Frugal refresher for five days!

Hello everyone,

No photos today I’m afraid. I’ve been catching up on all of your blogs tonight and came over all whimsical when I read Vintage Vixen’s blog tonight. I remembering actually saying to the poor teacher who ran ‘Careers’ at school that when I grew up that I wanted to be Stevie Nicks. I was 15, a mouth on sticks and had an answer for everything! Poor old fart didn’t even know what I was talking about. I think I said I wanted to be a nurse so I could laugh at lots of willies as well……….I think I had to stand outside his office for an hour after school. I was well known in the corridors of my comp!

We’ve just paid the first of our ‘repayments’ on our mortgage after having a interest only mortgage for a few years! Previously, we always had a repayment and then stupidly took out a stupidly large mortgage. I’ve had to gird my loins and dig deep in the frugal repertoire to do this but I will get this house paid for. I can pay up to 10% of the balance a year and I’m going to get 21.5K paid off in 12 months!!! It will nearly starve and freeze us but I’m going to do it!

I thought I would share some of my truly, deeply frugal ideas with people. Some of you reading this may have logged onto ‘Frugal Queen’ for the very first time today. Over the next seven days, I will be sharing five frugal facts about me every day. Here are today’s.

HOW I SAVE MONEY ON THE COSTS OF WATER – Get a water meter. In my water region, South West Water charge £1400 a year for un-metered water per year. Since having a meter I’ve reduced the amount of water I consume every quarter. I now pay under £300 a year for my water.

Here are my five frugal money savers to cut my water bill by £1100 a year!

1. PERSONAL HYGIENE Stop having baths! I am a bath addict. I can’t think of any thing more delicious than a bubbly bath. Now I only shower. Baths are for birthdays and special days. Get a timer in your bathroom (five minutes are all I allow myself). I can wash shoulder length hair in five minutes. I wet my hair, then turn the water off. I then soap it and rinse. I don’t do what the bottle says and wash it twice!!! It’s a con to sell more shampoo!!! Also, I don’t condition! That again is just a con to sell you something you don’t need!!!! It will condition itself after a few hours! I don’t wash my hair, or myself in the shower every day! I shower every other day. I wash my hair every other shower! I keep it clean by clipping  it up and not touching it. Most of the grease on your hair is off your hands.

2. USING GREY WATER Place a bowl under every tap. Every time I wash my hands, or my face or my teeth, the water gets used to flush the toilet. In the kitchen, the water gets taken outside in the summer and poured onto the garden. Make sure some of the water goes down the plug or your drains will block! I also use a large plastic box, or you could use an old baby bath if you have one or get given on, to stand in whilst you are in the shower. I then pour that into watering cans and water the garden. I have run out of rain water from the butts so I really need this water for my veggies. We use homemade natural soap and not much shampoo and very few chemicals, and as I’ve eaten the veg, I may be proof that this is harmless.

3. THE LOO If it’s yellow……….We don’t flush pee. We only flush poo. Plus, any hand washing water gets poured down the loo. It’s a sin to throw pure drinking water down the toilet so use second hand water. I placed a brick and a water hippo in each cistern, so I’ve reduced the huge flush in my old style loo by one third.

4. THE WASHING MACHINE – we replaced our top loader, after we’d sold it on eBay, with a triple AAA class front loader, which we chose, not only due to using very little energy but because it used the least water. We place a full size plastic bin next to it. I put the hose from the machine on the side of the bin, to pump the rinse water into the bin. If you use Eco soap powder, which I do sometimes, you can pump all of the water into a bin, or water butt and use it on  the garden. I’ve eaten all of the veg which has been watered by the washing machine waste water and I’m alive.

5. SAVE ALL THE RAIN YOU CAN – Buy as many water butts as you can afford. A good rainy day will fill them and each butt represents a saving of £10 for SWW customers. When it really really rains, I put pots, buckets, pans, in fact any thing that will catch the rain. I use an old bin too, if the butt is full, then I pour the water from the butt into the bin and let the next rain storm fill it up again. Use the rain to rinse the car when you wash it, even to wash the car and windows.

I’ll be back tomorrow with five more frugal refreshers of how I reduce my living costs and I’m able to pay off debts at a huge rate and now over pay my mortgage at (fingers crossed) 10% a year.

Until tomorrow,

All my love,

Froogs xxxx


29 thoughts on “Frugal refresher for five days!

  1. So many wonderful hints! I will take them all to heart. And……I would have loved to have known you in high school, but I am afraid I would have been teaching you! I am that much older than you. I started teaching in 1970 and only lasted two years. I was a lousy teacher. My parents thought teaching was the best option, so I studied that. I wanted to be a journalist. My folks laughed. I needed a bit more gumption in my teen years. I needed to be a bit more like you then and now! You go girl!!!


  2. Good luck in paying off that amount of mortgage.

    keep your eyes on the prize.


    P.S. Teaching was the last job I wanted to do and yet here I am teaching and loving it. What a great profession we belong to..and not badly paid either.


  3. Good luck with the mortgage payments.

    I never wanted to teach but in the early 60s there was no guidance. I really should have done something with geography or biology but nobody mentioned these two best subjects. My art teacher wanted me to go to art college but my Mum didn't think it was a 'safe' career so I did business studies instead. What a bore and waste of time but I did have some good and very varied jobs in both public and private sectors.


  4. I have to echo Mary's question and add my own silly observation. Why is water so expensive? Is it all of the UK or just in your area? Or is it that way in all of Europe? I ask because my French teacher in high school used to tell us that people in Europe drank their beverages warm without ice, because there wasn't a lot of water. And we never understood how there can not be a lot of water. Is any of this valid?
    Sorry that I'm always asking such questions. Love all your practical tips and look forward to every post!


