Hello Dear Reader,
Like many people, I sat down last night and watched ‘Famous, rich and hungry’. The first of a two part documentary about poverty in the UK. Like so many people, I wept with disgust that thousands upon thousands of people in my own country are cold, hungry, unwashed and living in misery. There are so many reasons why people end up on benefits, why the benefit system of payments are flawed and why the cost of living is just beyond the reach of anyone not fit enough or lucky enough to have a job.
The reality brought on by this incredibly cold winter is that thousands of families suffered poor health due to malnutrition and through being constantly cold. On paper, families on benefits had just enough to live on…..only just. Where families and individuals were in dire straits primarily due to debt. Doorstep loans and pay day loans are legally allowed to charge 1800% APR. The shysters at companies who sell domestic goods to families who have bad credit legally charge 68% APR and over charge for goods in the first place. Energy companies are legally allowed to charge the highest rate for pre-paid meters which are always installed for people who already have debt to energy companies and are already choosing between eating and heating.
Families need to know how to be financially astute! The rich work their money and turn a penny into a fiver whilst the poorest turn a fiver into a debt of hundreds that they are unlikely to pay off. Savvy mums fill their shopping trolleys with supermarket value brands and turn them into simple but nutritious homemade food.
We Dear Reader, hold the answers.
We are the thrifty and frugal people. We get by and live well on as little as possible. We know to stock pile when times are good to get us through when times are bad. We know to buy bags of logs and coal all summer long when prices are good. We shop for birthdays and Christmas all the year round and we put a few quid (and I know for some that it’s hard to do that but you still do) away on every pay day as we know we have to save for what we need. The thrifty people turn their garden to vegetables and grow their own. The frugal folk make their own clothes, their curtains and quilts. Thrifty people buy their clothes from carboot sales, off ebay and from charity shops and we alter them to suit us. Thrifty people learn to knit and keep their children warm with homemade clothes.
The days of plenty are over. Food is never going to be cheap again! We have the answers and have to share them. We have to teach our friends, our families, our children how to stretch every pound. We need to share our cooking skills, our thrifting skills, our gardening skills and our craft skills. We are the modern day survivors! We need to share our skills.
Anyone can become unemployed. I don’t want to demonise the poor, the government are doing that all by themselves. What I want is for everyone to safeguard as best they can against the poverty we may all face one day. We already know we will have tiny pensions and may never get a state pension when we reach ‘retirement’ which also may not exist when we get there. We know that gas and electric are currently unaffordable for some pensioners and we may well be in that situation.
Everyone needs to get used to living under their means so they can save for the future which most of us may not be able to afford! Everytime you think of eating out, stop and put the money into a savings account or use it to pay off some more of the mortgage capital. Every time you want some paid for entertainment or new clothes, stop and put the money away and make do with what you have.
Menu plan, stock take, batch cook, buy a few extras when you have some spare money. Learn a new skills, dig up part of your garden and think of what you can plant there. When you walk in the woods, pick up kindling sticks off the path and make it a new pastime. Learn a crafting skill of you tube and upcycle something in your home to give it a new lease of life.
As I said, I don’t want to demonise the poor but the savvy, thrifty, creative eschew debt and live on less. There are folk with the tiniest incomes who stay warm as they know how to trap heat and wrap up. Plenty of people on benefits eat healthily as they know how to cook and can create a lentil stew or pasta bake. There are many pensioners feeding themselves, their families and their friends really well as they know how to grow veg all year round. I watched some young men, who looked like students, fishing off Plymouth Hoe and were landing mackerel and I saw one teach the other how to dispatch it and gut it. It was literally a situation of ‘teach a man to fish’. I over heard the same man telling the other how to sprinkle it wish salt and pepper and dust with flour and then fry it. He was sharing his skill. We all need to do this.
How can you do this? Make a film with your mobile phone of : pie making, hemming a skirt, casting on knitting, chopping kindling, cleaning windows with newspapers and upload it to Vimeo, Facebook orYou tube. If you don’t have a blog then email the link to me and I will put the tutorials up on here! If there’s something you want to learn, then feel free to leave a comment and I will make a film or find one for you. Then, we need to keep sharing this! Tweet what you see, link it to your Facebook page and share with your friends.
As I’m on my soapbox, enjoy this recipe and then share it. It’s nothing fancy, you wouldn’t want it in a restaurant but you would want it to fill your children’s bellies and you would know you’ve fed them something nutritious and tasty.
Quinoa and Roasted Vegetables. (I can’t eat wheat but you could use Cous Cous instead)
Any veg you can roast – Courgette, tomatoes, beetroot and peppers in the summer. I used carrots butternut squash, mushrooms and red onions as that’s what I had. I cooked one cup of quinoa in three cups of vegetable stock. I always rinse, rinse, rinse and rinse the quinoa before I cook it. I part cook the veggie in boiling water first so they roast quickly as the oven is expensive to run (I have two ovens, I just use the small one) . Quinoa is really nutritious and also full of protein. Share meat free recipes so more people get some inspiration and ideas of what to eat and how to cook on a tiny budget.
I made a dressing to toss the veggie and quinoa in. A big squirt of runny honey, soy sauce, garlic salt and ginger (I had a job lot of sushi ginger from Approved Food and we’re working through it) some oil and vinegar in equal amount. It gave the dressing an oriental flavour.
Stir the dressing through the quinoa (or cous cous) and veggies and serve, hot, warm or cold. We’ll have some for supper tonight and some for lunch tomorrow.
Where ever or how ever you use social media, please promote thrifty living blogs. Please promote debt charities such as Christians Against Poverty and Step Change. Please promote the Money Advice service so people can get help with budgeting and money issues. Please promote and support community activities in your areas. If there’s a jumble sale, a car boot sale or you know of a charity shop, then tweet it, blog it and put it on Facebok. When you send a birthday card, send a thrifty recipe. If you see food reductions locally and might not want to benefit from it, snap chat, Facebook and tweet so others can. If you know of jobs advertised then promote those vacancies! We all need to share the skills we have
Please share these ideas. At the bottom of the post you will see Google + , Twitter and Facebook links. Please press these and share the frugal ideas to everyone you know. We have the answers and we need to share them. We have the skills to get us through tough times. People are living through tough times and we need to help them get through them.
We have the answers and we can help……………..who’s with me? I’m determined to spread the word and who’s up for the challenge. I challenge you to teach one person, one new skills once a week. Come on…. we can do this.xxx
Love Froogs xxxx
Please nominate http://www.frugalqueen.co.uk for: blog of the year, best thrifty blog and best food blog – nominations close at midnight 14/3/14 – keep frugal living in the spotlight – thanks lovely readers.