Thursday 30 March 2023

How Do You Make Ends Meet?

 It's looking increasingly likely that G will be giving up his weekend work sometime this year.  It's getting much harder for him now that they have put him on variable shifts.  He used to work from 10am -4.30pm on Saturday and Sunday only, but now it can be at any time, really early starts or 8pm finishes and it's killing him.  His neck pain is worse by the end of the shift and he falls asleep in the chair once he's showered and changed (usually into PJ's)  It can't go on. 

We are still on a mission to have enough money put by so that either one of us can survive for a whole year on their own, to allow enough time to decide what to do (eg stay put or move)  The savings have been depleted a little by the acquisition of the new-to-us car but it will save us money over time. Now I'm thinking up ideas of how to increase our income or stretch what we have still further.

Frugal things I'm doing now:

Paid surveys

Using coupons/discount codes on food shopping

Entering free competitions

Using the O2 Priority app for a free hot drink once a week and a vegan sausage roll on a Friday/Saturday if I'm near a Greggs shop

Selling on eBay

What do you do to make ends meet?

I sent my friend some chocolates for her birthday and received this lovely thank you card in return.....

It says just what I'm feeling now that Spring has officially arrived πŸ˜‚

Thanks so much for popping in and stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

Saturday 25 March 2023

(sings) I'm in the Mood for Baking 🎢🎡

Our meal yesterday was lovely....expensive....but lovely to see the family and watch the 2 grandkids wolfing down their steaks and desserts.  We had a lovely catch-up on what's happening in school and sixth form.  They are both studying for their exams; GS his 'O' levels and GD her 'A' levels.  It seems really weird that they will both leave school this year too.  I think DD will really feel it.  Children to adults virtually overnight!

When I popped to Sainsbury's this morning I was wandering aimlessly around wondering how to use up bits and pieces from the fridge as well as 4 eggs with todays 'use by' date on, when I saw this shortcrust pastry in the reduced section.  I settled on quiche....

The pastry case was baked for 20 minutes then filled with gently softened onion....

..... 3 of the eggs (beaten) 200ml milk, salt, pepper and some leftover grated cheese, then popped back into the oven for another 20 minutes......

It should serve 6 portions easily and the bit of leftover pastry has been turned into 2 jam turnovers πŸ˜‹
The one remaining egg will be my lunch for tomorrow.

Whilst the oven was on I baked 2 jacket potatoes and ate one for lunch with lactose free cheese, a bit of (reduced price) bagged salad leaves, cherry tomatoes, a grated bendy carrot and vegan coleslaw.  It was my idea of a perfect lunch and totally delicious πŸ‘

G will have the other potato tonight, re-heated in the microwave with the last few prawns from the freezer.  

The kitchen is warm and smells totally scrumptious.  The patio door is open to let in some fresh air, windows ajar and I'm wearing SHORTS!  Yay!  I love air on my legs instead of being cocooned in jeans or jogging bottoms.  The clocks go forward tonight into BRITISH SUMMER TIME. 

Things are looking up πŸ‘€ πŸ˜€

How is it where you live?

Enjoy your weekend folks and do stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

Friday 24 March 2023

I Can Hear You! And a Major Decision Made & Executed

This morning I attended my appointment at the hearing centre in the village for the micro-suction earwax removal. I glad I did. The simple and painless procedure, which normally takes about 5 minutes,  took much longer because the wax was so compacted.  I've never had my ears syringed in my life due to having perforated eardrums in both ears since childhood so there was about 65 years worth! The young chap did a marvellous job.  He explained everything as he went along and had to spray olive oil in my ears several times to soften the debris.  He eventually removed it all including tiny hairs from haircutting which had worked their way inside the canal πŸ‘€  Immediately, I could hear better and now my tinnitis has diminished too to a gentle hum.  £70 well worth spending in my opinion πŸ‘

A Decision Made:

