Despite physically running on empty this week, our bank account is getting fuller by the day. This has been an excellent Dollar Diet week.
I made plum chutney, and holy moly it is the best chutney I have ever tasted!
I have no pictures of the finished product because it has all gone – either given away as gifts or gobbled up by D and I (it goes great with vintage cheddar…). My second batch is ready to be assembled. This year we have had an absolute bumper harvest of plums due to a scorching summer- the plums are absolutely coming out our ears – and it feels great to be making the most of them, like being a good steward of what we have. We gave away more bags this week to family and neighbours.
I had a swag of birthdays this week and decided to make the most divinely decadent chocolate truffles known to mankind as gifts. A dear foodie friend gave me her secret recipe a few years ago and I swore never to reveal it. I’m not eating sugar, but if I was, these are what I would request on my deathbed. They are so good I often get asked where I bought them and get shocked looks when I say I made them myself. Anyway, I made a batch and ended up with several gift bags worth.
I also made a meal for a friend who is wrangling his three kids while his wife is out of town and popped a bag of truffles in for whenever he managed to sneak in a little ‘me’ time.
We’ve been fastidious about using our leftovers, and using up what we have in the freezer and the cupboards. I made a roast chicken that gave us 3 meals plus stock. We bought a loaf of bread in an all-fired hurry as D’s Dad called us on Saturday to say he and D’s step-mum were half an hour away. We’d totally forgotten they were coming but fortunately we had plenty of fixings for lunch – except extra bread. D sprinted for the dairy (what we call corner stores in NZ) and tried not to wince at the price. They bought a big bottle of orange juice with them and most of it was left untouched. D’s birthday is coming up soon so we’re saving the juice to make into a low-sugar punch for his party.
I had a real grumbly-tummy, hungry day today and rather than get some non-sugary snacks from the supermarket, I made some ‘nut balls’ from ingredients I had to hand. I adapted a recipe from The Clean Living Cookbook, which was given to me by my best mate R. They were delicious. Sausage told me quite seriously that they were her ‘favourite’.
I have made more of an effort to shop at the cheapest places for grocery items, rather than getting absolutely everything from the supermarket. I can be rather lazy about doing this, and I hate having to get Chip in and out of the car multiple times on a single outing. We have a wonderful market here in Whanganui on Saturdays and I am able to pick up a tray of free range eggs there which sell for several dollars less than our cheapest supermarket. I picked up a large bag of tomatoes for $3 while I was there. I’m still waiting on the tomatoes in my garden to ripen but they are on their way, and I will soon be awash with free tomatoes (I got the plants for free). I also went to a produce store which sells fruit and veg at much lower prices than the supermarket. Travelling to several different places for groceries can actually negate any savings when you factor in the cost of petrol, but I will try to get into the habit of picking things up when I am going past anyway.
D saved half the cost of his usual bus fare (and about 75% when he takes our car) by catching a ride with a friend to Wellington this week. D goes into his Wellington-based company to have some face-time with his colleagues once a month, and the cost of his travel isn’t cheap. D traveled with a friend who also goes to Wellington regularly for work and gave him some money towards petrol, which he practically had to force into our friend’s hand.
I sold a pair of shoes on Trade Me for $35.
I had to go into our local mall in order to get some cash out for the market and was confronted by lots of temptation for the first time in weeks. There were lots of ‘bargains’ to be had, but as I looked in the shop windows I found myself saying ‘There is nothing I need’. Remarkable.
D has noticed a change in the way he calculates the cost of things. We have been more diligent about using cloth nappies on the kids, and D being a math whiz, quickly calculated the expenditure on disposables we might make in a year if we didn’t. E.g. 4 nappies a day at 30c a nappy, comes out at over $400 spent on disposables a year. It’s worth doing those yearly calculations to give yourself an incentive to stop doing something or at least cut back.
Phew. There’s actually more stuff to tell, but this has turned into a novella, so I’ll stop.