Since the main point of my blog is to show how you can save money – taking care of the pennies so that the pounds will take care of themselves – now is the time to really focus. We are getting uber frugal!
We don’t know how long the coronavirus crisis is going to last. At this point, when the danger to our health has subsided (and here’s hoping we come out the other side), things are going to be tighter than tight financially.
I have already noticed a sharp dip in my income. People are wary of spending so there’s not much going on with eBay. Advertisers on the blog are pulling out, so income from that source has plummeted this week.
I’m looking for freelance work and will be looking into online English teaching. This was one of the ideas I had when I first took redundancy, but I have been so busy I haven’t needed to explore it.
Fortunately, we have an emergency fund. However, we also have fixed expenses like the rest of the world and our rainy day fund won’t last indefinitely. If you still have a decent income, now is the tighten your belts and top up your rainy day fund. I wrote a post in the week about how you can kick start it with £10 for free here.
Maybe, for us cheapskates, our time is coming! Here is what we have been doing this week to be uber frugal.
Uber frugal inspiration
I often mention my favourite book of all time for frugal inspiration – the Complete Tightwad Gazette*. It is a genius piece of work for the would be money saver. Even though it is from the early ’90s, most of the advice still stands up.
However, I heard recently of an author called Jeff Yeager who also writes great works on frugality. I checked his books on Amazon and found two second hand for just a couple of pounds each. The first was The Cheapskate Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of Americans Living Happily Below Their Means* and the other one was Don’t Throw That Away!: 1,001 Ways to Reuse Your Stuff*!
Both sound right up my street. I have been dipping in and out and I like his light-hearted and witty style of writing. Without doubt, once I have read them, I will publish full reviews on my Frugal Books page.
They sound just the thing to give me fresh inspiration to be uber frugal.
Using less of everything
I don’t want to have to go out searching for food and supplies too much. It’s depressing seeing the shelves so empty!
We have good stores as I like to keep a well stocked larder. However, we have made a decision to make everything we have last as long as possible. That means small actions like using one teabag between two of us, using less loo roll, wiping up with reusable cloths rather than kitchen roll, stretching one chicken breast to two meals using frozen vegetables, rice,etc, using less shampoo, etc.
We don’t waste much anyway, but don’t usually ration what we do use. I figure we need to develop a second world war mentality and spirit to get us all through!
Growing our own
We usually have a vegetable patch in the garden and grow things in the greenhouse as well. In view of the current situation and the need to take even more care of our finances for the foreseeable future, we are going to make both more productive this year.
We already have lots of seeds. Now we have to get out and get organised. At least we will have some time. Last year I was recovering from a trapped nerve and hardly did anything, so I am looking forward to getting stuck in.
I find gardening so therapeutic anyway, which is going to be handy if we have lock down. There is so much to do out there!
I spent an hour pruning the redcurrants, blackcurrants and clematis with Archie the pup yesterday and we both enjoyed it. He has so much energy, but we can’t walk him for a few more days yet, so spending time in the garden is good for all of us.
Turning off the heating
The weather has, as usual, been so unpredictable. Some days it has been warm and spring like and I have woken up boiling hot because the heating was on timed. Other days it has been flipping freezing!
Still, I have turned the heating off completely and just switch it on for an hour when we are really cold. The rest of the time I rely on layers and puppy warmth (which is a wonderful thing!).
I wish the weather would decide what it is doing and give us some seasonal spring sunshine every day…
Exploring other places to buy food
Having searched fruitlessly for some eggs for a few days, we decided to go early to the farm shop to see what they had. We hadn’t been for ages!
It was pretty well stocked and we came away with eggs for us and Mr S’s mum, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, green peppers and sausages. We also discovered that they sold bags of wood for burning very reasonably.
I can see we will be visiting a lot from now on. As they are a bit out of the way a lot of people won’t have thought to go there. Having said that, they were doing a good trade when we were there.
It beats trailing round the supermarket in despair when the shelves are bare!
So far we are both OK. My youngest daughter is in Brighton and it seems her boyfriend has the dreaded CV, so probably only a matter of time before she gets it too. She has had to let her job know that she is self-isolating (and losing money. She is a poor student and can’t afford this!).
Fingers crossed they will both be OK, being young and healthy. My eldest daughter lives near me and we are convinced she had it three weeks ago. She had a very high temperature, a terrible cough and says she has never felt so ill in her adult life.
I did go round to take her supplies at the time and make sure she was OK, but thankfully don’t seem to have caught it from her. Let’s hope it’s not lurking!
My third daughter is working from home in London. Her company were very on the ball and sorted this out last week, so she hasn’t had to go on the underground for a while. Her partner is a musician and his work has completely dried up, so he has had to apply for Universal Credit.
My parents have been on a self-imposed isolation for a couple of weeks now. They are in their 80’s so aren’t taking any risks. Mr S’s mum has to go to dialysis three times a week, so she has no choice but to mix. He is taking her so that she doesn’t have to go on the NHS bus at least.
Tough and worrying times! Are you being uber frugal? How is this crisis affecting you and yours?
This post contains Amazon affiliate links marked with *. If you click through and make a purchase I will receive a small commission to help support my site, so thanks!