Thursday, 29 January 2009

Stretching Mince

Some of you may already know this or do this but you can quite easily add oats into mince dishes to make the mince stretch further. You just need to add in extra liquid as the oats absorb loads.

For every lb of mince I add in 2 handfuls of oats and loads of chopped/grated veggies, this will easily stretch the lb of mince into 2lb and thereby not only reduces the cost of the meal but also the cost of the initial cooking as the resulting quantity can be used for 2 or 3 meals instead of 1.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Food Wastage

Food wastage comes in many guises, the bit left on the plate at the end of the meal, that last slice of bread which has gone dry.

There are ways to eliminate most of these.

Food left on plates - serve less and seconds can always be taken if really needed.

Last slice of bread - whizz up for breadcrumbs for use in dishes.

Stocks and gravies - freeze in meal size portions for use later.

Meat from the roast - slice for use in sandwiches or even another meal.

Wine - can be frozen in ice cube trays for adding to casseroles etc.

Veg going limp - chop, blanch and freeze or make into soup or even a veg base for curries etc.

Cheese going dry and hard - grate and freeze for later use.

Cream on the turn - use to make ice cream or whisk up and put blobs on a tray open freeze and use in dishes or with dessert.

Saturday, 24 January 2009


Now that all the Christmas leftovers have really gone, it is worth considering what to do with leftovers from "normal" meals.

With certain dinners I will take out a portion before serving the rest and put it into a suitable container for Dave to take to work for a hot lunch.

Other dinners if there are leftovers I will place into tubs in the freezer and they will be saved up, so that when we have enough portions we have a "leftovers night" buffet style dinner.
Sometimes I will have to add some extra veggies or salad, and maybe bread, but for pennies we have a basically free dinner.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009


Dave and the boys all keep short hair styles, if they went to the barbers it would cost us approx £210 per year.

I bought a set of hair clippers 14 years ago whilst I was pg with DS1.
Neither Dave or the boys have been to a barbers/hairdresser since.

The clippers cost £25 and we have had the blade sharpened once cost £5.
So £30 over 14 years = £2.15 per year for an average of 30 haircuts a year and obviously decreasing.

The annual savings made from this purchase are £207.85 and the longer we can keep the using the clippers even with blade sharpening the more savings will be made.

For myself I have a long style which is kept in a ponytail, so once a month a trim the ends off whilst it is in the ponytail which gives a layered look if down, and with having some natural curl it doesn't matter if the layers aren't quite even.

The savings made by me doing this are approx £100 per year.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Using Supermarkets Less

I used to be a shop in one place girl, get it all done then forget about it.

Now however, I find that I am more inclined to work my shopping trips in with trips for other things, and will even purchase more online if the delivery is less than or equal to petrol and parking costs which is often the case with where I live.

Our local Post Office/Londis store has just had a re-fit and are now selling on behalf of a butcher who is based approx 15 miles away. The butcher is one I would use if I were in that particular town.
If I make an order before 9pm on a Thursday the meat will be delivered on Friday afternoon.

Now from a petrol etc cost point this is a good saving as the PO is only a 3 mile round trip from our house, whereas the butchers is a 25-30 miles round trip and I would have to pay parking costs as well.
The snag is that all the meat comes vac packed in plastic, and whilst I appreciate this is the best option for optimum freshness, it doesn't hold well with the environmental costs.

I have also noticed that some of the things now in the PO seem to be on good offers or are not much more expensive than Tesco etc if you factor in the petrol cost etc.

I think there is going to have to be a fine balance between getting cheaper products but spending on petrol, or paying for dearer products but not on petrol.

Also whilst on this subject I have noticed that the Spar in the next village is also having good offers and I have to go through there once a week for football practice for David.

I would prefer to support the smaller local shops if at all possible so this will be my aim this coming year along with making savings as and when possible.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Christmas 2009

Something I intend to do this next year which I didn't achieve this last year is make our Christmas cards.

For Christmas 2007 I made all the cards we sent as a family, with the boys having a few kids ones purchased during the January sales in 2007.

For Christmas 2008 however I ended up purchasing cards as had only bought some for the boys to use again in the January sales 2008.

I will use the cards we have received this year to be the decoration for the cards which i will make using blanks purchased from Eco-crafts , (thanks Just Gai for this link).

I have enough wrapping paper left still from that purchased in previous years to not need any again for Christmas 2009.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Great Food Savings

I had been given a link to this great website is a cash & carry warehouse which also sells online.

The main difference being that some things have gone "out of date" or are about to. This is "BEST BEFORE" not "USE BY", so it is perfectly legal to sell this type of goods.

I have received my first order and the goods are of good quality.

Alot of these products are like those you will find in "Instore" and those type of shops and also on market stalls.

The p&p charge is based on weight and is £5.25 for up to 28kg, which is alot of weight.

On MSE there is whole thread dedicated to this company here.

Take a look and you too could make savings.

Saturday, 10 January 2009


David "wanted" some crocs to wear when he goes to Karate as they are easy to slip on and off.

We had agreed that if some could be found at the right price then yes he could have some.

I was given a link to website who were selling a variation of these at £1.60 per pair plus p&p.

Considering that these type of shoes even the cheap version sell at approx £5-£8 this looked to be a good deal.

As the p&p was per order not item I also got myself a pair for using for nipping out to the washing line etc and so the savings were even greater.

Total cost £7.15 for 2 pairs delivered to my door.

(cost at shops etc - £10-£16 plus petrol and time )

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Savings Ideas for the Year

A few ideas we have come up with to help us save during the year are:

Any 5p bits get put into an old 2ltr whiskey bottle.

Any coppers at the end of each week are going into a jar.

As each pay cheque arrives round down to the next £5 and put the difference into a savings account, I will do this direct with internet banking.

Any overtime Dave earns is also being put straight off the top into an online savings account.

Will save all Tesco & Nectar points to use for Christmas groceries as I did in 2008. I joined the Tesco Christmas club so don't get sent the vouchers during the year.

Any cashback earned during the year is again going into an online savings account.

We have stopped using kitchen roll pretty much and use newspaper to wrap veg peelings etc for the compost bin, and have washable cloths to use for spills and as napkins.

All lightbulbs have now been changed over to Eco-friendly.

Meals made with mince are bulked out with oats, lentils and veggies.

Homemade bread is often served with the dinner as this usually negates the need for larger portions.

I am a member of a couple of "click email" sites which award you points for clicking through emails , which in turn can then be either paid in cash or in products.

As I sometimes shop online from Tesco and Sainsburys, I go through which is affiliated with Ipoints, who will pay you one point for every £ spent; and then you can redeem theese points for DVDs, CDs, vouchers etc, (free goods).

Over 95% of our laundry is washed overnight using the Economy 7 tariff which is cheaper, and we also try to run the diahwasher during the night as well again, cheaper tariff. The laundry is then line dried weather permitting, or hung on an indoor airer, then finished off on the radiators (do not own a tumble dryer).

New Begininings

We have decided to cut our expenditure as much as possible whilst not compromising on our quality of life.

I have joined the "Live on £4000 for a year challenge" ( MSE), although this has been tweaked to include certain things for our family.

The emphasis for this challenge is to be able to pay for all the cost of living expenses whilst still having money left over to be able to :

a) build up an emergency fund
b) realise ones dreams
c) possibly have a few treats along the way

This is an ongoing challenge which could become a way of life.

Thursday, 1 January 2009


Welcome to one of our new blogs for 2009.

This year we as a family are concentrating on 2 things:

Savings and reducing our outgoings and

Recycling and being Green