Financial Freedom · Food

Blimey, Now That’s What I Call a Bargain!

dav
A bargain from the local.

Hello, hello, it’s me again. I just had to pop on and share my joy.

Now you may not find discounted food items particularly exciting but I was over the moon with the above haul. It’s not unusual for me to be able to find discounted bread if I pop to the shop in the evening but tonight I hit just the right time and – voila – I picked up tomorrows lunch, enough for four main meals and the obligatory bread for £8.00.

Eight Whole English Pounds.

Hell, I could spend that at lunchtime easily… just point me towards some sushi.*

Hubby finds it somewhat amusing that picking up food bargains excites me and I am equally confused by the fact that it doesn’t excite him.

I’ve saved money! Fed my family! Stopped food being thrown away! Stuck my tongue out at the corporate giant!

I can just about squeeze the pies, pizza and bread into the freezer to use at a later date. The freezer is so packed full that I’ll be playing freezer jenga for a few days till we can make some space.

I hope you all find some bargains this week.

 

 

*I drool just thinking about sushi. Yum. But good sushi is reserved for a special treat so when I have some I enjoy every mouthful.

Tidying

When Life Gives You a Dust Allergy…

IMG_20170713_161430458You suddenly look around your house and see dust magnets everywhere! We’ve been advised to blitz the house hard and fast which means that I’ve been washing curtains, bedding, the sofa everything whilst hubby has been dusting all surfaces with a damp cloth.

I feel a sense of guilt because I have been informed that ‘eco-friendly’ washing at 30 doesn’t kill the little blighters and looking back hubby’s troubles got worse not long after I switched to ‘friendly’ clothes washing.

Sob.

Remember when I proudly declared that I would give up using the tumble-dryer? Well now after every hot wash it’s on with every load and then the dehumidifier makes sure that my clothes are fried.

Sob.

Wish me luck peeps!

Uncategorized

One Small Step Outside My Comfort Zone

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Ahh, my comfort zone is like my snuggly old dressing gown. Warm and cosy I can mooch around all day with it on, it’s the first thing I put on the morning and often straight after work. My comfort zone is safe and familiar, it asks and demands very little.

However nothing changes.

There are no new experiences here, in my comfortable safe place. I find myself avoiding new things, places and people. I make excuses not to do little things, well things that other people believe are little.

Take our shed for instance. Now I want you to image an old I’m-amazed-it’s-still-standing shed. When you open the door you have to take a sharp step backwards as an avalanche of mouldy old dirty stuff slides down towards you. That is our shed.

I’ve been thinking about clearing the shed for over a year now. Skips are easy but expensive when you factor in that the tip is only five minutes drive away. I reckon it’s fine if you think I’m a chicken “cluck, cluck” as the thought of driving to the skip, of doing something new by myself makes me pause.

And you see it made me think…if I avoid this ‘small’ trip to the skip again it makes other new and different things bigger and scarier. A camping trip with just the boy and I will be impossible if I can’t drive somewhere new by myself. Downstairs will never get redecorated if I can’t get to the tools at the back of the shed. A rubbish monster will evolve from the damp rubbish and devour us one night*.

So I bravely filled the boot and went to the tip. Tension built in the car as I approached the entrance, panic and tears threatened when I was asked for evidence of address – I didn’t know I needed that! – which the hi vis gentleman obviously saw and he kindly waved me through with the warning not to forget it next time. Did you know that tips really really really smell? Yuck.

I arrived home victorious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Only three hundred more smelly* tip runs to do.

It may only be a tip run to someone who has done them many times and it may only be a very small step outside of my comfort zone but it was a step outside of it. And many small steps can take you a long way…..

 

*Unlikely but it could happen!

**I did mention it was smelly right?

 

Financial Freedom · Organising

Financial Friday – Why I’m signing up with Money Dashboard

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This time of year most blogs are reviewing how they did the previous year and where they want to steer this year’s progress. I however, am not…

…cause my spreadsheet is incomplete for pretty much half of last year! I hang my head in shame!

See, my spreadsheets go back to 2010. I can tell you how much we spent on food, utilities, presents, holidays, you name it, in pretty much any month going back ten years. I’ve always been proud of that fact and normally I’d sit down with all the account records and update my finances for last year.

This year I find that I simply don’t have the inclination to be arsed, I’m shattered and part of me wonders – why should I?

  • In general our money habits are better than the majority.
  • We have a three month emergency fund set up.
  • Standing orders drip feed different accounts.
  • We have no debt apart from the mortgage.

Yet I can’t sleep. How can I possibly budget for the year ahead without knowing the averages for last year?!? How can we increase our savings/investments? How can I figure out where we are overspending on pointless, unworthy things? How much can we afford to redecorate the stairway? How, HOW, How?

Simply put – it would be bloody difficult.

So this weekend I’m going to put aside half an hour and get an account set up with Money Dashboard. The reviews looks decent and it’s time to jump in.

Financial Freedom · Organising

Here comes the New Year….

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….hopefully just as good, if not better than the last year!

2018 has been a comfortable year looking back. We have built back up our emergency savings (which apparently puts us ahead of a quarter of the British public*) it certainly gives me peace of mind, and I am drip feeding several accounts to fund future holidays, house improvements, children and an F.U. fund.

I’d like a fair bit of 2018 to carry over to 2019, thank you, as we recovered from the Christmas craziness fairly quickly back to our routine of – urgh – keeping the household clean, fed and active. Hubby has mentioned that he may lift a few weights in 2019 which I would be happy about and the kids are getting more confident on their (secondhand) bikes.

Life is never all roses; I need to practise saying no to convenience, no to overtime and actually committing to getting stuff done/shifted/organised.

I may need a swift kick along the way….

Before I start rambling….cider has been partaken of…..I hope that you have had a good year and that the next will be just as good, if not better!

 

 

*although the survey the article mentions seems ridiculously small to make such statements.

Food

An Actual Day Off…And I Baked!

dav
A perfect pastry

Now that the weather is so much colder I’ve found myself wanting stews and dumplings and crumbles and lots and lots of hot custard! The slowcooker has certainly been earning its keep and after some luck at the supermarket I picked up a reduced piece of beef and made a simple barley and beef stew Saturday.

It was not a hit with the family.

Personally I felt it could have done with a little more depth but honestly, it was a decent enough stew and now I had enough for four more meals….well, it was portioned up and popped in the freezer. Throwing food away is wrong.

Fast forward to today and I’ve experienced the luxury of an actual day off with zero commitments. I blitzed the house (we are still doing really well on not letting it slide into an utter mess) and after the Halloween cookie success made another batch, this time with shortbread.

So the oven’s on and I have a brainwave – I can make pastries with the unloved stew!

I whipped up a pastry with 125g butter, 125g lard*, 500g plain flour made into breadcrumbs with a splash of cold water.

After chilling I made the simplest form of pastry – proper Cornish pastries have the crimping at the top I’m told – where I popped a spoonful of cold stew in the middle of a circle of pastry and sealed it up with the help of an egg – to make it stick – and a fork to ‘prettify’ the edges.

After baking at 180 till golden they were devoured. And I mean DEVOURED. The unloved stew was transformed to “the best dinner ever mummy“,** “can I have another one please” and my favourite “you can definitely make these again“.

Not bad, eh?

 

*I have a habit where any usable fat from cooking is kept in a jar in the fridge. Used when cooking it adds amazing flavour and doesn’t go to waste. I have rendered pork fat in the past to make lard…..the smell has thus far put me off from doing it again!

**I promise we didn’t just eat pastries for dinner! There was lots of veg and super thick gravy to go with them, have to get some vitamins and minerals in the kids.

Financial Freedom · Food · Organising

The insidious nature of convenience

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Buying lunch from the local shop doesn’t seem like much does it? A few pound here and a few pound there adds up but it’s worth it as it reduces my morning stress and fills my stomach, isn’t it?

It’s been busy – when isn’t it, I hear you cry – and apart from the cookies for Halloween I’ve been choosing convenience. Buying lunch instead bringing in my own – yes. Eating out/getting a takeaway even though there’s food in the house– yep. Ordering a meal box for the week – done that.

Thing is, that even when I have the time I find I just don’t have the headspace to want to deal with the everyday hassle of checking we have the ingredients, meal planning, batch cooking etc.  So the meal deals, the easy dinners…the convenience creeps in and our costs mount up along with that niggle in the back of mind that we should do better.

That £3 meal deal may not seem like a big deal, after all we are not living hand to mouth, but it does add up and I find that by buying lunch I relax on the other ‘easy’ options. And going out for pizza when there’s actually pizza in the freezer is madness, utter wasteful madness.

So in an effort to combat the busyness that comes from being a mum, a worker, a homeowner, a friend I’ve started saying no. No, I can’t work overtime. No, homework is not high on my list of priorities (sorry school). No, you can make/do/get it yourself. No, I can’t make it.

So I hope to be a more active blogger where I can share my cooking, cleaning and I really need to get round to gardening sometime too.

P.S. You know I was going to title this post as The Price of Convenience but when writing I realised that it’s not so much the money that bothers me. Yes it all adds up and we are poorer for it but when I consider that I’m paying for time, for actual time, then when considered and manged I figure it’s a fair trade. Its the gentle creep of going from buying convenience at busy times/once in a while to then continuing to buy convenience regularly because it’s become your new normal.