Friday, 10 January 2014

Frugal Bytes

Bite-sized Updates from Frugaldom

Keeping everything up to date online is difficult, so I am going to begin sharing my 'Living on £4,000 for a year' personal challenge from www.frugalforums.co.uk to here by way of 'frugal bytes'. I hope you enjoy them.

My budget spreadsheet looks like this:  

The Frugaldom budget spreadsheet

My January spending already looks high at £475.60, however, the freezer has been filled, the electricity meter topped right up and I paid 12-months telephone line rental up front, which will save me about £45 overall. I cancelled the 'free' 1571 service some time ago, as we seldom made sufficient calls to qualify. There's a £10 allowance for 'mobile' just in case I go gallivanting further afield, otherwise no need for it as there's no signal here. Figures on the right are for my 'EEK' (Everything Else Kitty). Feel free to ask questions.

Managed a trip to Co-op with a friend and a second trip is scheduled for two weeks' time to ensure I can spend my £5 voucher before it expires. Logs have been ordered for delivery next week and the coal bunker will need to be refilled soon. The kindling has been well topped up thanks to another big bag of scrap wood from local yard by way of a bartering agreement we've struck between us.

23rd March 2013 - last winter's snow
Winter preparations are on-going in case the snow gets here. Last year we were completely snowed in and, at one stage, without power for about 4 days. Luckily we had the stove, fuel, plenty of food in stock and sufficient feed for the livestock - I am grateful for the fact that we were able to cook and share what we had with neighbours who didn't expect such a bad winter.

This is our local construction company, 3B, digging out the main road down to the village last winter - a reminder of what Mother Nature can throw at us, whenever she so desires.

Over a year, my household spending averages almost £11 per day, £76.71 per week or £333.33 per month and has done so for the past 7 years. Despite inflation, I seem to be improving my lifestyle with every year that passes. Strange, but true!


FREEZING TIP

If you have a power cut during a freezing winter and have no access to a generator - pack your freezer with bags of snow and ice! There is no point in risking losing good food for the sake of a few days without power. Throughout the year, I have zero available space in my freezer - all gaps get filled with tubs or tins of water. If you have just a fridge and it's colder outside than in your fridge, use a sealed box sunk into the snow or sat in a shaded corner.

NYK, Frugaldom

16 comments:

  1. Unfortunately the past 3 power cuts here have been in August and October, due to hurticanes and a freak snowstorm. No power for 10 to 12 days....we lost EVERYTHING in the freezer and fridge/freezer, plus needed to find water for the animals, toilets, etc. Have invested in a generator to run the well and freezer...two woodstoves help, but not great to have on in August when it can be 90 degrees F. or more....
    I enjoy reading about the challenges you face where you live, and the terrigic job you are doing...many people moan about the smallest tjings, but you just get on with things!

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    1. A 12-day power cut would cut off our source of income, so being prepared for that has to involve saving for a generator. Keeping the necessary fuel on stand-by is my problem, still more research needed to work out how long it can be stored and associated safety implications - without a car, I can't just drive to the local garage to fill up a can, so it needs some planning. If the power cut occurred during summer here, I think I'd just pack everything into insulated boxes and arrange for it to go somewhere there was power - joys of living in a tiny country that seldom (if ever) reaches 90 Degrees F :) Seldom a shortage of water here, either.

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  2. I have kept things in the snow before. Works very well if you can stop critters getting in!

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    1. LOL Hence the mention of the sealed box - wouldn't be the first time I'd heard of foxes devouring someone's dinner. Also reminds me of winter parties from my younger years. Hmm... now I mention it, all the booze was in the river at a party I attended last year - friend's house off grid.

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  3. I did the sealed box thing in the snow once when I was running the contents of the fridge down. Seemed daft to keep it switched on when there wasn't much left in it. When I had eaten everything I switched it back on again, after a big shop to re stock it.

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    1. Hi Meanqueen, I hope life is treating you well! :) Snow does have its redeeming features when we don't need to travel too far in it, as does the frost and sub-zero temperatures. I still think back with fond memories to glass milk bottles in winter with their foil tops picked off and the bluetits helping themselves to the frozen cream!

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  4. Using your spread sheet again this year. It was such a success last year, can't thank you enough.
    Chanterelle

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    1. Great to hear! It's so easy to add in the comments and keep tabs on everything without getting into anything too complicated. :) Here's to a year of all columns totalling into the black.

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  5. Hi NYK! I love hearing about your frugal lifestyle especially as I tighten my belt. These frugal bytes are going to be great reading and good inspiration! ~ Pru

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    1. It's all the little things that add up to make great big savings over time - sometimes we forget that this way of life isn't shared by everyone and fail to notice we do stuff others aren't even aware of until someone takes the time to share their experiences. :)

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  6. My son brought me back some tasty sausage from a ski trip to Italy. After purchase he buried it in the snow outside his chalet until it was time to come home and it reached me in perfect condition!

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    1. It's beginning to feel like the snow or frost isn't too far away from here now. Enough f a nip in the air to keep the milk cool that's for sure. :)

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  7. Thank you for this post - very helpful! I have problems with accessing forums on my phone (down to the ago of my phone I'm sure), so tend to miss out on the information provided over on the forums. So this was very much appreciated and I look forward to more of your 'frugal bytes'!

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    1. I will try to make a point of posting more frugal bytes - sounds like it has the makings of yet another mini-challenge :)

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  8. Some good tips here. At Christmas we are always short of fridge and freezer space and put our wine etc outside to chill on the morning we will be drinking it but I shall certainly remember your tips should the worst happen as we often get snowed in quite badly and are completely cut off although I don't think we have ever lost power because of it. x

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    1. Power cuts here are a regular occurrence, although most last only a few hours, rather than days. Last year's snow was just so much falling so quickly that the power companies must prioritise towns over villages and then the villages over our little out-lying areas.

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