For years, dieting or not, I have tried to have at least two, if not three, meals a week without meat.
In the house, it was quite straightforward as I could make a McCheese, Cauliflower cheese and would also include fish on a Friday with wedges, all done in the oven. Sometimes we’d even have simply beans on toast with a fried egg on top!
I have been buying very little cheese recently, and I don’t think it’s been anything really to do with the diet. I’ve still made Hubby his McCheeses in the microwave, and when we visit MOH as you know, cauliflower cheese is nearly always on the menu somewhere if we stay over.
But just before Christmas, we threw away almost half a slab of cheese because it had gone mouldy and slimy. We wasted nearly £1.50, so are now buying smaller packs.
Our eating habits have changed though, and another thing we are eating less of is bread. Three times now I’ve had to throw out practically an entire loaf because it has been developing green chickenpox, something which was unheard of in the house as I’d make bread pudding.
With SW, they recommend a third of your plate being filled with Speed Food, which is practically all veg, and surprisingly, I don’t mind.
This year I intend to concentrate on portion control, which will coincide ‘nicely’ with food price rises in the shops and getting less for your money. Maybe it’s an arse-backwards way of beating obesity by making the edible stuff too expensive to buy, but either way, it will help with our budget.
Last year, it was the treats page containing chocolate, sweets and biscuits that needed addressing. Well that definitely happened, as we reduced our 2015 figure of £208.40 to £118.49 in 2016.
These were my other figures for last year:
£128.32 dry goods
£285.20 fresh and perishable
£15.92 bottles and jars
£49.58 canned goods
£277.98 diet shopping
That diet shopping figure consisted of fruit and veg, quark, yoghurts and one pack of SW sausages. You may think that’s not bad, but when you take into account that the figure only covers June to December, it’s almost as much as our annual fresh and perishable purchases and more than our expenditure on meat!
I have revamped my spreadsheets for 2017 by having one purely for fruit, and a separate sheet for veg and perishables, so no specific Diet Shopping this year.
Basics are milk, cereal, bread, tea/coffee, cheese, eggs:
Cleaners include washing powder, washing up liquid, cloths, scourers, bin bags:
Dry covers pasta, rice, spaghetti, stock cubes, dried fruit like sultanas and apricots, crackers, spices, flour, desiccated coconut, anything in packets:
We don’t seem to have spent very much on toiletries, but then we buy a shower gel that doubles up as shampoo that we can both use, we did buy really cheap soap at 35p for 3 bars but it always went soggy, so our last 3 bars have been 55p each for Pears. Toothpaste is a supermarket’s own for sensitive teeth at 55p per 100ml tube, and we get four toilet rolls for around £1.80 that suit our cassette on board. Little cheat here though, we do use the toilet facilities here too.
Neither of us use deodorant or talcum powder, and I don’t wear makeup, use hairspray, perfume or skin products. Sounds pretty grim in this day and age I suppose, but we don’t seem to suffer from BO probably because we get so much fresh air living on the boat.
I buy cotton buds (200 for £1), a hair anti-frizz, replacement toothbrushes at £1 for 5, dental floss, mouthwash and the little dental brushes.
Our canned goods are mainly baked beans, tinned fruit (mostly pineapples for my sweet and sours), soup, plus spam, corned beef and tinned meals for emergency standbys.
Medical covers OTC painkillers, decongestants, cold remedies, Vitamin C tablets, cotton pads, antiseptics, etc and a huge pot of water based moisturizer as recommended for my radiotherapy treatment to stop me ‘drying out’.
The dog’s sheet is purely food and treats, so you can add another £150 for jabs, wormer and flea/tick treatments.
Bottles and jars are so low as I’ve stopped buying sauces and jams!
It will be interesting to see how our expense in this area pans out this year.
Taxation and river licences are beyond our control though.
The latter has had a hike of 45% this year, and our local taxes are due to increase by at least 4%.
Fuel, electricity and car running expenses are the only other things we can ‘tweak’ to save a few bob.
Hubby says he doesn’t know how we manage to live as well as we do, but as I pointed out to him today, at least we don’t have a mortgage or rent to pay, though our annual mooring fees would equate to around 40% of a basic one bedroom house/flat rental around here.
I told him I try to spend only half of what comes in. It works brilliantly on paper, but in practice?
Yeah, well, we manage somehow!