My packing is weirder than your packing!

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Hello Dear Reader,

If and when you go somewhere, you pack clean clothes, food, books, amusement, a coat, umbrella and maybe even sunblock. It’s way different for us. When you’re renovating a house on a tiny budget then the roof of my car feels as if it’s loaded like Buckaroo! On the roof of the car this time will be a room size rug we bought for £42 and an oil filled electric radiator we got cheap from freeads for £10 as we work towards every room having a rug and a radiator.

Inside the car will be paint as French paint is five times the price and it’s like painting with skimmed milk so we take at least two pots every time we go. There will also be sand paper, sugar soap, paint brushes and rollers as we move into the next stage of renovation of one of the rooms. Our aim is to get our bedroom finished in a few days, move the furniture and move in to it. I have furniture to paint whilst DB has the walls and door to finish as well as changing the British plugs to French plugs on some lamps we bought ages ago, again really cheaply, from TK Max with a gift voucher. We are still a way off hanging curtains and I don’t think we’ll get to the finished stage until next year. When you work to a budget and stick to it, you  have to be patient and work slowly.

Every time I go, I take something else I’ve found cheap, in a charity shop or totally free and donated or given away. I’m never going to buy new if I can get it ‘recycled as I can’t stand waste, hate the thought of good stuff going to landfill and want to make every pound do the work of a fiver! Yes, I’m tightfisted and proud of it! If I can do my bit to stop waste then I certainly will even if it means my packing is weirder than your packing.

In my defence, I’m not the only one. I really should take photographs of the weird things in the backs of cars, in trailers and on the roof embarking the ferry. I’ve seen trailers full of fruit trees in pots, sewerage systems, hot water tanks, wood stoves, garden fence and double glazed windows. I can also spot the renovators as we’re in our ‘holiday’ clothes of paint spattered jeans and with grout under our fingernails as we’ve worked right up to departure time and worked on the basis of ‘there’s a shower in my cabin and we’ve turned the water off in the house’. Obviously, there are people who might get someone else to do all the work, but they are in disguise are regular tourists.

I’ll keep you up to date with the renovations, the dog walks, the mini week long adventure and my little French village as it warms up in the bank holiday sunshine. We’re aiming to scout round for some second hand furniture to fill up some of the empty rooms and I’ll share some of our forays into charity shops and ‘le bon coin’ as we start making the house more homely.

Who knows, in time, it might be you renting it for one of your holidays.


Until Saturday,

Love Froogs xxxx

Keep it clean

Hello Dear Reader,

It seems a clean and tidy house is important to most of us and I’m not alone in my enjoyment of housework. I actually find it really relaxing.

I thought I’d share this cleaning schedule from Good Housekeeping.

You can print if you’d lik. Mine is printed and is on the back of my cleaning cupboard door.

Happy scrubbing xx
Love Froogs xxxxx

Tidy house, tidy mind, tidy wallet?

Hello Dear Reader,

When we moved into Thrift cottage back in 2013 we inherited someone’s kitchen, their taste and style. It’s not what I’d have chosen but it’s perfectly serviceable and will last for years to come. My cooker is on its last legs but whilst it can still function then it’ll stay just as it is. Every night, I give it a good clean and shine. Often we can convince ourselves that something needs replacing but we can bring it back to life by treasuring it and at the very least by keeping it clean. I’ve just noticed the mug ring on the left side and went straight down to wipe it off.

There’s something really satisfying about keeping a tidy house and personally, I find it both relaxing and satisfying. For me, it’s a brain dumping activity that keeps my brain in good order. Also, I’m really aware of the money it saves me as a house kept in good order lasts longer. 

Any other tidy people out there? It can’t be just me.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Thrifty, the everyday normal?

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve been oh so frugal recently as I’ve had a lot to put money aside for. Tomorrow, I pick up my new glasses from Asda and yes, I did say Asda. Previously, I bought my glasses from spec savers but when I picked up my last pair and as they were incorrect again, I decided that I’d try elsewhere. Hopefully, they’ll be fine.

I’ve been busy having a deep clean of my ‘utility room’ which is actually the back porch with my laundry in it. I’ve cleaned the mouldy corners, the cobwebby corners and the grubby windows. It’s ready for a coat of paint and I’ll get it done on a dry evening. We sourced exterior paint as it’ll last longer. We do all we can to keep the cottage dry but the 100 year old walls seem to either soak up or retain moisture and the back porch isn’t heated so it gets grubby.

We’re still lighting our fire most evenings and we’re now burning plum tree wood from our neighbour’s tree that was cut down a couple of years ago. I’m still having to dry our laundry indoors now and then and even today, I had to rescue my laundry from the line today as the rain came down and wash finished in front of thestove. 

I broke my frugal fast today as I popped into a local charity shop when I returned from posting a letter and bought a lampshade for £1. Its adds a bit of cheap colour. The old shade will be recycled to France and be put to good use. I’m busy up cycling charity shop curtains into cushion covers that’ll also go with us on our next trip over in a couple of weeks. 

Like you, I upcycle, make do and mend, shop in charity shops and then recycle anything I can or donate on again. I keep an eye on every penny because this is normal, isn’t it?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

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 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



Summer is a coming! 

Hello Dear Reader,

School summer holidays are always so very lovely but can be a really difficult time for families. Most parents will work most of it and juggle childcare, sometimes as we did with spouses taking separate holidays to care for children. Lots of families like to get away in the school holiday and they tailor to suit their budgets. We had plenty of long weekends in tents in Cornwall with a gas stove, cool box, sleeping bags and bicycles but great memories. 

