Ooo I do love a Charity shop! My fave one is the Salvation Army - at the weekend I got a black spotty top for me (£1.50), a black peplum top for dd (£1.50), a pure wool scarf for 50p and a Rosemary Conley hardback recipe/diet book for £1.
Yesterday went out in my lunch time - the charity shops in the town where I work are a bit dearer = got a lovely rust coloured light jumper (M&S) but paid £4 for it and a Weight watchers cookbook for £1.50.
As Im studying with the OU I'm entitled to a Student discount card - costs £12 and this is the first time I have got one - you can use it at the Co-op for a 10% discount. I mainly use Asda but often top-up at the Co-op and so far have saved a grand total of £1.50 off!
Cant believe my last post was March! Well, things have taken a turn for the better - my youngest dd left school so we lost the WTC and Child Benefit but she managed to get a job within a week of leaving - its only an apprenticeship (grand £2.68 per hour!!) but its with the Council where I work so no travelling costs and she will have an SVQ 3 at the end of it. So even on her pittance I still get dig money! And I have secured extra hours until the end of June next year so I am now working full time. Thats a bit of culture shock and to add to it I am still doing my History degree with the OU and just started my 5th course but first at level 3 which is going to be a lot harder - bring it on!
We decided rather than fritter that extra money away its going straight into a savings pot - this house is desperate for new window sills, re-pointing and the bathroom is a disgrace. We bought it 15 years ago from the council and heaven only knows when the last time the bathroom was upgraded - still have the old toilet with the black cistern! We dont have a shower either.
So thats our plans...which means I am still on the frugal wagon and watching every penny.
I was adding up how much todays outfit for work cost....M&s trousers, £2 charity shop, Bonne Marche top, £1.50 charity shop, Boots, £2 charity shop and my big padded duvet coat was £4...from a charity shop!!! The only thing I bought new (apart from underwear and I draw a line there! lol) was my handbag and I actually got that in Primark sale for £3. So top to tail for £12.50 - not too shabby!
Well I had carefully made out my weeks menu including lunches, given the troops the "we will be eating more pasta and pulses" speech.....got to Asda and struck really lucky on the reductions....£45 worth of stewing steak, braising steak, some lamb mince and chicken kievs for 10p per packet!!!! I spent £1.10 and have an extremely happy family!
I must admit I had always thought that the cartons of uht milk would work out cheaper than fresh milk but I was wrong!!! Fresh milk in Asda works out as 44p per litre whilst the cheapest uht milk is 57p per litre - although uht milk is handy as I always have a couple of cartons lurking in the cupboard.....you live and learn!
Well after yesterdays pity party I have girded my loins and got on with it....Todays menu is porrige made with water for breakfast, chicken and rice soup for lunch (made from Sundays chicken carcass and left over tiny bits of scrap chicken with rice, carrots and onions) Tea is Sausage hotpot (a la Frugal Queen) with pancakes and golden syrup for pud..
I checked and yes, the Child benefit Child tax credit will all stop.....heaven help us...deep doo doo......So, I have picked myself up and have looked again at our finances.... First, we have no debt at all except for our mortgage which is really small. I only work part time but it will enought to cover our mortgage and all our necessary bills (ie Housekeeping/electric/gas/phones/internet. I will cancel Netflix and my Gift giving from my wages. I run our money via a Freedom account where I have "virtual" envelopes for all our spending - its broken down into different accounts. So I earn enough to pay for following accounts - Car tax & insurance, Xmas, Birthdays (with a reduction in these both). The other accounts - Holidays, Household, Emergencie and Car repairs - will be added to when I can by selling stuff and car booting. We both had allowances we paid for clothes we needed and entertainment - I will not have enough for this....OH is looking to see if he can pick up any casual work but as he has back and neck problems its virtually impossible to find anything. We do have some savings but I need to keep them for emergencys only - its a slippery slope if you start using your savings for day to day stuff. I am looking for more hours at work but there isnt anything available at the moment.... Its dd I feel sorry for - she was getting £30 Education allowance for staying on at school and that will go - if she got into uni at least she would get a bursary but as it looks like it will just have to be college she will have to try and get a part time job but as we live in a very small town is really difficult. Sorry its a bit of a miserable post but its rather hard to be cheery at the moment...
Just when we thought things couldnt get worse it occurred to me that when youngest dd leaves school in June we will lose both CWTC and Child benefit... that will push us over the edge! She wants to go to college (didnt get into uni as she wants to be a midwife and there are only a few spaces and lots of applicants - still waiting for one uni to reply but shes not holding out much hope) so shes applied for a years course and will try again for uni next year...Im not sure when the child benefit stops so off to look that up now.....
Thank you everyone for your comments regarding the mango pulp....have been having great fun with it (its lovely just eaten from the jug I decanted it into! lol) Last night I got a sugar free jelly and used just enough boiling water to dissolve the crystals and topped it up with...guess...mango pulp! It was loveley! I added it to my normal chickpea curry recipe and it was great - its now my official thing to add to everything! Its lovely just swirled into plain fromage frais too and I made a lovely refreshing drink by adding some brighten up a 19p bottle of lemonade. I used the last of my housekeeping on the Approved food order and a free delivery from Sainsburys stocking up on heavy stuff like soap powder and tins so my store cupboard is looking fab.
