Being Prepared for Frugal Living
Before we begin, let's get just one thing straight - moneysaving does not mean being mean, nor does frugal living. It's true that it is about living a more simple lifestyle and trying to be more frugal in a self-sustainable way, but this doesn't mean you need to sell all your possessions and move into mobile accommodation or live like a nomad. Despite this 'free of the rat race' sounding escapade, it isn't actually all that practical in our modern society, so we need to face facts and do the best we can with what we've already got. If unsustainable debts are what you've got, then your primary concern should be to get rid of them as quickly and painlessly as possible, even if it means one screaming penny at a time.
So, to follow on from my previous post of '20 Hints, Tips and Suggestions to Help you Save Money', I thought I would continue in that vein and post another 20, seeing as there's such an endless supply of things we can all do to help balance our own budgets.
|Old nest of tables - before and after a frugal makeover.|
7. Buying candles probably works out more expensive than investing in a wind-up torch for emergencies, but candles are, nonetheless, very handy to have during power cuts, especially if they are the only source of heat you have for warming your hands! Add them to your gift list in case anyone asks what you'd like. Practical gift are always more appreciated by we of the frugal lifestyles.
11. Simple sewing - Start off turning an old pillow slip into a reusable shopping bag, laundry bag, dumpling 'cloot' or even handkerchiefs for practicing your embroidery and you'll soon get into the swing of needlework. Save your oldest pair of jeans for cutting patches to embellish and strengthen subsequent pairs 'designer' fashion.
If you have the space, other food you can try growing are seeds from inside things like pumpkins (although pumpkin seeds can also be roasted for eating on their own), tomatoes and peppers, fruit pips, garlic cloves and even potato peelings. The root end chopped from spring onions can regrow more spring onions, the base of a celery can regrow more celery and the base of a cabbage or lettuce can grow more cabbage or lettuce. Nature is on your side in this game, it just needs fresh water to help it get started.
14. Chopping, slicing, dicing and grating - I'm not suggesting skimping on food to what's less than needed but, as a simple way of controlling portions to healthy levels, it is ideal. So many of us (myself included) tend to over-eat without being aware of that fact. I had no concept of what the Government health organisations recommend as sufficient by way of quantity of food served until I tried weighing things. Try weighing out 30g of breakfast cereal to see how it compares to your normal hapless servings and then you'll see how much further food would go if we restricted the portions to what's now said to be enough.
15. Cooking - add as much as possible to the one pan to cook a meal for less. This also ensures all the flavours are retained and shared, bringing a little extra creativity to your meals - never be afraid to mix and match - of course green beans will stir fry with onions and cucumber in your discounted sweet chilli sauce.
16. Alternative cooking energy - if you have a stove or log burner, make the absolute most of it. Low heat is slow heat, but it all cooks food.
17. Warm plates for warm meals - there's nothing nicer than a hot meal that stays hot even during the coldest weather, so warming the plates can seem extra special. For some, it seems an extravagance but why waste valuable heat if you're cooking up a meal anyway?
I can easily fit two large bowls or several smaller bowls over the top of my slow cooker, or on the top of my mini oven. so they get warmed up for free. Just use your common sense when lifting them.
21. Basic essentials in the kitchen - sugar is sugar but you don't need to pay a fortune for butter when margarine will do instead. In fact, there are some recipes that can be followed using vegetable oil or lard when no butter is available. Milk is something else you can save on, as inexpensive whitener can be used in coffee or tea and reconstituted powdered milk can be used in almost all recipes where milk is listed as an ingredient. Then there's UHT - it lasts longer, doesn't need refrigerated and costs less, in most cases, than standard pasteurised milk.
23. Corner cutting cooking - Switch kettles off as soon as they come to the boil, cook using a 3-tier steamer so you use only one ring of the cooker and learn to make the most of a microwave, as it probably uses less than half the energy required to cook in a conventional oven. A slow cooker can be used to cook most things on low power over several hours, but it also contributes to the overall heat of your kitchen, helping save on that. A mini-oven costs less to use than a full size oven... you get my drift. Just as you shouldn't cook more than you can store (or eat), you should also ensure you fill as much space as possible when cooking, or else downsize the cooking space.
24. Take a flask - How often do you go places and then find you want a hot cuppa or a snack? Take it with you. Even if you don't need it, you can have it once you get back home. At best, you'll have saved several pounds on the price of a sandwich and a cup of coffee or tea while you were out and about. A picnic or snack pack is a meal for all seasons.
25. Know anyone who knits? Knitting can be an expensive hobby but thousands of people do it and many never finish all the balls of wool they buy. Volunteer to take it off their hands and then get your pins out to make yourself a bitsy, piecy blanket that can be the shabby chic envy of all your friends. They may even ask you to make them one if they buy their own wool and pay you a token sum as gratitude. That's when they'll realise the price of yarn and appreciate the true cost of hand crafted goods!
Well, this began as a post containing another 20 hints, tips and suggestions for moneysaving but, as you can see, I've now numbered them and discovered I ran over, slightly. Oops! There are just so many ways to save money.
My invite to you:
Don't be scared to comment with your own suggestions - I am fully aware of the fact that after many years of looking at ways of making things affordable, I still have a long, long way to go and much still to learn. Go ahead, have your say here or in the forums at www.frugalforums.co.uk where we have a section about frugal living, plus several other categories all about debt-busting, money saving and even some money making challenges.
NYK Media, Frugaldom