Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Packed Lunch

One of the nice things about taking a packed lunch every day is that you can choose where to sit to eat it, this rose was my companion yesterday.

I always take the same packed lunch :-

8 ryevita
1oz cheese
1oz butter
1 tomato

This makes for a cheap and tasty midday snack.

MrShoestring has a formula as well:-

1 sandwich
1 muffin
1 piece of fruit

This saves us each around £3 a day compared to buying lunch which is £30 a week or over £900 a year, which almost pays for our annual Summer holiday ! Well worth bringing your own in my book !

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Solar Hot Water Boost

As I write this it is a beautiful sunny day outside and I'm waiting for our solar panel hot water booster to heat the water hot enough for a shower at no cost !

We have a photo voltaic system on the roof and when there is excess electricity produced then it diverts the excess energy to heat the water in the hot water tank.

At present the government's feed in tariff presumes that you keep 50% of the energy you produce for your own use but if you are out during the day then you are unlikely to use that much so it all goes into the National Grid but you are only paid for half of it. By using some of the energy produced to heat the hot water we can keep some of the energy and use it when we need it.

Of course, this system means that sometimes it can be hard to get a shower when you want one, as the water is more likely to be hot in the afternoon than the morning. However, really sunny days heat the water to such a temperature that it is still hot in the morning the following day as the hot water tank is well-insulated.

Over the four years that we have had the system we have rarely had to turn on the hot water between April and September and I think we have saved well over the £400 the system has cost us.

If you have the chance to get a solar hot water system fitted and would whole heartedly recommend it !

Monday, 18 June 2018

June Challenges 3

How are you getting on with your June challenges ? 

The first one for us was to eat more out of the garden and we did eat some frozen courgettes, use some frozen pumpkin in muffins and picked lots of lettuce and herbs. I also made a rhubarb and raspberry crumble. We are just waiting for the next lot of strawberries to ripen, but the weekend was not very sunny so that slowed them down.

My second one was to have some 'no-spend' days and I have done well over the past week. I bought petrol on Monday, nothing on Tuesday, nothing on Wednesday, nothing on Thursday, the groceries on Friday, nothing on Saturday and nothing on Sunday, making a total of 5 'no spend' days last week.

The final challenge to spend as little as possible on the 'prom' is still pending, as although MasterShoestring has now finished his exams he is helping his sister to pack up all her stuff ready to move next weekend so he hasn't given a thought to the prom, apart from collecting his ticket. I only hope he isn't going to leave things to the last minute as that can get expensive !!

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Happy Father's Day

We have not always celebrated Father's Day but now the children are older they do like to acknowledge the things their Dad does for them, including :-

1) Go to IKEA to carry all the stuff you need to move into your first flat.

2) Put together all that stuff from IKEA

3) Mend broken IKEA stuff

4) Being a removal man

5) Staying up late when you missed your train just to check you got in OK

6) Taking your part when your Mum still thinks that 16 is too young for a mobile phone

7) Still beating them at tennis

8) Catching and releasing all the creepy crawlies

9) Mending bikes

10) Mending cars

Happy Father's Day to MrShoestring and all the other Dads out there !

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Whipsnade Tree Cathedral

The Whipsnade Tree Cathedral is owned by the National Trust and admission is free. It is just the right distance from us to make a nice trip out.

The idea of the cathedral came from a soldier in the First World War who wanted to remember his fallen comrades. Mr Blyth worked on the project as long as he could and then his son finished it.

All sorts of species of tree and shrub are laid out in the pattern of a Medieval cathedral to form a living memorial to those who were killed.

In this year of the 100th anniversary of the ending of that war it is quite something to go there, remember all those young men and then look at the memorial which will take around another 100 years to reach it's full potential.

Trees are truly marvellous and what a great free place to visit !

Friday, 15 June 2018

Frugal Friday

Friday already, where do the days go ! Final GCSE exam today, hurrah ! But in amongst all the revision help we have also managed a few frugal things !

I used a £4 off a £30 spend at Tesco for the groceries this week and managed to get everything for £30.65-£4 = £26.65, so I thought that was very good for a whole week's groceries. The shopping was supplemented with strawberries, celery and lettuce from the garden.

We cooked ahead for several busy nights and made granola, yoghurt, soup, bread, rolls, felafel, quiche, gabriel potatoes, chapattis and vegetable curry. the fridge defrosted itself all over the floor one day when I was out, but fortunately we have plenty of old rags to help with the mopping up !

I started a free Level 2 course to complement the counselling one, all about understanding mental health problems. It is very thorough and by using government sponsorship I have saved myself around £400. It is well worth having a look at your local further education college's online course as there are several free ones being offered just now.

MrShoestring picked up a couple of packets of greatly reduced sausages one night when he went out for petrol, they have been out in the freezer for a barbecue at a later date. Perhaps when we have our young home stay student visiting in August. He's only 7 and coming to learn English all the way from Cameroon !

I hope that you had a great, frugal week !

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Leaving Unpleasant Comments

I hope nobody saw a very unpleasant comment left after the post yesterday about using excess strawberries. The last time it happened I found it upsetting and appealed for a spirit of harmony and co-operation between all who read. I also said that I never post to make people feel bad and encouraged people who do feel bad to seek help. You do not have to read what I write and I only started writing to help people out the way I like to have help and encouragement on our frugal journey. I don't like swearing and I don't like anonymous hurtful comments, so this comment has now been deleted so it doesn't upset anybody else.

I do understand that people feel overlooked and that the anonymous commenter may feel that no-one cares about their situation. I do care, that's why I try and post helpful, uplifting ideas and why I'll be lighting a candle and saying a prayer for that person who felt bad enough to want to post a nasty comment.

This corner of the internet is very small but I value everyone who reads and hope that that level of respect will be valued and adhered to by all the readers here.

Blessings !