Monday, 22 July 2019

How to save money

I've been asked for some ideas, so here are just a few.

1. Look at exactly what you have coming in, and where it is going out.  Be brutal with yourself. Do you need to have that many subscriptions to things you rarely use? Can you live without SKY, Netflix and Amazon Prime? Cancel one.

2. As soon as money comes into your bank account, automatically send an amount to savings - even if it's £2.50, it's savings. 

3. I should have said this first - set up a savings account. That you don't touch! 

4. Have a cash jar in the house for "have you just got?" situations. By that I mean; if you have a teenager who will say, "have you just got a couple quid for a coffee: I forgot my wallet..": or a housemate who will say, "have you just got a quid for.....".. 
Put an amount of money in the jar - £6 perhaps, but all in small change. The money is visible in the jar. Very rarely add any money to it. Then when you are asked, "Have you just got...?" Your answer is always, "I don't know - look in the change jar." 
In this way you can wean folk off always coming to you for their top-ups unless YOU CHOOSE to give them money. 

Which brings me to the next point:
5. Stop paying people to do things for you that you can do yourself.
We pay a window cleaner to just wash the upstairs windows outside. Instead of £15 every month it is £4 every month.  We can wash the inside of all the windows ourselves, and the 
outsides of the downstairs ones. Saving £11 a month.

6. Food.  
This is a large topic, but if you want to save money it is often the area where you can make a big saving - and I'm not talking about going hungry. Not at all.
This list is just a start of where you can make adjustments:

Ready meals to homemade meals - it is much, much cheaper to make your own food, ( I'm not talking about supermarket £1.50 cardboard pizzas here) and many times healthier. And folks who say they don't have time. Really? I used to work two jobs and still made almost everything for the home to save money - it's about what you don't do. I was making food ahead while I was cooking a meal while I was washing the clothes. I wasn't playing computer games or watching soaps on the telly. Choices.

Snacks - can be harmful, fatty, salty, addictive. Few people need to eat snacks. Eating between meals (especially supper time) can become a habit, and habits can be broken.  

Sorting through the cupboards, fridge and freezer - write down what you already have and how these can be made into meals. If you have everything to make four meals apart from one item, it makes more sense to buy that one item and have the four meals rather than leave the freezer full and go buy a different meal. 

Meal planning - the one thing that puts folk off is being told what to eat on a certain day. So don't plan like that. Plan a set of meals with a variation. So plan a roast meal, a stir fry meal, a meal in front of the TV, a pasta meal, a one-pan meal..etc. Then when you decide exactly 
what - (roast chicken this week, veggy stir fry with a Chinese sauce, sausage and jacket 
potatoes in front of the telly, pasta carbonara with that bacon from the freezer, etc. etc.) - 
and make your list before you go shopping so you buy only what you need. Change 
the days around, but you still don't need to buy anything else.

Changing diets - there is no lie here: it's cheaper not to eat meat. I'm not telling you to become vegan, but for the sake of saving money, have some meals that don't involve animals. 

Throwing away nothing. This might make you feel queasy. It shouldn't, but there you go. We don't throw away veg waste. I use washed peelings in soups and stews. I revisit and re-trim root vegetables and ensure I have everything I can from them before they are checked over for seeds. I dry seeds and store these for future growing  or begin to grow the plants. Some seeds we eat in our food anyway because they are edible. Only then is the smallest waste 
from the raw veg given over to the compost heap.
We eat veg that some  other folk don't: cauliflower leaves, for example. Google it. Try it. It's 
a free vegetable you'll wonder why you haven't always been eating. And if you aren't re-growing celery, then that's another topic I can chat to you guys about! 

Growing your own - message me if you'd like me to chat about growing your own food - and if I can do this even while we were living in one room for two years, then yes, you can. 

Saving leftovers and using them for.. - when we serve up a meal, we have freezer pots or bags ready. The leftovers are then labelled and either in the fridge for the next day, or the freezer for a homemade ready meal - for example a homemade chilli or a homemade curry in the freezer to heat through in the microwave or saucepan in the time it takes to cook some rice.

Let me know if these have been useful or if there's anything you'd like me to blog about!

Tracey xxx

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Thank you for the messages asking if I'm ok -
I am.
Life carries on at a relaxed pace here, and I've been thinking about restarting/beginning my blog again..
Man Wonderful and I are still well, still very happy.
The wee family are good, and the little dog is fine.
I'm just as quirky as ever - I'm currently reviewing my wardrobe (posh word for saying the things I wear, rather than the actual piece of furniture), sewing and altering what I already have and making new from fabrics I've got in my stash. 
( and my hair is currently black and pink )

Sunday, 10 March 2019

A little easy DIY

We're updating  the play room this weekend, while the world outside blows a gale!
Man Wonderful took to the toys and sorted through everything that needed passing on to the charity shop, while I took down and laundered the curtains and took down the lampshade - also ready to pass these on to the wonderful charity shop.
Man Wonderul was then tasked with wiping down all the surfaces while I measured the window for our "new" curtains.
I say "new" curtains, for those who don't know me, as I don't like anything "new"!
In actual fact, the two curtains I made for the window in the play room were made out of one long curtain that I originally made ?20 years ago for the first house we lived in together...that had then been altered to be a door curtain for Gorgeous Daughter for her house for a few years...but anyhow..

So the two new curtains are sewn and up, and I am currently finishing the "new" lampshade for the room to match the curtains - again from some of the same fabric, but this time hand embroidered using simple sewing thread to add a little interest, and two lampshade metal rounds.
And the room is transformed.

Updated - not babyish anymore!

Sunday, 3 March 2019

My corner

My corner is my space to sit, next to the little coffee table for my cup, iPad, phone or knitting. 
It's in the lounge, where I can see the whole room, into the next and out of the window.
My corner is where I sit with my legs up and read to the grandchildren, read parts of the paper or funny things from the Internet aloud to Man Wonderful, or read the kindle to myself.  It's where I flick through the TV remote and decide to watch or record, it's where I sit and chat to MW, Gorgeous Daughter or a friend or two on the sofa opposite. 
It's where I chat on the phone.

My corner is where I feel comfortable, where I sit with a cuppa at the end of the day and where I start to relax and unwind. 
It's where I'm sat writing to you today.

Do you have a special place that you choose to sit? Why is it special?

Saturday, 2 March 2019


What do you do on a Saturday?
It's the first day in the week here where the alarm clock doesn't go off and we get to snooze!
Mind you, my brain is set at waking up at the same time - usually 6.30-7 - so I still get up, but instead of thinking about whether one of us is needed to be ready for something, I can quietly potter and put the heating on before snuggling up on the sofa with the dog and catching up on something from the week or watching a repeat of Frasier.
Today we met up with the kids and had a  relaxed lunch at the local shopping centre 
while the little ones played. We have a storm threatened which is possibly why the centre was unusually quiet for a Saturday.
I decided to cook dinner from what we already had in, and this turned out to be a Quorn Korma using frozen onion and broccoli I'd saved over the last few weeks as well as 
mushrooms from the fridge and a sweet 
potato. (Do you keep mushrooms in the fridge or is it just me?)
This was delicious.
This evening is film night.
Feet up, knitting out and a glass -or two -of wine.
Tomorrow I have a delightful afternoon of 
crafting before hosting a roast meal for the 
family - this makes me feel like a 'proper' mamma!
What do you do that is different on a Saturday?

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Let Down

Going Gently is one of the blogs I like to read.
Today it was about how we manage when a friend lets us down, because carrying around bad feeling is not great.
I must admit this hit a nerve with me as very recently I've been let down by a friend and I'm feeling - well, pretty angry if I'm honest..
The 'let down' cost me money and while I still want the friendship, I'm thinking over just how balanced it actually is.
I think that friendships work best if they are as equal as possible - with one side not having to give out more than the other.
Where there is a let down and the other side is unaware of the anger..hmm. It makes you think.
At the present this friendship is not something I'm happy about at all.
Your thoughts?

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Sometimes the bad guy wins

I love my daily dose of Frasier, and today this quote was particularly poignant.

Marty Crane: For God's sake, Frasier, you're forty-one years old - it's time you learned something. The system ain't perfect - sometimes the bad guy wins. And all those things you thought would be around to help you, the courts and the police department - well, sometimes, they're just not there when you need them, so you can let it eat a hole in your stomach or you can just file it away under the heading "Sometimes life sucks."