A lot of my friends differ in their opinion of me. Some think I am quite impressive, always cooking my own lunch and bringing it in tupperware, something different each day. Others, by contrast, think that this is a bit weird and that I am just too stingy to buy my own sandwich from Pret or Marks and Spencer.
My lunch diet this week varied from egg sandwiches (home made bread), sausage and potato salad and most tasty of all, a tuna salad made from home grown leaves with chilli olives, marinated myself. At a very rough estimate, 5 days of lunches probably cost me £5. So yes, I imagine I saved a lot of money: were I to buy a just 1 sandwich from pret every day I would have clocked up a bill of between £10 and £15 most likely. I also bring an empty bottle with me (empty because it weighs less for transportation) and fill it from a tap - yes, before the strange invention of bottled water, we all did drink water from taps. One day, in fact, I put a small amount of my home made elderflower cordial in the bottom of my water bottle which I topped up whilst at work for a nice change.
Now, the other camp of people that think I am hugely organised to have made all this stuff for myself every day are getting it wrong. It actually takes very little organising, but rather a small amount of forward thinking. Take for example the sausage and potato salad I had on Wednesday. I just had to engage my brain on Tuesday evening, when I put the oven on for my evening meal. Stuck a couple of sausages in on another tray and hey presto, add a couple of potateos and lunch the following day, dealt with. I find it is generally just as easy to be preparing two meals at the same time when in the kitchen in the evening. Not hard to stick some eggs on to hard boil while you are cooking some pasta. not difficult to stick some herbs and spices in with some olives, topping them up with oil to marinate while you are making something else. No, I can't think making my own lunch takes me any longer than it takes my colleagues to walk to the sandwich shop, queue up and pay for their (heavy on the calories, low on the taste) sandwich. My way also ends up with fresh and healthier ingredients with no mystery as to what went into it and has a much lower impact on landfill sites having no packaging. A great book for ideas on different packed lunches is the latest River Cottage offering (River Cottage Everyday)
So to sum up, I don't do any of the frugal living I do because I am tight fisted, but I do begrudge spending money on anything that I could do for myself.
For the next few weeks I have given myself the task of living with £50 a week cash in my wallet. This is so that I can be saving £300 each month towards my future move to the North. So far, I have managed admirably, possibly because I have done without any 'luxery' items. And yet, at no point have I felt poor. In fact, my life has possibly been richer because of it.