Been MIA as I have had laryingitis (sp?) and some horrible virus - been ill over a week now but slowly on the mend...on a brighter note have not spent one penny on messages as we have been eating totally out of the freezers and cupboards as dh wasnt too grand either - luckily I had not much appetite as there have been some interesting meals produced! So I now have £60 to use if I come across any special offers (ie the last time I saw 240 Nambarrie teabags for £2 but only got 2 boxes cos didnt have the extra money)....onwards and upwards...
Well late night shopping is the way to go - tiring but managed to bag over £9 of bread and rolls for £1.20 so happy - no other yellow stickies but with a bit of jiggery pokery on my menu this week my weeks shopping came in at......£49.41. Have had to cut back on fresh fruit because even though its summmer its still dear AND not happy about the price hike on tinned fruit! For quite a while Asda peaches in juice have been 45p per tin and last night they were 61p!!!! How can they justify a 16p rise?????? Its also noticeable that its the Smart price stuff that goes first - had to pay 44p for passata as opposed to 27p Smart price.
Its results day for my dd Highers tomorrow so we are going to Edinburgh - her pals mum has booked her and her friend into Bannatynes for some pampering as a wee treat before the results. They were going to get the bus to my eldest dds and she was going to take them in but I will save them the bus fare and go with them - dont intend to spend anything but will mooch round the shops as I still need a dress for my sons wedding....
Got 3 double cds for the car for 10p each! Picked up a remnant of lino for our caravan bathroom (has carpet in it which I really hate) for £5 and a cream roman blind (again for the caravan)still in the box for £2 - very discerning indeed for me! The fruit and veg just look wilted and sad and to be honest, not much cheaper than Asda so going shopping there tonight for my weekly shop to see if there are any bargains to be had....
I deal with forms all day long at work (I work as an HR assistant in our local council) and really hate doing them in the house! But needs must.....just completed the application for the Education Maintenance allowance for youngest dd staying on at school (£30 a week is not to be sniffed at! lol) and my SAAS application for funding for my next course with the Open University (anyone new to my blog - I had a "I'm-50-what-have-I-acheived" moment a few years ago and enrolled in the OU to do a History degree - half way through and still loving it!)So far have managed to get funding for it due to being on Working Tax but they have changed it this year and it now goes through SAAS (like brick unis) which goes on your wages so hopefully I will get the next 3 stages funded too. Going to a small car boot this afternoon (havent been to one in ages as we dont get many up here) Its at our local Sunday market so will get some cheap veg for the week ahead too. Let us see how discerning I can be and not spend too much! lol
Had a great birthday - ate and drank far too much but hey ho! its only once a year!
Downloaded 6 free books for my Kindle - do like something for nothing!
Did my first week shopping in a while (lived out of the cupboards last week!) and it was £55 for the three of us - not too bad but we still had fish and chicken in the freezer. Its really difficult when trying to diet as my go-to cheap meals are all fattening and stodgy! Dinners this week are veg curry, fish, chicken stir-fry, macaroni cheese, roast beef (bought slices cos its cheaper) and pasta with chorizo. Saturdays teas are alway something quick and this week its beefburgers for dh and me and dd are trying carrot, cumin and kidney bean burgers from a blog that has really cheap recipes from a blog called a Girl called Jack which I intend to try out.
Invited to a barbecue so had to buy stuff - £8 including drinks for 4 of us!! lol
Did buy a dress for myself but it was out of my allowance for this month (which is going to be halved next month) - reduced from £39 to £22 - I have now lost 4 stone and have quite a bit to go -the dress is lovely standing up but when I sit down I spread a bit so its an incentive.
But we also had to pay for car repairs which was £75 - but again, I had that already saved up in my Car repairs account - defintley a need!
Went for a lovely walk along the beach with my two dds gathering drift wood and shells to make stuff with (my eldest is arty not me!)
And my Prima magazine arrived today (paid for with Tesco clubcard vouchers) so been a no-spend day....
My birthday tomorrow so there are secret plans afoot that I am not involved with so we will see what tomorrow brings...
Well Day 2 and already dh has been spending!!!
Breakies - bran flakes, lunch - quorn chilli - tea, chicken (tiny bit) and veg curry & rice
Dh took on himself to do some gardening.....now in the past he has happily ignored our garden but I guess hes thinking of ways to amuse himself but it had to involve buying grass seed and weed killer! And he toddled off to the shops to get some basics (which we did need but could have managed without) Bless him - he is really trying hard but just ended up being trying! lol
So he cost us another £18.20 from the housekeeping (leaving £65.80 until the end of July) and £20 from the household budget.
