Monday, 28 February 2022

Final Day in February....



I can't believe it's the last day of the month.  Where are the weeks flying to?  The good news is that tomorrow will be the first day of meteorological Spring ( I never know if I have spelled meteor-whatsit correctly! 😏) so we have some brighter, if not exactly warmer, days to look forward to.

This month has been a very steep learning curve as far as stretching the budget and adding to savings goes.  We have managed to eat well whilst re-stocking the stores a little, as well as saving over £20 on the usual food budget. I have learned that I mustn't take my eye off the ball when it comes to food planning.  A weekly plan has made me focus of what we have in, what needs using up and  how not to waste a thing. The totals below are exactly that...totals ....so that is it for February.  We still want to save a little from the March food budget as ongoing savings are essential during this, our Frugal Year.  I don't want to bore you all with a blow by blow account of weekly food shopping but I will keep a total going and I will talk about any special bargains along the way.  

Anyway, that's all for today. Thanks so much for popping in. 

Sending special thoughts and prayers for the people of Ukraine πŸ™

Stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be x 

Sell & Save:

£215.31

February Shopping Challenge:

£196.02/ £220 ( £20 swept to savings account)

Friday, 25 February 2022

A Change of Tack & False Economy

 Yesterday, I thought I was done with shopping for this month yet this morning saw me in Sainsburys buying chocolate for G to take to work tomorrow in his lunchbox.  I couldn't really refuse to go as he was busy laying one more patio slab πŸ˜„  So there I was browsing and checking the Smartshop App for bargains.  Shopping so far has cost £178.04 instead of the usual £220.00 and I intended sweeping the excess into savings.  However..... during a restless night when I just couldn't drop off to sleep for thinking about energy prices, fuel and the poor people in Ukraine,  I wondered at the common sense of saving a few extra quid in the account when I could be (should be?) stocking up on food, so I decided to sacrifice up to £21.96 on buying the bargains and just sweep £20 into the account.

I saved a fair bit of money on things we buy any way:

Milk 95p  63p x 2

Tinned pears £1.10  77p x 2

Cotton pads £1.85  £1.30 x 2

Teabags £1.10    77p x 2

In addition, There were 2 half price quiches (for the freezer), some fish fingers on offer and a couple of rice pouches (just enough for 2 portions in each)

I realised that I had a £3 off voucher plus 5 x Nectar points voucher too πŸ‘



It came to £20.23 and G paid me for the chocolate therefore the total is £17.98  I've added it to the total for the month below and am sweeping £20 into savings.

The false economy mentioned is in relation to dishwasher tablets. I bought this pack of 60 tablets costing £5. Unfortunately, they do not perform well at all.  Even at a 65 degree wash they leave streaks on everything especially cutlery so that I end up rinsing and polishing them by hand.  Not the best use of my time.  I was determined to use them up but was relieved to use the last one on Wednesday.


These also cost £5 but there are only 29 tabs in the pack so double the cost.  However, last night's load not only smelled clean and fresh but were sparkling clean.  Well worth the cost, I think....


Anyway, thanks so much for popping in.  Sending (((hugs))) to anyone who needs one.

Stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be x 

Sell & Save:

£215.31

February Shopping Challenge:

£196.02/ £220

Thursday, 24 February 2022

Final Food Shop for February

 We received our final food delivery for February yesterday afternoon. Most things were in stock with just 3 substitutions. I'm OK with that but I have to confess I was shocked that 2 pints of milk have increased by 10p to 95p.  I wouldn't mind if the extra 10p went to the dairy farmer but somehow I doubt that. The total cost of the shopping was £42.92 and we now have enough food and other supplies to see out the month, especially if we use the fridge bottom bits to make soup for lunches. 

An easy tea last night.... 


Linda McCartney Country pies (two for £1.13) mash made from two baking potatoes which were sprouting (20p) and a small winter cabbage from the allotment (free) ,vegetarian gravy

While the oven was on for the pies I made a crumble using the last half a bag of summer fruit from the freezer and a packet crumble mix ( 55p).... 



