Friday, 30 March 2012

Food Waste Friday

"Trying To Reduce Food Waste One Day At A Time!"

It is Friday, which means it is that time of the week again – Food Waste Friday (imagine Vegas style show girls prancing at this point to organ music and a cheesy crooner!)

After last week's success, I am back down to earth this week with a nasty bump.

3 items got thrown today.

Gravy left over from a meal last weekend. With it’s stealth technology, it holed up on the bottom shelf behind some butter packs. Probably trying for long term notoriety in the fridge fraternity.

Also the dregs of a bottle of milk that went out of date on Tuesday. It made close friends with a tomato left over from some work lunches that I bought back last Friday from the office. I like to think they had a doomed love affair and committed fridge suicide together, rather than be parted.

A Purchase
I am always trying to make what I have last longer, but after 4 months I have finally given up on this make up bottle. It is well and truly bereft of any foundation after soaking in hot water, shaking and some general cursing and threats.

I have been buying Christian Dior foundation for years, it is currently £28.50 per 30ml bottle.

For 12 months in 2011 when money was very tight for me I gave up my favourite brand and used max factor instead but at £14 per tub, I realised I was buying it every month. Nope, no money saving there. So at the beginning of December I bought it again and today it has finally run out. Equates to £7.13 per month.

£28.50 is a lot to spend on a bottle of foundation, so I decided to try a different brand and after reading up I decided to look at Benefit “Hello Flawless” – hey who does not want to look flawless at 35? It was a bit cheaper at £24.50 for 30ml. Off I trotted at lunchtime today and got them to colour match it to my existing choice. She then applied it to the whole of my face. Perfect, I liked the coverage and the tone.

I casually mentioned that their website was offering two free testers with every purchase and would she do the same. “Of course” came the reply. I explained I was coming to Benefit to save money and then the piece de resistance, House of Fraser has a 2 day event on 10% off all purchases so the final price was £22.05. She also gave me 4 moisturiser testers. Brilliant, £6.45 saved on my purchase and some freebies. I can most definitely live with that.
Plus inside the foundation box was a pore reduction tester.

What have you got reduced / free recently?

Frugally Yours

Thursday, 29 March 2012

April Debt Reduction

It is Pay Day and that means Debt Repayment. Hurray! one step closer to being debt free.

As I have already paid for our upcoming Amsterdam trip and as the car needed to be repaired, this month I am not able to pay off quite as much as normal. Boo...  :o(

CAR LOAN           £0
CREDIT CARD 1:  Was £452.58      Paid £120.00      Now £332.58
CREDIT CARD 2:  Was £634.36      Paid £26.34        Now £608.02
OVERDRAFT:       Was £300.00      Paid £0               Now £300.00

MARCH DEBT:     £1386.94
APRIL PAID:        £146.34
NEW TOTAL:       £1240.60

I have paid 7.35% of my original debt back this month, and 37.7% of the total back since January . Small steps...

I am still hoping to be debt free by December at the absolute latest, and want Credit Card 1 finished by early June.

For those of you who have only recently started reading my blog (welcome!!) Credit Card 2 is interest free for 12months, so my priority is Credit Card 1 as I still pay interest. Though it is minimal, this month £2.45  

I also put £200 into savings and paid circa £35 for my monthly service on the flat. All the other monthly bills have been taken care of. My direct debits (mortgage etc) come out of a bills account I set up so that so I never go overdrawn.

I need to set my April food budget. £20 / week. So £80 to take me until 26th April 2012.

I have also today been checking my tax code as it changes on the 5th April. I will be better off by £14 per month. Thank you kindly.

What could you do with £14??

Frugally yours

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

A little something to look forward to..

The last few days before pay day (tomorrow) are always incredibly tight.

I am eating whatever is left in the house and spending the barest minimum.

Also, I used a big old chunk of the savings to pay for a weekend away next month for The Chap's special birthday. We are off to Amsterdam from Friday to Monday. Actually we are going between both our birthdays. A nice way to celebrate for both of us. Plus, I think we will by then, have been together for a year. In a very unromantic way neither of us can remember exactly when we had our first date. We think it was around the beginning of May.

