Monday, 27 June 2011

BBQ Bargains

Another lovely day today. I took advantage of the great weather again by washing lots of bedding last night and it has all dried by the time I have returned home from work this afternoon. I have been planning ahead for my daughters birthday which is during the six week school break. She has been asking if she can have a sleepover with a few friends , we are yet to decide for definite but we do intend to have a BBQ at some point. When I have seen bargains I have picked them up in advance of an impromptu BBQ. The other week I got some lamb kebabs which I have frozen. When I went into the Co-op I saw they had some reductions and I spotted a few bargains. Two packs of Chicken which was reduced from £3 per pack to 75p and two packs of sausages at 52p per pack. I don't know their original price but they were on offer for two packs for £5. When I got to the till the girl scanned the first pack of chicken 75p, then the second pack came through at £1. I was just about to chirp up when I noticed that the till then made the multi save deduction. So she carried on with the shopping and I then surveyed my bill at the end. Although the second pack did go through at £1, it then took another £1 off so I had the 2 packs of chicken , worth £6 for 75p. The sausages did go through at 52p each = £1.04, but then the multi save deducted 58p so the sausages came to 46p. I was quite surprised by this as most shops now don't have the multi save if the item is reduced. I have put a picture of the recept so you can see.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Free Family Day Out - Canal Festival

What a difference a day makes ! Woke up today to glorious sunshine. I pegged out the washing and felt the sun burning on my skin so out came the sun cream. We headed over to a Canal Festival close to where we live. It was free admission and hads lots going on. There was lots of little stalls selling cakes, hand crafts , tombola etc. The local church had a stand advertising all its activities and had a free badge making section which kept the children occupied. They also had canoeing which my daughter was keen to try, which was a very reasonable at £1.50 for 25 minutes. We also picked up 3 books for £1: a brand new Butterfly Lion by Michael Murpurgo , a paper back not previously heard off and a book by Madonna , called the English Roses ( which my daughter has read intensely every since ! ) It was great to be able to get out and enjoy the sunshine as we were couped up all day yesterday. Have you been enjoying the sun today ?

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Lazy Day

It has rained all day here and it is more like autumn than summer. We have had a lazy day pottering about at home. I have made these cakes today, carrot cakes, that were skulking at the back of the cupboard. They were BBE April 2011 but I hadn't cooked them earlier as the recipe is intended for it to be a big cake and I haven't got any cake tins. Then it occurred to me the other day that I don't need cake tins, I will just use paper cases instead which I had in stock. I don't normally go for ready made cake mixes but I recall it being on offer and it got thrown in the trolley some time ago. The mix made about 30 cakes and I used the cheese icing filling to ice the tops. They were a big hit and we have been munching them all afternoon. For dinner this evening we have had salmon fillets. It was a really tasty meal and the plates were all empty. The fillets I had bought a few weeks ago , on offer at 99p each. We had asparagus £1 and some green beans 50p with the fillets. I made a garlic mash using up some leftover garlic butter. I used half a bag of the potatoes I bought for £1. So our tasty meal cost roughly £5, not bad at around £1.66 each.

Friday, 24 June 2011

More Freebies

My husband has been away on a course this week and has returned home today. I waited eagerly to see what he had bought home with him, sad I know !! He had bought home the usual hotel freebies, soaps and shower gels but this time he also bought back a pair of slippers. Now in recent years I have had slippers from the high street shops for Christmas and by Easter they are fit for the bin. The last pair of hotel slippers I acquired lasted ages and were also washable. Also from the course he bought me back a blue canvas shopper bag and a little black note book, both of which will come in very useful. I might use the note book as a spending diary as it is small enough to fit in my hand bag.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Table Top Books

I've been mooching again ! I've had my weekly mooch on the table top sale again today and I have come across two bargain hard back books at the super price of 30p each. They are both cookery books and I always have a sneaky look first to see if the recipes look tasty! The first book is called 'Chinese Food Made Easy' and the other book is called 'Vegetarian Bible'. Now there was a time when my husband would not have entertained such a notion as a vegetarian meal .Like a lot of people his thinking was that a meal was not a meal without meat but in recent years our tastes have changed and we now eat more meatless meals than before. Flicking through the book there are lots of tasty things that we are going to try; leek & goats cheese crepes, various risotto's, onion tart, rosti , dhal , just to name a few. The Chinese cookery book as you can imagine is full of wonderful recipes but the ingredients are a bit more exotic !

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Bra Bargain's.

