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

Zero Waste Week (Days Three and Four): Waste Free Food and Shopping

During Zero Waste Week I’ve been tuning into #zerowasteweek hour on twitter for some great tips and ideas on reducing waste. One of the most common topics has been food waste which got me thinking about our household.

I like to think that we are quite good on reducing food waste. I meal plan for the month so that I know what we need to buy. I’m still struggling with emptying all the contents of our veg box but now that we’re (almost) into soup season this should be less of a problem. I also have this very handy note attached to the inside of my cuboard door to remind me how much pasta or rice to cook for our family (originally from Love Food Hate Waste website).

Zero Waste Week: rice and pasta measurements

But there is definitely more that I can do to avoid an overflowing compost bin. So, as I tend to do one large supermarket shop each month, I sat down and meal planned everything (breakfasts, lunches incl packed lunches and evening meals). This meant I could order the right amount of food. Yet even when I know what food we have and how to turn it into meals there is still the problem of packaging.

For convenience sake (I don’t have regular access to a car, I try to stick to a strict budget) I order one large supermarket delivery every month, interspersed with fortnightly veg and fruit boxes, regular milk deliveries, some refills at local health food stores and small trips to the local shops. Apart from the first activity (which I try to order as waste free as possible) I have learnt to make the other shopping trips as packaging free as possible.

This week I was able to pick up fruit and veg from the local greengrocers as I had transport – and I tried out a new independent butchers so was able to get my meat from there (with far less packaging, but it would be great to re-use my containers for this). Because I use the brilliant Onya produce bags, and our greengrocers have paper bags my shopping haul looked like this:

Zero Waste Week: package free grocery shopping

I was also able to pop into Harvest Health Food Store in Bath and refill my washing up and laundry liquid containers:

IMG_0083

I also decided to go all out this morning and do a massive baking session so that we can rely less on pre-wrapped cakes and biscuits. This is what my kitchen looked like afterwards (there was a lot of washing up so lucky I’d got by bio-d refills the day before):

Zero Waste Week: home baking

But the end result was: stewed plums and apples; plum flapjacks; oat and apple muffins; fruit cake; gingerbread dough (to freeze and make biscuits with at a later date) and fairy cakes (I always make a batch of simple fairy cakes when the oven is one – I just freeze them and the kids decorate at a later date).

Zero Waste Week: package free (and home baked) goodies

So we now have fully stocked cupboards, freezer and I hope we will have an emptier bin and compost as a result!

 

Second-hand veg – or using up the leftovers

 

using up the veg box

This has been on my mind lately. Once a fortnight we get a veg and fruit box delivered. This time of year is a ‘lean time’ in the vegetable growing world before the Spring harvest comes into its own. As a result there are a lot of roots and a lot of leafy green veg that only I seem to be eating. Also if I’m not careful the chard, kale and spring greens seem to wilt very quickly.

Last week I read a post from silverbells steps out about her compost bin which, at this time of year, has very little green waste.  I compared this with my own which is full to the brim. This is partly due to the fact that at this time of year it doesn’t get any heat and so finds it harder to break the food waste down. It is also because I am stuffing it with all our greens. I have a terrible habit of believing that I can let food go to waste because I can ease my green conscience by putting it in the compost bin.

This seems such a waste of money and food. According to the Love Food Hate Waste campaign seven million tonnes of food is wasted in UK households each year.

So this week I’ve put my apron on and started cooking and baking to use up the fruit and veg that is wilting in my house.

So far I’ve used scraps to make a vegetable stock:

using leftover veg to make stock

With this stock I’ve made a (sort of) potato and leek soup (with extra broccoli and the dreaded chard).

rather unappetising photo of leek and potato soup!

rather unappetising photo of leek and potato soup!

Tomorrow I will be making carrot and coriander with some very sad looking carrots.Yesterday I used up half a pineapple and some mouldy bananas to make a lovely sticky cake which I served as pudding. (Recipe here)

I’m also trying my best to increase the life expectancy of some other greenery. I’ve put lettuce leaves in a tupperware container with a piece of kitchen paper. I’ve also placed parsley and coriander in these jam jars then placed in the fridge.

keeping store bought herbs for longer

I’m also following some tips from Silverbells which includes not peeling my veg. I hope that by making more of an effort to use up all the veg we can leave this over-full compost bin alone for a while.