Casting an eye around the flat, and with Frugal February being planned, I started thinking about the wealth of things that we have that we can indeed make excellent use of, in order to avoid needing to spend money on more.
Entertainment: I have a large pile of unread books. Some I got as presents at Christmas, others have been passed on to me after Mum has finished with them and still others have come from the windowsill in the common area outside our flats, where we all leave books we have finished with for others to take. Either way I have, I reckon, the best part of a years reading, if not more. No need to be buying more at the charity shop, then! We also have a reasonable number of DVD's of films we both enjoy and will be happy to watch again. We also have active RSPB & National Trust Memberships, giving us access to literaly hundreds of places across the country to spend an afternoon, a day,l or just a few hours, at minimal or no cost. We also have CD's, TV, the radio, and lots of board games.
Food: Our freezers, larder & storecupboard are well stocked with provisions and there should be no need to buy other than fresh food (Fruit, Veg & Dairy) through February. The Approved Food couscous mountain is still apparent, and there is rice & pasta aplenty. Bread flour too - this was bought in bulk on a "3 for 2" offer before Christmas, and enabling us to cut the cost of our home made bread even further the yeast was bought directly from the supplier, butter was made from that reduced price cream the other week, and other ingredients are also in stock. HRH The Cat will be in no danger of starving either - we spotted that the local pet superstore had a special offer on her food recently so she now has her own little stockpile!
Toiletries: An essential item this, at least in so far as the basics are concerned, and in practise most of us prefer that little bit extra. I'll confess happily enough that nice smellies are definitely a luxury I enjoy, although I use very few "top end" products these days, and those that I do are asked for as Christmas or birthday presents. I utilise Boots "Christmas Shopping evenings" to stock up on most of what I require for the year, meaning I buy what I would buy anyway, but get given additional reward card points as well just for spending on that specific day. This, combined with items received as gifts, means I am currently plentifully supplied with all the lotions, potions and more personal requirements I shall need for quite some time. In fact, I have committed already on my "Simplify It 2013" challenge that for the next year I will only buy toiletry items when I have actually run out of an item and have no more in stock.
| The National Trust's Oxburgh Hall|
Cars: MrEH's car "Bessie" is serviced annually, when she has her MoT test in March. This way we can be reasonably certain that things are in order before she goes through the test, and also keeping her servicing fairly close to the recommended mileage for her make & model. My Clio "Gracie" requires servicing at 12,000 mile intervals - and this means that her annual overhaul could get slightly later each year although in practise it is usually done just before we head off for our holiday as she does over 2,500 miles in a fortnight then so it's reassuring to know before setting off that everything has been given a clean bill of health. They are both diesels, and so should be capable of extremely high mileages - in fact Bess has already gone past 160k miles. Thanks to them being diesels we get quite high miles per gallon out of them too - Gracie averages close to 60 miles to the gallon, and Bessie just a little less. Most importantly is the fact that, even allowing for the running costs and diesel, having the cars actually saves us money as without them out annual commuting costs to and from work would be in the region of £7000!
Ourselves! : Legs to walk with, rather than using the car, and to walk for fun as well. Hands to cook from scratch rather than buying processed, pre-prepared rubbish. The skills to make meals from all sorts of oddments from the freezers, larder, fridge and storecupboards, in a sort of mad "Ready Steady Cook" inspired way. The ability to be content with having quiet time, as well as going out and "doing things". A Blog to rant on when things prove a bit tricky, or, the alternative, to sing and shout on when things go swimmingly well!
The next "Frugal Friday" post will be the first of "Frugal February" so I'll be summarising how we intend doing things for week one.