Hello world!

11 Jul

Hi everyone,

I’m going to try word press and will run my blogger account next to it for a while. I’m really fed up with blogger not working. So, let’s try wordpress for a while. If you’re wondering who I am, then take a look at http://frugalincornwall.blogspot.com/ I’ll import my old blog over here for everyone else to have a look at as soon as I’ve learned how.

Until next time,

Love Froogs xx

>Making do with things I can afford

10 Jul

>

I’ve had a big think about what to write about this week and I’m going to blog about the world of ‘second hand’. I went to a car boot sale today and bought a table, two pictures and a tea pot and spent £12. I will be ‘doing them up’ and I’ll blog them this week. I’m on the look out or even scrounge for some egg shell paint for the table and will keep my eyes open.

Blogger has been ‘broken’ all day and I have read blogs but I’ve been unable to leave comments. Thanks so much to those of you who left comments for me to read; it’s always a pleasure to hear from you. I will be very late at work tomorrow night and may not get the keyboard at all.

Come back next week for some of my second hand world and how I make do with what I can afford.

Until then,

Love Froogs xxxx

>Frugal refresher – make do and mend

9 Jul

>

Hi everyone,

Thanks so much to everyone who left a comment and those of you who became followers. This is the way, this is the future and whilst we may be trailblazers for a while; the rest of the consumers will see the light eventually and see that over consumption and waste is destroying our world and it’s neither sustainable or affordable. I’m writing the current blogs for people who may be new to this, who may have Googled ‘frugal’ and sought help or you may have found you way here via another blog. I’ve blogged about these issues before but these are refreshers for any of you who may be interested. Today’s blog is about making do, about mending, about using it up and just using what you have, or what you’ve found.

I was inspired to write this as I almost bought a new pair of sandals today. My sandals are servicable, with plenty of sole and they have years of life left in them. I bought them in 2008 and by my standards they are almost new! They are looking very scruffy and needed a tidy up. I bought some brown shoe dye and polish in one from Lidl and have given them a clean up. I need to keep staining them and polishing them until they build us a patina and look better. I think they are good for years to come.

A few more coats of polish and they’ll look much better.

Sometimes we just have to make do with what we find or can afford. I’m feeling a bit ticked off to be honest, it was my school’s leavers’ ball last night and I really really have nothing to wear to it. I’ve been looking out for a dress and some shoes or sandals for years and nothing like that really appears in our charity shops and I certainly don’t have the money to buy a posh dress for one night only. I looked into hiring one and even that was out of my price range. It’s sad when we can’t afford to go to something we really really want to go to. Then I thought of all the year 11 students all over the country who didn’t go to their leavers’ ball (the UK version of the High School Prom) because their parents couldn’t afford to buy them the ticket or any thing nice and posh to wear and it put me not going into perspective. (Neither my son or daughter went to theirs as I couldn’t afford the ticket or the suit/dress/limo hire). I can find clothes to wear so long as they are not for work of anywhere posh. Today, I found some knee length shorts for 50p on the sale rail and they are good enough for me and they will have to do.

The picture isn’t good but I really like them, they are like new. All this coming week is going to be all about what I can and have to make do with, what I mend and use again. Oh, and the new shoes? I did look in the window and I even went in and tried them on……………and you guessed right! I didn’t buy any. I’ll make do with what I have!

Over to you now. What do you mend and mend and mend and keep going? Do you have any items of clothing or shoes that you’ve worn for years and year? Are there things that you’d really like to do or go to but you’ll just have to do without?

Until tomorrow,

Lots of love, Froogs xxxxx

>No Sweat energy saving

8 Jul

>Hi everyone,

I’ll start with thanks to the 1967 of you who logged onto Frugal Queen, to those of you who left comments and those of you who became followers. Apologies for not writing a blog yesterday but I returned home with a migraine and went to bed. Go to bed early will be one of the things I will be writing about today. Today my frugal refresher is all about saving energy, or in my case, not using it at all!!!!

I’ve had a look at old blogs and thought I would throw in the photos and write about a variety of ways that I save money on energy. So here goes.

