Austober, week 3.

You can read about the second week of Austober here.

Monday, 15th of October.
Walked to and from work today, saving money and moving about, both of which are good things! It’s getting colder in the evenings, but during the day it is still warm.
Went by Wilko’s to collect our order today. So pleased I got the £10 off any spend voucher, as it meant I got all of this for 5p.

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Got us some toiletries and some bits and pieces for the house.

Husband has had his PIP back payment paid in today ❤ This will help us immensely. Most will go into the savings that have been wiped out with paying for Husband’s counselling and the renovations. Some will go on bills. And some will be put in the vacation fund<3. And a teensy weensy bit of it was spent on whatever Husband fancied for dinner. So we had a takeout.

Tuesday, 16th of October.
Walked to work and back again, enjoying the fall colours. Feeling more confident at work now, like I know more things and procedures, and I am not just a new hire.

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My new colleagues gave me an early birthday present ❤ Making my desk a bit more mine now<3

Husband was at work, so spent Tuesday evening at home cleaning and tidying the house. No fun having to do that stuff on my day off. So try to do it before or after Wednesdays, if possible.
Something lovely happened. I was walking past the greengrocer on my way home from work when I saw that they were selling bags of apples for 45p each. The lady was busy closing up the shop so I hurried inside with two bags to pay for them – at which point she said I could have them!
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Found this piece of music which I am listening to on repeat. Jeremy Soule did the music for the Elder Scrolls game series and this is just the sort of thing he would compose. Both calming and melancholic at the same time. Wish it was available as a CD as it would have been the perfect present for my father.

Wednesday, 17th of October.
It’s Silver’s birthday!
Naturally my day started with coming down to feed the Cat, to find she’d barfed in the living room. And I stepped in it.
Not to worry as it went better from there. It was a lovely sunny day, so did three loads of laundry. Good friends sent me gifts:

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What a wonderful present. Just have to try not to kill these plants inadvertently now…

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What an amazing creation, all from cut fruit! This was from my best friend.
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Sadly it was too tall to sit in the fridge, so had to take it apart to get it all to fit. Lots of fruit and veg for our lunches here (and breakfast and dinner, too!).

Husband’s mother came over and we had lunch together before I went with Husband to have his Hepatitis B vaccine regime started. We then had a quiet afternoon resting at home, before neighbour came by with some lovely treats and flowers for me in the evening. Posted the spending study back so I should have a voucher arrive in a not too distant future.

Thursday, 18th of October.
Taking fruit with me for lunch – the melon pieces are cut like petals, and are just delicious. Walked there and back again which also helps the bank balance and is good for me. And I found a £5 while walking to work, score!
I spent the evening clearing my inbox of surveys and tidying and dusting the office.
Husband was quite dejected coming home; he has not been allocated any leave at all over the whole of the Christmas period. This means that I will be travelling home to see my family and mother on my own. Husband is already starting to panic as he isn’t sure he can cope with his low mood alone, coupled with working and having to look after the house and the Cat and himself.

I need to make a plan.

Friday, 19th of October.
Quiet day at work today. Walked there and back again, and there was a definite chill in the air that morning. I am continuing to resist putting the heating on at home. May do it while I am away, so that Husband and the Cat are comfortable at home.
Spent the evening prepping some food and emptying my inbox of surveys. I try to cook and prep things when I have free time, so that when dinner needs to be made we can just throw it in to cook. No fun having to microwave something with your eyes, willing it to cook faster if you’re hungry.
I made my lunch for Saturday, chopped veg finely for Sunday’s dinner, and roasted some sweet potatoes for a future dinner.

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What a gorgeous colour they are. So pleased I had time to do these.

Picked the last itty bitty tomatoes we’ve grown in the back yard. I’ve put them with the bananas in the fruit bowl in the hope that they will ripen, as they just weren’t when we left them outside.
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Saturday, 20th of October.
I was really tired this morning; did the dishes and inhaled a piece of toast and some tea before going to work. Thank goodness I had the foresight to make my lunch the night before. I also made the decision to pack some dry snacks to keep at work, just in case, just some pot noodles and some cuppasoup. Hunger kicks in again in the afternoon most weekends, so it will stop me from going to the vending machine to get something unhealthy and grossly overpriced.
Work was quiet today, so managed to catch up on a lot of emails.
Went to see Husband’s family after work and have a birthday dinner with them. Husband’s family gave me a lovely planner for next year, a The Body Shop Gift Card, and a whole lemon drizzle cake! I shall be like a barrel by the time this month is over…

Sunday, 21st of October.
Had a quiet morning at home, having breakfast with Husband before setting off for work. Needed food for us and the Cat so went shopping. Managed to get some good bargains and to swing by Foodprint as well. Also managed to get one of my birthday freebies from Krispy Kreme ❤

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Very chuffed with my Lidl finds. That pasta bake for 70p is enormous! I’ve frozen it for Husband for when I am away so he doesn’t have to worry about having to prepare dinner.
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So pleased I was able to visit Foodprint before work. Lots of bread for Husbands sandwiches for lunch, and lots of snacks and treats for him to take to work as well. This cost us £4.75.
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My lovely birthday freebie from Krispy Kreme.