Now, we start budgeting from one year to the next and my biggest costs is my ferry crossing as we do a long Plymouth to Roscoff trip. Depending on where you live, the shorter crossings are much cheaper and if you don’t mind the drive, it’s always worth doing the Dover to Calais trip or to take the tunnel. If you want to get a really good deal, look on cashback websites like Quidco or Top cashback, you can save money on your crossing. If you want a 10% discount on Brittany Ferries, send me an email and I can help.

If you want a bit more of a fancy holiday and have ideas to share on cheaper holidays then please share with everyone. There are great deals to be had on British holidays and there are even holiday price comparison websites such as travel supermarket that can show you some of the best deals. So here’s my first question, do you start budgeting and planning well in advance? 

I don’t wish to put a dampener on a British summer but it only lasts a few weeks so do we really need a lot of summer clothes? This is where I turn to charity shops, supermarket and discount retailers for a few t shirts and shorts. They barely get any wear from one year to the next so at the end of the season, it gets tucked away for the colder months. Summer clothes for children when you want to take them away on holiday is tempting but just remember, no body will know you when you get there and if the children have clothes they’ve had for a while then they’re not precious and they can just have fun. 

We all love to get out in our gardens in the summer and if we were tempted, it’d be great to have a barbecue and garden furniture. Keep your eyes open at the local recycling centre as people just discard them. We’ve not bought one yet, my cheap method is to cook it in the house and carry the food outside. I get that I’m a tightwad and that’s not for everybody! Look on a Facebook for items either for sale or free and put a shout out for a barbecue and garden furniture. We love recycling pallets as we live round the corner from an industrial estate where they leave pallets out to recycle. If you’ve enough time on your hands and a bit of skill then you could upcycle to garden furniture as lovely as this.

Now it’s your turn, share your money saving tips for the summer months? 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Democracy is a precious resource

Hello Dear Reader,
It’s May the first and anyone not registered to vote has until the 22nd May to vote in the 8th June elections. Democracy is such a gift that we shouldn’t squander. Of course, vote by your own conscience and choice but please vote.

If you’re not registered, click on the link above.

Enjoy the bank holiday.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Chinese Fakeaway

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s been one of those days where I’ve really fancied junk food! You know the days when you’d really love a takeaway but the budget won’t include it. If you wanted to cook this and wanted it to stretch further then add rice and you’ll need less stir fry; we’re always trying to eat more veggies, so we had kale.

The kale was one of Lidl’s five offers and was 59p

The bag of stir fry veggies was 75p from a Farm Foods

I used three pork loin steaks cut up and were 33p each from Farm foods, 99p in total. 

I made the sweet and sour sauce from 60ml ketchup, 60ml of honey and 60ml of wine vinegar, with a heaped teaspoon of cornflour with 60ml of water. Mix well together and have ready. 40p. 

I used KTC ginger and garlic which is 80p a jar and I used 2 tablespoons, which is about 1/10th of the jar, so 8p. 

Here’s how I made it. Be warned, its quick!

1. Boil the kettle and pour over the kale, this cooks in ten minutes.

2. Cut the defrosted pork steaks into strips.

3. Heat a wok or frying pan to smoking hot.

4. Add the bag of frozen stir fry veggies and pork and keep stirring.

5. When almost cooked, add 2 tablespoons of minced ginger and garlic. You can of course use fresh, but I keep this in my cupboard any way.

6. Stir well and add the sweet and sour sauce.

7. Stir until thickened. 

Serve with your choice of either rice or vegetables. £1.40 each. That pushes our budget a bit further than normal but hey, it’s way cheaper than a takeaway. I love a sweet and sour sauce and the balance of plenty of veg balances out all of that sugary honey. It was also great as I didn’t need to add any oil and takeaways are dripping in it! 

Over to you Dear Reader, what take away do you fake as you can make it more cheaply and far more healthily yourself? 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxx

Do you spring clean?


Hello Dear Reader,

We don’t have much spring left here! Spring is short lived here and before we know, it’ll be summer then we really won’t be home much or feel like emptying the pan cupboard when it gets warms. Spring cleaning is important to me as I get to give the house a good sort out and get rid of anything that’s clogging up my life. I live in a two up, two down and there’s no room to swing a small kitten so clutter just does not feature! Last weekend, I really got the bit between my teeth and my head feels so much better. I organised and deep cleaned my sewing room, which also doubles up as my office and as I spend a lot of time in there working, it’s a much better place in which to think and create now it’s fresh as well as very organised and tidy. It’s a great way to stock take and realise I have plenty of everything and I then know where everything is.

I love a to do list and love that feeling of ticking each job off one by one. I have a long weekend at the end of the week and I’d like to get at least two of these jobs down. I also like a realistic goal, there’s no point in thinking I will do it all as I just won’t. If I get more than two jobs done, then that’s a bonus.

I don’t know what you need to do but here’s my to do list.

Empty out wardrobe and drawers, check if I still fit any of the clothes and send the rest to the charity shop.

Take out summer clothes from the drawers under my bed and fill the drawers with winter jumpers.

Empty out and clean the airing cupboard, refold or iron any bedding. Take surplus to the charity shop.

Empty out the kitchen cupboards, one by one, wash down all the shelves and replace items, washing any with dust.

Empty out and clean out the dining room cupboards and paint the insides.

Wash and repaint skirting boards down stairs.

Paint the hall way – it makes it look cleaner and brighter with a coat of paint.

That’s just for starters!

I better get on with it, May is around the corner and it’ll be summer before we know it.

Over to you, who else has a good sort out and clean at a certain time of year?

Until tomorrow,