So with paying for our weekend away, and having to fork out for the car it looks like for the first time in a long time tomorrow I will not be able to pay back a lot on the credit cards in April. I am very disappointed about this. Must try harder..

In fact I am really fed up about this.

Am I being stubborn? As two people have recently offered to pay back my debt for me just over £1300. Incredibly kind of them both, but I said No. I think they feel a little sorry for me as money is tight after paying for the weekend away. But, I got myself into this situation and I really feel it is my responsibility to pay it back. Hopefully, too remembering the hardship of paying the damn money back will deter me from allowing this happen again. So, I repeat, am I being stubborn?? My answer, "No, just taking responsibility"

My little Polo went off today to the garage to be repaired after that git bumped it and drove off. I should get it back either Friday or Monday and have a courtesy car to drive a nifty little automatic Micra. Quite nice actually, though a little to acidic blue for my liking. I am rather hoping they will clean it for me .... to hope! Then just the excess on the insurance to pay......sigh....£120.

Everything comes at once doesn't it? Plus I think the utilities should be arriving sometime in April. Great!

And the front door is still not replaced, I have bruises all over my hip from having to hip thrust it to open it.  Sexy!

Frugally yours

Monday, 26 March 2012

Material Bought, Check! (& The Great Debate)

I had such a lovely weekend. I was at the National Exhibition Centre on Saturday. All day and it was glorious!

The "Sewing for Pleasure" and "Hobbycraft" show was on. It only comes once a year and is a must for any sewing or hobby enthusiast. A few favourite stalls.

"The Silk Route" I am going to purchase some Indian Carpet Silk online to make a swing jacket like this (without the collar). Just beautiful unusual fabrics.

My absolute favourite "Fabrics Galore" actually had 2 stalls this year. Which is so much better as I was queuing for over 40 minutes to buy the dog fabric last year. This year I bought the heart fabric on the left.
£15 / m and I only wanted ½ m. My friend "P" noticed a fault in the fabric for the last ½m on the roll. So the kind people gave it me for free. Brilliant! The fabric on the right is for contrast, I am thinking it will make a nice bag.

Total Spent c £20. Could have been a lot worse!

"P" and I had a wander around the Hobbycraft section, she is an artist. But really it was mainly aimed towards card makers and scrapbookers. Not our thing, but fascinating to see what you could do.

We arrived at 9.30AM and left about 4isPM. Honestly, being surrounded by like minded people, seeing everything that there is to offer in my chosen hobby. It was like Xanadu for me.

And finally...
I got this sent to me Facebook Account. It has caused huge amount of debate with everyone I showed it to. Obviously B is the only way to hang paper.  I also "educate" anyone who is hangs it differently....:o)

"A" people are mad, mad do you hear me?

And finally finally: The Lost Hour, I would have spent re-threading my over locker. Now I have to do it tonight. Bum!

Frugally yours

Friday, 23 March 2012

Food Waste Friday

The holy grail of Food Waste Friday - no food food waste. Brilliant! Ages since that has happened.

However, I have some items on the cusp that I will have to munch my way through pretty swiftly.

On the top shelf is a Sweetheart Cabbage and 2 small lettuces (letti??). The lettuce has a use before date of the 6th March - it looks fine to me.

On the bottom shelf is a packet of celery, it does look a bit dried but I might have a go at cooking it and then freezing it to be used in stews / soups at a later date.

All of those items came from my parents before they went away. I should have remembered. Doh!

Yes, that is all my nail polish in the door shelf. It makes them last longer to be kept cool. Some of those bottles of delight are over 3 years old and still in good shape to use. Gives visitors a bit of a shock though when they open the door. :o)

I am really looking forward to tomorrow the Sewing For Pleasure and Hobbycraft show is on at the National Exhibition Centre and I am going with my friend "P" (she introduced me to The Chap so we like her a lot!) we have been looking forward to it for a few weeks.

