Thursday, 28 February 2013

A Little Bit Of Planning, Nets A Whole Lot Of Discounts

I am a big fan of a voucher. Most Frugal people are.

So as I perused my Tesco discount vouchers the other day I noticed there was one for £9 off a £90 shop. That is 10% off your total bill. Normally I would never use such vouchers as spending £90 one shop for two people is just ridiculous.

However, as today is Pay Day I have been planning to go and get some bigger ticket items with my shop.

I have enough stickers to collect a cast iron casserole dish in the Tesco promotion. RRP apparently is £79.99, I will be able to pick it up for £29.99.

Also The Chap asked me to grab him a bottle of whiskey, and I also want to pick up a mattress protector. I was planning to grab another double fitted basesheet too, but the cheapest in Tesco is £4.50, “grubby little shop around the corner from work” are doing the same quality as the supermarket for £3.49, so that was a bit of a no-brainer this lunch time.

I have planned out meals for the next week, taking into account we are out on Sunday for lunch and we always have a pizza mid week.

The freezer is crammed full of chicken breasts, but we do need some mince meat, and I like to eat fish one night.

When preparing for a big shop, I always work out meals for 7 days and ensure that I am buying if possible in bulk for daily use items such as toilet paper.

I also make sure I visit brand names websites to check for coupons. It is rare I am lucky, but it does happen often enough to make checking worthwhile.

Whilst there is a little processed food bought to grace the tables at Southfork, generally I try to keep it to 1 meal per week. Pizza night allows me to have one evening when I get in and slump on the sofa. It was last night as I watched Child of Our Time and Lighfields.

As a rule, I like to ensure TC and I eat a good mixture of meat and vegetables. However this does take a little cunning as TC would consider rice and potatoes as veg and looked at me funny when I fished out a cabbage from the last shop.

A little pre planning can save you a fortune at the shops and I am hoping that today I will return home this evening with a saving of well over £50 (from voucher use).

Frugally yours

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Not A Happy Bunny Today Peeps!

Do you know that saying "It is always darkest before the dawn"? Bloody stupid saying if you ask me, example of the pretty blooming obvious.

Well that is how I feel today, it is Pay Day tomorrow and I feel like everything is lined up and ready for paying.

I am starting in March to get cracking on the overdraft, only a little bit but I do want to try and clear it this year.

I also have a few extra items to pay for
  • Car service
  • Ground rent on the flat.
  • I need to pay for some presents.
  • There are a couple of kitchen items I need to purchase too as our new kitchen slowly comes together.
  • A few dinners booked out too this month and I need to put money aside for that.
  • Train tickets too
They are all extras, but they need to be sorted.

I suppose it is lucky that for the first time in ages I have made a good amount of commission.

Shame it is all going though straight away. Seriously, it will hit my account just past midnight and I think by lunch time 50% of it will be gone to pay off various bills.

If truth be told, I am pretty upset about that.

C’est la vie, I suppose, I should be relieved.

Yours morosely

Friday, 22 February 2013

Frugal Fashion

"Hi Hunny, what are you wearing?"

I actually have never been asked that question by a handsome hulk of a man over the phone in a breathless way. I am actually not sure how I would react if I was. Probably something along the lines of:-

"Winceyette nightown and walking socks, pervert"

However, I am going to answer this question for you today.

Here I am. I do not photograph well, so please stop laughing!

I realised how cheaply I am attired today at work.

The dress was from Ebay, £4.25 incl P&P.

The vest top was from Primemark £3. My shoes I bought yesterday from Wallis and were £29.50. Tights from Tesco 2 pairs for £6.

I teamed it with a red coat ex Marks and Spencers, bought as a second from a market stall for £15.00.

Total cost of today's outfit= £54.75.

I think that was pretty thrifty.

Frugally yours

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Ummmm, I Did Buy Them.

Firstly Hello and Welcome to my new follower. I cannot see a new name on the list of members. So please leave a comment to say Howdy! Thanks for visiting. x

A theory suggests that a woman’s hemline rises and falls according to stock prices. Therefore, in good economic times we get miniskirts (60s) and during periods of recession hemlines drop to the floor (70s).

If this was the case, then I would currently be walking around the office with a 20ft train to my suit!

I have new theory, heels drop in height according to one’s age and experience

In my teens and twenties I tottered along in 6 inch heels and platforms (if appropriate) bearing burning soles and stiff calves in the pursuit of elegance and high fashion.

I also of course wore black velvet hot pants. (Oh the naivety and arrogance of youth!)

Earlier this week, I mentioned my work shoes were walking their way to the great fashion catwalk in the sky. I measured them, they are 3 inches high and for the last 12 months have been a little uncomfortable by the end of the day.

I might even have said “Ahhhhh” as I kicked them off in the evening.

Yesterday I found them walking their way outside to the bin, I think they took offence when The Chap said “Have you taken your shoes off?” whilst gagging the other night in the lounge.

Normally, of course I smell sweetly of purity, virtue, and rose petals. My feet, have other ideas…

So today, after trying on the same pair of shoes in Wallis for 3 days and egged on by a couple of site Visitors (I blame you Out Of My Window & Amanda) I decided to buy them.

They were perfect for my needs, under £30 and smart.

I also adored the little heel with the large surface area.

As I get older, I am really chasing comfort in work attire and the cobbled streets around our offices coupled with the 15min walk to the town centre did mean I wanted to be at ease during the stroll. 

High heels and stilettos do not promote this. Plus after breaking my kneecap 3 years ago, I get nervous about falling and causing more damage.

It appears that growing up for me these days does not mean getting taller but getting shorter and as I get older more experienced, my car insurance is not the only thing reducing in heels are as well!

I am terribly concerned that another few years and I will be walking around in flat brogues and elastic waisted skirts! Lol

On a quick aside, there are a few good deals around this week. WH Smiths are giving away free sweets everyday with O2, this week our office have enjoyed Moshi Monsters, Fruit Shoot Jellies, and Guzzle Puzzles as we cold called our way through the county.

And finally, Tesco have a new voucher scheme on. I am not a huge fan of pyrex cooking dishes. I find them a little ugly, but I do really fancy the Cast Iron casserole dish for £29.99 with 10 stickers. Each sticker is given out with a spend of £20. So you need to spend £200 before you can buy the pot for another £29.99. That is an expensive way to buy a casserole dish!

However, if you do shop at Tesco this could be a month’s shopping for a family, plus of course you get vouchers with petrol purchases too.

I have as always put a call out to family and friends. So far I have 2 stickers, but my mum has secured another 5 today for me.

I think Tesco have now wised up to the fact vouchers are being traded, which is possibly why they have changed from vouchers to stickers. But, I have managed to peel them off when our office cleaner gave me one yesterday. I also checked the terms and whilst they cannot be sold there is no mention that they cannot be gifted to a family member or friend.

Frugally yours

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Look At What I Did Not Buy.

These are my work shoes, and they smell.

They smell really bad!

I have been wearing them for about a year, 12 hours a day, 5 days per week. The insides are worn and I keep having to dig out plastic bits from inside of the heel.

Truth be told, they have not been the most comfortable of work shoes as they are slightly too large and the left shoe tends to flop off a bit if you walk into town.

I once went out to visit a client and walked to the top of the stairs only to have the shoe fall off and clatter to the bottom. That was a bit embarrassing.

So I have been keeping a weather eye open for a new pair. I bought these off Ebay, but I think I prefer to try shoes on.

I found the perfect pair today in Wallis for £29.95. Low heel with patent toes and in black. These are the same pair but in brown / black.

I toddled off to WH Smiths whilst I thought about them. WH SMiths are currently offering free sweets everyday this week for O2 customers. Yesterday was Sour Patch Kids and today was Fruit Shoot Jellies.

That made me think of vouchers, so I sat down outside the shop and searched O2 online, Quidco, Voucher Codes and MSE. I even, I am ashamed to admit, rang up Wallis Customer Services who also stated there were no deals currently available.

I guess I am not getting any new shoes soon then.

I then went off and grabbed a free can of Cola from Greggs with another voucher.

I think I am slightly obsessed with vouchers now as well as socks.

