Thursday, 12 December 2013

'Tis The Season To Be Jolly.

If you are anything like me then December is running away with you and Christmas is edging ever closer.

I have been out a few times as Christmas party season hits full throttle.

Tuesday was my sewing class dinner out £20, then Wednesday was a night out with Sarah Millican. I purchased my ticket back at the beginning of the year and was just brilliant.

This was on top of a night out with friends on Saturday, for which TC kindly picked up the tab.

Then this weekend is my book club do and we have afternoon tea booked at Netherstowe House in Lichfield. I am really looking forward to it, but at £19 plus tip it's not cheap. 

And finally on 23rd my work is taking us out to dinner. 

December is soooo expensive. I am enjoying having some social life, but no-one is could keep up this level of spending. Especially when you factor in Christmas presents. 

January is going to be the start of some big changes in the way I view savings as I plan to start putting away some serious cash.

Want some good news? 
Well, I had my review at work after the end of my probationary period. Every single area of my work was rated either "Exceeds Expectation" or "Outstanding". The two top ratings. I am thrilled. When you look back to how unhappy i was at the beginning of the year. 

So enjoy Christmas folks, as long as you can afford it.

Frugally yours

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Trips for Food.

I take great pleasure in keeping my wobbly bits wobbly with food.

As I am guessing many of the main chefs in families are women, you may be like me and mentally planning meals weeks in advance. I can normally tell you the meals I have available for the next  three weeks even if I am not a person who has it all planned out on an Excel spreadsheet.

I do a two monthly trip to Costco, a monthly big shop at the supermarket and then just pop in for fresh milk and veg.

Today was my Costco trip and as last time I went with my friend P who introduced me to the The Chap. She is a retired lady, and as she does not have a Costco card we go together and I pay then she gives me her share back when we get to her house.

I mainly go for the meat, picking up two months supply at a good reduction to supermarket prices.
4 racks of ribs for £9.48. £6  for one rack in Tesco for less meat. I have to add the sauce, but at a Pound from Poundland that's not a problem.

16 chicken breasts for about £12, 2.2kg of strewing steak for £9. And a 2kg pack of bacon containing about 50 thick slices for £7.78.

 You buy in big catering size trays, so as there are only two of  us I have to bag it into portion sizes. The chicken is so big I bag it in singles as one breast will do two of us in a curry.

So the freezer is full tonight.

You would think tonight we would be munching our way through it. Not true as this week week I got given this..

2 free pheasants shot by my new boss. I was delighted as the freezer still contains some salmon steaks after he gave me a whole line caught Scottish salmon a month ago.

Free food is even better than discounted food.

Costco is not only good for meat, I also buy wine there as Barefoot Merlot is £7 in the supermarket, but there I get a box of six bottles for £26.38, less than a fiver a bottle.

I still have to do the main shop, but if by chance we have a zombie apocalypse in the near future TC and I will be eating like kings for a considerable amount of time without having broken the bank.

I am always interested in what other people think is good at Costco, so suggestions would be welcome. 

I have learnt after a few trips that if I do not get their pistachios TC will pout.

Frugally yours

Monday, 25 November 2013

Sneaky sneaky

The Chap gave me a weird compliment the other day.

"Since you moved in, I've been a lot more regular"

Once, I caught my breath and stopped laughing I gave him a big kiss, as really he thought he was being nice.

I always knew he didn't eat very well, think frozen chicken nuggets and chips.

But I am a big believer in vegetables. I always thought TC didn't like vegetables, as when I asked him which veg he fancied with dinner I always got the slightly disgruntled look of a man offered an insect stir fry.

But after nearly 12 months living together, I have found a new way of dealing with it. I don't ask I just present him with his dinner with a variety of sides. He now eats corn on the cob once I bought some nifty spiked handles, asparagus, mange tout, cabbage, beans..... Well the list is endless.

I also sneak veg in to dinners without telling him. Tonight was a good examples. I cooked a cottage pie, including peas and carrots into the mince and then gave him a side salad with it. It all got eaten and seconds were asked for. 

You see sneaky sneaky!

Frugally yours

Friday, 22 November 2013

Christmas Saving

Christmas Is coming blah blah blah...

If you are anything like me then I suspect most of the shopping is done.

Judicious use of vouchers has really reduced my outlay.

Take the beginning of the month for example. The Chap is getting a SamsungTab 3 retails for £299.
I managed to get it for £235. By using my tesco club card vouchers and then buying it online to get an extra £20 off, plus another tender as it was my first online Tesco shop. I only had to wait two days, and considering it is still only November that's no hardship.

I have also picked up a couple of surprises, he knows nothing about. The Chap is not at all curious so I am not expecting him to go a searching. But, I am keen to know what his Christmas ideas are for me. He has not asked for any suggestiones and never visits shops. I have arranged all his family's gifts. 

So I am currently reviewing all post office cards saying there is a parcel waiting for him and as the sorting office is 200 yardsfrom my office have also been very helpful by picking them all up for him. If I am being given a Return of the Jedi poster I shall be most unhappy.

Also TC if you are reading (which he never does) any cleaning or cooking implement also comes under the "that is a shit present" heading. 

As it is our first proper Christmas living together I have invested in a special Christmas decoration that the cats cannot destroy.

Isn't he just precious.

eBay  has come up trumps again when it comes to work shoes..check out these bad boys for £1.24
So many nice comments from my lovely new colleagues.

And finally I had my 3 month appraisal (1 and a half months late, but hey who is counting.) and it went so very well. What a change 12 months has brought.. I am now happier, closer to home and saving a bloody fortune walking to work, not to mention 3 and a half hours better off every day.

Whoop de whoop! Wonder what next year will bring?

Frugally yours

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Warmth In Your Bones?

We have just comeback from our holiday just over a week staying at the inlaws villa in Murcia Spain.

The weather was glorious so much sun that I really felt my bones were being warmed. We did nothing whilst there.

We got up mid morning then sat outside until about seven at night before retreating inside to have a shower before walking down to the local restaurants.

Last year we did ten days and only ate out half of that time, this year we threw caution to the wind and ate out every night.

It's not cheap, and as we didn't want to pay for taxis (30 Euros returns trip) to the local town it was cheaper in the end to eat on the complex.

Considering the flights cost us £200 each back in January and the accommodation was free, it was an expense we felt was justified. We rarely eat out at home. 

I spent £200 whilst we were away. And I am fine with that. £400 in total for a week in the sun. You could go away for a weekend in the UK and it would cost a whole lot more without the weather.

So I have started saving, big time! I want to go long haul next year with The Chap. He is completely uninterested in planning it. So destination, dates and accommodation is all down to me.

I am also starting to plan ready for Christmas, as only three pay checks until Santa arrives.

I also have a big tax bill due on the flat I rent out, I need to be ready for.

The washing is done, the ironing completed so time to put the heat of the summer behind us and knuckle down for winter.

I don't know about you, but it is bloody freezing here. I don't like using the dryer so am planning the washing according to the weather forecast.

I cannot reduce the water bill by not washing but i can keep electricity usage to a minimum. 

The heating is not on here at South Fork, so I am writing this wearing a vest, shirt, jumper and hoodie . I am sure The Chap is raging with hormones at my pink fluffy and very thick socks. 

If you are sitting at home shivering like us, then I suggest some early nights under the covers with long chats about the state of the economy or Miley Cyrus on a wrecking ball. 

Better pop off, need to empty the washing machine so TC doesn't have to go to work in his under pants and socks rather than trousers and shirt.

Frugally yours

Monday, 26 August 2013

Division Of Labour

I often think that living with a guy successfully is all about hiding the CRAZY.

My crazy I mean, not The Chap's.

I don't mean clown wearing, axe wielding, rocking uncontrollably crazy. I mean hiding the fact I am obsessed about cleaning between my toes and not telling him  I count everything from steps to windows or those times when I suddenly think of the perfect comeback to a situation I faced years ago and say it out loud.

The Chap is not weird at all. The strangest thing I can say about him is sometimes he can through 3 pairs of socks a day. I don't know why or how, but I find them all over the place.

So, today is a case in point, TC needed a new suit for work, as he flies out to Norway this week, before returning to fly out with me on a much longed holiday.

So we were in M&S moaning about the machine washable suits were mainly slim fit for skinny jean wearing boys and not manly broad chested hunks of testosterone. Clothes shopping, is a chore for TC as he prefers to order items from the Internet, so clothes shopping is somewhere on a par with Ikea, Macros and queuing at the the post office in his mind.

Well, I had a wander off, only looking I promise! And was trying on some shoes when I realised that only half of my toes were painted, literally every other toe on each foot. The lady sitting next to me also noticed and was nudging her friend trying to get her to look.

I had been painting my toes before bed a couple of days ago and had only done every other so they would not smudge then I decided I was tired and meant to paint the rest the following day. I forgot.

So this morning I quickly grabbed my socks, and made a lunge for my trainers shoving them on.

It turns out ....on the wrong feet.

I couldn't then put them on the right feet as TC wandered over, and I was too embarrassed to change them over. 

 I spent the next twenty minutes as he paid for his suit with my shoes on the wrong feet.

I am thirty seven years old..this is a complete fail.

TC is none the wiser.

You see, hiding the CRAZY.

He is happily ignorant and together we are perfectly happy.

What crazy do you hide from your other half?

Frugally yours

Saturday, 24 August 2013

New Shades

I have been after some new curtains for the spare box room for ages.

But finding something nice and reasonable had proved tricky.

Imagine my delight at finding these..
Brand new!

And only, wait for it..


Yes that's right four pound coins.

I picked them up a couple of weeks ago from a car boot and finally got round to putting them up this week when I had a good go at getting the room cleared of junk.

I expected them to be too long / big etc. So was thrilled I did not have to fish out the old sewing machine.

Now if I could get some carpet for a fiver, life would be prefect. Lol

Frugally Yours