One good way of eking out the food budget is to have a well-stocked store room - good meals can be rustled up from it easily, if you keep a good supply of basics in. My list runs something like this- various pastas, tinned tomatoes, baked beans, tinned fruits, fish. Basics are bread flour and other flours, lots of different beans and pulses, rice, porridge oats, tinned and dried milks, good stock powder, tea and coffee, cocoa. Really good meals can be made with these, and I keep a few extras in to liven things up - cooking wine, truffle oil, real vanilla essence, that sort of thing. They might seem expensive per se, but they can all be stretched a long way, so are in fact good value for money, and can make a big difference to your cooking/baking.
Another slant on the store room way of thinking is craft supplies - hence the stashes of wool, fabric, tools, materials etc - I'll never be stuck for something to do.
The weather has turned really quite cold now, getting into winter proper; there was some snow in surrounding villages I believe, but none here when I got up. Plenty of coal in the bunker and logs in the shed though, hot water bottles and thicker curtains. Should wear socks though - tiles and wood floors here, no carpets lol
I have big plans for an even more frugal 2012, wanting to spend as little money as possible, so that will be a challenge. No new clothes - I have lots to alter, re-make etc; no knitting wool until I use at least some of my stash; ditto fabric; try and buy as little new as possible; would like to keep notes/records as I think that would be quite interesting - what is spent each week on which items etc. Frugality will have to be the order of the day, well even more so next year, with eprsonal circumstances hopefully changing dramatically. I want to grow more too, and have amassed a good stock of seeds to see me through, and want to dig up some of the 'lawn' (read daisies and dandelion patches lol) for growing.
Watch this space................