Recipes from my Suffolk Kitchen

Monday, 1 May 2017

Frugal Notes from Last Month

Way back before illness and town living I always used to post a list of frugal type things done each month............time to start again, this sort of post helps to keep me on the straight and narrow, very necessary after the big spends of moving and furnishing. Now we will be trying to live on Col's County Council Pension plus interest from investments and the reduced ESA - and trying not to dip into the lump sum too often. We need to keep living carefully until we both get state pensions to add to our income (2021 me and 2023 Col..... unless a new government moves the goalposts again)

So .....April's list.

Car boot bargains for grandchildren...........a booster seat/feeding chair and toys.

I bought 4 bags of 20p parsnips  that were on special at Asda before Easter, chopped, par boiled and open froze. Nearly 2kg for 80p.

Also bought 2 bags of the 20p huge leeks, kept one leek for a pasta/leek/ham bake and chopped, blanched and put the rest into the freezer.

£1 for basket of mushrooms from Car boot sale, put most in freezer.

Bought 2 yellow sticker fresh chickens reduced by £1.50 each. Popped them in the freezer.

Found £1 on the ground in the Asda Car Park

Took a packed lunch on a long day out when I was  reading meter at the bungalow, taking keys to Estate agent, visiting youngest daughter and Florence and then Colin in hospital. Made coffee in the day-room at hospital for a donation. Colin takes a packed lunch when he has to be at hospital all day for blood transfusions.

Sowed  saved Climbing French Bean seeds in pots in the greenhouse,first lot failed so sowed again with some different seeds.

First "harvest" from the garden ..........chives, which I chopped and had with scrambled eggs two days running to use up some eggs before they got too old.

Sorted through 15 boxes of books and found some I really don't need. One box-full wanted by Ziffit  for £25 and  then another  box-full  for £28 plus 4 boxes to take to a car-boot sale, one box donated to the railway museum and three large bags for charity shop.

Car boot bargains - £1 bought me ....4 teaspoons, a tin of tomatoes, a roll of baking parchment and a plastic jug.

Given a bucket full of Wild Garlic Plants to plant in the Birthday wood

Started making bread again but although rolls were OK my first loaf was a dud. Think I need new yeast!

Col built a seat from pallets to put at the end of the meadow.

Picked up twigs and bits from the trees to use for kindling wood.

 Next Christmas (sorry for mentioning it already!) entertainment sorted.............4 seasonal magazines for 20p each from Charity shop  and a jigsaw for £1. The jigsaw is a bit unusual as its nearly a yard wide but only 9 inches tall............. a panorama.


Read library books - only one second hand book bought.

Now number 9 has sold I've applied for refund of the two home Stamp Duty Tax, which is enough to live on for a year!

Claimed a refund on half a month buildings insurance for number 9.

Unexpected £30 from Essex and Suffolk Water

Used few Nectar points for Sainsburys bargain bacon

Made birthday cards using bits from stash.


On the down side we had to spend extra on car repairs,book shelves, the cooker - it's fitting and the LPG gas, Col's lap-top repair and I'm still restocking cupboards and freezer after moving. There were birthdays and visitors so despite the frugal things our April spend was still HUGE.
Now we head into May - Must Do Better!















25 comments:

  1. Ooo I LOVE your look ahead to Christmas entertainment I might just pinch your idea!
    I'm down to my last three joints of yellow stickered meat. Must also do better in May.
    So far, I haven't spent a thing! Ok, it is 6.45 and I'm still in bed but....

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    1. Maybe that's a good plan? A month in bed = No Spend!!
      Hope your daughter is OK

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  2. Sounds like you are doing okay so far. I think being frugal stays with you and you will succeed in reigning things in.

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  3. That is an unusual jigsaw, but I wonder if it makes it easier for more people to join in with it being so long? It looks lovely. Do you know, my local charity shop won't accept magazines any more? Absurd, as there are some lovely monthly ones that could raise a few pence for the pot.

