Category Archives: Lasting Till Payday

Lasting till Payday: Spend less on your water bill

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It is utterly official… Mr Pigeon and I on average use half as much water as the ‘average’ couple.

saving money on your water bill

In fact, we use less than someone living on their own on a day-to-day basis….and yes…that is our actual water bill.

How do we do it? Well, I can assure you that we are squeaky clean, so it’s not the fact we aren’t washing, and Mr Pigeon works from home a lot of the time, as do I so it’s not like we are flushing ‘other’ toilets and washing our hands in other palces…. we just abide by some simple guidelines…

1: It doesn’t go on till it’s full.

Yes, yes, like mothers have told their children for decades, it doesn’t go on till it’s full. The two main culprits are of course the dishwasher and the washing machine. We make sure we fill ours with a full load each time before I hit ‘go’.If that means your machine only goes on twice a week, so be it.

You can reuse a side plate that has only had sandwiches on it you know, and that mug is good for at least a days worth of tea, you don’t need a clean mug every time, give it a rinse if you must…. but the less crockery you make dirty, the less times your dishwasher has to go on in a week.

Jeans don’t need washing EVERY TIME you wear them, in fact if you rotate wearing your pairs of trousers you can get 4-5 wears out of them before they need washing (unless you’ve split burger/milkshake/mud pies on them of course). I know that probably sounds super gross to some of you, but hey, I don’t smell and I work with teenagers…they’d soon tell me if I did…. and surely it’s only super gross if you aren’t wearing undies….and why the hell aren’t you wearing undies with trousers?!

2: Eco mode is your friend.

When your machine does go on, if there is an eco mode or a quick mode…use it. You’ll use less water, which is the point right?

3: Don’t throw it down the plug hole.

Your glass of water for through the night…still got half left in the morning but it’s looking a little manky? Got some water left over from boiling your eggs? Don’t throw it down the plug hole for goodness sake! Pour it into a pot plant, pop it in the dog bowl (they REALLY aren’t fussed about a bit of dust) pour it down your toilet so it uses less water next time you flush, whack it in your watering can for the greenhouse/garden on a dry day, throw it in the washing up bowl and use it to soak something later….just don’t throw it down the plug hole and then find you have to draw new fresh water for a job that doesn’t require it.

4: Rainwater is free.

You know we complain about the rain here in England? Well…why do we do that? Rainwater is freeeeeeee and can be used for all sorts around the home. We just collect the rainwater from our garage roof and we fill a very large water-butt in about an hour. During the winter we rig up and overflow system into an old wheelie bin that lasts us right through the summer dry spells. We use that water for all our pressure washing, watering the garden in summer, watering house plants, watering the chickens (not actual watering but you get what I mean), watering the greenhouse, and dog water. Yes…Chekhov drinks more from his garden bowl (read a massive orange flexi trug that we top up from the water-butt) than he does from his water bowl in the house….we think it’s because it doesn’t taste like human-y chemicals.Chekhov drinking from a bottle dog pointer cross

5: Showers are good.

We don’t have a bath in our house. I don’t miss it one iota as I fall asleep in them A LOT and am a drowning hazard so I have to bath with the door open (“I DON’T HEAR SPLASHING!”), but Mr Pigeon misses it a lot, but looks forward to going to hotels with work as he nows sees it as a real treat.

We in fact have a massive double shower, which is great for me as I can dance in there….true story. It is also great for washing the dog in when he is just TOO filthy for a quick swizz with the hose outside, he can shake in there all he likes without making a massive mess of my bathroom. Showers also save a lot of water if you compare the time spent in them to the amount of litres of water used. So shower, don’t bath to save water.

You can save more water by showering/bathing together too….just saying…

What are your saving water tips?

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Lasting Til Payday: Why Basics aren’t boring…

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Is your purse heavy with cash? Can you barely shut the zip around the pound coins spilling out of your purse? Nope…. me neither.

I make it my aim in life to spend as little at the supermarket as possible…not for buying from the high street reasons…although I really should frequent our local butcher more often…but for ‘I’m so tight I squeak’ reasons.

I know a lot of people turn their noses up at the supermarkets ‘basic brand’ on the shelves, but we buy them on a regular basis and it keeps our food costs down. Yes, yes, I can already hear you harking that you aren’t poor and you deserve to buy nice honey roast ham….yes you do, so buy it. I’m just saying that there are some basics out there that are just as good as some products you are already buying for less money. We always try them once to test them out, if they are truly rubbish and taste like socks we go up to the next expensive, but if they are alright we stick with it, driving down our bills so we can afford more fun things.

If you cook from scratch there is really no need to buy fancy schamncy peppers when good old basic peppers are STILL peppers…THEY TASTE THE SAME. Come on…let’s not be cuckoo about this.

We shop at Sainsbury’s as it is the  local supermarket to us…and yes, I hear it’s one of the more expensive…but we manage our weekly shop at between £20 – £30 a week for two, which includes treats, and down to £15 a week during the late summer/early autumn when the garden veg kicks in to overdrive!

Here are a few of the Basics that  we buy over and over again.

Basics Chopped Tomatoes – 35p for 400g

Best basics to buy (3)

Now come on…. who is really THAT fussy about tinned toms? I love the fact these come in a square carton (much better for cupboard and pantry stacking). Combine with a smidge of garlic found at the back of the cupboard and some pasta for a quick and cheap dish when you are reaching payday. We also buy the basic kidney beans…because they TASTE THE SAME as every other kidney beans…yes…even thouse bought tinned from Waitrose.

Basics Peanut Butter – 65p for 340g

Best basics to buy (2)

Oh I DIE! I am a bit of a Peanut Butter fiend and I have tried every jar I can lay my hands on and nothing…nothing is as good for my mass consumption as the Basics Peanut Butter. It’s cheap, it’s cheerful, it’s the right combo of smooth and crunchy, it comes in plastic jars that I reuse all over the place and we buy it 5 jars at a time.

Basics Milk/White/Dark Chocolate – 35p for 100g

Best basics to buy (4)I bought this one Christmas as I was in a hurry to make a million christmassy present treats and have never looked back. We don’t buy chocolate bars and whatnot in our house as we would just gorge ourselves on them so these double up as cooking chocolate and as ‘oh my life I may die if I don’t have chocolate’ chocolate. Perfect to dunk in Peanut Butter when I am feeling low and need a Reese’s style hit without the price tag.

Basics Dishwasher Tablets – £1.75 for 30

Best basics to buy (5)

I know, I know what you are thinking…. your Finish tablets do an amazing job….well… these get my dishes clean and that is all I’m asking for….and you don’t have to pay a ridiculous price for the privilege….like £9 for 30…that’s crazy. We also buy the cheapest rinse aid and salt…our machine works fine!

Basics Low Fat Fruit Yoghurts – 35p for 4

Best basics to buy (6)

We went through a stage of just buying those Wildlife Fromage Frais because they were cute and cheap, but then I thought we’d try these bad boys, and at under 9p a yoghurt, they are actually pretty damn tasty. We load these up and freeze them too….mmmmm…frozen yoghurt…..

Basics Tortilla Chips – 50p for 200g

Best basics to buy (1)

We don’t do Doritos…we do tortilla chips. These are nice and salty but can be a bit plain on their own, so we always whack out some sweet chilli sauce or home-made (read flung together) garlic & herb mayonnaise out with them so you can dip….or we make nachos. They are always devoured at every gathering we have.

 

When it coms to buying basics, be brave. Leave your inner snob* at the door and have a try, you might find something worth stocking your cupboards with!

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*Mr Pigeon’s inner snob demands nice toilet paper. My inner snob can’t buy fresh tomatoes from supermarkets as they don’t taste as good as homegrown.

 

 

Lasting Till Payday: Free Tea

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You may or may not be aware that I am a tea whore.

Papa & Stepmumma Pigeon refuse to believe that anything that isn’t builder’s tea doesn’t count, but I will drink most things infused with hot water…and I will rave about it.

So, as someone who drinks about 4 pots of tea (to herself) a day in the winter, here is how we have tea…for free!

Pigeon drinking tea

Mint Tea

We grow this in our garden (well… currently it looks like I have thrown an angry pelican at it, as it needed snipping for the winter, so hopefully it will reshoot for the summer ready for Pimms) and I have a massive bunch hung in our kitchen drying just for tea.

Our mint also gets frozen for cocktails and cooking over the winter period, but tea is where we are using it most. Just chop a dried stalk from the bunch, plonk it in your teapot/cup, let it brew and drink away. FREE TEA! You can pull all the leaves off too and use them in a loose tea infuser…if you have such a thing.

Rosemary Tea

I know…this one seems weird…but it is SUPER YUM and PINK! Yes…pink tea from a green plant. Magical.

Rosemary Tea is meant to have allsorts of super dooper healing properties for your body, including boosting circulation and all that jazz, I just quite like the taste and I love that it is free. You can literally pop an entire stalk of this fresh into hot water and let brew. I also hand it and also it to dry, pull of the leaves and add to our loose tea infuser, as I use them for two cups at least! What a tight wad…

You can grow both of these herbs in your garden, although try to keep your Mint potted as it takes over! You will have to replace or feed the soil every year as it is proper greedy, but it will stop it popping up all over your flower beds. Rosemary is a nice shrubby sort of plant, but can be grown in a pot very easily on a balcony/corner of your lounge/outside your front door. I am planning on moving mine from pots to my flower beds this year so it can expand…..

Oh gawd….it is totally like an episode of The Good Life over here….

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REVISIT: Is it Worth it?

I spent a recent weekend away with friends for my birthday, and whilst our hotel room was lovely, our bathroom was the size of a teeny tiny wardrobe for dolls. Of course, the MILLION skincare products I am currently using to attempt to clear my face of what I fondly call ‘plague’, littered the itty bitty sink, and one of my lovely girls ended up spotting the hand-written date in Sharpie on the back of the bottle.

Why on earth do I DATE my beauty products? Oh…. I don’t JUST date my beauty products…I DATE EVERYTHNG.

Washing powder, washing up liquid, nail polish remover, dog food (ours comes in humongous 15kg sacks)….everything.

Why you ask? Well…last year I made this video and I feel it needs a repost, because it is the BEST tip I have ever been given.

My lovely stepmumma has been doing this for years, I never truly appreciated her actual genius until this past year, and now I have jumped on her bandwagon loud and proud.

Work out if what you are spending your hard earned pennies on is worth it….and keep a handy eye on when your make-up/skincare has reached the use by date…so then you can sniff it a bit and check it is ok to use…. just joking Miss Lauren….

I am pretty ramble-tastic in this vid…sorrrrry!

If you are finding it hard to view these vids, pop over to Youtube and visit my channel!

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Lasting Till Payday: Freezer Sauce

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It’s been a while since THIS feature has been up on the blog….mainly because my ENTIRE LIFE is about doing things on the cheap….I mean…why spend money on boring stuff like bills, when you can spend it on fun things that you will remember or enjoy for a long ole’ while.

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty…Freezer Sauce….I know I know…it doesn’t inspire any sexiness on a dinner plate at all…but it proves to be a life saver on a night when I am just to tired to cook (and am sooo tempted to phone the nice lady at the chinese), and after the vegetable glut we had this year, it also stopped us throwing food away. Which is a massive problem for families at the moment. PLEASE…stop throwing food away….you are literally throwing money in the bin.

Freezer Sauce was invented so we could cope with the MOUNTAIN of courgettes I grew this year. Courgettes are notoriously hard to freeze as they end up with the consistency of slugs when defrosted…pleasant no? The best thing to do with them is to mix them with something else and make a sauce. A sauce in fact that is great for bunging with pasta and cheese and is also 2 of your 5 a day.

I realise now this is slightly out of season for the home growers…but something to bear in mind for next year!

tomoatoes cheap and easy meal Freezer sauce courgettesYou will need tinned tomatoes (or if like us, your house is an episode of The Good Life… your own home grown toms, cooked down), some courgettes and some garlic. Now giving you measurements would be a little useless as I generally use one tin of toms per medium-large courgette.

Pop the chopped/grated garlic in the pan, fry gently for a minute or so then add your tomatoes, cooking down if home-grown or warming through if tinned (I use both…so no judgement!). Then I add the courgette that has been through my mini food chopper, so it is almost grated in consistency. You can chop into small chunks however if you don’t have a super cool tool.

tomoatoes cheap and easy meal Freezer sauce courgettes mini chopper

Cook for 10 minutes on a medium heat, allow to cool, transfer to suitable labelled freezer storage (bags or tubs…whatever your pleasure) and freeze.

tomoatoes cheap and easy meal Freezer sauce courgettes

It will keep frozen for 6 – 12 months if you abide by that sort of thing…

So picture this….horrid day at work…you have gotten home late….you are starving and you have serious E.T.S (Empty Tummy Syndrome – it’s a real problem in our house). You can defrost this sexy sauce in the microwave/in a pan as your cook your pasta in another before combining the two…. and before you get all weird about defrosting things as you cook them…you’ll be fine…done it a million times….and it’s VEGETABLES forgoodnesssake. Cover with grated cheese and collapse on the sofa and fork it into your face as fast as easibly possible….. bliss.

What is your homemade go-to freezer filler?

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Lasting Till Payday: Reusing Christmas Cards

Reusing christmas cards thrifty tip

Now honestly….if you just chuck your Christmas cards in the bin after the holidays I may have to sit on my hands as not to slap you.

People have sent you lovely pictures in the post and you aren’t going to even think about reusing them?

Recycling our Christmas cards is one of my favourite jobs after christmas. I tend to take all our decs down on New Years Day (another tradition I enjoy…bumbling, slightly fuggy from the previous night…sorting, tidying…simply my cup of tea you understand) and so the cards come down then too. I normally sit with our cards, the craft guillotine and a nice cuppa whilst watching telly as I do the sort.

I firstly go through all the cards to note down who sent us one, so I can reciprocate the following year…there are always a few canny ones who jump on the bandwagon and I would hate to miss them.

I then promptly slice off all the nice fronts. If they are blank on the back of the picture, I trim them down to a suitable size and place them in my tags box, ready to label next years presents. Yes….I am THAT crazy….

You can even cut up Christmas cards to make your own cards for next year.

Also do this with your birthday cards. I used to keep ALL my greetings cards as I liked the memories. Now I only save the ones from special people or the ones that have really lovely messages inside. The rest become tags or new cards for others to enjoy.

Honestly…there is no ends to my skin-flintedness… I even reuse wrapping paper…

But the whole point is to save some pennies on not overly important stuff…and pennies make pounds…which then pay your mortgage/rent/buy you nice things…. FACT

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Lasting Till Payday: How To: Make DIY curtains from a blanket

A little thrifty tip and DIY mash-up from me today.

When we moved into the new house, we came minus any window coverings. We quickly bought some curtains for the front of the house, but when it came to the den, our shared office space, I decided that we needed a cheaper option. Curtains are really expensive!

Using blankets to make curtains means you don’t have to do any extra hemming, meaning it is super quick and effortless. I chose these blankets from Ikea because they are polar fleece, which is great for keeping the heat in during the winter.They are also £3 each….so a pair of curtains for £6!

These curtains will be easy to wash and will last for years. These particular blankets also come in cream, which I have used in our wardrobe room.

Firstly measure your window….boring I know, but vital.

Secondly fold over the top of the blanket and use your window measurements to work out the drop and how much of a fold you need.

DIY curtains from a blanketMeasure along the top of your fold to the edge at intervals, to ensure that your curtain will be level when it hangs.

DIY curtains from a blanket how toPin along the fold so it doesn’t shift when you sew it. Please always use pins….the amount of times I have failed at a simple project because I think I can get away with not pinning….

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Using a sewing machine or very tidy hand stitching, stitch along about 2 cm from the edge of fabric…not the fold. You want to create a long loop in the fabric so you can hang it on your curtain pole.

DIY curtains from a blanketI kept the folded edge on the outside as I liked the edging on this blanket, but you could always hang them the other way round for a cleaner line.

So there you have it…easy peasy curtains from a blanket. Cheap and cheerful.

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