Did you see the mass debators?

Hello Dear Readers,

I promise this will be my only mention of politics for a very long time. As you may remember, I think they are all a bunch of *&!;%£$%!^&;* (insert word of your own choice!) and there’s not much to choose from.

Here, for what it’s worth is what I might have wanted to have said or have heard.

Don’t spend money you haven’t got and stop running up debt! Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Be honest. There was a lot of rhetoric of who needed what and who deserved what and no real way of changing the economy overnight without taxing or cutting. Anyone who’s been in debt know you can’t spend your way out of debt. You have to create ways of people starting and creating business and wealth so they can in turn pay tax, employ people and grow an economy, whether that’s in a home or as a nation. If anyone has wanted to be self employed and read up on the beaurocracy, red tape and nonsense then it would put anyone off. I didn’t hear anyone who wanted to govern less, or interfere less or allow people to earn, be creative and start businesses from the ground up so people have a change to get training, opportunities and grow as individuals.

No one had the answers.

Also, when I was in financial difficulties, and could just feed my kids, pay the bills and the mortgage, I didn’t have any money to give away. I would have liked to have ‘helped’ but I had to take care of my own. No one was prepared to make realistic decisions about what we give away and what we don’t. It will be a braver government that any we’re likely to get to make those difficult decisions.

No one really wants to get a grip on how we tax, who we tax, who we charge and who we support. It was all fluffy, vague and as insipid as a pint of mild! There was no vision and the last thing this floundering country need is any more of the blind leading the blind.

The problem, from what I could make of it is that you can have a similar version of the same sort of politics of a bunch of posh people, who think they know better telling the poor people how to live their lives when then don’t know their way round the supermarket, how to file tax returns or stick up a roll of wall paper.

No one mentioned youth unemployment or mentioned any kind of training, any kind of tax relief for employers prepared to train young people or any one wanting to retrain, any sort of incentive for anyone to get out and retrain or for a new career in a changing world where no one has a job for life. No one is prepared to launch anything along the lines of the much hated but needed at the time, YTS scheme (I knew people who did these and got well trained, two years experience and qualifications at the end and in that time they practised getting up on time every day, working five days a week and had a reference at the end of it). If someone stays in education until they are 18, then taxes pay for it, if someone goes out to train until they are 18, then the employer is expected to find the full cost of that. Where is the incentive for any employer to train anyone?

I moved from laughing at the idiocy of what was said to being infuriated at the short sighted stupidity of people whose numpty opinions just might have an impact on our lives in a few weeks time!

My only decision so far is that the kippers are more comedic than ever!

So: grow the economy and stop the red tape that inhibits entrepreneurs from getting on. Be brave about who gets what as you will have whinging what ever you decide, be brave about who gets taxed even if their company is based in the Caymen Islands, if they make money here they should pay tax here. Be brave about who and what we spend taxes on, people will whinge anyway but don’t be vague or make promises we can’t afford. Remove the red tape that stops employers taking on trainees and give real incentives to get people to train and retrain as life changes.

It’s all wishful thinking; we’ll get a bunch of monkeys who are not in touch with people who wipe bums, wash dishes or slap up plaster and we’ll get rhetoric, paper waving and people who want to shin their way up the political greasy pole.

However, if I could please ask you to make sure you’re registered to vote and that you make your mark on May 7th.

That’s the last political remark from me.

Anyone else watch it and wonder at these wallies?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx


Coping with austerity


Hello Dear Reader,

Thanks for your comments yesterday. I totally agree that people are finding just living extremely tough. I should know, I live in the second poorest area in Europe! My small Ćornish town has plenty of social issues, it suffers from worklessness and those in work have few opportunities for improvements. 

It’s desperate to see the effects on the few families who are dragged down by a poor income. I’ve said this over and over but when you are short of resources, you have to be resourceful. Dig for victory and grow your own veg, learn to sew and buy secondhand clothes and adapt them, use freecycle and go second hand. Don’t succumb to the vile bloodsucking world of high interest credit just so you can be seen in fashionable clothes. 

There are options, I should know, we took them. I took evening classes for two years and then went to university ( just paid the loan back in 2011 by having it deducted out of my wages) and then into teacher training. All in all, six years of training, I made it to a decent salary. Those options might be slim and in some cases, few and far between but they are there for people who make the effort.

