The end is nigh!
But only to the last days of the Value Range Experiment so don't panic!
Here is my regular end of the month look back at everything.
First of all it was a wet month but after the exceptionally dry February that was probably a good thing although why did it have to be raining on almost every car boot morning? I've kept fairly busy despite the weather and gardening has started - mainly in the heated propagator and greenhouse.
Income was 2 pensions as usual, plus the £67 from the government towards electricity and £14.70 from books sent off to Ziffit.
March was not too bad for spending and of course it's been almost a whole month of spending less than I usually do on food.
The car annual service and MOT was the main expense. It passed with nothing needing doing so just oil and filters and labour and the MOT to pay for. Had to buy 2 lots of diesel this month - been out and about a lot.
I bought a basic photo-copier/printer at last and stocked up on a few stamps before the price goes up in April. I thought we weren't going to be able to do this because of the new bar codes on stamps but it was on the Martin Lewis Money Saving Website so hope it's correct.
My personal spending was one new book, W.I Subs, a haircut - price gone up again (and going up again in April), plus 4 x swimming and 4 x exercise group, second hand books and one bunch of tulips..
For the garden I bought 2 net cloche tunnels, onion sets and lettuce seed, 3 primrose plants, 2 rhubarb plants, wallflower plants and leek seedlings and finally an unusual perennial geranium.
|Purple leaved perennial Geranium 'Storm Cloud'|
A gift was bought for my Sister and Son in Law's birthdays and something ready for youngest granddaughter's birthday next month. The rest of the spending was the usual direct debits for charity, phones and broadband. Electric bill was nothing again thanks to the Governments one off £200 'Alternative fuel allowance' and their £67 monthly allowance and I'm still well in credit for next month. Other spending was the usual odds and end and I needed washing soda and 5L of Ecover Laundry Liquid for the clothes washing and some wild bird food again. Right at the end of the month the window cleaner appeared. It never seems seven or eight weeks since he was last round.....but it always is.
The information about next years Council Tax came and I was correct in working out that a 5% increase meant £7 more each month to pay for 9 out of the 10 months of Direct Debits.
All month I've been clearing things out of the house for Losing-it-in-Lent. Some baby toys went to DiL as her sister has just had a first baby. Also out went several books and lots of duplicate card making peel-off labels to charity shop. Then I had a sort out of a couple of small craft drawers and chucked several bits, moving the pens, pencils, hole punch and similar bits into my big chest of drawers. The little set of two drawers also went off to the charity shop along with two boxes of staples for a stapler I no longer have. Plus I sent a small box of books off to Ziffit.
- The Value Range Experiment has kept food spending to a minimum
- Still mixing milk half and half
- Always trying to avoid using tumble dryer (but bad weather meant it had to be used 3 times)
- Shut curtains as soon as it gets dark
- No magazines or newspapers except Radio Times Subscription
- Mainly reading free library books
- Sowing Aubergine, pepper, tomato and cucumber seeds
- Using only 2nd Class Post
- Don't buy alcohol and beauty products
- Only use dishwasher when it's completely full - every 2nd or 3rd day
So into April and no more government help with electric costs and another unit price rise, but I'm still well in credit so the bill will be covered. It's month one of Council tax and my TV licence is due. Youngest Granddaughter's birthday and House Insurance too.
Meal for Day 25 - something I used to make quite often until one day Colin said he didn't really like it as it was too sloppy. He wasn't at all fussy with food and generally ate anything and everything but I thought it best to stop making it - and that was probably 20+ years ago! and I'd forgotten just how sloppy it was so fished half a garlic bread baguette out of the freezer to go with it. I've added 25p onto the running total. £69.80 + 25p = £70.05
So what was this thing that I'd not made for years ?.......... Leek and Bacon Pilaff . Using ordinary long grain rice, sliced leeks, 2 slices of bacon and vegetable stock.
I'll be making it again.
I love how your modest personal expenses include flowers. Priorities straight!ReplyDelete
I wish I had more home grown flowers but everything seems very slow here this year, waiting for a few tulips.Delete
Rachel (E 28 ) here. I love that kind of meal and I think I will be buying leeks next week to make it! Great low spend Sue and I am trying to buy a lot less each month. I’ve decided to cut the family birthday card and gifts to the bare minimum - the nieces and nephews don’t even bother with a thanks so they can do without - they are all earning ! Also my memory is useless despite writing them on a calendar ! Every year I say I’m going to do a job lot in January and dole them out but so far I haven’t. I’ll still send Christmas. Probably should do it the other way round as birthdays are special ! But hey ho !ReplyDelete
I stopped buying for niece and nephews for Christmas a few years ago and birthdays stopped when they got too old for toys. Once the grandchild number reached 5 and niece and nephews were all out at work there had to be a stop somewhere!Delete
I love the blossom header!ReplyDelete
March has been a crazily expensive month in this home. The dishwasher died, then the freezer drawer disintegrated, then the computer printer died, and finally the duvet cover split beyond reasonable repair (already patched twice, and it's over 20years old) Then add in train fares and petrol costs for important family trips to Essex.... All these events were on my radar - I just didn't expect them all in the same month. But we will survive - as my Mum always said "the Lord will provide". I think that after a lifetime of frugality and budgeting, I've learned to cope better with financial curveballs.
