Menu Plan: 15 January 2018

Hello my lovelies,

Want to serve appetizing, mouth watering food to your family every night? Menu Plan Monday takes all the guesswork out of meal planning. Follow the blog for weekly menu plans, recipes, crafts and more.

Monday:  Chicken and mushroom pasta bake with salad

Tuesday: Chicken kiev/dairy free sausages with slow cooker jacket potatoes, broccoli & carrots

WednesdaySlow cooker lasagne with salad

Thursday: Chicken fajita salad

Friday:  Dairy free pizza

Saturday:  Leftovers

Sunday: Roast chicken dinner

What are you having for dinner this week?

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

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Menu Plan: 8 January 2018

Hello my lovelies,

Want to serve appetizing, mouth watering food to your family every night? Menu Plan Monday takes all the guesswork out of meal planning. Follow the blog for weekly menu plans, recipes, crafts and more.

If you’ve been reading my blog posts you’ll know I’m planning on saving lots of cash this (check out my money saving post here) year and one of the ways I’m doing that is by menu planning.

By using up things in my freezer and pantry rather than buying new stuff I really don’t need, I saved £20 last week!   I’m so menu planning again this week and this is what we are having:

Monday:  Toad in a hole with veggies & gravy (recipe to follow)

Tuesday: Roast dinner

Wednesday: Slow cooker spaghetti & meatballs

Thursday:  Slow cooker chicken korma & rice (I’ll be using The Organised Mum recipe)

Friday: Slow cooker pulled pork rolls (I’ll be using The Pioneer woman’s recipe)

Saturday:  Leftovers

Sunday:  Pie, chips, veg & gravy

As you can see I’m relying on my slow cooker for 3 of our meals this week. I ADORE my slow cooker it’s really a godsend.

What meals do you have on your menu plan this week?

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

How we’re saving cash in 2018

Hello my lovelies,

Want to go on a fabulous holiday this year? Want that deposit for a new car? Then you need to know the secrets of saving big bucks in 2018.

I have some pretty big financial commitments in 2018 and in order to reach my goals I have  put in place some strategies for saving money.  Some of them are pretty basic and some are more involved but with a little planning they’re totally doable.

Food budget

The first thing I’m going to be doing is setting a food budget.  I don’t know about you but if given half the chance, I’ll walk into the supermarket and just pile anything that looks good into my trolley.  When I get to the till I could just about pass out when I realise I’ve spent double or even triple what I can afford.   So from now on, I’m setting a budget!  I know that I sometimes have champagne tastes on a beer budget but setting a budget for groceries keeps me in check and helps me to menu plan accordingly. If there is any money left at the end of the week that hasn’t been spent on food it goes into the savings account or change jar (see below).

Menu Planning

This is one of the biggest ways I’ve found to save money during the month.  Once you’ve set your budget for food, menu planning is your best friend.  Yes of course, we all want to get take aways every other night and cook steak for the rest of the week but it just can’t happen if you want to stick to budget.  If you can go meat free a couple of nights a week your budget will thank you and cheaper cuts like chicken thighs, sausages and minced meat really help stretch your budget.   Check out my weekly Monday Menu Planning blog posts for more ideas.

Cooking from scratch

Need I say more?  You can knock up a tasty spaghetti bolognese for approximately £1.50 a serving whereas buying ready made meals and sauces could triple or quadruple that estimate. We cook mostly from scratch and I’m going to resist the urge to get anything pre-prepared if I can help it. If you’re after some quick and easy, low cost recipes check out Gill Holcombe’s books. I particularly like How to feed your whole family a healthy balanced diet with very little money: and hardly any time, even if you have a tiny kitchen, only three saucepans (one with an ill fitting lid) and no fancy gadgets – unless you count a garlic crusher

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Shop at cheaper stores 

While I love Sainsbury’s products, I know that Morrisons and Aldi are better value for money.  I’ve found that Aldi are fantastic for the basics like meat, cheese, basic staples and frozen goods. Their dishwasher tablets and laundry products have won Best Buy awards and are as good as many leading brands.   Morrisons value range has decent prices on pretty much everything else.  I will continue to buy Method Cleaning products from Waitrose when they are on offer.

Brand challenge

A few years ago, I did the brand challenge and was astounded not only at how much money I saved but also, how little difference there is between branded items and supermarkets own brand products.  I save so much money now buying a stores own brand instead of big name brands.  To do the brand challenge, simply buy the stores own value brand item instead of the expensive branded item you usually buy.  If you can’t tell the difference, keep buying it! If you can tell the difference in taste and don’t like it, buy the next item up in price.  I can guarantee that a lot of things you won’t be able to tell the difference between the stores value own brand and the big brand.  You can save quite a bit this way.  For instance, a well known brand of chopped tomatoes generally costs 95p.  The stores own value brand costs 29p.  Last time I checked, chopped tomatoes were chopped tomatoes no matter what the brand was. And switching to the value brand saved me 66p per tin of tomatoes.  We use roughly 3 tins of chopped tomatoes a week which means we saved £7.92 per month.  On just one item!  We’ve even changed brands in our coffee!  Now coffee is no joking matter. I love my coffee and don’t like it messed with.  We always used to buy the Nespresso coffee capsules but now use Aldi own brand and they taste equally as good!

Change jar

Having a change jar where you can dump any spare change every day can save you up to a couple hundred quid a year. Provided you don’t dip into it.   Some banks like Natwest have change machines where you can dump your coins into the machine, key in your account number and the cash will automatically be transferred into your account.  I’ll be keeping a spare change jar and dumping my change in there every day in the hopes of saving at least £100 this year.  I’ve done this before and it’s fairly small amounts of money at a time that I didn’t even miss it.

Account skimming or rounding up

I have two bank accounts which is really handy for account skimming or rounding up.  Basically, you check your account a couple of times a week (I will be doing this every Tuesday and Thursday) and round up your cash to the nearest fiver by transferring money into your savings account.  So for instance, if you had £268.39 in your current account to skim this account to the nearest fiver you’d transfer £3.39 into your savings account.  It doesn’t sound like much but even skimming £5 a week would mean I could save £260 in a year.  Again it’s fairly small amounts that I hardly miss the money at all. Some people skim their accounts to the nearest £10 which would be in the region of £520 a year.   Think I might miss this much over a month though!

Changing suppliers

At the end of last year, we changed energy suppliers and know there will be a substantial savings there.  We’ve also cancelled Sky!  I felt nervous about this when we first decided to cancel but I was so sick and tired of having all these channels and nothing to watch. We were paying £100 a month on Sky!  That’s a saving of £1200 a year!  We have subsequently signed up to Netflix which is £6.99 a month which works out to £83.88 a year but that’s still a huge saving of £1,116.12 a year.  Not to be sniffed at.

There are so many other ways to save money that I’m sure this list could go on and on but these are the ways I’ll be saving money this year.  I’d be interested to know how you intend to save this year. Leave me a comment below.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

January 2018 No Spend Challenge

Hello my lovelies,

As I mentioned yesterday, January is going to be a long month and I have some special things I’d like to save money for this year.  More on my other ideas for saving money later in the week but for today, I want to chat to you about our January No Spend Challenge.

If you’ve never heard of a No Spend Challenge, the concept is very simple.  In a nutshell, you decide how much you want to spend per week and spend it on necessities only.  Of course, the decision as to what constitutes a necessity is up to you.  You also decide when your no spend starts and ends.  Each family does their no spend differently and there is no right or wrong way although the idea is that you only spend on necessities.

Our no spend rules are simple:

  1. Our no spend starts on 1 January 2018 ends on our pay day on the 20th of January 2018.
  2. The budget will be £60 per week
  3. The only things are spending money on in our challenge is
    • Food – we’ll be using up items from our freezer or pantry as much as possible so only plan to buy the basics
    • Medical expenses (such as prescriptions or essential medications and vitamins)
    • Diesel 

That’s it.  No craft supplies, clothes, shoes, take aways, no eating out (besides a pre-arranged birthday dinner), no take away coffees…

I expect it’s going to be hard going but totally worth it in the end.

Why not join me?

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Menu plan: 1 January 2018

Menu plan monday Winter

Happy New Year, my lovelies!

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I hope you all had fun last night, I certainly did.  Although I might have drunk a little too much prosecco and got a tiny bit tiddly.

Ho hum!

January is always a  long month which calls for a tightening of the belt.  Plus, I’m on a no spend month.  More on that tomorrow. The best way I’ve found to save money is to meal plan which I’ve sorely neglected in recent months.  But I’m back on it and will be doing my best to post my meal plans every Monday. Not only to keep myself motivated but to inspire you too. Let’s save money together!

Monday:  Chicken arrabiata served with watercress salad on the side

Tuesday: Slow cooker Sloppy Joes – I’m using the recipe from The Organised Mum

Wednesday:  Eating out for a birthday dinner

ThursdaySlow cooker thai curry  – I’m using the recipe from The Organised Mum served with rice and butternut squash

Friday:  Sausages, mash and veggies

Saturday:  Leftovers

Sunday: Roast chicken dinner

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

2018 Best Life Workbook

Hello my lovelies,

If you’ve followed my blog over the years, you’ll know I’m a big fan of yearly workbooks.  I’ve done the Leonie Dawson workbooks for the past 3 years running and loved them.  They’ve really helped me to get in touch with what I really want in life and I’ve actually achieved quite a few goals including getting my drivers licence!  And yet, there were other resources I have found on my online travels that I thought would have been fantastic added to such a workbook.  I craved something that was all encompassing and a bit… well… more.

So I created the workbook I’d been dreaming about and I’ve called it the Well Being Workbook.

Create the life you've always dreamed of! Set yourself up for a fabulously prosperous and exciting 2018. With the FREE 2018 life workbook you can journal, plan and goal set to your hearts content and create the life of your dreams.

It is based on the types of questions and prompts that inspire deep thoughts and stir long yearned for dreams.  It’s the kind of place where you can get in touch with the deepest desires of your heart and bring them to the light of day.

I can’t wait to get stuck into it myself.  And I can’t wait to hear what you think of it.  I’ve printed mine and placed it in a pretty lever arch file and intend to spend most of New Years day enjoying it.  Download your copy from the link below.

2018 My best life workbook

If you download and use my workbook please leave me a comment and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.  PLEASE DO NOT FORWARD THE DOWNLOAD TO ANYONE.  Please send them to the blog.  For personal use only.

2018 best life workbook

Here’s to a fantastic new year to you all.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x