Five frugal things I’ve done this week #5

Growing up a storm on the kitchen windowsill 

Many cheers, it’s the end of another week and time to reflect on being frugal.

It’s been a quiet week for us, with the whole family struck by colds to a great or lesser extent.

I suppose the silver lining to pottering around at home was that we didn’t spend very much!


Freebie tickets, first thing on Sunday morning


Booked free tickets to a preview of Storks

Last weekend, before the colds hit, we did all get out.
On Sunday morning, my daughter and I went to see a preview of “Storks” over at the Colchester Odeon, while my husband whisked my son off to rugby.
We don’t normally go to see films when they are first released, but wait until they’re on offer at cheaper kids’ showings. (More info on cheap tickets in point 4 of this post)
However, I took advantage of free cinema tickets offered via my Times and Sunday Times subscription. I’ve just checked, and if we went this weekend, it would have cost £18.50 for the two of us.
I booked online and had to print out the email, but then we just handed the piece of paper to the usherette at Screen 1, and could pick whichever seats we wanted.
Reckon my 8-year-old daughter was pretty much the perfect audience for a film cram packed with babies, more babies, storks, comedy wolves and a mad female inventor.
Her review; “So cute it was bursting with cuteness!”.


Bageltastic packed lunch

Rustled up a packed lunch

With four of us flying in all directions on Sunday morning, we were unlikely to make it home much before 1.30pm.
I decided to make a speedy packed lunch before we set off, to quell any hunger pangs in the back seat.
Taking packed lunches, rather than grabbing food on the go or eating out, definitely helps keep our bills in check.
I resurrected some of yellow-stickered cut-price bagels from the freezer, and bunged in assorted combinations of soft cheese, ham and stilton depending on preference. I also raided multi pack crisps and drinks, chucked in cucumber, tomatoes, carrot sticks and satsumas in a nod to health, and added a little blue box of sliced peach for my satsuma-disliking daughter.
If you need further inspiration, check out my post on top tips for thrifty packed lunches.

One roast chicken, fresh out of the Aga

Stretched a chicken over several meals

Before we left on Sunday morning, I dug a half-price chicken out of the freezer.
After the thrifty packed lunch, I decided to do a full-on roast meal that evening, which would also provide speedy meals later in the week.

I stuffed the chicken with garlic, lemon halves and a bunch of tarragon from the garden, rubbed the skin with a bit of butter and poured some lemon juice under the skin.
We ate part of the chicken with roast carrots, roast parsnips and my daughter’s favourite mashed potato and gravy.

Afterwards I stripped the remaining meat from the bones, to be boxed up in the fridge.
I then made chicken stock by boiling up the bones with a litre or so of water, a couple of bay leaves from the tree in the garden, a few black peppercorns, half an onion, and the peelings from the carrots and parsnips. It made the kitchen smell amazing, and will make a base for soup or risotto.

I made sure to cook more than enough mash, to accompany a meal a couple of nights later. Once my husband had shifted his cold, I steamed some broccoli to go alongside the leftover chicken, mash, carrots, parsnips and gravy.


Gratuitous pic of leftovers night, with broccoli added to Sunday’s food

There was even enough left to make a chicken and peanut stir fry with rice the night afterwards.

All in all, the £2.45 yellow-stickered chicken provided enough protein for 6 adult meals and 2 children, and there’s still soup to come. Stretching food to make several meals helps save time as well as money. Check out previous posts on stretching roast pork and sausages too.


Moneyboxes: a catwalk display

Started an October savings challenge

With the first day of October on Monday, I decided to start a month-long savings challenge.

I was shocked by recent research that more than 16 million people in the UK have less than £100 in savings. Yet some low earners can and do save. According to the report, nearly a quarter of working-age adults on less than £13,500 a year have £1,000 in savings, and 40% save every or most months.(More details in this post)

I’ve been posting my small changes each day, aiming to spend less, earn more and save a chunk of cash towards Christmas.

With apologies to regular readers, so far I have started:

Day 1: hoarding £2 coins
Day 2: balance tidying our main current account
Day 3: maxing out supermarket vouchers
Day 4: claiming cashback from supermarket shopping apps
Day 5: bagging yellow-stickered bargains

As of Day 6, the running total for these small changes was £40.75, after my husband and I both got given some £2 coins in change.

For Days 6 and 7 I’m going to dust down the direct debits on our current account, to check if there’s anything unwanted that needs cancelling, and catch up on my spending diary.


No photoshop, honest


Celebrating Instagram with insanity

I wish I could pretend this was a fifth frugal thing about wholesome crafty activities with the kids.

But no, I wanted to celebrate the small success of reaching 250 followers on Instagram, as I track the passing of the seasons in our garden by posting a different flower each day.

Trudging home from the school run, I was inspired by the idea of taking a photo of leaves with the numbers cut out.

After battling with templates, an uneven lawn and the joys of the autumn breeze keen to whip away dry foliage, I can safely say this wasn’t my best plan.

Do come and follow me over on Instagram, but feel free to remind me that taking nail scissors to leaves is an insane idea, should I ever contemplate it again.

But, on the plus side, it was at least free!

Basil update

For those of you on the edge of your seats, after three weeks the 49p basil plant still lives!
As you’ll see from the pic at the top of this post, the kitchen window sill is going great guns with the basil, the accidental hydroponic mint, the remains of some coriander and a miniature rose which I’m hoping to resurrect.
In the middle you can also see the 25p pot of living salad, bought this week as part of the yellow-stickered shop on Day 5 of my savings challenge. Any bets on what survives till next weekend?

Anyone else have any frugal triumphs or crafty disasters to report this week? I’d love to hear!

I’m joining in with the #5frugalthings blog linky. If you’d like to join, or just want to check out other thrifty suggestions, hop on over to visit Cass at Diary of a Frugal Family, Becky at Family Budgeting and Emma at Emma’s Savvy Savings

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  1. 10th October 2016 / 8:25 pm

    I love your October savings challenge. We collect coins as well, but do raid it for things like preschool snack money or kiddies birthday pressies;-) I paid £80 into bank account 2 weeks ago.

    • 11th October 2016 / 5:23 am

      Thanks Lynn! Yes it's always tempting to raid moneyboxes for spare cash. Reckon your approach of paying it into a bank account definitely helps hang onto any savings!

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