Friday, February 13, 2015

One Man's Meat....

It's been an interesting week now that my thoughts have returned to cost-cutting (culinary level).  It is difficult to decide whether we could save more money by mums staying at home rather than working. Last night we saw the final episode of 'Eat Well for Less' and with the help of Greg and co, savings of over £100 a week was able to be made, but only because too much was spent in the first place.

The programmes have been good, and am sure have opened the eyes of many younger people with small children because today everyone seems to have fallen into that trap - you could say spider's web - that has been spun by the supermarkets..."why spend time making things yourself when we can do it for you"...sort of thing.  

Experience teaches us a lot, and sadly, we need to be about pensionable age to even remember how easy it is to home-cook meals, maybe even manage without going out to work at all.  The downside is they see friends and neighbours who all work then being able to afford more 'luxuries' (new smart-phones, holidays abroad, bigger cars....) when in my youth only the wealthy could afford these (and no mobiles in those days anyway).  Maybe we want too much, expect too much, and certainly life has improved over the last few decades before we had room-to-room central heating.  Yet, my children remember wistfully going to sleep in warm beds (with the help of a hot bath and then hot water bottles and a drink of Ovaltine), and on the plus side a lovely display of fern-shaped ice patterns on their window panes when they woke the next morning.  Almost worth a cold room to be able to see those.. 

The other day was talking to someone whose father sold coal, logs, kindling etc .  Apparently people are now getting fed up of central heating (too expensive?) and more and more are installing open fires and multfuel stoves/burners to heat their rooms.  They also find the sight (and sound) of burning fires very pleasant.    So maybe there is something to be said for the old ways.

Having said that, I really would find it a hardship without our front-loader washing machine given as part of a legacy, so no cost to us - it's now over 25 years old..., even though we don't have a tumble dryer.  Apparently dish-washers are now the norm, even with just two in the family. and you could say who needs one of those?   Maybe I live in the past too much, but it does seem to live 'comfortably' in the present we have to work harder to pay for it all - and if some of it isn't necessary???

Yes, Juliette, I agree with all you say, and in all the episodes of the above prog, the parents have been on the young side.  Growing up without the experience of how to manage on a small income, Myself feel I'd perhaps be the same if I hadn't grown up in the 'lean years' (during and after the war), thing is to keep learning, understand the why's and wherefore's.  realise that what suits one does not always suit another even if we think it does.
Yesterday there was another 'same buy' (Hovis Bread) that was disliked intensely when they didn't realise it was what they normally bought.   Just shows how our minds can lead us astray, so always worth trying different and cheaper brands.  Apparently the family loved the cheaper brand of baked beans instead of the usual top of the range bought, but I couldn't see what brand they ended up with, did anyone notice as I'd like to try them myself.

A thanks to Margie who gave quite a few details of salaries paid and cost of living etc., although I was slightly shocked to read she bought carrot 'batons'. Raw carrots keep for AGES in the fridge, but once prepared would need cooking within a few days (although I suppose could be blanched and then frozen?).  Bagged salads keep fresh only a few days, while an iceberg lettuce /Little Gem, will keep for at least a couple of weeks in the fridge (cut with a plastic knife, or tear off the leaves which prevents the cut-with-a-metal-knife part of the lettuce turning brown.

In my fridge I always have a large iceberg lettuce, a white cabbage, a large cauliflower, a head of celery,a bag of carrots, a bag of parsnips,  and a bag of small potatoes, just using some of each all of which I can use part as and when I wish - because they all keep well.  The carrots, parsnips, spuds and celery are still kept in their bags to prevent them drying out, but the bags are split to let air in as otherwise the contents would go soggy and mouldy.  Lettuce and cabbage also loosely wrapped in cling-film to prevent drying out. Just a matter of checking once a week to make sure all are kept in best condition. 

Can understand the sense of working part-time for £100 a month Kathryn because from previous comments of yours I know you don't waste money.  So your earnings enable you to have those few extras that you can enjoy.
How did you get on with your allotment last year?  Were you able to work out any savings made by growing your own other than buying?

The Occ.Therapist came yesterday to fit the frame under my bed-mattress to make it easier for me to get into bed (the mattress is normally very high), and it works very well, so when I went to bed I only managed to think up a few new names for songs before I fell fast asleep and slept right through until 7.00am. 
Apart from having a grab-rail and support rail fitted by the back door, that should be the last of the 'aids' I need, and am hoping to be able to manage by myself from then on.  Am finding sitting down for 15 minutes, then having a toddle round the house (with the help of my zimmer frame or two sticks), tends to help keep my leg muscles firming up, sit too long and it is more difficult to walk, so the more exercise I get (even though only a little at a time) the hope is I'll get back to walking more easily.

Norris has been fully charged, so as soon as we get a dry and slightly warmer day, then I'll be off down to the shopping parade to take my prescription to the pharmacy (they will deliver it for me), call in the wool shop to get more yarn to knit/crochet, and do a bit of window shopping while I'm there. 

As I write, the garage roof is being sealed (it leaked when it rained), and my neighbour is due in for our regular coffee morning in 15 or so minutes so time for me to depart.  Hope to catch up with you again some time this weekend.   All weekends are the same for me as any other day of the week, but hope that you all manage to relax from work, get out and about, and maybe even wander round the garden to see if any snowdrops/crocus have appeared.  TTFN.