Saturday, 17 November 2018

Brexit


Although Brexit is a hot political topic right now, this isn't meant to be a political post.  But I do think we need to start a conversation about the practical realities while the politicians posture.  I've stated before I am member of the Scottish Green Party and I voted to Remain in the EU.  This post isn't a dig at anyone who votes differently but a few things have happened recently that have made me sit up and think maybe we need to do something.

Jack Monroe a long time campaigner on mental health issues, benefits and food banks, wrote this week about stockpiling food for a post Brexit situation.  This is a complete change of opinion for Jack.  Read it HERE, it's an interesting piece.

Also this week, the Brexit Minister resigned alongside five other Cabinet ministers so we're now on our THIRD Brexit Minister.  What do they know that we don't?????  The new Minister comes from the Department of Health so I guess he's going to have to be a quick learner.  We're leaving the EU on the 29th March 2019 and we still haven't agreed a withdrawal deal.  This is getting very serious!

Did you know we actually have a minister responsible for the food chain?  His name is David Rutley and he used to work for Asda.  So at least he knows something about the food supply.  But there are genuine fears that we may be facing food shortages and the government is stockpiling food in case we leave without a deal.  Are we going to need a rationing policy to deal with these shortages?

So, I'm thinking about this seriously now.  In the past I've prepped for living rurally and been prepared for bad weather situations where we were cut off AND lost power.  Since moving back into town I've not been prepping seriously.  Remember I got a wee reminder HERE?

Jack has a list of foods for stockpiling on a budget.  And if you search Pinterest or Google for stockpiling you'll get lots of ideas.  It needn't cost a lot but better to be prepared and not need it than be faced with not having enough.

Are you thinking about stockpiling?

Monday, 12 November 2018

Frugal tips


Spicy rice stuffed peppers 

When I first started this frugal lifestyle 8 years ago there were loads of blogs that inspired and helped me on my journey.  For various reasons many of these blogs no longer exist.  3 of the best were Mortgage Free in Three (Elaine inspired my 40k in 4 years), Frugal Queen and Our New Life in the Country. I know Elaine and Froogs had technical issues so maybe that's why their blogs are gone.  Sue over at Our New Life in The Country also had fab ideas but she kindly left her blogs up for people to read.  It's still on my blog list on the right along with some other great blogs.

So when Mrs Frugal left a comment on yesterday's post it got me thinking.  What advice could I give to someone starting their frugal journey?

1.  Live beneath your means.

I live on less than half my salary.  The other half is saved.  In the last few years we've bought (and sold) a campervan.  We've been on 2 major family trips to Singapore for a wedding and to Australia to visit my middle son.  Plus I was able to buy a flat for my oldest son.

2.  Cut your food budget.  

Cook from scratch.  If you can't cook, learn!
Look for yellow stickers.
Eat more veggie meals.
Look at budget ranges in supermarkets.  Work out what can be substituted eg Basics ketchup v Heinz ketchup and what can't eg my Percol coffee is non negotiable!
Use up every single bit of food you buy.

3.  Research every single major purchase

Shop around for the best price.  Consider second hand options.

4.  Cut your clothing budget

If you don't have a budget make one.  Mine is £500 a year for everything.  Buy from Ebay and charity shops.  I get a lot of new stuff with the tags still on

5.  Just stop buying stuff

Only buy stuff you 'need' not what you 'want'

6.  Teach yourself new skills

Why pay someone else to do something if you can DIY?  OH and I will have a go at most things before considering getting someone else in to do it.  Yep you'll make mistakes but you get better every time.  OH is a pro at tiling now 👍

These are my main ones but maybe you could add to the list.  I did write an article with my tips for a US blog a few years ago.  You can still read it HERE



I had 3 wrinkly peppers left over from last week's shop.  So I mixed some onion, rice, black beans, salsa and fajita seasoning together, stuffed the peppers and topped them with goats cheese.  They were very tasty and cheap!

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Christmas Planning


I couldn't put it off any longer so yesterday I actually sat down and made my Christmas lists.  Today I saw this a few times on Facebook and realised that my gift list neatly fits into the Make and Ethical Buy parts.  I am planning to buy (or have already bought 😉) from small or local companies.  Some of my 'makes' use upcycled items so I'm happy that my gift purchasing habits are fairly ethical. 😊

I've started planning my Christmas day meal (not sure who's coming yet) and once again I'm going to use my Nectar points to fund it all.  I recently won some extra points in a prize draw from my local Sainsbury's so I have a healthy £105 worth this year.  I'm going to use about half of the total for myself and the other half for our local food bank.


Today has been mostly wet and miserable.  I spent the morning making soup using a turkey drumstick for stock.  At £2.62 it was a good price and I got 350g of meat from it! 6 lunches and tonight's meal sorted!!  I've been busy with some work stuff this afternoon so haven't prepped as much food as I normally for the coming week.

