Five Frugal Things I have done this week, 2nd February

Well, that’s January over. The days are already getting ever so slightly longer. Roll on Spring! So, what five frugal things have I done to see out the month?

Reached the end of my no spend January

At last!! We reached the end of our no spend January. It felt like a very long month. This one of my five frugal things lasted the whole of January, not just this past week. We spent very little money on anything except essentials.

A no spend month is hard work, especially during such dark, cold period. You have to endure a small amount of pain in order to feel the long term benefits. For us, it has meant we have put a lot more money than usual into our emergency fund. I know that many other people find January a good time to do a no spend month to help them recover from Christmas. This is a great idea. However, better still put away money towards Christmas every pay day starting now. This helps to avoid the January blues.

We intend to do another no spend month in October.

Going for the fake away

#5frugalthingsWhen you are on a no spend month you can’t just pop to the Chinese take away when you feel like it. We did fancy a Chinese, so I added some ingredients to my shopping list to make a Chinese fake away. This included Ready to Wok noodles, a ready made chow mein sauce (both from Aldi) and some beansprouts from Asda. I added chopped broccoli, celery, beans, mushrooms and carrots to the wok as well.

#5frugalthingsIf you haven’t tried the Ready to Wok noodles, give them a go. They are delicious and so much nicer that the ones you have to rehydrate. We really enjoyed our vegetable chow mein .

Mr S also likes a curry from time to time. I made this slow cooker sweet potato curry from the BBC Good Food website. I used spinach instead of cabbage as I didn’t fancy that. It was nice, but I think there were too many sweet potatoes in it. If I make it again I will substitute half of them with carrots, potatoes, etc.

#5frugalthingsI am looking out for some more vegetarian slow cooker recipes if anyone has any good suggestions.

A bargain haircut

I mentioned in a recent post that I had had a no spend month fail and booked myself in for a haircut. However, this is one of my five frugal things because it wasn’t an expensive cut and blow dry at a fancy hairdresser’s shop. Instead, I took myself along to the local college and got one of the hairdressing students to do it for me. It took ages – 2 hours! – but cost just £10. I think this is a bargain and I am perfectly happy with the cut.

She insisted on spraying it with lots of greasy spray though. Why do hairdressers always do that? I couldn’t wait to wash it off.

It is a nice place, with all the latest equipment, clean and well run. You can’t pop in for a quick hair cut as the students get their tutors to check every stage.

Cheap cinema tickets

As we have barely had a social life over the past month, we plan to go to the cinema in the next week or so. We have a rewards system through my place of work which offers huge reductions on cinema tickets. The deal was an adult ticket for £6.50 instead of £12. When I went to pay I realised I had over £7 cash back unclaimed on the site so I ended up buying two tickets for just £5.50. Result!!

Now we just have to agree on a film…

Budget DIY

#5frugalthingsWe have been slowly continuing with the revamp of our sitting room. We have been focussing on all the boring prep, but are now at the point where we can get on with the wallpapering. That is this weekend’s task.

Costs have been kept low by using what we already had in the shed. We were also fortunate to be sent some products to review, which have turned out to be really handy for a budget DIY project.

Amtech kindly sent over some paintbrushes, rollers and a tray and we have already put those to good use repainting the ceiling. The paint brushes are great. They don’t lose their bristles like others we have tried and clean up really well.

They also gifted us a cordless screwdriver set. Mr S has been particularly impressed with this. He put up a wooden baton to hang our new curtain rail on and said it was much easier to use this than get his drill out. It made less noise and mess as well.

Budget tools sent us a handy Von Haus tool bag containing all the basic tools anyone would need to get started on a DIY project. We thought it would be a perfect present for somebody moving into their first home. It is a 92 piece tool kit  and includes 3 pairs of pliers, a hammer, a spirit level, a tape measure, various screwdrivers and lots of other useful bits and pieces. This seems like good value at £29.99. Mr S has been diving into this!

We want to get on and get this room finished but items such as a new rug, curtains and cushions will be bought bit by bit. Nothing will be purchased on credit so need to save up for it as we go.

So, these are the five frugal things we achieved this week. Have you managed five or even more? I would love to hear what you have been up to.

I’m linking up with Cass, Emma and Becky in this week’s Five Frugal Things I’ve done this week linky. Pop on over to add your link if you are a blogger, or just to check out how other people save money.

Disclaimer: the DIY products mentioned were all gifted to us for review, but all views and opinions are our own.


25 thoughts on “Five Frugal Things I have done this week, 2nd February

  1. Well done! January seems such a long hard month to do this, especially with all the treats and jollity of Christmas still close to mind!

  2. Wow, that tool kit for £29.99 seems like great value! I love the idea of it as a wedding present or for someone moving into their first home. Thrifty DIY is right up my street 🙂

  3. I wish I had a handy husband – we spend a fortune on people to fix things that I wish we could do ourselves! Might need to do a DIY course myself!

  4. I have been un-frugaled!! By myself. Finally caved and got my ratty looking hair trimmed. Then, horror of horrors, I bought some salon shampoo & conditioner to make my fine, thin hair look less tragic, plus some expensive dry shampoo. I was shocked at myself. Then, as my lipsticks are almost completely gone, I sallied forth to the local mall to see what I could find, and ended up in a shop which sells tail ends of products, so, I got new eyeliner, 2 lipsticks, face wipes for late night emergencies, & hair dye. All quite cheap individually, but all together…. no. My best skin care tips are: when I am near an Indian food & products shops, I get cheap cold cream, otherwise I use emulsifying ointment, cheap as chips from the chemist, to clean my face and remove makeup. A pea sized amount in my palm, add water, and apply like soap. I take it off along with a wet flannel.

    • You have to buy things at a good price when you need them. I am frugal most of the time so that I can spend when I need to. Your make up haul sounds like you got some bargains and I bet they will last ages.

  5. Hi

    Well done on getting this far. I am pleased with myself that I under spent on my food/ household budget by £10 this month and I had a number of nsds although I was part way through the month when I realised, and so not too sure how many I had ended up having.

    I’ve decided I’m going to give it another go in February in the hope that if I try it on a month to month basis that it will get me back into the habit of being careful with my spending again.

  6. Having added up my spending for January I came in at £103.68 under budget!! 😀 😀
    Rather than leave it in the account for this month, I moved it straight into savings! 😀

  7. Hi Jane,

    If you think your curry has too much sweet potatoes in it, perhaps I could come over and eat it for you? It looks sensational! Your food always looks delicious, proving great food does not have to cost much.

  8. Sorry, I realised I didn’t provide an example of frugalness. I needed some more hair grips but my local shops did not have my favourite brand. I was vacuuming under the bed and found two that had escaped. I washed them in shampoo and hot water, rinsed them out and I’m now using one.

    Small but effective. And Julia, your result is excellent.

  9. Just a thought … if, like us, you pay council tax by standing order and if, like us, you pay over ten and not twelve months, this month and next month there won’t be any deductions from your account, so in order not to spend this extra money, you could (as I will be doing) pop it into your savings account!
    Margaret P

  10. Well my budget is going to be trully blown!. Have fine thining hair mainly at the front. Was do able but shingles in January trashed what i had left!. So visit to a salon which specialises in thining hair and cancer patients to see what they can do!. Will cost hundreds how many hundreds i don,t know. Whatever it is it is. May even get eyelashes, eyebrows and nails done!. After years of spending nothing on me now is the time!. May get lazer eye surgery and teeth done too!. I can only do it after years of being so frugal. Xx

      • Can,t make it grow think a type of weave with rushian hair, little rings Visited and measured and ordered today. Takes 4 weeks. Excited.

          • Yes i am so excited! All confidence had gone!. Back of head is thick and full front just wisps!. So excited hated going out!. Shingles trully trashed what was left!. Cost cough around £600 to £700 but no lady wants to be bald at the front. I,m not posh or rich. Just need to feel better about myself!. Nails can wait too much gardening and digging mud to do!.

  11. Decided against the chanel bag after mortgage gone. Better to invest in me!. Was feeling so down about my hair!. Actually cried

    • So sorry to hear you cried because of your hair, or lack of hair, Kirrie. Now, girl, do what The Help did (in the film of that name) … she told her little charge, and I hope I’ve got this right, “You’s clever, you’s beautiful, you’s special!” And mean it. However, if something can be done, and this will make you happy, then go for it. But as I say, you are still you, with or without hair.
      Margaret P

      • Thank you Margaret!. Chucking money at the situation!. Not frugal but a chance of making me feel better. Thank you xxx

        • GP said i,d be entitled to an nhs wig, ye gods nooooooooo!. Showed me pictures of 80 plus year olds with perms!.on her nhs hair website!.not one was for anyone younger!. Even my doc cringed!.

          • I had a wig made for me – made to measure on the NHS – for when I had chemo and lost all my hair, but I never liked wearing it. I think I wore it once, it felt so awful, like a very tight had! And looked even worse on me even though I’d chosen the style! Fortunately, I was bald during a summer period so I usually wore a panama hat or simply went bare headed.
            Margaret P

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