Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Money diary // Coronavirus edition


MONDAY

I'm working from home so it's a no spend day. I find myself drinking a lot more water than I would in the office and I don't feel the need to snack. There is leftover chilli from the weekend which makes a fabulous lunch.
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TOTAL
£0.00
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TUESDAY

I have a Tesco delivery booked for today (note: this was before the latest madness where delivery slots are like gold dust!). I have a £10 off voucher that requires a minimum spend which is quite a bit more money that I'd usually spend on just a two person household, however there are lots of heavier things I want to buy that I'd struggle to carry back from the shops.

As you'd come to expect, things like toilet roll and pasta are out of stock online.

The shop arrives and lots of it is missing. Luckily the £10 voucher is still being honoured so I'm spending less overall AND still getting £10 off.
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Tesco shop - £54.00
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TOTAL
£54.00
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WEDNESDAY

It's sod's law that a lot of my clothes have suddenly decided that now is the time to give up on life. I have three pairs of jeans and a pair of knickers, all of which cannot be saved with a needle and thread (not that I can currently locate said needle and thread). I ordered replacement jeans from Topshop last week but I keep getting apology emails from Toppers about delays so gawd knows when they will arrive.

The novelty of being at home is wearing off already. I miss seeing people. Whatsapp just isn't the same as an IRL conversation. My mum pops over for a cup of tea and to drop off presents for the soon-to-be birthday boy (note: this was before the current social distancing measures were in place). 

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TOTAL
£0.00
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THURSDAY

Today is Mr Curiouser and Curiouser's birthday. This time last year we were in the Maldives, but this year - even before everything escalated to how it is now - we both collectively agreed not to make any travel plans.

He has a free day off from work for his birthday (a company perk) and is adamant that he doesn't want a fuss or anything in particular for his birthday. He just doesn't want to be out in public at the current time, or for me to spend a lot of money given the uncertainty ahead of us all these next few months.

Birthday boy decides he would like to visit the green space near to where we live and go for a walk given that we've been stuck at home so much lately. It's a lovely sunny day so we only need light layers. He wears his new super soft grey knitwear I bought him recently (which I'm secretly a little jealous of).

Once there, we opt for the longest walking route which is over two hours long. This route has a bit of everything. Woods. Two separate expanses of water. Wildlife. Bridges. Farmland. Fields. Steep uphill climbs. It's impossible to be tired or bored because there is so much to look at.


We see one or two dog walkers but mostly don't see another soul. We very quickly realise that not many people choose the long route as we encounter what we now call the fairytale meadow which has dappled sunlight filtering through the trees, a carpet of daffodils and super green grass that is largely untouched. It's magical.


We are out all morning and I offer birthday boy a pub lunch on the way back (again, before social distancing was in place), however he asks if I'd be happy to make my chilli linguine (a different one to this one here), a personal favourite of his. We have all the ingredients for it already as I was planning on making it next week.

His only other request for the day is that there are a couple of films he'd like to watch. Given that the day has been zero cost so far (he's a cheap date!), I look them up on Amazon Prime with the view to renting / buying. However some further research shows that both films are on NOW TV and it's actually better value to buy a monthly film pass as there's the benefit of having access to many more films. I am a little reluctant to spend any money with NOW TV due to my annoyance with them before here, but as luck may have it, as I haven't used my account in a while, I have access to a free 7 day trial which I immediately snap up. We watch one of his chosen films over lunch and then the other later that evening.

At the time of writing this post, our 7 day trial is coming to an end and we have made good use of it! These are just a few of the things we have watched: Us, Rabid, Escape Plan 3, Hobbs & Shaw, Toy Story 4, The Lion King, the latest Escape Room movie and tons of horrors and thrillers.

Another zero cost birthday treat centres about my aptitude in the art of full body massage. Birthdays can usually be super spendy but this year proved that money isn't the key. We had a zero spend day and my husband was raving about how well rested he felt to his co-workers the next day.

