We are back home again from our weekend away. We had a lovely time at the family gathering it is so nice to be together for Sunday lunch and a catch up; and show off the new arrival. A friend had made this cake to celebrate my daughter’s 10th wedding anniversary. Little L wore her new sparkly party dress and everyone had a good time.
But it is good to be home again and hopefully at home now for a while. The recent trips up and down to North Yorkshire (about a 2 hour journey) have taken their toll and I am feeling rather weary at the moment and have only just finished all the unpacking and putting away once more, but not the catching up with finances and washing.
It is bitterly cold here and wet with it… and gloomy – I have the lights on in the house and I have put the heating on this afternoon for an hour; it certainly looks wintry out there to me.I made Tomato soup yesterday and more soup today, a minted green soup with watercress, spinach, lettuce and pea. We had some for lunch and I have put the rest in the freezer for another day. Hot soup on a cold day is perfect for lunch. It was too cold to be cleaning out the freezer today so I have postponed this job yet again for another day.
I did manage to cut out the paper for the eight selection bags – there was just enough – and I will make these into bags tomorrow morning when the light is better.
Yesterday we went to Sainsbury’s to do the grocery shopping. I have planned a few easy meals for this week whilst I catch up with myself; Shepherds pie with lentils and Vegetable Lasagne which will do two nights each and then an omelette and salad for Sunday when the oven will be needed for the Christmas cake. It wasn’t a big shop as we are coming to the end of this month’s pension allowance – our next payment will be this Friday though I am intending that the four weekly pension amount stretches to cover the whole of a calendar month and that way the 13th payment can go into savings. As long as we keep within the £160 a week then we are doing OK and so far so good but it does take a lot of effort.
Starting in January I will be trying to save 10% of the pension – £64 every 4 weeks amounts to a healthy £832.00 for the year plus the £200 fuel allowance will give us £1000, so I will need to cut costs further to do this. I always saved when we had a wage so I don’t really want to stop now but I have needed time to get used to living on a pension and to see how far it will stretch. Unfortunately, it is not very elastic.
I am finding food expensive even though we make most of our own meals, waste very little and do not eat meat or fish. As you know we eat organic foods were we can and especially fruit and veg as I like the fact they are not sprayed with pesticides and they have been farmed in a way that does not harm either me or the environment; I don’t compromise on this even if it costs me more…and generally it does! It is a constant battle against rising prices or shrinking products.I keep getting vouchers at Sainsbury’s for bonus Nectar points but only if I spend over £100 – which I don’t. Waitrose have sent me a coupon for £22 off a £110 shop. This we might use nearer Christmas and buy one of their rooted trees again.
This month has been heavy on gifts and fuel costs too. Travelling up and down to North Yorkshire is expensive and there is no easy way to reduce this when a third of our immediate family live a couple of hours away, other than not seeing them. We always make sandwiches and a flask for the journey up there but are often forced to buy a Costa toastie and a drink on our return and motorway services prices are much inflated so as well as the fuel cost being high the snacks we bought when travelling was also an unavoidable expense. Luckily I am able to cut the costs of the gifts by recycling unwanted items and taking advantage of sales. We also sold 3 unwanted items on eBay this week so have gained £38 in my PayPal account which has boosted the kitty. Another saving of £5.80 was the voucher for a free hot drink and scone at John Lewis when we went to buy my daughter’s gift and because we went to the Cheadle branch the parking was free.
We will wait to see what the weather is doing tomorrow before making any definite plans. I have selection bags to make, a freezer to clean and some fresh mushrooms for soup.