More with less

more with lessAges and ages ago, I bought the More With Less Cookbook by Doris Longacre. I read the introduction, loved the ethos of the book, but none of the recipes appealed to me much so I put it on my bookshelf and forgot about it. I thought it was time to revisit it to find ways to do more with less!

It was commissioned by the Mennonite Central committee in America. The book was a reaction to the extreme overconsumption of food and an obesity epidemic at a time when people in other parts of the globe were going hungry.

More with less: a simple approach

It preaches a more simple approach: eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat and processed foods. It was first published in 1976 and my copy is the 25th anniversary edition. The current popularity of veganism might suggest some of the rest of the world is finally catching up with the health message, but the obesity epidemic is even worse and people still go hungry.

So, the message is still relevant, but what about the recipes?

There is nothing fancy in the presentation or the content. Many are vegetarian or use just small amounts of meat. Many of them will seem quite alien to the UK or European reader, but others are quite international.

The measurements are in US cups – I invested in a set of these some time ago and they have proved their worth. You will need them if you follow the recipes in this book.

More with Less is a classic text and I am making a resolution to try some of the food in this book. It totally fits with my frugal approach to eating!

Has anybody else got the More With Less Cookbook? What do you think of it?7

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St Albans: A frugal day out

St AlbansWe had an impromptu day out yesterday to St Albans in Hertfordshire. Darling daughter 3 needed a lift to South Mimms services on the M25 to meet her friend so that they could drive together to Sheffield. They have gone to see an old school mate at university.

http://enjoystalbans.com/Since we drove an hour to get there we thought we might as well make a day of it and head another 20 minutes into St Albans. It is a very interesting place, a Roman town like Colchester, where we live.

St AlbansIt has a fabulous cathedral and a fantastic street market – absolutely huge! Honestly, it went on forever and sold practically everything. I wish we had a good market. Ours is better than it used to be, but is still pretty mediocre.

St AlbansAs I am still on a no spend month I didn’t buy anything and just browsed. I also avoided the charity shops – far too much temptation. St AlbansWe did pack some coffee and a picnic, but after walking round for a few hours we were starving and gave into some Pakistani street food – chicken tikka in a wrap. It was really filling and delicious so it did for dinner.

We had a quick walk around Verulamium Park, but the weather wasn’t great so we didn’t see it at its best. I imagine it is rather lovely in the summer.

St AlbansThe cathedral itself was stunning with some wonderful stained glass windows and ornate wooden and stone carvings everywhere. Well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.

So, a pretty cheap day out in St Albans. All it cost was the petrol, £4 to park, a donation to the cathedral and £6 each for dinner. I’m glad we went. I love moseying around new places. Anyone else got any interesting trips planned?

The Penny Pincher’s Book – a review

I discovered the Penny Pincher’s Book at about the same time as the Tightwad Gazette. I would say it is the UK equivalent. Like the Gazette, it was born from a newsletter, the Penny Pincher Paper.

John and Irma Mustoe are not preaching an austere and joyless existence. Rather they are saying that saving money gives you more choices and more control. ‘Spending money must be a skill at least as important as earning it’ – a great quote and one I agree with.

The Penny Pincher’s Book is full of tips to save money, some to save pounds and others that will make a few pennies difference. Making do, mending, reusing and repurposing in creative ways form the basis of much of the advice.

Getting the best value

There are many suggestions for wringing every last drop of value out of all your purchases. Some may not be worth the effort (reuse the free envelopes in junk mailings by turning them inside out and carefully regluing it is one I wouldn’t bother with -I’d sooner stick a label on top of the address) but others are genius. For example, bicarbonate of soda can be sprinkled on a flannel and wiped under the arms as a deodorant. I know this works as my long lasting Lush one is basically bicarbonate of soda with some essential oils. Dilute shampoo by a third and it will last longer and lather better. Turn down your heating by one degree to save around 8% on your heating bill. Take care of what you have – ‘maintenance works’!

Just because you cannot do all of a job it doesn’t mean you can’t do any of it. This is Mr S’s philosophy for sure. He is currently fitting our new wood burner. He has removed the old fireplace and laid the hearth, fitted a mantle shelf and plans to clean the chimney. Once we have paid a professional to line the chimney he will fit the burner. 

It’s a great book that you can pick up and read a few pages of every now and again to get some inspiration, but you will easily read it through as it’s an interesting and absorbing read. I have the original book from 1995, which you can still pick up secondhand, but I notice that Amazon is selling an updated version, the Penny Pincher’s Book Revisited, published in 2007.

So,/the Penny Pincher’s Book is another classic on my frugal bookshelf. More to follow!

Making money and saving it too

Making money

I spent the whole evening listing clothes for eBay last night. Quite a boring task but hopefully my efforts will prove fruitful. I currently have 40 odd items for sale 😀. I am interested in making some money from my efforts.

A thrifty dinner

Dinner was chicken wings marinated in a bottle of Nando’s sauce that appeared from nowhere – I think my darling daughter must have bought it and it was forgotten about in the back of the cupboard. In my opinion chicken wings are very under-rated. There may not be lots of meat on them but what’s there is very flavoursome. Great value too. We had them with a baked sweet potato and some salad for a thrifty dinner. The marinade was nice but it would obviously be cheaper to make it yourself.

Saving money on laundry drying

It was a gorgeous day here in Essex yesterday. I wish I had known it would be then I would have got the laundry outside before I left for work. I love to see it hanging out there, and it’s so much better than having airers all over the house. Today doesn’t look promising so it is indoors. Roll on spring!

I refuse to waste money buying and running a dryer. People  are forever asking me why I don’t get one. Firstly, there is no space in the kitchen, secondly even the AAA rated ones cost a lot to run and thirdly not having one is better for the environment. I managed to raise three kids without a dryer so I think I can carry on without one now they are grown up. I swear I am considered rather eccentric to take this stance! 

What about you? Are you a line dryer or do you rely on the tumble dryer?

Save money and the planet

A warm, green glow

Happily, lots of things that save you money are also good for the environment. Simply consuming less, wasting less, holding onto things for longer, repairing rather than replacing, buying second hand, etc. will give you a greener lifestyle. Getting off the treadmill of working more to buy more stuff pays dividends to the state of your bank balance. It is also more friendly to the planet – not to mention your sanity!. There is so much you can do to get a warm green glow. You can save money AND the planet!

How to save money and the planet

Don’t waste food. Plan your week’s meals and then go shopping with a list. Stick to the list!!! Watch your portion sizes too. This will help your waistline as well, so double bubble.

If something stops working get out the manual to see if it is something simple. Look on the Internet to see if there are any suggestions. Get a quote for repair.

Likewise, repair your clothing and get your shoes mended rather than throwing them away.

If you need to replace an expensive item check Freecycle or Freegle first, then the noticeboard at the local shop, eBay, charity furniture shops, etc. When you really need to buy new, look at as many reviews as possible and buy energy saving devices – they are cheaper to run.

If you have a garden, make your own compost. Don’t throw peelings, apple cores, teabags, eggshells, etc in the bin. Mix them with your garden waste and compost them. Save as much as possible from going to landfill.

If you like crafts check out websites like Pinterest. They have a whole section of ideas for recycling and upcycling. I spotted some fabulous planters made from old tyres and also brilliant Christmas tree decorations made from old lightbulbs.

More veggie food

Eat less meat – firstly, it is expensive and, secondly, according to Donnachadh mcCarthy in his excellent and informative book Saving the Planet Without Costing the Earth: 500 Simple Steps to a Greener Lifestyle, one acre of land can produce 30,000lb of carrots but only 250lb of beef. Also 15% of methane, a gas that contributes to global warming, comes from farm animals.

Let your garden be a bit untidy – don’t waste money on chemicals, and create a wildlife friendly garden. Gardening costs very little, is good exercise and a great stress buster.

Grow some of your own food! I can’t afford to buy organic in the shops, but everything from the garden is chemical free. Packets of seeds cost just a few pounds and produce masses of delicious vegetables.

Use vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to clean your house. It is extremely cheap, plus do you really want your home to be full of chemicals?

Buy large containers of washing up and laundry liquid. This produces less plastic waste and usually works out cheaper.

Buy second hand

When you need new items for your home, buy second-hand. Most of my furniture, curtains, bedding and rugs has come from the charity shop, eBay and auctions. If you are a creative sort you can shabby chic a solid piece of furniture and make it a work of art.

Forget nasty chemical air ‘fresheners’ and plug ins. You are literally inhaling pollutants! If you want fresh air, open a window.

Insulate your house – check to see if you are eligible for any grants. Your energy supplier should have information on this, or try the Energy Saving Trust.

If you exercise, try to resist the urge to buy energy drinks and bottled water. Invest in a sports bottle and fill it from the tap.

Turn it off!

Train your family to turn off lights, PCs, TVs and DVD players. Don’t leave items on standby.

Don’t buy clothes that need to be dry cleaned. This is expensive and the dry cleaning process uses toxic chemicals.

If you like to read, use the library or buy second-hand from the charity shop or online.

If you have a baby check out reusable nappies rather than disposables. This saves so much money!

This one will separate the greenies from the dark greenies! Consider using washable sanitary towels or perhaps a Mooncup instead of tampons.

Reuse scrap paper

Keep a scrap paper box. The back of junk mail letters and the envelopes they come in are good for list writing!

Re-use wrapping paper.

Save water – if you are on a water meter this makes financial as well as economic sense. Shower instead of bathing, but put the plug in and use the ‘grey’ water to water your plants in the garden.

If you buy fruit in the supermarket, save the plastic bags it comes in and reuse them as sandwich bags.

Keep your accelerator foot light and save petrol. Boy racers must all live at home with their parents – once they have to pay their own rent and bills they may slow down a bit…

These are just a few ideas as to how you can save money and the planet. There are so many other things you can do once you start to think about it. I would love to hear your suggestions.

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A bit of frugal luxury 

frugal luxuryWe nearly always have a late and leisurely breakfast on a Sunday. It is our day of rest. It feels like a bit of frugal luxury to have some freshly baked crusty baguettes with an egg and a bit of bacon lying in bed with a nice cup of tea. The ingredients for this breakfast all come from either Aldi or Lidl and are quite inexpensive.

I always buy the ready to bake baguettes, which cost around 69p for 2. In the week I bake half at a time and take it to work with some home made soup for a cheap but delicious lunch.

Designer clothes can be frugal luxury

Being frugal doesn’t mean living an austere and joyless existence. Buying at a bargain price and getting the best value possible can feel rather luxurious. For example, I have bought pieces of second hand designer clothing in excellent condition for a fraction of the price it would cost new. I found a beautiful silk Phase Eight skirt in a charity shop for just £4. It would have been £80 in the shop. I got so many compliments when I wore it. That is frugal luxury!

I also found a Phase Eight dress new but on sale reduced from £120 (can you imagine!!) to £30 when I was looking for something special to wear to Mr S’s neice’s wedding. This was a real investment as it is lovely quality and I have worn it to several special occasions since.

Simple living

Sometimes the simplest of things can feel luxurious. A nice drop of wine with a piece of good cheese and some crackers is my idea of heaven and costs just a few pounds.

We have bought some lovely solid bits of furniture from eBay and charity shops in the past that would have been so expensive new and have lasted for years. We could have bought flat pack furniture for the same price but it would have looked cheap and wouldn’t have survived the wear and tear of family life.

