Friday 27 March 2020

The Thrifty Times Issue One

So here's some of the thrifty ways I've been entertaining myself with since we were confined to barracks earlier this week. Being a self employed bod I am no longer earning for the foreseeable future so I shall be using every penny pinching method I know so that we eat into our savings as little as possible.

As many will have done, Mr GBT and I spent a thrilling session going through our food stores at the weekend to get a handle on what we actually did have in. With an inbuilt penchant for buying dented tins or torn packets of cereal in the reduced shelves and an inability to resist [Mr GBT suffers from the same affliction] appropriate and useful yellow stickered fresh stuff we had already built up quite a good store of useful longlife and frozen stuff. Despite what dear old Boris says online shopping slots are as rare as hen's teeth round here so we have to brave the supermarket once in a while, but are choosing quieter times and generally finding what we need. I can be flexible about what I eat and am happy to substitute stuff or omit things to keep costs down. Thankfully TYM was never a fussy eater and will eat most things we waft under his nose!

All this poking about has yielded some treasures....I had obviously lost our stash of soap at some point [we use it rather than shower gel to reduce plastic] and restocked. Have rediscovered all of the lurking bars and put them all together. We've turned up a tin of Mamade which is a bit out of date, but will be fit for purpose and so making that up one evening will keep us amused. Even better was the bottle of mulled wine we unearthed....our homemade wine is going to be a boon I think. Two frozen bananas will reappear as banana cake next time I've got the oven on. Can't tell you how pleased TYM was to find some snacks and bottles of cider in the bottom of his wardrobe leftover from Christmas...he'd not had room in his case to take them back to uni at the time.

Mr GBT has been a busy bee. He made a batch of parsnip wine last weekend...usually I would just compost the veg, but it's made a tasty curried parsnip soup which has fed us for lunch for the last two days. He has planted some carrot seeds and I've been mugging the chaps for their leftover orange peels so that I can start another lot of citrus peel cleaner off. I also worked out that I could just add a couple of teaspoons of cocoa powder with a tiny bit of sugar to my slow cooked chocolate chilli rather than needing to buy a whole bar of chocolate. One of our treats is having a real coffee for breakfast and after dinner....the morning one is now a mix of proper and instant and is working a treat. That's one from the 1970s that my in laws used.

We're natural make do and menders, but we're definitely exploring new ideas now. Both TYM and I need haircuts....brandishing my sharpest pair of scissors Mr GBT has trimmed my doubt the hairdresser will have a fit, but it looks fine to me and our son now has a buzzcut. He was dead chuffed with his free short term solution until he can go back to the barbers. I'm doing a fair bit of deep cleaning and tidying at home at present. I find it weirdly soothing and a good way of keeping my anxiety at bay. We don't have a great deal of clutter because I'm a born sorter and have kept on top of it over the years. At the moment I'm making more net bags [great way of using up groovy coloured threads which have been sitting around for yonks] with a left over net remnant and taking on small craft projects using what I've already got. This was made for me by Mr GBT from scrap wood to stop us wasting so much soap as it now allows it to dry out properly underneath.

Entertainment wise there's been a lot of enjoying the sunshine in some quarters....namely Humphrey hassling TYM in the garden for cuddles when he's trying to study for his final assignments [he's almost finished uni now].

I've got lots to keep me amused and have just signed up for a free Future Learn course to keep my brain ticking over. Have also had lots of contact with friends making full use of the free calls with Whatsapp and the meetings you can set up on Zoom [they've lifted the 40 minute cap for now on the cost free version]. It was lovely to spend over an hour in a four way natter with three close friends on Wednesday afternoon and just be able to laugh. I also hope to be able to utilise the free factual online books in the Wellcome Collections and Project Gutenberg whilst the library remains shut. Please do share what new ways of thrifty living you are discovering through this strange situation we all find ourselves in.

Anyway apologies for the length and waffle of this post...speak soon!



  1. Enjoyed reading that - keep safe

    Julie xxxxx

  2. Love the picture of Humphrey bothering TYM! Cats, eh?
    How fab is that soap dish? I love it.
    Like you, we've always been thrifty and our freezer cupboard have all manner of stuff in them - reduced, frozen from fresh and the like, some of the combinations might be a bit odd but we'll we able to eat if we don't do a shopping run although we popped to the Co-op yesterday and were able to shop in near-solitude and get the fresh veg, milk & bananas we needed!
    Take care! xxx

  3. That soap does lurk doesn't it. I thought we'd run out until I poked around in my sock drawer!

    I'm doing a lot of the same things as you, although I am glad I had my hair cut the day before I withdrew from public life, we used to cut our own hair but I'm glad I don't have to again quite yet.

    I've also dug around for all the nearly gone and unusual coloured threads to sew my quilt back, it's multi coloured anyway so if a few threads show themselves it doesn't matter. I've also chopped up a work shirt to make some binding, much to the chap's amusement!

  4. So many good ideas in this post, Aril! Project Gutenberg is an online resource I've not used recently. Thanks for reminding me that it's there and free.

    Decluttering was part of last year's downsizing project; however, some odd boxes infiltrated the garage. Their opening and sorting tops the list for the first fine day of spring. Hopefully, I'll discover some gardening supplies. Planning a container veg garden places a bright spot on a gloomy horizon to lift my spirits. I was out on the patio yesterday planting a pot of salad greens -- and thoroughly enjoyed sniffing the soil!

  5. I keep seeing people say that Zoom has waived the 40 minute for the free accounts but each time I've used it to arrange a meeting I still get thrown out when the 40 minutes is up. Am I doing something wrong I wonder?

  6. Those are all great thrifty wins. My husbands hair is getting longer than his comfort. I'm probably working more hours than previous as Im online early and still on past 5
    No commute though which has been a win.


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