1. Turning the thermostat right down! Here is our central heating thermostat. The last British winter was unusually harsh and we spent weeks being sub zero. Usually, winters here in Cornwall are usually around 5 – 8 degrees, which are easy enough to cope with. When you think of the average summer temperature being around 18 – 20 degrees, the fact that I heat my house (when I heat it!) to 17 degrees, means that I keep my house at the temperature of a warm summer morning. I don’t need a jumper in that weather, I don’t need a coat. I drastically reduced my heating bill simply by keeping it as low as I could without feeling cold. I leave for work at 6.30 am and get home around 6 pm, so I don’t need the heating on then. My heating is set from 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm and as the house is so well insulated, it never really drops below 10 degrees and the heating only has to raise the temperature slightly. It’s warm enough for us.

2. Dry outside and get rid of the tumble drier!!!! As you can see by the leafless tree to the right and the long shadows, this is the middle of winter! I use drying racks as I can grab them inside if it rains. We have no tumble drier and we manage to dry everything outside or indoors on racks. Like my mother, and undoubtedly my grandmother, I launder according to the weather report. If the ‘weather is set fair’ then everything gets washed and I’ll ‘do an extra load’. I also launder as little as possible. Clothes are hung up to air and worn again, work trousers are ‘spot cleaned’. We use the same bath towels all week and hang them over the banisters to dry. Weekend jeans are put away for the next weekend (and sometimes the next!). I’m a clothes sniffer! If it can’t be smelt when I put it up to my nose, then no one else can smell it just walking by!

This sight above is my dining room/laundry room. Dinner is eaten whilst looking at the undies!!! The house is warm enough that it dries and I open the windows enough that the house is aired and doesn’t get damp. I always wash work clothes on a Friday night on a wet weekend, to make sure they are dry for Monday.

3. Just heat and light the room you are in! Now I’ve come to my senses and I’m preparing to downsize, I’m happy to report that two people can live in just one room if they want to! I’ve bought, from my monthly shopping budget or with my ebay money, a couple of plug in oil filled radiators. They use the minimum of energy and will heat either my lounge, office or bedroom on the lowest setting. When I’m working late, I might only want the office heating, or if it’s the weekend and we’re watching a film we’ll often just use one room. At that point, we make sure we’re comfortable and just heat that room. As working people, we can often get in from work late, eat and want to do no more than go to bed a read. On nights like that, we turn the heating off all together and just heat one room. The same goes for lighting, we turn every light off behind us and only have the light on in the room we are in.

4. Cook in bulk and fill the oven up. I bulk cook at the weekends and freeze dishes as a sort of ‘ready meal’ to reheat in the week. After twelve hours away from home, I don’t always want to stand over a cooker. I also don’t want my oven to be switched on unless I’m going to fill it up.

What ever I cook, I cook plenty of it and it’s frozen for another time. This is really useful in the months where I have spare cash as I can free up some of my budget for things I need such as new work shoes. Not only that, it’s a comfort to know I have a freezer full of food to keep us going and that I made a 2 litres of soup in one go, or three meals at a time from one pot of bolognaise sauce. In the long run, you will save time, energy and money by bulk cooking.

5. Use low energy devices!  We use a variety of electrical devices which are smaller and more economical now there are just the two of us at home. They are well worth the outlay. I have a slow cooker, which is used so often when I’m at work. There is nothing better that knowing I’m coming home to a ready cooked meal waiting for me.

Our bread machine was given to us by a friend having a clear out, but they can often be picked up at car boot sales, from the classifieds and freecycle. People often buy them as a good idea but don’t use them that much, so us froogals can benefit from their flippancy. If I’m bulk baking, then I use my main oven and bake six loaves at a time and freeze them for DB. Often, because he likes it freshly made, I make just the one loaf. Simply tip the ingredients in and set the timer and get on with something else.

Finally our mini-oven, which is our main ‘cooker’. It’s big enough to do everything we need and uses far less energy than a conventional oven. People buy these to take camping or in their caravans, so look out for the summer sales when stores such are Curry’s, Dixon’s or Comet sell them off cheap. Ours was only £15 and has been the best purchase I’ve ever made. It has saved me pounds.

6. Wrap up warm It may be summer and no one is worried about the cost of energy but whilst you may get around the car boot sales this summer, look out for blankets. Keep them on the back of chairs, on the end of the bed, on your chair in the office. Look out for wooly pullies and buy them bigger than your size so you can add layers. I’m warm enough and happy enough about wearing a few more layers.

