Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (29 January – 4 February 2018)

 

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At the weekend I had a trip away with my university friends. This meant a little bit of planning and plastic-free packing – and a second-hand purchase to keep me warm on our city break.

  1. I was in need of a second winter coat. Although I have my gorgeous second-hand orange coat it is not waterproof or really, really warm. I do have a waterproof Seasalt coat (once again bought from a charity shop) but it is now too small for me 😦    So this past week I have been trawling Bath’s shops on the hunt for a second-hand winter coat. I found the perfect one in the Dorothy House charity shop for £15. It’s really, really warm, has a detachable hood and is a longer length than my other coats. Despite being one size too big for me, it fits well over bulky jumpers and layers. It proved the perfect coat for our trip to Birmingham.
  2. I also got my warm, fur lined boots re-soled. I have had these boots for years and they are so warm and cosy. However they were worn and starting to leak. I paid a fairly hefty sum to get them re-soled but feel pleased because a) I wouldn’t find a replacement for the cost of the repair and b) I’ve extended their life a little.
  3. While packing for my trip away I made sure to add my reusable straw, spork and reusable coffee cup. However I forgot my water bottle and had to buy a single use one. I also forgot to ask for a no straw when I ordered a drink (why do all drinks have to come with straws?) but did manage to ask for ‘no straw’ when I ordered a cocktail.

4. We are now without a kitchen for the next three weeks while we have building work done. So I have cancelled our veg box delivery as there is no room to store the veg. I’m afraid we will be living off pub meals, toasted sandwiches, microwave meals and some slow cooker meals  – however a friend has offered to feed us on Saturday night and another friend has offered the use of their house next week during the school hols if the building work gets too much!!

 

 

I’d love to hear about your Thrifty Finds too! Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Advent Calendars: love ’em or hate ’em?

 
Every year my children receive chocolate advent calendars from their generous grandparents. However this year I was able to buy paper calendars for the girls from Oxfam – which received a mixed response 😦
I personally believe that traditional paper calendars are better than chocolate ones – but am I being mean, and a little old fashioned?
These are my thoughts on why they are better:
1. A paper advent calendar gets better day by day: each door reveals a new picture and by the end of advent you have a joyous Christmas scene.
2. However by 24 December chocolate calendars are a mess of torn cardboard, ripped foil and plastic packaging: hardly festive!
3. Why do multi national confectionary companies (such as Kraft) get to tell us how to celebrate advent? And don’t get me started on the £95 L’Oréal advent calendar, or the heavily criticised £50 one created by Zoella.
4. At the end of the day, traditional calendars can be recycled. However the mess that is left behind by the chocolate ones makes them difficult to recycle, only adding to the 736,571 tonnes of rubbish that is created each Christmas.
5. There is enough over consumption and debt generated at this time of year anyway. Why not buy a simple charity calendar and enjoy the mindful task of opening a door each day to reveal a picture, rather than wolfing down chocolate (which doesn’t even taste that great!)
What are your thoughts on advent calendars?
Paper or chocolate?
Or do you own a perpetual calendar: one that can be used again and again? Some families also take part in ‘reverse advent calendars’: donating an item a day to a local foodbank.
I really enjoy reading the ideas and projects from New Dream, a not for profit organisation which is working to challenge American perceptions of consumption and consumerism. They produce an online advent calendar here, filled with ways you can step off the consumption conveyor belt at this time of year.
I really recommend reading their website and looking at some of the ideas they have to ‘Simplify the Holidays’.

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (16-23 July)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.comHow was your week? The kids broke up for the summer on Friday and, beforehand, I was really busy finishing off my end of school year jobs list. However I did manage to find some time to myself and go on a very successful Thrifty Finds shopping trip:

  1. I bought a few more items on my summer holidays clothes list: a pair of navy shorts and khaki vest top for just £1.99 each from the British Heart Foundation shop; this brand new blue dress for £8.49 from the same shop:

 secondhand, charity shop, navy dress, British Heart Foundation

I think I will wear this to work with leggings, as well as taking on holiday.

I also fell in love with this Henry Holland/Debenhams print dress, which was £8.50 from the Julian House shop:

charity shop Thrifty Find secondhand dress

You know when you see something on a rail and you have to have it? This was how I felt about this dress. Every so often on my secondhand shopping trips I get a real emotional response to an item of clothing and am reminded why I love charity shopping: amidst all the ill fitting Primark and Tesco cast offs there will be a unique outfit that I know no one else will be wearing. What I love about this dress is the style (Tea Dress, just above the knee so perfect for holidays), and the 80s style pattern: geometric blocks and – for some reason – horses and carriages!

2. As well as my successful clothing haul I also found some activity books for the kids to take on holiday. I’m not a big fan of comic books (especially when they have plastic tat stuck to the covers). I often find unused activity books in charity shops which are a cheaper alternative.

3.The children broke up from school on Friday and I completely failed at bringing in any Thank You presents. Instead, the Teachers and Teaching Assistants received personalised thank you cards from the girls.

4. My husband and I went on a weekend trip to London to catch up with old university friends. It wasn’t particularly cheap but I did reduce our train fare costs by buying single, instead of return tickets.

5. I also took my trusty zero waste essentials with me – reusable coffee cup and water bottle. However, once more I failed on the plastic straw front. I didn’t even think to ask for ‘no straw’ when ordering a glass of lemonade at a restaurant. However I did refuse their disposable handwipes.

 

 

I’d love to hear about your Thrifty Finds too! Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds

 

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We are definitely on countdown to the end of term and I have a lot of Thrifty Finds purchases to make this coming week.

Meanwhile, last week’s Thrifty Finds included:

  1. I found a couple of items on my holiday clothes list:

The white shirt cost £10 from the Save the Children store in Bath. Although it is slightly pricey it was in excellent condition and just what I had been looking for. Over the years I have picked up a couple of cheesecloth shirts from charity shops. The fabric is just so lovely for wearing over tops in the summer. Despite breaking my Golden Rule of never taking anything WHITE on holiday (it’s a pain to keep clean and also to wash) it will be going in my holiday suitcase.

I also picked up the blue playsuit from the same store for £7. I do like it, and it will be great to wear with swimwear on holiday. However I’m beginning to wonder if it is a little too small…

Anyway, two things ticked off the list!

2. This past week – and this coming one – are really busy. I am home alone with the kids, and it’s drawing toward the end of term with all the concerts, shows, presents etc to arrange. So I have spent some time writing out a schedule so that I can be organised, and know where I need to be and when. I also cancelled a couple of appointments at the weekend just so I could take a breath……

3. Which brings me to the thorny subject of Teacher’s Thank Yous. I have written here and here, both on my attempt to produce affordable gifts – and to also step off the conveyor belt of the End of School Year. This year I, once again, purchased some personalised thank you cards for the girls to write their own messages in.

4. My daughter spent the week taking part in an amazing work experience opportunity at The Egg Theatre in Bath; a purpose built children’s theatre adjacent to the Theatre Royal. She had a wonderful week: working with other students to produce their own show, and learning all about budgets, behind the scenes work, costume buying, marketing etc. She applied for this work experience on her own and I am very proud of the initiative she used. We also got to watch the show at the end of the week for just £4 each. The entire week was fully funded as well and has really inspire her to pursue a career in the arts.

5. On Saturday we had one of the best events of the year in our village! For the second year running The Festival on the Hill was held in three venues and featured some brilliant local bands. Tickets were only £10 each. I also got to use my reusable plastic pint glass for all my drinks 🙂

 

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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

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

I realise it’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted my Thrifty Finds 😦

Things have been busy here with kids off school and my other half is standing as a candidate in Thursday’s election (post to follow).

So, apologies for the lack of posting. I hope you’ve still been able to secure some Thrifty Finds, or looked at different ways of stepping off the consumer treadmill for a while.

  1. Re Game of Thrones. We finished Series Five via the library. Then my husband got a free subscription to NowTV with his phone. So, we are now working our way through Series Six….
  2. I’ve been getting into a new habit of making more use of the health food/bulk store in Bath. I’ve been visiting Harvest on Walcot Street to get filled up with washing up liquid (my bus stop is outside so I can do it on my way home)
  3.   I also try to make use of the health food store in Corsham, Green Ginger. I got very excited when I spotted these washing up brush and scourers – both made from recycled materials. You can buy replacement heads for the brush as well.

4. The big news is that I got a new (to me) mobile phone! My first ever smartphone (yes I know I’m rather slow!). My husband had traded in his old mobile and, with that money, I was able to buy a second-hand iphone 5 from the Games Exchange shop in Bath. I also signed up to a deal on ee which has given me some money back to my Qudico account.

 

5. Finally, we went camping over the Bank Holiday. Every year we camp with my  school friends, and their children, in the New Forest. The weekend is a great opportunity to catch up with good friends, let the children run wild and enjoy some good food (and drink). Apart from camping fees it’s low cost as we all bring food to share. We barely leave the campsite as well – instead we just talk and go for walks.

What did you do over the Bank Holiday weekend? Hope the weather stayed dry for you!

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Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (3-10April)

 

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This past week we continued to eat our way through the once a month delivery of food. To top up supplies I did:

  1. Change my regular veg box order from medium boxes of veg and fruit to just one small veg box (no potatoes). Some weeks I do really well with my veg box but other weeks some of the stuff can end up in the compost, which I know is a complete waste of food and money. I’m trying to be better and only order when I really need it, and change the order depending on what we need.

2. With this in mind, I made sure I used up most items within a few days, even if we didn’t eat them. I roasted some of the tomatoes and courgettes, to make a pasta sauce later in the week. I also tried my hand at wild garlic pesto (stored in an old Nutella jar):

Wild garlic pesto organic veg box

Wow! Normally I add the wild garlic to a little salad or soup a little half heartedly – and then end up composting the rest.But this recipe really worked to help extend its shelf life. Although I added a couple of spoonfuls to some pasta, the taste was a bit TOO strong (although it would have kept vampires at bay!). But, I have kept it stored in the fridge and am now using it as a replacement for garlic cloves in recipes, adding a teaspoon at a time to dishes.

 

3. On the food front I also topped up the olive oil in my cupboard as I ran out earlier in the week and hadn’t ordered a replacement. My local Holland and Barret store has a large oil refill station. You buy the glass bottles, fill them with oil and then pay. Next time you return to the shop, you just refill the glass bottle and pay only for the oil. I love that mainstream stores are now offering zero waste products and services. When I saw the oil and sesame oil reduced I had to buy it. Once I’ve used these bottles I can keep returning to the store to fill up, thus encouraging repeat custom.

 

 

4. My daughter helped to collect the eggs from the school hens and came home with some beautiful eggs on the last day of term – perfect timing for Easter!

Multicoloured eggs pastel hens eggs

5. On Saturday night we went to a fundraiser for Alzheimers Society. We took part in a quiz, enjoyed a ploughmans meal and bought a few raffle tickets. We ended up winning a Ghostbusters 1 & 2 dvd plus big bag of popcorn – perfect evening entertainment for the school holidays!

I’d love to hear about your Thrifty Finds too! Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram