This week’s Thrifty Finds for last week of March 2019

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I had some good Thrifty Finds this week:

1.I was able to get another free 11 journey bus ticket as I discovered 10 more used tickets at home. My daughter was also able to get a free student ticket as she had collected 10 used tickets. So far this promotion has saved us nearly £90 (no wonder they are cancelling the promotion!).

2. I decided to take a trip to the new AlDI and LIDL stores that have opened up nearby. I did my usual monthly shop there, rather than doing an internet delivery. While it definitely took A LOT more time (and I had to go to Sainsburys to get some things they didn’t have) it seemed a lot cheaper. I just have to sit down and do a careful price comparison. I also joined the LIDL loyalty club and received two free boxes of washing powder!

3. I finished the book a friend had lent me and started reading Andrew Taylor’s ‘The Ashes of London’ which I originally bought secondhand for my husband. I am really enjoying it. If you like historic detective stories (or are a fan of CJ Sansom’s ‘Shardlake’ series ) I think you will enjoy this one.

 4. I donated a small bag of clothes to a charity shop.

 

5. Finally I treated myself to a new (to me) coat. This navy blue Autograph jacket is perfect for warmer weather. I had to donate my old red jacket as it no longer fitted me but this is a great replacement. It cost £10 from Oxfam.

Thrifty Finds for first week in March 2019

 

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  1. I finished my #10×10 challenge last week. I succeeded in only wearing ten items (eight items of clothing and two pairs of shoes) for ten days. While it was feasible to wear a different look each day, which made getting dressed a lot easier, I did find it a little boring. Everything I chose to wear HAD to match, which means I couldn’t fit anything quirkier into my wardrobe. I also had to wash my clothes A LOT more! I would definitely use a 10×10 challenge when packing for holiday as it shows you can wear less – but as a day to day exercise I found it too limiting.
  2. I finished the book I borrowed for Book Group. We are now reading Michelle Obama’s autobiography, ‘Becoming‘, which I’m really looking forward to. I decided to borrow the audiobook from the library, as I believe she narrates it. Thankfully we are not meting until mid May!

 

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3. While at Book Group I also borrowed another book from a friend: ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ by George Saunders. I have next week off work and plan to do a lot of reading.

4. In order to reduce our outgoings we have cancelled a couple of unnecessary direct debits for TV and music. My husband has also renegotiated his mobile phone contract which should significantly reduce that debit. My own phone has started to play up (I’ve had it for two years and it is second hand). I’m going to use my husband’s phone when he gets an upgrade, so I will still be paying for SIM only with my contract.

5. On the downside, our car broke down last Thursday 😦 😦 Thankfully we have breakdown cover so my husband was picked up on the side of the motorway (where the breakdown occurred) and he and the car were taken to our village garage. However, at present (Monday) it is still in the garage while they work out what is wrong. This is NOT good news! I’m glad we have some savings put aside for car emergencies but I suspect it won’t be enough for this repair 😦

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Thrifty Finds for end of January 2019

thrifty finds2Apologies (once more) for another fortnightly post. Last week I came down with a really horrible cold (flu?) and ended up spending a few days in bed. Although I’m now back at work I still don’t feel 100%….

Here are my Thrifty Finds for the past fortnight:

1. Being sick at home meant that we didn’t really spend much money and had to cancel a couple of social engagements. One of them was pre-paid but I didn’t mind as it was a charity event.

2. When I did return to work I did get my free flu jab! Ironic I know! I had been waiting for the pharmacy to order in some more innoculations as they had been out of them. Apparently it takes two weeks to start working so I think I would have picked this cold up anyway 😦

3. While I was stuck in bed I started reading my second hand  Amazon pile, bought with my birthday gift voucher:

img_80784. We had snow at the weekend and ended up being snowed in on Friday and Saturday (being 500 metres above sea level and on the edge of the Cotswolds means this does happen!). Being snowed in is great fun – as long as you have supplies! We didn’t spend half as much money as we would have done at the weekend as I made sure we just spent the cash we had lying around. We still managed a trip to the cafe for hot chocolate and the obligatory trip to the village pubs – but didn’t put anything on the card which is one of my golden rules of budgeting. We also had lost of free entertainment – sledging and playing in the snow!

5. Finally my husband got a new job, which he will start after Easter! This is such a big change for us as it means his  commute will be reduced from one hour to just 20 minutes! He will be so much happier and we should get to see more of him, HOWEVER  it comes with quite a pay cut so we are going to have to get our budgeting seriously sorted. But I’m looking forward to the challenge….

Do you have any big changes planned this year that will require you to budget?

Thrifty Finds: second and third week January

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Apologies for no post last week-the week was just very hectic! Here are my Thrifty Finds for the past fortnight:

1. I have now bought my Christmas cards for this year. I must remember to buy stamps at regular intervals this year to spread the cost.

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2. I used a £20 Amazon gift voucher from my birthday to buy five secondhand books. That should keep me busy for a while!