The flowering cherry flowers are all pale pink now and many petals on the grass below thanks to the wind and rain and pigeons.Delete
We always survived through the early years of marriage on a roadman's wage and when mortgage rates were at 16% and after that I reckon I can survive anything!
Will you be sorry to see the end of your experiment? It has been so interesting to read.ReplyDelete
It's been interesting to do and I hope to have a bit more variety after I finish but there are some things I've missedDelete
That purple-leaved geranium is gorgeous, I'll have to look out for one of those. So do you think you'll carry on buying Value ranges, and what if anything would you definitely not buy again?ReplyDelete
I always have bought some of the value ranges but definitely won't be buying the minced pork and those small yorkshire puddings againDelete
I remember I used to make a dish like that too, Sue. Thanks for the memory jog although nowadays I would put chickpeas in instead of bacon. Husband will eat it with bacon on the side! Printers seem to be dying all round ( Ang, Joy, yourself and myself) and I really must do something about getting a new one today. Cold and damp here today and the children finish for two weeks so hope the weather picks up soon. CatrionaReplyDelete
My printer should have been replaced about 3 years ago - just never got round to it!Delete
One of my sisters is uber frugal and like yourself widowed. She lives in a fairly large house and I regularly find her dressed in layers and fingerless gloves indoors when we FaceTime! One woodburner gets lit to heat the water and radiators then goes out...later she lights the living room one and will heat water on it to wash her dishes in a bowl and cook her meal. Her daughter sent her a Mothers Day card along the lines of GO WILD...turn on some unnecessary lights and turn up the thermostat...I feel not a chance! xReplyDelete
Downsizing was what I decided to do to make sure I didn't have to be so frugal . I had so many years without central heating it's one of the things I'm so glad of nowDelete
I'm hoping to get some seeds started off this weekend. I love that purple leaved geranium, I wonder what colour the flowers will be, I think I'll have to look that up.ReplyDelete
It will have blue flowers which will be good, but it was the leaf colour that attracted me.Delete
Your pilaff looks tasty, risotto by another name, something I make often.ReplyDelete
Hope it's not a silly question - how do you find the ecover washing liquid performs? I've often wondered about swapping to it.
Alison in Wales x
Risotto or pilaff - I'm not sure of the difference. Ecover laundry liquid - no fragrance is something I've been using for years and years. I use much less than they say and then add some washing soda crystals. Can't stand the smell of some of the branded productsDelete
That geranium is very unusual, I thought it was a Heuchera at first. You've done well keeping the spending down this month and I'm looking forward to a round up of your thoughts about the challenge, favourite meal, thing you would buy again, thing you will never buy again ... although I think we all know that one!! Please let us know your thoughts on the value range.ReplyDelete
The geranium was an impulse buy at a garden centre - not something I usually do, but I like the way they go on flowering for several months.Delete
I'm planning a round up of the experiment at the end - still have enough for a few more days so should get to 31 hopefully
They started “ forever stamps” here in the US several years ago, so they can be used no matter what the current postal rise has been..very helpful.ReplyDelete
I think we all still buy too much food, so your experiment has made me th8nk more about my spending....I tend to make batches and either eat it til it’s gone or freeze it! Doesn’t bother me but my hubby is not happy with the same meal several nights in a row. But then he won’t cook! So he’s got two choices..take it or leave it!
We've now got weird bar codes like QR codes on stamps and I have no idea why really. Supposed to have added functions whatever that means!Delete
Like you, I survived the era of 16-18% mortgage rates, fuel shortages and economic decline. Conserving during hard times seems simple if we choose to make it so. You've proven this with your experiment. The rice with bacon looks delicious. Your purple geranium is beautiful and most unusual. It is nice to have a few unique flowering plants in the garden. It will be interesting to see the flowers.ReplyDelete
I though the purple leaved geranium would be something a bit different as I have a couple of the more common ones.Delete
The pilaff is delicious and something I'd forgotten all about
Sounds like it hasn't been a bad month! I am hoping that April will be a little warmer and the heat will be needed less. I would love some warmer days!ReplyDelete