Tuesday 30 July 2019

August activities 1

Each box is at least one PhD.  And there are several more boxes!
I need a project!  Well, actually I don't.  I already have several projects half done.  So, I've decided to make August a month of creativity when I shall try and complete a few things.  I may also make some things from scratch but using stuff from my stash.  This is a frugal project as its aim is to make the best use of things I have rather than acquiring even more.

You might not want to hear this but there are from 1st August there are 146 days to Christmas so, like it or not, some of my creations will be Christmas related as by the month there will be only 115 days. 

Friday 26 July 2019

A Whoopee Moment

I've just had my six monthly statement from my energy supplier and they've reduced my direct debit by £28 per month!  Definitely a whoopee moment!

When my last statement came I was £90 in debit.  This was mostly pre-Smart meter but over the last six months I've really kept an eye on those figures and I am now £40 in credit.  Next month I shall be doing my annual comparison to make sure I am on the best deal I can find.

I've achieved savings by various means.

I reduced the time the heating was on each day during the winter.  I usually get up around five o'clock but I stayed in bed a while longer.  I set the timer to switch off earlier in the evening too and enjoyed curling up in a blanket and a shawl.  

In the summer I switched off the boiler most of the time.  My shower runs off the hot water system so I need to have it on occasionally but I found that half an hour every other day gave enough hot water for me.  My tank has good built in insulation but I also put the winter duvets around it - I don't know if that helped but it certainly won't have done any harm.  

I used my air fryer as a mini oven as often as I could.  It uses less electricity than even my small top oven.

Although a near fall has made me abandon outdoor clothes drying I haven't used this as an excuse for using the tumble dryer.  I set up a clothes airer in my conservatory which is very well ventilated, not to say draughty, and dried almost everything on that.  I am hoping to set up a clothes line in the garage this winter.  

My energy bill is always likely to be fairly high - I need to charge my mobility scooter most days, I have no gas fire to keep me cosy - but I'm certain that pounds are better in my pocket than in the energy company's bank account.  

Friday 19 July 2019

Never let it be said . . .

. . . that I overburden you with reading on this blog!

I have two blogs, this one and Trundling Through Life.  Over on TTL I write about how I see the world and how  I try to make sure that my eyes see what is good and kind in the world around me.

This blog though, is supposed to be about frugality, decluttering and similar themes.  When I first came to Blogland there seemed to be a lot of blogs but many of them have disappeared over the years.  I really miss "Frugal Queen", "Frugal in Essex", "Bonnie the frugal apprentice" and "Baroness Prudent Spending" among many others.  Others have appeared but I rather miss the old favourites

I wonder if they had the same problem as I do - what on earth can I write about?  Frugality is a bit repetitive.  Frugal Queen included her faggots recipe many, many times.  Others write about soup, car boot finds or yellow sticker shopping or the wonders of home grown produce - whatever their speciality happens to be.  It's a case of more of the same - is that why bloggers run out of steam? 

Wednesday 3 July 2019

More wonky veg

I was in Lidl fairly early yesterday morning and I grabbed a wonky veg box whilst I was there.  This is stuff which is still OK but needs to be sold fairly quickly.  This what I got.  That's 1 pear, 3 bananas, 3 mushrooms, 1 tomato, 1 cauliflower, 1 mango, 1 satsuma. a bunch of red spring onions, 1 aubergine, 1 swede, 1 bag spinach, and 665g carrots.  Definitely not bad for £1.50.

I have had several of these veg boxes now and I've realised that what I really enjoy is the challenge of using everything so as soon as I got home I set to.

I'd also got two packs of low fat Aberdeen Angus mince from the reduced section whilst I was in Lidl.  One pack went into the freezer but I got a pack of breadcrumbs (made from the heel of a loaf) from the freezer and combined the mince, breadcrumbs and an egg in the food processor to make 18 meatballs which I fried before putting them in the slow cooker.  I made the sauce from the aubergine, mushrooms, and tomato plus a bag of frozen Mediterranean veg, a couple of onions. a bag of sliced mushrooms (frozen from a previous veg box) and a carton of passata.  I've had a portion and it was lovely!

The cauliflower will be cooked today and made into cauliflower cheese to be frozen.  The mango will be pureed and frozen in portions to be eaten with yoghurt.  The spinach will be very nice with scramblers over the next couple of mornings.  The swede, onions and carrots are in no danger of going off anytime soon so I'll keep them for a few days.  The satsuma is in the fruit bowl and the pear has been given away.

And the bananas?  They seem to have disappeared!

Tuesday 2 July 2019

End of the month

I've reviewed my finances for June so here's a brief report.  

First of all I am back on track as far as living below my means goes as I managed to set aside over £400.  My total for the half year is well over the £2400 target so the May blip was just a blip.  I've had a drop in income so I'm pleased to have managed this so well.

Food purchases have again been too high at £165.  I was doing quite well almost to the end of the month then I needed to take food to a family event and I just couldn't be bothered to do the home-made thing so I spent too much.  There, I've said it!

I've spent over £100 on railway tickets for a special journey this month.  This will be a very expensive day out!  Petrol has been high again as I've had quite a sociable month.  

I've needed a lot of paid help, especially in the garden.  However, this improves my quality of life and is important for my personal safety so that's how it has to be.