Welcome to my no-spend month

keep-calm-and-don-t-spend-money

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s October and doesn’t it come round really quickly. Every year, I have a fiscal fast in October. I buy food from the supermarket which I cook at home and fuel for the car to get to work and that’s it. I don’t take any cash from the cash point and neither of us spend any money on anything except: direct debits for bills and household running costs, food,  and fuel until the 1st of November. Our autumn half term break is in October and we don’t spend any money then either. No charity shops, no ebay buys, no outlet purchases no matter how much of a bargain. Any sales that pop up in emails will be deleted unopened and our purses will stay firmly shut.

We’ve prepared with toiletries and cleaning materials for the month and there’s nothing we need that we don’t already have. We don’t eat out more than once in a very blue moon anyway and the same goes for a takeaway. I bought some new work shoes yesterday from Clarks online outlet so if you see me collecting them (click and collect doesn’t incur a delivery charge) from the local store, I’ve already confessed that all £28 of them (half price) was paid for on the last day of September.

You might wonder why we do this. When we were seriously in debt from 2009 –  2011, we lived like this every day. We stopped spending on anything but necessities completely until we were debt free and this month of non-spending realigns our priorities towards saving. Most weeks for us are non-spend weeks and our only expenses are food and fuel but we all have our downfalls. We love books and trawl charity shops for books and we’ve got plenty we haven’t read yet so we don’t need any more. I’m a quilter and have enough fabric for current projects and I aim to complete some unfinished projects this month. So, like anyone, I’m liable to spend money when I don’t need to and this month reminds me that I already have all I need.

Don’t feel any need to join in or tell me why you can’t join in as what you spend or don’t spend is entirely up to you. I will however share with you how I’ll manage this for the month. I must admit that I do most of them any way.

  1. Take tea bags and coffee to work everyday and make my own.
  2. Take my own lunch to work every day.
  3. If we go out, take a flask and packed lunch. We love a car picnic even if it’s wet and cold.
  4. Complete craft projects with resources we already have.
  5. Invite friends to share our food with us and accept invitations to share with them.
  6. Use up what we have: toiletries, fragrance, cleaning materials and long life food such as tins.
  7. Don’t go into any shops other than the supermarket for a month.
  8. Keep busy with the jobs that need doing at home.
  9. Long weekend walks on the moors or beaches at low tide.
  10. We moved any money we didn’t need when we were paid in September straight into savings so we didn’t have any money to spend other than food and fuel. We know the exact amount each month that goes out of direct debits, including standing orders to savings accounts so we always know the amount that can be spent. We moved that amount.

 

It won’t be easy, it never is! Sometimes, I forget and start to plan meeting up with friends and then have to rethink with a no-spend alternative such as a walk and then back to their place or my place for coffee and something homemade. Something will be needed and I’ll just have to grin and bear it until the end of the month.

So, he’s to a month of tight waddery, skin flintery and frugality. Let the annual no spend month commence.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

 

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Sunny day at Thrift Cottage



Hello Dear Reader,

Days off are best when there is nothing pressing to do. I always have a day a week where nothing much is done. I consider pottering at home and locally as nothing much and I thought I would share those simple pleasures with you. The neighbour’s Camelias…..mine are not in flower yet.


Hyacinths trying to bloom.


A thingamy bush coming back to life.


My neighbour’s Damson tree.


Laundry on the line and the row of cottages where I live.


Daffodils in the garden.


Wild garlic popping up everywhere in the nearby woodlands.


 The Liskeard to Looe railway line running through the woods.



 Froogs sunning herself…………I was much too hot in a jumper and scarf.



Dearly Beloved and the pack.


Drainage culvert.



Homes for trainspotters.


Celandines, glistening in the sunshine.



Laundry in the sunshine and the view towards my garden gate.

Neighbours are in their gardens and Liskeard is at rest.

I’m off to sit on the front step with a cup of coffee and listen to the birdsong.

I hope your day was peaceful, involved no money and allowed you to have a day of rest.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxx
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The final Countdown!


Hello Dear Reader,

I’m getting excited now, I always do when I approach a new year. I love a challenge, in fact, what ever life throws at me, even if I don’t like it, is to be tackled, stamped through and pushed into as I will never be beaten! I am always best with a deadline, with a target and with a to do list. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s work related, house work, to do with money or just the poop life throws us every now and then, bring it on!

Now I know I’m a tough old bird, a bit battle scarred and I live in the world of not giving a fig but here is the totally bleedin’ obvious route to a frugal 2013. Here comes resolution #3.

3. No spend days!

So chuffin’ simple isn’t it? Or is it? I’ve had more comments than I can mention telling me that Uncle Bert saved all of his money and died the day he retired. I’ve been told that we all deserve a treat, that we all need holidays, that we all need to ease up and we’ll all get there eventually. Well those are not the words of winners. Winners resolutely stick to a plan, keep at it and don’t give up. Winners do not need nights out, paid entertainment or to go on holiday. They do the opposite. They keep going no matter what and they achieve what they set out to do. Just like me, they will get narked with the whole chosen lifestyle every now and then but the long term rewards are certainly worth it. 

No spend days are all about planning carefully budgeted spending. They are about setting a budget at the beginning of the year and making sure you have thought of all eventualities. How much does it cost to service the car, to pay for a set of tyres, for the fuel to get to work and save money to replace it as it will not last forever. How much does household maintenance cost? How much to repaint a house every four years? How much to replace work wear annually? When you’ve sat down and worked all that out you will not be surprised how little there is left. 

So what do I mean by having no spend days? I get paid on the last day of the month and on the first day of the month all the money is gone! I pay my mortgage, into our savings fund for everything I have to budget for throughout the year, I make my monthly mortgage over payment, I pay the direct debits for utilities, insurances and local taxes, I put money into my diesel and food account and I eek that out so I have a bit of money if I need clothes or thread. I don’t leave myself with money to play with and I’m so used to it now that I just live that way. I went away twice last year and got married so that accounts for any holidays in 2013 or 2014 and we’ll just potter around locally on days off and look forward to a week away in 2015. It’s a goal and we will get there.

I no longer spend without saving and planning. If I have any food money left at the end of the month and either of us needs a hair cut, new pair of shoes or new clothing, or item of furniture then that’s what we buy it with. Now, most days are no spend days and that’s the way I need to keep it for 2013 to pay down my mortgage. 


If you are thinking of stopping spending, then initially this will be difficult. You will have to master the art of saying no, mostly to yourself. To begin with, it might be easier to make up excuses as to why you are not attending a wedding, birthday party or day out. I just brass it out now and tell them no and don’t give a reason. People stop asking in the end, they know me well enough that I no longer spend money. If this is going to become a new way of life for you then it will be hard to begin with as you may be used to paying to be entertained and used to going to the cinema, theatre, restaurants or gardens or attractions. I haven’t been to any of them since 2008 and although I miss the theatre, not going hasn’t killed me and I assure you I miss it so much that I still read reviews. 

Even now, I get ‘ I would like’ pangs. We relented this year and used Dearly Beloved’s ‘ebay fund that he’d made selling stuff to buy me a really good sewing machine. We haven’t relented and bought a new sofa, even though we both would love one. We are now in the process of finding ways and means of earning extra money to save up for items of furniture and for household maintenance but it will be all done on a strict budget and with the aid of ebay, ‘preloved’ and freecycle. A sofa will turn up in the end!

What about you? Up for the challenge? Mine is to have two spend days a month (which doesn’t mean running round spending just because it’s a spend day) and the rest to be no spend days. All spending will be planned for and only that which we really need is on the shopping list. What do we actually need? As ever, I always love to hear from you. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Get outdoors…………….it’s free!!

Gribben Head – Day marker – used as a navigation point.

 Hello Dear Reader,


If you are reading this, either via the net at home or 3G on your phone, then you have access to discovering free days out, free walks, free parking and free activities where you live. We took ourselves on a two hour walk today. We drove, almost to Fowey, and turned off for Polkerris, but kept going to Menabilly and then kept going on foot to Polridmouth Cove and eventually to the Gribben. All of these coves and beaches were my childhood playgrounds and I still get that thrill of wide open spaces and can not name anything better than a good walk.

 There are no facilities on the beach, a real piss in a field kind of a day out, and I did! It doesn’t have easy access, you can’t take a push chair, you can’t buy an ice cream and there’s no golden sand. Result? Peace and quiet and the place almost to ourselves, other than hardy ramblers. 

 Anchored off the mouth of the Fowey harbour, was a huge cruise liner; they have paid thousands to view what I can have for free. It was quite a sweaty walk, although it was grey, it’s been warm and the sun came out on our walk home.

 I even took a photo of the grid reference in case anyone wants to go on this walk themselves. There is a farm at the top of the hill, which opens a field for people to park all day for the princely sum of 50p. I think that’s good value.

 Here I am, almost at the Gribben. The air was full of larks and swallows and we often stopped to watch a kestrel who was hovering in the thermals. Just idyllic. I did have a Julie Andrews moment and found myself running up and down, just because I could!

 Behind us is the coves of Fowey, Polridmouth and Lantic – the cruise ship looks tiny here.

 It was pretty steep and if there had been  a body shop along the way, I would have bought new knees and new lungs. It was worth it in the end.

 I made it to the top, found a grassy knoll and got our flask out and sipped hot tea whilst taking in the view. Not bad for 50p!

 We aimed to get back for lunch (chicken and salad) and a lot of the walk was through sheltered paths.

I would encourage everyone to set aside a day, whenever they can, to get outside. To me, it’s a cure all. If I’m stiff with the joint pain that I can get, then I exercise it off. If I’m feeling low or sluggish, or bored, or frustrated with a project, or just with life……….getting outside cures it. If the housework is piling up, to be honest, it will still be there when I get home! Just get outside and find some space, and light and empty air, breathe deeply, don’t walk………stride purposefully. Make your lungs and legs work equally hard and what ever was bothering you, boring you or just frustrating you will be gone in a couple of hills (buggered if you live in East Anglia!)


On that note, I’m going to spend the afternoon in front of the ironing board with the radio on and a pot of tea not too far away.


Happily not spending any money this weekend,


Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

How little do we actually need?

 Hello Dear Reader,

A slow, sunny kind of day. We chopped and stacked wood. I chopped bags and bags of kindling, whilst Dearly Beloved spilt the larger logs.

 All of the laundry, even the backlog, has been washed and hung outside.

I then retreated to the summer house, feet up, some Louis de Berniere, a cup of tea and even a doze in the spring sunshine. No money spent, no where to go and just time to relax and enjoy what we have.

Some days, we need very little…………..days like today, we need nothing but each other, our home, our garden and the peace we share together.

O

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs