Monday, 31 December 2012

Day 12

Day 12 of my time off over Christmas.

I am quite frankly shattered.

This cold has come on with a vengeance and I am full of sniffles and snuffles.

I was asked yesterday if I had thrown a lot away?

The answer is yes.

It is quite a cathartic experience. 10 bags to the tip so far and another 6 to the charity shop.

My whole VHS collection went yesterday and that was a hard decision to make.

But at the new house there is not enough room, besides which as everything is DVD nowadays it had to go.

The flat continues to be a right royal mess. But I have slowly been taking clothes over to The Chap's.

He is tired too, after days fitting our new kitchen. We both need a week in the sun to recover from Christmas I think.

It will be while before we can use it, so food has to microwaved or oven cooked.

Tonight is New Years Eve. I cannot believe how much has changed in the last 12 months.

It is a time for reflection.

I have paid off my credit cards and am moving in with the best and nicest and kindest chap I have ever known.

I wonder what the next 12 months will bring?

We plan to stay in this evening. No dinners out or expensive tickets to clubs plus the price of taxis.

We will sit on the sofa with the cats at our feet and eat a take away.

Pure bliss.

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Day 10

This packing business is never going to end....

I am at the end of my tether.

Thank God for my mum helping me out.

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Friday, 28 December 2012

Day 9

The "Great Pack" continues and it is driving me potty!

Where did all of this stuff come from?

And how did I manage to spend £67 at the supermarket?

New duvet ( we have to get a kingsize before one of us freezes)
Bits of food (pie, peas, potatoes, smoothy, pepsi, milk)
New flat sheet
My last alessi serving set
Rum
Sellotape
Dustbin liners
Loo cleaner

In what world does that come to £67???

Never again....

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas, Day 8

So "The Great Pack" started in ernest today. No money spent.

But I do need to go out and buy more cellotape. And boxes, I am in desperate need of more boxes.

Most of the pictures are down and bubble wrapped. Was delighted to discover a patch of mould behind one. I really do not want to chuck it but I do think it has gotten into the picture.

I also emptied the display cabinet and started sorting my clothes to take them to a charity shop.

God, this is tedious...

The place seems to be getting messier not tidier.

Beginning to panic.... Big time.

Arrrgggggghh!

Stressedly yours
Abigail
X







Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmas, Day 7

Just back from down South.

Horrible time to travel with this weather.

But, I made it safely.

Had a lovely Christmas.

Right, the "Great Pack" starts tomorrow after I see The Chap later.

See ya tomorrow.

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas, Day 6

Merry Christmas!
Hope you have all had a Wonderful day.

I have opened an army of presents all have been lovely.

I have eaten an enormous lunch and played with a stomp rocket and put together a Lego batman and playmobile police station.

Pure bliss!

Abigail
X

Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas, Day 5

Afternoon!

Today, should have been a No Spend Day.

Should have been..... Famous last words.

I was up at 5.20am today to try and miss the traffic. I was out of the flat by 6.20 and on the road.

My reasoning was that today the traffic could be quite bad, as people left to visit family over the Christmas period.

I am not sure my idea was such a great success. Driving in the dark when the rain was lashing down is not fun.

A huge stretch of the M40 is unlit and at that time with the rain it was very unpleasant.

In this blogger's opinion a lot of the traffic was going much too fast considering the amount of surface water and visibility.

I was doing probably 60mph in the inside lane and being easily overtaken by other in fast executive cars doing 80 -90mph.

Just dangerous.

So, at 7.40am I stopped for a cup of tea and a croissant at Cherwell Valley service station. Nearly £5. But, by the time I was back on the road, the sun was up and I felt a lot happier driving in those conditions.

I arrived at 9.25 and and have spent the day playing with my nephew M. We have been to the park and played farms and decorated a chocolate reindeer with icing and sprinkles.

My sister goes to a lot of trouble over Christmas decorations and I thought you might be interested to see them.

Santa arrives tonight folks! Have a great evening!

Frugally yours
Abigail
X









Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas, Day 4

Hello!

