About Me: My best life on a shoestring


Would you like to take control of your finances, pay off your debts and save for the future? At Shoestring Cottage I aim to show you that you can live a good and happy life on less than you think, you can get off the consumer treadmill and you can live more simply and healthily and not feel deprived.

We are also moving toward a less wasteful, more sustainable lifestyle and believe frugality and sustainability go hand in hand!

Save money, frugal living, shoestring cottage

Getting a grip on our finances

I spent many years in a state of some anxiety about my finances, just about scraping by. Then I decided to get a grip, to embrace and enjoy a more frugal lifestyle, wasting nothing, making do and mending, growing my own food, cooking healthy and nutritious meals for less, buying second-hand and making the most of every penny I have. There are so many ways to save money once you start:  we save in the garden (here and here), when buying clothing (I am a veritable second hand Rose and proud of it!), when motoring, when travelling, eating out and for family entertainment.

This blog began life as a kind of public diary and a way to keep me on track. Now I hope it will be a resource for others looking to save money and live a more frugal, sustainable life. It’s not about living an austere and joyless existence. More about making the most of what we have day to day so that we can afford to do the things we really enjoy, like days out and travel. I regularly publish reviews on our travelling experiences.

I also explore ideas to make extra money. Read about how I have done this generally here and on eBay here.  I have even looked at more extreme money saving recently, cutting my own hair and my brave daughter’s!

Waste Less, Live More

We are always trying to waste less, to reduce out waste (particularly plastic waste) and to tread more lightly on the earth. You will find some of my posts on how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle here.


I don’t need a millionaire’s bank balance and I don’t want a high stress city slicker lifestyle. But I do want my own house, to eat well, to have days out and to provide for my family. Living a frugal lifestyle helps me to achieve this because it is like giving yourself a pay rise. There are more money saving ideas here and throughout my blog.

So, where to start if you need to make some changes and improve your bank balance? Find out first if you are a Frugal Fran or a Spendthrift Sue, then read Fifty Ways to Save Money Now to get the basics.

More about my life as a frugal blogger

I am a full-time working mum of three daughters. My frugal partner in crime is handyman extraordinaire, Mr Shoestring. We are constantly on the look out for ways to save and make extra money. Whether you are trying to clear debts, struggling to get by or saving for a particular reason, I hope this blog provides some inspiration to you on your money saving journey.

You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook or contact me at [email protected]

If you are a company, you can find out how to work with me here.

Disclaimer: some of the links on shoestringcottage.com are affiliates. If you click through and make a purchase from them it won’t cost you anything but I will earn a small commission to help support my blog. Thanks!

27 thoughts on “About Me: My best life on a shoestring

  1. I am reading your blog today and enjoying it very much. I am from the United States, so it seems like a bit of a vacation to the UK reading what you write! I, too, love to make soup. I’m making squash soup today. I see that you sell things on Ebay. I wonder why you don’t try to get some advertising on your blog to bring in money?

  2. Hi, just found you today (how did I miss this blog?) and really enjoying it. Lots to catch up on!
    Very inspirational – thank you!

  3. I like to read about people taking charge of their financial lives and respect every penny earned! Love your blog. I also love to see how people in other countries live. I live frugally in the United States despite the fact that we earn a decent salary. We live frugally to enjoy the things that are important to our family and that is the blessing of a nice and tidy home paid out right and funding a college education for our sons (which is extremely costly here). I live in a suburb an hour away from New York City and wish I can have a garden like yours. Next summer, we are planning on having a small garden to see where this takes us. Meanwhile, during the harvest, I enjoy picking apples and pumpkins in near by farms and I just learned how to can fruit. I came across your blog through a google search (frugal living). Look forward to reading more on your blog.

  4. Nice blog! I found it on my list when WordPress finally decided I was me and let me back in again and remembered you from Four or More. It will be good to catch up with your doings 🙂 Carrie h

  5. Just realised that I work in the same building and recognised you ” from somewhere” as we passed in the entrance one day. It was from the photo on your blog. It is nice to read nice things about Essex…..I read several frugal blogs and find yours to be one of the most inspiring.

  6. Hello Jane,
    Is it possible that we met years ago (5 or 6 years ago) in Tenerife while hiking somewhere on the island? I remember you and your partner having 3 childeren. You spoke about your blog and the word shoestring has been lingering in my head ever since. We are a couple from Brussels.

    Merry Christmas to you.

    Klaas Sikkema

  7. Just found your blog via Ilona’s website. Very excited to learn even more about living frugally. at the age of 45 I’m just really starting on my frugal change so everything I learn will be really useful.

  8. Just found you again when I went to stop following another blog and saw your name on the list of other sites from that blog company, clicked on the link and saw you’d moved here, going to have fun reading the back posts. We’re in Oz , and at 63 I’m squirrelling away at super as my husband has been retired sick for a few years but ineligible for a pension. We’ve got solar panels and grow a few veg and shop carefully. Always looking for new hints though. Thanks.

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