Uncategorized

My Favourite Frugal Blogs

For this post I thought I’d share with you some of the blogs I love to read. Not only are they full of great tips and information, but they are just lovely blogs anyway and a great read.

Cooking from scratch is a great way of saving money.

Okay, so let’s get on with it (btw these are a mixture of UK and US blogs):

Mortgage Free in Three is a great blog by my friend Elaine Colliar. Although she has moved on to pastures new for blogging, this site still has some great tips and amazing recipes. Please try her 30 minute rolls.

Skint Dad is a UK blog by a couple, Ricki and Naomi Willis, who are all about watching the pennies whilst living a good life. They promote vouchers and apps which can help you save money. They’ve also got a number of tips on making money.

Make do and mend.

Money Saving Mom is a US blog by Crystal Paine aimed at the US market, but has lots of great tips you can use over in the UK. She also does a podcast.

Looking on tips for cookery and other great frugal things you can do? Follow The Frugal Girl blog. Kristen is passionate about good home cooking and saving waste

One of my favourites is The Diary of a Frugal Family. It follows UK-based Cass and her family as she lives well frugally.

Make your own.

Jo is a single mother from Somerset, England and has her own blog: Slummy Single Mummy.

And finally Money Smart Family which is the Economides family’s frugal blog. They were responsible for the America’s Cheapest Family book I spoke about recently. Their blog is full of great tips on shopping and family living, they’ve got books and do courses.

Every penny counts.

I’m always on the look-out for other blogs to follow, so please feel free to share your favourite in the comments.

Dawn xx

Uncategorized

Spectacular Budget Fail and sneaky Creme Eggs

So this week has been all about trying to stick to my budget and failing spectacularly. And the cause? The telly has gone on the blink. It works in a fashion, but the picture is half in shade and it’s annoying. Being still in lockdown, the telly is a vital part of our lives at the moment: I watch it to relax at night and to learn things (I watch a lot of documentaries, particularly history docs). Anyway, I had to dig into my savings for £300 and I’ve ordered a new one from Amazon (btw I did a price comparison first and they were the cheapest this time). Sigh.

Apart from that, I’ve stuck to the budget pretty well and we’ve still managed to have the odd treat.

How’s your week been? Done anything interesting? If, like me, you’re in the UK, the answer to that will be a no as we’re all still in lockdown. On the bright side, it is saving us all money. I’ve save a whole load on petrol and eating lunch out.

Is it just me or has everything gone up in price? I knew this would happen as soon as we went into Brexit. I really wish we hadn’t, but it is what it is. A friend of mine owns a film production company and he was costing buying a new high tech computer. The computer had doubled in price since last year. Doubled!! Ridiculous. Food is more expensive too. There’s just pennies on here and there but it all adds up at the checkout.

I can’t wait to get out of lockdown so I can start going to the shops again – I like to buy the bulk at somewhere like Aldi or Lidl and buy specialised things at M&S or Morrisons or Asda. However, with there being the new variants of Covid-19 now in the community, I’m steering clear of shops and doing it online. I’m having to buy from Morrisons as there are no home deliveries from Lidl or Aldi in our area (I believe they may be doing some of them in some areas). Not to worry, this can’t last forever. The Spanish Flu burned out in about two years, so hopefully we’ll be back to normal some time this year.

Okay, so some of you will know that I’ve been trying out the Olio and Too Good To Go app to see if we can buy waste food from retailers cheaply. Unfortunately, there’s no-one nearby who is doing the Olio thing, so have had nothing from that. Tried the Too Good to Go app and got something from Costa Coffee which was really disappointing and from a small M&S outlet (which was much better – we got a curry for two, some rolls and two cream cakes for £4). So, it’s kinda been a bit hit or miss. Maybe once we’re back to normal things will pick up and we’ll get more shops joining in. I’ll keep looking at them. Do you know of any good money saving apps you can recommend? Let me know.

Right, going to finish up now as have a cup of tea to drink and a cheeky wee creme egg to eat. Yum.

Dawn

Uncategorized

What I’ve been doing this week

So, I’ve done quite well this week sticking to a budget, except for buying some unbudgeted things for one of my side businesses. And that knocked off my budget and made me curse myself for doing it. However, I do need the things I ordered, so it’s a kind of rock and hard place for me. Anyway, it is what it is and I’ve had to redo my budget.

How has your week been? Have you done anything to be more frugal or to set up a small side business? My side businesses – I’m a writer and PR person full time – are selling vintage knitting patterns and I’m about to set up one selling vintage images, calendars and some stationery. I’ll share more info about it when I’m ready to launch.

Two of the images from my current 2021 calendar, you’ll get it in my Vintage Knit Treasures shop on Etsy

I am continuing to try and cook from scratch every day, but some days it’s near impossible. I’m working long-ish hours some days and am exhausted by the end of it. The last thing I want to do is cook a big meal, so we’ve been having quick and easy to cook meals. I’m going to tackle this by doing a meal plan for next week (I usually do this, but didn’t manage it for this week) and stick to it. Not easy when you have a fussy teen daughter (who is also quite stroppy) who only wants to eat Korean food because she’s obsessed with a K-pop band. Sigh.

Managed to snag a magic bag from the Too Good to Go app. It was for a local M&S mini store and we came away with an Indian meal for two, some rolls and two cream cakes for £4. Fantastic. Going to have the meal tonight. We picked it up last night at 8.30pm, which was too late to eat and it had a use-by date for yesterday, so I shoved it in the freezer and have defrosted it for tonight’s dinner. Yum.

Sauerkraut

Talking of cooking, I’ve got a whole lot of reading up to do on pickling, drying and other methods of food preservation. I’ve got a hankering to make home-made chutney and ice-cream (not to have at the same time!), biscuits and bread. I’d also like to make sauerkraut. I really loved the pickled cabbage you get with a donner kebab, so I’d like to have a go at making it. I’ll let you know how I get on. Need to find the time in my busy schedule to get all this done!

Right, so that’s my update for just now. I’m going to love you and leave you as I have two more blogs to write before I go and make dinner. Til next time.

Dawn

Uncategorized

So I’ve Been Reading Up on Frugality

After last week, I decided it was nigh on time I re-read some of the great books I’ve collected over the years on being frugal. I started with Steve Economides and Annette Economides’ book America’s Cheapest Family which, although now 13 years old is still packed full of great advice. They also have a website charting everything they do to live frugally whilst still having a great life. It’s called Money Smart Family.

Thrift

I also dug out India Knight’s The Thrift Book and have thoroughly enjoyed re-reading it. I read it first years ago, but I can’t remember it so this is like reading it for the first time again. Both books are great if you’re looking for hints and tips on cutting back. I love India’s way of writing. It’s so laid back and funny. She definitely doesn’t mind taking the mick out of herself. Here’s her website India Knight.

I’ve also joined some groups on Facebook, people who are into frugality and/or into good home cooking so have been getting tonnes of recipe ideas from there. My favourite one is Home-made Scottish Recipes, which is a private group but is great because it isn’t just Scottish recipes that are on there. So long as the recipe has a Scottish theme or accent it can be on there. I love it because a lot of the recipes are dishes I loved growing up such pancakes and scones and mince n tatties. Yum.

Puddings

There’s also a great group called Old School Puddings, which is about Old School Puddings. There’s tonnes of nostalgia, but the best bit about is that most of the puddings are very cheap to make and delicious.

Another thing I’ve been doing more of recently is tightening our spending. I have to admit I’ve been a bit lax with keeping tabs on every penny that goes out. I’ve clamped down on buying treats every day for me and the kids, instead waiting til a Friday to buy them. That has saved me more than £1800 per year. Yup, you read that right: £1800 per year.

Cola

And that was only on coca cola, the 500 ml bottles. I used to buy us one each (there are three of us) every single day. At £1.65 per bottle (dear, I know), that added up to £1806.75 every year. I was also buying crisps and sweets every day. I have not added up what that cost, but you can bet it was several hundred pounds on top of that. So, I’ve stopped and we only have those treats on a Friday. It’s also better for us health-wise so it’s a win-win for me.

And finally, my mum sent me a recipe for home-made bagels. It arrived in the post this morning. I cannot wait to make them. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Right that’s me for this week. Going to go and put dinner on. It’s fishcakes (shop bought – they were in the freezer already), veg and potatoes. Yum. See you soon,

Dawn x

Uncategorized

Back to Scratch Cooking and Disappointing Magic Bag

Hello everyone! I’m back. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted anything other than seasonal greetings. The pre-Christmas period was really busy for me. I was exhausted and desperately needed a break so I took two weeks off over Christmas and it’s done me the world off good.

And not just for my physical and mental health. It allowed me to take a look at what I was doing with my finances particularly when it came to food. I do make up weekly menus and use a list to buy food, but I wasn’t sticking to it and I wasn’t cooking healthily either. So, over the festive period, I donned my pinny and got back into cooking…and I’ve been loving it. I’ve made all sorts of frugal dishes, saved leftovers and ate them for lunch, tried to make sure I had all the food was used up and none wasted. I’ve kept going as we went into January, the most recent being these gorgeous 30 minute rolls. You’ll find the recipe here on my friend Elaine Colliar’s Mortgage Free in Three website. BTW there are loads of great tips and recipes on there.

Home-made 30 minute rolls – they are delicious

One of the things I’ve introduced lately is having a pudding after dinner…well, when I say pudding, there is only one the kids want all the time. And that is? Tinned fruit cocktail with cold custard. I used to have this as a kid in the 1970s and always loved it. My kids love it now too. The next thing I’ll be introducing them to is Semolina! 😂 🤣😂 🤣😂 🤣 I like it, but am not sure they will. Oooh Semolina with a dod of strawberry jam. Delicious. 😋 I’ve actually been having cravings for home-made rice pudding so that might be my next make. The kids aren’t fond of it – I didn’t like it myself as a kid – but I’ve grown to love it. I’ll make it and give them something else.

Trying to be more frugal and more green, I signed up to the Olio and Too Good To Go apps. The first one takes excess food from supermarkets etc and shares it out for free. So, far there’s been nothing in my immediate area, so haven’t been able to get anything. Tried the Too Good To Go app. Ordered a ‘magic bag’ (a bag of food on its use by date) from our local Costa Coffee and picked it up yesterday. It cost my £3 and…well…I was disappointed. I was given two paninis (two different flavours) and a savoury pastry. I must admit I expected to get a little more in the bag. After all, this food would have gone to waste anyway. Where were my cakes and sweet pastries? Let’s face it, that was what I was really looking forward to (even though I’m supposed to be cutting down). The boy ate one panini and I froze the other along with the pastry (I’ll have that for dinner one night). I’ve seen what others got from other food outlets and it seems to be so much more. I think I’ll not bother with Costa again and see what I can get elsewhere. Stay tuned. Have any of you had any great hauls using these apps?

One positive thing about lockdown (and it’s also a negative too) is that I’m not spending any money meeting people for lunch. However, I am missing meeting my friends and family for lunch, so I don’t view this as a win. Anyway, like everyone else I’m just getting on with life in the pandemic.

Right, so – success – I’ve complete my first blog post of the new year. I will be back. My plan is to go through all my cookbooks and report back on any great recipes I find. I have a lot of very old cookbooks with some great cheap recipes in there, so this should be fun.

Until next time,

Dawn xx

Uncategorized

Kinda doing it right, but kinda not

Remember I said I wanted to eat more healthily and make food from scratch? Well, I’ve semi-managed it. We are eating a little bit more healthily, but as for cooking food from scratch…well, that’s proving more difficult. I’m just so busy that when it comes to dinner time, it’s whatever I can make quickly and/or either shop bought pies and breaded fish or chicken. I think I need to spend some time at the weekend planning, making and prepping meals.

So, how have you all been? Hope you’re week’s been good. With lockdown, life had been a bit dull. Plus I’m trying not to spend any money, so the kids and I have done nothing interesting. They are off on annual leave this week and next. Normally I would try and take them out a couple of times for lunch, but I don’t want to go near Glasgow at the moment (figures for Coronavirus are rising rapidly) and, well, I’m trying to save the pennies right now. I’ve been working on my various businesses (social media management, my Vintage Knit Treasures shop and my writing) and watching some television. There are not a lot of programmes I want to watch right now, so I’m back to watching an old favourite: White Collar. Like I said, life is kind of dull right now.

Anyway, I’ve got some more household tips for you. Here we go…

Right, I am off. Am making Christmas decorations to sell in my shop. I love making things.

Dawnx

Uncategorized

Struggling not to spend, but still trying to be better with money

There’s nothing like a cup of tea!

Well I went and did it. I put some items of clothing and shoes up on Ebay for sale. A few have got some interest and I’ll find out tomorrow what has sold and what hasn’t. There’s still time to put a bid in on my items here. The money is going into my Christmas fund. In saying that, it doesn’t look like we’ll be going anywhere or doing anything for Christmas this year what with the Coronavirus and everything. Not to worry, me and the kids will hunker down in the house and have a quiet Christmas day if that’s the case.

I do miss my family though. Still, it’s not forever.

So, how are you today? What’s been happening with you? Have you done anything fabulously frugal lately? Talking of making money, as I said last week, I have put a few items up on my vintage knitting page on Etsy for sale including red berets, scarves and a few vintage items. Vintage Knit Treasures also sells vintage knitting patterns, so if you’re looking for vintage knitting patterns do have a look.

One of the hand-knitted items available at my shop.

This week, I’ve been trying hard to be more frugal, but it’s not easy with two growing kids and a business with various expenses. So, tomorrow I’m going to contact Business Gateway to see if there are any grants I can apply to for things like marketing plus I need to sort out getting my tax in to HMRC. It’s basically done, I just need to query something first.

Did I tell you I’ve joined a group called The Debt Free Divas? Fab group of women with loads of amazing tips and advice on a whole load of things. Well, the group’s website is now up-and-running here so go and have a look. You’ll not be disappointed.

What else? You’ll be proud of me. I haven’t bought a book since last week. I am, instead, putting all potential buys into my wish list instead. I haven’t spent a penny of books for…well, it’s actually nearly two weeks, which is very good for me. I don’t need any new books. I have hundreds to read. Sigh. I love buying books, it’s one of my greatest pleasures. Still, I will read through what I have already before buying more. Same goes for other purchases. We really don’t need anything. I have everything I need already. Too much, in fact.

Right, I am going to go because dinner is on (not a carry-out as requested by the kids, but something from the freezer) and I need to go and check on it. Speak to you soon.

Dawn xxx