Start the month by taking stock.

Double click to enlarge the stock take

As I believe that food is precious and should not be wasted, I am therefore making sure I am not keeping too much stock in the house and that I must seriously use up all of what I have before I buy any more food. I’ve put together next week’s menu plan to use up the fresh food first and then go on to plan later to use the long lasting goods. Here is this week’s plan for three meals a day.

Breakfast – porridge/toast/glass orange juice each a day.
Lunch – savoury rice/tuna chunks/chopped fresh tomato x 3 for FQ. Tuna mayonnaise sandwiches with tomato for DB. Apple each a day. (For each of the three days we work this week)

Tuesday supper – cod in cheese sauce, spinach, carrots/peas and mashed potato – use up (very big piece of cod) steamed cod/cheese sauce and veggies with mashed potatoes into a pie and freeze.

Wednesday – Quorn mince bolognese, pasta, pasta sauce.

Thursday – Turkey pie, mushy peas, carrots or ham, egg and chips if feeling lazy!

Friday – Quorn stir fry, sweetcorn, broccoli, stir fry sauce, microwave rice.

Saturday – Poached eggs on toast/orange juice for breakfast – Cook shoulder of pork to eat over the weekend.

By my estimation, all I need to buy from the co-op this week are tomatoes! That’s a cheap week’s shopping!
I always shop with a menu plan and a shopping list, but this year, I need to get ruthless with my budget as I have had to cut my shopping budget to pay for the increase in fuel, utilities and rail fares, which means my new food budget is now £35 a week. I will have to evaluate my entire budget to take into account all of the price increases, although my salary remains the same. So, what will you have to do to make your books balance this year?


18 thoughts on “Start the month by taking stock.

  1. I've made a conscious effort not to shop over the holiday period and to use up what we have in store already. The only thing I have bought in the past week and a half is 3 onions and that was to make onion soup for my sister who was a bit poorly! I'm back at work tomorrow and will be taking some salad for lunch which needs using up. I don't think I can be as ruthless as you but I certainly intend to be much more mindful of things this year and have started as I mean to go on. Happy new year!


  2. I usually grocery shop once every two weeks. It is a 40 min drive to the stores so it means we save on gas (petrol) by not shopping every week. I am going to miss out this coming shop and see what I can rustle up from the store cupboard.May have some new taste experiences!
    Jane x


  3. My revised budget is £30 a week, it used to be £25.00 but went up to £35…….

    I have always used a menu plan and shopping list, something I started when I was working and had four children and a husband to feed….

    I have my shopping list for Tesco and Aldi and will be going on Thursday to get what I need. That will leave just fruit and veg to top up halfway through the month.

    Just chicken needed in the meat line oh and haggis for 25th Jan, Burns night. (can you really call that meat????)

    I am hoping to have some cash left at the end of the month.


  4. Happy New Year to you Fq :0)
    I've just got back from the supermarket earlier this afternoon.
    I can't believe how much the prices have shot up since before Christmas..
    Serious cut backs are needed this month to pay for car brakes.
    I wish we could cut back as much as you, but I don't feel we can with children…
    Have a great week.
    Kind regards,


  5. I got into the very bad habit of going to the supermarket once a week, without having a menu plan in mind. From now on no more unnecessary fuel wasting trips. I'm also planning in at least two meat free meals every week, meatand fish prices have soared here.


  6. Wow – You are so organised, I'm so envious. I too have been thinking about the way food prices are rocketing though, and I'm keen to make sure that nothing goes to waste, which is why I've set myself a challenge to cook one new recipe a week. I think it will be a good way of looking at what needs using up (today was peppers) and making something nice from it. Take care. x


  7. good idea, i need to go thru the freezer. cant go grocery shopping today, i transfered my “board” into our grocery account last night and since it a public holiday the bank isnt showing the transaction yet. of course they have taken my money out and its now in limbo somewhere earning the bank some interest no doubt.


  8. I used to be better at knowing exactly what we had in each cupboard and write “not” shopping lists so we didn't make the mistake of buying them as part of “the usuals” when we already had plenty in stock. I should get better at doing that again – am very tempted to do a stock taking like you've done, FQ, great idea.

    We only do a “big shop” about once a month, ideally once every six weeks. In between, we stock up on bread (when we haven't had to time to make it ourselves), milk & little bits of fresh meat & veg. In some ways we find it better to do that that going to the “big shop” supermarket every week – less time/travel costs/fill-a-trolley temptation – but those fill-ups can lead to other temptations (mmm cake) and I think it's easy to slip up and forget how much we're spending in total. Another thing to get a better handle on!


  9. January and February I plan to declutter the house and use up everything in the pantry. I have enough soap, shampoo, cleaning products, canned goods, rice, beans, etc to last for a long time. I've stocked up on sales in the past and now I am using what I have at home while I boost my savings. I only buy a few vegetables and milk and juice on the way home from work, as needed. I rely on visually checking to see what is left in the cabinet, as I'm not organized enough for a spreadsheet. 🙂


  10. 35 pounds is aprox $58. We spend about that for the two of us shopping at Aldi for milk and veg and amazingly Edvale english cheeses have shown up there ( Aldi is like Lidl only not such good selection especially on veg) My sons buy us nice coffee bean every year for Christmas – something we ask for and would never buy ourselves – organic shade grown – expensive !!
    I buy an organic free-range chicken from Trader Joes every week ($12 actually I buy two as the store is a bit far away and I micro-mile) and 1lb of organic ground beef. we get three meals out of the chicken and make stock with the bones – I dont like to do that with cheap chicken. I spend about $25 on fruit veg and milk at Aldi s. We have porridge and toast every day but skip the oj and have an orange everyday for dessert – better for you and less expensive – if you are getting Vit C from somewhere else cut out the juice – its expensive and is not good value and the cheap stuff is nasty. I bake all my own bread,cookies and cakes etc. and buy white flour and wheat berries in bulk. I make bean soups from dried beans and always have a bottle of red and bottle white wine (Aldi s ) for cooking. My extravagance is leeks, they are expensive here and not as good but if I have any money left over I buy them. If you economizing on food make everything count nutritionally.
    I make Delia Smith s sausages rolls for dinner and serve them with four or five veggies and a basic gravy that I make in bulk and freeze in small tubs.
    Scotch Eggs is another great dish,I bake mine in the oven.. But I dont need to tell you…………………….your food looks great.


  11. Now that VAT has gone up I shall be buying cleaning products at Pound shops. I've also bought an electric food slicer at Argos – their £29.99 one is on sale at £14.99, so I shall be able to buy large (when reduced) joints and slice when cold for the freezer.


  12. I have written a weekly menu for ages – I think this year I shall be looking more in the reduced section and probably buying toiletrues etc in bulk when we're near a £ shop.

    With my crafting I'm booked into a fair @ the end of Feb and I plan to only use supplies I have to make for that and not buy anything new.


  13. I have a board in the kitchen and every Sunday I look through the fridge/frezer and cupboards and do a meal plan. I do a big shop about once a month. My OH is always going out and buying things I feel we dont need so I shall work on that this year.


  14. resolved to spend less, save more in 2011. not eating out for the rest of January. Hope to keep future gifts in mind throughout the year to take advantage of sales. Also plan on being more conscious of electricity and water usage. Like not using stove burner when SunOven or other will do, e.g., have a pot of soup cooking on the woodburner shelf now. thx for nudge to menu plan!


  15. all of the above – and I am also planning to serve slightly smaller portions. Hoping that will help us lose a little weight too.

    I have plans for almost all my christmas leftovers- but any ideas what I can do with a tub of pretzels?


  16. Hi FQ.
    Thanks for your comment on my blog:0)
    I would love some money saving tips on treats for the children. We're veggie mostly, but do try to get the children to eat fish, so most of our meals are quite cheap. I totally envy you doing all your cooking in batches, but after some serious thinking and discussion with oh, I've come to the conclusion that I'm lazy! That doesn't make me feel to good (or sound it obviously). I suffer from serious tiredness (my eldest daughter is disabled and has seizures literally every hour of the night) and have to be up every/other night. But no excuses, I'm going to try and do what you do, (cook things in batches) and see how it goes. :0)
    Thankyou for being such an inspiration..
    Love Donna


  17. I have found that using cash for groceries instead of credit/debit card helped me to stick to a budget. I was only going to do it for a month last January but it is such a part of my routine I cannot imagine going back. I don't do a 'big' shop very often, as I work in town 3 days a week so pick up bits we need then. I take advantage of reduced meat and freeze it until the next week when it goes on the menu planner.


  18. This is such a great idea. I have been through every cupboard in my house today and listed everything. I sometimes track the freezer food but realized that I often bulk buy soap products and forget. I am keeping the list with my budget. Thanks so much. This is the blog I'd been praying for


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