Monthly Archives: January 2013

January No/Low Spend and Decluttering Challenge – the final Review

This is my overview of Carla’s January No/Low Spend and Decluttering Challenge – I was a bit of a late starter but tried my best and overall I accomplished quite a bit – the main thing being a new lower budget for our weekly shop and my weekly allowance.  Thanks to Carla for all the hard work in keeping us busy and motivated – the month has flown by.

Untitled

My De-cluttering goals

My original goal was to have the Kitchen and Dining room ship shape and de-cluttered… and I partly did this but also took a bit of a diversion because I had a few days holiday to come and it seemed the perfect time for going through some of the boxes that we have.

Decluttered food cupboards

In weeks 1 and 2 I cleared and cleaned the food cupboards and the Fridge and Freezer, but after these were completed the de-cluttering of the kitchen stopped as I got quite involved in the ‘Reducing Food waste project and have spent quite a lot of time planning meals, shopping for bargains and using up old foods that I found in my cupboards.

Christmas Decorations

Week 3  – I spent time going through all my Christmas decorations and removing anything that I felt we could pass on to someone else to use.  I repacked everything carefully ready to store them in the loft again until next year, making sure even with new additions this year that I didn’t exceed my 6 box limit.  – I think this might equate to Carla’s mini challenge of cleaning out a closet.

Toy Declutter

Week 4 – I moved onto the Toy boxes which I keep on hand in case of little visitors.  Again I set myself a limit of not exceeding the four boxes that I have.

Treasure Box Declutter

I also spent time going through items in my Treasure boxes and again my limit on these is four – one containing items including my dress from our wedding day, one similar of my daughters mementos, one for cards, letters and keepsakes and one for school reports, certificates and items of historical interest. – So I guess this probably applies to Carla’s Week 1 goal

My Financial goals

My goal was to begin cutting my weekly allowance down to £10 and taking lunches to work from home.  We aim to only buy absolute necessities and just enough food to add to the items stored in our cupboards and Freezer to make enough meals to cover January.  I decided to aim for a weekly spend of £50 on groceries rather than the £70 average it had crept up to.

  • Week 1 – I was still on holiday from Christmas so did not spend very much at all probably only £10 in all on a few fresh vegetables and milk.
  • Week 2- I came in well within budget for both my weekly allowance and weekly food budget.
  • Week 3 – I just managed to scrape in under budget by £1.15p after luckily being offered a £2 off coupon at work.  Weekly allowance also came in under the £10.
  • Week 4 – a rather large overspend of £22.22 – I spent £15 to stock up on items on offer and I had run out of a number of basics all at once.  My weekly allowance though was well under the £10

As well as my goals – I manage to take on board some of Carla’s mini goals –

  • Doing without to save money – I have not bought any magazines either with my £10 allowance or in with my weekly shopping.
  • I gave £5 to a homeless person who had just been lucky enough to find a flat.
  • I did knock 20% off my food bill but not in the week Carla set that particular challenge
  • I also brought in extra income each week by only allowing myself £10 allowance rather than the usual £20-£30

So there you have it – some good and some not so good but all in all quite a challenge and a few achievements.

January De-cluttering and No/Low Spend Challenge…

The Toy Boxes

Given that we have no young children or any children for that matter living in the house at the moment it may seem an odd place to begin with the toy boxes and games, but that’s me – no logic whatsoever.  It isn’t that my better half and I sneak out in the middle of the night to play with our much loved toys (I wish!) I just like to keep a  box or two handy for when we have visiting children or we need a family game at Christmas.  I thought this might be one of those places where I could reduce my little hoard.

Now if I were going to extreme minimalism and we never ever used these toys or they were stored in the loft never to see light of day I expect they would have to go.  But I class them as still useful for times when we have visiting children (my own included here) or a family get together.  I always remember going to visit my Gran and she kept an old satchel full of wooden building bricks in her cupboard and I would sit and play with them for hours completely ignoring any other toy that I might have taken with me.

The Troll Family

After having a bit of a rummage through the boxes I decided that perhaps the Troll family (looks like they have all had a bit of a fright!) could go to Charity unless my daughter wants to have them live with her in which case I will give them some bus fare and send them packing.

Marble Run

But I will definitely hang on to the Marble Run – this is great entertainment for both girls and boys (young and old!).

Sindy and Barbie

Sindy meets Barbie for a night out and a shopping spree – very useful when little girls come round. I even washed and pressed their outfits!  Couldn’t see any day clothes though – not working girls then.

Sindy clothes

And who could resist a box full of Mr Men…we have  about 22 of them at the last count (though I swear they could be breeding) courtesy of McDonalds which is surprising to say we have only ever been once, when desperate, and decided Veggie Burgers R certainly not us.  I suspect daughter No 2, who was a bit of a soft toy addict, must have made quite a few sneaky visits in her younger teenage days to collect all these (one free with each meal).  She had them all suspended from fishing wire on her staircase at one time and you can’t help but like the cheeky little fellows.

Mr Men

The Duplo Farm Set about 30 years old and still going strong even after a quick whizz through the washer.  Those little fat hens are so cute.  We have a box full of the bricks too and this is a really good toy if we get very young toddlers coming to see us. Definitely a keeper.

Duplo Farm

In the final box and just as cute are the wooden chicks  – Skittles from Muji – this was actually one of my stocking fillers from my better half last Christmas (he knows me so well!)

Skittles

My stocking filler from about 30 Christmases ago – probably from Habitat – looking quite worn now…

Wooden Village

…and one or two other games that we can play at our family get togethers.  The Christmas Pud called Pass the Pud is our most recent addition this Christmas –  I can certainly recommend it – we couldn’t play for laughing  – we couldn’t follow the rules either but that might have been the wine!

Games

…and what is in the old Diamond Jubilee OXO tin?……Bingo or should I say Vintage Bingo!

Bingo

Well I didn’t find very much in the boxes to part with but everything has had a clean and I know I am not hanging onto something that I do not like or will not use.

Toy Boxes 2

The four boxes are from Ikea and make a useful place to store the toys and games as they are quite decorative in themselves and so I don’t need to find cupboard space for them.  As they also stack into a tower and are only just over a foot square it is amazing how they will slot in beside a wardrobe or chest of drawers and they are easily transportable and on hand should we have children visit us.

Surprisingly that took quite a bit of time to ‘de-clutter’ and sort – I just hope I get a bit quicker at this.

I have been following Carlas Decluttering challenge and this is my contribution – it should have been the pantry this week but I have already completed that at the beginning of January.

Reducing the Spending…the weekly shop 4#…

Thursday night and it seemed to be panic buying night in Sainsbury’s again – the forecast for the weekend was bleak and there had been an obvious rush for bread , milk and veg.  I decided that I would buy a little more than normal myself of the fresh foods just in case we got snowed in even more.

It has been a crazy week so far with the unpredictability of the weather and also my poor better half has a cold.  I don’t feel I had the same focus on the money and meals and we had the extra cost of having my daughter and partner to stay over theprevious weekend combined with our visit to Shrewsbury last Saturday.

For this I had to draw out £20 from the Cash Card to cover any expenditure over the weekend and I put the £1.33 left from last week in the ‘pot’.

My daughter and her partner joined us on the trip to Shrewsbury and as we are penny pinching here at the moment everyone had to join in so it was sandwiches for lunch, a flask of Hot Chocolate (the only drink we could unanimously agree on) and a trip to the local ‘sit in’ Chippy on the way home (Cost for 4 people £21.90), which we paid for on our debit card.

So how did I do this week?

The General Spend – my personal £10 allowance for the week

I worked from home on Monday and Tuesday due to the heavy snowfall so I didn’t even break into my £10.  On Wednesday morning I took the opportunity to have my cholesterol levels checked in the Sainsbury’s pharmacy on my way to work.  I usually fast but this morning had a small amount of fat free yoghurt to tide me over as I knew I would need the energy tramping through the snow to get to my car.

After having the test I made my way to the cafe for a quick breakfast and had toast, yoghurt and a decaff tea for £2.72 on my gift card and 4 Reward points.  Still had my £10 intact.

Lunch was on the firm that I work for as it was our Staff Conference.  We are provided with an assortment of M&S sandwiches, crisps and fresh orange juice followed by those tiny tray bakes for afterwards, of course you have to be careful you don’t get squashed in the stampede for a free lunch – but I came out of it well fed and hadn’t spent a penny.

Thursday I was late for work because of the snow and didn’t have the time to prepare lunch – I did consider a voluntary fast but in the end hunger overtook and I had to resort to a Baked Potato with Cheese and salad at £3.35 from the local Sandwich shop.

Thursday evening I did the shopping and before I started had my only little treat, a plain hot chocolate £1.79 – using the balance left on the gift card of £1.20 and paid cash 0.59p and received 2 Reward Points.

Out of the £10 I spent

  • Baked Potato    £3.35
  • Hot Chocolate  £0.59

This leaves £6.06 for the weekend.

Out of the £20 cash for the Shrewsbury visit I bought

  • Flowers for the Birthday girl  £5.99
  • Filofax Year Planner  £3.75*

This leaves £10.26 which I will use for next weeks £10 allowance, the 26p can go in the pot.

*I did argue with myself over the Year Planner as £3.75 is quite an outlay now.  Could I do without it?  I like to see the coming months all in one go and map out our weekend visits in and amongst things like birthdays and appointments.  I debated whether I should make one I have done in previous years but cannot do a fold out version like Filofax.  It is something I consult everyday so eventually I declared it a necessity and haven’t regretted my decision (yet!)

The Weekly Shop

Did I mention I had a disaster with my fridge last weekend after filling up with all the veg on Thursday I found on Friday that the temperature was far too cold (dial had been moved perhaps?) bit of a mystery…anyway we ended up with very stiff absolutely frozen Watercress and Spinach.  Most of the other veg although as hard as rocks did thaw out and were still usable.  So to add to what I could salvage is my veg and the rest of the shopping and with prices now too!  I am getting much better at knowing the price of things…go on ask me how much for a bag of Carrots.

Fruit and veg

  • 2 Cooking Apples   £0.91
  • Cauliflower and Broccoli   £1.00
  • Bag Organic Sweet Potatoes   £2.00
  • Bag 3 Mixed Organic Peppers   £2.50
  • Bag Organic Carrots 750g   £1.30
  • Bag Watercress, Spinach and Rocket   £1.50
  • Bag Organic Potatoes 1.5g   £1.69
  • 1 large Organic Avocado   £1.00
  • 1 Box Organic Mushrooms 250g   £1.28
  • 1 Box Organic Tomatoes 400g   £1.75

Store Cupboard

  • Organic Penne Pasta   £1.05
  • Organic Decaff Tea Bags   £2.55
  • Decaff Espresso  x 2 £3.69
  • I bag Organic Sugar   £1.05
  • 1 Carton Lentils  £0.79
  • 1 Tin Baked Beans   £0.57
  • 1 tin Organic Cocoa   £2.20
  • 1 unrefined Organic Olive Oil   £2.49
  • 1 large baked multi seeded loaf   £1.35
  • 1 box Toilet Tissue   £0.69

Dairy

  • Jarlsberg Cheese   £1.86
  • 1 tub Coleslaw   £0.55
  • 1 tub Nat Yoghurt   £2.50

Offers

Items on Offer

  • 2 packs Oatflakes   £2.00each
  • 2 packs Bran Flakes £2.00 each
  • 2 Cartons Passata with Basil 2 for £1.50 (save £0.40p)
  • 2 Semi-skimmed milk  2 for £3.00 (save 0.58p)
  • 2 cartons Lurpack with Olive Oil 2 for £5.00 (save £1.00)
  • 2 Organic Cheese 2 for £4.50 (save £0.80p)
  • 2 x 4 Larger pots Petit Filou 2 for £2.00 (save £1.00)
  • 2 pots pasta sauce 2 for £2.50 (save £0.70p)
  • Sainsbury’s Tissues 2 for £2.00
  • 3 x Simple Anti bacterial Handwash @ £1.00 each   £3.00 (save £3.00)
  • 3 for 2 Wholemeal Rolls   £1.20 (save £0.40p)

My favourite bit of the shopping.  Finding offers is like going for the kill after the hunt (I imagine that is – being veggie I have never hunted) but the satisfaction of not paying full price for something does become quickly obsessive.

I had coupons but not for anything that I had bought nor really wanted this time.  I was overjoyed though to find some discarded ones left in a trolley when I came to put mine away – no guesses where they are now!

Total spent

48 items Total Spend £72.22

Reward Points earned 144

Bag re-use 5

Total Points balance 1793 worth  £8.96

So to recap

Only £22.22 over budget…oops!  This was quite an increase in this weeks shopping for one or two reasons… (and I am desperately trying to justify the amount here)

  1. I will be at home all next week and cannot pop into the shops for any extras
  2. The weather is still bad here with more snow expected…need to make sure we can last out
  3. I took advantage of a few offers on stock items such as the cereals, handwash, tissues and an extra Butter – this alone was £15.
  4. I was quite low on a number of high cost items – Olive oil, Coffee, and some of the veg.

I am now wondering if I can sell something or work some overtime for £22 to cover the overspend or it will be a budget of £28 next time.  I don’t like the look of either.

If I have learnt (learned for the grammarians) anything this week it is Organic Peppers are expensive at the moment and I need to be more observant of price in the veg isle and definitely look into exactly what is seasonal and adjust my meal planning to suit.

I also realise that to do this No/Low spending challenge is challenging and you need to have a slightly obsessive personality – so I’m well suited then.

Only one more week to go this month and then it will be the grand reckoning.  Hope you will have time next week to come shopping with me.

 

 

January De-cluttering and No/Low Spend Challenge…

I am following the January De-cluttering and No/Low Spend Challenge led by Carla at My Half Dozen Daily.

Week 3

The De-cluttering

As part of the general de-cluttering going on here rather than do an actual closet for my challenge this week I decided I needed to go through all my Christmas decorations before I packed them away in the loft and weedle out anything that I really didn’t want / like / have room for. (Hope this counts as a closet Carla!)

I have accumulated a lot of beautiful real glass vintage baubles which belonged to my grandma and a few more retro ones from my mum.   I use different ones each year and I will always keep them as part of my treasured family heirlooms.   I also find myself the keeper of the ‘Santa’ hats for the whole family – the ones we wear when we have our big get together each year and we must have about 20 or more assorted styles now, some flashing, some musical and some not even Santa!

The garland that decorates the stair case comes in two halves and each takes up a whole bankers box.

All the Christmas decorations have been sorted and packed away and everything I have kept I know that I truly love and wouldn’t part with – the baubles are now wrapped in tissue and nestling in their own little compartments to keep them safe for another year…

Baubles

the stockings lay empty once again and waiting to be wrapped in tissue and placed in the box with the Santa hats…

Stockings

and at last everything is together, like with like in labelled boxes and then like a puzzle out of the Krypton Factor I pack these to fit as snugly and economically as possible into three larger bankers boxes…

Christmas Decor

as I am already up to six boxes!  I don’t need anymore.

Stack of boxes

They are spending the next eleven months stored away in the loft again and I am glad that mammoth task is over… my secret helper… a few Christmas chocolate treats on the side makes the job easier to tackle!

Chocolate helpers

The Financial Challenge

On the Financial side the challenge was to ‘Give’ and although it wasn’t this week exactly I am hoping Carla will let me use this as part of the January challenge it just took place a week earlier.

Each morning on my way to work from the car park I would walk past a young guy who would sit under the subway in the freezing cold and say hi to the passers by hoping for a little change, and each morning I would oblige with 50p or £1.  On my first day back at work after Christmas he was sitting there as usual but with a big grin on his face and so excited to tell me his news that he had been found a flat by an organisation that help the homeless and round his neck was the key.  He was even more excited because it had a kitchen and bathroom.  He expressed his gratitude for the help I had provided over the past few months and in a funny way we were both sad that he would not be sitting there in the future.  As a flat warming present I handed him a £5, it was all I had on me at the time, and I sincerely wished him well as we said our final goodbye’s.  Like Bernard  he came into my life and then went again so quickly – my mornings are quite lonely now without them both.