A few weeks ago my friend and I were looking through an oddment rail in Marks and Spencer's. She was buying , I wasn't but I always have a look. I didn't have much cash so wasn't really bothered about getting anything and nor did I need anything but old habits die hard and there I was casting my eye along the rail. I noticed the reduced underwear but as nothing was in my size I just flicked past. But then it occurred to me that I could buy the items and sell, or at least try to sell them on eBay. My friend asked me what I was doing so I explained my idea but I don't think she would ever use eBay as their situation is completely different to ours. Anyway I bought the bra's, five in total at £1 each. Now I did wonder at that stage , have I wasted my £5? So they sat nicely in my bedroom until the other weekend when I listed lots of items on the zero fee weekend. The bra's were very nice and originally should have been £14 each. So I listed them at 99p and watched and waited over the next seven days. Well everyone has paid up and the bra's have gone off to their new homes around the country and they made in excess of £20. The customers have all gave positive feedback ,happy with their bargains ! I have wondered about having an experiment, using that profit to reinvest again and to see how much I could make that into. You never know, you could be watching me in a few years on Dragons Den, and it all started with an investment of five pounds !!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Alice's Bucket List

I have saw this lovely young girl on TV earlier. Alice is 15 years old and has terminal cancer. She is documenting her experience on a blog called Alice's Bucket list and has in excess of 13,000 followers since she began her blog a few weeks ago. She lists on her blog some of the things she would like to do but top of the list is that she wants everyone to sign up to be a bone marrow donor. Each post has received hundreds of comments with generous offers from complete strangers. It is so nice to see such kindness. I hope Alice's dreams come true.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Profits from eBay

Well I have now finally posted everything out and can reveal that I made the grand total of £217 from my eBay sale. I was really pleased with this. Not only have I got rid of some clutter but I have made a pretty penny as well. I sold all kinds of things: cosmetics, music books, computer games, dvd's , underwear and clothing. Things that have been lying around. Some of the clothing nearly went in the charity bag but I thought I would try and sell it first before giving it away. The proceeds will be going towards my flexible friend.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Weekend in Devon

Well its been a busy week. We have been busy posting off our eBay sales, details of which I will share later. We travelled down to Devon after work on Friday. It took quite a while as there was an accident but we arrived about an hour later then normal. On Saturday we were out all day. We started by taking the children to the park, they played for ages and the weather was great. Then off to the beach where they played for a long time , paddling and looking for things on the beach. We had a stroll round the shops then off for a drive to a nearby village called Beer. We had fish and chips for lunch and then to the beach at Beer. Afterwards we visited the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary. This is free to visit and the donkeys roam around the place so the children can get up close. The children really enjoyed this and got to learn lots of donkey facts. That evening we had a meal out and a stroll along the beach afterwards. We had a really good day and other than food, didn't spend any money entertaining ourselves. The next day was awful weather, raining hard. The children went swimming and had a good time splashing around. After lunch we made our way back home, the weather was still dreadful and we got home in about 3 hours which isn't too bad. We hope to go back to Devon in the summer holidays. The children had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I managed to steer myself away from the numerous tea shops despite the cake calling me!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Destination Devon

Tomorrow we are off to Devon for the weekend. We are going to stay with some family members until Sunday on the Jurassic Coast. We are visiting the Regency town of Sidmouth which is one of our favourite places. They have some great shops and I have mooched through the charity shops there before. They have decent stuff at very reasonable prices. The locals are very friendly and will often stop and chat which doesn't really happen where we live. When we are there we do simple things, hunt for fossils, walk along the promenade, climb the hill, visit the donkey sanctuary, eat fish and chips at the beach. Its the kind of place where you can really relax and the pace is a bit slower. We are looking forward to spending time together with the family. Its easy nowadays to get distracted with all the mundane things, the daily grind and the worry of the escalating cost of everything you have to buy just to live. But some of the best things are free, and the chance to spend quality time with people and have happy memories is , in my opinion, priceless. Have a great weekend .

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Rising Energy Costs

Back in April I put an entry on called 'Two Nice Surprises'. Surprise Number Two was that we had overpaid our energy bills and they refunded us and reduced our monthly payment. I have read today that Scottish Power , our supplier, is raising energy costs again by 19% for gas and 10% for electricity. They estimate that the average family's bills will go up by around £200 per year. In February they wrote to me informing of a raise and that it was applied as from November 2010, ie three months earlier. That meant they had nicely covered the cold weather spell in December when everyone had the central heating on. It doesn't mention in the article when the raise is effective from but never the less we can exercise caution straight away. I wonder how much more expensive it will get in the coming months and years. The small changes we make to our everyday life could help us cut costs and avoid waste. My payments had gone down from £99 to £78 per month, I had planned to save the extra £21 but I will no doubt have my direct debit increased at some point in the forthcoming months. At least I have a small buffer to fall back on, if it goes much higher then it would be worrying. I think I will be permanently wrapped in my slanket come winter time. I am going to start to look round to see if there are any cheaper suppliers.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Bargains in Birmingham

Had to go into Birmingham today and I got a few bargains to keep in stock for gifts. My husband had to buy his vitamins from Boots,on offer 3for2. So we picked up 6 months supply and paid only for 4. We paid for 3 each as they were giving a coupon per transaction which was £5 off No 7 and £5 off certain fragrances. We picked up two men's aftershaves, Calvin Klein should have been £17, was then on offer at £12.50 so with the £5 off we paid £7.50. The Lacoste should have been £24, was then on offer at £16 so we paid £11 after the £5 coupon was deducted. I will keep these in stock for Fathers Day and also my brothers birthday later in the year. From another store we found some Jamie Oliver champagne glasses reduced from £9.99 to £2.49. I picked these up for someones first wedding anniversary later this summer. I always try and get as many gifts in advance for birthdays and Christmas, money permitting. I especially like it when you can get decent things at very reasonable prices. Do you get gifts in advance or do you like to shop in December with the Christmas shoppers ?

Monday, 6 June 2011

Eating well for less

One of the things that I like about living better for less is trying things that I may not normally buy. This is especially the case with food shopping. I look at things in the shops and think it looks tasty but it is too expensive so back on the shelf it goes. Tonight we had to pop to the supermarket to get bread and eggs. We picked up an own brand loaf for 60p as there was no reduced bread this evening. In the fresh aisle there was quite a few reductions but there was a bit of a mob looking through. I managed to get some eggs, dated June 12th at 10p a box ! The real price was £1.70 per box for 6 eggs. My usual eggs are the supermarkets own , 15 for £1.25 so I was very pleased with my 12 eggs for 20p. I also had some Thai salmon fishcakes, not my taste but hubby's, 30p from £2.50, 3 twin packs of rosemary and parsley flat breads 10p each from £1.10 and lastly some tasty looking spinach and feta parcels 10p from £1. Grand total £1.50. I especially like flat breads as you can make tasty little pizzas with them. Bye for Now .

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Its eBay Day

Have been busy today sorting things out for eBay. It is free listing weekend so we are putting as much on as possible. I have looked in every nook and cranny for things. Most things I'm selling are new, unwanted/unused cosmetics. Its pointless hanging onto things I won't use so I hope to make some money and clear out the clutter. We are also putting on some clothing items so I have to iron them so they are presentable for the photographs. We have been to the post office to weigh the packages and we are reusing old jiffy's to post the items , to save money and reuse the envelopes. Whatever we make we hope to put towards the credit card balance, every little helps ! I will update next week with the grand total.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Time to tighten again

Like everyone else I have been doing the 'math' over the last few days. Things look OK but its easy part way through the month to let things slip. I'm determined not to do that this month. I need things from the shops but I'm not going as I don't want to be tempted to buy non essentials. I had to go into town on Tuesday. I made a list and stuck to it. We were only there about half an hour, I had everything I wanted so we came home. My daughter wanted to look around the book shop but I had to say no. Its a high street book shop and everything is full price. Yesterday I was home alone. My daughter went out with a friend to Drayton Manor Park and my husband was at work. I spent the whole day cleaning and washing. It was a lovely day and the washing line was full, the only problem now is the ironing basket is full. My daughter took money with her but she came home and hadn't spent anything. The other family had taken a picnic and drinks so she didn't even need to buy any refreshments. My husband came home late from work. After a day of cleaning I was tired and the 'old' me may have had a takeaway on a day like that. I'd used my initiative earlier and cooked a gammon joint from the freezer. It cooked as I was cleaning and then it was ready to eat. We ate that and have enough leftover for tonight and perhaps some sandwiches tomorrow.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Present for me

I had some birthday money leftover and had been wondering what to spend it on. I had pondered for a while about buying a slanket. Its a blanket with arms to snuggle up with. Someone I know has one and they are really warm. So I decided to treat myself and invest in one. I thought it will keep me nice and toasty in the winter and may save me money by not having the heating on as much. It arrived today and it is so fluffy and warm. I am tempted to snuggle up with it now but I have too much to do ! The packaging is a bit cheesy, apparently I can read , snack and surf the Internet whilst wearing the slanket ! My slanket is a chocolate brown colour, I decided to play it safe and not chose a fashion colour/print. I will give it a go later when I watch TV tonight.