Tuesday, 28 December 2021



It has been some time since I updated this blog but the past couple of years have simply flown by and merged into some sort of time-warped blur. Between the pandemic, the FrugaLdom project, ponies, poultry and now goats, my time has been spent trying to keep up with the daily chores, keeping a tight hold on the budget and pursuIng all the challenges that I set myself each and every year. 

I'm ending 2021 on a bit of a high! We pulled out all the stops and finally managed to get our hut built. Planning permission took 7 full months to be granted as the planning department staff members were all working from home, then our designated planning officer went off sick for quite some time. However, we got there in the end! In addition to this, and during all of this, we somehow ended up opening a campervan and motorhome stopover site, otherwise known as an 'Aire'. It's similar to those found in France and elsewhere, but without the services. Our 'Aire' is a bit like a frugal campsites for self-sufficient motorhomes and campervans - all we offer is parking space, nothing more. In exchange for parking we accept small donations that contribute towards the running of Frugaldom project. I love it! We get to meet interesting people who share our love for Frugaldom and the outdoors and some even help out on site during their stay.

2021 also brought another Avian Bird Flu pandemic so all our hens and ducks are having to stay undercover at home, away from Frugaldom, until such times as we can build them proper, covered enclosures there that are completely mink, fox, stoat and weasel proof. The duck pond now has fish swimming in it, the old duck enclosure has goats living in it and the yard, has been designated as parking for our visitors. We completed the pony shelters, hay storage and potting shed, and extended the little hay shelter to more than double its orginal size. Now we need to improve the goat housing, build the poultry & duck enclosures and get more trees and hedging planted, while making attempts at improving the food growing side of things. We need like-minded volunteers so if you fit that bill... 

2022 is going to be about minimalism and off-grid living, as much as possible. I want to grow more food, use less electricity and, as always, make everything as affordable as possible so that each penny can do the job of a pound. With inflation currently sitting at over 5%, things could get tougher but with some forward thinking, I'm sure we can all make some changes that will see us through the worst of any crises arising. Protecting income is paramount when the global economy is this shaky so investing in longterm 'survival' and self-sustainability seems the obvious choice to me. If I can help anyone else cope with their current situations by offering moral support and a place to escape now and again then I will.

We are all in this together and together we will succeed in whatever we set our minds to doing. Whether it is debt-busting, money saving, developing small business ideas or simply learning more about how to be happy leading a frugal lifestyle, everything is possible. Feel free to join us in the forums of the Moneysavingexpert website, taking part in our 2022 Frugal Living Challenge. You can also like / follow the daily updates from Frugaldom on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Any questions, just ask. Don't be shy.

Our savings have been seriously depleted but as long as we can clear at least minimum wage while living on £4,000 per year, there is still wriggle room to recoup - even when it's costing an extra few thousand pounds a year to feed all the animals. Who knows, we may even dedicate part of our project to becoming a designated sanctuary and Scottish wildlife reserve next year. Having the hut on site means having the ability to be on site longer, staying there whenever possible. I'm still writing for my living and have just signed another book deal as a ghostwriter so perhaps 2022 will see the realisation of yet another dream - being a writer who writes from a cabin in the country.


All the very best to each and every one of you for the new year ahead - even to those who don't 'get' what we are about and who can't see the wood for the trees. Good health and happiness to all - stay safe and dont forget to wash your hands. 😊

Saturday, 2 January 2021

2021 Frugal Living Challenge


2020 is a year that most people, the world over, will be glad to see the back of, mostly because of te Coronavirus pandemic. I won't even attempt to go into details as all the information you need about it can be found on most news pages. All that I will say is please stay safe - follow guidelines and local rules, and most importantly, use your common sense. Health and hygiene are intertwined. Plenty of fresh air is essential, a bit of exercise is ideal and both of these things are totally free... just open up your door and get yourself outdoors. Free, free, free... breath in that freedom.

2021 arrived at Frugaldom as a frosty morning bathed in sunshine. Working outdoors without a jacket at this time of year is becoming more common and up until last week, I was still able to do so in short sleeves. What I need to keep reminding myself, however, is that even the winter sun can burn. 

Our frugal living challenge has begun again and this year has brought more changes. My plan is t chart these changes and, once again, tighten the purse strings to enable further savings for further investment into the Frugaldom project. You can check out Frugaldom on Facebook and Frugaldom on Twitter

My challenges for 2021:

  1. Live on £4,000 for the year
  2. Spend no more than £1 per person per day for all meals (there are 2 of us)
  3. Get a 'tiny house' built
  4. Extend the hay shed
  5. Have a hut (small cabin) built at Frugaldom
  6. Try and post at least 2 mini blogs each week
  7. Finish planting our native woodland
  8. Create a forest garden
  9. Increase the amount of fruit and veg we grow
  10. Zero food waste and recycle everything I can
You can find all the frugal living challenge updates on the moneysavingexpert.com forums.

Monday, 19 October 2020

Frugaldom Walkabout #1

This is something new for me, as it has taken me quite some time to get around to mastering a mobile phone and camera. This has mainly been down to the fact that we don't have and signal at home so when it turned out that we could pick up a 3G signal from the Frugaldom project, it made things a whole lot easier. I can now post short video clips and share project progress with you all.

There is no commentary on the videos as we enjoy the peace, tranquility and freedom to be at one with nature while working outdoors at Frugaldom. It's a place where we welcome members, sponsors and volunteers who love nature and who want to be a part of our project.

Frugaldom is not for profit. We operate as a self-funded, voluntary project supported by sponsorships, memberships, donations and visitor contributions. If you would like to support the work we do here, find out how at www.frugaldom.com

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Looking Back

gypsy cobs galloping
4 of the 5 rescued and rehomed ponies at Frugaldom

Hello to all who read these frugal blogs! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas season and that you enjoy Hogmanay and the new year festivities.

I've just been updating the old forums, the ones that go back to 2010, as Ive found it impossible to retrieve the most recent ones that fell out of our reach when the software and operating platform changed. Not to be completely outdone, I succeeded in retrieving these old ones and have now redirected the domain www.frugalforums.co.uk towards them for our 2019 frugal living and working challenges. (Everyone is welcome to join us, it's free!)

Anyway, while unlocking previously archived sections of the forums and updating them as I went along, I stopped at the letter 'B' - it's alphabetical - and began reading about all our ideas and plans for the future. It's where I found this and saw just how far we had come over the past 8 years and showed that my longterm aims hadn't realy changed, apart from the fact that finding several like-minded others has, so far, proven to be impossible.

 Oct 20, 2010 #7
In the wake of today's spending review, a thought struck me when listening to the heated debates about the housing crisis, social housing and council rents. Affordable housing is still absent, in my opinion, for all of those people who don't want or can't get mortgages. If housing associations and others are going to be encouraged to provide more affordable homes, why do we still see so many derelict or crumbling properties? I would love the opportunity to develop a derelict site into a profitable business with the potential to expand on that and bring others into the game plan. All around us are derelict houses - small collapsing cottages  left to rot because owners who have inherited them can't agree how to split any proceeds from sales, or else left to rot in an effort to avoid tax. Removing the roof to avoid the roof tax has long, since, been abolished (as far as I am aware) but we now face the "problem" of these properties costing their owners up to 40% in capital gains tax. I just don't get it! Surely, in this economic climate, 60% of any surplus property sale in the pockets of the owners must be worthwhile. It has to beat zero with a crumbling wreck as your personal responsibility.

One excellent frugal business proposition would be for workers' co-operatives to raise the capital to purchase these unwanted properties to turn them into viable microholdings for those who are prepared to invest in their own futures. The cost of a brick, afterall, is still the cost of a brick. It shouldn't be too adversely affected by where that brick gets laid. Waste land, scrap land, disused sites, abandoned sites... the list goes on and on, yet the right to participate in any such project is curtailed, once again, by finances and the need for ludicrous amounts of cash. A group of like-minded individuals working for the benefit of all could surely earn a living by dividing the spoils, assuming they were able to amass the funds needed to initiate such a project in the first place?

My search continues for that first, elusive piece of land that could start the ball rolling. I don't have 50,000+ in the bank to buy a tiny building plot, nor do I intend borrowing it, but I'd be prepared to invest in a project where nobody squabbled about percentages and hours of work they contributed to the end result. All things being equal, (which they aren't) 1000 man hours equates to almost 6,000 even on minimum wage.

Frugaldom, as a complete microholding package, is a viable business proposition. We aren't setting out to become millionaires, we're setting out as frugal entrepreneurs in the hope of realising dreams. For me, money in the banks just won't pay in the long run, not with inflation running at more than twice the BoE base rate.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Preparing for our Frugal Living Challenge in 2019


This is just a mini-blog to welcome new challengers to the concept of frugaldom and our likewise named Frugaldom project, which is based in Dumfries and Galloway region of SW Scotland.

Frugal living is about a waste not, want no lifestyle of minimising the spending to primarily clear debt and then to maximise the savings.

If you would like to find out more about frugaldom and our frugal living challenges, which have been running for over 20 years, simply visit any of the following:


We also have our Frugal Living Challenge 2019 on the moneysavingexpert.com website forums.

See you there.