Monday, 19 March 2018

Stuff I Will Spend On

I am known as a tightwad, and don't mind that a bit. There are a few things I am still prepared to spend money on, though not a lot. I don't like spending some money on certain things, but sometimes I have to, because sometimes, it's the right thing to do.

So what will this woman (who's tighter than a camel's arse in a sandstorm) buy?

1. Food, toilet paper, soap and washing powder
2. Must-pay bills
3. Netflix (cheaper than a trip to the movies. In fact one trip to the movies for a family of four is equivalent to six months of varied film/TV viewing of Netflix)
4. Petrol
5. Any worn out and necessity driven item of clothing...though we are very, very minimalist on purchases these days
6. Things like Drs visits, though I don't believe in doctors for most things and it has to take something big for us to need to go. I don't muck around if it's our son, but he's only been once in the last two years and mostly, we just drink water, keep our fluids up and rest. I say this jokingly, but usually that's what most Drs tell us to do and I'd rather not pay $76 for them to tell me this
7. Garden necessities. Though mostly these are few and far between, though the new hose was non-negotiable and also useful for when we need to power wash things.
8. The occasional, unable-to-get-out-of-meal. But believe me, I don't often say yes to eating out...this month, well, it just so happens that there are two occasions...but that's not a normal occurrence.

Um...I can't think of anything else. Um....nope, I really can't....My eyes are so focused on the prize of semi-retirement, small-house living, that I simply find it too painful to spend. Each fortnight, the prize moves closer, and that's enough for me to keep myself on pointe!

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Weekly No Spend Update (3)

Why Pay $1.25 Each From The Supermarket?
 Cost Homemade $1.50 For 8!
Greetings! Here is my latest spending update, I did quite well I think here.

12/3 Hose from hardware store (I mentioned we had to have one) $45.18
Weekly shop and petrol $150.58 and teenager's pocket money and bus money for school $30

13/3 No Spend Day

14/4 No Spend Day

15/3 No Spend Day

16/3 No Spend Day

17/3 No Spend Day

18/3 $11.05 on family movie night treats for three of us. It was an almost no spend day, but as we've not had a family movie night for a while, we splashed out. For your information we watched the 1994 movie Little Rascals. Danny has been trying to get our son to watch it for ages, as he is loathe to watch anything other than horror, so it was a big achievement.

I deliberately don't mention in my weekly spending updates anything such as power, mortgage, water, car rego, rates, and so on. We pay school fees at the beginning of the year and they are non-negotiable, so I wouldn't mention them. These things are not a choice. I don't know whether to mention things like our son's bus fayres  and pocket money as both of these are standard and don't change. In future I probably won't mention anything that is something we can't get rid of or eliminate. My point of the No Spend Lifestyle is that we are not spending on anything other than necessities. Some things have to be paid for, these don't deviate.

The only slight deviation is the occasional item of clothing, our food and petrol and some household necessities. So in case you were wondering, we do have all the same bills as other people, but as these are not things we can eliminate, I won't write about them.

I hope that makes sense.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Why Waste Money Going Out For A Weekend Breakfast?

It never, ever fails to amaze me in regard to how long it took me to truly get it.

It's the day before our weekly shop in FrannyandDanny-Land and yet, we are still eating like the King and Queen of our own little domain.

Behold, today's morning comestibles. Even when I placed the bits and pieces in the bowl, I surprised myself. Straight away I thought how much like some upstarty-staged-fake-fabulous-expensive-breakfast type creation it appeared.

Greek yoghurt, with frozen blueberries and Chilean guava berries. I mean seriously. If I had have gone out for breakfast to some social climbing-status-seeking cafe I would have been paying at least $15 for this bowl of loveliness.

Yet, not so long ago (in terms of my whole life) going out for a weekend breakfast, or lunch, or dinner or any type of drink/food combination excursion was something I loved to do. I just find it hard to do now, I simply don't want to. Why would I waste a ton of money on something second rate when I can have some much better at home?

Danny grew the guava berries...the yoghurt was a bargain and the frozen blueberries, well everyone likes them don't they? I even had my coffee made for me by my King!

So, my point (and I do have one) is that I truly don't like going out to eat. Which poses a little bit of a problem, because in the next two weeks we have two dinner dates with people (other than each other). I need to look at it a different way, otherwise I will be inwardly moaning to myself. So the first of the dining experiences is with some very good friends and the second is with family for an important birthday (not mine). is the point where I stop thinking about myself and think of others for a bit. They have been sweet enough and love us enough to wish us to spend time with them. The occasion/s just happen to involve spending money and food (not made by either of us). I need to take off my cheapskate pants and understand that this isn't about outside catering, or about spending more than I like to on food. It's about people wishing to have us in their presence....and if I thumb my nose to that...then my attitude sucks. I'm not only frugal...then I'm mean spirited...and I certainly don't want to be that person....

...just need to make sure I choose my experience, the person next to me always orders the superior dish. Ha ha ha!

Friday, 16 March 2018

Frugal Franny's Friday Finds

It's that day of the week again when I showcase a site, book, link or something fabulous that rocks our frugal world. Today is no exception with a link to Shawn James at My Self Reliance.

Danny and I are completely keen on watching and learning about Shawn. He built his own log cabin, by hand in the wilds of Canada. He begins each video with some slow TV type action and then does an honest and informative talk at the end. He has the cutest dog as well.

He is not a prepper or a survivalist in the way many people imagine. But he does everything by hand, is a very outdoorsy person and is extremely inspirational for anyone (like D and me) who are working towards off-grid living. It is so cool to see his wonderful, simple, yet delicious, wood burner top cooking. He has no airs and graces and doesn't tell you that living and building this way is all rainbows and lollipops. But, if you are heading in the direction of self-sufficiency and being detached from the grid, then Shawn is your man. Let me know what you think.

This is the third in a weekly series of useful and interesting resources. They DO NOT contain affiliate links, because I’m not interested in encouraging extra spending. Hopefully what these posts do contain are useful and motivational links for FrannyandDanny readers.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Frugal Fish Soup

This Was Not Mine- But It Is A Close Match!

Now, I don’t claim to be a master chef. Far from it. But when I made fish soup last week, Danny and I had a few follow up servings. Trouble was, the tinned salmon we normally buy, wasn’t available. So we had to get the next cheapest tin up, which was $5.50. This was two dollars more than our usual brand.

This week, we decided to give mackerel fillets a try, since our salmon was STILL not available. A large tin was $2.50 and if it was a good substitute, it would also be a frugal substitute.

Now as you know we don’t follow recipes, not usually. So here is our rough guide to tinned salmon/tinned mackerel soup.

Fish soup
1 large tin of fish (about 400g)
Some chicken stock or veggie stock. About 750 mls. This can be made more depending on your preference.
Some frozen corn.
Garlic (we used it from a jar)
Salt and pepper
Some milk and cream to desired consistency
A chopped onion
Some greens (we happened to have fresh kale and pak choi given to us) I tore these up.

Then cook up until hot. Check you like the taste, then eat. We like ours chickeny stocky, you may not, so taste and fiddle with until you’re satisfied.

Ours was not a thick soup, it was a creamy/milky consistency. The next time I make it I will add a little flour to thicken. You could add a little cheese too, but this didn’t float my boat.

Oh golly, it was GOOD! I’ll let you know how then mackerel version turns out. Hopefully great, as it can be a cheap success.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

A Slowcooker Is A Frugal Person's Best Friend

One very important item we do own in our frugal, minimalist household, is our slow cooker. Oh my, I truly don't think I could live without it. It saves us so much money and creates something out of literally nothing. If someone is coming to lunch and it's not a shopping day, I can immediately chop up some bits of veggies, add some curry powder, or sriracha, along with some coconut cream (all of which are FrannyandDanny el-cheapo cupboard staples) and we have lunch. We have tasty, delicious, healthy lunch.

As I have mentioned before, we are not recipe followers. I have been in the pas,t and all that seems to happen is that I end up with odds and ends that get left to rot. We are more of a "be heavy on the veg, think about some rice, or added cheap protein, like pilchards, or cheap tinned fish and see what happens". Cooking this way has very rarely steered us wrong.

What is deeply satisfying is having enough to make portions for the freezer too. Why even on Sunday after picking many roadside plums, I threw in the fruit with some sugar, and hours later we had very sticky and rather tasty jam like yummies.

Do you have some good ideas for the slow cooker? Do you have a cheap preference when cooking? It's such a sneaky way to feed your kids some veggies too!

And I love that!

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

There's A Difference Between Being Frugal And Extremely Frugal...We're Getting there!

It really is very simple to cut costs and live on so much less. I used to think I was the Queen of Frugality until I focused more and more on what frugality really meant. Back in the day I believed frugality meant only buying one lip balm and not five, buying reduced food without really looking at the actual reduction and cost per 100 grams. I thought only buying a couple of pairs of jeans a year and a few bottles of wine a month was frugal. But now, I see, whilst this was better than where I'd come from, it certainly wasn't frugal..or as frugal as it could be.

Now I see every spend, every dollar, as freedom..or the road to freedom from paid work- sooner. So if I am going to have to spend, I want to make sure it's for a purpose. Even the $1.99 I spent on the book last week (that I'm still smarting about) was a book that helped continue my focus on what it means to spend wisely. I did forget to add though, that the very same day I spent the $1.99, I found $1.00 on the that was a bit of a boon!

Anyway, I thought I might add a few more frugal suggestions today. The more the merrier.

1. Danny is building a wall in the garage. We have a bit of a lounge set-up in there with a settee, books and an old TV. Our son uses it to get away from us, in our small house. However Danny needs a bit of a workshop, so he is making a pallet wall to break the room in two, so we can have both workshop and escape-the-parents room. We don't need a bigger house, we don't need a huge shed. We just need some pallets to build a wall. I think I might go take some photos actually...

2. Foraging has become my best friend. Yesterday Danny and I collected a vast amount of plums. There they were on the side of the highway on our way home from town. The cars swished past us, people stared, and still we picked. I had the bag round my neck like a horse with horse feed. I didn't care that I looked like a doofus!

3. Grow where you're planted. Ok, so right now we live in a suburban home. The yard is smallish and in no way does it resemble a homestead. But we are working towards opening up the pretty, predictable back yard and growing our vegetables and herbs right where we are. The Dervaes Family
managed it with amazing success on a small piece of land, and that is so completely inspiring. I don't want to miss out on our own attempts.

4. Danny will build the beds for the garden out of reclaimed wood. And I will stand around, looking helpful, carrying things and handing him nails.

How's about that then?

Monday, 12 March 2018

Free Food (Otherwise Known As People And The Universe Are Kind)

I know it's the end of summer and the beginning of Autumn, when fruit and fabulous fresh things are coming into their own. But what also comes into being, is people's generosity.

Thank you Sam and PML for the bag of apples and nashi pears. We scoffed the pears fresh and have been  eating the stewed apples with Greek yoghourt for days. Even our picky teen has been like a fruit monster over the apples.

Thank you random grape vine, intertwined withe blackberry bush. I see you on my walk and you always give generously. I applaud you. Thank you for allowing me to massacre (gently) your long twiny-viney arms...

Thank you Cindy-Greenfingers for your surprise tomatoes and zucchinis. I can't tell you how much we appreciate you thinking of us and leaving them on our doorstep. You have a kind and loving heart and I hope the Universe continues to provide for you in the same way as you do for others.

And BNP, dear girl. Your creativity knows no bounds. Your cake creations leave me gobsmacked. Your berry picking skills are second to none. You are a gorgeous, sweet, loving human, just like your dad!

I mean seriously! This is the last couple of days. Things appear, as if by magic. I wonder if it really is the law of cause and effect. Danny and I are never backwards at giving away to others and sharing what we have...but we are very thoroughly recompensed. It's an amazing feeling. It makes me long for a whole world where this is the norm.

I'm not religious, but it does seem to be a definite case of give and ye shall receive.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Weekly No Spend Update (2)

Well the devil always fools with the best laid plans I guess..but at least the plans he fools with are thought about and reflected how did I do this second week...mostly OK with one (well thought about and considered slip...) and one impulse food purchase...

5/3/18- I had to take our son to the Dr and after the Medicare refund it still cost $36. This was followed with $27 for the medication, $15 for his weekly school bus fare tickets and $20 pocket money. Total $98

6/3/18- No Spend Day

7/3/18- No Spend Day

8/3/18- I spent $1.99 on an ebook. In my defence, I had looked for the book in the library to no avail. Then I had seen it elsewhere for $15.99- so when it came on sale for $1.99 I bought it. I had wanted the book since it was released about eight weeks ago, and I am an avid reader of the author's blog and listener to the it wasn't an impulse purchase. But, I was derailed, even if only for $1.99 by The Year Of Less by Cait Flanders. BTW- This is NOT an affiliate link!

