Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Not Very Frugal(ish) Notes for May

1st June, time to look back

After the expense of moving and sorting out things for the house in March and April, things were more normal in May (unless you factor in getting the lane re-surfaced and the Fiesta sorted for it's MOT!)

We got the oil tank filled (1,000litres) for just over £400 which I thought wasn't too bad. I think (unless we get a really bad start to winter) it will last for the autumn and probably more than half the winter. Although we won't really know until we've been here for a year. When we moved in the tank was about a quarter full and we had the heating on for a couple of hours in the morning and early  afternoon then lit the woodburner.Then later we turned the thermostat right down and so the heating on for just an hour in the mornings which took the chill off the house.The wood burner can be lit in the evenings if we need it. Now the heating is right off and we have solar hot water thingys on the roof - just like we had at the smallholding - so on sunny days we won't need to use oil or electric for heating water either.

Picked up an old bench from outside a house for sale for £10, it needs some TLC .

The final, for now, box of books sent off to Ziffit for just under £20

Bought a Blackcurrant bush for £1.71 from Tesco clearance sale.

Found a teeny little bike for about 2+ years time! it will need stabilisers, was outside a house with a FREE sign.

Car boot finds were useful. Doormat  £2, kindling basket £3, card crafting bits £2, new fitted sheet £1, and a few small Christmas gifts

Negotiated car breakdown cover with RAC got 2 cars covered for less than one car last year.

Bought a £1 basket of mushrooms from car boot sale again and put most in the freezer for later

Started eating lettuce, salad leaves and radishes from garden

Used eBay to get Jacobs Birthday present (1 year old - where did that year go?) and had the seller post direct to him.

Remembered to cancel the subscription to Kitchen Garden Magazine after the cheap initial offer so that I don't pay for another 6 months.

We've had a water meter installed. Our water costs here were based on Council Tax bands which meant over £30 a month JUST for water. As we were paying less than that for water and sewer in Ipswich we should cut the cost. Our sewer is septic tank and seems to be working well (touch wood etc).
I've already got into the habit of running the kitchen tap into a jug  until the hot comes through for washing up and then pouring the jug into a watering can outside the back door ready for the garden. In winter when we don't need to water gardens the jug full can go into a bucket and be used for flushing the downstairs loo.
We brought 3 water butts with us to add to those here so we can collect quite a lot of water from garage, greenhouse and house

Couldn't face having the painter man back so I bought a long handled roller to do the ceilings and starting with the kitchen, I've begun to DIY saving several hundred £. We always did all our own decorating in the past when Col was well but now I'll do it as best I can.
Got white emulsion on an offer and a paint colour called Ivory Lace  for walls. We had all the other stuff we needed. Total less than £40. I've made a start and just have woodwork left to do using some white satinwood left from the what the painter used.
I'll tackle the living room later (but sooner rather than too much later as it's annoyingly scruffy) but will have to do it a bit at a time as it's a big room.

No meals out or takeaways and back to bread making.

Using the washing machine more often on the 30°  and 60° quick wash.

On the other hand
There was that £3 wasted on the handbag which looked lovely from the front and inside but was actually falling apart  when full up and viewed from the back!
Money spent on flower plants for the garden - which could be counted as a luxury, and some salad leaf  plants to get us off to a quick start, when we could have waited for our own to grow.

HMRC have worked out what Col will have to pay tax on now that he gets his County Council pension and Employment Support Allowance so we know what we have to live on. It should be do-able as long as we are careful although major expenses will have to come out of savings (spending the kid's inheritance!) but as all the expenses will be for the house, the value will go up for the future.

Thank you for comments yesterday

Back in a jiffy


  1. I really enjoy reading your notes from May. I really need to make them to keep track of spending. Spend the kids' inheritance! Enjoy it while you can - you worked for it. Made me laugh when my Mum was telling me about her neighbour who wouldn't have new windows put in her flat as she didn't want to spend the money out of what she was leaving her kids! I'd rather Mum be happy, safe and have fun than leave us anything.

    Hope Col is doing better. Take care.

  2. a year old already! Crikey, that has gone quickly. Violet turns 11 on Monday, and I cannot believe how fast it's happened.

    Ooh, keep meaning to tell you. The Range opens in its new home tomorrow! B&M is coming along nicely, and not that you'll want to go in there but it's good to know, Smyths toystore opens next month!

    Will keep you posted on the rest. Go Outside or whatever it's called opened last week. Bill and Violet are the main customers or so it seems. Their official opening is yet to come, complete with Ross Kemp! Ha ha, the Start will have a field day with that! xx

    1. Oh good news indeedy! We have to be in town for hospital appointments every week so will go and look soon. Didn't know about the toy shop. I will go and look in B&M some people find good bargains and I hate how busy it is on the roads around sainsburies and up the road to B&Q and the other B&M so rarely go there. Actually there's a B&M in Stowmarket that I've forgotten about -DUH!

  3. water butts are always useful. the 3rd month we were here, they kept turning the mains water off as they were putting a new housing estate in and the pipes had to be bigger or something like that. We used the water butt water to flush the loo downstairs using a bucket full, I couldnt have coped otherwise as we had a house full of builders and everyone knows what that is like. god send

  4. A belated very Happy Birthday to the gorgeous Jacob!
    Isn't it astonishing how fast a year goes by?
    Our LJ will be a year old on August 19th, it doesn't seem like five minutes since his arrival!

  5. I meant to comment on how your lane looked in yesterday's post, but got distracted. You have some lovely wild flowers growing there.

    I think you've done pretty well on your expenditure, we have had a BIG "out" in the form of buying a new laptop as the one my son let me have when he went travelling died a couple of weeks ago. There is always money going to buy stock for the Unit and Fairs too - this Monday was Malvern Fleamarket, and there were some good things which came home with us.

    Gosh, Jacob a year old already. I bet he's getting around a bit now.

    We are fortunate that we have our own water supply and a septic tank, so no water rates. It is going to come as quite a shock to the system to have to pay for water and sewerage in future. IF we ever move that is.

  6. The price of oil does seem expensive but at least you know the bill is paid. I'm glad HMRC have sorted out Cols tax. I had to wait 7 months but I did get a refund and they've reduced my tax forecast for next year.

  7. Life is always swings and roundabouts, nothing is ever clear cut, sounds as if your on your way to great savings.

  8. I love our rain barrel for watering the gardens. Saves a great deal on the water bill (which is altogether too high for the last two months).

    God bless.

  9. I didn't know you could freeze mushrooms, I've never done that, could you tell me how you do it, how you defrost etc? Thanks.

  10. I only discovered B&M a few weeks ago. Went for the first time to a retail park on the way into Bristol, and found it, also another, whose name I forget (Home Bargains?) Some good prices, some not so good. Got a pair of branded sunglasses for £1.98. Looked them up - RRP £12.99, so am happy with that. A few other good deals, but can't now remember what came from where!