Budget meal – and not a bean or a lentil in sight!

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Check out today’s sweet potato and spinach curry!

Such a lovely change from beans and lentils – and yet still a budget dish.

One sweet potato, 40p, half a bag of spinach, 75p, a teaspoon of tumeric, 5p, two teaspoons of curry powder, 10p, a can of coconut milk, 99p, a red onion, 20p and a red chilli, 15p.

Then I really splashed out and served it with rice and naans – delicious! Budget recipe page coming soon!

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Every penny counts!

There comes a point when scrimping and saving becomes a little bit obsessive – and embarrassing to others and yes, I think I’ve reached that point.

Today’s money saver being a prime example.

Now, I absolutely hate paying for parking and avoid it at all costs, but today I had no choice but to cough up, as I was at a shopping centre where there is no nearby free parking (no, seriously, none at all, unless I’d have parked up on the motorway hard shoulder) – and I had a heavy item to carry from the shop, to my car.

Now I know that £1 for four hours isn’t bad, but even so, I only needed to go in one shop and was only going to be a matter of minutes, so I still resented having to pay. I was going to be so quick that I did think of putting a notice in my car saying “gone to get some change” in case the parking attendant passed by, but didn’t want to be clobbered with a ticket.

But just as I was about to throw caution to the wind and put a £1 coin in the parking meter, I noticed quite a few people laden with shopping bags and loading them into their cars, obviously done with their shopping trip and about to head home.

So I tapped one friendly looking shopper on the shoulder and asked if she was going – she was and she still had two hours left on her car parking ticket. So I bought it off her for 50p!

My daughter was highly embarrassed, but 50p is 50p! And saving that 50p might have been a bit cheeky, but it was funny at the same time. And not only did I end up getting bargain parking, but so did the other driver too.

You might have heard of the thrill of the chase – but for me, it’s the thrill of the saving!

My brand new blog grabs the local and national headlines!

I’m dodging the paparazzi this week – after my brand new blog hit the national headlines!

The Daily Mail website, the Metro website, the Folkestone Herald website, front page of the Kentish Express, animal welfare websites – and even a website for Special Constables!

On a Google search for Plain Jane’s Plain Speaking and the word badger the first three pages on the search results led to my blog!

I didn’t expect such fame and notoriety in my first fortnight! My badger blog post is all over Facebook and Twitter – I’ve gone viral!

So funny!

A future blog post is going to be about a world hunger event that I’d like to attend and another one will be about how my cat recently lost his miaow. I can already guess which one is going to get more views – and it won’t be the serious, important issue….

But hey ho, the power of social media eh!?!

There’s a giant badger terrorising kids at my daughter’s school!

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There’s a giant badger at my daughter’s school – causing hysteria (it’s an all girls school).

On one occasion it was spotted underneath one of the mobile classrooms – and the pupils were told to close the windows and not to leave until it was safe. Yesterday there were tales of it charging at a pupil and then sniffing her (but these are teenage girls who are full of drama that we are talking about here).

It seems there is a badger set at the bottom of the school field – which may have been disturbed by some building work going on there (like many schools, Folkestone School for Girls has sold off some of its land for housing – but my views on that are another blog post for another day….)

I was lucky enough to see one of these badgers, when I picked my daughter up from the last bus late on Thursday night and drove right past the school. It peeped out of some bushes and then ran back under cover when it saw my car. It was a lovely creature – and on spotting it my daughter shouted “It’s the badger”, but it turned out it wasn’t actually THE badger, not the giant one, just one of  the pack.

I hope the giant badger, the badger I saw and the others in this set are all going to be ok. My thoughts are that they might be captured humanely and moved, as the school might start getting concerned about pupil safety, with some pupils saying they are now too scared to walk past certain parts of the site in case a badger runs out and bites them! And those I have told about the badgers at the school have said that badgers can indeed bite.

