Friday, 16 November 2012

Kitchen Mayhem

How to Create a Frugal Kitchen

It wasn't a pretty site, that's for sure! But this was the kitchen in Thrift Cottage when work began last year.
It's been 17 months since we moved into the house - 17 long months with a mixture of a delapidated kitchen, a building site when the roof, floors and walls were being replaced, a chaotic dusty mess while the plasterboard was joint-filled and then sanded down, and then the fun and excitement at the arrival of some units!
All semblance of frugal cooking had fallen by the wayside and the initial 2012 budget of £1,000 for all food and groceries was recently blown. I'd to juggle the funds - again - and allocate another £100, deducting it from the fuel/utilities or some other such extravagance. Despite having one less mouth to feed and having notched up the budget by another £100, it's still fading fast! But do I care? Not a jot! We have running water, electricity and a dry roof over our heads. We also have porridge, soup and pudding... what more could a body ask?
The sheepswool insulation in the kitchen ceiling and walls is working well; no more sub-zero temperatures in the kitchen when it's freezing outside. Indeed, I splashed out almost £20 on a 425w mini oil-filled radiator and that is the extent of the heating in the 'new' kitchen! I bought one for there and one for upstairs, figuring out that even if the pair of these and the existing 800w heater ended up on full pelt during winter at any point, 22p per hour of luxurious extra heat wouldn't break the bank.
On the subject of electricity, we've all been informed of the next price increase being forced upon us by the energy companies. I'm already paying what I consider to be over the odds on accounts of there being a pre-payment meter here, but it's down to principles!
  1. I refuse to pay out £60 for an engineer to remove and replace said meter when we didn't request it in the first place.
  2. I refuse to pay £150 deposit for installation of a new meter on the grounds that I've been a customer for many, many years and don't owe them a penny.
  3. I dislike bills, so can't really grumble about being charged a few pennies extra for the priviledge of not receiving one!
  4. When the new Smart Meters get introduced, as per Government legislation, they'll need to remove this old meter anyway, so I'm not paying through the nose twice!
Oops! But I digress... get back into the kitchen!
Fitted kitchens look fab! I have looked through so many brochures and websites, drooling at the graphic images of contoured units, colour co-ordinated 'white' goods, a rainbow of amazing tones and shades of wood, laminate and high gloss worktops... you get the picture! And all for "only" x thousands of pounds, payable with 0% interest over x number of months or years... Hmm! I think not. Only one thing sprang to mind! FLATPACKS!
Online to the wonderful world of Argos and I find some cabinets complete with doors, handles, hinges, shelves and worktops... so I ordered three to begin with: 1 x 500mm, 2 x 1000mm. It also meant I didn't need to pay delivery for the mini-radiators, which I ordered at the same time.
Two packages duly arrived - the two radiators, I assumed. But I opened these up and the two turned out to be FOUR! Could I get through on the phoneline or find an easy way of emailing for help? No! Best wait and query it with the driver when he returns to deliver the kitchen cabinets. In the mean time, I ordered the sink unit, a smaller side unit and a stainless steel sink, complete with taps and fittings. Invoice stated delivery would be the following.
Kitchen cabinets duly arrive... 6 boxes all at once! Curiouser and curouser! I picked the delivery driver's brains but signed for the goods anyway - he couldn't take returns and his answer to any duplication was keep an eye on my bank account just in case I was double-charged!
The kitchen cabinets are fab! But they had sent double!
I checked PayPal, which I'd used to pay, but nothing untoward there. I tried to call the helpline again - it told me that "owing to unforeseen circumstances, my call could not be taken" and then disconnected me! In despair, I signed into my Twitter account and was pleased to find the company on there! I'll tell you, it is utterly AMAZING how quickly they call you if you dare to suggest any wrong doings on a public forum!
This saga is still on-going and, worse still, they charged me a second time for the unordered goods!
But I digress again.... get back into the kitchen!
The sink unit arrived after the first 3 units had been constructed. By this time, Argos had been and collected the extra radiators and units, but there's no signs of any refund on my card, yet! (I still cannot work out how they accessed my credit card when I paid via PayPal!)
Anyhow, back in the kitchem where I rightfully belong at the moment! My old cooker will suffice (for now) and I'm still loath to part with the salvaged units, so they are still here. Once again, they have been moved into the kitchen and partially hidden by their flowery curtains.
Today, we are going to attempt to fit the new sink without flooding the house and, all going well, I may have a basic kitchen for this weekend.
Plastering of walls and ceilings has been by-passed by way of taping, filling and sanding the plasterboard joints.
Decorating, for now, has been by-passed by way of the leftover white and magnolia emulsion paint we had from freshening up the last house before leaving it.
Flooring has yet to be considered, although there are a couple of carpet off-cuts in place, so we aren't walking on the bare wood.
Shelving or wall units can wait for now, as I still have my assorted trolleys and stands.
In total, I think I have spent around 10% of the cheapest quote received from kitchen companies.
There is much still to do so, for now, Im going to help chop off the makeshift wooden legs that are holding up the old kitchen sink. I'm sure there'll be a tale to tell about the fitting of the new one but, hopefully, it won't be a watery one! (I'll use the old wooden legs/props as fire kindling.)


  1. companies are quick to take your money but very, very slow to refund it too you!!

    Gill in Canada

  2. Onward and upward is all I can say to that. Re Paypal, when setting up an account with them, you have to link it to a bank account, so they can access the rest if you don't have enough funds in paypal. You might be able to link a card to it rather than a bank account so maybe that is why it went on your credit card. If you didn't link your credit card, check out why it has gone onto there.

  3. Thanks guys. Data, yes, I have CC linked as I didn't want my bank details on there and they deducted it once from Paypal and once from CC. I've now lodged queries against CC saying they were unauthorised payments but Argo has said they'll refund... they had better hurry up, as I pay in full every month and don't really want to have to fork out an extra ~£300 just because of their mistake. They had the audacity to tell me they were aware there had been problems with this happening with online ordering, so I wonder how many smaller orders have been missed by big spenders who don't check every penny spent!

  4. Looks like an interesting weekend...coming along nicely though.

    Tell Argos that any interest the cc co charge will be for their account.


Many thanks for taking the time to comment. All comments are moderated to help prevent system abuse by spammers, time-wasters and chancers, so your comment will not appear until it has been manually accepted for publishing. This will be done as soon as possible - I check for updates regularly. We are on GMT - London times.