I have given myself a budget of £50 to spend and hope to come back with some material and maybe some more patterns as they are quite cheap there. Just general loveliness really.

Mind you I bought this material there a year ago (I thought it looks like the Radley Dog).
Any ideas folks what I can do with it? 

I hope you have a fantastice weekend. Rest, relax and enjoy.

This weekend I MUST clear the paperwork and make more bread.

Don't forget the clocks go forward an hour on Sunday.

Frugally yours.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Difference An Hour Can Make

More accurately the difference 55 minutes can make.

I got home this evening at  6.50PM with so much to do. The Chap was coming over at 7.45PM and expecting dinner. It was a rush.

I walked through the door and immediately peeled potatoes and then put them into water to start boiling. I then put the oven on to start heating.

I ran hot water into the kitchen sink whilst prepping the potatoes and once finished I was able to do the washing up and left everything to drain whilst I scooted round the flat picking up every single piece of random paperwork littering the surfaces (that stuff is like gremlins / tribbles it just keeps multiplying). It has all been put on my desk in the spare room to be cleared over the weekend.

I then replaced the sofa throws and stuffed the old ones into the washing machine so I can put a cycle on overnight (when it is cheaper).

I ran the Dyson round the flat whilst waiting for the shower to run hot and carefully placed the chicken into the oven (aka stuffed the chicken in off centre) to cook whilst I showered.

Washed, shampooed and conditioned in 3minutes flat, used the flannel to wipe the shower down and shoved some cleaner down the loo. Time to clean my teeth and a naked dash to the bedroom where I got into something slinky (ok ok jeans and a T). Made the bed as I had been running late this morning and then put the veg on to cook as I was drying my hair.

Laid the table and poured us both a drink, then put an oxo cube, gravy granules and water into a pan to make gravy. Finally put my make up on and gave the shower door a final wipe before puttingthe used flannel into the washing machine. Back to the kitchen to be standing serenely stirring gravy and putting away the washing up as TC walked through the door.

Dinner served 10 minutes after TC arrived.

And that, my dear readers is how women multitask, or as I like to call it "The Economy of Movement Housework Ballet".

Admission.....I forgot to put deodorant on, but hey if I was perfect then I would have a set of beautiful wings and a halo.

How Do you multitask?

Frugally Yours

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Trashy Tv and Stressed out Blogger

It is 9.51PM and I am sitting in bed in my pjs writing this, listening to my neighbours going about their nightly ablutions. Ah the joys of a flat!

I am shattered. After the stress of finding my car so badly damaged on Monday by some rotter who drove off without leaving contact details, I just went into a complete decline on Monday evening. Not exactly crying, but very very down. The Chap came round after working late and gave me a huge hug, which helped then very kindly looked at the damage and helped me sort out what to do.

I hate to come across as a pathetic female. But, a bit of help is worth a lot of pity.

Thank you.

It was such a shame as I had some fantastic news during the day.

I then spent most of yesterday on the phone at work sorting out getting the damage repaired. Result - £1200 of damage and it goes in next week for 3 days to get all shiny again.

Car insurance is so important, and I think it is easy to get into the mindset of "reduce the cover" when arranging it annually.

I renewed in November last year. I know I could get my car insurance for about £300 after 17 years of driving with no incidents and (currently) a penalty free license. However, I have always taken a broader view and paid for some "extras" on my policy. This week I am glad I did. I paid £50 extra to have my no claims protected and I paid another £50 to have a very low excess. I noticed that normal excess tends to be between £250 - 500 pounds. I am SO glad now I got them to reduce it to £120. A lot less to find this month than it could have been. Yes I pay £100 extra a year than I could, but it has made the last 48 hrs a lot less stressful.

However, it depletes my savings and since I have just forked a lot to pay for the TC's birthday present next month and I still have to sort out a new front door, well it has left me quite upset to see my savings dwindle by so much.

