Welcome to our very 1st issue of ‘Good and Cheap Throughout The Week!’ where we break-down the frugal highlights of all the weeks in the month – whether Success or frugal Defeat.
This Month we started the Blog you are reading now ‘Cheap as Chips’ and it’s been quite a learning experience! This is our first time blogging and we’re really enjoying it! We have been loving people’s reactions to our posts and to see that they are reaching people. Thank You for dropping by and paying us a visit! ❤
Now, on with the show! Let’s start with our Successes for this Month –
- Shopping ‘Whoops!’ – We have FINALLY gotten the time of our local Asda’s heavy discounting time (6.30pm where we live) and have been going to town. Our freezer has never been so full of bread! We have saved a good amount of money on bread this month by buying it fresh for 10p per tin loaf. We always buy the biggest loaves so we get the very best value for money. Normally, we make bread at home (with the aid of a breadmaker, God Bless you – you little, white wonder!) which costs approximately 49p per loaf including electricity. We can buy Essentials bread cheaper but our Local Aldi’s bread quality deteriorated some time ago, leaving the last 1/3 of the loaf soggy (which spreads) and quickly rots. We tried every which way around this (Air Drying, Oven Drying, Partial Freezing) without success. If you are planning a ‘Whoops!’ haul of your own, remember: It NEVER hurts to learn people’s names, especially the wonderful person who discounts the food (He will remain anonymous but has since been renamed “The Maker of Dreams”!)
- Forage – We are thrifty which means we’ll stop every time we see an opportunity. It never hurts to ask, as we were reminded earlier in the Month when spotting these beauties outside a local plastics manufacturer! We were able to make a new friend and get a reliable source of good quality pallet wood! This is a win-win for us as Lee makes a lot of things that we need from this type of wood and also makes a few things to sell, too! All you have to do it ask. Afterall, the worst they can say is “No”!
- Using (the right) Coupons – This is nothing new to you i’m sure but usable, valid Coupons that don’t have you jumping through a million hoops to use them are as rare as hen’s teeth in the UK nowadays! Enter Farmfoods which has been a game-changer for us recently, following a significant rise in cost for our Meat-Free food shopping. In order for us to keep to our weekly food budget of £20 per week, we usually do a “meat-free stock-up” shop at Tesco once every 6-8 weeks, buying their frozen own-brand range which used to go (and stay) on sale VERY frequently. Earlier this year, the prices stopped rising for the own-brand product and instead, Quorn products became heavily discounted. I am allergic to Quorn (*le sigh* They recently changed their recipe and it’s affected a LOT of people) so this put us in a tight spot. We will not pay £1.75 for 6 sausages. We just won’t.
Right at the beginning of the month we received a Farmfoods flier which just-so-happened to detail what good value their Own-Brand Chicken Style Pieces are! I leapt online to see if there was more information and things looked positive, so we went along to our nearest Farmfoods to take a look. We had been to this shop before about 4 years ago and when we couldn’t find what we were looking for, we left quickly. The shop was very dirty, dated and the service we received was bad. Now things have changed massively. The store has had a lovely re-fit and seems to be managed much better! Now, not only do they have a vegetarian offering which is cheaper than anywhere else (which is EXCELLENT and we highly recommend!) they have multi-buy offers on the range itself and then a further discount at the till when using the Coupons which they now regularly send us! Hooray for Farmfoods!
- Harvest is Starting! (Pt. 1) – We are amateur Homesteaders (and I use Amateur in the fullest sense of the word!) but we’ve been growing some of our own food for a couple of years now. This year is the first year we’ve aimed to grow as much of our food as possible and to grow all the fresh veggies that our pigs consume too! We had a great pea harvest earlier in the year and during August, we harvested half our onions. This then took up every available side in the kitchen as they dried (which was completely inconvenient). After further research, we discovered that it takes approximately 2 weeks (!) to dry the onions before they can be plaited! Needles to say, they have been relocated which we’ll detail in an upcoming article, written by Lee! It’ll be his debut on the blog so i’m really looking forward to seeing how you all respond to his creativity ❤ Nevertheless, excellent Onions!