I love that we can enjoy some of the good things in life without busting the budget.

What are the little luxuries you enjoy that don’t break the bank?

More DIY hair cutting

DIY hair cuttingMy daughter watched my recent efforts at DIY hair cutting with horror. She was sure it would all go horribly wrong! When it didn’t she agreed to let me cut hers. She has the most beautiful hair in generally excellent condition, but it had a few split ends and was so long it was getting in her way.

DIY hair cuttingWe watched a couple of You Tube videos where long hair was pulled into a very tight pony tail at the front of the head, and a lump was taken off which created layers. There are a lot of folk practising DIY hair cutting it seems.

DIY hair cutting

We decided to be quite cautious and only took 3 inches off this time. It is still very long but looks a bit neater. We will take more off next time but first I will purchase a better pair of hairdressing scissors. The ones I have were sharp enough for my hair but not sharp enough for her very thick locks. I have quite a lot of points on my Boots card so I am hoping this will cover it! More DIY hair cutting may follow!

DIY hair cuttingA  kitchen let down

I don’t know when we all stopped eating bananas, but I had a pile of black ones this week to use up plus some I had put in the freezer. A recipe from Nigella Lawson’s  How to be Domestic  Goddess for banana muffins looked promising. However, I wish I had stuck to the usual recipe I use as these were just weird: chewy and bland. The recipe uses no eggs or sugar, although it does include honey. They are ok if you cut them open and smear a bit of jam on, but not my favourite! Disappointed, Nigella!


Happy Sunday everyone! Anyone else done any DIY hair cutting?

Frugal fashion: Making something from nothing

As someone who firmly believes in making do and mending, I have a little confession. I don’t own a sewing machine! I am old enough to have learnt basic sewing at school and have in the past made curtains, skirts and blinds, but not for many years. If a piece of clothing needs hemming or a small repair I can do that by hand but I would love to be more proficient and creative, perhaps making more complicated soft furnishings or transforming items of clothing I already have or purchase second hand so that they fit better or are more stylish. I am no style queen, but I appreciate a few frugal fashion style tips.

Frugal fashion, high style

One incredibly talented woman I found on Instagram is the master of frugal fashion. She gets quite ugly bits of clothing from thrift stores and magics them into something glamorous and amazing. Her name is April and her site on Instagram is Coolirpa.I love her! Check out these thrifty transformations.

Frugal fashion

Frugal fashion
She shows you how to do this on her You Tube channel and makes it look easy when I’m sure it isn’t . So creative and clever and I love the idea of making something new out of a piece of clothing that no one will wear anymore.

One of my plans when I get a little more time is to refresh my sewing skills. Because I hate waste and spending money unnecessarily, the idea of making things from salvaged fabric really appeals. I doubt I will be making myself anything quite as glamourous as this lady but who knows?

Are you skilled with a sewing machine? What creations have you made? Have you found any frugal fashion gurus online? I would love some recommendations.

Are you trying to achieve Financial Independence?

financial independenceA lovely, kind reader has sent me some scanned copies of some actual issues of the The Tightwad Gazette. I am really excited to read them – thanks so much, Gill! In one of them there is an absolutely fabulous article about financial independence (FI).

This is a concept I only recently became aware of when I read a book Your Money or Your Life, by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, recommended by Ilona from Life After Money. I whizzed through  it, but have yet to work through all of the exercises in it. This article has inspired me to have another go.

Frugality goes only so far

I am very frugal and strive to save as much as I can, but I don’t earn enough to save the kind of money that will enable me to retire very early. I am simply hoping to save a decent contingency fund and buy a camper van. Yet I am sure following the programme towards financial independence  in Your Money or Your Life would enable me to achieve this more quickly.

In the book there are many stories of people striving to save a large amount of their income (sometimes as much as 50-75%!). Their aim is to retire in their 30’s and 40’s, quitting the rat race to pursue activities that make them happy and fulfilled. They do this by reducing their outgoings, living frugally and seeking to increase their incomes through various means and investments.

Step into the Frugal Woods

The internet is awash with people attempting to do the same today. There are blogs and Twitter accounts aplenty inviting you to follow their journeys towards financial independence and offering to show you the way.

One that was recently recommended to me by a reader is Frugalwoods.com, which I am enjoying immensely. It is well written and inspiring. These people leave me wishing I had come across the idea of frugality many years ago. Take a look!

Are you working towards financial independence? How is your journey going?

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Frugal beauty products that last and last…

Frugal beautyLast April I blogged about buying a solid deodorant bar from Lush. Ten months on, it is still going strong! I have occasionally used a roll on deodorant on hot, sticky days but other than that I have used the Lush one. Not bad for a £5.50 investment. I will definitely be purchasing another one of these when it eventually runs out. As well as being a frugal beauty product it has less plastic packaging.

It made me think about other health and beauty products that seem to last forever. One I tried and really wanted to get on with (but didn’t) was a Mooncup. I love the idea that these produce no waste and, after the initial investment, cost nothing. However, I didn’t find it comfortable to wear. I also tried washable sanitary pads and these lasted quite a long time, but were awkward when I was out and about so I eventually gave up on those.

Making hairdryers last

I make my hairdryers last for years – in the past I have gone through them in under 12 months. Now I make sure I buy one with a two year guarantee and never use it on full power, as this is what makes them blow. My current one is four years old but I hope it will keep going for a while yet. I do blow dry my hair every couple of days so work it quite hard.

I have had the same plastic hairbrush for ever – easily 15 years I should think. I remember brushing my daughters’ hair with it when they were younger. It’s practically a family heirloom!

I make other things last too. I have been known to water down shampoo, shower gel and conditioner, I squeeze the last drop of toothpaste out of the tube by snipping the top off and the same with foundation. I found that putting a little baby oil on the mascara wand as it neared the end made it last ages longer.

Do you have any frugal beauty products that are reusable or that just seem to last and last? Do you dilute products to extend their use?

Making do

making doSaving money isn’t about being mean. However, it is about doing all you can to avoid unnecessary purchases. Sometimes that does mean making do and making the best of what you have.

We are so spoilt as a society we barely consider this. When some gizmo or gadget  breaks we buy a new one. We rarely stop to think about whether we could fix whatever the broken object is as our grandparents and many of our parents would have done, or whether, if it is truly past it and completely unfixable, we have something that will do instead (or even if we could manage without said gizmo altogether).

Making do on my no spend month

Because I am having a second no spend month I need to think through every single potential purchase to work out whether I can avoid it. I am making do with what I have. My preference is for pale tights over black ones but I have laddered all the pale ones. I don’t want to buy more, so I am wearing the black ones. Actually the thick black Lycra ones last so much longer I think I will give the pale ones up altogether!

I have completely run out of my usual foundation. However, I remembered I had one I bought several months ago that was a bit too pale for me. I am wearing that now and chucking on a bit more blusher!  It will do.

I have been brave and cut my own hair rather than pay for a hairdresser. It isn’t as good as a salon cut but it is fine.

The handle of my favourite old bread knife finally cracked and started to come off. I didn’t throw it away and buy another one, I got Mr S to fix it. I don’t know what he did exactly – it disappeared to his workshop for a while and came back as good as new 😄.

A friend recommended a yoga book as essential reading. I could have bought a copy but instead it is on order with the library.

A frugal lifestyle

At Shoestring Cottage we do a lot of this stuff anyway as part of a generally frugal lifestyle. We wanted a bench for the garden last year but we weren’t prepared to spend mega bucks buying one. Fortuitously, a neighbour threw one out which we transformed – you can see the story here. We also upcycled an old dresser as part of our cheap DIY kitchen make over.

I have a cupboard full of clothes. Some are quite old but I make them last with gentle cleaning and repairs where necessary. Most were secondhand but there is nothing wrong with them. I have enough of everything so I can make do for now.

It’s easy to make do and not shopping and just buying stuff for the sake of it gives me time to do other fun stuff like writing this blog. Are you a make do and mender?

 

Shopping for a hobby?

I had to pop to town to pick up my new glasses yesterday. It was really busy. Lots of people apparently shopping for a hobby, it seemed.

I do not shop for fun. I used to! I remember I would tell myself I was ‘just window shopping’ and before I knew it I had spent £50 on clothes I didn’t need, books I might not get round to reading or expensive glossy magazines. These are a killer for the money saver. They give you a vision of a impossibly perfect lifestyle. Your life will be complete if you spend money on the right home decor, clothes, beauty products, right? Actually no. They are one of the first things I knocked on the head when I decided to get my financial act together.

Shopping for a hobby is an expensive pastime

Anyway, I digress…these days many people shop for a hobby. They park, they shop, they coffee, they lunch – it can be a very expensive pastime. I sometimes fancy a spree but I rarely indulge as I don’t enjoy the shopping hangover: the dent in my bank balance, the strain on the credit cards and the worry about how to pay it all back.

My idea of shopping heaven is a £10 note and a couple of hours at a boot sale on a sunny morning. I get more of a thrill from spending a pound buying a top second-hand than I would have if I had bought it new for £20 😄. I can get a couple of books I fancy, a DVD and some CDs for the car for the price of a fancy coffee in town.

Use your library

Instead of buying lots of books to clog up my house I can borrow them from the library. If there is a book I would like to keep I can get it used – the internet makes it possible to locate practically anything second hand.

If I want furniture you won’t find me hanging round a fancy showroom; I will be in the local charity shop or looking on Gumtree or eBay.

Shopping isn’t a hobby if you are trying to save money. How about hiking? Walking is free! If you don’t fancy that you can download exercise classes of any description online for nothing. How about yoga? All you need is a good book (from the library) on the subject and a non-slip mat. You can learn almost anything on You Tube so the possibilities for finding a new hobby (knitting, crochet, painting, woodwork?) are endless. Just don’t take up something that involves you buying lots of fancy equipment before you begin!

Are you into shopping for a hobby?

Cutting my own hair

I am getting so into this no spending lark I couldn’t quite face booking myself in for a £30 cut and blow dry. I haven’t even been that happy with my last couple of haircuts. But my locks were looking a little lank and frizzy so I thought I might have a go at cutting my own hair.

After all, I have witnessed many haircuts over the years. I have watched how my layers have been cut by pulling sections of hair up and cutting them straight across. I always cut my own fringe as hairdressers tend to take it too short.  How hard could it be?

cutting my own hairCutting my own hair using You Tube

I had a look at some of the many tutorials on You Tube and decided cutting my own hair wouldn’t be that hard. There are many videos showing  long hair being dragged into a high pony tail and cut, creating a few shorter layers.

Mine isn’t that long so is perhaps a little more complicated. I decided to divide it into four sections with a fifth section at the top of my head where the shortest layers are. I pulled this section up towards the ceiling and cut an inch off. I took the side sections and pulled them horizontal and took an inch off those too, then pulled the back sections out and up on the diagonal and snipped those. 

cutting my own hairI was cautious as it was the first time I had attempted to be my own hairdresser but it seems to have turned out OK so I will take a bit more off next time 😄. At least the dry ends are off!

Anyone else cutting your own hair?

We got our new (to us) freebie sofa yesterday. It needs a throw but is really comfortable. I also got a call back from the British Heart Foundation to say they can collect my old one after all on Wednesday. Until then our sitting room looks a bit like a furniture shop but we will cope!

How about you? Any good freebies? Have a good Sunday everyone.

Buying a car on finance? How much debt would you get into for a nice car?

I am always shocked when I notice how much new cars cost these days. The average cost of a new car in the UK is more than £28,000! Even a decent used car costs an average of around £8,500. I wonder how many people are buying a car on finance, paying even more in interest? The idea of being £28,000 in debt in order to drive absolutely terrifies me.

Buying a car on finance

I don’t know how anyone can actually afford a new car, but I suppose someone needs to or there would be no second hand ones for those of us who live on smaller budgets. However, I would be reluctant to purchase new even if I had £28k lying around because cars depreciate in value so quickly. According to the Money Advisory Service,  the ‘drop in value varies between makes and models, but typically is between 15-35% in the first year and up to 50% or more over three years’. So you start to wave goodbye to a lot of money as you drive your shiny new car off the forecourt.

buying a car on financeI bought my 5 year old Zafira for £3500 in 2008 and she finally died on me last June. I think this was pretty good going. However, I replaced her with an even cheaper car – Mr S picked up a little Toyota Yaris for £500 from a friend. An old but reliable car – not glamorous but she gets me to and from work and is cheaper to run than the Zafira!

A car as a status symbol?

I would struggle without a car but really don’t care a jot about having a vehicle as a status symbol. If I won the lottery tomorrow my natural frugal instincts would in all likelihood still insist I buy a decent second hand car rather than wasting money on a brand new one. I do love a classic or vintage car, though,  and I could argue that would be an investment! A car of some kind is an essential for me but an old banger will do nicely until that lottery win arrives. I would rather put my money towards my mortgage or in savings!  How about you?

How to stop wasting money: Frugal Fran vs. Spendthrift Sue – which are you?

I had a bit of fun with this last night. Which are you most like – Frugal Fran or Spendthrift Sue? I am going to guess that, as you are reading my blog, you are all Frugal Frans! Are you spending too much? If you recognise your poor habits you can stop wasting money.

How can you stop wasting money?

I am always amazed at how much money my friends and colleagues appear to waste during the course of a working day, whilst also complaining about how little spare cash they have. It is fine to spend money like Sue if you have plenty to spare. Personally, I would be in trouble pretty quickly if I lived like that. I certainly wouldn’t be able to put anything aside for savings.

It takes a little more time and effort to be a Frugal Fran, but I feel it is worthwhile if you need to stop wasting money. More  cash in the bank and less anxiety about your finances! See you tomorrow.

 

Spendthrift Sue

 

 

Frugal Fran

Is very organised and puts the laundry on before leaving for work. Uses a brand name laundry liquid as she likes the TV ad (8 pence a wash) Is very organised and puts the laundry on before leaving for work. She uses the supermarket own laundry liquid as it is cheaper (3 pence a wash). She spends 15 minutes chopping  up some beef and veggies to put in the slow cooker
Buys a coffee and breakfast muffin on the way to work (about £5) Has a bowl of porridge and cuppa at home before she leaves for work (about £1)
Gets tea and biscuits in the staff canteen

(c£1.50)

Keeps a pack of biscuits in her drawer for when she needs a snack and takes her own teabags and mug to work (a cuppa and 2 biscuits: about 35p)
Buys a meal deal at lunch – sandwich, fruit and crisps (£3.50) Has a packed lunch she made at home the evening before – sandwich, fruit and crisps (£1)
Gets a chocolate bar from the vending machine in the afternoon (80p) Keeps a pack of biscuits in her drawer for when she needs a snack (10p)
Feels really tired when she gets home and orders in a takeaway pizza (£14) Feels really tired when she gets home and is so happy to smell her slow cooker meal as she walks through the door £2.50)
Gets the laundry out of the washer and puts it in the dryer (30p) Gets the laundry out of the washer and hangs it on the airer FREE
Perks up a bit and agrees to meet her friends in the pub (£15) Perks up a bit and invites her friend round to share a bottle of wine (£6)
 
Total spend: £40.18 Total spend: £10.98