This week’s frugal wins #Fivefrugalthings

It has been a momentous week. I have taken voluntary redundancy from May! Now to decide what to do next. We will keep the belts very tight until I work out an alternative source of money to live on. It’s exciting though. I am so ready for a change. In that spirit here, here are this week’s frugal wins.

Devising an exercise plan

I watched the Tonight programme last night about the problem with back pain and how many days work are lost as a result. All the experts were saying that the issue is our sedentary lifestyles and sitting for long periods at desks or on the sofa.

My pain isn’t back pain, it is a trapped nerve in my neck. However, I know that what they were saying about a sedentary lifestyle is what has happened to me. I have worked for ten years at a desk job. When I started I was very fit, teaching and practising yoga, doing martial arts and going to the gym. Over the past 5 years I got less and less active and got used to suffering various aches and pains as a result.

frugal things

Once I was fit…

Now I have resolved to get fitter and even looked up a personal trainer specialising in back pain. However, at £40 a session I realised I could join a gym for that much each month! I might even do so, but first I am going back to what I know: yoga and walking. How did I get to this? I am a flipping exercise professional, for heaven’s sake!

So I have saved money by sorting out a very gentle 15 minute yoga plan followed by a two mile walk. As I am still signed off work there is no reason why I can’t find the time for this, as long as I do it first thing before the pain hits. I will let you know how I progress.

Eating what’s in the cupboards

I didn’t bother doing a meal plan or a big shop this week. We seem to have plenty of food in the house so I have been devising meals around what we have and using it up. I will pop to Lidl later though as we need fruit and vegetables.

I am still eating as healthily as possible but have once again been comfort eating snacks when I am in pain and miserable. Today I will make sure I get some low fat humus to eat with carrots and celery instead of eating a load of biscuits.

Booking a holiday

frugal wins

You may think this isn’t frugal, but it is the way we do it! As I explained in my post about February’s money wins, we are off to the Green Gathering in August and have arranged to travel into Wales after to stay in a very cheap AirBnB place. See this post to find out more about the Green Gathering and how you can get 10% off the ticket price.

Cutting the cotton wool

frugal wins

For a while now I have been cutting unnecessary waste and trying to be greener. I no longer buy packs of cotton wool pads. Instead I use soft reusable face cloths like these ones. My bathroom bin rarely has anything in it these days! They save money and are nice to use. I thought I would mention these now as they are reduced from £7.99 to £2.99. You don’t even have to use makeup remover or cleanser, although I tend to.

Making stock

frugal wins

I have done my usual trick of making a big pot of veggie stock from peelings and trimmings. This post explains how. Later I will make some soup. It’s so easy to do this and healthy too, plus it is much cheaper and nicer than the tinned stuff.

So here are my frugal wins for the week. How has yours been?

This week I am linking up with  Cass Emma  and Becky in their Five Frugal Things linky.

This post contains affiliate links.

29 thoughts on “This week’s frugal wins #Fivefrugalthings

  1. Congratulations. Leaving a paid job is scary but you’re doing the right thing for you. Very best wishes for a future without pain. Pam

  2. Exciting and scary for you and I was surprised and yet not surprised to read this! I think you reach the point where there is hardly a decision to be made and being offered redundancy was a bonus and perhaps tipped the balance. I was about your age when I did the same thing (but without the redundancy!) and haven’t regretted it. I am probably fitter now than I have ever been. Wishing you all the very best as you begin this new phase of your life. Vicki

  3. Good luck I’ll be following with interest as I’m taking early retirement at the end of March (38 years as a medical secretary) I will be getting some pension but will need to just keep my eye on things. Lost both my parents, mum 12 years ago and my dear dad last March. It made me re-evaluate. My hubby is still working at the moment and my sons are both at home but getting ready to fly the nest. I too want to take more care of myself and to try and live as healthy a life as I possibly can. New adventures await and it’s both scary and exciting in one. I love my yoga and walking too. Take care x

  4. How exciting,all the best for your new ventures. I also have given up cotton wool and use Boots baby wash cloths and have gone back to using a natural soap on my face and sweet almond oil as a make up remover, my skin doesn’t dry out and I only moisturise in the morning as I like my face to be ” naked ” overnight.. Th.e soap I use can also be used as a shampoo bar, I like that too

  5. Wow congrats on taking voluntary redundancy! Hope you get a good payout and can pursue new opportunities. So sorry about your continuing neck pain, do hope your exercise regime can help.

  6. Wow! Congrats on making your big decision. The deciding is the hardest part I think but the excitement of new challenges and adventures see you through the scary stages. I still have another couple of years to go before I can give up so will be saving like crazy whilst living simply and frugally but still having fun on a budget, as I won’t be at retirement age for a couple of years.

    Your health is so important and your redundancy came at the right time for you. Whilst you may have some sadness and concerns about leaving hopefully you will have less stress and that will help with your healing. No matter how much we like our jobs and our work mates most jobs come with a lot of stress and particularly working in the environment you are in. So hopefully being away from that will see much improvement for you. Look forward to reading all about your new adventures.

  7. Oh wow! Big changes ahead, but I know you’ll find plenty to do to fill your (soon to be) new-found freedom! Plus it’s always better to leave at a time of your choosing, especially in this era of cutbacks. Hope the reduction in stress and the chance for more exercise fixes your trapped nerve once and for all.

    Hubby took early retirement 16 months ago and it’s great being able to do things mid-week without all the weekend crowds. In addition to all the other stuff we do, we’re adding in “Weekly Walks” and “National Trust Tuesdays”, now most of the properties are opening up again after their winter hibernation.

  8. You may not be aware of this, I didn’t until a friend told me. Like you, I took VR and plan was to live on lump sum and my savings plus any odd little bits I could pick, like exam invigilation at local school. But then friend said, why don’t you apply for Jobseekers Allowance? I’ve never claimed for anything so didn’t know about this. Basically, if you’ve got savings of me than £12K you won’t get full amount but you will get a reduced amount every 2 weeks for 6 months. You apply on line, get invited for a very short interview at your local JobCentre and then every 2 weeks you go in for a quick 15 minute ‘what jobs have you applied for’ chat, sign a form to say you’ve not worked at all in the two weeks and then you get your payment into your bank account. The best thing is that you by doing this, and trust me, it’s not pressurised like I believe it used to be in ye olde days, is that by signing on, you get your NI contributions credited so it will help you get a higher state pension when you finally get to that age. Even after the six months, you can still go and sign on, you won’t get benefit but you will get the NI contribution. Check it out. I’d never claimed for anything and was a bit guilty about it but then as my friend said, how many thousands have we all paid in over the years and not received a penny back! You have to claim within 2 years of your last NI payment (via your payslip) so you’ve got a bit of time, but don’t leave it too late.

    • I did this a few years ago, primarily to protect my NI contributions as my circumstances made it difficult to be in work at the time, and my youngest had just turned 12 so I was no longer getting NI protection. It was a horrible experience, even though I explained this to them from the start.
      Maybe your Job Centre is nicer than ours but my experience was very much like “I, Daniel Blake”. I signed off after about 4 months and chose to pay voluntary NI contributions instead.

      About a year later my eldest son also signed on during his gap year and only lasted one month before the pressure put on him to find a job was too stressful for him.
      He finished uni in the summer and is now out of work – but refuses to sign on, preferring to search the job sites himself. Sadly he’s not building up any NI years which could hurt him at the other end of his working life.

      If your NI contributions are already sufficient you will have a bit more freedom of choice. There are different rates of NI contribution for the self-employed so you might want to look into that too,

        • My JC have put no pressure on me. Couldn’t really be bothered, it was just a paper exercise. I kept a list of jobs I’d applied for on line and they typed into their system a couple of them, all of mine were via agencies on line. I think you must be a good few years younger than me as both myself and friends who’ve also had Jobseekers, said the same thing: the JC aren’t interested in women ‘of a certain age.’ I was never under any pressure, some two weekly check-ins, I was there for barely 5 minutes.

          I’d still apply if I were you, you might have the same experience as me, but even if you don’t and you decide you can’t bear it, at least you’ll get a few weeks money and a few NI contributions. And you never know, you might actually find a job you like. I ended up picking up some Christmas work, literally just 3 weeks part time, which once the holiday season was over, they asked if I would be their ‘on call’ person for sickness and holiday absence. I’m one of those people who love zero hours contracts as it works for me. I now have several with different companies as the first experience motivated me to send my CV to local firms to offer the same facility and three of them took me on in that capacity. I usually pick up odd bits of work throughout the year and that, plus my invigilation saves me having to dip too much into my savings.

          • For the CV exercise I walked around the local business park (didn’t want to spend too much of my hard earned money on commuting so looked for local employers), took a note of all the companies on there, then spent 30 minutes every day for next few days looking online for either direct HR contacts or senior exec or just company emails. Then drafted a generic email ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ and then sent them via bcc (so they only see their own email address and don’t know you’re doing a circular) plus my CV. I also contacted a couple contractors I’d had in the house for the last few years as they’d both said they had problems when their office ‘girl’ was on holiday, meant they had to spend time in the office rather than out working. This year I’m going to target some more of these smaller companies that still have an office base. Both those two I mention call me in when their office staff go on holiday. I do 10 – 3 four days a week for one, and 10 – 3 three days a week for the other. All adds up.

  9. I can imagine all the ideas buzzing around your head (reading the comments here). Whatever you decide to do, we here wish you do what’s best for you.
    I love the idea of seeing how best you can cope without spending too much money though. Would you go to teaching yoga sessions? Just an idea.

  10. If you haven’t before, look into Lucy Wyndham-Read on Youtube. She has so many free workouts on her channel and they’re all very short! I’ve been looking for some alternative options for taking off my make up so thank you for sharing those! 🙂

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