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TOTAL
£0.00
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FRIDAY

Not all of our online shop arrived and we are running low on food. Social media and the news stress how hard restaurants and local takeaways have been hit, so we reach out to our local takeaway in support. We pay online so no cash has to exchange hands, and the delivery is left on our door step, so all parties are happy. We'd usually eat more than we did that night, but we make a conscious effort to eat less so we have leftover food for other days. Especially as we can't guarantee that we will get another online food shop, or find anything left in the shops.
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Takeaway - £20.00
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TOTAL
£20.00
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SATURDAY

Due to missing items from our online shop, there a few things we need from the shops (note: this was before the social distancing measures were in place and we haven't been out since).

We head out super early but the shelves in Asda are already empty. We can't get everything we need - or much at all really - so we improvise and get out as quickly as we can. We see plenty of face masks, but the sight of a man in what looks like a full on gas mask is surreal.

Aldi is a lot better stocked - they even have pasta and toilet rolls - but their meat section is lacking. Our usual basket turns into two baskets as we buy more than we usually would. I mentally prepare myself for a really expensive visit, but Aldi as ever constantly amazes me on sheer value for money. Everything came to just over £30 which I'm still really chuffed about. Comparatively we didn't get much in Asda so the £18.30 spend there didn't sit well with me.

That night we plan on making a roasted Mediterranean vegetable filo pie which we've made before and is great for leftovers. However life has a funny sense of humour. When popping the veg into the oven to roast, the door of our oven gives up and will no longer close. We discover that if the oven door isn't sealed - i.e. shut completely - the oven just won't cooperate. It's a huge blow because tonight's meal relies on an oven, as does the roast dinner we'd planned for tomorrow.

As luck may have it, we have a tiny grill which is separate to the oven. We use this to roast the vegetables but it does take ages compared to normal. We then construct the filo pie and thankfully there is just enough room in the grill to cook it. It turns into a late dinner, but we are thankful that our ingredients didn't go to waste.

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Aldi - £30.20
Asda - £18.30
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TOTAL
£48.50
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SUNDAY

I have been sneezing loads and all sorts of thoughts are going through my head. Fortunately it's only hayfever and I start myself on a daily dose of Piriteze which thankfully stems the sniffing and sneezing.

We stay home today - and have continued to since then - and look into getting the latch on the oven fixed, but quotes range from £80 upwards. Plus there is no one actually available to come out given the current climate. We find the replacement part on Amazon for just £10 and after watching some YouTube walk-throughs, are considering to give it a go ourselves. If we can sort it great, if we can't then we will still be in the same situation anyway (sans oven).

Dinner is a challenge considering we were originally planning on a roast dinner. Seeing as we cannot fit a roast in the tiny top oven, we change our plans. Going through the cupboards, I find I have all the ingredients for homemade pulled pork and defrost burger buns that I have in the freezer. It's quite a large joint of meat and we are determined not to have any food waste, so we portion off a separate cut which we cook off and save for a stir-fry next week, and strip off the fat which we crisp up for homemade crackling.  For the main event, we create a marinate for the pork and put all the ingredients into my favourite piece of kitchen kit, the slow cooker. It takes six hours all in all and it tastes insanely good.
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TOTAL
£0.00
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TOTAL FOR THE WEEK
£122.50
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We are living in funny times. Our weekly grocery spend rocketed compared to normal. Admittedly we would have spent less in Asda and Aldi - or not needed to go at all - had our online shop delivered everything we asked for. I usually pride myself on my ability to plan meals in advance and sniff out bargains, however when the shops are empty and you can't get an online shop for love nor money, this presents challenges. Particularly when you lose the ability to cook oven meals.

This week was a real wake up call for me and if we're in this situation for the long run  - which I fear we will be - I want to be better prepared. There is no need to stock pile and buy things in excess depriving others - it's all about buying enough for your household, making savvy choices, and cooking in bulk for lower cost per head plus tasty leftovers to serve you on other days of the week.

Following this shock to the system, I emptied the fridge, freezer and cupboards, laid everything out, and made lists of what we physically had in the house. I then compiled another list, sussing out what we could cook with what we have. It turns out we are good for 14 more days of meals  - and I can probably cobble together more if I get really creative - which has done wonders for calming my anxiety. For now.

I hope you are all doing ok despite the madness we currently find ourselves in!

MY PREVIOUS MONEY SAVING DIARIES
The money diary of a London blogger

First image - source Unsplash
All other images my own

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