7. Get a timer. We use our timers for showers and can get in and out in five minutes. That even feels like a long soak now. Our bathroom isn’t heated in the morning so we don’t need to linger in there! Our timer came from the Sally Army shop for £1.50 and we’ve used it so much for so many jobs.

8. If it’s good enough for John and Yoko. Get to bed early when it’s cold. We read, listen to the radio, read the paper (found free on the train) or in my case knit, in bed. If some one has a TV to give away on freecycle then we might get one for our bedroom and watch a film in bed (that’s if some one gives away a free DVD player on freecycle!). We then don’t need the heating on at all!!!

I know many of you reading this do not live in the moderate British climate, where it doesn’t usually get too cold or too hot. We certainly never need air conditioning or massive amounts of heating (where I live). I’m sure you’ve all got your own way of saving energy and some of you generate your own such as Gavin in Australia and many of you in America, Australia and New Zealand harvest your own water or have solar water heating. I know some of you live in extreme weather conditions and heating your house is a must or you will probably die of hypothermia, I know some of you have children and need to keep them warm and some of you have health conditions where you are burdened by huge energy costs. I can live in this manner as I’m young, relatively healthy and I choose to. However, we can all use less energy and do what we can to live lightly and spend less.

I’ve halved my energy costs since 2009 even though energy prices have continued to rise and they are just about to rise again. I wrote recently about water poverty and we also have ‘fuel poverty’ in the UK where many people can choose heat or to eat. I’m lucky enough so far that I can do both but understand that families on low or fixed incomes, such as pensions have to be as meagre with their heating and energy costs as I have to. If anything, I’d better get used to this way of life now as this is the way it’s going to be when I have only my pension to live on.

Now it’s over to all of you. Share your struggles with energy costs or how you fight the battle to use less and keep the costs affordable.

Until tomorrow,

Lots of love, Froogs xxxxx

>Frugal Refresher Day Four – Shopping.

6 Jul

>Hello again everyone,

Thanks for all the comments (even the parsimonious ones were interesting) and for those of you who became followers. Even if you didn’t leave a comment, thanks so much to the 1679 of you who clicked ‘Frugal Queen’ yesterday. Today is more about the easy part of being frugal, about being resourceful and about getting what you need at the fraction of the price. I suppose the title of ‘shopping’ will have to do as ebaying, jumble saleing, skip diving ect is a bit of a mouthful.

I have become vehemently anti-consumerism. I’ve also become a fan of Martin Lewis and Money Saving Expert. He’s the British version of Suze Orman or Dave Ramsay. His advice that shops, services, restaurants ect have one aim ‘to make money out of you’. Remember, where ever you go, some one is trying to profit from you. Every advert, whether in a magazine, on the radio or on TV is usually trying to sell you something that you don’t need. Insurance and car sales always try and make you feel guilty, or a bad parent, or foolish, if you don’t buy their product. The beauty ‘industry’ try and convince you that your skin will fall off your body if you don’t buy their products. Cleaning products are sold with ‘horror movie music’ to convince you that you will die of the germs in your own home, if it isn’t ‘sanitised’ My first advice to everyone is simply this – Stop shopping, you really don’t need it.

My journey into not shopping started with a social experiment of not buying anything new for a year and now I just don’t buy anything new, unless I really, really can’t buy it second hand. I struggle with clothes and have spent around £75 on new clothes and shoes over the last year. Even now, I rarely buy anything new. But as you will see, I’ve found cheap alternatives to almost everything.

1. Cleaning. Unlike a lot of my fellow frugals, I don’t make my own products. I buy the supermarket value version. I buy: washing up liquid, cream cleanser, furniture polish, bleach and scouring pads. I use old towels or rags for cleaning but I have found perfectly viable alternatives. Do not think you have to spend much money here. I use all of the value products and my house is clean enough (watch out for the ‘enough’ phrase; it will be a reoccuring theme).

By doing this, my monthly spend on cleaning products is £2.71! When I checked today, one bottle of proprietery cream cleanser was £2.35 and I can clean my whole house for that! I clean the loo, the plug holes and the floors with the bleach, a cloth and warm water, I clean the windows with warm soapy water and buff dry with newspaper, I clean the sink and bath with cream cleanser and all flat/hard surfaces with the polish. I clean the lot for pennies!