  5. Water is expensive as many shareholders need to be paid. There is certainly no shortage of water in the UK (in general – sometimes it doesn't rain for a couple of weeks and people panic). A lot of water is wasted by the water supply companies through leaks that don't get fixed in time. Also for some weird reason a lot of water in the UK is collected in surface water reservoirs and not much ground water is used here. Seems very weird and wasteful.
    I am thankfully not on a water meter, but on a shared water supply with the neighbour's house and therefore only pay £240/year (gotta love Victorian Houses sometimes). But as I come from a very dry area of Germany, we were drilled since Kindergarden how to safe water – mostly the same tips as you have mentioned in your blog.
    Looking forward to reading more from your blog – you mention that you use natural soap, do you make it yourself?


  6. Cost of water varies in all parts of the UK. Each area has a privately owned water company and they charge what they like. Here in the South West, we have, water poverty. Kids are dirty, real dirty, their clothes are dirty and they smell bad as their families, on welfare, can't afford the water. It's not the same everywhere but south west water is the most expensive water. I am proof though, that you can be frugal and clean. When my kids were at home, I used to have to pay 10 month payments for un metered water so I could keep them clean. It's expensive due to capitalism and people owning the water making massive profits!


  7. i am very lucky,as i don't have to pay for my water,as i rent a unit,but it is very rare that i'm not being charged,and my rent is very low as well,but water rates are very high here in Adelaide for home owner's !i'm looking forward to the week's frugal hint's,xx


  8. Mary Bailey, that was a funny comment by your teacher (or maybe you remembered incorrectly??) Why would warm drinks use less water than ice? Why would a water shortage mean people wouldn't freeze water?

    FQ: well done. And thanks for these tips. My goal is to have my mortgage paid off and a large super (pension) fund and no debts and my house “done up” and 3 trips o/s by the time I'm 55 – 10 years away. I'm not as frugal and focused as you but you give me daily inspiration.


  9. HI frugal queen thats great going if you can pay £21,000 of your mortgage in 12 months. Wish I could. I would be mortgage free in about 3 & a half years & by age 40!.
    Our combined incomes from both of us amount to £20,592. It could be done if I didnt eat!,wash,never use electricity gas!
    Its tough though paying the mortgage & all the bits & peices. I try & do ebay to earn a few pennies. I think once child no 2 gets to secondary school a few more options will be open to add on that income. Well done on your frugal way x


  10. hi lynda, your local water butt rule is why capitalism is evil, that's God's water as far as I'm concerned – how dare greed get in God's way!. We are encouraged to have as many water butts as we can, even to use rain water to flush toilets or wash the car and usually to water the garden. Sorry Lynda, but they are just ripping you off. There would be mass civil disobedience if they did that to us and they wouldn't be able to police it.


  11. Water is expensive too in my area…
    Water is not private in France, but licensed to 2 major companies, which is quite the same, and the prices are not the same everywhere.
    In some areas, the cities want to make it a real public service, and the one who have already done it have extremely reduced the bills for their citizens !
    I'm extremely shocked to know there is “water poverty” in your area, what a nonsense ! Water should be available to everybody…


  12. Great frugal tips. We have a water butt as well. I belong to a running club and shower at the gym (£30 a year membership). Loads of work in your tips, but you demonstrate the frugal attitude for sure! I paid off one mortgage in 10 years and another in 8, and still flushed the loos, though granted it was about having income as well. My main bolster was: do I want to order pizza or pay off the house? Do I want a new dres or to pay off the house? Do I want a coke or to pay off the house? Focus and determination will move you forward to your goal. Best of luck on your mortgage!


  13. Hi. Well done! You are such good example to all of us. When you wash your hair, could you wet it with a jug of water from the sink and then add shampoo so that you only turn the shower on to rinse? It might shave almost a minute off that 5 minutes worth of shower….

    It takes 2 minutes for our shower water to come through warmish and another 3 for it to come through hot. It seems to take longer in the winter. I'm so thankful our water bill is cheaper than yours because although I don't mind warm showers (as opposed to hot), I hate cold showers. If we have a bath, we both go through the water and then I do a bit of handwashing in it.


  14. Isn't it funny that in this country the areas with the highest rainfall have the most expensive water? We were shocked when we moved from the South East to the West and the water cost doubled.


  15. I saw an “eco” toilet at the weekend which had a small basin on top of the cistern- the idea behind it was that you would wash your hands and then the water would be used directly to flush the loo. With an ever frugal head on I did wonder perhaps a bowl of water on top might do the same job…perhaps it's a step too far!


  16. I did have to smile at your comment about conditioning hair – trust me, it very much depends on your hair type – I lay off the conditioner for a few days and people will start asking me if I've accidentally stuck my finger in the electric socket! Agree wholeheartedly about the shampooing twice though – proper con that!


  17. Your post and many of the comments have made me really grateful that I live in Cumbria, which has more wet days than dry, and our unmetered water bill(drinking and waste)is only just over £200 a year on our little 2-bed ex-council semi.
    However, we save as much water as we can, and I do the same as you in the shower. I was told it was called a 'Navy Shower', as opposed to an Italian shower which is where you just spray on deodorant and don't wash at all, probably quite a common occurence down your way. 'Water poverty' is obscene, as is the banning of water butts in Colorado.
    Thanks for your brilliant blog – long may you inspire us all!


  18. Isn't it funny/strange what different names we all call a quick no-water wash? Really shows our prejudices. Sally, you said it was called an Italian shower, but where I'm from we call it an English shower.

    Either way, it's not something I could do for most of the year. Too hot!


  19. hi, i've been following for a while…found you from a comment about you on MSE. thanks for the remiders. we've just moved and are on a water meter for the first time. i hope it will cut costs, but my OH is not convinced of the need to be 'tight' with it. thanks for the inspiration!


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