Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Five frugal things and a couple of frugal fails

The five frugal things blog post format is unashamedly stolen from the Non-Consumer Advocate.
  1. It's chilly here but we're keeping our use of the central heating to a minimum. I'm wrapping up warm with bargain thermal leggings (£3 from a 'big knickers'* market stall in Shrewsbury) under my £1 charity shop jeans, a pair of woolly socks that I got from November's community swap shop (or 'Give and Take' day as we call it), warm slippers (2013 Christmas prezzie - thanks Mum and Dad) and loads of layers on my top half, plus compulsory indoor woolly hat. The next Give and Take day is this Saturday (7 Feb, 11am - 1pm at the Corsham Community Campus, Beechfield Rd) and I'm amassing a pile of stuff to give and wondering what goodies will be there for the taking.
  2. I'm using up the vinegar left in a large gherkin jar and some chicken thighs by making Chicken Adobo. Authentic Chicken Adobo is made with palm vinegar but the gherkin vinegar should be a fair substitute. The recipe (which can be found by clicking here) also uses a large amount of soy sauce but that's no problem as I have still got a couple of bargain bottles left from an Approved Food order ages ago. With the Chicken Adobo we'll have some Aldi Everyday Essentials rice that cost something ridiculous like 40p a pack, and leeks from the allotment. All round frugal meal.
  3. Daughter has been off school poorly today, and she sent me in to town to buy the next book in a series she's reading by Louise Rennison. She'd spotted it in Oxfam. That's my girl. The book claims to be the "Fabulously Funny Bestseller 'Knocked out by my nunga-nungas'. You'll laugh your knickers off!" (Sorry, you don't normally get knickers mentioned twice in my blog posts.) Sometimes Daughter passes on books she's read to her grandparents to but in this instance my mind is boggling at the thought of them laughing their knickers off. I think we may keep the nunga-nungas to ourselves.
  4. After I'd accomplished my book buying mission, I furthered my escape from the house with a brisk walk. Free exercise in the winter sunshine. What's not to like?
  5. Thanks to the library's new early warning email system, I know that I must get some l library books back today to avoid fines. My track record is not good when it comes to library fines so I'm enjoying the feeling that I may get on top of things this year.

Frugal fails:

  1. Underestimating the postage on an eBay sale which leaves me out of pocket.
  2. I checked our energy usage whilst submitting an online meter reading. After a few months of paying £12 per month, I knew the bill would go up over the winter and sure enough the next direct debit is for £60. I was still surprised to see we have used 24% more than the same period last year. How did that happen?
How about you? Any frugal successes this week?

* I don't know if overseas readers will be familiar with the concept of a 'big knickers' market stall? It's a technical term invented by myself to denote a stall that sells lingerie that's big and comfy and not very fashionable.


  1. 1. Bottled 10 kg. of tomatoes - a few from our garden (we had a bumper crop this year but ate most of them
    fresh) and the rest was from a box I got really cheaply at a wholesale greengrocer. The fate of the ones
    that are left is chutney.

    2. It's been unseasonably cold here (normally the temperature is hovering in the 40s Celsius this time of
    year) so I can't remember the last time we turned the air conditioning on. I detest hot weather so long
    may it last!

    3. A lot of my library requests came in - we have a really good system where you can order books from
    any library in South Australia. So lots of free books.

    4. Had friends around the other night and managed to use up a lot of past the first flush of freshness
    vegetables in a veggie bake that everyone liked. Will be doing the same for some other friends
    tomorrow night with curries. Also have some frozen dip ready to go!

    5. Yesterday I cycled to the beach (a nice 15 km. ride each way) to look for sea glass for my
    collection. I brought a bottle of water and an apple so didn't buy anything to eat or drink and got
    exercise and sea glass!

    Can't think of any fails apart from buying a cheap shirt that happened to have a rip in it. I didn't have
    the receipt any longer but at least I can mend it. Fail/non fail perhaps?

    1. Some great frugal successes there Barbara! I enjoyed reading them. Thanks.

  2. I have taken to wrapping a fleece blanket around me like a sarong before I sit at my desk. Maybe not an idea if you work in an office but perfect for me working from home.

    Are you sure your energy consumption has increased and its not just a sneaky price rise? Also remember that last year was a mild winter. You can't compare to the year before either which was a very cold winter, unless you want to use degree days to even out the weather effect. I can help with this if you like.

    The library has ebooks, which has saved us a few library trips for my daughter and overdue fees :-) Unfortunately it increases time using electrical devices, so not a complete win.

    I have organised my collection of seeds using the Seed Organiser template from Erica at NW Edible Life (http://www.nwedible.com/downloadables). I am amazed how many seeds I bought last year and didn't get round to using! This tool has helped me work out exactly what I need to buy for this year, so should keep my spend down. Plus I am not buying any until I have been to the Loughborough Transition seed swap on Saturday (in the library), to see if I can get the ones I need for free first.

    1. I expect the sneaky price rise affects it but there's definitely an increase in usage too. We used up a lot of our seeds last year so will have to build up our supplies this year.

  3. I love it now that the library notifies me when a book is do. I haven't had an overdue one since then.

    1. Hey but if you work in a library, surely you have no excuse for overdue books ;-)

  4. Sarah, I think the American version of big knickers must be granny panties -- also very comfy, but so much to look at. We also spent more for heat this past cycle, than the same cycle a year ago. For me, I'm thinking that as I become an old lady, I just need it warmer!

    1. Reading your comment, there's one logical conclusion...if you're feeling the cold and need the house warmer maybe it's time to invest in some granny panties?!

  5. I know I have been flicking the switch a bit more often on the gas central heating, but my excuse is that it's for my elderly cat and arthritic dog. Must keep a check on that. Started putting a hot water bottle in the cat's bed, and giving the dog a blast of the gas fire, instead.