Thrifty Finds for first week January 2019

Happy New Year! How was your first week of 2019? I took the first week off as the girls weren’t back at school until 7th January. We had a lovely, lazy week.

These are my Thrifty Finds:

1. I went through my food spending for Christmas and made a note for 2019 of the things we didn’t really need. For example we never got round to eating the Christmas pud :0

2. My mum picked up some Christmas wrapping paper for me that was reduced at the charity where she volunteers (Dorothy House Hospice).

3. After two weeks of ridiculously slow internet I called BT and they came round to fix it. As a result we have a brand new phone line (the old one was over 40 years ago and corroded, which explained why our internet would drop during bad weather). I also upgraded to super fast – all for no extra cost.

4. I had an honest clear out of those clothes that are now too tight for me 😦 I also donated a bag of books and games to a charity shop,

4. I couldn’t resist a little trawl around the charity shops in Weston, Bath. My daughter had an appointment at the hairdressers there and I had a few minutes to spare. Once more, the Dorothy House Shop came up trumps! With some Christmas money, I bought a pair of trousers (originally Mango, on sale for £7) and a gorgeous 50s style dress from Country Casuals (£10).

Apparently January is a good time to browse the charity shops as they have lots of post Christmas donations!

Thrifty Finds for last week of 2018

Happy Twixtmas! Or I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wish you all the best for a Happy and Peaceful New Year 🙂

We have had a very relaxed Christmas break. We’ve not overspent and, apart from a tub of food I had to put in the compost (due to me forgetting to cancel the Veg Box from two weeks’ ago), very little waste.

Here are my Thrifty Finds for the festive season:

1. I did my Christmas food shopping last Sunday (23rd) which was HIDEOUS!! I don’t normally do it in store but I had a £12 voucher to spend valid from that day. Despite going early the store was still manically busy and it made me feel quite ill looking at everyone stuffing their trolleys. BUT we kept to our list and only bought what we needed. I made a note last year of our Christmas food waste and this year DID NOT buy Brandy Butter !!

2. I also took all my copper change I had been collecting and received a voucher for £4.80.

3. I had saved up all my Boots Advantage points for the year to buy stocking presents for the girls. This totalled £15, and I was also able to take advantage of the 3 for 2 offer to pick up six gifts for nothing! I also forgot I had £10 of points on my Body Shop card (I never use it but I think you get £5 added each birthday?!), so I bought more stocking fillers from there 🙂

4. Most of the girls’ presents were new but I did buy second-hand money boxes, specifically for them to save for our big holiday next year:

The money boxes cost between £2-£3 each and were a fraction of the price of first hand ones I had seen for sale online. It only took a couple of weeks of browsing charity shops to find them 🙂

5. I resisted sales shopping! Partly because I couldn’t be bothered, and also because I don’t really need anything. I may, though, have a browse of the charity shops next week and pick up some cards and paper for Christmas 2019 :0

Thrifty Finds: second week in December 2018

thrifty finds2

Last week wasn’t the thriftiest one I’ve had as I went to Brussels for a mini break (!). My husband was at a conference there and I was able to tag along. My accommodation was paid for and the Eurostar was very cheap (£73 return from London). However the rubbish exchange rate meant that everything was expensive 😦 So I did lots of walking and only paid to go into one museum – which was well worth it (Musee des Beaux Arts)

 

 

Grand Place, Brussels

Grand Place, Brussels

 

Apart from a trip to Brussels these are my other Thrifty Finds:

  1. After some online conversations I managed to receive my £43 Amazon voucher from Quidco, which went towards some Christmas presents.
  2. I used an M&S voucher for some money off another present.
  3. I finished writing all my Christmas cards, using ones I had bought in the January sales.
  4. When in Brussels, I bought some supermarket chocolate for the girls as gifts, rather than expensive Belgian chocolate (they wouldn’t notice the difference anyway!)

This next week will be a rather frantic one as I catch up on all the washing, attempt to wrap all the presents and finish putting the decorations up! As next week is Christmas week I won’t be posting but wish you a very Happy Christmas !!! x

 

 

 

Christmas Jumpers: love ’em or hate ’em?

 

What are your thought on Christmas jumpers?

Do you think they are a waste of money and precious resources? Are they just another example of how the festive season has become all about buying ‘things’ and inventing new ‘traditions’ ?

Or are they just harmless fun? After all don’t we all buy new clothes at Christmas anyway? Surely a jumper is far more versatile than a special outfit only to be worn on 25 December? They can also be a great fundraising tool (see Save The Children’s Christmas Jumper Day here on 14 December)

I have to confess to having mixed feelings about Christmas knitwear. When I walk through the shops I feel inspired by the outfits, jumpers and – yes even Christmas pjs! It’s fun to embrace these little things that can make people smile and show that you, too, can take part in the silly things that make the festive season.

Once upon a time Christmas jumpers were laughed at (remember the scene in Bridget Jones’ diary where Mark Darcey is wearing a hideous, home knitted one?). But in true capitalist style, they’ve been turned into a season ‘essential’.

