You will have to have some pity on me this week. I must say I have really enjoyed saving money by being frugal, and reporting on it every week. This week, I have had a hard time thinking of much that has worked in my favour. For this reason, I’ll list my frugal fails first, and then any wins at the very bottom. The hope is that you will try to avoid some of the mistakes I have made.
The old car
I’ve always heard that buying an old car is one of the things that will just drain your pocket. If it’s not one thing that needs replacing, it’s another. I am living proof!
The used car I bought for my son to learn to drive with has served us really well so far. As a result of him going on his travels, my son’s car has mostly been parked. I didn’t really mind that as it would be there when he came back and was ready to drive again.
Well, I am well aware that I do need to turn the engine over every now and again and take it for a spin to keep the battery alive I think. Well, after about 3 weeks to a month of not driving it, I switched it on last week and got nothing! After speaking to a few people, they suggested I get a jump start (called a juk start in Jamaica), and then take it for at least a half an hour drive. I was told the battery would be ok after that.
I don’t know if I had taken off my frugal living hat or what, but I told myself that I am paying for AA breakdown coverage every month so I should call them up. When the man from the AA came and hooked up the car to his device, he said that, apart from needing some water, the car was fine, except of course, that the battery was dead.
When I asked if he would suggest that I buy a second-hand battery, he said no because I could get a new one for a little over £50 from auto places, or the AA one from him for about £86 and he would fit it for free. I told him thanks, but no thanks, that I would go to the auto shop and purchase a £50 one.
After calling around to the auto shops near me, I found that the cheapest was over £100, including fitting. I felt so stupid as by now, I had sent the AA man on his way, having signed the document that basically said that I was satisfied that he had diagnosed the problem but that I refused the repairs.
The cheapest place I could find was Halfords. They fitted the cheapest battery for £100 including fitting. I am not happy thinking about it.
My options were:
- Leave the car alone since it was hardly being used (£0)
- Get the jump start and take the car for a little run every now and again (£0)
- Purchase a cheap, used battery. Lots of cars are written off even though the batteries are good (£25)
- Foolishly buy a new battery (£100)
What would you have done? You can leave your comments for me below. I’ll seriously have to consider selling my son’s used textbooks, or trainers, or something to get my money back.
You should know by now, my absolute love of most Jamaican foods, especially Jerk Chicken, oxtail, rice and peas and curried chicken. Well, despite me trying out, and even writing each week about our meal planning exploits, we felt really peckish the other day and made a rushed decision to go to the Jamaican restaurant nearby to get some lunch.
We really can’t justify spending nearly £20 for lunch for two! Afterall, we already had our meals planned out. I suppose you could say we let our appetites get the better of us. It would only take us half an hour to one hour if we really could be bothered to make some sort of takeaway style meals for ourselves as we always have the ingredients in anyways. True, the meals were delicious (but greasy) but our pockets and waistlines are feeling the pinch.
Snow shopping- silly me!
Last week it was rather cold and it was rumoured that we would get some Armageddon snowfall! Well, I read the news item wrongly. It wasn’t meant for us, but for Scotland. Before I figured that out, however, not wanting to get caught out, I went shopping for some canned goods and other long-life foods. We stockpiled for nothing! We already have enough of such foods in, just in case. We always have, being used to hurricanes in Jamaica. It was another £25 spend.
I don’t think the foods will be wasted, but we will have to make sure to do some proper stock rotation so that we use up what we already have at first.
And even if we didn’t have many foods in during a snow storm, I consider myself an expert in preparing exciting meals when the cupboards are almost bare. You just need to be willing to experiment with ingredients and flavours etc.
New Frugal gem
Do you shop at Sports Direct? Well, we have found out a little trick that we will let you in on. If you have a Sports Direct store near you, it’s worth ordering what you want online and also opt for pickup in store. The reason is that you get a free £5 voucher each time you pick up. So, for example, if you wanted to order a jogging top and bottom, make it two separate orders. That way, when you go to collect your item, you get two £5 vouchers, even if you collected them on the same day. If you ordered them together, you’d only get one free voucher for £5. last week, we made £15 that way. The vouchers can be saved up to start your Christmas shopping early. Is that a good deal or what?
Argos has a similar deal. If you ring up near to your birthday and tell them (you must have an account that they can verify), they send you two £5 vouchers for free. My sister did that and got them. We are twins, so you’d think I’d write up too, right? Well, I didn’t really believe that they would send the vouchers but they did. She’s used them to purchase a small handheld vacuum which we’ll unbox soon!
The other win that I can think of is that we continue to do our meal planning and that is going fairly well. The last bag of potatoes I bought also began to sprout so we used them up this week to make a batch of delicious fish pies. You can check out the video we did for that.
It really does save money to plan ahead and get the ingredients you want to use for your meals. It’s also best to make the meal in batches, otherwise, sometimes you use some of certain ingredients and leave the rest for too long, causing you to have to throw out the rest if you had kept it too long (meat, fish and vegetables are prime examples).
When we make the meals in batches, they are refrigerated or frozen once they are cooled, depending on when we need them for. So far, it’s been doing well for us. You should try it too.