For a while now G has been debating whether or not sell his car.  It's a Volvo, 5 years old, diesel, automatic and we simply don't use it enough for it's own good.  It gets driven a 20 mile round trip on Saturday & Sunday when G drives to work, then sits there on the drive with just a short journey to pop to the shops etc  It needs 4 new tyres this year at a cost of £1000 and a service is over £700.  Diesel is far too expensive too.  After thinking long and hard, G swapped it yesterday for an 8 month old ex-demo VW Polo which will be far cheaper to run.  When my VW Fox eventually bites the dust I'll be able to drive the Polo, which is a similar size, although I will have to learn to drive an automatic vehicle 😏  It was a 'no brainer' in the end to compromise on a smaller vehicle though. It was virtually a straight swap with just a small payment to make up the cost. The insurance has worked out almost £100 cheaper too and the car will only need a service once every 2 years instead of annually.  The small amount of money we had to pay will be recouped in a very short time with the savings we can make. That's another step towards making our lives easier, I think.

A big thank you to everyone who left comments on my last post.  It has made us all count our blessings hasn't it?

We're looking forward to a cheerful family meal at a local pub tonight to celebrate DD's birthday. It will be great to have a catch-up with the 2 grandkids too.  I don't see them so often now that they have exams to worry about.

Reasons to be thankful:

For a beautiful daughter who was born 48 years ago today

For having a clean, warm home and food on the table

For the chance to swap to a lovely, nearly new car

For having the opportunity to have my ear sorted out

Thanks for popping in everyone and stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

Saturday 18 March 2023

Can You Eat On 50p For One Day?

That was a question set on Facebook and Sue, from A Smaller and Simpler life, gave it a go.  I needed to visit Sainsbury's today anyway so wracked my brains to see if I could actually do it.

I started with some baked beans for protein and filling power but the big tin cost 45p therefore out of the question. This small 200g tin cost 21p and offered 168 calories as well as 1 portion of my 5 a day.....

Next came a potato also for filling power.   Loose baking potatoes cost 70p per kilo. At my calculation this one cost 14p

My banana was the smallest I could find at 12p.

I actually spent 47p and had there been any loose carrots, I would have tried to find even a bit of carrot for 3p to nibble on. But there were only 500g packs.

With such a small amount of food I know I would be hungry.  I would skip breakfast, eat the microwaved jacket potato with the beans piled on top for lunch and eat the banana mid afternoon.

What a desperate situation to be in with not even a hot drink to fill up on.

I priced up other options.  The cheapest flour to make flatbread in a frying pan.....

The cheapest tinned fruit ....

The cheapest jam was 39p but with bread at 39p as well I couldn't have had both....

It's horrible to think that there are people who have to make this kind of decision on a daily basis.  Food Banks do a marvellous job in desperate situations and I have resolved to donate much more on a weekly basis, so something good has come out of this experiment.

Thanks for popping in and stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

Wednesday 15 March 2023

You Know You Are Getting Old When.....

You know you are getting old when....

Shop assistants and cashiers call you darlin' or sweet'eart
A Big Issue seller calls you 'my lovely'
Aches and pains refuse to go away
People tell you "well, you are at a funny age now"
You suddenly realise that your hearing isn't what it was

 Oh yes....I've had all of those things over the last week or so.  I'm certainly feeling my age suddenly.  I've had eye problems; 3 times in as many months.  I've had a chalazion, a stye and an unexplained swollen upper lid, one after the other.  The GP doesn't want to know so I've put up with it until the problem went away on it's own.  Now I've realised that I'm becoming deaf in my left ear and have Tinnitus too.  It frequently sounds like a bird tweeting in my ear or a loud buzz which seems worse at night when I'm trying to sleep.  Yesterday, I bit the bullet and phoned the hearing centre in the village to ask their advice because (you guessed correctly) the GP doesn't want to know πŸ˜• They immediately offered me a free examination the same day which disclosed that I have excess wax in my left ear.  I have an appointment now for  a week on Friday (24th) to have micro suction treatment to remove it.  It will cost £70 but I'm hoping that it might help both with clearer hearing and Tinnitus.  I'll let you know....

