Stir fried cauliflower rice 

Hello Dear Reader,

Another thrifty meatless day and you’ve got to try this. I’m using up a bag of quinoa but I didn’t want to have too much starch in my lunches so I riced a head of cauliflower to lighted this. We had a bowlful of supper and the rest has been packed in the fridge for the rest of the week.

Here’s what I used.

1 head of cauliflower riced

1 onion finely sliced.

1 pepper finely sliced

4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

1 cup of uncooked quinoa, cooked in 1 litre of vegetable stock.

4 chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced

1 cup of frozen peas

Lazy ginger, Chili and garlic – I bought mine in tubes in Aldi. I gave a hearty squeeze 

GF soy sauce 

2 tubs of veggie stock pots with 750ml of boiling water.

Here’s how I cooked it.

Cook the quinoa, peas and carrots in stock….until cooked.

Heat a large shallow pan with some added spray oil and gently sauté the onion, pepper and mushroom. 

Add the riced cauliflower and stir well, then add the stock, ginger chilli and garlic and stir. Add a lid to the pan and cook for ten minutes.

Combine the cauliflower rice and quinoa and soy sauce to taste.

This reheats really well and you can add sliced plain omelette to make this an egg fried cauliflower rice. It’s also great cold to eat at your desk at work.

It’s utterly delicious and you’ve to try this.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

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Three bean chilli

Hello Dear Reader,

Quick hello, a recipe and I’m off to light the fire and eat this delicious supper.

4 celery stalks, 4 carrots and one large onion roughly chopped – fry in some spray oil for five minutes.

Add

1 tin of butter beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, 100g chopped peppers – I used frozen.

1 tin of tomatoes

1 vegetable stock cube

I added a pot of leftover vegetable soup, but you could just add any leftovers or another tin of tomatoes.

1 heaped teaspoon of: cumin, coriander, paprika and chilli flakes.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes, depending on how you like the texture of your vegetables.

We had ours with quinoa and it was smoky, spicy and really filling.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Carry on scrimping

Hello Dear Reader,

I have two more days of Stoptober where I don’t spend any money I don’t have to spend for a month. I must confess, we had two coffees in a cafe on a day out to Looe, I went charity shop shopping to look for jeans for my friend in France who rescues dogs to the point she leaves herself until last and I want to help her out. I only managed to find her one pair of jeans, size 8 clothes are rare in charity shops. I’ve also spent about another £10 over the month but I’ve mostly stuck to my plan to spend no money.

When I do this for a month, it’s like stepping back in time for us. When we were in debt and paying the debt off as quickly as we could, we had a no spend 19 months and didn’t buy any more than the necessities to get by on. It can be done especially when there’s an end in sight. My end was just the end of the month to have as much money left as when we were paid back in September. We very almost did it.

As crazy as it sounds, we aim to do this again in November. We haven’t missed out on anything and we’ve done a lot more walking, our diets are healthier without any treats, wine or nibbles at the weekend and it’s reaffirmed what I’ve believed for a very long time. We don’t need much to be happy and we can get by really well, stay fit and healthy with very little.

Here’s my typical scrimping for the week. DB’s sandwiches for the week were half a pack of Aldi cooking bacon, cooked in the oven whilst lunch was cooking. Allowed to cool, chopped and added to chopped hard boiled eggs and a squirt of mayonnaise. The bread rolls were also from Aldi and the type that are long life and kept in the cupboard until he needs them. He also had the same for his ‘tea’ tonight. We are well fed but very easily pleased.

Even now, we don’t waste anything. Every bottle is stood on end to get the last dregs out, toothpaste tubes cut open, shampoo bottles rinsed out and the last bits used to wash our hair, small bits of soap are stuck to bigger bars and we just make every day a scrimping and not wasting day.

We eat way less meat now even though we could splash out, we stick to our small food budget and make sure it’s healthy and gives us exactly what we need. Lunch today was (apologies for the terrible photo) carrot, kidney bean and cumin burgers with quinoa cooked in veggie stock, cavolo nero kale and mushrooms. It was heavenly and cost pennies.

I still soak and cook my pulses for our meals, plus soaking quinoa as it takes away any bitterness. Both are full of protein and mean we can eat a lot less meat. I make a big batch of hummus almost every week or add the chick peas to spicy veggie stews. We love them and they are so cheap.

We still make sure we stuff ourselves with healthy cheap vegetables and lunch yesterday was roasted mushrooms, butternut squash, with steamed carrots and kale and a citrus and mint butter bean dip. Really cheap and tasty.

We keep busy with hobbies and I’ve been quilting, DB has been sorting through photographs of places we’ve visited and he likes to digitally improve them. We’ve been collecting frames from charity shops and will get some of them printed onto textured paper so we can get them on the walls. It’s a cheap way of getting lots of art work into the house as the digital effect can look like watercolour.

We’ve also filled ourselves up with chunky vegetable and bean soups such as homemade minestrone. DB will have his with a crusty bread roll and it’s enough for me just as it it.

We are going to continue with our no spend into next month as well. We’re saving up for our next round of renovations, ferry trips and essential replacements in our home and only every pay cash up front when ever we buy something or get something done. We don’t like to dip into long term savings and leave those where they are. You know what I mean when I say there’s always something to be prudent for and we never know when those rainy days will come. It’s always best to save in case. Even though we are many many years off retiring we still save as if it was just around the corner. We just carry on scrimping.

Watch this space for No-spend-vember!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

 

A day for just me

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve had a very indulgent day off in my sewing room. It’s taken my spare evenings and a few hours this week to get this far. This quilt will take a while as I want to get it right. This is the first quilt that I’ve made for me.

I want to get it finished before the end of November as that’s when Bonnie Hunter releases her free online tutorial for her annual mystery quilt. You can download the pdfs for a short while and then quilt at leisure.

I’m not great at sewing by artificial light so I’ll stop now and join some more blocks in the morning. I have 15 more blocks to make like this. I like to make all the component parts first and then just assemble the quilt. It’ll be easy to stitch in the ditch every 3 inches. By the way, I cook and do DIY in metric but always sew in imperial. Also, DB helps by cutting all the dog ears off my 3 1/2 inch blocks. The design for this quilt is Bonnie Hunter’s En Provence.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Super Soup and poppies. 


Hello Dear Reader,

We went in Plymouth today to see the poppy installation at War Memorial. There are 6000 poppies in a waves pouring out from the names on the walls. They were moving and we’ll worth seeing. The names on the walls ‘had no grave but the sea’.

If you get the chance there are many of these acts of commemoration around the country.


Our soup was Moroccan sweet potato and chick pea.

2 veggie stock cube

1 large sweet potato , peeled and chopped.

1 small onion finely chopped 

1 red pepper finely sliced

4 carrots, finely sliced

1 tsp of cumin

1 tsp of chopped coriander

1 litre of water

Bring to boil and simmer 30 minutes

Add a tin of drained chickpeas.

Continue to simmer for ten minutes.

Poppies and delicious soup. A great start to our staycation. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

You know you’re frugal when….

frugal

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s the 21st October, a huge storm is battering up, it’s freezing cold and the first day of our half term break. There will be no spending this week! We will completely get by on the food we have to take us to the end of the month, we won’t buy anything at all and we will just dig deep to keep going with out no spend month.

It got me thinking of our frugal world, of the things we do and don’t do. I now automatically never get invited anywhere: I’ve nothing to wear, can’t spare the budget and I’d say no anyway. I automatically get wrapped up when I come home, put on extra layers, more socks, wrap my dressing gown over the top and pour myself a hot drink to keep warm. Quick showers, given up make up and hair conditioner (you can’t polish a you know what) and have a very small collection of clothes and clothes as I really think they are all I need.

Now this is where you can add all your thrifty know how for everyone one to read.

Answer this..

You know you’re frugal when…..

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Tour de France 2018


Hello Dear Reader,

The only time I watch some TV everyday is when the Tour de France is on air for three weeks every July. This year it goes right past our village……..whilst I’m still at work. So, I’ll watch it on TV again. 

So, if you want to rent a lovely French house (which will be like gold dust that week! Accommodation in the area is selling out fast) then email me and make me an offer. It’ll be available 7th July – 14th July……or any other weeks outside of school holidays. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs 

Planning ahead to save money

Hello Dear Reader,

I went to a Poundland today to pick up some cleaning products and broke my frugal fast. It’s the cheapest place to buy knee highs that I wear under my trousers at work. They’ll keep me going until Christmas.

Whilst I was there, I bought four baskets to fill with little gifts for Christmas presents. They’re the size of shoe boxes. They’ll be filled with small items and treats that I’ve bought over the weeks. Last year, I put everything into a box and then wrapped the box and I thought I’d make a bit more effort this year. Also, the recipients can use the baskets afterwards. So, work hosiery and Christmas gifts and £6 over spend. 

Other than that, it’s been a very thrifty weekend. I bulk cooked, cleaned the house, cut the lawn, laundery done washed and dried outside, did a budget shop in Aldi, worked on my current quilt and bulk cooked for the week ahead. 

I made bolognaise sauce, ham and bean soup. I didn’t have any haricot beans so I just rinsed the sauce off supermarket baked beans. 

I baked potatoes that’ll go in the fridge for the week and just get reheated.

I have soup for every day at work and two more portions in the freezer. Chicken casserole which is tastier than it looks. I also slow cooked some pork to slice when cold. 

Everything has been bagged up and will go into the freezer. Nothing more exciting than that. The house is clean and there’s meals in the freezer.

It’s all about saving money, even if I broke my fast.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Are we saving enough for retirement?

Pension-saving

Hello Dear Reader,

Whilst we’re in the middle of our month long fiscal fast we take the time to re-evaluate our long term finances. As retirement in the UK is at 67 year, then our desires to retire at 60 are effectively hoping to take early retirement. We know we’ll have to revisit those desires nearer the time but our aim is to be financially able to put our feet up sooner than most working people. In the meantime, we carry on as if we might have to work until we’re 67 so we’re not disappointed if we can’t.

Currently, we have made the decision to live on a lot less so we are used to having to do with less money. I’m sure it must be a real shock if people lose their job, get made redundant or retire on a small income if they are not used to budgeting at best or in some cases being frugal to make a small income go a long way. We’ve lived this way since 2009 and always take the cheapest low cost route to what ever we hope to achieve so we can put aside as much as we can into savings and investments. We don’t take the ‘we’ve worked for it, so we deserve it’ attitude and keep reminding ourselves that we can have the money now or when we’ve retired but we can’t have both. Whilst we’re young and fit we can chop wood, dismantle pallets, make the physical time and effort to buy second hand or get what we need for free. We may not have the health for that in our seventies so are making the most of the masses of energy we have now.

So, we live with free TV (no Sky package), get the cheapest energy tariffs, reduce our water and energy consumption, only buy what we really need and then supplement that we freecycle, charity shops and gumtree. We mend everything and always shop in the cheapest supermarkets. Every month, we manage to over pay the mortgage, even if it’s only by £75 off the capital and aim most months to over pay another £100. We aim to pay off our mortgage as soon as we can so we can then direct the money we would have previously put into our mortgage into further topping up our pensions. We also add a proportion of our salaries into savings every month and budget judiciously for every penny we spend.

Pensions always look good at the time but as they are a fixed income well into the future, we know however much we’ll have put aside, it’s probably not going to be enough and we’ll have to spend the rest of our lives economising, making do and being as thrifty as possible. So, there’s no use us getting used to wall to wall central heating, deep hot baths and frequent new clothes as we’ll not be able to afford them when we’re retired.

Also, like a lot of people, we didn’t start paying into pensions early enough. Just the same as a lot of people, we didn’t have decent well paid jobs and there were no pensions attached to our jobs that we could pay in to. Now, all employers have to provide a pension service and everyone should pay in although we all know the reality isn’t that great for everyone. If I was going to give advice it would be, if you have spare money that you would choose to spend on a holiday or new car, then it might be better off going into a pension unless you can afford both a ‘treat based’ life style and a pension. It’s probably likely that most people need to make some tough financial decisions that they may not like if they don’t want to live hand to mouth as a pensioner.

If you can, start early at least earlier that I did at 38! The sooner you start then the sooner you can retire as you’ll have a private pension that you’ll have saved into. I’m not counting how long I have until I retire as I don’t want to wish away my days so I’ll take each one as it comes and just keep saving.

In case you’ve arrived here today for the first time, we are not all dull. We lost a very close relative and took some money we inherited (£25K) and bought a second home with it. We didn’t just put the lot into our mortgage as we wanted a life as well as saving. We also spend £1600 a year on ferries and as little as we can on renovating our second home in our holidays. We’ll then rent out our UK property when we retire and add that income towards our pensions. Frugal I can do, penury I can’t.

On balance, we have a bit of fun, spend a bit of money on ten weeks of holidays a year and balance that out with saving the rest and doing what we do as that ideal of retiring at 60 is still a real dream for us. It’s not all dull, I think we’d curl up with boredom if we saved every possible penny every single month and have trips away to look forward to. I know we’re lucky that we can make these decisions but we could choose to live it up every month, have new clothes every month, live in a bigger house, have the central heating on when ever and eat steak at the weekend but we choose to save for the long term instead of spending in the immediate.

Now over to you, share your retirement stories, your retirement plans. Is anyone living really frugally now in necessary preparation so you can afford to retire at all? We all work so hard in this busy modern world, we’ll all need a break sooner or later and there’s a tiny minority who don’t have to make financial sacrifices to afford that.

I always look forward to hearing from you.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Funny frugal ways 


Hello Dear Reader,

Apologies for the grainy photograph of my wood stove and the laundry. It’s one of our (that’s you and me lovvie) funny frugal ways that we spend evenings looking at drying clothes and don’t mind. Some of the odd things we do including collecting pallets for kindling, pulling newspapers out of the recycling bins for fire lighting, picking up pine cones on dog walks for firefighters and thinking nothing of having big baskets of kindling wood in the lounge and not care what it looks like. 

It’s reached that time of year when keeping warm becomes a real focus. We try as much as possible, not to use our central heating or tumble drier and predominantly don’t. We heat one area then open or close doors to move warmth around. We watch the weather reports and dry outside even through the winter and finish off in front of the fire. 

We know our funny frugal ways are time consuming but we always watch the odd quid here and there so we don’t mind the extra time life takes. 

Over to you then. We’ve all got our funny frugal ways, care to share yours ?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx