It’s Budget Time – Pass Me My Small Suitcase

At this time of year everyone feels the pinch, don’t they? I’m watching Martin Lewis on ITV and thinking that I should implement his system of multiple bank accounts in which to channel amounts for holidays, Christmas and big purchases.

Stacks of coins and pens

I’ve tried to do a budget before. In the old days I used to limit myself to about £40 a week in cash. These were the days when if a full supermarket shop approached £100 it was a BIG shop. Now it’s difficult to leave our corner shop without having spent £15 on bread, milk, cake and a bit of fruit.

Make no mistake. I am well aware I am lucky to have funds to spend on items I could, and arguably should, be making myself. Hands up. No excuses.

But when did everything become so expensive? Is it because of the rocketing cost of fuel, affecting transportation costs – which then of course get passed on to us, the consumer? Is it because we eat so much out of season, again involving fruit travelling half way across the world to keep us happy? It’s no wonder Gordon Ramsay’s mantra is “eat fresh, eat local”.

It’s great that we see loads of artisan bakers and other types of food producer springing up all over the UK. Organic produce is now widely available (though don’t think, by the way that this means it is entirely pesticide free!). Marco Pierre White exhorts us to ask about the provenance of our meat as though it is a regular occurrence to debate the origin of our beef rather than see how many fish fingers we have lurking at the bottom of the freezer.

We are obsessed with TV cooks and cookery shows. I have a bookshelf groaning with cookery books which promise exotic meals, budget meals, healthy meals, vegetarian meals – all knocked up in 20 minutes with the minimum of effort but, and here’s where the plan goes a bit wrong, most of these mean you have to go to the supermarket and make quite a hefty investment in spices, vinegars and oils. Think about most diet plans – a basket of low fat food is, in my experience at least, definitely more expensive than the fuller fat and (debatably) less healthy version.

Our hunger for buying is insatiable. Shopping malls are truly the new churches, except that they tend to lead us further into the path of temptation. I sometimes think that the best way to save money is to lock yourself in the house!

So, I will be examining the family finances with a fine tooth-comb and consulting some of my fellow bloggers for their advice. Cash back sites, saving money on energy bills, becoming a Queen of coupons – all some of my goals for Spring.

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