This fortnight’s Thrifty Finds (30 October-12 November 2017)

 

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

Apologies for this late posting – I had begun to draft last week’s but I never completed it. So I thought I would combine the past two weeks’ instead….

1.I’ve had some luck with picking up second-hand bargains. I bought these used books at the monthly bric a brac sale held in the church hall:

I’m a big fan of the Mapp and Lucia series of books by EF Benson and am looking forward to re reading them 🙂

2. I went to visit a friend in South Wales and we enjoyed rummaging the charity shops and stalls in Monmouth. I picked up these two LPs for £7:

img_1471-e1510581689664.jpg

I’ve wanted ‘Rio’ for about 30 years (!) and Van Morrison’s ‘Moondance’ is one of my favourite albums.

3. I also found an amazing bargain in a local hospice shop – Boden ankle length trousers for just £4.50! I’m in need of some casual work trousers and have been looking for some ankle length ones. Being Boden, these are in great condition too.

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4. Apart from some second hand shopping I also managed to get my watch fixed this month. I haven’t worn it for about ten years but, now that I’m working, I really need it. So I got a new battery and a new watch strap. This cost me £20 but was money worth spending.

5. I started Christmas shopping (!). I worked out my budget – based on the regular monthly amount we save into a dedicated account – and the number of people I’m shopping for. I made a small start on the children’s presents but was also able to buy some hand crafted gifts for friends at a local craft fair. This year I am determined not to buy from Amazon and to try to support independents as much as possible.

Have you started Christmas shopping yet?

Toys , Christmas tree ball on , branch.

 

 

I’d love to hear about your Thrifty Finds too! Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

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Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (22-29 October 2017)

 

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richard scarry, pumpkin

Happy Halloween!

Well we had a great half term holiday and I really enjoyed being off work and spending time with the children. We had a very low key – and inexpensive – week:

  1. Every month I put aside some funds for ‘Days Out’. I used some of this to buy tickets for Westonbirt Arboretum, the national arboretum which is located about 40 mins from home. Autumn is the best time to visit this huge collection of 15,000 trees. The Japanese Maples, in particular, are stunning. Needless to say, though, this is also the busiest – and priciest – time of year to visit. We arrived early on Tuesday morning and really enjoyed walking the paths, playing in the trees and walking across the amazing Treetop Walkway. But just as we sat down for our picnic, the heavens opened! In the end, we retreated to our car and ended up going home earlier than planned 😦

 

 

2. While we didn’t get to do any den building at Westonbirt, the following day we took a walk around our own (free) Millennium Wood in the village. Here the girls spent ages making their own dens, while I enjoyed strolling around the small woodland.

 

3. I also used the half term holidays as a good excuse to sort through the children’s clothes. I had a few bags of winter clothing stored in the loft. We sifted through these bags and also went through their drawers and wardrobe to see what needed to be donated, or put away until next summer. In the end I had a huge bag of clothing which I gave away on Facebook.

4. Being the run up to Halloween, we also sorted through our big bag of Halloween costumes and decorations. Many of the costumes were given to use by friends and some of the decorations are years old, including our favourite spider webs made from materials bought at the local scrapstore.

5. We also carved our pumpkin – but I was determined to ‘save’ as much of this as I could. So I toasted the pumpkin seeds and made spicy soup.

Have you been pumpkin carving? Do you have any plans to make use of the leftovers?

 

I’d love to hear about your Thrifty Finds too! Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (18-30 September) – and the end of the Repair Cafe :(

 

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I’m not quite sure how it happened but I didn’t post for last week (oops!). Sometimes things get very busy and, if I’m not sticking to my regular schedule, some things just fall off the list..

So I’m going to try to remember my Thrifty Finds for the last two weeks and post them now. (If you follow me regularly on Instagram you may spot when I add #thriftyfinds, which is more of a daily record of my frugal achievements, purchases and non-purchases)

  1. My daughter had torn her school skirt quite badly. Although I bought her a replacement skirt from M&S she was quite happy with the hand-me-down pinafore dress that was already hanging in her wardrobe. So I returned the M&S skirt and saved £12!
  2. I had a bit of a sort out and donated a couple of bags to charity shops.
  3. I finally got my baking mojo back and baked some cakes last week. One batch of fairy cakes has been frozen to use for lunch boxes later in the month.
  4. I also got organised and cooked two separate casseroles, which I then froze. On Wednesday and Thursday the kids eat at my parents so it’s only my husband and I who have to cook a meal when we come home from work. However the last few weeks we’ve just been eating convenience freezer meals and I am fed up with over baked chips! So last weekend I spent an hour making a beef stew (in the oven) and a chicken casserole (in the slow cooker). These have now been frozen and we’ll use them for instant meals after a long day’s work 🙂
  5. On Saturday we held the last ever Corsham Repair Cafe 😦 We have been running the cafe for the past four years (see here) and I am very proud of the work that we have done: nearly 200 customers have been helped; roughly 150 repairs have been made; and we’ve shown the local community that items can be repaired, rather than just thrown away.                     But, over the past year, volunteers and customer numbers have dwindled and, now that I don’t work in Corsham, it’s harder to find the time to organise and promote. So we took the sad decision to close the cafe.       However I’m delighted that, since Corsham opened its Repair Cafe in 2013, we now have regular Repair Cafes running in Bristol, Bath and Bradford on Avon. Corsham also has an active Men’s Shed who are able to take repairs on too.

I do feel slightly relieved (although also sad) that we’ve taken this decision. I really enjoyed catching up with the volunteers who gave their time, effort and skills to help mend broken items. But I am also looking forward to having more free time – maybe to pursue a new green hobby?!

 

 

Don’t forget to share your Thrifty Finds too! I do love to read them.

charity shop clothes shopping haul second hand

Charity Shop Haul: September 2017

charity shop clothes shopping haul second hand

Welcome to my new, occasional, series on Charity Shop Hauls. Having teenage – and preteen – daughters I am all too familiar with the Youtube shopping hauls, where vloggers talk about their trips to Primark et al.

Although I don’t intend to vlog my finds I thought an occasional blog post may show that it is possible to make some great second hand purchases too, and we don’t have to rely on Fast Fashion to provide us with low cost outfits.

I decided that I needed a few more outfits for work, especially as the weather has got a lot colder and warmer. Last Friday I headed into Bath with a shopping list:

  • Boots/laceups/shoes for work
  • Work trousers
  • Jeans
  • Warm tops/thin jumpers
  • White shirt
  • Tights (first hand)

It can be tricky sticking to such lists when browsing charity shops. It will depend on what styles, sizes and colours have been donated to the particular stores. When shopping I also have to allow for that ‘WOW!’ moment when something stands out and I just have to buy it (see here for the ‘orange coat moment’ or here for a more recent Henry Holland dress)

So when I came across this Marks and Spencer Collection skirt I had to have it!

M&S S/S17 second hand charity shop haul Dorothy House

I am pretty certain these skirts were on sale in M&S earlier this summer. At the time I was tempted to buy one, although I never normally wear long skirts. However seeing this in the Dorothy House vintage store on sale for just £6.50 I just knew I had to add this to my wardrobe!

In fact Dorothy House came up trumps as I was able to create an entire outfit for just £20!

I picked up this Sainsburys Tu top (which is definitely from this summer’s collection) for £5.

Sainsburys Tu S/S17 blue and red knitwear charity shop haul Dorothy House

Interestingly, this was a size 18 (I’m normally a size 12) but it’s often worth looking at larger sizes when charity shopping as they can shrink slightly. I also preferred the baggier fit as I plan to put another jumper underneath when it gets colder.

To finish the outfit I made my first ever purchase of second hand shoes. This is something I don’t normally consider but these £8.50 shoes from Next were a perfect colour to match the top and skirt and I just sort of fell for them….

Next blue patent office shoes charity shop haul

Feeling very pleased with myself, I browsed a few more shops and finally picked up some tops from Oxfam on Argyle Street.

These two jumpers will be perfect for layering this winter. They came to £10.99 in total:

I also bought this gorgeous boatneck top for £6.99. I really like the 1950s style of it.

I’d not come across the Betty Barclay label before but a quick google search shows their tops sell first hand for about £50-£60!

In total I spent £37.98 on four tops, one skirt and one pair of shoes. The majority of the clothes were from good quality labels and I was particularly pleased to pick up two items that were from this year. It did make me wonder, though, why the owners had donated them so quickly. But then one person’s cast off is another woman’s treasure….

What are your thoughts on charity shopping? Do you buy most of your clothes second-hand, or would you never consider wearing charity shop outfits for work? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts, or even persuade you that there is nothing wrong with second hand shopping 🙂

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (11-17 September)

Thrifty Finds

How has your week been? These are my Thrifty Finds for the past seven days:

  1. I went shopping for work clothes. As usual, I ignored all the High Street stores and, instead, browsed the charity shops. I ended up with a very successful trip: one skirt, four tops and a pair of shoes for £38! (post to follow soon)

2. I also picked up a really interesting book on women in World War Two from the Oxfam Bookshop:

3. I also donated a small bag of childrenswear to the British Heart Foundation shop.

4. Having visited the D-Day beaches on our holiday my husband and I were really keen to re-watch the TV series, ‘Band of Brothers’. My brother lent us his box set so we are now working our way through it. It’s amazing how many people are in the series, with really small roles being played by actors who are now big leads themselves (Tom Hardy, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Simon Pegg).

5. I’m putting the finishing touches to our next Repair Cafe which happens at the end of the month. I must remember to hunt out a couple of items at home which are broken so that I can bring them along to be fixed too!

What were your Thrifty Finds? Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

This week’s Thrifty Finds (4-10 September)

 

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I can’t believe it’s been nearly a month since I last posted! I hope you had a good summer and, if you went away, you had an enjoyable break.

We had a lovely holiday and if you follow my instagram posts you may have picked up a snapshot of what we did. While away, I used my net shopping bags for fruit and veg and we religiously used the free drinking water on the campsite (why do people have to buy SO many large bottles of water when they’re abroad? It’s only France for goodness sake and none of us got ill from drinking from the campsite’s water taps!)

Anyway, now we’re back and the kids have returned to school I can slowly get back to normal and post our Thrifty Finds from the past week. Please let me know what your Thrifty Finds were – or any you made over the summer holidays. I’d love to hear!

1. The Veg Box came when I wasn’t expecting it! So I had a glut of veg and fruit that I have been trying to use up. Last Sunday I spent the morning making soups and a plum flapjack cake.

2. It’s the start of the ‘free apple’ season in the village. A neighbour left this lovely sign outside her house and I helped myself to a few of the apples to make a fruit crumble. This also allowed me to use up some frozen stewed apples, rhubarb from the veg box and even some blackberries I had picked and put in the freezer last year!

3. Like many of us, Back to School means a lot of expense buying uniforms, supplies and shoes. This September I have staggered the purchase of shoes to fit in with the monthly wages. So, my youngest daughter got new shoes in June as her feet had grown quite substantially; we bought shoes for my middle daughter at the end of July as soon as schools broke up; and my 15 year old picked up some (cheap but fashionable) school shoes at the beginning of this month. If I had paid for all three girls to buy school shoes from Clarks at the same time it would have cost  £120! My eldest has really outgrown their styles anyway and, as she will be finishing after GCSE exams, I don’t mind if she has a less hard wearing pair of shoes.

4. I read on another blog about being able to get a free audio book download from Audible. So, before we went on holiday, I signed for a free trial and picked up ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ (narrated by David Tennant) for free! This weekend I cancelled the subscription so that I won’t be paying for it once the trial finishes.

5. I also cancelled a magazine subscription that the girls weren’t reading. I felt quite sad as it was a science magazine aimed at kids, but they just weren’t interested 😦

And finally … my September task is to look at our existing budgets and adapt them for the new school year. The girls seem to be doing less paid for activities but I also want to plan for the next 12 months. Once my eldest leaves secondary school we will need to pay for her transportation costs to college. My middle daughter will be starting secondary school so we need to look at uniform and travel costs for her. There are also school residential trips, extra GCSE tutoring, end of school Prom etc to pay for. And who said state education was free?!

If you have school age children how do you pay for uniform, supplies and activities?

I’d love to hear about your Thrifty Finds too! Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (31 July – 7 August)

 

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Hello! While I try to post my Thrifty Finds on a Monday when the kids are on holiday I find time runs away with me. We’re also off on hols next week so there is lots of packing and shopping to do too. I did manage to stick to some budgets, last week, though, as preparing for a holiday can prove pricey…

1. I went through the holiday packing list with the kids and worked out what they needed. We then stuck to the list when we went shopping to Bath. Sadly none of it was second hand (as my kids get older I find it harder to buy second hand clothing for them; on the plus side they get a lot of hand me downs). I also picked up a  couple of items from my list which weren’t purchased second hand 🙁. For the first time ever I bought myself a couple of things from Primark. But I stuck rigidly to my list:

 

2. Having done a lot of holiday planning by buying insurance, travel money, breakdown cover etc has earned me £76.38  from the Quidco cash back site that I signed up to last year. I was going to buy all these items anyway, but purchasing via the Quidco website meant I earned money back as well 😀

3. Apart from holiday prep, we had two birthdays last week. I made two out of three of the birthday cakes (due to lack of time I did buy a supermarket cake for my daughter’s party for the first time ever!) I had budgeted for both birthdays and had enough money to buy gifts and pay for a small scale party.

4. I also sold my daughter’s old bike which helped to pay for the new one for her birthday.

5, While we had planned to go for a family pub lunch for the other birthday last week, a quick budget check showed this wasn’t possible. Instead we stayed at home and I made lunch. We also held impromptu drinks in the garden for friends, using wine and beer we already had and spending a little money on nibbles.

I will now spend the rest of the week washing, packing (and working) and finalising budgets for hols. As we are heading to France and the euro is very nearly worth £1 we are going to have to reign in our spending a little..

If you want to follow our holiday travels follow me on instagram

I’m also going to try to keep to some zero waste/plastic free habits from previous holidays (see here and here). Watch this space and see you at the end of the month!

A bientot….