How did your week go?

 

Reducing the Spending…the weekly shop 3#…

I am definitely getting into the hang of this now and every purchase I make becomes a minor challenge.  Firstly I notice the price,  then I check out if there is a similar product but cheaper, then I debate if I really need it.  It is a bit like mirror, signal, manoeuvre when driving a car.

So how did I do this week?

The General Spend

On Monday morning on my way to work I took out £10 again from the cash point and this is how I spent it during the week.

2 Birthday cards for my mum and mum-in-law – from Clintons Cards   2 x £2 = £4.00 (plus two reward stamps).  I really must get down to making some cards – huge savings here to be made.

A packet of coloured paper parcel string for gift wrapping from The Works    £0.99p

1 bag organic carrots   £1.30

1 bag organic onions   £1.00

1 courgette    £0.38

1 pack of 2 Ice Cube trays from Poundworld   £1.00 (more about these later)

A total spend of   £8.67 plus 4 Sainsbury’s Reward points

So I have £1.33 left for the weekend.

I also had my Hot Chocolate treat (£1.79 plus 2 Reward points) before I started the weekly shop tonight bought with my Sainsbury’s Gift card.  Only £3.91 left on this now.

If you remember I would normally withdraw £20-£30 each week and buy most of my lunches.  I now take my lunch and so I have made savings here of £10 – £20.

The Weekly Shop

This week I had to take into account a possible visit from my daughter and her husband (I say possible as it will be weather dependent!) and a trip to Shrewsbury to see my mum-in-law and celebrate her 89th birthday (again weather dependent).  So extra quantities if my daughter comes and a birthday cake to make and a picnic or packed lunch for our trip.

This is what my shopping list looked like.

The planned items

Fruit and VegThe Veg

1 box 250g organic White Mushrooms

1 box 300g Portabella Mushrooms

1 bunch organic Spring Onions

1 bunch organic Leeks

1 packet of 3 Courgettes

1 pkt organic Watercress, rocket and spinach leaves

1 organic swede

1 pack of 6 organic Tomatoes

1 pack organic Beetroot

BreadBread

2 large Multi-seeded loaves

1 white organic Bloomer

3 for 2 Rolls (for travel picnic)

Dairy and Fridge ItemsThe Dairy

2 x 4pts Organic Milk

1 Organic Soya Milk

1 x 1k Organic Low Fat Natural Yoghurt

6 Organic eggs

1 small Coleslaw

These were on offerOffers

Store cupboard items

Storecupboard

1 Tin Organic Baked Beans

1 tin Creamed Mushrooms

1 tin Organic Sweetcorn

1 pkt Espresso Ground Coffee

Bought especially for Recipes

Recipe items 2

1 jar Wholegrain Mustard

1 Bottle Soy Sauce

1 jar Marmite (since when did this go up to £1.70?)

1 Ready roll Puff Pastry

1 Filo Pastry

1 pack Seedmix

1 pot Organic Half Fat Creme Fraiche

1 Organic Feta Cheese

1 carton Double Cream for birthday cake reduced to £0.49

The unplanned but on offer

Offers 2

2 Bran Flakes reduced by 99p each

3 boxes of Tacos Shells on offer 3 for 2 saving £1.54

The Grand Total

£53.37 less a coupon for £2 off (given to me by a colleague at work) and total discounts of £2.52 = a total of £48.85

I had a coupon for double Reward points

Previous balance 1394

Points earned 100

Bag re-use 4

Bonus points  100

New points balance 1598 worth £7.99

So to recap

39 items this week cost me £48.85 with all the discounts and vouchers and I earned 204 points.

I worked out the extra ingredients to cover the food for my daughters visit is £11.94.

My hubby had to get a bag of potatoes from the tiny Sainsbury’s beneath his office in Leeds due to the panic buying tonight at the store I was in – cost £1.90.  The shelves had almost been stripped bare of bread, potatoes and milk because of the threatening snow!  So added to my spend this increased to £50.75, however I am going to try to make this shop last longer.