I spent nowt!
Breakfast - Smart price Bran flakes
Lunch - made up a big pot of Quorn & veg chilli - portioned it out at 50 per per portion - will use this for my work lunches
Tea - Macaroni cheese
I have no fresh fruit (which I have been eating loads of on my diet!) so had a tin of pears in juice at work
No money spent at all.....
Well we had a good run......
Now my youngest dd is no longer getting DLA our Working Tax credit has been totally slashed....and we had an overpayment (which we told them about but were told to wait until the renewal!!!!) and the way they work is our claim will only go this year until August (when dd would have left school) but we advised them that she is staying on and it will be a new claim from them - upshot is they are taking all our overpayment from the remaining few months claims so we are dropping a huge amount..and when its re-instated even then its a massive drop from what we were getting...
Been working at our out goings for the last few days and have slashed dhs mobile bill from £27 per month to £8 and dds bill from £20 to £8 too. I have also saved £30 over the year by not getting paper bills too. Cancelled Napster (plenty free music out there! lol) saving £15 per month.
I am currenlty on Weight Watchers (lost 4 stone in jut under a year) but as I know the diet inside out I am going to get weighed at my eldest dds house (I dont own scales!) before she goes to Weight watchers and cancel that dd - saving another £21 per month.
So thats £55 per month savings....If we are not going out so much I have cut back on our petrol allowances
If I can manage on £250 for groceries for the month we will have enough to pay our bills and I can also reduce some of the money I put aside for my Freedom account (basically pots of money I fund every month - Birthdays, Xmas, Household, Car Repairs, Holidays and Emergencys)but continue to fund the pots for Car Insurance, Road Tax but there will be no extras. However, dh has a wee job but is sporadic money (its a renumeration for chairing meetings)so that money will be used for entertainment and clothes.
Groceries are challenging - I have been buying seperate stuff for my diet but will have to start looking for cheaper alternatives - dh has a dodgy stomach and dd is a bit fussy so it will be a working in progress but £250 is the maximum I have and thats it - great if I can cut it down as that extra money can be used on something else - I have £84 to last me until the end of the month for food which is good - and we did an inventory of all our cupboards and freezers and the only thing we have to buy this week is milk, eggs and we have run out of fabric conditioner but will use vinegar instead!
I did this years ago when paying off our debts but gradually we got more money and you live up to your lifestyle. We had savings we can dip into if needed but I will be happy if we can just manage on the money we have but I know its going to be hard at first.
So watch this blog for cheap and cheerful recipes and ideas of frugal things to do!!!
Went a bit later to Asda this Sunday but I think it was too late - the only thing I got reduced was some asparagus for 1p. Still sticking to my £50 budget but finding it really hard if I dont get yellow sticky bargains. Frugalling away at other things - even though we have all energy saving light bulbs we were still bad at leaving them on but are working on that and getting a lot better. I have even taken a bulb out of our three light fitting - every little helps. TV etc is switched off at the wall every night and if its cold and the heating has to be on its turned off at 9pm at the latest as since we got our cavity wall insulation it takes a lot longer to cool down. I'm doing an experiment to make my own cleaning wipes. I bought the cheapest Smart price cleaner and put 1/2 cap into a container with water and added a pile of rags (old t-shirts, tea towels etc. I clean the bathroom every day with one then do the floor and put it in a seperate washing pile. We use others on a swiffer to clean the floors (I dont have carpets so no hoover) I also have knit/crocheted dishcloths as I had cotton left over from Christmas presents and use 1 per day in the kitchen and again, gets put into the seperate washing pile with the rags. My intention is to get a lidded bucket (when car boot season starts)and keep them in their (maybe in water/vinegar mix to keep them from going smelly) and put them in with my towels on a hot wash once a week. I know its fashionable to only wash clothes on a 30deg wash but my old washing machine got very smelly by only doing this. I do most of my washes in my new machine on 30 but once a week I do all my towels and tea towels on a 60 with a vinegar rinse and so far this machine hasnt smelled at all. I make a lot of home made soups which we have at lunchtime with crusty rolls - got 3packets of 10 of these in one of my Asda shops for 30p. We are having pasta at least twice a week. If we have chicken I have cut our portions down to 100gms each and nobody has complained. I have done an Approved food order (which is due today) so that will stretch our budget further. Trying to keep under £50 is proving really difficult as every time I seem to go shopping thep prices creep up every week.
