Good & Cheap Throughout the Week!: September 2019 Round-up.

It’s that time again where we run through our successes and failures for the month!

September so far has been incredibly busy for us and it feels at the moment as though we’re like two chaotic whirlwinds just breezing about but for all our bluster, we are getting things done. You know what it’s like when your to-do list grows a mile a minute and your time seems to fly by? That’s been September for us so far! Let’s pray for the October ‘winds of change’ to freshen us up a little bit and get us back on track 😀

Let’s start with our Successes:

  • The majority of our harvest has been healthy and has taken well to drying – This has been a major triumph so far, especially when you consider that last year we lost so much of our harvest because we hadn’t learnt how to store the produce properly. There really is no substitute for experience, as they say and this year’s bounty seems to confirm it. We’ve both learnt new skills and have put our homemade drying tower thoroughly through its paces!
  • We’re leaning less on Electricity – This is extreme but we are trying to reduce the amount of Electricity we consume by going back to basics (e.g. cooking on gas, reading rather than watching TV, using a candle to walk around the house rather than flipping lights on and off, gradually replacing battery operated or electricity dependent items for traditional, off-grid items). This is the perfect time of year for our experiment with reduced lighting/gadgets, etc and we’re just getting started. One thing we’re trying to do is to store the bulk of our harvest outside of the fridge/freezer which is going well and is easy to get into. For example, we’re storing onions at room temperature, hanging rather than chopped in the freezer. I had to learn to plait them but it was simple to learn, thanks to Youtube! We’re not swearing off electricity completely, but we are trying to lessen our dependence on it.
Home grown and hand strung
  • We’re making excellent process with our “Pantry” – As you will already know if you’ve read some of our recent posts concerning Brexit Prep, we have been working on gathering key items for our “Brexit Pantry”. It’s going really well but i’d be lying if I said it hadn’t been a challenge to start something that could be so important if things go badly at the end of the month! We’re still working on it, right up to the deadline of October 31st 2019 so we need to get a wiggle on to get it finished!
  • Lee has worked a LOT of extra hours – There’s always a cliff-like drop-off following the Summer Holidays at Lee’s job where many of the students working their summer jobs leave to return to University. This leaves a void of workers and because it’s also a hectic time for families with Children returning to school, orders surge. This means that Lee will work over 40 hours in 3.25 days which is exhausting but financially bountiful. The rain this weekend has been torriential and as a result, Lee has had some nice tips from people who see him on their doorstep looking like a drowned rat! It’s so generous and very much appreciated (even though Lee is STILL drying out)!
  • We’ve saved big on Food Shopping with Coupons and Whoops! sales – As usual, we used our coupons at Farmfoods and were able to save £7 at the till without considering the multi-buy discount we get with Frozen Vegetables and Meat-Free substitutes! Any saving on food these days is a cause for celebration and we’re definitely seeing more people jumping on the Whoops! sales at our Asda now compared to even a few months ago.
  • I’m just a canning MACHINE! – September feels like a haze of fruits and jars, fruits and jars all over the place. Last year we canned 4 jars of homemade jam, this year we’ve canned 40. Our garden is now naked and as the ‘Devil has p***ed’ on the remaining Blackberries, I can safely and with much relief declare that canning season is over! Next year, I hope to have a pressure canner and up our game a step further but for now, i’m not going to miss the water bath canner (and constantly wet forearms, for some reason?!)
Extracting Pectin as a I go!
  • We were treated to a Holiday with Family ❤ – Our dear friends know about our mission to buy a house (our “not buying anything else” quest) and invited us to join them for a couple of days on their holiday in Devon! We only see each other once a year as we live far apart from each-other but we had a wonderful time together in a beautiful part of the world.
We spent the day at the beautiful Buckland Abbey whilst in Devon and we had a wonderful time learning about Sir Francis Drake (who owned the Abbey).
  • We’ve started buying/making for Christmas early – I love being prepared. Organising and being ready months in advance for things are two of my favourite hobbies (No, really – we gave our friends their Christmas present and card when we visited with them on the first week of September *cue loud eye roll!*)! We are gifting a mixture of handmade and shop-bought items this year so i’ve already gotten a jump start on the sewing/knitting.
  • We’re getting a free, Home Cooked meal and Fellowship once a week – Yes, you read that right! We’re enjoying a delicious meal and some fantastic company every Wednesday evening for 10 weeks having joined an Alpha group that our Church is running. We’re both getting a lot out of the course and getting to know some lovely people! If you haven’t done Alpha but would like to, have a look for a course near you here.