20 minutes in the oven and served with a dollop of ice cream πŸ‘πŸ˜ We were totally stuffed 😱

Stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be x 

Sell & Save:

£215.31

February Shopping Challenge:

£178.04/ £220

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Thoughts of Puff Pastry.....

 Well I came up trumps after all yesterday.  We found a lovely pub in which we booked a table for Sunday lunch and G not only bought me a half pint of lager but a cheese and onion cob too πŸ‘ πŸ˜ƒ  On the way home we passed Sainsburys and I offered to buy us a cake each for a treat.  This pack of apple turnovers (spurred on, no doubt, by the thought of Sue's apple rolls 😍) cost me £1.35 of my pocket money, leaving me £1.85 to last the month.......


I was quite surprised to get a message from Nectar just after we arrived home  to say ....

They are worth 25p so not to be sniffed at 😊 Yay!

I've also had 2 small eBay sales today netting a total after fees and postage of  £25.75 This has been added to the Sell & Save total below.  I probably won't get any more sales this month so that is probably the February sales in entirety now.  I'm happy with that.

The last food delivery of the month is due this afternoon and I hope to be well within the usual monthly budget of £220 so that we can save the difference.  I'll update the total in the next post.

Stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be x 

Sell & Save:

£215.31

February Shopping Challenge:

£135.12/ £220

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Sam Squirrel's Puzzle & Holding On To My Coppers

 After another very stormy weekend the sun is, at last, shining and G is in the garden laying another slab.  He can only manage one at a time but we are slowly getting there.  The neighbourhood squirrel is currently giving us the runaround by stealing all the bird food so we have bought a baffle from the internet.  He is quite puzzled by it and keeps coming back for another attempted climb up the pole.  He has climbed the fence to see if he can jump the gap (not so far) and also comes to the french doors to look in at us.  I'm expecting him to blow a raspberry at us some day soon πŸ˜†


A few days ago the display on our energy monitor stopped working, there was no cost shown although the useage was still displayed....



It's working again this morning. Does that often happen I wonder ?

Thank you to everyone who commented on my new shacket, it was lovely to have so many lovely compliments! 

I didn't venture far at the weekend, just to the postbox on Saturday and a walk round the street in the rain on Sunday because I felt so sluggish so my remaining pocket money is still in my purse πŸ‘ Unfortunately, there is still almost a week to go before the end of the month and I'm still not sure if I can make it.  G isn't working on Sunday next for a change and has promised to buy Sunday lunch somewhere so we are off this afternoon to find a nice local pub.  Who knows he might even buy me a coffee.  I certainly can't! πŸ˜‚

Stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be x 

Sell & Save:

£189.56

February Shopping Challenge:

£135.12/ £220

Friday, 18 February 2022

Storm Eunice


Storm Dudley was a bit of a damp squib yesterday, just some wind and drizzle, although we had heavier rain overnight.  Today, Eunice is a different kettle of fish.  The winds are very strong and the rain is freezing.  I had to go out to post a package so we decided to visit the local plant nursery as well because G wanted some aconites for underneath the tree in the garden.  Whilst we were there he treated us to scones and a pot of tea πŸ˜€  An hour later, on the way home, we wondered why the traffic was so slow moving.  It soon became clear... a big tree branch had fallen across most of the road so that traffic was down to one lane (just!)  It's made a bit of a mess and will hold up the rush hour traffic.  I hope someone has reported it because I didn't know who to contact.  Would it be the council do you think?

I've been feeling the cold over the last week or so and, despite not wanting to spend money at the moment, found a shacket ( a cross between a shirt / jacket apparently πŸ‘€) reduced to half price on the internet.  I ordered it 2 days ago and it arrived this afternoon....


.....not only will it be great for Spring, but I can wear it indoors if I feel really cold.  I'm trying not to buy anything else until Summer when I might need some T shirts and shorts to replace the tatty ones I have worn over the last few years. The savings must come first.

The last few quid of my monthly allowance is dwindling; £1 spent on a food bank donation this week leaving me just over £2 to last another 10 days.  I don't know if I can do it.  A fail is looking likely πŸ˜•

Anyway, 72p spent on a TV guide from the food budget has been added to the total below.

I visited the Hospice CS yesterday to see if my latest batch of cards have sold.  Out of 54 donated so far there are just 9 left therefore £45 profit to the Hospice along with a request for 'more please!'  I hope to manage a bit of crafting this weekend once I get G to work and out of my hair.

 Stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be x 

Sell & Save:

£189.56

February Shopping Challenge:

£135.12/ £220

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Still Pretty & Pear Champion

 For the very first time I have managed to keep my Christmas poinsettia alive and it actually looks reasonably happy. I took in the advice to water from the base with tepid water once a week and it's thrived.... 


There is new growth too but now I don't know what to do with it. I can't throw out a living thing but I know it won't set red bracts for me again. Should I feed it? G is a gardener but hates house plants so knows nothing about after care. Does anyone out there know what I should do please? 

On checking my Nectar account this morning, I find that I had a bargain yesterday. Not only was I was given a special price of 77p on our usual teabags but also 60 extra Nectar points worth 30p so, in effect, the teabags cost 44p 😁 Yay! Possibly worth getting wet for! 


There was also a special price on tinned pears so, you never know, this year I could achieve #1 buyer status! 


Stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be x 

Sell & Save:

£189.56

February Shopping Challenge:

£134.40/ £220

Monday, 14 February 2022

Under a Cloud


 

Against my better judgement I was persuaded by G that we should do the food shop today because:

a) it would be quieter (it wasn't)

b) there would be loads of YS bargains (there wasn't)

c) it wasn't too cold out (oh yeah?)

We both lived to regret the decision because the store was very busy, very little YS items were worth buying and WE HAD A CLOUDBURST just as we were exiting the store .  Having no hood or umbrella, I was soaked in minutes.  As I explained to him this is why we have home deliveries in the main πŸ˜’

We did, however, get 2 bargains of a reduced vegetarian quiche for lunches, and a garlic flatbread to have with our quorn curry and rice this evening.  I have added a few items to the store cupboard and a couple to the freezer in the garage.  The total was £39.94 and I hope to only have to buy a TV guide in a few days time.

Speaking of TV did anyone watch last night's dramatic episode of Call The Midwife?  We were gripped! We also recorded and watched later (to cut out the ads) Trigger Point.  Vicky McClure is an amazing actress isn't she.  Just before we moved we binged on a re-run of all Line of Duty episodes.  I love that girl πŸ‘

BTW my decision to top up with petrol at the weekend proved to be a wise decision as 4p per litre has been added to the cost from today πŸ‘€

Thanks so much for popping in.

Stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be x 

Sell & Save:

£189.56

February Shopping Challenge:

£134.40/ £220

Sunday, 13 February 2022

Budget and Portion Control

At the beginning of the month I wrote down a personal spending budget which allowed me just £7 per week for 'fripperies' like coffee out.  Yesterday, the grandchildren came to visit and I gave them £5 each pocket money which I hadn't budgeted for πŸ‘€ so this is what I have left for the rest of the month 😟......


Luckily we have nothing planned 😎 I don't give them money every time I see them but I need to make an allowance for it occasionally, I think.  This is a steep learning curve!

This morning I had a peep at my free mag from yesterday.  It's actually a Retirement Lifestyle mag and it's a lovely, glossy and inspiring read.....


I would love one of these gardening aprons but at £140?  I don't think so....


One interesting article is on food portion control using hands as a guide for some foods ie bigger hands = bigger portions, quite logical really.  But the recommended portion of cheese is just 2 thumbs size.  Eek!  I'm cutting down on dairy but in the past I would have happily eaten that amount whilst cooking.....



On a different subject, eBay have another selling promotion on until Tuesday with 80% off selling fees so another cupboard rummage is in order once I've finished the ironing.  It's so horribly wet and windy today that the towels and bed linen are having to be tumble dried...Drat....the energy monitor won't like that one bit.

Stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be x 

Sell & Save:

£189.56

February Shopping Challenge:

£94.46/ £220

Saturday, 12 February 2022

Oops forgot! And More Free Reading


I forgot to add cornflakes for G on the shopping order on Wednesday and he ran out this morning πŸ˜•  I needed petrol anyway so popped to Morrisons to get fuel and buy some more cereal, oh,  and I picked up an extra pint of milk too.  Total cost £1.60 which I have added to the total.  On the way out I saw a free local newspaper and a free Prime magazine (which I'd not seen before) so I picked up one of each.  You can't beat FREE reading πŸ˜€ 

I had been debating whether or not to make my 1/4 tank of petrol last the month.  I have £20 in the budget for it this month and, as I'm not sure if the conflict with Russia/ Ukraine will affect supplies, I kind of talked myself into topping up just in case.  Why is it I always stop the pump at £20.01 ??😑
Anyway, I feel more comfortable with 3/4 of a tank full now and hope to cut back next month if we know all will be well with supplies.  Do you think we will have shortages again?
 

Stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be x 

Sell & Save:

£189.56

February Shopping Challenge:

£94.46/ £220

Thursday, 10 February 2022

A Timely Bargain Offer & Spring Planning

 We had a stroke of good luck with the shopping this week. G revealed that he had been sent a code from Sainsbugs offering a massive £18 off a £60 home delivery as a new customer. I didn't think it would work as I have been having home deliveries throughout most of lockdown at the old address anyway but it was too good an opportunity to miss. G opened an account in his own name, got me to do a big shop, and lo and behold the code worked😳 so we had £18 worth of free shopping delivered with our order yesterday. This has restocked the freezer and store cupboard a little and taken the pressure off for this month 😊 Food spend: £41.93 which is slightly lower than expected due to some fish I ordered being out of stock.  Figure added to total below.

In the garden this week:

The weather has been dry but very cold so far this week and still our thoughts are turning to Spring planting.  This photo shows our new bench in situ at the last house.....


.... since then it has languished in the garage to keep it dry during Winter.  This week it has been sanded and given another coat of varnish in readiness for warm days ahead and I already know where I want it to go in the new garden, but first some gravel will need to be laid to make a firm and level area for it to sit on.  The tiny patio will need to be enlarged too as it is made up of just 9 slabs (3x 3)  G will manage to do it eventually but his neck problem means that it will be one single slab laid per day.  A few years ago he would have done the whole thing in a day πŸ˜• Things get so much harder as you age don't they.

In the cold frame our onions are sprouting and soon we will need to start preparing the allotment for the new season.  We are hoping our Grandson will give us a hand digging in the green manure we sowed last year.  It will soon be half term break from school and he has promised to help πŸ‘

DD came for lunch today so we've had a lovely catchup and the family are hoping to visit at lunchtime on Saturday but will bring a chippy lunch to make it easier for me πŸ˜€

Thanks for popping in folks.

Stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be x 

Sell & Save:

£189.56

February Shopping Challenge:

£92.86/ £220


Monday, 7 February 2022

Veri Peri & Another Sale



As I'm not buying magazines at the moment I snapped up the opportunity to pick up a complimentary copy of Midlands Living from the plant nursery shop last week. It seems that when it comes to home decoration Very Peri is the colour of the year for 2022.  It turns out to be purple. Now I know of someone who is way ahead of the game here. What do you say Sue? πŸ˜πŸ˜‚πŸ‘




I have a small Sell & Save sale to report of £7.52 after fees and postage which has been added to the total below. I'm not sure if or when anything else will sell but I will persist for the rest of the month.

Thanks for popping in folks.

Stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be x 

Sell & Save:

£189.56

February Shopping Challenge:

£50.93/ £220


Friday, 4 February 2022

Sell & Save update and a weekend to enjoy!



 I can't quite believe that I can declare a result so soon but eBay recently had a promotional offer on reduced fees so I quickly got cracking and listed some bits and pieces including some treasured photographs signed by Sci-fi stars.  They were snapped up by enthusiasts and brought in a nett figure (after fees and postage) of £182.04  That is a great start I just need them to reach their overseas destinations in one piece πŸ‘€  πŸ˜€ There is a promotional discount on fees again this weekend so I'll try a couple of other listings......