I am starting to really like going to Asda at 8 on a Sunday night - its nice and quiet and there arent kids running down the aisles and you are not battling with prams etc. Got there just as they were reducing their bread and got 4 packs hot cross buns for 10p each, 2 loaves of wholemeal bread - 10p each, an onion loaf - 10p, 6 crusty rolls for soup - 10p and six packs of pancakes for 10p each. The buns and pancakes are bagged up in 2's in the freezer. So this weeks spending is £44.42. There werent any more bargains this week but I was quite happy with my haul. I could have cut spending down further but find my lot are better if there are some snacks around (ie my bargains and a few crisp bags) and I did give in and get a joint of pork for £4 as a treat. So my menu plan this week is Mon - Meatballs & pasta, Tuesday - leftover chicken pie, Weds - Chicken curry, Thursday - pizza for oh and dd as I go to Weight Watchers and my eldest makes me a 3 course WW meal!, Friday - Macaroni cheese, Saturday -Beefburger rolls & pud, Sunday - Roast Pork. I mostly buy loose fruit and veg and make sure I get a bag to put them in and then re-use the bag to freeze stuff - how mean is that! lol
I made my menu up for this week on Sunday and there wasnt enough to really justify an on-line shop so decided to try my luck late shopping at our local Asda which shuts at 10pm. Arrived at 8.15 just as they were reducing their bread to 10p per loaf so got 4 Weight Watchers loafs and 24 rolls. Checked the reduction bit but there wasnt anything, did my normal shop (stuck exactly to my list without one variation!!!! - except the reductions which I always count as extras towards the next week). We always have a roast on a Sunday but Im having trouble getting even a small joint into my budget. This week we had chicken and the smallest joint I could find for next week was pork at nearly £7! So I boxed clever and bought a packet of their sliced roast beef for £5 - 14 slices - which is 2 Sunday dinners for the 3 of us and a spare 2 slices just in case eldest dd arrives for dinnner. Then, just as I was about to go through the checkout I decided to try the reductions bit again and managed to bag sliced chicken for sandwiches (normally £2 per pack) for 1p! There were 7 packs left and nobody else near them so I'm afraid I bagged them all. So that was nearly £19 worth for 57p.
So our Sunday dinner was a small chicken from Aldis - did us Sunday lunch, picked the bigger bits and made chicken and mushroom pie with h/m pastry for tea yesterday, got all the smaller bits off and kept them for soup which I made yesterday after cooking the carcass in the slow cooker overnight for lovely tasty stock.So 3 meals for around £3.50 by the time I costed pots and veg etc.
Had a lovely day yesterday - the sun appeared at long last so me and eldedst dd went to our local beach and had an hours walk - took a flask with peppermint tea and some fruit and had a really nice time....
Didnt want to go home as it was so nice so went to North Berwick to look at the charity shops....and I didnt buy a thing! I am getting better about wants not needs! My dd did get some really nice stuff but charity shops are really getting expensive - she got a full lenght regatta raincoat, a wool cape, fancy top, a tie that looks like a fish for her dad and some books - £35.
Then went to our local garden centre for soup - got there but none left so we shared a pannini and shared a scone so only cost £5 each for a wee meal out.
(and she drove so it didnt even cost me anything in petrol!!!! lol)
First - got my marked essay back from the OU (attempt at History degree) and got 78% which I was exceptionally pleased about as I really struggled with it...
Second - lost 4 lbs (over 2 weeks) at Weight watchers bringing my total to 3 stone 2.5 lbs!
Third - when my teensy car went in for its MOT they said the lights were set all wrong and re-set them - drove home in the dark tonight and what a difference! normal lights were much better than my main beam and my main beam is fantastic! One of the reasons I hate driving in the dark was I could ruddy see - so much better now..
Our poor car is a write off - bought for £3,700 but only get back market value which insurance company say is £1800 - less the excess (didnt realise oh had put such a high one on) of £500 means £1300 to get a decent car.... However, I didnt realise you can bargain with the insurance company (oh's pal told him) so when they offered £1800 he refused. They came back to him with £2000 - again, he refused - and at this point said he was going to discuss it with a lawyer.....they rang back and offered him £2,200 - he said he would accept a final offer of £2,500 and they agreed! Still doesnt make up for losing a damn good car but its better than £1800 they originally offered.
