Well my email to the CEO of First Utility did the trick. I had contact the following day, and on Friday they called to tell me my account was now up to date and I didn’t owe them anything. Massive relief, but it turned out they owed me money – hundreds!! this is because the Ombudsman ruled in my favour and applied the principle of back billing, meaning they could only bill me for the last year . So I basically have had 6 months gas and electricity refunded. I am so thrilled. They have given me so much stress with their total incompetence that I feel it is the least they can do. It is a shame I had to fight them for so long and write to the CEO to get a resolution though. Best of all, Christmas is now sorted and I have no worries about paying for it.
However, I still need to watch every penny, of course. This week I did a small shop in Aldi and also got an order from Approved Foods. Ridiculously cheap!! I don’t eat a lot of convenience food usually, but the odd jar of sauce does make life easier if I am late back from work or rushing out to yoga. I bought 5 jars of curry and casserole sauces, some pastry mixes, loads of crumble topping mixes as it was such a bargain, and some batter mixes. I have never used these before, but will give them a try as they were such a good price. I bought a few other bits and treats too, including some small gifts that I will put aside for stocking fillers for Christmas. Yes, I know it is only August, but I need to start early to spread the cost! Even with my energy bill rebate I can’t afford to rest on my laurels.
Hopefully this order will help me keep food costs to the minimum over the next month or so. I still have quite a lot of vegetables growing in the garden, although the courgettes are almost finished. I have masses of tomatoes, quite a lot of beans, swiss chard, a few corn on the cobs, celeriac, lettuce and some cucumbers, so I really don’t need to buy much in the way of veg. I have also been given cooking apples, greengages and plums, so we are doing quite well for fruit too. I must get out and do some more blackberrying!
I had Mr Shoestring’s brother and his partner over for lunch today. She suffers from coeliac’s disease so it had to be gluten free. I did a roast because that’s pretty easy, and made an apple and blackberry crumble (foraged and donated fruit) using gluten free flour and baking powder. It was really nice – a crumblier texture than crumble topping made with wheat flour but very good nonetheless. I told her about Approved Foods, as they often seem to have gluten free food on there.
So, a pretty frugal and satisfying weekend. How about you?