The poor Chap, having to share a house with these offending articles. If something pongs so badly it affects the owner / wearer then you know it has to be bad!! Lol

Frugally yours

Monday, 18 February 2013

A Safari into Obsession (Oh, how melodramatic!)

I am considering under going therapy.

Proper lying on a sofa talking about my childhood therapy.

For you see My Friend, I am becoming completely OCD about …. Socks!

Yes, you read that correctly, SOCKS!

I have always had slight OCD tendencies, the toilet seat has to be down, I can obsess all day about if I turned off my straighteners. I can also go upstairs three times to check the same thing.

Sorry folks it is true, I am crackers.

I manage to keep most compulsive tendencies hidden from those I love and work with lest they tie me up and bundle me to the nearest asylum for a full check up and a meeting with the electric shock machine.

However, at this moment I am struggling, because of socks.

I think the wily young socks of “Southfork” are playing mind games with me.

Yesterday, I went on a full out sock safari across our three bedroom semi and found socks in the following places

1) 1 in the garage
2) 2 in the kitchen, not matching
3) 3 (2 matched) in the dining room
4) 4 (unmatched) in the lounge, 2 under cushions and 2 under the sofa
5) 3 in the bathroom
6) 4 in the bedroom
7) 6 in the little bedroom
8) 1 in my handbag

22 socks in total spread across our humble abode. Strangely, only 1 (my handbag, left over I believe from the big move) was mine, the rest belonged to The Chap.

So I have a few theories
· I am commencing the slow descent into madness
· The Chap is concerned he will loose his way in Southfork and learnt from Hansel and Gretel how to start a sock trail to the stairs and beyond
· The Chap mistakenly believes that socks should have a free range life. His socks are free to roam and gather dust, as close to their wild ancestors as a domesticated sock can get

Of course I could mention my sock obsession (fetish??) to TC and politely ask him to remove his socks and place them in the washing basket. However, such hopes are for the childish amongst us who still believe in fairytales. Besides which, I really am curious where I will next locate a piece of foot attire. I just find the whole thing a little perplexing. Similar to his reaction when he catches me spraying the shower down (after showering) with shower spray, or when I think it is a good idea to wash up directly after eating and not leave the dishes to soak for 24 hours.

Of course The Chap, has possibly guessed as I sat on the sofa yesterday evening pairing his socks and pronouncing all future sock purchases must contain either a coloured heel or toe or prominent logo to make pairing easier. His stated solution is to throw all single & unpaired socks into his sock drawer and he would just pair them of a morning. This of course is similar to his theory of ironing. 1 shirt per day needs to ironed and it is perfectly acceptable to leave the ironing board up and out in the lounge 7 day per week, 24 hours per day.

Luckily, he soon subscribed to my philosophy. Abigail would do all the washing and ironing in exchange for not being expected to assist in any DIY Projects currently undertaken or to be commenced.

So I will continue to gather my socks and am thinking of a new feature. “Socks on Sunday”, where I feature the interesting and unusual places socks have been discovered during the week. Perhaps it could be interactive?

Frugally yours

P.S. Please take all comments about The Chap in the vein they are intended. I love him dearly as (I hope, he does I !). For all my postulating in my last post on the dangers of spending at Valentine' Day. The Chap paid for our dinner out, gave me a lovely card, bought me a DVD and (this is the best) bought me a dozen velvety red roses. I have never been bought flowers by a man, and never ever red roses. I was thrilled and truth be told (shh don't tell TC) I cried a little upstairs I was so overwhelmed. Yes, they are ridiculously expensive and yes I am happy to just have him. But no-body will ever treasure their flowers as much as I treasure them. xx

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Cupids, Hearts and Humbug.

A few days ago I mentioned I had taken out a lot of cash to better budget for food and petrol.

It seems to be working well. I have exceeded what I should have spent, but the good news is that it is by a lot less that I have done in previous months.

A celebration is in order. And tomorrow is um, now what was it Easter? Christmas?

It is Valentine’s Day!

I am not a big believer in Valentine’s Day, it is all a hype and nothing in my mind says “I love you” more than The Chap checking my tyre pressure before I go on a long trip in the car.

So I am not expecting bouquets of  roses or expensive gifts. Indeed I have not bought anything for him save a card.

Saying that, TC and I have been so busy recently with me away for the weekend and him still working on our updated kitchen that we have decided to go out for dinner this evening.

I have said before that TC is not thrifty like I am. He earns a lot more than I. He never has any debt and believes credit cards are paid off at the end of every month.

So having a meal out for him is not the big deal financially it is for me.

However, he is learning as he did ask “Ok, so where do you have a voucher for?” Bless Him! I normally only suggest dinner out when I have seen a particularly good deal.

I had actually got a list of places I could get money off if we did not go on Valentine’s night. ASK, Frankie and Bennys, CafĂ© Rouge etc.

I could also have gone out and bought the Valentine’s Day Meal Deals on offer at M&S, Tesco, Waitrose etc. The Tesco offer I could have bought with loyalty vouchers alone.

But, this is a meal for TC and I to enjoy together, a little bit of luxury. I find that if we have a meal out, then we really talk without the distractions of telephones, tv and “to do” lists.

That is far more important that saving a few bucks. So, I asked him where he wanted to go.

TC is not good with this type of question, and I just had a list back, not Frankie and Bennys, not Indian and not a steak house.

So I booked us into our local Brasserie that does a 2 course meal for £10.90 each and not a microwaved lasagna or chicken nugget in sight.

I am really looking forward to it.

Life is not so tough that I cannot afford to eat out with The Chap once every few weeks. And life is so precious that I want to.

I love him so much, I want to spend time with him, even after he infuriates me, and I try to boss / nag him.

So tomorrow, buy a card if want to for your loved one, or grab some flowers or even invest in a valentine’s day meal, but really time is the most precious thing you can give.

Oh God I sound like a Greetings Card!

Do you have any thrifty tips for Valentine’s Day?

Frugally yours

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Innocence of Youth, or How to Emotionally Scar Your Nephew for Life!

I had the great good fortune this weekend to look after my 4 year old nephew “M”.

His parents (my sister and brother in law) were invited to a wedding in Brighton so these few days had been booked in the diary since last year.

My friend “S” has a little boy “J” of the same age, so we arranged to meet up and went to a local farm.

It was great fun.

My little nephew always has a lot to say for himself, I think every 4 yo does. He can spend hours watching pigs, feeding goats, riding ponies and generally doing everything…twice. He also believes that walking is for wimps, and running is the only way to get around.

The whole of his day comes with a non stop commentary, which generally you are expected to listen and contribute to as required. It is always peppered with references to Batman and Spiderman whatever the general location / activity.

I think it is all a hoot and just decide to give dignity a miss for 48 hours. Going down slides, playing on playground apparatus and cheering on racing pigs. I am also famous in focus groups of 3-6years olds for my ability to find lost toys and repair Lego Batmans.

“M” makes friends easily and him and “J” got on like a house on fire.

S & J stayed over with us on Saturday. After breakfast we all went off to get dressed.

I helped “M” get ready first and then he sat on my bed chattering as I got ready to face the day.

He heard “J” (3 years old) outside my room, and shouted,

“J”! Is that you? Do you want to come in and watch Aunty Abigail get dressed?”

Now isn’t that an offer? It appears my reverse striptease is now a spectator sport.

Poor little mites, how to emotionally scar them for life, looking at my fat bum being shoe horned into the Sunday denim.

I am always so grateful for these times alone with my nephew, when I do not have to share him with anyone, but can read rhyming books and tuck him in and generally enjoy time with this wonderful little boy.

I think he enjoyed it too, as he said sleepily at bed time “Aunty Abigail, please do not get married and have a baby, as I always want to be your little boy”

Frugally yours

Friday, 8 February 2013

Dear Universe

Hello and Welcome to my new follower Alternative Foodie. Thank you so much for visiting. x


I am just putting this out there. I DO NOT snore.

Certain interested parties at "Southfork" have accused me of snoring.

As a dainty size 12, with the bone structure of a prima ballerina and the manners of a Victorian lady of quality, I wish to clarify for the universe that I DO NOT SNORE.

As someone who has shared a bed on occasion, I do know that I talk in my sleep, and I once even got up and laid all my toiletries out in a line in the middle of the lounge floor.


So, I choose to believe that The Chap is going through some kind of crisis.

In such situations it is obvious that I need to be there for him. Supporting the man, loving him unconditionally and being there as he puts together the pieces of his broken nose, if he accuses me of snoring one more time.

Are we clear?


Frugally yours
P.S. I promise you I really do not snore.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Self Fulfilling Prophecy and Thanks TC! x

Hello and Welcome to my new follower - Nim Scutt, thank you so much for visiting! x

I am not spending at the moment, of course I have no spare cash, so the choice of whether to spend is kind of academic. If you have nothing, there is no choice.

So imagine my surprise when The Chap walked through the door yesterday evening, holding aloft a huge box, and a large smile as I was cooking dinner.

“Happy Valentine’s Day Abigail!” (over a week early)

Inside was a Cordless Dyson Digital Slim Vacuum (DC44 Animal).
I have been wanting one for months.

Just not sure how I feel about getting a vacuum early for Valentine’s Day, but I sure am delighted at having it.

My sister and my mum both have them and they are absolutely fantastic, so TC decided to buy me one. (Though of course as TC bought it ours has to have the most powerful engine. It is appears he chooses Dysons using the same criteria as buying cars, power tools and lawn mowers!)

It arrived yesterday to his workplace and he brought it home with him.

Yesterday I was vacuuming everything in sight, and working out where the wall charging unit would be screwed in.

This little baby will happily suck up cat hair and dust from the all the sanding The Chap does.

Dyson Digital Slims are not cheap starting at £160, but TC, being TC bought ours off Ebay and it had been used. However apart from a slightly grubby filter, everything else is immaculate. We think it was probably used about 2 or 3 times max.

TC wont say what he paid for it.

The fact remains  Whilst I am delighted to have a Dyson Slim (which makes me uber posh), did I just receive a vacuum for a romantic gift??

It appears this post was a self fulfilling prophecy

Frugally yours

Monday, 4 February 2013

Thieves & Vagabonds, Keep On Moving There Is Nothing to See Here.

If you are of a criminal disposition, then please avert your eyes now.
I am really worth mugging at the moment.

This is unusual. Normally if approached by knife wielding “hoodie” with nefarious plans, then I would have handed over my purse with a jaunty smile as it normally contained somewhere in the region of £1.73, some useless credit cards and a debit card that had an available balance of somewhere between £0 – 20.00.

I think on balance a few months ago, I would have been most upset to loose my Tesco loyalty card. All those points!

Much has changed since I started blogging. My credit cards are now worth nicking, but are safely stored at home. Not to stop any theft, but the much more likely possibility of my head being turned by a pair of sparkly shoes or the longed for mascara which will never smudge!

However, I am trialling a new system since pay day on Thursday.

I have taken out £400 in cash and split it in half. £200 to cover petrol for the month and £200 to cover food for TC and myself.

This means I have more cash than I have seen for a long time in my purse.

I am doing it to try and keep a track on my spending in February.

Time will tell if it works, but I do need to try and decant some of this cash into the safe.

I did my first proper shop for The Chap and I on Friday after work and for the first time was able to use one of the vouchers to get £6 off if you spend £40 or over. The shop came in at £49 and will last us until at least Friday, and hopefully longer. It also led to another voucher for next week.

I think TC is very happy to have given up the cookery reins, and is certainly delighted to have his extra 20mins in bed of a work day morning as he does not need to iron a shirt for work. I do it all on a Sunday.

I on the other hand am quite happy never to pick up a wrench, sander, polyfiller etc. Division of labour is wonderful.


I wonder if anyone can help? I want to start a little garden here at “Southfork” and am planning on appropriating a small patch say 1m square for the growing of some vegetables. Can anyone suggest a good garden planner on the net I could use so I know when (i.e. the month) to plant potatoes etc?

I am thinking of starting small
Onions or leeks

Space is limited here at "Southfork", so I was thinking that spuds can be grown in pots or bags can’t they?

All advice gratefully received.

Frugally yours

Friday, 1 February 2013

How To Round Off The Perfect Week?

Your car gets bumped again....

Not my fault it was parked and a friend did it so nothing to pay. They owned up straight away.

You have to laugh really.

Frugally yours