Sunday, 26 December 2010

Leftovers, homemade pink champagne and the 2011 budget

Christmas Cheer from Festive Frugaldom!

Much milder here at around -1C so, despite still being frozen solid, it's feeling a little warmer. Weatherman said rain but it doesn't feel humid, still very dry with not much to show for the bit thaw we had yesterday.

Christmas day went well - turkey with all the trimmings including homemade braised red cabbage and a spot of rowan jelly. The potatoes were boiled, veggies steamed and soup made on the stovetop but I finished everything off by roasting it in the main oven, along with the stuffing, pigs in blankets and the slow-cooked turkey. By way of celebration, we drank homemade rhubarb 'pink champagne' with the meal and I was very impressed by the fruity fizz this year! The bottle would certainly have gone with a pop had I not used the 1L glass screw top bottles and, with no proper champagne glasses, the fizz in the wine glasses was quite substantial.

Diehard frugalers, you know what today is... it's leftovers day!

Yes, that's right, it's time to get creative and repack your freezers to ensure everything's rotating, being used up and being replenished by the latest batch of whatever goodies have been leftover from the festive food extravaganza. I have plenty of turkey, a pot of turkey soup that had been made with stock from the giblets and I now have the turkey carcass to turn into the next batch of turkey stock, but the freezer space is still very much at a premium. We're going to be eating soup and pudding lunches for a while longer to use up the rest of the trifle and dumpling. The dumpling has already been sliced and frozen and the trifle wasn't done with fresh cream, so it will last another day if needs must. (I sincerely doubt it, as I'd eat trifle morning, noon and night.)

Fidgetbuzz... your homemade raspberry ruffles and fudge/coconut ice are absolutely delicious! Remind me to give you back the jar, just in case you want to do something similar next year. The jar should be empty by around 2pm today.

Stockmaking has begun - what's left of the turkey has been carved into mealsized portions, bagged up and put into the freezer. As is customary, I've kept out enough for tonight's curry (or stir fry) but the rest should be enough to make up another meal plus a couple of pies. I don't have the space in the freezer to fit in pies just yet, so the meat is going in 'as is' for now. The soup has been decanted into 500ml containers, enough for a lunchtime snack, and everything else - bones and all - is seasoned and ready for stock making. I'll boil down the stock, once it's made, then freeze it for future use. Having received a set of 'Kleeneze' pastry presses for Christmas, I suspect some my leftover turkey might find its way into future pasty-making. A full review of this product will be posted as soon as available. For now, it looks like a bag of trappers' tools modelled in white plastic... scary looking things!

I've got my 2011 challenge budget spreadsheet all set up and ready to go for next week. This spreadsheet is a very simple format that helps me see exactly how much of my annual budget is left at any given time. Each of the columns is preset in January to reflect the challenge targets, so it automatically shows me a running total. Once again, the Frugaldom household is going to attempt to stick at £4,000 after payment of rent, council tax and water. The budget does NOT include the cost of work related items, these have already been deducted. Feel free to play around with the spreadsheet if you think it can be of any help to you. You might also like to take a look at Spending Diary and iMeasure - the former for recording day to day spends and the latter (created by Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute, part of the UK Energy Research Centre) to help analyse your week to week electricity and gas use. It also shows how your household ranks in the energy rating stakes. We're currently maintaining a 'C' rating but the system does not take logburning into account.

With only a few days lefts of the current challenge, I should come in just under budget; I won't know, for sure, until the 31st December. Looking good, though, looking good! There wasn't any credit used to fund Christmas (or anything else during 2010, for that matter) and the savings have survived intact. I do use my cashback credit card wherever and whenever possible, it always gets paid back in full each month. I should have accrued around £50 by the end of this tax year.

I love cashback! I treat the interest payments on savings a bit like cashback because let's face it, the interest payments are a far cry from representing a serious income. I now look on the ISA as being there to prevent any bandit stealing my money and, in return for providing me with this free service, it rewards me with enough cash every month to cover the cost of feeding the poultry. It's pretty great, when you think about it - free cash on a regular basis, even if it is only chicken feed.

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas day and has now had a bit of a boost towards the new year. The final countdown has begun, so make sure all your sums are done and dusted, build up to a huge celebration next weekend and make your New Year's resolution one that can last a lifetime - embrace frugality and all that it has to offer, shift those debts and live a good life.

1 comment:

  1. I am definitelty trying the rhubarb fizz this year , we will be using the last of the elderflower for our new years day dinner.


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