Less Spending, More Home Cooking

Hello. I feel I need to say hello as I've posted lots of weekend links recently and not updated you on A Year of Less Spending for at least a month. I feel the need for a bloggy chat too. From me to you. Not an essay. Just a chat. A thank you for your comments and reading behind the scenes. An autumn catch up before Christmas blog posts arrive here at Just a little less but rest assured they'll be no panicking about that around here. 

Three months into A Year of Less Spending and I'm still recording my spending every day (or every few days if I'm honest). I've relaxed a little with my weekly grocery budget of £92 but I rarely go over £100 a week and if I do it's just a smidgen over. Careful menu planning, eating from the freezer and cupboards and frugal meal choices are keeping me on the straight and narrow.

Since September our food cupboard, fridge and freezer are emptier than ever but our diet is healthier and our tummies never happier. 'No more chocolate biscuits' is my current mantra as I try to keep my weight steady and avoid the temptations of home cooked food and leftovers. No Nigella snacking from the fridge for me, for now.

I've been spending more time cooking (and less time cleaning) as providing good food on a budget is a domestic priority right now. I've tried cooking pasties for the first time and have made a sourdough loaf every week since being given a sourdough starter and recipe in Cornwall last month. It's great for keeping a hungry teenager happy at meals (and between meals) and went down a storm at book club on Monday night this week. I love it toasted for breakfast and daubed with butter and marmalade. Majestic peasant food. 

Red cabbage is cheap and colourful and we've braised it with apples and stashed it away in the freezer for Christmas feasts. There was enough to make a pretty and hearty coleslaw too. We've had roasts, gravy and soup, of course, to use up every last bit of veg. 

My teaching schedule has been typically two or three days a week so when I have the time and energy I've been batch cooking simple meals like chilli for the freezer. Some eating from the freezer days will be a treat over the Christmas holidays. We're pencilling in some easy days.

My motivation for A Year of Less Spending remains high. I haven't bought a single piece of clothing since starting this challenge. This wasn't a rule of my challenge but it'll be interesting to see if I buy any new clothes over the year.

Instead of shopping trips with mum we've been going to the cinema and treating ourselves to a chippy tea afterwards. We loved Suffragette and The Lady in the Van is booked too. Daily walks are a simple pleasure. Followed by the odd hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows feeds any extravagant urges.

My appetite for books is renewed and I'm enjoying reading in the evenings and early morning. The library service is wonderful and a weekly trip to the library to pick up reserved books is now part of my routine. I'm thinking of keeping some kind of reading log here on the blog next year as it's so easy to forget what you've read and enjoyed. I'm currently reading A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale. It's gentle and interesting.

So there you have it. Spending under reasonable control, minimalist wardrobe intact, trying new recipes and reading and walking in between. Less spending is a good place to be. It hasn't been an easy journey getting here but it's amazing how quickly you adapt to spending less. Like downsizing, living on a tighter budget is possible and can have advantages. 

So, how's your spending going? Please tell.



  1. Hey Claire,
    I'm useless with money. I do try, but there you go. Clothes and books are a huge weakness of mine. I'm pretty good with the food side of things though. Not much gets thrown away in our house. It can all be made into soup or stew or has or whatever. I'm going to follow your lead with the red cabbage; I have everyone for Christmas dinner this year, and I'm thinking cooked in advance frozen side dishes will relieve the stress of it all.
    Leanne xx

  2. I'm also going to try the braised red cabbage recipe. Looks delicious, in fact all your food looks lovely. Hopefully with a bit of forethought and preparation we can try for a more relaxed festive season, especially us mums!

  3. Great to have you back, I've missed your posts! :) I bought the one and only piece of clothing for this autumn. After careful consideration I got a 70% merino wool, 30% silk (organic!) tank top to keep warm in the winter. Got it on last night for the first time and I think I might just wear it for the next three-four months... Just lovely.

  4. Sounds like your project is going really well Claire. I find it's very motivating to have this kind of project on the go, or anything that gives a specific goal. A bit like at work, I tend to work best on SMART targets (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely) - plus I find I get on better with a clear reward at the end.
    For us, about 12 years ago, it was paying off our mortgage many years early. All the frugality not only achieved that goal, but we also learnt a lot along the way about how to make do with less.
    Keep on going, and reporting back on how you're doing.
    All the best, Deborah

  5. Like you, I have tried extra hard in the last 18 months not to spend. I didn't buy any clothes for a whole year and even now have only bought one top for £3 from the charity shop and some supportive shoes to help plantar fasciitis (which I objected too enormously!). I hate shopping now and have really enjoyed not acquiring more stuff. In fact, I'm busy selling the stuff I already own, which is very satisfying :)
    I aim for zero food waste and like the challenge of sticking to a food budget and making my own food. Your bread looks fantastic - made me drool!

  6. It sounds like it's all going really well. I love your relaxed attitude to your challenge too.

    Next year we are doing 'A Year Without ....' when we will see if we can last a year without buying any books or clothes and with limited housekeeping. Just homegrown foods from our free seeds, vouchers, coupons, points and the money from this years Sealed Pot (whatever that contains), I hope I can be as relaxed as you about it all.

    1. I can't wait to follow this Sue. I'm sure you'll inspire me and teach me a few tricks along the wayx

  7. Inspiration always from you Claire! I am going to head to my library :-)
    Whilst I am recovering from my op, i am enjoying a simple, pared back, slower pace of life and am hoping to continue once back at work, small moments making for a full heart.
    2016 hopefully will see my house sell and I can start my downsizing journey!!
    Have a lovely week, Xxx

  8. I love the idea of a year of less spending. Is there a specific set of rules that you are following or are you just being more conscious of what you spend your money on?

  9. I love the idea of a year of less spending. Is there a specific set of rules that you are following or are you just being more conscious of what you spend your money on?


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