Monday 30 September 2013

Simple September - Final Top Tip #20

How quickly has September whizzed by, it's been here and then gone in a flash.  It has in some ways been a Simple September but in many others it's been complicated and busy, busy busy.
The thirteenth of the month saw us finally owning our 'forever home', setting up camp there a day later and starting on the job of redecorating and renovating the house to the way we want it to be.  We're having the house simple and getting it that way takes time, so we are slowly and surely working our way through things.  I have a few photos to show you of how things are progressing, but they will have to wait until tomorrow, because today I wanted to see Simple September out with my final Top Tip and it's one I use each and every year.  To me it's an important one, it's the very basis of us being as self sufficient as possible in the foods that we eat for the lowest possible cost.
It's seeds.
The little powerhouses of goodness that turn into the food that we put on our table, that feeds us and keeps us alive and able to do everything else that we want to go on and do.  I buy my seeds at this time every year, it is the time of year that the garden centres want to start setting out their Christmas displays and folks minds turn away from planting seeds of any kind, so this is when in most garden centres and nurseries you will find huge tables or racks full of seeds at absolute knock down prices.
This year Lovely Hubby came with me and we each started at opposite sides of the huge table of packets of seeds that were laid out at our nearest Wyevale Garden Centre (here).  Our brief was simple, we knew we needed peas and cucumbers and then we simply had to find the fruits and veggies that we would like to be growing and eating next year.  Once we both had enough of what we wanted we compared our choices and put back any duplications or narrowed down to varieties that I knew grew better than others and of course kept a few things that we would like to experiment with. Because at 50p a packet we can afford to trial a few new things each year.
Yes all these seeds cost us just 50p a packet, we spent a total of £26.50 on the them and when we got home I simply couldn't resist quickly adding up what they would have cost at full price, it came to over £137, truly a bargain.  These seeds will last us a lot longer than one year as well, some of them will even last a few years if stored correctly. 
As we already had lots of seeds in stock, once home they were all sorted and filed into the right sections of my seed drawer and the oldest seeds will be planted first and then the others used in order.  For many folk the cold dark days of Winter are time to pore over the seed catalogues, but for me that is now all sorted and I know we will be eating home grown fruits and veggies for the next few years.
Something else I do each and every year is choose a 'cash crop', something I grow way too much of and then sell the additional plants or veggies to recoup the cost of the seeds bought the previous year, so next year I know I need to make £26.50 to make our entire home grown food supply free of charge to us.  One year I sold lettuces, the next Red and Green Basil plants, this year it was Tomato plants sold at one of the first car boot sales we did at 50p each they soon made us back the money we spent last year.
So my final Top Tip of Simple September is ...
Buy things out of season when no-one else really wants to be buying them, whether it be in shops or at car boot sales. How often do you see people trying to sell Christmas decorations or trees in the hottest days of July or August in a baking hot car boot field, no one is interested, step in with a ridiculously low offer and it could just be accepted.
Buy -
Seeds in August/September
Christmassy items in January/February (or during Summer at car boot sales)
Summer clothes in Winter
Winter Clothes in the hottest of hot weather in Summer
As we did last year snap up chocolate Santa's at Easter and then Easter eggs at Christmas, it's all chocolate and yummy at that!!
Wait until just after an event in supermarkets, Halloween for example ... buy next years Halloween costumes and decorations in the first week of  this November when they will all be being sold off for pennies and you will be sorted ready for next year.
I'm sure many of you do this already but for the few of you that don't you can save an absolute fortune give it a go.  It takes just one year to get yourself ahead for future years and then you will be in the routine.
Sue xx


  1. Do you ever save your own seeds, or because you buy your seeds for so little do you think it's worth it? I'm excited to see what your plans are for all your land at your "forever home".

  2. Great tips Sue, makes me think we should pop down to our local Wyevale.

    I did buy Christmas baubles at a Summer Car Boot Sale this year.

    Sft x

  3. What an amazing saving - I will go into town and see if I can find some seeds tomorrow. We have just cleared out a bed for vegetables :-) Thanks for ALL your September tips - I have read all of them and they have been just fantastic. Good luck and best wishes for your new home, I hope all your work is as frugal as it can be and goes to plan :-)
    Stacey x


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