Frugal refresher -day two: the easy stuff!

Thanks everyone for the comments yesterday. I know looking at your pee most of the day and carrying buckets of rain water around might seem a bit extreme but it’s not always about money. We have to look after this world too, all of us have to do our bit. My blogs this week are for the benefit of people who may have recently started reading or haven’t been following me for long. Between December 2009 and today, we have paid back almost £36K of personal unsecured debt and we took drastic steps to do it. Now, it all seems so easy but some of you who have to go on that journey may still be daunted by it. You will get there. If you’re reading, it’s would be lovely to know who you are and would be fantastic if you left a comment or became a follower.

Today is all about the easy stuff. Let me think about a once upon a time day for me in the distant past. I would go downstairs, open the door and get the milk in, pick up the paper off the door mat and go and eat cereal, with shop bought jam or marmalade and drink premium coffee. I would get to work and get a coffee out of the vending machine, may be buy a pastry or sandwich at lunch time. On the way home, I would pop into a central Sainsbury’s or city centre Tesco metro and pick up something for supper. Sometimes I would already have something at home, but I’d ‘fancy a change’. In the evenings, I might go to weight watchers or the gym and come home and use the Internet without caring what it cost me.

My first start is about the really easy frugal steps we can all take. There are so many but here are just a few that I used and still stick to.

1. Cancel all newspaper and magazine subscriptions. A paper a day and two magazines a week will cost you £624 a year. Now, we only read freegan mags and newspapers. Dearly Beloved commutes by train and will walk up and down the train when he gets on looking for mags and papers. We usually get one or the other every day.

2. If you buy lunch and a coffee a day at work, then you could be spending £840 a year on lunches and £600 a year on just one coffee a day. Take a packed lunch and a flask and save £1240 a year.

3. A cut and colour every other month used to cost me £70 and now I get Foster Mummy to cut it for me and I colour it. The colour I buy is £5 and I colour my hair once a month so I spend £60 a year on my hair. By ‘doing it myself’ I’ve saved £390 a year.

4. Make your own bread. Bread now costs £1.50 a loaf for ‘cheapy harry’ sliced white in some places and as cheap as 80p in others. I make bread for DB’s lunches. I make bread for 17p a loaf and as DB gets through two loaves a week, I’ve saved £138.32 a year.

5. Stop eating out and don’t buy take aways. We used to have a take away every Friday, either fish and chips or a ‘Chinese’. We could easily spend £15 to £20 a week, especially if we had a bottle of wine every Friday. As we don’t do this any more, we saved £1040.

I don’t miss any of the above, I don’t need them either and I now don’t know how people fall for the ‘you’re worth it’ marketing, which is actually saying ‘just give us your money for stuff you don’t need’. If you’ve added all of that up, in a year I managed to save, or should I say, stop spending!!! the sum of £3432.32 a year and if you know your tax codes, you will have worked out that it would have taken £5000 before tax just to spend that amount of money.

We still eat well, I still ‘have my hair done, I still have ‘artisan hand made bread’ on my table, we still read newspapers and magazines, we still eat every day but now we do it at a fraction of the price.


28 thoughts on “Frugal refresher -day two: the easy stuff!

  1. I do all this things too, I even go further since I don't use commercial dye for my hair, but henna which is even cheapest, it works because I have very few grey hair and I know I won't be able to do this when I have a lot, unless I want to have orange hair !


  2. You have done so well,i have only been on my journey since the begining of this year and as i think ive said before im hoping to be debt free late summer next year, money has been tight for at least the last 3 years since this recession first hit and i dont want to be like this anymore.Like you i dont miss some of the things you mentioned.I coupon and take advantage of supermarket glitches,
    I look forward to reading your blog and you are obviously seeing light at the end of the tunnel.Im still in the dark bit but at least i know im further along than i would have been.


  3. These tips are exactly the same as mine.
    Magazines are the worst, evil things designed to try and make you feel inadequate about your home/lifestyle and wardrobe so not only do you waste £3.50 on buying one you also get sucked into buying whatever they're advertising.
    Home made pizza is way superior to a greasy delivery one and a fraction of the price.
    My hair is home-coloured, too. I mix a quarter of the bottle of dye and apply it to my roots only, never the length of the hair. A Boots £3.06 colour works out at £1.02 every six weeks.
    Keep up the good work, you are an inspiration. x


  4. If anyone out there in blogland wants a free haircut too – do message me as I'm often out and about in different parts of the UK for seeing relatives, and I'll happily pack my hairdressing scissors with me! FMx


  5. I like my wine- our frugal solution was to get all the equipment from freecycle and bootsales and now we make our own.
    As a former subscriber to Country Living you soon realise that the mags do repeat after a while- I flick through the ones in the library or get ones from freecycle if I need a glossy hit.
    I borrowed a copy of The Takeaway Secret so should now be able to make my own homemade version!


  6. That`s what it`s all about, isn`t it? – doing everything you did before, but on the cheap. I think it`s important to feel that we don`t live a frugal life – we live a good life – frugally. Good for you, Froogs, for reminding us (not just the new followers) of that.


  7. That saving on bread is astounding. Ive just moved out of home and into a flat with my partner. Buying bread is becoming a tough point for us because we cant use a whole loaf and a trendy small loaf is too expensive as is all bread. And i hate to waste it and cant fit anything else into the freezer. Would you consider going through how and what you use to make your bread for 17p a loaf?
    I love your blog, it inspires me everyday.


  8. These are good reminders. I have been
    using many of your tips for simple living. It makes a big difference. I
    am on a fixed income and your advice has helped me change my way of thinking and doing things. I look forward to your post each day.


  9. I really admire you for coloring your own hair, as you seem to have quite a lot of it! It's always been a disaster when I've tried to color mine. Professional hair care is probably my one indulgence.

    I'm laughing at Vix's comment about magazines—“evil things designed to make you feel inadequate about your home/lifestyle/wardrobe”. So true!


  10. Thank you FQ for reminding me. I knew all of those things you mention —–but lately I have been slipping and have bought some newspapers and a magazine or two. AND some sliced bread when I know I can make far superior bread for a lot less! Happily I don't drink coffee so at least that wasn't on my list of idiocies. Even worse I have had the odd take away and I DIDN'T EVEN ENJOY THEM! It's so easy to lose sight of frugal goals if you are not paying attention. Thank you for the very timely reminder. This all stops NOW!


  11. I went even cheaper than coloring my own hair (actually, I never once had it done professionally)–I went gray! Surprisingly, I don't mind it at all. When I first started going gray, at about age 40, I had an ugly “halo” around my face–it has evened up a lot and I even have a white streak on my forehead! Of course, I'm 65 now. I always wore my hair short, and until they changed the packaging, I could use only 1/2 box of haircolor each month.

    Foster Mummy, if you are ever going to be in the U.S.–bring those scissors! What a nice offer.

    I love this blog.


  12. Great post,i do all that you are doing,just swapped from spending at the shop's,to making everything myself,and happy to see i still have some cash left in my wallet at the end of the fort-night,and that is a lovely feeling !! Carol


  13. So true. O was in the newsagents the other day, searching for ideas and as I left I heard the lady behind the cash register ask a customer – “So how much would you like to spend?” She was talking about lotto. I just thought – “If you're going to throw it away anyway why can't I have it because I never have $20 to throw awway.” Cherrie


  14. Always keeping us on our toes and inpiring us to save an extra dollar.
    To think all these things used to be common daily purchases.

    A bit of thought, a bit of maths and we see the eco-frugal light!


  15. Can I echo the bread sentiment? Please can we have a breakdown of your method?

    I agree about the magazines. They do tend to rotate the same info too after a short while.

    Weirdly ,people will tell you they cant afford to be frugal. My MIL often commented on our ways but was too 'busy' to do them herself


  16. These are all good suggestions to help our money go a little further especially in these hard times. And some expenses can easily be avoided as you said. 2 years ago we invested in a bread machine, after doing the maths we realised we could eat better quality bread for half the price and I've never looked back, besides eating better bread there's also less waste. When we go out we always take a picnic and drinks and leftovers are not wasted either, I keep them in containers in the fridge and once or twice a week we will make a meal using only leftovers and the list goes on.


  17. I dont know about libraries in the uk. but here in the u.s they are wonderful. Huge magazine section, dvds, cds, books, internet – reading rooms, coffee machine, clubs, movies, exhibits, wifi – you can order anything you want on line from a huge inter-library system and they remind you with a email when it arrives and when it is due back. My library is the number one bargain of my life. I cannot imagine anyone paying even half-price for books.
    I get streaming bbc on line – free another bargin.
    I also went grey as I dont like DIY color………..


  18. I went grey as well because I was almost white at the front but still really black at the back, which meant I could only use very dark colours so got roots after just a few days. It looks fairly dramatic so I don't mind.

    I have a breadmaker which I use overnight on cheap rate electricity but if I forget I find I am reluctant to run it during peak rate – which is crazy as it is still much cheaper and nicer than shop bread. But we are not always rational


  19. Thanks so much for posting about your debt busting! Although I don't have debt and tith being a SAHM I have to try and live frugally to make money go further. Thanks for your informative posts!


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