Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (31 July – 7 August)

 

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Hello! While I try to post my Thrifty Finds on a Monday when the kids are on holiday I find time runs away with me. We’re also off on hols next week so there is lots of packing and shopping to do too. I did manage to stick to some budgets, last week, though, as preparing for a holiday can prove pricey…

1. I went through the holiday packing list with the kids and worked out what they needed. We then stuck to the list when we went shopping to Bath. Sadly none of it was second hand (as my kids get older I find it harder to buy second hand clothing for them; on the plus side they get a lot of hand me downs). I also picked up a  couple of items from my list which weren’t purchased second hand 🙁. For the first time ever I bought myself a couple of things from Primark. But I stuck rigidly to my list:

 

2. Having done a lot of holiday planning by buying insurance, travel money, breakdown cover etc has earned me £76.38  from the Quidco cash back site that I signed up to last year. I was going to buy all these items anyway, but purchasing via the Quidco website meant I earned money back as well 😀

3. Apart from holiday prep, we had two birthdays last week. I made two out of three of the birthday cakes (due to lack of time I did buy a supermarket cake for my daughter’s party for the first time ever!) I had budgeted for both birthdays and had enough money to buy gifts and pay for a small scale party.

4. I also sold my daughter’s old bike which helped to pay for the new one for her birthday.

5, While we had planned to go for a family pub lunch for the other birthday last week, a quick budget check showed this wasn’t possible. Instead we stayed at home and I made lunch. We also held impromptu drinks in the garden for friends, using wine and beer we already had and spending a little money on nibbles.

I will now spend the rest of the week washing, packing (and working) and finalising budgets for hols. As we are heading to France and the euro is very nearly worth £1 we are going to have to reign in our spending a little..

If you want to follow our holiday travels follow me on instagram

I’m also going to try to keep to some zero waste/plastic free habits from previous holidays (see here and here). Watch this space and see you at the end of the month!

A bientot….

 

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 (3- 10 July)

 

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Welcome to another installment of my Thrifty Finds. How has your week been? If you’re in the UK have you been enjoying the heat (again) – or are you struggling?

  1. Not a Thrifty Find at all I’m afraid: I use part of my mum’s freezer to store some of our food. Their freezer broke down last week. Thankfully, they were able to save their food. We only had bread products and ice lollies stored there. Unfortunately that means in this heat we’re without the months’ supply of lollies that I keep the kids topped up with 😦 The lollies have turned to mush but I was wondering about trying to salvage the sticks and see if I could make some of my own. I don’t have any moulds, though, so may have to improvise…..
  2. On a more positive note, I have discovered the large 900g yogurt tubs made by Yeo Valley. While I confess to supplying the kids with squeezy yogurts for lunchboxes (I freeze them; then they gradually defrost in time for lunch) – I resist single pots at home, because of the plastic waste. The larger the tub, the more servings I can get. When empty, they are also very sturdy containers.

3. With our holiday only next month I ordered some Euros from the Post Office. The exchange rate is so much worse than when we went abroad two years ago (don’t get me started on Brexit!) but, by using our Post Office Credit Card I paid no commission and, by going through the money back website, Quidco, I even earned £3!

4. My holiday shopping list (for clothes) currently looks like this:

  • Shorts
  • Beach Coverup
  • Shirt
  • Dress
  • Sandals
  • Hat

Having, ahem, gone up a dress size since our last overseas holiday I need to source a few more things than I thought I needed. Of course, most of these will be secondhand, although I’m unsure about the sandals and hat.

5. Finally, on a rather sad note, I learnt that the lovely Jen, from mymakeandmendlife has decided to stop blogging 😦

I have followed Jen’s blog for a few years and, living in the same county, have met her a couple of times. What started as a year of buying nothing new for her family has snowballed into an inspirational blog full of tips, ideas and actions to reduce our impact on the environment. It was Jen who first introduced the idea of a Repair Cafe to me (which led to the formation of the Corsham Repair Cafe which we run twice a year).

Although she will no longer be blogging, I look forward to catching up with Jen by listening to her podcasts (here) and following her Youtube channel (here)

Are there any Podcasters, Youtubers or Bloggers that you follow?

(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 ( 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

 

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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!

You can also share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Thrifty Finds

This fortnight’s Thrifty Finds ( 9 – 23 April)

 

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How was your Easter break?I’m sure it seems a long time ago. I just realised I didn’t post my Easter week Thrifty Finds so thought I would combine the past two weeks into one post.

Our Thrifty Finds were:

  1. During the school holidays we took a trip to London to visit the Churchill War Rooms (not cheap: £51 for our family ticket). The younger kids travelled free on the tube and we managed to get an all zone travel card for our 15 year old for £6. We took a picnic and later had a great value Chinese buffet in China Town for £8 each (or only £5 each if we’d had the food to go). Despite the attempt at educating the kids on World War Two, they seemed to enjoy playing in Hyde Park and visiting Primark (my eldest) more than anything else. This has led us to re-evaluate what we pay for days out and, rather sadly, have decided that unless they are really interested in a subject, it’s just not worth paying for a ticket 😦
  2. We also had a trip to Bath where I managed to return a couple of items. We changed a pair of shoes in Clarks for my youngest as the style was hurting her ankles. I also managed to exchange the supposed bottle of olive oil that I’d bought in Holland & Barrett – turns out it was chilli oil instead!

 

3. We continued with our hunt for Friends DVDs. The kids have really got into the series and we’ve been gradually buying the series second-hand. We found season five in a charity shop and snapped it up for £6. UPDATE: We got through that series pretty quickly and managed to pick up season six in another charity shop for just £3.

 

4. Every Easter holiday the village school organises an Easter Trail. You buy the trail sheet for £2 and follow the map around the village guessing the clues that people put up outside the houses. This year the theme is ‘Famous People’. It’s a really cheap and easy thing to do and easily fills a couple of afternoons during the school break.

5. We also took the kids swimming to the local leisure centre. During the school holidays children swim for free so that saves us quite a lot of money. Having children ranging from 15 to eight it’s also one of the few things we can do that everyone still enjoys.

6.Last weekend my husband picked up a couple of second-hand records at a World Record Store Day event. I also bought a couple of books from a charity shop.

Did you have any Thrifty Finds this Easter?  Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

What I learnt from our Staycation…

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While we have failed to have a ‘proper’ holiday this year, we have really been enjoying our Staycation,which goes to show that every cloud has a silver lining.

I have learnt that the main advantages to holidaying at home are:

  1. You can really make the most of the weather. Rather than going away and hoping for good weather (especially in the UK) you can wait for the right forecast and enjoy a scorching day out. Last Monday we hit the beach at Weymouth, Dorset. The weather was good, we picnicked on the beach and the kids enjoyed some seaside fairground rides. We also took a saunter around the (secondhand) shops, pausing to watch the boats sail into the marina. All it cost us was car parking, ice creams and a fast food restaurant on the way home.

Weymouth beach

2.You don’t have to go far. Wherever you live I bet there’s an interesting town, well-known (or lesser known) attraction, piece of coast or countryside near to you. I admit we are very lucky to live in the South West. The UNESCO World Heritage site of Bath is only 15 minutes away and, within two hours we can be on some stunning Dorset beaches. Closer to home we have some picturesque Wiltshire and Cotswold towns to explore.  When the weather turned hot a couple of weeks ago we spent the day by the river in Bradford on Avon, just ten miles away.

playing by the river in Bradford on Avon

3. You don’t have to go anywhere. This is something I have been learning for the first time this summer. The children have had as much fun playing with friends in the garden.They have staged plays and shows on the deck; we have eaten in the village cafe; had sleepovers with friends and visited the local parks (including the school playground which is always open)

Playing in the school sandpit

4. If you do go somewhere you can stay with friends. We spent last weekend visiting an old school friend who lives on the outskirts of London. We had such a great time, catching up with her family and also making the most of their convenient location at the end of the Northern Line on the Tube. Using Oyster cards (and a £6  travel card for our 14 year old) meant we were able to visit the capital very cheaply. As well as doing free museums and packing picnics we also visited other (free to us) sights such as Platform 9 & 3/4 at Kings Cross and the giant M&Ms store in Leicester Square (the girls bought one gift here each with money from grandparents). Having taken the kids to see The BFG film we learnt about the BFG/Save the Children Dream Jars that are dotted around London this summer.We downloaded the app and were able to locate a few of these jars which were, surprisingly, crowd free. (plus a bonus for us adults: we got to ride the Tube with a Game of Thrones actor!). We had a great mini break and it didn’t make too much of a dent in our piggy bank!

5. You don’t have to spend much. This is one of the big advantages of staying at home. However having a Staycation doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. I price compared local cinemas and saved a lot of money by taking the kids to see a new release at the local two screen theatre, rather than the newly opened multiplex. We have also taken advantage of council run schemes such as the Big Read and free swimming for children in the holidays.

While we didn’t intend to spend all the summer at home we have really enjoyed ourselves over the past month. By taking it easy, but also booking in days out/a weekend away we really have had the best of both worlds, without breaking the bank. What have you been doing this summer?

Did you go away or have you been ‘staycationing’ too?

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