Category Archives: Freebies

How long could you live on NO money?

Here is another excellent book for my frugal bookshelf – The Moneyless Man: a year of freeconomic living by Mark Boyle.

It was written as a response to the author’s observation about how disconnected we are to what we consume. We rarely stop to think about where the products we purchase come from, who produced them, what their social and environmental cost was or how destructive some of our shopping habits are. As he says, ‘If we all had to grow our own food, we wouldn’t waste a third of it…If we had to make our own tables and chairs, we wouldn’t throw them out the moment we changed the interior decor’.

He decided that for one year he would not receive or spend money. He lived off grid in a caravan he got from Freecycle. He parked it on a farm in return for his labour. He built a compost toilet and grew much of his own food. He also ate waste food rescued from supermarket skips and foraged wild food. He relied on a bicycle for transport and, since he couldn’t pay anyone when it needed repair, had to do himself. He made home-brew – the point wasn’t to be austere and joyless, and fun was allowed!

Although I couldn’t see myself living in this way, reading this book made me realise how much I could do without and still live a happy and comfortable life with less damage to the environment. The story of Mark Boyle’s year without money is extraordinary and hugely inspiring.

You can, of course, order it for free from the library, but if you choose to purchase it through my link I will receive a small commission.

Upcycling project: a new bench for free

  We have finally got round to putting the last coat of paint on our rescued garden bench. You may remember that we came across this bench outside a neighbour’s house a few months ago. The frame seemed quite sturdy but some of the slats on the seat had broken.

  Mr S is pretty handy and always saves bits of wood in case he needs them so it was easy to repair. I gave it a good rub down and found some undercoat in the shed. I did have to buy the top coat: I decided on some Homebase paint in a lovely pale green for £12 and, two coats later, it has come up a treat!

 Ok, so it wasn’t quite free, but £12 for a very nice, solid piece of furniture is pretty good value.
I am now debating whether to paint my charity shop wooden table and chairs the same colour. These cost me £30, which I thought was pretty good, although two of the chairs need some repair and I am waiting for Mr S to work his magic on them. 
    I am pretty pleased with the garden at the moment, although as ever there is so much to do! We are away this week, house and dog sitting for friends, so won’t be able to do much gardening. It feels like a holiday as it is a beautiful big house with a hot tub. Sadly I will still have to go to work this week so perhaps not quite a holiday, but I will use that tub! We spent the morning at home in the garden then came over to walk the dog and chill in the tub and it was very relaxing! I’m not sure I would use it enough to justify buying one but it is fun for a change.

Whatever you were up to I hope you had a lovely bank holiday Monday!

Good News! And More Freebies…I’m a Happy Bunny

paving stones 2Busy busy day today! We packed off our student – adios to the fussy eater – then loaded up the trailer and drove to my friend’s house in Mersea to collect 100 old paving slabs from her garden. We have no idea what we will do with them yet but they are bound to come in handy somewhere in the garden so we couldn’t refuse them. We had to do two journeys and we certainly burned off a few calories lugging them up the garden and into the car then off again the other side!! I thought Mr S was going to expire!

paving stones I had some good news last night. It appears that we are very likely to get a long term student after all – an extremely bright 16 year old  girl who wants to study at the local grammar sixth form. I had a long chat with her dad and he was very nice and seemed to be happy to put his daughter in our hands for a bit. We just need to confirm a few details and hope she gets the required grades and she could be here within the month.

To celebrate the fact that my income will increase – and to make a good impression when she arrives – I am going to finally order my new hall stair carpet this week so that the hall is finally finished. There are lots of other jobs I want to do to make Shoestring Cottage look as inviting as possible as the whole family will arrive together to get her settled in. Exciting!!

My lovely foodie sister in law has decided to clear out her freezer today and wants us to help eat up the bits and pieces she wants used up. It’s a hard job but someone’s got to do it!!! So after all out hard labour I don’t have to cook. Bonus! I will take her some freebies too – I have two little money plants that I grew from cuttings, courgettes, runner beans and tomatoes.

Did you manage any freebies this weekend?