Friday, 24 November 2017

What's New?

Well, I'm completely and utterly exhausted. But that's to be expected given that I've moved job locations and am currently enjoying (hahahaha!) a ridiculously long commute via shank's pony and public transport. Yesterday involved two hours of walking, two and a half hours of bus, three hours of car, and six hours of training at a new position. Today there is no brain in my head.

Salted Caramel Latte at M & S Café
Not only that, I've fallen off the wagon a few times in my frugal efforts. The new team is a lovely bunch of people so I must admit I've left my packed lunch in my bag a few times and gone for lunch with them. I might be sad that the money is gone, but I don't regret making the choice - we silly humans spent a LOT of our waking hours at work so it's really, really important that we're doing something that we love, and getting to know our colleagues and enjoying our time at work, that's a must for me. It helps that we're doing so much travel - we took a "road trip" selfie yesterday and had some laughs at our silly facial expressions (not pictured - I can't be sure they'd like to be featured in my blog!)

Golf. And from only 9 holes.
A friend came to stay with me recently for a weekend on the park, so we spent some time in the arcade and drank cocktails at home. We did go through some cash playing the mini bowling (I won, by the way!) and also on the air hockey (I lost), but compared with going out on the town, it was definitely the frugal option. We also played mini golf, where I was soundly defeated. That one was free entertainment :)

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

El's Beef Casserole

I adapted this from a recipe titled "Chinese Pepper Steak", because, quite frankly, there is nothing remotely Asian-inspired about this in the least. Also because when I think of Pepper Steak I imagine a rump steak crusted with peppercorns, which this is not. Ahem. But anyway, this is what I cooked up for my buddy when he visited recently and I still have leftovers in my fridge and they're delicious.

Not my pic, because I forgot to take a photo - but this is what it looks like!
As it's made with beef, it's not really the cheapest food in the world, but it's definitely a yummy budget casserole when we're talking about beef.

If you have a slow cooker, you can use that, otherwise preheat your oven to a low temperature. On cheap meats we cook very slowly so they're nice and tender. The temperature you use will depend how much time you have. The minimum time is two hours (at 160 C) but if you have the time and are happy for the oven to help warm your home, 120 for six hours will make it melt in your mouth.

400g beef, sliced (you can use the cheapest cuts you can find - and remember this is probably in steaks!)
splash of vegetable oil
half a teaspoon of garlic powder (or one fresh garlic clove, crushed and added to the beef)
2 tbsp flour
1 can of chopped tomatoes in juice
1 stock cube (I use chicken, but any is ok)
1 onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped (any colour but green is usually cheapest)
1/4 cup boiling water
2 tbsp soy sauce (optional)

Sprinkle the beef with the garlic powder then brown the beef quickly on a hot frypan in a splash of oil. As soon as the beef has some colour, tip it into your pot. On the same frypan, stir the flour over the heat until it's toasted brown. Add to the pot.

Dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water. Add it in, plus all the other ingredients, and mix well.

Cover your pot and put into the oven. Wait some hours. Then enjoy! I do mine with mashed potato, but you could have rice, cous cous, noodles or pasta with it. Serves 4.

Tip: you can skip the frypan to save time (use cornflour dissolved in a little cold water, instead of plain flour).

Cost (Tesco November 2017)
Beef  £2.60
Oil 1p
Garlic powder 2p
Flour 1p
Tomatoes 31p
Stock cube 5p
Onion 8p
Bell peppers 65p
Soy sauce 11p
Total cost £3.96

96p per serve

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Wage rise

In what is absolutely brilliant news, the Living Wage Foundation announced its new hourly wage for 2018 not long ago, and it has gone up by 30p to £8.75 per hour (cheering goes here). This happens to cover me, as my employee is a voluntary signatory to their scheme. :)

But what's the reaction? Trolls, trolls and more trolls, whining at huge volume that either they don't get a payrise or that the new rate is still a pittance. I must confess I'm taken aback. The clincher was one commenter who lives on the living wage and posted his expenses, to "prove" to us that he can't afford to live on it - and in it was his food expense of £300 per month.

There is only one way that a single person can manage to go through that much food in a month and it's quite simply by wasting money. Either they're buying caviar, they're ordering take-away, or half their food goes into the bin. Even if I bought all ready meals and brand names I am not sure I could go through that much food. Maybe if I were also buying takeaway for lunch and tea every day.

I completely understand that there are people whose full time jobs involve a long commute and they're left exhausted by the end of the day without the energy to cook. Right now I am facing 14-hour days in a weeks' time unless I manage to rent a flat nearer to work (please cross your fingers) and I know that will leave me drained, at least in the beginning. But I am sure not going to "solve" that issue with a quick call to a pizza place every evening! Even buying ready meals is cheaper than that, and I'm sure that if I drag my butt into the kitchen on a Sunday for a couple of hours, I can create five home-made meals for a fiver.

It's not rocket surgery! If money is tight then stop wasting it!

Friday, 17 November 2017

Double Savings

It's been an interesting week - I say "interesting" because as I noted before, the tiny caravan freezer just wasn't up to the task of freezing more than one or two items at a time. It became too frustrating to be unable to cook in bulk, so I've just shopped online for a new freezer. Since the tiny freezer will be fine for a family just wanting to store tonight's instant pizza, I'll be able to take the new one with me to my new place.

But I'm rather chuffed at the one I found. First of all, I nosed around some of the big retailer sites and a few lesser-known ones, and I found that the cheapest one was even better, on sale. (Applause!) In a fit of rather late, but uncharacteristic intelligence, I checked out TopCashBack to see whether they had a deal for this retailer. They did! (More Applause.) So I cleared my cookies, started from the TopCashBack website, clicked through to the retailer and added the freezer to my cart.

I then saw their checkout page had an option for applying a gift card. Did Zeek.me perhaps have any of their online gift codes for sale, at a discount? (They did! Extra money off! More Applause.) So, a quick trip over to the Zeek site to buy an online gift code at a discount, and it was instantly ready to use. Typed it into the retailer's website and entered my delivery details (Free Delivery! The Applause continues.)

Within a few minutes I had my order confirmed and TopCashBack emailed me that there was cashback in my account.

This is the first time I've used TopCashBack and I have to say I'm impressed. So what is the catch, I hear you ask? Of course there's a catch. The catch is that some customers will probably choose to shop at retailers which are partnered with TopCashBack. Retailers get more business, which is the reason they can offer deals like this through the partner site.

But you and I are smarter than the average bear. We won't waste money just to get a cashback and we won't be tempted into adding extra things into our shopping cart and spending more. So... there are ways to always come out in front and now you know how. Stay frugal, friends!



*join links are affiliate links, so I get a small bonus when you join. However, I only post such links when they really can benefit YOU.

PS. Of course I didn't get it perfect. I found out later that Zeek is also a TopCashBack site, which means I could have got a further cashback for the voucher code that I bought. I will remember this in future!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

El's Budget Microwave Frittata Lorraine (Crustless Quiche)

A triple-serve of yumminess.
When I'm eating on a budget, eggs are my go-to for getting my daily protein. They are one of the cheapest non-vegetarian protein foods you can get, and sometimes I feel like eggs just seem like a nicer food than ten cups of lentils or a truckload of beans.

This is a simple frittata recipe that you can easily adapt to the number of servings you need. And no, there's nothing difficult or weird about "frittata", it's just quiche without the pastry. Or if you like, it's a yummy omelette.

Serves 1 as a side dish, which you can have with salad, vegies or even toast. If you want to make this to feed more than one person, just double or triple the amounts.

1 egg
about 50mL milk
10g cheese, finely cubed (about a tablespoon)
20g tinned sandwich ham, or sliced lunch meat, finely diced
a sprinkle of black pepper

In a small bowl or a pie ramekin, lightly beat one egg, then add the same amount of milk a little at a time, mixing well. Add most of the cheese, then the ham. Sprinkle with black pepper, then the remaining cheese. Use the fork to push all the cheese and ham under the surface.

Cook for two minutes on high, in the centre of the microwave. You will know it is cooked when you insert a spoon into the centre, push the mixture apart slightly, and you cannot see any liquid egg mixture. If you are cooking more than one serve at a time in the same bowl, cooking time will be affected. Add at least 90 extra seconds for each serve.

You can experiment with the flavours by trying mushrooms, spinach, broccoli or whatever cooked leftovers you have on hand.

Cost (UK - Tesco October 2017)
Egg 8p
Black pepper 1p
Milk  3p
Cheese 5p
Ham 7p

24p per serve

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Yellow Stickers and more

I've keep coming across pictures that I've taken and forgotten to post. Oops!

Here are my bargains from Tesco the other day. I must admit that I pour scorn on the idea that these are "cooking" peppers. Green peppers, perhaps you can say that, as sometimes they're bitter. But I adore orange & yellow in salads, and this sort of price definitely made them in my kinda budget. Salad vegies stay fresh for a good amount of time in my crisper, so I never panic over dates on them unless something is obviously wilted or going soft.

As for the other item, that might be a bag of five jam donuts reduced to 32p. Might. I also might have ripped greedily into the bag before I remembered to take a photo. The donuts had a same-day best-before date, which meant they were fine to eat for two more days, and also fine to freeze for another time.

I also need to show an update on the endive seedlings. Here they were in their five-day-old glory. Yes, I forgot to post this on time as well. You'll have to trust me that this is day five. :)

Friday, 10 November 2017

Washing the Laundry

So I knew that eventually I'd need a washer if my rental doesn't have one, and I had my eye on a little portable model that I could use here at the caravan in the interim. But I thought, no, for the time I need it, it will be cheaper for me to use the onsite laundrette. So I checked out the prices of the laundrette and in five loads of washing I'd have paid for a new twin tub camping washer. Here is my reaction to the price for each load, as posed by the Skype emoji model:


So I found and bought a brand new camping washer online and went to collect it from the next town, and managed to get it home on the bus. Since nothing in my life is ever simple, I opened the box and (fantastic) the washer was neither new nor intact, and the damage was definitely not done by me. It's got lint in the filter, a broken carry handle and a dinged-up cover, but does seem to work. So, faced with the brouhaha of getting it replaced and waiting and collecting it all over again, I've spoken politely to the seller, who assures me that we can split the cost if I'm happy to keep it. This works for me, so I'll call it a silver lining :)

Two of my eBay auctions sold (out of ten) which is a disappointing strike rate, but on the plus side, one of those sold for a very decent price. So I'm walking/scootering over to the town postbox today.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

El's Easy French Toast

French toast is easy to make, it's delicious, and it costs pennies - each slice costs about 9p.

I promise it wasn't burnt, as this poor photo makes it look!
1 tsp cinnamon 5p
pinch salt 1p
3 tbsp sugar 3p
2 eggs 16p
2 tbsp milk 2p
4 slices bread 10p

In a small bowl mix the cinnamon, salt and sugar.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs until lightly beaten, then add the milk and mix it together. Add in the spice mix and stir it well. Pour this onto a small plate and dip each slice of bread into the mix, making sure both sides are coated.

Heat a saucepan to medium heat. Place the bread onto the pan and cook until golden. You can also serve it with a knob of butter, or some cream, custard, sliced banana or ice cream.

It's versatile too and can be a breakfast or a dessert, and you can add almost anything sweet you can think of. YUM!

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Windowsill Endives, Day 3

Endives day 3
Aw, isn't it cute? There were actually two other seedlings emerging at the time I took this pic, but I don't think they're really visible in the picture. It's even possible that it's grass coming up. Hopefully all the emerging plants end up looking the same, otherwise who knows what will end up in my salads?

Today I am waiting for a text to tell me that my package is ready to go and collect - the portable washing machine I ordered, which (long story) didn't happen back when I first ordered it. I am not holding my breath, something tells me that I won't get the collection notification before the weekend, which is beyond inconvenient. Because who wants to hand-wash a double flannelette duvet cover? Not I.