2. Toiletries – Last year, I learnt how to make my own soap and I’m still using it now. Here’s how to do it. I’ve also experimented with cheaper and cheaper toiletries and have found that none of them to be any detriment to my total loveliness! My skin has not fallen off and I’m fine! I’m using the Tesco value products for this too. I caught sight of 8p!!!!! Shower gel and tried it and discovered I was 1. clean and 2. Not dead! so I continued to use it. I also wash my hair with it. I then discovered their 18p 1 litre bottle of foam bath which I pour this into my hand washing pumps with the aid of a funnel and have filled up the bottles in the bathroom, downstairs loo and by the kitchen sink and there’s still plenty left. My hands are just as clean. I have experimented with Aldi’s Lacura products and bought their roll on deodorant 69p and their anti wrinkle Q10 moisturiser for £1.99. My personal total spend for beautification (nothing saintly of course!) is under £3 per month. I splash out once in a blue moon for perfume and bought some when I had a 50% off code from the Body Shop and spent £8 and I eeke that out to last for almost six months. I really do spend as little as possible.

3. Food – My most frugal thing I’ve done with food recently is gone on a very strict diet and stopped eating it! However, I have a budget of £150 a month of ‘spending money’ and I buy EVERYTHING I need out of that. This of course includes food for two adults, one cat and two dogs. If I do really well one month and under spend then I have spare money to go into my ‘#1 shopping account’ for the next month. We have learnt to eat very very simply. A typical day’s food for Dearly Beloved would consist of the following.
Breakfast – 2 pieces of toasted homemade bread, with margarine and homemade blackberry jam.
Lunch – Sandwich made of homemade bread, with cheese spread or marmite or peanut butter and a banana.
Supper – Homemade stew, mashed potatoes and steamed cabbage and carrots.

When you make everything your self, when you plan every meal, when you make one chicken make three meals for two people, then it gets easier and easier to actually reduced what you spend on food every week.
I’m on the Dukan diet and even I manage to do this very frugally. A typical day for me would be:
Breakfast – 2 scrambled eggs.
Snack – fat free yoghurt.
Lunch – 300g fat free cottage cheese.
Dinner – One chicken breast.

You can see, when you cut back and eat what you need and not what you want, not only do you lose weight and feel better, you spend a realistic amount of money on food. Let’s face it, if you are reading this in an English speaking country (America, Australia or the UK) then most people eat too much. Get frugal with your food and you can see how I spend as little as I do. However, feel free to go back through any of the blogs labelled ‘frugal food’ and see how bulk cooking and simple home cooked food can save you a great deal of money. I don’t suggest for one minute that anyone should give up eating, just a gentle nudge that if we want to save money then we have to eat less.

Some of my bulk cooking, frozen and ready to eat later.

4.Clothes – I have a job where I have to look smart and I do what ever I can to have new clothes for work. I do this by having a good supply of mix and match basics from Matalan and Primark. I wear these alongside good quality items from charity shops, jumble sales and car boot sales. I did have to buy a new pair of work shoes from Clarks but waited until the sales and bought some half price. I also wait for the Matalan sale and got what I need on line. I don’t stop there with the discounts either. If you sign up with Quidco you will get 7.5% cashback from any Matalan purchases and 5.5% from any Clarks purchases. I also go Charity shop shopping with a list. I needed hiking boots and found some brand new and unworn for £3 and I also needed some trainers that I also found brand new and unworn for £2.50. I tend to buy ‘smart clothes’ in greys, blacks and neutral colours so they will mix and match together. You can also search eBay in a very creative way – simply search ‘size 14 bundle’ and you will find some really cheap deals, often several items for only a few pounds, even 99p if they’ve been badly photographed. You can often repackage, take better photos to get a really good price for something. It’s July and I’ve managed to spend under £100 altogether on clothes for myself so far this year. I used to be able to spend that on a pair of shoes.

£3 walking boots – these will last me for years!

5. eBay – We have, as you may have, what we call ‘eBay money’. We sell what we don’t need, and buy what we do need. We also look out for items in auctions, jumble sales and charity shops that we can sell on eBay for a profit. Dearly Beloved buys job lots of radios and cameras in the local auction house, usually for a few quid for a ‘mixed box’. He’s well researched and knows how to sell on effectively. This is his second job. In a previous life, he was a salesman and it’s something he finds easy to do. We then build up and ‘eBay fund’ which we keep in our ‘pay pal’ account. If we need a new sink, or loo seat, or door handle, then we use our ‘eBay money’ to buy this, obviously from eBay. You can even buy holidays from eBay! We’ve bought CDs from jumble sales for 10p each and sold them for £1.50. and when you’ve bought 20 CDs and sold them on, then you can see how you build up a fund. I’ve sold: clothes, kids’ old games, shoes, books, CDs, DVDs, electrical equipment and anything I didn’t have any further use for. I’ve bought a camera, toaster, arm chair, pouffee, in fact any thing I’ve needed with my eBay fund. We get what we need, at the fraction of the price, for example, my arm chair cost £1.20, my camera £20 and we buy everything second hand if we can and then we use our ‘ebay fund’ to buy it. To sum this up, any thing ‘new’ we’ve brought into the house over the last few years has been bought from money we’ve made through ‘ebay selling’ and it could be said has cost us nothing at all.

My £1.20 ebay arm chair

You can see from all of this, that I spend very little money at all. We also keep every receipt and total what we spend every month to check that we are within our £150 a month spending budget. Food is getting more expensive and it is difficult but it can be done, especially when I spend £2.70 cleaning the house and under £3 a month cleaning both of us, you can see how there is plenty of money left from that for the food. If you look at some of the headings in my blog such as frugal furniture or frugal home, you can see plenty of examples of how we eeke everything out just that little bit further so we always have enough and just spend enough to make it good enough for us.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs

>Frugal Refresher Day Three – the tough stuff!

5 Jul

>Hi everyone!

Thanks for stopping by, for the comments and it’s always a pleasure to have new followers as it’s so nice to know who you are. You may be reading this for the first time and may be looking for some ideas to get you through hard times, to live on a reduced income, to live on a fixed income or to get yourself out of debt. Today’s blog is all about debt repayment, how I did it, how I continue to do it. I did it the rough way, my family ‘budget deficit’ was eating up everything we had coming in and for so long that I couldn’t see the benefit anymore. I went into frugal extreme but I will have paid back my debts in just a little over two years.

Previously, in my stupid life, we used our house as a bank. We borrowed against it in a ‘rising market’. We believed that we couldn’t lose. For a while we didn’t. We had a house that was a money pit and we spent money on it to bring it up to the standard of everybody else’s expectations. I’ve learnt and I’ve changed and I won’t ever do that again. In future, if it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough!

However, I ended up with 45K of personal debt on top of a 217K mortgage. I’ve £8K of personal debt left to pay off. I’ve paid off 37K of debt since December 2009. The trigger for actually getting my life in order started when I maxed out my credit cards whilst trying to do up and sell off the house I’m presently living in. The credit crunch had landed! We sold our house but couldn’t secure a new mortgage as the underwriters agreed that we had too much personal debt and we couldn’t afford a mortgage at all. There was no option but to pay it all back. Initially, we looked at getting a lower rate consolidation loan and putting our debts in one place but after research we found that it would cost us a lot more. It was then that we took drastic action.

We stopped spending and bought nothing for a year. Not even a pair of knickers. What we had, had to last, there was NO money spare. Just by doing that, we managed to pay off nearly 20K a year.

1. MAKE A BUDGET -Look at your budget. We did the following. We needed £X to go to work every day. We needed £X for the mortgage and utility bills. We needed £X for car tax, insurance and maintenance. We needed £X for food. We needed £X for insurance. EVERY PENNY LEFT WENT TO DEBTS. We did not kid ourselves that we needed a ‘treat’ sometime. We couldn’t afford it. We didn’t kid ourselves that we needed anything more that what we had to survive on.

2. STOP SPENDING – We cancelled: a booked holiday, all subscriptions, gave notice to our mobile phone contracts, gave notice to our Sky contract, although we had to keep paying whilst we were still contracted to do so. We cancelled birthdays, Christmas, weddings, in fact we cancelled everything. Who is anyone trying to kid? If you have any personal debt, you can not afford what you bought! If you had to borrow to get it, then you couldn’t afford it. Own up! You are skint, do something about it and live differently. For those with a job, then it’ll only be temporary, for those without a job, then get real, that’s it, you can’t afford it!

3. OVERPAY DEBTS – We looked at our debts and put them in order. Most of our credit cards had balances of around £7K and we decided to pay off the one with the highest interest rate first. We paid the minimum payments on everything else and every penny we had on one of the cards first. At the end of the nine months, after the first huge debt went, it got easier. Now we Snowballed the huge payment onto the next largest interest baring account and added the two payments together. After 18 months, we restored our credit balance and gained a good credit score. Now we were able to move balances to 0% credit cards. We kept moving them and now, just by making the same over payments. We were able to speed up the end date. My end date was August 2012 but it’s now January 2012, or if I can master it, before the end of the year.

4. GET TWO OR EVEN THREE JOBS – We earnt more money. I marked exams in November and June for all the time I could. I paid every penny of that as soon as I got it into debts. It was the extra income that meant I could get rid of some debts really quickly. I worked as a private tutor in the evenings and weekends. I used that money to live off and, whilst I had extra money, I paid off debts with my main income. I took in a lodger, again, I used this money to buy my groceries and, in term time, was able to pay off an extra extra debts. In the holidays, I cleaned caravans and used that money to save up and insure my car. Dearly Beloved embraced Ebay. He sold everything we didn’t need and built up an ebay fund, we often used that to pay a big bill, such as the boiler repair or the house insurance. In short, if you don’t earn enough money, do something about it. Get another job, sell stuff, dog sit, baby sit, clean houses, get a bar job. It might look like £25 here and £18 there, but do a few calculations, work out what that is a year and what the total can pay off or pay towards.

5. USE LESS OF EVERYTHING – To begin with, we just stuck to a budget. Then, as we got used to less, we lived on less and less every month. We cut back groceries by £1 a week. In three months, we were spending £10 less a week and were able to divert that money else where. We used less energy. We used less electricity and gas. We turned the thermostat down by one degree every week. Our winter heating is now set at 16 degree Centigrade and we cope happily with that, some warm socks and a couple of jumpers. We reduced our central heating time by a hour a week, now, in the depths of winter, it comes on for two hours a day. It makes a drastic difference to the over all temperature as we’re used to the cold. We used the car less and less and now I shop on my way to and from work and don’t make any extra trips. We use less water, gas, electricity, diesel. All of my utility bills, even with constantly rising prices are hugely reduced. In 2009, my combined gas and electricity bill was £150 a month, it’s now £57. That gave me another £1000 a year to put towards debts.

We do spend money now. Things are easier. We have ways and means of getting what we need at the cost we can afford and tomorrow, I will tell you all about my frugal world of shopping and getting what I need at the fraction of the price.

Thanks to everyone who has become a follower, who has left comments, who reads every day and those who have read today for the first time. Thanks again.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

>Frugal refresher -day two: the easy stuff!

4 Jul

>Thanks everyone for the comments yesterday. I know looking at your pee most of the day and carrying buckets of rain water around might seem a bit extreme but it’s not always about money. We have to look after this world too, all of us have to do our bit. My blogs this week are for the benefit of people who may have recently started reading or haven’t been following me for long. Between December 2009 and today, we have paid back almost £36K of personal unsecured debt and we took drastic steps to do it. Now, it all seems so easy but some of you who have to go on that journey may still be daunted by it. You will get there. If you’re reading, it’s would be lovely to know who you are and would be fantastic if you left a comment or became a follower.

Today is all about the easy stuff. Let me think about a once upon a time day for me in the distant past. I would go downstairs, open the door and get the milk in, pick up the paper off the door mat and go and eat cereal, with shop bought jam or marmalade and drink premium coffee. I would get to work and get a coffee out of the vending machine, may be buy a pastry or sandwich at lunch time. On the way home, I would pop into a central Sainsbury’s or city centre Tesco metro and pick up something for supper. Sometimes I would already have something at home, but I’d ‘fancy a change’. In the evenings, I might go to weight watchers or the gym and come home and use the Internet without caring what it cost me.

My first start is about the really easy frugal steps we can all take. There are so many but here are just a few that I used and still stick to.

1. Cancel all newspaper and magazine subscriptions. A paper a day and two magazines a week will cost you £624 a year. Now, we only read freegan mags and newspapers. Dearly Beloved commutes by train and will walk up and down the train when he gets on looking for mags and papers. We usually get one or the other every day.

