Sunday, August 30, 2009

Making It My Own Way

The way my mind works is that if any large amount of money is spent, then my aim is to get it back into my purse by way of 'deliberate savings'. So yesterday, having spent quite a lot of my money, began planning to try to save between £10 and£20 a week (yes I could have bought a cheaper scooter, but none of the cheaper ones hold my weight not all of those that did were comfortable so had limited choice).

So as soon as I got home immediately got to work and yesterday saw the start of 'Shirley's Scooter Savings', beginning with lemon curd. Using best butter and organic free-range eggs this was more expensive to make than it need have been (cheaper butter and much cheaper eggs on sale at the supermarket), but was using the same ingredients as given on the label of the bought jar - the cost of that being £2.25p). Even so, for £1.30p worth of ingredients, this made twice the amount of lemon curd (comparison pricing the bought would have cost me £4.50) with an egg white left over (have plans for using that) making a saving of £3.20p.

Also decided to whizz granulated sugar in the blender to turn it into caster sugar, so ended up with 3lbs of caster which was tipped into a Tupperware container holding several (old but still working) vanilla pods. Yet on checking the comparison price of caster v gran. on Tesco's site saw that large packs of both are sold at the same price so might just as well have bought it. On the other hand vanilla sugar is much dearer. Caster sugar used to be dearer, maybe it will be again. So grinding it myself made no real saving that day, much to my displeasure.

Still needed to put more money back into my purse, so decided to make some piccalilli from oddments of veggies in the fridge. Here it is difficult to assess the amount of money that has been saved. Most of the ingredients used were not planned to be used in any specific way, many being taken from the store cupboard. The veggies used were a courgette that Gill had brought (she loves them, I don't mind them, B can't stand them), there was bit of cauliflower left that was beginning to look sad, and yes it could have been turned into soup, others would throw it out (one trimmed was usable).
There was a thick chunk of cucumber sliced from the one bought recently. The problem with cucumber is that if not used fairly rapidly it can start going soggy and have to be chucked in the waste bin (must start a compost bin), so as it was a very large half cucumber, it did need using. With some string beans from the freezer (taken with us when we moved and not really liked by either of us as a veg so a good way to use them up), an onion from the rack cut into small pieces (having no small onions), there was no need to go out and 'buy' any of the produce to make the pickle (as eggs, butter and lemons were bought to make the curd). So could the piccallilli be counted as is 'free' or not? I like to think it can be.

The veggies were diced and lightly salted, left to stand overnight, and after rinsing well, will today be cooked with ginger, mustard, vinegar, sugar and turmeric ( all taken from stores). Estimating the amount am sure it will fill three good-sized jars (that originally held mayo and Branston etc), probably equivalent to the 99p jars on sale. So that's £3 to add to the £3.20p saved by making the curd.

Trying to save £20 a week by way of kitchen activity is not going to be easy if it means 'deliberately working' to save nearly £3 a day, at the time of writing feels a bit like hard labour. But it can be done in other ways for money saved does not always have to be kitchen work. My purse is already lined with 2 x £10 notes because I have not had the hairdresser do my hair for two weeks (one week Gill was here, the next my hairdresser was on holiday). By having my hair done alternate weeks might be the easy way to replenish my coffers.

With enough food in store now, it would be simple enough to not buy anything at all except milk and eggs for several weeks. So might even take the easy route and just adjust my weekly budget down by £20, so that less is spent on food. Really, all that needs to be done is just replace the fresh produce, with enough money left over to save for meat, fish, butter etc. This way I would not necessarily need to 'make' so much. Just 'make' the most of what there is. That way appeals to me the most.

From now on my 'deliberate' and other savings will be noted down daily in a little book and by taking a professional book keeping approach will allow myself a set 'income' by way of a normal food budget, then write down what is spent and each week carry over the balance. Another book will cover gardening expenses, and money saved by growing our own, so by next year it will be interesting to see how much will have been saved overall.

Maybe 'earning' the money to pay for the scooter by being more frugal and working harder in the kitchen and garden is not really necessary. But my twisted mind likes to believe that when savings are deliberately made (that would otherwise not be normally done) in this instance to cover my cost of the scooter, and eventually enough saved to cover B's half (although would not give him back his money - my need being greater than his, and he must learn to be generous), then the scooter will end up a 'freebie'. It is this sense of achievement that makes me feel good. Well, OK call me sad if you like, but this is just the way I am. Life would be very boring if we could afford everything we want and never have to lift a finger to pay for it. People have been known to commit suicide because they have more than enough money to provide for all their needs, the only thing lacking in their life is happiness and that is something money can never buy. Happiness is something we all seek, and the good news is that it can be free - as long as we know where to look.

Weather a bit unpredicatable today, sun is out one minute, in the next, and a fair breeze blowing. May make a trip down to the prom on my 'wheels' - now christened 'Norris' (B fancied 'Doris' but I am always happier accompanied by a man and we have already called our fridge/freezer 'Boris'). 'Norris' is very sturdy, almost built like a Rugby player, and a lovely shiny black. Even Beloved likes him and insists on driving him into the garage at night. Bet it won't be long before B suddenly gets an aching back and asks to use him to go to the post box "hardly worth taking the car that short distance". Norris and Boris. We have now to find something to call 'Horace'. Maybe the car?