How do I love the week before half term? Let me count the ways.
Let’s take the normal juggling of work, school run and assorted children’s activities and chuck in Parents’ Evening, a meeting about school camp and a Bake Off Competition at Cubs (Mum! Mum! I need to bake a cake!).
As an added bonus, my own mother has come to stay (Hi Muth!), so we’ve been zipping up and down the high street to visit the optician, chat to estate agents, stock up on chutney, collect staple guns and drop off donations at the charity shop.
But somewhere along the way we managed to fit in five frugal things this week, so here they are.
Simmered soup in the slow cooker
I could see it was going to be a crazy week, so I catered for several lunches in one fell swoop by chopping up a mountain of winter veg and simmering them in the slow cooker. For once, I cut the potatoes, carrot, leeks, onion and so on into neat cubes. This meant I didn’t even have to wait to whizz it up with a stick blender. Veg+water+stock cube = frugal and warming lunch in colder weather.
Cashed in on an Iceland discount
Remember when I got a voucher for 12 weeks free at Slimming World? After I started going, they handed out a Slimming World version of the Iceland Bonus card, offering £2 if you registered your card and a 10% discount for a limited time. I took one, even though I wasn’t sure when I could get to Iceland, as we don’t have one in Hadleigh.
Anyway, on Saturday we needed to drop my son off in Sudbury at hideous o’clock, so he could get the coach for an amazing Cubs trip to Whipsnade Zoo. So we took the opportunity to nip into Iceland afterwards and used the card for some food shopping.
I stuck to basics like fruit, veg, chicken, bread and milk and pocketed £4.47 off the £24.66 cost. I’ve just checked on mysupermarket.co.uk, and looks like the stuff I bought added up to less at Iceland than anywhere else apart from ASDA, even before the Bonus card, so I’ll count that as a genuine saving.
Tried free Halloween cake mix from Green’s
My daughter was delighted when Green’s sent us some boxes of Halloween Cake mix and Halloween Cookie mix. I don’t usually buy cake mix, but bung it together from basic ingredients. While her brother was at the zoo, she disappeared off into the kitchen determined to make cakes all by herself.
The box certainly made baking much easier, providing measured portions of ingredients, a hazelnut/chocolate icing tube, cupcake cases and clear instructions. She just had to add an egg and a bit of water, then get creative afterwards with the icing. Looks like the boxes cost £1 for mix for 6 cookies and £1.49 for mix for 12 dinky cakes from convenience stores like NISA. As a fuss free activity it worked really well, though I’m still keen on cooking cakes from scratch. My son’s looking forward to trying out the Halloween Cookies this weekend – you only need to add a bit of butter plus water for those.
Harvested our tomatoes
I may be stretching a point when I write ‘tomatoes’ in plural – our entire tomato harvest amounted to two.
Fair to say we won’t be reaching self-sufficiency any time soon.
But it’s been fun having a couple of plants on the kitchen windowsill, and I am full of good intentions to repot any future tomato plants in larger pots. My mother has also shown me how to pinch off shoots to encourage more fruit, so we’ll be aiming for a bumper harvest next year. At least three, I reckon.
Renewed attempts to mend the sofa
Turns out my attempts at mending our second hand sofa were no match for an eight-year-old who fidgets with sofa arms while watching TV. (Previous post)
Luckily this week my mother came to the rescue, armed with a staple gun and a charity shop blanket to pad out some missing foam. Months after buying the sofa, I spotted a large cushion in a charity shop in exactly the same William Morris fabric. So we’ve unpicked the cushion cover, and the two halves are large enough to cover each arm and hide the stuffing.
I do prefer to repair things if possible, rather than incurring extra expense and creating extra landfill. So many cheers and many thanks to my mother.
Now – over to you. What was the frugal highlight of your week? Do share in the comments, I’d love to hear!