Thursday, 29 November 2012

The 4 Ps of Christmas Shopping.

Preparation Prevents Poor Performance! 

I have the day off tomorrow and have quite a lot to do.

8.30AM the new agent is turning up to look over my flat and take photographs ready to market it.

Then I am off to complete the Christmas Shopping.

As stated before, I do have a limited budget and so I have spent some of today ensuring that I am aware of any relevant high street deals before handing over my hard earned cash.

Some of my shopping has already been completed, buying on line I have ticked off my sister, part of my brother in law, part of my nephew, part of my mum and part of my mother in law’s gifts too. Buying them all on line I was able to get it all free delivery and at cheaper than high street stores.

There are downsides to Internet Shopping :o(

·        Lack of opportunity to check quality
·        Often a long wait at a sorting office to pick up items when it is convenient Last year I spent 1hr 30mins queueing in the snow at my local sorting office to pick up the Michael McIntyre book for my bro in law. I would have happily paid the extra £5 it would have cost to visit my local book seller and purchase it after 90mins standing the cold. I am afraid none of us were full of the milk of human kindness when someone tried to queue jump.

I need to ensure that what I buy tomorrow is bought for the best possible price.

With this in mind I have already written a list and spent some time investigating prices.

The Chap wants some clothes and whilst the stores he likes are not offering any vouchers, I have found that by buying gift cards through Morrisons in advance to make my purchases with, I have been able to get a considerable amount off my next tank of petrol. See here for more information.

I have also noted that The Early Learning Centre & Mothercare are offering 25% off TOYS (to 5th Dec). I have read the small print, this is in store and on line. See here.

Looks like my nephew will onto a winner with this especially as I have also changed my £5 Tesco voucher into £10 to be spent on Toys (also can be spent in other departments) please note this offer finished tomorrow Friday 30th, though it has been extended until 11th December on clothing and Tesco Direct. Tesco Exchange.

I think every time I use a voucher, “How wonderful!” my friends / family would not have been able to have this if it were not for this voucher.

A couple of other deals I think are worth noting today.

·        Marks and Spencer are currently running their £10 meal deal. But if you are an O2 user you can use their discount code and get it for £8. I picked it up lunchtime today. A main, a side, a pudding and a bottle of wine for 2.
·        The Body Shop are offering £15 off a £30 in store spend on voucher codes. Expires 2nd December.
·        Wallis are offering up to 30% (ends Saturday) off at the moment as are Dorothy Perkins.
·        BHS are also offering up to 30% off across all departments.
·        Fancy dinner out tonight or tomorrow? Frankie and Benny are still offering their November Voucher - £10 off a meal for two consisting of 2 mains. Beware you cannot use this on their special menu of two courses for £10.95. We used it at the beginning of the month and had two drinks and two mains at a price of £10.45. It is being used again this evening before it expires as a little treat.

Be canny this Christmas folks!

Frugally yours
Abigail
x

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

26 Days Until Christmas Folks!

Everyone, just everyone is talking about reducing your Christmas bill.

It is such an expensive time of the year, anything that can be done to cut the cost is a good idea.

Perhaps you have been saving for the past 11 months ready for a splurge this yuletide. Or more likely, you are thinking “YIKES!” it is Christmas in 26 days.

So many bloggers are calling for a complete cut in spending. The truth is if you cannot afford Christmas, then do not try. Give up presents, apart from the very young and settle for a meal with the family.

However, I love Christmas and I want to buy presents and I want to open them. I don’t want socks, or a Body Shop basket. I want something that shows you have thought about what I like. (e.g. I would be thrilled with a new Kitchen Light Fitting this year!)

And, I try to ensure my presents reflect what others want / need too.

I am happy to spend my money if I have got it, but Christmas most definitely cannot go on the Credit Cards.

There are some very simple ways of cutting the Christmas cost quickly and effectively.

1.      Cull Your Christmas List. i.e. Reduce the amount of people you buy for.
Over the last few years I have reduced the amount of people I buy for every year. This year, I was talking with a very good friend and we agreed to stop the presents betweens us due to monetary constraints. This also means I can stop buying for her little ones too. Over the last few years I have managed to cull my list pretty thoroughly, and often of those people, who whilst being very good friends, are very bad gift givers.