I know what it is to have two people supporting two children on minimum wage as I worked in care work and Dearly Beloved worked in retail. We were on low wages but lived within our means. When DB was made redundant from the shop he worked in he used to take a five mile bus ride to work evenings in the only job he could get. We had no car, no days out, no holidays and channeled every penny into looking after the children and anything spare went into improving our circumstances. Since then we’ve had our ups and downs and have seen worse times and have seen the economy get better only to decline again. 

The economy is improving albeit not enough to make everyone happy. I stand by evidence proved by unqualified non-English speaking migrants who are prepared to gut fish, make hotel beds, and pack meat that if you are prepared to do anything that you can work. In this economy, if you are a job snob then you will go without. If you are prepared to work hard doing anything to get by then you will make it eventually!

Whilst at college I worked three jobs! I worked at a teaching assistant a day a week, three nights a week in a call centre and both days at the weekend as a carer for adults with learning disabilities. I then studied hard and graduated with honours. DB worked from 2pm – 10pm each day and rebuilt a wreck of a house in the morning. We never had much money to give our children and we all went without. Our son did a three year apprenticeship and has been a carpenter ever since. Our daughter struggled to get work and has worked as a cleaner for a few years as that’s all she can get but she does her job well and is proud of what she does. They are both proud of being self reliant and I’m extremely proud of their work ethic and tenacity.

Now, as ever, I’m not telling anyone else to live the way I do or did. I’m just just standing by my beliefs that we all need to be chancellors of our own exchequer and get more money in and keep hold of every penny you can. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Froogs in The Mirror.

Hello Dear Reader,

Today’s post can be found HERE. If you like what you read when you get there, can you ‘share’ the page by linking it to Facebook, or by Tweeting or Google +. You do this by hitting the respective button at the top of the article.

I’m amazed and incredibly grateful to everyone who reads. I started this blog when we were in financial difficulty and had to dig our way out of debt. I used the blog to record the days and weeks where we went without, made extra money and paid off every penny and then paid down our mortgage sufficiently that we’d accrued enough capital that we could move, downsize and live comfortably.

Now we live that life, I want to share money saving ideas and especially my love of frugal food. I really believe that we can eat well, healthily, menu plan and shop carefully and not live on lentils. I’ve had the opportunity to take Frugal Queen out on the road and hold workshops, to the radio and take part in phone in and now to the Money section of the Daily Mirror online to share thrifty tips. My tips today have been about eating really luxuriously on Valentine’s day for less than the cost of a fish and chip take away for one! 

I’m still here, I’m still careful with money, I still save more than I spend, I’m still menu planning, buying second hand and I’m not going to give up. I lose and gain readers along the way as some don’t like the new successful me who’s using every opportunity to increase my income and further pay down my mortgage and further increase our pensions. I gain new ones, especially via Twitter and other social platforms. However you got here, or why ever you read thanks. You encourage me to put finger tips to the keyboard and as ever, the saving money, earning extra money and thrifty living continues.

I hope you like the article in The Mirror, share it if you do and it’s always great to get your comments.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Can you work your way out of poverty?

Hello Dear Reader,

As always, I listened to the local news this morning. It was not a joke but real. One in three Cornish workers earn less than the living wage. That means that 1 in 3 Cornish workers earn less than £7.65 an hour. Whether you earn a surgeon’s salary or minimum wage, the cost of getting to work, the cost of water, the cost of food, the cost of clothing, the cost of energy is the same. Across my wonderful Cornwall, thousands of really decent hard working people are living in poverty due to low wages. Add debt to this amount and it’s no surprise that children are going hungry and families spent a long, damp and cold winter without any heating. 

Also, across Cornwall, there is the blight of zero hours contracts. No one with a family can rely on work one day, no work the next and instead turn to benefits and the vicious cycle of poverty continues. I grew up in a low wage family and I know first hand the struggle to get dry or warm when you get wet or cold. I know what it feels like to have food rationed so it lasted the family all week. I know what it’s like to wear shoes too tight and knickers digging in because I had out grown them. I know what it’s like to be teased for being dirty as we had no hot water to wash and no heating to stand over a bowl of cold water. I know what it’s like to be cold and I know what it’s like to be hungry. Let me assure you, even if you can call it relative poverty as I still had a roof over my head and I still had food……………..living like that a child marks you for life. It leaves you with an inescapable fear of not having enough money to get by. 

I live where housing is incredibly expensive, water has the highest bill in the UK and consumer choices are few and far between. Work is scarce and the bright, the ambitious and the entrepreneurial leave in their droves. To thrive here, you have to work your self to the bone, be ingenious and know how to make a pound do the work of a fiver.

There are ways and means of working your way out of poverty in the UK. I can’t speak for anyone else, just us and how we did it.

When Dearly Beloved and I got together we were both on minimum wage jobs. There lies the first solution, if all adults in the house are working, even if it’s just for minimum wage, then you can bring more money into the house. Dearly Beloved worked in a shop and I worked a carer in home for the elderly. He worked in the day and I worked night shifts. Neither of us were making the most of the O levels (now called GCSES – similar to a high school diploma) we left school with. We both actively sought out better employment. It took a trial but we kept going. We both wrote new CV’s and went out and actively looked for better paid jobs. DB found entry level employment in the civil service and I found a job as teaching assistant. It meant we went from minimum wage to a living wage and our household incomes increased by 25%. The difference to our family was phenomenal! 

Whilst working as a teaching assistant, I went back to college in the evening and Dearly Beloved took a level 3 qualification (similar to a foundation degree) at work. Both cost us but it was worth the investment. I qualified to go to University and Dearly Beloved qualified to earn a professional salary. It had taken us three years to get that far. Whilst at university, I worked three jobs. In a call centre in the evenings, as a carer at the weekend and in a school a day a week. After four years, I qualified as a teacher and now after all our hard work, there were two professional salaries coming into the house. It took me five interviews to get my first teaching position and I’ve taught ever since and I’ve never looked back. Ever!

We did not get out of poverty over night. It was incredibly hard work and it cost us dearly, in more ways than just financially. There are many ways that families can do a little here and there to boost the family coffers and every single penny will add up. Look for extra work, even an evening in a chip shop will bring in money. Supermarkets are recruiting, albeit short hours and sometimes just evenings, but never be afraid to leave an office and go and work a three hours shift on a till somewhere. Tourist attractions and holiday resorts are recruiting now and a few hours of bar work in the evening will add up. You will pay basic rate tax and you will get that back in the next financial year with your P60. Even if the tax seems high, you will benefit. If you can, then rent a room as you can do this tax free! If you have a garage that you don’t use then rent it out as storage. If you have a driveway you don’t use then rent it out for parking. Look at any way possible to make some extra money. Look for local press adverts looking for host families for overseas students and being paid as a legal guardian for overseas children coming here to boarding school. As I said, when we increased our income by 25% it made such a difference.

Can you work your way out of poverty? What do you think Dear Reader? Share your story of your hard work and how it made a difference to your family or if it didn’t. As Rocky would say, it’s not all sunshine and roses. 

I’m going away to count my blessings.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Chancellor Froog’s Budget 2014.

Hello Dear Reader,

Georgie boy says today’s budget is for the “makers, doers and savers”. To my mind, that’s all of us. 

I’m going to ignore the politics and simply stand for common sense and promote a set of household economics that means each household shrinks it’s spending and yet increases income to balance the books and create their own financial security. Froog’s budget for 2014 would look like this:

Cap on spending

In essence, no body is out of the woods yet. I don’t know anyone who has had a pay rise and I don’t know anyone who is getting cheaper energy that last year, cheaper food than last year and cheaper clothes than last year. All that means,  in real terms your salaries are worth less every year. There is nothing you can do about that except react financially. You, me and every body has to continue to rein in spending to nothing more than the bare essentials. If you spend more than that, then don’t come running to me whining when you haven’t got the money to fix your car, boiler or house if it needs it. You need to cap your energy usage, your spending on food, your spending on clothes and there is nothing what so ever for anything that doesn’t simply keep you alive! What ever your salary, no matter how small or large, now is the time for a fiscal fast and a long lasting one at that. 

Reducing debt.

