The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

How to save money in 2008

bechamel sauceI loathe making béchamel sauce.

But it’s delicious and useful and can pull round a flagging handful of dreary ingredients.

So I left work early and immediately began to make six pints of the stuff. Not a sado masochistic culinary whim. I found 6 pints of milk for just 25p on a late night shopping expedition a few days ago and I am on a super cost cutting regime.

Making six pints of béchamel sauce was a doddle. It took about 15 minutes longer than making just one pint and has saved me loads of time. The scary thing is that I hadn’t realised that if you buy 6 pints of milk in one pack/bottle at the normal price you save 30% over three 2-pint bottles. That discovery inspired us to consider buying food in bulk. I knew that packagng was expensive. I had no idea that it could impact so much on the price of milk.

Having survived the 2007 non flower buying challenge I have decided to not buy flowers again. Ever. A chill crept up my back when I typed that. I saw some wonderful tulips today and for a split second prepared to speed into the shop. And then I remembered.

I have set a tough new challenge for 2008 – I want to cut our weekly outgoings by 25%. That’s our food, drink and housekeeping consumables.

I have been working on this for the past year or so, chipping away bit by bit but the boundaries need to be firmed up. I’ve saved nearly £500 by not buying flowers in 2007. I could save substantially more in 2008. It will be a real challenge – I love good food and wine and companionable supermarkets.

Saving money takes time. If I work six days a week, I don’t have time for an extended search of the bargain shops. The warm arms of Waitrose beckon with great food, always fresh and top quality but a bit on the pricey side.

We sat down this evening and planned our tentative campaign. Why visit three supermarkets once a week? With good planning (gulp) the cheaper emporiums could be visited once a month. We are going to withdraw the cash for the shop each week. There is nothing like fingering notes to bring the message home.

Needless to say this discussion developed into bigger plans. These would require military style precision. We need to put feelers out first. Hopefully by next month’s post we will have progressed and have exciting plans to share with you. If not they will be interesting.


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24 Comments

  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Cookie Girl

    I used to do that with milk too! Now if I find milk on the CFC I make a batch of white sauce for the freezer.

    Most thrifty lesson learned – that’s difficult. Probably haunting the condemned food counter and basing meals around these much cheaper ingredients. Most thrifty purchase was the dehydrator 🙂

  2. Cookie Girl

    I wonder what you would add to this two years on Fiona, and tell us your most valuable thrift lesson learned.. A comment that I wanted to make here is that my mother-in-law freezes milk, just pops the plastic carton straight in the freezer. I’ve never tried it before, so I can’t vouch for the defrosted result, but I will try it at some point(something else to add to the infinite list of things to try, and things to do !).

  3. Managing our financial resources is as easy as we thought. When I received my first salary from my first full-time job, I thought $50 would be enough for my monthly personal grocery. For 2 months now, I spent beyond my monthly grocery budget. I am still learning how to be a better manager of my personal money, though. ^ ^..Good thing I still live with my parents so I don’t spend a lot for utilities. ^ ^

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Lois

    I’m really disappointed that you cannot tell me how 2 people can live on a fiver a week for food!

    During the hour or so between your comments I came to the conclusion that your diet must be a combination of brown rice, porridge oats for breakfast, and broth made from a cut price battery chicken and the sweepings from a market veg stall 🙂

    I can read the comments on my blog on my phone when I am at work but I can™t reply to them. £50 a week is what I spend on average for groceries for D and me and I am hoping to cut this back. When you add the dog food, chicken food, bird food, washing powder, loo paper etc., weekly spending suddenly shoots up and if you are not really careful it can go through the roof.

    That’s why I have set the 2008 challenge for myself. With a bit of preparation and planning I could be far more canny and thrifty. So far I am enjoying the challenge enormously. If all goes well, I will be spending less time actually shopping and also saving a lot of money. We need to cut our expenses but why should this be an unhappy drudge-like experience?

    Flowers are expensive. It was when I looked at the probable annual cost that I realised that giving them up would have a big impact on our expenses.

    Thanks for leaving a comment. Much appreciated.

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