This week started on a brief low for me. I say brief because it didn’t last very long. Mothers’ Day for the last 6 years has been a little sad for me since my son died. And while I don’t dwell too much on negative thoughts (I wrote about honouring his memory here), I always still think about how old he would be and wondered how he would choose to honour his mom on Mothers’ Day.
Anyway, I was also thinking, in the days leading up to Mothers’ Day, that I would feel left out this year since my other son was in Australia and quite likely to forget that it is Mothers’ Day here in England.
Oh, how wrong was I! He clearly had not forgotten, soon after I got up and got showered, the doorbell rang and there was a delivery guy with a big bunch of lovely flowers in a lovely keepsake red vase. The accompanying card made me gasp when I realised the flowers were actually for me from my son in Australia! Can you keep a secret? I did shed a little tear. I was happy and had a broad grin on my face for the rest of the day.
Spreading the love
I have come to realise that a good part of this lifestyle of frugal living is spreading the love and being a good neighbour. So, we decided to choose two elderly women whose children were mostly living far away from them. We got them some flowers and cards and went for a little drive to deliver our own well wishes. On the way back, we stopped at KFC to get some lunch, using the points we have on our membership cards. It was good to see so many people heading home with their bunches of flowers and other goodies to show some love to their moms, mothers in law, and other phenomenal women.
We have fully embraced meal planning now and so only go into the supermarket with the list of items we need for the meals we plan to make (that’s if we don’t already have the items at home). This has saved us a lot of money as, before we did this, we usually end up throwing out foods that we’ve bought and not used on time. We are only too aware of the impact of our consumerism on the food supplies in the world. The more food we all buy, the more manufacturers think they need to produce. And we need to stop the cycle that sees so much food piled high in dumps.
Snack cupboard purge
Do you have a cupboard at home that is dedicated just to snacks for the kids? Do you do like us and go through the contents every now and then to check that they are still in date? We usually find that certain snacks always seem to get left behind in the cupboard and then eventually thrown out as the use by date passes. Well, here’s the solution we have come up with, not just to save money but also to minimise the number of high-calorie snacks consumed each week: We now get a variety of sweet and savoury snacks in (caloric value of no more than 100 calories each, according to new government guidelines). The children then get to choose the five snacks they want to have after school each day, and two for the weekends. They are encouraged to choose a mix of both sweet and savoury snacks and then the rest is put away until the following week. I find that this gives them some choice that they need to exercise in terms of the ratio of sweet to savoury snacks, their likes and dislikes, and also to get them into the habit of examining the number of calories in each of their favourite snacks. They said they liked this idea better and would rather this way than being overwhelmed with too much choice when they are only allowed one snack each day.
I can’t say too much on this yet until I actually get the money in my hands. But, suffice it to say, if you have changed employers or have a change in salary, you need to find out if you have a new tax code. This new tax code could actually mean that you are due a tax refund! Watch this space!
You may know that we are eco-warriors and as part of this we do keep a compost bin. We use it regularly throughout the year except for during the Winter months. Well, we have been keeping all those junk mails that come through the post on an almost daily basis. The kids like to use the shredder so we indulge them. The shredded junk mail gets put in a big shopping bag which is kept in the conservatory over the Winter. Well, earlier this week we had one sunny day so we took the opportunity to pull out the weeds in the garden, turn the compost over then added layers of shredded paper and card and the weed from the garden. It was pretty good exercise and the garden is now nearly ready for when Spring comes calling. We still have some of the free seeds we got as well as what we salvaged from the plants at the end of the Summer and know that once again we will have a delightful oasis for a few months.
So the week of blessings has almost come to an end. We have been blessed immensely and we have also tried to be as helpful as we can to those around us. We look forward to the frugal adventures we will have next week and look forward to sharing them with you.