Five fabulously frugal things I did this week (19 May)

Picture of two purple irises in front of our house

Irises are out by the front wall

 

I’ve had an action-packed week, compared to my normal pottering around on the school run, interspersed with working away on the computer.

From an annual meeting to a running club and an awards ceremony, I was zipping off all over the place and even (shock horror) did some driving.

Now I need to get baking. Sadly not for me to scoff, but to sell in aid of the Hadleigh Sea Scouts at tomorrow’s Hadleigh Show (post about last year’s show here). I also made sure I bought a couple of adult early-bird tickets to the Hadleigh Show – still available up to 5pm tonight!

So here’s my round up of five frugal things we did this week.

 

Picture of the frugal freebies I picked up at the East of England Co-op Annual Members' Meeting, including Marriages flour, Gnaw chocolate, Hadleigh Maid chocolate, some recipe cards and my badge

My haul from the East of England Co-op Annual Members’ Meeting

Picked up some freebies at the Co-op meeting

Last Saturday, I headed over to Wherstead to catch up with the East of England Co-op. Unlike other giant supermarkets, the Co-op is actually owned by its members – that means people like you and me, staff, customers, anyone with a Co-op card. I’m a regular customer at our local branch in Hadleigh, and was fascinated to hear how the business is doing. It was also great to meet local producers who are part of the East of England Co-op’s Sourced Locally range, and hear about how it has helped small businesses, slashed food miles and poured millions of pounds back into the local economy. I do aim to keep my food shopping bills low, and scour the reduced sections, but I’m still glad to support local businesses when I can.

This year’s meeting was a bit more relaxing than last year, when I stood for election to the board and narrowly missed out. Maybe another time! As part of the meeting, we passed a resolution to continue paying members a 2% dividend. By handing over my Co-op card at the till every time I go shopping, I’ll get back 2% of all my spending as vouchers to cash in or spend at the Co-op.

The frugal aspect was getting a delicious free lunch, trying some samples and carrying off freebies including a Hadleigh Maid walnut whirl, some insanely good Gnaw Chocolate and a bag of Marriage’s flour.

 

A picture of the garden and building I made at the Lego club at Hadleigh library

Surely every garden needs a stripey pavilion

Took the children to Lego club

There’s a brilliant new initiative at our local library, where the Friends of Hadleigh Library group has started a Lego club every other Saturday afternoon.

It only costs £1 a child for two hours from 2pm to 4pm. Both my kids love Lego, so my daughter was delighted to build a Lego vending machine while my son put together a board game with some friends and then played it for the rest of the session. Even better, I could get stuck in too. Next session is on Saturday May 27th, contact the library if you’re keen. Don’t know about the kids, but I’m looking forward to it already.

I reckon it’s always worth checking what’s on offer at your local library, if you’re lucky enough to have one. Apart from being able to borrow books and CDs, they often run low cost activities for children from babies upwards.

 

Picture of my pair of running shoes, used for training for a free place on the Great East Run

Running shoes to get me round a time trial

Joined a running club for free

Regular readers may remember that I somehow signed up for a half-marathon, after entering a competition in a fit of New Year’s Resolutions enthusiasm. The competition promised not only free entry to the Simplyhealth Great East Run, but also free kit and support with a training programme.

On Monday night, I also discovered that I get free membership of the Jaffa Running Club in Ipswich until the race, which will be a great help in getting fit for less!

I was summoned to the club along with the other four competition winners (waves to Jeff, Paula, Sara and Tony!) for our first training session together. We were invited to meet the coaches, discuss training plans and do a 3km time trial. I felt pretty confident beforehand about covering 3km – after all, I’ve done a few 5km runs after competing Couch to 5K and regularly stagger on for 30 minutes. The big surprise was that we were expected to run 3 laps as a warm up (warm up jogging? Isn’t that the actual running??) and take part in a stretches session straight from the Ministry of Silly Walks, before the timed 7.5 laps.

I had to count my laps particularly carefully as people zoomed round overtaking me. Put it this way, my 21:45 time is hardly going to trouble the Olympic selection committee. Results from recent races were announced at the start of the club meeting, and I discovered that one member had covered 10km in less time than it takes me to run half the distance. Did he catch a bus?

After the timed laps, I gracefully declined the chance to participate in the intervals session. Apart from anything else I had to drive back (yes actual driving, me in a car) and needed someone to show me how to put the headlights on. I am not even joking.

Anyway everyone was really friendly and I am definitely grateful for any and all support in attempting to run four times further than I’ve ever managed before come September.

 

Picture of frugal flowery dress dug out of my wardrobe to wear again to an awards ceremony

Possibly bought for a christening? Not even sure.

Dug out a dress for an awards ceremony

So drum roll please – after panicking about what on earth to wear to a work event this week, I was not actually forced to cut holes in a floral duvet cover to create a dress that would fit. Previous post about “how not to start a diet” right here.

Instead, I tried on all options in my wardrobe that could possible be categorised as a cocktail dress (that’s the jogging bottoms out, then).

I ended up wearing this cheerful number which was just fine, and didn’t involve shelling out loads of readies on a flash new frock.

 

Picture of a frugal beef pie I made from leftovers from a packet of puff pastry, yellow-stickered roast beef and gravy

Wobbly photo, distracted by the desire to dig into the pie

Produced a pie from leftovers

I nearly cracked and had a takeaway after all this excitement, but my husband refused to go out in the rain for fish and chips.

Instead I made a more frugal beef pie from the leftovers from a packet of puff pastry, Sunday’s roast beef and some gravy. It really was incredibly easy. I bunged chopped up beef, gravy and leftover carrots in a dish. Then I floured the work surface, rolled out a rectangle of puff pastry from a packet, draped it over the dish and sliced off excess pastry.

Bung it in the oven at 200 degrees C for 10 to 15 minutes until golden on top and bubbling underneath, and bingo one beef pie. We ate it with leftover mashed potato, broccoli and a good slug of red wine. Cheers.

 

So now – over to you. Frugal successes to share? Suggestions for top-selling bakes for cake stalls? Do let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear.

 

I’m linking up with Cass, Emma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five fabulously frugal things I’ve done this week’ linky.

13 Comments

  1. May 19, 2017 / 2:02 pm

    Wow this is a brilliant week Faith!

    That dress is beautiful and the pie made me excited for my own lunch that my husband is cooking now!

    You have some fantastic ideas. I must visit the library more.

    • Faith
      May 20, 2017 / 7:54 am

      Thanks Katy. Definitely worth nipping along to your library. Might well have some activities Daisy would love.

  2. May 19, 2017 / 3:44 pm

    I’m impressed with the running – never been something I’ve been able to do (apart from a bus once or twice). And the wobbly pie photo shows it was too good to wait for! Looks like leftovers to be proud of 🙂

    • Faith
      May 20, 2017 / 7:56 am

      I have always been rubbish at running, and I can’t say I’m much better now, but at least I can keep going for longer. Started running because it seems to make the most difference for the least money, and would definitely recommend the NHS Couch to 5K podcasts.

  3. Hazel
    May 20, 2017 / 7:12 am

    Lovely dress!
    Cake stall tips-
    I’m with Nigella; nothing brown unless it’s chocolate.
    Flapjack can be pushed as a healthier option 🙂 Try a variation that people won’t make at home. We do an apricot and ginger flapjack that sells very well. Add chopped dried apricots and grated fresh ginger after melting and before baking, to taste. For ease, we cut it into smaller squares and charge the same amount as for the larger squares of plain flapjack. Any crumbly bits can be offered as free tasters to convert the waverers.
    I’ll even share my best flapjack recipe if you don’t have one 😉
    Lemon drizzle cakes are usually popular
    Good old fashioned boiled fruit cake is often a hit, especially with slightly older people (though it’s my favourite too, and I’m under 50!)
    Anything that people perceive as being too much faff to make at home- I mutter ‘but we can make cupcakes at home’ to my children, but someone wants to go to the trouble of making me a carrot cake? Oh, go on then!

    Another consideration- leftover fruitcake and flapjack freezes well if you don’t sell it all and can be used for packed lunches (it defrosts by lunchtime). I think Lemon Drizzle would too. Anything you make with a topping- carrot cake, frosted chocolate cake- will have to be eaten in the next couple of days by you…

    • Faith
      May 20, 2017 / 7:58 am

      Fabulous recommendations Hazel, many thanks. I’ve done some flapjack with chocolate drizzled on top, and am about to ice a marble cake. Had grand plans about cup cakes and lemon drizzle but may not get round to those!

      • Hazel
        May 20, 2017 / 9:51 am

        Good luck!

  4. Alice
    May 20, 2017 / 11:28 am

    Loved this update! So impressed with the training and driving and bet you lookrd lovely in the frock.

    • Faith
      May 26, 2017 / 12:58 pm

      Thanks Alice. Currently melting in the heat with recent running, and bracing myself for more driving over half term. Wish me luck…

  5. May 26, 2017 / 10:17 am

    That dress is lovely Faith – so pretty and much better than buying a new one.

    Thanks for joining in with the #5frugalthings linky x x

    • Faith
      May 26, 2017 / 12:57 pm

      Thanks Cass! It was a fun evening out.

  6. May 26, 2017 / 9:59 pm

    Love the dress! My frugal win for the week was that I couldn’t find appropriate shorts to wear (and, it gets super hot here). I’m looking for shorts that are appropriate for around the house, sitting by the pool, etc. But, even then, not interested in flashing my bottom. So, I made my own shorts out of a pair of jeans that are too big. I won’t win any fashion awards, but they are free & customized to be just the right length.

    • Faith
      May 27, 2017 / 5:21 am

      Good call with the shorts! Great to have something just the length you want. Now the hot weather has hit, I’ve been wondering about chopping off some of my children’s school trousers to make into shorts. They’ve been shooting up in height, and growing out of their current uniform.

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