Friday, 28 December 2012
I'm not even going to pretend that this post is being written on the day it's appearing - of course it's not - as with most of you there is such a lot going on at this time of year Blogger's helpful "Schedule post" option is coming into its own once more! I've had some help writing this one too, from some of the lovely bloggers who have joined in with the Frugal Friday spot in the last 12 months - we've talked about all sorts from Cwtch Corner's Cheri and her "Cafe at Home" (I loved that post - what a great idea, lovely coffee and delicious homemade biscuits or cakes on a budget, AND you don't have to trail out in the cold to get them!) to buying clothes and generally being a Frugalista....that one fromthe fabulous Singlegirl . I asked each of the contributors to let me have their absolute No.1 favourite frugal tip, and this is what they came up with.
Dreamer at Living a Slow & Simple Life has this to say... "My favourite frugal tip is just to take a step back whenever you are doing anything and truly look for the potential in whatever you are doing or producing. Whether it is a way to use less energy, make something stretch further, make something multi purpose, or just a way to utilise what you have to the absolute limit there are always ways to make little improvements. In the long run it is all these little steps that add up to make your money go further and help you get good value." - watch out for a Guest Post from Dreamer appearing next week - the first one I've ever featured! Very good points there too - just taking stock can be your greatest tool in the Frugal/Simple Living armoury I think! (And then there's MAKING stock, which is also good!)
Wittgenstein's Watering Can's Rachel summarises things nicely too - "My frugality is all about spending money. Being frugal for me isn’t about not spending anything, but about making my money go further. I get excited by super-cheap reductions in the supermarket and about bargain clothes (if someone says “I like your dress”, my first reaction is “thanks” followed very closely by “it was in the sale/from a charity shop/ off eBay”). I’ll also repair and recycle things, like the odd collection of growing containers in my garden – olive oil tins, colanders, old Ikea storage boxes – rather than buying new. I grow some of my own food and I cook things from scratch because it tastes better, mainly, but also because I can’t bring myself to spend money on ready meals if I can knock the same thing up myself for less. This all means I have money spare for the things I really want to do, which I wouldn’t have otherwise. If I wasn’t frugal, I wouldn’t have been able to pay the fees for the Masters course I’m doing, in a subject that utterly fascinates me. I wouldn’t be able to treat myself to nice weekends away to coincide with the study days for my course – finding bargains on hotels (having a load of frugal friends who know the best sites helps ;-)) so I can splash out on really good meals, one of my favourite things to do. However, my best frugal moment this year involved playing music – being able to save about 1/3 of my wages each month meant that when a great deal (yes another one of those) on a new instrument appeared, I was able to snap it up and replace the savings within a few months. There’s great pleasure in getting a bargain, in stretching your money, and in getting something for nothing. But it's also wonderful to be able to spend your money – not just on the things you need, but on the things that you love." I love the recycled containers idea - we use mushroom cartons from the supermarket for growing seedlings in the spring, but now have the idea of a row of tins with cheery plants in growing on our wall next spring! And yes, to me frugality is all about enabling your life, rather than DISabling it.
Meanwhile, Cheerful Living Adventure's Jenni touches on another fab idea.... "My one frugal tip would be to take a deep breath and wait. Whatever you want, whatever you need, just wait. You don't have to wait very long - half an hour will do, or even five minutes if that's all you have. While you're waiting, ask yourself 'what do I really need? What do I really want?' I often find that the thing I really want or need isn't what I'm about to buy. If I'm replacing something that's broken, often the perfect thing will catch my eye after a week or two, usually much cheaper than if I'd bought it straight away. If I'm gazing wistfully through a shop window at something so fabulous that I feel I have to have it right now, then it's more difficult, but it's still possible to wait. Sometimes I'll walk down the road and back, or go home, and if I'm still thinking about it later, then yes, I might go back and buy it. But often that intense longing passes as quickly as it arrived. Being able to wait is the key to finding treasures in charity shops. Carry a list of things to look out for, but be patient. They'll turn up eventually, or you might realise you can live perfectly well without them.
Waiting is skill, and if you can cultivate it you might find it can save you a fortune." Now THAT truly is common sense...I can see I need to work on developing a sense of patience!
Finally, Horticultural Hints from Fay at The wind And The Wellies.... "Thinking of growing your own in the coming year? Why not its rewarding and a really frugal way of enjoying food with zero miles. You can’t get more local than your own garden, windowsill or patio. Space needn’t be an issue. A simple pot of herbs on the window sill brightens up your day and can yield lots of lovely flavour enriching herbs for your table. When faced with the garden centres and their pots of prepared herbs/vegetable starter packs these can be expensive. The solution? Well those who are a bit more canny can invest in a packet of seeds or swap with friends to start things going. If you’re a bit less experienced or not so green fingered, supermarket herbs are a fantastic buy. Each pot has up to 50 small ready grown plants in it and if carefully split up can give you sufficient herbs for months. Set a pot free today and rather than spend £1 or so on a small bag of herbs, split up a pot of herbs take good care of it and you’ll be eating herbs right into the late summer. All the better if there’s a deal on! Enjoy." Inspired? Then here's a link to Fay's method to get you started - I've done this myself the last few years and she's right, it really does work, and just think of all the happy little plants you're giving leg-stretching room to as well - got to be good karma in there!
Thanks so much to everyone who's joined in with the Frugal Friday posting over the past year - I do intend to continue with the series for now at least - while the ideas keep coming, I'll keep on posting them. I've had some great comments from some utterly unexpected people on these too - and it's always nice to think that others can gain something from what you write, particularly when you primarily write for your own enjoyment!
The first space in the series for 2013, as I mentioned, will be taken up by dreamer's Guest post - remember to pop by and take a look!
(The photos on this post were all taken on a weekend away with a couple of the folk who feature within the post)
Friday frugality also from Jenni today : A Cheerful Living Adventure