Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Thrifty Times :: March Update

Hello again lovelies,
so, here's my latest monthly update on my attempts to make this family more thrifty and build our savings. Because everybody needs something put by for a rainy day (or a major purchase or  for Christmas...or just to cover regular big expenses) and we were sadly lacking in that department.

This month our house insurance came up for renewal and that was a big expense last year.  I'm happy to say I managed to make a good saving. For the same sort of cover we already had I found lots of cheaper offers on one of the price comparison web sites. I didn't choose the cheapest but went with a well established company and the difference was still over £400!


When I called my existing provider to let them know I wanted to cancel they almost immediately told me they had a "new product" I could change to. The cost of it was about the same as the deal I had found.  This made me a bit cross really...but it just goes to show challenging a renewal quote is always a good idea. 

In other areas I've continued to try and cut back on day to day spending. 
I'm still finding using cash is an effective way to control this. It does mean there's less chance of treating myself to flowers, but happily the garden can provide those again now spring is here.


I did break my rule of not buying any more plants this year...to buy this raspberry bush. I'm hoping the fruit it produces will save us money...that's the theory anyway.


I'm still attempting grocery shopping savings. We have found some value lines are great...like Morrisons spaghetti and Bran Flakes...but Aldi's Bran flakes are not so good (in my opinion).

 I've stocked up when I've seen items on offer that have a long shelf life that I know we will use. I even bought some Brandy Sauce for next Christmas!.....any body else started their Christmas shopping yet? :0)


I've tried to some buy local , seasonal produce too. I loved finding these leeks from my home county in the supermarket. They made great Leek and Potato soup.
Yes my old veg. peeler is held together with tape, but it works. I'm in no hurry to buy a new one.



I took the next picture last week when I had just had my hair cut. In the distant past I have paid a lot of money to hairdressers and still not been that happy with the results.

When I was pregnant with my twins I asked the midwife to recommend a local hairdresser as I knew I wouldn't have time to travel to my old one.
 When the boys were about a month old I had a "wet trim" as I was breast feeding and couldn't be way for long. It was a bit of an "old lady salon" but the hairdresser was lovely and did a great job for a fraction of the cost I had been paying.
16 years later I'm still going and still not paying for a blow dry...yes I have the time to have one now...but I don't really see the point. I can do it myself for almost nothing.


Also on the subject of personal grooming,  I saw Aldi's face cream recommended on a few blogs and decided to give it a try. After using it for about six weeks I am happy to agree that it is as effective as my previous product. 

I was also using cleansing wipes to remove make up but I didn't like the cost or the amount of waste they created. I bought this cleansing water in Home Bargains for 99p. It does a better job. A small amount on a cotton wool pad easily removes waterproof mascara.

Next up, how do you like my attempts to make soap last longer? 
Hubby likes to use bar soap but it often turned into "soap soup" in the dish. Storing it on a dry sponge lets in dry out between uses.


Another thing hubby likes is to have a go on the Lottery. In fact he spent about £10 a week on it until recently. His excuse was he doesn't smoke or go out drinking. I'm glad about that, but I still felt it was a waste of money. He very rarely won anything. The odds of winning are staggeringly bad.

Happily now he only occasionally has a Lucky Dip. I don't begrudge him that.


 Staying away from the shops has got to be a good way of saving money. I'm lucky my favourite pastime is very frugal. Spending one of my days off walking brings me so much happiness and health benefits...as well as keeping me away from temptation.


The membership fee is £5 a year...how great is that.


One of my goals for March was to avoid using the tumble drier now the weather is getting better.

I didn't manage to stop using it altogether but it was only single figures as I kept an eye on the weather forecast and took advantage of every dry day, finishing the drying on an airer indoors if needed.

Phew, this is turning into another long post. Hope you don't mind. Shall we talk mobile phones now?

I have a contract phone that is coming up for renewal in a couple of months. My provider is already calling me offering a "free upgrade" I've politely turned then down. While the handset I have still works it makes economical and environmental sense to me to keep it. I will also try and get a cheaper deal for the calls.
I have a contract that covers much more data and minutes than I actually use but in the past I've still paid extra for some strange reason.
 I've finally worked out it was multimedia messages that were the culprits. No more adding photos or even those harmless seeming Emojis to texts messages for me. The most you will get is this :) or this X .
 I save my emoji fix for Instagram...and only use that via wi-fi :0)


I've continued to enjoy baking simple, frugal cakes .


Old favourites I know will go down well with the family, like this Lemon Drizzle.


Here I was baking cup cakes and I came across some chocolate chips at the back of the cupboard. Yes they were out of date by a few months...but it's only a guide. They smelt fine, and tasted fine. They went in  the mix :0)

I'm old enough to remember when lots of food items didn't have any "use by" or "best before" guide. I use my own judgement to decide what's safe to eat...but I'm always cautious with meat. I don't use that after the advised date.

When Youngest ripped his blazer I looked for black thread in my messy sewing box but couldn't find any so I bought more. When I got around to tidying up the chaos...you guessed it..there was black thread there all along.


 It's just a small example of me needing to be more organised so I know what we already have and therefore avoid unnecessary purchases.


I like the Make do and Mend mentality for it's environmental and money saving benefits.


Another saying I'm trying to keep in mind is Reduce, Reuse , Recycle. The words are in that order for a reason. The most environmental benefit comes from reducing your usage, then reusing something, with recycling as the third option. I do try to reuse some things and have started to look at more items I can apply this to. Aluminium foil flan cases are quiet robust, so I've saved some of these to make and freeze home made quiche. I also rinse out the plastic bags cereal comes in these days. They make great bags for all sorts of things.


Of course you may be reading this and thinking that it all seems a bit weird. That's OK. If some people think I've turned into a bit of a nutcase that's their prerogative. It all makes sense to me though. Lots of small saving will help my purse and our planet. 


You can read my previous thrifty posts HERE and HERE. Do take a look at the comments as there is some wonderful advise within them too.

Thank you for joining me on this thrifty journey.
Jacquie x

47 comments:

  1. I enjoyed your thrifty update :-) It's amazing how these companies will come up with offers as soon as you mention leaving them! Sounds like you got a good deal.
    I've started to re-use some of the foil containers too and I re-use freezer bags as long as they haven't had meat in them.
    We had a raspberry bush at the last house and we used to have TONS of fruit from them, just a word of warning though, be careful where you plant it, i only planted one and it spread like wildfire! it covered an area over 6 feet long in just a couple of years.
    I have a straight washing line with a prop like yours and i find that it drys the washing much better than a rotary line and like you it means i use the tumble dryer less.
    Great idea for the soap!

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    1. Thanks for the Tips and the kind comment Maggie x

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  2. I also enjoy your thrifty updates and I do agree with you about the insurance companies. It is the same here in the United States, call them to say you have found a better deal and then they want to talk to you about some plan they have. We also shop here at Aldi her in the US and it has really saved us a lot of money on our grocery bill, and when we try one of the Aldi products if it doesn't make both of us happy, we just go back to our old brand, but so far those have been few and far between. My neighbor has a wonderful raspberry bush that he has had for years, it is huge and he is wonderful with sharing his harvest with neighbors. Can't wait to see how yours does. And as for drying clothes outside in the sunshine, you can't beat the wonderful smell that clothes that have been dried outside have. Happy thrifting!!

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    1. Thank you. The Raspberry bush came with lots of detailed instructions for training it up a wall. I will try but I think it may just end up doing it's own thing by the sound of things :0) x

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  3. You brought a smile to my face reading this - I am the same! Some people may call us mad, or tight, but I think we are environmentally aware and saving money to boot :-)
    It's all the little things, like using one teabag to make two cups of tea, or reusing food bags, that make the difference, however small. Pennies make pounds, keep up the good work! Xx
    Claire@homesweethome2015

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    1. Thank you Claire. I already feel more in control and I can tell it will be well worth the effort in the long run x

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  4. Yes my husband got cross when he was insuring the car, the same thing happened. Glad its not just me who repairs favourite kitchen tools. My dad once put a new "rosewood" handle on a favourite knife of mine. I use the BBC weather for my area just to give me an idea just google BBC Weather for....... (put in your area or post code.

    Julie xxxxxxx

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    1. Thanks Julie. Yes I love the BBC weather. It's pretty accurate these days and gives me the confidence to hang out on a dull day if rain isn't forecast. It's surprising how stuff will dry even on a chilly, sunless day x

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  5. I really enjoy reading posts like these, it's interesting stuff - but maybe I'm a bit nutty too? C'est le vie!

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  6. Not weird at all but inspiring! Have you got 'what's app' on your phone? You can send photos free using wifi. It's also great for family group chats,you only need to send one message asking when everyone will be home for tea!!

