Monday, 25 January 2016


Image result for kidney beans
Do you keep a store cupboard of useful ingredients? I don't know how many people do these days- is it seen as an old-fashioned idea?  Well I certainly keep a frugal well-stocked cupboard which will always enable me to make a meal or three if the weather's too bad to go out for a few days to shop, or more importantly if there's no money left at the end of the month!
So here's my 25 must have items for a useful, frugal store cupboard:
1.Tinned tomatoes (or carton tomatoes) - chopped or whole- your choice. You can use them for a pasta sauce base or soup base.
2. Pasta - any shape. use for pasta bake, lasagne or with a sauce.
3. Garlic - keep a bulb in a cool, dark cupboard. Use it to add taste to your pasta dishes or salad dressings.
4. Rice - any kind you prefer. Makes an accompaniment to curry or a meal in itself with a stock cube and any leftover veg.
5. Olive oil - can be used for marinades, frying or salad dressing. Can be expensive but last for ages.
6. Curry paste - use a couple of spoonfuls with chopped tomatoes to make a curry sauce base.
7. Stock cubes - ideally all the flavours you use (vegetable, chicken, beef) they can flavour risotto or sauces and soups or just make gravy for your roast.
8. Tins of tuna - use to make fish cakes, add to pasta and tomato sauce, or just tip out onto a plate of salad.
9. Soy sauce - gives a great taste to any stir fry dishes, dressings and marinades.
10. Tomato purée - thickens your sauces and casseroles and can be used as a quick topping on pizzas.
11. Runny honey - use in marinades, to make flapjack or porridge topping.
12. Kidney beans & butter beans - either dried or for convenience, tinned. Use in salads, chilli, soups and vegetarian dishes
13. Lemon juice - in a bottle. Use in recipes, dressings, marinades. Saves money and stops waste when you only need a little juice for a recipe.
14. Mustard - either French, wholegrain or English. Use as condiments or in marinades, salad dressings, sauces and casseroles.
15. Chickpeas - as with kidney beans you can use in salads, curries and soups.
16. Red lentils - great in curries and soups and can bulk up mince dishes such as bolognese and shepherd's pie.
17. Oats - makes cakes, flapjacks, porridge.
18. Dried Thyme - any dried herbs are useful, but thyme is my favourite as it holds its flavour well and adds a lovely richness to pasta dishes.
19. Plain flour - use to thicken sauces and casseroles as well as batter mixes for pancakes.
20. Eggs - of course! Boiled, scrambled, fried or poached, cake-making, pancake making- our most versatile ingredient!
All the above can be bought in supermarkets' basic ranges and it's worth researching the lowest prices before you buy.

Monday, 16 November 2015


 Image result for whole grain rice
Wholegrain rice is better for us, but always takes longer to cook. if you can plan ahead, soak it in cold water overnight and you can shorten your cooking time by around 15 minutes. Saves time and money.


Image result for celery
You can keep celery for around a month if you wrap it in foil in the fridge. But if it's already gone a bit limp, stand the whole thing in a large jar of cold water for half an hour (it sometimes helps to slice another piece of the bottom of the root) and it will recover.


 Image result for runny honey
If your runny honey has gone solid and white in the jar - don't waste it. Remove the metal lid and heat the glass jar in the microwave in 10 second bursts until the honey is runny again. Quick tip: put the jar on a small microwaveable plate first as it can be too hot to pick up after heating.


Image result for egg

Just because your eggs have a date on them doesn't mean you have to throw them out when that date is reached. We all know that there's too much food wasted on the planet!
To test for freshness all you have to do is gently place your egg in a bowl of cold water. A fresh egg will sink to the bottom and lie horizontally or, if slightly older, may tip up slightly one end. However, eggs that float have gone off and need to be thrown out.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015


Yes, you really can make money from other people's supermarket till receipts and it's easy - although the opportunity to do it may not always be that often.
Here's how
Asda has a policy of being 10% cheaper than the other supermarkets - the Asda Price Guarantee - not just cheaper, but 10% cheaper! They have a website where you can check your Asda till receipt HERE. From chatting to the checkout operators I have found out that people rarely do this! I wonder why? It's free money!
You can check both online and store receipts by entering the numbers along the bottom of the receipt above the barcode. It's simple and quick to do, but you do have to wait 3 hours from the time you paid (24 hours for an online shop) to when you check your receipt on the site. You will then find out if Asda is going to give you a voucher for the difference in price between it and the other supermarkets.
If you have a voucher due then just print it out, retain it with the original receipt and present both at the checkout when you next shop at Asda. 
So - to get back to my original tip - look in the store/trolleys/carparks for other people's discarded receipts.They need to have over 10 items on them and preferably be long ones as the more items on the receipt, the more likely there will be a voucher to collect! Asda has no loyalty card scheme, so the receipt has no identity as such and can be used by anyone! 
From my own receipts I regularly get vouchers back most weeks, worth anything for £0.95p to £5.95!

Friday, 3 July 2015



Need some fresh ideas for what to sell on ebay? Read on!
Ebay is ever popular with those of us who need to make a little cash. Once you get the hang of it it's fairly trouble free (excepting all those buyers who leave you negative feedback for stupid reasons which have nothing to do with the item you sold them at all!). However, it's quite hard to see what will sell well and for how long. Some things have a limited popular life in my experience and then buyers are on to the next crazy thing.
I sell anything I can from around the house - clothes I no longer fit into, ghastly presents people have given me (someone will love them), things I've won in online competitions, old bits of jewellery, button or ribbon collections, fabric offcuts and much more. I look at it as a form of recycling - keeping stuff out of landfill, if you like.
If I'm having a clearout I look at each item and think:
1. Can I use it for, or turn it into, something else?
2. Can I sell it on ebay?
3. Is it suitable to send to a charity shop?
4. Should it just go in the bin?
5. If it needs to be binned, can I salvage some bits of it to re-use or sell on ebay?
And that brings me to one of my breakthrough moments - I noticed the hose on my elderly Dyson vacuum cleaner has a small hole; I don't want to buy another hose as they're around a tenner and the Dyson itself is probably on it's way out, but what if I could find a second hand cheapy on ebay? I can't, but if my Dyson finally gives up, there's a few attachments I could sell before I binned the thing - including the hose - if it didn't have a split in it!
It depends on someone wanting that odd thing that you have! A friend of mine bought a strange looking, small piece of machinery off ebay to mend his lawn mower. His lawn mower didn't work, but someone else had the foresight to take all the useful bits off their own dead lawnmower and sell them - and for a couple of pounds my friend fixed his lawnmower. It's just an idea..
It can also work with odd items from sets of cutlery or china - they don't have to be antiques or collectables, but they do have to have been a named, popular make, then other people who've lost or broken items from their dinner service or cutlery set can replace them at small cost. Take good, clear photos and write a very full and accurate description useing all the correct brand names in the title post and in the body of the description itself - that way your item will be more easily found in a search.
Always try to offer postage on your items (so smaller items are easier to sell) as I have found that bigger, "collection only" items tend not to sell well - if at all. But that does also depend on your location. 
So, give it a go - as you're standing over the rubbish bin with something in your hand ready to throw away, think again - you may be able to make some money from it!
Good luck and Happy Frugal ebaying!