Meanwhile...I'm getting older by the second πŸ˜†

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

Saturday 4 March 2023

Taste Me Don't Waste Me, Plant Based Cheese and Contingency Plans

I read online that Sainsburys are trialling cheap veg boxes.  The box costs £2 and contains a random selection of fruit and veg which is all on it's 'sell by' date.  Now this sounds good to me, mainly because you can see what you are getting before you buy, not like Too Good To Go which you have to take pot luck with.  On Monday we had to drive to Kidderminster for something else ( a half hour drive away)  and so took the opportunity to pop into the Sainsburys store there.  They do the boxes!  There was only one left and I didn't take it because I didn't need it at the time but took a peep in it out of curiosity.  It contained loose potatoes, oranges, apples, a pack of limp leeks, a pack of very nice looking raspberries and an aubergine.  Not bad for £2 and, I would guess, if you're lucky to have a few to choose from, brilliant value........

When I went into our local store this morning I happened to see the manager and asked him whether or not they will be stocking them there.  He thinks that it's perfectly possible that they will if the trials go well.  Fingers crossed πŸ‘

It made me decide to check the last couple of baskets in the cupboard under the kettle and toaster, just to check out dates on packets......

Oops..... time to make tea bread I think.  I steeped the fruit in earl grey tea for a couple of hours .....

.....whisked 2 eggs with sugar, added flour and mixed spice and popped the resulting cakey mix into the oven for 50 minutes.  That sorts out G's sweet fix for a couple of days πŸ˜‰

Whilst in Sainsbugs I spotted this grated cheese.  As I've been cutting down on my dairy consumption, I tried Cathedral City's plant based cheese instead.  It's a very tasty strong Lancashire cheese flavour which melts quite well on toast but is impossible to grate, it's so very crumbly.  This ready grated is a good idea but at £2.30 for 150g is very expensive.  I left it on the shelf for now.  I do wonder too whether it has been coated with flour to keep it separate like they do with other grated cheeses.  It would add gluten where it's not needed......

In other news:

Last week was very BORING 😞  G was in the worst pain with his neck and my back was very dodgy. The pain radiated around my hips and into my stomach muscles. I think it was the cold which exacerbated the pain for both of us so we didn't stray far after our trip out on Monday but layered up and pottered about at home;  G with his heated neck wrap on, and me with a hot water bottle at my back.  We make a right pair of wrinklies πŸ˜†

The frugal food shopping is still ongoing this month as we really, really need to stay within budget as the energy price cap is set to rise on April 1st  and we can't rely on continued help from the Government.  If help does continue, it will probably be more targeted and we might not qualify as we don't claim benefits of any kind.

We are still some way short of our emergency savings target so 'Sell and Save' will continue whenever possible.  I need to have a good sort out to find things we don't need or use.  I had one small sale today on eBay which will pay me £17.99 after fees.  That will go into my savings tin.

March is a very expensive month as we have a lot of birthdays coming up.  DD's birthday is towards the end of the month so I need to save a bit of cash to buy her gift ( I know what I'm going to buy her) There are 5 other birthdays as well but I'll pop a scratch card inside the adult ones and a small amount of cash in the children's ones. 

Our existing savings have been juggled into accounts paying slightly higher interest than before.  It's quite a novelty getting 3% when 0.25% has been the norm for so long.  Now that we are both in our 70's we are trying to get everything into joint names just in case the worst happens and one of us is left alone.   We don't want to risk accounts being frozen and not being able to get any cash from them.  We have seen this happen twice already; to a family member and a friend.  Not nice.....

If G pops his clogs first, his 2 pensions will cease to be and, of course, there will be no more income from his weekend job.  My income will fall to just my basic pension, and that's the old State Pension not the new one. I've received a letter showing the new rate from April of £147.86 per week.  There's no way that would be enough to keep body and soul together πŸ‘€

Have you thought of this scenario?  Have you made contingency plans?

Thanks for popping in folks and stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

It's OK.....

  Angie πŸ’“ xx