Friday, 4 January 2013

Frugal Friday *Guest Post*

This post is courtesy of Dreamer over at Living a Slow & Simple Life

When I asked Dreamer about letting me have her favourite frugal tip for last weeks Frugal Friday post, she went one better than that and offered me an entire post! All the good solid common sense we've come to expect too, so here it is...

"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.

For instance today I was making a batch of individual shepherd's pies and some bolognese sauce to use a large pack of quality minced beef. I think we all know by now how to stretch the mince and we do that without thinking, and I would rather buy good quality and stretch it further than eat "cheap" food.
Today I was peeling the washed potatoes for the shepherd's pies and decided to get a bit more value from them by using the peelings to make a quick snack. It was a cold frosty day and we had all been outdoors for a while, dog walking, or working in the garden so something warm and tasty was welcome as it was many hours to dinner.

I was using the oven for the shepherd's pies and apple crumble so I just put the potato peelings on trays and seasoned them, one tray just with sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil, the other with some sea salt, ground dried onions, ground dried chives and a drizzle of olive oil. I left them in the oven for about 35 minutes and ended up with two bowls of tasty, hot potato skins for everyone to snack on.   


The potato peelings could just have ended up in the compost bin but this way I managed to get some extra value from them.
I used the same sort of logic using up the apples that had been lurking untouched in the fruit bowl all week.

Rather than let them deteriorate I decided to make an apple crumble for the freezer, no surprise there then, BUT, then I thought I could get some extra value from the peelings before they were added to the wormery. So I boiled up the peelings and cores with a touch of water and lemon juice, strained the pulp and cooked it up with sugar to make a jar of apple jelly, which will be great with pork.

The remaining fruit pulp then went into the wormery to be turned into compost :)
I am always looking for the potential in everything in this way. Another thing I did today was to pick up some bargain tangerines which we love to munch on.A good buy at 49p a pack, and I picked up several packs which will keep us going this week in fruit.I was still looking for the extra potential though so the peel from the tangerines is now being added to a (recycled ) jar filled with white vinegar where it will soak for a while and then be drained and diluted to use as a surface cleaner.The peel will then end up in the compost bin.

Try thinking outside the box too. Dog toys are expensive in the pet shops and are usually poorly made too so I look in the charity shops and pick up children's soft toys for the dogs for pennies - and as they usually have to pass stringent safety tests they are tougher too.

Overall I think my favourite frugal tip is to change your attitude, think outside the box, look for the extra value in everything you do or use or make. Being frugal doesn't have to mean buying the cheapest,poorest quality, or depriving yourself, it is what happens when you are busy looking for the potential in everything.These are just some of the small steps I have taken today, doing this type of thing day in day out soon adds up and frees up household finances for more important things."

That final paragraph just sums up the whole "Frugal ethic" for me so well - Living simply should leave you feeling as though you are living your life well, not with a lingering sense of "Oh poor me" or a constant need to justify your actions or make excuses for the way you are living. Thanks Dreamer - inspiration there for all of us! (And the Potato skins look fab!)

(All photos in this post are Copyright Dreamer@Living a Slow & Simple Life)


Anonymous said...

Love it! :) :) Excellent post, thank you. I confess I rarely peel potatoes (even for mash) or apples, but those potato skins look good enough to make me start peeling!

Robyn said...

Look great don't they - definitely got to try this!

saving for travel said...

Oh, Dreamer is such an inspiration!

EH-Would you like to be added to the sealed pot list?

Sft x

Robyn said...

She is - I'll never look at potato peelings in the same way again!

On the sealed pot list, thanks for asking, but I'm going to say no for now. We operate a number of different "pigs" at the moment (I might do a post on those at some point!) but they don't *quite* fit in with the usual "sealed pot" ethos....although that's not to say they won't in the future!