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

Sunday 17 September 2017

Christmas Thoughts

It really does feel like Autumn this morning.  Last night was very chilly indeed but the sun is trying to break through....fingers crossed :)

Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post.  It was so nice to have 'get well' wishes, I just hope I didn't come across as feeling self pitying :/

Yesterday, my thoughts turned to Christmas. Yay! I love Christmas! But not the expense :(
Last year I had some cash from selling my handmade cards to a local shop.  This year I have precisely....zilch....so my thoughts turned to ways of buying gifts for points not cash. I know I have Nectar points as I haven't spent any since last Christmas (well, post Christmas actually as I tried to eke them out as long as possible in January 2017) as well as some Boots points which I have been saving up.  I don't spend extra to get these points I just maximise the ones available.  For example, Sainsbugs have been offering extra points for a set number of card swipes in a given time so whenever near the store I buy a couple of items I need from there.  It's usually 8 swipes in 4 weeks so that's 2 per week and fuel purchases count too. I only buy items the same price or cheaper than elsewhere too, otherwise it's a bit pointless (lol....please excuse the pun, I couldn't resist it!)  So I have:

Nectar £25.61
Boots (as yet unknown)
M & S (ditto)

I also have a sealed pot to be opened in November

DD and I usually go Chrissie shopping the first week in November so I need to have a good think how to fund it this year. We have new babies to buy for this year too but I just want to put cash in a card for them.  I don't want to start having to choose gifts which might be totally unsuitable.  I'll start as I mean to go on.  We don't buy gifts for many adults in the family.  There is DD's family of 4, my brother and sister in law, and token gifts to 2 neighbours and a young couple we know. 

Perhaps I can make some stocking fillers again this year.

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Lists done? Bought anything?

Have a wonderful Sunday x

Wednesday 13 September 2017

An Apology and Autumn Arrives

First of all an apology for my long absence from my blog.  As soon as I get two new followers I go AWOL so a big welcome to Deb S and Janipi P  :)

I have had no blogging mojo at all for the last four weeks, I'm afraid.  My energy levels have been low and everything apart from day to day living has been an effort.  I got the results back from all my tests; kidneys, liver function, ovaries, and thyroid.  None of them showed any worrying results, thank goodness, so I still have no idea exactly what has floored me.  I feel a little better today apart from a headache so I need to soldier on and make sure I eat healthily in order to get my strength back (pause for some paracetamol....)

We managed to get through last month on a very tight budget although the bank account was squeaky by the end of the month.  There was just £9.48 left in my own account by the end of the third week and the annoying thing was that I couldn't withdraw £5 from that at any of the cash machines I tried...grrr... in the end I managed without by combing the house for every last bit of change.  Every handbag, pocket and potential hiding place was searched.  Boy was I glad when 1st September arrived!  The downside of this month is that it is now officially meteorological Autumn and it's getting colder.  Chilly mornings have meant that I have allowed the heating to click on (it's set at 13 degrees ) just for half an hour to make the start of the day a bit more welcoming.  We have not had an LPG top up since May so I feel justified in using a bit of what we have saved to warm us up first thing.  The heating is not needed in the evening as we can put the electric fire on if necessary and we tend to have a hot meal around 5.30pm which, in itself, warms us up.  I have brought out my fleecy blanket to snuggle into as I watch TV.  OH has always laughed at me when I use it but he actually shared it a couple of night ago when his legs were cold :D

I have been watching the news of hurricane Irma, the devastation, the flooding and the heartache.  My own heart aches for the people caught up in the storms.  We are so, so lucky here.......

Stay warm and safe wherever you happen to be in the world.  God bless you all xx

It's OK.....

  Angie 💓 xx