Friday, 5 November 2010

Back to how frugal can frugal living be? And a new 8% interest rate!

The past week has been pretty miserable, weatherwise, so nothing has been done in the garden other than picking an assortment of brassica leaves, kale and the odd remaining raspberry leaves that get fed to the Frugaldom livestock. Floppity loves the carrot thinnings, she munches her way through them half a dozen at a time then has a raspberry leaf with some mint for dessert.

We currently have 7 'ducks': Joey, Monica and Phoebe, Spot and Tiny and then there's Pingu and Pongo, who both turned out to be boys! But 4 duck eggs per day will be enough for our household, even allowing for the baking, so that should leave all the hen eggs for selling and trading.

With there being only 8 weeks left of 2010, I've been attempting, over the year, to completely neutralise all my extra spends and managed not too badly, so far. But this week's feeding order has slightly tipped the scales. I have a few pounds cashback on its way to me, but it looks like it will fall short. I think I need some egg sales rather than trades. So, lemon curd for trading, surplus eggs to be sold for cash. I wonder if I could make lemon curd on 'George'?

The blue cuckoo silkies have started to lay and we've had 10 eggs from the four pullets over the past 3 days. This is perfect timing for the November LETS meeting, which is on Wednesday in Newton Stewart. However, H's car is going into the garage on the Tuesday, so fingers crossed that it's just a simple, quick and easy problem to fix. (Engine seems to be missing like there's dirt in the carb or fuel pipe or something.)

Rubber chicken is stretching a little further as it now feeds the cat after we've had our main roast dinner and the usual assortment of curries, stir fries, pies and soup. With only having one small freezer and a son who stockpiles cooked chicken (he buys it himself, as it's part of his body-building 'diet') I now find that I can buy only one chicken at a time and can't replace it until everything made from it has been used up. That normally includes several cartons of broth, but this is great during the colder months. Apart from that, I can easily trade out the soup if there's no space in the freezer. But what to do about Christmas dinner is a completely different matter - no storage space for a turkey! Mulling that problem over now.

My kitchen table is covered in bags of pasta, lentils, split yellow and split green peas. I had tried not to buy any more pasta of any description, thinking I'd be able to make all my own, but that was before son set off on his epic bodybuilding journey, one that involves eating all the eggs if he gets to them first! It was a fight for the solitary blue egg that got laid one day last week! Kids! They certainly don't get any easier once they grow up and, with current housing prices the way they are, there's not much hope of mine affording a place of his own any time soon. (The cunning plan is to help him on his way within the next year or two, savings permitting, but he's drifting away from any semblance of routine saving.)

George has been fired up to take the chill off the place, heat some water and then cook the dinner. I think I'd prefer it to be -7C, dry and frosty outside rather than 7C, wet and muddy! Whilst the ducks may love it, the hens hate it! Anyway, soup of the day isn't chicken, it's tinned tomato! Difficult as it is to comprehend, it costs far less to buy a tin than make something similar, especially when Sainsbury's own Basics brand, costing just 17p, feeds 2 of us and tastes delicious when served with a wedge of fresh, homemade bread. Then I get the paper label for adding to the kindling and a tin for recycling, which has to help keep several people in jobs somewhere.

It never ceases to amaze me how little we really need to spend in the supermarkets nowadays. They didn't have all these bargains when I was first married and trying to run a household with the mortgage rates at 15%, the Poll Tax costing three times what the rates had previously been and no such thing as child tax credit! If it did exist in the late eighties, I hadn't heard about it. Really, today's generation of new parents just don't know how easy they have things! (You can tell I'm a grandparent, but please note that I'm a very young one! :) )

Yesterday's log delivery was all stacked as best it could be, although the bulk of it had to go into the disused garage to protect it from the monsoon weather we're having at the moment. At least when George is lit I can hang the washing on the kitchen pulley to dry it that way. anything beats switching on anything electrical that isn't really needed.

Now, my final dilemma of the week. Where to grow my savings so there's enough for a seriously rainy day. I'd normally drop any surplus into my ISA account but, with things the way they are - BoE base rate kept at 0.5% and reports of Ireland needing bailed out soon - it begs the question of how safe our money really is when it's supposedly kept, "as safe as the Bank of England." :?  Without taking a gamble, what does the common, everyday frugaleur do with their spare cash? First Direct have a 'great' new 8% offer, but it would mean switching accounts and then locking away the savings. Is it really worth the hassle if I could need cash in a hurry? Check it out and let me know what you think.

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  1. I've seen similar type accounts previously. On the face of it, it's not a bad deal, butclose inspection shows it is spoiled by the limit of £300 per month for only 12 months. Sure it's a better interest rate than most, but at the end of the day it'll only net you £156 pounds in gross interest maximum. No to be sneezed at, for sure, but a fair amount of effort bearing in mind you'll need to move your money on after 12 months when the interest rate will revert to something awful. If you could stick a grand a month in, or even more, that would make it pretty attractive. I guess it comes down to how much effort you want to put in to making your dosh work hard. :)

  2. Hi KB, fancy seeing you here. LOL

    The Ts & Cs of the account were what I didn't like, particularly the following paragraph relating to them:

    "... you should bear in mind that First Direct offers online telephone banking only. So if you prefer the option of in-branch service you will have to look elsewhere. Those who earn less than £1,500 a month, or who don’t want to pay their monthly salary into their 1st account might also want to think again as First Direct will charge £10 per month to run your 1st account if a minimum of £1,500 is not paid into it each month..."

    No good for me as I prefer online banking so I can see at any given time what's going on, plus I wouldn't be paying in £1,500 per month, for very obvious reasons. Yet another example of money going to money, especially getting the free £100. I don't mind putting in a bit of effort to make my money work harder but frugal living means being able to take advantage of the best deals at the drop of a hat.

  3. So basically it works if you are already a FD user who has some money to save into a second account, but if you're not they would wipe out your accrued interest with a £10 per month charge.

    Basically it's a headline and nothing else, isn't it :(

  4. Money spin doctors R us. Zopa and Funding Circle look better but still not too sure of how their costs balance out over the year or what happens if you lend to a small company that ends up in liquidation. Reckon I'll be checking the Premium Bonds for a bit longer and perhaps looking at some limited edition type investments.


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