Yesterday, after work was evening class and today i had to see family which meant I got home about 8ish. I ate then sat on the sofa and indulged in a guilty pleasure. I love, and I mean Love crap tele. I sat and munched my way through a packet of pretzels whilst watching "Murder She Wrote" I had recorded and then "Extreme Make Over - Home Edition". You gotta love that show. Why am I worrying about my paltry problems compared to some of those poor families in such desperate circumstances?

But, it did mean I did no housework and the flat looks a mess. Poor TC coming over for dinner tomorrow...

Do you have a guilty pleasure? A tv program you are ashamed to admit you love? If so please tell so I do not feel quite so trashy.

For a blog supposed to be about "keeping it simple" I could do with taking own advice. Don't hate me.... :o(

Frugally yours

Monday, 19 March 2012

Letter To An Unknown Friend.

Dear Sir / Madam

I know you want to keep your anonimity.

However, sometimes I believe the right thing to do under these circumstances is to share your benevolence with the universe.

What you did was absolutely the right thing to do. When you felt the bump and heard the crunch, sure the conservative action would have been to get out of your car and survey the damage then leave a note with your insurance details if you could not contact me. Besides I would have been tricky to track down, with it being our secure office car park.
But who wants to do that? Travel the road less travelled friend. Get back in your car and get out of there. Don't worry about me.

I have loads of money, and paying the excess on my insurance is no problem. It is the price of packet of tic tacs to me, dear one. I am rolling in dosh and I am happy to clean up after you. That is of course why I write a thrifty blog..

Infact I think it makes me a better person to do so. So Friend, Thank you. £1500 of damage to body work and chassis is nothing for You to worry about. I am grateful, really I am as just having paid off the car this month, you wrecking the passenger side just makes me more proud to own in. You made it unique...bespoke really.
Besides the passenger side, phuff I will not even see the damage.

I am grateful too, as your kind actions enabled me to make new friend today as I spoke with my insurance company. And who doesn't love a call centre at 8pm on a Monday night?? Really friend, you are kindness personified. I hope one day I get to shake your hand.

I just want to leave you with this little prayer of thanks... especially for you "May your children be strong and kind, may your garden flower, and your ears turn green and fall off"
Frugally yours
P.S. I was going to post part 2 of the wrap dress, maybe another evening when I have calmed down.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Wrap Dress Part 1 and Other Stuff. x

Hello and welcome to my new follower - Lena. Thanks so much for visiting! x

Been a weekend full of simple pleasures. Saw The Chap, did a bit of shopping and sorted out my home.

Not rock n roll, but it made me happy. I got some of those chores done, I wanted to do last week after work.

First I had to but some extras, and went to Iceland first to stock up on freezer fast food. I do this about once a quarter and spend circa £15, today was £12. It is food with little vitamins etc, but it does provide something to eat of those evening when you want to take a shower and get out to something hot.

I then went to Lidl and spent £13

I did get some bargains there, the cola was 39p per bottle, and as Tesco have seen fit to 'retire' my caffeine free own brand I will have to try and this. The shaving foam at the back was 89p  and 160 tea bags cost me £1.99.
I also bought some garlic powder for 59p. I have never used this before, but when you live alone you end up throwing away garlic, which is a waste, plus nowadays it is pretty tricky to buy only 1 bulb at a time. Perhaps this might be a good alternative.
March's Shopping £101.09. Going a bit over budget.. oops

I have also managed this weekend to make more thyme and honey rolls.

I did not have any wheatgerm, so used cornmeal, and vegetable oil in stead of sunflower oil. They tasted fine to me.

And finally I started on another wrap dress. Getting started is always the hardest part for me. First I laid out my material making sure it was evenly folded.
(Having a bit of floor space helps). I then laid out the pieces from the pattern and pinned it in place ensuring all the paper templates were right side up and even to the grain of the material.

Cut out, it looks like this.
That's enough for now, I will start putting it together this week.

It has gone quickly this weekend, and I am not ready to go back to work, still cannot shift this headache. Oh well perhaps a Baileys nightcap will help.

Frugally yours

Friday, 16 March 2012

Food Waste Friday

Friday speeds around, you open the fridge in "Darn it" there is something in there that needs throwing away.
I reckon this tin of condensed milk has secret camouflage technology as I swear I had not noticed it.

It has been sitting at the back of the top shelf for nearly 2 weeks since I had visitors. Not sure what I could have done with a half tin of condensed milk anyway... any ideas?

Checked every other shelf and nothing to report, everything looking ticketyboo.

Final spend for this week (not including petrol) - £5.50 however that does include £1 into the pot for an office lottery ticket. We never normally do this but after a rough week. It was decided we could do use the £37M. :o)

What are you up to this weekend?

Frugally yours

Thursday, 15 March 2012

I Rattle!

I have had a headache since Monday, today is Thursday. It is not fun.

Not a migraine, just a dull ache that starts at the back of the neck in the morning, and slowly investigates the rest of the skull during the day. I have taken paracetamol, aspirin, and ibuprofen, they work for a limited time.

Sitting hunched over a PC clutching a phone between shoulder and ear whilst listening to people bemoan the state of the economy, does not help.

Whinge over...

The result of this headache, is that I have got home every evening this week and done nothing. Yesterday, I sorted out the ironing then went to bed. If I was an American, I would say "It sucks" as I am not "This is just irritating, what what" :o)

I have restocked on bread, making two loaves on Tuesday.

I really wanted this week to cut out my new dress for work, look everything is ready to get started.

I love this fabric and think it will make a beautiful dress. Hopefully this weekend I can get started.

On the plus side it has been a low spend week, £3.80 spent since Monday not including petrol. Which is very helpful as the bank balance is starting to look a little low since paying for the car tax.

I visited my parents this evening on the way home from work. They are going off on holiday tomorrow, so I will not see my Mum on Mothers Day. I dropped off her card and we had a nice chat. I really miss them when they go away.

She took the opportunity to empty the fridge of fresh produce, so I have come away with 'free' goods. A pointed cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber. All destined for the bin. Brilliant!

Looking forward to the weekend, and spending some time on my hobbies. I want to cut out the new dress, go to the library, and order the book for April's Book Club. All very pedestrian, but I enjoy it and now in my 30s, stuff it I like my pursuits. I get a lot of pleasure from them. My work is not my life, it merely facilitates my other interests.

What do you get pleasure from?

Frugally yours

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

To Amuse You, Or When Frugality Goes Wrong.

Hello and welcome to my new follower Sandi, thanks so much for visiting me. x

I had a meeting yesterday with a rather important person. It was for work, but the meeting could not be held at either of our offices for various reasons.

It was decided we would meet for a discussion off site and a rather beautiful cafe was chosen in Staffordshire.

I arrived 10 minutes early, grabbed the last available table and sat down to peruse the menu for a drink. It was one of those expensive cafes where a pot of tea is served with a tea strainer and a bill for £3, with a cake you were looking at £6-7.

A quick scan looking at prices rather than beverages, revealed the cheapest drink was £1.10. It was for flavoured milk...

Reasoning I could pass it off as an iced coffee, I ordered a chocolate milk from the apron clad serving girl.

My important client then arrived and ordered a drink and we started to discuss and impending project.

Our drinks arrived. I could possibly have gotten away with the client thinking I was drinking an iced coffee, except for the pile of mini marshmallows floating on the top....


Frugally yours

Monday, 12 March 2012

How I Messed Up My first Official Food Waste Friday Post and Bought Alcohol! HaHa!

I have a song stuck in my mind today – the Boom Town Rats, "I dont like Mondays".  Its true I don’t, they have all the attraction of rubbing your eye after a packet of salt and vinegar crisps. I felt that way today. Mondays are my least favourite day of the week and I especially loathe Monday mornings.

I was shattered by Friday, and feeling a bit fed up last week. In fact Saturday afternoon I crawled into bed in the afternoon for a cheeky nap and woke up 3 hours later. I was ready for bed again Saturday evening at 11PM. I think such fatigue is probably stress related. I was running around a lot last week with work and after work. Any vitamin suggestions?

I made a cottage pie for The Chap and I on Friday and then walked it round to his for tea with the last of the thyme and honey rolls I made a week ago. Tasty, but next time I am going to pay more for the mince as from an 800g packet of Tesco Value mince I poured off over half a pint of fat as I was cooking it. ERGH!

I have a delicate stomach (wobbly, but delicate!) and greasy / rich food makes me so ill. Saturday 3am found me answering a call on the "big white telephone" in the bathroom whilst simultaneously trying not to wake TC in the other room. Horrendous. I am trying to keep an element of mystery in our relationship for heaven sakes! Never again...

Been a Low Spend weekend - total £35.53. £25.53 on food (including a £17 bottle of Bacardi) bringing the March total to £76.09. TC and I went for a friend's birthday lunch on Sunday and it cost me £10 - Seabass and Coke - delicious! The company was good and the sun shining always helps lift a mood.

Due to my sloth at the weekend, I have household chores after work - ironing, hoovering  etc, But I am hoping to cut out another wrap dress this week and tonight I have to make some more bread.

On a final note, it appears a couple of you believe I was too hasty chucking out the Pepperoni. I bow to your wisdom on this, I tend to throw cooked meat after a week and just used the same principle with Pepperoni. However I suppose being smoked does extend food life indefinitely. Lesson learnt.

Welcome to my New follower - Frugal wife. Thank you so much for visiting. x

Frugally yours

Friday, 9 March 2012

Food Waste and

This is my food waste for this week:o(. Rather a lot - left over from last weekend and I just forgot about the ham, *bum* after buying so much for my visitors last weekend and spending 4 days then chomping through the chicken leftovers, I missed the pepperoni and the ham.

It would have been so easy to have it for breakfast.
Off to see The Chap again this evening and staying there tonight. Seeing him last night was lovely, I had missed him so much!

As he bought us fish and chips for dinner, it is my turn to provide the food this evening so going to make either a lasagna or a cottage pie to take with me. Plus a bottle of rum. So a quick trip to the supermarket tonight I think. I will update the food budget over the weekend. I only need to buy more cheese though, unless I see a good offer on mince meat so i can save the packet I have frozen.

I am not a big drinker and a bottle of rum tends to last me months, and since I do not drink wine. 1 bottle of rum per 2months is not a big expenditure on alcohol. I am an alcohol snob though and will always buy Bacardi as the own brands (and I have tried them all) just taste strange to me.

I have done a comparison and Asda is the cheapest at £16 for 1 litre(a far cry from the £11 I spent at Christmas on the last bottle) but since it would be out of my way I am going to Tesco which is £1 more. Blooming supermarkets!

What is your tipple of choice?

Just bought the tax for a year - £115 not £95. Blooming expensive things aren't they?

Frugally yours

Thursday, 8 March 2012

A Woman Is Like A Fine Wine, She Only Gets Better With Age.... Utter Rot!

I have been thinking about birthdays for a large proportion of this week as The Chap has a bit of a milestone coming up next month, and I want to do something special. Plans are undecided currently, but watch this space. A decision has to be made soon.

It reminded me that not long after his birthday mine looms. I will be making a transition to "late 30s", this is not making me happy. No sir, not at all. I seem to be having a mental block about it and I keep thinking "Oh My God, 40! soon".

Celebrating our birthdays will involve spending cash, which on top of the new front door (this is still "ongoing" with the HA) means over the next 6 weeks savings are going to be severely depleted.

For me there is no decision to make, I will be splashing the cash, as I can afford to, but in the meantime I need to continue ensuring that I do not spend when I do no need to.

Budgeting, budgeting, budgeting. With 3 weeks to go until pay day, the bank account is looking okayish, but I cannot see any treats in store. Also the car tax arrived yesterday evening £95 (I think) for 12M. It is at times like this I am so glad I downsized from a 220 Merc to a 1.2 Polo. I will buy 12months I think as it is better value.

No or Low Spend Days really help, it amazes me how much it is possible to fritter away. Even my 70p can of pop per day (I bring lunch in) would net £14 towards paying off the debt if I stopped.

