Tuesday, 3 October 2017

I'm Excited!

I'm excited! I want to shout out loud.....

I have my first Christmas Presents!

Boots have begun to stock their shelves with Christmas stuff and I just happened to see some suitable gifts when I popped in with DD for something else.  I got 2 lovely gifts for women and one for a man which had a potential total cost of £18.50  By using my points and Boots' 3 for 2 offer I got them for FREE and I still have over £1 worth of points left on my card...result!

On Sunday morning I put the kettle on to boil for my first cuppa of the day, opened a new box of teabags and idly counted them one by one into my airtight empty! WHAT?? A box of 40 teabags contains only 38?  I tipped them out and tried again.  Still only 38. They are the cheapest Sainsbugs Fairly Traded teabags but I still felt cheated so I sent off a very polite email to Sainsbugs to query this.  By Monday I had received a very nice email to say they will be looking into this issue and that they will credit me with 400 Nectar points (worth £2) by way of compensation. I just checked and they are already in my account. Thank you! In all my 46 years of wedded bliss I have never before thought to count the teabags in a pack.  Have I been missing out all these years? Do some packs contain more?  Is it a hit and miss issue? Has anyone else ever checked theirs? Or am I completely nuts?  Answers on a postcard please ;)

Regarding Nectar points, I checked at the weekend and I have points worth £25.87 so far....

Add to this my free 400 points and I have £27.87 towards more gifts (jumps up and down in excitement! )  Today I received another email newsletter to say that from Friday to Sunday this week Nectar card holders will receive free prize draw points if they spend £10 or more and swipe their card.  It's well worth doing because the top prize is 5000 points worth £25 and you will get at least 200.  Go people! ;)

By the way, OH loved the sausage casserole.  He said it tasted slightly sweet but absolutely delicious.  It didn't need any extra liquid and served him 2 enormous portions.  If I had been a bit quicker I could have stretched it to 3 and frozen one of them.  Never mind I'll know for next time ....

Thanks everso for popping in.  Stay safe x

Sunday, 1 October 2017

It's October! Foodie Post

Thank you all so much for your comments on my last 2 posts. It seems that many of you can't help but notice the price hikes in the shops either and I can't see things stabilising in the foreseeable future.  A lot of belt tightening to come, I think....

Today is October 1st and the good news is that my food spends have stayed just within budget this month (12p left)
I have checked my store cupboard and freezer and still have the makings of:

Sausage casserole (slow cooker),
HM veg curry (I have never made one from scratch before so it will be a bit hit and miss!)
Quorn fajita wraps.
A few frozen prawns which OH can have smothered in Marie Rose sauce on a baked potato
 so potentially 5 evening meals if the sausage casserole serves OH twice.

 Leek & potato soup (twice)
Cheese on toast
Baked potato with baked beans
Sandwiches (egg perhaps)

My tasks this morning have been prepping sausage casserole for OH tonight......
2 sliced onions and 6 browned sausages (cut into chunks when brown)

 I only had 2 carrots left....

A jar of sauce 86p (I haven't bought this before so I hope it will be ok)

All put into the slow cooker to work it's magic. It should give hubby 2 good portions.  It might need more liquid but I'll see how it goes as it cooks.  As you know, slow cookers tend to create steam which adds to the liquid level anyway.  I'll let you know how it tastes in another post....

There were just 2 leeks left so soup is now bubbling away for my lunch and there should be plenty left for tomorrow....

Monday is' big shop' day so I need to get fresh salad stuff, veggies, fruit, some fish and not much else I hope :/
October needs to be a frugal month too. If I can spend as little as possible at the beginning of the month I might be able to keep some cash in reserve towards Christmas food.

Have a lovely day everyone and thanks so much for popping in x

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

A Century Reached

Today is my Mum's birthday.  She would have been 100 years old and I got to thinking how the world must have changed since 26th September 1917 when she was born.

 In many ways the changes are for the better:

Free healthcare,
Better housing,
Guaranteed old age pensions,
Washing Machines,
Television, for example
I'm sure you can all add much more to the list....

But I feel that some changes are for the worse. There can be a loss of community spirit with an 'every man for himself' attitude in some places.  We are far more mercenary in attitude whereas our parents never bought anything new unless the old item was broken.  Credit was shameful to them and my Dad worked long hours to keep us in a decent council house with coal for the fire and food to eat.  Holidays were few and far between and every penny was stretched until it squeaked.

Thank you Mum for passing on your knowledge to me and my siblings.  As a pensioner now myself I have sifted through my inherited frugal mindset to give me a sense of being able to cope come what may....
 I Love You Mum
Sleep Tight
Have a lovely day folks wherever you happen to be xx

Monday, 25 September 2017

Seeking Deals and Rocketing Food Prices

It's now officially Autumn, not just meteorological Autumn, but the real thing and the time of year when lots of bills start coming in including renewals.  I don't just pay the renewal price but do lots of research to try to get things cheaper.

My car is due it's annual service but it's almost £350 for a major one and I do so few miles that I'm thinking of leaving it until the Spring.  That will help keep my budget totals for 2017 in check.  It will need an MOT in December though and as the dealer has increased prices I intend to shop around for that too.  Every pound saved makes a difference.

OH is also checking broadband deals.  We are with BT and the contract expires on 23rd December when the price will increase from £28 per month to £54.99 per month :/  We use freesat for TV viewing so only need a fair broadband speed for emails and browsing.  We also pay 12 months upfront for the phone line (£205.08 last January) OH is wondering whether we can cancel the phone line and use our mobile phones to make calls instead but I'm unsure of the practicalities of doing that.  Has anyone else done away with their phone line? Is it possible to use a mobile instead of a fixed line on a long term basis?  The jury is out.....

Bloggers have been commenting on the rocketing food prices in the shops.  I totally agree.  I seem to get less for my money every single week and many of the Basics and Savers brands have disappeared from the supermarket shelves altogether. Mr M's basic butter has increased to £1.35 a pack. It seems only a short time ago that it was less than £1. I bought one of the last few packets of mixed dried fruit on the shelf this morning.  I really hope they are not discontinuing those as I use them in lots of HM cakes and puddings :(

 I am trying to cook simpler food to keep the cost down too; more jacket potatoes, soups, baked beans on toast, slow cooked casseroles etc and OH has meat of some kind only two or three times a week now.  Fish makes an appearance once or twice and it's often just fish fingers or fishcakes so that I can eat it too.  Hubby says he doesn't really miss meat all that much and it's more of a treat when he does have some.

The family came to visit at the weekend and I was unsure what to feed them on.  Mr M is selling packs of 4 x Estima baking potatoes for 50p and they looked lovely so I bought 2 packs plus a large block of mature cheese for £3.50. Tea for 6 of us consisted of  baked potatoes (microwaved then crisped in a hot oven) and I put out a bowl of grated cheese and some hot baked beans along with a bag of mixed salad (43p)  From the bottom of the fridge the remains of some YS'd cucumber (19p), sliced YS'd radishes (35p) and a red pepper.  Every bit was consumed with relish.  Even the children, who can be very fussy eaters, cleared their plates. Result!

A meal plan for tonight onwards is my next task. I spent very nearly £40 on the food shop (including £5 on a big pack of washing powder as it was on offer) and need to stretch everything to last for as many meals as possible.  Wish me luck....

Thanks so much for popping in x