Thursday 23 November 2023

Christmas puddings

 Oh, how I love them!  I always make my own.  I don't use currants or raisins but I do use dried strawberries, blueberris and cranberries.  My recipe is distinctly unfrugal, especially as I make them for quite a few people.  

But although they are not cheap to make, I love giving them, and in return I get goodies like mince pies, sausage rolls and piccalli. 

Martin Lewis (Money Saving Expert) suggests a pre-nupp agreement, in other words a pre Christmas No Unnecessary Presents Pact.  In many ways I agree: Christmas present giving can create a sense of obligation which the recipient may find it hard to filfil.  Often presents finish up in the bin or charity shop anyway.  Over the years I have reduced the number of presents I give.

However, my puds won't br gracing the rails of a charity shop because I check that they will be wanted.  I'm very grateful for the food gifts I receive, taking advantage of other people's particular culinary skill.  I give my time and talent and reduce my friends food shopping bill and I enjoy the fruits of their kitchen skills  

Tuesday 21 November 2023



I have something of a love/hate relationship with Amazon!

Amazon is very good at what it does.  They supply a huge range of  products at very competitive prices and they have a highly efficient delivery system.

Unfortunately they are also highly efficient at persuading me to buy things which it might be better to buy elsewhere or not at all.  It's all too easy to click on something on their site and know it will be delivered next day.  Amazon Prime makes that even easier with an annual payment for delivery so everything seems even better value.  Occasionally I have even ordered a single bar of chocolate (value around 50p) for the joy of knowing that my order has cost Amazon far more than I have paid.  

I've now decided to be more mindful when I shop at that site with the smiley face.  I've cancelled Prime.  I've installed Icebox so that items go "on ice" for a day instead of directly into my cart.  Icebox also acts as a holding list for small items which I can amalgamate to create an order worth £25 and so get free delivery.  (Be very careful with the free delivery option: you need to check everything with a fine tooth comb.)  

Black Friday is coming up and Amazon has some very good deals but they are only good deals if I really need them.  I've managed to get Sloggi briefs at a good price.  Amazon's own devices are always on offer at this time so I waited until now for my new Echo device and smart doorbell which I have got as a bundled deal.  

My Amazon spend has dropped considerably since I cancelled Prime.  Some things I have managed without, others have gone on my weekly shopping list and been bought locally.  

Saturday 18 November 2023

Sam Vimes Boots

You probably know about boot theory: that people in poverty have to buy cheap products that need to be replaced repeatedly, proving more expensive in the long run than more expensive item.  Put more simply it's buy cheap and you need to buy twice (or even more!).  I am able to set money aside to save me money long term, eg I bought an air fryer and thus save on energy costs, but others can't afford that investment.  

Although I try to be frugal, my frugality is by choice.  I have a fair income (state and occupational pensions) and my needs are modest.  I am aware that there are many who have to choose between heating and eating.  There are parents who go hungry to feed their children.  There are many for whom Christmas is a time to dread.  Frugality is not a choice but a life sentence. 

My frugality is about getting value for money rather than getting the cheapest possible.  It's also about avoiding waste as a matter of principle.  It's about mindfully using my money, possessions, skills and time.  

All this is to explain why I have been AWOL from this blog for such a long time.  I have decided to return but I want to be open and say that I can write only about the frugality which applies to me and the choices I can make.  I have more money than many but disability costs me dearly.  

I take my hat off to those who have far less choices and still live a glorious life.