Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (3- 10 July)

 

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Welcome to another installment of my Thrifty Finds. How has your week been? If you’re in the UK have you been enjoying the heat (again) – or are you struggling?

  1. Not a Thrifty Find at all I’m afraid: I use part of my mum’s freezer to store some of our food. Their freezer broke down last week. Thankfully, they were able to save their food. We only had bread products and ice lollies stored there. Unfortunately that means in this heat we’re without the months’ supply of lollies that I keep the kids topped up with 😦 The lollies have turned to mush but I was wondering about trying to salvage the sticks and see if I could make some of my own. I don’t have any moulds, though, so may have to improvise…..
  2. On a more positive note, I have discovered the large 900g yogurt tubs made by Yeo Valley. While I confess to supplying the kids with squeezy yogurts for lunchboxes (I freeze them; then they gradually defrost in time for lunch) – I resist single pots at home, because of the plastic waste. The larger the tub, the more servings I can get. When empty, they are also very sturdy containers.

3. With our holiday only next month I ordered some Euros from the Post Office. The exchange rate is so much worse than when we went abroad two years ago (don’t get me started on Brexit!) but, by using our Post Office Credit Card I paid no commission and, by going through the money back website, Quidco, I even earned £3!

4. My holiday shopping list (for clothes) currently looks like this:

  • Shorts
  • Beach Coverup
  • Shirt
  • Dress
  • Sandals
  • Hat

Having, ahem, gone up a dress size since our last overseas holiday I need to source a few more things than I thought I needed. Of course, most of these will be secondhand, although I’m unsure about the sandals and hat.

5. Finally, on a rather sad note, I learnt that the lovely Jen, from mymakeandmendlife has decided to stop blogging 😦

I have followed Jen’s blog for a few years and, living in the same county, have met her a couple of times. What started as a year of buying nothing new for her family has snowballed into an inspirational blog full of tips, ideas and actions to reduce our impact on the environment. It was Jen who first introduced the idea of a Repair Cafe to me (which led to the formation of the Corsham Repair Cafe which we run twice a year).

Although she will no longer be blogging, I look forward to catching up with Jen by listening to her podcasts (here) and following her Youtube channel (here)

Are there any Podcasters, Youtubers or Bloggers that you follow?

(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 ( 26 June – 3 July)

 

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How was your week? Did you make any thrifty purchases, donate anything or choose not to buy?

This past week I have been raiding the library, meal planning and making my own cat deterrent spray for the garden!

  1. Following our huge monthly supermarket delivery I have tried to stick to a meal plan, and reduce waste. This has had mixed results – due to last minute family plans we had to swap meals around. I also threw away a few items (I’m going to start to keep track of what I actually put in the bin as I underestimate our food waste)
  2. I popped into the library on my lunch break and picked up a few parenting books. The ‘Simplicity Parenting’ book has been on my wish list for ages.

library, parenting, borrowing

 

3. I also made my own cat deterrent spray for the garden! My husband has been doing some serious landscaping in the garden and the freshly dug soil has created a lot of interest from the local felines. I  googled ways to get rid of cats from your garden and, apparently, a citronella and water spray is good. So I have covered the soil with loads of this mixture, in the hope to deter them from using our flower beds!

citronella spray, cat deterrant

4. We go on holiday in six weeks’ time and I am trying to get organised about budgets and packing. I have started to create a clothing list for myself: most of which I plan to get from second hand shops. You may remember that last week I also started my hunt for second-hand books to take on hols.

5. I’ve also started to investigate the best way to spend money overseas. We are going to France and, as it’s our first time since the Brexit vote and drop in exchange rate, I am bracing myself for a more expensive trip. I’ve found the Money Saving Expert website really useful for tips like whether to buy currency in advance or use credit cards/pre-loaded money cards. I’ve also been researching where we are staying, and our journeys so that we can budget for excursions, petrol and tolls (for the first time in four years we are driving, rather than taking the train).

And finally it’s the start of Plastic Free July. Although I’m not taking part in it this year (see my post here from 2014) I’m hoping to keep to many of the plastic free habits I have got into over the past few years. (Although I failed at my first hurdle on Saturday night when I went to a party and used a disposable pint glass!) Take a look at their website and see if there’s anything you can do – or are already doing – to reduce plastic waste.

I’d love to hear about your Thrifty Finds too – or if you’re taking part in Plastic Free July. Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (19-26 June)

 

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How was last week? Have you cooled down since our mini heatwave here in the UK?

Here are some of my Thrifty Finds from last week:

  1. The weather was really hot here! It got up to 30C plus which is hard to live in when you don’t have air conditioning and life has to go on as normal. I located our two portable fans from the loft and we got by on closing windows, drawing curtains and staying inside (our stone cottage stays lovely and cool downstairs; upstairs is a different story though). We also did things differently: at the beginning of the week I took the girls to the play park at 7.30pm because it had only just started to cool down then! I also said ‘no’ to a picnic lunch at work because it was too hot to go out.
  2. When the weather cooled down towards the end of the week I did go out on my lunchbreak for some charity shop browsing, which I hadn’t done in a while. While I resisted a couple of dresses (see my Instagram feed) I bought a pile of books (total £4.60)

second hand books, charity shop books

Two of the books are for my holiday reading pile. I thought this one was particularly prescient, given the recent heatwave (and hottest day since June 1976!)

second hand books, charity shop books

3. These two books were for a friend who had a nasty horseriding accident and has suffered a badly broken leg 😦

Shell be immobile for most of the summer; I thought a couple of good books might help her to get through it. I’m just so relieved the accident wasn’t more serious.

4. Friends came round for a meal on Saturday night and we ended up with some leftover pudding (which they kindly made).

5. We survived to payday with very little food in the house and ended up eating the last of the freezer meals on Sunday. However this past month has been rather chaotic, shopping wise. I usually place one large supermarket order to last the  month, and then top up with regular veg box delivery/trips to the greengrocer in Corsham, plus doorstep milk delivery. This past month, however, I did a smaller online delivery and, as a result, we have been spending a small fortune each week on ‘top up shops’ and have gone way over budget! So it’s back to one large monthly shop for July and if we don’t have it, we don’t buy it (apart from fruit and veg).

By the way if you are a UK reader have you been watching the latest series of Eat Well for Less ? It’s a really informative series that tries to help families who are overspending on, and throwing away, a lot of the food they buy. Every episode I find I am picking up some useful tips (and recipes), even if I think I am quite organised when it comes to meal planning and shopping.

What are your tips when it comes to food shopping? I’d love to hear about all your Thrifty Finds. Please  share them on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (12-18 June)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.com  I hope you had a good week and, if you’re in the U.K., enjoyed our scorching weekend!

Things feel very strange here at the moment: an unresolved election result which leaves us feeling more uncertain than ever; Brexit negotiations will begin soon and another appalling loss of life with the almost unspeakable tragedy of Grenfell Tower (not to mention this morning’s attack in Finsbury Park)

It feels very small to be writing about my Thrifty Finds but I believe that life has to go on as well….

1. Last week my husband and I took a trip to Bristol and I browsed the charity shops on Park St, although I didn’t buy anything (post to follow soon on second hand shopping on Park St).

Second hand books, Oxfam

 

2. I’m still exploring takeaway coffee spots in Bath. I was pleased to get money off  at one of the independents because I’d bought in my reusable cup 😀

3. I went shopping in Sainsbury’s and made use of the butcher counter. As a result I got the cut of meat I wanted, only wrapped in paper (rather than pre packaged in plastic trays) and a free marinade.

4. My kids picked up some spades for free from a friend who was having a clear out

 

5. Yesterday we were invited to a tea party in our village, as part of the weekend’s The Great Get Together events, to mark and celebrate the life of the MP, Jo Cox, who was murdered last year. In her maiden speech to the House of Parliament, Jo said we had more in common than divides us. It was with this sentiment that her family organised the Great Get Together and, throughout the country, more than 120,000 events were arranged; encouraging neighbours to meet up and get to know each other.

The village event was a small gathering and a chance for people in that road to get to meet each other. Despite having lived in the village for 15 years (and knowing quite a few people), we got to chat to new neighbours. There was plenty of tea and cake on hand as well!

The Great Get Together Wiltshire

The Great Get Together, Wiltshire

Given the terrible events of the past few months (and this morning’s attack on a mosque in London) it seems more important now than ever to get to know each other and celebrate what we have in common.

 

If you live in the UK did you get to attend one of these events?

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Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds

 

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Last week was a rather strange one, given that it was bisected by the General Election.

1. Pre election I managed to get back into cooking and baking, and using up leftovers. I made soup from some Sunday lunch veg and baked cakes with some brownish bananas (the latter to keep us going on election night).

2. not quite a Thrifty Find but I do need to make a decision as to whether I continue with my veg box. I ended up composting a fair bit of it last week 😦

 

3. On election night I was very good and, at the North Wiltshire count* I avoided the pre-wrapped biscuits and disposable cups and bought my own snacks and reusables.

4. We received a few gifts last week. Friends came to dinner and bought some homemade goodies:

l-r: biscotti, elderflower cordial, chipotle ketchup 

5. And we had a visit from Grandad who gave the girls a new (to them) Wii!!

*my husband stood as Green Party candidate; see my previous post for more.

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

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (8-14 May)

 

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How has your week been? Did you have any Thrifty Finds last week? 

This is what we managed:

1. I forgot to post this last week but I actually spent some time melting down old candles and re-setting them. This is something I do once in a while to get the maximum use from my candles. I have some gorgeous, and quite expensive, candles and I want to get the most out of them. I melt them in a double burner and then pour the melted wax into a new (heatproof) container and set new wicks in them.  Since I bought my Party Lite  candle last Christmas with its three wicks I decided to add a couple of wicks to one of my candles- this should make them burn more even. My ultimate aim is to just have soy candles in the house, rather than paraffin wax ones.

 

 

2. We are still working our way through ‘Friends’. The downside of buying second hand, though, is that sometimes the right disc isn’t in the box! We ended up with some duplicate episodes, but having searched a couple of charity shops, I came up with the missing disc of four episodes (reduced to 99p as well!).

3. A neighbour was going away for a month so she gave me her Italian basil plant. It smells beautiful and really lifts the kitchen!

 

4. I went along to a community meeting about our Neighbourhood Plan: the ten year plan that will say how we want things to develop in our village i.e. Housing, services, transport. I’m glad I went as many people at the meeting just don’t realise what an expensive village this has become and how there is a real lack of affordable housing. I realise some people don’t want change and how it is important that the right sort of housing is added to our village so that we can maintain our special community character. But if we don’t meet the housing needs of young people and families there will be  no one left….

5. My husband has bought a kettle for his office at work so he should be saving himself a small fortune in takeaways….

 

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Thrifty Finds

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

 

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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