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The view from my window is somewhat dark and damp today. Pretty typical weather as we head into December. This week’s five frugal things round up covers my frugal life this past month.
November passed by in the blink of an eye. Who knows where the time goes, as the song says? I am getting properly prepared for Christmas now, although keeping it fairly simple means that it’s a lot less stressful than it has been in the past. I am determined not to overspend or over cater, to keep gifts as eco-friendly as possible and to stay cool, calm and collected this festive season. I published a post about zero waste Christmas gifts in the week, if you need some ideas.
Catching up on my goals
How have I got on with my November goals? Well….
1# £60 a week on groceries
This was easy peasy. We actually spent £152.10, which is only around £38 a week. I am therefore going to lower the budget. More about this in my December goals post!
2# Start Christmas food bank collection
We have been getting on well with the collection for our local food bank. This is something we like to do every year in some form. For the last few years I have joined in with the UK Money Bloggers #foodbankadvent campaign, which I wrote a post on here.
I will collect food for a couple more weeks and deliver in good time for Christmas.
3# Clear and clean the greenhouse
I did this early on in the month. It was a job I really didn’t want to do so I made myself. It’s all clean and clear now and ready for the spring.
One of our frugal life targets is to grow at least some of our own food, and a greenhouse is pretty handy for that.
4# Add 15 items to Depop
I didn’t manage this, mainly because I felt so unmotivated to spend a lot of time listing more stuff on Depop when the items I already have on there just aren’t selling. In the end I only managed five, which are all on eBay as well.
I found this when I tried before, so thought I would focus just on vintage things. However, I haven’t sold a single item on there. What a waste of time. How does anyone make any money on Depop?
5#Declutter and paint the cupboards
This is the one I’m most annoyed about not achieving. It sounds like a small job, just painting a couple of cupboards in the hall. However, it is actual a really big task as they are both full of stuff that needs decluttering and organising. I really want to get this done, so it will be on my December goals too!
My frugal life in November
So what went well during November?
Christmas shopping on a budget
I managed to break the back of the Christmas shopping, although none are wrapped. As well as presents, I have bought some treats like chocolates, nuts and drink as I have gone along. I also bought some stocking fillers second hand for very little money.
Most of what I have purchased online I got through Top Cashback*. I cashed out £158 a few months ago, but already have another £31 from my Christmas shopping. This is just from going on the site, seeing if the retailer I plan to visit is on there and then clicking through from Top Cashback.
However, don’t ever forget….
Alternatives to wrapping paper
I have mentioned several times that I don’t intend to buy any Christmas wrap this year. Zoe at Ecothrifty is running a #cutthewrap campaign and I am happy to support this.
I managed to buy a Christmas duvet cover and pillow cases very cheaply in the charity shop and will cut this into rectangles with my pinking shears. When I give a present wrapped this way I will ask the recipient to either reuse the wrap next year or give it back to me so that I can.
I also found a couple of green scarves that will be nice to wrap gifts in. They can actually be another gift! I bought a handbag at the boot sale in the summer and when I opened it up they were stuffed inside. Waste not, want not when you live a frugal life …
Eat more plants for a healthier, more frugal life
Although we eat vegetarian and vegan food fairly often anyway, we watched a documentary on Netflix this month that actually got Mr S (a confirmed meat eater) enthusiastic about eating a plant based diet. Game Changers tells the stories of top athletes and ordinary but sick people who dramatically improved their health with a wholefood plant-based diet.
It was extremely convincing and very interesting. As well as being healthier, a plant based diet is much cheaper and more environmentally sound. We aren’t saying we are going to go exclusively plant based, but we will certainly be changing the way we eat.
I always have the issues around my IBS to consider, which limits my intake of beans and pulses (although I can eat chickpeas and brown lentils in small doses), soya, onions and certain other vegetables. However, I have been reading that firm tofu is easier on the digestive system so have been tentatively trying that. Although it is made of soya, it is low FODMAP (which means it doesn’t cause fermentation in the gut).
Lots more research is needed into vegan recipes that I should be able to eat without irritation, but I have found this site and will explore further.
A new car!
I can’t remember if I have told you this, but I got a new car! Well, a used car that is new to me… when you live a frugal life you wouldn’t consider buying a car from new.
My old one could have limped on a bit longer and I was saving up for something more modern, but then my lovely parents offered to put some money towards a newer model for me. So sweet and generous of them.
I am keeping it clean myself. Rather than taking it to the car wash I gave it a vacuum and polish at home. When the weather perks up I will wash the outside. No point doing it in the rain! It’s a small saving to clean the car, but it is a tenner and every little helps.
Having bought the car, I have been doing my level best to use it less, particularly for short journeys. My trusty granny trolley has been used a lot this month to walk to the post office and local shops and I feel better for it.
So that’s my round up of our frugal life during November. Watch this space next week for my December goals and the chance to win a prize in the latest UK Money Bloggers giveaway.