The roast chicken from Sunday is finally finished, a day early as after 5 consecutive days of roast chicken and / or chicken soup last night i troffed the lot as I was sure after the last lunch today of chicken soup I would not be able to face it again. I was right. However it does review my price per portion to 41.2P.

Blogging early today as off to see The Chap tonight. I have not seen him since Sunday 26th, and my gosh I have missed him. With friends visiting, evening classes and work / family commitments we just could not meet up. This week I have been out every evening after work - book club, evening class, and seeing family. Seeing The Chap is always something I look forward to, but he probably is not getting my best this evening. Quite frankly, I am shattered.

I need a long soak and huge hug.

Thank you for the nice comments about my dress, I am quite pleased too.

Frugally yours

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Dress Completed!

I am really excited, I finished my current sewing project last night and I am absolutely delighted with the result.
So much so I wore it to work this morning.
I have to say the pattern has been very clear to follow.

I love the frugality of this dress, the pattern I found in a box of my grandmothers after she died, it had never even been cut out and the material my mum bought me as a present from a market at £4 per metre. The only thing I had to buy was some cotton at about £2 per reel.
It has to be the cheapest work attire that I own.

The photos are from last night at class, so today I just teamed it with neutral tights, black high heels and I put a white vest top underneath for modesty.

I love it!

Not sure what the next project is, I have a pattern for a swing jacket I am dying to try, but no material to make it in.      
So I am thinking that I will make this dress up again over the next few weeks before I visit the NEC Sewing Show 23 – 25th March and hopefully I will be able to pick some fabric up there for the jacket.

I am still munching my way through the roast chicken from Sunday. 1 more dinner servings to go and it will be finished. Plus lunch today was Chicken Dinner soup and it will be again tomorrow, actually it is more like a chicken dinner smoothy. :o)
I am giving chicken a miss for a while after tomorrow evening…

Total spend today 70p on a can of pop.

I got home this evening to find this little bugger waiting next to the bath (sorry about the poor pic), ERGH! I hate spiders especially ones like this - the size of an 8 yo child! It has gone to the big web in the sky now. I know they are the good guys, but I will never be one of those people who can pick them up.

Oh BTW, here is the pizza I made on Friday. Using the easy crust recipe. I can highly recommend it!

Frugally yours

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Entertaing On A Budget.

How Do?

I do not know about you, but I had such a lovely weekend with my friends it seems a shame to return to work yesterday.

Whilst we were out all the time, it did end up being pretty frugal. I took out £50 for a weekend budget and ended up having a lot left which pleased me.

We were back on Saturday to ThomasLand at Drayton Manor for the little boy to visit. Up early and there for the gates opening at 10.30AM meant we got our money's worth. Closing time was 2.30PM. Only opening 4hrs is a bit of a swindle in my humble opinion, but the 2 yo was shattered and it meant his mum and I could have a quiet 1.5hrs round the shops whilst he slept.

We got in on a 2-for-1 deal, so my half cost £13 including parking, but it is just magical to see the kid's faces. As the main park is still closed and it was another blustery damp day, ThomasLand was quiet and there was little, if no waiting for the rides.  This means the toddlers can be allowed to roam free as there it plenty of space to keep an eye on them. Parents are much more relaxed under such circumstances, and therefore so are the kids.

I learnt my lesson from last time and we took sandwiches and homemade cake to eat. So only bought drinks at total cost of £3.50. I do need to invest in a flask I think.

In fact I only spent £1 whilst we wandered round the shops too.

Having visitors does stretch ones budget, entertaining is not cheap. But, I enjoy doing it and everything does not have to be Cordon Bleu. Am a big fan of home cooking with plentiful portions and tasty sauces. I had planned every meal ahead of schedule.

The homemade pizza went down very well on Friday. (pic to follow later) and I made the Lemon Torte featured on SuperScrimpers last week. It is supposed to feed 8, nope 4 I reckon. My gosh it was so delicious. Especially with a little of an already opened bottle of Bailey poured over. Yum!