While I was waiting for the bus to work, I spied this little gem:

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The end of Austober is in sight. Not sure what comes next, perhaps, as per Hip Roof Barn‘s suggestion, Nearly There November?

You can read about the next week of Austober here.

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Austober, week 2.

(You can read about the start of Austober here, if you haven’t already)

Monday, 8th of October.
Walked to and from work today.
Husband and I have been pseudo-paid. Because our employer pays at the end of the month, I was expecting it then, but some has come now, for some reason. I was very pleased when I checked our bank accounts. It means I can pay the tax bill and I know there will be a water bill to pay in a not too distant future. And I can rest easy about the mortgage and council tax going out now.
Spent some time downstairs hoovering, dusting and cleaning the kitchen up.
Have had two vouchers through today, one for £10 off any spend over £10 from Wilkinsons, and a free birthday donut from Krispy Kreme.

Tuesday, 9th of October.
Continuing to walk to and from work, but keeping an eye on the weather, all the same. Today the weather was quite mild so hung a load of laundry out before going to work.

After work I spent some time at home doing laundry, cleaning and doing the dishes. I had just sat down for the evening to have my dinner (much to Cat’s delight as she could climb on my lap), when I got a notification to say there was a new listing on Olio, for some onions. I asked if I could be considered as the listing was quite local to us and the gifter said yes. Off I went to collect.

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This will help us so much, and be for our lunches and dinners. So pleased with this.

The gifter, as it turned out, had lots of fruit and veg they had saved from being thrown away and encouraged me to take more (and was putting food in my bag at their insistence). I am so grateful for this food and can’t wait to make some nice dinners with it.

Wednesday, 10th of October.
Day off today. Was supposed to accompany Husband for his first round of vaccinations, but Husband’s parents came by and gave me an early birthday present!

While they were being hung up, I went and did a few errands. Donated some stuff to the charity shop, found a dress on the £1 rail for work, posted an eBay sale, collected a parcel at the depot and bought some groceries and toiletries.
I had run completely out of sweeteners so decided to try the Stevia ones. Blergh, what a mistake! Maybe I am not using it for the right sort of drink (need a sweetener in my tea), but it just didn’t taste nice or sweet enough for me at all. I don’t want to waste it so will have my tea with one sugar and one sweetener just to use it all up, and then carry on buying it from Lidl as I have before. A lesson learnt I suppose.

Hung two loads of laundry out as it was so warm. Even moved the airer to the front garden to ensure it got as much direct sunlight as possible, to ensure it dried (laundry is normally hung in the back yard, and checked on it and moved it at regular intervals to ensure it was catching the sun.

Emptied my inbox of surveys. I am so close to being able to get my incentive with YouGov and InboxPounds, I can practically touch it!
We had dinner a la leftovers today, so we could use up some stuff to avoid it being wasted.

Thursday, 11th of October.
Got to work today to find a cakestravaganza – they had an event on my day off and there were so many sweet but also savoury leftovers! This helped so much as I didn’t have to bring a lunch from home after all. Saves on the stuff we have at home.

Came home to find an envelope for us each from the DWP.

I know this might sound strange, but all the same. Following  the fight we have had to get Husband awarded the PIP he needs and deserves, I seem to have developed a phobia of brown envelopes (for the uninitiated: the DWP/Capita always send you their letters in those). Every time we get one now, and if I can tell who it’s from, I feel shaky and my heart beats faster as I open them.

The letters from DWP repeated the court’s decision to award Husband PIP, and reiterated how many points he’s been awarded for each category. It also explained how Husband would have his PIP paid. Husband is due his backpayment next week, and will be paid every four weeks after that.

Friday, 12th of October.
Still lots more leftovers at work, so ate those to save on the stuff at home. Took the bus to work for the first time since starting, as the forecast was that it was going to rain heavily. I made the decision to purchase five single use day tickets through the operator’s app.

Naturally it stayed dry all day until I got home! What a waste! Nevermind. I will see what the weather is like before using the next ticket.
Spent some of the evening making a cottage pie of sorts for tomorrow. I used the tin of corned beef we were given and a load of the onions from Olio, so it uses food up and wasn’t too expensive in terms of ingredients. Also took out my crumble to defrost.

Saturday, 13th of October.
Work was very quiet today. Rescued more food my colleagues were trying to throw out, which helped with not using stuff from home.
I sat and browsed the Wilkinson website to use up the voucher I received, and bought some toiletries and cleaning stuff we needed. I chose to get click and collect as we have a branch up the street from where we live, so got free delivery and £10 worth of stuff for 5p!
Corned beef cottage pie went down a treat with Husband as did the crumble. Lots leftover for another day.

Sunday, 14th of October.
A quiet Sunday morning spent at home, before going to work. I managed to make breakfast, do the dishes, take the recycling out and change the sheets before going.
Last day of the spending diary I am keeping today, so next week I can post it back and get my incentive for it.
Husband went to Sharing Sherwood and brought me some dinner back and donated money for some of the food on the table. And I swung by Tesco to check if there were any bargains to be had on my way home from work.

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This cost me £1.33 at Tesco. I love checking the reduced section<3
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Lovely food, saved from the bin by Sharing Sherwood.

 

 

The summer of 2018 to-do list. How did I do?

I went back to working Sundays last week. This means I am now back to working six days a week,  and I thought I would review the summer checklist for this year.

I did write one, but did not put it up unlike last year.

This summer was all in all taken over by PIP and waiting for a tribunal hearing, thus the list was not as long or nearly as impressive as last year. I didn’t want to overload myself as I felt I really needed to rest this summer, more than anything else. Especially after February and everything that’s happened to us since.

All the same, this summer I managed to:

Meet up with friend we hadn’t seen for a long time.
Clean the kitchen from top to bottom, inside drawers and cupboards, tidying them and sorting them. Taking stock of what we have in the house.
Dust all the blinds in the house.
Relist all the items whose listings we lost when my eBay page imploded in spring.
Apply for student loan reduction for 2017/2018, and send evidence in.
Do the tax return and send it off.
Dust inside all the radiators in the house and wipe them down.
Visit friends for a weekend.
Visit the Arboretum park.
Visit Stonebridge City Farm.
Dust, tidy and sort the sitting room from top to bottom.
Visit Newstead Abbey.

Looking back, I am quite pleased with myself I have managed to do all of that!
……
Even if Husband thinks I am obsessed with cleaning.

Austober, week 1.

The bank account balance is continuing to look dire, and as neither of us will be paid until the end of the month, we will have to have an Austere October (Austober?). This carries on from the month of Skintember.

Monday, 1st of October.
Weather was nice, so walked to and from work today. (Plus bus pass is empty anyway, so need to work out what option is best to add some more days to it).
Rang Husband at lunch and he let me know someone from the DWP called. They had some questions he didn’t know the answer to, so will ring them on Wednesday to ask what they wanted. They will also send a letter about what they wanted to ask. *snort* I suspect it could be about paying Husband PIP.
Went and bought some milk after work, came home and got dinner going. Dusted and hoovered the office and bedroom, and did a load of laundry.

Tuesday, 2nd of October.
Walking to work and back again, feeling good and enjoying watching the leaves changing, and listening to the rustling of the trees in the wind. Managed to do dishes, peg washing out and take the rubbish out before going to work.
Came home to find a letter from the DWP asking us to confirm Husband’s bank details and some other stuff,  and post it back to them. Hoovered and dusted the front room and sitting room, and changed the Cat’s litter tray.
Husband came home and was peckish, so proposed to make a baked potato in the microwave. It gave me a huge fright as within half a minute of setting it to cook sparks were flying inside the microwave and there was a strange crackling noise. Turned it off at the wall and made a toastie instead but I really hope that isn’t the end for the microwave as a. it makes cooking a quick thing to do and b. really can’t afford the expense of replacing it now. Especially considering the kettle has been a bit slow on the uptake lately and doesn’t boil immediately when turned on. If I had to choose between replacing the kettle or the microwave, I would choose the kettle for sure.

Wednesday the 3rd of October.
Day off today.
Woke up at 5.30am as the Cat pounced on my face, wanting to be fed. Realized Husband was not in bed, and found him in the office, feeling very low. Coaxed him to at least try and get some sleep before seeing his therapist at 8.30am.

Afterwards we were meeting our neighbour at the Wetherspoon for breakfast, Keeping Up Appearances meant I didn’t feel we could decline.
Afterwards Husband passed out in bed, completely worn out, and I spent the time cleaning up the kitchen, washing Husband’s uniforms, doing life admin and running errands. Husband has quite a few days left on his pass still so can use his on days he isn’t at work.
The deadline for paying the tax I owe is the 31st of January so have pushed that back for now. I posted two eBay sales, posted the PIP form and a letter, and collected a parcel from the mail depot.

I thought the parcel I was collecting was something we’d ordered for Husband, but to mys surprise I found I’ve been selected to try Olay Daily Facials by SuperSavvyMe! I have applied for so many of their projects and not heard anything, I had given up ever being selected for anything so this should be interesting.

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I walked by the British Heart Foundation shop and they sell pre-owned microwaves there that have been PAT tested for safety so if it does give up the ghost completely, I know I can get one there for not an unreasonable price.
Will be working Sunday this week so had to check if my other bus pass would cover the other service I would need to use to get into town (there are two major operators in our local area and the bus pass for one operator can’t be used on the other service and vice versa). I was delighted to find I had £35 left of credit left! This will cover me for a few Sundays.
Had a voucher for free cake and a hot drink at John Lewis that was due to expire, so sat quietly and had that while reading my book. Heavenly.
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Thursday, 4th of October.
Continuing to be good and walking to and from work (as if I have a choice). Husband had a day off today so left him a list of things he could help me with while I was at work.

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Writing Husband a list, the Cat is supurrvising.
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Look who was waiting for me when I came back from work ❤

Friday, 5th of October.
Very quiet day at work today so spent a lot of time becoming familiar with corporate procedures and policies. Collected food through Olio after work and went by the corner shop to see if there were any bargains.

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Got this for free through Olio. This will make us some nice breakfasts!
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Bargains! Husband will be especially pleased with the mushrooms. The coleslaw was 19p, the other bits were 27p each.

Saturday, 6th of October.
Working at weekend job today. We had an open day today so lunch was provided for all the employees, so that saved me taking anything from home. They also provide free tea and coffee for staff so brought in my reusable mug.
Also managed to save more food from going in the bin today, which meant not using stuff from home.
Took my book back and borrowed some more. Must try and read the books I have before borrowing more.

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The peril of shelf-tidying in a library is that you may well find something you want to read ❤

One of my colleagues very kindly gave me a lift into town, which meant I had time to look for some bargains.

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25p for the meal! Mind you, I have never eaten liver before, but it sounds quite appetizing. I have put it in the freezer for now and may have it one night when Husband isn’t in.

Sunday, 7th of October.
I am officially back to working Sundays now.
Spent a leisurely morning at home with Husband eating breakfast and watching stuff together, then did dishes, changed the bed and put a load of washing on before leaving for work. Swung by the store to buy the Cat more food.
Work today was quiet but I can imagine it will pick up the closer the students get to their deadlines.
Then discovered at the end of the day that the bus which normally takes me into town no longer stops outside my workplace, and that its departure time is later as well! So ended up walking down the hill to the next stop and taking much longer to get home than normal. I guess this is the new normal…
Took a look at the tomatoes we’ve been growing in the back yard, they seem to be ripening ok in the fruit bowl now, after just refusing to turn red and delicious outside:

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We’ve done well and gotten so many tomatoes, just hope they’ll ripen now!

Here’s to next week ^_^

A Snarky September.

What a month it has been.

September has been a month of contrasts for us.

Good things that happened in September were:

I started a new job, which I enjoy thus far, and can see myself staying at for the foreseeable future. I can walk there and back which is good for me.

Husband was finally, finally awarded PIP. All in all it has taken us 15 months from when we applied, to get to where we are today.
I am sorry if it sounds dramatic and it’s probably because I am relatively young and have yet to experience many things in my life. But the process of applying for PIP with Husband and having to fight for it has changed me as a person. I feel different now and can’t quite put my finger on it. I think it’s feeling more cynical now and distrustful of government agencies.

Our bathroom was renovated.

Things that could have been improved were:

That this month has been Skintember for us, self-inflicted, but all the same. I have spent four weeks being sensible and taking stock of what we have in the house and using up what we’ve already got, and  generally finding different ways of not spending our money.

One good thing is that I’ve used this as an opportunity to learn how to make new food, and being inventive with what we had in the house. I made rice krispie cakes using a pack of rice cakes I didn’t want to throw out. I have learnt how to make crumble, and how to make Veiled Country Lasses.

Husband’s mood has been low.

…..

Onwards, then, to Austerity October (thank you to Hip Roof Barn for the suggestion), in which I need to celebrate my birthday (including bringing a cake to work as that’s what they do there) and see my sister in London for a week. Hee.

Skintember, week 4.

You can read about week 11, 2 and 3. If you wish.

Monday, 24th of September.
Husband had to leave the house at 5.30am for work today, so I made breakfast and lunches while trying to open my eyes. After I’d seen him off I made the decision to try and get more sleep before having to get up for work- managed to get some, which was good as I felt more rested. Weather was nice and sunny today so pegged washing out before going to work.
Walked to and from work today, was lovely!
Was largely left to my own devices at work today which was frustrating, as I had to deal with many different queries while trying to complete a to-do list- not very professional looking when you have to keep referring to the manual while someone is waiting at the desk!
I know I will do better as I become more familiar with their systems and procedures, but it’s no fun being the new hire.
Rescued two lovely apples my colleagues were about to throw out as they were ‘tidying the fridge’.
Posted two eBay parcels, and bought some milk after work. Came home to find a letter from HMRC stating they can’t take my underpaid tax out of my tax code after all, so have to find £279 for them. Smells like a job for a Wednesday.
Checked both our bank accounts today, PIP has still not gone in. 😦

Tuesday, 25th of September.
Walked to and from work again today as the weather was nice, felt really good to walk in the nice weather, plus, it was free!
Took some cawl and melon with me to work for lunch. Think tomorrow will be the last portion of it I will eat as there is so little left.
We were supposed to go out after work but other party had to work, so got moved to Wednesday. Thank goodness I had the foresight to prep some stuff on Sunday night as I got in and Husband was hungry, so got the dinner ready quickly.
Looking through my cupboards I noticed we still have a pack of tea rusks I haven’t used yet. If there are still apples that can be foraged nearby, I may have an idea…

Wednesday, 26th of September.
Day off today.

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The Cat, being snug.

While Husband was out this morning, I went for a walk to the nearby park and foraged some apples. It was so peaceful being out in the morning and just watching the world wake up.

