Sunday, 2 February 2014

Day 2 of Extremely Frugal February - Free Seeds!

28 Days of Extreme Frugal Living

Day 2 of 28, I have spent £6.64 of my household budget and hopefully got the beginnings of some pepper plants.

Sweet Pepper seeds
Bit of a lazy Sunday here, although I did have a couple of visitors who stayed for tea and a natter. One picked me up a carton of milk on her way through the village, which accounts for my cash spend of the day, and the other brought me a gift of cheese and UHT milk, plus some gorgeous nail polish I had recently admired. In exchange for such gifts, I helped out with some book keeping, gave away some recycled folders for filing receipts and rehomed some old magazines. I love Sunday trading!
Today was Candlemas - not that we celebrate it in any way - so I had been weather watching, expecting the storms of recent to descend on us once again. As one of the sayings goes,
If Candle-mas Day is bright and clear,
There'll be two winters in the year.

However, the day dawned bright and stayed clear - if the old wives' tales and folklore are true, we have winter ready to make a ferocious return. I can already feel the temperature dropping since the rain clouds departed. It was 7 degrees C indoors this morning, it's now 15 degrees C after having the little stove burning all day. I stood firm against using any coal today. Was that extremely, I wonder?
DAY 2
Spending:
Paid friend for the milk she got me from the village store - £1.62 spent. I also asked that she buy it using a £10 note so I could do a simple swap and have change in the house because cash by way of spare change isn't easy to come by when you live in a rural location. I didn't want to dip into the coppers jar, nor would she have wanted 162 pennies! I gave her some gardening magazines to pass on to her dad, who always appreciates a look at these after I'm done with them. I get them given to me from another neighbour whose greenhouses I look after whenever they're on holiday.
Heating:
Only Wilbur, our little pot-bellied stove, has been lit today, so 'he' has probably consumed around £2.50 worth of logs. I was vigilant and used the stove top for boiling kettles of water and for making pots of tea while visitors were here, then cooked tonight's dinner over it.
Eating:
Porridge for breakfast, cooked, as usual, in the 700w microwave for 5 minutes and costing 12p for 2 people.
Lunch was a sandwich with homemade bread and hedgerow jelly. I'm not too sure how to price this, as all the fruit and berries used in the jelly making are foraged for free locally. I guess with sugar bought at 75p per bag, it might cost around 25p per jar to make, so pennies per serving plus allow about 5p for bread - we'll call it 20p for lunch for 2.
Stove top cooking
Dinner is another chicken fillet (£1) diced and spiced using some free seasoning I got with my last MuscleFood* order. (My friend referral link will automatically give you 4 free chicken fillets with your first order.) Peppers cost me 99p/3 from Approved Food*, so I used half a red and half a green (33p) in tonight's meal, along with the remainder of the mushrooms I got from a neighbour. I do return the favours - I supply the neighbour with hen and duck eggs when the feathered friends are laying plus fresh herbs from the garden and she supplies me with freshly baked cakes, newspapers for recycling and any little bits and pieces she can't cook before it spoils. It's a great set-up and one shared by several of us about here. I also had some leftover boiled potatoes that I had popped into the fridge on Friday night, so these went in with everything else to create what I call 'frugal bowl food' - a mishmash of flavours served in a big bowl.
We have drunk much more tea than normal today. It is loose leaf tea that was being cleared at 40p per 500g bag from Approved Food, so I bought 6 bags of the stuff in the hope that it will last the best part of 2014. It's not like dried tea leaves will go off if they're kept sealed, is it? I did the same with coffee beans, but bought 10kg of them. I reckon it costs us about 2p per cup of tea, although H takes sugar in his, so that costs an extra 4p per cup! Average is 3p, so I shall allow 36p including milk for all the tea that has been drunk today!
Overall mealtime spends for the day - £2.01 including tea for guests plus another 30p for the packet of custard creams demolished while chatting, so £2.31
FREE SEEDS!
How extreme was my frugaling today? Well, having used up what I had left of a red and green pepper, I saved the middles from them and, with a bit of luck, these little seeds will grow into some lovely sweet pepper plants this summer. I'll keep you up to date on progress as soon as I get some of them germinated.
Today's extremely frugal February day cost a whopping great (edited) £6.64 plus the unseen costs of running your own home. I could have put my foot down and been extreme by not having shop-bought custard creams to save myself 30p but, like I say, I'm not all that extreme. Plus, I do love a bit of bartering while sitting catching up with friends, neighbours or family over a cuppa.

Edit: I had to come back and add another 21p to today's budget after H decided we needed pudding for supper - more homemade rhubarb crumble and custard! I should have put my foot down and said no, but as a mere house-sharer, I can't really do that.
NYK, Frugaldom

14 comments:

  1. Loving your blog - it's giving me so many good ideas. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, it's much appreciated. Hopefully, there'll be many more good ideas to incorporate. After many, many years of doing this, I am still learning new things all the time. :)

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  2. I feel the same way as Craft Pam. I love reading your blog because you give me so many good ideas. Thank you for posting and all the work you do on your blog. I appreciate you and your blog. :)

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    1. I am very pleased that my ramblings can be helpful in some small way. There are so many things I do as normal that I seldom stop to consider how not normal they may be for others. :) I am guilty of assuming it's all been seen, heard and done before by everyone.

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  3. Probably a stupid question, but what will you actually do with the seeds - do they need to be dried out first, or just planted as is? I will try this myself it is a great idea. Any hints and tips would be gratefully received!! Really loving the breakdown of all your budget etc, it is full of great ideas for stretching the budget. Thanks for taking the time to put it out there for us to read.

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    1. In the past I have dried them on paper towel on the window sill but I now have this lot in the sitting room, as it's the only warmish room in the house most days. I'll let them dry for a bit. There should be old blog posts somewhere from previous ones but to be honest, I have written so much over the past 15 years that I have lost track of where it all is, hence my redoing the frugal February posts to show it can still be done, despite inflation. :)

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  4. I'm keeping a log of every penny I spend this month to see exactly where my cash is going. Very inspired now to make some real changes, so thanks again!

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    1. Glad to have been of some help. My motto is, 'the less I spend, the more I can afford' and if I'm tempted to buy whatever, I get out my Billy Can and consider all the options first. :)

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  5. Here in the States the darn groundhog apparently saw its bl**dy shadow so there won't be an early spring. Looks like Groundhog Day and Candle-mas decided to gang up on us! Best stay inside then where it's warm! And I love the little bits of trading you do. Wish I had folks that were like-minded and willing to trade or even pick up things for one another. ~ Pru

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    1. Pru, I live in a tiny place with about 25 houses and almost all of them have cars and independent incomes, mostly pensions. The majority of them are relocators, moving to the country for retirement purposes, so hearing a Scottish accent about here isn't all that common. It took me a long time to find out who my neighbours were and that is mainly because I went to their doors to find out. Even now, after over 2 years of being here, there are many of them who haven't been in my house. I am still finding it all a bit strange, as I grew up with the open door policy where everyone knew everyone and everyone's house was an extension of home. To date, only 3 of the neighbours are involved and each was surprised at my asking for exchanges rather than cash for my garden produce. LOL But cash is no good when you have no place to spend it - can't exactly feed it into the computer! I have discovered that I always have to make the first move and that's rather alien to me, so it's taking a long time to accept that situation.

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  6. You're very good at getting to the nitty gritty of the budget. I hope the seeds germinate, I'll watch with interest. I have some bought pepper seeds for this year, but being able to get more this way would be brilliant.

    Although I guess I'll need to see if I can get the poly tunnel to be able to grow lots of pepper plants, we really need them we eat lots of peppers especially through the Summer.

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    1. Nowadays, it's more a case of having to understand where every penny is coming from, more than where it is going. Having lost my 'safety net' income almost a year ago, I now have zero guaranteed. I can't go unemployed and, as a single person in a house-sharing situation, I can't simply take in a lodger. I have considered trying to find me one of those financial props affectionately known as husbands! I have even broached the idea of housekeeping, which is pretty much what I do here, if you ask me. LOL

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  7. Thankyou also from here. I just love the detail you give . Since I have been reading your blog I find it keeps me focused and I've picked up so many ideas. thanks again. jac.

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    1. I shall try to keep posting on a daily basis for the entire month of February in the hope it includes a dew of the little things I do normally but without thinking about them. I just hope I don't drive everyone off through boredom. LOL I am rather passionate about how I live my life on my miniscule income so it isn't completely pointless. :D

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