Thursday, 11 June 2015

Still frugal after all this time

Do you remember this blog was once called Frugal In Suffolk?
I changed the name but haven't stopped being frugal.

This post will explain to new readers about some of the things we have done for all our married life that have enabled us to work our way up the housing ladder until we could afford this smallholding, pay off our mortgage several years early, save a goodly amount and be able to now live on two small incomes from self-employment.

Frugal Cleaning.
 These are the items I use for cleaning the house, clothes and the bathroom. I can walk past all the other cleaning products in the supermarkets and the Ecover products are bought on-line when on offer at Natural Collection. Ah Ha I hear you say, Ecover products cost a fortune!

  But if you have a septic tank they are the safest to use, they are also very concentrated so I use way way less than it says on the bottle. ( and I know some people make their own products but there are many others who spend a lot more than I do on cleaning stuff). I bought the bi-carb( in the pottery jar) as a giant bulk buy bag on-line and the dishcloths are home made. White vinegar is handy for the drains.

I buy non-scratch bath sponges and cut them in half to clean the
sinks and the Ecover Limescale stuff is the only thing I've found that will cope with our very hard water on the glass shower screen.





Frugal personal care
Soap and water was good enough for most people for years, now there is a half a supermarket aisle with just shampoos.These 4 items plus toothpaste are all I need. The soap is from Approved Foods, I use unscented and with no colour. These were 4 for £1 but I see now they are 3 for 99p which means Morrisons who have packs of 4 for £1.20 are cheaper. Whoever decided that it was more hygienic to make soap into liquid handwash in a plastic bottle obviously had shares in the plastic bottle industry!

I stock up on moisturising shower gel, when on offer and ditto with herbal essences shampoo, as its the only shampoo that doesn't make me all itchy. Or get it from Poundland. I use a roll on antiperspirant because I stopped using sprays years ago when there was all the concern about the ozone layer. I Know they took out all the CFCs but roll on only goes where you put it, not all over the place! Un-perfumed again.

Frugal Entertainment
A TV License, a Library Card and some Cross stitch. A lot of people begrudge the TV License but at roughly 40p a day ( I think) it doesn't seem to bad. I'm glad of it to be able to watch the tennis, special events like the Olympics, quizzes and access to so many radio programmes.
My Library card is free it lets me access any book in any Suffolk library - bargain, and it brings them to me on the library van every month.
Cross stitch is such a cheap hobby UNLESS you buy all the magazines new, which I don't. Instead over the years, I've picked up kits and magazines from car boot sales and charity shops until I have a stash to last me a long time. The only things I buy new is the Aida to stitch on and the threads, and even some of those have also come from boot sales. I have made many gifts using this skill.

Frugal Heat
I have lots of mentions in the blog about the way we get free wood to use on our woodburner and on the solid fuel Rayburn. So I'll not bother again here. Here is some we got a couple of years ago from the skip-hire place. We cut our way through all this amount in a winter.

Frugal food
Cook from scratch and stretch your meat. Here is a post I did about making 4 sausages stretch to feed 2 people 3 or 4 times.
Bread has to be the best thing to make to save money.I make all our bread and am working my way through some lovely malted wheat flour from Approved Foods which was £5.49 for 16kg, I'm mixing it with white Bread Flour that I stocked up on from Tesco when they had 3 for 2 on baking products. I haven't worked out this complicated bit of maths but I know it's under 30p a loaf. I also bought a box of 10 packs of Doves Farm yeast online saving me several pence per pack
Grow your own
I know most people don't have a smallholding but even a small patch can produce several pounds worth of food. You can save seed from one year to get totally free veg the next year. Take green beans for example, all those we eat this year will be free because I used saved seed. We've already eaten £1 worth and we will be eating most of the summer from 3 wigwams of beans. A tomato plant at a car boot sale is 50p this will give  several lb or £ of tomatoes. They take up very little room. The same goes for a pepper plant.
Wear blinkers when shopping! Metaphorically speaking of course.
 I sail past 99.99% of the supermarket shelves because I know what we need, what we like and what we can afford.
Use My Supermarket to find who has got what on offer before you go shopping. We can't visit loads of supermarkets in one day because they are too far away but if we are heading to Ipswich for shopping then I make the most of it by picking up the bargains.

 Amongst the posts labeled FRUGAL WAYS in my labels list is this post from 14th September 2013

Looking through new posts on my regular blog reading list I saw Frugal Queen had one titled" What have you done financially lately?". She has suggested that everyone takes a look at 10 areas of spending and tries to reduce them.
 It  made me smile when I realised that there was really nothing in her list that had any relevance to us at all. Her ideas were
1. Check you mobile phone contract.  WE HAVE PAY AS YOU GO = £10  now and again
2.Paying for watching dozens of TV channels? NO
3.Make sure you get points for petrol. THIS IS ONLY RELEVANT IF YOU LIVE SOMEWHERE WHERE YOU HAVE THAT CHOICE.
4.Don't spend supermarket rewards on food, swap them for other things. THIS IS ONLY RELEVANT IF YOU HAVE LOTS AND ACTUALLY NEED CLOTHES, AIR MILES ETC
5.Share transport to work. WE WORK AT HOME
6.Sell surplus stuff on ebay. TRY NOT TO BUY SURPLUS STUFF IN THE FIRST PLACE
7. Cut car costs by finding a reliable garage.TRY TO DO REPAIRS AND SERVICING AT HOME
8.Swap Energy companies.FEW ARE INTERESTED IF YOU ARE NOT DUEL FUEL. FREE WOOD ANYWAY!
9.Pay off credit card debts. WE DON'T HAVE ANY DEBT.
10.Stock-take food cupboards.I ALREADY  KNOW WHAT'S THERE



 and from October 2013   - More Things We Don't Spend Money On. Oh My Goodness. How preachy I was!

Back very shortly  - library day tomorrow.
Sue