For those of you who live in the Northern Hemisphere, June is usually a lovely month. Here in Scotland, It is a month of long days and short nights. Just at the minute it is getting dark after 10pm and dawn around 4am. The dawn chorus does a very good job of waking me up, long before I want to be….Following on from earlier posts on saving money, Frugal February, Miserly March, Awesome April, here is the June offering. (Don’t know what happened to May…)
It is also the time of year to start looking ahead. Fresh produce is often quite a lot cheaper, most of it is home grown rather than imported. However, it also means that I want to store as much stuff as my garden will produce for the months ahead. I won’t be in a position to start harvesting for about a month yet, but it is time to get prepared. So here are a few ideas to try.
Top Ten Summer Tips
- Clear out your freezer. Identify those bits and pieces that have been there longer than they should. Despite all the warnings, things in the freezer don’t go off, but they do lose texture. This will mean that you claw back some valuable freezer space ready for fresh fruit. I am guilty of ‘I’ll put itin the freezer’, but less good at taking it out…. Once I have made inroads on emptying it, I’ll also take the time to wash it out and stack it better. I just love self-defrosting freezers, they are so much easier!
- I have some berries left from last year, as well as prepared fruit bases for winter puddings. I’ll focus on using the berries in ‘overnight oats’.
- One of my favourite breakfasts is fresh natural yogurt with berries and some granola. Redcurrant and blackcurrants work well with this, and so does the prepared fruit for winter puddings which is effectively lightly stewed fruit. So I’ll defrost some for these breakfasts.
- Fresh yogurt and berries / stewed fruit makes a fresh and healthy dessert.
- I love smoothies, so the berries will work well in these.
- I know there are some ‘elderly’ pork chops, so they will be used in a casserole or two.
- While I would love the weather to be really hot, I know there will be many days like today where it isn’t really, so I will encourage my husband to eat his way through the 6 or 8 portions of home-made chicken soup, that are there for him. We eat a lot of chicken, so these will be easily replaced.
- If you haven’t already been doing so, start putting a few things away for Christmas. Small gifts can be picked up cheaply when you see them, particularly in any sales. It really helps at spreading the cost, particularly if you have young children and are on a tight budget. Keep an eye on eBay for buying too, you never know what you will find at a good price.
- Summer is often the time when you come across Car Boot Sales, Open Air sales etc. Take 10 minutes to browse. You may well find something you need at a low price.
- Sell some stuff
- Last years summer clothes that don’t fit – sell them. You’re not going to wear them, and even if you might fit them next year, you wont want to. Every pound or two helps. Francesca who blogs at From Pennies to Pounds has some excellent posts for selling on eBay, Gumtree and Car Boot Sales
- We cleared out all our LP’s a month ago. We no longer listened to them (and no longer even have the record deck to play them on!) My sister-in-law has a stall at a flea market. We knew she was saving for a trip to NZ to see her son, so we gave them to her for her stall. She was delighted and reported the other day that she has already made £100 from them, and has only sold a few. The Sgt Pepper album went for £25! We have more room in our cupboards and they are helping someone else.
- Some of your children’s outgrown clothes or toys. If they’re old enough to be interested in the process, encourage them to help take the photographs, write the item description, and then do a deal with them on the selling price. (e.g. for clothes they get one-third of the price, toys the whole price). They may like to see it gather up and then choose how it is spent. When my children were small, we sold some of their items, and then they negotiated to buy some other things second hand. It’s great at teaching them how to manage money. I made some money for my friend selling Ladybird books. Frugal Fox makes money from selling Lego.
- Take a table at a car boot sale and sell your excess stuff.
- If you’re planning a day out
- Use your slow cooker. Put some pork shoulder in the cooker, go out for the day and come back to your evening meal cooked. If it was a cold day, then serve as a warming casserole. If it was a hot day, serve as a burger with a salad. Dead easy and very cheap. Left overs can be used the next day. Nobody seems to mind pulled pork burgers two days running, at least not in my house!
- Take packed lunches. You know it makes sense.
- If it is a really hot day, and you all want something cold to drink or an ice-cream, instead of buying from a stall on the beach, walk round the corner to a local store and buy a multi-pack from there. You’ll save a fortune.
- If you are going to be moving around the town, research what the local buses cost. In Edinburgh where I live a family all day ticket costs £8.50 and you can hop on and off buses all day. It makes it easier for small legs, and you can see so much more from the top deck of a double-decker bus.
- Save money on your regular shopping
- As ever, keep an eye out for the yellow / orange labels in the supermarkets. With our very variable Scottish weather, the shops don’t know whether to stock bbq items or not. Today my local supermarket had loads of bbq meats on reduced offer because the weather had been bad this week. You can freeze them, or just cook them indoors…
- Keep an eye out for special offers on seasonal things like ice creams. (You’ll have some extra space if you took me up on my Idea no 1) I bought Fab lollies in Iceland a couple of weeks ago for £1. They were £2 in Sainsbury’s. If it’s a hot day, you’ll be glad of them.
- BOGOF’s I know everyone would rather that the price was reduced instead, but many things don’t go off, so do stock up when your supermarket is having a clearance. (I keep my spare kitchen rolls in a wardrobe because there’s no room for them in my kitchen)
- Research what you can do for free in your town. I did a post on Edinburgh a few months ago. When my sister-in-law was up in April, we used it as a source of ideas on what to do.
- Grow & Harvest your own food.
- We have berry bushes in the garden. We never thought of putting up netting to protect them until one year several very fat pigeons ate every one of them! No harvest that year. We now put up netting without fail and the amount of fruit that we get from the bushes has increased considerably
- I grow mint, parsley and chives. They save me money and time. They are just by the back door so it is easy to grab a handful and it is certainly cheaper than buying fresh herbs
- It’s not too late to plant your own beans and peas. I planted mine a few weeks ago. I have just checked the packets and beans can still be planted in both June and July, peas only June, although the crop will be later.
I only have a small garden so I grow them along the fence between my shrubs, and in my ‘flower’ pots. A friend intersperses his with sweet peas so he gets flowers and fragrance as well as food!
- Booked your holiday yet? If not, look both online and in local travel agents and see what offers are on.
- Consider a home based holiday, and make it easy for yourself. One year we took a week off work, and did a series of special day trips instead. We allowed ourselves inexpensive treats each day. Everyone enjoyed it and it saved us quite a bit of money (although trips to places like the zoo add up). Living by the seaside as a child, we never had holidays as such, but we still had loads of fun. You don’t have to go away to enjoy yourselves.
- If you are travelling, don’t give in and buy the airport books, food or anything else. I was in an airport the other day. Bags of sweets that would cost you £1 in the supermarket are £3! Books are full price, often airport special editions! Drinks sadly, you have to give in and buy given our current travel restrictions
- I usually find special offers on luggage in June / July. I buy most of my suitcases then. They take up so much room that department stores try to shift them as soon as the main holiday season has started.
- I got an absolute bargain on Monday. I flew to Ireland and my friend was delayed in meeting me. So I wandered around Belfast city centre. Then my rucksack strap broke. Annoying! Anyway after visiting Dunnes, which I always visit when I am over, I went into Poundland. There was a hand luggage size trolley bag for £8! I couldn’t believe my luck. Even better, my rucksack and all the contents fitted into it. Result! Now it might not be the sturdiest bag ever, but I will be carrying it and it won’t be subjected to bad treatment in the hold, so I am optimistic! Even better I can repair the strap on my rucksack.
I hope you will be able to get something from the ideas above. Feel free to leave me some comments.
If you would like to pin it for later – click the red button on any of the photographs