I tidied up yesterday, and I even vacuumed! I'm calling this frugal, for reasons of carpet preservation. Let's go with that, shall we?

Also very frugally, I have had the heating completely off for a good portion of the day. The sun is absolutely glorious today and merrily greenhouse-effect-ing my living room, keeping it nice and warm.

Irritatingly, as I have a bad habit of doing, I haven't eaten all my ham by the use by date of today. This is due to laziness and me wanting to eat fresher things instead of using up what needs to be eaten. I will make myself create a quiche tonight for dinner and then freeze the rest for future sandwiches and quiches. Yes, you can freeze sliced sandwich ham - now you know - I just roll each slice and pop it into a sealed container, or you can put a piece of plastic wrap between each slice and store it all flat. It's perfectly fine once defrosted, in fact you can just pop the frozen slices into your sandwiches and they're ready within minutes. Thumbs up for that one!



Friday, 3 November 2017

Surveys For Extra Cash

I've been doing surveys with a little bit more gusto of late and one of them I was a member of in Finland, so I know it actually sends out surveys and actually pays. I have rejoined it now that I've moved over to the UK. It's YouGov, which you might have seen on the tv and in the papers, since they often ask people their opinions on politics or something that's happened in the news. The earnings for each survey are decent and every penny helps, right? Here's my referral link if you would like to join: https://yougov.co.uk/refer/kbOW2h06bn7EF0iEr6_GJg/

I am still discovering things that I don't have in my new place, and having to buy them. Not very frugal really. Also, I had planned to go along to a car boot sale in a nearby town (I haven't been to one of those in more than eight years) but sadly, the first bus going in that direction would have gotten me there four hours after it opens. Good thing I checked that, as they have casual work going and I almost applied for the job! "Erm sorry boss, I will be four hours late for work today..."

Endives, day 1
I had also decided that I wouldn't plant anything until I move into my rental. Huh? Well, the place I bought (a static caravan on a spectacular park) will become my side-project income, and I will need to live somewhere else (a flat, nearer to my work). I'm staying in the caravan for a few weeks in the interim. So as I said... I was sure I wouldn't plant anything until I move. Well obviously I was kidding myself, looking at my lovely warm living room window every day. So, a compromise. This rather unassuming fashionable plant pot is a hunk of dirt from outside and some endive seeds which were a gift from my old boss Johanna <3

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

El's Budget Chicken Curry

I just called it "my" recipe but realistically this is just a "how to eat something nice, on the cheap", not a recipe.

I tend to assume I'm doing ok in the budget books, but a friend asked me the other day why on earth I'm buying cooked chicken - even the supermarket brand - when I can get a whole chicken for two pound in Tesco?

Turns out he wasn't quite correct, but I will admit I had been ignoring the raw meat aisle lately because of my lack of freezer space. Anyway, I decided to give it my best shot and I went home with a pack of six chicken thighs for £1.49 (750g). Here's my dinner from tonight and here's the cost to make it. I cooked three and froze the other three.

2 small carrots 4p
3/4 cup of frozen beans 14p (I used fresh, which costs double this, but again with the lack of freezer space. Ouch.)
90g rice 4p
3 chicken thighs 75p
half a jar of curry sauce 15p (I used a different one which I had in my cupboard, but I've costed it on the Tesco value curry sauce.)

Incidentally, I cooked the whole lot in the microwave. I'm not keen on heating my gas oven unless I'm doing a lot of cooking, so I tend to go with the electric option. Microwaves are insanely cheap to run and generally a lot cheaper than both the oven and the stovetop.

I cooked the chicken thighs with the curry sauce in a container with the lid slightly open (a "vented" container) for about 14 minutes, stirring a few times. I knew they were cooked when I cut into a thigh and the juice ran clear. I then took them out of the micro, closed the lid and let them sit while I cooked the vegies and rice. I add a cm of water to the vegetables and they are cooked for about 5 minutes or until I see that the water is bubbling (again, remove them from the micro, close the lid and let them sit, the steam will continue to cook them). The rice is also really easy, measure the rice you need into your handy Sistema microwave soup cup, cover with water, cook 2 minutes at a time, stirring, until all the water is absorbed, then cover with water again and continue. Adding only a little water at a time helps to stop it overflowing everywhere in your microwave if like me you do not have a microwave rice cooker :) Repeat until the rice is tender.



