This blog is mainly a rambling kind of diary of the transition from smallholderwannabe to smallholder.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

thrifty thursday

See Angela's blog Tracing Rainbows for the other Thrifty Thursday posts:

This is the last Thrifty Thursday post and I thought I had better witter on about something other than apples, much as I think they are treasure.  If we ever manage to get that smallholding of our dreams, you can be sure that I'll be planting an apple tree or maybe two.

Angela has posted today about a few of the thrifty things she has been doing this month.  I'm not sure how much of a list I could make as my head is full of cotton wool this morning.  Too much time spent on cars and I'm paying for it now.

So what have I done this month?

  • Persuaded my husband to take me into a large Asda that we were passing on our way back from looking at a car in another area of the city that we never normally visit.  Our local Asda is tiddly and carries very few offers or Smart Price items.  I'd been to visit the coupon section of just in case I happened on a large supermarket on our travels. I always carry any coupons around in a plastic wallet in my bag so that they are to hand if needed.  I won't buy anything with a coupon unless it is cheaper than the own brand equivalent and I only print out ones that I think will be useful to save the ink/paper.  This time I won.  I had a tub of Philadelphia at £1.44 with a £1 coupon = 44p, a tub of chilled soup on half price offer at £1 with a 50p coupon = 50p, a tub of Vitalite marg on offer at £1 with a 30p coupon (I like Vitalite but normally buy something cheaper) = 70p, a box of cereal on halfprice offer at £1 with a 30p coupon = 70p.  I also got a couple of packs of basic pasta at 18p which our local Asda does not stock.  And a couple of yellow stickered items so I went home happier as it was yet another wasted carhunting trip.  Go to the moneysavingexpert site and type supermarket coupons into the search box.  It is worth checking regularly in case you happen on something useful.  Have a look on sharonmanc's blog post for Wed 28 September 2011  as there is a link to a coupon for 30p off cheese at Tesco.  The link prints THREE coupons and this cheese is on offer at Tesco on buy one get two free.  One coupon per purchase and the offer is for three blocks so we can use all three coupons.  I bet the shelf will be empty when I get there because it will be the end of the day.  Still, I'm going to try because Tesco sent me a £2 off a £20 spend voucher too : )  Things like this really stretch the budget as cheese keeps for ages in the fridge and is great in the freezer if it is grated.
  • Grow your own.  I've written about this before.  Everybody has room for a tub of something on their kitchen window sill at least.  We have had baby salad leaves for well over three months now from 2 x 29p packets of seeds from Lidl.  They are coming to an end now but we have had freshpicked leaves either in a sandwich or as a salad virtually every day for 3 months for 58p and a pot full of compost.  If the plant starts bolting, then the rabbits and hens love it. nothing is wasted.  I've also grown peashoots from a pack of supermarket dried peas.  I had a reduced pot of parsley from the supermarket which I repotted into something much bigger and I've had fresh parsley all summer and will have some chopped and frozen in icecube trays in the freezer for the winter.  I was given a root of mint which was potted up and is really growing well.  I keep chives too and they will last for two years before needing to be replaced.  The flowers from chives are really pretty and can be added to salads as well.
  • Try me free.  There are always a few of these around.  Again I keep an eye on the relevant thread on the moneysavingexpert forum for these.  I'm a bit choosy about these as I can't justify lying about them just to get the product free (or for the cost of a stamp).  I really like the ones where you can write a for or against opinion and get to try the product.  This month I tried Onken yoghurt which was far too sweet for me and Smooth and Soft shampoo which left me far from smooth and soft.  However, it will benefit somebody in the family.  Currently there is a TMF on Heinz mayonnaise but I haven't tried that one yet.  Every little helps : )
  • I've made jam and chutney and marmalade.  I've made enough to keep us in jams etc for the year plus lots to give as presents.   I find that a jar of jam goes down very well as a thank you present when somebody goes out of their way to be helpful to me such as giving me a lift to work when my husband has a meeting elsewhere and can't take me.  There are lots of occasions of this nature and a jar of homemade jam costs very little but sugar and time (and gas) but is worth far more than the cost involved.  I now have several people who would be very disappointed if they did not receive a homemade goody box at Christmas.  My kids love having a jar of something a bit different in their Christmas stockings.  They might be all grown up but they love getting their stockings although now it is one per family rather than one each. I still have mint jelly to make if I can get some time off from carhunting.  I still have a bag of windfalls to sort and my mint is flourishing. 
  • Birthdays and Christmas:  I buy things for people when I see something suitable in order to lessen the cost.  There is never anything at a reasonable price just coming up to Christmas that would be appropriate for that particular person.  Of course that means that I have to remember in which safe place I stored it : )    I also make lots of presents too.  I enjoy that so it is not a chore to be thrifty in that way.
  • Stretch meals as far as possible.  There are many posts along the lines of rubber chicken. I find my chicken is usually more "elastic" than a lot of those from such articles but then I don't like a huge portion of meat.  I'm also a dab hand at soup made from any leftovers in the fridge.  We never finish a pan or something up purely for the convenience of having an empty pan when the last small portion of the contents can go towards a soup or a sauce over pasta.  Some of our nicest everyday style meals have been made from an assortment of leftovers that just went together well - and are unrepeatable too. Serendipity.
I'm sure there is more that I could write but I can't think of any more now.  If something occurs to me that I think really ought to join the list, I can always edit later.


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