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)

Is Free Coffee worth it?

Is Free Coffee worth it? via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

At least twice a week I  commute to Bath. And, like many other commuters in the city, I stop at Waitrose to get my free coffee.

If you haven’t come across the Waitrose loyalty card before, you can use it to pick up free takeaway coffee/tea or get a big reduction on hot drinks in the cafe. When the supermarket first started the scheme a couple of years ago all hot drinks were free –  a rather over-generous, and unsustainable,  gesture on the part of the marketing team. As a result people only used the cafe for their free drinks, causing huge queues. Now the loyalty card has been refined and a special takeaway self-service station set up. You  have to get your card scanned in order to get a takeaway cup (which is pointless for someone like me who brings a reusable cup).

Free Coffee at Waitrose - is it worth it? via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

For the past few weeks I have been happily joining the queues to get my free latte and feeling rather smug when I produce my re-usable cup (while trying to inform people of the evils of disposable coffee cup lids in the process!). But a couple of things have got me thinking about this:

  1. On my walk into work I pass a small coffee shop. Despite being on a busy main road it’s not in the best position for passing trade and a friend and I have commented on this. Last week the manager handed out a free pre-stamped loyalty card to us. The idea was that if we came in and got a couple of coffees we’d earn enough stamps to get the next one free. I admired his attempt at reaching out to potential customers, but still happily passed by en route to Waitrose.

Bath coffee shop loyalty card

2. On my way back from a meeting at the Fashion Museum I passed by another cafe, The Boston Tea Party, which is part of a small chain. I was pleased to see they offered a discount to people bringing in their own reusable coffee cups. But I’d already got my free latte and didn’t want another shot of coffee that day. So I just passed on.

BUT if I didn’t get my free coffee from Waitrose I COULD have popped into the new coffee shop, or got my latte fix for a reduced price from Boston Tea Party. And slowly I began to wonder how many local coffee shops were struggling with customers because they were getting their daily cuppa free of charge from somewhere else?

A quick search indicates there are 82 coffee shops in Bath which is a huge number I know. Some of them have been established for years,making use of local and tourist trade. Others are more recent and, I believe, may not last as long as location and cost are pretty crucial. As overseas tourists don’t tend to have Waitrose cards it’s probably the local and national trade that is affected more by the free coffee from the supermarket (which also has a great central location). Anecdotally I have family members who will only use Waitrose to get their free cuppa when they are visiting another town – no matter how many great independent coffee shops there may be.

While I don’t have any hard evidence for the decline in  sales of coffee in other shops, particularly at commuter time, I’m going to make a change. I’m going to skip the Waitrose latte in the mornings and seek out some of the independents. I also want to locate those shops that give discounts to customers with their own cups. So watch this space…..

 

 

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (16-22 Jan)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.comSo now that I’m getting into a new working pattern my week is starting to look rather different. One of the biggest changes is being in Bath three times a week and having a lunch break. If I’m not careful I will be trawling charity shops a lot and my Thrifty Finds may grow ….

This past week, though, I was still quite restrained :

  1. I’ve had mixed fortunes  dealing with food waste this past week. I managed to use up the last of the Christmas mincemeat by adding it to a fruit cake. I also used up the water which I had kept after cooking some beetroots. I added it to some homemade playdough for the kids – which turned into a cool red colour.

homemade playdough made with natural beetroot dye

But, if I’m honest, I’m still struggling with the veg and fruit box and not using all the ingredients. I had to throw away a few mouldy oranges and a lot of lettuce 😦

2. I picked up a couple of books on Slow Living/Living intentionally at the library. I realised I hadn’t got a book from the library for well over a month. It was nice to have time to browse the shelves and, now my kids are older, I don’t have to head straight for the children’s corner.

library books as part of Thrifty Finds series on seoncdhandtales.wordpress.com

3. I finally received that refund for the delayed train last month (We were stuck on a train outside Sevenoaks station for over an hour!)

4. I went to a free lunchtime talk at Bath Guildhall. It was about the 50th anniversary of Bath Record Office. As part of my job I will be promoting this great service.

5. I’m struggling at the moment with the free coffee from Waitrose that I pick up every morning when I’m at work. I know I shouldn’t struggle with free coffee but I do wonder how it affects trade in the other local coffee shops. I’m currently planning a post on this. In the meantime I take my trusty re-usable coffee cup (and have already had a few conversations with people about it!). I also received double stamps on my loyalty card from another coffee shop because I brought a reusable cup!

Reusable bamboo coffee cup

And finally… not a Thrifty Find at all but I wanted to say that I marked last Friday by meeting up with the lovely Deborah from The Magic Jug blog. She had been in town earlier to help with the ‘Build Bridges Not Walls’ banner that had been draped over Bath’s historic Pulteney Bridge – to mark Trump’s inauguration  (see here). It’s always so lovely when you meet up with someone whose words you read on a regular basis. And last Friday it was even nicer to meet up with a similar minded person. I also watched and read all the coverage on the Women’s Marches which stirred my feminist soul and made me feel I really had to do something.

 

princess-leia via ladieswhodesign.com

You can download this poster via womenwhodesign website here

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

National Zero Waste Week: Coffee grounds

I mentioned at the beginning of this week that I work one day a week at a cafe. It’s set in a lovely little Arts Centre and I feel very blessed to have a job that brings me into contact with some great customers and staff. At the cafe we sell fair trade and only vegetarian food. I work on a Saturday and the cafe is closed on Sunday meaning it’s more important than ever for me to make sure all the food is within date. We usually have some bread left over which myself, or another colleague, take home to make toast or bread pudding. This sometimes happens with milk and (when we are v lucky) cake!

However there is food waste. Partly this is due to having to follow strict Use By deadlines, as is stressed in any food hygeine course and the regulations for food safety we have to follow. We are lucky that one of the members of staff has a couple of pigs (!) so we can save food scraps for them. We don’t have a compost bin at work which I know we should install (especially as we have a small courtyard garden and it would be good for the veggies).

One of the food/drink items we generate a lot of waste from is coffee grounds. While we can pour some of them down the sink to act as a de-greaser we have also experimented with bagging up the grounds and passing them onto willing customers who can take them home for the compost bin. A colleague also did some research and discovered that you can use coffee grounds for your face and body as it acts an exfoliant! There’s a recipe from the Peta website which includes olive oil to make a face mask.

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