And now our Failures for the Month:

  • We lost our sweet old boy and spent a lot on vet care – Our sweet 5.5 year old boar, Smokey, passed away last week at the Emergency Night Vets. We came home after a long day out and found him struggling to breathe and when we took him in, they confirmed that he was in pain and found a tumour which was causing his breathing difficulties. We like to have our boys pass away with us at Home when it’s their time but there was nothing we could do to manage the pain, so we made the very difficult decision to have the Vets help to send him to his true home ❤ They were wonderful and helped him a calm and comfortable rest which has confirmed that we did the right thing for him. Without going into too much detail, a visit alone to the Night Vet is £145.00, that’s before medication or Cremation costs (We pay to Cremate our boys at the moment as we don’t want to bury them in the garden of our current home which is rented from the Council. When we buy our own home, we will bury our boys rather than Cremate them). This is a massive amount of money for us but knowing that Smokey had the right care at the right time is what’s important. We spent £137 which we know is the cost for the Cremation and the cost of returning his Ashes to us, but for some reason they didn’t charge us for the Visit or the medication. They cannot know how much just their love & care for Smokey means to us, let alone sparing us a £350+ bill. I cannot count this as a Frugal Success as we really did nothing, this is just a testament to the kindness and compassion of vets everywhere ❤ Thank You.
Lee and Smokey ❤
  • Our Neighbour “Benjamin Bunny”! – Our upstairs neighbour Gardens with my Husband and during the late Spring and Summer, they spend a lot of time together talking plants. To put things delicately, our Neighbour is of a forgetful disposition and had forgotten that Lee had asked him not to pull up any plants as we were allowing things to go to seed (so as to collect & store the seeds ready for planting in the Spring). Long story short, he has pulled up a few plants which were still growing/going to seed and discarded them which has cost us. It’s not a massive loss but it’s a loss all the same and it means we’ll need to keep an even closer eye on what goes on in the Garden next year!
  • Surveys have been M.I.A – Throughout the Summer the number of Surveys i’ve taken have dropped and seem to be very sporadic at the moment. This means that I need to put more time on making things to sell instead. I can usually earn £10-£15 a month taking Surveys at home but at the moment, it’s more like £5 a month 😦
  • Our Food Budget has Exploded! – Due to buying items for our “Pantry” and stocking up, our spending on food for the month had gone through the roof! None of this money is a waste as all the food we’ve purchased we like, are storing correctly and will get eaten one way or another but nevertheless, seeing our outgoings has my heart pumping (in a nervous way)!
  • We had to replace a large frying pan – We do 99.9% of our eating at home (Alpha nights being the 0.01% at the moment!) and have been using the same pan for YEARS when it finally called “Mercy!” last week. We buy Tefal pans now after many years of buying generic non-stick pans, grill pans, double-bottomed metal frying pans, etc which all gave out within 6-8 months from continual use fatigue, but they can be SO expensive! The one we were looking for is about 30cm wide and is around £18-£20. We were able to find it on a clearance sale at Sainsburys (of all places!) for £10.50!! A wonderful saving but we still had to pay out to replace our old one. A bit of a Failure but also a success too!

So, as you can see it’s been a bit of a mixed month for us! The last few months of the year are always busy for us but there are things we’re doing now that will hopefully, help things run along smoothly 🙂

Thanks to everyone who supports our Blog with your readership! 2 months in and we’re really enjoying seeing you all (from all over the world!) engage with our posts. Hoping you are all staying warm and dry at this very wet time of year!

See you next week!

Love,

KaelaLee xx

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