Getting the Household Budget to Work in Your FavourWeather comes to us free in every way, shape and form possible. Here in Scotland, we can get everything in the one day - rain, hail, sleet, snow, fog, wind and sunshine. We can't control the weather but we can prioritise our spending to weather any financial storms.
As long time readers will know, we saved and bought a bargain basement fixy-up house that really did need fixing up, so we set about prioritising the spending to start with the absolute basics - fixing the roof over our heads and replacing basics like water and electricity supplies. We've no gas, no mains sewage or drainage system or anything as high-tech as mobile phone signals here, so a land line is essential to maintain contact with the outside world and work from home via the Internet. But we all feel the need to spend on things other than the absolute essentials, so I bought solar fairly lights and have hung the first string of them outside the back door, wrapped around the washing line. The tree has been looked out and that will be decorated this weekend.
We planned on completing the renovation over 5 years, which should mean we finish next year, but last year we blew the budget on buying the land that is now another 5-year project to turn it into Frugaldom. So, the priorities change, no matter how well you try to plan things. Frugaldom should be up and running fully by 2020 and the house should have been completed by 2016. Except we lost 18 months on the house project by throwing everything we had saved for home and retirement into the Frugaldom Project. Now it is time to take stock and get back to organising the renovation if we are to have any hope of completing it within the next 12 months.
The bathroom and kitchen were both given major repair work - absolute basics like replacing burst pipes so we had running water and rewiring so we had electricity - but we never fitted a new bathroom suite nor did we fit a kitchen. Instead, we made do. I've made do without an actual cooker for some time now, preferring to delay this until such times as I can see a way of fitting in the one I really like. Meanwhile, I make the most of my microwave, slow cooker, steamer, a small twin hot plate and a mini oven that cost £5 secondhand in 2007. The top element of that blew quite some time ago, so... I finally decided on the best course of action, seeing as I have family coming to stay over the Christmas holidays and I'll be cooking a turkey: I bought a brand new worktop mini cooker!
Amazon has their winter 4 for 3 in home and garden offer on at the moment, so I treated myself to a brand new mini cooker and a set of pots and pans to go with it - the cooker arrived yesterday afternoon and I'm expecting the pan set today. Item three I chose is a large rug for the now renovated living room that was temporarily carpeted in the cheapest of the cheap cord carpet last year.
What about item 4, my 'freebie?, you may wonder? Well, that's already arrived and is waiting to be taken to Frugaldom - 100 metres of weed control fabric through which I will plant the first of the new willow beds in 2016! All of the above, complete with free delivery and excluding the 1% cash back I'll receive from paying by credit card (it gets cleared in full every month) amounted to less than the cost of the cheapest available freestanding cooker I could find. Sometimes more is better and size doesn't matter as long as you know you can fit in the Christmas turkey!
Now for some more knitting - I'm on to the fifth ball of wool and this is certainly going to be a very randomly coloured and textured throw, but who said woolly blankets need to be uniform? They're for keeping us extra warm during cold weather, not wearing out as fashion accessories. Although... I could be tempted if anyone nearby wants to throw a blanket party!
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Winter solstice or any other festive occasion, they shouldn't be about how much it drains your money resources, it should be about how much you can afford to share what's readily available while still managing the reserves that will be needed in the future.