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    • fuddle
    • By fuddle 25th Nov 11, 4:36 PM
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    A new 'tougher' thread... and so it continues
    • #1
    • 25th Nov 11, 4:36 PM
    A new 'tougher' thread... and so it continues 25th Nov 11 at 4:36 PM
    Having lurked on the 'tougher' threads this past year I have found myself drawn to MSE just to check in. The tougher threads are really the only reason why I come onto Old Style as much as I do.

    Unfortunately we have lost the latest instalment and I for one have missed it dearly. Is it possible to miss a thread?

    I have been in contact with MSE Andrea about starting a new thread and she has given the go-ahead. All she asks for is that the thread doesn't become argumentative. We're to report argumentative posts, as usual and put the people arguing on 'ignore'.

    I see this thread as being a great support in these times. I see it as being a resource of how to cope with day to day living when the ends are struggling to meet. A continuing thread of useful ideas, tricks and pick-me-ups when times are tough. A place to discuss how UK/world affairs are going to effect us but more importantly, how we're going to cope or how these things will effect our lives.

    I hope you don't mind a relative new comer/lurker starting this thread... just MSE Andrea gave me the permission to do so.

    So... the Tougher thread continues...

    P.S. (I need to work out a way of getting the old thread links on here too. If anyone could help that would be fantastic, i'll begin to try now)

    If things get tougher?
    It is tough NOW. So how are we coping?
    It's STILL tough and not getting better - so how are we coping?
    Its tough, it will get better and guess what its freezing brrrrr!
    Last edited by fuddle; 25-11-2011 at 6:26 PM.
Page 3
  • modern millie
    Greeat to have the thread back, well done fuddle.

    Tricky time of year for us, most of our money is made in the Summer and we then have to last it out until the following Spring. Getting harder each year. Petrol is a big one for us, being rural, I've noticed we rarely go further than the nearest town now - 26 mile round trip. several things inthe house could do with replacing - carpets and washing machine particularly - but reluctant to use savings until absolutely necessary, as I know they won't be replaced. However - like the challenge of make do and mend, learning what is a want not a need, appreciating hte good - so grateful for the mild Autumn so far, oil tank is still fairly full and keeping warm.

    Good point about soup and/or puddings with meals - I find this stops us eating more expensive snacks. Also agree with having a little cash to hand - never know when you might need it.
    • fuddle
    • By fuddle 26th Nov 11, 7:53 PM
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    The make do and mend. That is what is driving me to lose weight right now. I can't breath in my jeans and trousers, they're very uncomfy. My jackets and 1 winter coat I have won't close up (my padded one does but it's almost wrecked and quite shabby for the school run) So it's a case of losing some weight and get back into my clothes or buy new. I cannot buy new, not even Primark (they are getting dearer too I notice) so I must lose some weight. Such a rotten time of year to do it hough and plus I am an emotional eater. With all the doom and gloom I eat for pleasure and rightly or wrongly it chears me up... for a bit
    • mardatha
    • By mardatha 26th Nov 11, 8:13 PM
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    That's same as us Millie. Farm supplies is 44 miles round trip, supermarket is 40, doctors 20, hospital 40, bank /library/post office is 20. Everywhere is spaced out and costs petrol to get to. It works out cheaper to get online deliveries but you still have to go out for some stuff.
    • ninnoodle
    • By ninnoodle 26th Nov 11, 8:45 PM
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    I am also grateful for the mild autumn. It is getting nippier but I have discovered blankets and hot water bottles are my friends! We have bought a small oil filled heater from Gumtree to heat up the living room on really cold nights and only have the central heating on for 2 hours in the morning. I work from home and don't have the heating on during the day, so blasts of the oil heater will help in the middle of winter.

    I am discovering freezing. I have always been afraid of freezing food - silly I know but I think because we have been told for so long by cooking programmes that frozen food tastes inferior, and also my OH won't do it. But I'm ignoring him for now - we just cannot afford to waste good food. It's a bit of a revelation actually!

    We both have decent salaries and for that I am eternally thankful, but we are up to our eyes in debt and on a rubbish mortgage deal. Because of OH withdrawing from our joint bill account (because he had no money himself), some of our mortgage payments didn't go through immediately so I am very worried about that. We both work in a very volatile industry and could lose our jobs at any moment. I am so thankful we have jobs but realise we must do something to stop the spiralling debt and try and save after it has been paid. It's a constant battle with my OH who consistently spends beyond his means. But someone has to try and keep us afloat if the proverbial hits the fan!
    • SpikyHedgehog
    • By SpikyHedgehog 26th Nov 11, 9:02 PM
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    Know what you mean about cash, Mardatha, we had to run around at work yesterday to sort out the cheques to pay wages as my boss is ill in hospital, which is worrying in itself, but there's only her & me that sign cheques for 1 account. Luckily for the account that wages are paid from, there is another signatory so we got paid...

    And I'm also lucky, because I have to see it that way, in that since Errant Husband left us, I get maintenance from him each week, plus child tax & working families tax credits each week, so I do have money in the bank to pay the rent. A few of my colleagues are still in the position of needing the wages cheque cleared for the rent etc to be paid at the beginning of the month - not to say that none of us need the money for paying rent, but for myself & a few of the other colleagues, its more making sure there's enough money to pay the rent than actually crossing fingers that the cheque's cleared in time.
    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z #37 - waterproof wearing cage customiser, chief of cable ties and duct tape

    It's me, DS1 (23), DS2 (15), and the lurcher, and DS1's leopard geckos.
    • 7 week wonder
    • By 7 week wonder 26th Nov 11, 10:04 PM
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    7 week wonder
    Hello, I'm yet another poster who mainly lurks but is mighty glad to see this thread back. Like everyone else I'm getting fed up of running just to stand still. yesterday I spent ages searching for different quotes to get our house insurance down: I eventually managed to save 30 only to have the garage phone to tell me that the bill to get our car fixed was going to be 150 more than they'd originally quoted

    My biggest worry is fuel bills over the winter. My dad died earlier in the year, so my mum (who's in her 80's) is spending more time with us. And, bless her, she feels the cold so much that we always have the gas fire or the heating on when she's here. She has a quilt that she wraps round her, but even then she still doesn't feel warm enough. I'm trying not to think how much gas/elec we'll use when she's here for at least a couple of weeks over Christmas.

    On the plus side, my OS skills are getting much better and we can live off HM soup and bread if need be! (And Mardatha I think the hens have definitely given up laying for the winter. I hardly saw them at all today - the poor wee things spent most of the time up in the roost as every time they came downstairs they almost got blown away)
    • Softstuff
    • By Softstuff 26th Nov 11, 11:06 PM
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    living proof I'm in a similar situation - I could increase my grocery budget but having one eye on the short term future and the other on the long term i'm trying not to, and in any case it isn't sustainable - we can't keep squeezing more and more money out - we have to have a sustainable way forward, and imo going back to the old ways of house-keeping in terms of budgeting is the only way.

    Originally posted by westcoastscot
    I have $100 a week housekeeping (about 66 quid), this is to cover food, medicines, cleaning stuff, clothes, gifts etc. The past few months it has been harder to stretch this to cover everything. Hubby offered more money, but I think it's more prudent to stick even an extra dollar on the mortgage with the hope of being mortgage free sooner, you never know what might happen in the future (if it goes like it did when hubby was a kid, interest rates on mortgages here were in the double digits).

    I take a tablet now that's $40 a month, husbands nasal spray is $12 a month, his prescribed shampoo $30 every 2 months, the contraceptive pill is $20 every 3 months. This all adds up needless to say. I tried doing without my $40 a month tablets, but quickly realised that was a no go.

    So something else had to give. Well, I already buy the cheapest brands, buy reduced when I can and cook 99% of things from scratch. We eat meat mostly as a seasoning in other meals.

    I decided to try making my own cleaning products - all purpose cleaner, clothes washing liquid, washing up liquid, cream cleanser, window cleaner and laundry softener. That seems to be working fine for me, and the costs are piddly. for about $6 I'm good for the lot for about 6 months!

    I also revisited the local farmers market. It used to be very overpriced compared to the supermarkets, but I'm finding now that they're selling it cheaper and there's more "seconds" and reductions. I went this morning and got 250g strawberries, 4 bananas, 4 zucchini and a cucumber for $4, that was quite a haul. Yes, they're seconds, but they're fine.

    I'm looking at things in the supermarket and also asking myself if it's as near to "from scratch" as it can go. For example, I wanted to make a cheesecake (for MILs birthday) and most recipes needed a couple of dollars worth of biscuits for the base, instead a concocted my own (a variation on twinks hobnobs) at less than half the price. A recipe calls for condensed milk to make caramel, well, I can make that with caramel with milk, sugar and butter and again save half. The only exception to this is if the item premade is significantly cheaper, like the ritz crackers I bought in bulk for $1.

    I apologise for the long post, but hope it helps someone. It's certainly helped us, we're feeling pretty rich at the moment.
  • lilac_lady
    Don't try to keep heating so low that you freeze this winter. Low temperatures can lead to heart attacks and strokes. (Nice cheery comment!)

    I try to buy food that's on offer as some of the prices are really ridiculous.

    Although I'm not struggling, (yet) it's not the first time I've screeched in the supermarket "What? They must be joking!" when spotting another big price rise. Out loud too!
    " The greatest wealth is to live content with little."


    • Cat501
    • By Cat501 26th Nov 11, 11:16 PM
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    From now on I'll definitely be doing my shopping at night when things are reduced, normally I go to Farmfoods for sausages, chicken fillets etc, but I got a great haul at Mr T tonight, a fair bit of fresh chicken and sausages for 10% of the usual price and the freezer is packed now. It wasn't as good as recovering spendaholic's haul that she posted on the November grocery challenge thread, but I was very happy with it! I would have skulked about longer waiting for more things to go on the RTC shelves but my chauffeur dad was going a bit berserk after an hour and a half!
    Last edited by Cat501; 26-11-2011 at 11:28 PM.
    • fuddle
    • By fuddle 27th Nov 11, 7:13 AM
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    What a night! If it wasn't the wind keeping me awake it was the worry fighting proactive plans to fight the worrying!

    When I think how worried I was last year when I signed up here I never thought for a second that it would actually get this bad. Naive and clueless yes, I agree. We once had a little spare money but we're at the point now where we live hand to mouth each month. We have no savings or any money put by for emergencies... MOT tomorrow on the car that we need to get DH to work. He's looked at as much as he can and with the brake pads being fixed last month, new wipers and 1 new tyre we hope we've pre-empted some of it. Hope.

    I'm wound up so tightly today that I feel like a little cry. Proactive it has to be, just to get myself back in fighting positive mode.

    Plan of action:
    Heating on only hour in the morning, 2 hours of an evening. Electric heater downstairs in livingroom on very low setting if it's cold. Everyone wears woolies and socks (my lot are better but still whinge about the cold when they have bare feet.

    Stitch hooks onto large throw to hang on archway. Not heating the dining room part while the electric heater is on. Containing the heat in one space.

    Use today to find recipes that use pulses rather than a lot of meat. Find how to flavour rice, pasta and cous cous too.

    Find and reserve soup making book at county library online.

    label 3 pots - car, dog and contingency for saving small amounts for emergencies.

    I've let my battling slip and now I feel a bit overwhelmed. To think that things are this bad and predicted to get even worse scares me because 'even worse' means not able to cope at all.
    • zcrat41
    • By zcrat41 27th Nov 11, 7:21 AM
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    The farmers who have manure to sell are all several miles away, and although you can get it free, or very nearly so, in the countryside, you need transport and I only have a bicycle. Farmers are being stretched by the cost of diesel, although I imagine that the tractor which drags my trailer of muck to me today will probably be running on

    Even Red derv has gone up by at least 15% in the last year. Yes it's cheaper than normal diesel but we get through an awful lot!

    Fuddle - I'm a newbie to this thread but just wanted to say you sound like you're doing a fab job and keep your chin up!
  • splodger seedswapper
    i always thought that i was being a skin-flint by giving loads of manure as xmas pressies a few years ago (because i knew they couldn't get any themselves - and i couldn't afford to buy pressies) but maybe it wasn't such a $hitty present afterall - i think i might sort out a trailer load of muck for a lovely old dear i know - so that she can feed her veg garden and her roses
    saving money by growing my own - much of which gets drunk
    made loads last year
    • mardatha
    • By mardatha 27th Nov 11, 8:09 AM
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    FUDDLE ! stoppit !! You have seen the light and have started the fight back !!
    If you start worrying and not sleeping then all that does is makes you ill which DOES NOT HELP!
    Bad Mardy smacked fuddle
    • fuddle
    • By fuddle 27th Nov 11, 8:27 AM
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    FUDDLE ! stoppit !! You have seen the light and have started the fight back !!
    If you start worrying and not sleeping then all that does is makes you ill which DOES NOT HELP!
    Bad Mardy smacked fuddle
    Originally posted by mardatha
    So funny! I'm alright now. It's about doing isn't it. I'm now doing - New Covent Garden Soup cookbook reserved. Will cost me 30p to pick up but I will write out the good ones from it . Also just finished stitching the hooks for the room dividing throw. Need to fight the wind and getin the garage for some tacks to hammer into the wooden arch. It's going to look appauling but needs must and can be folded away when we have visitors.

    The wind brought down my retractable outdoor line. I 'm not bothered because I can just reuse the line and have it permantly up, doesn't matter but it's out of bounds for now. Got all the windows open in bay window with washing on airer. I don't know if it will dry doing that but figure cirulating cold air ight be the same as circulating warm air. Watch at the end of the day I'll still have damp washing but a frozzin bedroom I will not put the heating on to dry washing, I will not!

    I'm trying or as DH would say... VERY trying
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 27th Nov 11, 8:45 AM
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    Just wanted to say a big thank-you for starting this thread - as a newbie I've been reading my way through the older ones for the last 3 weeks and haven't finished yet! And didn't feel I could contribute or ask anything until I was up to speed, as it were. But this makes it manageable - I should be able to keep up in the small slices of "free" time I can get on the 'pooter.
    Off to hunt up info about window-quilts now...

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  • Mrs Chip
    Morning Peeps!

    What a windy night is was, which did not help my general restlessness. Sounds mad, but I am finding the mild nights too warm! I only have my 4.5 tog duvet on, but I don't like being hot in bed (steady!). Plus joints are a bit achy from the axe-wielding activities. Add on the normal night-time worries that plague me when restless, and even my '3 course meal' sleep technique did not work .

    Thanks for the woodpile ideas, GQ I like the wood wall one. but the garden is pretty much all on a slope, I'm no structural engineer, I have visions of it all ending up in the garden below! I do have woodpile envy though, I long to have a lovely neatly packed woodshed, how sad is that?!
    And yes Red, we will end up with wood everywhere, no garage, it might have to go under the bed!

    Soup - home made is so easy, there is no secret, and recipes really not necessary.

    All soups start like this - chop onions and cook gently in oil or butter for 5 mins. To these you add whatever you have available:

    Leek and potato - chop leek, chop potato into 1 cm cubes add to onion
    Pea - bung in about 1lb frozen or 2 tins (drained) peas. plus some fresh mint, dill or coriander.
    Vegetable - chop carrot, leek, parsnip, celery, add to onion with a cup of red split lentils and any herbs you have.
    Butternut squash Chop, no need to peel, add to onions with some garlic and chopped fresh ginger if you have it, and 2 tsp curry powder.

    To all of the above add stock, either veg or chicken to cover. Simmer till the veg are soft, about 20 mins, taste, season and blend with a stick blender, or use masher, to required smoothness.

    Pimp up the bowl a bit by adding grated cheese, crumbled bacon, chopped ham or chicken - makes left-overs go much further.

    Once you have made this a few times you will be able to make soup out of anything you have to use up or have lurking in your cupboards. Cheap, filling and very good for you, it is one of the best weapons we have in the war on rising prices.

    ETA: note there were no quantities above - just use as much or as little as you have/need/want of averything!
    Last edited by Mrs Chip; 27-11-2011 at 8:59 AM.
    • Softstuff
    • By Softstuff 27th Nov 11, 8:53 AM
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    I've let my battling slip and now I feel a bit overwhelmed. To think that things are this bad and predicted to get even worse scares me because 'even worse' means not able to cope at all.
    Originally posted by fuddle
    Fuddle, you'll be fine. We all will. Because we're sensible, resourceful, prepared and together.

    I made pea falafel for tea tonight, suprisingly good. Just when I think I've tried every frugal recipe going, another pops up. There's always more to learn.
  • WelshWoofer
    Morning! I hope you don't mind me joining in? I've been reading through and you all seem like a very sensible and grounded lot!

    Fuddle - I know what you mean about intermittant panicking - I do the same sometimes.

    I'm in the process of getting divorced and its been a concerning time moneywise. I now have to manage the mortgage, bills and everything else on my salary (I'm a teacher and earn well less than 30K which may seem a lot but it seems to dribble away quite merrily).

    Luckily, I've paid off all my debts and have a small saved stash for real emergencies but it would have to be an absolute disaster for me to touch it.

    I keep a close eye on grocery spends and having the heating on and things like that and try to save about 150 a month but its getting harder and harder.
    At the moment I'm trying to save towards redecorating my living room (carpets, decoration, curtains etc) and have 200 but need about 1000 to do the lot. Its my 40th birthday at Xmas and my parents want to give me what they gave my sister so I've asked for cash to put towards the project - I think it'll be a few hundred pounds so that will boost the pot by quite a bit.

    I hope that we can help each other along and keep each other spirits up during those wobbly moments that I'm sure we all have.
    Thanks to you all for your words of wisdom!
    January grocery spending - 82.73/ 120
    • mardatha
    • By mardatha 27th Nov 11, 9:57 AM
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    Great post re soups Mrs Chip, I find soup a godsend. Great for cheapness and for people who hate cooking !
    • fuddle
    • By fuddle 27th Nov 11, 10:01 AM
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    Great post re soups Mrs Chip, I find soup a godsend. Great for cheapness and for people who hate cooking !
    Originally posted by mardatha
    I agree Mardatha, thanks Mrs Chip.

    I make a super broth so should have the basics but my confidence is low. I trashed a pumpkin soup adding too much pepper and my attempt at carrot and coriander was yak.

    I'm eyeing up a leek and potato one. That will be what i'll attempt this coming week.
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