2.      Impose a Limit:
The 2 non family children I buy for only get a £5 per child spend. This year I forgot the eldest’s birthday until the day before. Harassed, I thrust a £5 in card. The little girl was over the moon and her younger brother said he wanted cash too this year. Excellent! Finding a gift for £5 is tricky and giving the money ensures I am within budget.

3.      Be Truthful and Explain.
This year for close family:- Parents, Sister etc I explained that money was very tight and would they mind if I only spent £20 / person. All my family understood, as they know how difficult life has been for the last couple of years. So that reduced my Christmas bill again.

However, I will still be enjoying myself over the Christmas holidays. I have a Sewing Class meal out to look forward to and a Book Club Christmas meal too.

However, by organising the meals I got to choose the place. A good local restaurant which provides a 2 course meal for £10.90 and 3 courses for £12.90. I have already paid a £5 deposit on both meals and so with drinking water it will not be expensive at all. The menu has a good selection including a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings and enough of a selection for our non meat eating friends.

The Chap has his annual friends Christmas do too a week on Saturday, which again a deposit has been paid for. I am planning on driving to reduce my overall cost of drinking and no taxi fares.

And finally, I would urge you to consider the cost of food at Christmas. I am always away staying either with parents or my sister. Yet whoever hosts, always always always receives money towards the food shop from everyone attending. It is not fair to expect anyone else to cover the cost of entertaining you this festive period.

And finally, A little Christmas Story

Many years ago I had my favourite Christmas present - A Miniature Silver Cross Pram in white with a maroon canvass hood very similar to this. It was so shiny and the bed linen was so beautiful.

I found out recently it was second hand and my Mum spent evenings cleaning it up and then sewing the linen prior to Chistmas….

moral - does everything have to be new for kids?

Wasn’t I really lucky??
Frugally yours
Abigail
x

Monday, 26 November 2012

Should Have Stayed In Bed Today.

I woke up today and just felt like turning over and going back to sleep. So I waved my hand in the general direction of the alarm (I have a very fancy movement activated snooze button) and went back to sleep.

I guess I may have done this more than once as the next time I looked at the clock it was 16 mins past my usual "get your fat ass out of bed time".

Oh shiiiiiiiiittttt!

I then had five minutes to wash, dress, make the bed and run out of the door.

Impossible for many but not for me as I wonder womaned it round the flat.

Straighteners on before the bathroom then they are ready to flatten down the birds-nest before hitting the door.

Whilst ironing my bob I always bung on the tv to check the news.

"Strange" thought I "that's not the usual couple who tell me the horrors going on overseas of a morning". Hmmmm

I then checked the clock on the program only 6.25 not 7.25am. Oh heck I am up an hour early!!!!!

So off I toddle to the kitchen to put the kettle on. One cup of tea later I am lying in bed smug in the knowledge that I have eons of time before o have to dance the day. Perhaps I can really shock everyone and turn up with make up on my face not in my bag!

I settle back in bed and happened to glance at the alarm clock again 7.35 AM. WHAT!!!!!

I checked the Tv and suddenly realised I was watching ITV+1.....

So it starts again.

Should have stayed in bed and just not bothered with today at all methinks. Especially as I could not for the life of me remember all day whether I had turned off the straighteners.

Sigh.

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Friday, 23 November 2012

I Am OK.

Afternoon Chickadees!

I had a car accident this morning.
All my fault.

Luckily everyone is ok and no one was hurt. So that is good.

The cars are a little bruised, just bumpers though.

In nearly 20 years of driving I have never caused an accident, so I was very shaken. I may have rung The Chap at work and cried a little.

But, the lady was so good about it and her first words were "Do you have kids in the car? Are you ok?"

After that we just made friends and exchanged details.

Best that metal is scrapped and bent and not flesh and bones methinks!

The Chap is now stating that obviously he is the better driver even though his driving career consists of 3 write offs....!

There goes the no claims bonus after two claims in a 12 month period. I only renewed my car insurance at the beginning of the month.

Thank God I paid extra for a low excess :o)

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

I Bought A Turnip

See? Here, it is.
In my experiment to try and cook most vegetables, Part 2 is the turnip.
It turns out what I thought was a turnip, is actually a swede. Ooops. Probably a good thing I am trying to widen my vegetable repartee.

However, I am not sure what to do with it now.

According to this website, I can
Steam it
Bake it
Mash it
Sautee it
Boil it
Eat it raw

Not sure I can face eating it raw.

So I am throwing it out to you.

How do you think I should cook it?

I was thinking half done one way (your way) and the rest shoved in some chicken soup I am planning on making tonight with a left over chicken from Sunday.

Frugally yours
Abigail
x

Monday, 19 November 2012

Frugal Fashion.

I have been buying.

Now, then don’t jump down my throat friends.

I needed some clothes. My work is very customer facing and after spending nothing on work clothes for about 2 –3 years. My office wardrobe had become very spartan. Plus my go to weekend jacket at 6 years old now looks very tatty. My Mum even said so (and we all know Mums know best). The pockets have been repaired so many times that now I cannot even patch them up as there is no solid material left.

Gone are the days of blowing £100-200 every 3 months on a new suit. Quite frankly, I have decided to stop wearing a suit to work. They are just too expensive, and everyone seems to be a little more casual now in the office.

I have one good suit left, but I only wear it now when I have an important client meeting.

So how to dress frugally ?

I turned to eBay. I have only bought clothes from eBay once before and it was not a wild success. I think the term “abject failure” would be more accurate, but as the suit only cost £4.50, I just donated it to a local charity shop and chalked it up to experience.

This time I went in and searched on specific makes in my size 0, ok I am lying size 12. :o)

I started off getting this.


A Joules jacket second hand. It cost £21. Joules clothes are beautiful. I bought a jumper and tshirt of theirs about 5 years ago and they just wash and wear wonderfully. A jacket like this is going to cost between £89-100. So I think it was a bargain and the colour is so beautiful. It really is in immaculate condition, and the lining looks (and smells perfect) 

Then I picked up this.

It is a Boden Wrap dress that would retail at about £69. It came in all the original packaging but the  label cut out. This particular seller seems to have a lot of end of lines of Boden. Again Boden is a name in the UK synonymous with quality and I could not normally afford their items, even in the sale. I paid £14.99.

I also picked up this M&S dress.

Again it was second hand, but a good sniff and intense review of the fabric, showed no sign of wear and tear. It really is brand spanking new. I reckon a dress like this would cost upwards of £70 off the peg. This cost me £8.50, and it fits like a glove. I really felt so smart and sexy in it and nearly everyone at the company commented on how nice I looked and a about 50% asked where I had got it.

And, finally...


This was the cheapest, and I am wearing it right now. It is a NEXT dress that I think would cost £29 - 35 to buy. Again, it was second hand and I can find no sign of wear and tear. The price? £5.51. Again my college “G” was waxing lyrical about it with a little vest top underneath and a plain black jacket, I really do feel very smart.

So total spend was £50 exactly on three dresses and 1 jacket, all excellent quality that I would never be able to afford at normal retail prices.

Excellent!

Frugally yours
Abigail
x

                       

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Lichfield. A Walking Tour.

I went for a walk yesterday. Walking is not my thing. I am more the driving and parking kind of girl.

But, as my beloved Polo had to go back to the garage I was left with Shank's Pony to get around.

My garage was in Lichfield, Staffordshire. I have never had a wander there apart from specific shopping.

So I went for a walk.

Frugal and fun!

First I went to the Cathedral. So beautiful the only 3 spired Cathedral in the UK. A service had recently finished and I meant to walk around. But, I felt the urge to just sit and be. I said some prayers for family and friends and then just said thank you for everything. I also asked for peace in The middle east.

I must have been there a while as when I opened my eyes a man from the staff was there and asked if I was ok. Did I need to speak to someone? Well, that's never happened when I have said my prayers before, and it got me so flustered I just hurriedly said no thanks and fled!

So no photos from inside I am afraid.

As you walk around this beautiful old city you cannot help but be impressed with the age of some of the buildings and the beautiful that can be found in old architecture.

Lichfield is a city that is steeped in history, and it shows in every corner you turn.

I found the memorial garden to the fallen heroes of both the world wars. So many names and so many wreaths laid after Remembrance Sunday.

I also walked past Erasmus Darwins house which was open to the public. I would have gone in but I had not got the time. Again it was set amongst beautiful buildings and greenery. I think I must go back for a wander shortly.

A park is just across the road in a beautiful fountain, decorated with painted birds.

But my favourite was a bronze statue of Captain Edward John Smith. Captain of the Titanic.

He is actually from Hanley, Stoke on Trent , but the story goes Stoke declined the statue after the tragic loss of over 1500 lives. So Lichfield had it instead and it now stands prominently in this garden area. Inscribed with the words "Be British" apparently his last words. So very very sad.

I made my way back through the town, to pick up my car (nothing wrong with it apparently... Phew!) and there is an array of independent sellers with shops, but like most town centres it does have too many closed shops. Thought rumour has it a Debenhams will be opening there in the new year about March time.

Lichfield is well worth a visit of you have some free time and the people are so friendly. Plus the history of this city and the buildings make it beautiful.

Sorry for the photos at the end Peeps. But when you blog from a phone that is the only option.

Frugally Yours
Abigail
X






































Thursday, 15 November 2012

I Don’t Know How To Make Cauliflower Cheese.

I really don’t, never cooked it and never buy cauliflower as it is just too big a vegetable when you are only cooking for one.

However, my parents went on holiday early this week, and Mum very kindly emptied her perishables into a bag for me.

I picked up a huge cauliflower.

Not every having made cauliflower cheese before I checked a few online recipes.  I did seem to remember my Mummy used to make it as a main course when I was knee high to a grasshopper.

It is lovely to have the luxury of following a recipe. However, with supplies limited I decided to make it up as I went along.

You can all send me your thoughts on what I did wrong.

First I cut the cauliflower into hefty florets and gave them a wash. I then put them into a pan of boiling salted water and left them to cook whilst plumbing cupboards and the fridge for additional ingredients to bulk it up.

So I fried the one red onion I had left with two chopped sticks of rather bendy looking celery and a teaspoon of garlic granules.

I left that to cool and hard boiled 4 eggs (another freebie from Mum's fridge) whilst making a cheese sauce.

Once everything was ready I assembled the cauliflower in a pie dish arranging the quartered eggs in between with the onion and celery over the top. It still looked a little bare, so a tin of tuna and a tin of sweetcorn got dumped in too.

I then covered the lot with the cheese sauce, some bread crumbs over the top and then more cheese.

I then baked the lot for 20 mins at 200. It was sooooo yummy. And by my reckoning should last 4 meals.

This is my favourite type of cooking, the “Ah Hell, Give It A Go Abigail” school of cuisine.

Plus apart from the milk I picked up yesterday, I still have not been back to the supermarket this month.
Brilliant!

Frugally yours
Abigail
x

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Pussy Cats.x

Twinkle and Belle (or Bella depending on who calls her) have really been growing and finding their feet since joining us a few weeks ago.

Twinkle (L) and Belle (R)

I tell them they are beautiful every day and The Chap picks one up, gives it a rub and chortles "Hello, Fatty!"

For someone who would rarely have touched a cat a few months ago after a nasty incident as a toddler, I am now Cat obsessed. It is a bit sickening really.

Whilst the idea of having two sisters from kittens has worked out really well, as both The Chap and I work long hours, the downside is they can be self sufficient and tend to leg it away from us when we enter a room. Unless of course we enter the kitchen in which case that automatically translates as

"FOOD, CHARGE !!"

The Chap has invented a new game "Cat Fishing" when you grab a bag of pussy cat treats and chuck a few in their general direction watching them skid around in pursuit, before bringing them closer and closer to us through judicious throwing of the treats.

However as the evening wears on and the "girls" get tired, they creep closer and closer until one settles on your lap. Belle cannot get enough of general paw rubbbing in the "round and round the garden" style whilst Twinkle likes to lie on the sofa at neck height occassonally tapping your neck or shoulder with a little paw.

Really very very cute.

However, I will sound one note of caution... Be very careful when your other half utters the immortal line
"I have found the ultimate scratching post!"
Sigh..

Frugally yours
Abigail
x

Friday, 9 November 2012

Automotively Minded, I Am Not. But I Can Use a Search Engine.

I mentioned last week that I recently had a flat tyre, the second this year.

On Thursday last week I had to stop on the way home from work at every petrol station to pump the tyre back up (20p/garage to use the machine). It entailed about 5 stops on a 50 minute journey.

It made me think.

After an "argument" with "Greedy Bastards" emergency service a while ago, I refused to renew my cover with them back in April this year. Saving myself about £50 per annum.

But, it has always made me nervous that I am now driving around with all the automotive expertise of an arthritic goat, and no back up.

As I have now reached the grand old age of 36 and it is becoming physically apparent I have a passion for maltesers and the sofa, any hope has faded of being able to entice strong handsome young men to assist me by only baring a winning smile and flashed knee, should I ever find myself on the side of motorway in mechanical distress.

So last night, I decided to investigate the possible cost of breakdown cover comparing AA, RAC and Green Flag.

Green Flag are offering a rescue package
  • Roadside Assistance
  • Local vehicle recovery and they will take me to the nearest garage if far away.
Green Flag respond to most calls within 42 minutes, and their representative stated that over 80% of the time they can fix cars roadside.

It does not involve homestart.
As I cannot change a tyre myself, (who can in these days of hydraulic wrenches?) I think really cover for me when I travel c1000m/month is a must.

The best part Green Flag only charge £20.00, RAC - £29.99 and AA - £30. I would advise you to check them properly against each other.

And when I rang up to speak to their rep they also confirmed I would get an online discount. Final cost? £16.97 (I think it was 97p but I forget the exact figure)

You can increase the level of cover at any time, as with all the 3 big recovery firms they will automatically renew your membership unless you tell them not
to after receiving their renewal letter.

£16.97 is my kind of car cover!

************************************************
November means a glut of birthdays for friends and family.

One of my pet hates is Birthday cards. How many times have you picked up a lovely card with some heart wrenching sentiment that brings a tear to your eye, only to take it to the till and be asked to take out a second mortgage to pay for it?

£4.95 is not an acceptable amount to spend on a piece of folded card which will sit on the mantelpiece for 3 days before being resigned to recycling. I do not card how much glitter / bows/ or collages it entails.

So a while ago I gave myself a budget of £1 per card. It is actually not easy to find something suitable and good quality for this amount of money. M&S / Next had been my "go to" shops of choice, but recently their choice had been limited at the £1 mark, and most were creeping up to £2.75.

M&S £1.
So imagine my delight when today as I walked past Card Factory I saw a good selection of low priced cards.


I bought 10.
Yes, 10.
For £1.

Nope, not £1 each, but all 10 for £1!
Now that is a bargain and hopefully the mix of cards I chose should cover a multitude of ages, sexes and occassions.And all are really good quality card.
Worth a trip I think!

Frugally yours
Abigail
x









Thursday, 8 November 2012

Impressively Organised or Move Away From The Dryer Abigail!

My very good friend G, with whom I work announced the other day
“I am Death, when it comes to vacuum cleaners”
Investigation revealed that she has just had to buy her 3rd vacuum in 5 years.

My parents on the other hand never keep a kettle for any longer than 12months, whether they spend 10s or 100s of pounds. They have over the years, smoked, sparked and disintegrated their way to electrical heaven.

I am where hair dryers come to die.
A peaceful existence of between 6 to 18months of being used between 3-5 times per week, then the AC Grim Reaper arrives and it is curtains for my trusty appliance.

