Over the summer holidays I deliberated over how I could reduce my spending and whether I could manage a year long shopping ban. I've been so inspired by Cait Flanders and her success with her shopping ban. However, I knew a total shopping ban was not for me.
My aims are to be more mindful of our general spending, to spend less on groceries and clothes (my weak areas) and to go back to basics with menu planning, using a spending diary and cooking more from scratch and in bulk. I hope that at the end of the year I'll have wasted less money on stuff and allocated more of our money for experiences and savings for future goals.
There's probably not much difference between my challenge and a total shopping ban. It just feels less restrictive and allows for the occasional treat.
I hope to post an update of this challenge weekly or at least monthly. I'm interested in recording menu plans and seeing how much I spend each week/month on groceries. I love reading menu plans and food budgets online and I feel it's only fair that I share mine after all the inspiration and tips I've learnt from fellow bloggers. Also, being accountable here will hopefully encourage me to stick to a budget.
So here's a roundup of my first week.
Grocery shopping: £89.97 (budget £92 per week/£400 per month for four of us which includes food, household items and toiletries). I shopped with cash at my favourite budget friendly supermarket. A few items were bought in another supermarket and I also shopped at our local green grocers. This week I only worked two days and I had plenty of time and energy to plan and shop carefully. I'm sure this will be more challenging in the weeks that I have more work. However, I'm very pleased with the total.
Spending diary: It was exciting opening my new notebook (an end of year teacher present) and recording my first few days of spending. It was a spendy week with our car needing a repair, MOT and service but it actually had no problems which was a lovely surprise. I recorded every little spend such as parking when I took my son to the dentists. Keeping a spending diary certainly makes you aware of every little expense.
Clothes shopping: No browsing online and I kept my blinkers on when in town. I think a good wardrobe tidy will also keep me on the straight and narrow - it's long overdue.
Treats: We were treated to a one year old's birthday party (Tim's great nephew) and our friend hosted a meal for her 50th in a restaurant. We were spoilt with both great company and food (Spongebob Squarepants birthday cake in the afternoon and an Indian meal in the evening).
Motivation: My motivation is sky high. Every temptation is met by "No, this is The Year of Less Spending".
Temptations: I was tempted by some perennials for sale on a drive in a local village when I dropped the car off but I realised I still have cuttings to plant and there's not that much space left in our tiny garden.
Menu: Highlights were Jack Monroe's veggie chilli (I added extra chilli flakes and chilli chocolate) and an apple and blackberry crumble. We had two brilliantly simple Nigel Slater staples, marmalade chicken and chorizo jacket potatoes, both from his excellent Eat book.
I'll leave you with a few foodie photos to round off week 1. Have you kept within your budget this week and managed less spending? I'd love to hear.
Apple and blackberry crumble with custard as it was the cheapest accompaniment.
Veg chilli with rice as it was easier than potato wedges. The boys had a meat version.
Nigel Slater's marmalade chicken for five as Mum came round. The sauce was delicious.
And potato gratin which is a firm favourite in our house.