & Alex
Bubble and squeak with eggs and beans
Nettle pesto pasta (using our kale pesto recipe but with Nettles from Shotover)
Here’s the breakdown for the week
1 small chicken = £4
Dried chickpeas = 28p
Tinned tomatoes = 34p
Creamed coconut = 50p
8 eggs = £1.60
Veggie & fruit box = £14.50
Chocolate = 30p
Kale & coriander = £1
Rye bread = £3
Almonds = 40p
Baked beans x 2 = 50p
Rice = 80p
Spaghetti = 35p
Sugar = 40p
Cheese = 75p
Lemon = 25p
Anchovies = 50p
Sausages = £1
Frozen peas = 10p
Olive oil, garlic, chilli, spices = 30p
Total for week 4 = £30.62
Total spend for 1 month = £124.22
Paid for but still to use = £8.20
Leeks, beetroot, mushrooms and a few carrots = £4
Dried Yellow Split peas = £1.50
Dried Chickpeas = £1.50
Rice Wraps = £1.20
Final adjustment = £116.02 total spend!
January has been a long month, and I don’t think we’ve done too badly for our first attempt. In truth I really didn’t think that we’d make it, so I’m pleasantly surprised that we’re not far off. As logged, we’ve still got some leeks, beetroot, mushrooms and a few carrots from our veggie box to eat this week, as well as a huge amount of dried chickpeas, yellow split peas and rice wraps left over too!
Now I’m getting more efficient I’m sure we’ll manage to eat within budget the following month. We could have gone vegan this week to cut back the budget further and I really shouldn’t have bought the bread, but it was so temping and we were feeling deprived. I vow to make my own next month.
What have I learned from this month?
I’ll never buy Supermarket meat again. From now on I’ll be making my own nut butters, and hummus and I will value every fruit and vegetable that comes into the house. By keeping our stocks low, we’ve managed to reduce our food waste and our recycling bins contents too. Better for our purse, our health and the planet!
Thank you to everyone that has followed our journey and supported us, and also to all the wonderful people we have met along the way. I feel totally inspired by you all to continue, and hope to discover even more amazing local Oxfordshire produce in February.
If you haven’t heard us talking on BBC Radio Oxford this week please have a listen, and do please feel free to contact me or leave comments with local deals and frugal recipes, I love hearing from you – firstname.lastname@example.org