Cutting the food shop – Approved foods


Disclosure this is not a sponsored post I just really like Approved foods.

I have been using approved foods for few years now we tend to do a shop every few months.
It sells a range of products that are close to or past there best before date not their use by date, you can see the difference here.
We tend to buy instant noodles for work lunch and a mixture of cereal bars and snacks. We have a large tub of these for packed lunches, this means I’m not tempted by the vending machine at work.
This time we spent just over £50 for over £100 worth of food.

If your thinking of doing an approved foods shop it is definitely worth thinking about where you are going to put it all, and making sure it’s things you and your family will eat not just stuff your buying because it’s cheap.

You can’t use it for all your shopping but if definitely helps keep the average prices down.

Unfortunately because it’s delivered by courier you cannot pick a delivery day, but you can change the day once it’s set or arrange delivery to a neighbour.

Why not check it out and let me know how you get on.


Monday Money


I said recently that I want to start being more accountable about where I am spending money and my budget and while I don’t plan on revealing how I spend every penny it is something I want to blog more about, last week I sat down and worked out roughly what I will be getting in Tax credits once I go back to work using this calculator

I then sat down and actually rote down a budget for the first time in ages. in doing this I realised several things

  • I have no idea how much we spend on food any more, this something I used to track religiously at the moment I have budgeted £40 a week on food but its an area where I will be keeping a spending diary. I am also going to be doing more batch cooking and making myself some more veggie lunches using pulses
  • Sam needs to contribute a lot more financially to the household particularly as he has a bigger wage coming in. .
  • That things are never as bad as they seem.

The budget leaves us both with quite a bit of spending money for things like personal mobile phone bills, travel to work etc. however because I want to use most of that money on paying off my credit card I will still be looking for other ways that I can save money / make some extra. I recently listed some of the toys T doesn’t play with any more and other stuff I didn’t want and made just over £80 after fees which will be going towards my car tax and MOT.

having a plan makes me feel a lot more positive

so on what’s supposed to be the worst Monday of the year I’m feeling pretty positive


The joys of the tax credit system


I dont think anyone really understands tax credits, not even the people at the tax credit office. As I now know what I am going to be earning when I go back to work and roughly how much childcare will cost I thought I would call and see if I could get an idea of how much I will receive in tax credits so I could plan my budget and see if my goal to get rid of my debt this year is at all realistic. 

Because for some reason they don’t include a lot of your wages when you’re on maternity leave at the moment we get over £200 every 4 weeks, however I know this is going to drop when I go back to work but I should also get some child tax credits towards paying for nursery fees, after checking various on-line calculators which just confused me further I thought I would call up it went like this

long automated security check

advisor –

me –  I’m calling about my income changing

advisor repeats security checks, so your income has changed ?

me not yet but it will be when I return to work

advisor so your currently on maternity leave

me yes until the end of march

advisor do you know what you will earn in the next tax year

me yes gives figures

advisor then your payments will go down but we cant tell you how much by until the 6th of April so call back then

So I basically spent 20 minutes on the phone whilst trying to entertain T to be in exactly the same situation I was before. It frustrated me that I don’t have a true idea how much we will have coming in.

I have sat down and written a budget without including any tax credits, which really is not liveable for any length of time, as it only leaves £60 for food and all fun expenses per month.

The plan at the moment is to try and have an extremely frugal January and stretch out my holiday pay.




trying to soften the blow – Damage limitation


This week my maternity pay runs out, I am in debt and I don’t have any savings however I am still choosing to take the extra 3 months off I am entitled to unpaid.

There are things we are doing to reduce the amount of damage this will do to our finances,

  • We are making most of our Christmas presents to enjoy a nice Christmas on a budget
  • I am decreasing our meat intake, in terms out food shopping meat is one of our biggest costs so I want to make sure it goes as far as possible. Having a slow cooker means we can also buy cheaper cuts of meat and make them into lovely tender yummyness, if you haven’t got a slow cooker yet i advise investing they are so good check out a thrifty Mrs guide here. I am also going to try some more of the recipes over on a Girlcalledjack. I still need to work on getting Sam to take lunches to work rather than grabbing something from the co-op or subway. We also went through and sorted out the freezer so I know exactly whats in there.
  • Sam gets his monthly bonus on a prepaid card and we have started using it to buy essentials like food rather than fun things like drinks out, there should be enough on it at the end of the month to cover at least 1 months rent which should help quite a lot. As far as I know I am also due to get paid this years holiday pay at the end of the month as well – this should be around 4 weeks full pay but I am still uncertain if I will get this or if it will be carried over to next year.

I am also cutting down on drinking when I go out for lunch I often have a glass or 2 of wine switching to a soft drink or water not only saves me a fee pounds it makes me feel healthier rather than wanting to go home and nap

Whats the first to go when you need to tighten your belt?

baby on a budget


Money was one the things I panicked about when I found out I was pregnant you hear and read all this stuff about how expensive having a baby is, a quick google search suggests it can cost between 1000 and 10000 pounds just for the first year.

I had started reducing my debts but the fact remains they are still there and I would rather not be getting into a lot more debt.

I’ve always been a bargain hunter but pregnancy has meant I have jumped on the e-bay train

so far I have brought

  • A silver cross travel system with car seat    £66
  • A moses basket with stand and baby bath £4.99
  • A travel cot £6.60
  • A bouncy chair £1

I have also picked up several bargains at pre loved markets such as little pickles, including a very nice brown leather changing bag.

Though I can easily see how people spend lots of money. I have started being tempted by cute outfits and little bits so trying to avoid the its only a few pound mentality

Theres a big incentive for saving money it means my debts won’t get bigger and hopefully I can afford to take the unpaid part of my maternity leave

Any tips or advice gratefully received