So many people are up to their necks in financial mess as they spent far too much prior to the financial down turn. Now every penny they earn is worth less than it used to and yet they still have debts. No body with any debts can afford to spend any more than it takes to survive! It is their responsibility alone to sort out the mess they created. To start, stop using your credit cards and don’t even think of borrowing any money for anything what so ever! Create a survival budget and use every penny to pay off debts. You will suffer in the short term but over the years you will know that you did the right thing.

Building your economy.

Every single family needs to work collectively to bring more money into the house. Deliver take aways and parcels, find bar work and evening work, do a few late shifts in the supermarket, take in lodgers, share the car on the way to work and halve your fuel costs. Every single member of the family needs their money saving task. Who reads the meters? Who is responsible for turning off unneeded lights? Who is responsible for drying the towels so they can be used again without being washed? Who is responsible for turning the duvet so it can go a few more days without being washed? Who is responsible for sweeping the floors daily so they do not need vacuuming? Every single family member needs to ask the question daily…..what do I need to do every day to save this family money and bring more money into the family home? Have a family ebay weekend and a clear out and use the money for the family. Have a family carboot sale weekend and make the family some money. No household member should ever be ashamed to knock on doors and offer to cut the lawn and wash the path, on the contrary….they should feel really proud. Look on every job website and agency website and look for extra work. Be proud of having two or three jobs. Money never comes to those sat on their backside but goes to those who earn it! (There is a teenage lad in Liskeard who rides around with a mower in a trailer attached to his bike and I see him knock on many doors, some say no thanks, but some have him cut the lawn………..I salute him!!!)

Budget Deficit.

Every household needs to have the clear penny by penny understanding of all money coming in. Every person under that roof is an equal contributor and moochers should hang their heads in shame!(any stay at home mum, with school age children can go out and clean when the kids are at school…….if that’s you……then all power to you….every penny helps!)  Every household should have a clear budget of every penny that needs to be spent on: rent/mortgage, utilities and taxes, insurance, children, food and transport. Nothing else is a necessity! Nothing! Now, every household needs to look at those costs and cut them to the bone! Less heating, home cooked food, make do with what you have, mend what you can, buy less and in some cases buy nothing. No one needs to eat out…..ever! If you spend all you earn each month, then you have a budget deficit! Even worse, is spending more than you earn! The equation must work in the reverse, you must always ensure there is money spare every month and that you save.

Budget for makers, savers and doers.

Make: all your family meals from scratch, make you lunches and take them to work, make your own coffee and never buy one ever again (take a flask everywhere!), make your own curtains, make your own quilts,birthday and Christmas presents, bags and even clothes, knit, sew, create, mend. Make your own food by growing some, even a row of runner beans or potatoes will reduce your household expenses. Make: more money for the family pot, more time for essential maintenance on your home to keep it in order, make more time to keep fit so you cost less to feed and keep!

Do: more by keeping fit and active, more by working more to raise your income. Do less spending and moaning. Do less eating – it costs a fortune and every time you look at your hips you can see what you ate! Do more healthy home cooking. Do more socialising at home and invite friends round and in turn get out to see them. Do more volunteering, it will keep you busy and you will help others at the same time. Do more walking and less driving to save money. 

Save: fabric for quilting and crafting, food tubs to raise seeds, paper to light the fire, kindling picked up on walks. Save money by menu planning, creating a shopping list and eating everything in the house. Save money by reducing the amount of time the heating is on and how long you spend in the shower. Save money by reducing car journeys to essential only.

The strivers and survivors work through any political system and any economic conditions. They ignore the politics, they don’t whine and they pull themselves out of bed every day and go to work. When they get home, they work on their own finances and ensure their family has a secure financial basis. They never spend needlessly and they check every penny. 

Are you a maker, doer and saver? Are you a striver and survivor? I would love to hear your comments on what you are doing, will continue to do and will do differently to build your family’s financial security? Who is prepared to give up meals out? Who is prepared to give up new clothes or the hairdressers until you’ve saved or paid off debts? You, as corny as it sounds, are the architect of your own future? What will you do to make it a good one?

