28 Days of Extreme Frugal Living
Day 3 of 28, I have spent £4.28 of my household budget
|Free Hot Cross Buns|
Monday is meter reading day for those who follow the Frugaldom energy saving challenge. I have been logging my meter readings for several years but decided to delete previous address and stick with just this one, seeing as this is meant to be my permanent home for the foreseeable future.
Driving down the reliance on electricity has been a bugbear of mine, so 2014 is about halving our consumption and keeping costs to below £10 per week. This is how my chart is looking right now:
|Charting power consumption since moving here in June 2011|
As you can see, electricity consumption has reached some fairly lofty peaks over the past two winters, reaching an astounding 275 kWh. Last winter we had the pot belly stove fitted. The open fire had to be ripped out to replace the backboiler and then we'd to have a new fireplace built, so electricity was our only option. As you can see by my chart, October to April over the past two winters has shown massive increases on summer figures, but look at October onwards for this winter... we're still driving down the power usage and are now at one fifth of our top winter use. Today's reading shows 55 units for the past week, 10 of these for an electric oil-filled radiator running in the outbuilding that will become our 'ecoarts' studio this summer.
Breakfast was the usual 12p porridge and I thought it best to mention that we eat Scottish porridge in this household and we have greatly reduced the sugar used to the point that I sometimes don't bother with any at all. We use 2 x 50g scoops of oats (7.5p) with 5 scoops water and a pinch of salt, which is enough for two, then serve this with a splash of milk and, if preferred, a little sprinkle of sugar. By reducing or omitting sugar, this becomes an extremely frugal meal that can be eaten at any time of day. I am pleased to say that the cost of this is cheaper now than last year owing to cooking for less time and allowing it to stand for a minute or two to complete the cooking process on its own.
Intermittent power cuts today meant stove top cooking and kettle boiling. When we boil the kettle of water for coffee or tea, whatever is left goes into flasks for later use. It means there's always some spare for rinsing dishes, mixing up a cuppa soup or making instant custard. Tea is made by the pot and kept warm on the stove. I keep my mug warm using a USB mug warmer - a novelty gift I got several years ago. It doesn't keep the contents hot, just slows down the cooling process. We also have USB heated slippers and an assortment of rechargers for torch, radio, Kindles and iPods! Anything to save using electricity. The laptops are run on battery power until such times as the warning signals flash up to save work and recharge or switch to alterative power. Apparently, this also helps prolong the life of the batteries.
Lunch was beans (heated on the stove) on toast - almost a luxury now that beans cost 33p per tin! I used the outside slices of the bread and now need to make another loaf. We'll call lunch 39p. I have bargain, bulk bought flour and plenty of yeast that was part of a gift from someone. I love that my visitors bring practical gifts rather then cut flowers! My vase is still filled with winter greenery in the form of holly and conifers, but through summer, it gets filled with garden herbs or wild flowers of the most common varieties.
Dinner was a carb fest! Baked potato with lasagne mince and grated cheese, costing 82p for two, plus yet another pudding of 21p rhubarb crumble and custard. (Did I mention that we eat dessert or pudding most days in this house?) Cheese is now becoming a luxury item, so I always grate it fine to make it go further. Slicing, dicing and grating is a great way of making most things go further.
Total spend on meals for two for the day = £1.78
Just out of interest, I took a look back at 2012's menu list for a fabulously frugal February. You can visit it here, although you may need to register to read the posts, as we get targeted by spam if that's not in place. Quite a few price changes since then, too!
No other spends from the household budget today other than £2.50 for the logs. No coal used and no cash spent, so an overall spend of £4.28 plus the unseen costs.