Talking of work, one of the younger teachers who had a job interview last week is leaving us at the end of term.  She's joining the Civil Service.  Although she's taking a salary cut, she can work flexi time and can work from home up to twice a week. We're all very jealous!!!

On the plus side, just 6 more weeks of school until the Christmas holidays! 🎄🎅

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Much better!


Thanks for the lovely supportive comments on yesterday's post.  I'm feeling much better today!  I just had a chill day yesterday.  I leisurely cleaned my kitchen, cleared some paperwork and let my OH take the dog out for a long walk while I had a lie down listening to an audible book.  Batteries are well and truly charged.

I was up early this morning and did my Sainsbury's shop by 9am.  I scored a few bargains!  The ice cream (for The Teenogre) and frozen GF pies were hugely reduced.  Supermarkets always clear out frozen stuff in the run up to Christmas.  Keep your eyes peeled for good bargains!

I also got lucky with some meat.  The beef joint was LESS than half price!!!  I've been neglecting the butcher's counter.  I must remember to keep checking it for bargains in the future.  It's been in the slow cooker all day 😋


The chicken drumsticks made a big pot of stock which became chicken and rice soup, aka lunch for 7 days.  My freezer is now pretty full!


I had a parcel delivered this week and was too tired to open it until yesterday.  I recently found a website that sells non plastic alternatives. Have a look HERE. I'm trying out these pot scourers made of jute and cotton.  They can be chucked in the washing machine when they get grubby and then can be reused.


Did you know that most teabags aren't biodegradable? Many have plastic in them.  I'm trying a reusable teabag made of organic calico.  It's working out so far.  I'm not sure how long they last but so far I've saved 9 plastic ridden teabags going to landfill.

I've been finishing off some wee jobs in my bedroom today and I'm ready now for the carpet fitters to come this week. My Lovely Mum has made me a fabulous quilt that's off to be quilted tomorrow.  It's all coming together!

Hope everyone is well and looking ahead to the festive season.  TV adverts are starting to talk about the C word so I guess I'd better get thinking about it too!! 🎄

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Tired


It's been a looooong week at school.  A week where 1 teacher was off with stress, 1 came to my room at 8.15am and sobbed for half an hour, our excellent Principal Teacher requested to go part time and 2 others had job interviews for non teaching posts.

And I've been told I'm getting another new pupil with additional support needs.

I'm tired.  I need my weekends just to recharge my batteries.  I have no energy or enthusiasm to do anything except get ready for another week at work.

Oh and we're on a yellow warning for rain today.

☔☔☔

Sunday, 28 October 2018

March


Yesterday I went on a demo march and rally in support of fair pay for teachers.  Between 20 and 30 thousand people marched through Glasgow to George Square.  It was magnificant!  People applauded us and cars tooted support.

Out of the 36 OECD (Organisation for the Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, Scotland's teacher salaries are in the bottom 5.  And we're the lowest paid in the UK.  On average, teachers work an extra unpaid 11 hours a week.  That's an average, so people do more than that!

We're asking for 10%.  We won't get it but we 're hoping that we'll get a better offer than the current 3%.  Police officers here have just been awarded 6.5% and they deserve every penny.  Public sector workers have had their salaries frozen for years under austerity measures and now people are really struggling as the cost of living has gone up.  In real terms, my salary is worth 24% less than it was 10 years ago.

I've said before, teachers are leaving the profession in droves.  They're over worked and underpaid.  In my local authority (it's not that big) we have 4 primary schools without permanent headteachers. One more resigned this week saying she's had enough of education.  She's 42.  No one is applying for the vacant posts. Frankly, education in Scotland is in crisis.

*gets off soap box*


Here I am in my fetching yellow t shirt ready to go!

On the bedroom front, I'm just waiting for the carpet to be delivered and fitted.  Photos and more details coming soon!

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Whoosh!!


Well, that's another holiday week just whooshed by!! But I've packed a lot in. As well as hours and hours of painting(!!) I've visted my parents, spent an afternoon with my eldest son shopping for house stuff and met up with an old colleague/dear friend for supper.  I feel quite sociable!

My peach bedroom is now pristine white.  It took 4 coats of matt white to cover it up.  It's got a few wee bits that need to be touched up but nothing major.  I've still got all the woodwork to do so that's today's job.


I had a tin of mystery paint in the garage that I got on the bargain shelf ages ago.  It had a label that said "customer return."  I couldn't even remember what colour it was as it was one of those Dulux mix to order paints.  Imagine my delight when I opened it up to find it was bright red or Brothel Red as I've been calling it!! 😂 So instead of wallpapering the inside of my wardrobe, I painted it red.  It took 3 coats!!!  I love it 😍  I've still got a few 'finishing touches' to add to it 😉


Emma has loved me being at home this week.  As much as I could, I've taken her with me everywhere.  She's such a good girl.  It's hard to believe she's almost 7!! She's still just a big puppy at heart 💓