Saturday 8AM, I put half of the stewing steak in the slow cooker with mushrooms, onions and a bottle of Guinness. 6 hrs on high then a further 4 on low rendered it so tender a fork made the meat fall apart. Served with a pastry lid, mash and peas, it was pure comfort food after a long day on our feet. (the boy had fish fingers). The meat for that came in at £1.20/portion.

Sunday morning we were out again, so whilst cooking some Pikelets for breakfast I roasted the chicken for lunch too then wrapped it in foil for whilst we were out. Only the veggies to do once we were back.

As expected the Chicken did 2 adults and 1 child's dinner, there is a further 4 more meals there too. Plus Sunday evening after stripping the carcass, I boiled up the bones then added left over potatoes, some stuffing and the remains on the bread sauce. My Sunday lunch soup smells and tastes divine. Frozen now for another day. That means the chicken has done 9 meals, roughly 27p per portion.

I picked up my Avon order yesterday evening at Book Club.

This came to a total of £5.50, but the bath foam will last 3-4months. I could get an alternative brand cheaper, but I do not think it is as indulgent. The hand soap was on special offer for 99P as was the shower gel at the back. They will be kept for when my current ones run out. I only buy these products when there is an incentive to do so. BTW the bath foam was reduced too!

It is back today to the £5 Challenge, I spent £1.09 today so £3.91 to last until Friday.

My savings are still looking pretty healthy, which is good as I am still trying to sort out my new front door.

Frugally yours

Friday, 2 March 2012

Shopping Addendum

It is Friday! I love a Friday and my friends are arriving.

Just a quick update on the food shopping this month.

I went to the market at lunchtime today and finished the food shop.

I spent £15.51 on this little lot, all my fruit and veggies.

Plus what you cannot see is the 2lb of stewing steak at the back I picked up for £5. No fat on in at all so should make a lovely Beef and Ale pie tomorrow.

So currently monthly March food budget sits at £50.66 spent.

However I should have enough meat for about 8 further meals.

Dammit, just realised I forgot to get the chicken for Sunday!

Have a great weekend folks!

Frugally yours

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Debt Reduced.

It is Pay Day, and that means I can tackle "The Debt" again.

I made £100 net in commission on top of my salary this month, pretty poor, but better than a poke in the eye with a bent stick, plus last week I had an expenses cheque for £150 which cleared this morning.

The result.....MY CAR LOAN IS PAYED OFF - 1 month early!!! So happy.

I transferred first thing this morning (actually whilst lying in bed, I have an App for that) £223 through to pay it off completely. What a way to start the day! Got up and shimmied my way to the bathroom for my morning ablutions.

It did not leave much left to pay off the credit cards this month, but now I can really start hitting them in April.

Here is my new March statement.

Car Loan,       Was £223      Paid £223     New Balance £0 (aka zilch, zero nada)
Credit Card 1, Was £479.52 Paid £29.39  New Balance £450.13 (+ interest)
Credit Card 2, Was £660.00 Paid £26       New Balance £634 (interest free)
Overdraft,      Was £300      Paid £0         New Balance £300

Starting Debt: £1990
Feb Total: £1662.88
March Total: £1384.13
Amount Paid off this month: £278.39
Percentage paid this month: 13.98%
Total Percentage Paid off: 30.44%

I also transferred £200 into my savings account and have paid my monthly service charge of £35.48.

I am now going to starting hitting Credit Card 1 as that is costing me £3 / month in interest. I want it gone by June at the latest.

As a little treat I bought myself that bread book I blogged about yesterday from Amazon - 1p total with P&P - £2.81

I just want to make everything in here even though I do not have a bread machine. Now I know the basics of bread making I can still follow the recipes.

Forgot my bread for lunch again today, so had a sandwich  from Subway - £3.

I feel in the last few days I have fallen off the wagon. I have not been running around spending money unnecessarily, but I do think I have taken my eye off the ball somewhat. So after my visitors this weekend it is back to boot camp. £5 for 5 days etc.

Isn't life great?
Frugally yours