Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Muddy Boots and Savings

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I was going to do a Blog post about mud......would you have read it? But I'm sick of the stuff, I must be a mud expert by now, I can tell by just looking out of the window how much mud will stick to my wellies, how deep I will sink, how long will it last etc etc...... So, NO this is not a post about mud!! ~
It's about saving money, something that has been more and more on my mind recently. Lovely Hubby is on the verge of successfully re-negotiating his contract to work less hours, so he can concentrate on the farming side of things. To do this we have to take a HUGE drop in earnings. But that means we can expand the pig business and hopefully in the not too distant future he can be a full time farmer.
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So now we are on the road to discovering just how much we need to survive on. We don't want to deprive ourselves but we do want to live simply (hence our motto for this year). Our aim is to to be as self-sufficient as we possibly can be. To barter rather than buy whenever we can, and to make full use of everything we have.
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To this end my mission for the first few months of this year, while LH is still in full-time work is to get our day to day living costs as low as possible, to this end I have been visiting various 'bad places' to see what their offers are, we've been trying products we have previously turned our noses up at and generally finding the best deals foodwise, for our money. This is the time of year when the fresh growing things have not been as available, I will be hoping to change that ready for these leaner months next year, by clever planting in the polytunnel.
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I have been inspired by some very clever ladies, whose Blogs I have been following avidly, with very apt names, they are Frugal Queen (Froogs to her friends) and Mean Queen, who writes Life After Money. Both have given me lots of ideas and brought back many memories of my past, when I had virtually NO money and young children to bring up. I managed in the end but it was a steep learning curve, one that is about to pay off big style.
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So with their wise words ringing in my ears I went to Asda yesterday to suss out some bargains. Being careful to make good use of my fuel I called to the Post Office en-route to send away some more Ebay parcels. So, the picture above shows a couple of ways of saving money...
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1. Shop around for bargains. We needed a new water filter jug, ours is about to crack. I priced it up at Waitrose the other day and it was £30. The exact same one, above, was £11 from Asda.
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2. Look for stickered low date and end of line products, these pies and the little pasties are LH's favourites, made by a little butchers in the nearby town and recently being sold at Asda (their weak effort at supporting local businesses, but one which I will go along with). Good reductions, he had one for tea last night, has taken the little pasties to have for dinner today and the other pie is nestling in the depths of the freezer for a later date.
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3. Look for the supermarkets real loss leaders and basic lines. These toothbrushes were 10p, yes you read right 10p for a pack of two. That's 5p each. Okay they are not hi-tech, bendy, special shaped all singing, all dancing toothbrushes....they are just toothbrushes, they clean your teeth and for 10p we now have spare toothbrushes in the bathroom cupboard for guests or to take with us when we travel. (I had to use the last spare when I broke mine last week, over enthusiastic brushing before a visit to the dentist!!) I could also have bought their own 'Smart Price' Shower Gel for 8p a bottle, but as I already have a well stocked bathroom cabinet I thought that could be sampled at a later date, I'm not just spending money for spendings sake. But 8p!!
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4. Check the prices per Kg or grams or whatever on everything you buy. I usually buy a great big block of cheese, supermarkets own or whatever is on special offer, we like most cheeses. I grate it all up in the food processor and put it in a big box in the freezer to dip into whenever I need a quick sandwich or pizza topping. This works out much more convenient than having to dig out the grater whenever you need grated cheese and just doing a bit at a time, and as it stays free flowing you can thaw it out within minutes for sandwiches etc. This time I checked all the prices, branded cheeses, supermarkets own, special offers and then I had a quick glance at the pre-grated packs not expecting them to be anywhere near as good value. Well guess what... the block I had in my trolley was just over 800gms for £5 on 'Special Offer' and the already grated pack of the exact same cheese was £3.88 for 1kg. Now even with my limited maths skills I can see this is brilliant. A job already done, so no food processer to wash, more cheese and less money.....win,win,win.....one Happy Girl!! ~

Then to top it all off when I got home and checked the post box, there was my copy of Country Homes and Interiors magazine, bought on subscription when there was a special offer on, read by me, then my Mum when she visits and then it will be sold on Ebay to get me some of the cost back.

Oooh this is all going very well..........

Sue xx

7 comments:

  1. I sometimes buy the grated cheese from Aldi which is quite cheap but I watched that programme about they hype of low fat foods, I think, and apparently so grated cheese doesn't stick together after packing, it is coated in something, maybe flour or something.

    I never thought about selling the magazines on Ebay, I've sold knitting magazines - but often take pages out of things that interest me rather than keep the magazines.

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  2. reading this made me think about when we were 1st married and the poorest we've ever been.
    Ted said one day "please could we go to the butchers shop, and just have a LOOK at some joined-up meat"!
    I think we lived on soya-mince, shin of beef, vegetable soups and rice puddings and it really sharpened my skills for making the ££s stretch as far as they could possibly go!
    xx

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  3. Very inspirational Sue, I am very proud of you, you have done amazingly well : ) xxx

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  4. After reading your comment (thanks Campfire) I double checked, and yes, this cheese is dusted with a minute amount of Potato Starch, however, as I'm not averse to this and it is a natural product I don't consider it a problem, thanks for highlighting this though. xx

    'Joined up meat'.....I love it Bunny...haha. Hope you got my email. xx

    Aw shucks Gem...you made me blush!! xx

    Sue xx

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  5. I can sympathise with the mud - my wellies were black once, but it's a long time since I've seen any blackness as they are permanently brown now. I dread rain as it just makes the mud gloopier and I LONG for the summer so it dries out!!

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  6. Crikey Sue that's some serious mud you have your wellies in:) I also love the frugal blogs and have picked up some great ideas along the way. It sounds like an exciting year ahead for you and LH, if anybody can make it happen, you both certain can:) Here's to your success♥♥ Linda xx

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  7. Blimey Sue, you are really going for this! I am always going on at Mike to read your blog (thinking it may help the 'I want chickens' campaign) but I think I'm going to have to stop - I don't want him going on at me about household expense and curtailing the odd trip to Waitrose!

    You are doing so well though. And I love your approach - making it fun and a challenge.

    Btw, just a thought but regarding shower gel etc, you might want to check out Co-op or M&S for bargains. All their own label stuff is not tested on animals. Same can't be said for the others :(

    As Ms Rabbit has been telling me all week - she is obviously drumming the message in to me!

    Charlotte
    x

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