Monday, 1 February 2016

It's a lark, this money saving.

Hello. It's a bit blustery today, nearly got blown away doing my three miles. It was a case of pull my woolly hat down over my ears and barge my way through it. Crafty Club was a bit quiet this morning, and I visited the mobile library this afternoon.

It didn't take me long to sort the wool box out, I was checking if I had enough of the right colours for a project. I don't want to buy any, I want to use up what I have. Most of this came from charity shops. There should be enough for what I want. I am not a big knitter or crocheter.

What's this bag of cat litter doing here? I thought I would tell you how I reuse the bags. First I cut through the stitching with a pair of scissors, leaving the handles attached to the bag. I put the full bag on the floor on the right hand side of my little table, just outside the back door in the covered passageway. On the left hand side is an empty bag. The tray sits on the table and I transfer the soiled litter into the empty bag. When that bag is full, the fresh new litter has all been used to refill the tray. That bag then gets moved over to the left side, and a new bag is opened, and so it goes on. Opening the bag with scissors and not tearing it means it's easy to carry it outside and put it into the grey general rubbish bin. This Tesco litter is £1.55 a bag, same as Aldi, and other cheap supermarket own brands.

My lunch today. I had some pasta in the fridge, I made extra on Saturday. Put it into a pyrex bowl with a splash of water, and half a tin of baked beans. Zap in the microwave, stir and make sure it is hot all the way through. Grate some cheese on the top. Minimum cooking time, 12p for the beans, 10p pasta, 10p cheese. A cheap lunch. If you have access to a microwave at work you could easily take this with you, cheaper than buying lunch out. 
I am always looking for ways to save a few pennies, some may say I am a bit obsessive, but I can't see any point in paying more than I need to. As well as saving money on food I also like to be careful with utilities, gas, electric, and water. The money saving aspect of it is important but I am also aware of how much damage my actions might be doing to the planet. We are lucky in this country that we can just turn on a tap or flick a switch to get whatever we need. That is no reason to waste it willynilly. I am on a water meter, and although my usage is low, I still want to be careful with it.

I am washing pet dishes all the time, usually rinsing under a dripping tap in the kitchen. Today I came up with another idea. There is plenty of rain water out there, which I collect in buckets and bowls. Some of it is used to flush the downstairs toilet. Why not use it for cleaning pet bowls. So now I have a plastic bowl of rainwater outside my back door, and an old wash up brush. A perfect cleaning station for pet bowls, and no yucky food getting stuck in the plug hole in the kitchen sink. The water can be chucked down the drain and the bowl refilled. Perfect, a good idea.

Most of my money saving is about finding ways of saving only a few pence. Like not using my oven because it uses too much gas. I don't need to bake, roast, or casserole. I can make perfectly good meals on the hob or using the grill and microwave. Buying children's tooth brushes because they are cheaper than adult ones. Using diluted washing up liquid in an old spray bottle to clean everything. Get rid of the electric clock radio alarm and get a wind up clock. Cut up old greetings cards and use them for notes and making lists. Use the bath water for flushing the toilet. Give up wearing a bra if you have small chesticles. Use rain water to wash the car. Over a year, lots of pennies saved turn into £'s.  

There is a thread on Money Saving Expert called, 'Lots more sneaky ways to save the pennies'. It was started nearly six years ago and is still going strong. Even if you think some of the ideas are daft, it gets you into the mindset of looking for savings in all aspects of day to day living. I am pretty good at this money saving lark, but even I don't know everything, I am still keen to learn more. For me it's a challenge, I will not be beaten. I will get the most for my money, and I decide what I spend it on. 

Thank you to the Walking Group members for sending in your mileage for January. There are some impressive figures there. I am chuffed that so many have embraced our new fitness drive, and are hopefully feeling a lot better for it. We are only one month into it, so don't worry if your numbers are not as high as you hoped they would be. The main thing is that you are doing more exercise than you would have been had I not started this. Still eleven months to go, it isn't a race, no one is doing better than anyone else. It's a personal thing, you are doing it for yourselves with one aim in mind, to boost your fitness levels, to keep your body healthy, which in turn will be good for your overall well being. Everyone who exercises is a winner. 

Thanks for popping in. Catch up soon. Toodle pip. 

39 comments:

  1. Hi Ilona.
    Strange...I usually receive email notification that you've added a post, but tonight - nothing. I remembered something about signing with a Google account, which I've done, but where's me blooming email notification? Haha! I tried re-subscibing by email, but I'm told I'm already subscribed.. It's a mystery :-/ PS Although I've got a Blog set up, I've never written a thing on it!

