Wednesday 8 February 2023

There's a Whole New Generation of Frugal Living Folks

Mock-up of a Frugaldom bank card

The Frugal Bank

Hello to my frugal friends, family and fellow money savers. It's been a while since we discussed household finances - too long, in fact! It's now come to my attention that I've been living this frugal lifestyule for so long that I've forgotten that an entirely new generation has joined us, many of whom haven't, yet, discovered the joys of frugaldom. But what, exactly, do I mean by 'frugaldom'? Read on and find out for yourselves.

What is a Budget?

A budget is probably the most important thing you can have, as far as your finances are concerned,. It is your budget that dictates the lifestyle you can comfortably afford to lead. It's as simple as looking at the overall amount of money you have coming into your household and deducting all of the regular payments you have going out - everything from your rent or mortgage to repaying debts, paying household bills, food shopping, holidays and everything in between. If you add up all your out-goings (be brutally honest with yourself about this) and deduct them from your overall income, whatever is left is what you can realistically afford to save or overpay any debts to clear those off first. If your regular out-goings are higher than your regular income, then the bank of you is broken and needs some emergency repairs. It doesn't matter if you have savings in the bank - if you are eating into those just to live from day to day, rather than for emergencies, then you need to stem the flow of cash and balance your books.

What to do if your bank is broken

  1. Stop spending immediately
  2. Prioritise - essential household bills and debt repayments need paying first
  3. Make a list because lists are very versatile and help you focus
  4. Needs not wants - you need food and water to survive so think survival! You don't need tobacco, alcohol, cosmetics, expensive toiletries, 1,000 TV channels, takeaway mealsm big brand names or the latest gadgets.
  5. Reassess your budget in a more meaningful way - keep a spending diary and record every penny spent. Your role has now become that of accountant and manager of your own home, no matter what form your home takes.
  6. You need to count in all costs - from the cost of living to the cost of working - have you ever counted up how much your job is costing you? Are you wasting money on travel, coffee breaks, lunches etc?
  7. Look at ways of generating some emergency income - extra work, sell stuff you no longer need, decluttering your space can declutter your mind.
  8. Analyse your overall debt total to start chipping away at that, paying whatever is commanding the highest interest rate first.
  9. Become a frugalista in the kitchen and adopt a zero tolerance for waste. Believe it or not, it is still possible to live on an average of £1 per day for all your meals, based on £365 per person over the year. I'm not saying that it is easy and you may need to find your nearest food bank, community larder and Olio food hero, plus find a friend prepared to share so you can take better advantage of offers - it can be done.
  10. Learn to make and love porridge, soups, stir fries, stews, curries and strange concoctions of leftovers.

How can I save money?

Get creative. Consider what you do as your daily and nightly routines: how much fuel, electricity or gas are you using, how often do you socialise, how far do you travel, what paid hobbies do you enjoy, do you buy takeaway food... the list is endless. Pay attention to how you feel and why you feel that way about giving up anything that is eating into your funds. Think of alternatives: do you like art, writing, blogging, reading, walking, cycling, crafting, gardening... anything that can get you through the toughest of times without costing you money. Keep warm with wool or fleece and a hot water bottle but keep your home aired to prevent condensation and dampness. When you boil water, fill a flask with any extra to use later. Cook from scratch, search this blog for simple soup recipes and challenge yourself to create magic meals from leftovers, free food or home grown fruit and vegetables. There are so many ways to save money so I hope you will spend some time reading past posts while I do my utmost to bring this blog up to date. I can only apologise for drifting but it's been full on chaos trying to keep up with everything since the Covid-Brexit combination saw off our Frugaldom volunteer exchange students and lost us previously agreed foster homes for rescue animals that still remain in our care. 

Find some like-minded friends who understand your financial situation by joining us online - just look for @Frugaldom on social media or search for '2023 Frugal Living Challenge' in the forums. Together, we can fix this. 

Find your frugal living mojo and life may never be the same again.

Thursday 26 January 2023

Frugaldom in 2023


Frugal living brought us to Frugaldom - you can read previous blogs from over the years to follow the routes we took to get here, plus read more about the narrow path of frugality on which we remain today, in order to further improve what has already been achieved.

    The land of Frugaldom has an Animal Welfare Establishment licence, enabling us to give sanctuary to various ponies, goats and other animals while we tend to their needs and prepare to move certain ones on into permanent homes.If you could give a good, knowledgeable home to a pony then why not consider joining us as a sponsor or becoming a foster carer.

    Our yard area, in front of the barn, became a campervan stopover aire.Being totallyoff-grid,we offer nothing more than overnight parking in exchange for a donation. With the help of 'WC in Fields' we incorporated a waste water disposal facility, for use of which there's a £5.00 charge to help cover the service charges.

    Next, we completed the centrally located hut and it has served us well as a place to retreat during inclement weather. We often hide out in there for a cuppa with friends, family and our visiting volunteers who come to help plant trees to create a new woodland. So successful has the hut been that we have now applied for planning permission to build two more smaller huts that will allow the members of our extended Frugaldom family to opportunity to stay on site. Everything is off-grid so it's very much a case of getting right back to basics. We have portable solar for lights, a log burner for heat, a camping style gas stove for cooking indoors and a brazier / BBQ made from a washing maschine drum that gets used regularly outdoors.

    That about brings us up to date, other than telling you about the gypsy bowtop wagon. It arrived at Frugaldom after last year's Appleby Horse Fair, pulled by a lovely little horse named Tommy. A second wagon, drawn by the massive horse named Oddball, has stayed at Frugaldom on a couple of occasions in the past but this time, both wagons came in and only one went back out again, with Oddbal and Tommy leaving side by side. I don't know if this wagon will be heading back out on the road any time soon but for now, it's parked up and gets used where it is. Friends have camped out in it a number of times and will be again, during this year's tree planting. If anyone wants to plant some trees or coppice some willows to help expand our Legacy Woodland project, please get in contact. 

    Finances - we cannot have a full year's round-up without mentioning the moneysaving and frugal living endeavours, can we? Life has continued with my personal 'Living on £4,000 for a year' challenge, as has the '£1 per person per day for all meals'. The budget still works for the necessities but for groceries, it's mostly manageable thanks to sites and apps like and to the continuing efforts at homegrown fruit, vegetabls and herbs, plus the usual love of soup and porridge.

    I continue to run the frugal living challenge on, within their forums section. Check out the 2023 Frugal Living Challenge for yourself and feel free to join us online.

   We still have the holiday caravan for rent throughout the season on the basis that you bring everything you need, including bedding and linen, and leave the caravan exactly as you found it.

    And now for the fundraising part - we currently have 9 ponies, 2 goats, a small flock of hens and ducks, and two guinea pigs. We have much work to do just to keep this lot so we are unable to take on any more anmals at this time. We have fences needing repaired, the barn roof has sprung a leak, the goats need a proper house and the 'tree shelter' is in need of a major overhaul. The drive needs all the potholes filling in, there's more drainage needed and it's a fulltime job looking after the animals so all help is welcome and any contributions hugely appreciated. I set up a page specifically for friends, family and others sending contributions - it can be found at - so please take a look and consider becoming Friends of Frugaldom. 

    Finally, I will be trying to bring this blog back up to date while also transferring a few of the older files onto the website, which has a blog feature for the Frugaldom project itself. I'd like to reserve this blog for the actual nitty gritty, penny-pinching, budget-stretching, off-grid and frugal living topics.

Tuesday 28 December 2021



It has been some time since I updated this blog but the past couple of years have simply flown by and merged into some sort of time-warped blur. Between the pandemic, the FrugaLdom project, ponies, poultry and now goats, my time has been spent trying to keep up with the daily chores, keeping a tight hold on the budget and pursuIng all the challenges that I set myself each and every year. 

I'm ending 2021 on a bit of a high! We pulled out all the stops and finally managed to get our hut built. Planning permission took 7 full months to be granted as the planning department staff members were all working from home, then our designated planning officer went off sick for quite some time. However, we got there in the end! In addition to this, and during all of this, we somehow ended up opening a campervan and motorhome stopover site, otherwise known as an 'Aire'. It's similar to those found in France and elsewhere, but without the services. Our 'Aire' is a bit like a frugal campsites for self-sufficient motorhomes and campervans - all we offer is parking space, nothing more. In exchange for parking we accept small donations that contribute towards the running of Frugaldom project. I love it! We get to meet interesting people who share our love for Frugaldom and the outdoors and some even help out on site during their stay.

2021 also brought another Avian Bird Flu pandemic so all our hens and ducks are having to stay undercover at home, away from Frugaldom, until such times as we can build them proper, covered enclosures there that are completely mink, fox, stoat and weasel proof. The duck pond now has fish swimming in it, the old duck enclosure has goats living in it and the yard, has been designated as parking for our visitors. We completed the pony shelters, hay storage and potting shed, and extended the little hay shelter to more than double its orginal size. Now we need to improve the goat housing, build the poultry & duck enclosures and get more trees and hedging planted, while making attempts at improving the food growing side of things. We need like-minded volunteers so if you fit that bill... 

2022 is going to be about minimalism and off-grid living, as much as possible. I want to grow more food, use less electricity and, as always, make everything as affordable as possible so that each penny can do the job of a pound. With inflation currently sitting at over 5%, things could get tougher but with some forward thinking, I'm sure we can all make some changes that will see us through the worst of any crises arising. Protecting income is paramount when the global economy is this shaky so investing in longterm 'survival' and self-sustainability seems the obvious choice to me. If I can help anyone else cope with their current situations by offering moral support and a place to escape now and again then I will.

We are all in this together and together we will succeed in whatever we set our minds to doing. Whether it is debt-busting, money saving, developing small business ideas or simply learning more about how to be happy leading a frugal lifestyle, everything is possible. Feel free to join us in the forums of the Moneysavingexpert website, taking part in our 2022 Frugal Living Challenge. You can also like / follow the daily updates from Frugaldom on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Any questions, just ask. Don't be shy.

Our savings have been seriously depleted but as long as we can clear at least minimum wage while living on £4,000 per year, there is still wriggle room to recoup - even when it's costing an extra few thousand pounds a year to feed all the animals. Who knows, we may even dedicate part of our project to becoming a designated sanctuary and Scottish wildlife reserve next year. Having the hut on site means having the ability to be on site longer, staying there whenever possible. I'm still writing for my living and have just signed another book deal as a ghostwriter so perhaps 2022 will see the realisation of yet another dream - being a writer who writes from a cabin in the country.


All the very best to each and every one of you for the new year ahead - even to those who don't 'get' what we are about and who can't see the wood for the trees. Good health and happiness to all - stay safe and dont forget to wash your hands. 😊

Saturday 2 January 2021

2021 Frugal Living Challenge


2020 is a year that most people, the world over, will be glad to see the back of, mostly because of te Coronavirus pandemic. I won't even attempt to go into details as all the information you need about it can be found on most news pages. All that I will say is please stay safe - follow guidelines and local rules, and most importantly, use your common sense. Health and hygiene are intertwined. Plenty of fresh air is essential, a bit of exercise is ideal and both of these things are totally free... just open up your door and get yourself outdoors. Free, free, free... breath in that freedom.

2021 arrived at Frugaldom as a frosty morning bathed in sunshine. Working outdoors without a jacket at this time of year is becoming more common and up until last week, I was still able to do so in short sleeves. What I need to keep reminding myself, however, is that even the winter sun can burn. 

Our frugal living challenge has begun again and this year has brought more changes. My plan is t chart these changes and, once again, tighten the purse strings to enable further savings for further investment into the Frugaldom project. You can check out Frugaldom on Facebook and Frugaldom on Twitter

My challenges for 2021:

  1. Live on £4,000 for the year
  2. Spend no more than £1 per person per day for all meals (there are 2 of us)
  3. Get a 'tiny house' built
  4. Extend the hay shed
  5. Have a hut (small cabin) built at Frugaldom
  6. Try and post at least 2 mini blogs each week
  7. Finish planting our native woodland
  8. Create a forest garden
  9. Increase the amount of fruit and veg we grow
  10. Zero food waste and recycle everything I can
You can find all the frugal living challenge updates on the forums.

Monday 19 October 2020

Frugaldom Walkabout #1

This is something new for me, as it has taken me quite some time to get around to mastering a mobile phone and camera. This has mainly been down to the fact that we don't have and signal at home so when it turned out that we could pick up a 3G signal from the Frugaldom project, it made things a whole lot easier. I can now post short video clips and share project progress with you all.

There is no commentary on the videos as we enjoy the peace, tranquility and freedom to be at one with nature while working outdoors at Frugaldom. It's a place where we welcome members, sponsors and volunteers who love nature and who want to be a part of our project.

Frugaldom is not for profit. We operate as a self-funded, voluntary project supported by sponsorships, memberships, donations and visitor contributions. If you would like to support the work we do here, find out how at