- We Stayed In and Stayed On-Track – This month was quiet on the social calendar so we enjoyed some time at home, righting some of the wrongs that have been on our to-do list for around 100 years! This helped to save us a good amount of money and we got through a ton of stuff that had very patiently waited for us. The house looks MUCH better which is lovely to see!
- We helped people save money! – This blog has reached 57 people so far and it makes me so happy to think that people have engaged with some of the Good Cheap ideas we’ve written about. Thanks for supporting us with your readership! We also saved my dear Father-In-Law “a few bob” as he would say when it came time to renew his contract for Home Broadband. It’s always helpful to do 2 things when renewing – First, call directly through to Retentions or “You’re thinking of leaving us” and haggle for the best deal there and Second, PUT THE DATE OF RENEWAL IN YOUR DIARY WITH A REMINDER SET A MONTH IN ADVANCE. I Bold and Underlined that y’all. It never fails and it’s something you should do if you’re serious about saving big money.
And now for our Defeats 😦
- I Broke Something – Anyone who knows me well knows that these days I am fairly cack-handed and I break things at the drop of – well, something I dropped! However, I dropped nothing! Nothing! (I realise there are a few hours remaining until September so a silent prayer has gone up!) Instead, I cracked the freezer Drawer Front -_- These are SO expensive to replace, even if the Fridge/Freezer isn’t a high-end appliance (which ours definitely isn’t). We tried hot gluing it, then we tried patching and hot gluing it. Both things have failed but I have an idea about how to replace the front via another method which i’ll be writing about soon! (as soon as I get it done!) 😀
- We Hosted Another “Guest(s)” – Following the triumphant departure of Winston (the Honey Bee who came to sleepover!), we found a whole host of other guests living on our lovely Basil plant which grows on the Kitchen Windowsill. Not only was this young man hiding in the leaves (his accomplice we found eating his way through the plant!), the plant was also plagued by Aphids. We tried placing sprigs of crushed mint around the plant, put it outside several times to see if the Aphids would get chased off by predators and even sprayed a mint-infused mist over the plant everyday. All to no avail (“Noah Vale? Did he mention me, then?!” – Forgive me, i’m a terrible ‘Name Dropper‘), the plant died and I had the pleasure of washing tiny white aphid carcassess off of the remaining leaves. Hmmm -_- At least I can dry the leaves and get some use of the plant. RIP, sweet basil plant ❤
- Harvest is Starting! (Pt. 2) – As previously stated, Harvest will soon be upon us but things have not all gone swimmingly in the Garden. At the start of this year and growing season, we were distracted by house hunting and had the purchase of a cottage fall through. This was a very stressful, distracting and energy-sapping time where things were missed and this has contributed to the failure that we’re seeing in our Tomatoes and Potatoes. Our Tomatoes are a complete write-off (they are literally rotting on the vine and never ripened. We even tried force-ripening them but this didn’t help either) and our potatoes have come up very small. Much more preparation of the soil is needed for next year, we’ll have to chalk this one up to ‘Experience’.
- We’re Close to Missing our Savings Goal for the Month – There’s a few good reasons for this. Lee had time off work and my Survey Sites aren’t offering me the same volume of surveys to take at the moment. I also haven’t sold much for the business this month so income is down. Lee works for a well-known, International Pizza Delivery chain who recently had a store refit and as Lee needed to use some holiday, we booked the time off. We didn’t go away as we are saving every penny but this time-off has been reflected in his pay (which, being based on a Zero-Hours contract is averaged for Holiday) and his payslip was wrong. September will be a better month!
So there you have it! These are all our successes and failures for the month and it’s been interesting for us to document them like this. We’ve kept pictures as records about our highs and lows for the month and it’s something that we’ve found to be intensely motivating! What do you think? Is it worth a go for you to try this for yourself? You might find that you’re having more successes than you think!
Hoping you all have a Blessed week ahead ❤