You all know me by now… I’m the one who will always have a laugh and a joke and try to make the best out of a bad situation. Well this month I would like to take a slightly different approach. With one in four people in the UK being affected by depression or anxiety, I feel this might be the right time to be slightly serious for a change.
This time of year can be one of the most depressing; we are still probably reeling from post-Christmas credit card bills, worrying about having enough money to pay for our gas and electricity bills and then trying to keep warm and discover how to eat nutritious food which isn’t going to cost the earth. So how do we cope?
It can be extremely difficult for those of us on a fixed budget to try and keep all the balls in the air and to provide for our family, while putting on a brave face and a smile even though the odd sleepless night is creeping in. Well the good news is that you can try and help your family, (and yourself,) by becoming more organized and making lists. Now I am aware that can be a boring concept for some people, but it is a plan which has helped me to get through some hard times in my life.
If you have too much week left at the end of the money, then take an hour out of your schedule, (maybe on a Sunday,) to check through what you have in your store cupboards and then plan a week’s worth of meals based around these staples. Make a list and STICK TO IT!
Try and incorporate some good veg in there as this is a great way of bulking out more expensive ingredients such as mince. I know that fresh veg can be expensive, so look out for bargains from your local greengrocer, (if you’re lucky enough to have one,) or buy frozen. There is a huge misconception that frozen veg is not as ‘good’ for you, but it can, in fact, be ‘fresher’ than supermarket stuff. And that’s because it’s been picked and frozen while in optimal condition, rather than being stocked in a huge warehouse, (for what can be weeks at a time,) before it reaches the supermarket shelves.
We all know the logic in not going grocery shopping on an empty stomach, because the temptation to buy rubbish can be almost overwhelming when you have a rumbling tummy. So always make sure to eat before you go and keep a bottle of water in your bag as we often mistake thirst for hunger. And I’m not suggesting expensive bottled water here; just use an empty ½ litre bottle and re-fill it from your tap. (Council ‘pop’ was good enough for me as a child!) If plain water bores you, add some of the kid’s low-sugar squash.
So now you have the food sorted, I will show you how to make yourself feel a little better on a budget in my next post.