Just a quickee.

Am ironing and packing like mad this evening as off down south for Christmas tomorrow.

I am planning on getting up at 5, quickly fill the car and off so I can arrive in time for breakfast and hopefully miss the traffic.

The Chap and I said our good byes this afternoon after I helped him with some chores. He is off to Scotland for Christmas to see his family. So we both plan to meet up Boxing Day.

My wonderful boyfriend washed my car, topped up the windscreen wash and checked the tyre pressure prior to me leaving today. I think that is the kindest thing a man has ever done for me.

We exchanged gifts last night and I like to think he was really pleased with the shirts I picked plus some T-shirts and a jumper. Mixture of high street stores and a couple from high end shops.

I had been saving for ages to get him them and got money off them all as everywhere had deals on when I went shopping.

The little stocking of goodies I did too went down well. Shaving gel, hair gel, tooth paste etc. All stuff that always gets used.

He was so very generous. And I had a new digital camera, as I have been complaining about how bad my shots are on my blog.

Considering he bought me the laptop so I could start blogging. Really I am delighted! My new camera is also wifi so I can email photos as soon as they are taken. It is so posh and I will tell you more once I get a proper chance to have a play.

He also got me a new alarm clock which my iPhone can dock in and so charge whilst I sleep. It also plays songs of my choosing from my iTunes library to wake up to. I am so tech-ed out nowadays.

We had dinner with his parents yesterday evening and it was so lovely. They gave me a stocking and some Chanel 5. My absolute favourite perfume. Recently well beyond my budget. My last bottle has been rationed since September. So I was thrilled.

What a lucky girl I am!

Until tomorrow kids.

Frugally yours
Abigail x

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas Day 3

Evening!

Another day closer to Christmas, and the food keeps coming!

Ages ago I arranged to see an old friend for lunch. We had a great time. Mushroom biryana to start then salmon fish cakes. All for £5.90 pp. Excellent value, price of a sandwich in most pubs.

So when The Chap announced we were invited to his parents tonight, I was delighted. Somewhat less so when I realised we were having a take away.

Going to see his parents is always lovely. But, by the end of Christmas I am going to the size of a small apartment block.

Oh, well.... :o)

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas Day 2

Evening Everyone.

Well, another day done and some last minute shopping on behalf of The Chap.

As he is out this evening on his work do I finally got round to the wrapping.

I have nearly finished (see photo). All the paper was bought in January like my cards. I always get a roll for about 20p and buy 3 or 4 rolls to last me 12 months.

Grab a plain colour or non seasonal paper so you can use it throughout the year.

The tags are from last years Christmas cards. I cut them up and then pop them into a drawer ready for the following Christmas. No one really cares what a tag looks like especially youngsters. It is just to identify who gets to open an exciting looking parcel and who to thank for it after.

I bet everyone else is far more organised than I with my last minute wrapping. But I have planned to do this, this evening for a while now.

I feel very festive wrapping gifts with a DVD of the Albert Finney "Scrooge" on the television. I bought it years ago on offer from the supermarket. And every year it gets watched while I wrap.

My very own Christmas tradition.

Happy holidays!

Frugally yours
Abigail
X



Thursday, 20 December 2012

Christmas Day1

Hiya friends
I broke up from work yesterday. And it is bloody brilliant!

14 days off work as I used some holiday time.

Well, the big news is, the reason I booked it all off is I am moving.

The van comes on the third of January. Then I have a week to do a deep clean.
So the next 2 weeks will be spent packing.

It seems like a huge task.

I will be taking Monday to Wednesday off to celebrate Christmas.
So with all that in mind I did do some other chores today so I can concentrate on packing over the weekend. I went to see my agent about potential tenants and got my hair cut. The hair cut was not thrifty. £25 plus tip. But it is only the second paid for cut this year. So I can live with that.

I do feel somewhat daunted at the prospect of packing and storing 10 years of my life. But, am looking forward to being with The Chap and starting a new chapter.

It seems like this new year it will be all change for me.

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Little Wins

Firstly, Hello and Welcome to my new follower Jackie! Thanks so much for visiting - x.
******

I wish I could save £100s of pounds every day. I wish my thriftyness would land me with money in the bank and huge amounts of savings.

It does not.

Life is a bit of a struggle and staying “on message” can sometimes seem a long hard slog.

So I do try and get pleasure out of every “little win”.

A little win, is when you have ensured you got the best possible deal with your purchase, or saved a few pence here or there.

Those wins cheer me up when times are hard and you want everything, everyone else seems to have. E.g. an ipad, a better car, money to really splurge at Christmas etc etc.
(I am sorry Dear Visitor, I am not able to pretend that I love being thrifty. I just have to be!)

A few recent “Little Wins”
·        I paid for The Chap’s entire stocking using only loyalty points
·        I paid no delivery on item ordered online
·        I only pay £5 per month on buying lunches and that is the 4cans of cola for a £1 I buy from Poundstretcher to drink with my home made food.
·        I will have reduced my energy bill this quarter by re-programming my central heating. Now it only comes on in the evening and not in the morning.
·        I ensured any presents I did buy were bought either in the cheapest place or the establishment that offered the best loyalty points.
·        I got The Chap to change to own brand cat food pouches. Belle and Twinkle still shove their heads into the bowl with all the anticipation of a Metal Head at a Slash concert. They still play, sleep and scratch the sofa. And so far neither has turned green. They are normally just under £1 per 12 pouches cheaper than Whiskers.
·        I always go for basic or everyday value alternatives to branded goods. The only notable exceptions to this rule is mince, rice krispies and Fairy washing up liquid. The basic minces I think are full of fat, basic rice krispies have the consistency of bullets and Cheap washing up liquid just does not froth up as much as Fairy so you use more of it.

When you are being thrifty and trying to live a financially stable life, then just take heart from these little wins.

Look after the pennies and then pounds look after themselves!

Frugally yours
Abigail
x

Friday, 14 December 2012

Dang It

I just wrote a fascinating post on "little wins" that would have changed your life....;o)

The blasted computer just deleted it all when I went to attach a picture.

So I give up and here are some pictures of Belle instead, who is currently fast asleep on my lap under my scarf.

Frugally yours
Abigail
X



Thursday, 13 December 2012

Brrrrrrr

Feeling a bit fed up this evening which is a shame with Christmas approaching.

This unrelenting cold weather just drives me potty. I would rather be hungry than cold. Whether at work, home or in the car I can never seem to get warm. Only a hot bath helps.

At 11pm at night, the heating should have gone off an hour ago with me tucked up under a 12 tog duvet.

But I did not get home until late and after a quick bowl of tesco everyday value cornflakes, I am writing this sitting on my lounge floor hugging the radiator to get warm and dry my hair.

I am having a sneaky extra hour as tomorrow evening the heating will only be on very low to prevent freezing pipes. I stay with The Chap from Friday til Sunday.

Hopefully tomorrow it will be better as I understand temperatures are supposed to rise over the next few days.

This extreme feeling of cold bothers me greatly if I am honest.

Since a child I always have been the cold one. My hands and feet are always very cool to the touch.

My enduring memory of snowy days or swimming with friends was having a great time until my elder sister would shout

"Mummy! Quick! Abigail's lips are turning blue!"

Unfortunately as I suffered from a heart murmur, this phrase would send my parents into a major panic as if apocalypse was approaching! And I would be whisked in to drink hot tea and sit in front of the fire.

A lovely memory of family love, I agree but it seems that after 36 years not much has changed except now luckily my lips stay pink.

Ahhh well winter cannot last forever I suppose.

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Where There's A Will..

Firstly, hello and welcome to my new follower Fostermummy. I've heard of you! Famous in the frugal blogging world. Thank you for visiting. x

A while ago, I mentioned that I had started collecting vouchers so I could purchase the Alessi cutlery currently on offer at Tescos.