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Recycle your way to a healthy bank balance

Hello Dear Reader,

In these current economic times, everything has a currency. Now, I love a good clear out and like to have a reasonably minimalist home so  I don’t like clutter or any unwanted items lain around. I thought I would take a moment to share all the ways I make extra money by recycling. Over the years, we’ve accumulated a few mobile phones, usually ones we’ve bought second hand in the first place but I had three to get rid of. I want all of you to go and find that retro brick you’ve got and you think is totally worthless and consider selling a mobile phone. I know that environmentally they need specialist recycling and disposal and you can’t just throw them away. We checked out the companies that offer cash for mobile phones and after research found one that offered ease of use, a sturdy freepost bag, fast payment and the highest prices for the phones we sent. We no longer had any use for them but were certainly glad of the money for what is essentially a recycling service.

Take another look around your home. We still had some of the kids’ DVDs, computer games and CDS as well as some DVDs of our own. Charity shops here get a few of them but some of them are worth a few pounds and again, we did our research and found, via the internet, recycling services that paid us for items we didn’t need any more. We escaped all of the ebay fees, hassle and simply popped them into a freepost bag and were sent the money via paypal. It couldn’t be easier. Of course, some get taken to the charity shop but ours are fussy about any of the 18 rated games or DVDs so we sold them and recycled them at the same time.

So, let’s see how far we’ve got in this clear out. The mobile phones have gone and they’ve sent you some money. The CDs, DVDs and computer games have also disappeared from under the TV. You’ve got lots more room and the front room looks at lot tidier as does your bank account. No need to rest yet, go upstairs and check out all the clothes that don’t fit or never fitted in the first place! I’m quite happy to buy clothes from ebay and I know other people are too. I had a collection of work suits in every shade of black and grey and I have no use for them any more! I had them dry cleaned on a two for one offer and then photographed them and got them onto ebay when they were having a free listing weekend. It’s a bit of work to get that done; to check there are no holes, or marks or stains and take a close up of any imperfections and clearly state they exist in the description. They all sold and there’s much more room in my wardrobe.

Parts of my house resembled a book shop and many books were gathering dust. I had kept every book, including university texts which cost me my week’s food budget when I bought them. As a mature student, every word of every text was read and for many years I was loathed to part with them. I shook myself one day in the realisation that books were over running the house and some/a lot had to go. I listed all of the academic texts and sold all of them via the internet bookshop. I listed them cheaply and covered the cost of postage and made valuable space and recycled at the same time. 

Now there’s the advice for ‘everything else’. When we’ve needed a really good clear out, we’ve taken everything to the car boot sale and had our own version of Poundland and we’ve had the last hour of so of three for a £1 just because we don’t want to take it home. If you look at the few items here and there, and the  small but welcome extra bits and pieces of income it can bring you, then you can recycle and  help the planet at the same time.

Over to you. Have you ever recycled anything to make some much needed cash? Who has a brilliant car boot sale story to share? Was anyone else surprised like me that their old relic of a mobile phone was actually worth any money.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs

Disclosure – this is a sponsored post, however I used the mobile phone recycling service, received the payment and the opinions given here are my own.

Facing the financial challenge!

Hello Dear Reader,

(Read to the end to find out if you have won the give away of the seeds)
When ever I think of entrepreneurs, I think of Dragon’s Den. I think of the people who started their business with a rented ice cream van and enough money to buy ice cream for that day. When we think of money being tight, we often forget that we probably need to go out and earn some more. Don’t get me wrong, I have the best day job in the world and wouldn’t trade it for anything but what if I, you or anyone, could take their hobby which they did for the love of it and earned some extra money from it. I think it’s possible and many of us could give it a try. It’s not going to be a massive earner, but what if you could improve your household income by £10 a week or even if that was just the extra a month? It’s not just about stopping the money going out but helping it come in too. I don’t think there is anything wrong with leaving the office at 5pm and then working with the cleaning agency giving it a hoover and polish at the end of the day to earn more money. In fact, I think it’s the sensible route to saving, maybe for a house deposit, a holiday, a new car or paying off debt or the mortgage.

I think anyone can be a frugaleur and use the tiniest amount of money to start a business. In the past, I set myself a £50 budget to renovate a room, buy new towels and bedding and then rent that room to a lodger. It can be done. This time, I used a very small budget to make my first quilt for sale. Luckily, I have a captive market and if anyone wants to buy it, email me with ‘sealed bid’ (which means no one else knows what you have bid) and the winner will buy the quilt. UK postage will be included but overseas postage will be charged at cost which the buyer will be informed of those costs at the end of the ‘sale’.

The quilt has Hobbs cotton batting inside, it’s backed with vintage Laura Ashley and edged with hot pink which contrasts the green chartreuse. 

It’s soft, warm and snuggly and already has an heirloom feel about it. It’s 45″ by 62″ and would make a wonderful sofa throw or a topper for a single bed. If no one buys it, it will stay with us as I already love it. Vintage fabric designs blended with thrifted vintage fabrics and American batting. It’s deliciously soft.

Below, is the close up of the vintage Marks and Spencer’s floral which was used to sash the blocks. It didn’t take me long to make it and you can see this blog post if you want to make your own as I have included where the fabric comes from and instructions how to make it yourself. If you don’t want to do that, then you are welcome to make a bid for this one. I would love to make a quilt a week and have Yoosta-Bee quilts all over the world! 

 Here’s the back (and ever present ironing, drying rack and sleeping big dog xx). To get a closer look at any of the pictures, click onto the picture to enlarge it. 

There you are, anyone can be a frugaleur, even me. This could be the start of my second job as I do what I can to throw money at my mortgage as that pony won’t ride itself! So, if you want the quilt, use the contact box above to find my email address, and email me a sealed bid for the quilt. The ‘auction’ closes in seven days and the payment will be by paypal. Bids must be in pounds sterling so overseas bidders will need to work out the exchange rate when they make their bid. The quilt will be shipped when payment is cleared.

Now, over to you. Who else is fighting down debt or paying off the mortgage? Who else makes extra money? Do you sell surplus veggies, fruit or eggs in the summer, or garden gate jam? Do you sell your crafts? Did anyone but they gave up and wish they didn’t? I love hearing your tales.

Now to the winner of the seeds by having their ‘number’ (out of all the comments) generated at random and the winner is FIESTA!!!! Please email me your address as soon as you can and I will send the seeds as soon as I can and happy gardening and I hope all your veggies taste wonderful

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxx

Final Countdown 4-3-2-1 to 2013

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve had a lovely day, busy but useful. I’ve been and collected a chair I bought from an ebay seller, would be £1800 new and I got it for £23. Hand made English armchair, recently recovered but will be recovered again  as soon as I’ve saved up for it, along with my good sofa. All part of my house renovations. I also freecycled my large, many times repaired and far too low for my long legs, old sofa. It was twelve years old and we’ve mended it many times over. It now has a new home and a couple who were very grateful to have it. Talking of being grateful, thanks so much to ‘Stash busting nurse’ for sending the most fabulous parcel of fabric; there are so many lovely ideas all wrapped up in that fabric and I’m really looking forward to setting them free.

So, where was I? Arm chair here, sofa gone and fabric arrived! I’ve also finished some quilted table runners that I started before Christmas. Even though the decorations are boxed and back in the loft I’ve still enjoyed finishing them and they will be carefully put away for next year.

Here’s what you’ve been waiting for, my second resolution:

2. Make good use of everything you have.

Let me think of all the things I have that I can make good use of. Firstly, those long legs! I can and will walk more. I always walk to the local shops and carry my shopping home. I can walk on beaches and the moorland, I can meet up with friends and go out for walks with them. I can take a walk at the end of the day instead of even thinking of joining a gym (which we all do in the new year).  We all have bodies, do they do enough for us? Do we make good use of them? Or do we leave them sat on a sofa? Next, I have time. I need to use my time really well. It takes me fifteen minutes to give one room of my house a quick clean and I can do a room a day. Do you use your time well?

I have a really good sewing machine and need it to pay me back for what it cost me. I shall make quilts for sale and now I have a paypal account will link them to my blog so they can be bought. I have skills and need to use them to hold more workshops. If there’s something I do, that you want me to teach you to do, then contact me and we’ll see, distance permitting, what we can arrange.

I’m going to make really good use of my resources, from my bread machine, to my sewing machine that I’ve already mentioned. I’m going to learn new quilt blocks and designs and I’m going to use up all my odds and sods to make a scrappy bargello quilt!

