An update on progress at Frugaldom
- #Frugal Living
- #Money Saving
- #The Frugaldom Project
- #Household Budgets
- #Money Challenges
- #Frugal Entrepreneurs
What is frugal living? This is a question I am still being asked, as it still comes as something new to many. It is NOT self-imposed poverty or about trying to live like Tom and Barbara in 'The Good Life'. It's about balancing your life with your income in a safe and sustainable way. This is where my frugal living adventure has taken me so far...
Our online challenges run from 1st January through to 31st December every year. The first one began in 1999 but it wasn't until 2007 that the decision was made to take the main project fully online. We have the frugal blog, frugal shop, frugal forums, frugal entrepreneurs, our own chat room and now, to celebrate each and every one of these successes, we have our Frugaldom project and we have introduced frugal breaks to enable those on low incomes or with tight budgets the opportunity to get away from it all and have an affordable holiday.
That takes care of what I have been up t for the past 16 years but we are now nearing the end of our various 2015 money saving, money making and frugal living challenges and preparing to start all over again. If you would like to join us, please follow the link to the forums and register a free username then spend some time browsing. In the meantime, I am going to bring myself up to date with where I am at with the writing and blogging as that is, after all, why I set out to stretch the pennies in the first place. Writing doesn't often net you much of an income so frugal living allows for life on a tight budget while saving for all the other things you want out of life.
Out of interest, I attempted to bake a 25p loaf to find out if it is still possible to do so. The answer to this is yes - if you use nothing more than 375g of cheap bread flour, a teaspoon of the cheapest dried yeast and a pinch of salt. There's no oils, butters, milk or other additives in these loaves, they are basically flour and water with the raising agent added. Tastes OK to me!
My favourite handmade and homemade item of all time has to be my woolly blanket. I knitted two for this household and then knitted one for my youngest grand daughter, who received it as a Christmas gift last year. The blankets get knitted in strips, using up all the odd balls of wool you can find. Each strip gets knitted to the required length, depending on the intended use for the blanket, then the rows get sewn together to create the finished blanket. While doing last year's, I was able to take a little time an show eldest grand daughter how to knit. She now wants a blanket of her own, so I will eagerly encourage her to knit it herself. I love my knitted blanket! It has more than served its purpose, having been relocated to the caravan. But now I need another one for using at the house!
Everyone who knows me knows that I love filled doughnuts - usually jam, apple or custard. It became a bit of a standing joke a very long time ago, when one particular friend would seldom arrive without making a trip via what was then known as Dunkin' Doughnuts but then supermarkets began selling in earnest - mass produced doughnuts! It's a sad fact that we can now buy these for about 12p but for frugal lifers such as me - it is a very affordable luxury and one that's even better served up as a gift. So... I made it my rule quite some time ago that business meetings had to include doughnuts, preferably supplied by whoever is visiting me to talk business. That's how I discovered chocolate custard doughnuts! I hadn't even heard of them until last month! Thank you Mr L, who took the time to call me and rhyme off the supermarket selection from which to make my choice! Much appreciated!
Some people have fallen out with me over the past year owing to my decision to spend my own hard-earned cash in a local supermarket. I'm afraid to say that I don't care - if it costs less to buy the product than it does for me to make it, then it's a luxury best delivered by a local driver whose income depends on these very supermarkets. Without them and their ridiculously cheap basic foodstuffs, we of the frugal living ilk would seldom afford ourselves such indulgences.
November saw the final completion of the yard fencing. We still don't have a full bathroom or a cooker in the kitchen but we do have two paddocks or corrals and the barn yard fully fenced! My grand daughters absolutely love going out to Frugaldom for the day. We can pack a picnic, wrap up warm and they take great pleasure in investigating the latest developments. Now that the barn has been sectioned into several workable indoor stalls, the youngest is convinced that she can fill them all with little ponies! But she is equally excited by the prospect of planting trees, growing food, painting, crafting and organising yard sales at the Trading Post, which is what we call our bartering barn and its newly enclosed space.
The first snow of the year arrived but it didn't lie at Frugaldom. We have had wind, rain, hail, sleet and snow plus about four different storms that bring flood alerts to the area but only the hills have the snow lying - so far. If the trees are anything to go by, I would hazard a guess at a mild winter but we have already had several good frosts and freezing temperatures.
I don't often share family photos, almost never if truth be told, but this has to be one of my favourites. The girls had lifted the ice off the top of one of the water butts at the barn and were using it as a round window - holding it together to see if it would mend after it broke in two. It didn't mend but it did stay frozen for the next two days after this photo was taken.
Being on a caravan holiday park for part of the time means getting to know all the neighbours and those neighbours now know that leftovers needn't be binned - we can use anything and everything to save it from being wasted. This was the remains of an out of date bag of wholemeal flour that got made into a loaf for feeding to the birds. Having the oven on in the caravan means not needing the gas fire lit, so baking is an ideal way of killing two birds with one stone during cold weather - pardon the cruel pun! The girls like watching for the more unusual birds that they don't see in the garden at home, so they are easily tempted to sneak out to the bird table with leftovers whenever they are staying the weekend.
This is one of the Jays that has started frequenting the bird table since putting out the homemade bread. They are normally really shy birds that can be heard more often than seen, so it's great seeing them land so close. The woodpecker hasn't taken too kindly to having such noisy visitors, but there's always food enough for them all at the feeding station.
And now, to bring your right up to date with how things are going here, I have the fire lit, the solar fairly lights have been charging in the window in preparation for decorating the big Christmas tree at Frugaldom and the house is feeling quite toasty, despite the howling winds and sooty flecks wafting around the living room after a huge back draught sent a cloud of smoke down the chimney when someone opened the back door while I was kindling the fire.
With winter on its way and all the trees from the new trees planted, I can now rummage through my wool stash and get to work on the next multi-coloured, knitted blanket. I looked out my big size 7.5 needles, cast on 40 stitches and have already begun knitting the rows that will create the first strip of blanket. They call it 'stocking stitch' but to me it s nothing more than plain knitting with zero complications. Sat in my chair by the fireside with the cat sprawled asleep by the hearth is actually rather festive, so I will probably start thinking about retrieving the tree from the cupboard at the top of the stairs and get that decorated next weekend. Hopefully, I'll also hear back from John the apple man, letting me know when the Galloway Pippin apple trees will be delivered for planting.
For 2016, I plan to progress as usual with my various projects and challenges but have decided that the time has come to cut back on the hours spent working at earning a 'decent' living and more time spent working at making the most of what life has to offer - the wealth of friends, family, health and happiness. I'm also planning on getting back to regular blogging.