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    1. Hi Linda. Yes my niece put What's App on my phone. I should use it more. Thanks for the reminder x

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  7. I'm a huge fan of thriftiness. When I was little my mother always washed out all the plastic bags and hung them out to dry and re-use. The amount of waste these days is horrific. I use baby oil to remove mascara. A bottle lasts almost forever, I just rub it on with my fingers and wash off with water. My mobile phone cost £5 and I just top up occasionally, it costs almost nothing compared to a smart phone. I use my laptop for everything except texts and the odd conversation. Well done on all the thriftiness, it's very inspiring. CJ xx

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    1. Yes my mum washed out plastic bags too :0)
      Great tip with the baby oil. Thank so much CJ xx

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  8. I was raised to be frugal and to find other uses for items, so I salute your efforts. Thank you for sharing your tips with others.

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  9. As others have said, not weird at all but very interesting! I was watching a programmeabout WW2 the other day which included an information film on 'rubbish' - it showed what should or should not be put in the bin including bones, paper, food waste, fabrics etc. Of course, there was only one bin and no recycling by the council. What really struck me was the absence of plastic packaging! If only we could wean ourselves off our dependence on it, it would be so much better for the environment. Thanks again for all your tips and interesting walks. Regards, Vicki

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    1. Wouldn't it be great to use less plastic Vicki. I'm trying to make more environmental choices for lots of things. Thank you for your kind comment x

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  10. I love lemon drizzle cake. I'm definitely a make d & mender too. I grew up in the post war era where make do & mend was the norm. I hate waste. Our recycling bin is always full & our ordinary bin now has hardly anything in it.
    Most Aldi products are great & Home Bargains is a great place to find some brilliant bargains. Trouble is I have to stop myself from buying things I don't really need. That's the test, "Do I need this"?.
    Insurance is a pain. We changed companies for our house insurance a couple fo years ago when our original company price had increased. We went to a really big company but it proved a bad move. After a plumber found a leak from the shower we were replacing they refused our claim as they said it happened before we were insured with them! They lost our renewal & they'll be losing our car insurance when that comes up for renewal too. I think it pays to contact companies to say you're leaving them which is a pain but most times it works.
    We moved over to a Smart Energy Meter about 18 months ago to keep an eye on how much our energy use costs but the gas part has never worked. I have complained a few times but finally said I was fed up with the whole thing (very nicely) & they have admitted they can't get the not so smart gas meter to work & have given me £40 as compensation. Yes complaining politely works.

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    1. I think the "do I need this" rule is great Winifred. I also like to leave purchasing something I think I need for a couple of days. Often an alternative idea pops in my head or I change my mind completely.
      Thank you for the helpful comment x

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  11. I love hearing about thrifty tips. We only pay £5 a month for our daughter to have unlimited texts, quite a few minutes and data too xx

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  12. Thanks Cheryl, yes that's the sort of deal I will be looking for X

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  13. I know you were a bit unsure at first whether to write about your money-saving issues, but I'm glad you did because these posts are really interesting!

    I do my grocery shopping online usually, and I've only just noticed that you can sort products by price, low to high. I don't do it with everything, but for certain things I sort them and pick the cheapest, instead of just going for the brand name that I'm most familiar with.

    I like your soap / sponge idea - we've had different soap dishes over the years, even ones with drainage holes, but like you say, they always end up in a mushy mess.

    If you haven't already thought of it, why not crochet yourself some facial wipes in a lovely soft cotton yarn, like a bamboo cotton? You may have the initial expense of a ball of yarn, but you can wash and reuse them, which will probably work out cheaper in the long run than buying cotton wool pads.

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    1. Thanks for your comment and helpful suggestions Michelle X

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  14. I don't think it's odd at all to be fiscally responsible and I enjoy reading your ideas. Keep it up! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  15. Good for you! I am even more extreme but I live alone and I'm retired so it's okay! LOL! Most of my clothes are from the Thrift store or I sew them myself. I knit and crochet and sew and that is what I do for gifting. I save containers after washing them and reuse them for various things like mailing cookies to the grandchildren or organizing around the house. I don't have a drier that works..it broke and I couldn't fix it so I either hang outside or in the basement. I do take the dogs beds to the laundromat once a month so they are dry by the time they need them. I was raised by people that went through the Great Depression here in the U.S. so part of it comes from that. I remember my Mother washing tin foil to use again. I don't have a cell phone and I don't go out to eat. I make my own bread and everything is pretty much from scratch but I have more time than money and I get a real sense of satisfaction from making do. I think it brings the creative spirit out in full force! You're doing great! I am with you on the raspberry bush too! You go girl!