The pic is taken on a rather small plate. I will admit I am not fond of huge portions, so I deliberately chose a package with six smaller thighs - most of the packages in the supermarket were five-packs. If you're a bigger eater than I am, aim for the bigger thighs and increase the vegetables. Adults generally need about 100g of meat per day to meet their protein needs and these chicken thighs are about 125 each including the bone, so the protein portion size is fine.

Cost per portion, about 38p (or 49p if you like a larger serve)

I have two "ready meals" now made up and waiting in my fridge, ready to eat during the week.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Scooter - Acquired!

It was a decidedly unfrugal day for me. While I paid for the scooter a few days back, I had to travel by bus to collect it from Argos. I did manage to make that bus trip do double-duty though, as I met my new boss for a chat (frugal!) but as we were meeting in a coffee house, I had to buy a coffee (not frugal, but at least it was lovely coffee).

So then I went to get the scooter, and of course I didn't have the right allen key to assemble it - and it was far too heavy to carry the scooter home in pieces, in its box, which made for some very awkward box-dragging shenanigans through the shopping mall to buy a set of allen keys. I then sat merrily on the floor of Wilko, ikea'ing myself a scooter. I'm sure the staff were a little bemused. (Yes, "to ikea something" is a verb. Shake your head if you wish, but I guarantee if you tell someone you're ikea'ing some furniture that you have just bought, they will understand immediately what you mean.)

I managed to test the scooter just a little bit after getting off the bus again. Then I stopped in at Tesco for the short list of essentials that I needed, and that has blown the £50/month food budget. Ah well, couldn't be helped, I needed too many things that don't get bought often.

Dinner tonight was a fish finger sandwich with lettuce and mayo. I'm calling this "fast food" as I was tired and didn't feel like creating anything fancy. Besides, I made up for it by eating an apple afterwards. That counts, right?

Friday, 27 October 2017

Hooray Bonuses?

So after the sale of the Helsinki apartment, I knew I'd have a capital gains tax bill. Fortunately I'm UK-resident, where the tax is lower. But this week I learned, while reading another blog, that UK residents also have a capital gains tax-free allowance (currently about £11,000). And I'm well below it. No tax bill for me? Score!

I also listed ten items for sale on eBay. None of them are worth very much but it'll hopefully be a few extra pounds in pocket.

What's been frugal in your week?

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Welcome to the super-fancy yogurt corner

One of the guys I used to work with had a yogurt addiction. Now before you all start thinking super-cheeky thoughts, hold your horses. It was these fancy yogurts that come with some kind of stuff to sprinkle into the yogurt. Chocolate, or toasted muesli, or sweets, or whatever fancy new invented sprinkly product they can come up with to get you to part with your cash.

He was eating one of these every day, and that canteen was definitely not supermarket prices. I reckon he lost a fiver each week to this addiction. But seeing them in the shop recently it got me thinking about what might work as an alternative.

Morrison's sells budget yogurts (peach & strawberry) for 8p each! I think you'd have so much choice for what to sprinkle into it and still stay under 25p per yogurt. All you need is a little bag with your chosen sprinkle. Some ideas are crushed digestives, a handful of muesli, sweet cereal, coconut, fresh or dried fruit, choc chips. There are also similar desserts for not much more - like creme caramel and chocolate mousse.

Think about it, if you managed to go for the cheaper option just for a month, you'd have saved enough money to buy a Christmas present for nothing. And I reckon my old workmate could be 200 pounds better off if he managed it all year!

