Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Meatballs in black bean sauce with rice and vegetables.

Hello Dear Reader,

I feel really rough today. DB has had a battering of sorts and we're all under the weather. If you don't mind, today isn't about cooking but assembling food and sort of making a meal out of it. Gordon Ramsay would roll his eyes! I bought the black bean sauce from Approved Food for 60p which is less than half of what it costs else where.

I am officially rubbish at cooking rice! So, as I don't want to ruin it, I buy boil in the bag from Aldi for 59p for 4 sachets. I get three medium portions from each bag at 15p a bag, so 5p a portion.

32 meatballs, at £3.59. They were very very good and we did pig out on eight each, they are small but delicious. DB is going to have some in a bread roll for lunch tomorrow. I usually buy 24 (venison or lamb - which is cheaper than beef) meatballs from the wholesale butcher for 99p. If I didn't have access to such a butcher then these meatballs from Waitrose are a good price when I compared them with others in other supermarkets.

A quarter of a bag of mixed veg from Aldi. 22p

Cook the meatballs. I drained out the excess fat and cooked them further.

I cooked the rice and vegetables together. Then, when the meat balls were cooked, added the black bean sauce which is always delicious with beef.

We're both tired and this cheat's stick it together meal was just what I needed. Cheaty, lazy and eaten in pyjamas before I went off for an early night.

Over to you, who else resorts to cheating when really tired? or, is it just me?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Monday, 29 September 2014

Walking a tightrope?

Hello Dear Reader,

Another day, another curve ball. DB's employers have restructured the workforce several times. He's had a pay cut, new job title and now a whole new way of working. With all that, he's still the lucky one. He still has a job and both of us are in full time employment. Many of you are not and those who have jobs walk precariously with the chance of a financial fall at any moment. 

We do everything we can to prepare for life's financial ups and downs. Here's what we do and why.

1.We pay all bills by direct debit. We make sure we have no sudden bills or expenses and make sure every bill is paid on time every month. We look at car tax, insurance, home insurance as a bill and contribute an amount each month into savings to pay for the annual bills when they arrive.

2. We save 10% every month for household needs and repairs. My washing machine has been repaired twice and is not sounding healthy, it will need replacing soon and I have the money save when it is needed. Our savings also pay for clothing, shoes and hair cuts and we make sure that 10% that we put aside is for expenses that we know are going to appear, just as birthdays and Christmas happen at the same time every year.

3. We keep a good supply of food and household items in store. This really saves us money as there's always something to eat, loo rolls, toiletries and pet food. If needed, I can go a month without shopping for some items to help stretch the budget a bit further.

4. We keep our spending to a minimum. We really evaluate what we need and don't need. We trim back spending but still make sure we don't go without. If we need a new coat then we get one. Of course, it will be we researched and the best quality for the money and it will be bought to last. 

5. We save for the big things. It's really difficult to make plans for big items as it means you have to make some kind of a financial sacrifice for years. We set those goals and set aside money each month, just as if we were paying a bill. It's the reverse of having a loan, people willingly pay out £250  a month for five years to pay a loan, we pay into an account and have £15,000 at the end of the five years.

However, even with all of those plans, life is still a tightrope. You have to concentrate on balancing all the time or you will simply fall off. It's not easily done. We have to balance the books, concentrate on planned spending and a planned budget that's set up for years to come. It's backside achingly boring at times, like holding your breath or being good all the time. It's also a strain but, like the guy on the tightrope, if we don't concentrate and hold our nerves we will fall off. 

We had planned a short break in the half term and as working practices have changed, so have contracts and allotted holidays so now that plan has had to change. It's all about the financial balancing act, had we gone on holiday, then there would have been a hole in the savings and just for now, we need to keep the books balanced.

It's tough but we have to remind ourselves that we are a lot luckier than most people as we are both still in work.

Over to you, what difficult decisions have you had to make recently to make sure you balanced the books?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx