The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday 28 February 2016

The Vicky Challenge. The Pre Emptive Strike.

In an effort to get ahead in as many ways as possible this week I am talking about what I call the pre emptive strike... that is to anticipate what is going to happen next!
Lets face it, mostly, we have things that are patterns and repeats. If you know yours you can plan ahead.
They usually are things like knowing you have a long day coming up and that in all likelihood you will be too exhausted to cook dinner.
Or that you have several birthdays coming up all close together...
That kind of thing.
If we let them go we also know what will happen next i.e.
We will pick take away up on the way home.
We will spend too much on the birthdays as we will run out of time!

So yes we know whats coming and we know what normally happens as a result. The pre emptive strike is to do something while you can about it and change how it turns out. This can be a big sanity saver and money saver.

I truly do so much better if I use my diary, look ahead and plan. It might be the biggest money saver of all.
This week I can see I have two days that will be busy and I will probably be tired. So today I am cooking up a big batch of spaghetti and meat sauce. Tonight we will have that with pasta. While I'm at it I will assemble a lasagne and set some sauce aside for Tacos another night. So I know I will not have to cook those nights and I will have a spare meal in the freezer as well.

Another example is we have a little holiday coming up. We head off to a beach side town. For starters there is 12 hours driving (round trip) and I make sure I have a crochet project ready as I won't want to waste an opportunity to crochet for 12 hours plus while on holidays.
Next I know that on the way we will go past expensive and not very nice road houses and they will be the food choices. A stop at one of these plus two lunches and drinks would be thirty dollars or more. So I plan ahead and pack a picnic and make up rolls and a thermo of tea and one of coffee etc.
It is much nicer and saves a lot of money! It is just planning ahead.

Then while away in a country town the fact is that prices of everything are really high, from milk to anything at all. It is easy to turn an inexpensive holiday into an expensive one just eating. So I have baskets that I add specials to each week and we take our tea, coffee, milk, several meals, treats etc
with us. I know this saves so much money.

So these are my pre emptive strikes!

Then there are the things you can't see coming. They are a whole new ball game except that you can to some extent cater for them by always having spare meals in the freezer and on the pantry shelf. Always having a well stocked pantry. Having first aid and medicines and having a good gift cupboard  with paper and cards on hand. These cover a lot of situations.

What are some of the things that you can see coming or that regularly cause you to overspend? Can you think of ways to head that situation off at the pass and change how it usually turns out?
This can be a big saver. I think of it as a game and a challenge. We cannot predict everything but we can see a lot of things coming and dodge them! I always say if you see a train coming get off the tracks!

Last week was very good for my Vicky Challenge. And to finish up February!

I did a lot of painting, I will say $300 saved.

I made balls of ribbon yarn towards floor rugs I want to make and from free fabric. I looked for this yarn as I wanted to copy something I had seen. I found it at $20 a ball. So far I have made 8 which is $160!

$4 was saved on turkish bread.

I gave Andy a haircut. This locally is $45 which seems ridiculous, most of that must be a search fee!

We had "Fridge Night" I am naming this eat up left overs night Fridge Night as Sue told me the other day that once a week they have Fridge Pie, Fridge Pizza or Fridge Frittata. These means they use up lots of left over bits and pieces into one of these meals. So we had Fridge Pizzas.  I used up left over pesto on one base, let over figs on two, left over cheeses, ham, tomatoes, salami, olives... all kinds of things and got four pizzas all up. They were yum! And guess who has pizza in his lunch box today?
Left overs night or fridge night is a big saver and Sue's version is really good! I will say left over nights and all my pizzas saved $20.

Due to postage going up and up, especially parcels, I am getting tricky at keeping parcels small and looking for alternatives. I found I could send a parcel with someone going through a town interstate where a friend lives. So I could make my parcel big and heavy as I like! This saved me around $100!

Sue gave me all those tins and baskets. Even at op shop prices these would have cost $100 and I will make so much more of them that that by the time I have finished!