The point of my blog today is not only to let you know the reason for why there are hundreds of screaming, hysterical girls in Sandgate, but also to get you to sign the petition to prevent the Government’s planned badger cull from going ahead later this year. It is already happening in a number of trial areas. Don’t let it happen here.

Badgers are no threat to us – and there is little or no evidence to say that they are actually responsible for causing bovine TB , or that the cull will help. They are lovely creatures and need our protection. Sign the petition to stop the cull: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/38257

It’s the pennies that turn into the pounds

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Another money saving day – with all the pennies going in my trip to India fund…

First saving was 10p in a cafe in Hythe. Some might ask why I’m buying coffees in cafes, or why I’m going to cafes at all when I’m trying to save, but my answer is, I’ve got to have a life! While trying to reach my ultimate destination I’ve got to enjoy the journey along the way!

The 10p saved was by checking the cashier’s adding up – which was at fault. £1.80 for an Americano with soya milk, plus £1.80 for my friend’s Americano, plus the 30p extra they charge for mine being decaf (how can they possibly justify that? such a rip off), does not make £4.00. Now it might have taken me four attempts to get a Grace C in my Maths O’Level/GCSE, but even I know that makes £3.90. So after double checking calculations I fetched my 10p back.

The next extravagance, but necessity of the day, was I had to buy a new lead for my daughter’s computer as the plug literally exploded last night. I could have done with putting this purchase off, but as she’s in the middle of exams and has vital work stored on her computer, time was of the essence.

The first shop told me a new lead would be somewhere between £20 and £30. Not having that kind of cash spare at the moment I decided to look elsewhere and see if I could get it a bit cheaper. Visited Maplin and got it for a tenner!

Then the third saving of the day was on tonight’s dinner. Two pre-packaged sweet potatoes in Sainsbury’s, which I didn’t buy, were £1. Three sweet potatoes, not packaged, cost me 96p. If you consider that the packaged ones worked out at 50p each, I make that a saving of 54p.

So today’s total savings were 10p, plus £20, plus 54p, a total of £20.64. As the saying goes, it’s the pennies that turn into the pounds!

Needle and thread

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Money’s tight (my own fault as I want to travel around India later this year) and I’ve been wearing the same old things to work week in week out – and I need a change.

So it was time to get out the needle and thread! Now, anyone that knows me well will now be in a state of panic and worrying about what on earth I am going to put on tomorrow, but fear not.

I’ve had an old Matalan dress (which was a bargain when I bought it) which I haven’t worn for years as the hem was always falling down. So for some time now it’s been stuffed at the back of a cupboard just because I thought it would be easier to buy something new rather than to carry out a repair.

But with every penny counting at the moment I decided the time had come for a little bit of DIY. It took less than 10 minutes and cost me nothing (you will see from the picture how old the needle and cotton are!)- and now I have a “new” super dooper dress to wear tomorrow. How easy was that!

And just when I thought the day could get no better I remembered a coupon in the bottom of my bag for a free Sunday newspaper, courtesy of Tesco. What a superb cost cutting Sunday! And total saving – I reckon about £15.

Out of date eggs

Today’s lunch was an odd concoction – but if it makes a budget trip to India possible, then it’s got to be worth it!

My lunch was leftover lentil curry from Thursday, a wholemeal roll leftover from yesterday and a couple of spoonfuls of yesterday’s leftover home-made (of course) Moroccan cous cous.

My  daughter  was treated to a leftover roll from yesterday – and two, yes two (how extravagant was that!) cheese triangles.

She was going to have an egg, but the last remaining egg in the box was two days past its use by date. I did contemplate cooking it anyway but figured this might cost us dear in the long run – extra toilet roll from an upset stomach and a possible trip to the doctor (petrol there and back would be at least a pound) due to salmonella or food poisoning.

And now it’s time for a cup of tea and a home-made oat cookie (baked before work on Thursday, at 6.40am I’ll have you know, due to the fact I had nothing to put in the packed lunches).

A few pennies saved today. India here we come!