Beware the Deal that’s Not A Deal..

This month I’ve given myself a £20 allowance per week to spend as I see fit. Last week, somehow, I spent nothing from it! My week runs from Friday to Friday and so I shuttled that money into a spare change savings account. I’m waiting for the new ISA allowance to open so I can get a semi decent rate and at the end of the month, plop the money into there! Although this month I have prescription sunglasses to finish paying for (oh for the joy of having truly rubbish eyesight. Not so much being short sighted but I have a whoppingly huge astigmatism in one of my eyes) and my wedding outfit. So even though only a small amount will make it into my ISA this month, at least those two things won’t go on the credit card!

But back to the title, a deal that isn’t a deal. On Friday I opened an email from a well known gardening site telling me that they were having free delivery all Easter weekend. Woohoo, I think, I’ve been after a few packets of seed and I hate paying for postage. Some thoughtful clicking later, I had found the seeds I was after, only three packets so far, and noted the total. Almost £9.

For three packets of seed.

So I hopped on to Seed Parade who I knew weren’t doing free of charge postage but had always seemed cheaper. I added those three packets of seed. Then another three more. Then the postage. I paid under £9 for twice the amount of seed and the postage.

So I’m pretty happy with that, I must say. When I’ve got them in and growing I’ll let you know how they go!

(I am not endorsed by Seed Parade nor have I been asked to write about them, I just think they are a brilliant company!)

Frugal Reading : How I Lived on Just A Pound A Day

I’ve been doing a lot of browsing on Amazon recently of books to give me a bit more of a shove to be more of a Frugalista – I have lots of great ideas but I can feel myself stalling in the background when I run out of plans and schemes. Pre Frugalistadom, I would simply have bought ALL THE BOOKS. IN THE WORLD. But I talked a bit of sense into myself and now have the world’s biggest wish list and I bought the first one off it last week (second hand, for a penny, plus £2.80 postage. Not bad, thought I). It arrived yesterday and by the time I fell asleep last night I had finished it.

A very fast read, but it doesn’t feel like you’ve been short changed for content – the author’s style is just so lovely to read. This is less of a hints and tips book and more an inspirational story to show it can be done. It’s laid out by month and the thing that really pleased me was that it showed some of the pitfalls and panics of trying to live on such a low amount for a year. Admittedly it does seem a little more sunshine and roses than I would have expected living on £365 for a year, but she proves it can be done. I see a similar mindset emerging in myself, where the less I spend, the less I want to spend. I get the same rush paying money off my credit card as I did spending recklessly on junk, and that feeling permeates this book. It’s not holier than thou at all which I did wonder if it would be, but it comes across in a gentle, compassionate way.

Could I live on £365 for a year? Perhaps, if I was single and living alone but alas, Mr AF requires a fuller diet than can be supplied on that amount of cash and I have pets, but it has made me reconsider what I’m doing with the money I am spending, and reconsider what exactly is a necessity in my life and what isn’t.

I think this book is a keeper for the moment; I think it’s great for anyone just setting out on their journey and will give flagging spirits a boost. It proves what exactly is possible in the face of disbelievers! When I’m more established I think I will set it free to help someone else along their way but for now, it’s firmly ensconced on my shelves. Highly recommended!

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Buy on Amazon.co.uk

A Little Project – Blackboard Garden Planner

Mr AF and I are a little shed obsessed :

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The one to the left (with the extension!) is his, the one to the right, one day he turned into my potting shed. Seriously, the way to my heart is with a shed, apparently.

Anyway, he decided to hang his old car bonnet in my shed to use as a notice board, so at the weekend I took on this little project!

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This is an unflattering picture of the inside of my shedlet. Also, in case you’re wondering, your monitor is straight, the previous genius owner of the shed built it on gravel instead of flagstones. Le sigh. It will be rectified eventually.

Anyway, blackboard paint can be a little expensive, but on a trip to Wilko I spotted some, and at £3.60 for a small tin I thought we could give it a try.

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This is the smaller size tin which purports to cover 3 sq. m.

We brushed the bonnet down, it is covered in a light layer of surface rust but we didn’t take it back to bare metal, it’s a very rough and ready thing. The next step was to mask off the areas to paint, I went for a large central square with a rectangle either side for lists.

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I worked on the edges first and then filled in the middle, the paint went on really smoothly and had good coverage. It shows as being touch dry within 30 minutes and ready for a second coat in two hours; I think this is fairly accurate as by the time I had finishing filling in the middle the edges were very close to being dry.

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I took the tape off while the paint was still wet and found a fairly crisp line under the very cheap masking tape so I was quite pleased with that. I toddled off for a sit down for a couple of hours; before long I was masking up again for the second coat!

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The second coat went on even smoother and more quickly than the first, the first coat doing a great job of filling the surface. I was really impressed with this paint I must admit!

Also – I used hardly any to get a good two coats on – not a very good picture but this is how much I have left :

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I got all excited buying the chalk today and the finished article is below!

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The other nice thing about this paint by the way was how ridiculously easy it was to clean up! Thoroughly recommended!