Another Frugal Friday

Another week over and so here’s five more frugal things I’ve done this week…

Ate broccoli stems

This is what you might call ‘nose-to-tail’ eating, but for vegetables instead of meat. For some reason in this country we have a tendency to just cut off the florets and then throw the rest in the bin, whereas the broccoli stems are completely edible. I usually peel them and chop them into thin strips. They taste just like the florets. The stem is probably the heaviest part of the plant so by throwing it away we are putting the most expensive part of our purchase in the bin.

Washing in cold water in summer isn’t so bad

Washed my face in cold water

I used to run the tap until the water became hot and then put in the plug and fill the sink. Now I just run the tap and immediately put the plug in, so it just fills with cold water. With the weather having finally warmed up, the cold water on my face is quite pleasant after a warm night, but I am not sure if I will be able to keep this up when it gets cold again.

Turned the lamp off in the lounge as I wasn’t in there

We have a light on a timer in the lounge. I think Mr Simple believes that it deters burglars when we aren’t here. He was away and I wasn’t using the room, so I turned it off. Simple, but it’s the little things that can make a big difference.

I love poached eggs for breakfast

Used vinegar from pickled onions in poached egg water

This was Mr Simple’s idea. I frequently eat poached eggs for breakfast and have a bottle of vinegar in the cupboard to put in the water. Mr Simple is a lover of pickled onions, although not for breakfast, obviously. When the jar is empty of onions and only vinegar remains, I use it for my poached eggs. It’s like getting two different types of groceries in one jar.

Bought second hand books

Mostly I try to get books out of the library, but they don’t always stock what I want. After reading David Bach’s ‘The Latte Factor’ and ‘The Automatic Millionaire’, I then wanted to read ‘Start Late, Finish Rich’, which at my time of life seems more relevant. Although I ended up buying a copy I only spent just over £3 on the book and delivery, which didn’t seem too indulgent.

Let me know your frugal activities from this week and don’t forget to check out the other posts by Cass, Emma and Becky.

Frugal Friday

Well it’s Friday again so here’s yet five more frugal things I’ve done this week. I’m not sure that I am going to be able to come up with five every week, but it’s week three and I am still going, so here we are:

Used butter tubs to freeze leftovers instead of freezer bags

Now this is something that my mother does – you get to 50 and you start turning into your mother. Inevitable I suppose. The plastic tubs are easy to stack in the freezer. I put labels on them so I know what they contain. You always think you’ll recognise what’s in it, but I have found out that that isn’t always true. I only have a limited number of butter tubs, so I still use freezer bags, which I of course wash out. It can be a bit fiddly, but it seems such a waste to throw them away after one use.

Turn radiators off in rooms that you don’t use

Turned the heating down in the spare bedroom once my sister had left

For most of the time we haven’t had the heating on recently, even though summer is only visiting sporadically. With my sister visiting though I thought I had better turn up the heating, well turn it on really. When she left, although I turned the thermostat down back to 19C I also turned the radiator in the spare bedroom off so even if it gets very cold the radiator won’t come on at all.

Ate leftovers from the freezer when Mr Simple was away

You may have seen that June was an expensive month for food, but I did spend one week eating out of the freezer. This was because Mr Simple goes away to work, usually for a day or two, but this time it was for a week, so I made the most of the opportunity to keep food simple and ate leftovers that I had shoved in the freezer. I am less fussy than Mr Simple and happy to live on chilli and rice.

Walked into town

We live just a mile from a small town, but despite that I am often tempted to drive in if the weather is bad. Last Saturday it was lovely and warm so I walked there. I had to carry some heavy hardbacked library books, which wasn’t ideal, but on the way back I only had one small paperback.

Exchanged plants with a friend

This was not something instigated by me, but by my friend, who I know through work. She very kindly offered me two everlasting sweet peas and in exchange I gave her some lemon basil. This is such a good way to get free plants. We have foxgloves in our garden that seed themselves every year. I always pot some seedlings up for the annual village plant sale and this year I also gave some to a friend in the village.

Let me know your frugal activities from this week and don’t forget to check out the other posts by Cass, Emma and Becky.

Five More Frugal Things

I decided to link up with up with Cass, Emma and Becky again in their weekly ‘Frugal Friday’ linky. Here are my five frugal things:

Ate frozen pizza when we needed something quickly instead of getting a takeaway. This idea comes from Liz Willard-Thames aka Mrs Frugalwoods. On Wednesday I go to a pilates class and Mr Simple was meant to be cooking dinner, but as the weather was dry he wanted to try to finish pointing the garage wall. Instead of spending money on a takeaway we had a frozen pizza and salad. I always keep a few pizzas in the freezer. At three pizzas for £4 you can’t go wrong and to be honest, they’re okay.

Used a Tesco voucher which was for spend £70 and get £7 off. I painstakingly went around the supermarket with my calculator adding up my groceries until I got to £70, buying toilet rolls to take me over the line, as this is usually more than I spend in a week.

Not everyone will want to do this, but not flushing the toilet will save you money

Didn’t flush the toilet. You may say ugh!, but when there’s only me and Mr Simple looking at each other’s wee isn’t that big a deal. Solids do get flushed though you’ll be glad to know.

Made pesto with basil from the garden. I went a bit overboard a little while ago with sowing some lemon basil seeds. They were out of date and so I thought that they were unlikely to germinate – how wrong I was. Despite having sold two pots (making a grand total of £3) and given some away, we still had loads left, which was starting to flower, so I made some pesto. We had it with some spaghetti, spiralised courgette (to get some extra veg into Mr Simple) and a green salad – delicious.

Make a notepad by reusing the backs of old letters

Cut up letters I received in the post which were blank on one side and used them for note paper. I usually cut the A4 sheets into four pieces and hold them together with a large bulldog clip. Despite many things being electronic now we still get quite a bit of snail mail and so I think that I am unlikely to run out of notepaper anytime soon.

How has your week been? Have you managed to make any savings?

Five Frugal Things

This week I decided to link up with up with Cass, Emma and Becky in their weekly ‘Frugal Friday’ linky. Here are my five frugal things:

Discovered my mysupermarket on moneysavingexpert and signed up for alerts so I know when the groceries that I buy regularly are on sale. I have been having a serious look at our food budget and trying to think of ways of saving money without reducing the quality of the food. I am also trying to save time, so am considering a monthly delivery of non-perishable items and then shopping weekly for the rest. Hopefully that will make the task less arduous and I won’t be lugging so many bags of shopping around every week.

Took my lunch to work with me every day. This is probably easier for me than some people as I work at home a couple of days a week. Therefore I can just walk into the kitchen at lunchtime to make something rather than having to prepare it in the morning or even the night before.

We all need to wrap up in this lovely summer we are having

Put a blanket on the bed over the duvet instead  of putting the heating on. I always have this on over the winter as I feel the cold more than Mr Simple, but like in most parts of the country summer has not arrived. I am trying to resist putting the heating on in June therefore we are sitting with blankets over us or at the weekend lighting the wood burner, which at present is fuelled by trees that we cut down from garden i.e. cost = £0.

Hung clothes up to air after wearing once instead of putting them in the laundry. I always used to sling things on the chair next to my bed and if they stayed there for more than one day, by the time I wanted to wear them next they were so creased I couldn’t go out in public in them. Now I make an effort to put t-shirts and blouses on hangers and leave them hanging on the wardrobe door to remind me that I have worn them before. Trousers and skirts just go back in the wardrobe and only get washed when I have worn them several times – so far, no one has told me that I smell.

Collected rainwater in the butts in the garden to use to water the plants instead of using the hosepipe. Mr Simple installed two water butts next to the greenhouse a few months ago and with all of the rain that we’re having they are full. We could have done with this rain last year when we had the lawn laid and had to spend a fortune on watering it to keep it alive in the heatwave. I am hoping to greatly reduce our water consumption this year.

So how have you saved money this week? Let me know in the comments below and please have a look at the other posts as well.

Ways to Save Money Whilst on Holiday

Mr Simple and I have recently returned from a week away in the Yorkshire Dales. There is a lot of information on the internet about travel hacking e.g. house-sitting, accruing credit card points to get flights, but this is not for everyone and it’s not something that I have got around to exploring yet. What I have done though is to try and reduce our spending on our regular holidays and I have to say that this recent one was a somewhat frugal break compared to those we have had in the past. I therefore thought that I would share with you how we cut our spending.

Holiday in a cheap area

Our holiday destinations are somewhat random due to the fact that Mr Simple bought a load of ordnance survey maps a few years ago when they had a two for one offer. Many of them remain unused and so I have started selecting a few and getting him to choose one. I then arrange a holiday in that area. Last year we went to Hastings, which was very expensive, but this year’s choice was much cheaper. We find that accommodation in the north of England often tends to cost less than in the south. Our cottage was £379 for the week, whereas accommodation of the same size in Hastings was £600.

Self-cater

Stay in a house or flat rather than a hotel or bed and breakfast. This is usually cheaper per night and allows you to cook some of your own meals instead of having to fork out for food every evening. Since trying to cut our household costs I have started shopping at Tesco, whereas before we used Waitrose. As a treat for this holiday I did the shopping in Waitrose. In that way, even though we were catering for ourselves some of the meals/snacks/treats were nicer than we usually have.

Stay in small accommodation

We stayed in a one-bedroom cottage. It had one main room downstairs with the lounge and kitchen area. The eating area was a breakfast bar with stools. The bedroom was small with very little clearance between the end of the bed and the wall. Mr Simple had to shuffle around to his side all the time, including the in the middle of the night when he needed a wee. I did offer to swap sides with him, but he said that he wouldn’t be able to sleep if we did that. The size of the cottage made us appreciate our much larger home when we came back from holiday.

Cook your own meals for the majority of the week

We tend to have a meal at a pub on the way to our holiday accommodation, as it breaks up the journey. It feels less tiring when you’ve had a break and don’t have to cook a meal when you arrive, as you’ve already had your main meal of the day. We then have one day during the week where we visit a town and have a long lunch and then we stop for food on the way home. Outside of these times we cook meals in the cottage. We treated ourselves to a lovely three course leisurely lunch on the way home, courtesy of Mr Simple’s mother who had given us £100 as she had received some unexpected dividends.

Plan your meals

Menu plan thoroughly so that you take as much of the food that you need as you can. You can’t take everything as some things e.g. bread, will go off, but you can take the majority. If you plan well you won’t have to pop out to the local shop, which is likely to be expensive and may involve using petrol, to get items that you have forgotten. I’m not always very good at this, but made a special effort this time and it worked out well. Cooking is so much easier when you have a plan. I even weighed out ingredients for pizza dough and took them in a food bag, putting on a label stating what needed to be added. That might been a bit too organised for you, but it worked well and meant that I didn’t have to take a whole bag of flour.

Photo by moon chahcha on Pexels.com

Do free activities

These include walking in the countryside, cycling and birdwatching. If you followed our staycation in March you will know that Mr Simple and I enjoy these activities, which are usually free. If the countryside isn’t your thing then maybe try city/town walking tours or parks. You can usually pick up a leaflet from the local tourist information office and they often take you to interesting parts of the town that you may not discover on your own. When Mr Simple and I are on holiday in France I have often dragged him around the town to work up an appetite for dinner.

Check what is provided

Before you go check with the cottage owners what is available in the accommodation so that you take everything that you need. Be as specific as you can. A couple of years ago I asked if they provided toilet roll, to which the answer was yes, but when we got there they provided only one roll, which obviously didn’t last for the week. This time I asked, ‘Do you provide toilet roll and if so how many?’ They probably think that I am a bit of a pain, but last time we ended up having to buy more when I had loads in the cupboard at home that I could have taken with us. Mr Simple and I love Classic Cottages as they provide an inventory for their cottages, which is so useful. Unfortunately they only cover the south west of England and we have not come across this practice with other cottage providers.

If they provide it – use it

We took tea bags with us, but when we arrived we found that some were provided. We used these first before using our own ones and they lasted just over half the week.

Take plenty of treats

Buy treats to have in the cottage so you’re not tempted to stop at the café for tea and cake on your way home or go to the pub every evening. We stopped at the pub in the local village after our last walk and there was tea and cake in a café on one day, but that was it.

Go out for lunch instead of dinner

When you go out for a meal make it lunch rather than dinner. You will find that restaurants do a cheaper lunch menu, usually with slightly smaller portions, but in my book that’s good as I can manage three courses. This is one of my favourite things – lingering over a long lunch. Unfortunately on this holiday it wasn’t outside in the sunshine, but we had a great meal nevertheless in a pub just off of the M5 – courtesy of the Good Pub Guide.

So there it is, just a few ideas for keeping more of those pennies in your pocket when you go away. I hope you found something useful and I would be interested to know how you keep your spending under control when you are on holiday.