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Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can

February 18, 2012

March is going to be one expensive month; between me and Mr T’s 10 year anniversary, which will involve dinner at one of our favourite restaurants and a weekend away in London, dinner with past & present colleagues, VegFest and meeting up with the amazing To Happy Vegans and Naomi, Mothers Day, a friends’ bands album launch, my best-friend coming to visit, and finally Mr T’s birthday at the beginning of April – I am on a serious spending curb! Not even a curb, more of a, ‘no-spending-unless-it-involves-any-of-the-above’!

It’s not even the end of February but I am already in ‘window-shopping’ mode. I want. I want. I want. But I cannot have. Le sigh.

But really, I have nothing to moan about. I am genuinely excited about all of the above things, and I will indulge a little while we are in London, and of course there will be shopping involved when Laia comes to stay, and I’ll pick up some bargains at VegFest. Maybe I can subtly collect a huge amount of samples, and live off these for the rest of the month? Cubes of soya meat mixed with flax crackers? Delish! Who needs to buy pricey snacks when you have a coat-pocket filled with half-inch chunks of nakd bars? Kerching! Maybe I could glue them all together with some frosting and create a birthday cake out of them?*

Laura writes one my favourite blogs, Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish, and she has written some fantastic pieces on budgeting and saving the pennies, whilst still enjoying the food that you love and having fun! I love the guidelines she has laid out here for her Big Budget Challenge. I also love this post on defining what are your staple foods – the foods that you eat pretty much everyday and can’t live without. Once you can clearly see what your essentials are, you can research ways of reducing the money you spend on them by buying locally or in bulk.

I think mine would be something along the lines of:

♥ Soya milk
♥ Houmous
♥ Salad bags/ spinach
♥ Oats
♥ Apples
♥ Clementines
♥ Variety of veg: peppers, courgetts, squash, onion, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, potatoes and carrots
♥ Chickpeas
♥ Tofu
♥ Soya yoghurt
♥ Peanut butter
♥ Bread: Mr T loves his loaf, and we both love pitta bread
♥ Various grains and lentils, including rice, cous cous and risotto rice
♥ Soya mince

I don’t spend any money on books, CDs or DVDs. I buy the occasional magazine: Waitrose Kitchen once a month, I have Elle delivered and paid for through my Nectar points, and I buy maybe 2 magazines during the month. I do spend money on clothes and mostly essentials in terms of cosmetics (make up, shampoo, moisturiser etc). Going out and food are my main weaknesses: we tend to go out at least 2 out of the 3 evenings of the weekend, and more often than not we will go out during the week as well. In terms of the food bill we don’t go too crazy with the weekly shop but I know we are both guilty of buying extra things throughout the week which all add up. I spend a fair amount on snacks like Trek bars, bear granola etc which could probably be replaced by home-made versions.

Ok, so here a few changes that I plan to make:

  • I have about 75 sachets of porridge. I should use these before buying new breakfast items.
  • Have breakfast at work, because soya milk is provided by the company (WIN!)
  • Make home-made snacks.
  • Look for special offers on fruit (unless this means buying crappy fruit…)
  • Buy more veg from Taj.
  • Plan meals for the week and make extra for the freezer (though really, we do this already…)
  • Eat everything in the freezer. Including those weird leaves in the ice drawer.
  • Organise more evenings in at the weekends, rather than £4 per pint nights-out.
  • Absolutely no shopping until Laia gets here. It’s always better shopping with her, anyway.
  • List a few things on ebay: I did have a clear out last November so I’m not sure I have too many items to list, but every penny counts, right!

How do you guys budget your spending? Do you have any great tips on making the most of what you have without missing out on your favourite essentials?

*Mr T, I’m kidding – you will, of course, receive your favourite carrot cake. And it will not be made out of any double dipped merchandise. Promise.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 18, 2012 11:33 am

    Looks like a great plan! I’m very much in the same money saving boat as you right now especially after my trip to Brighton! Glad you have enjoyed my posts on budgeting!l

  2. February 18, 2012 8:58 pm

    What a fab post, I really need to budget better, especially when it comes to money spent on food and snacks, eek.

  3. Laia permalink
    February 19, 2012 1:37 am

    I’m saving my pennies for the Chrissie’s days ♥

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