My next plan of attack in March is to reduced my housekeeping budget by £50 - its quite difficult to reduce further when I already stretch it out by buying value/basics ranges but am working on it!
Very pleased with my Approved food order - I now have packets and packets of Weight watcher bagels and pitta breads in my freezer. Wasnt disapointed with anything - cannot grumble at 3kgs of pasta for 99p!
The only thing I am unsure what to do with is 3 very large tins of mango pulp - any ideas???
And did my weekly shopping with Sainsburys on-line with free delivery - so no petrol spend on going to the shops.
I dont use Approved foods very often - we dont eat a lot of processed food so there really has to be a really good savings on their to justify the £5.25 delivery but bagged some really good bargains today - the minimum spend is £15 and I spent £15.01!for allegedly £71 worth of goods (I would never have spent that much on them!). Which means I have only £80 food budget for the rest of the month which is ok. I got a nice email from Sainsburys as I havnt used them for a while offering me free delivery anytime for 3 months (order has to be over £40) so I will be taking advantage of that - I only use their Basics range but find its much better than Asda or Tesco basics range. And yes, its is a bit more expensive but by the time you factor in the time and petrol it takes to get a big shop and all the extra little bits that end up in the trolley it probably works out cheaper! And its triple Nectar points so I have applied for a Nectar card - every little helps!
My eldest dd got engaged at the weekend! to a lovely bloke and they are planning to get married next summer (2015) so its all hands to the pumps and start saving (and losing weight!)
I have canelled my reflexology appointment - never had it before so wont miss it and thats £22 I had put aside to put towards the hen night (dd wants a spa break of at least 2 nights!) I am now getting my haircut with a junior saving £8 every 6 weeks so thats roughly another £64 a year to put towards it.....
Normally I dont really got out but have been invited to a girlies bingo night this month with the ladies from work, a meal out with family, my 6 weekly haircut and a trip to New Lanark (to compliment my OU history degree - really looking forward to it!)so its going to be a tough month moneywise...Luckily I was really careful and saved half my allowance from last month but even so its going to be a bit of a challenge...Have spent a wee bit already at my fave charity shop - full length quilted coat with hood £4 (been after a warm long coat for ages), a deep red cardigan from BHS for work - £2, a shopping bag £1 (got back and there was a matching purse inside!) and I always keep an eye out for white cotton pillowcases there as they are only 25p and got a nice one with embroidery on the edge. Did our first grocery shop of the month at Aldis and spend £55 so happy with that.
Just looked on-line and its £8.50 to get into New Lanark, am going to take a Weight watchers picnic (my dd is taking me and she has lost 5 1/2 stones on Weight watchers)to keep the costs down with flasks for tea. Will go halves on petrol (3 hour round trip) Not sure how much the bingo is going to cost... they are talking about going out afterwards but I cant afford it so am going to have to say no - also have to figure in bus fare back (around £7). The meal is an all you can eat buffet so its a set price. My hair cut is the last time I will be getting a cut and blow dry - will have to go back to dry cuts and am trying to find a hairdresser who cuts hair at home to save even more. Just had a lovely tea of reduced price pork with loads of veg, stuffing, yorkies and gravy - mmmmmmm
Well spent nowt today...it helped by raining so couldnt get out at lunch - no mooching round the shops for me which is great...but it did cost other half £210 for his car to get through its MOT (I had the money in my car expenses account) Got weighed tonight and have only put on 3.5 lbs since the last time I got weighed which was December 10th so I was very pleased. I joined Weight watchers and lost 4 stones for my sons wedding in September - cancelled my membership and have been doing a bit half hearted so have put 7 lbs in total back on but back on track now.....
Well another new year and a new beginning! Our income has drastically reduced – oh had a wee job but that has finished so back to a very basic life style on my part time wages… We have enough money to live on to cover all the bills and we don’t have any debt so are a lot better off than a lot of folk but I will have to be careful and watch every penny just to keep our head above water – the fun part is trying to squeeze an already squeezed budget to get more “fun” money and have a wee savings account. So I have started de-cluttering to sell stuff or car boot it and see how much I can raise….This year I have 2 aims – the first is to use up all the toiletries we have before buying new ones (got loads at Xmas so certainly not deprived!) and the second one is to curb my magazine habit. I have always had a problem with magazines - love em! Been using my Tesco vouchers for the past few years and treating myself to a year’s subscription of the Prima. I had 12 copies in my basket and duly went through them to pull out anything I wanted to keep – ended up with a couple of articles, some websites to check out and a few recipes! All that money (imagine if I had paid £2.99 a copy!) for that…so no more magazines for me – there’s a Style at Home mag I occasionally buy and the Essential but NO MORE! I will content myself with the free magazines from Tesco, Asda and the Co-op. So now I have 2 boxes I have started filling – one for the car boot and one for better stuff I can flog on Gumtree or Facebook (really don’t like Ebay unless I have something special I know I can get good money for) My china shelves are posing a wee problem….I love china especially anything retro so have 2 coffee sets with coffee cans – one is very 60’s with an orange gerbera on and the other is pale blue and silver. Totally useless as nobody uses these sets but they are sooooo pretty! There are some lovely sherry glasses (again, who uses them?) and some other bits and bobs. They are staying there until I decide what to do with them…..So that is my sitting room decluttered …..