Pantry contains 3 months worth of staples..

My family think the zombie apocalypse is coming real soon due to my recent obsession with stockpiling. Before I go any further I’d like to assure them that I don’t have the inside knowledge on any forthcoming catastrophe or society breakdown and I do these strange things just because you have a weird Mum and I feel comfort in being prepared…. thank you 🙂

Cleaned up my pantry a bit today and added in some additional staples, did a count, checked my storage tubs and was pleased to see that infact I now have about 3 months worth of basic staples to hand. I’ve now written a list of the small stockpile and whatever I use from the pantry I will replenish once a week making sure to rotate foods because of the best before dates.

The majority of my day to day food is fresh (with the addition of canned or dried beans or lentils) but it does feel nice to have this supply that I can reply on. I’m sure I will tweak and adjust it but I wanted to store foods that I really do use in addition to fresh veg.

What do you keep in your pantry as staples?

C xxxx

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Prepping, saving money and losing weight.

Dear all,

It’s been a while. Too long…

I needed a break, needed head space, needed to concentrate and focus on getting on the straight and narrow. Forgive me if I’ve not responded to some of the messages people kindly sent me, I tried to reply to most xxxxx

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and moved smoothly into the New Year and that you had time to make plans and set goals for 2019. What are they? I’d love to hear…

LOSING WEIGHT & FOOD
I’ve started off 2019 in a really positive way. On September 10th 2018 something finally yes FINALLY clicked and everything has been falling into place regarding nutrition and how I am feeling about myself. I decided to commit to only fuelling my body with mostly plant based highly nutritional food…my aim was to eat 90% non-processed, cut out added sugar and sweeteners completely (I only have these on special occasions if I’m attending a social event or meal out with work). Cutting out the sugar and cutting right down on the salt was incredibly difficult for the first few weeks but then it all fell into place. I’ve been steadily losing 2lb or more every week and since September 10th (nearly 4 months) have lost 45 lbs… which is essentially over 3 stone. I’m thrilled.

Because of eating this way I’ve had to give baking and recreating 1940s recipes a miss for a while. Too much temptation right now but I will start up again in the not too distant future.

SAVING MONEY + MAKE DO AND MEND
I tried really hard to “make do and mend” during 2018. My main goal was to feel more financially secure by building an ’emergency fund’ which essentially is money available that I could use should the Sh*t Hit the Fan (ie health problems, losing my job). Being a singleton there is no financial back-up with a partner having a job should anything major happen. My thoughts were to aim for a 6 month emergency fund. How I calculated this was to look at all the expenses I would need to cover in the worst case scenario (no pay check coming in or unable to work) so things like, rent, bills, food, expenses, debts, insurances, petrol, extras etc. I worked this out to be £1300 per month to cover everything.

So that works out at £1300 x 6 = £7,800. I ACTUALLY FLIPPIN WELL MADE THAT GOAL AT THE END OF 2018! (started with literally nothing in the bank!) I saved nearly £4500 and cashed in some old shares at work to help me reach my goal quicker!

As a woman who is a saver rather than a spender but has been unable to save throughout her life because of circumstances, this is such a HUGE relief to have achieved this. I am now able to sleep better at night!

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still a way to go as I do have some debt (next on my list to blast a hole in!) and I’m now trying to build up funds to cover other expenses such as car repair, clothing. I don’t want to use my emergency fund for these kind of items.

It’s not been easy. I see colleagues with nice cars, going on holidays, dining out most weekends, going to bars, buying wine/beer/drinks for home, buying new pets/livestock, buying houses, getting takeaways, going to concerts, having their hair and nails done. I really don’t do any of these (except of course if I get invited out on a free works do or meal!). BUT I’m totally happy with that right now as I’m finally beginning to feel SAFER and more SECURE.

PREPPING
While I’m not talking survivalist mode here, I AM talking about re-kindling my interest in building up a small stockpile to help make the emergency fund stretch further. I am currently slowly building up a three month supply of food to help see me through should anything happen that would be deemed a personal emergency (again financial or health). It’s amazing what one can stash away in a plastic box under the bed! When I’m done I’ll show you what I’ve got…it’s only in it’s infancy right now but Savers and Aldi’s range of tinned kidney beans, chick peas, porridge oats, pasta, rice, lentils are really inexpensive! Again, living with insecurity for so long especially in my latter years in Canada and before I got my job here, security is a HUGE necessity for me so I’m quite relieved things are now heading in the right direction.

