So it doesn’t need a great deal of heating. We heat the lounge and leave all the internal doors open and heat travels around the house. There’s no need for any other heating other than the log stove. A full wood shed costs us £80 and lasts three months. Two log sheds full last us for all of the cold weather we get here. But, what if you don’t live in a tiny cottage in the mildest part of the UK, what then?
Hello Dear Reader,
It’s been a glorious day here, not hot but sunny and bright. I washed all the laundry last night and hung it out first thing this morning and had it all dry and back in the house by midday. We also walked to the local shops and did our week’s shopping; we didn’t need very much. We went to the greengrocers, the butchers, the DIY shop and the charity shop and bought a couple of books.
It does mean I store up all the laundry and keep an eye on the weather forecast and wash the night before a sunny day and get it all hung out to dry.
Dearly Beloved and I spent the day titivating and painting in the garden. We don’t have anywhere to store the garden furniture in the winter so it’s a bit worse for wear. We had to splash out on some protective garden furniture paint. Yikes, it’s expensive but much cheaper than new furniture. We usually go for neutral colours but decided on something bright and I love this blue.
I was at the other end of the garden and sanded the gate, used a primer, waited for that to dry and then painted the gate blue…..there’s a theme going here! It’s a bit bright but I think it’s really cheerful. I’ll sand it again tomorrow and get another coat of paint on it. I often think to myself, ‘I can afford to pay someone to do this!’ then remember that every time I save some money that I can over pay my mortgage. In well under five years, we will own every brick of this house and that’ll make the DIY and thrifty living worth while.
I’ve reflected on my thrifty week, especially after a spendy half term break. I’ve used up everything fresh, even if I didn’t intend to eat it……it got eaten. We’ve eaten out of the freezer. I’ve menu planned for the week ahead. I’ve top up shopped as I don’t need much after a big shop in half term. We’ve done up what we have. As usual, we’ve taken lunches to work and cooked all our meals at home….no eating out until the summer holiday! I’ve checked the weather and dried everything outside this week….which always smells so much nicer than using the clothes rack indoors.
Over to you, how’s your week been and has anyone got some outside domestics done this lovely weekend?
Love Froogs xxx
Hello Dear Reader,
We’ve been gardening on and off for a few days. Not solidly but popping out to do a bit more when the mood took us. We’ve cleaned the house, laundered, ironed, put away and read and put our feet up in between. A proper bank holiday weekend. We live in a terrace of thirteen slate hung cottages with tiny gardens and the neighbours have been out cutting the lawn, or I could hear them chatting with friends in the sun. It’s been beautifully warm here today.
I’ve repotted some patio plants.
I dug up plants that were in full sun and not thriving and I’ve planted them somewhere that gets some shade. I moved a lavender that was too near the wall and put that in full sun. I’ve planted a tiny hydrangea that I bought a few weeks ago for a few pounds from Lidl and hope it makes it.
The stones? They were all in the border, I think the previous owner was going for the Bodmin moor stones every where sort of look. I’ll have to pay to take these to the recycling centre as they don’t take stones or soil. The ‘shed’ looks a total mess but I will sort and tidy. I’m trying to find some logs at this time of year so I can stock up whilst I can afford it. No one seems to be selling any.
Here’s half my finished border in front of the house. You can see DB’s growing pallet collection at the bottom of the garden, he’ll break them up for fire wood this week. It’s a good job we’ve got them especially as I can’t find any logs to buy. The pink flowering shrub has had a tidy up and been pruned back. I watched Gardener’s World and remembered the advice that if you prune hard when the Chelsea flower show is on, that there’s plenty of growing season left for it to come back to full strength.
I’ve had this trio helping me in the garden all day. They are very good at barking instructions but not a lot of help with digging! (Dolly Knockers at the back, front left Scruffy/AKA Ronnie Barker and to his right is Bobby Dazzler. The garden team, special skills: using the kneeler as a pillow, chewing the trowel handle and lying in dirt when they’ve just had a bath)
I live in a tiny cottage, it’s not much but the capital left to pay gets smaller every month, it doesn’t take much maintenance and I love every single inch of the place. It’s not much but it’s very nearly bought and paid for, cheap to run, tiny to heat and perfect for DB, myself and our four legged friends.
I’m loving this staycation! We’re having a day out in Truro tomorrow and I promise I’ll take photos.
Above is what my very loose planning and shopping list looks like. I had a check in the cupboards and this was all I needed from Aldi.
I did a stock take of my pantry cupboard and gave it a clean out too. This will all be part of meals for a while.
Here’s the base of my fish pie and cottage pie, below is the fish cakes. I say fish, but there’s so little fish in them that I could call them fish flavoured cakes! Yes, that is a biscuit cutter that I use as a mould.
I cooked the sausage in a pan and then cooked the ‘casserole’ separately. I then allow it all to cool before I freeze it all. I cooked the beef casserole in the slow cooker.
My freezer will now have ‘ready meals’ for the next few days and I will have lots of time to catch up on sewing jobs and a UFO quilt that keeps calling to me.