Andy is an Aldi convert! For ages he has wanted and saved for guitar stands and microphones ... he is a music nut and has a whole music room. He also rarely spends money on himself. The Aldi catalogue arrived and it had all this musical stuff so I showed him. He basically didn't believe the prices in that he couldn't see HOW these things were such a fraction of the price he knew was normal.
However he got up early Saturday morning and headed off! He got everything he had been wanting at a fraction of the price. I told him there was no risk as you can retune anything if not happy.
But boy was he happy!
Also he needed two new pairs of glasses. He had it all worked out and the price. I said to him go compare around and online. He did! This little exercise saved $440.
His combined savings with glasses and Aldi were $744!
He still can hardly believe it. I added it up as we went through each thing and he told me what he expected to pay and what he actually paid. Talk about a big week for him!

I used soaps as a gift. Saving $30

This is a whopping $1503 which is the biggest week by miles so far.

I still need to add in my monthly $225 which I save doing my own hair.  I add that in at the end of each month.

So I am amazed by this. And encouraged.

How was your Vicky Challenge? And how could you do the pre emptive strike and save by dodging the predictable blow outs that happen regularly? There is often a pattern to this. At one time Friday nights were a blow out for us. Changing one thing made a big difference in our budget.  It helps so much to think ahead. I know that from what I cook today I have two nights off later in the week and cooking more tonight will be worth it!

Have a great week! Tomorrow is Autumn! I am so happy about that I just love Autumn! xxx


  1. Inspiring as always Annabel. In past times they had a word for your preemptive strikes it was called 'forehandedness" and was considered something of a virtue. I think it is more than time that we had a resurgence of these good old fashioned virtues. Every time you write about your big batches of spaghetti sauce I think "I must do that" but have yet to get to it. Fridge night, what a great idea! And how much nicer is it to be able stop in a lovely park and have a picnic lunch or morning tea rather than sit in a roadhouse.

    1. Forehandedness. I like it. I haven't ever heard it. However I think Prudence is another word that kind of covers it as to be prudent is to also anticipate and prepare. I love that. "Care and thought for the future" I think.
      I generally love old words like this and for a while we were saying "have a prudent and diligent week!" as that had come up and I like both so very much!
      I figure it is just as easy to cook spaghetti sauce for ten as for two. I did it tonight and have lots cooking just now to freeze and refrigerate. So helpful later.
      We do pick someone lovely by the sea to stop and have picnics. We stop two or three times and I pour tea or coffee. Usually I have made a slab of cake that comes too. Truly its nice. It just takes that little bit of forehandedness to do it! :)
      With love and thanks,

  2. Dear Annabel, Your savings this week was huge! I like the idea of "fridge night." One thing I have noticed is that freezer meals have been a great help to me, especially now that I am spending so much time at the ranch. After cleaning, packing, and decluttering out there all day the last thing I want to do is come home and cook and make a mess of my own kitchen lol. So freezer meals are the biggest way for me to plan ahead.
    I'm glad Andy found such exciting deals. Just curious, what sort of music does he like? Around our house, I usually have my record player playing big band swing or classical, but my husband and I both like a bit of folk and are in a bluegrass group. In the car it is some old 60's and 70's rock. Ok, so that's a wide variety! We enjoy music, too.
    Anyway, this week I cut my husband's hair, cancelled our Netflix subscription, froze some out of date milk, made a four pack of cards and gift tags, purchased clearance toiletries, got free moving boxes, made all breakfasts, lunches, and coffees, decided to forego our usual grocery shopping trip to use what we had on hand, put a skirt back that I almost bought, and split our Costco membership with friends. Last week, I cancelled my Amazon Prime membership and included that in my total but forgot to list it. My total this week was $218.23. I did not beat last week like I had hoped, but I spent less money, hardly any. And I know that you can hire people to do what I am doing out at the ranch. If I knew what this would cost I would include it and my total would be higher. We rested today, and I am refreshed and ready for the week ahead. I hope everyone has a thrifty and productive week! Love, Kelsey

  3. Annabel, having a pre-emptive mindset is a virture that allows us to stretch and save money in all kinds of ways. Great post! Your soaps are beautiful! I had enough frozen leftovers this week to make a pot of soup. I just dumped everything into a big pot, opened up a jar of home canned broth and home canned deer, and let it simmer for about an hour. It was so good! Even those little amounts of leftovers can be turned into a delicious meal.

    1. Dear Patsy,
      I knew you would be with me on the pre emptive strike! The frozen left over soap is a subject of its own I think... maybe in a fb post you could get that one going. I love it!
      I am big on left overs going into pies also. But Sues fridge pizza was a goodie too!
      Have a lovely week Patsy, love

  4. What a great week of saving! Thank you for bringing up the concept of thinking ahead about things that blow the bank. We used to go out to eat on my husband's day off, but I've learned that I can make a nice meal similar to what we would get out for a fraction of the price, so we do that now. Or for birthdays, I'll make a nicer meal at home now, even if it's just buying better quality hamburgers (steak burgers for example). Following your blog and applying your advice little by little is helping, too. I've started to keep a diary or notebook of things I do to "feather my nest", and I don't feel like it's much when I read what you do or what the other ladies do, but it is helping me be more proactive and creating some goals and momentum...and thinking ahead like you are suggesting today.

    I would love to know what you pack in your holiday baskets. I always feel overwhelmed about our annual vacation. Every year I think I will work ahead on this but it always comes down to the last minute and a big trip to the store.


    1. Dear Amy,
      Thank you! Little by little is a magical formula. Truly I am always amazed how little bits add up and keep going it is so much over a year!
      I pack a picnic for our travel day and take a lasagne or pie out of the freezer which will keep things cold and be dinner on night one or two. I also take a basket of long life milk, tea, coffee and basics. Then I pack an esky with cheeses, fruit, meat for BBQs etc. Basically as much as I can that will be useful and I have bought on specials. We will get local seafood at the beach and add to what we have. It does save a lot. I start a couple of months before and do it with weekly specials. And meals from the freezer. I know I will take a container of stewed peaches for breakfasts that were free from the tree!
      Little bits of planning ahead really help. Thank you so much for your lovely comment! Love

  5. Dear Annabel, whenever I catch up with your blog it's as if you have been in my head!! This is exactly what I have been mulling over the last few days. We have had a couple of weeks of illness in our house (including me) combined with 3 birthdays and I feel I have been very unorganised. Luckily we have a full up freezer so that helps with meals but I didn't get everything else done that I wanted too. Still, c'est la vie! Everyone is recovered now and we are back on track. So, nothing in particular to report for the last fortnight but I have painting plans afoot....
    Kind regards, Angela

    1. Dear Angela, Thank you! No one would want to get into my head. Andy says it is a can of worms in there! lol
      I hope everyone is well at your house this week including you!
      Painting plans... there are a few of us painting and renovating. It sounds like its catching. I get a bit overwhelmed with it but funnily, today I really am noticing the difference and results. Like suddenly they have added up. So I feel encouraged by this!
      Painting does work miracles. Actual painting is ok, fun even. Its the preparations that I find harder!
      Have a lovely week, with thanks,

  6. We use the same concept for using left overs but we call it a fend night, so every Wednesday(garbage goes out Wednesday night) instead of making dinner I put everything out and we eat what we want. Another way I use left overs is I have an ice cream bucket in my freezer that I put all left over meats and veggies into and when I have enough for a big pot of stew all I do is add a bottle of tomato juice and I call it harvest stew. It is never the same but always good. My husband is not always on the same page on saving money he spends if he goes to the grocery store he spends so much money on junk food so I feel that I have to work twice as hard it seems.I try to pack snacks when we go on road trips also.

    1. Fend night is another good name! And good idea. A lot of food is easy to waste. Anything to use it up is great. Also I love the container in the freezer idea. That would work for making batches of stock also.
      Thank you for these ideas! xxxx

  7. One thing I am planning ahead for is Spring Break. I have a list of free museums we plan to visit with our children. I'm also setting aside some snack type items to carry with us. We do plan to all go out to eat for one meal during the break but the rest of the time will be picnics. Another free outing will be to a lake for some fishing and photography. We will take along some meat to grill and I'll bring fruits and salads for our meal. All of our outings will take place during the daytime so that we will be home to care for our animals each morning and evening. Another way I'm getting ahead is by having my warm weather clothes taken up rather than buying new ones.
    And as a big savings for my friend's daughter in law we are having her little boy over for a baby animal farm photo session. We have lots of baby goats right now and a precious little lamb. The sitting fee for these special spring photos with baby animals start at $500! So this is a big savings for them. We did this last year too and it turned out great.
    Thank you for the reminder to look ahead and prepare.

    1. Dear Ginger,
      I love love love your plans for the fishing and photos at the lake. And the photos with baby animals is the cutest thing ever! I don't expect to see photos of other peoples children but I would love to see your baby goats! They are so lovely! This little boy will be so cute with these babies!
      How could you beat that as a photo opportunity! Such a lovely idea!
      Planning ahead is such a saver! Have a great week Ginger! Love

  8. I did not save much this week. In fact, I spent quite a bit, *but* it was money set aside just for the venue I went to! In fact, I was told I couldn't spend on groceries or had to be for me! I went to the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival. I've never made a quilt, but they have so much more there! I bought several patterns that will be used to make gifts and some things for me :)

    1. Dear Jenn,
      I think that an outing that gives lots of inspiration and ideas is a really good thing! We need that. I can come home from something like that with so many plans. It is really good! So I am glad for you!
      Plus you got patterns! Have a good week! With love Annabel.xxxx

  9. Don't forget to spend a little money at those little seaside (and inland) towns. Things aren't that much more expensive there and if people want them to stay "open for business" they need to be supported! I know "bluebird" people are kind people and of course you will support the town in some way, just wanted to say something as it is something I am passionate about.

    1. I understand what you are saying Garden Del. We support the local bakery so much as it is wonderful and the op shop. Also there is a man in this town that hand crafts pens and we go see him every year and buy something from him which becomes a gift. So we do a bit of both. A wonderful effort deserves support and so does great produce like the local seafood. Oh and the hire of the cabin off season bust contribute as well I figure. I am with you on this. xxx

    2. I knew you'd understand what I meant Annabel xo

  10. It was obviously a tidy your hubby up week. Mine also received a haircut. I had no idea that the cost if this was $45. I have cut his hair for years. Sadly. Do not have the courage to even think of cutting my mop. The hairdressers is an indulgence of mine. This week saw the usual lunches and coffees from home, saving $125. Hubby's food bank shopping $30. I have had issues with my PC for a few months. On the weekend I sat down with the books and worked through the difficulties. I have now a working, all the time, PC. Doing this myself saved me the $65 fee for the tech to look at the PC. I picked up a free month on the home office program, $30. My DIL gifted me 5 free PDF handbag patterns, $30. Hubby picked up a set of new bluestone pans on a great special, saving $200. Gifted 3 pumpkins $5. That's $530 for the week and $2053 for the month. Woohoo. This is the longest I have ever stuck to a New Years resolution. Given the positive outcomes, it's one to stick to.

    1. Today up your hubby week! lol Well I checked the there closest hair dressers and they were all $45 to my utter shock! We had a few jokes about it at home.
      Jane that amount foe the month is massive. I love it! Thank you for updating and I feel the same. I have stuck to it and am more amazed as I go. I haven't totalled the month yet... and then can total Jan and Feb as well! My husband is impressed too and interested.
      Have a great week this week! With love Annabelxxx

    2. I have to have my husband give the boys a haircut this week, he does them every month. They are looking shaggy and they need haircuts. He does a better job than they did at the barbershop, the boys each take their turn on the stool and then I have them jump in the shower. It saves me hundreds a year. I have him trim my hair every couple months, women's haircuts are way more expensive, so having my husband do my trims, saves me hundreds more a year. And he listens to me and cuts off a half inch like I ask, not six inches like they did at the salon. He has never given me a bad haircut either, so I will keep having him cut my hair.