My aim is to stay under £40 for all the food shopping which includes adding any fresh veg during the week. Last week I spent in total £43.44 (main shop plus fresh veg during the week). My shop before would have been closer to £80 on a bad week and did not really include my lunches but would have included a magazine or two!!

This week I checked out my basics for offers and found that only the Bran Flakes were reduced so bought another two boxes.  The Tacos are not really basics but they do store well and provide an easy meal during the week filled with a chilli or lentil bolognese type mixture.

Having to provide meals for more people certainly has increased my spend this week but I am looking forward to trying out some new more gourmet recipes.  Perhaps I should mention that my daughters husband is a professional chef and so I always work myself up into a panic whenever I have to cook for them!

I picked out a couple of recipes to make when (if) my daughter comes,  one is a Mushroom Stroganoff with Mustard and Chive Mash and the other is a Spring Onion and Watercress Quiche.  I might use the mushrooms to make a Mushroom Strudel instead hence the Filo pastry.  The Puff Pastry is for the Freezer.  I had to invest in one or two items to make the recipes, like the soy sauce and mustard but they are things that I can use in other meals.

I was very pleased with myself for staying clear of the magazines and came up with a brilliant idea to satisfy my addiction that costs me nothing – but this will be another post.

How are you doing with your Low / No spend ?

January De-cluttering and No/Low Spend Challenge…

I’m a late starter but I am taking part in Carla’s January Decluttering & No/Low Spend Challenge! For details click here

My Personal Goals

De-cluttering Goal

(apart from the whole house!)  I aim to have the Kitchen / Dining Room spic and span and clear of any clutter.  This will mean all cupboards both food, dishes, pots and pans including on the tops of cupboards, worktops, shelving and in those dark forgotten corners.

Decluttered food cupboardsWeeks 1 and 2

I cleaned out the food cupboards and the freezer drawers. Read about it here Dealing with the matter of Food Waste Part 2 and Part 3

Freezer Drawers

This coming week I aim to de-clutter the Kitchen cupboard that holds the saucepans and baking / casserole dishes.

No/Low Spend Goal

I am cutting my weekly allowance down to £10 and taking lunches to work from home.  We aim to only buy absolute necessities and just enough food to add to the items stored in our cupboards and Freezer to make enough meals to cover January.

Read about my efforts for the last week here  and also dealing with the matter of Food Waste Part 4

Unplanned – We did go out and buy an Ikea Alex storage chest which wasn’t part of the plan but we did not want to risk it being discontinued as they have the Effktiv range of office furniture.  this money will come from savings.

This week I will continue with my £10 allowance and only buy essential food shopping.  I have both my mum and mum-in-laws birthdays this weekend and will have to buy presents.  We will also have a 90 mile trip to Shrewsbury to see mum-in-law and this will be a further challenge to see if we can do this on only £20. I can see we are going to have to pack the picnic stove again (but not the Cup-a -Soup!)

At the end of last week I had 21p but in reality I had saved at least £10 and probably £20 as I often could not manage on £20 a week and found myself going to the cash card for another £10.

Are you taking part in the challenge?

Dealing with the matter of Food Waste – Part 4…

Pottering in the kitchen yesterday.  I am finding it is quite hard work being extra diligent about using up food and making the best use of any offers I have to plan my time well to make sure nothing goes to waste.

So to begin the day I made  Lemon Curd with the reduced  Lemons I bought earlier in the week plus the juice of one or two old ones I had from Christmas (as hard as rocks on the outside but the juice was fine) and I was determined I was not going to waste them.

Lemon Curd

All my ingredients are organic and I used an easy recipe not requiring too many eggs (as they have been earmarked for other meals) from my very old Marguerite Patten’s Everyday Cook Book that was given to me in 1976 as a wedding present.

Cookery Book

Everything but the eggs are put into the bowl to melt – the smell is heavenly.

Lemon Curd 2

Try it for yourself…

Rind 3 Lemons

Juice of 2 large

8oz sugar

4oz block butter

2 eggs

Grate the rind carefully removing just the ‘zest’ but none of the white pith.  Squeeze the juice from the fruit.  Put all ingredients except the eggs into a bowl over hot simmering water. Cook stirring from time to time, until butter and sugar have melted.  Add well beaten eggs (I sieve them to remove any gloopy white bits). Stir well and continue cooking until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.  Pour into jars that have been washed thoroughly and heated in the oven.  Add wax circles immediately.  Leave to cool then add lids.  Store in the fridge and eat within a month.

