Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (1-7 May)

 

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

I just realised I didn’t post last week: still busy after Easter and balancing work with other home stuff but I will keep listing my Thrifty Finds – and please keep on sharing yours.

This past week we enjoyed a free family festival and I went along to Bradford on Avon’s first Repair Cafe…

  1. I wrote a post here about my problem with getting free coffee from Waitrose. Well, soon after I wrote that Waitrose changed their offer!  You now have to buy an item at the store to qualify for your free coffee. This has spurred me on to try a few different coffee houses. This week I managed to get a free coffee from a lovely independent that is directly opposite my work (their coffee machine wasn’t working when I went in so they gave me a card to use later). I will have to cut down on how many lattes I buy in a week but am pleased to be supporting independents.

 

2.Our village ran its annual May Fair and I donated a couple of bags of bric a brac and books, My new system of keeping donations in a small box by the front door has made me a lot more organised about giving things away little and often. I also donated a bag of clothes to the Air Ambulance bin at school.

 

3. On Saturday I went along to a neighbouring town, Bradford on Avon, which was running its first Repair Cafe. Climate Friendly Bradford on Avon is an active Green group within the town and I had been talking to them about running our Repair Cafes together, ie Corsham Repair Cafe happens twice a year and they run their own cafe bi-annually too. This would mean that within an eight mile radius people would have the opportunity to get their household items fixed on a quarterly basis. Bradford on Avon’s inaugural Repair Cafe took place on Saturday and seemed to be quite successful. Bath has  also recently started running its own Repair Cafe. It’s great to see the movement taking off in this corner of the world.

4. On Saturday afternoon we went along to a free family festival at the University of Bath. There was loads to see and do: live music, stalls with hands-on science experiments, bouncy castles, food stalls, and lots of sports activities in their world-class Sports Training Village (the University has trained quite a few British Olympians). It was all free and part of the University’s 50th birthday celebrations.

5. Slowly, we are catching up with Game of Thrones (yes I know rather late to the show). We watched a few series last year with our free trial subscription to Now TV. We picked up Series 5 at the local library and are working our way through it.. Do you borrow dvds from the library – or do you tend to watch online? We subscribed to Amazon Prime last year and tend to watch a few (free) films that way too.

(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 (20-26 March)

 

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

I have had a lovely week! I had to take annual leave and so enjoyed a few days to myself (as the kids are still at school). I pottered around the house, did some sorting and organising, and also met up with friends I hadn’t seen for ages.

  1. I spring-cleaned the kitchen cupboards. Sounds dull but I did take great satisfaction in giving them a good clean and doing some decluttering. We don’t have many kitchen cupboards and I have already had a good go at reducing what we own. Still, there were a few more mugs and glasses that I was able to donate to charity shops.

2. I met up with friends for lunches and coffee, but didn’t break the bank. It was lovely to see people I hadn’t caught up with for ages, and enjoy time together.

3. On Friday I hosted my Book Group and, as I was off work, had time to make all the snacks: tzatziki, salsa and guacamole. We also had enough left over for lunch the next day (we are at the end of the month here so the food cupboards are starting to look quite bare!)

4. I had a lovely Mother’s Day: breakfast in bed, homemade cards, lunch cooked by my husband, and lots of flowers. The daffodils came from my friend’s garden, as a thank you for hosting Book Group.

5. Finally, for the past few weeks I have been sorting through my wardrobe. I followed the advice of a few minimalist/Project 333 bloggers and emptied the contents of my closet*. I then rehung every item with the hangers all going the same way on the rail. Then, every time I wore an outfit I re-positioned it with the hanger going the opposite way. The idea was that, after three weeks, I could see which items hadn’t been worn by the way the hanger was positioned.

In total, I had 30 items in my closet (tops, blouses, trousers, skirts, dresses and some knitwear). Only nine items hadn’t been worn. Out of these, I kept four (as the weather warms up I know I’ll be getting more wear from them), but discarded five as I had not worn them at all. (I also had the two new pairs of trousers bought last week to add to the closet).

I was surprised at the items I hadn’t worn, and at some of those I had put on over the past few weeks. I guess that as I am working more, my wardrobe is starting to reflect the fact that three days a week I am in an office (as well as attending evening functions).

I’m really pleased with the results. There is more space to see the clothes and I have a load of ideas for new outfits to wear over the next few months.

*Due to the lack of space and storage upstairs my clothes are spread between 1) a small wardrobe in my daughter’s room; 2) a narrow Ikea shelf unit in my bedroom; 3) a few longer dresses hanging from my bedroom door. (see this post here)

Now that the seasons are changing, have you started to change your wardrobe? I’d love to hear where you get your clothes from too: High Street stores, or second-hand?

I’d also love to hear about your Thrifty Finds! Please  share your Thrifty Finds 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

This week’s Thrifty Finds (27 Feb – 5 March)

 

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

 

This past week it’s been all about the school jumble sale.

Jumble Sale sign

If you’re a regular reader of ‘Thrifty Finds’ you’ll know that I’ve spent the last couple of months decluttering and donating to the jumble sale. In the end we gave away about a dozen bin bags (and could have given more) but I just didn’t appreciate how much other STUFF everyone else had donated too. Sorting through the jumble took the committee seven hours to do on Friday! And even though we were busy at the sale (and made an amazing £1000 for school funds) we still spent a couple of hours clearing it all away at the end. There is still SO MUCH left! And now we don’t know what to do with it!

I was very restrained and only picked up a few items that I really needed:

1. This blue enamel dish which will have many uses in the kitchen. I also got a glass kilner jar and this gorgeous Moomin tray. I also picked up a travel game and Jacqueline Wilson story CD for the girls.

Blue enamel bowl via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

Jumble sale find: Moomin tray via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

2. I bought two items of clothing. The blue top had never been worn and still had a £26 price tag on it!

Jumble sale find: blue unworn top from Next

 

Jumble Sale find: purple top from Instant Vintage

 

3. Jumble Sale aside, my other Thrifty Finds included baking a big batch of cookies from some unidentified frozen dough in the freezer (turned out to be banana and chocolate chip cookies).

4. I’m still addicted to podcasts. This weekend I listened to Part 1 of Radio 4’s adaptation of HG Wells’ ‘War of the Worlds’ ( one of my favourite books). You can find it here

5. I have just joined a new Facebook group organised by Zoe from the ecothriftyliving blog. It’s all about reducing food waste and using up those items lurking at the back of your cupboard, freezer etc. I’m really going to try to tackle our food waste (and packaging). I’ve been rather lax with this lately as I adjust to a new and busy job, but want to get better. You can find out more here

On a final note I’m running the next Repair Cafe on Saturday so will have a few mending tales for next week:

Repair Cafe in Box, Wiltshire

 

 

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

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 (13-19 Feb)

 

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

The baking that I did before the school holiday went down well this past week. We had a couple of trips out over half term but it was fairly quiet. These are some of our Thrifty Finds:

  1. On Monday we travelled into Bath as the girls had a dentist’s appointment. Every so often I have to stand back and really appreciate the healthcare system in our country. My three girls have dental check-ups (and minor treatment) for free. Two of my daughters have regular eye tests and one of them wears glasses and all of this is for free. I don’t have to put money aside to cover these things or worry about insurance plans. My eldest has always suffered from asthma and I don’t have to think twice about seeing the nurse, taking her to hospital or getting her medication. Even when she had an asthma attack in Italy a couple of years ago her treatment was free because of the EHIC (how much longer will we have that reciprocal arrangement for?). I know it has unprecedented problems at the moment but I love our NHS!
  2. Our village bus service lets children travel for free during the holidays (technically it’s two free kids’ tickets per paying adult so I had to pay for the eldest). As I travel into Bath for work I have an eleven ticket saver pass which makes it slightly cheaper as well.
  3. Although the trip to the dentist was free we had to go shoe shopping, which wasn’t in the plan. I save a little money each month to cover clothing etc but hadn’t budgeted for two of the girls to have grown out of their shoes! Uhoh! I’m still caught by that ‘having properly fitting shoes’ trap and so ended up spending £64 in Clarks (and they were two pairs of the cheaper shoes!). One of my girls now needs new PE trainers but I have found a few pairs that should fit her, handed down by my eldest. After a quick run in the washing machine they look as good as new:

second hand trainers

4. This isn’t strictly my Thrifty Find but my husband shattered his iphone screen and found the charger wasn’t working properly. Although he has insurance he would have had to pay £50 excess and his phone company said it would take 10 days to get his phone repaired (without giving him a substitute). In the end he got a better deal going to an independent phone repair shop and his iphone was back within six days. He’s now cancelled his insurance.

5. We are still sorting through stuff in the house to donate to the school jumble sale next month. The girls went through their toy box and gave away quite a lot of things.

Did you have school holidays last week (or this week)? I think February half term can be the most difficult time to entertain the kids if the weather isn’t great, and not much is open. Did you have any Thrifty Finds last week?

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