Monday, 19 February 2018

Yellow Sticker Specials

Please look at the prices on these foodstuffs.

I have LONG lamented the bargains that many (not all) people in the UK can get when buying yellow sticker specials. To work out the cost in UK pounds and pence, roughly half the amount on the photos for the equivalent. So for example, on the bread above, the reduced price is $2.79. In pounds and pence this is about One Pound Forty.

What really hit home was seeing one of my favourite UK bloggers buy AUSTRALIAN avocados, reduced to TEN PENCE. Here I was paying (except I didn't buy them) avocados for $3:50!

How the hell does that even work?

Please don't get me wrong, |I am overjoyed that some people, somewhere are getting bargains. It gives me hope. I only ever wish the best for others. BUT I simply don't understand how fresh food, grown in my own country, costs 17 X more than 12 000 miles away after being imported. Even at full price the English avocados, imported from Oz were much, much cheaper, than here.

So, I can never ever bring our shopping down to about $20 a week, when three little squashes, even reduced, cost $3:95. But, on a positive note, |I would probably be able to say that I think we are doing a pretty good job so far.

At this stage in our shopping, we spend about $150 a week, for three people. This includes about $45 on petrol, includes all cat needs (litter, food etc) as well as toiletries, toilet roll, soap and household needs. So food is well under $100 a week, or approximately fifty UK pounds. I still know there's room for improvement and as you might have read at the weekend we did have a couple of bottles of wine and some sweeties. BUT, even that came out of the $150.

I will always be (happily) envious of the UK yellow stickered specials...but this fact in and of itself makes me want to do a better job with the circumstances and foodstuffs presented to me....
....and in the meantime I'll continue to be pleased for others, because any money saved, by anyone, is always a good thing.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

A Cheap Night In

We had a big night last night. Danny, myself and two of our kids. But our big night in, is also a cheap night in. We had chicken curry, pappadums, rice and two bottles of wine. Cost for this was approx $20. We had some ice creams and sweets for our horror film afterwards and this cost about $10. So a meal, pudding and movie for four cost $30. I think that’s pretty good. Especially as for us that was an indulgence as we don’t always have the wine and sweets, we usually just have the curry dish.

And the best thing of all is that we didn’t even have to leave our beautiful, little house!

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Danny’s Dumpster Diving

I am always proud of Danny.

He’s such a clever resourceful person and sees possibilities in everything. I love that he’s as frugal and non-attached to possessions as myself. It means we don’t argue and that we do get one another. It’s never a case of one of us going along with the other, for the sake of it. We’re both introverted, hermit, wannabes, who look for the frugal and least wasteful in everything.

I love that he finds things along the way, that others just chuck out. So imagine how cool it was the other day, when he found a full, flat-packed, MDF wardrobe, just thrown into a dumpster at a local hardware store. The frugal gods were smiling, it would be just the thing for the shed, to organise his manly tools.

Why on earth this had been chucked out I have no clue. Good for us of course, but honestly, the whole kit and caboodle, simply sent to be destroyed.

Sadly where we live, food dumpster diving doesn’t exist. I don’t know what stores do to the out of date food, for example, but they certainly don’t get rid of it round the back of their premises.

For if they did, I’d be there with my recycled shopping bag.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Lemons For A Dress

I gave a friend of mine a dress the other day. It had been sat, lurking, taking up space in my rapidly diminishing wardrobe. I'd never worn it, it didn't fit me and it was time to let it go. My friend was very pleased with the dress, especially as she had recently thrown out all her clothing in a major feng shui attack. She was, apparently, dressless.

I didn't give it to her in order to get anything, but as I mentioned In This Post, the more you give away or get rid of, the more things seem to boomerang back to you. My friend gifted us in return today. And it was something we use and often spend money on.

Lemons. Big, fat, juicy, pungent lemons.

These lemons made me unfeasibly happy. The dress made her happy.

What could be more fabulous?

Thursday, 15 February 2018

More of The Pallet Coffee Table

Thank you LoveAndSalt for requesting further pictures of my beloved pallet coffee table, created by my talented chap.

Hope you enjoy them.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

The Pallet Coffee Table

Danny is a very talented man. He's creative, inventive, doesn't like waste and can find a use for nearly everything. He is a fantastic, thoughtful, problem solver and consistently knocks my socks off with how he can turn trash into treasure.

Behold our gorgeous coffee table. Made in a short amount of time, using pallets thrown out by a local hardware store. Oddments of paint, slip, slap, slopped on the top and paint coffee ring details too.

I love this table. Feet can go on it, shoes can go on it, coffee minus a coaster can go on it, and all it does, is look better. It's the sturdiest piece of furniture I ever owned. I love it.

Danny and I happened past a local, expensive furniture store, some months back. We noticed "fake" pallet furniture in there, at a price that made my shaved head curl. Seriously, why would you pay thousands for FAKE pallet furniture? Especially since it was made in China and of super-cack quality! It sort of misses the point to have perfectly smooth, bogus pallet patterned side tables, doesn't it?

Danny has also made a tinier coffee table, a couple of cool shelves, bed parts, computer desk and a seat in the same manner. He is a bloody genius!

You can tell him I said so.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

And Here's 7 More Of Franny And Danny’s Frugal Ways

a) We don’t have a tumble dryer. We just can’t see the point. Fresh air, sunshine and on a wet or cold day, the living room near the heater works just fine.

b) We have a bucket in our shower, it collects the grey water and the plants will always thank us for it.

c) If we ever have to use zip-lock bags (which we don't too often) I wash and dry them until their natural demise.

d) We listen to minimalist or frugal podcasts on Overcast. It's good to have a reminder or inspiration from others about how they go about their frugal/minimalist ways.

e) We read a lot. I like this because it is good for us and is a reason to not put the TV on. Having said that we do watch NETFLIX- though I have an aversion to free to air TV and anything with adverts. Advertisements suck!

f) I try to temper what I do watch. It can be evilly, surreptitiously and subversively bad at times. For example, the other day I was watching an episode of QUEER EYE, and before I knew it, I was thinking how nice it might be to have a certain type of organic skin cream. Well hello! I don't need anything new like that, I have one skin cream, that lasts nearly a year. When it's used up, I'll get another- in maybe six months from now. Damn it, this show turned into one big advertising episode for me. So no more watching!

g) I very, very rarely go into town. Maybe a couple of times a year. I hate it. It feels seedy and pointless. Danny isn't a towny either. As we're both INFJ personality types and therefore have an introverted side, we are not fans of crowds. The best place is far from the madding crowds.

So, how are you living your frugal and/or minimalist lives? Please share in the comments.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Spend No More

I used to spend like a crazy person. I mean it. I racked up so much consumer debt I was scared to even think about it. I had a good day, I’d spend, I had a bad day, I’d spend. I felt somewhere in between, I’d spend. It was someone’s birthday, I’d spend, one for them, one for me. Any and every reason and I’d find it an excuse to spend.

I was also desperately unhappy deep down. Looking to something outside myself to make me happy. And spending did, for about two minutes. Then the feelings would return and I’d feel worse, because I was still as unhappy, but even more out of pocket.

Paying my debts off, and I have, I owe nothing anymore, except my very manageable mortgage. I am happier than I have ever been with nothing new, nothing spent, except on what is necessary. It’s an odd, but true truth. Happiness can never be found in things.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

The Yearning Ache For Off-Grid Living

It's safe to say that Danny and I are completely obsessed with working towards our off-grid living home and lifestyle. We are always alert to free hedgerow food or places where we can utilise nature without taking more than we need. This morning we had a short stroll around our (sadly) still suburban neighbourhood. The stroll was nice and it's a quiet, peaceful area, so it's not awful by any means. What was great was our stuffing our faces with blackberries. Danny is far more classier than I am. He eats like a normal person. I have to stuff my face with a big handful and let the juices dribble where they may. We also happened upon some plums and picked a large bucket 3/4 full. We brought them home and took some to my parents afterwards. The ones we kept are now in the slow cooker, breaking down, ready to be frozen for yoghurt/pudding future combinations.

After visiting my parents we came home and watched some more off-grid living videos on YouTube. My strong feeling is that as time progresses we are going to get a little bit beyond wanting to wait and put off our move until the "time is right". Seriously, is the time ever going to be right? My thoughts are that we will say that the time is "right enough" and we'll just do it.

