May was quite an expensive month with a few birthdays of close family members, which necessitated some present buying. In addition, a few toiletries were needed and more natural options sourced which inevitably did end up being quite a bit more expensive than the cheaper brands I would have previously bought.
I did buy myself a couple of new nightdresses this month, a new sports bra and some new T-shirts for the gym, but as my gym gear is more or less my uniform during the week on at least 3 days, these items do get a lot of wear and when they need to be replaced, it's not something that I can easily ignore.
Other than the above expenses, the majority of spending this month has been on food. I placed a couple of large on-line orders with one supermarket, to take advantage of some good offers, and this did make a big dent in the budget. I'm certainly not planning on doing the same this month, as it did leave me quite short of money by the end of the month. I will be using up vouchers of a few pounds off smaller value shops, that I've been sent though, as not to would be a wasted opportunity and every little helps in a tight month.
This month is definitely going to be as low-spending month as I can possibly make it. I'm not going to say no-spend, as I know for a fact that I will find this virtually impossible, but I'm only really intending to spend money on food, toiletries and household items that we desperately need and can't do without. (there shouldn't be too many of the latter two) I will be rigidly sticking to the menu plan, and trying to stretch food out as much as possible, particularly meat. I managed to use just half a pack of diced beef yesterday evening, when I made us a beef stew with dumplings, though it's not something we eat that often. I might even try to make us some meat pies later in the month, with the remaining meat, which would be a lovely treat and a brand new departure for me.
I continue to try to use other sources of protein where I can and have regularly been making things with Quorn mince and no-one seems to have even noticed any difference, so I will continue to do this where I can. Mainly I do this for chilli and spaghetti bolognese, as these dishes seem to lend themselves especially well to it's use. I might even get some recipe books out for a bit of inspiration this month, which will be the first time I've done this in a long while. It's in the lean months that a bit of creativity can be particularly helpful.
We don't have any plans to go away this month, so it will be a very stay at home month. I have treated myself to an inexpensive afternoon talk and workshop on the life of Nicholas Culpepper, the famous herbalist, who lived and worked in the East End of London in the 17th Century. I'm really looking forward to it and to making some traditional natural herbal products as part of it. Especially exciting for me in view of my new found interest in all things natural.
I'm also hoping that this month I will be able to start harvesting some home grown vegetables, probably just salad initially, and saving myself a bit of money in the process. We've eaten the first homegrown lettuce this week, which I grew in a pot in the garden. I currently have so many plants in my little greenhouse, that I've grown from seed this year, that I'm not going to have room to accommodate them all on the allotment, which is already choc full. I can see me giving lots away this month. They will probably get left outside the house for people to take for free on the forthcoming Jumble Trail, as I no longer have any school fairs to donate them to, now Little Bird has moved on to a new school.
So, it's hopefully going to be a quiet month of knuckling down and making do, cutting back where I can and using up everything we already have. Not the most exciting sounding month, but a challenging one nonetheless. What are your plans for June?