Wednesday, 29 May 2013

YONS UPDATE...

My YONS  (Year Of Not Spending) is still going well - I'm nearly half way through the year and my only spending recently has been on other people - May is a busy, busy month for birthdays in my family!
But I'm still pulling myself up short before I spend and thinking "Do I need it? Can I afford it? Is this the cheapest price I can find it?". 
And it's working well...

RANDOM MONEY-SAVING TIP NUMBER 32

Never throw away a hand-knitted garment.
Never throw away* a hand knitted item of clothing as you can unravel it and use the yarn to make other clothes, scraves, mittens, hats and knitted or crochet blankets. 
Start by carefully unpicking the seams (a very small, sharp pair of needlework scissors helps with this), then start at any cast off edge of a piece and begin to unravel, winding as you go around an A4 size hardback book.
Fasten the skeins with a scrap of yarn, then gently wash by hand and hang out to dry. When dry, put back onto the book and wind into balls. Make a note of the weight for future reference.
*of course, it goes without saying that if you get the chance to pick up hand-knitted garments for pennies at jumble sales or charity shops then go for it! I bought the wool in the picture, when it was an actual jumper, for 90p and the resulting yarn weighs nearly 600grams. I admit I have not yet wound it on to a book and have made myself an extra job by ball-winding it first - but I find that easier!

Friday, 24 May 2013

RANDOM MONEY-SAVING TIP NUMBER 31

Make your own tumble drier sheets
Yes, if you want to, have to - must, use a tumble drier, then make your own tumble drier sheets using the normal fabric softener you have for your washing machine.
Use old tumble drier sheets or small squares of J-cloth or old tea towels and dip them in fabric softener. Wring them out and leave to dry. Use in your drier as normal. Each home-made tumble drier sheet should be able to be used 9-10 times. When it no longer works, just repeat the process. 
Catch up with all the Random Money-Saving Tips so far...

QUICK HOME-MADE MARMALADE!

Mmmmmm - quick and cheap home-made marmalade, made in about 30 minutes! I have just made some marmalade using a can of Mamade ready prepared oranges, water and 4lb (1.8kg) of plain old white granulated sugar. I've done this many times over the years and have always preferred it as the marmalade (and jam) you buy, "breaks" after opening and starting to use, causing a lot of watery syrup to be present in the jar - I think this is due to gelling agents.
Unfortunately, I've just noticed that Mamade have added Citric Acid and a gelling agent (Pectin) to their cans- which I don't remember being there in the past - so we'll see if the marmalade breaks and gets syrupy after using. I've also noticed that shop bought jams and marmalades need to be refrigerated after opening or they go mouldy in a short time - my home made jams never go mouldy and are not kept in the fridge!
On the plus side, I have found that Lakeland sell a prepared orange product to make marmalade and list only Seville Bitter Oranges and water as the ingredients and still only £1.99 per can. They also do a lemon and a chunky peel one for marmalade - and next time I'm in town I'm buying some!
Anyway - to get back to the frugal facts of making marmalade this way:
Can of Mamade (or similar) £1.99, 1.8kg of white sugar (from Asda), £1.56 which equals £3.55 - really frugal for 6lbs of marmalade! This is approx 0.59p per jar, comparing very favourably with the cheapest I can find today (0.51p, Asda Fine Cut Marmalade with Sodium Citrates) which is not even a full 1lb jar at 454g.
* A Christmas festive twist for gift giving (or just for you!) - add one or two tablespoons of Grand Marnier or Cointreau liqueur for each pound of sugar when the marmalade reaches setting point!
Happy frugalling!