Well, managed to stick to £50 per week food budget for the last 4 weeks - actually £1.32 over which was a bit naughty but serves me right for taking oh shopping! Had a look at Approved Foods but nothing was tempting me - taking account of the postage (£5 odds) I would be looking at doing a big order but there was nothing there that we would eat.We still havent finished stuff from the last order so will keep an eye on it - changes all the time so it might not be too long before theres anything that interests me.
DD went to the B&M store and got me 4 x £1 pump toothpastes and 4 x£1 Simple shower gel for youngest dd as its the only kind she can use. I have tried to use cheaper toothpaste in the tubes but the mess my family make with them (and can never put the lid back on!!!) its worth buying the pumps at this price. This came out of my houskeeping budget but will save me money in the long run. I dont have a pantry cupboard - would love one but my teeny flat is too small so my pantry stuff goes in IKEA drawers (the antonius wire kind) and under the spare bed (full of loo roll at the moment)
So I am looking to do an on-line order this week as I have run out of heavier stuff such as tins and soap powder.
Dh went off to collect our touring caravan from Dumfries - on his way he hit a patch of black ice in a blizzard and end up in a field! Both he and my eldest dd who was with him are fine - cars bumper is ripped off, dents in doors and back bumper gone but nobody was hurt - 3 other accidents on the same stretch of road - 1 car completely flipped but again, nobody hurt. So its an insurance job but we still have a £250 excess to pay.........
In the meanwhile - bagged a great 5 foot bed from freecycle for my youngest - been used in a spare room - IKEA complete with mattress and mattress topper.
And took my eldest home via Asda as she wanted stuff (I had already done an on-line shop!) but as it was late we hit the bargain corner - everything was 10p!!!! So for the princely sum of £1.70 I got the following
6 loaves bread
2 sticks garlic bread
2 tomato foccaia
2 custard slices
2 family cherry pies
2 packs cherry toms
Pack of pork pies
Got my order yesterday - thought it looked huge in 3 boxes....
Everything was great - exactly what I wanted and still had a box to go - mmm, strange....i have had orders from them in the past and there is always something extra but they went over board this time!
ExtrasI got for free - 7 family size packs of Walker crisps, 4 x 500 gm tortilla chips, 12 packs of cigarette papers!, 17 cans of some energy drink and, wait for it, 56 bottles of Powerade!
The crisps and tortilla chips are great - went out of date end dec 12 but sealed so fine, our neighbour got the cigarette papers, another neighbour got the cans but I am left with 56 bottles so have txt loads of folk to see if they want them!
So will leave it for another month and see if it is worth doing an order then...
Did an online order for Asda coming tomorrow and now have £53 left to last me until the end of the month but I have lots in my cupboards and freezer so hopefully it should be ok.....
Answered an offer on Freecycle and got 2 childrens bikes for our grandchildren - better still they were just a few streets away! Will take them to the caravan.....
And the clothes selling is going great guns - £82 sold so far!
Took ages to take photos of my clothes but managed it and after a few false starts managed to post them on a local Plus size group on Facebook. So far have sold £27 worth! Not pricing them too much (£4 for an Evans top) but a bit more than I would get at a car boot sale. Only trouble is we live quite far out and folk arent really prepared to travel out here for one top but its cost me nothing to advertise. And now I have got the pictures I can post them on other For Sale groups on Facebook - its a start!
Been on the ball again today....reviewed my Freedom account which is how I manage all my money on my spreadsheets on my laptop - then using an app on my phone called EEBA which is bascially like an envelope system I have set all my accounts up and can record transactions straight away on my phone when I spend something. These will all be added to my spreadsheets on a Sunday morning.
Had our family meeting after tea to discuss our weekly meal plan, whos doing what etc and put in one sheet which is up in the kitchen where everyone can see it. Downloaded a freezer inventory sheet and put it up on the fridge for our inside and outside freezers.
Been really cold today but only put the heating on for an hour this morning and when dd wanted a bath before she went out, for an hour about 2pm. Its not been on since and seems ok - we had wall cavity insulation put in for free at the beginning of last year and we have noticed that the house defintley keeps warmed for a lot longer after turning the heating off. Everyone seems really on board about turning lights etc off so thats keeping me happy too!
And after being reminded on another blog, had a look at Approved foods. I have only ordered once before, was very pleased but got out of the way of looking at the site so decided to have another go. Although it could be very easy to order loads of goodies and snacks I was very sensible and ordered all things we use (but with cheap crisps and biscuits for the hungry hoardes which will be rationed out!) - one of the best buys was a 12 pack of tortillas for 33p. So it cost me just under £40 but according to the site I saved £82!
