Saturday, 31 January 2009
I have a two tier steamer but I only use one tier, this is great for putting everything in, and eating the meal ten minutes later. People say they haven't time to cook meals from scratch, but preparing vegetables only takes a few minutes, and once in the steamer you can forget about them while you prepare the rest of the meal.
I also have one of those metal colander type things that folds like an umbrella, you put it in a pan with an inch of water and steam your veg in there, or I sometimes steam in the microwave.
This was a meal I had in the summer. All the veg came from my garden, potatoes, yellow and green courgettes, broccoli, carrots, runner beans, and broad beans. The two veggie sausages cost about 33p, I only buy them when they are on special offer.
This is the meal I have eaten tonight, 3 shop bought carrots @ 39p a big bag, cabbage, reduced to 25p, 2 onions @ 50p a big bag. Tin of mushy peas 15p, and a veggie burger special offer 80p a box of four. A meal for less than £1.
Daily spend - £1.20 six local free range eggs
Friday, 30 January 2009
When we got there, I told the driver not to wait for me as I was going to walk back, it's only five miles. Who says that you have to go in the shop just because you ride on the bus, why not use the service for a free ride.
As I was walking through the fields, I could see the main road in the distance, and the unmistakeable sight of a
B & Q lorry passing by. I had a smile on my face, it felt good to be out in the wide open space with no timetable, no deadlines, no pressures. I had a sudden urge to raise my arms to the heavens and shout at the top of my voice, I'M FREE ! ! !
Daily spend - nothing
Thursday, 29 January 2009
It was sad to go in today and see the place stripped bare, the stock in the warehouse has been shipped to the remaining depots around the country, the trailers and units are to be delivered tomorrow. There was a sombre mood about the place as everyone contemplated what their next move is. Most of the drivers are transferring to the Doncaster depot, which will mean more than an extra hour on their daily travelling time, not something to be relished on top of a 12 to 15 hour day. But they have no choice, it's either travel or become unemployed.
The warehouse staff have little chance of finding work, one woman said she had got some work in a care home, but the rest didn't sound hopefull. I feel for the people who still have a good many working years ahead of them, I wish I could pass on some of my money saving knowledge to them, because they are going to need it.
This kind of situation is happening all over the country, a very sad state of affairs, peoples lives are being turned upside down, and they are going to have to make some big changes. I tell everyone wherever I go, that there is life after money. I want to hug them all and tell them not to worry, but of course they will. Good luck to my B & Q Scunthorpe collegues.
Me and my truck at Immingham Docks.
Daily spend - £1 veg seeds. £3.95 cat food.
£1 charity shop
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
Several phone calls went back and forth, I thought, oooh, they are really interested in me. I could just picture me and Pauline swanning down the motorway in the back of a limo, sipping champers, propping the bar up in the hotel tonight, the life of a celeb, can't be bad. We were getting excited.
I should have realised there was a twist to it. The producer told me about a man that was going to be on the programme, he has eleven children and has given up his job because because he gets more money from the state, and what do I think about it. Warning bells sounded, I suddenly twigged. They had delved into my personality because they wanted someone fiesty and opinionated to confont this man on screen in front of millions, my money saving and frugal living was of secondary importance.
I told him that I was not going to take part in a verbal punch up, I don't do confrontation, that is not what I am about. I might have an opinion on it but I am not about to play up to the cameras just to boost their ratings. I said it was underhanded and it wasn't honest to lead people on like that. Yes I can be fiesty when I want to be.
Daily spend - nothing
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Last night I got some amazing bargains, bread at 7p a loaf, chicken slices for the cats for 30p, pack of six youghurts for 10p, and a £7.50 Dalek cake for 72p, plus some other reductions. I reckon if I only shop at this time for the next nine weeks I can save a fortune. I am getting to the stage where I don't want to pay full price anymore, and I'm thinking it might be possible to have every single item in my trolley either with a yellow sticker on, or a special offer, or a BOGOF offer. I'm going to try it. It might mean changing from a brand that I normally buy, but I can be flexible to save money. It isn't important for me to stick to the same food every week, so some changes might make it interesting.
Of course I wouldn't buy a special offer if the reduced price was way above what I would normally pay, because it was a very expensive item in the first place. I have a lot of prices fixed in my head, and I can never be tempted by something that is not what it appears. My head has an inbuilt calculator. Last week I worked out that two boxes of sugar cubes was cheaper than a bag of sugar at the same weight. Thank goodness I took notice of mental arithmatic at school.
Daily spend - nothing
Monday, 26 January 2009
Daily spend - £11.21 Tesco reduced food
Sunday, 25 January 2009
Daily spend - nothing
Saturday, 24 January 2009
My handbag knitted out of video tape is almost finished, I've only got to attach the handles. I must say it's looking great, I decided to line it with a piece of dusky pink fabric, will post a picture when it's ready. By the way, charity shops are a good place to get knitting needles, I got five pairs for £1.
I've been making beads out of coloured paper, mainly brochures and leaflets, I seem to remember doing this years ago. I cut long narrow pieces of paper, one inch wide at the bottom, tapering to nothing at the top. Then starting at the bottom, wrap it tightly round a toothpick. About 2 inches from the top add a blob of glue to stick the end down, then give it three or four coats of varnish. I have been experimenting with different sizes and colours, when I have enough I will make a necklace or use them for decoration.
Daily spend - nothing
Friday, 23 January 2009
Into Tesco for the last half hour, nothing to take my fancy in the reduced chiller cabinet, so I got some bananas and grapes on special offer. Oh no, they have sold out of cat food, expecting some more to come in, that's a bit annoying. Then I remembered I needed some cereal. I have been monitoring the price of my bran flakes, it seems to change every week. Now they are 71p for a 750grm box, better than 78p last week, so I got five boxes. A quick look in the milk section for my soya milk, shock horror, it has gone up from £1.12 last week to £1.26, that's a big jump. I'll give it a miss today because I have got two cartons in, but I'll be watching for it to go down again. Why do they change the prices so much, you have got to be a sprinter to keep up. I was back home by 12.10pm, a great bus service, more people should use it.
Daily spend - £6.65 Tesco. £1 for two plants
Thursday, 22 January 2009
I decided on a bit of research around the town centre. We have one of those shops where you can buy household items like furniture and electrical goods, and pay weekly, they seemed pretty busy. The banners said, 'Beat the Crunch, No Deposit, and No Credit Checks.' I studied what was on offer through the window. A pair of quality refurbished (it said so on the sign), two seater, brown leather sofas. A bargain price (?) for cash £654.12. If you want it on the never never, tick, or slate, whatever you like to call it, you can pay £13.58 per week for 55 weeks, giving a total of £746.90. Then it gets worse, if you want to include a service cover in that it would be £16,98 per week, making it £933.90. My god, is anyone daft enough to fall for that, it seems they are judging by the number of people who stepped inside and handed over their cash.
The main item in the window to pull in the punters, was a strategically placed 42inch refurbished Ambilight Philips TV, so placed to catch the eye of everyone passing. If you want to pay cash it is a snip at £792.06, I think not. You could elect to pay £8.77 over 120 weeks making it £1,052.40. If you want to include service charge cover and digi service cover that will be £13.49 per week, making it a total of £1618.80. What was horrifying was that there was no posh, well dressed, obviously affluent people crossing the threshold while I was standing there, they looked like they were families struggling to make ends meet.
These refurbished goods they are selling are possibly reposessed from people not able to keep up the payments. What annoys me is they way the shop advertises 29.9% interest, doesn't that sound a whole lot better than 30%, a devious trick. I wanted to stop everyone going in and say to them don't do it, you are signing your life away. Get a sofa out of the charity shop down the road, you don't need a tele that big, but I didn't want to get arrested. These shops are like piranha fish, they will strip you bare, they prey on peoples weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. They don't bring hopes and dreams to people, they bring misery. These are the shops that should be going out of business.
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
If you want to see the electronic version, click here.
I started college tonight, a 10 week course called Introduction to Social Sciences. The first half an hour was spent introducing ourselves, there was 20 in the class, and we discussed why we had chosen that particular course. Guess what? I wasn't the only one that had joined because it is free! I also said it was because I wanted to get out more, sit in a warm place and chat with people. The teacher was very lively she makes the subject quite entertaining, it was like a free night out watching stand up comedy. I am looking forward to the rest of the course.
I have to pass Tesco to get there, so I seized the opportunity to call in on the way home to catch any last minute bargains before they clear the shelves of the last day items. Boy was I pleased I did.
Hovis seed bread - from £1.25 to 12p
Organic wholemeal bread - from £1.10 to 11p
4 Finest teacakes - from 94p to 9p
Garlic platter bread - from £1.18 to 12p
Cottage cheese - from £1.07 to 27p
Pasta salad - from 99p to 25p
Sandwich filler - from 89p to 22p
Yoghurt - from 37p to 9p
Fantastic bargains, it definatel;y pays to shop later
Monday, 19 January 2009
Sunday, 18 January 2009
I found an empty cola can in the street, I thought, aha, what can I make with that. I cut the bottom off, straightened out the ringpull for the base, and cut strips downwards with a large pair of scissors. Then I gripped each one between finger and thumb and pulled from the bottom upwards which made them curl. And here we have a tea light holder.
Next is a handbag I made out of 35m negatives, I think everyone must have a stash of these somewhere in a drawer. I started by joining them together, weaving some narrow ribbon through the holes, until I had a sheet. Then I folded it in half and joined the sides. I added some decoration and a handle, a handbag, albeit not a very usable handbag, but the idea is there to maybe put a lining in it. I'm not sure of the longevity of the negatives, probably forever because I have had some of them for ten years or more.
Here is my magazine holder, I wanted one to keep my 12 copies of Gardeners World tidy, and handy for reference. There is one advertised in the magazine for £6.99, but I thought I can make one for a few pence. I found a strong box that was close to the size I wanted, cut it to size and stuck it back together with parcel tape. Then I cut some flower pictures from some old gardening magazines that my uncle gave me, and made a collage, sticking them to the box. I finished it by covering it in sticky back clear plastic.
Saturday, 17 January 2009
I just can't walk past a skip without having a nosey in it. I was on my way to the shop and someone in the next street is having some building work done. I spotted some very usefull pieces of wood in it, so I walked down the drive to the house, and yelled through a half open window, can I have some wood. A man yelled back, yes, take anything you want out of the skip. Thanks mate!
Friday, 16 January 2009
Whilst surfing around to find other links to the programme, I found this one...
Oh core blimey, I am on yoooootuuuube.
Thursday, 15 January 2009
I must admit I did spend a lot of time chatting to people about prices, a lovely old couple in their 80's who drove their car there, a nice lady assistant who was reducing some prices, and I pointed a couple in the direction of the reduced salmon, anything to help my fellow shoppers. I have decided that a good way to cut down on your supermarket spending is to chat to a lot of people, make it a social occasion, then you run out of time, especially if you have a bus to catch.
After a quick lunch at home, I took my friends dog a walk. Then off to the Blood Donor session in town in my car. It was very busy, but I was prepared to wait to get my free drink and biscuits. I was instantly recognised by another donor who sat next to me, a friendly chat helped to pass the time. Then I had a lovely surprise, one of the nurses came over to me to introduce herself, her name badge said Ilona. I was chuffed, I have been looking for another Ilona for all of my life and up untill today I have never met one face to face. Like me she hated her name when she was younger, and like me she now likes it. I asked her to say it and she said it like all English people, but I say it with a German accent just as my mother taught me, and no one I have met has been able to copy it.
As I was not far from Morrisons I thought it was a good opportunity to call in and get my cat litter, I never like to drive to one place and back again, preferring to do two or more errands in one journey. I had also noticed a special offer on spicy beanburgers, advertised in the leaflets that come through the door, oh yes, I do read them. 80p for four, that's 20p for one, plus some veg, a very cheap meal. I had a scan round to see if any more of my favourites were on offer, I am sure I have radar on my head which draws me towards the bargains. Quorn fillets £1, veg bakes 80p, a quick look at the end of aisle displays, and the radar is buzzing. Felix have a new line in cat food pouches called marinades, introductory offer £2.02 a box of 12, and my cats like it, I must get stocked up before the price increases. I'm looking forward to my day off tomorrow.
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
I have some awful bath foam that someone gave me years ago, the bottle looks nice, but you wouldn't want to put the contents on your body for fear of smelling like a strawberry milkshake. Then I had a brainwave, would it clean my toilet? Bingo, it makes a lovely job, and cleans my sink as well, I don't like to waste anything.
Monday, 12 January 2009
I love libraries, our mobile van comes on a Monday and parks opposite the end of my street. Admittedly they carry a limited amount of books, but I can always find something of interest. Non fiction is my scene, I can't see the point of reading something that is made up, for me, truth is far more exciting. I like autobiographies, vegetable growing, craftwork, computers, and anything else that takes my fancy. If they haven't got exactly what you're looking for it's a good opportunity to enlighten yourself with an unfamiliar subject. I came away with seven books, I'm like a kid when I get home, eager to get into my bag of goodies.
Sunday, 11 January 2009
Radio 5 Live did a programme tonight on the credit crunch. They were talking about redundancies, job seeking, debt, and how to save money, I listened to see if they were going to play any of my money saving tips that I recorded for them. Lo and behold I heard myself telling the nation to shop in supermarkets only between 5pm and 9pm to get the best bargains, only have one light on at a time in the house, and don't buy fancy cleaning products, diluted washing up liquid will clean everything. Meanqueen has spoken.
Saturday, 10 January 2009
When I am in the house I alternate between doing my craft work downstairs in the dining room, and on the computer upstairs in the office. I put the gas fire on for a short time, to take the chill off, then I made us all a hot water bottle each. Bugsy and Freddie have theirs under the duvet on my, or should I say our bed, while they sleep on the top, and Lilly has his under his duvet on the arm chair. I have mine on my belly stuffed down between my three pairs of jog bottoms.
Friday, 9 January 2009
This afternoon a hunky man turned up at my house with his tripod, camera and lighting equipment, the brief he had been given by his agency wasn't very specific so I filled him in on the background to the story. He then came up with some interesting ideas for the shots, and between us we set them up. I warned him to keep his coat on because of the cold, then I felt sorry for him and put the gas fire on for ten minutes as he was shivering. We did some shots in the garden as well, me holding a bowl of lettuce which amazingly is still alive and edible. I am not sure when this is going appear in the Independant, I'll keep looking at the web site, because I am too mean to keep buying the newspapers.
Well, finally at last the waiting is over and I have been on the tele, I had to go to my friends house to watch it because I don't have a tele. I thought it was so funny, I couldn't stop laughing at myself. I was shopping in Tesco scouring the place for bargains, I was hanging my pants on the washing line, I was having a strip wash in my kitchen, and I was counting my toilet rolls that I buy in bulk. The filming took about ten hours in total and they whittled it all down to about six minutes, so quite a lot ended up on the cutting room floor. Claire, the director and producer, and Rachel, were lovely to work with. You can see the programme, The Hunt For Britains Tightest Person, here, click on Catch Up http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-hunt-for-britains-tightest-person
Thursday, 8 January 2009
I picked up a copy of the Scunthorpe Telegraph while I was out, my article is on page three. No, I am too old for the other page three so I have to make do with a local paper. The nearest you get to seeing my undies is me holding several pairs of my boys pants in the picture, and very soon the whole country will know about about my pants when the television programme is screened tomorrow night. You can see the article here. http://www.thisisscunthorpe.co.uk/news/Meet-Queen-Mean-Ilona/article-594759-detail/article.html
I stopped off to have a chat with my friend Angela on the way home, showing her my new knitted bag, she was well impressed. We got to talking about money saving tips, and I was amazed that she is almost as frugal as me, she is into skip diving in a big way. She had a basket potted up with flowers and plants in it, with an M & S label on for £7.99. She lifted it out of a skip at the back of their shop, and was shocked to see that they had thrown away perfectly good food products because they were on the last date. Apparently they have a policy of not reducing the prices like the supermarkets do. I think that is scandalous. It has been on the news today that they are closing some shops because they are losing money, I'm not surprised when they are chucking perfectly good stuff in the bin.
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Even more excitement this afternoon, a phone call from a reporter at the Scunthorpe Telegraph. After half an hour of questions, he said he will send a photographer round, he wants to get the article in the paper for tomorrow. A very nice young lady came round with a very big and complicated looking camera, we had a lot of fun in the bedroom with toilet rolls and my pants, don't ask, it's all to do with the programme. Autograph anyone?
Tuesday, 6 January 2009
Monday, 5 January 2009
Sunday, 4 January 2009
This afternoon I took my friends dog, Ben for a walk, some people think dog walking is a chore, but I love it. I have three cats so I can't have a dog, I wouldn't want the ties anyway, so it suits me to borrow someone elses dog. I have been walking Ben for three years, he is adorable. He lives very close to me and I have a key to the house so I can take him out whenever I like. Within minutes we are in the countryside, it's very high up here and the views are stunning across the River Trent, on a clear day I can see for miles across Yorkshire. I am definately a country bumpkin at heart, what could be better than the woods and fields, the valleys and the hills, I'm in my element. Here is my best friend.
I don't like spending hours in the kitchen cooking fancy food, after all, it all goes the same way whether you have spent three hours on it or five minutes. Plain and simple food suits me and my purse. Tonight I have made a veggie stew in a big pan that will last me three days, and it's lovely. I picked some sprouts and cabbage from my garden, then I added half a swede, two big carrots, two onions, a tub of cooked green tomatoes I froze in October when it looked unlikely that they would ripen, two apples, some pot barley, bulgur wheat, sesame seeds, linseed seeds, raisins, and a stock cube and spices, and sauce mix. My mum used to make stews like this, just throw anything in that you have, you can't beat it on a cold winters night. I'm iff to get a glass of Port now, my Christmas treat.
Saturday, 3 January 2009
My next stop was Sainsbury's. I went in there because I knew I could look through all the papers without being disturbed, they are in the alcove away from the rest of the shop. I wanted to find anything that had my name or my photograph in. I am in a television programme on Channel 4 on Friday night at 7.30pm, it's called, 'The Hunt for the Tightest Person in Britain,' and I want to keep the cuttings for my scrap book. I didn't find any. Not to worry I had a quick check round the shop for any bargains, I don't buy much here because it is too expensive. I got three packs of multigrain bread rolls for £1, a big bag of onions for 50p, and a bag of grapes at half price.
Off I went to Tesco for the rest of my shopping. I didn't spend a lot because I only needed a few things that I am running out of, some carrots and swedes, and I got a butternut squash because they are on special offer. Felix cat food is on special offer so I got a box, it's not the one they like but tough, that's what they are getting. I don't shop for food very often but when I do I spend time getting the best value for my money. When I look at all the choice on the shelves I wonder why people buy such rubbish, and the prices are just crazy, they don't seem to mind, we'll have one of those, and those, bung it in the trolley. My shopping trip is a military operation.
I put the computer on this afternoon to check on the forum of http://www.downthelane,net/ I am a moderator on there and it's fun. I see someone has posted that I am mentioned in the Daily Mail, and I also found out that The Independant has printed a letter I sent them, so off I went to my local paper shop to get my copies for my scrap book. I wouldn't ordinarily buy newspapers, I read them on the internet, but I think I can afford a couple. Oh dear, maybe I'm not the tightest person in Britain then.
Friday, 2 January 2009
I have been a lorry driver for 32 years, something I am immensely proud of, in total I have worked for 44 years, and now it is time to slow down. All my hard work has almost paid for a house, still a bit to go so not completely debt free, but I am working on it. I am now looking forward to a fabulous retirement, but of course I will never fully retire because I like work. But from now on, any work I do will be on my terms, it will be something I want to do, and I will do it when I want to do it. There, a bit bolshie maybe but that's how I am, I know my own mind. Life is too short to be a slave, and by that I mean a slave to money. I have realised that I am perfectly happy with just enough, a simple life for me means less worries. Do I worry about money, of course not because I haven't got any.
Please join me on my frugal journey, I am going to record just how I live my life on very little money. I'm not setting any targets, or making any rash statements like living on a £1 a day, it will be a true story of how it really is. Don't expect me to be complaining about how expensive the cost of living is, or how fed up I am of having no money, that won't happen. Instead I want to open your eyes to the pleasures of a simple life, the enjoyment you can have out of life's free gifts, and how I wake up each day looking forward to the day ahead. See you later. Ilona