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    1. I would love to buy the posh magazines from a charity shop a month or two late it would be a treat but as you say I don't think any of the big Chain charity shops will take them. Mine came from the Emmaus in Ipswich which I've mentioned before as being a Proper charity shop!

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  4. Like you, I moved recently, downsizing for me but lots of work needed doing and the labour charges are high, but I cannot do the work myself so must pay up, however, once done, that is it. I have a box of Christmas books bought over the years that come out at the appropriate time but must look for jig saws, what a good idea and you should soon be eating out of the garden.

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  5. I like this idea. It is Really good to remember and take pride in the accomplishments, no matter how small, while just dealing with and forgetting the bigger things.

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  6. Love reading about your frugal ideas and car booty. I make soda bread so need for yeast and make sour milk by adding juice of half a lemon to full milk and let it sit overnight ready to make the bread early next day. It always works! Recipe I use is Irish Soda bread the white version by Rachel Allen.

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  7. Sorry meant no need for yeast in the soda bread!

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  8. We can't do well each month, there will always be months when we can't find the deals we like, plus you have so many other things going on. I think you do wonderful.

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  9. You did well on the frugal things, even if you did have some big unexpected spends.

    You've mentioned Ziffit a few times, I assume you get on alright with them? I have lots of books to dispose of, on googling Ziffit a while back I did see quite a few bad reviews about them though. To be fair, most of them seemed to be regarding DVDs/CDs rather than books. You've had good experiences then?

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    1. Ziffit is ever so easy which is what I like. They either want them or they don't, pay anything from 30p upwards. Just box up safely and print off label then take to Collect Plus place or they will collect for free if the box. is heavy. takes a while to check through putting in bar code, Colin reads out number and I type in and say yes or no.. They pay through Paypal or a cheque.

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    2. Thanks for that Sue, I'll give it a go.

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  10. In my opinion it is never ever too soon to mention Christmas....lol-x-

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  11. I posted a comment some hours ago and it has gone! Did I not press publish? did you erase it as too boring. Am I losing it?!
    Anyway, just to say my french beans haven't come up so will set some off again today. As we have several and sundry children round to feed lambs I might press them into a bit of seed planting. Love your frugal posts, but then that's how we started isn't it? I just haven't progressed !
    Gill

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    1. No definitely didn't erase!
      i wish we were as self sufficient and frugal as we were back in 2013 and all the years before but life is different now and I'm glad we were so thrifty back then

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  12. I store dried yeast in the freezer, it then lasts way past the use by date.
    Put in an airtight container and kept frozen (in an easily accessible part of the freezer) it's always ready for use!

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  13. Thank you for posting this! We just moved house a few weeks ago, and I've been hit with panic over costs/dipping into savings. Enough that I wrote a (job) resume over the weekend. It's reassuring to know I can get back into frugal habits as you have.

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  14. I'm not particularly a jigsaw puzzle fan, but on a cold winter's evening that would be a fun one to do. Well done on a month of such great bargains, Sue!
    Margaret P
    www.margaretpowling.com

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  15. You really were very frugal this past month. Good for you.

    God bless.

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  16. I like your frugal notes. I try that as I can, buying items on special. I saved up money for our recent trip to the coast and used it instead of using the credit card except a couple times for food, but pay it back this week. I try to find gifts throughout the year for Christmas gifts as well. Good idea!

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  17. Oh how I understand your pain...sometimes it doesn't pay to be so restricting with money in the long run though....as if that's any consolation! x

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  18. I find I do so much better with our finances when I hold myself accountable for spending any money that comes in to my possession .... it's safest popped straight in to the bank ;-)

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  19. Good frugal list! I feel like I keep falling off the wagon. I was doing really well with books but...well, they are a weakness and I ended up buying 3 this week. Sigh. On a good note I have got through quite a few that were sitting on my shelf and they are now at their new home - the library shop!

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  20. I was given the same jigsaw by my sister last year and am saving it for this year too!
    Lisa x

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