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!

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 : third week November 2018

I did manage some Thrifty Finds last week:

1. If you read last week’s post about my Christmas budgeting you would have seen that I use my Nectar loyalty points to buy Christmas items from Sainsbury’s. Last week was their ‘double up’ promotion and I was able to turn £25 worth of points into £50 to spend on selected wines. So now we have bought our Christmas alcohol- just have to try not to drink it!

2. Last Friday I had a training course in a town I don’t normally visit. I had time to browse the charity shops there which are significantly cheaper than Bath. I bought a good quality Christmas jumper for £4.99 (originally from Next) for my husband:



3. I also bought this Christmasey jumper for myself for £4.50. I like that it’s not overtly Christmas and that I could probably wear it for most of the winter:

4. I also went to the school’s Nearly New Sale on Saturday and bought a long sleeved navy t-shirt for 50p, a dress for £2 and this game for 50p. Phase 10 is an UNO-type game and has been on my wish list for ages. I was so excited to buy it!

5. On Sunday we took a trip to Bristol and parked in the free car park that  my husband can use through work.

Thrifty Finds: first week November 2018

This past week we have enjoyed a half term break from school and celebrated Halloween – I also got to use some money-off vouchers:

1.As mentioned last week we were given three huge pumpkins from a friend. Two were carved for Halloween…

The remaining one was turned into soup, toasted seeds and (I’m hoping) pumpkin pie!


2. As it was half term, I treated the girls to a McDonalds, with a voucher I’d received from WHSmiths.

3. We also took a trip to our local garden centre which already has all its rooms decorated for Christmas. This is becoming an annual family tradition and doesn’t cost a penny.

4. As it’s November we now have money in the budget to buy some clothes (having spent A LOT on uniform back in September). I bought coats and boots for two of the girls and picked up a new (to me) pair of work trousers from Dorothy House. They are originally Per Una and cost me £7.

5. I bought some shopping from Sainsburys with a money-off voucher.

Now that we’re into November I’m going to have to start planning my Christmas spending, working out budgets etc. Where has the year gone?!

Thrifty Finds: last week of September 2018

thrifty finds2Yes I know it’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted 😦 I just found that I didn’t have any Thrifty Finds to write about, and had lost a bit of my writing mojo. But a weekend away in London with good friends has got me writing again …..

1. I finally got round to my mending pile which had been waiting all summer! I sewed buttons on a few items that had been missing them.

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2. For my weekend trip away I downloaded an audio book and magazine for free from my library app.

3. I also borrowed a colleague’s phone charger as I was leaving straight after work and had forgotten to pack mine.

4. While in London I visited the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A which I’d been wanting to see for ages. Her story is such an inspiring one: suffering all her life with pain and bad health, she still lived a fulfilling, creative and vibrant life. Her bright clothing, taken from her Mexian heritage, is such an inspiration.  I got half price admission with my Art Pass, which has been one of the best purchases all year 🙂

5. And despite being on a no ‘new’ clothes freeze I did buy this cute top from the Mind Charity shop for a fiver…Oops…

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This week’s Thrifty Finds: August 2018

 

 

Today (4 September) is the beginning of the school year and it’s time for me to get back into routine and post my recent Thrifty Finds. This is what we’ve been up to since our trip to London at the beginning of August (was it really a month ago?!):

1. We went on a short break to West Wales to visit friends who moved there last year. They have enough land for us to camp on BUT we forgot to bring our tent poles!! Thankfully they had a tent which we borrowed! We had a lovely break exploring the beautiful scenery of Cardigan Bay: an area that is completely new to us.

 

2. While there we did the obligatory scouring of charity shops (charity shops prices in Wales are a mere fraction of the ones we explored in London!). I picked up a dress for £3 and three champagne glasses for a grand total of 30p!!

 

3. For the first time I downloaded an audio book for free from our local library. When camping I find it uncomfortable to read at night so an audiobook is a good compromise. I ‘borrowed’ the latest Philip Pullman novel: ‘La Belle Sauvage’.

 

4. One thing I didn’t buy last month – despite trawling the charity shops – was a summer sun dress. I really thought I’d need it in the heatwave in London, and after we returned. However by the time we went to Wales the temperature had dropped and I’m glad I got by without.

5. However it can’t be said that I made ANY savings purchasing the girls’ school uniforms. At a total of £333 this was NOT a Thrifty Find! Most of this was spent on kitting out my middle daughter for her new secondary  school (despite getting some things for free from a friend). This means I have used up our clothing budget for the next couple of months, partly due to bad planning on my part 😦

Thankfully I have been able to pay for a termly bus pass for two of my daughters as I had been saving for the past year.

 

Have you had to spend a small fortune buying back to school equipment an uniform?