It all adds up!

 Hello Dear Reader,

Tonight, I’m welcoming you into my home to see how I save money. I’ve been doing this for years; it’s a constant struggle against the rising cost of living and every year, I have to use less, just to pay the same. We buy less food, but our bill is still the same. We use less energy and our bill is just the same. I’ll start with laundry. Our washing machine is AAA rated and uses the least water, soap and electricity, well it was when I bought it. It has probably been superseded by a more efficient  machine but it’s a Bosch and will last me ten years, so it will have to do. We don’t own a tumble drier and I watch the weather, any break in the weather, with a bit of a breeze and I can get the ‘worst of it’ dried outside. I’ll then dry it on racks in the house. I use the winter sun through the large picture windows. You may ask if this causes damp or mould. Yes it does and I clean it up all the time so it doesn’t have a chance to harm me. Also, we open the windows every day and ventilate the house as much as we can. Laundry only gets washed when it’s dirty. It gets sniffed, worn again, and worn again. Jumpers, jackets ect. can go weeks and weeks. They get aired, spot cleaned and they are fine. Towels get hung over the banister and washed at the end of the week. We just have a feel of them and take the driest one!

 I always keep a flask by the kettle. If I boil too much water, it gets popped into the flask. When I wash up, I add that to the bowl or if I want a coffee, which doesn’t have to be boiling (unlike tea, which must be freshly drawn and freshly boiled), then I’ll use the water from the flask. It’s a little thing, but it saves on water and energy. If it’s just me, then I measure one cup of water into the kettle. I’m always careful.

Of course, we operate a ‘if it’s yellow’ policy. We use hand washing water for the toilet. In fact, any old spare water goes down the toilet. If I wash the floor then the water gets used to flush the loo. If I’ve peeled veg or spuds, then in the summer the water goes straight on the garden and the peelings into the compost. The South West of England is provided water by South West Water and we have no choice of where to buy it, and it is the most expensive water in the country. (£4.49 per cubic metre of water/1000 litres) So, we are careful! it’s a simple thing to do if you have a meter. I also use a beaker of water when I clean my teeth, I’ve even worked out that I only need to half fill that and that’s enough. We also have a shower timer and I can shower in about three minutes – if I wash my hair then I fill the sink with water and wash it in there, the final rinse to get rid of the conditioner happens in the shower. I  have long hair and the shower would be running for an age if I did it in there. I could turn the shower on and off but I couldn’t stand the cold before the hot!

I also watch my electricity consumption. Halogen lights in the kitchen eat electricity so I had Dearly Beloved fit low energy bulb fittings under the work top. We also have spot lights in the hall way, we don’t use them! We have an eco bulb in the upstairs hall way, which lights our way. The toaster, oven, shower, kettle use huge amounts of energy, as does the washing machine and the dishwasher. We are very careful with those. When we have enough daylight, we can use a solar charger to charge batteries and run some small appliances off them, such as camera and phone charger. I also have a battery run light. They are small savings and seem inconsequential but they all add up.

Well Dear Reader, what do you watch like a hawk? What have you got your beady eye on? Do you run a tight ship with a careful budget? Or do you need to?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs

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27 thoughts on “It all adds up!

  1. You are an inspiration, Froogs. I have mentioned the “if it's yellow” policy in our house, but my mother says it will stain the toilet. Do you find any problems with this?

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  2. Hi Froogs
    Try the meditarranean (spelling?) style of showering. Everyone that visits there complains that the shower doesn't hang from the wall or ceiling. Its hand held. You make yourself wet, then turn it off and do your scrubbing, then on again to rinse. Uses next to nothing which is useful in a country where it doesn't rain for months, but we find it useful home here as well.
    Lizzie

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  3. what a fantastic idea using a solar charger i will have to get myself one, which one do you recommend? Is your beloved as frugal as you?? Or do you have a struggle with him ? Initially my hubby struggled without his Sky TV but he is now in full swing with been frugal.

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  4. Hi Jayne – DB and I are definitely in this together! He rarely spends any money and his hobby is scouring the auction house for cameras and radio which he knows he can sell on ebay at a profit, he uses the profit to buy what we need, which again, we buy at a discount through ebay – he shops for clothes on ebay and at charity shops – he makes things for me, he mends things for me, he researches how to mend things on unlikely places such as youtube – he eats what ever I cook, he never spends money on anything without us talking about it – we're the frugal team!

