We're joining in with Cherie's potato growing challenge, to see what yield we can get from planting ordinary supermarket spuds rather than garden centre or seed company seed potatoes, which are much more expensive. We've actually been growing ordinary supermarket spuds for years anyway, as well as the proper seed kind - if we had a few old wrinkled spuds that had sprouted, husband just planted them rather than throwing them on the compost heap. I can't say whether they yielded better or worse than the seed kind though, as husband never labelled them and had forgotten which was which by the time he came to harvest them. This year though, they will be kept separate and properly labelled. This morning I bought a 1kg bag of Charlotte potatoes with my supermarket shop, I'll be weighing out 500g (or as near as dammit) to set aside for chitting. They cost £1, so 50p for the ones we'll plant - which incidentally will be in bags, husband has several old compost bags (he never throws anything away!).
The other challenge is to spend as little on the supermarket shop as possible - for the month of February I want to see how long we can go without shopping at all.
When I did all the financial stuff the other day, I worked out a food budget for each month - once that budgeted amount is reached for the month, that'll be it, I don't want to spend any more than that so we'll have to make do until the next month. However, if we have any surplus at the end of the month, that'll go into the savings account. For February, I would like to put away a big chunk of the shopping budget come the end of the month, it'll go towards the expected huge rise in energy prices. At the moment, we're quite a bit in credit with our electricity (no gas in the village), although I'm expecting that to drop considerably when the price goes up in April or May. Our heating is oil-fired and is very economical indeed, we only need to have the oil tank filled once every 18 months.
This morning we went and did a top up shop - I'm now confident that we have enough food for us and Betty, baking supplies, toiletries, cleaning products etc, to last for several weeks. The top up shop, which included washing capsules, kitchen roll and some dog food, came to £49 and I had a £6 off voucher, so spent just £43, which I'm happy about.
As an aside, we've recently discovered that the family member with all the problems spends around 3 or 4 times as much as my normal weekly shop, which we were absolutely gobsmacked about, especially since they live alone, whereas there's 2 of us plus a dog. It's mainly because they buy crap - snack or rubbish foods with very little nutritional value, loads of crisps, biscuits, cakes and fizzy pop. And all brand names at that, rather than own brands. Whilst they don't have financial problems, it's been pointed out to them that they will have if they carry on like that, along with even more health problems in the future as a result of their poor diet.
I'm considerably less achy and stiff today, thankfully, although still feeling very tired. It's cold and very windy again today, with the occasional flash of sunshine and spit of rain, a 'can't make its mind up' kind of day. I've asked husband to try and clear up the back garden when he can - he can do it in short bursts on days when the weather is ok. We won't be growing nearly as much produce in the garden this year, as we won't be at home all the time to tend to it, but it does need to be kept tidy, he more or less abandoned it last year and it did get rather overgrown in places. It's all raised beds - the beds he's not using need to be covered over with old carpet (he has some) or weed control sheets or something, so they don't get overgrown again.