Planning ahead to save money

Hello Dear Reader,

I went to a Poundland today to pick up some cleaning products and broke my frugal fast. It’s the cheapest place to buy knee highs that I wear under my trousers at work. They’ll keep me going until Christmas.

Whilst I was there, I bought four baskets to fill with little gifts for Christmas presents. They’re the size of shoe boxes. They’ll be filled with small items and treats that I’ve bought over the weeks. Last year, I put everything into a box and then wrapped the box and I thought I’d make a bit more effort this year. Also, the recipients can use the baskets afterwards. So, work hosiery and Christmas gifts and £6 over spend. 

Other than that, it’s been a very thrifty weekend. I bulk cooked, cleaned the house, cut the lawn, laundery done washed and dried outside, did a budget shop in Aldi, worked on my current quilt and bulk cooked for the week ahead. 

I made bolognaise sauce, ham and bean soup. I didn’t have any haricot beans so I just rinsed the sauce off supermarket baked beans. 

I baked potatoes that’ll go in the fridge for the week and just get reheated.

I have soup for every day at work and two more portions in the freezer. Chicken casserole which is tastier than it looks. I also slow cooked some pork to slice when cold. 

Everything has been bagged up and will go into the freezer. Nothing more exciting than that. The house is clean and there’s meals in the freezer.

It’s all about saving money, even if I broke my fast.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

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Are we saving enough for retirement?

Pension-saving

Hello Dear Reader,

Whilst we’re in the middle of our month long fiscal fast we take the time to re-evaluate our long term finances. As retirement in the UK is at 67 year, then our desires to retire at 60 are effectively hoping to take early retirement. We know we’ll have to revisit those desires nearer the time but our aim is to be financially able to put our feet up sooner than most working people. In the meantime, we carry on as if we might have to work until we’re 67 so we’re not disappointed if we can’t.

Currently, we have made the decision to live on a lot less so we are used to having to do with less money. I’m sure it must be a real shock if people lose their job, get made redundant or retire on a small income if they are not used to budgeting at best or in some cases being frugal to make a small income go a long way. We’ve lived this way since 2009 and always take the cheapest low cost route to what ever we hope to achieve so we can put aside as much as we can into savings and investments. We don’t take the ‘we’ve worked for it, so we deserve it’ attitude and keep reminding ourselves that we can have the money now or when we’ve retired but we can’t have both. Whilst we’re young and fit we can chop wood, dismantle pallets, make the physical time and effort to buy second hand or get what we need for free. We may not have the health for that in our seventies so are making the most of the masses of energy we have now.

So, we live with free TV (no Sky package), get the cheapest energy tariffs, reduce our water and energy consumption, only buy what we really need and then supplement that we freecycle, charity shops and gumtree. We mend everything and always shop in the cheapest supermarkets. Every month, we manage to over pay the mortgage, even if it’s only by £75 off the capital and aim most months to over pay another £100. We aim to pay off our mortgage as soon as we can so we can then direct the money we would have previously put into our mortgage into further topping up our pensions. We also add a proportion of our salaries into savings every month and budget judiciously for every penny we spend.

Pensions always look good at the time but as they are a fixed income well into the future, we know however much we’ll have put aside, it’s probably not going to be enough and we’ll have to spend the rest of our lives economising, making do and being as thrifty as possible. So, there’s no use us getting used to wall to wall central heating, deep hot baths and frequent new clothes as we’ll not be able to afford them when we’re retired.

Also, like a lot of people, we didn’t start paying into pensions early enough. Just the same as a lot of people, we didn’t have decent well paid jobs and there were no pensions attached to our jobs that we could pay in to. Now, all employers have to provide a pension service and everyone should pay in although we all know the reality isn’t that great for everyone. If I was going to give advice it would be, if you have spare money that you would choose to spend on a holiday or new car, then it might be better off going into a pension unless you can afford both a ‘treat based’ life style and a pension. It’s probably likely that most people need to make some tough financial decisions that they may not like if they don’t want to live hand to mouth as a pensioner.

If you can, start early at least earlier that I did at 38! The sooner you start then the sooner you can retire as you’ll have a private pension that you’ll have saved into. I’m not counting how long I have until I retire as I don’t want to wish away my days so I’ll take each one as it comes and just keep saving.

In case you’ve arrived here today for the first time, we are not all dull. We lost a very close relative and took some money we inherited (£25K) and bought a second home with it. We didn’t just put the lot into our mortgage as we wanted a life as well as saving. We also spend £1600 a year on ferries and as little as we can on renovating our second home in our holidays. We’ll then rent out our UK property when we retire and add that income towards our pensions. Frugal I can do, penury I can’t.

On balance, we have a bit of fun, spend a bit of money on ten weeks of holidays a year and balance that out with saving the rest and doing what we do as that ideal of retiring at 60 is still a real dream for us. It’s not all dull, I think we’d curl up with boredom if we saved every possible penny every single month and have trips away to look forward to. I know we’re lucky that we can make these decisions but we could choose to live it up every month, have new clothes every month, live in a bigger house, have the central heating on when ever and eat steak at the weekend but we choose to save for the long term instead of spending in the immediate.

Now over to you, share your retirement stories, your retirement plans. Is anyone living really frugally now in necessary preparation so you can afford to retire at all? We all work so hard in this busy modern world, we’ll all need a break sooner or later and there’s a tiny minority who don’t have to make financial sacrifices to afford that.

I always look forward to hearing from you.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Funny frugal ways 


Hello Dear Reader,

Apologies for the grainy photograph of my wood stove and the laundry. It’s one of our (that’s you and me lovvie) funny frugal ways that we spend evenings looking at drying clothes and don’t mind. Some of the odd things we do including collecting pallets for kindling, pulling newspapers out of the recycling bins for fire lighting, picking up pine cones on dog walks for firefighters and thinking nothing of having big baskets of kindling wood in the lounge and not care what it looks like. 

It’s reached that time of year when keeping warm becomes a real focus. We try as much as possible, not to use our central heating or tumble drier and predominantly don’t. We heat one area then open or close doors to move warmth around. We watch the weather reports and dry outside even through the winter and finish off in front of the fire. 

We know our funny frugal ways are time consuming but we always watch the odd quid here and there so we don’t mind the extra time life takes. 

Over to you then. We’ve all got our funny frugal ways, care to share yours ?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Close your purse and eat your leftovers


Hello Dear Reader,

Day ten and no spending. I fished a pot of frozen casserole out of the freezer and added some chunks of swede that I cooked and popped in the microwave. As I’m officially saying it’s like winter, we had a big serving of mashed potato to go with it.

Food bills can creep up at this time of year as it’s getting colder, getting darker and we get home from work and we’re tired and we need grab and go food some time. It’d be too easy to pick up a takeaway or something easy from the supermarket but having something in the freezer makes things easier.

I’ve also got a bag of stuff to keep me busy and the dark is making me sleepy and getting me to bed earlier.

Who’s still with me and the not spending.

We’ve got this.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

No spend week


Hello Dear Reader,

I love a Friday night fakeaway, tonight we’ve had some pollock as it’s a sustainable and cheap fish at only £3.99 a kilo and only requires a sprinkle of chickpea flour and popping in a hot oven. Some homemade chips and a tin of mushy peas between us.

Other than our groceries, it’s been a week of no spending. This weekend will be filled with free entertainment and I’m busy quilting, we have family coming to stay and we’re hoping for good weather on Sunday to get out for a long walk. No money has been spent and we’re not spending any this weekend either.

Not spending doesn’t do us any harm, we’re not suffering, we’re warm and well fed and happy enough. What it does do is reaffirm that we don’t need a lot.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Meatless meals 


Hello Dear Reader,

This has got to be one of my most favourite meals and it’s utterly delicious. Saag aloo and sweet corn fritters. I cheat a bit and make this a bit differently but here’s my recipes.

Sweet corn fritters.

1 tin sweet corn

1 small onion, finely diced,

75g of plain flour, mine was gluten free.

3 beaten eggs.

Season well with salt and pepper.

1 small bunch of fresh coriander roughly chopped. Combine all ingredients to a chunky batter.

Heat a pan with 5mm of vegetable oil and use a large spoon to drop a couple of spoonfuls to form a large fritter. Do not turn over until one side is completely cooked. 

Saag Aloo – this is a fragrant and very tasty side dish that we eat on its own.

500g of floury potatoes cut into cubes.

1 medium onion finely chopped 

3 cloves of garlic, gained diced.

Lazy ginger and chilli – I got mine in tubes from Aldi. I used a heaped tablespoon of each.

Tablespoon of whole grain mustard.

1 bag of baby leaf spinach.

Water to cook. 

You will need to start by gently frying the onion, keep the heat low and add the ginger, chilli and garlic. Add the chopped potatoes and cook really gently with just enough water to cook them. After ten minutes, they should be softened but not over cooked. Stir in the mustard. Wash the spinach and pat dry, and stir through so the spinach wilts.

We were famished this evening so I added some brown rice too. The whole supper was ready in under thirty minutes and it’s one of our cheapest meals.

What’s your favourite meatless meal?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Keep it shut

                                                  

Hello Dear Reader,

There is nothing better than a shut purse! Even better an empty one. Most days, I don’t carry any cash and can’t and won’t just pop off and spend money. When you have to plan your spending and you consciously think about what you do with money, you hold onto it as much as possible. No one has an easy job these days and money doesn’t just land in our laps so we all need to be careful with every penny we earn. 

This is day three of my month long no spend and  each day of having nothing in my purse reminds me that there’s more to life than consumerism. I’ll keep my purse clamped shut until November. How are you doing this month?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Thrifty winter hobbies

                                       

Hello Dear Reader,

2/10/2017 – no money spent. I’m at my sewing machine tonight. Hundreds of little squares in a chain. I’m quilting and I hope to use my spare time to make another king sized quilt this month.


My lumie daylight lamp means I can sew and see what I’m sewing in the dark. I’ve got the radio on and I love the gloomy autumn and winter evenings as I’m found in my sewing room making something.

Two days down, 29 to go of my no spend month.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Welcome to my no-spend month

keep-calm-and-don-t-spend-money

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s October and doesn’t it come round really quickly. Every year, I have a fiscal fast in October. I buy food from the supermarket which I cook at home and fuel for the car to get to work and that’s it. I don’t take any cash from the cash point and neither of us spend any money on anything except: direct debits for bills and household running costs, food,  and fuel until the 1st of November. Our autumn half term break is in October and we don’t spend any money then either. No charity shops, no ebay buys, no outlet purchases no matter how much of a bargain. Any sales that pop up in emails will be deleted unopened and our purses will stay firmly shut.

We’ve prepared with toiletries and cleaning materials for the month and there’s nothing we need that we don’t already have. We don’t eat out more than once in a very blue moon anyway and the same goes for a takeaway. I bought some new work shoes yesterday from Clarks online outlet so if you see me collecting them (click and collect doesn’t incur a delivery charge) from the local store, I’ve already confessed that all £28 of them (half price) was paid for on the last day of September.

You might wonder why we do this. When we were seriously in debt from 2009 –  2011, we lived like this every day. We stopped spending on anything but necessities completely until we were debt free and this month of non-spending realigns our priorities towards saving. Most weeks for us are non-spend weeks and our only expenses are food and fuel but we all have our downfalls. We love books and trawl charity shops for books and we’ve got plenty we haven’t read yet so we don’t need any more. I’m a quilter and have enough fabric for current projects and I aim to complete some unfinished projects this month. So, like anyone, I’m liable to spend money when I don’t need to and this month reminds me that I already have all I need.

Don’t feel any need to join in or tell me why you can’t join in as what you spend or don’t spend is entirely up to you. I will however share with you how I’ll manage this for the month. I must admit that I do most of them any way.

  1. Take tea bags and coffee to work everyday and make my own.
  2. Take my own lunch to work every day.
  3. If we go out, take a flask and packed lunch. We love a car picnic even if it’s wet and cold.
  4. Complete craft projects with resources we already have.
  5. Invite friends to share our food with us and accept invitations to share with them.
  6. Use up what we have: toiletries, fragrance, cleaning materials and long life food such as tins.
  7. Don’t go into any shops other than the supermarket for a month.
  8. Keep busy with the jobs that need doing at home.
  9. Long weekend walks on the moors or beaches at low tide.
  10. We moved any money we didn’t need when we were paid in September straight into savings so we didn’t have any money to spend other than food and fuel. We know the exact amount each month that goes out of direct debits, including standing orders to savings accounts so we always know the amount that can be spent. We moved that amount.

 

It won’t be easy, it never is! Sometimes, I forget and start to plan meeting up with friends and then have to rethink with a no-spend alternative such as a walk and then back to their place or my place for coffee and something homemade. Something will be needed and I’ll just have to grin and bear it until the end of the month.

So, he’s to a month of tight waddery, skin flintery and frugality. Let the annual no spend month commence.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

 

Still frugal after all these years?

proud to be different

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve been at this money saving malarky for quite a while now to the point that I forget that I might be a bit different. You see, I don’t consider that I live a frugal, austere life with any deprivations at all. I live, in my own opinion, really well. I have hot water every day, I eat three healthy meals a day, I put on clean clothes every day, we are warm, we have hobbies, ten weeks holiday and have savings. I’m more than happy with that lot and consider that we are very fortunate indeed.

I’m a delayed gratifier. I don’t need a take out to save me from cooking, I don’t need new clothes to cheer me up, I don’t need a bit or retail therapy to brighten my day and I don’t need bought and paid for entertainment. My gratification will come one day in the future when I’ve saved for it and don’t owe Santander any money for our mortgage. It’ll also come when we’ve paid fully into our pensions and savings funds. I have nine years until I retire and that might seem a very long term to get the rewards of all that saving but I’m patient enough to just keep on keeping on until I get there.

You might think, it’s ok having holidays but what about the other 42 weeks of the year……who wants to stay home and just amuse themselves for 42 weeks? Well, that’ll be me! I can amuse myself for hours without spending any money and can’t think of anything nicer that being at home or getting out for a walk somewhere quiet and natural.

It seems increasingly less popular to save and to wait and go without. I don’t mind that I’m the odd one out, when other than our mortgage, we have no debts of any kind and haven’t since 2011. We’ve been five and a half years debt free and have no intention of ever borrowing any money ever again. If we can’t afford it then we can’t have it until we’ve saved up for it.

That changes all of our perspectives. Now, if we need a ‘new’ household item, we’ll go without for months waiting to see if we can get one on freecycle, one of the bigger charity shops that sell reconditioned or being sold locally and for very little on ebay. We really only buy what we need and then make do with what we have making a point of not replacing something until it’s beyond repair. If something needs doing then we just have to do it ourselves. Changing our perspectives means we never have to keep up with the Jones. That’s a relief I can tell you.

As I was saying, I forget most of the time that I’m any different but when I remember I know it’s ok.

Over to you my lovely. Do you forget that being thrifty, frugal, prudent or financially cautious makes you different?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx