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 (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

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

 

 

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

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

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds

 

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

We have now reached Christmas Shopping Frenzy in my corner of the world. Last Monday I had to travel to Bath for a couple of work appointments. I had forgotten that this coincided with the annual Bath Christmas Market. Although the market does bring lots of revenue to the city and – if visited at the right time – gives you that ‘Christmas feeling’ it is still a heaving mass of consumption.

But, despite some planned Christmas shopping, I stuck to what I had to do and resisted any impulse buying. Instead I secured last week’s Thrifty Finds from other sources:

  1. I picked up a couple of packs of ribbons from a second-hand shop in the nearby market town. At only 50p each these will add a festive touch to my gift wrapping

50p ribbons for Christmas 2. Talking of gift wrapping, I started to package some of the presents I had bought (with brand new paper I’m afraid, unlike the previous years’ use of plain brown paper). However I did use last year’s Christmas cards to turn into gift labels.

Re-using Christmas cards via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

3. I forgot to cancel my veg box so have been busily making soups and cakes (not sure this is a Thrifty Find as I have to factor the cost of this into my December food budget). Can you guess what I put in this chocolate cake?

Chocolate courgette cake

4. I made a couple more Facebook sales and sorted through some paperbacks to sell onto the second-hand bookstore in Bath. This has helped to raise some funds for my Christmas budget.

5. At the weekend we had a Big Baking Session and the kids and I made lots of mince pies, gingerbread ad biscuits for gifts. Some of them I’ve attempted to freeze so we can hand out closer to the Christmas break.

Have you started any festive baking yet? What are your favourite recipes?

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