Jam Jars

My favourite jars for Lemon Curd I bought them years ago and have never seen anymore since.  These will definitely be on my keepers list.

Lemon Curd 3

Wax circles on and I can wait for it to cool down a little before putting on the lids.

Bramley Apples

Now turning  my attentions to using up 2 old Bramley apples.  Apple sauce goes so well with Nut Roast planned for Sunday evening.  I am even able to use the juice from the remaining old lemons to keep the apple from oxidizing.

Apple Sauce

Can’t wait for Sunday night tea – we will be using up the Sage and Onion Stuffing mix as well (expiry date Aug 2012!)

Harricot Bean Soup

Cooking over… time for lunch this is the remains of the Harricot Bean soup I made for tea on Friday night with bread and a little cheese and pickle.

I miscalculated the amount of celery I would need for the week so had to get my long suffering hubby to pick up some more whilst down in town as it is quite a staple ingredient for us.

Cost £1.20 for 2 bunches of organic plus he remembered to collect the 2 reward points.   So my £10 is now down to £1.16.

Scrimpers Tip

It was this purchase that has drawn my attention to the fact that you get a point for a part of a pound with Sainsbury’s Reward points,  I noticed this with the Hot Chocolate I bought the other night which was £1.79 plus 2 reward points.

So I reckon that if you bought each item of shopping separately you would end up with twice as many points but I think that might be taking scrimping to a whole new level and can you imagine the queue that would build up at the self checkout if I was to pay for each item separately!!

I am going to try though one day with a few items just to see if I am right about the points.

Draught Excluder

This is the reason my long suffering had gone to town –  a draught excluder strip for our front door,  which is real wood and it seems to have shrunk over the years and we found there was a howling gale coming through under the door.  Cost £10 paid on our debit card (and obviously not part of my £10 weekly allowance).   He knows better than to question my new obsession – and more draft stripping is part of my our energy cost cutting exercise and it gave him a nice little Saturday morning project so I could have the kitchen all to myself!

One of the new cost cutting drives is only the room we are sitting or working in  has a light on – ALL others must be switched off.  No leaving the landing light on after going to the loo or the one in the laundry room if you have been to the garage to sneak a drink from the mini bar during the adverts.  I am quite good at this anyway (that is turning off lights – not sneaking a drink)  but hubby not so – but he soon will be LOL

Later in the afternoon we had a trip to Ikea on our remaining £1.16.  We decided that as they have discontinued the Effektiv office range they might do the same with the Alex drawer unit and our plan was to get another to match one we bought last year and absolutely love.  It has been the best thing ever for craft items and large sheets of paper.  It was a hard decision because of the ‘No Spend’ challenge but we have been here before when something has been discontinued and we didn’t want to risk it.

However taking things seriously and not wanting to spend money going out other than for the item we purchased we debated what we should do about having a drink whilst out as it is normally a 4 hour expedition to Ikea – that would be 30 minutes to get there another 30 minutes to find a space and get parked and 3 hours to find and pay for what it is you have gone for!!

We did contemplate taking our little picnic stove to make a cup of tea in the car park but in the end as Ikea drinks are relatively cheap only 95p a cup we agreed to buy one,  mine from the £1.16 I had left and hubby put in a £1 of his left over allowance.  We did take a piece of Christmas cake each to have with our drinks.

Scrimpers Tip

It doesn’t take long to get into the flow of saving money –  I am noticing prices so much more and after going through the checkouts in Ikea I saw that the Take Out kiosk in Ikea at the exit have a drink for 95p plus 2 doughnuts and a free refill.  So next time if we were scrimping we could buy a drink for one of us and pour it into a spare paper cup, have a doughnut each then the other go back to claim the refill.  So a drink and a doughnut each for only 48p where could you get that cheaper?

So I now have 21p left today.  Perhaps I will start a savings jar for the left over weekly allowance rather than carry it over.