2. If you buy lunch and a coffee a day at work, then you could be spending £840 a year on lunches and £600 a year on just one coffee a day. Take a packed lunch and a flask and save £1240 a year.

3. A cut and colour every other month used to cost me £70 and now I get Foster Mummy to cut it for me and I colour it. The colour I buy is £5 and I colour my hair once a month so I spend £60 a year on my hair. By ‘doing it myself’ I’ve saved £390 a year.

4. Make your own bread. Bread now costs £1.50 a loaf for ‘cheapy harry’ sliced white in some places and as cheap as 80p in others. I make bread for DB’s lunches. I make bread for 17p a loaf and as DB gets through two loaves a week, I’ve saved £138.32 a year.

5. Stop eating out and don’t buy take aways. We used to have a take away every Friday, either fish and chips or a ‘Chinese’. We could easily spend £15 to £20 a week, especially if we had a bottle of wine every Friday. As we don’t do this any more, we saved £1040.

I don’t miss any of the above, I don’t need them either and I now don’t know how people fall for the ‘you’re worth it’ marketing, which is actually saying ‘just give us your money for stuff you don’t need’. If you’ve added all of that up, in a year I managed to save, or should I say, stop spending!!! the sum of £3432.32 a year and if you know your tax codes, you will have worked out that it would have taken £5000 before tax just to spend that amount of money.

We still eat well, I still ‘have my hair done, I still have ‘artisan hand made bread’ on my table, we still read newspapers and magazines, we still eat every day but now we do it at a fraction of the price.

>Frugal refresher for five days!

3 Jul

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Hello everyone,

No photos today I’m afraid. I’ve been catching up on all of your blogs tonight and came over all whimsical when I read Vintage Vixen’s blog tonight. I remembering actually saying to the poor teacher who ran ‘Careers’ at school that when I grew up that I wanted to be Stevie Nicks. I was 15, a mouth on sticks and had an answer for everything! Poor old fart didn’t even know what I was talking about. I think I said I wanted to be a nurse so I could laugh at lots of willies as well……….I think I had to stand outside his office for an hour after school. I was well known in the corridors of my comp!

We’ve just paid the first of our ‘repayments’ on our mortgage after having a interest only mortgage for a few years! Previously, we always had a repayment and then stupidly took out a stupidly large mortgage. I’ve had to gird my loins and dig deep in the frugal repertoire to do this but I will get this house paid for. I can pay up to 10% of the balance a year and I’m going to get 21.5K paid off in 12 months!!! It will nearly starve and freeze us but I’m going to do it!

I thought I would share some of my truly, deeply frugal ideas with people. Some of you reading this may have logged onto ‘Frugal Queen’ for the very first time today. Over the next seven days, I will be sharing five frugal facts about me every day. Here are today’s.

HOW I SAVE MONEY ON THE COSTS OF WATER – Get a water meter. In my water region, South West Water charge £1400 a year for un-metered water per year. Since having a meter I’ve reduced the amount of water I consume every quarter. I now pay under £300 a year for my water.

Here are my five frugal money savers to cut my water bill by £1100 a year!

1. PERSONAL HYGIENE Stop having baths! I am a bath addict. I can’t think of any thing more delicious than a bubbly bath. Now I only shower. Baths are for birthdays and special days. Get a timer in your bathroom (five minutes are all I allow myself). I can wash shoulder length hair in five minutes. I wet my hair, then turn the water off. I then soap it and rinse. I don’t do what the bottle says and wash it twice!!! It’s a con to sell more shampoo!!! Also, I don’t condition! That again is just a con to sell you something you don’t need!!!! It will condition itself after a few hours! I don’t wash my hair, or myself in the shower every day! I shower every other day. I wash my hair every other shower! I keep it clean by clipping  it up and not touching it. Most of the grease on your hair is off your hands.

2. USING GREY WATER Place a bowl under every tap. Every time I wash my hands, or my face or my teeth, the water gets used to flush the toilet. In the kitchen, the water gets taken outside in the summer and poured onto the garden. Make sure some of the water goes down the plug or your drains will block! I also use a large plastic box, or you could use an old baby bath if you have one or get given on, to stand in whilst you are in the shower. I then pour that into watering cans and water the garden. I have run out of rain water from the butts so I really need this water for my veggies. We use homemade natural soap and not much shampoo and very few chemicals, and as I’ve eaten the veg, I may be proof that this is harmless.

3. THE LOO If it’s yellow……….We don’t flush pee. We only flush poo. Plus, any hand washing water gets poured down the loo. It’s a sin to throw pure drinking water down the toilet so use second hand water. I placed a brick and a water hippo in each cistern, so I’ve reduced the huge flush in my old style loo by one third.

4. THE WASHING MACHINE – we replaced our top loader, after we’d sold it on eBay, with a triple AAA class front loader, which we chose, not only due to using very little energy but because it used the least water. We place a full size plastic bin next to it. I put the hose from the machine on the side of the bin, to pump the rinse water into the bin. If you use Eco soap powder, which I do sometimes, you can pump all of the water into a bin, or water butt and use it on  the garden. I’ve eaten all of the veg which has been watered by the washing machine waste water and I’m alive.

5. SAVE ALL THE RAIN YOU CAN – Buy as many water butts as you can afford. A good rainy day will fill them and each butt represents a saving of £10 for SWW customers. When it really really rains, I put pots, buckets, pans, in fact any thing that will catch the rain. I use an old bin too, if the butt is full, then I pour the water from the butt into the bin and let the next rain storm fill it up again. Use the rain to rinse the car when you wash it, even to wash the car and windows.

I’ll be back tomorrow with five more frugal refreshers of how I reduce my living costs and I’m able to pay off debts at a huge rate and now over pay my mortgage at (fingers crossed) 10% a year.

Until tomorrow,

All my love,

Froogs xxxx

>Hitting the sales!

2 Jul

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 I know what you’re thinking! I really must clean that mirror, the reflection is dirtier than the mirror and I will get some vinegar on it after I’ve finished this blog. And yes, that is Buzz Lightyear on the top of my wardrobe! Foster Mummy and I hit the charity shops today. I bought the Tracey Boyd striped skinny jumper in the Doggy Charity shop off the 50p rail and the Principles jacket was off the 75p rail in the Sally Army shop. The jumper is great for the weekend with shorts or a pair of jeans and the jacket will co-ordinate well with black or grey trousers for work.

I must add though, that I’m not intending to stay a size 14 so I won’t be buying too many clothes. In the meantime, I’ll keep my eyes open for bargains that will give me a few alternatives to the clothes I have that fit me. Most are too big but I’ve still got all of my size 12 suits and smart clothes and hopefully, I will be going back to school in them this September.

Anyone else get any incredible bargains this weekend?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

>Walking back to happiness.

30 Jun

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A very serious looking, post walk Froogs wearing – LA Gear t-shirt £1 charity shop, Per Una jeans BNWT ebay £8 and Reebok trainers from the Sally Army shop for £2.

Thanks everybody for your supportive and encouraging remarks and comments yesterday. So much came out into the open yesterday that I’ve spent today reeling. I’ll come to terms with it all when I can. In the mean time, I’ll just keep the door, lines of communication, my mind and my heart open.

I’ve always found exercise to be a great stress reliever; if I’ve had a tough day, then a 3.5 mile walk up and down the hilliest hills I can find leave me a lot less worried. I thought I would use this blog to share my weight loss up date. I have kept going, as best I can with a few hiccups, with my frugal weight loss journey. I’m itching to spend some money on a gym, or at least on some sports clothes but I’ve just not got it sensibly to spare when every penny is needed else where. I go out and stride (I don’t like ‘power walking’) in a pair of jeans and a tee shirt. Now though, I’m doing it in a size 14 pair of jeans and size 14 tee shirt. The jeans are still a little too small and I like them to be more boot cut, but as I have hulking great legs and cankles, they look like skinny jeans!!! They will be my photo me and measure me jeans so I can look back and see ‘where I was’. My weight has gone up and down a bit recently but it’s settling at 12′ 8lbs and I hope to get it down to 12′ by August!

For those of you interested in the Dukan Diet, I’m back to making sure that no carbs go any where near me and it’s no surprise, but when I eliminate them, then I go back to losing weight. It works and I’ve just got to stick to it!

Thanks again everyone, we’ll get through this somehow……………and the diet!!!

Until tomorrow