We do have our children to think about especially our youngest in high school. But the time will come soon enough when that is no longer a consideration and we'll be off, unable to fight the tide of waiting any longer.

I prepare and look forward to that day and in the interim I will learn as much as I can, read as much as I can, save as much as I can and prepare myself mentally as much as I can.

I'd say that is time well spent.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

The Frugal Things We Do By Franny And Danny

I know I am preaching to the choir here, but it never hurts to spend time reflecting on habits that help make a frugal life. There may be one or two you haven't thought of, or alternately you might add a few thoughts of your own. I'd love to hear them. I don't claim to have it down pat and am always on the hunt for other frugal ways to do things. We are an Australian couple so sometimes some of the excellent ideas on other blogs don't always work...but as our readership is spread to every area of the globe so doesn't hurt to share everyone's ideas and add a few of our own.

In no particular order
a) Be a one car family- sometimes it takes a little bit of organising, but it certainly keeps costs lower.

b) Cut your own (and your family's hair). Simple haircuts, nothing fancy and a homestyle-do works!

c) Cook in army portions (and freeze the leftovers).

d) Use the library and Overdrive ebook app. No need to purchase anything in the book line.

e) Never buy coffees out (if you can help it). Do the maths. For $5.50 you can buy 20 cups worth and make it at home. Plus you don't waste a disposable cup. I can't stand one-use only items.

f) Drink tap water. Want something with a bit of flavour, make iced-tea, bob in a jug and cool.

g) Walk. Who needs the gym?

h) Take your lunch to work. This alone saves me hundreds each year.

I) Have the same thing each morning for breakfast. Danny likes eggs and I like porridge. There's no breakfast law that says you have to have six boxes of different types on cereal on the table. As Danny pointed out to me, when you keep the rhythm of your food the same, you can also keep the rhythm of your bowel movements the same. When you work in a job where you can't go to the toilet as and when you want- this is very handy.

j) Look for fruit trees along the roadside. Pick your fruit, wash it, gobble it.

k) Cook using lentils and cheap in-season veg to pad out your food. As little meat as possible, keeps costs down. One chicken breast is quite enough for a chicken stew that can feed up to eight people easily. You only need to have a hint of meat if you're a meat eater.

l) Give a lot of things away. I know this sounds nuts. BUT the more you get rid of, the more you realise you have more than enough, the more you become grateful for what you have and the less you need and therefore the less you shop and buy. Seriously, it works.

m) You find that the more you give away, the more that seems to come back to you AND ODDLY ENOUGH, it's mostly things that you can utilise.

n) Follow recipes, but only loosely. It's ok to leave certain ingredients out or substitute items for alternatives. Food will still taste brilliant.

o) Have a food budget. Have an amount you can spend each week and don't go over it. Just don't. Have the money in your wallet and don't use a card. It's easy to let a couple of extra dollars be spent if you use a card and thus skupper your fantastic money-saving ideas.

p) Forget fashion. Oh.My.God! I have wasted so much money in my 20s/30s on clothes, and all for naught. I have so little these days, though there's still room to get rid of more.  If you're not happy with yourself in your pyjamas, clothing isn't going to make it better (for any longer than five minutes anyway, when the remorse sets in). Don't buy into the BS! Clothing does not make the man/woman.

q) Forget fancy cosmetics and smelly crap. Seriously, can shoving a ton of highly scented chemicals onto your beautiful skin and body each day be doing it any favours? I think not. And then there's the packaging....

Ok, now I will get off my soapbox!

Friday, 9 February 2018

Fresh Free Fruit And Veg

We love fruits and vegetables. We especially love FREE fruits and vegetables. Look at this bounty. Home grown. The plums came from a client and the veggies came from work. We both get over-excited when yummy food comes our way. I refuse to buy eggplants from the supermarket because they are tasteless and disgusting...these on the other hand....

Also, our shopping bills have really plummeted since menu planning and having some pre-thought about what we’re going to eat. I used to shop every day. Even if frugal, it still cost so much more. Now I can’t remember the last time I went to the store...and it feels great.

Tonight Danny is turning some leftover curry into pot pies, with the aid of some aging potatoes (mashed). The thing is, it will be the most tasty food you can imagine.

Leftovers are my favourite thing. I love me some festered deliciousness!

Do you love leftovers....? What do you love most of all.