We haven't been out much at all this week so decided to visit the local plant nursery this morning.  G fancied a cooked breakfast and bought me a buttered toast (I wasn't really that hungry) and a coffee as well so the remainder of my pocket money is still intact πŸ˜€ The slow cooker is on with a beef stew for G.  It should make him 3 meals easily.  One portion tonight with a jacket potato, one on Sunday with extra veg and a third frozen for another time.  We are meeting DD and family for a pub lunch tomorrow.  It's been a long time since we did that so I'm really looking forward to it.  All family members will be LFT tested beforehand. It does mean that I will not have to do much cooking over the weekend....Yay!

Have a great weekend everyone and  stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x 

Sell & Save:

£182.04

February Shopping Challenge:

£50.93/ £220



Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Free Handwash & Week 1 Food Shop

 My visit to the CS shops yesterday sadly revealed nothing of interest 😏 but I did manage to collect my library book and run a few errands too.

I realised that I had forgotten to put hand wash on the shopping list and, although we haven't run out yet, I didn't want to risk doing so with the amount we still use.  There were still 148 points on my Boots loyalty card so I popped in to get some with my points.  It cost £1 (100 points) so FREE to me but it also generated extra points itself leaving me with 68 points for future use.....


The home delivery of the weekly shop had just 3 substitutions this week which isn't too bad and the total cost was £ 50.93  so well within the £55.00 budget.  I've added it to the total below.

I had to have my hair cut this morning so a big chunk of £32 out of my month's pocket money has already gone.  I've topped up my phone with £10, and put £10 aside for birthdays.  We have a lot happening in March as it's DD's birthday among many others.  I haven't topped up with petrol yet as I want to leave it a bit longer and try to put less than the allocated £20 worth in, although the price of it at the moment is high. You can't get much for 20 quid!

The rest of the day will be spent washing and ironing, not my favourite task πŸ˜’ Anyway...

Stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be x 

Sell & Save:

£0.00

February Shopping Challenge:

£50.93/ £220


Tuesday, 1 February 2022

February Fun & Games!



Well...not quite....but Boofle is on the right track πŸ₯° Love, compassion and concern for others should be a priority this year. So many people have suffered in many different ways over the last 2 years. I intend to try to help whoever I can in whatever way I can this year, even if it's just a listening ear. It's the first day of February so let us begin...

As I've already explained, we aim to keep  unnecessary spending to a minimum this year in order to recoup some of the savings we spent on the move. All of my state pension goes into the bills account and I allow myself £100 per month for personal spending. It sounds like a lot but can disappear in a flash if I'm not mindful. It has to cover petrol costs, haircuts, mobile phone top ups, birthday gifts and the odd cup of tea or coffee when out and about. I don't want to feel deprived or miserable, that's not what this is about 😱😁 February looks like this.... 


What is clear is that I need to find a cheaper hairdresser. I used to go to my daughter's friend's house where she runs her own business but it's too far to go now. She used to charge me £15 so it's a big difference. I have an appointment at the new salon tomorrow then I need to find somewhere else within 6/7 weeks if I can.  

The £10 per month for birthdays will be put aside until needed and G says he will share the cost for gifts. These days adults get a nice card with a scratchcard tucked in and children get cash. 

I can probably cut down on fuel and my mobile costs £5 per month so my top up will last until the end of March. 

This leaves me with £7 per week for personal spending for my food bank donation, CS books, coffees etc

I'm taking a drive to the village this morning to collect a library book so will make my food bank donation at the same time. As G has jobs to do at home I can have a leisurely browse around the charity shops too 😁

Stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be x 

Sell & Save:

£0.00

February Shopping Challenge:

£0.00/ £220

30 a Week Challenge Day 7

Saturday meals: Breakfast: Porridge oats with cinnamon (1/4 point) Lunch : Lunch was a bit of a cheat.  I saw this little pot of Red Thai st...