Tag Archives: Woodburners

Five Frugal Things I have done this week 12th August

Five frugal things

It has been a bizarre kind of week weather wise here in Essex. We have had warmth, cold, sunshine but mostly a lot of rain. I have been hoping for an improvement as we are off to a little festival tomorrow.  It’s not looking too bad at the moment but I will be taking my rain mac just in case.

So what five frugal things have we achieved this week?

We have a working wood burner

We finally had our wood burner fitted! It is ready for winter. This isn’t frugal in itself, of course, as it was expensive. Mr S saved us money by doing as much work as possible himself but we had to pay to get the chimney lined. Others who have one tell me that it has saved money on their heating bills in the long run and is great for drying laundry.

I am certainly looking forward to cozying up in front of it this winter.

I got some cash back

I signed up a while ago to Top Cashback and, even though I have barely bought anything over the last few months, I have earned £50 cash back! Imagine how much you could get back if you are a big online spender?

The idea is that you go into the site and peruse the deals they have negotiated with various retailers. If you buy something, you get the published amount of money back. I have got into the habit of checking Top Cashback to see if there is a deal on before I buy anything. I renewed my breakdown cover and bought a few presents and it has definitely come up trumps.

If you use my referral code, here, I earn a commission and you get a £5 bonus once you purchase something.


As I mentioned, we are off to a small festival tomorrow – Wrabfest! We have never been before but it looks fun. It is a community event, organised by villagers from Wrabness. Because we are on a grocery challenge, we shall be taking along a large picnic. I have rolls, crisps, fruit, chocolate, sausage rolls and water. Hopefully we will be allowed to take a flask in too. As we are there all day, we will probably blow the budget and buy a burger or something for dinner though. You have to loosen the purse strings once in a while, and I don’t fancy lugging around too much food. Hopefully, this will be a nice day.


I have never bothered much with online survey sites to make extra cash. They seem generally to be a lot of effort for very little reward. However, Prolific Academic was recommended to me as one that actually pays worthwhile amounts. I signed up and did a couple in my lunch hour today. I made £3.17 in about 20 minutes. Ok, it’s not going to make me rich, but if I did that every lunchtime it would be a useful amount extra at the end of the month!

You need to answer quite a lot of pre-screening questions and they keep appearing, each time you log on. The more you complete, the more surveys you are likely to be eligible for. It also pays to add your phone number to verify your account, I am told.

Lunch for pennies

As we still have a few courgettes coming through on the veg patch, I made a bucket of ratatouille on Monday. We had it for dinner with rice and I have eaten the rest for my lunches every day. It made a change from soup or a sandwich. I don’t really use a recipe. I just chop up onions, garlic, peppers and courgettes, fry them up, then add tinned tomatoes, herbs and seasonings. If I have an aubergine I might chuck that in, but I did without this time. It is certainly cheaper than going to the shop every day for a meal deal!

I’m linking up with Cass, Emma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five Fabulously Frugal things I’ve done this week’ linky. Hop over to their sites to see the frugal things they have achieved? Let me know about yours in the comments too.

Bring on the woodburner!

Thanks for all the comments yesterday. Food for thought to get my electricity bill down.

It was very very cold this morning in DD1’s room.  Luckily she was tucked up under a bunch of blankets!

I love it when Mr S goes all creative! We have bought a woodburner and he is planning the work needed to fit it. He has done a before and after mock up. Here is what the closed fireplace looks like now, with the cat watching her favourite wildlife programme:

imageAnd this is what he is planning to do, with a big wooden shelf above it to protect the TV:

imageHe will do most of the work, but we will get a expert in to sort the chimney flu and do the actual fitting.

He has been hacking lumps off our neighbour’s trees – she doesn’t mind as she is 90 and now housebound – as they take over and block all the light otherwise.  So today has been a good day for a bonfire. Shame I am stuck in the office!


Becoming more self sufficient

My recent terrible experiences with a certain energy company, plus all of the political issues and unrest in those parts of the world that supply much of our oil, have made me think about how to become less reliant on thimagee energy companies for heating and lighting and become more self-sufficient.

We intend to install a woimageod burner in the sitting room. As well as being a lovely feature, they are great for drying off the laundry and reducing the need to put the heating on. People who have them have told me they seem to heat the whole house. I hope it will also help with the humidity so the dehumidifier can be switched on less. So, saving up for that!

We have already insulated the house as much as we can. As soon as we bought it we got a deal with British Gas to have the wall cavities filled and the loft properly insulated for free. Best kind of deal!! However, I could also get some reflective foil to go behind the radiators. The house is double glazed but the glazing is quite old. Replacing it is not an option, though – too expensive. I bought a lined curtain for the front door from Ebay a while back but haven’t got round to fitting it and buying a hinged door rail, so that is another job to do. Most of the curtains are lined. I would like to double line them all eventually but have no time at the moment, so that is a project for the future.

I am also looking at solar panels. Some companies fit them for free, or a very small charge. They get the feed in money from the Government for a few years, and after that period the household starts to benefit. There was only one company that had good feedback on MoneySavingExpert.com, but unfortunately they don’t cover my area, so I am still searching. I would really appreciate it if anyone has had good experiences of this type of scheme that covers the East of England.

Other than that, I will continue to try to use power carefully, and encourage the family to do the same. I shower all the time rather than have a bath, I never use the tumble dryer, I use my slow cooker as much as possible, I boil only the water I need in the kettle, I put on several layers of clothing rather than put the heating on, I switch lights and appliances off if I’m not in the room, I don’t leave the TVs on standby, I try to cook more than one thing if I have the oven on…

Any ideas for energy saving ideas or self sufficiency?