Monday, 4 February 2013


we have decided it is time to get budgeting... serious budgeting... we started a few months ago and it is both painful and intensely satisfying. it gets disheartening when the boiler breaks or the extended family decide to have a family reunion abroad but we are plodding on and determined not to be living in a perpetual state of debt. so here are a few ideas that we are trying to put in to practise.

  • buy in bulk
  • shop online or use self scan at the supermarket to keep track of how much you are spending - stick to a decided amount
  • use cloths instead of wipes or paper towel
  • use vegetable oil instead of olive oil
  • put less cheese in food
  • make bread
  • dont eat out so much
  • eat less meat
  • eat more beans
  • packed lunches for all of us
  • make coffee at home - do not buy expensive coffees
  • buy less alcohol
  • say No to things - e.g. expensive days out and cinema trips - ugh!
  • use less laundry detergent
  • dont use stain remover in every wash (leftover from weaning days but i realised no longer necessary)
  • don't go in to Holland & Barrett (i always spend too much on unnecessary pills & health items!)
  • buy cheaper hair & body products - don't get so caught up in the all natural uber-organic products
  • use less loo roll
  • wash clothes less
  • wash self less - ha!
  • turn the lights off
  • turn heating off and put a jumper and scarf on
  • go on less holidays or do house swaps for holidays
  • use the EEBA app if you have an iphone - i can not recommend this highly enough - it has totally transformed our spending habits and ability to live within our means. it is an envelope system that enables you to create a budget with various envelopes and then record and track your spending really easily on your phone
  • buy clothes from charity shops or borrow/swap with friends - this can get depressing after a while and i think some times one needs a little injection of new stuff. this is where EEBA can be great because you can choose how to spend your allocated person al amount each month and if there's a bit leftover then treat yourself without feeling guilty
  • get a big fat loan!!??

one problem i have with budgeting - i would love to buy all organic and herbal but it is so much more expensive so i am trying to mix it up a bit

so to start we have cheap and simple Spicy Vegetable Curry
vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small red chilli, chopped
1 medium potato, chopped
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp mild curry powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp honey
1 tin coconut milk
1 tin chick peas
10 green beans, chopped in inch long pieces
1/2 courgette, chopped in chunks
1/2 small cauliflower, chopped in chunks

to make:
1. heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok
2. add garlic, chilli & potato and stir for a few minutes
3. add all the spices and stir for a few minutes
4. add the coconut milk and bring to the boil. simmer on low heat for 8 minutes
5. add honey, beans, cauliflower, courgette and chick peas and simmer for 5 mins
6. add salt and pepper to taste and serve on rice


  1. Hi Becca, I relate to this post regarding budgeting and trying to live within my means. It's something I am focused on too. All the best as you and Sam move forward into 2013 with your goals and may you reap the benefits of your choices.
    Thank you for the curry recipe - it looks delicious.
    Cheers, Suse :)

  2. That curry sounds delicious - we've been trying to eat less meat in order to save a bit of cash so we'll have to try that! Beans are a regular dinner option in our house - the River Cottage refried bean foldover, and beanchiladas are favourites! It's such a shame that in order to live cheaply, organic/eco has to go out of the window (in some cases) - seems really backwards that it has to be like that. I think you make a good point about the charity shopping too - while it's good most of the time, you do need the odd treat so you don't get too disheartened!

    1. ooo your bean recipes sound good. i need some more bean inspiration! it does seem backward doesn't it. i've just stopped our Riverford Organic box but hoping i might be able to start it again soon and fit it in to our budget. the health and beauty products are a killer.... so expensive.. and the non-eco ones kill us with chemicals .. ho hum.. thanks for stopping by.

  3. Love those ideas to save money! Our hardest part is less cheese. How we adore cheese.

    1. ahh yes we love cheese tooooo :)

  4. thanks Becca - on a mission with all of the above! fortunate to live round the corner from a brilliant FARA charity shop... ! and about to get going with EEBA too! xxx

    1. i love FARA so much! it's great. VERY excited to hear your news by the way!! congratulations! Good luck with EEBA - it's a pain & confusing to set up (i think) but worth it. x

  5. EEBA is changing our days too! Thanks for the recco!.

    1. oh good. it's great isn't it? you can actually feel like you're getting on top of things... slowly but surely! x

  6. I've always been in the 'make more money' camp but that doesn't always work out :) I buy all my shampoo and shower gel from the pound shop (it washes off so I think it's fine.) I want to get one of those things which monitors your electricity usage. I've got a great bean recipe too - google Mary Berry's mixed bean bake, it's delicious. My biggest way to save money is to leave my purse at home so I don't go to that M&S opposite the Post Office - otherwise I go there and buy myself a treat

    1. our electricity company gave us one of those things that monitors usage. it was incredible seeing how much an electric kettle uses each time you boil it! thanks for the bean recipe... sounds good. i'll look it up. i like the 'leave-the-purse-at-home' tactic... kind of!

  7. Timely reminder! I follow many of those steps, but seeing them (and more I had not considered) in black and white is a renamed call to arms!

    1. i need regular reminders and calls to arms on all this stuff. its so easy to get complacent .. or tired of being frugal and keeping track! good luck

  8. This is great and I love all the ideas - inspiring. I also find that putting money in a savings account that is not so accessible really helps - out of sight out of mind and it can be used for those special items - or having accounts that you add to each month to prepare for the darn boiler going out!

    1. ah yes very good idea. thank you!


thank you. i love your comments x