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

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (13-19 March)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.comFollowing the busy-ness of last week, and the Repair cafe, this past week has been fairly quiet on the Thrifty Finds front.

  1. It turns out that the vacuum cleaner I had repaired (all by myself) still has a fault and the fan belt broke again. So I have ordered two more spare ones – I am still determined to fix this myself!
  2. I had a very quiet week socially and spent the weekend at home (which is unusual for us). We borrowed a dvd and had a Saturday night curled up watching a film.(Last weekend we’d been out both nights and ended up paying for babysitters as our eldest was on sleepovers).
  3.  I finally got round to making a fruit crumble with the blackberries and apple I had frozen from the Autumn.

4. I went on annual leave last Friday. It seems odd as I only started in January but I have to take the leave before the end of the month, so I’m not back at work until the middle of next week. I spent Friday with my eldest who had a Teacher Training day so was out of school. We trawled the shops in Bath and I picked up two pairs of badly needed trousers for work; sadly I seem to have gone up a dress size 😦

I picked up a pair of new trousers for £20 and these gorgeous wide legged grey trousers for £6 from the excellent Save the Children shop in Bath:

We had a cheap McDonalds but then spent £20 on the cinema (one adult, one child for a Friday daytime showing – curse you Odeon!)

5. Having bought some new (to me) clothes and, having to re-assess my sizing, I have started to sort through my wardrobe. I’ll write more about this next week…. My husband and I also sorted through his wardrobe so he should be able to see things better (rather than shirt being hung upon another shirt,then being hung on a jumper!!)

This coming week I am going to enjoy being off work and catching up with friends, and I have a big list of organising projects I want to get started on too… Do you have any organising/Spring Cleaning tasks on your ‘to do’ list?

Please  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

Shock! Horror! Second-Hand Tales goes first-hand shopping!!

 

shopping bags

I have a confession to make…. I actually went first-hand shopping! This is something which probably happens a couple of times a year for me. Last year I bought a gorgeous black jumpsuit with my Christmas money and I have not regretted it once.

But the reason for my first-hand shopping this time is because I have a new grown up job!!  At the beginning of this month I started working (part-time) as Heritage Publicity Officer for The Roman Baths, Fashion Museum Bath & Victoria Art Gallery!!! I cannot tell you how exciting this is! It has been a long time in the waiting (I originally applied for a similar job a couple of years ago but needed to update my skills. There then followed 22 months of fruitless job applications and interviews, digital marketing courses and voluntary work placements).

Of course a new job means a slightly updated (and smarter) wardrobe. Hence I dipped my toes into the relatively unknown territory of First-Hand Shopping. My knowledge of shopping in Bath is shaped by the location of second-hand shops. I make a beeline for Walcot Street,George Street, Westgate St, the charity shops on Argyle St/Pulteney Bridge and the Dorothy House shop opposite M&S.

But High Street store shopping means following a completely different route – and not one that I am very familiar with. I wrote this post here about how I am only familiar with High Street labels if I have bought them second-hand.

Anyway I had a list of very sensible items of clothing that I needed to buy for my new job and really struggled to find any of them! In the end I picked up these two tops and a pair of black ankle boots (all in the sale as I still like a bargain!)

black polo neck and white lace blous

The black polo neck is from Apricot and a wardrobe ‘classic’. I had to be very disciplined when shopping this time and only purchase wardrobe staples. I also had a sensible white shirt on my shopping list but couldn’t find one I liked anywhere. Instead I opted for the white high collar blouse from Marks & Spencer. Funnily enough one of my first jobs in post is to publicise the Fashion Museum’s ‘Lace in Fashion’ exhibition so the lace detail on the blouse makes it very apt!

The black boots had been on my list for a while and, having failed to find any second-hand, I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase them from Debenhams for just £15.

But that was the extent of my excursion! Having undertaken my First-Hand Shopping expedition I just realised that:

1. When you get to your forties (and I suspect even earlier) you realise that most clothes shops look the same.

2. Second-hand shops aren’t always cheaper (esp when compared to some High Street stores) but the clothes on their racks tend to be longer lasting and even better quality.

3. Second-hand shopping allows you to dress individually.

4. I just prefer second-hand/charity shops, and in cities such as Bath there isn’t always that much to choose between the look and contents of these stores as compared to High Street stores.

5. As long as your clothes are clean and smart you really can dress second-hand for work.

What about you? Do you wear second-hand for work? Do you think it depends on what type of work you do?

 

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (8-15 Jan)

 

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

This past week has been fairly quiet (well almost…)

  1. I cooked a big Sunday roast and made use of some of the stewed apples I had frozen from the Autumn.

Food for free - Second Hand Tales

2. I continued with my post-Christmas clear out and filled another bag for the school jumble sale.

3. My two younger girls share a bedroom which is never quite warm enough. I moved around some furniture which made the area by their radiator a lot clearer. This really improved the flow of warm air and their bedroom is far more comfortable. I was really pleased with this very simple act.

4. I received some  great suggestions about my incomplete jigsaw puzzle, both on the blog and my facebook page. I have decided to keep the pieces and make some children’s birthday cards with them.

5. Finally, on Saturday night we threw our annual 70s, 80s and 90s party. It’s a very cheap affair: we book the skittle alley at the local pub (£35) and make up a great playlist on Spotify. Everyone dresses up and dances until 2am (!). Last year I wore a great 70s flared jumpsuit here but this year I spent a total of £2 on a pair of charity shop stilettoes and borrowed some dungarees from a friend.

charity shop stilettoes

 

Did you have any Thrifty Finds for the past week?

You can also share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

Christmas Thrifty Finds

 

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

Apologies for not having listed my Thrifty Finds for a couple of weeks. Now that we are back to normal and the decorations taken down I thought I’d share our Thrifty Finds for Christmas – and would love to hear about your Festive Thrifty Finds too!

  1. We only bought a couple of second-hand presents for the girls this year. Our eldest is a big fan of ‘The Walking Dead’ and we found this first volume of the original graphic novel in the Oxfam store:

The Walking Dead (vol 1): secondhand copy via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

Our middle daughter is really into Harry Potter and we picked up this board game based on the first book, ‘Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone’. It’s a bit like Cluedo but you have to identify the student, room and the spell they cast.

second-hand Harry Potter boardgame via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

2. My husband bought me this second-hand copy of The Jam’s ‘Setting Sons’ album which I was very excited about!

The Jam vinyl

3. We also paid a trip to the gorgeous town of Marlborough before Christmas and enjoyed trawling the charity shops there (hint: if the town has a famous public school it’ll have some good quality items in the second-hand shops!). While I didn’t pick up – or need any – clothing we did get some second-hand puzzles and games:

charity shop puzzles and games via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

The Forbidden Island game was a great find. I have had that on my Amazon wishlist for a couple of years but, at £27, it was quite expensive. This second-hand game was only £5 from the PDSA shop and (minus one playing piece) is complete. We enjoyed playing it over the holidays:

second-hand Forbidden Island game

The Horrible Histories puzzle, however, was a bit of a disappointment. There were a couple of pieces missing (to be expected for 99p) but some of the other pieces didn’t fit correctly. I wondered if it was a manufacturer’s mistake. Now I’m not sure what to do with it as I can’t really pass it on to another charity shop to sell. Any suggestions please?

Horrible Histories jigsaw puzzle

4. While I wrote in the last of my Saving for Christmas series here about our food and drink expenses over the holidays I have been really pleased that we created very little food waste. I have made soups, bought wisely and made great use of our freezer so I’m hoping we can get through the rest of the month without buying too much extra food.

5. Finally, the decorations are stored away, the cards have been turned into next Christmas’s gift labels and the thank you cards are (almost) written. Today I started to blitz the girls’ bedrooms and de-clutter and I now have a big bag of old clothing, unused Christmas gifts and old books and toys to donate to the school jumble sale in March.

So, how was your Christmas? What were your Thrifty Finds and have you tidied the house yet?!!

You can also share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram