Flat packed furniture in France 

Hello Dear Reader,

Emmaüs in Morlaix is half an hour from our home and we try to visit there every trip. We’ve just bought small items of furniture on our two previous trips but this time we bought an armoire which fortunately came apart with a series of bolts and catches.

One of the chaps in the shop dismantled it for us, gathered up all the screws and then all we had to do was fit it into and on top of our car. DB secured it really really firmly as we didn’t want anything falling out of the back of the car.

We then carried, piece by piece up the garden path, round the back of the house and up the exterior stairs to the top floor and stacked it up.

It took about twenty minutes to take apart and two hours to assemble. 

Here’s our reassembled thrifted armoire that cost us 60€, some time and a bit of effort. It’s effectively flat packed furniture even though it’s all wood. Now we know how to take it apart and get it home, we’ll aim to have one in every room.

We aim to get our new bedroom completely finished so we can sleep in there for a couple of nights. 

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

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



Five Frugal things on Friday

Hello Dear Reader,

I’m going to round up or should I say round off my week by sharing the little things I’ve done this week. Nothing massive, but you know what, it’s often the little things that we just make a habit that add up and eventually make a real difference. Sometimes, it’s the inconsequential things that seem minor and not worth bothering about. I’m sure there are people who are not of our thrifty mind set who really can’t see the point of the little things. That’s ok, we’ll save the money and leave them to it.

Here’s the little things I’ve done this week.

  1. I had a quick stock take of the pantry and freezer, put a menu plan together, then a shopping list. It’s amazing how expensive impulse can be when more than we need goes into our shopping baskets. This way meant that I could stick to our shopping budget with ease and we didn’t feel deprived as we always build ‘something nice’ into our list. This week it was some snacks to have with a movie on Friday night.
  2. I bulked cooked over the weekend and froze meals so we had an easy time of it when we got in from work. We have a commute and it can be variable and unique to Cornwall. Nothing feels as hungry as a tired teacher stuck behind a tractor on the A374 who’s only comfort when chugging along at fifteen miles an hour is that dinner is virtually ready when I get home all late and grumbly.

3. I made and packed all our lunches at the beginning of the week and they are ready in the fridge to grab and go. Wrapped in foil, a cheese, ham and pickle sandwich lasts all week and means we’ll never be late or tempted by a meal deal as those few minutes extra under the duvet tempt all of us from time to time

4.I got free exercise at the weekend by splitting logs for our wood stove. I’d like to say I was heroic and wielded and axe but I used our log splitter. We bought the wood green and have laid it down like a fine vintage to be burnt next year. I got hours of amusement playing ‘log jenga’ and then covering them so they get some air but not the inevitable rain.

5.I’ve had a one spend week, meaning I did our shopping last Friday and haven’t needed to spend anything else all week. Tonight, after work, I’ll go to my nearest discount supermarket with my list and buy everything we need for the week ahead.


All such little inconsequential savings that means I’ve kept to the family budget, that we’re on track with savings targets this month and we’re heading towards the end of the month with healthy finances.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xx



Poundland pain relief

Hello Dear Reader,

Does anyone use this? £1 and it works. My toe joints, thumb joints and wrists really hurt today. Pain is odd! It travels around regardless of what I’ve done. Sometimes my shoulders are on fire then nothing for weeks and then out of the blue, my feet are in agony usually my arches but joints at other times.

I need to pare back my diet for a couple of weeks and try any work out if it’s something I’m eating, keep a movement diary to see if it’s the way I sit or something I do that causes pain. 

In the meantime, I’m relying on local pain relief and I’ll see how I get on. It’s a great relief from a humble quid!

Over to you, any cheap meds that work for you?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Flipping out!

Hello Dear Reader,
Here’s a question for you. Do you find it difficult to spend money?
Here’s a thing.
We’ve a major chunk of money to spend: kitchen, van hire, furniture, curtain fabric…….blah, blah, blah.
It provoked a massive emotional reaction. I’ve actually felt really distressed and have genuinely panicked. I’ve got the best price, I’ve hustled and haggled but still that massive amount of money out has left my current account almost empty. That’s a first for years. Maybe it’s reminded me of what life used to be like? I’m not coping well at all! 
I’ve also been totally distracted with planning and scrap booking. 
By wall ideas……..DB will have to build dividing walls. We hope to use plyboard…..it’s cheap and easy.
Also, by stairs as DB will need to build them too.
We are being thrifty but I’m being a numpty!
Feel free to offer amateur psychoanalysis as to why I’m an emotional wreck!
Love Froogs xxxx

Roll on spring

Froogs 2013 at a Spring Flower Show, 4th April at Boconnoc. Really cold but full of lovely displays of colour.

Hello Dear Reader,

Apologies for my absence, I can only explain as feeling flat as a pancake. Can’t explain it really. It’s that feeling of being really tired, having no inspiration and just wanting to sleep off this endless winter! I mean, I’m sure it’s rained since October, we’ve had floods, the ground is totally boggy and everyone’s homes are fusty from not being able to open the windows.

Well, according to the Met Office website, spring starts on March 20th and I for one am counting the days! Roll on is all I can say.

This enforced hibernation is good for saving money as I just don’t feel like getting out at all! I met a friend today at the supermarket cafe for a coffee and catch up and that’s the first time I’ve gone out in months. It’s grey and fuggy outside and I just want to hunker down by my sewing machine or by the fire and read. 

I’ve down loaded some books and magazines from the local library website and used their free Zinio service. Another friend has kindly given me some clothes to recycle and I’ve cut them up for quilting and crafting. I’ve gone through my sewing room and pulled out unfinished projects and I’m ashamed to say I have three on the go!!! I’ve a sewing day planned in half term to share with someone and I want to get up to speed with some cutting and sewing practice until then. It’s been a while and I’m rusty. 

So, it’s been the usual thrifty week. I’ve got lots to look forward to in half term with meet ups, social events, sewing day and working on some unfinished projects.

But most of all, I’m looking forward to spring!

Over to you, who else is fed up with the endless gloomy wet skies?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Why a weekly menu plan?

Hello Dear Reader,

Not my wood pile but it’ll make sense as I go on.

 Here’s my thought for tonight. None of us should wait until we’re skint to be thrifty. In the future, as a pensioner, I’m going to be skint. I’ll have a limited income, no immediate or easy possibility to earn money and I’ll have to watch every penny. If you are facing retirement in ten years or more, you’ll be in the same position. You won’t be able to get your old age pension, which is currently available at 68 as by then, the goal posts will move and we’ll all be in our 70’s before we’ll be able to have it. So, we will have less money and we’ll have to get on with it. We have workplace pensions and don’t intend working until 68 and hopefully, fingers crossed will retire early at 60 and take reduced pensions if that’s still an option. Who knows where the goal posts will be by then? That might not be an option and we’ll have to reconsider our plans.

Now, whilst we are earning is the time to be thrifty, watch the pennies, save everything we can and live on less. We’re young and fit so can do with less heating, I can find bargains and we can make our own entertainment. Who knows what my health will be, if I need the heating on more or if the cold drives me to the Costa del cheap for a month each winter to stave off the cold. Who knows? Now is the time for me to be a cheapo, skint flint tightwad whilst I have the choice. 

We’ve just paid out the last lot of money for the house in France!!! We’ve paid for the: rewiring, new back doors, furniture, tree surgery, electrical goods, hired a trailer to go over, paid for the ferry and gite as the house isn’t fit to live in yet and of course paid for the house, the estate agent fee and all legal fees. No more money going to France until we have to pay for utilities and council tax. After Christmas, when we sign for the house, we won’t go back until Easter. So, thrifty it is until then. The plan is to rein in any spending for the next four months. Please, will nothing break, need fixing or replacing!

Family members are being bought passports as Christmas gifts, we won’t be here for Christmas and will have a sandwich whilst working on the house! Christmas sorted and budgeted for.

It means, I can keep my purse shut, build up savings and hunker down for the winter.

I don’t have to buy much food this week as I’ve already cooked. Here’s my menu plan for the week.

Today – Chicken casserole, potatoes and steamed kale – this will also make two lunches for me this week.

Monday – Vegetable chilli and brown rice – this will also make two lunches for me.
Tuesday. – Fidgit pie – bacon, leeks, onions, potatoes baked with a cheese and mustard sauce on top.
Wednesday – Baked potato with cheese and beans – standard, we always have something either on toast or in a baked spud.
Thursday – Fish cakes, beans (from the freezer) and carrots.
Friday –  Pasta with bacon, veggies and chilli (I bought a pack of cooking bacon from Aldi and I need to use it up)

Breakfast, yogurt, muesli, cereals, toast or variants there of.
Lunch, leftovers and sandwiches, apples for snacks.

My shopping list for the week.

Fresh veg
12 pink lady apples
Sliced cold meat for sandwiches
Bread/GF bread
plastic bags and foil.
SF orange squash
Loo rolls

Now, back to the wood pile. I’m fascinated by wood piles in France. Some properties have ten metre long piles, ranged down one side of their homes. Neatly stacked a metre high, kept water proof and there for the future. We all need a bit of that French mindset. I’m sure they didn’t buy all the wood in one go. They will have bought another cubic metre when they can afford it and stored it away. They didn’t wait until they were skint and then start worrying about where the money is coming from to heat the house! As the saying goes, the time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining, not to think, it’s not raining so I won’t spend money on roof tiles. We’ll all have to face being skint one day whether through retirement or the insecurity of modern work where nothing is certain. Whilst we’ve got jobs and can work, in ‘these times’ we all need to thrift up! Not spending is the new spending, not staying in is the new going out and cliche after cliche but it’s the world we live in.

You might think, what’s the point of veggie meals and saving money on food and keeping the heating off? We rarely eat out or go out, we keep our spending low on utilities and over heads and keep to a budget. The little savings all add up, no nipping to the supermarket in the week, not unplanned spending and keep an eye on our increasing not depleting saving accounts. So, I’m pulling on the jumpers, eating plenty of veggie meals, amusing ourselves and as I said before, hunkering down for the winter.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Moving money without losing any

Hello Dear Reader,

We’ve started to watch the currency markets with the nervous apprehension of an expectant father outside the labour ward! Sterling is up and down like the proverbial pair of knickers in a you know where! It’s ‘rallied’! But who knows, by morning it can drop again and we’ll wait throughout the day.

You know that bit on the Radio 4 news where they talk about the Yen, the Chinese markets, what the dollar is doing and by then, I’ve totally glazed over. For just this once in our lives, it has a significant effect on us. Here’s what I’ve learnt throughout my tiny bit of research and it goes like this. We holiday in the France and never go any where else. You might holiday in Spain or Italy and never go any where else. You like what you like and feel happy there and don’t feel the need to change that. We feel like that. If that’s the case then having a bank account in that country can be useful. We then booked our holidays this year through French sites and paid in euros costing us less than half the cost of booking through the UK and paying in pounds. We then bought currency when we travelled. With a bank account in that country we can watch the currency markets and when sterling has a moment of seeing off every other currency, which it sometimes can, then we transfer money to a French bank account and then use that account when we are there.

All very simple so far. But, there is an element of shopping around for currency exchange. Our bank is offering a measly exchange rate in comparison to the FX companies. It’s simple to register with such companies, even if you are just going on holiday and want to buy currency. Most make 1% on the exchange rate whilst the banks try to make 3% on currency exchange. For us, in a major purchase this made almost a thousand pounds of difference! A huge amount of money to have lost if we hadn’t researched, hadn’t shopped around and hadn’t waiting until the markets were in our favour.

Even though we are solvent and have savings, we would never spend what we don’t have to, never waste it and would never give a major UK bank any more than I have to. My bank, who should be called http://www.werobyoublind.com not only wanted to take 2% more but wanted to charge me on top as well! I make a point of avoiding paying anything I don’t have to and I’m certainly not going to give them a whole pile of money when they do nothing to earn it! 

So, where’s the ‘rub’ in this little rant. Don’t exchange currency through a bank. They expect people to be lazy and take the easiest route and go to the bank or post office and buy currency. If you are in America as some of you lovely readers are, you’ll find my rant strange but we Brits are often off somewhere and changing currency when we do. We usually take some cash and then a pre-paid money card preloaded with currency to spend in our destination. Don’t use your regular bank account abroad as they will charge for every transaction, every cash withdrawal and each time with incur a currency exchange fee and they will make a profit each time of 3% more at least than the exchange rate.

Take a look at Money saving expert and all the price comparison websites who can lead you to FX companies who will offer you a better rate. If you are going on holiday, this can save you hundreds. 

Do not let that bunch of bankers take money they don’t deserve.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

How to save time and money in the kitchen

Hello Dear Reader,
I’m off to France tomorrow. No beach and lazing this time but a bit of a French bucket list trip to visit places I’ve always wanted to see. We’re staying in a friend’s accommodation and we’ve got a bit of work to do there to pay for our stay. Then, after that….we are off out. We’ve put stickers on the map and intend getting out and about every day.
I’ve cooked to put ‘ready meals’ in my freezer and we’ll take some frozen with us and we’ll pick up easy food when we get such as sliced meat and bags of salad.
I don’t just do this for trips but whenever I have to stretch time and money. There’s a lot of chicken here as I bought a kilo of frozen chicken breasts and I’ve defrosted the lot and cooked them all into meals. I also defrosted a kilo of minced beef and cooked it all into a variety of recipes in one go. It took me all morning and yes, there was a whole tonne of washing up and I’m shattered but it saves me time and money. The freezer dishes were 10 for 99p (99p store) and I recycle them a couple of times before they go in the recycle bin. 
I made 16 meals in total and they’ve filled one drawer in the fridge freezer. Often, people get tired, have busy lives and just don’t feel like cooking. I know I need a night off cooking here and there and a ready meal in the freezer saves me time and money. For most households, food is the biggest expense next to rent or mortgage and if any of us can save money on that massive bill then it makes a genuine difference to a family’s budget.
You won’t hear from me tomorrow and I don’t know how good 3G wherever we go but you can keep up to date with me on Instagram where I’ll be snapping away at all the lovely sights that I see. 
Until I get a signal again,
Love Froogs xxxxx