January is traditionally a time of year when people worry about paying their credit card bills from Christmas and having quite a financially hard time. We are not having those worries as we have been budgeting and keeping a good larder. We work differently from some people in that matter, as we do not shop week-to-week and menu plan before we shop. Shopping is a little more adventurous for us - I may put on the list that we need to buy "meat" if our stocks are running low in the freezer, but I will have a good look in the shops for good deals on meat and will buy whatever is the best value for money. When I mealplan, I base our menus around the food that we have in the house, or the freezer!
In the run up to Christmas, I was making sure that we had plenty of everything that we use regularly in the house - the basics like flour, yeast, eggs, sugar, oils and fats, tinned goods and staples like cereals and oats. We also have a lot of garden produce in our two freezers, as well as all the batch baking that I have been doing - there are ginger cakes, banana cakes, biscuits and muffins, as well as bread out there.
Because I want to sock some money away to save for the treadmill payment (£240) and we are saving to install a multifuel stove in the lounge, I decided that this month, we would only shop from our own resources - our larders and freezers - with only fresh fruit/veg and items that we have run out of being purchased. I have given myself a budget of £100 for the month, although I hope to spend less than that. I have averaged it to £25 a week. Since the beginning of the month to date I have spent £13.46 over the past 7 days. A lot of that has been on fruit and veg, with two loaves of bread, and some honey and sweet and sour sauce included as well.
I have also set a complete moratorium on spending for other reasons - so no magazines, books, clothes, shoes, toiletries, cleaning products, newspapers, gifts (no occasions this month anyway!), no stationery, no stamps. I am lucky in that in all those areas where the item is a necessity like shampoo, I already have stocks in the house - I also have stamps, cleaning products, and stationery in stock so I am sure that we can last the month. Anything that we "want" to purchase is being put on a list at the back of my spending diary. That has two items on it so far - I need some new wellies but not desperately, and I have noticed that we only have 3 eggcups so we could do with some more of those, but there is no rush.
We have some commitments that we would not wish to stop such as our weekly donations to the collection at church on Sunday, and the band subscriptions which are due each Monday when the
FH and girls go to the brass band lessons in the town. There are no fees for gymnastics as I coach on a volunteer basis and so get free sessions for the YFG.
I think that you could say that we are having a "use-it-up" kind of month - it feels good to be using what we have and being creative with our resources. We will have to continue to buy the odd thing, as mentioned before, and I will have to put fuel in the car as well, so we cannot stop all spending. And the hens are continuing to lay, so at least I don't need to buy eggs!
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