My last Superdrug hairdryer spluttered and coughed it’s way to an early grave in 2011 and had to be retired despite cleaning the filter regularly and the liberal application of Sellotape to hold it in place after an unfortunate accident involving a short drop and some hard floors.

So October last year it was my annual trip to purchase a new hairdryer. This time I went to Boots and automatically picked up the cheapest at £7.99 for a 1600W Boots Essential Hairdryer. I then managed to incorporate it into a 3 for 2 deal and used a voucher I had been sent.

It lasted 13months. Last night, post bath I was half way through drying my hair when I realised the inside was glowing bright orange like a toaster and either my dryer had picked up a packet of fags or it was probably wise to turn the thing off.

This time was different. ”Ah Hah!” though I, in a smug self-congratulatory pose. I still have the receipt and the warranty. I had wised up last year and stapled the receipt to the warranty and put it in the drawer in which I stored the offending item.


A quick scoot to the drawer and I lifted the receipt / warranty aloft with all the pride of an Olympic Gold Medallist , punching my fist skywards. I may even have muttered “Yeah, Baby!” in a fake American accent…. I forget….

Anyhoo, off I pop to  Boots The Chemist today brandishing the Hair Dryer.
A “Yes, Madam. I am so sorry Madam. Here let me get you another Madam”  moment later I am in possession of a brand new dryer (no box though) with little fuss safe with the additional information that a new warranty for 2 years starts today.

I can see myself never having to pay for a hairdryer again.

If you want to check your statutory rights (UK) I recommend here for all information. It is amazing what a few simple phrases can do.
“2003 Sale of Goods Act”
“Satisfactory quality, as described and lasting a reasonable amount of time”

I am not a natural complainer, but when pushed the 2 phrases above have been my verbal cheerleaders at many a conversation with an over made up snotty Manager.

Another little win!

Frugally yours
Abigail x
EDIT: Please note that Boots exchanged the dryer with no fuss. Perfect customer service in fact.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Humble Tenner

This is a humble tenner.

With this you could order a pizza, buy some make up, have a manicure. Well, you get the idea, the list is endless.

This difference about this £10, is it is my £10 and I am rather proud of it.

I will explain why.

Last Thursday I got paid, and I have had a lot to pay for.
  • A new tyre £51
  • A new shower £59.50
  • A boiler service and a gas safety certificate. £63
  • The utilities bill (quarterly)£174
  • The landline telephone/internet bill (quarterly). £90
  • 1 Christmas and 3 birthday presents £am not telling. They all read my blog.
So on Thursday I took out £70 in cash. It costs me £50 to pay for petrol for 1 week for my little POLO. That left me £20 to live on for 1 week.

I spent £1.33 on some food for the month (I had a £15 voucher) and the rest got used to buy drinks for lunchtime £1 (4x cans of cola from Poundstretcher) I also joined the office pool for the Euromillions… twice -£2 (we only buy a ticket as an office when the jackpot is big and we are fed up. Plus I cannot not buy one as I arrange it). That accounts for £4.33. I also have had a few cups of tea or lime and sodas’(the cheapest drink I can find to order anywhere, it always comes in at between 30p-85p) whilst out at business meetings held off site.

So this £10 has now been in my purse for 7 days, without getting spent.


That £10, means tomorrow when I go and withdraw money for the next 7 days I only need to get out £60.

These little wins please me no end.

Frugally yours
Abigail
x

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

It Is A Butternut Squash Fiesta!

I got home from work early (you have got to love a work meeting held at 5pm 200 yards from where you live). Infact I was very early, walking through my own front door at 5.30pm, a full hour and a half before the usual time.

How to make use of an unexpected 90minutes?

Ah hah! the Butternut Squash I bought over the weekend!

They takes blooming ages to chop up! It is rather like a pumpkin with very tough flesh and stringy type seeds inside. A very sharp knife cut through and after skinning the vegetable I chopped it into bite sized pieces and flung, haphazardly placed them in my largest roasting dish with a sliced courgette and 3 sticks of  chopped celery.

I then covered them with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and a sprinkling of dried mixed herbs.

