Five frugal things this week (19 Oct)

Photo of a purple crocus against the strawberry leaves

Crocus against the strawberry leaves

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.


Picture of my winter vegetable soup from the slow cooker as one of my five frugal things this week

Central heating in a bowl

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.


Picture of the Slimming World Iceland bonus card I used to save on my food shopping

Off to Iceland

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, 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.


Picture of Green's Hallowe'en Cake mix and cakes my daughter baked

Fairy cakes with minimal faff

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.


Picture of a single tomato and one tiny green tomato on our kitchen windowsill

Our entire tomato crop

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.


Picture of my mother mending our sofa with a cushion cover and a staple gun

Stapling the sofa

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!


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

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Pinterest sized image of a purple autumn crocus against strawberry leaves for my five frugal things this week post

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  1. 19th October 2018 / 12:12 pm

    Hey Faith!

    I adore the way you mended your lovely William Morris sofa – that’s definitely something I’d want to hang on to for as long as possible 🙂

    I love upcycling and using the zero waste lifestyle to live frugally. I buy & fix up old moth-eaten jumpers and turn them into cushions, plus I hang on to old candle pots & reuse them around the home.

    • Faith
      22nd October 2018 / 7:39 am

      Your cushions sound fab. I have my mother to thank for mending our sofa this time, it really is transformed.

  2. Sam from Swimming!
    19th October 2018 / 6:39 pm

    Cake kits are fab stocking fillers – its become tradition in our house now- the kids love it as they’re so straightforward, I love them as i hate buying a bag of icing sugar, knowing it’ll all be hard by the time I come to use it again!

    • Faith
      22nd October 2018 / 7:39 am

      Top idea of cake mixes as stocking fillers, thank you!

  3. 19th October 2018 / 7:43 pm

    Absolutely hilarious – but your tomato harvest still beat mine, which came to zilch! Seriously, I need to get into gear with growing food, so maybe seeing if I can match your harvest next year will spur me on 🙂 Good bargain with the Iceland discount as well!

    • Faith
      22nd October 2018 / 7:38 am

      Hopefully we can urge each other on, as beginner growers! So far I’ve only mastered buying the seeds…

  4. 20th October 2018 / 2:06 pm

    Your tomato harvest made me laugh! The soup looks delicious.

    • Faith
      22nd October 2018 / 7:38 am

      Soup was good. I made so much I’ve still got the last of it left!

  5. Tree
    20th October 2018 / 10:38 pm

    Cakes and soup both look lovely.

  6. linda
    21st October 2018 / 3:36 pm

    Our week has been full too but have used a “wonder bag” to cook soup and curry while I am at work for a swift tea! This is amazing as it cuts down on your energy use, so good for the planet too! Our tomatoes are still ripening in this beautiful autumn sunshine. Looking forward to some slow time over half term.

    • Faith
      22nd October 2018 / 7:37 am

      Off to google wonder bag, sounds fascinating. Glad you’ll have a more successful tomato harvest than I did!

    • Faith
      22nd October 2018 / 7:37 am

      Off to google wonder bag, sounds fascinating. Glad you’ll have a more successful tomato harvest than I did!

  7. Hawaii Planner
    22nd October 2018 / 9:46 pm

    It was our anniversary, and our 11 & 12 year old kids made us a cake & frosting from scratch. The cake was fabulous. The frosting was a little . . . gritty, but tasted fine. All told, it was a hilarious & fabulous hurrah for our anniversary. We stayed in, and I attempted to make Persian food (my husband is Persian, and I am not), & he came to my rescue. We did lots of freezer/cooking prep, and I’m feeling much more relaxed & ready to tackle the work week!

  8. Siebrie
    31st October 2018 / 11:11 am

    That’s two more tomatoes than me!

    Since you were growing them indoors: did you play ‘bee’ when the flowers were on? With an earbud go from flower to flower to pollinate them?

    • Faith
      1st November 2018 / 10:35 am

      Er – no? Guess wangling pollen with an ear bud is another thing to add to my tomato to do list next year! Thanks for the tip!

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