Five frugal things to help my no spend January 

If you are joining me on my no spend January, I hope week one has gone well! We have had a lovely week, with all three daughters home a lot for various reasons.

A frugal birthday

no spend JanuaryWe were going to have a takeaway for my daughter’s birthday – an allowable pre-planned expense. In the event, we decided on steak and chips for the meat eaters and I had salmon. We had Mississippi mud pie for pudding. Everything was purchased from Aldi, along with a nice bottle of Prosecco.

At £25 for the five of us, this was a lot cheaper, and probably nicer, than a take out. I recommend Aldi’s fresh meat and fish. I have found everything to be excellent quality and great value for money.

A no spend walk for New Year’s day

no spend JanuaryWe decided to have a good walk to start the new year as we intend to go on, doing more exercise. A six mile meandering walk to town and around Colchester’s Castle Park brought a glow to our cheeks. We were surprised to find lots of shops and cafes open – they really do only close on Christmas Day now.

This is a shame. I wish we had more days when people were forced to do activities that didn’t involve buying stuff, although I suppose they would stay at home and buy on the internet instead.

We didn’t browse the sales but sat in the park with a flask of coffee and home made cake. Which brings me to my next frugal achievement…

Using up black bananas

no spend JanuaryWe usually eat loads of bananas. However, there was so much food in the house over Christmas that we had three left. They were turning rather black – perfect for a banana loaf.

Being a creature of habit, I generally use Delia Smith’s recipe. This time I decided to ring the changes and try a Nigella Lawson one from her classic How To Be A Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking(my affiliate link). I am glad I did as it was delicious and is our new favourite (sorry, Delia!). Can’t wait for the next lot of bananas to go brown….

Making do

no spend JanuaryI need a new watchstrap. The little bit of leather that keeps it secure once on has broken off, which means my watch could come loose and fall off. Because I am on a  no spend January I can’t buy a new one, so I have secured it with an elastic band.

Not the classiest look but I doubt anyone has noticed. I don’t want to purchase a new one just now and would rather not lose my watch!

Laughing in the face of the best before date

no spend JanuaryI am sure many of you don’t bother too much about best before dates. Me neither! I frequently deliberately buy out of date food from Approved Food because  it is cheaper (my refer a friend link).

When I was clearing and sorting out the larder, I came across a pack of nutty snacks from Aldi and a couple of individual portions of long life Lactofree milk. Both were out of date but instead of throwing them in the bin I have taken them to work and started to use them. They are perfectly fine and taste exactly as they should.

I hate our culture of wasting food and chucking it out just because it has passed the advisory only best before date. I am also happy to eat items a little bit past their use by date. As long as they look, smell and taste OK I will risk eating them. Food doesn’t immediately decide to go off because of the date stamp!

No spend January progress

no spend JanuaryIf you are joining me on a no spend January, how are you doing? I have broken my rules just once this week, buying a copy of Bella magazine. However, I had a good excuse – I am in it!!

It’s tough being a media star. However, I don’t intend to break the rules again this month and look forward to having a bit more spare cash to put in the savings as a result. How about you?

I’m linking up with this Cass, Emma and Becky in this week’s Five Fabulously Frugal things I’ve done this week linky. Check out what everyone else has been doing to keep costs down and share your five frugal things!





12 thoughts on “Five frugal things to help my no spend January 

  1. Just read your Bella article, Jane, and it’s excellent but I’m so sorry that you were left stranded with three children, that must’ve been really tough for you. How lovely you met Mr Shoestring!
    One point, though. Do you actually need a watch? I used to think I couldn’t do without my watch until the battery died and I kept forgetting to get one while I was in town – I had to go to the jeweller’s and have it put into the watch as it was such a fiddly thing to do. If you have a mobile (and of course you do!) you can see the time on that, can you not? I’ve not worn a watch in years and before long you will be able to more or less judge the time without needing one. Try doing without your watch before you get a new watch strap, or make the strap your next birthday present.
    Margaret P

  2. Your meal looks so much healthier than a take away too Jane.
    I am inspired to try a no spend January too as I have let things slip a bit lately. Thank you for the continued inspiration and Happy New Year. Congratulations on the magazine feature too. You deserve it.

  3. Well done on the article. I too afford holidays because I don’t waste money on things that are not so important to me. A friend recently told me she had to throw out tomatoes because the date had expired. I asked her if they looked or smelled bad and they didn’t but she took some convincing that they wouldn’t poison her!

  4. Have you got an old watch tucked away at the back of a drawer that you can swap the straps with? I found my watch lying on the ground in the countryside, many years ago. When the strap broke I swapped it with an expanding one from a broken watch. Seems like Mr Shoestring is not only a gorgeous hunk, but an extremely nice guy as well. Lucky you.

  5. We’re just the opposite, Jane, holidays have never figured large with us, we’d rather have little treats all year than one big holiday once a year, but we’re all different (thank goodness) and now even the thought of travelling far exhausts me. However, we live in a holiday resort, one of the prettiest in the country, so perhaps it might be totally different for someone not living near the sea.
    How silly that someone would throw tomatoes away because they were over their expiry date, this is madness. They would have no doubt made rather nice tomato soup or tomato sauce if not suitable for a salad.

  6. My neighbour manufactured shoes in her past and gave me some leather offcuts a while ago. I’d be happy to post you a bit if you tell me the colour (from memory I have black, navy, brown and red)and then you can cut and glue it – at least that’s what we’ve done with some success in the past in similar circs. Congrats on the magazine article.

  7. I bought a yoga mat, gym clothes and a pair of jeans for my son who went through his knee on New Years Eve and wouldn’t be convinced that torn jeans were fashionable, from Primark this week so spent less than £25!! All but the yoga mat are going back again next week though, as they didn’t suit!
    Still not convinced that I can’t just used the living room carpet and bare feet though, so that might end up going back too.
    I’ve done one session of wobbling about while trying to peer at the Perky Young Thing on You tube over the top of my glasses and have come to 2 conclusions: wearing socks and slippers doesn’t work, and I don’t bend in the middle very easily!! 😀

  8. I love yellow sticker shopping and I also laugh in the face of dates on food. I am so in awe of you doing a no spend month, I think it is amazing and I am certainly being more mindful of my spending.

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