Hello. I feel I need to say hello as I've posted lots of weekend links recently and not updated you on A Year of Less Spending for at least a month. I feel the need for a bloggy chat too. From me to you. Not an essay. Just a chat. A thank you for your comments and reading behind the scenes. An autumn catch up before Christmas blog posts arrive here at Just a little less but rest assured they'll be no panicking about that around here.
Three months into A Year of Less Spending and I'm still recording my spending every day (or every few days if I'm honest). I've relaxed a little with my weekly grocery budget of £92 but I rarely go over £100 a week and if I do it's just a smidgen over. Careful menu planning, eating from the freezer and cupboards and frugal meal choices are keeping me on the straight and narrow.
Since September our food cupboard, fridge and freezer are emptier than ever but our diet is healthier and our tummies never happier. 'No more chocolate biscuits' is my current mantra as I try to keep my weight steady and avoid the temptations of home cooked food and leftovers. No Nigella snacking from the fridge for me, for now.
I've been spending more time cooking (and less time cleaning) as providing good food on a budget is a domestic priority right now. I've tried cooking pasties for the first time and have made a sourdough loaf every week since being given a sourdough starter and recipe in Cornwall last month. It's great for keeping a hungry teenager happy at meals (and between meals) and went down a storm at book club on Monday night this week. I love it toasted for breakfast and daubed with butter and marmalade. Majestic peasant food.
Red cabbage is cheap and colourful and we've braised it with apples and stashed it away in the freezer for Christmas feasts. There was enough to make a pretty and hearty coleslaw too. We've had roasts, gravy and soup, of course, to use up every last bit of veg.
My teaching schedule has been typically two or three days a week so when I have the time and energy I've been batch cooking simple meals like chilli for the freezer. Some eating from the freezer days will be a treat over the Christmas holidays. We're pencilling in some easy days.
My motivation for A Year of Less Spending remains high. I haven't bought a single piece of clothing since starting this challenge. This wasn't a rule of my challenge but it'll be interesting to see if I buy any new clothes over the year.
Instead of shopping trips with mum we've been going to the cinema and treating ourselves to a chippy tea afterwards. We loved Suffragette and The Lady in the Van is booked too. Daily walks are a simple pleasure. Followed by the odd hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows feeds any extravagant urges.
My appetite for books is renewed and I'm enjoying reading in the evenings and early morning. The library service is wonderful and a weekly trip to the library to pick up reserved books is now part of my routine. I'm thinking of keeping some kind of reading log here on the blog next year as it's so easy to forget what you've read and enjoyed. I'm currently reading A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale. It's gentle and interesting.
So there you have it. Spending under reasonable control, minimalist wardrobe intact, trying new recipes and reading and walking in between. Less spending is a good place to be. It hasn't been an easy journey getting here but it's amazing how quickly you adapt to spending less. Like downsizing, living on a tighter budget is possible and can have advantages.
So, how's your spending going? Please tell.