Slowly I have begun to embrace the Christmas jumper but have been determined to do it in my own way that gives not one single penny to the High Street stores that now churn them out. As these items have become so throw-away, I have decided to rummage through people’s cast offs and buy mine second hand.

Here are some of my tips for sourcing a second-hand Christmas woolie:

1. Obvious one but buying a Christmas jumper from a charity shop means you are donating to that charity.

2. A jumper doesn’t have to be overtly ‘Christmasey’. I bought the gold sparkly top a few years ago and have got so much more wear from it because it doesn’t just have to be worn at Yuletide. I also followed a tip from a post on Barnardo’s The Thrift and bought it in a size far larger than I would have normally chosen. And guess what? It fits really well!

 

3. Likewise how about investing in a Winter Jumper? My latest acquisition (bought for £4.50) will be worn all Winter. While it’s not as glam as the gold jumper it’s a good, solid hard working sweater that is just sooo cosy that I’m practically living in it anyway! I believe the snowflake pattern is more of a Winter, than Christmas, motif anyway.

4. Browse those charity shops that get inventive about Christmas jumpers. A friend pointed me towards a shop here which makes its own seasonal knitwear. Or why not ‘festive-ise’a jumper yourself and add some Christmas trimmings to one you already own? See the instructions here from the Emmaus charity shop.

5. Finally if you really can’t stand the thought of a Christmas jumper how about a good old piece of knitwear that can be worn all winter? Classic knits such as Fair Isle or chunky Arran have a great winter look to them anyway. Anything tartan or red is synonymous with the festive season, or how about a second hand brooch with a classic Christmas theme (angel, deer, star) to add a subtle touch?

Thrifty Finds: first week in December 2018

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Last week I celebrated my birthday (in a very low key way) and found my Christmas party outfit (all second hand of course!) 🙂

1. I received some lovely presents for my birthday and, to celebrate, we had a takeaway curry ( a rare treat as we live in a village with NO takeaway service!).

2. I browsed the charity shops in Corsham and Bath and picked this outfit up for under £12!

Top £2.99 (Oasis) from British Red Cross; necklace (Accessorise) £2.50 from Dorothy House shops
Christmas party outfit including Autograph trousers, £5.99 from Oxfam

3. I did a bit more Christmas shopping and used a voucher from M&S.

4. I joined Amazon Prime for 99p for one week so I could get free delivery. I then cancelled the membership.

5. We also had some big expenses this week including replacing ALL THE TYRES on the car!! However I put some money away every month to cover car expenses so we didn’t have to dip into our regular account. Otherwise that would have really hurt so close to Christmas 😦

Thrifty Finds: last week in November

Last week I started my Christmas Shopping – by browsing the charity shops!

  1. I didn’t think I’d pick up much for the girls as now they are older they don’t really want anything second hand. However I did find two money boxes which I was specifically looking for. We have a big holiday planned for next year and I want them to save for it too. I had briefly looked for holiday-themed money boxes online but they were too expensive. However, a couple of trips to local charity shops resulted in me finding two ‘saving for holiday’ money boxes 🙂
  2. I also bought a brand new make up purse as requested by one of my daughters, for £2 from the Dorothy House shop.
  3. While browsing the charity shops I did end up buying a couple of Christmas themed items for the home:

I have been searching for some red cloth napkins for ages and was delighted to find a set of five (perfect for our family!) from Oxfam for £2.99. I also bought the Coca Cola tray (£1.99) and the Jostein Gaarder Christmas storybook

In the Dorothy House shop I picked up this brushed cotton bedding for £7, which is warm as well as very seasonal.

4. We also had a clear out of children’s books which I have donated to Oxfam.

5. Finally, although not a Thrifty Find, I did buy the girls’ advent calendars and our Christmas crackers from Oxfam.

Have you started Christmas shopping yet? Do you shop for second-hand gifts too?

Thrifty Finds: last week November 2018

For most of last week I was ill with a stupid cold 😦 I had to take two days off work and cancel four different meet ups with friends and family, which I was really sad about. I guess that saved money but that wasn’t the point. I’d far rather enjoy a good friend’s company over a coffee or lunch than be stuck at home feeling sorry for myself….

1. It did mean that I was ill for Black Friday – although I did get to Sainsbury’s to pick up some cold medicine and much needed Vitamin C. Surprisingly the supermarket didn’t seem choc a full of Black Friday deals, although I wasn’t really looking. What was encouraging, though, was to see so many messages about Buy Nothing Day on my Instagram feeds 🙂

2. I donated a bag of used clothing to school for a fundraising event.

3. I did make it to the village church Christmas Fair and bought a second hand book.

4. I fixed what I thought was a broken lamp. It hasn’t been working for months and, having tried a couple of different light bulbs, I assumed it was broken. However third time lucky – turns out the other two bulbs had gone!

5. My husband took the kids for a family meet up and, using cash I had been saving, meant he didn’t have to pay from our bank account (which may have tipped us into the red).

Apologies for no pics this week – being ill meant I didn’t take any 😦