Wednesday 29 April 2009

a weekly challenge

like many people, I recently realised I had to get my weekly shop down in price, and when I looked around for advice and tips on how to achieve this, I found most of the usual suggestions were for things I already did. I've planned my weekly menu since I first started cooking for myself at uni, and I still have all the books of weekly plans since then! I've always aimed for at least one veggie meal a week, and one fish meal a week, and tried to mix and match the meats and carbs and accompaniments the rest of the time, and I've always been careful with BOGOFs and known to look in the reduced fridge at the end of the shopping day.
I've always made a list and stuck relatively strictly to it, and I've always read cookery books and magazines looking for more ways to save, and for inspiring ideas.
I've recently discovered the slow-cooker, and I've always used a pressure cooker and microwave, as these save time and money also. We've had a veg box delivered for a number of years now, and I've learned lots of ways to use up stuff at the bottom of the crisper.
So I wanted to get MORE ideas, and a few months ago I sent an email to some of my friends asking them to give me a sample week's menu to see if it would inspire or help me. Almost everyone replied, and I was delighted by the quick and happy responses. Most of them felt the way I did, and everyone was keen to share recipes and suggestions. I picked up quite a few tips and it occurred to me that maybe my friends would benefit from each others tips as well as my own, so I forwarded each email to the other people I'd asked if they were interested and some people were intrigued.
So it turned out I'd been menu planning long before some of my friends but had fallen into a bit of a rut, perhaps because some of the adults in my house are fussy eaters (the kids eat fabulously unfussily!) so I decided I'd blog my menus and share them. Anyone who knows me will understand why I didn't start the blog then and there, but now I've set myself a budget challenge and I have to stick to it, I've got the motivation I need to blog it too.
For the past few weeks I've aimed to spend under £50 on the weekly supermarket shop, bearing in mind its not all food, and I'm feeding 3 adults and 2 children each day, plus an extra adult most weekends, plus lunches for 2-3 adults and one of the children too!
I'm delighted to say I've managed it almost every week since I started and I thought it about time I started sharing the love!!! I must add the caveat that I do have a veg box delivered too, and that's roughly another tenner, and I'm a bit spoilt as one of the girls' Godparents pays for that, to benefit her, and as a contribution as he spends a lot of days and mealtimes with us, and he's generally sweet and likes to help out. I still think it's a pretty good budget, but getting it even lower is the next challenge!
Please feel free to comment and share budgeting cooking tips with me too!

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