Sunday, 18 August 2013

Frugality, luck or just common sense?

I don't normally do 'frugal' posts, leave them to the excellent Robyn at Essexhebridean; mainly because its just 'what I do' on a daily basis so I don't really think about it, but also because I don't have large purchases to make that I can save money on, and rarely buy online so don't get cashback. The biggest expenditure would be on the car and hotels, but the company I work for deals with that sort of thing.

But last Friday I wandered to the market; well I say market, but its generally the usual tat that is everywhere. But there is a fruit and veg stall, a butchers van and a fish van. I don't buy from the butchers van, as he sells in huge quantities, and I've got a good local butcher. But the veg stall is bargainous.
Here's what I picked up, all for the grand sum of £5!

There's a bag of assorted salad stuff, iceberg lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, spring onions, cress and a couple of radishes.  2 huge punnets of strawberries, and some clementines and lemons.  There's also a bag of spuds.

I'm sure I've mentioned before, that I'm lucky to have a local butcher.  He is, apparently, one of the few butchers left in the North West still doing their own butcher.  At least that's what the sign said. Yesterday when I went in, it was quiet, so I asked him about it, and what do other butchers do.  They buy the meat ready cut up.  Not necessarily into chops or steaks, but will buy the 'chunk' of the animal that sells best.  Even Morrison's much vaunted 'butchers shop', although they will cut to order, so if you want steaks for example, they will cut from a sirloin that they have bought in. They won't have previously cut the sirloin themselves.

What do you know!  Its also how he can keep costs down, because he can and does sell the cheaper cuts, so things like neck of lamb, shin of beef etc.  He also makes his own sausages and burgers, which aren't full of cereal, so don't disappear to nothing when you cook them.

The other advantage of course, over supermarkets, is that I can get just exactly the cut I want, and the amount I want. No waste, so again, while not frugal, not wasteful.
This week I bought a chicken which at just under £5 was more expensive than I'd pay in the supermarket, for the same weight, but actually is better value, because its not full of water and salt, and is so much more tasty.  Also it does way more than one meal (even if we do have more than the measly amount that is used on some blogs) we've had an excellent roast dinner, I've made  a chicken pasta salad thingy for tomorrows lunch, J will have some for his tea a couple of nights and he's under instructions that anything remaining on Tuesday is to go into the freezer.  The carcass has already been frozen ready for soup season.

And then yesterday I took a trip to Ikea. I took my sister, as she needed something, and was looking for material for cushions and possibly to make blinds.  The material I liked was £7 a metre. Then across the room I spotted something I liked; turns out it was a duvet cover. The last one they had left, so only a fiver!  Roughly 4 metres of material maybe?  Who knows? But for that money I don't care.

I like bargains.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Some lovely places and a fundamental feminist issue

In my job I get to go to some lovely places, sit on trains and watch the countryside whizz by.

Thats what I did this week.

First week back after a couple of months off, so no early morning trains for me.  Nope. This was far more leisurely (at least to start with).  Walked to local station, not that easy with suitcase, laptop bag and lunch; up and over to the platform and onto the Runcorn train.  Off at Runcorn and wait for the fast London train.  Its also amazing how much cheaper it is to travel in the middle of the day.

Then the fun starts; from Euston, to Euston Square (no lifts) then Edgeware Road and finally High Street Kensington.  Believe me I was shattered!

But the point of this is a bit more fundamental.  Colleague was moaning about having to carry her 1 bag around with her, and how nobody bothered to help her.  Maybe its an age thing (she's in her twenties) but I wouldn't dream of asking for help.  Basically she was talking about 'fluttering her eyelashes' at any passing male in the hope that he helped her.  To me, that is so fundamentally wrong.  I started work in 1975, following on from the heady 60's, and women were still fighting to get out of the kitchen.

Best of luck to her, but its not for me.

P.S I did have some photo's of stations, but my phone was stolen along with my bag on the return journey.