Wednesday, 14 March 2012

IDEAS FOR MOTHER'S DAY PRESENTS!

It is Mother's Day on Sunday the 18th March and if you haven't yet bought your Mum's card and present, then here's some (fairly frugal) ideas:
If you have to post the gift then a voucher, securely packed chocolate or novel may be the way to go. If you can give your gift in person, a pretty gift bag big enough for a paperback, small pot plant, handcream, chocolate, a posy of flowers from your garden (in any combination) will usually go down well. If you can cook, then a really special chocolate cake, or cupcakes, biscuits or home-made fudge may also be a great idea!
If your mum is a gardener, you can make up your gift bag (or a pretty plant pot) with pretty gardening gloves, seeds, small trowel etc., Look around the supermarket and DIY shops for inspiration, then make up your own! Buy a little hanging basket and plant it up with a selection of small plants - and of course offer to fix it up as well!
Here's some more of my ideas for Mother's Day presents:
Thats it - I'm all out of ideas now- Happy frugal Mother's Day!

IT'S MARCH!

It's March - the month that the clocks go forward, the official start of spring, slightly lighter evenings already, Mother's day and even the odd very sunny, hot day! This is the time to get your seeds sown, your garden tidied, veg and flower beds dug over and enriched with compost. I've been making newspaper seed pots with this little old style gadget that my husband bought me! It's surprisingly therapeutic! I always run out of small pots to sow seeds in and actually they take up way too much potting compost anyway.
Check through your seed packet stash and set aside all those that say they need to be planted in February and March, stick a rubber band round them all and then get sowing! Gather together trays and small pots or paper seed pots, potting compost (look for own brand multibuy offers in your local DIY chain) and make labels from strips of plastic milk bottles. Even if your seeds are out of date, it's usually worth sowing them as they will often be okay for a year past the packet date. If you have too many of one kind that you now you will never use or need, then swap some with a friend or neighbour - seeds are expensive! Don't try to do all your sowing in one day, a couple of types of seeds sown every day throughout a week, will get it done without that gardening fatigue setting in!

Friday, 9 March 2012

GROCERY SHOPPING AT AMAZON

Yes, you did read that right - you can buy quite a few items on your grocery shopping list from Amazon! Now, if I'm the only person in the world to whom this is an astonishing revelation - then I apologise, but just humour me for a moment while I explain myself. I knew Amazon in America sold grocery items, but had never encountered anything in the grocery line on all my very frequent browsing sessions on Amazon UK. But this is how it happened...
My favourite instant coffee is no longer stocked by the local supermarket so my other half Googled it - and it came up on Amazon! Cheaper than I used to buy it and with free delivery, albeit that I have to buy a larger quantity which lasts us a month! My next item is going to be toilet rolls! Yes, really, Amazon has Andrex 18 roll pack for £7 delivered free! And 6 x 95g jars of Douwe Egberts Pure Indulgence coffee is £17.90 (delivered free) which works out at £7.52 per kilo!
I keep my supermarket open in another tab to compare prices as I shop and I then add my regular purchases to my Wish List. If I chose to I could get my items 10% cheaper by using the Subscribe and Save offer where items are sent regularly at an interval of my choosing - I may ultimately do this, but I'm watching the prices for a while first!
Happy Frugal Shopping!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

A BEAUTIFULLY FRUGAL CHARITY SHOP PURCHASE!

We've had a few warmish, sunny-ish days recently and I realised that most of my scarves are the warm, woven and woolly kind! While I was out and about one day last week, it was so warm I just had to take mine off, so I got to thinking I really need a lightweight, decorative summer scarf (well, more than one actually!). Cue some quick looky looks around the clothing section of the supermarket - gasp! Pretty scarves, flowery prints, lightweight chiffon type fabrics, but all £10 or £12! So, off to the charity shop where scarves abound! So I had high hopes and, guess what? I bought this looooovely flowery scarf for £1.99 - and my money has also gone to help someone, not to feed the corporate machine.

Monday, 5 March 2012

THAT'S THE WONDER OF LIDL!

I have (just last Thursday) paid a visit to my nearest Lidl for the first time in a couple of years. I went there to buy raspberry canes, but they had none left, so I thought I'd take a look at their prices and (maybe) buy a few things if it looked worth it.
Lidl are cheap, but they're 9 miles away, so my common sense theory is that it's too far to go every week to save a few pounds - bearing in mind the cost of petrol. Up until now, that is.Without further ado I will list what I bought and, where possible, what that item costs at the regular supermarkets (prices from my supermarket.co.uk)
Hovis Wholemeal medium sliced loaf - 2 for £2 (same as Tesco and Sainsbury)
Celeriac - 0.99p per kilo (Waitrose £1.79 , Sainsbury £1.40)
Baking potatoes loose - 0.89p per kilo (Sainsburys £1.37, Asda £1.30, Waitrose £1.39, Tesco £1.30).
Avocado - 0.59p (Asda 0.64p, Sainsbury £1.00, Tesco 0.90p, Waitrose 0.99p)
Gala apples - £1.29 per bag of 8 (Waitrose £1.92, Tesco £1.55, Saisbury £1.80 or 2 for £3, Asda £1.60 for bag of 10)
Granny Smith's apples- £1.00 for a bag of 6 very big ones (Asda £1.60, Sainsburys £1.80 for 5, Tesco £1.80 for 7 smaller apples, Waitrose £1.92 for 7)
Cherry plum tomatoes 250g - £1.00 (Sainsburys on offer £2.99 per kilo, Tesco 0.98p for 300g)
Frozen Raspberries 500g - £1.99 which = approx 0.50p per 100g (Tesco 46.3 per 100g, 57.1 per 100g, Sainsburys 41.7 per 100g, Waitrose 84.3 per 100g)
Semi-skimmed milk 4pt size -  £1.00 (Tesco and Sainsburys £1.18,  Asda 2 for £2.00, Waitrose £1.25)
Heinz Baked beans 6 x 415g pack - £2.48 (Asda £3.00, Sainsburys £3.49, Tesco £3.14)
Orange Juice 1litre 0.59p (Tesco value 0.56p, Asda Smartprice 0.56p, Waitrose £1.10p but cheaper for 4 @ 0.87p each)
Tinned Tomatoes 0.33p per 400g tin (Tesco Value 0.31p, Asda Smartprice 0.31p, Sainsburys Basics 0.39p, Waitrose essentials 0.69p)
Box of 2 mozzarella Pizzas £2.00 - no real comparisons to be found elsewhere, but these are very tasty, a medium size and a real bargain. I usually pay anywhere between £2-4 each elsewhere.
So without working it out down to the last penny, it appears that Lidl is a pretty safe bet for cheaper fruit and veg, own label frozen foods and offers like the 6 pack of baked beans. I didn't do a whole week's shopping and I could see that other items were cheap as well, such as meat, a very large bottle of Morning Fresh washing up liquid at 0.89p and a 400g carton of strawberry yogurt at 0.89p. 
If I did a whole week's shopping at Lidl (and continue to train myself to memorise what things averagely cost elsewhere) the savings could well be more than the cost of the petrol (about £3.20) to get there and back, but I think it may need to be a saving of £7 or £8 per week to make it really worth the trip. 
Those of you who are lucky enough to have a Lidl in your town will definitely save money there - but then you probably already know that!.