  11. Hi Annabel and everyone, Annabel your soaps are lovely colours and shapes .Andy did well as did you needless to say :-)
    I finished a crochet cardy for my grand daughter and started a jumper for her older brother.Then these can be replicated in other colours for gifts and for them for winter wear.Ive baked and cooked, made 2 lots of bath salts for gifts , baking for another gift,trimmed my fringe and dyed my eyebrows.Also did my my manicure and pedicure but no pretty polish more a repair coat.
    I was lucky to be gifted a huge ball and half of bright multi coloured yarn, 3 100gm balls of wool in winter colours, so my tally for those is only a bit above $200.A few aches and pains have slowed me down this week made me have a rest so to speak :-) Love Maria xx

    1. Dear Maria,
      Your crochet cards is adorable. And it looks really warm too. I love it.
      And now you have more yarn!
      You still did heaps and good savings even if a slower week! I am having a slow day today. Tired! Hope you are having a good week With love,

  12. Hi Annabel,

    'Forehandedness'. That's good!!

    I am always working at this. My husband, however, is teaching me to react in the more sudden ways! For the mechanical things around here, I am drilled on what to do when things don't work right. That, in itself, is forehandedness, right?!! I like to have things prepared in advance. My husband taught me that, if you're stuck, you can finish drying your work clothes with the car heater when you're wearing them on the way to work!! We don't buy takeaway. There's nothing where we live, anyway!! My husband is good in liking, often, to eat small meals. I call them part meals. If we're home late, he loves eggs on toast! Right now, the freezer is a fridge, and the fridge is not much at all, so cooking up corned beef on the fire makes lots of tender sandwiches, & the meat stores for days in the freezer-cum-fridge!

    I suppose my new kind of forehandedness that I am learning is more about just making do in an imperfect world. It amazes me sometimes how some situations just don't bother me anymore. If it rains for days on end and the washing machine is broken and all the wood is soaked by driving rain, the clothes can still get washed and dried! If the car breaks down on the road far from home, we'll still be back home and keeping on going a couple of weeks down the road! It's funny how life can instil a sense of bearing even when circumstances are a mess. Sometimes experience, with a sense of down to earth ways, is the only forehandedness there is!

    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      It is a big advantage being able to work together. I have had both times... single and doing everything and now married and working together. You get a lot achieved working together!
      Being able to adapt, improvise, make do... all these things help hugely! We can get set on an idea where really we would be better to forget it and find another way.
      Next week that is the theme Making Do!
      I hope you are having a great week! With love and thanks,

  13. Wonderful blog! You and Andy did great on your Vicki Challenge!
    I know from reading your blog that when i go to rummage sales or op shops I now go with "Fresh" eyes. I think to myself what would Annabel see that was useful. I did buy two really nice baskets at a rummage sale the other day 1.00 a piece, they have nice heavy handles. But thank you cause my eyes are open to more than I would have every seen.

    1. Dear Laurie,
      I love that you are seeing possibilities! Thats exactly how I op shop! I also have a list of things I am looking for... but you never know what you might find.
      Just now I am making over some of the baskets I was given. Hopefully I can show them Friday if things go well! Thank you so much! Love

  14. Having meals on hand in the freezer has saved us so much over the last few years. They take no extra effort at all if I just make double and freeze one for later.

    Our extra parts for our stove have saved us so much money and things do wear out so it is best to be prepared. We also keep some basic repair parts around like for toilets because they only seem to break at inopportune times, like on holidays when we have company.

    I go to the dollar store and buy birthday cards and such for several months ahead. This keeps me from buying cards at stores where they are $5 each.

    My husband works with many younger workers and they make up gift baskets when someone is expecting a baby. I am always on the lookout for items to keep in my gift closet to contribute to those baskets and it saves running to the store last minute since many times I hear about it the night before.

    Every little bit just makes life easier!

    1. Dear Lana,
      I think that... it is no hard to make double. I never make one of anything it seems mad to me.
      And the spare parts... that is a true pre emptive strike. Having a spare is generally. I love having a spare appliance.
      Also the card and gift wrap stash is a massive help.
      I like the combined gift baskets... yes you could find all sorts of things to keep ready for those. Even card, wrap and ribbons could contribute to those.
      I hope you are having a good week! Many thanks Lana, Love

  15. Annabel- at our house we call them "contingencies"!! This week has been one with sinus infections and ear aches! Somehow, we thought that as we got older, things like ear infections, etc. would be in the past! So, the upside is that we didn't spend much, downside is that our savings were lower than some weeks!
    We did make 8 lunches from leftovers-$32, got 14 free plastic buckets (5 gallon) from Sam's club- $56, paid 6 bills online- $2.94, hubby found cheaper supplier for diabetic test strips- $30, used up the last cents on 2 Lowes gift cards- $1.96, assembled 21 planter boxes from free materials- $210, bought mark down chickens from Sam's club- $2, and made 1 gallon of crockpot yogurt- $10.
    This made my grand total for this week - $344.90!

    My total for February was $3228.78!!! We are using some of this to pay down our mortgage! February was our first mortgage payment ( 15 year note) and we've been able to bring it down to 12 years remaining already!!!!!
    Thanks so much for this challenge, Annabel and Vicky!!! It helps us to be more aware of the decisions we make and has turned savings into a fun challenge!!! On our 45th anniversary this month, we were deconstructing free wood pallets (after a fun lunch out) and for date night this week, we were assembly line constructing planter boxes in our wood shop with little bowls of sherbet from the freezer as our treat! Another date was eating popcorn made at home in the car as we took dinner to some friends with a sick mom! It definitely is the little things that can bring us joyful moments!

    1. Gardenpat that is so terrific to hear! And super awesome on getting the mortgage down to 12 years! That is making very good use of your money! I can't wait to hear that you have the mortgage paid off! Good job!

  16. Annabel,
    Way to go Andy! When we work together on things it has some amazing results doesn't it? We also have fend for yourself nights which basically means I don't feel like cooking and there are plenty of left overs to eat. So for our week Rick was give $400 worth of tree climbing equipment that you use when cutting trees he also found sunglasses marked down to .99 saving $36 I used a $10 gift card and bought a juice some containers for flour and a small spool of lace, used $6 in coupons, $1.50 was given a Sunday paper, $27 used Bing points to pay for a 3 month X Box Live subscription for my son, $40 I found tennis shoes on clearance and I needed them badly, $100 they wanted that amount to come and look at the icemaker on our fridge Rick was able to fix it saving us the cost. I also picked up some Huggies and Coke codes while babysitting which will net me something free(I already cashed out for a $5 Walmart GC using Coke points) I was able to finish afew dishcloths to add to my gift trunk.

    1. Dear Vicky,
      I love the name Fend for yourself nights... if there is food around to make a toasted sandwich or whatever then really that is still a yummy dinner.
      Very good about the climbing equipment!
      You do well on your free items and coupons. I especially like that you get things whether you can use them or not then trade them! Thats thinking!
      Hope this week is going well! Love

  17. Wow, great week everyone, and wow Annabel! Great month!!

    I made two dinners last night: one for last night, then one for later in the week when I anticipate working 11 hours straight: I will NOT feel like cooking OR going out to eat that night (but often do go out on busy nights, as I am too exhausted to cook!). I re-read some of your crock pot posts, Annabel, and was inspired. Such a little amount of time "pre-emptively" and I will save our family money on take-out or restaurant food with just ONE extra meal!

    I've saved over $400 this month by following the Vicky Challenge! Simply keeping track of my savings has really changed my mindset from one of "oh it's only a few dollars" to "maybe I can find another way to get what I want for less money."

    Second month into the Vicky Challenge and looking good. It doesn't matter the exact amount we save, it's the trend! Keep the stories coming, everyone, we inspire each other. Thank you as always Annabel for your posts, creativity, friendliness to us all, and getting us all together here.

    1. Teresa,
      Good job! Some months are better than others, but every little bit adds up keep going! Your doing a great job!

  18. Dear Annabel, I do LOVE the idea of the Pre-Emptive Strike. It's that whole idea of planning ahead that is so appealing I think. Once you realise how much pressure it relieves, there's just no turning back. My planning ahead the last week included a menu woven around my families' activities for the week, with three easy dinners prepared ahead and frozen for the busy nights. That alone saves us over $100 in what would otherwise be a takeaway dinner night. I cleaned my own house which always saves another $100, did my own hair, nails, my daughters hair saving up to $160, and mended clothing saving at least another $100 in replacing it or having someone else mend and alter it for me. I sourced a formal dress for my daughter for her High School Formal NEXT year (yes, thinking way ahead on this one), from a formal and bridal wear shop that was closing down. That was my crowning glory for the week, as it was down from $699, to $49. Yes that's $49, not $499. I couldn't believe my eyes. And it is a stunning grape coloured silk gown, with a gem encrusted neckline and back detail, just like the ones she and I have been pinning on Pinterest for a couple of years. So I had a really, really good week, and not for much effort at all. I'm thrilled :) Wonderful posts from everyone...Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      You are great at planning ahead. I notice that all the time. You anticipate the week ahead. You know many people just don't think like that. But it saves a fortune. Also makes life easier. We can't plan for everything but some things are highly predictable.
      Oh my goodness about the dress! I hope DD loves it! it sounds stunning... Now that you have said this there is a bridal place near here closing down with signs out the front "everything must go..." mmm
      Sometime put a pic of the dress on your blog! Want to see!
      That was a great week. And fun too! A really good find is a lot of fun! With love

    2. Yes, she loves the dress very much! And the second bargain, was a pair of rose gold heels, in that very 'in' sort of gladiator 'lace up the front and round the ankle style', which were a couple of hundred dollars online, and found on eBay, worn twice, for $70. Again, it's the whole idea of 'know yourself', and then be in a position to make that Pre-Emptive Strike if the opportunity arises. If you're sure of who you are, and what you love, then it's easier to do that. Yes, go see when the Bridal stores have their sales. The dress we bought had $400 worth of gem encrusted applique` (I know because I've looked in case we were going to DIY), and for $49, you could cut the dress up, make gorgeous silk pillowcases, use the gems on another project, and you'd still be ahead. Mind you, it would break your heart to cut the dress up could :) Love, Mimi xxx

  19. It seems I've finished February out on a spending spree! All planned purchases though, things I have needed but put off buying for a little while! ;-) I found the best deals and had already read up on reviews etc for what was wanted. So, we are around $1000 all up poorer, but the savings were $375. We save for ages, then have a major spend up in one strike! Some items were of the grocery variety though! :-)

    My February total is $1371. My husband is pretty surprised by that! I am really pleased by the figures, as my savings estimates are quite conservative and could be more! I see a distinct pattern though. I constantly buy groceries for the best prices and generally lots are half price. I buy ahead and work the clearance times of seasonal items. The pre-emptive strike! I love it. :-) as I like to "plan ahead" too!

    Mimi, fabulous savings on the formal gown! That was fantastic.

    Tell Andy that is awesome the savings he added for the week! It is a great feeling getting hold of long awaited purchases at a good price and of decent quality.

    1. Dear Kaye,
      Well done on such good savings for the month! You do very well with grocery savings and also using thing that come your way to the maximum effect.
      Sounds like both you and Andy got good deals on things you've been wanting. Good end to the month!
      I hope this week is going well Kaye. I am behind on replies and emails!! Painting, baby sitting... with love

    2. Thanks Kaye. Yes we are thrilled with that little bargain. Love, Mimi xxx

  20. Pre-emptive strike sounds so much more exciting than planning ahead. I like it and I think I’ll adopt the term!

    You had such an amazing month, Annabel! I'm jealous but also inspired. We are *still* working on the house. It's not an all-day, every day thing because Jay has his ministry and I'm home schooling and doing church work and what-not, but living in a construction zone is distracting. The good news is that I'm not shopping much other than for job supplies. I did find another post-holiday chocolate sale, 75% off this time, and those are survival needs while the house is in upheaval!