(and oh went to the Co-op for me for loo roll and meatballs on offer)
Housekeeping spent - £72.82/£200
After doing my inventorys and realising just how much food I have I did a shopping list and off to Asda early - stuck to my list (apart from the reductions) and spent £28.57 which will last us until my next shopping on Monday. Thinking about going back to on-line shopping but did bag some reduced stuff today which is in the freezer and added to my inventory list to make meals out of. So although on-line is definitly better for not getting anything extra you dont get the reductions...... But I did buy a new handbag - a need as the strap broke on my last one and it is unmendable (I did try!) - reduced from £9 to £2 so kept me happy.
I am going to drop my housekeeping buget to £200 - it was creeping up again but will see how this goes this month - would like to reduce it further if I can (2 adults and a teenager that eats more than an adult!!!)
My household notebook is looking fab - added polypockets today to put recipes in to try - got Asdas free magazine and normally look at it, put it away, forget what I wanted out of it and end up just recycling it so straightaway today I put 2 recipes in my notebook and entered a competition that was free to do on-line.
Other frugal doings
1 - Sewed a hole up in my bra (normally I would just chuck it!) - cost - free - saved - £16 on new bra
2 - Make a phone/mp3 player/tablet charging station - using an old basket and putting all the plugs into one of those extensions where you can turn each plug off seperatley (nicked off my eldest dd) - cost - free - saving - probably pennies but I hated the idea of all these chargers being on all the time as we could reach down behind furniture to switch off the plugs.
3 - DVD player and Wii put on seperate plugs so not left on standbye and got OH on board to turn all the plugs off a night including the printer and wi-fi - just little things but it all adds up.
Looked on-line and the Co-op have meatballs half price at £1.25 and Nouvelle loo roll at £2.59 for 9 rolls so when OH goes up the street to pick other stuff up I will get him to pop in and we can stock up.
Housekeeping - £28.57/£200
I am on a mission! About to do a total inventory of what I have in my cuboards/freezers and see what meals I can come up with...
Have made up a houshold notebook (re-cycled one of my dds arch lever files - was actually going to buy a new one for this project but stopped myself!) I have downloaded a wonderful month by month calender to keep the housework going
weekly meal planner sheets and a weekly reminder to do list
We are going back to me doing our on-line banking on a Sunday morning - I have a really excellent app on my phone to monitor daily spends and will tot it all up and put in on my mountainous spreadsheets on a Sunday. Sunday tea time will be family meeting time - plan weeks menus, see what everyone is up to etc and write it all down. And I am going back to on-line food shopping but will use mysupermarket to keep an eye out for good deals and plan my menus accordingly. Although I am on Weight Watchers (2 stone 11 lbs down so far!) I still eat the same meals as everyone else - just smaller portions!
The only way to be frugal is to plan, plan, plan!
Now that the Crimbo deccies are down and out of the way its time to think about getting rid of the stuff I have but dont use.....
So this year I am going to start doing car boots. I do love a car boot but only ever sold at one twice and never liked it (I am not a people person!) but needs must. Since losing weight I have a huge amount of clothes to get rid of - now I know ebay is the best bet but its a huge hassle posting things off etc. There are sites on Facebook to sell things but again, hassle of taking photos, explaining why I wont deliver a top for a few pounds to a place where it will cost a tenner in petrol etc so that leaves a car boot.....
And anything not sellable will go to the charity shop - I have someone coming from Freecycle to pick up a small remote telly with built-in video which we have had for years JUST IN CASE.....of what????? its too small to watch and we dont have videos any more (do in the caravan but have a bigget telly to watch them on there)
T'other half is taking his dd to Asda so hes picking up cooking oil and eggs so hopefully that will be all the spending we have today.
My daughter wants a double bed in her room so will be keeping an eye on freecycle for that (and will then freecycle her single bed!)
And to continue the frugal theme....downloaded 7 free books onto my Kindle (bought as a Christmas present when they first came out)
Happy New Year to everyone!
I have just put my old calendar in the recycling bin and I bought one in the sales for £1 and cant find it!
Dinner tonight is a leg of lamb reduced from £14 to £7 - in the slow cooker and is smelling gorgeous - may be a long time before we can afford lamb again so making the most of it.
And I am wearing a new jumper bought with my Christmas money - reduced of course to £7....
So not a penny spent today!