About frugalqueenblog

Blogger writing about all things thrifty who wants to save money wherever she can.

Love it, even when you hate it

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ll be honest, I don’t like my front door and I don’t like my back door either. Often, when we have something we don’t like we change it, sometimes at great expense. When looking around a prospective new house, some people won’t buy somewhere because of the door or the kitchen and convince themselves that ‘it’s not up to our standard.’ That’s very easy for us to overcome as I obviously have very low standards as I’ll live with anything if it’s: in good condition, it works, there’s nothing wrong with it and it does the job it’s intended to do. 

Then, when I’ve got past the fact that a door is a door then I’ll look after it like I love it. My doors, which I hate, get washed and wiped down every week to keep them in good condition. DB oils the locks and hinges also to keep them in good working order. I then give them a spray furniture polish to give the door a shine. Finally, the step gets scrubbed with hot soapy water and rinsed with a generous swoosh of cold water. 

So where am I going with this? We’re different aren’t we? We have what we have and just live with it as we don’t want to spend money on things we don’t need. We don’t waste a perfectly good door, sofa, table in the name of fashion, looks, what anyone thinks, the wow factor and never care a damn how old it is either. We respect function and we look after it as we know it’s good enough.

Now it’s your turn. Who else has something they really don’t like or even hate but take care of it?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Worried about the cost of food?

Hello Dear Reader,

I went to Lidl today and rising food costs are really concerning me. I can cook, we’re not fussed by what we eat and I try to feed us to get good nutrition for our money. The big price hikes are in good healthy food and that worries me for a lot of families. A tiny pack of stewing beef was four pounds and would just feed the two of us. I went straight to the reduced section and as I was there just as the store opened got a few affordable bargains. I bought a whole chicken for £2.70, and ten chicken drumsticks for £1.30 and reduced pork medallions, reduced sausages that at full price were £1.89 for six! A family would need maybe three packs? How is it that even sausages are expensive ?

I am also really concerned about the cost of fresh fruit and veg such as salad and apples. I paid £2.25 for six apples and that’s in Lidl which is cheaper than most.

I do stretch my budget so far that it squeaks. I buy frozen chicken normally and frozen cheap and sustainable fish like pollock. I buy frozen fruit like strawberries, raspberries and tinned fruit like apples. I defrost them and eat them with natural yogurt. I buy frozen vegetables and tinned veggies such as mushy peas and mushrooms. I also get plenty of protein from tinned fish and eggs and make dished like fish cakes and frittata. We also have plenty of meatfree days and I don’t know how any one can afford to eat it every day.

I also shop around in all the discount stores like Farmfoods, Lidl and Aldi and when I get there go straight for the reduced section and pop it in the freezer when I get home. The tuna and sweet corn is for sandwiches and for supper with baked potatoes. 

However, not all families will eat anything and not everyone will eat tinned or frozen and expecting people to simply change is really not easy. I wish there were cooking shows on TV that dealt with these genuine concerns as I’m sure families are just not coping. 

Over to you, what food worries do you have? What do you do to keep to your budget? 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxx

Keep it clean

Hello Dear Reader,

It seems a clean and tidy house is important to most of us and I’m not alone in my enjoyment of housework. I actually find it really relaxing.

I thought I’d share this cleaning schedule from Good Housekeeping.

You can print if you’d lik. Mine is printed and is on the back of my cleaning cupboard door.

Happy scrubbing xx
Love Froogs xxxxx

Tidy house, tidy mind, tidy wallet?

Hello Dear Reader,

When we moved into Thrift cottage back in 2013 we inherited someone’s kitchen, their taste and style. It’s not what I’d have chosen but it’s perfectly serviceable and will last for years to come. My cooker is on its last legs but whilst it can still function then it’ll stay just as it is. Every night, I give it a good clean and shine. Often we can convince ourselves that something needs replacing but we can bring it back to life by treasuring it and at the very least by keeping it clean. I’ve just noticed the mug ring on the left side and went straight down to wipe it off.

There’s something really satisfying about keeping a tidy house and personally, I find it both relaxing and satisfying. For me, it’s a brain dumping activity that keeps my brain in good order. Also, I’m really aware of the money it saves me as a house kept in good order lasts longer. 

Any other tidy people out there? It can’t be just me.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Just saved myself £237

Hello Dear Reader,

I am looking pleased with myself as I love a bargain. Just before Easter, I went to Specsavers, had my eyes tested and ordered two pairs of varifocals with one pair having tinted lenses. They duly arrived two weeks later and the prescription was incorrectly set and they offered to replace them in another two weeks or I could have a refund. I took my £326 and left.

I found a much better deal and went to Asda opticians with my prescription and spent £119 on branded advanced varifocals, that have three graded prescriptions in each lens and one pair are prescription sun glasses. They also sell generic glasses With any type of lens you require for £45. There are no extra charges unlike Specsavers who charge extra for: varifocals, anti-reflective coating, scratch resistant coating, thinner lenses or tinted lenses. 

Here’s my next bargain and why I’ve been extra thrifty this month of some eggshell paint for my vintage furniture in France. I had the intention of buying Farrow and Ball paint but just couldn’t bring myself to pay £60 for 2.5 litres of Old White paint. Instead, I bought a brand for half the price and had it tinted Oyster Shoal. Even then, I cringed at £30 for a tin of paint but it will transform the furniture and the armoire I’m hoping to buy in a couple of weeks. 

Even I have to spend money every now and then but when I do, I really like to my money’s worth.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Thrifty, the everyday normal?

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve been oh so frugal recently as I’ve had a lot to put money aside for. Tomorrow, I pick up my new glasses from Asda and yes, I did say Asda. Previously, I bought my glasses from spec savers but when I picked up my last pair and as they were incorrect again, I decided that I’d try elsewhere. Hopefully, they’ll be fine.

I’ve been busy having a deep clean of my ‘utility room’ which is actually the back porch with my laundry in it. I’ve cleaned the mouldy corners, the cobwebby corners and the grubby windows. It’s ready for a coat of paint and I’ll get it done on a dry evening. We sourced exterior paint as it’ll last longer. We do all we can to keep the cottage dry but the 100 year old walls seem to either soak up or retain moisture and the back porch isn’t heated so it gets grubby.

We’re still lighting our fire most evenings and we’re now burning plum tree wood from our neighbour’s tree that was cut down a couple of years ago. I’m still having to dry our laundry indoors now and then and even today, I had to rescue my laundry from the line today as the rain came down and wash finished in front of thestove. 

I broke my frugal fast today as I popped into a local charity shop when I returned from posting a letter and bought a lampshade for £1. Its adds a bit of cheap colour. The old shade will be recycled to France and be put to good use. I’m busy up cycling charity shop curtains into cushion covers that’ll also go with us on our next trip over in a couple of weeks. 

Like you, I upcycle, make do and mend, shop in charity shops and then recycle anything I can or donate on again. I keep an eye on every penny because this is normal, isn’t it?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

A few frugal thoughts 

Hello Dear Reader,

Sunday was my ‘big shop’ day. I know some of you have them and some of you scout round for bargains and know just where and when to shop and get the best prices. I occasionally saunter up to the Co op just before it closes but mostly I plan my shopping and rarely shop spontaneously.

I have a big choice of shops that all offer great prices on my way home from work, near my house and within a few minutes drive. I shop in Bodmin which is the neighbouring town just as the way of a change. Any way, I digress, but back to the frugal thoughts.

I can’t remember the last time I just walked into a shop and picked up what every I liked. Don’t get me wrong, I used to do that in another life but I certainly don’t now. I might have ketchup written on my list but I know when I get there I’m looking for the best value per 100g. If you have a few seconds, then look at the unit prices on the shelf prices. I’m so used to doing that now mental maths has really sharpened, I’m sure it’s as good as brain gym or puzzles. I even look at the back of loo rolls and look at how many square metres I’m getting per roll because sometimes the offers are not great. In most cases, I usually buy one up from the bottom price as that seems to get me the best value.

I’m also really on the ball when it comes to working out portion costs and will use a permanent marker to write on packs when I get home, such as frozen chicken breasts, to work out the unit price and then I can budget each meal. My average price of a main meal is £1 a head sometimes a bit lower or higher.

I also do a monthly shop in specific shops, for example, I can’t find better laundry products for the price anywhere but Lidl (and it’ s on my way home) £2.99 for 40 washes which is 7.5p per wash and the £1.99 2 litre bottle of fabric conditioner gives 66 30ml doses, so a mere 3p per rinse. So, roughly 10p in products to do each wash, I haven’t found anything as cheap or as good as that so far.  I’m like Carol Vorderman walking around shops these days.

Just the other day, we were in Asda and we eyed up the packs of sausages like hungry school children and couldn’t bring ourselves to pay £2.50 for 6 gluten free sausages! I immediately said out loud, I just couldn’t help myself, that’s 40p, or thereabouts per measly sausage! A whole chicken was £3.50 and gluten free………….I bought the chicken! Being thrifty and quick with numbers means I’ll pause before I buy, think of the unit price and often, just walk away as it’s not good value.

Before I go shopping, I do a few things. I check www.mysupermarket.com and make sure I can’t get what I want cheaper else where. If  shop in Asda, I use the price promise feature on their website and enter my receipt and get a refund voucher if I could have bought my groceries cheaper else where. I also use any vouchers that come through my door and use them to shop in Farm foods, conveniently next door to Asda to get 10% off my shopping.

I meant to post this on Sunday, whilst this was still in my mind but here it is today. Unusually, a bit random for me as just a few this and that thrifty thoughts came to mind. You may be at the beginning of your thrifty journey, might be tightening your belt, may have something to save for such as a wedding or a new car and may have a whole load of reason why you need to save money. We are saving for our retirement in nine years and have lots or renovation projects on the go which means with the combination of the two, we have to be super thrifty and make every pound do the work of a fiver.

I’m all shopped until the end of the month. I have a full freezer and pantry and will only need to pick up fresh fruit and veg weekly as I have everything else.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx



Slimming world sweet and sour chicken

Hello Dear Reader,

This isn’t from the Slimming World website but it follows their healthy eating plan. We’re both following this as our clothes are tight and we need to stick to a lighter plateful. 

Here’s my sweet and sour.

I used a kilo bag of stir fry veggies from Farm Foods. 2 defrosted chicken breasts, also from Farmfoods and stir fried them with minced garlic, chili and ginger and I use the lazy in a jar as there’s no waste and I’ve always got them in the cupboard.

I cooked some brown rice and made my sweet and sour sauce

20g of corn flour, 3 heaped tbsp of tomato purée, tbsp wine vinegar, 3 tbsp of powdered sweetener, 80ml of water, 1 tbsp of soy sauce (gf in my case) blend in a mug or jug.

When the chicken and vegetables are cooked, add the garlic, chili and ginger and cook for one minute.

Add the sweet and sour sauce, whilst it’s cooking taste and add a splash more vinegar, or sweetener or soy sauce to your taste. If the sauce is thicker than you like, a a dash more water. 

Serve with rice. Cheap, cheerful and sugar free. Does anyone else have a slimming world recipe you’ve adapted on the cheap,

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs x

Humble food 

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve found my theme this week; homemade humble food with a really low price tag. Lunch today was roasted veggies, homemade hummus and some lettuce. 

I make my hummus with a tin of chickpeas that I drain and rinse with tap water. I add them to a bowl with 80ml of water, 3 tbsp of lemon juice, teaspoon of chili powder, 2 tsp of cumin, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder and blend the lot. You can add more water if you choose.

DB had his with a bigger portion and some frittata made in the week for lunches. Well under my pound budget, really quick and easy to make. My salad dressing is a light salad cream with added water to make it a thinner sauce. If you’re following Slimming World, then it’s 2 syns for the dressing and the rest if free. 

I’ll be back later with more humble food.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Lemonade budget? 

Hello Dear Reader,

This is one of our cheapest meals and one of our favourites. I take a few potatoes, peel and slice a few potatoes and onions and chop up a few slices of bacon. 

I boil the potatoes until they are just cooked but not over cooked.

I fred the bacon and onions with frylight and added a crush clove of garlic. You can of course add a tablespoon of olive oil or use fattier streaky bacon.

I make a cheese sauce to go in top with 250g of quark with three beaten eggs and a heaped tablespoon of finely grated Parmesan. You could make a béchamel sauce and add 100g of grate mature cheddar and pour that over; mine is the low fat version. 

I minx the whole lot together and pour the cheese sauce on top. You could make twice as much cheese sauce and it would permeate throughout the potatoes. 

I cooked it for twenty minutes at 180. 

I served it with steamed greens. It costs pennies but we love it. If you’re following Slimming World then it’s syn free but full of flavour. It’s such a favourite here and you can add cooked vegetables or add corned beef. 

So, that’s our cheapest favourite meal, what’s yours? 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx