28 Days of Extreme Frugal Living
Day 1 of 28 and I've spent almost £8.50 of my household budget.
A friend was visiting after a trip into town, so I afforded myself the luxury of spending £1.00 on two bottles of washing up liquid, as Morrisons supermarket had them on special offer.
Both the multifuel stove and the open fire got lit - one for providing us with a warm room and the other to warm the water and radiators to keep the chill and dampness off the other rooms. This probably cost about £5.00 for a day, judging by the number of logs we get through and the 10kg or so of coal. On the plus side, the washing has all dried on airers over the radiators and we've got plenty of hot water, including what has been getting boiled on the stove top for hot drinks, instant custard and flask-filling. There's certainly enough to fill a couple of hot water bottles and this is something I need to get used to doing during the cold winter months.
Porridge for breakfast, cooked in a 700w microwave for 5 minutes, now costs 12p for 2 people. Electricity is costing us 17p per kWh after factoring in the weekly standing charge.
Lunch was homemade bread toasted and served with spaghetti, at a total cost of around 36p for two of us.
Dinner was a single chicken breast, which now costs £1, diced and stir fried with a large onion (10p), a pepper and a few mushrooms, all dowsed in some cheap (5p) sauce. The pepper and mushrooms came to me free via a neighbour who handed them in to save binning them. This was all served with noodles, which cost me less than 10p.
Not content with that, I also made a large fruit crumble using a tub of garden-grown rhubarb (I stew it then freeze it) and a sachet of sponge mix crumbed with margarine. Counting in all the stewing and baking times plus ingredients, the fruit crumble cost just under 40p and will provide 6 servings (13p for 2). Add on another 8p for some instant custard and there you have it... total cost for dinner for two, including electricity for cooking, amounted to £1.46 so that's only 73p per person for a two course main meal.
The above prices all include the cost of cooking, which could be done cheaper using the stove top and provided us with three hot meals each at an overall cost of just £1.94
This was the extent of today's spending - £7.94
I'll allow some extra for switching on lights (max 5w LED bulbs), running two laptops and for milk and tea - let's call it £8.50 for everything, except the unseen overheads. Even at this amount, I could split today's spending into needs and wants.
The following things were not essential:
Washing up liquid £1
Coal to warm the entire house £3
Noodles with the chicken and vegetable stir fry 10p
Rhubarb crumble with custard 21p
Electricity for stir frying when I could have cooked on the stove top 6p
If I was in dire need of cutting my spending to the bone, I could easily have halved my spends and let's not forget that this is for two adults, not just for me.
My 'normal' budget for everything including household insurance, clothing, transport and luxuries like a TV licence, pets, a home phone, internet access, socialising, entertainment, travel and gift-giving is £10.95 per day or £13.70 including Council Tax. We have no rent or mortgage to pay but if we did, that could easily double the living costs.
I don't think I am extreme in the least. On the contrary, I can afford everything I need while also saving for whatever I want. As long as I can earn my share of that £13.70 per day and call where I live my home, that should suffice for now.