Five frugal things I’ve done this week

Short pause while I stroke my shiny new pans


I meant to get this post up on Friday, but I was running for a bus/train/meeting, then whirling around with everything else.

And now it is (cough) Tuesday, so I thought I’d better get a move on, or the blog hopping will have disappeared off into the distance. Here’s last week’s post, and do check the links at the end to see posts by the other bloggers.

I also thought of making this post nice and short and punchy, but that would have taken me even longer.

Anyway – ta dah – here’s a celebration of some money saving measures this week. Not quite as much excitement as last week’s massive cooker purchase, thank goodness.

Sunshine and a spitfire at Martlesham Control Tower

Visited a free Open Day at Martlesham Control Tower

Last weekend coincided with the Ipswich Heritage Open Days, when you can visit assorted eccentric buildings for free.

We headed off to Martlesham Control Tower, a US fighter base in WWII, as we figured the kids would find it more interesting than some of the others. They turned out to be running a full whack Open Day. We discovered stalls, displays and a bouncy castle, accompanied by live music and jive dancing.

There was a whole array of stunning vintage cars and army vehicles, and lots of people wandering round in retro uniform. (What is it with us and stumbling on crowds of renactors?)

The afternoon cost a couple of pounds for the tombola, where my son was delighted to win a 1,000 piece jigsaw.
I even remembered to take a packet of biscuits from home, as bribery to step away from the enormous queue for the ice cream van.

Basil dilemma – in or out?

Snapped up some yellow-stickered bread and basil

I staggered round Morrisons on Tuesday night after Brownies and Beavers, which turned out to be the perfect time to pick up cut price short-dated bread. Bread freezes really well, so it won’t go to waste.

I now have a seeded bloomer (9p), six granary rolls (9p) and a couple of extra croissants (10p) in the freezer, and we’ve already wolfed the tiger bread (9p) and bag of five giant chocolate cookies (15p). Total cost? 52p. Bargain.

I also picked up a cut-price basil plant for 49p, full of dreams about mozzarella, tomato and basil salad, and ignoring my disastrous track record with house plants.

Basil is notoriously tricky, so I could do with some advice.
Should I just stick it in the herb bed and leave it to fend for itself, or repot in a bigger container and try to nurture it on the window sill?

Eggs shakshuka as a veggie option

Cooked a veggie option

I try to include some vegetarian meals each week, both to mix it up and as a money-saving measure.

This week I did eggs shakshuka, which is basically eggs poached in a spicy tomato and pepper sauce, and served it with brown rice. As our cooker is on the blink, it took forever, as I was cooking on a single plug-in ring and had to cook the rice before doing the rest.

Still reckon it’s a blinding recipe though, if you’d like to try it. Bring the cost down with mixed weight free-range eggs, value pack of peppers, value tinned tomatoes, then add long-lasting herbs and spices stashed in the storecupboard. Adding one herb or spice to my basket every so often makes the cost less painful than forking out for a whole load at once.

Bargain brand new pans

Bagged bargain saucepans from Gumtree

The fancy new cooker ordered last week has an induction hob. This means all but one of my existing saucepans will be useless, as they are not magnetic.

I know this because I’ve harassed them all with fridge magnets, when I could wrestle the letters from my children long enough to stop them spelling out rude comments about each other on the fridge.

Anyway. The cooker shop offered me a suitable set of four pans for £50, which is pretty good when the same set can cost £119.99 online, if you don’t get it thrown in for free with a Bosch or Neff induction hob.

However, I thought I’d check elsewhere, and ended up buying the exact same set, brand new, still in their box and original packaging, for £25 from Gumtree.
It was listed at £30 but the nice man selling the pans not only agreed to take less, but even dropped them round on his way to the gym. I am beyond excited with my beautiful new frying pan, milk pan and two cooking
pots with lids.

Cooker plug socket It’s all glamour round here.

Got a lower quote for connecting the cooker

Still on the cooker theme, I was quoted £95 for connecting the cooker when it’s delivered.

As there’s an existing cooker point, this seemed expensive for what appears to be basically wiring a plug. I asked around for recommendations for a local electrician, and was quoted £30, less than a third as much.

When the electrician comes round, he’s also going to give us a quote for putting in a couple of ceiling lights.
Believe it or not, ceiling lights you can switch on by the door are pretty damn useful when it gets dark.
Who knew? Certainly not some of the people who lived in this house before, or they might have PUT MORE IN. (And breathe).

And here’s a bonus extra fabulously frugal thing:

Snap! What are the odds on finding the same design?

Found a matching plate in a charity shop

I have a bit of a weakness for vintage crockery, as confessed in my post about charity shops.

This week I was delighted to discover a square plate in the EACH shop with exactly the same design as some side plates I picked up in a charity shop last year.

It cost £4, but will be perfect for a piles of home baking. Will have to get cracking with that National Trust recipe for fruit scones again!

So those are my frugal highlights from this week. Any successes you’d like to share? Or top tips on my basil dilemma?

If you’d like to check out other posts in this linky, or find out how to join in, do go over and visit the blogs Diary of a Frugal FamilyFamily Budgeting and Emma’s Savvy Savings.

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  1. 21st September 2016 / 8:38 am

    I cannot usually grow anything – not even cress on a flannel – but have managed to keep a pot of basil going on the kitchen windowsill for some weeks now. I put the pot inside an empty mamade tin. It just balances. When I water it, surplus drains through tot he bottom. When the compost feels dry, I empty out the tin, and water from the top again. Ridiculously pleased with this little success. Have fun with new cooker! [I'm still getting used to the one here, 18 months since moving in]

    • 21st September 2016 / 12:06 pm

      Glad you're having such success with your basil. Perhaps it's good drainage and not overwatering that is key. The packaging on my plant recommended putting the pot on a saucer and then watering the saucer not the soil. Fingers crossed I can keep it alive!

    • Anonymous
      21st September 2016 / 5:12 pm

      Do exactly that – water the saucer not the basil and don't over water it. I have got one in my kitchen which is flourishing for once and I think it is because I normally overwater. Basil gets a drink once a day and anything he doesn't suck up within 10 minutes is thrown away. I also pinched out the growing tips of each stem and the plant has bushed up rather than flowered and bolted. But maybe I am just lucky this time!

  2. 22nd September 2016 / 1:03 am

    How did you get away without having to have a spark in to put a special wire in for the induction hob as I had to do for mine?

    • 22nd September 2016 / 4:47 am

      A special wire for the induction hob? What fresh madness is this gaaaah. We did get someone round pre-Christmas who checked out the cooker point and fuse box and didn't say anything about special wires. Maybe it's because we're buying a cooker that includes induction plates, rather than a cooker in one place and a separate induction hob somewhere else (clutches at straws). Hopefully should be delivered next week, so will find out soon after.

  3. 23rd September 2016 / 8:38 am

    We eat meatless once a week and it is a great way to reduced the food shop. I have also been experimenting with other foods and have been surprised what my kids will eat now that they are older.

  4. 23rd September 2016 / 8:44 am

    WHat a great week you'd had – I love your plate and your new pans are soooo lovely and shiny!

    Thanks for linking up with #FiveFrugalThings last week. We'd love to see you again this week x

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