Monday, 29 February 2016

What’s lurking in the Cupboard?

I expect we are all guilty at times, of going food shopping and not checking what we already have, then when we get home there’s already loads of this, that and the other that we’d bought weeks ago. Then there’s the forgotten jar at the back of the cupboard, things that have worked their way to the bottom of the freezer, the item bought for a recipe and used only once, the out of date packet of something, I could go on. We are definitely guilty of all of the above and have decided to do something about it. The prompt for us was the freezer full of last years garden produce, which if we didn’t eat would be smothered by this year’s crops. So since 1st January, we set ourselves a minimal budget, will only be buying what we need and will be eating our way through the freezer and the cupboard. To keep track of the spending, Roger has made me a super-duper spreadsheet, which might seem a bit over the top, but when you see what you’ve spent written down, it keeps you focused. It’s amazing how all those little trips to the supermarket add up. So how are we doing 2 months in?? Well pretty good. Our spend was just under 200€/£160 for Jan and Feb, so very pleased with that. That equates to around 25€/£20 per week. I’ll keep you posted on how we are doing at the end of each month.

One of our to use up items, were two pots of yeast which were 5 months out of date, but I was sure that they would still be active. I then needed to see if I could use the yeast with plain flour and yes, it works, but needed a bit more kneading than strong bread flour. The bread came out a little bit heavier but had a lovely crusty crust, fantastic with butter. Using plain flour also keeps the cost down and I worked out that the loaf cost us about 50€/40p. Happy with that.

Yeast
Bread 1
Bread 2

14 comments:

  1. How good are you. I have just cleared out my cupboard with all my dry goods in it, and came across a packet of dried tomatoes. But I did throw it away, as it was dated Jan 2014, I thought two years was a it two long.

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    1. If they hadn't of been opened, I'm sure they would have been fine. Lots of dried goodsbcan be used well passed their Use by Date xx

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  2. We have kept a spread sheet of costs on everything since we moved to France, it is interesting to see where the money goes most!!!!!! Wine comes under entertainment....... I do though need to go through my cupboards properly, I have a go at it and then give up! As for the freezer we are also trying to get through ours, but the big freezer is a problem.... the door will not open enough to pull the drawers out because of you know what in the garage:-)) Have a good week Diane xx

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    1. Roger keeps a tally of our big spends but we've never done one for food. We were finding that on our supermarket trips, we were being tempted too much when we have lots to eat eat home. Seeing our food spends written down, really is an eye opener x

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  3. Excellent idea. We have food which needs to be used up both in France and in the UK. The frustrating thing is when I'm sure I have something only to realise that it's in the other house! Well done. It will be interesting to see what your final savings are. X

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    1. Ive read that people make inventories of their larders, fridges and freezers but I'm not that organised. Might help you with two houses though x

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    2. Tim likes shredded wheat with his breakfast, which I take out from the UK. Last summer I was horrified to find that we had five boxes of 30 in France!!
      My daughter and partner keep a list of what is in their big freezer together with dates etc. I think a general list in the form of a spreadsheet with numbers, updated periodically can't harm and would probably only take a couple of hours to set up. I'll add that job to the list... Xx

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    3. Wow, that's 150 Shredded Wheats to eat just in France :) Don't think you need to buy any for a while. Because all my general food is in one larder things are easy to see, but we now have 3 freezers. Perhaps a list for those might be a good idea x

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    4. I have a great recipe for biscuits, using Shredded Wheat if you would like it. Xx

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    5. Yes please, Sheila. Kerry has my email address. Thank you. :0)

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  4. Good idea about keeping to a budget to encourage the using up of stored items and produce. Also a good idea about using plain bread flour for making bread, and I shall have a go next time I make bread, perhaps using half bread flour and half plain flour just to see what it turns out like.

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    1. I started using plain flour as I find bread flour expensive here. There didn't seem any benefit in making bread and not saving anything, apart from you know what's in it. Using plain flour does make a significant saving x

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  5. I think a spreadsheet of spending is a good idea too, especially in retirement where income is much reduced. You see exactly what you are spending on!

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    1. Exactly, it's amazing how much we are spending on plasterboard, nails, screws etc at the moment :)

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