CUTTING DOWN ON BILLS
And this is the next part I really want to focus on. I’m looking at energy saving right now. I’ve purchased a small supply of solar bulbs and I’d also like to build and regularly used a solar oven. The idea in the summer of setting a stew in the black enamel pan in a solar oven before I head off to work and it all being cooked by the time I return is rather obsessing me right now. In the interim I have just bought a 1.5 litre 120 watt slow cooker to do exactly that. I’d love eventually to be off-grid one day but this process has to be learned so I’ll be slowly doing that over the coming years.

I’d be interested to hear how everyone else saves money and can be more earth friendly while working full time. I’m all ears!

At the end of the day I do believe that eating and living more like our Grandmothers is a good thing for us financially, psychologically and environmentally. Let’s get this straight, I love my modern gadgets but I also see that we have to have balance so I find I am drawn to non-electric items, simplicity, making do and appreciating everything I have.

And although I love my gym membership NOTHING beats a long brisk walk in our beautiful countryside.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

C xxxxxx


Budgeting with Google Spreadsheets

So I’m rapidly becoming all consumed with getting my shit together (sorry for the profanity but sh*t says it all…).

Today I’ve spent the best part of 3 hours familiarizing myself with ‘Google Spreadsheets’ for monthly budgeting. Although I love scribbling on paper and in my daily diary, I have to say after pulling my hair out initially, I now LOVE using this spreadsheet! The one I’m using is ‘Monthly Budget’ under the top right hand drop down menu for ‘Templates’. OK so I know in the 1940’s it would have all been done on paper, and I love to keep things simple BUT having this in addition to fill in and update at weekends is making me VERY HAPPY!

OK, I know you are probably thinking right now “for God’s sake woman, go and get a curvy, hairy, beardy man and misbehave” because quite frankly it is a little bit sad that I am getting so excited about  spreadsheets. Trust me, I’ve been thinking that myself recently…..

Infact I know exactly the man I’d pick (in Barnsley) but I’m still slightly “off” men in real-life and not quite ready to jump back in the sheets and do strange and wonderful things…soooooo for now ‘Google Spreadsheets’ it is!

I’m loving the ‘Monthly Budget’ template. CLICK HERE

First of all I worked out how to change the currency from $ to £, next to add extra rows while keeping the formula which does the calculations, I also then changed the spreadsheet to specify what country and time zone. Once that was all done then it was time to fill it in!

I’m filling it in real-time, once a week. This means that I’m adding in all my planned expenses and income and adding in the actual expenses and income as they come in. So when a direct debit comes out in the week I’ll update the spreadsheet, when my son pays me his weekly rent/bills contribution I’ll fill it in on the spreadsheet. By doing this it gives me a real-time up to date tally….isn’t that cool!

Even cooler is the fact that the template comes with a ‘Transaction’ ledger so when you fill it in on the ledger it updates the spreadsheet automatically!

So I’ve brought my February 2018 budget up to-date on my spreadsheet and I’ve taken a snap-shot and it’s below..

I’m hoping budgeting provides enough excitement for me in the coming months to keep me on the straight and narrow until the call of the curvy, hairy, beardy bloke becomes too much to resist….

C xxxxxx

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PS: I was asked about changing the currency settings on the Google Spreadsheet – here is what you have to do

1) Go to https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets and select Monthly Budget from the template gallery.
2) Open up the sheet and select from the top drop down menu FILE > SPREADSHEET SETTINGS > ADJUST LOCALE/TIMEZONE > SAVE SETTINGS… return to main spread sheet.
3) You will notice that the currency symbol underneath the word format in the top drop down menu has now changed to a £ sign. If the sheet does not automatically change the symbols you will simply have to highlight the cell/cells you want to change the currency symbol in, once highlighted you click on the £ currency symbol from the top of the page and it will change all the $ to £ in the cells you have highlighted.
4) To highlight a cell you simply click once in the box then go and click on the £ symbol. To highlight multiple cells in a row then click on the top cell ie Food then hold down the shift button and select the bottom cell ie category 1 and all the cells inbetween will be highlighted too – then just click the £ symbol to change all of them. Alternatively to highlight several sporadically located cells click on 1 cell, hold down the CTRL key and select another anywhere on the page, keep the CTRL key depressed until you have finished selecting all the ones you want to change then goto the £ symbol and select.

I have changed currency and timezones on a spreadsheet for you. You’ll need to make sure that when you are logged in and save it that it is only viewable by yourself.

