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…’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 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

Back in the game!


Hello Dear Reader,

I popped into the co op and picked up their £5 deal. Chips, battered cod, peas, ice cream and apple pie, would have been more than double if I’d paid full price. Their offers sell out quickly and I was lucky to get my hands on this.


I then got a basket full of reductions. Blueberries for 50p a punnet, iceberg for 19p, salad leaves for 79p and wholemeal loaf for 39p .


Salad Nicoise.

Hand full of frozen green beans,
Two new potatoes per person,
One egg per person.

Boil together in one pan and then leave until completely cold. I cooked them for ten minutes after reaching boiling point. 

Finely dice one red onion
Three tomatoes per person, sliced in half.
Mixed salad leaves.
One small tin of tuna in brine per person.

Dressing, equal parts of oil to vinegar, I used red wine vinegar and olive oil, season well with salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon juice. I always have bottled lemon juice in the fridge.

Arrange all the ingredients on a plate and drizzle with the dressing.


I’ve nearly caught up with the laundry and it’s drying in the back porch.


The dogs are glad to be home, Dolly Knockers has welded herself to DB and it doesn’t look like she’ll let him out of her sight for a while.

Last week sunning ourselves and this week back to a thrifty simple life.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx



How to get free magazines to a tablet or ipad – guest Blog by DB.

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s not Frugal Queen today, It’s DB. I’ve been let loose to explain how I’ve been able to get free magazines through local library membership. I’ll guide you through step by step.

Our local library service uses an App called Zinio to read the magazines. This is available for both Apple tablets and Android tablets. Simply download the app as you would any other App.

Step One: Go to your local authority or council website to search for your library services:

Step Two: When you have found the relevant page, simply enter your details to join up. They’ll normally email you back with your membership details or may ask you to go to your local library to collect your card. NB If you already have a card you may not need to do this step at all!

Step three: Armed with your library card and its number you go to the page to sign up for the magazines and follow the relevant link to choose some titles.

Step Four: Now you are confronted by an eclectic mix of magazines about homes, cars, computers and food etc. Simply choose which magazine takes your fancy.

Step Five:You get a choice of the current issue or a back issue. This is an excellent option because if you do not normally buy magazines there are suddenly half a dozen back issues available for you to peruse and they don’t take up any space in the house. Simply click ‘checkout’ for the copy you fancy today. you can choose multiple editions later on if you want.

Step Six: Now you just click on the copy of the magazine which will be on the main Zinio menu and peruse at your leisure. You can zoom in on the pages by unpinching your fingers just as you would zoom in on pictures.

I like to look at music and photography magazines whereas my darling wife likes to get ideas from house magazines

They may not have your favorite magazine available but they have magazines that cover a variety of interests and they are totally free. I regularly read 3 or 4 magazines this way and so does my darling wife. These magazines are normally £5 each so we save £20 per month. Each!

Back to FQ.

Thanks so much to DB for explaining this. I haven’t bought any magazines for quite a while and I missed them. This means I can get my inspiration fix without having to spend any money at all.

Over to you Dear Reader. Who downloads books or magazines from their library? Or, who downloads free books to read on a tablet device saving money on buying books?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs and Dearly Beloved xxxxxx

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