Thrifty Finds

This fortnight’s Thrifty Finds ( 9 – 23 April)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

 

How was your Easter break?I’m sure it seems a long time ago. I just realised I didn’t post my Easter week Thrifty Finds so thought I would combine the past two weeks into one post.

Our Thrifty Finds were:

  1. During the school holidays we took a trip to London to visit the Churchill War Rooms (not cheap: £51 for our family ticket). The younger kids travelled free on the tube and we managed to get an all zone travel card for our 15 year old for £6. We took a picnic and later had a great value Chinese buffet in China Town for £8 each (or only £5 each if we’d had the food to go). Despite the attempt at educating the kids on World War Two, they seemed to enjoy playing in Hyde Park and visiting Primark (my eldest) more than anything else. This has led us to re-evaluate what we pay for days out and, rather sadly, have decided that unless they are really interested in a subject, it’s just not worth paying for a ticket 😦
  2. We also had a trip to Bath where I managed to return a couple of items. We changed a pair of shoes in Clarks for my youngest as the style was hurting her ankles. I also managed to exchange the supposed bottle of olive oil that I’d bought in Holland & Barrett – turns out it was chilli oil instead!

 

3. We continued with our hunt for Friends DVDs. The kids have really got into the series and we’ve been gradually buying the series second-hand. We found season five in a charity shop and snapped it up for £6. UPDATE: We got through that series pretty quickly and managed to pick up season six in another charity shop for just £3.

 

4. Every Easter holiday the village school organises an Easter Trail. You buy the trail sheet for £2 and follow the map around the village guessing the clues that people put up outside the houses. This year the theme is ‘Famous People’. It’s a really cheap and easy thing to do and easily fills a couple of afternoons during the school break.

5. We also took the kids swimming to the local leisure centre. During the school holidays children swim for free so that saves us quite a lot of money. Having children ranging from 15 to eight it’s also one of the few things we can do that everyone still enjoys.

6.Last weekend my husband picked up a couple of second-hand records at a World Record Store Day event. I also bought a couple of books from a charity shop.

Did you have any Thrifty Finds this Easter?  Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (27 March – 2 April)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

This past week I tried to get more organised with giving things away, and planning for the month ahead.

  1. My husband fixed the vacuum cleaner! He used another one of the replacement belts I had ordered, and succeeded where I had failed 😦 We now have a spare belt in case it happens again.
  2. For my book group we are reading Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes. One of the joys of working in Bath is being able to pop into the library and pick up a copy (or order it via the excellent Libraries West service). They had a copy on the shelf so I was able to borrow it straight away.
  3. I’m trying to be more organised with getting rid of items we no longer need. Instead of letting them pile up by the door, I have a box in which I am putting them. The plan is to take donations to the charity shops as soon as anything is put in the box. Again, one of the joys of being in Bath is being able to pop out on my lunchbreak and drop stuff off at a charity shop (and have a quick browse while I’m there!)
  4. The beginning of the month means a) clearing out (and cleaning) the fridge and cupboards; b) meal planning for the month ahead; and c) ordering an online delivery.                                                                                                                                Because I don’t have much access to the car and hate food shopping, I have got into the habit of shopping once a month. It’s a money-saving tip I first picked up from Danielle at the Blissful and Domestic blog. The idea is you shop once (apart from fresh milk, bread, some fruit and veggies) and you shouldn’t have to visit the store again for that month. If I run out of things I have to make do with what I’ve got.                                                                                                                                     In order to do these I have to meal plan for the month. It takes quite a while to work out what we are going to eat (which can depend on what we are doing later in the month, ie birthdays, day trips, Easter meals etc). But once the meals are planned, and the food ordered and delivered, that’s it for the rest of the month.

Over on instagram I have been sharing the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics of my cupboards and fridge (if you like that kind of thing!). The aim is to show how we go from a full fridge to an empty one by the end of the month by posting pics every week. In my view, an empty fridge means I’ve planned well for the month and haven’t had to throw food away.

Before and after my monthly delivery:


Empty fridge at the end of the month

 

 

5. On a sad note, we have had to give up the garage we rent 😦 We own one car (see the post here about living in a small rural community with just one car) but, due to the location of our cottage, we have nowhere nearby to park it.

A few years ago we started renting a garage at the far end of our road. This seemed like the answer to our dreams: no more struggling to find a parking place (and annoying neighbours); a guaranteed parking spot at all times; and safe, secure and weather-proof parking under cover.

However, the housing association whom we rent the garage from are selling off all their garages and we had to vacate ours by today. The one advantage is that we only stored our car and roofbox in the building. Lots of neighbours used them for storage and, for the past few weeks, have been busy clearing out and moving all their stuff. I’m just glad that we don’t have that much stuff that we need extra storage for it, but am sad that we will now be adding to the parking problem in our village:(

Please let me know about your Thrifty Finds -and your tips for meal planning and food shopping – on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Jumble Sales Hints and Tips

 

Jumble Sale sign

Tomorrow is our school jumble sale and I thought I would re-post this piece I wrote last year offering some hints and tips. Having experienced the other side of selling at the jumble sale last year I can say that you do need sharp elbows. But if you turn up a little later and avoid the ‘professionals’ you can still bag yourself a bargain. At  the end of the sale last year we reduced/gave away items for free as we didn’t want to be left with them. But before you start to haggle too much at your local jumble sale just remember this is a fundraising event for a good cause….

 

jumble sale tips

 

For some people this word fills them with dread. The thought of queuing in the cold and then elbowing each other to sift through a pile of old clothes makes them shudder.

For me, though, some of the best and unique outfits I have ever picked up have been from old church and village hall sales in my youth. In fact some of the vintage items I blogged about here came from our church jumble sale when I was a teenager (the  Blanes dress is now worth  $130-£180 and I probably only bought it for 10p!)

1950s summer dress

Here are my Top Tips:

1. Be prepared to queue and, once inside, there will be some jostling and  you may need to be forceful if you want to get to the front of a table.

2. The trick at a jumble sale is to not care about tossing clothes around. That original seventies dress might just be at the bottom of a pile of old t-shirts. By the time the sale ends, clothing will have transferred from one pile to another so you may find women’s jumpers side by side with children’s trousers.

3.  Another useful tip is to make sure you bring plenty of loose change and lots of  carrier bags. It helps the organisers and saves time so you can focus on the next pile of clothes, books or bric a brac.

4. While you may feel you want to haggle about prices do remember these events are being held to raise money for good causes. The joy of jumble sales is how cheap everything is anyway without having to negotiate a price reduction.

5. Why not consider volunteering at your local jumble sale? From personal experience it takes a lot of (wo)man power to collect and sort through jumble (not always a pleasant job: see below). One of the ‘perks’ of helping is to get a look at all the donated stuff before it goes on sale. But if you are going to volunteer your services why not make it more permanent and help out at some of the charity’s other events too?

On a final note,  please do bear in mind when you donate to a local sale that items still have to be in a fairly okayish state (ie don’t give them that mouldy box in the corner of your garage that is filled with broken items and soggy old magazines!).

To find out when and where local jumble sales are taking place try looking at your local newspapers (in print and online) and other local listings websites.

Last year’s jumble sale haul (the orange scarf was one of my best buys from last year):

 

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (20-27 February)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

 

 

This past week has seen us do a lot of decluttering and I have tried to work through our freezer and cupboards without doing much extra food shopping. I also had a couple of evenings out, courtesy of work.

  1. The school Jumble Sale is this coming Saturday and at the weekend we worked hard to sort the loft. I have donated our home brewing equipment which we haven’t used for ten years; we have two car radios plus lots of books, clothes, toys etc. I also got my husband to go through a couple of boxes of paperwork which is a BIG achievement (think he has about ten boxes of work related papers, clippings, receipts etc stored in the loft). The end result is our conservatory is now cluttered with bags waiting to go to the school…

Jumble Sale sign2. I have decided not to do my monthly food shop until the end of the week (later than planned) as we still have quite a few things to eat from the freezer and cupboards. There are a couple of items I have had to buy but am hoping I can stretch other foodstuffs until the end of the week.

3. I was invited to a friends’ on Saturday night for a ‘girls’ night in’. The theme was tapas and I made use of a lot of items I had at home to make some Spanish/Mexican dips (guacamole, tapenade, salsa) and tortilla chips. I did buy some Manchego cheese and beers to take but everything else was made from ingredients I already had at home.

homemade guacamole, salsa, tapenade

4. Courtesy of work I got to go to a swish awards ceremony on Thursday and a gallery opening on Friday. My husband joined me for the latter so we got some grown up time together. If you live in Bath the Victoria Art Gallery has this new exhibition called History Through a Lens, which is a very thought-provoking exhibition of photographs from the past 90 years. Many of them are hard-hitting iconic images (current refugee crisis, war photographs, 9/11) so it’s not for everyone.

5. I’m now working my way through some borrowed reading books. I’ve just read ‘The Haunting of House Hill’ by Shirley Jackson  (borrowed from a fellow member of our book group) and picked up a library book called ‘The Somnambulist’ by Essie Fox.

What are you reading at the moment? Do you make use of your local library, or do you have any favourite second-hand purchases?
 You can share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

 

 

This week’s Thrifty Finds (6 – 12 Feb)

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

I hope you all had a good week.  I was busy at work and the kids started to wind down in time for a well-deserved week off school. These are my Thrifty Finds:

  1. In preparation for the half-term holidays I did a lot of baking this week. I froze muffins and pancakes to eat next week for snacks and lunches at home.

baking snacks for lunches

2. I popped along to the monthly market/bring and buy sale in our village. Run by the local church it is stocked with bric-a-brac and books. Prices are dirt cheap and I had to resist the urge to come home with handfuls of books (and that slight musty/damp smell that is its signature smell). In the end I bought one book – we have the audio version on itunes but I hadn’t spotted the book before:

Wolf Brother book

3. I’m working my way through my next re-read, ‘Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day’, the first Persephone Press book I ever read. I picked this copy up from a charity shop. Ironically, there was the exact copy on sale at the Church sale (as above)!

Persephone Books.

4. Not sure this is a Thrifty Find but I have started to listen to podcasts a lot more, particularly if I’m pottering at home. I’ve listened to nearly every episode from Dan Sow’s History Hit but have also come across the US-based Call Your Girlfriend series. Hosted by California based Aminatou Sow and New Yorker Ann Friedman it is funny, insightful and political. They discuss women’s rights, Beyonce, the African American experience and there is a LOT of talk about Donald Trump. Catching up on their weekly podcast has become a bit of a weekend ritual in my house.

Do you listen to podcasts? I’m always on the look out for new ones to try so any recommendations would be gratefully received. You can also share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

Thrifty Finds (30 Jan-5 Feb)

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

Apologies for being a day late with this one. I am still adjusting to a new working week and re-organising my schedules for writing and posting. One month in I am totally loving my job and even secured some Thrifty Finds in relation to workwear last week:

  1. I had a couple of evening functions to go to (connected with a new exhibition at the Fashion Museum). I am still building up my work wardrobe (sigh..very sensible clothing) and have been on the hunt for a basic black jacket for a couple of weeks. In the end I rushed out on Wednesday and picked up the perfect blazer from Debenhams, reduced to £30.
  2. I also had a good rummage in the Save the Children shop in Bath (currently my  favourite charity shop). I picked up these two blouses which are perfect for work. They are from LaRedoute and French Connection and were a slightly pricey £9.50 in total (but I’ll get lots of wear from them)

secondhand blouses. charity shop find. Thrifty Find. Thrift store. Workwear.

I really like the back detail on the LaRedoute blouse (Note to self: must get the iron out!)

secondhand LaRedoute blouse. Charity shop workwear. Thrifty Finds. secondhandtales.wordpress.com

3) One of the perks of my job is getting to look round the museums’ exhibitions before they open to the public. Last Wednesday night I go to attend a Bloggers’ Preview of the Fashion Museum’s new exhibition: Lace in Fashion. It was such a treat to get a guided tour by the curator and see some of the beautiful lace dresses and outfits in their collection. Plus I also got to meet local blogger, Scrapiana, whom I have been following for a while and who runs amazing mending workshops (for free).

4) After two late nights I got to relax at the weekend as we went to visit my old school friends in the New Forest. It’s always lovely to go back, catch up and have a little trip down memory lane (literally as we drove past my old school and house). We ate very well all weekend and the beetroot brownies I made the previous weekend (and froze) went down very well.

5). I finished re-reading the Beryl Bainbridge book, ‘Every Man for Himself’ which I really enjoyed. I’ve now picked up another book as part of my mission to ‘re-read the bookshelf’.

Stella Gibbons, 'Starlight'; Beryl Bainbridge, 'Every man for himself'

 

 

What were your Thrifty Finds for the past week?

Don’t forget you can also share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (23-30 Jan)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.comI’m not sure if they count as Thrifty Finds but this past week has found me trying to use up leftovers and struggling with the whole veg box thing…

  1. We finished off a few things that had been hiding in the freezer. We seem to have lots of packets that just have one thing in them, ie one pizza, one veggie grill. Still, the kids don’t seem to mind the mixing and matching that goes on. Thanks to some forward planning by my husband who cooked a load of bolognese, we had an easy to cook meal after a busy day at work as well.
  2. As I mentioned I am struggling with the veg box. Now that I’m busier with work I don’t always have the time to cook meals that will use up items like cabbage, celeriac, beetroot and winter lettuce. I find that I have to be quite imaginative when it comes to getting the girls to eat these ingredients. I’m not sure if a veg box is right for us still and find it a challenge to use it all up (looking back at previous posts it seems I had exactly the same problem two years ago!) . On the plus side, a friend lent me the Anna Jones cookery book and, over the weekend, I made a winter salad plus celeriac steaks and sweet potato fries.

using up the veg box via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

3. I also got my ‘baking mojo’ back, having not made much since Christmas. I used up the beetroots in the veg box to make some brownies and also baked some banana cake and muffins.

4. On a non-food related matter my husband and I sneaked off to the cinema during the day. Such a treat! It was a Monday and so we got cheaper cinema tickets.

5. I decided that this January I was going to ‘re-read’ my bookshelves. So I have been going back to some favourite novels that haven’t been read for ages. I just finished ‘Starlight’ by Stella Gibbons and am now halfway through ‘Every Man for Himself’ by Beryl Bainbridge. I am really enjoying reading them again and I haven’t had to go out and buy or borrow any new books. So, possibly the ‘Thriftiest Find’ of all!

re-reading the bookshelf

Do you ever go back to any favourite novels you’ve kept on the bookshelf – or do you do give them away once they’ve been read?

Don’t forget you can also share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram