Thrifty Finds

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

 

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

 

 

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

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (1-7 January 2018)

 

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

 

 

Welcome to the first full week of Thrifty Finds in 2018!

This past week my Thrifty Finds were:

  1. My biggest ever Thrifty Find was to spend just £1 in Debenhams and buy the following:

x2 single duvet sets

x 1 double duvet set plus fitted sheet

x 2 pillows

x 1 bathmat

x 4 towels

For the past couple of years I have used the cashback site Quidco when making purchases online. For every purchase you make you get a little cash back. This can range from a few pence to up to £50 (!). The money takes a few months to reach your account so it’s not a quick fix solution. However as I’m going to make the purchase anyway it makes sense to use the site and earn a little more. Last Christmas I used the money earned to buy Christmas presents from Amazon. This year, however, I decided to convert the rewards into a Debenhams voucher (for a higher rate) and buy some much needed bedding and towels at the value of £132 🙂

2. I also had a good sort out and donated some clothing and household items to a local charity shop. I still need to sort through our linen cupboard and my own clothes as part of a New Year declutter.

3. I also finally got round to mending a couple of items of clothing 🙂

4. We’ve been eating the last of the Christmas food and trying to put off a supermarket shop. I managed to make three extra meals from what we had left in the freezer and food cupboard.

5. With regards to Christmas food waste, so far we had to throw away:

1 lime

2 satsumas

1/2 a red cabbage

one portion of Brie (that had gone mouldy).

We still have a portion of turkey in the freezer and the Brandy Butter is floating around the fridge (I suspect it will have to be thrown out soon). I also have 1 1/2 jars of mincemeat to use up and some very brown bananas.

I need to make some banana cake with leftover bananas

How did you get on with Christmas leftovers?

 

 

 

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

This fortnight’s Thrifty Finds (30 October-12 November 2017)

 

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

Apologies for this late posting – I had begun to draft last week’s but I never completed it. So I thought I would combine the past two weeks’ instead….

1.I’ve had some luck with picking up second-hand bargains. I bought these used books at the monthly bric a brac sale held in the church hall:

I’m a big fan of the Mapp and Lucia series of books by EF Benson and am looking forward to re reading them 🙂

2. I went to visit a friend in South Wales and we enjoyed rummaging the charity shops and stalls in Monmouth. I picked up these two LPs for £7:

img_1471-e1510581689664.jpg

I’ve wanted ‘Rio’ for about 30 years (!) and Van Morrison’s ‘Moondance’ is one of my favourite albums.

3. I also found an amazing bargain in a local hospice shop – Boden ankle length trousers for just £4.50! I’m in need of some casual work trousers and have been looking for some ankle length ones. Being Boden, these are in great condition too.

img_1469

4. Apart from some second hand shopping I also managed to get my watch fixed this month. I haven’t worn it for about ten years but, now that I’m working, I really need it. So I got a new battery and a new watch strap. This cost me £20 but was money worth spending.

5. I started Christmas shopping (!). I worked out my budget – based on the regular monthly amount we save into a dedicated account – and the number of people I’m shopping for. I made a small start on the children’s presents but was also able to buy some hand crafted gifts for friends at a local craft fair. This year I am determined not to buy from Amazon and to try to support independents as much as possible.

Have you started Christmas shopping yet?

Toys , Christmas tree ball on , branch.

 

 

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 (18-30 September) – and the end of the Repair Cafe :(

 

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

I’m not quite sure how it happened but I didn’t post for last week (oops!). Sometimes things get very busy and, if I’m not sticking to my regular schedule, some things just fall off the list..

So I’m going to try to remember my Thrifty Finds for the last two weeks and post them now. (If you follow me regularly on Instagram you may spot when I add #thriftyfinds, which is more of a daily record of my frugal achievements, purchases and non-purchases)

  1. My daughter had torn her school skirt quite badly. Although I bought her a replacement skirt from M&S she was quite happy with the hand-me-down pinafore dress that was already hanging in her wardrobe. So I returned the M&S skirt and saved £12!
  2. I had a bit of a sort out and donated a couple of bags to charity shops.
  3. I finally got my baking mojo back and baked some cakes last week. One batch of fairy cakes has been frozen to use for lunch boxes later in the month.
  4. I also got organised and cooked two separate casseroles, which I then froze. On Wednesday and Thursday the kids eat at my parents so it’s only my husband and I who have to cook a meal when we come home from work. However the last few weeks we’ve just been eating convenience freezer meals and I am fed up with over baked chips! So last weekend I spent an hour making a beef stew (in the oven) and a chicken casserole (in the slow cooker). These have now been frozen and we’ll use them for instant meals after a long day’s work 🙂
  5. On Saturday we held the last ever Corsham Repair Cafe 😦 We have been running the cafe for the past four years (see here) and I am very proud of the work that we have done: nearly 200 customers have been helped; roughly 150 repairs have been made; and we’ve shown the local community that items can be repaired, rather than just thrown away.                     But, over the past year, volunteers and customer numbers have dwindled and, now that I don’t work in Corsham, it’s harder to find the time to organise and promote. So we took the sad decision to close the cafe.       However I’m delighted that, since Corsham opened its Repair Cafe in 2013, we now have regular Repair Cafes running in Bristol, Bath and Bradford on Avon. Corsham also has an active Men’s Shed who are able to take repairs on too.

I do feel slightly relieved (although also sad) that we’ve taken this decision. I really enjoyed catching up with the volunteers who gave their time, effort and skills to help mend broken items. But I am also looking forward to having more free time – maybe to pursue a new green hobby?!

 

 

Don’t forget to share your Thrifty Finds too! I do love to read them.

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)

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (27 March – 2 April)

 

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

This past week I tried to get more organised with giving things away, and planning for the month ahead.

  1. My husband fixed the vacuum cleaner! He used another one of the replacement belts I had ordered, and succeeded where I had failed 😦 We now have a spare belt in case it happens again.
  2. For my book group we are reading Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes. One of the joys of working in Bath is being able to pop into the library and pick up a copy (or order it via the excellent Libraries West service). They had a copy on the shelf so I was able to borrow it straight away.
  3. I’m trying to be more organised with getting rid of items we no longer need. Instead of letting them pile up by the door, I have a box in which I am putting them. The plan is to take donations to the charity shops as soon as anything is put in the box. Again, one of the joys of being in Bath is being able to pop out on my lunchbreak and drop stuff off at a charity shop (and have a quick browse while I’m there!)
  4. The beginning of the month means a) clearing out (and cleaning) the fridge and cupboards; b) meal planning for the month ahead; and c) ordering an online delivery.                                                                                                                                Because I don’t have much access to the car and hate food shopping, I have got into the habit of shopping once a month. It’s a money-saving tip I first picked up from Danielle at the Blissful and Domestic blog. The idea is you shop once (apart from fresh milk, bread, some fruit and veggies) and you shouldn’t have to visit the store again for that month. If I run out of things I have to make do with what I’ve got.                                                                                                                                     In order to do these I have to meal plan for the month. It takes quite a while to work out what we are going to eat (which can depend on what we are doing later in the month, ie birthdays, day trips, Easter meals etc). But once the meals are planned, and the food ordered and delivered, that’s it for the rest of the month.

Over on instagram I have been sharing the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics of my cupboards and fridge (if you like that kind of thing!). The aim is to show how we go from a full fridge to an empty one by the end of the month by posting pics every week. In my view, an empty fridge means I’ve planned well for the month and haven’t had to throw food away.

Before and after my monthly delivery:


Empty fridge at the end of the month

 

 

5. On a sad note, we have had to give up the garage we rent 😦 We own one car (see the post here about living in a small rural community with just one car) but, due to the location of our cottage, we have nowhere nearby to park it.

A few years ago we started renting a garage at the far end of our road. This seemed like the answer to our dreams: no more struggling to find a parking place (and annoying neighbours); a guaranteed parking spot at all times; and safe, secure and weather-proof parking under cover.

However, the housing association whom we rent the garage from are selling off all their garages and we had to vacate ours by today. The one advantage is that we only stored our car and roofbox in the building. Lots of neighbours used them for storage and, for the past few weeks, have been busy clearing out and moving all their stuff. I’m just glad that we don’t have that much stuff that we need extra storage for it, but am sad that we will now be adding to the parking problem in our village:(

Please let me know about your Thrifty Finds -and your tips for meal planning and food shopping – on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (13-19 March)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.comFollowing the busy-ness of last week, and the Repair cafe, this past week has been fairly quiet on the Thrifty Finds front.

  1. It turns out that the vacuum cleaner I had repaired (all by myself) still has a fault and the fan belt broke again. So I have ordered two more spare ones – I am still determined to fix this myself!
  2. I had a very quiet week socially and spent the weekend at home (which is unusual for us). We borrowed a dvd and had a Saturday night curled up watching a film.(Last weekend we’d been out both nights and ended up paying for babysitters as our eldest was on sleepovers).
  3.  I finally got round to making a fruit crumble with the blackberries and apple I had frozen from the Autumn.

4. I went on annual leave last Friday. It seems odd as I only started in January but I have to take the leave before the end of the month, so I’m not back at work until the middle of next week. I spent Friday with my eldest who had a Teacher Training day so was out of school. We trawled the shops in Bath and I picked up two pairs of badly needed trousers for work; sadly I seem to have gone up a dress size 😦

I picked up a pair of new trousers for £20 and these gorgeous wide legged grey trousers for £6 from the excellent Save the Children shop in Bath:

We had a cheap McDonalds but then spent £20 on the cinema (one adult, one child for a Friday daytime showing – curse you Odeon!)

5. Having bought some new (to me) clothes and, having to re-assess my sizing, I have started to sort through my wardrobe. I’ll write more about this next week…. My husband and I also sorted through his wardrobe so he should be able to see things better (rather than shirt being hung upon another shirt,then being hung on a jumper!!)

This coming week I am going to enjoy being off work and catching up with friends, and I have a big list of organising projects I want to get started on too… Do you have any organising/Spring Cleaning tasks on your ‘to do’ list?

Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram