I mentioned in my last post for Money Matters that I am quite good at living within my means. Therefore, I don’t have any debt but I never seem to save much either. I suspect budgeting is not my strong point…
Budgeting in my head
But, if truth be told I am not fabulous with money. It is not that I am a frivolous spender I just can’t seem to get excited about money planning. (Mind you these posts for Money Matters have been a fascinating read!) I would really rather someone else did it for me. But within my partnership I generally take the money reins. I don’t think I am necessarily better with money but may choose safer options to make sure we don’t go into debt.
In a way I suppose that means I budget. But in very much the same way as I manage my online projects – a lot of it is organised in my head. For example, I am aware we have a couple of large bills coming in for the end of this month. One I did budget for by saving a small amount each month over the past year. The others hopefully will be staggered slightly. I have managed to get a little paid writing work that will go towards these outgoings. But we may have to cut back on indulging our love of wine with dinner to pay for the bills. Which I don’t really want to do as I think it is important to enjoy some things in this lustless world we are all trying to cope with.
Even though I am not fantastic at budgeting my man and I do live frugally in so many ways. Namely we eat well and cheaply and have a little personal tradition regarding charity shops. Let me explain…
When we worked our job took us to so many different place around the UK. I would say on average we traveled for nine and a half months of the year and I would estimate our work would take us to fifteen different areas during that time. One of the things we really enjoyed doing on route, and whilst in situ, would be to visit the charity shops. Remember this is when places were open and we worked. So past tense really 🙁 Infact it became a tradition for us. One that I miss for sure.
We both got a kick out of finding special little treasures, that had been pre-loved, in these stores. Not only that I think recycling clothes it is a worthy thing to do. We would donate our own clothes and usually buy some old/new ones for ourselves. I mean how many places can you buy a retro suede 1970’s coat, with faux fur collar, for £6? Some of my favourite outfits have been charity shop finds.
Another personal tradition in our household is dinner time. Food matters to us.
We both enjoy food – and as I already mentioned wine too. Meal times are always special. Every day. It is important to us. For example phones are switched off. Appropriate music is switched on and candles lit. Mainly my man cooks and I sort the wine, table and clean up after.
Cooking from scratch
What do we eat? A feast! It is a rarity that we eat anything processed. Our meals are cooked from scratch. And we find this is very cheap to do because most of the fresh food we buy is short dated and marked down. We buy remarkable bargains this way each week. I think it is due to the fact now a days not many people know or care about how to – for example – prepare and cook a whole rainbow trout that has not already been gutted and filleted. My man does. And it is these types of amazing foods we buy for just a couple of pounds.
Over the last few weeks, among other things, we have eaten fresh sea bream, Scottish mussels, lamb fillet kebabs plus homemade chicken curry, vegetarian pizza and beef rendang. My man also bakes our bread and, for a treat, blueberry muffins. It is no wonder we put aside time each day to give these meals the attention they deserve.
Another thing, food wise, we do to save money is make full use of every food item. We hardly throw anything away. Often what we had for dinner one night will be finished of for lunch a few days later. If we buy a free range chicken my man butchers it. There is only the two of us for meals at the moment so we will have the crown as a roast and the thighs, legs and wings in a chicken chasseur later in the week. The bones will also be boiled for their stock which is used as the base to a vegetable soup or mushroom risotto. (One of the meals I cook.)
A plus side to cooking from scratch is you are not eating any or many hidden ingredients. Sweeteners, sugars, salts etc. Because of this our weight remains relatively stable and we get to enjoy the benefits of a stronger vitamin and mineral content from the food. Keeping us healthy. Touch wood
I think I enjoy budgeting when it part of something creative such as working out what wonderful foods we can afford to eat during the month. I do think particularly during Covid times how we eat has become even more important to us. You got to embrace the simple joyous things in the day. Otherwise I am sure madness WILL take hold…