The weather has been so horrible here lately (apart from yesterday which was lovely and sunny…for a change!) that I’m illustrating this blog with pics taken in spring or summer. Not only does it cheer me up, but it makes me feel like I’m blowing a raspberry to winter. So there winter take that…
Ah that feels better! So how’s your week been? Mine has been pretty good. My colleague and good friend Laurina turns 50 this weekend, so we had cake in the office on Tuesday and we went out for lunch at Rose & Grants. She’s having a party in a well known Glasgow pub this weekend, the theme is the 1950s so everyone is being encouraged to dress up. I ordered a lovely dress from Lindy Bop, but unfortunately it was too small…their size labelling is small, a lot smaller, but their dresses are heavenly. I’ve ordered a bigger size (it’s three sizes bigger than I would normally wear which doesn’t make me feel too good – that’s how different their sizing is from normal – but if it fits I’m planning to cut the label out so I don’t have to look at it and feel eugh. If you’re a woman reading this you’ll know what I mean!). Anyway I hope the dress arrives by Saturday otherwise I have a problem. Lindy Bop are in Yorkshire so it’s not that far to post to here in not-so-sunny Scotland. I just love their dresses – they are GORGEOUS.
I am currently reading The Complete Tightwad Gazette by American writer and frugal person, Amy Dacyczyn (apparently it’s pronounced decision). I love books and tv programmes on frugality (I am a fan of Channel 4’s Superscrimpers). I don’t understand why more people aren’t more frugal and by frugal I don’t mean being a tight-arse, I mean looking after your money and making it work better. I think part of my love of being frugal comes from my parents – neither had a rich upbringing in the 40s and 50s and it was definitely a case of watch every penny. That’s kind of rubbed off on me plus I am also quite green in my outlook (although I do drive a car! A necessity for work). I hate waste. When I was brought up, we had to eat everything on our plates because there were people in Biaffra (I’m not sure of its modern name, but it’s somewhere in Africa, I think) were starving and we should be grateful to have food. We didn’t get everything we wanted instantly. We were encouraged to save our pocket money to buy the things we wanted or have to wait til birthdays and Christmas. I think this is one of the best ways to teach kids about money management. We do it with our two. They don’t get everything they want. They are given a budget for presents for birthdays and Christmas. They are encouraged to save their pocket money.
My mother also cooked all meals from scratch. We did not grow up on fast food or supermarket shove-in-the-microwave meals. Apart from the fact these were unheard of for most of the 70s and the big supermarkets never really came into force until probably the 80s, none of us liked them. I still don’t like them. I much prefer home-cooked food…it’s delicious, good for you, packed full of nourishment and so much cheaper than a packet meal. So, thanks mum for all that great food (and the pancakes, cakes and other ‘yummies’ you made) you fed me when I was growing up and the great meals you still make for us all today!
Talking of those types of fast food rubbishy meals, my friend Tracy and I were talking about a programme on tv called Junk Food Kids. I’ve not seen it, but she was relating a tale of a father who fed his kids store bought pizza because he felt it was cheaper to buy food this way. I’m not sure how many children he had, but T reckoned they must have spent at least £30 on the one meal. For that amount of money, I can make probably six meals for my family. I don’t understand why some people insist on putting this forward as a reason why they don’t make their own food. I think it’s just an excuse. They either don’t know where to start (and this isn’t really a good excuse because the local library has lots of books on how to cook) or are too lazy to do it. I can make home-made pizza for us all with all the toppings we like for around £5 for the lot.
Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself – back to the book. The Complete Tightwad Gazette is full of tips for reusing, recycling, cutting bills and generally being frugal. Although aimed at the US market, it still has lots of good tips and great articles for us lot over the pond. A lot of stuff mentioned we already do, but there are a few things I may try and some of the recipes for cheaper meals look nice.
One of the things I’m definitely going to do when the better weather comes in is to walk more – ie walk the kids to school and back. I currently drive them, but only because the weather has been so foul that I don’t want them going to school soaked to the skin…it’s not pleasant having been there as a kid a few times! I’m also going to start making more of my own biscuits and cakes. Three reasons for this: they taste far better, I know what’s in them (ie none of those chemicals you get in shop bought) and according to Amy it’s cheaper to do. Plus my kids like them better. I made some fairy cakes for Laurina’s birthday lunch on Tuesday, but kept two back for my kids…they were scoffed in seconds!
I already cook from scratch, but hubby and I decided recently to stop buying in as many carry-out meals in a bid to lose weight. We would have an Indian or Chinese carry-out meal at least once a week. It was nice for me because I got a night off cooking, but not good for the old waistline! It’s amazing how much money we’ve saved as well. We now have a carry-out once a month as a treat for being good all month regards dieting. One member of the family gets to choose what we have. I’ve already chosen (Frankie and Benny’s) in January; hubby went for a curry in February; and it’s the girl’s choice at the end of this month. The boy will get to choose at the end of April. Not only have we saved money, but it also (weirdly) makes the carry-out more of a treat.
We also recycle and it’s not just household waste we recycle, but old toys, bicycles and anything else we can. I hate the thought of sending a perfectly good bicycle to the dump when I can ask around and see if anyone else can use it.
Right, that’s my rant for today. I will continue to read and enjoy this book and see if there’s anything else I can do to reduce, reuse, recycle and save!! Am loving the thought of it already!
Anyway, what’s been happening in your world? Have you done anything interesting or exciting this week? No? Me either (well apart from getting all passionate about the aforementioned book). Oh, there was a bit of excitement on Sunday when two fire appliances turned up at a neighbour’s door. Thankfully there was no fire, but unfortunately there was a flood.
Oh the other thing that happened was this: Tuesday morning as I was waving my husband off to work I happened to look up and there in the sky was about 30-40 large birds in V formation heading north. It was lovely to see them return. I’m not sure if they were geese or swans, but they were something that big. I couldn’t make them out clearly as they were too high up, but it means spring is coming! Woohoo!
Finally, yesterday, the boy and girl were taken down to our local beach (on the riverbank) by our local Afterschool. I met them down there and the boy was convinced he’d found real gold. The girl scoffed loudly – as she always does – but the boy is insisting we go back to the beach over the weekend with a shovel so we can dig it up! He’s dead cute when he thinks he’s found treasure! I think if we find it again he’s going to be disappointed!
Right, time to go…am off to do some housework-y things! Til next time!