I am always shocked at how quickly time flies. Where did September go? We have gone from heat wave to cool weather and rain in the blink of an eye. As we head into Autumn, here is a round up of my frugal month here at Shoestring Cottage and what I hope to achieve during October.
My Frugal Month: a round up of September
The biggest event for me during September was my trip to the SHOMOS Money Blogger Awards in London. Although I really dislike travelling into London, it is always worth it for this event. It’s so interesting to meet and chat to other bloggers.
I did a round up of the awards in this post, but have since seen some more photos of the event. Credit needs to go to the photographer Alistair Veryard. Getting us into the large group photo must have been like herding kittens!
Virtual coffee mornings
We have also started a virtual money bloggers meet up once a week, all very cleverly organised by Andy Webb of Shop Smart Save Money Fame. Now that I work from home and I am alone a lot during the day, this is really nice.
We can chat about all things blog related, ask questions, give and receive advice, share some of our wins and work through any thorny problems.
Second Hand September
I enthusiastically took part and promoted Oxfam’s #SecondHandSeptember, It was a 30 day challenge to buy no new clothes for the month and aimed to raise awareness of the negative environmental impacts of the fast fashion industry.
I buy second hand everything anyway most of the time as it makes sense when you are on a budget, as I explained here. However, it was interesting and shocking to discover some of the stats around the production of new clothing. I hope this thought-provoking campaign will change the way at least some people buy and look after their clothes.
Zero Waste Week
Well timed to run alongside #SecondHandSeptember, the first week of September was also Zero Waste Week 2019. I explained a bit more about the aim of the campaign and what we can all do to tread more gently on our planet in this post.
My first giveaway
This leads me onto the first giveaway I have ever run, which went down well on Instagram. Zoe Morrison had given me a couple of signed copies of her book Eco Thrifty Living, so I thought I would give them away as prizes.
It’s a worthwhile read if you want to live a greener life and save money at the same time. My Amazon link is here: Eco Thrifty Living: Save Money, Save the Environment and Live the Life You Want!.
Floating our cares away
I was given a flotation experience for my last birthday by my daughter. She had tried it in London for an article she was writing and loved it, so she found somewhere local for me to go and try it too.
It was at a sports club just outside Bury St Edmunds. This is a beautiful town in Suffolk that we love, so we thought we would make a day of it.
The flotation was lovely. Fifty minutes of floating in warm water filled with Epsom salts with relaxing music playing and muted lightly – what’s not to like? We both enjoyed it and would go again.
It was a beautiful sunny day, so we headed to the Abbey Gardens and for a walk around the town centre. Yes, I did drag Mr S into quite a few charity shops! I really love Bury – so compact and full of character but with everything you need too. One day, I will persuade him to move there…. Watch this space!
Our frugal month in the garden
Our vegetable patch has been really productive this year, even though we have been a bit rubbish at weeding it. We are still eating chard, beetroot, courgettes, tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers and herbs.
The soft fruit and runner beans have finished, which is a shame. Next year we will do two or three sowings of the beans to extend the season. We also have a few plums on our tree and some great looking russet apples on the way.
Growing our own fruit and veg (or some of it at least) has saved a huge amount of money.
Hitting my target
I was delighted to become a Slimming World target member this month. Being naturally quite skinny, I generally don’t have a problem with my weight, but found that a few months being quite immobile with a trapped nerve had caused me to get quite soft and wobbly in the middle.
Slimming World was brilliant for me, as it focusses on normal, budget friendly and healthy food. Nothing faddy or complicated. The challenge now will be not to put it all back on and I am planning our meals accordingly.
Aldi vs Lidl
One of my most commented on posts for the month was my Aldi vs Lidl: Which is the best discount supermarket? one. It provoked some debate, but Aldi definitely came out on top for most people.
I did pop into Lidl the other day and thought I would treat my daughter to a steak. It was flipping horrible. The most chewy, gristly meat I had ever tasted! So Aldi is still the winner for me.
Spending a fortune on glasses
I mentioned in a recent post that Specsavers are running an offer for a free eye test until the end of October. We took advantage of this last week.
Annoyingly, Mr S was told he doesn’t need glasses, even though he keeps pinching mine! I actually bought four pairs. This might seem a tad over the top but I need one pair for reading and another for driving (I tried varifocals but they are not for me). As they were buy one get one free, I ended up with four pairs.
This might not sound like it has contributed to a frugal month, but Specsavers is very good value. I ended up paying the same amount for four pairs as Boots had quoted me for one!!
Moving into October
The C word
In past times, I had pretty much finished my Christmas shopping by now. Yes, I was one of those really annoying people! I used to buy little gifts in the January sales and throughout the year.
Now, I go shopping so infrequently that I don’t often see things I want to buy. Also, my daughters are all adults and generally prefer money or a voucher. So these days I budget all year and make sure there is enough money in the kitty to cover presents, food and any outings or parties that might come up.
October seems like a good month to begin Christmas prep, though, so I will start to plan and buy some of the things we will need. We don’t go overboard at all, but like to indulge a little!
I have a lot of things to list on eBay during my next frugal month – I mean a lot! Watching some of the You Tube eBay resellers, I realise I am a very slow lister. One of my aims for the month is to speed up.
I don’t work on eBay every day, but maybe do three full days each week. The plan is to list 2o items on each of those days for the whole month. 60 items a week is easily achievable. If I can do more, then I will.
In particular, I want to get the bric-a-brac that might sell coming up to Christmas listed, all of the boots and definitely all of the winter coats and jumpers.
Tidying up in the garden
During October we also want to clear and clean the greenhouse and dig over the vegetable patches before the weather turns too rubbish.
The garden was very productive over the summer, but we weren’t organised enough to sow things that will over winter. Apart from some slightly moth eaten sprouts there won’t be much on either patch once it has been tidied, but at least it will be ready for the spring.
So that it the summary of my frugal month for September, with a few goals for October. How has your month been?