Note to self – do not being Husband along to buy food if he is hungry as it means buying stuff not on the list! Two pesto foccacias and four tins of mushrooms later, we managed to get out of the shop. A bit cheesed off as we have plenty of food at home to eat, but Husband couldn’t wait.
That was my last day on my bus pass. It is now officially empty. Need to work out if cheaper to buy all-day tickets as I won’t be using it as much now, or to get it topped up again.

That evening we went out with Husband’s parents, Keeping Up Appearances meant going along and buying a meal for us each.

Got some freebies through the Shopmium app which will be really interesting to try:

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Got all of this, for free through Shopmium! May do a review of the app sometime.

Thursday, 27th of September.
Large grocery shop arrived from Sainsbury’s this evening, which should keep us going for quite a while for protein and carbs. Also bought cleaning stuff and a great big box of washing powder. Maybe it’s a sign of the times, but I feel that our money can buy us less and less in the shops. Thinking back I felt our money stretched much further in terms of buying groceries in the past.
EDIT: Having just added up our grocery spend for September, we are now £20 OVER budget. How? Why?

Friday, 28th of September.
Well they must clearly trust me at new weekday job, as I was left completely on my own there, all day! Had a good read of the intranet and found out we may both be eligible for a reduced price bus pass as we both work in the health service now. Will investigate this once I receive all my details so I can apply.
Neighbour asked if I wanted to go out and have tea before showing me the cat feeding routine for when they go away. Keeping Up Appearances meant accepting, but paid in cash from our stash in the piggy bank.

Saturday, 29th of September.
First day back at weekend job today. A colleague very kindly brought in homemade food and goodies, and there were leftovers from a weekday event. Also rescued two yogurts my colleagues were going to bin and had them as part of my lunch together with the food already there so that saved some of our food at home.
Returned my library books and found a new one to borrow.
img_20180929_122843.jpgHad a notification from Shopmium I could get some toffee popcorn for free, so went by and bought it after work.
Came home to find an email from our energy provider to say prices are going up in November>:(

Sunday, 30th of September.
Last Sunday off for quite some time, next week I’ll be back working six days a week. Did some jobs around the house, tried to do laundry but it started to drizzle to brought it inside. Emptied my inbox of surveys, paid the credit card bill, did self-employed work and updated our grocery spreadsheet, and relisted the items that didn’t sell on eBay.
Husband still hasn’t been paid, which is odd.

I managed to use the apples for the idea I had: To try and make Veiled Country Lasses. It’s a Scandinavian dessert, a dish with apple sauce in the bottom, then a layer of bread crumbs/cake/crumbs/crushed cookies or gingerbread biscuits, and a layer of whipped cream on top. I even managed to make three jars in addition to the dish of it, which I can send with Husband to work.


A great way to end the week. So chuffed with myself I have learnt to make this. It used up apples I had foraged, plus some Indian toast we were given I had no idea what to do with. Score!

Onwards, to Austerity October.

 

Skintember, week 3.

(If you haven’t, you can read about the first and second week as well.)

Monday, 17th of September.
First day at new job. Small team, I make up the 5th person on there. Seems very calm and professional, a very big change to the ridiculous and horrid behaviour I encountered in previous weekday job. I think I will like it there once I have become familiar with all their procedures and ways of doing things.
They had a fuddle the previous week and had loads of leftover food which they encouraged to help myself to, so I shall. That will really help with conserving food for lunches.
Had an email to say a video I did for a panel I am part of has been received, will receive a £50 Amazon voucher for that. Once it arrives I will add it to the Christmas stash.
Husband was at work until late so I did some errands after work.

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Fromage frais, courtesy of Olio, and the snack mix and bakes I got for free through the Shopmium app.

Going to the kitchen to make dinner, I discovered that I had forgotten to refrigerate the last of the shepherd’s pie I made on Sunday. It had been left in room temperature all day! So cross with myself for forgetting! Debating to throw it out, but decided to chance it and have it myself for dinner the following day.
When Husband came home from work, he was in such a distressed state. I have never seen him so upset.
By the time he had calmed down enough to eat something and we had unravelled what was wrong so we could talk it through and go to bed, it was 1.45am. Work starts at 9am.

Tuesday, 18th of September.
Struggling to keep my eyes open most of the day. Had to be switched on, as second day at new job and having to absorb ALL the information.
Even though new workplace isn’t far away and I have made a decision to walk there to move around more, made the decision that to get as much sleep as possible was a priority so set alarm for as late as I could. Got up, got ready while throwing food into my mouth and making our lunches before dashing to the bus.
Ate leftovers at work as a big part of my lunch to save on stuff at home.
I am part of a Recycle and Free Facebook group for our local area – someone put out they had lots of empty pots and seedling trays, which they kindly gifted me for free. Went by and collected them after work.

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All set for trying to grow things next year! And all for free – my favourite price.

Decided to eat the shepherd’s pie as it looked, smelled and tasted fine after nuking it in the microwave on high for 10 minutes.
Came home to find an email explaining that a hotel we stayed at earlier this year had been the subject of a phishing attack which may have exposed our credit card details. Logged in and couldn’t see any unusual activity, all the same, promptly rang the credit card company to cancel the card. A shame, as I would have used it this week to pay the Council Tax (want them delicious ClubCard points!).

Husband had a much better day at work today.

Wednesday, 19th of September.
Still here, despite eating the shepherd’s pie.
Day off today. This will be my day off in the week now, rather than Tuesday.
Today is our anniversary. We have been an item for 12 years now!
Spent the morning resting, doing stuff around the house and emptying my inbox of surveys.
Really pleased with myself – had a tiny blob of honey in a jar that had crystallised. Did not want to throw it out so boiled water and poured it in, getting it all to dissolve, then made tea with it for myself. Using it up and using it for something worthwhile.
As it was our anniversary, I made us some marinated chicken I’d gotten reduced the other week, couscous and salad.

Thursday, 20th of September.
Rain chucking it down today, so took the bus to and from work. Again. Must try and walk tomorrow as only have 2 days left on bus pass.
Still lots of leftovers so that meant lunch was mostly sorted for me. Dinner was cawl and bread – gosh that pot of soup I made has made a lot of lunches and dinner for me (Husband was offered it and wasn’t interested, which is fair enough).
Had an email from the flooring company letting me know the floor has arrived in store for tomorrow. Thank goodness I read the small print as it says they will remove the floor for a fee! They didn’t tell me that when I asked them to fit it, that it would cost us for them to pull it up for us! Guess I’d better get the scissors and get that lino out then! 😡 Also got the hoover out and dusted and hoovered the office.
I had an email from Sainsbury’s saying I could have £8 off a £50 online grocery shop, so decided to take advantage of that with another coupon I had, for delivery next Thursday. Spent £60 but with coupons it was £43. I ensured I bought worthwhile, bulky stuff, so we will be set for meat for the next month and also got four bags of cat litter. Saves me carrying it home as delivery was only £1!

Friday, 21st of September.
Last day at work before the weekend. Leftovers at work still tiding me over.
Walked to work and back! Walking there took about 20 minutes and the sun was shining and got some music on my ear, so it was really enjoyable…naturally the heavens opened as I was leaving work. Resisted the urge to take the bus, and walked anyway, so feeling quite proud of myself for persevering and walking even though the weather was pants. Next week the weather should be better so will walk more to work.
Bathroom is finally, finally done as the floor was laid today.
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Saturday, 22nd of September.
Rest day today. This is the last full weekend I have off before I return to work at the university so will spent the weekend relaxing and doing stuff around the house. Got paycheck from weekend job so that tops up the bank account. Paid the council tax for this month. Continued clearing my inbox of surveys.
Went grocery shopping (remembering to check my Tesco gift cards this time before spending!), collected Husband’s prescription from the pharmacy, posted two eBay sales  and managed to get to Foodprint.

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So grateful Foodprint exists. This cost us £2.90. Lots of bread for Husband’s lunches and treats for work, plus got a nice bunch of flowers to gift.

We were invited to our former neighbor’s house for dinner, so Keeping Up Appearances meant bringing a gift. Got a lovely bunch of flowers from Foodprint and some chocolates using my gift cards. Also packed some of our games for us to play after dinner. We had a lovely time and it gave Husband a change of scene which I think he enjoyed.

Sunday, 23rd of September.
Another very chill day at home. Did some tasks I’d put off for a while like taking the laundry down from upstairs and folding it and putting it away, and organizing and cleaning the shelf next to the bathroom with all our towels and toiletries on. Dinner tonight was lots of different bits of leftovers we had, which Husband thought was delicious ❤

Early night today as Husband has to be at work for 6am tomorrow.

Onwards, to week four of Skintember.

 

 

 

 

Skintember, week 2.

(The first week of Skintember can be found here.)

Monday, 10th of September.
No letter about PIP in the post today.
Made a crumble with ingredients we had at home to take with us, bought some custard, and then we went to see Husband’s younger sister for the afternoon. As she lives in the next town over it costs to travel by bus to see her but Keeping up Appearances meant I felt we should go visit. She gave us some coleslaw to take home as neither of them eat it. Husband was peckish despite me packing snacks and drinks, so bought two tubs of Pringles.

Tuesday, 11th of September.
Finally had the decision letter through in the post – Husband has been awarded PIP<3. Had a friend visit that we hadn’t seen in ten years. We were gifted a tin of corned beef which had served as a deterrent after being left in a house share where the tenants were vegetarian.
Keeping up Appearances meant we went out for lunch, to Kitty Cafe. I paid for the entrance fee for us and our friend paid for our lunch which was very generous.
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Wednesday, 12th of September.
Most of today was spent supporting Husband as his mood was very low. Wednesday was spent doing things around the house and working on eBay listings, as I won’t have the time or patience to do many of these once I am back in work. Doing tasks that meant I could be close to him.
Had a letter through letting us know the annual gas safety check for the boiler is due, will cost £75, and when can we book an appointment? Had a giggle and then filed it away in ‘To do when we are not skint’.
Husband’s friend is really going through a bad time with change of medication for pain management, so we ordered a takeaway for her so she wouldn’t have to cook.

Thursday, 13th of September.
Spent today working on eBay listings. Have sold two things so will post those this weekend.

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Lovely cawl for lunch, with sourdough bread cheese toastie.

Neighbour has come home from vacation and asked if I wanted to come by and sit in the garden. Had a nice afternoon sitting with her and her cats and just decompressing, while being fed lovely treats and given tea.

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Decided to roast the small butternut squash I got from Foodprint, it turned out delicious. I love these rich fall colours fruit and veg have.

Went to Co-Op to see if they had any reduced bargains, but think I went too early as there were reductions but nothing that caught my eye. This was at 8.30pm so maybe go at 9pm next time?
Got Husband a nice pasty for 25p which will form part of his dinner tomorrow.
Paid student loan instalment and invoiced for the media analysis work I have done this month.

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Wanted to try and grow stuff in water and then pot it out, so pleased with these spring onions! This is after a week and a half in a small container in water I changed daily.

Friday, 14th of September.
Husband had appointment with employment advisor today, all-day ticket is £5. Fortunately for us, they reimburse your travel expenses. They also reimburse expenses associated with with and have let us know they can reimburse Husband for the DBS check he needed to start.
Keeping Up Appearances meant I encouraged Husband to remember to get his ticket reimbursed so he could treat himself for lunch if he wanted. Bless him, be brought us fried chicken home he insisted on sharing with me for lunch.

Checked bank account balance, Paypal has gone in and Arriva Trains Wales have reimbursed us for the delay when we travelled to see Husband’s sister in Wales. That will tide us over for a bit.
Did washing, changed the sheets and gave a laundry basket Husband’s sister has given us a really good scrub.
Went food shopping using the all-day ticket Husband had bought saving me using my bus pass, sadly Foodprint had to close early so was shut. Spent some of my Boots Advantage Card points on deodorants for Husband as he’d run out. Went to Tesco to buy some groceries- had a nasty surprise at the checkout as one of the gift cards I wanted to pay with was empty, so had to pay in cash much to my annoyance. Will ensure I check at the kiosk before I go shopping next time, so I know I have the balance I need to cover what I buy.

Finished putting up all my eBay listings, over 100 of them! YES!

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The Cat came and had a snuggle ❤

Saturday, 15th of September.
We were meeting up with our neighbors from the terrace in the Wetherspoon across the main road. Keeping Up Appearances meant we went along and had breakfast. I chose a standard breakfast rather than a large, which came with unlimited tea refills. Naturally I had 3!
Got Finance questionnaire through the post to fill in, once done and sent back I’ll get a £15 Amazon voucher which will be added to the Christmas stash.
Went to the post office to send 2 eBay sales off, and walked by the shops coming back. Got some reduced bananas and in Wilkos they had their end of season sale.

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So pleased with these, good dates and everything. Can’t go wrong with 10p for a seed packet! I am determined to grow more things next year so these should be good to try.

Sunday, 16th of September.

Today has been spent doing stuff around the house – laundry, folding stuff, emptying my in-tray, things I won’t have the will to do when I’m in work. Made lunches for us both and a shepherd’s pie style dish for dinner. Ensuring the kitchen is clean and dishes done for when I get back Monday night.

I start my new job tomorrow!

You can read all about week three of Skintember here.

 

 

Skintember, week 1.

We are officially skint.

Self-inflicted, but all the same.

Paying the credit card bill off and the workmen to have our bathroom renovated, combined with me needing new glasses and starting a new job and probably not getting paid for that until the end of October equals a very skint September and possibly a very lean October.

Need to use as little money as possible as we need what’s in my account to pay for the mortgage, council tax, utility bill, internet, phone.

As I am writing this I also have remembered and strongly suspect the water bill will come in October as well. Drat.

Nevermind. We have plenty of food in the house and vouchers to use up so will treat it as a challenge.
Part of the challenge involves Husband not becoming aware of how tight things are, as he will be upset and worried.

Saturday, 1st of September.
Went to Foodprint and got some lovely food, plus instant noodles from the ethnic food store.

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Lots of lovely food. This cost us £3.75.

Sunday, 2nd of September.
Keeping up appearances means going to restaurant with Husband’s family and having dinner out.

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Really nice and unique chandelier hanging above our table.

Monday, 3rd of September.
Paid the credit card bill in full and the first half of the bill from the workmen.

 

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Made some stock from the leftover chicken carcass, with herbs from the garden.
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Returned these to the library on time to avoid accruing fines.

Tuesday, 4th of September.
Husband had to have a 24 EEG with the recorder put on him for him to wear a full day and night, to monitor his epilepsy. Husband’s parents very kindly met him at the hospital and drove him home. Made spaghetti bolognese as per his request as he was feeling miserable having to wear it, but thought I was stuck as we did not seem to have any tinned tomatoes at home. Found a tin of cream of tomato soup and added that instead which was a great success and very tasty!

Wednesday, 5th of September.
Husband had the EEG taken off – had to send him in a taxi to hospital and a. I was busy and b. he naturally did not want to go on public transport and be stared at. Paid the second half of the bill for the renovations. Spent some of our vouchers at Sainsbury’s (getting a pack of stew vegetables for 40p!)  and collected some free food from Olio. Posted stuff we have sold on eBay.

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Lovely food from Olio. Free and not wasted. My favourite kind.

Thursday, 6th of September.
The day before our PIP tribunal hearing. Spent the day distracting myself with YouTube videos and starting the cleaning of and taking stock of our kitchen cupboards, before tidying and cleaning the rest of the house to get it back in order after having the workmen here. Went by Tesco and used our vouchers for some food, including a bunch of mini donuts for 26p.

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All neat and back in now. Plus it has given me a lot of meal ideas.

Friday, 7th of September.
PIP tribunal hearing today.
Husband’s mother very kindly offered to buy us a hot drink and cakes afterwards, and we sat and just decompressed for a while after the hearing. Husband wanted to go to the cinema to see the Happytime Murders to unwind and take his mind off things, so used Tesco Clubcard vouchers to get cinema tickets. Used voucher to get us drinks from Tesco and had remembered mini donuts so brought those to the cinema.
Was feeling wiped out so we had a takeaway afterwards – got cashback for the order so while not very saintly, it did help with the cost.

Saturday, 8th of September.
Bought food from Foodprint (Three of the items I had to bin when I came home as had gone mouldy! 😡 Must remember to check things thoroughly before buying baked goods!). Posted stuff we have sold on eBay.
As weather was pants and will be pants for most of next week, I made a huge casserole of cawl. I grew fond of this after trying it in Wales. It’s mutton or beef soup with leeks, potatoes and root vegetables in it.

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Cawl in progress. Made with super cheap stew pack of vegetables, homemade stock and salted mutton gifted to us by my sister and her husband. Mr. Stabby is supervising.

Was going to bed when suddenly sat upright remembered that the overpayment is still applied to the mortgage and that it’s due to go out next week. Tried to call bank but was closed.

Sunday, 9th of September.
Called the bank, changes to overpayments has to be done within a certain number of working days for it to be applied. So will be taken in full this month but will be reduced from the next month onwards. Made a request for a withdrawal from Topcashback and then from PayPal to ensure we have enough in the account for when that goes out.

Finished cleaning and tidying the kitchen cupboard and hung out the laundry.
Sharing Sherwood was on today so to keep up appearances and in a bid to distract myself from waiting for that dreaded brown envelope to arrive we decided to go.

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Tonight’s menu, all lovely and delicious.
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Got lovely surplus food and leftovers from Sharing Sherwood.

We are ok for next week, foodwise.
I will continue to write the listings for eBay, as the end is in sight to get all the listings I lost back onto the website.

Tomorrow we are travelling down to visit Husband’s sister; in a bid to be frugal and to be able to bring something with us to share I will get up early and make a crumble.

Here’s to hoping we get a brown envelope with some good news tomorrow, and that next week will be plain sailing.

You can read about our next week here.

 

 

An ambivalent August.

Here we are, already in September – where did August go?

What was good about August was:

  • We had a chance to travel and visit new places. We visited Husband’s sister and husband in Wales, and had a chance to visit Stonebridge City Farm and Newstead Abbey, two places I have never been before. I think the idea of being a tourist in your own town or local area is underestimated!
  • We were under on the grocery budget again and have done quite well this month. Foodprint, Olio and reductions have all played their part. The garden is also coming along well.
  • As we are out of term now, I have spent a lot of time doing stuff around the house which I normally don’t have time for. I am almost done dusting all the blinds and using the brush behind the radiators in the house. Ebay is also going well as I have set myself the goal of relisting everything that was deleted off the site in spring.
  • I got reblogged, plus a blog nomination from the lovely LittleSeaBear! In the process of doing a fuller post about this as we speak.

Things that could have been improved about August were:

  • The effect of Husband’s medicine change for his epilepsy medicines is still being felt by us both, leaving him feeling very tired and flat all the time. A visit to do a blood test he needed to see how his values were to check if his dose needed adjusting went horribly wrong. This has left him feeling frustrated with himself and me feeling trapped, at times. Caring for someone can be a very lonely place.
  • Not really something that can be improved but all the same: We had a letter to say that Husband’s second round at court for the PIP tribunal hearing will be held in the first week of September.

And somewhere in the middle is that the work has started on renovating our bathroom.

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No way back now!

Suddenly realised yesterday that with paying for the bathroom and paying the credit card bill in full, combined with that new job won’t pay me until the end of October, equals a very tight September and October for us.

In fact, it may well be a Skint September.

One of the things on my summer projects list is to clean and go through the kitchen from top to bottom, sorting our shelves out.

This will give me a good idea of what we’ve got in the house so we spend as little as possible. This might be the time to whip out the gift vouchers I have been saving from my surveying as well. I will also endeavour to go to Foodprint once a week to help us out. I went on Saturday and got lots of lovely food for very little money.

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Foodprint coming through for us again. This cost us £3.75.