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    1. Hi. I don't know what's going on. I look forward to reading your blog.

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  2. I come from a family of gardeners and plant lovers and often buy plants or give garden centre vouchers for presents. I've decided this year I will grow my presents from seeds or cuttings and give them to relatives instead. I'm starting now for all the birthdays later in the year. I always get loads of ideas from your blog Ilona and I will definitely be saving rain water for lots of uses. Jane xx

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    1. That's a very good idea Jane. I am hoping to grow flowers this year instead of veg.

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  3. Good evening.
    I too love the thread,'sneaky ways to save pennies'. I'm always looking for tips and new ideas to enable me to continue with my frugal lifestyle.
    By the way, thanks for the tip about roasting my huge stash of tomatoes I rescued from what would have been tossed into the bin.
    Luckily, I'm house sitting for a few days, so have roasted in this oven rather than mine...I have had permission from the owner....saving on my gas bill! I also popped a few left lever peppers in with the tom's and then squished them. They are delicious and looking at your pasta above, I think I will serve some with pasta for dinner tomorrow and then recant the rest into jars for another day!
    It hasn't cost me a bean as the peppers where free as well!
    I'm really enjoying your blog. Many thanks :)))

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    1. Hello funbrum. It wasn't me who suggested roasting the tomatoes, I don't roast anything. Free food is always best.

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    2. Oops....my mistake. I should know that shouldn't I?! Haha ;)

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  4. A bit late but wanting to try the 1000 miles thing. How is everybody measuring how far they've walked? Pedometer? Guessing? I know some folks have those fancy phones that do stuff like that but I don't have (or want) one.

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    1. I use the Viewranger app on my mobile phone, but I guess you could get some other sort of app that would do the same thing

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    2. Hello Anon. Some people use a pedometer, others have an app on their phone as Sue suggests. I have worked out a three mile route from my front door which I hope to walk every day. I use a web site called www.bikehike.co.uk Go to course creator. There are other sites if you gooooglie it. You can add up the mileage you do in your job if you walk a lot, eg, teacher, sales assistant. Or you can set time aside like I do and go out specifically for a walk. It's up to you. I would say, it is not easy to guess how far you walk, unless you do a trial first. A measured mile and time yourself. I know I can walk three miles in 50 minutes. Most people can walk three miles per hour at a brisk pace. I need to know your name if you want to be added to the list.

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    3. Thanks for your reply Sue G but as I said I don't have that sort of phone, just a very basic one for emergencies (car breakdown etc) and I don't know what an app is!

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    4. Thanks for your reply Ilona. As my walking would be on the farms fields and adjoining canal towpath the website wouldn't be any use. Perhaps a pedometer is going to be the best thing. But if they count the steps how many steps in a mile?
      Perhaps I'll just get out and walk more and not bother signing up for the list.

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  5. That cheesy pasta beans meal looks good. The sort of thing I lived off as a student!

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  6. Ilona My mileage for January is 168. Sorry I meant to send this yesterday xx

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    1. Hi Tara. I can't find you on my list. Did I miss you off, or did you use another name, or have you just decided to join? You are there now, have added you to the bottom. Are you calculating in miles or kilometers? Thanks.

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  7. I've been using children's toothbrushes for years. I have a small mouth and adult brushes a) bang around in my mouth and b) don't get my teeth as clean. I buy my toothbrushes from the dollar store at 3 for a dollar. Use them one month, then recycle the old one into cleaning nooks and crannies around the sinks. Also, a tube of toothpaste lasts forever since I only use a pea sized amount each time. QueenVictoria

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  8. The cheesy pasta with beans looks tasty and so cheap, thank you for sharing.

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  9. good post!
    don't know if you addressed this before, or not, I am being curious (nosy probably), but have you already paid your funeral expenses? wondering how you felt about pre-paying, or setting savings account just for that? I know there are insurance polices set up just for that also, how do you feel about those?
    it costs a fortune here now for funerals.

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    1. Hello Annie. No I haven't mentioned funeral expenses before. But as you ask, I don't intend paying for my funeral in advance. The money in my estate will cover that cost. Funeral directors would like people to pay up front, easier for them, but they know that in a lot of cases they will have to wait until the money is released from the estate. My family will be instructed to get the cheapest funeral possible. Even transport my body to the burial point themselves if they so wish. I might even donate it to medical research, not decided yet. I am not a big fan of insurance policies, preferring to cover risks myself. I have a car insurance because it's a legal requirement and probably best to have it. I have a house insurance in case it falls down. I would not buy an insurance policy for a funeral. But that's just me, I don't need a lot of cushions. Thanks for asking.

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    2. Hi, when my Mum passed away in 2014, her wishes were to leave her body to medical research, we even contacted the right people and I helped her fill the forms in and a copy of the paperwork was left with her will but sadly at the last minute, after she had passed, she was rejected by three universities, but it isn't free, if you are accepted, you still have to pay to have the body transported to the universities. The cost of the funeral was £3,600 and that was just a basic funeral not even a car, we just drove behind the hearse in our own car. It was paid two weeks after the funeral, taken direct from her bank account, I just had to authorise the payment. We just told the funeral directors how much we had to spend and they sorted the rest out, it was still a lovely funeral, the wake afterwards cost just £105 at a local working men's club.

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  10. Ilona! Verily tut!!, you snip through the string on the cat litter bags? You spend a few minutes of your time my girl working out how unravel the knot in it then give it a heave and it all comes out in a piece. Saved up over time it can be used for crochetting up dishcloths.xxx

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    1. Thank you for that little gem, but it's a step too far for me. I wrote a post a few days ago showing how I cut up an old sheet and made tea towels and dishcloths.

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    2. Aw, come on, buttercup ... life's too short (to paraphrase Shirley Conran's great quote) to crochet a dishcloth. You are joking, I'm sure!
      Margaret P

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    3. Oh yes I do! I like a bit more tooth to my dishcloths than you get with normal cut up fabrics. However ifind it wise not to crochet them when I am a bit at odds with the world! The tension gets very tight. You should have seen the one I made when I found out there was no such things as widows pension and I would have to luve on my very meagre savings for 41/2years. Cardboardbwasnt in it!

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  11. I appreciate that lots of people may not iron but for those of us that do who have an iron which needs distilled water not tap water [that'll be me then] rainwater collected for free does the job perfectly- we pour it through muslin first to get rid of any bits.
    Arilx

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    1. Every little helps. I am a non ironer :o)

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  12. I forgot to give you my walking total for January, i'ts 56.8 miles. I would have liked it to have been more but I've been away for a week, that's my excuse anyway! Should I put the total here, or should I have put it on the walking page?

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    1. Either will do, Sue, current post or on the page itself. All comments come into the same box.

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  13. Hi Ilona, Sorry I'm a bit late with my mileage. 86 miles for January. Not too bad as I was off colour for a couple of days and just plain lazy for a couple more.

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    1. Tut tut, let's get out of this 'lazy' mindset, ha ha.

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  14. If only I had small Chesticles!! Bras can be so expensive when you are well endowed and the cheapist ones can be so uncomfortable. Re Funeral prepayments I'm with you... just make sure there's enough in the estate to cover it. Those funeral ads on TV are such a con. Whilst I couldn't follow all your saving tips I do my bit to save a little bit of our planet if I can. Rae x

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  15. I have been desperately trying to think up a tip for you - but instinctively know that you have already thought of it. One thing that I do; I save those larger plastic cartons that mushrooms come in. Every draw, cupboard and shelf is neatly divided and organized thanks to these. Now I don't need anymore for organizing I am using them for small cleaning jobs decorating and messy crafts. I have also started (thanks to my mums over locker) using old sheets and bedding for exfoliating cloths - they work as good as muslin and saves on cotton wool. Wish I had something better for you...Debbie

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    1. Hi Debbie. The trays in drawers is a good idea. I have a couple in my kitchen drawer, but they keep moving about. I think the answer is to add more trays so they don't move.

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  16. Hi.i enjoyed the varied read today,Ilona.Thanbk you!D.

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  17. Hee hee chesticles made me chuckle! I gave up bras when I finished going out to work in 2014 -just purely for comfort! I must've saved a few pennies by now as they're expensive. I keep a couple in for emergencies though if I ever feel I must wear one.

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    1. I gave up wearing a bra after my operation at 59 years old. The freedom is lovely.

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  18. You would love the book "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" by Amy Dacyczn (pronounced "decision"). Lots and lots of tips on frugal living. They may have it in your library or maybe they can get it for you. Or you may be able to pick up a used copy on Amazon.

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    1. Hi Lana, I think I would like that book. I have 'Your Money of Your Life', by the same author.

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  19. Hi Ilona, re funerals, I've instructed the kids that I simply don't want one. Just cremate the body and put on the roses (or something else that needs ash). It's way cheaper just to have a cremation and that way what little I leave them can be spent on other things. It's really only a get-together, with sandwiches and cups of tea, of everyone you knew, or they thought knew you! I will be well gone, so don't see the need for it. But I live in Aus, so it might be different in the UK.
    Love your blog, read it every day.

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