CLICK HERE FOR £ CURRENCY MONTHLY BUDGET SPREADSHEET

5p burger plant-based alternative to mince meat?

So at lunch I was experimenting in the kitchen. I wanted to come up with something I could make up and keep in the fridge for a few days to use in recipes as an alternative to animal mince meat. I looked at a few recipes on the web and decided to make my own only using simple, frugal wholefood ingredients that would have been around on the home front on a good shopping day!

To be honest I wasn’t expecting much with my first attempt but this came out incredibly well. Obviously it’s not a WW2 ration book recipe but I really had to share this because it is very healthy and VERY frugal.

I didn’t have my camera with me just my phone to take a snap shot but hope you can still see that the burger looked quite delicious!

Cost: The mixture makes 6 large burgers (or more smaller ones) and based on 6 big burgers the cost is about 5p per burger without mushrooms or about 13p per burger with mushrooms.

Calories: Each burger is about 150 cals and about 10g of protein and over 10% of daily iron requirement and 25% of daily fibre…high in potassium too!

Plant Burgers

  • 1 cup dry lentils (I used red split lentils but any will do)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped (you could use garlic salt or powder)
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 oz brown mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 or 2 teaspoon dried sage (depending on how much you like it)
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon mild chilli powder
  • 3 rounded teaspoons of sweet chutney
  • Few shakes of ground black pepper

Method

  1. Wash the lentils then place in a saucepan with the two cups of water, the chopped garlic and onion, ½ the salt, the chilli powder, sage and rosemary. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until tender.
  2. Meanwhile in a food processer, put in the mushrooms and pulse 4 or 5 times for just a second or two until finely chopped, add in the oats, chutney and the rest of the salt. Set aside.
  3. Drain the lentil mixture then add to the food processor and pulse again several times for a couple of seconds until a thick coarse paste is formed.
  4. Remove mixture and form into burgers. Will make six large thick burgers or 8-10 smaller ones.
  5. Fry on medium in a pan with a little olive oil until nicely browned on the outside.

Week 2 Day 5 Budget Update.

 

budgetjan10

This weeks budget is going well. Probably eased somewhat by the fact I had some Christmas Vouchers which I used for replacing used up make-up and some nibblies for my birthday tea last Monday.

I’m trying very hard to not spend mindlessly and paying for everything in my weekly budget in CASH is REALLY helping!

So just a refresher for anyone who hasn’t read any of my previous budgeting posts, essentially I have set myself a weekly cash budget to pay for food, car/petrol, and household (toiletries, clothing, batteries, loo roll etc).

Those weekly amounts are:

Food: £25
Car/Petrol: £12.50
Household: £20
TOTAL BUDGET £57.50 PW in CASH

In addition I have a payment in the food category that comes out every week from my bank for a small organic vegetable box for £11.50 (I allow myself £50 per month in organic veg boxes). Some people may ask well why don’t you save yourself a bunch more money and get your veg from Aldi’s? My organic veg box gives me such pleasure every week, it’s something I look forward to, it’s like my treat and I feel good about supporting smaller, independent growers in our country. To me it’s just a way of giving back a little.

This weeks cash budget is once again going really well! I’m on ‘Week 2 Day 5’ and so far my total weekly cash spend is only £14.24.

I’m pretty proud of myself!!! However I have to travel 200 miles down South on Friday and I will have to take money from the household budget to pay for the extra petrol I need. BUT DESPITE THIS by Friday night there is STILL GOING TO BE MONEY LEFTOVER. Hopefully about £20!!

I’m also glad I set myself what I perceive to be a doable budget, not too severe, not stripped back to the bare bones. I have space to breathe. To me its still about enjoying living but not wasting, being more mindful and trying to make do. My next debt on my ‘debt snowball’ list will set me back £317.68 and I hope to pay that in full at the beginning of February.

HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!!!

C xxxxxxx

PS: How are you doing?

EcoEgg Review: I’m going to save £57.39 per year.

ecoegg review

In my new drive towards getting my financial life in order in 2018, I’m looking at as many ways as possible to make changes that will save me money and maybe even improve my mindfulness towards our environment by taking more responsibility.

I’d been reading about the EcoEgg. I read several articles and watched several videos on the product. I found it intriguing and decided that I was willing to use £9.99 of Christmas money that had been gifted to me, to buy an EcoEgg and try it out. At worst I would lose £9.99 if it was absolutely rubbish and at best I’d save quite a lot of money throughout the year and not continue to send 4200 gallons of water with laundry detergent in it out into our environment. It was worth a shot..

How much money would it save?

I worked out what financial savings the EcoEgg could give me based on my own usage and how much I spend on detergent and softener. Based on using the washing machine as a family 4 times a week (210 ish times a year) here is what I found

Tesco Non-Bio Capsules – 1 capsule = 1 wash = 15p x 210 = £31.50

Tesco softener– 1 bottle per month at £2.99 (yep I used way too much) = £35.88

TOTAL LAUNDRY SPEND = £67.38

Replacing detergent and softener with a 210 wash (£9.99 EcoEgg) will save £57.39 per year!!

 

The egg arrived today. I was excited. I’m not sure why, does that make me sad?

It came in a cardboard box, no thick plastic sealed covering. The egg itself is a type of plastic and also inside the box were 5 small plastic bags of mineral balls (that slowly dissolve over time) and 1 small bag of agitator balls (which won’t dissolve)

EcoEgg states on the back of it’s packaging that it

  • Lasts for 210 washes (the £9.99 size)
  • Replaces detergent
  • No harsh chemicals
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Eco-friendly
  • Colours stay bright
  • Easy to use.

Setting up the egg for use involved pouring three packages of the mineral balls into the larger part of the egg plus the packet of ceramic agitator balls. I then twisted the egg and locked it into position and placed the egg on top of the washing in the drum. It does recommend that for best results to not over fill the machine ( so that the egg reaches the water and can move around freely.)

The EcoEgg does thump around a bit in the machine when the drum is turning slowly. When it speeds up I didn’t notice any difference. The egg is quite light so will not do any damage.

After the wash had finished I removed the egg and set it on top of the machine. I then used the tumble drier.

When the clothes were dry I inspected them. The clothes looked as clean as they normally do. I didn’t notice any difference either way. I did however notice that the clothes felt nice and soft which I wasn’t really expecting as I hadn’t used conditioner like I normally do! The one difference was the smell. The clothes smelled clean with the tiniest hint of fragrance, hardly noticeable. Previously I was always using a lot of highly perfumed conditioner so the contrast was very noticeable. I am happy to do without the highly perfumed pong knowing that I am saving money and probably being a bit kinder to the environment in the process!

I will definitely continue to use the EcoEgg everytime I do the laundry and so far I am very happy with my purchase. I’ll let you know how I get on!

C xxxxxxx

CLICK HERE for the EcoEgg on Amazon UK – all sizes

I do have an affiliate link code in the link to this product. This means I will get a very small percentage if purchased. I will only ever include an affiliate link in anything I personally use or like. C xxx




How did I save money and eat better today?

Today I’ve been trying very hard to eat ‘NORMAL’ sized portions and eat non-processed foods. Not only are wholefoods cheaper but healthier too! So far, so good and the cost of feeding myself today will work out to be less than £1 so I’m doing pretty good!

The things I have done today to save money and live frugally are

a) Made a huge protein rich, red cabbage, carrot, kidney bean and red lentil stew (20-25p a large portion)
b) Made a nice tasty homemade malted loaf of bread perfect with the stew! (50 p a loaf)
c) Changed completely the way I am going to do my laundry in the future. (save £33.51p per year)

I’ve recently been looking at longer term ways to save money and be kinder to the environment and decided that I would spend £9.99 of my Christmas money I got given by family (I now have £40.01 left) on a practical item and try moving over to the chemical free and more environmentally friendly ‘Eco Egg’.

As a family we probably do 200+ laundry loads throughout the year. Our washing machine has a smaller drum so our laundry loads are smaller so we use it more frequently. The ‘Eco Egg’ I bought is said to do 210 loads which would roughly be about a years worth of laundry. I did a price comparison.

  1. Regular store brand laundry capsules 15p per capsule that we currently use = £31.50 for 210 washes (1 year)
  2. Regular store brand fabric softener = £12 for 210 washes for the amount I typically use (1 year)
  3. EcoEgg replaces detergent and softener = £9.99 for 210 washes (1 year)

If I have my math right I make that a saving of £33.51 per year just making that one change in my household.

While £33.51 isn’t a world changing amount of money it is just one small change made and I do feel that if I can make other similar small changes throughout the year in other areas of my life then it does then become significant indeed!

I’ll let you know how I get on with the EcoEgg and I’d certainly be interested to hear how you got on with it if you’ve already used it!

C xxxxx