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  5. Hello Froogs. You're fortunate to have some of the things you have (big windows for drying washing in the sun, long bannister for towels etc)..I am envious. Our house is rubbish for such things. I would definitely be looking for ways to save money on energy with the next house we go for – whenever that might be.

    I was delighted to read Lizzie's post because that is the way I shower and I never knew that it was the “Mediterranean” way! Makes sense though.

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  6. Hi – I want a simpler life – this is the third house we've bought together and we've never bought a house that didn't have a north south aspect, didn't have big windows, and didn't meet certain ecological needs – such as somewhere to dry clothes or hang clothes, my old victorian house had high ceilings and I had a clothes line on the upstairs hallway

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  7. Brilliant idea about having your flask next to the kettle! I have a flat top logburner and bought an old aga kettle from ebay, cheap because it wasn't a “pretty ” one and this goes on top of the burner to boil the washing up water as well as making hot drinks. Have you ever tried cooking on yours?

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  8. I make a pot of tea with one teabag for two of us, it usually does two large mugs (his is much larger than mine). Then I leave the teabag in for the next pot. I try to remember which is the old teabag!

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  9. Oh how I miss a bannister to dry things on (we live in a bungalow now) – I used to hang duvet covers, sheets and towels (the latter both between uses and after laundering) on the bannister to dry. We don't have a tumble drier either so, like you Froogs, I wait for the weather or dry indoors on an airer. Glad we don't have to be quite as concerned to reduce water consumption as you – we don't have a meter, but I guess it's something we'd just get used to – we are very mindful of water consumption on camping trips and manage that without difficulty. I like the idea of a flask next to the kettle and will try and incorporate this into my routine.

    I noticed you use liquid soap – is this one of your little luxuries or have you found a really inexpensive brand? I use Aldi's sea minerals bath foam (55p for 1 litre) and decant it into a 300 ml soap dispenser – although I've noticed that Morrison's value bath foam is 40p per litre and I'll try that next time – and I find that it washes just as well as the real thing – that's 10 x 300ml bottles of handwash for £1.65 which works out at 16.5p per bottle (cheaper again if I get the Morrison's brand next time.

    Keep the money saving tips coming, I'm pleased when I know that other people are employing the same tactics as me and even more pleased when I pick a new frugal tip up from your blog. Thanks Froogs.

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  10. @ knitty – it must be soooo hard when you're not both pulling in the same direction on matters frugal like Froogs and her OH but please don't give up, my OH has always been frugal and I wasn't – I've only started to sharpen up my act recently and realise how frustrating it must have been for my OH all those years – something may happen which will allow the scales to fall from you OH's eyes. Good luck.

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  11. I've just realised that my 5 year old washing machine that takes forever to fill with water (I don't know why) is costing me heaps of money in electricity. Now I bucket fill it everytime I am able to for every cycle it goes through. I can actually do 2 or 3 loads a day and that also means that I get the optimum drying time outside. Cherrie

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  12. I love your blog, Froogs. Have to admit I've been lurking here for a very long time. I'm going off the subject to ask you a personal question. If you don't want to answer, I certainly understand.

    I live in the coastal bend of Texas where we receive English programs on our Houston PBS station. (Just getting the second series of Downton Abbey.) During the past few months, they have started the Doc Martin series.
    Now, it's one of my favorites.

    The port where it was taped is so beautiful. I decided to research it's location. While reading about Port Issacs and the shows that have been taped there, it occured to me “that's near where Froogs lives!” Or, at least I think it might be. It also made me smile, because I think you look like the actress who plays Doc Martin's wife, Louisa. Is this in your area of England?

    Also, thank you for the video Christmas wishes. Did you know that you write with a Texas accent?
    Now, how do you do that? 😉

    Even though I am retired and practice the frugality I was taught by my mother, your blog provides me with many more ways to save. Thank you and your blogging community.

    Best wishes for the New Year. And, by the way, retirement from teaching school is great!!!

    M.Middleton/Texas

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  13. There is a shower head you can buy ($8 at Home Depot here in the States) It has a small lever that turns the shower off and a very fine spray – I have measured how much water I use with this method – one and a half gallons for one shower.
    I have a Killawatt and figured that the clock on my microwave cost $3 per annum. I have never unplugged it as the plug is in a high cupboard but at least I know how much it is costing me.

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  14. Here is my recipe for foaming soap.
    Foaming soap recipe
    3 tablespoons liquid hand soap or 3 tablespoons liquid hand dishwashing soap (fairy liquid?)
    2/3 cup warm water
    Directions:
Gently mix soap with water. Do not shake. 
Pour into foam soap dispenser.
    It works great.

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  15. We have very hard water where I live and i find that liquid soap means an easier clean up. A question for you Froogs. We recently had to have the plumber come and clean out the drains. He told us it was because we did not use enough water! Any suggestions welcome.

    Because I live in south eat Queensland almost everything is line dried. How I hate hanging things in the baking hot sun. I can burn even using the undercover lines we have strung up. We have solid hot plates and I find I can finish cooking on residual heat. My father has Alzheimer's and I spend my days closing doors etc to keep the air con bill as low as possible. Fortunately we have had just a few very hot days so far this summer.

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  16. Morning Froogs, we have always had to be very careful with water our state of Perth in Western Australia is always on water restrictions.In the shower we a cut off tap so when we are wet just use the tap to turn off the water wash then turn it back on the water temp stays the same.Its some thing my husband made up,all our shower heads are water savers and we get government rebates for this also water tanks. Thanks frogs,Jo a

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  17. I do admire the way you can save money and live a very full life. I like to read blogs like yours and follow some of the tips but my cause is more about not wasting rather than a real need to save money , sorry if that sounds a bit show off.
    I do cook from scratch every day, limit use of electrical items etc but find it hard to persuade my teenagers that the planet can only support so much.
    The other thing I find differ cult is time – I work about 50 hours a week and can't be there to hang out washing at good times etc
    Hope you don't mind being followed by some one that wants rather than needs to save the pennies
    Anna

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  18. You've made me realise how much I miss bannisters!!

    None in this house, the last one or even the next one (it's a bungalow). I used to always dry my towels and also duvet covers and sheets over the large bannister at my house when the boys were growing up, what better way to use all that lovely warm air that rises through your house, and things dry so much faster opened out and flat and never need ironing.

    Sue xx

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  19. Wow! I didn't know we showered the Mediterranean way either. We don't actually have a shower, sloping ceilings, small cottage etc not possible. We have a hand held shower thingy, climb in the bath kneel down whoosh with water, soap, wash and whoosh off. Was a pain, but needs must, and we have now been doing that for 10 years. It's what you get used to.. Froogs thanks for all your inspiration.

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  20. Focusing on food this year I've cooked more in the past 3 week than the whole of last year…emptied cupboards and freezer…saved enough to make a big extra student loan payment….lost a few pounds too…thanks for all your inspiration Froogs!!!

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  21. hi froogs
    i have just recently found your website and think its great so many ideas.Today i made soap put it into silicone cup cake moulds they look brill just cant wait to use them(six weeks) wish i'd found your site before christmas!

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  22. Would love to know how you deal with mould, Froogs. This is a perpetual problem in Greek houses – lack of proper insulation being the main cause. It drives me mad, because it is unhealthy & unsightly, but whatever I do I just can't get rid of it! We have very high ceilings, so washing it off all the time is pretty difficult, and no heating in the upstairs rooms (other than expensive reversible aircon) so all suggestions gratefully received.

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  23. Hi Helen – I use a spray bottle with quite a strong solution of bleach and water, I spray any mould and keep up with it as I see it. I get it round the windows so I clean the frame and round the edge of the hall and bathroom, I repaint the bathroom almost annually and clean and touch up the hall way, everyone has a problem with mould in cornwall as it's very damp and warm all the time. Our usual winter weather is on average about 10 degrees our summer rarely warmer than 30, so very ambient temperatures. I'm at work when I can open windows but I open the windows when ever I can, Now I have a real fire, it draws the air towards it, circulating the air. If you have an old Greek house, then I imagine it has a fireplace, try and use it as much as you need and can afford, it will really help dry the house out. I have less mould since I've had the fire mended and I can use it.

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  24. Thanks very much for the tip. We actually have a new Greek house, which we designed ourselves with summer heat in mind – ie very high ceilings and large, airy rooms. The actual building was done by a local firm, who did not have a clue how to insulate properly, hence the problem. We have a wood burning stove, which helps a lot in the downstairs rooms (supplemented by the fan on the aircon to blow the warm air through) but upstairs is the biggest problem for mould, particularly in our bathroom & bedroom. We keep windows open as much as possible, but the last few weeks have been very wet, so not able to do so. I use bleach as well, but hadn't thought of spraying it on – will give that a whirl. We've redecorated throughout 3 times in the 5 years we've been here, which is ridiculous, and I'm really fed up with the mould – which everyone here has to some extent, too. Our temperatures range from as low as 6-8 (at the moment) to around 35+ in the summer.

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