I shall use the library more, if we don’t use them this ConDem nation will close them down.  I shall use the coastal footpaths more, I shall make good use of the moors and beaches. I will use my garden furniture more and sit more often and enjoy the view. We all have a lot that we can make good use of.

Let’s hear from you all on this one. What do you have that you don’t make enough use of?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Making more money

Hello Dear Reader,

We have more rooms than we need and have rented one out to a lodger in the past. Most of the time, it was OK. We had a few missed rent deadlines but overall, we were paid everything we were due. 

Our son lives at home with us. I don’t mind, but in truth, I’ve done ‘mothering’ and now I see him as a grown up who lives in the house with us who we are related to. We also make him pay the market value of the room. I might be his mum but I’m doing him a dis-service if I allow him to live for free. Would I do this no matter what he earned? You bet I would. I didn’t give them money for nothing when they were young and I don’t give them anything now. He pays £65 a week, whether he’s there or not and I expect paying by direct debit.

You can rent a room out tax-free (see link for details) and it’s a great way to bring in an extra income to your home. In September, local schools will be taking placements for trainee teachers who will work in the school as part of their post-graduate training and they will be CRB checked and you can ask for references through the school. You could contact your local schools offering accommodation if you have a room free. The NHS (contact your local university accommodation officers and local training hospitals) also has training places out in the community as training for nurses does not just take place in hospitals. Likewise, the trainees will be CRB checked as they will be working with vulnerable people and in confidential settings. It’s also great if you can just offer Monday to Thursday, four night accommodation to workers away from home

Today will be my last blog until Monday and sorry guys, I’m not telling you why, I don’t tell you everything. Have a great Bank Holiday Weekend and think about renting a room out to earn some extra money!

Until Monday,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Just a simple girl.


 I’m relatively new to gardening and I’m still enthralled by the magic of it all. Buy a scruffy little plant, or a few seeds, dig around in the earth and a few months later, you have food. I’ve spent a lovely hour in the garden. I’ve earthed up potatoes, weeded, potted the Lupins on, planted carrot seeds, watered, dead headed and cleared away rubbish.

Victoria plum

 The rain has caused the potatoes to have a growing spurt and then are ‘leggy’ and needed protecting from day light. The spuds and I had a lovely chat………..they’re such good listeners!

 Almost all of the tiny bulbs, that I bought for £1 in Poundland have sprung to life, I’ll have loads to plant into the borders soon.

 My cheapy poly tunnel is the best fun ever! Foster Mummy’s sweetcorn loves it in there. I have courgettes, butternut squash and cucumber and I’ll put the tomatoes in at the weekend. Either Foster Mummy (she generously gave me lots of plants) or I have grown everything from seed and I am constantly amazed at the way a few pennies turn into meal after meal.

 My Aldi plants, that I bought for £1.79 a tray, are flourishing. All four of my hanging baskets unsuccessfully grew tomatoes last year. This year they are doing what they are intended to do and are full of flowers. Again, bought for pennies but giving me the most incredible pleasure. It’s a grey and overcast evening, yet I can find so much colour and life out there. I worry sometimes that I spend too much money in the garden as all the little bits add up and when I look in the ‘home accounts book’ and see what I have spent over the last few years, I also think of the awe and wonder I feel every time I’m out there.

Some one asked about me staying in a ‘caravan’ and cleaning ‘caravans’. I work in the school summer holiday on a local campsite and clean the caravans on a Saturday through the summer break. It’s very well paid for a summer job at £8.50 an hour and after six caravans, it’s an incredible workout. I also profit, like a Womble, from the every day items that folks leave behind. If they leave clothing or toys, then all those items are handed in; the owners are informed and posted to them at the owner’s expense. If they don’t claim them, then the campsite gives them to the local charity shop. However, minor items such as unopened food, cleaning materials and toiletries are to be thrown away, or in my case, taken home and made good use of. I would often come home with unopened food after clearing out the fridge, boxes of tea, trays of eggs, bottles of washing up liquid, shower gel, shampoo and a host of other peripherals, some of which kept me supplied for months.

I’m also renting a caravan when I go on holiday. They are just about the cheapest form of holiday accommodation next to taking your own tent. As we are only going for a five day break, then we’ve decided to leave the tent at home and have the luxury of a caravan.