PS. In the interests of scientific research, I tried this with a crumbled digestive biscuit (pictured below - 1p per biscuit, from Tesco). I knew you'd need photographic evidence so I settled the chunks lightly on top, but I made sure not to mix it into the yogurt, just in case I didn't like it. I'm happy to report that not only was it edible, I went back for another biscuit. The chunks stayed crunchy and went really well with the strawberry flavour. It's not miles away from being a slightly runny cheesecakey sort of snack. I have to say it improved my enjoyment immensely and it might just become a permanent habit as a dessert!
10p chunky digestive yogurt- yum!

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Five Frugal Fings

Fings? Well, it started with "F". But here are five frugal things I've done recently.

A toast to a new town, anyone?
1. I drank tapwater. I know, I know, plenty of you are probably thinking I was a moron for ever buying bottled water. Even I think I was sort of a moron for buying bottled water. I must admit I hated doing it, but I just couldn't stand the taste of the tapwater. Turns out that my new town has water which tastes great! So I'm very pleased to be back to the free option.

2. I rescued my vegetables. Seems like a silly thing, but I just couldn't stand to see all my vegetables ending up in the bin just because they had defrosted. I turned them into soup.

3. I walked to the supermarket. At the moment I don't have a car, and I could have taken the bus and saved myself the effort. But I saved a few pounds by walking instead. And let's hope it also stopped me from gaining any more weight... a girl can dream, right?

4. I watched tv. My new place is entertainment-central, full of things to do and places to see. When a neighbour remarked that the town carnival was on, I almost went into town. Truth be told, if I hadn't been so tired I might have, but I also know that I would have come home with less money! So I stayed in and watched a stand-up comic programme on the tv.

5. I bar-soaped it. I inherited some lovely, fragrant liquid hand soap here which is a little bit of luxury for free, but I'm not going to get addicted and add to that! Bar soap suits me just fine, so for the shower and my second bathroom, bar soap is what I use.

All up, I'm pretty chuffed at the things I've done lately to save money, but there is always room for improvement. What do you do to save a few pennies, or even a few pounds? I'd love to hear about it.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Frosty Mood For Me

I was quite pleased to nab a loaf of bread for 26p on the weekend because it was close to date. Yellow stickers make me happy :) I promptly bagged most of it into portions and settled it into my tiny freezer compartment, and then ate the remainder fresh for a couple of days.

Well on day three, when I reached in for the frozen bread to stick in the toaster, I was most dismayed to find that the top half of my bread was still soft. Turns out my little freezer compartment just isn't up to the task and only freezes the items right at the bottom. :(

Bread isn't a major cost saving when it comes to using my freezer, so not being able to freeze bread is not really a huge deal. But it sort of throws my general meal planning out of whack and means I'll need to buy the freshest bread I can get instead of yellow-stickered loaves. I hurriedly ate my "treat" meal last night (an instant Thai green chicken curry, which was thankfully frozen solid) and moved my fish fingers down to the bottom.

All this will mean I can't freeze many things from here on and will need to shop more often. More opportunities for temptation, arrrrgh! Give me strength...

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

El's Budget Hearty Vegetable Soup

Micro-safe soup cup by Sistema, HIGHLY recommended!
As I mentioned earlier, my house move resulted in some very soggy frozen vegetables that I needed to use up. The soup they created was delicious and made lots of leftovers, so I figured I'd share how I made it. It's not rocket surgery - often my cooking is by "feel" and I just throw in whatever I have lying about - but since my kids have become adults and started cooking for themselves, I've realised that not everyone can cook by feel, not everyone can instinctively know what will work in a recipe, and some people prefer a neat and orderly list of what to use. So, here it is :)

Serves 4.

1 can chopped tomatoes
2 cups hot water
1 chicken stock cube
1 sachet chicken & vegetable soup in a cup
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables

Dump the water, chicken stock and chicken soup into a pan and stir it well to make sure there are no lumps in the mix. Stir it over heat until dissolved. Add the other ingredients and simmer until the vegetables are cooked.

Hot tip: to make this go even further, add an extra cup of boiled water and a few tablespoons of tomato ketchup. As you can see, I took the photo before I did this, and my soup was ridiculously thick! :)

Cost (UK - Tesco October 2017)
Tomatoes 31p
Stock cube 5p
Soup sachet 8p
Frozen vegetables 20p

16p per serve
with two slices of buttered bread, about 25p per serve


Sunday, 15 October 2017

Move complete!

Some of the food I brought from the old place was in bad shape when I arrived and had to be thrown out (well, these things happen). I then realised the freezer was iced over, so more food thawed while I defrosted the fridge. End result was that I was forced to eat a frozen (thawed) cheesecake, and I cooked a huge batch of vege soup to deal with very soft frozen veg.

And, trolleys cause spending. I guess it's probably not news to most people, but I did a decidedly "duh" thing on my first shop at the new place - I used a shopping trolley instead of a hand basket. Now you'd think I would still be extremely cautious considering it's been an absolutely horrific two weeks in terms of spending. Not so. I went a bit crazy replacing all the things I threw in the bin before moving house, and oh.my.dog. The bill was ridiculous. Not to mention extremely difficult to carry home.

One-third of today's cost was buying new sheets (this new place has more beds than I have linens... ho hum). On the plus side, I paid for it all using a gift card I bought a few months ago. This doesn't make it free, but it does mean my bank account didn't take the hit. And despite the sheer amount I bought, it was a somewhat planned shop, and fingers crossed, should have all I need for two weeks (the convenience store nearby is very expensive and I'm trying to avoid it as much as I can).

Here's the part where I admit to throwing a few too many treats into that supermarket trolley...

I am eyeing off an electric scooter to try to mitigate the 45 minute walk to the supermarket & major bus route. I can see my work commute being rather tedious if I don't speed it up somewhere - as it stands it'd be three buses over two hours in each direction. A scooter could cut that to 90 minutes and two buses. I have a few of them on my watch list on eBay - second-hand :)

Tomorrow: I plan to pamper myself frugally. Relax, take a walk on the beach, then think about baking a cake. The following day it's busy time as I plan to start listing all my gift stash for sale on eBay and make a little bit of cash to stop the savings from haemorrhaging.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Busy few weeks

So I may have mentioned I had a little bit of cash after the sale of the Finland property. I've been looking at that amount and pondering what to buy with it, and fate has stepped in and shown me a lovely little place for sale in Devon. It has sea views and is literally a ten minute walk to the beach. It's lovely, beyond what I dreamed actually. The bills will be relatively high, but I will have no mortgage - hooray. It also has excellent scope for AirBnB.

I sign on the dotted line next week. I am very, very excited. Please cross your fingers and send all good juju my way, for no weird complications to crop up... a big one is the "can I get internet access there" question because silly me forgot to actually check while I was there, and reviews say that mobile phone coverage is poor...

In decidedly unfrugal news, it's costing me a lot to get my driving license back. With me being about to buy a property, I'm counting every cent. There's a discount supermarket across the road, but it just so happens I have gift vouchers for the one across town. I'm actually contemplating how far I'm willing to walk in order to get milk for my coffee :D

Monday, 11 September 2017

Lovely Saturday

I did work (as I always do all weekend!) but despite it being a terribly busy time, it has been a satisfying few days. I went to visit that second town, and two words: nailed it. The feel, look and energy of the town are all spot-on. It is definitely touristy and busy, and the place that I need to be. While I was there I checked out a couple of flats for sale. Mixed feelings on those but that's ok, this was just a reccy mish (reconnaissance mission... er, a trip to do research). The Finland apartment is sold (woot) and I've been invited to an in-person interview for the job I am after (woot woot).

So that last trip and this upcoming interview, two jagged holes in my wallet. I will even have to stay overnight for the interview trip, because of the timing of the transport.

I got some free scented oil in the mail this week.

PS: I wrote this a while back and accidentally saved it as a draft instead of posting it. I didn't get the job but was offered another one, so that's ok. Will update further later on.

PPS: I was re-reading my blog as I am wont to do on occasion and I realised that there is a glaring omission which might perhaps leave people perplexed. So, here is the Reader's Digest version. My husband and I separated over the summer. I won't go into detail, just wanted to note it in case it left anyone scratching head, etc. We remain the best of friends.
 - ff