Five frugal things I have done this week, 8th December 2017

At this time of year, when most of us tend to be spending more than usual on Christmas presents, five frugal things feels like quite a feat! However, the potential for rampant consumerism means that it is  even more important to save money when you can.

1. Packing a great frugal lunch

five frugal things: pumpkin soupOne of my daughters is staying with us at the moment. As she has to commute to work each day she is keen to save her pennies. I always take a packed lunch to work, but get lazy and uninspired. Sometimes a sandwich is the easiest thing to throw together but not the most appealing. So we have been taking it in turns and so far she has made a delicious Greek salad, which lasted two days. I made some pumpkin soup. Today we have leftovers from a sweet potato curry. Delicious!

Because she is home I am making more effort and enjoying my lunch each day. If I was to buy a salad, some fruit and a drink out I think I would easily spend £6 or £7 each day.

2. Reflecting on my Christmas budget

I have almost finished my shopping – just a couple more gifts to find. I set a budget for presents and one for food. We don’t need decorations or a tree so there is no budget for those.

Of course, there is no point in making a budget if you don’t review it regularly and make sure you stick to it. So far we are coming in a bit under, which is good news. If I have money left over it will go straight into the savings pot for next year.

3. Cooking more vegetarian

Five frugal things: sweet potato curryI have been enjoying digging out my old vegetarian cook books, as well as finding new recipes to try online. BBC Good Food seems like a great resource. We all enjoyed the satay sweet potato curry I mentioned earlier. It was easy to make but I varied the ingredients slightly to make use of what we had in the cupboards. I added a sad looking carrot and a courgette that needed using up. Dried ginger did the job just as well as fresh. I find when I buy fresh half of it gets wasted as we don’t use enough of it.

I also rather like the look of paneer with broccoli and sesame, if I can find somewhere to get the paneer locally.

Veggie food definitely saves money, even with a few more unusual ingredients.

4. A visit to the food bank

Ok, not really one of my five frugal things, but I have to mention it! As I have written on several occasions, the UK Money Bloggers have all been taking part in a reverse advent campaign for the food banks. I ran this at work and, thanks to the generosity of my colleagues, we collected a whole carful. We visited the food bank yesterday to hand it over.

five frugal things: trip to the food bankThis was such a worthwhile exercise and we will do it again next year. I feel reassured to know that there are such great organisations around like the Trussel Trust to help look after people if they are unfortunate enough to hit hard times.

5. It’s the little things

It’s amazing how much toothpaste you can squeeze out of what appears to be an empty tube. Because I thought we had some I didn’t buy any this week and keep forgetting to pop in and get some on the way home from work.  Surprisingly we have had several days worth. I really do need to buy some now though!

five frugal things: 1001 ways to save money bookI got a great gift on the secret Santa at work, which lists a lot more than five frugal things – 1001 Ways to Save Money. They know me too well! I will read it carefully to see if there are some good frugal tips for next time.

If you need to save money at Christmas, have a look at my ideas here, here and here.

I’m linking up with Cass Emma and Becky in this week’s Five Fabulously Frugal things I’ve done this week linky. Hop on over for more money saving inspiration.

What five frugal things have you achieved this week?

19 thoughts on “Five frugal things I have done this week, 8th December 2017

  1. Great post again! When I buy fresh ginger I freeze what I haven’t used and when needed again I just grate it, skin and all!

  2. I think toothpaste tubes, like a lot of things which come in tubes, are almost designed to be wasteful. We squeeze the very last bits out always, I can’t bear to think I’m throwing expensive Sensodyne away, now at over £4 a tube (it’s lovely toothpaste, not the cheaper Sensodyne which is very runny and therefore wasteful, but the Sensodyne Pro-namel). In fact, when tubes were metal, years ago, rather than plastic, we would cut off the end and scrape out the last of the paste.
    I haven’t visited a food bank as you have just done, but I have done two things which I hope will help those less fortunate than ourselves:
    1. I won a large box of biscuits in our grandson’s school Christmas Fayre raffle and have put this into the food bank container in Waitrose.
    2. I have made up a Shoebox Appeal box of items for the homeless. and delivered it, along with two that our daughter in law made up, to the drop off point, our local library. At least one homeless person will have a new woolly hat, gloves, socks, and other things such as tissues, wet wipes, a torch, sweets, biscuits, lip balm and so forth to make at least one day more pleasant.
    Here, we turn down the heat whenever we are busy, but being older we take care not to allow ourselves to get cold. But as I’ve said before, drawing curtains as soon as it’s dusk, putting on another layer of clothes, warm food and drinks, even giving a room a look of warmth by lighting a couple of lamps (with energy saving bulbs they don’t take much electricity to run) a room can look warmer.
    We have also had some vegetarian meals, but there again, these are part of our usual food, we don’t think of them as ‘vegetarian’ , we just eat them not even thinking we’re ‘doing without’ meat.
    Margaret P

  3. Good reminder that I must look at my Christmas present budget and do some adding up!
    Dunno if this is of help to you but I spotted paneer in our local Aldi when I was looking for feta! Only useful if there’s an Aldi nearby!

  4. I’ve seen paneer in Sainsburys (the only supermarket we had until recently) so assume it’s in other supermarkets too.

    My frugality is going very well, seeing as I’ve been too busy to do more than the weekly grocery shops! In fact, apart from buying a Big Issue, bus fares and using some of my Christmas budget to take part in a Gifts for Disadvantaged Children campaign, it’s been a no-spend week!!

    The flip side of this is realising schools break up next week and therefore I am WAY behind in my preparations, as that’s always been the date for me being finished – present-wise at least!
    Panicking big time now!

  5. I had some fresh ginger that had seen better days so I stuck it in one of my raised beds. It grew like crazy. Now I just dig some up whenever I need it.

      • Unfortunately not any more. I’m from Portsmouth but am now in the US. You could try putting it in a pot and bring it inside for the winter. Although mine is covered in snow right now and will hopefully pop back up next year. Worth a try if you have some. Btw. I love your blog. Gives me a little piece of home each morning. Happy Christmas.

  6. ok. 5 frugal things I’ve done this week: I bought a pseudo wholemeal thin cut loaf of bread from the local bakery rather than the expensive ‘designer’ bread that I buy, & I saved about $2. I used up what was in the fridge & pantry, & as a result have had some very unusual meals. I was given a few bags of lovely clothes, took only those which suited me, and it’s off to the hospice shop tomorrow. I also went through my clothes (yet again) to add to the hospice pile. Watched a mystery series online on my computer rather than pay a couple of dollars to rent a dvd.

    Ok. 6 things. A pile of nice books are going to the hospice shop too.

    Taking one’s lunch to work: the good old days when we didn’t waste money.

  7. It’s not difficult to make your own paneer. Although you really need to press it down firmly. It’s only milk and an acid such as vinegar or lemon juice.
    My Aldi sells it £1.25. You could substitute halloumi for paneer, lots of recipes on Google suggest doing so.

    Fresh ginger can be frozen, although like you I also use granules, usually from Aldi

    • I found some in Asda yesterday! So will be trying that this week. Have a feeling halloumi is saltier?

      • It is saltier, but once it’s in a sauce it is very similar. I tried it as I love paneer in a curry, got everything ready and my paneer was mouldy. I used Google and there were lots of articles on there substituting halloumi for paneer so I tried it and it worked well.

        Glad you got some, my very favourite dish from the Indian is paneer tikka kebabs, cubes of it marinated in spices on skewers between peppers, courgette and baby tomatoes.

  8. I so agree with the comments on taking lunch to work. I work until 2pm so don’t need to do it now but for years I spent far too much on popping to Sainsburys every day the nearest place to where I was working) and buying prepared salads and fruit, Crazy!
    My foundation seemed to run out about six weeks ago, but by cutting it open and placing in a plastic bag so that it doesn’t dry out, I’m still using it! I hate the way cosmetics are packaged in this way. Why not a little pot with a screw top? My moisturiser is packaged like this and I can easily use every scrap.
    I like sweet potato curry, and also like it using ordinary potatoes with spinach. I just found a great website where potatoes are promoted as the main ingredient in a meal. It’s called Potatoes – More than a bit on the side. It’s not all vegi but very useful:

  9. Your first commenter was right ! Keep fresh ginger root in a polybag in the freezer. Whenever you need it, get it out, grate it whilst frozen, then back into the freezer. Lasts forever……

  10. We definitely need to put some more thought into our lunches – we don’t eat out, but can get a bit stuck in a rut at times… and when you get bored you can end up spending extra out of desperation! 😀

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