Shoved Carefully placed them in the oven on 150 for an hour and a half.

Oh My God, slow roasted Butternut squash done this way is delicious! Dinner was just a plate full of the veg.

But there was so much of it for little old me.

So I had another go at making pastry this time 4oz of plain flour, 1oz of lard and 1oz of Flora and a pinch of salt and some cold water to bind.

I then blind baked the case and covered the bottom with the courgettes, squash and celery. 3 eggs beaten and a finely chopped rasher of bacon made a rather nice quiche sprinkled with cheese.

The rest of the courgettes, squash and celery was then covered with some water and a stock cube, bought to the boil and simmered for 10 minutes, before puréeing with a handheld blender (affectionately known as a “Zuzzer” by my family, 10 yrs old & bought for £9.99!) a glug of milk and it was done.

Ok the quiche pastry I made was not the prettiest, (the edges fell off as I pulled it out of the oven) but not bad for my second attempt!

I am actually rather pleased with this and fancy having another try at cooking with an unusual (for me) veg. Am thinking turnip or artichoke. Unless you have an idea? What is in season now?

Frugally yours
Abigail
x

Monday, 5 November 2012

£1.33

Things are very tight at the moment. Paying off my credit cards has meant that the savings have been severely reduced.  It is time for major belt tightening.

A difficult time compounded as I got another flat tyre last week. Same tyre as I replaced about 3 or 4 months ago. I went into work late on Friday, as I visited Mr Tyre in the morning and they put the spare on so they could look at the offending article.

Another blasted nail. And again it is located at the edge of the tyre so it cannot be repaired. Luckily I know that Mr Tyre have the cheapest tyres around me at £51 per tyre. So on Saturday I went off to have it replaced.

4 new tyres in less than 6 months, plus I know that the last original one will have to be changed early in 2013. According to the nice garage men, it has about 5000miles left on it.

The Plumber came round on Saturday to service the boiler and prepare the gas safety certificate required to let out my little flat. Whilst I had his undivided attention I also got him to have a look at the bathroom sink which was draining slowly. The waste pipe was full of the most revolting gunk!

He also re-programmed my heating so now no heating in the morning and no hot water. An effort to reduce the quarterly bills. Not that I will hopefully be paying them for much longer.

And finally, he checked the shower. It is completely bust. If it was up to me I would just live without it, and have a bath only. However, as the flat has to get rented then it needs replacing.

Sigh…. Always money to be spent that I can currently ill afford. But, it has to be done, so we are both hoping I can get one for about £60 plus fitting costs.

Oh, did I mention the telephone bill arrived £90…

So, I need to reduce my food bill in November.

I had a £15 voucher from Tesco, and spent some of Friday going through the store cupboards to work out what I had in stock.

This is how it got spent.
Pasta                                  .98
Eggs                                  1.19
Cheddar                            1.99
Smoked Bacon                1.64
1x Tin Butter Beans          .69
1x Tin of Peas                   .21
3x tin of sweetcorn           1.45
Chorizo                              2.00
Lard                                    .39
1x Courgette                        .46
Celery                                 .89
1 x Butternut                     1.48
Potatoes                           .99
1x red onion                     .15
1x onion                            .12
1x leek                              .74
Wholemeal Loaf              .47
1xjar peas & carrots        .49   

Total                                     16.33
Voucher                               15.00
Left To Pay                             1.33

This food combined with the freezer and store cupboards will have to last me until 29th November with the exception of buying milk.

I researched my purchases using mysupermarket.co.uk to ensure that I was getting the best deal and so I knew what my final spend would be. For example  the website told me the cheese was on special Lake District Mature Cheddar was reduced to £1.99 from £3.98 for 350G. I only like cheese melted on pizza or used in cooking so that amount will last me ages.

I did buy a Butternut Squash.

I have eaten it before, but never cooked it. Looking at the size of the thing I am not sure what to do. I was thinking one third roasted and put into a quiche and one third to make some soup and one third mashed with butter. Unless, you have a better idea?

£1.33 is the sort of shopping trip I can get used to!

Frugally yours
Abigail
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