9/3 $20 spent on a bit of food as we had run out of certain things and we were having a (supermarket) bought (regretful) pizza to celebrate Danny coming home after a period of time away working. I was not impressed that I let myself go down that road...but....on to the next day....

10/3 No Spend Day

11/3 No Spend Day

This week was OK and nothing dire arose as a result of letting my standards slip a little. I really did want the book and have gained much from reading it so far. Food is food, but I am a little regretful we ate bought (and horrible) pizza. Dr trips and select medication, bus fares and pocket money are things that happen, so I don't feel I failed there. But I do know I will have to be spending some money on a new hose for the garden as ours has died. Watering our plants and having them to look at adds value to our life. I saved more this fortnight than I have in ages so I feel OK in that regard.

Just gotta keep sticking to it and  remembering that homemade food is always better!

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Using The Library Is Like Shopping, But Better

A Recent Borrow
I abso-flipping-lutely love the library.

Even though when you go into the large city library it's a bit tricky to find books these days (they're hidden on the second floor)..I still love it.

Luckily I don't have to go into the city more a than once a month or so, and I prefer to use the country mini-library (to keep it open) and order the books in. Using the library online to order books is a fantastic way of getting a 'shopping fix' without spending money.

I don't miss shopping. In fact I loathe it in all forms, but being able to put books onto a wish list or order list fulfils that occasional need to obtain. What's great is that for a short while the books are in your possession, and then you can release them again. No clutter, lots of learning.

Not only that, but the library also eliminates the need to purchase ebooks these days. This is great because I did used to spend about $15 a month on ebooks. Now, with the Overdrive app, I can borrow over 10 000 (and growing) ebooks from my library. I also have a wish list on the app too, so I get my fix, whilst spending nothing.

Going to the library was something I did a lot, when I was a kid. As a much older person I still use the library, but do go for long periods where I don't. Mainly because I have lots of ebooks on Kindle and ibooks and I binge on them for a while. Luckily and happily, both Danny and I are both huge readers. We love to sit (slouch) for hours reading in silence. Occasionally one of us will get up to make a hot drink or go for a pit stop. But we can sit for hours, reading, and usually holding hands- though this does get tricky when turning pages.

It makes me sad that a lot of kids don't like reading. When I do happen upon a child who likes reading (and I am thinking of one particular young lady ploughing through Harry Potter right now) it makes me very happy. How much we can learn through reading! How many fabulous worlds, places, situations can we immerse ourselves in? How many times can we find a character or situation in a book who we can relate to and then feel understood as a result?  And, come what may, I believe that any child/adult who reads, regularly, has a far more holistic and vibrant view of the world.

Vocabulary and imagination are cornerstones for future success- and there's nothing boring about living a happy and successful life.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Frugal Franny’s Friday Finds


This week it's all about books. I have finished the first one and am a little bit of the way through the second.
I borrowed both from the library, no need to own them. I highly recommend them to readers of this blog.

The Feast Nearby by Robin Mather I enjoyed very much. Filled with recipes (that I won't photograph to make- I have enough already) and chapters, season by season about her growing, bartering, foraging, and creating skills when she moved to a fairly isolated cabin after the break-up of her marriage. It's an easy, flowing read.

The second is by very well known blogger Rhonda Hetzel who explains, in this tiny tome, about how and why she began living The Simple Life. I love this book. I'm not religious, but if I was, I would call this my bible. It's almost like she's got inside my head, and articulated, far more effectively than I ever could, about the how and why of making a change from living like everybody else, to really LIVING.

I totally love it!

So there we have it, two hot recommendations for the week. What simple living style books or sites are on your radar right now? Please share below so we can all benefit from one another's reading, searching and discovering.

This is the second in a weekly series of useful and interesting resources. They DO NOT contain affiliate links, because I’m not interested in encouraging extra spending. Hopefully what these posts will contain are useful and motivational links for FrannyandDanny readers.