For the sake of adding another experience:
I live with a housemate and his two cats. We share most dinners, so we go 50/50 on the food.
Over the last month we spend a bit under £250, including cat food and a frightening amount of junk food for my house mate. We are also both on benefits.
Substract the cats and the junk and it'll probably get closer to your budget. We don't buy most things organic. We do have a good butcher, and he isn't more expensive than the supermarket. The meat is doubtlessly better quality. I am never touching watered down chicken again. I do insist on kerrygold, and it's actually cheaper than my housemates spreadable.
I find gluten free stuff hugely expensive for what it is. Then again that applies to most boxed stuff IMO.
We do try and find stuff that's on going out of date sale. We have a separate freezer, but even if you don't, you can at least get a few bits to freeze and dinner for the day.
Don't be afraid of store brands or Lidl. You have to try things out, but often there is no difference in quality.
Another thing entirely: make sure to squeeze the government for everything they owe you. If we can afford £250 on 'the minimum amount the law says [we] need to live on' then you should be able to as well.
Thanks, for the info. I don't have Moore Wilsons here but there is Countdown. I think it's time for me to do a fresh comparison. I've always found them dearer in the past, but perhaps now that I shop differently the result will be different.
Originally Posted by zoebird
Currently live in a tiny one bedroom flat. The kitchen is 2x1.5m.
Originally Posted by magicmerl
We literally pay the rent, council tax, contents insurance, gas & electricity (shopped around, got the cheapest we could), phone & broadband (again, shopped around), our mobile bills (totalling a mere £17.50), our trains to uni/work, one meal out per month, about £10 on alcohol, food, and the rest goes on tuition fees, train fares for visiting family (less than once a month) and the very little that's left on entertainment. In the summer months (when I don't have a student loan coming in) just the basics comes to more than what my partner earns. When I say we can't afford it, I mean it.
Originally Posted by SleepyRoots
Last edited by JustSteph; 11-13-2012 at 05:47 AM.
We are the same with the freezer. I guess I could ask the landlady to remove the dish washer and we could put a freezer under the counter there, but that would be about it. Most people don't realize that we have a fridge that's about 1/3 the size of what the average american household has, and ours is considered both "big" and "nice" for our place. it also fits perfectly. But, it makes having 1/2 a cow difficult.
In terms of your budget, I understand those sorts of constraints. In our case, we lived without phone/broadband for a long time, and we are making arrangements to live without it at home again (to save $108/mo in the process). It's a considerable savings, and if we got the biggest "netflix" package that we can, our net gain is still $96. That package would provide us with plenty of entertainment without having to watch TV, and our favorite shows can be managed by downloading them at work if we are really jonesing for them.
Having no internet at home would be weird indeed, but do-able. Honestly.
We don't have a TV license anyway and getting rid of our phone and internet would only save £22.25 per month. The phone is how I keep in contact with my family because we have free evening and weekend calls, as do my family (we can't phone each other's mobiles without it costing at least one of us). I need the internet for my Uni work and doing it at Uni isn't really an option because there are never any free computers when I do go in. When I do manage to get one they're excruciatingly slow and don't let me open half the things I need because it decides to have a temper tantrum about pdf files. They also like to break my USB sticks. It's worth £22.25 per month just to avoid the frustration.
Definitely getting a chest freezer once we've got our own house, but that's going to be at least 5 years. Probably longer. For now, I'm just going to wait until my fiance is finished that tub of ice cream taking up about 1/4 of the freezer then fill it with meat and veg before he buys another tub...
Right, if you're low income then you should be applying for housing benefit and council tax. It won't eliminate the rent and CT entirely but it will help free up some money in the budget. Once you've done that go to gov.uk and look up tax credits. You might be entitled to working tax credits but there is an online calculator that will give you an idea. Budgeting isn't just about minimising outgoings but maximising incomings. It sounds like you're suffering on less than if you were as a couple claiming benefit. Which is for the record £111.45/wk plus housing benefit and council tax benefit. If you need help applying for anything contact your local citizen's advice bureaux. This support is there for a reason.
We already have. We get tax credits, and a 25% discount on council tax (as I'm a full-time student) but don't qualify for anything else. He earns £12k (before tax), I get about £5.5k in student loan and we get £2k in tax credits. Sounds like a lot, but this year our combined tuition fees come to £2720. We've also recently been paying off my partner's student overdraft. After the basics, we have around £4300 left for the year. This has to cover travel to visit family, birthdays, xmas (and I'm one of 7 and he's one of 4 so that's not cheap) and us actually enjoying life i.e hobbies and entertainment. It also has to be saved because next year we'll both be full-time students but only one of us will qualify for a loan (approx. £6.5k for the year), so we need the money in savings. Also, his course is going to cost £4200 unless he qualifies for funding. If he does, it'll still cost £800 because the loan doesn't cover it all. So we'll be even worse off next year. After that, provided my partner gets the job he's training for, he'll then be earning more like £25k, so then we'll be fine. We just need to get through these 2 years first.
Tuition is "free" in Scotland, yes, but because of previous assistance, I didn't qualify this year. And my partner's course is a part-time one that isn't funded. And his course next year is a post-graduate that might be funded, but might not. He could do it part-time, but I've worked out that it'll cost the same, if not more, in the long run because of the way the funding works out and what money the Uni wants when. Also, if he did that, we'd both be finishing Uni, jobless, with no savings, at the same time, which we'd rather avoid.
But I've been doing this diet (sort of, still been eating cereal, mostly because I bulk bought it and don't want to waste it. Also want to avoid "carb flu" if I can because I have a lot of Uni work and family commitments at the moment) for the past few days and I think I've actually been eating less than I used to, so I think it can be done on our budget. I suppose the only way to know is to try it and find out.
Originally Posted by JustSteph
I thought of you whilst I was cooking dinner tonight. I was working out exactly what I was putting in my dinner veg-wise (it was butternut squash based, plus some chard that needed eating) and I remembered a piece of advise I was given. When planning your meals - keep it simple. Protein and a couple of different types of veg.
Pushing my own blog, why yes, I am!
Not the best version of Primal/Paleo, but brill on a budget.
And remember, barefoot walks are free.
At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, can one of you find a way to make *just a little* more money? Just one shift a week? A very casual part time job? I mean, how much of a budget shortfall due to primal eating are you estimating each week/month?
I spent 2 years "extreme couponing" and buying a ton of mega-cheap food. It was also mostly prepackaged crap. So yes, we paid a less per bite back then, but ate a higher volume of lower quality food. And I gained a bunch of "unexplained" weight on that wheat,corn and soy based diet I swear I wasn't' eating any more food than usual.
So now I still apply my savvy shopping skills, but save the coupons for personal care and household goods.And even though we spend a little more (not as much as you'd think) per bite than before, we are getting optimal nutrition from every bite, and consuming less "filler" foods, and fewer snacks. I cook alot of rice (for the rest of the family) which costs pennies a day.
If weight loss is not you goal, supplement generously with potatoes and rice.
*My obligatory intro
There are no cheat days. There are days when you eat primal and days you don't. As soon as you label a day a cheat day, you're on a diet. Don't be on a diet. ~~ Fernaldo
DAINTY CAN KISS MY PRIMAL BACKSIDE. ~~ Crabcakes