Christmas is over, many of us are feeling a little skint and it feels like a good time to take control. Regular readers will be aware that I am doing a no spend January, so I am kicking off with a little new year’s frugality.
You can’t really do a truly no spend month, unless you live in a caravan rent free with a wood burner, a big pile of logs and plenty of food in your stores. Most of us have mortgages or rent to pay, not to mention utility bills, fuel or transport costs. For most of us, a no spend January will actually mean a low spend month.
However, there are always lots of little expenses that can add up to a considerable amount over a month, like lunches, magazines and coffees. Or you see a nice outfit in a shop window and buy it on impulse, you get lots of invitations out with friends or come in exhausted from work and order a take away.
I’m determined not to give into any of these temptations and, instead, give our emergency fund a little boost. A brand new decade is a great time for a bit of new year’s frugality! Here is what I have been up to this week.
Why would you not make a good stock with your turkey or chicken bones? It really does make a fabulous base for a hearty and nutritious soup.
I froze the carcass as I didn’t have time to deal with it during Christmas, but defrosted it and used this method to make a good stock. After half an hour, I pulled off all the bits of leftover meat, then left the rest for a couple of hours.
I strained it and added veg from the bottom of the fridge – carrots, celery, potatoes and parsnips – along with a large bag of frozen home grown courgettes and some peas. Because I don’t use whole onions in my food now (although they did go in the stock) I added some hing powder * too and seasoned it well. When the veg was soft, I whizzed it up then added the chopped up turkey meat. It was delicious!
Some people would have chucked the carcass in the bin. Instead, I have made us lunches for the whole week.
I think I mentioned previously that my eldest daughter is about to move into a new flat. As her housewarming present (and to help her out), I promised to buy her a bed.
I have been keeping an eye on the sales, the charity shops and also on Facebook Marketplace. On the latter, I found an Ikea frame in excellent condition for just £65, which I collected yesterday. My daughter is really pleased with it. Still need to get a decent mattress but I’m not spending a fortune on one. It will be a new one, though.
Using up the leftovers
We have been munching our way through most of the Christmas leftovers, eating the cheese, ham, salads, mince pies, cream, etc.
However, we do have a lot of chocolate in the house and I don’t want to put back all the weight I lost last year on Slimming World. I have gathered it all up and put it in a cupboard in the spare bedroom. When we really fancy a bit of chocolate we can help ourselves to just a little.
Having temptation sitting looking at me is not good for my waistline!
As if I didn’t have enough food here, I popped into my daughter’s to find two bunches of bananas on the turn. To stop them being thrown out, I took one bunch home.
We had delicious vegan muffins at a friends just before Christmas and she gave me the recipe, so I am making those later! If they work as well as hers did, I will share the recipe.
I think baking is a good activity for a no spend January. Most of us have flour, baking powder, etc in the stores anyway, so a cake or two will cost hardly anything and keep the grocery bill low.
Honey and lemon
I didn’t toast the new year in with a glass of bubbly…. instead, I had a nap in the afternoon and was drinking water at midnight! It’s not like me as I usually have a really strong immune system, but I finally succumbed to all of the cough and cold germs that have surrounded me all Christmas. Nearly all of my friends and family seem to have been infected.
It is one of those coughs that attacks you and you cough and cough until you are bright red and gasping. I have even had to sleep sitting up. Not nice at all.
I decided to use up some of the lemons we bought for Christmas G&Ts by making my own honey and lemon drink. The honey is has soothing antiviral properties and the lemon juice is full of vitamin C.
To make it, I use the juice of half a lemon (about a tablespoon) with the same amount or slightly more honey topped up with hot water. It’s simple to make, cheap and very comforting.
So, that’s my five frugal things round up for a bit of new year’s frugality. I am starting the way I mean to go on! Have you managed to be thrifty and save money this week?