Exasperations, interesting impulses and what’s happening
arrgh, I am SO exasperated right now. I have been trying to sort out an energy bill, finally got through last week after waiting on hold for 23 minutes and listening to the SAME SONG all that time, interrupted every few seconds by a recording telling me how sorry they are that I was waiting, spoke to a human being who sorted it all out and re-issued an amended bill. It arrived this morning, and it is just as wrong as it always has been! So now I have to go through the whole saga, again.
While I was busy doing something else, DP went down to Sainsbury’s and helpfully bought 3 chickens as I had mentioned yesterday that next time we buy chicken, we could take advantage of 3 for £10. But I didn’t mean now, we have plenty of meat in the freezer, that I am trying to use up – remember. What meat he said? Cheap pork chops that we tried that aren’t all that good but need using nevertheless, turkey from Christmas that needs using before it tastes more of freezer than turkey, Christmas ham ditto, venison leftover from a WI event. Oh.
Then I thought to check the receipt, as DP has a tendency not to check things like I do. Wish I hadn’t. Please tell me you bought 3 for £10, yes, yes, yes….. he hadn’t. So we have 3 chickens at a total cost of £15.15, 2 were in the deal, one wasn’t. Gritting my teeth, I read the rest of the receipt.
2 tins of baked beans, which we need, we don’t have any…. reduced sugar ones which are disgustingly over sweet with artificial sweetener, even sweeter than normal ones. Some over priced winter cherry tomatoes and yet another baquette that he will have some of now, with the slices of pepper steak he bought, some at lunchtime and leave the rest for me to use up somehow.
Total of £21.70 on what! Grrr
Rant over, I’ve calmed down now.
Yesterday, we had to go to Northfleet which is 45 miles away. So by the time we got there we both needed the loo, so popped in Morrisons. I had forgotten to bring a bottle of water to drink, so decided to buy one. I couldn’t see any single bottles, and their value brand at 18p comes in a bottle so squishy, I would have fountained it over myself if I tried to drink out of the bottle. So I bought a 6 pk of the cheapest one I could find. Outside, DP pointed out that I could have got a single bottle where they sell the lunchtime sandwiches. Bum.
While we were inside, DP wanted to see if they had got any of a particular type of ground coffee he likes, they hadn’t. But while wandering round the shop looking at this and that to and from the coffee shelves, I experienced an intense pull to buy stuff, it was very weird. We didn’t need anything, and I am trying my best to use larder and freezer stores up before getting more supplies. But I noticed myself thinking, ooh, look, samphire, I’ve never cooked that, I could get some… and drool, those bread and cakes smell lovely, wonder what they’ve got….. and oh just look at that lovely fresh fish, what’s good value today…. and so on and so on. It just goes to show how good the supermarkets are at making us want stuff, so when I do go, armed with cash and ready to buy, just how much more do I buy than I originally intended?
One of the things I try to do is to know what I am going to use in the next week or so and only buy that, if I know I have no gap for cauliflower (Mike!) I won’t buy one. Having a list really does work very well. Do you use one? How helpful do you find it if you do?
Do you experience that pull I noticed? It’s even worse at a foodie type market, all this lovely lovely stuff that I want to try, most of it very expensive. I bought a selection of cheeses for a cheeseboard for a gathering I was hosting once, years ago. I can’t tell you how shocked I was at how much it came too.
While we were parked up at Northfleet, where we needed to be, we got a flippin’ parking ticket. Didn’t even realise it was restricted there, paid it when we got home and am trying to forget about it.
On Friday I shall be doing a demo for a few people of the things we cook here, demonstrating just how you can live on £1 a day, eating tasty food, that is not too many carbs, fat or sugar and has lots of fruit and veg. I have an hour to do it, and at the moment, I am thinking of doing 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 dinners.
Breakfasts, Raisin Pancakes and Jammy Oat Bars. Other breakfasts that we do are things that don’t really need demonstrating, like porridge and various things on toast.
Lunches, Spiced Parsnip Soup with Tomato Scones, and Hoummous with carrot batons
Dinners, I think it’s a good idea to show the oil pastry, so the Bacon and Sweetcorn Pie, and the Spaghetti Carbonara.
I shall need to work out what prep to do beforehand. I did a similar amount in a similar amount of time for a demo a couple of years ago for the cheap family recipes website, so it should be achievable.
Jo, the food bank lady, is also trying to get a bigger demo set up at another venue. She collects for the Eastbourne bank at the moment, but is hoping to get a distribution point set up here in Heathfield. Jo had arranged a collection outside Sainsbury’s last Saturday and I helped out for an hour. During that time we met someone who came up to us and had used the bank recently. Our nearest banks are both quite a few miles away, so I was interested how she had picked up the food. She said that someone had done it for her, so she had not actually been to the actual bank herself, and was missing out on ancilliary things offered by banks, and didn’t know if she was allowed any more. I have wondered about the distance for our local people before. I know when I was that broke, I used to walk the 2 miles into Tonbridge to the shops and catch the bus back with the weeks shopping as I just couldn’t carry it that far, and certainly couldn’t afford the bus both ways. Tough in wet weather. It will be more interesting for my WI, who collect every month, if we can collect for local people. This lady was having trouble with her car, it hadn’t passed the MoT and she was on one of those awful zero hours contracts and needed her car to do her job. So she was struggling to work, and her 16 year old son had left school, so she had lost the family allowance for him.
Also during that hour, the shop manager came down as we weren’t in his diary and we had a bit of a chat. Jo asked if he had any jobs, and one of the night workers had just resigned, so there was a vacancy due to go up on their website. We were both quite excited about this and felt that we had winkled out an opportunity. Fortunately, Jo had thought to take the woman’s telephone number, so she could pass on the opportunity to her, either for herself or her son. Serendipity or what!
And then last night, I spoke to a journalist who is interested in ThriftyLesley and wants to write about it and see who he can sell the story too, sharing the proceeds 50:50. Depending on who is interested in publishing it, there could be a few quid in it. He is coming here on 3rd February and wants to take some pictures… eeeeek, anyone know how to lose several stone by then… I hate having my picture taken, I’m nowhere near as photogenic as Jack Monroe! That picture on the About Me page is several years old now, and one of a very few that I actually like.
Right, I’m off to joint a chicken!
Take care of your family and your budget
Before putting together the meal planners, Lesley surveyed what was needed. Of the existing 14 budget meal plans, most are cheap meals for 2 people so can be sized up or down. Others are cheap family meals for 4 people, or meals for one