Two quiches. The larger one will be portioned and wrapped for lunches and the smaller one was our Sunday lunch with a bit of salad. I don’t eat the pastry.
Is there anything so beautiful as a golden quiche cooking on top of the cooker?
Our lunch, soggy bottom and all………..doesn’t bother DB.
Crispy fish cakes. I will allow these to cool and pop them on a tray with greaseproof paper and place them in the freezer. When they are frozen, I will transfer them to a plastic bag and back in the freezer.
Final results from the remnants at the bottom of my freezer will feed us all week. Sticky pork, that DB will have chopped up and in a wrap with salad for lunch a couple of days. Quiche for lunches. Beef casserole, fish pie for two days, cottage pie for two days, sausage casserole and fishcakes for two days. Food a bit dark in places? My oven is on its last legs but I’m keeping with it all the way until it just can’t cook any more!
Finally a round up of my thrifty week.
Central heating now off and the only heating is the wood stove.
All laundry dried out in the garden.
Cooked the remnants of the freezer.
Did a food stock take and only bought a minimum top up from Aldi (£18 only spend this week)
Working on a UFO quilt that I want to get finished.
Saved as much as I can as I’m going to the South West Quilt Show!!!!!!! Next weekend!!! On that note, please come and say hello to Dearly Beloved and I if you see us. I will be fabric buying and gasping in utter delight at the quilts on show.
Hopefully, I’ll see some of you at Exeter Westpoint on Saturday and we will arrive at ten and leave around two. Over to you Dear Reader, is anyone else going to the quilt show? What have you done to be thrifty this week? Who else cooks from the bottom of the freezer every now and then?
Love Froogs xxxxx
in collaboration with My Online Estate Agents
Hello Dear Reader,
We moved just a little over a year ago and it was life changing for us. We moved from a large home to a small cottage and did so specifically to save money. We loved our previous home but it really cost us more than we could afford long term in mortgage and upkeep. Financially, we have found a level that is sustainable. Our energy bills and mortgage payments have halved. Our council tax is one third less than it was as is our home insurance. It made sense for us to move even though people with similar incomes to ourselves are looking for the ‘wow factor’, whilst we just want a cosy home.
|Our finished garden at our previous house, it was worth the work to get it sold.|
However, the year we moved caused us financial strain and it’s important to factor in house selling costs. To start, we had to work on our garden and it cost us a lot in landscaping even when we did most of it ourselves. We had to pay a builder to relay the paths and repair the patio. We had to decorate through and even a coat of paint in every room adds to the expense. In the end it was worth it but all of those ‘house doctor’ issues had to be addressed. By far our biggest expense was our estate agent. Now we were lucky as we signed up with an agent who had just opened in their first year of trading and hadn’t earned enough to charge VAT yet and also had offers of 1% in their first year of trading to build a reputation. Those offers are not usually open to everyone and an average £250K home will cost £5000 at least to sell with agents taking 2% of the total price plus VAT of another £1000. If you then go an add stamp duty of 1% of purchase price and the legal fees on the sale and the purchase then a house move can cost nearer to £10,000. Still, it’s worth moving if it will save your family money and lead to a more financially secure future.
Currently, there are few houses on the market and those on the market sell on average in sixty five days. The house goes on the market and search engines such as Right Move help us all to find the house we’re looking for. We had an extremely good agent who worked hard on the buyers to sell them a house and negotiated hard on the part of the seller and buyer. Some agents just don’t work that hard. The house goes onto Prime Location and Right Move and some don’t organise viewings and just let the vendor show people around. You might wonder what you’re paying for? It’s no wonder more and more people are selling their house themselves using online services and paying a one off upfront fee and saving themselves a whole pile of money. (Click HERE for the evidence)
There are ways to save money when buying and selling and if you’re prepared to put in the work then the savings will be significant.
Selling – in the current buoyant market you could sell online with a company such as My online estate agent and save a lot of estate agent fees.
Don’t spend too much renovating your house before selling. We painted all the woodwork white with gloss and all the walls magnolia. I had the carpets cleaned instead of replacing them and keeping the place clean and tidy doesn’t cost anything at all.
Don’t neglect the garden. Paint the fences and the shed it will freshen the place for very little. Weed all the borders, put down membrane and mulch, again low in cost but will tidy the place. Hire a jet washer and clean down the patio and drive way. It will look like new after that. Keep the windows cleaned and consider cleaning the gutters and exterior trim or woodwork. No need to spend anything on replacing just getting the place clean and tidy and you’ll save the most money by doing the work yourself.
De-clutter and de-personalise. People can’t envisage living there if they can’t see through your possessions or family pictures. Let them imagine living there and not see you living there. Box everything up and put it in the loft, your friend’s garage or better still the charity shop and have a clear out. Also, clear out the garage and show it with the car in it so they can imagine the enhanced security of having their car locked away.
When you get to your new house only spend within your means. Our furniture didn’t suit our cottage and we sold it or freecycled it (it was mainly second hand anyway) so we bought our furniture for the cottage from a house clearance company. We then did it up by painting it and it kept the cost down.