Day 1 – evening

I wasn’t planning on going anywhere by car to buy food, I was going to get it all on foot, but I unexpectedly had the opportunity of a lift to Asda where they are selling 1.5kg (which worked out to 6) potatoes on special offer for 87p, so I’ve got my spuds after all. I even got half of them baked for me!

I took the rest of my daily portion of slaw and 2 pickled onions in a container with me to serve over a potato, but ended up just eating a half-potato as I have been strangely un-hungry this evening. I will eat the rest cold over the next couple of days, but I also saved the other 3 to boil/mash/add to soup.

Since I’ve got everything I planned to, pretty much, here’s my final list for the week:

  • Tesco yellow split peas, 500g – 53p
  • Tesco value cornflakes 500g – 31p
  • Tesco value crunchy peanut butter 340g – 62p
  • Tesco value silverskin pickled onions 440g – 30p
  • Tesco value self-raising flour 1500g – 45p
  • Tesco value mustard 190g – 25p
  • Tesco value teabags (40) – 20p
  • Tesco value salt 1000g – 25p
  • Sainsburys tomato purée 142g – 20p
  • Asda ‘Extra Special’ Rudolph potatoes 1500g – 87p
  • Aldi red cabbage (weight not listed, but weighed by me at 1270g) – 45p
  • Aldi carrots 500g – 27p

That leaves me 30p as I couldn’t decide between a jar of jam, a bulb of garlic, an orange or lemon, and I was even kind of tempted to buy some Love Hearts sweets, even though they probably have even less nutritional value than the jam.

I don’t know if there’s much point in my costing out each day’s worth of food (I did make a start but it got fiddly with all the components in each thing I made), but I will run through what is left at the end of the challenge and work out the total spend and average nutritional intakes that way.

I already know I have enough here to last the 5 days in terms of calories and protein and will do roughly okay with regard to some vitamins and minerals although I’ll be falling short on a few things e.g. essential fatty acids and B12 and won’t manage to make the 5-a-day fruit and veg goal unless I eat more dandelions and other freebies.

I’m lucky to have plenty of spare time to source the cheapest item from each store, cook from scratch, and to own the equipment and know-how to carry that out, and I know that has made my cash go a lot further.

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Prep for next week, part 2

Back from my journey to Aldi, followed by a walk into the city centre. The good news: I got a 1.27kg red cabbage (grown in the UK) for 45p! This is by far the cheapest I’ve seen red cabbage in a supermarket, they’re usually about 80p a kilo. The bad news was that there were no fresh potatoes available for less than £1. They had 500g bags of carrots for 27p, and I decided to buy one of those instead of a 1kg bag for 49p, even though it works out at 5p more a kilo, because I think 100g of carrots a day will probably be sufficient and it gave me a bit of extra cash to play with.

carrots 500g 27p Aldi

I left Aldi and walked into town via the medium-sized Sainsbury’s on Humberstone Gate. I was hoping for better potato luck there, but the only loose ones they had were bakers for £1.25 per kilo, so I didn’t get any, but what I did get was a special offer tin of tomato purée for 20p, which I think is going to make my split peas taste a whole lot better, so I’m really pleased with that! That means I have £1.17 left to spend.

tomato puree 142g 20p Sainsbury

I also dropped by one of the Tesco Express shops in town. They didn’t have any usefully-priced potatoes either, but what they did have (although I didn’t buy them) were 500g bags of oats for 68p:

oats 500g 68p Tesco

Now, you can get 1kg bags of oats for 75p in Morrisons, larger Tesco stores and Aldi (they didn’t have any today though), so these aren’t the best value around, but if I end up being desperate for oats with less than 75p left it’s worth knowing about them, as until now I thought 75p was the lowest price available for oats.


November ninety – day thirteen

It’s rather a nice day in Leicester. Cold, yes, but crisp and sunny. This was part of my view from work this morning.

cityscape view of west leicester

I haven’t spent anything yet today, but I could splash out £6.50 or so and stay on target, and may take a trip to the shops soon as I am nearly out of almonds, meaning my morning routine is in jeopardy. I’ve mentioned before that I am not usually hungry first thing in the morning so I soak a handful of almonds in my drink when I get in to work and by the time they start to plump up I’m ready to snack. Today’s drink was Equal Exchange brand rooibos and honeybush.

brown liquid in mug with almonds

But now I only have about ten almonds left.

almost empty almond packet

The price of the Natco almonds I’d been getting has shot up over the last year. Used to be you could get 400g from Morrisons for under £2.50, then they seemed to stop selling them but Sainsbury’s had them for around £2.56, still a good price. Last time I saw them there (while I wasn’t boycotting them!), they’d gone up to £3 a packet. Aldi do ground and flaked almonds which work out to less (60 and 62p per 100g), but don’t seem to do whole nuts. The best bulk deal I can find currently involves having to buy 800g for £5.39 (6.74 per kilo) from Co-op, so I may get those tomorrow, or I may pay one last hopeful trip to Morrisons tonight to see if the Natco ones are back in stock. Incidentally, Poundland have started doing a range of healthy/wholefoods type things, and were recently seen selling 150g brazil nuts for a pound, which seemed a bargain if you like brazil nuts! Unfortunately I’m not that keen.

***

Lunch today was virtually identical to what I ate yesterday, but craftily varied in terms of form. Yestrday I had split pea thick soup with added butternut suash, a bit watered down and with toast on the side. Today I have made open-faced sandwiches of slices of toast generously covered in cold split-pea mix (having a break from the squash), with chopped peanuts on top for added texture, and fresh mint from the garden, which is a slightly odd flavour addition as coriander would go a lot better, but you work with what you’ve got!

IMG_20131113_135927

I also have a smoothie to which I’ve added all sorts of weird and wonderful things. It has a small apple, some oats, dried apricots, a dried fig, flax seeds, a pinch of Irish Moss (for iodine), blackstrap molasses and a handful of frozen gooseberries. It isn’t terrible, but it does taste quite worthy. I knew I should have put some chocolate in instead of gooseberries!


£100 challenge, days 17 and 18

For anyone who read my previous post, I’m afraid I can’t give you an update on the possibly-stew, as it had been pushed to the very back of the freezer during a shuffle, I was running late and didn’t have time to fish it out so I ended up eating non-mystery leftovers yesterday.

The spend has gone up dramatically, though. Yesterday I spent £5.16 on some Finn Crisp crackers and a jar of b12-enriched Meridian yeast extract. Good stuff. Today’s spend I have mixed feelings about. It mostly used Nectar points I had originally planned to save until I had enough for a nice bottle of brandy  (either Remy Martin or Courvoisier) which I planned to get from Sainbury’s. Then this happened: http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Sainsbury-s-wins-alcohol-licence-appeal/story-19954130-detail/story.html

So, Sainsbury’s decided to take on the already impoverished local council, disregard the advice of the police and the wishes of local community groups, apparently. In which case, and although it’s probably going to inconvenience me more than hurt them, I’m going to boycott them for a year, and tell them why I’m doing it. It’s not like I spend thousands of pounds there but it’s probably a good few hundred over the course of a year.

I had £25 worth of nectar vouchers, and I spent them all (plus 18 actual pence ) on 6 bags of my favourite Fair Trade coffee, a couple of blocks of silken tofu, some tinned tomatoes, fizzy water (basics), two bags of Starburst sweets in case of trick-or-treaters on Halloween, a little bottle of soya sauce and two reduced-price coriander plants. It was only after I got home I realised I didn’t need to fret about the points hanging about unspent as I could have redeemed them for activities or something, however I will use all that stuff, even if I wouldn’t have bought it all during this challenge otherwise.

Nothing else of interest has happened. I had extra work yesterday until 7pm, and I have a couple of hours tomorrow, but I hope to find time to make something worthy of either hacking open a pumpkin or a squash. Or I might have a second attempt at braving the freezer mystery food.

Current total spend now stands at £63.96, slightly over the £58.06 which my daily allowance would total for the month so far. I’ll be square again by Monday if I don’t spend anything over the weekend.