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    1. Thank you for sharing all your tips too Sam. My mum grew up during WW2 and she has always hated waste. Ideals we need to get back to I think x

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  16. I really enjoyed this post. It's always nice to get new ideas on how to be thrifty. We're in the process of trying to decide where to live after retirement. I would like a smaller place with less to clean and heat/cool. Hubby isn't so sure. I've been trying to get rid of things that we don't need any longer. I'm going to try to look for places to save even more as you've inspired me this morning. :-)
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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    1. Thank you Betsy. Good luck with your search x

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  17. Thank you for sharing. I work to live frugally so I can stay home and raise our children, and to be environmentally friendly, so it's always good to see what's working for other people.

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    1. Those are great reasons to be frugal x

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  18. Like others here I want to say how much I enjoy your 'thrifty' posts. Most of us are so decadent and waste far too much. Moreover, as you say it is nice to be able to put a bit by for a rainy day. When I want to buy something I don't need I ask myself 'Will it make you any happier ...?' The answer, when I am truthful, is nearly always 'No!'

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    1. That's a great strategy. Thank you for sharing x

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  19. Enjoyed this post!
    I always need to save more.
    Lots to think about here.
    Thanks for sharing.
    I tried two blueberry bushes here several years ago.
    The mockingbirds ate all the green berries.
    No time even for them to turn blue.
    Even netting was no use.
    Very disappointing.
    We can find wild raspberries here,
    But I am allergic to them.

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    1. Sorry to hear the birds got all your fruit. I may need to try and protect my Raspberry bush somehow. x

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  20. Loved your post! Wish this was the mindset set for everyone, wouldn't that be something? We have curbside garbage and recycling pick up and we only have a few neighbors who recycle. I don't understand why it's that way. We have very little garbage now and usually only put that can out every 2 weeks. When we grocery shop, I use reusable bags and the Hubs will ask for paper. Even though we have the recycling, plastic seems to abound. Since I am retired now, I've found that I "need" very little. I've also started paying with cash and I've found I'm more less likely to buy because I don't want to turn loose of that cash. Great post, Jacquie!

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    1. Thank you so much. I'n my part of the U.K....and most parts I think...the refuse collections alternate between landfill one week and Recycling the other. I think it's a good thing as people have to recycle as their landfill bin will get too full if they don't.
      x

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  21. I really enjoy your posts and thrifty suggestions, not weird, sensible! I don't use my mobile that much and have a £5 month package with giffgaff which covers what I need. Good luck with finding further savings.

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    1. Thanks Annie. My next job is to reduce my calls package. It's on my list for Monday.
      x

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  22. Super thrifty tips, here's some of mine I use mysupermarket to check for the cheapest shopping basket then whatever I've saved I put into a jar. I do the same with reduced items putting the difference between the reduced/full price in my jar. Recently been taking a flask of hot water and herbal tea bags rather than buying drinks, the money I would have spent gets saved. When we get a new currency I save it until there are no more of the old one in circulation. For example I saved my new £5 notes until the old ones were stopped I had £320.
    Looking forward to more of your thrifty ideas.

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    1. Great suggestions Lucy. Thank you x

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  23. Forgot to say plastic can be crocheted and then turned into mats, bags, baskets.

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  24. Hi there.I don't think you are weird at all.I look forward to these posts,so inspiring and very interesting.I have always been a fan of your blog.Happy Weekend.xx

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    1. Thank you so much Lee. Happy Weekend to you too xx

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  25. I loved this post because it has so many great ideas in it. My friend recently called to cancel her oh-so-expensive cable TV and they immediately gave her a much better deal for the next two years. We, too, have had that quick insurance premium drop when we called to change carriers. What is going on with these people? It makes you feel like you've been paying far too much for far too long! We live in America so I find it interesting that you have the same thing happening there.

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  26. It all sounds great to me! I'm always on the lookout to save/do better. Reducing my purchases of plastic is my on going challenge. I even have clothes lines on my porch so if it's raining I can still hang clothes out.lol I also do the same at the hair dresser's.

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