    I did manage a bit of working ahead to make a double batch of granola, splitting a cake into two pans so I could freeze half, and having quick & easy recipes and a stocked pantry to make meals easier. That served well yesterday when life handed me a small series of minor disasters that added up to “one of those days” that I am glad is over. The good news is that I had managed to get supper into the slow cooker before things came unhinged, so there was one less thing to fret about while I was running around. And today is thankfully off to a much better start.

    One way I have taken a pre-emptive strike is to always have items on hand for a car picnic. With advance warning I can cook and bake and have fresh things to take, but I always carry pre-packaged snacks and bottled water in my car, and enough of it for an unplanned meal, if needed. I have a reminder in my calendar to rotate the supplies before they go bad if they haven’t been used. That way I always have something with me in case we have car trouble, an event goes longer than anticipated, or life hands me a series of minor disasters!

    Have a lovely week, everyone! I’m looking forward to seeing all of the fun Show & Tell projects!
    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Dear Leigh, The pre emptive strikes sounds like we are at war... but war on debt and mess mostly!
      I was very impressed with your Granola which looks beautiful. In jars that would be a good gift too.
      Was very good about dinner cooking away in the slow cooker before things went wrong! I love the word Unhinged! lol good description. I know it well!
      The car picnic is an excellent tip! Meals, drinks, on the road can be enormously expensive. That is a great thing to plan for that would avoid a big expense blow out!
      Many thanks Leigh! With love

  21. Lovely soaps, Annabel! So excited to hear about Andy's "conversion". I know my husband appreciates me more when he experiences the benefits of my research/savings.

    Well, with it winter here in the States, I was able to enjoy making orange marmalade. I saved $27 making 9 pts. These were mostly soft oranges that seemed too unappealing to eat fresh.
    My daughters and I enjoyed a good trip to the thrift (op) store. We saved $175 on many lovely sheets, embroidered linen napkins, shirts, and a formal dress for my 9 yr. old. And of course the little ones each got a free toy.
    My husband decided to clean out storage. Which is a mammoth task of sorting through the kids' clothing. Not only did we find alot of usable clothing for the coming season, but gained storage space! I was able to give away lots of baby and toddler clothes to charity. Also I saved $30 on fabric and notions that I salvaged from damaged clothes.
    All said and done, savings of $243 plus I made $150 selling my big Nubian buck (goat).
    A free craft that my girls and I enjoyed: a rag wreath. We tied short strips of light weight cotton all over a wire wreath form. It is welcoming Spring on our front porch!


  22. Wow some incredible savings there Annabel!

    Those soaps look so pretty and definitely would make a lovely gift.

    I have been without a computer for a few days. I think it is time to start saving for a new one as I seem to be having more and more trouble with this one. It is old and has served me well.

    Planning meals ahead definitely saves time and money. I need to work on this one as most of my weeks are busy.

    There are three birthdays for our family this month, so I need to be prepared in advance...

    It was 41C here yesterday, and more to come this week. I am so over this heat!

    Wishing you a great rest of the week.


    1. Dear Tania,
      It is very frustration having computer problems. I have it! So I hope maybe you can get a new one or it sorted out.
      Also I hope it cools down. It is hot here today so it must be dreadful there. But it is officially Autumn so not long to go now! Life is officially EASIER when true autumn weather kicks in! With love

  23. Something we do as a pre emptive strike is to put cash away in envelopes each pay period to save for our twice yearly property taxes and life insurance, otherwise these would be huge chunks out of our budget at once. I also cook meals at home, my husband packs a work lunch from our leftovers or sandwiches. I have cut his hair for years, and I quit coloring mine. I think it would cost him about $15 every 2-3 weeks for a hair cut, and my coloring cost was around $60 approximately 4 times a year. We just recently bought vegetable seeds and will be starting our own plants. Veggie plants usually run from $2-$5 (dollars) per pot.

    1. Dear Joy, That is so true. Savings funds and emergency funds are great thinking ahead. Huge!
      I hope you can get lots of veggie seedlings started that will be wonderful.
      Over the years the lunches made at home would have saved a fortune and probably been healthier too. Well done Joy and thank you! With love


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