Living Rich on Less! A Yummy Budget-Friendly Recipe for the Weekend – Creamy Chana Dal with Cauliflower & Peas

Cutting Back on Personal Spending

In recent years, I’ve been making a conscious effort to cut my personal spending.  Since making the decision to leave the day job, I need to do this more than ever!

Here’s a few ways that I’ve cut back on spending so far…

Sold my car saving £100s each year (I now walk/bike/bus)

– Stopped my gym membership saving £360 per year (I now exercise outside)

– Negotiated a new deal on my phone, reducing my monthly payments from £30 to £13.50, saving £198 per year. I’ve now got a much better deal for less money!

– Stopped buying so many clothes which is saving me £100s per year. I hardly ever buy clothes these days and, if I do, it’s usually to replace worn out items. I still love quality brands, like Kuyichi, but I’ll buy last season T Shirts etc for half price or less. I also buy from charity shops.

– Stopped buying books & magazines saving about £100 per year. Instead I’ve got an Amazon wishlist for birthdays & Christmas 🙂

These cutbacks have reduced my personal spending by well over £1,000 per year.  And the funny thing is, I’m actually happier as a result of making these cutbacks. My life is simpler, less cluttered and I’m less dependent on money. However, there are two areas where I haven’t cut back, and that’s giving to charity and present-giving. These are too important to me!

Cutting Back on Family Overheads

I’ve also been sorting out the family’s finances in an attempt to cut our overheads. Here’s how I’ve got on so far…

– Switched our water from rates to a meter. We now pay £35 per month, compared to £61, saving £313 per year

– Switched our gas & electricity to a new supplier and reduced our consumption. We currently pay £79 per month, compared to £148, saving £828 per year. I check the gas & electricity deals each year now and switch if I find a better deal.

– Renegotiated our house insurance. For the same cover, we now pay £149 compared to £275, saving £126 per year. My advice is to never automatically renew your house insurance each year. You seem to get penalised for loyalty! I use comparison sites to check rates then ring my existing supplier to see if they can match it (they always do!)

– Renegotiated the mortgage. We’re now on a ‘tracker for life’ deal and currently paying 2.49%, the lowest rate we’ve ever paid on a mortgage.

– Cut our grocery bill from around £80 to £70 per week (this includes all household products, food & toiletries), saving £520 per year.

To date, I’ve managed to cut our bills by nearly £2,000 per year, which isn’t too bad considering the cost of living has increased these past few years.  It didn’t take a lot of effort either. There are some great online comparison sites available now, which save time & effort. Some of my favourite sites are: www.uswitch.comwww.moneysavingexpert.com, www.gocompare.com and www.mySupermarket.com.

The one area that I still need to work on is landline telephone & broadband. We’re currently paying £109 each quarter which is way too high.  I’m currently looking at Sky and Plusnet so, if anyone has experience of either of these two, I’d love to hear what you think of them 🙂

A Budget-Friendly Recipe for the Weekend

On Wednesday, I promised that I’d give the recipe for one of our favourite lentil dishes which uses Chana Dal (also known as Yellow Split Gram and Gram Dal). This lentil is a relative of the chick pea and has a lovely nutty flavour.

This dish is super duper cheap to make! In Tesco, a 2kg bag of Indus Chana Dal costs just £2.99 (and this size bag will last you ages).

The dish is mildly spiced, so perfect for all the family, though feel free to crank up the heat if you like spice! It’s also deliciously creamy. I use Alpro Soya Cream in this dish, which makes it dairy free and low in fat. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

[This recipe has been submitted to Ricki Heller’s Wellness Weekend, November 15-19 2012]

Lentils are so versatile. As well as using them in Indian dishes, we make lentil burgers, lentil loaves and add them to soups. This week I made a large batch of tomato and red lentil soup and it was lush! Lil’ L took it to school, M took it to work, and we had enough left over for dinner one evening too. You can check out the recipe here.

Do you cook with lentils? If so, I’d love to hear about your favourite lentil dish. Add a link to your recipe if possible.

Also, do you keep an eye on your finances and look for ways to cut bills? If so, I’d love to hear your tips!

Right, it’s Friday night and the weekend has officially begun 🙂 Time for me to sign off!

Have a great weekend everyone! xx

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13 Comments

Filed under Dinners, Living Rich on Less

13 Responses to Living Rich on Less! A Yummy Budget-Friendly Recipe for the Weekend – Creamy Chana Dal with Cauliflower & Peas

  1. Candy @ Healthy In Candy Land

    Wow, you’ve done an incredible job on saving money! Thank you for sharing the links for the comparison sites–I definitely want to check them out.
    And that recipe–oh my yum! I am putting it on next week’s menu plan right now! Thank you for sharing it!
    Just a few months ago we got rid of our landline and just use our cell phones now. We found that the only ones calling us on the landline anymore were solicitors, so we surely didn’t need it! (I get so annoyed by them!)
    Happy weekend to you too–I am so looking forward to this one!

    • Every day I get sales call on the landline and more often than not they’re for the lady that lived here 13 years ago! Incredible eh?
      Have a fantastic time on your date night. I bet you’re super excited about seeing Wicked 🙂

  2. I actually have just been looking at switching my utility bills due to the hikes, fingers crossed I can save some cash!

    • II hope you managed to save some pounds! It feels so good when you manage to cut your bills & pay less for the same service. After all, it’s the same gas, electricity and water isn’t it, whether you get it from one provider or another? I think it’s terrible how most of us get ripped off by the providers.

  3. Pingback: What’s For Dinner 3.0 « Dinner « Healthy In Candy Land

  4. Alexia Kulterer

    wow you are an impressive money saving queen! and that with a family!!! 🙂 I love Kuyichi clothes too– while i love fashion and clothes i now stopped buying new clothes ALL THE TIME and buy whatever will last me in my favourite pastel colours. i love to combine new and old so that works just fine! love your recipes, as usual! wonderful and especially inspiring post!

    • I normally can’t afford Kuyichi, so I couldn’t believe my luck when a temporary shop appeared in Bath last Christmas selling their last season stock. I was in the shop so much that the owner started giving me a discount 🙂 Such a shame he’s gone now 🙁

  5. Oh, what a yummy looking recipe! Now that it’s getting colder out (at least where I live) this would be perfect for lunch or dinner.

    • Thanks for stopping by Shannon and for your lovely comments! 🙂
      I love your oatmeal at this week’s WIAW party… I never thought of adding dark chocolate. I bet it’s amazing as it warms and melts. Yum! I’m definitely going to give it a try x

  6. That looks like proper soup! Nice and thick; sticks to your insides and keeps you warm all afternoon. Planty goodness.

  7. High five for the cutting efforts. I think having less (just like weight on your body) feels so freeing. I think quite often (at least here in America) we are constantly consuming WAY more “stuff” than we need to. I love reading about other people’s success at cost reductions so if you have future posts I can’t wait to read them 🙂

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