Saturday, 6 December 2014

6-year-old girl asks for holiday cards for her last Christmas - Health -


I felt compelled to share this with my blog readers after the ‘Random Acts of Kindness Foundation’ posted this news on their social media feeds.

Apologies to anyone who may feel this sort of content isn’t what they want to read on a Frugal Living blog but, to many of us living on tight budgets, this sort of act falls within the limits of our spending and is always encouraged.

The article speaks for itself and I hope this little girl’s wish is granted. Just click the link to read all about her wish. 6-year-old girl asks for holiday cards for her last Christmas - Health -

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Frugal Living Challenge, Month 12, Year 7

We have reached month 12 of our 2014 frugal living challenge and are now preparing to embark on our next big swash-buckling, belt-tightening, money saving adventure. Have you got what it takes to challenge your budget in 2015?

There will be some major changes in 2015, none more so than those surrounding our new outdoor project. But that doesn't mean forgetting about the scrimping and saving, no way! On the contrary, it means even more rigorous overhauls of the new budget so it can incorporate even more into the development plans we have for Frugaldom.

Several of you have already taken the opportunity to visit the site and take part in the preliminary stages, so I am really looking forward to welcoming many more of you in the future. Meanwhile, however, life goes on, incomes need to be earned and many more bridges need to be crossed.


There will be plenty of this going on during 2015 and that means spreading the word, generating sales of handmade goods and homegrown produce, featuring sponsored links and reviews and making the most of every opportunity presented. We pay to protect the site from pop-ups and random third party advertisers, but we still need to make it pay for itself.

Tree Planting

We have already planted over 500 tiny trees at the Frugaldom project and we hope to take this number to over 1,000 before spring, all based on a cash neutral budget.

Frugal Arts, Crafting and Small Business

In order to pursue our goals, we will be introducing several new sponsorship opportunities for the purposes of fundraising and income generation to help take the project towards self-sustainability as quickly as possible.

Community - Virtual and Actual

Group activities and challenges will be organised throughout 2015 and, as always, all contributions towards costs and overheads are gratefully received. In return, we hope to be able to provide all our members and supporters with a fun and frugal retreat that can be visited at any time, either online or in person.

Merchandise & Souvenirs

We will be offering a selection of Frugaldom merchandise and souvenirs throughout 2015. These will be made available for sale through the Frugal Shop at where we will be providing 'buy now' and auction style listings.

The quest for financial freedom

Join the Money Saving Challenges

In order to access any of the challenges (or chat room), you need a username and password. Registration is completely free and we do not store your details, nor do we pass on your details to any third parties. Dormant accounts are deleted, so please maintain some form or interactivity once you join. The Frugaldom web site, blogs, forums and chat room are all hosted within the website, which is owned, controlled and financed by NYK Media, who reserves the right to delete any content or username that does not conform to guidelines. It is a basic measure to help minimise risk to members from spammers and scammers.

Looking forward to the December ADVENTure Challenge, my needles are ready clicking, my milk cartons ready for cutting, my garlic ready for planting and my Christmas preparations almost complete. The 2014 budget is stretching nicely, the £1 per day savings have been maintained and I completed my 50,000 words in the November 'NaNoWriMo' writing challenge so all that remain now is to make it through the final 31 days and be prepared to face another year head on, with the ourse strings tied tighter than ever.

NYK in Frugaldom

Monday, 24 November 2014

Lentil Soup and Wildlife Spotting

The weekend adventure of wildlife spotting began with the arrival of the slow cooker, rehomed my way via another member of the family after my precious crock pot fractured irreparably. It will be sadly missed for cooking, but will be repurposed to make a great planter once it has been decorated. Now for the wildlife tale...

Soup making in a slow cooker

It began with a smoked ham hough (or hock) that I bought from the supermarket. These are slowly creeping back up in price, but are still worth paying a couple of pounds each for them, as you can get a full pot of stock for soup and enough meat for at least one family-sized pie.

Smoked ham hough

Anyhow... I made a full pot of ham and lentil soup, which is enough for about a dozen lunches, then chopped up the meat to make a pie, which will be another 4 meals. All in all, the smoked ham hock will produce lunches for two of us here for a full week, so it's uber-frugal! We don't eat the fat - we feed it to the wild birds after it has been boiled. Or so we thought!

