I need a very cheap April! What can I do?

(73 Posts)
Badvoc Sat 16-Mar-13 08:02:31

Hello.
So, 2013 has been a it of a disaster so far wrt clearing debts!
£250 for a school trip for ds.
We have had to have a new conservatory roof and new back windows for the house due to leaking (£5k in total)
Both dc have needed new clothes and although I got them from e bay it's still a money I have had to find.
I had managed to get my agreed overdraft down to £250 (from £800!) but then a horrid dose of flu, having to buy meds and not keeping an eye on things has meant going overdrawn and bank charges sad
So.
Next month, I should have £300 for food/petrol/misc etc.
I also have 2 family birthdays, although I think my nephew wants money so £20 in a card should do.
I don't think I can do this sad
We eat a lots of fruit and veg and its so expensive!
I buy own brand products mostly.
So taking off petrol and birthdays I reckon I will have £250 for 4 weeks.
I am not the sort of person that can meals from dust and hairspray so please dont suggest making my own lentils smile
Dh and dc take packed lunches to work/school.
Is it better to shop each day for what you really need rather than a large supermarket shop?
I live in a village so tend to do an online shop once a week.
There is a local co op where I could shop each day as necessary...
Any tips?
I really want to get this sorted out this month as we have summer hols, birthdays and a family wedding coming up!...
Thanks x

northender Sat 16-Mar-13 12:37:55

For motivation and encouragement, start now and come over to the miserly March thread. Lots of us are having to do the same as you for various reasons smile

Toasttoppers Sat 16-Mar-13 18:20:08

Frozen peppers are okay as are mushrooms added to curries and bolognaise.
Can you re gift or make something for MIL?

Buy milk and bread and freeze them, avoids top up shops

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 16-Mar-13 18:26:17

I found steaming frozen veg helps wrt sogginess.

You can freeze milk and bread. That would stop those top up shops for a start off.

What else do you spend on? Magazines? DVDs? Takeaways? Fess up grin

Badvoc Sat 16-Mar-13 18:49:15

No magazines, takeaways or booze! We don't smoke. One expense is taking the kids swimming but we don't want to stop that.
My vice is books.
I buy a lot of books smile
Am now a member of the library and intend to use that more, also I get free books and very cheap books for my kindle.
We don't have a large freezer sadly, so can't bulk buy or batch freeze.
I do have a slow cooker but - and I ashamed to admit this - I have never used it....need some simple slow cooker meat recipes that can be used as left overs too.

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 16-Mar-13 18:54:58

Ok, so would you consider selling some of them to one of the online book buyers? Some of the technical or textbook style books fetch a good price.

Amazon do it, but there are others. They all do free postage. That could go towards a present for MIL.

I mainly use my slow cooker for cooking dried beans.

There's always a slow cooker thread in the food section.

Badvoc Sat 16-Mar-13 18:59:20

I dont have any valuable ones iyswim?
No text books or anything.
Have out some clothes on e bay and some DVDs on amazon.
I may try and sell my 5 month old singer sewing machine....I have only used it twice but it's a great machine.

takeaway2 Sat 16-Mar-13 19:20:37

I try to avoid 'popping in' to the shops for top ups. So what I do now is do the one shop, and in the shop I buy enough milk and bread to last the week. It's a family of 4 (me, dh, 5 year old and 2 year old) so I buy a 4 pint milk (or 6 if your family's bigger) and a few packs of uht milk. The fresh milk finishes in 2/3 days but then we drink the rest till the next shop. No one has complained.

Same for bread. I buy the 2 for £2.50 kings mill or whatever is on sale and freeze one. Keeping bread in the fridge keeps it longer too and since we toast it it doesn't make a difference.

We are trying to eat out my freezer and it's been great.. I did an audit of the stuff in the freezer and slowly we've been eating them out. It leaves me space to store the packs of bolognese sauce I make from scratch. smile

Dh and I work ft but it's so tight it's a care of needs must. Good luck.

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 16-Mar-13 20:15:30

The sewing machine could save you a lot of money long term if you can hold your nerve for a while though.

I think £250 for food is doable at Aldi, I use smart price cleaning stuff from the o-op, it's cheap and BUAV approved. I decant the multipurpose cleaner into a spray bottle.

I make my own laundry gloop for coloured washes, a cheap bar of tesco smart price soap is 11p, 8oz of soda crystals is 17p so 28p of ingredients gets me 50+ washes. I don't use borax in it because you can't get it anymore and the replacement for it is expensive.

I do a weekly shop, it saves me money and its easier than popping out all the time. If I'm near the shops in the evening I check for marked down bread.

Veg is really cheap in Aldi.

Badvoc Sat 16-Mar-13 20:41:32

Yes...that was sort of the idea.
Make my own skirts etc...duvet covers...

McGilly Sun 17-Mar-13 02:19:57

Have you any kids clothes that you could sell as bundles? Eg 6 yo girls bundle? These might sell better than individual items or if you have stuff that's not perfect but quite wearable ... Group them by size and gender, make sure they don't go over the postage limit. And include "bundle" in the title so it shows up in a search.

McGilly Sun 17-Mar-13 02:25:08

Are you meat eAters? It might be a good time to try a couple of meat-free days in a week ... No need to go the whole hog!
Eg one tin each of drained lentils and chickpeas, mashed with an egg, a few breadcrumbs and a bit if onion/herbs if you like. Form into patties - they can be a bit wet - fried in shallow oil. Serve however - cheap and great protein.
Now maybe not the time to experiment with slowcooker as failures can be expensive and disheartening. However I find it produces a great big aide with minimum effort.

McGilly Sun 17-Mar-13 02:28:08

For MIL - would she appreciate something homemade from children and the promise of a trip/meal out in May? If she has a sweet tooth .... Melt a bar of fruit and nut chocolate (great from Aldi) over a handful if marshmallows on a tray of baking paper. Slice into squares, put in pretty box - Rocky Road! You can add coconut or use different choc if you don't /can't do nuts.

McGilly Sun 17-Mar-13 02:29:09

Yikes - a great bolognaise.

McGilly Sun 17-Mar-13 02:33:46

£20 is also quite a lot for a nephew ... Must it be quite that much?
Find your ruthless inner miser when it comes to birthdays and top-up shops.
Pizza dough is really, really easy to make .. Please don't dismiss cooking from scratch as that will save you the most.

Badvoc Sun 17-Mar-13 08:28:46

Mcgilly...i did try re bundles but got no interest so they went it the charity shop...i would rather do that than get 99p for a great bundle of clothes!
I am def trying that rocky road recipe...it's genius! smile
Pizza dough...hmmm. Ds loves pizzas and had one a week as a treat. Will look into that.
My sister is very well off and always gives £20 - and the rest! (She must have got my son at least 6 gifts last year which is nice of her, but I can't reciprocate...)
I did have a victory of sorts at Xmas...I instigated a secret Santa and hope to do it this year too. Meant I only had to buy 2 gifts instead of 8!
I have sold 2 DVDs and a skirt! smile
I could out £10 in and a DVD I have put away (my dc got it for Xmas but its really not their thing)?
I have no issue re gifting as long as the giftee would really like and use said gift.
Will have a word with dh about mil. No idea what to get her!

Phineyj Sun 17-Mar-13 08:36:13

Get cash out and only take that to the shops. If you've only got a tenner with you, you can't overspend.

Set up online banking if you haven't already and get text alerts sent to your mobile so you know exactly how much you have at the beginning of the week.

Badvoc Sun 17-Mar-13 08:45:30

Oh, that's a good idea about e text alerts. I will do that.

Dereksmalls Sun 17-Mar-13 08:50:16

Slow cooker, bread maker, getting milk delivered - won't help yiu immediate situation but working wonders for our budget

Tubegirl Sun 17-Mar-13 08:52:28

Bulk but fresh broccoli and carrots and whatever, chop them and freeze yourself. Turns out better than pre frozen to my mind. Also take mince and divide the pack (800g) pack into three portions. When you make bolognese or chilli pad with types of beans. Either tinned or if you can plan ahead dried is significantly cheaper but you will have to soak 12 hours or overnight ahead.
Very cheap but delicious soup made from roasting red onions and butternut squash in oven, then boiled for 10 mins in stock and then pureed. Use your judgement on how much stock, med size bnsquash about a litre. I then allow two ladles per serving and freeze portions in those takeaway boxes so I know how much to defrost, no wastage. Also batchbake what you can eg, bologneses, chilli, shepherds pie, lasagne and freeze in appropriate sizes. Change the joints you purchase for cheaper cuts. Eg when my income dropped Brisket was a revelation to me, much cheaper but very tasty. You can google how to cook less popular cuts.

ballstoit Sun 17-Mar-13 08:53:02

Does MIL garden? Aldi have hanging baskets, planted tubs, fruit bush/ trees in now which would cost ££ in garden centres for less than a tenner at the moment. Got fruit bushes for my Dad last year and theyve done really well and you get free fruit in the future

ballstoit Sun 17-Mar-13 08:54:55

Mmm yes, brisket in the slow cooker is delicious.

ballstoit Sun 17-Mar-13 08:59:42

Also breskfast can eat in to your food budget...I've swapped to porridge for us all and do it in the slow cooker. 1 cup oats, 1 cup water, 2 cups milk (or swap the milk and water amounts to make it even cheaper). Set timer for 1 3/4 hours before you get up on low. Breakfast for 4, for a week for 75p bag of oats.

Badvoc Sun 17-Mar-13 09:02:36

Yes. Makes sense.
Any recommendations for a bread maker?

Badvoc Sun 17-Mar-13 09:04:31

Can you freeze left overs from a slow cooker?
Am assuming you can...

chimchar Sun 17-Mar-13 09:29:26

chap meat cuts are perfect for the slow cooker.....I love mine. give it a go!

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