3. As an early birthday treat for my eldest, we went to the Thermae Spa in Bath with some friends. Because the steam rooms were being refurbished we received a free return voucher – two visits for the price of one 🙂

4. Last Friday I popped into the local Dorothy House charity shop in Bath. They had a ‘fill your bag for a tenner’ promotion and I couldn’t resist! I was disciplined, though, and just bought clothing that will work for Spring and Summer (rather than my winter wardrobe which is completely full). In the end I came away with four tops, one jumper, one skirt and a dress.

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5. At the weekend we hosted our annual 80s party. I had picked up this 80s dress for £12 from the Dorothy House vintage shop in Bath. It was the perfect dress with massive shoulder pads, electric blue and made from some godawful man made fibre that made me sweat all evening!!!

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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?

Book Haul: October 2018

I currently have a lot of books in my reading pile:

Tombland by CJ Sansom

I’m a huge fan of the Shardlake series by CJ Sansom. The lawyer, Matthew Shardlake, lives and works in one of the most tumultuous – and exciting – periods in British history: the Tudor era. Having previously worked for Cromwell, Henry VIII and Queen Catherine Parr, this latest novel is set during the short reign of King Edward VI. Shardlake now works for the Lady Elizabeth (the future Elizabeth I) and is asked to solve the murder of her distant relative. The case takes him to Norwich and he becomes involved in one of the largest people’s uprisings of that period: the 1549 rebellion under the leadership of Robert Kett. Sansom’s attention to detail and descriptions really draw you into the era. The author has recently recovered from cancer and it’s a delight to be reading a new Shardlake novel.

The Read Aloud Family by Sarah MacKenzie

I’ve been wanting to get this book for ages – even before it was published.  Sarah MacKenzie is founder of the Read Aloud Revival, which emphasises the importance of families reading together. She believes that reading to, and with, your children is key not just to their academic success, but also to the emotional well-being of all.

I have always enjoyed reading with my children and have been feeling sad that, as they get older, books have become less a part of their lives 😦 My 16 year old – who used to devour every Jacqueline Wilson novel – barely reads now, and even my 12 year old hasn’t picked up a book for ages. I know that screens have replaced books, which makes me feel very sad, but I’m determined to keep reading going with my 12 and 10 year olds. Sarah’s book is full of lots of tips of how and when and what to read with your children and I hope to use some of them.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I loved The Hunger Games the first time I read the series. Although the films are enjoyable, the books reveal more and provide a deeper understanding of the life of Katniss Everdene and the Dystopian country of Panem.

I am currently reading this aloud with my 10 and 12 year olds and we are really enjoying it, especially the 12 year old who, as I mentioned above, rarely reads now. Although classed as Young Adult, by reading to the girls I can choose to edit any scenes that are too grown up. So far this hasn’t happened and, in fact, we’ve had some great conversations about the plot, characters and themes.

I am, I am, I am by Maggie O’Farrell

This is my current book group read and I was pleased to find it in the local library. Although Maggie O’Farrell is known as a novelist, this is actually autobiographical and it recounts her ’17 brushes with death’. Each chapter details a near-death experience, from plunging turbulence on a flight to complications in childbirth, and a chilling close encounter with a murderer. The chapters can be read in any order, rather like reading a collection of short stories (although you have to catch your breath after reading some of them!)

A Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates

I found this novel by chance at the local library and the tale immediately grabbed me. However, due to the arrival of the other books in my pile, it has taken a back seat. So far, the novel tells of the murder of a doctor working in an abortion clinic in the US. The opening pages are quite shocking and I expect this to be a timely read on a subject which is a controversial one in the US.

Raising your Spirited Child by  Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

I managed to get this book second-hand via Amazon and, already, I have covered it with scribbled notes and post its. I have a daughter who is clever, funny, loyal but with big emotions which sometimes swamp her (and us as a family). So far this book has shown me that we are not alone in parenting a strong-willed, emotional and sensitive child and has provided some really useful strategies to engage with her and help to create a more harmonious family life.

What are you currently reading? Do you find that the darker evening s make you want to snuggle in bed and read a good book? My reading pile definitely increases in the winter months!

 

Thrifty Finds: third week in October 2018

It’s been all about books this past week and my reading pile seems to have grown significantly:

 

1. I borrowed a book from the library, which we are reading for Book Group: ‘I am, I am, I am’ by Maggie O’Farrell. I always prefer to borrow, rather than buy, for my Book Group as I’m never sure if I’ll like it.

2. My husband bought me the brand new CJ Sansom book. I love the Shardlake series (detective novels set in the Tudor era) and have been waiting eagerly for the new one, ‘Tombland’. I’m currently reading it and can barely put it down!

3. I also ordered a parenting book secondhand from Amazon which arrived this week.

4. On other news, I’ve decided to stop drinking alcohol. It’s just for the moment and may only last until the end of the month – I haven’t quite decided. So I’ve been researching some non alcoholic alternatives. Buying drinks like no alcohol ‘G&T’ and low alcohol beer is so much cheaper- and I feel better for it.

5. The warm weather means I’m still harvesting tomatoes from the garden 🙂

Hope you are having a good week!