Well, here is the finished article.
The full set of cutlery.
  • 12 boxes of starter sets of cutlery. 1 small knife, 1 small fork and 1 soup spoon.
  • 12 boxes of main course sets of cutlery. 1 large knife, 1large fork, 1 large spoon, and 1 teaspoon
  • 3 boxes of pastry forks, 4 forks / box
  • 2 serving sets. ( I may buy 2 more sets, tbc)
I completed the purchases yesterday after work as I got given another voucher £5 off a £40 spend on cookware and they let me use it at the same time.

The offer finishes on Christmas Eve but vouchers will still be accepted up to early January.

A voucher was given with every £20 spent in store or on petrol, and 5 vouchers were required to be able to buy 1 box for £4.99 (£7.49 for the servers).

Now that is an expensive way to buy cutlery! There was no way I was going to spend that much money, nor could I afford to. So from the first week of the offer I have been
  • sweet talking cashiers
  • Facebooking friends
  • Putting wanted adverts on local websites
  • Using freecycle
  • Swopping homemade cakes for vouchers.
  • And some of you readers kindly sent me some too.
Facebook worked really well and friends were sharing my post and then sending 20 or 30 vouchers at a time as they collected them for me from their friends.

I needed 145 vouchers to complete my set.

I have spent £149.70. Getting the vouchers alone should have cost me £2900 on in storre purchases, before I spent the £149.70 on buying them.

In actual fact I have spent no more or less than I usually spend in Tesco on food and petrol. Everyone else just helped me.

To buy a box of Alessi Nuovo Milano (24 items) on Amazon costs £200.00. I have over four times as many. That is a huge saving. And, I would never have been able to afford this cutlery before.

I have had to promise friends and family I will never change my cutlery again!

I do now have c. 190 vouchers left,

enough for over a full set the same as mine. If anyone wants them to use before 6th January 2013. Or even just half of them - please leave a comment with your email address and I will be very happy to send you some.

Thank you to everyone, including readers who sent me vouchers with no thought of asking for anything in return. I really appreciate it.

Mission Accomplished, I would say!

Just need to buy a table big enough to fit 12, and then a house big enough to fit the table.......:o)

Frugally yours
Abigail
x

Friday, 7 December 2012

Free Stuff!

I decided I wanted to make a little stocking for The Chap at Xmas with a few of his favourite things.

But, I did not want to spend any money....hmmmm tricky!

Luckily, I have been ensuring that every time I buy a product in Boots I got the points added to my account. Also judicious use of my double points vouchers to make the best use of deals too.

Turns out 12 months of spending has amassed £15 to spend in store.

So, today a quick pop into town at lunchtime and I was able to get all this loot!

Now, it may be all a bit boring, but I know it will be appreciated and useful. I am going to add a box of microwave sweet popcorn and this will be a perfect stocking for my handsome fella to open on top of his main items.

Good thing he rarely reads my blog huh?

Frugally yours
Abigail x



Thursday, 6 December 2012

What Would You Have Done?

Afternoon!

I have been debating whether to tell you this or not for a few days.

On Saturday, I was at my local Iceland buying their Sweet Chilli Chicken Pizzas (£1.50 each and just delicious!).

Being naturally talkative, I started chatting with the woman in front of me in the queue. Elderly, with a lovely smile.

After exchanging a couple of mundane sentances. She said to me
"Would you mind wishing me, Happy Birthday? As I am 80 today and no-one has said Happy Birthday to me"

God....

Doesn't it just break your heart?

I of course wished her Happy Birthday as did the Cashier and everyone else at the Checkout. It turns out her husband died earlier this year and there was no-one around. I suspect she was lonely.

I waited a couple of minutes and asked her if she would like to come for a cup of tea with me to a local cafe. I was going to get her a piece of cake and generally make a fuss of her.

I think she got embarrassed, and said "No, I am ok thank you" and scurried off.

I feel so sad when I think of this lady.

Loneliness must be debilitating.

Sigh.... Christmas must be unbearable for so many people.

Rather forlornly

Abigail
x

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Human Pin Cushion

Afternoon Peeps!
Having a fine day?

I had my flu jab today, and I am peeved off about it.

Why?

I have the flu innoculation every year, have done for about 5 years since a nasty bout of flu over Christmas left me on the 30th December in an ambulance with horrible chest pains. I had come down with pleurisy and pneumonia.

It is the worst I have ever felt, and the thought of another bout can leave curled up in a foetal position wimpering like an arachnophobic at a spiderman convention.

Normally, my local doctors surgery will let me queue up with the elderly, young and frail to receive a free jab.

For some reason this year, they did not call me in and by the time I had remembered the open sessions had been completed and I had no chance of getting it free.

So, after a couple of days of feeling a little under the weather and my local pharmacy refusing me the vaccination, I put on my best smile and asked another chemist close to work who were happy to oblige.

£9.99 to get it this year. That is a lot compared to the £0.00 I paid last year and the year before and the year before that…. Well you get the idea.

I am pleased to have the peace of mind of knowing I cannot get ill with flu for another 12 months. However, I am peeved I had to spend nearly a tenner.

So next year in October, please can you remind me to call my Doctors?

Frugally yours
Abigail
x

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Tuesday.

It has been a strange few days since I last blogged on Thursday. Hello and welcome to my new follower Jenny Freeman. Thanks so much for visiting x.

First of all…
KATE AND WILLS ARE BAKING A ROYAL BUN! Congratulations!!
So very excited when this news broke in the UK yesterday afternoon. Cannot wait for the 3rd in line to arrive next year. Much discussion at work about boys / girls and twins as apparently extreme morning sickness is often associated with multiple births.

More good news is Christmas, is bought, paid for and sitting in my spare room waiting to be wrapped. Nothing was bought full price and I was especially pleased with some Clarins sets I picked up which I got 10% off. A saving of £6 across the two. But, the bonus was the free gift, which I then snaffled, and was just as good as the sets I had just paid for.

I am just waiting on something arriving from Ebay for The Chap, which should be here by the end of the week.

As I bought the wrapping paper in January when it was reduced (buy plain gold / red / silver rolls and they last all year -  10p for 3meters). I am ready for the weekend when I will start wrapping.

Christmas cards were also picked up in January at 50p for 10 from Tesco. £1.50 for 30 and that will be it for 2012 festivities.

So that is the good news.

We have had a some bad news this week, a relative has taken a very nasty tumble and is in hospital, battered, bruised and unconscious in Intensive Care. Everyone is flying around visiting and helping out, but it is very upsetting and the relative is a very kind elderly person. No-one should be in hospital this time of year.

This morning, I was late to work, by nearly 90mins as they closed the road. A pedestrian had been hit by a man in his car with his 3 kids in the rear. I had to turn back and completely retrace my journey to get into one of the offices. As I started to swear about commuting, the air ambulance flew overhead, and that shut me up. It really is serious when that arrives.

How quickly anticipation for the Christmas season can seem so shallow, and lives can be changed irrevocably. Not just the pedestrian and my relative, but also the man driving the car and those close to ones taken ill.

Around this time of year there is so much bad news and so many joyless existences. It has really come home to me over the past 4 days.

My Mum is very good at raising funds, and this year she decided that she would raise money for our local FoodBank. Surely a roof over your head and a fully tummy are basic human rights? Well she thinks so and I agree. It is criminal in today’s society, here in the UK people are hungry.

She attended the local Christmas Light switch on with a Bottle Tombola and made £140.

Our local Tesco on Saturday was asking for food donations to the FoodBank and was giving every customer a list of items it needed (all non perishable). I was not able to get much, but I did pick up a tinned pie, tin of peas and some tuna. Tesco then gave another 30% on top of my donation.

I think this is a great idea, but apparently it was only on for one day. I wish there was someway to ask Tesco to have a bin, in which shoppers could donate every week. Just a tin / week from 20% of shoppers would make a huge amount of difference.

So this week, give your loved ones a little extra squeeze from me and if you would like to help out those who are hungry in the UK. Please see here.

Frugally yours
Abigail
x