Cat stealing food from bird table

Recently, I invested in one of those motion sensor activated trail cameras with infra red night vision. I am still practising with it before deciding where to set it up for future research. This is a series of stills it caught between late last night, when we put the leftovers from soup making out onto the bird table, and this morning. The first 'capture' was a cat - I'm assuming it belongs to neighbours, although none of them seems to know who owns it.

Thrush visiting bird table

At around dawn, a thrush arrived, closely watched over by a female blackbird, a few dunnocks and some sparrows. The thrush, however, was allowed first 'dibs' on the pork fat.

Hopalong, our garden crow

The next visitor to the log man bird table was 'Hopalong', the crow we have filmed in the past that has what looks like a deformed or previously broken leg. His (or her) leg seems no better and no worse, nor does it seem to impair flight or the ability to feed.

Magpie visiting the bird table

We don't normally see the magpies coming up to this particular bird table, as it's at the top of the garden, next to the greenhouse, the out building and in view of the kitchen window. I cant help but admire these birds, despite the bad name they have developed as thieves and nest-wreckers.

The cayt takes a closer look

And finally, our own cat gets out after a night curled up sleeping on her cushion and goes for a closer look at the camera. No wonder I often find her sitting on the kitchen windowsill, nose to glass, peering out into the garden! There's so much going on out there!

As I sit here tapping away at the keyboard, I now have the camera trained on the bird feeder right outside my window. So far, I have seen robins, blue tits, great tits, coal tits, green finches and goldfinches. (The bird in the photo is a goldfinch.) There's a wren keeps bobbing about inside the driftwood horse and the robin loves perching on the antlers of the driftwood stag. How I am ever going to complete the remaining 17,500 words of my 2014 attempt at NaNoWriMo is beyond me when I have such distractions all around me!

Welcome to Scotland, welcome to frugal living and welcome to Frugaldom, where I'm writing my way through life, while living on a shoestring budget and attempting to create a self-sustainable wilderness experience for all to share. As we prepare for 2015, let's not forget what is all around us, there to be appreciated and all totally free to enjoy.

NYK in Frugaldom

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Join the Spending Revolution

Vendetta Against Debt! It's that time of year again, the time when we are planning ahead for 2015, renewing our vigour for the on-going battle against debt, building up our forces to thwart needless spending and fight for the right to protect our own financial security. This is a war against waste - financial and otherwise. Join us in our quest for financial freedom.

Frugaldom is no fairytale fantasy of mythical castles, dragons and miracles. You play your own part in this quest for freedom.

This is an adaptation of the original 'Living on £4,000 for a Year' challenge, which has been running online since 2007. Some of the NYK challenges date back to the late 90's, so I do have a considerable amount of experience in balancing my own books, while living within my own means, always done on a budget that some consider to be impossible. Utter nonsense! It is entirely possible and is an achievement of which I am particularly proud. I can say with confidence that living free from debt while on a small income is 100% possible. You do, however, need to exercise will power and keep yourself focussed on your plans in order to achieve these otherwise impossible goals.

We have seen many changes over the years, so each stage in the development of our frugal living and working plans takes us a step closer to the good life and beyond. Your budget is personal to you, it should fit with your personal financial situation and it should be something you are happy to achieve. If you can achieve a point at which you spend less than you have coming in, then you are halfway there. Getting to the point that you are spending less than you are earning while also absolutely free from debt is the ultimate goal. You just need to believe it is possible and stick to your plan no matter what.

This challenge is not about self-deprivation or self-imposed poverty just for the sake of it, it is about providing genuine support for those who are prepared to take on the challenge of making a real difference to their own lives while sorting out their own difficult financial situations. Once the debts are gone and you are in full command of your own spending (or not spending, as the case may be), the world is your oyster. Whether you choose to invest, explore, plant a forest, see the world or lead a comfortable life knowing you are financially secure is entirely up to you.

Many former and current challengers have achieved debt freedom and now follow frugal lifestyles in order to stay free from debt while pursuing better lives without the entrapment of credit. Others are tackling debts, including mortgages, while following a frugal lifestyle in an attempt to reach their debt-free or mortgage-free day. Whichever stage you are at, feel free to join us for 2015 and share your journey.
You can join us free by registering a username at

2015 sees the return of the live NYK Chat room, complete with scheduled chats for the purposes of additional support, plus live question time. The new platform has been trialled over the past couple of months within the members' section of our host site at and it is hoped that the increased potential for even more real time interactivity can help many more people who want to embark on their own money journeys to financial freedom.

This challenge is about establishing your true cost of living, sticking to your budget, clearing debts (if you have any) and making savings wherever and however you can to enable you to live the life you really want.

Frugal living isn't for everyone, but everyone is welcome to join us. Methods employed by frugalers include batch cooking, stockpiling, preserving, foraging, mending, shopping in charity shops, reducing, reusing, recycling, Local Exchange Trading Schemes (LETS), Vegetable and fruit growing, allotments, keeping hens, using cash-back sites and doing whatever it takes to become self sufficient in managing the cost of living without incurring debt.

For some it is about clearing debt, for others it's about increasing savings, buying property, becoming stay at home parents or paying off the mortgage early. Some choose the lifestyle on ethical grounds, others seek early retirement or self-sustainability. Above all, this is meant to be a fun and supportive way to manage a minimal budget so you have control of your own money.

It's about NEEDS and not WANTS.
Living on a budget = living within our means.

Frugal = thrifty, living without waste

Ideas to help you achieve and/or maintain debt free living:

Recognise the differences between needs from wants
Spend within your means
Set a proper budget
Quit expensive habits
Houseshare or get a lodger
Shop via cashback sites and always price compare
Buy reduced items in stores only if you need them
Stockpile & bulk buy
Batch cooking
Make the most of charity shops
Join Freecycle or other similar waste awareness and recycling associations
LETS trading - become active members of trading & exchange groups
Grow your own herbs, fruit & vegetable
Preserving & wine-making
Bread-making & home baking
Card & gift making
Order splitting for better discounts & shared postal costs
Landsharing, allotments & frugal garden systems
Making the most of freebies
Develop your on home-based business
eBid and eBay trading
Monitoring and revising a budget is part of any frugal living plan. Gifts & cards could all to be homemade, livestock needs to pay its own keep, anything else needs to be cash neutral and pets are like people in a household - they need to be budgeted for in a 'what if' manner.

If you would like to be in contact with like-minded others while stretching your money further than you ever thought possible, join us online and be prepared to take the frugal ride of your life.


Please respect others' lifestyles and beliefs. We are not here to judge, we are here to support.

Thank you.

Join the Spending Revolution

7 Animals That Attenborough Made Up

I am sharing this blog post because I found it extremely entertaining with some interesting theories.
Internet research and reading blogs, websites and forums are among the most frugal pastimes I have, so this represents the kind of entertainment, amusement and thought-provoking writing that I enjoy reading. Thank you, Jenni, for sharing your wisdom.

7 Animals That Attenborough Made Up

By Jenni at The Thrifty Magpie's Nest
I love animals and I really love Sir David Attenborough’s wildlife documentaries. Who doesn’t?
But I need to tell everyone the truth and stop this nonsense going on for any longer. Last night while watching the latest episode of Life Story, I had a moment of realisation: Some of these animals he’s showing us aren’t real. He’s just made them up. They don’t exist.

Before getting all “how dare you slag off the eighth wonder of the world which is Sir David Attenborough” on me- just hear me out.
Sir David manages to “film animals that have never been filmed before” then broadcasts them on television and we believe they exist, because he told us they do. After producing over 77 series of wildlife films (that I have counted) he has to have some way of keeping the number of viewers up to convince the BBC to send him to all corners of the planet on holiday. He must have run out of animals to film years ago, so now just dreams them up. We will never find out because all these animals just so happen to be in the depths of the impenetrable Amazon, unreachable at the top of the highest mountains in the Himalayas and in the uninhabitable centre of the Sahara Desert. Coincidence? No, it’s a conspiracy.

I know this sounds radical, but take a close look at these ‘animals’ that Sir David has, until now, managed to convince millions of people around the world that they are real things.

These stupid looking birds apparently stand up to 1.5 metre high and live in marshes and swamps in Africa. This bird couldn’t possibly survive with that ridiculous beak. It would be so top heavy it would fall over. I think Sir David is trying to pull a fast one here.

To read this full blog post, please visit The Thrifty Magpies Nest: 7 animals that Attenborough made up (Web URL

Many thanks to Jenni in Yorkshire for sharing this entertaining blog post.
NYK in Frugaldom