Closing Out the Books for August

What’s left of my allotment of British pounds to get us through until the middle of the month (Brett has a bit more).

August was a very good month, spending-wise, and we ended with a daily spending average (DSA) of $31.52, $18.48 below our budget of $50/day. At one point our DSA was down to around $25, but a wonderful dinner at Higgins restaurant with our friend Joan just before we departed and expensive airport meals in Portland and Rekjavik brought the average back up a bit.

The biggest factor affecting our lower spending amount in August was that we stopped doing Big Shops. We made trips to Costco in May and late June/early July, and by the time we got to August we still had plenty of food on hand, and only needed to stop for a few grocery items now and again. Brett would like us to stop doing Big Shops all together now that it’s just the two of us, so we’ll be practicing smaller grocery runs while we’re here in England, not just to avoid spending so much but because we have very little storage space for food in the cottage. It’s not that we’ll never go to Costco in the future, but that we won’t buy as if we’re feeding a family of five anymore. There are an Aldi and Tesco in Moreton-in-Marsh, and our village’s small shop has a nice selection of items at very reasonable prices so we have a nice selection of places to buy affordable food while we’re here.

Locally raised and produced sausages and eggs from the Blockley market. The sausages were just £2.50 (~$3), and the half-dozen large, free-range organic eggs the same. A similar package of sausages would have cost anywhere from $6-$8 in Portland, if not more.

Beginning this month our DSA will be just $35/day. As of today, September 5, our DSA for September is $50.50, which includes our breakfast at the airport hotel, bus transportation to and from the airport to the hotel, two bottles of water on the train out to the Cotswolds (we were desperately parched), a small shopping trip to the village store to pick up a few things to get us started, and lunch yesterday at one of our village pubs. We might have spent more except our host left us a huge selection of goodies including cakes, bread, rolls, cookies (biscuits!), butter, milk, juice, coffee, wine, honey, chutney, fruit, chips, and chocolate bars. However, we don’t need to spend anything again until next week, when we’ll head over to Moreton-in-Marsh to get a few more things at Aldi and from the local cheesemonger’s which should take care of our food needs through next week or even the one after. We also plan to go to Chipping Camden at the end of next week and have afternoon tea after poking around a bit, and we want to stop in again at the pub as well. In other words, money will be spent but with a goal of staying within our limits overall.

Just a few of the things our gracious host left for us to get us started. There are too many carbs here for me, but Brett is happy.

10 thoughts on “Closing Out the Books for August

    1. We called our host to say thank you, and she said all the treats were because we were “very special guests,” I guess because we booked for three months. It still was very nice and Brett is enjoying everything (I’m still staying away from the carbs, although I have had some of the rose).

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  1. We have a Costco membership with our daughter. She is shopping for five (with almost three adult appetites), we are trying to pare down for a move. No more taking the charge card there. Cash only.
    I am excited about your fall in England. Looking forward to shopping along with you!

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    1. Costco shopping was a necessity when we lived on Kauai because their prices were the same or only very slightly higher than on the mainland. Once a month big shops there became a habit but these days, with a couple of exceptions, it’s just too much for the two of us. I used to love getting that rebate check from them every year too. Small, weekly shops will be our thing going – we’ll get some good practice here.

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  2. I have had to really dial back which I buy at Costco to just the things we will eat before they go bad. My fresh veggies and dairy all come from the local grocer now, as the two of us just couldn’t consume them fast enough. We still use a ton of their non-perishables (TP, laundry soap, etc.) and DH loves some of their snacks (which we never struggle to use up…ha), but I’ve thrown away way too many things. And I find myself doing smaller grocery runs more often lately, too. We tend to be much more spur of the moment than we used to be, and that makes meal planning a challenge sometimes.

    The biscuits with chocolate look yummy, as do all the treats. How generous. You have will power…I would have those biscuits gone by now. LOL.

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    1. There are some things we’ll continue to buy at Costco – peanut butter, snacks (like Whisps), nuts and some non-perishables come to mind – but otherwise it’s too much for the two of us (we can go through a flat of peaches or apples from there pretty quickly too). It’s going to take me a while to adjust to not having my cupboards filled with food and supplies – I can feel panicky or that supplies are dwindling even though we still have LOTS of food on hand.

      I had a couple of those chocolate-coated biscuits and they were good, and not overly sweet. Brett ate almost all of them though. I’m pretty much sticking to the fruit and wine.

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  3. It starts to look like home,doesn’t it? Pretty much the same chores, just at a smaller scale. It comes down to the fact that generally speaking, we don’t really need that much to live interesting lives. I’m glad that you have a kind, attentive host. Keep us posted with your adventures, thank you!

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    1. We’ve only spoken with our host on the phone, but are looking forward to meeting her one of these days. She’s a retired physician, and she and her husband have segued into the Cotswolds holiday rental business (apparently a big thing here).

      We felt very sad about leaving our Portland apartment – after three months it really felt like home, and I know this cottage will as well. It’s very cozy and comfortable.

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  4. I’m curious how you’re getting to Moreton-in-Marsh. Bus, taxi, hire car, on foot (I don’t remember how far it is)? Chipping Camden is a great little village. Be sure and visit the remains of the old house–can’t remember the name. The Batsford Arboretum (they have a nice tea there) is a nice walk from Moreton-in-Marsh, and we really enjoyed the show at the Batsford Falconry Centre, which I think is really near, if not in, the Arborteum. It’s been 10 years so I don’t remember the geography that well. I do remember looking at the Mitford house and wishing we could go inside. If you haven’t read Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford, that would be a fun read while you’re there.

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    1. We’ll be riding the bus over to Moreton-in Marsh next week, but will probably have to hire a taxi to bring us back as the bus doesn’t run very often. Same for going over to Chipping Campden. Both towns are 2 1/2 to 3 miles away from us on either side so walkable (except when carrying bags of groceries). The Falconry Centre and Arboretum are both on our list of places to visit. One of the bus routes from here will also get us up to Stratford-on-Avon, so we’ll be going there later this month too.

      I just downloaded Love in a Cold Climate – thanks for the recommendation!

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