Thursday, 3 January 2013

Simple solutions to living cheaply


Hello Dear Reader,

I can only guess that some of you are new to all of 'this'................you know, frugality! (Visitor stats have shot up) It may be forced on you or you may have woken up to the realities, as we all have, that life if much more expensive and salaries remain the same. I'm used to this now and many of you who read are on the same journey as myself and Dearly Beloved. We want a simpler life. We don't want to keep up with Jones. We don't want a new sofa from DFS, we don't want kitsch Kitson dripping off our walls and we don't need to primp our appearances and know we are good enough as we are..............wobbly bit n'all!

In the style of my recent resolutions, I thought I would share the simple solutions to living cheaply, one by one. It gives me time to think of them and you time to digest and wonder if maybe it might work? For you, it may not, for others, it might.

1. Change your priorities. 

Like so many people, I wanted my life to be organic, free range and fair trade, you know......all a bit Totnes and yogic, with a bit of Riverford on the side, a sprinkling of Seasalt, a dash of French lessons all tossed in a Volvo and served on a south facing patio. I wanted the hunter wellies, a frock like Kirsty and a bum that never sagged. Reality isn't like that! 

Real life doesn't come with bunting (who ever thought of that stupid chaff!) and doesn't get served on a polka dot  wipe clean oil cloth! It goes out to work, comes home creased (and sagging) and never has time to peel a celeriac! 


I'm not digressing and I am getting to the point. Make it your priority to serve simple home made food. It doesn't need to be organic just the veg you can afford. Here is my home made veggie lasagne, with veg from Lidl, Tesco value mature cheddar and lasagne sheets, Tesco value UHT skimmed milk, Lidl strong white bread flour and Lidl sun dried tomatoes in the bread. All served on my thrifted world war two plates.

I  make my cheese sauce in the microwave, I don't precook the lasagne sheets. I make my bread in a bread machine. I don't have posh ingredients, I just do the best I can with the ingredients I have. I can't afford meat every day, so we have it two or three times a week. 

My priority is to get a meal on the table when we get in from work, for it to be wholesome, filling and tasty. We have piles of veg and nothing's posh. Learn a few recipes and get them right and then move on to a few more. When was the last time you just made soup, or a stew, or a cottage pie and yes, you can  just use veg if that's all you have. 

Our menus are very simple, not exotic and repeat themselves every so many weeks. There's no take aways or ready meals, just simple home cooked food. I make it my priority to just feed us simply and I don't care if it's plain and simple. We eat well enough for us.

So, if all of this is new to you, a first priority is to just eat simply, without the fuss and don't worry if it's what you can afford. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

63 comments:

  1. That Lidl bread flour is the biz....by the way that little problem that I had between the tootsies wasn't athlete's foot as you thought. It was an accumulation of dry skin. Two weeks off work has given me a little bit of pampering time to sort out some of those beauty basics!!! xxx

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    1. Got to look after our feet, we spend all day every day on them xxxx

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  2. I made bread at the weekend, one plain and one poopy seed. It was so delicious but didnt last long. I am now on the look out for a cheap bread maker to hopefully make it a regular thing.

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    1. Ask around. My mom had three under her counter that different people had given her. She never makes bread and gladly gave them to different people who mentioned them.

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    2. Our British Heart Foundation furniture shop sells kitchen gadgets cheaply - all checked by an electrician. I've seen breadmakers in there before now

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    3. Thanks for the tip. I will start asking tomorrow when I start back at work.

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    4. Miss Piggy bank, homemade bread doesn't last long, it's normal. The supermarket loaf last longer because all the fat and additives. I make a kind of "easy sourdough", I mix the ingredients before go to work, leave it resting and I knead it when I come home in the afternoon and them bake it. It use to last two days and the leftover turn out a nice toast next morning.

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  3. Good points, i am wobbling away here-but hoping to whittle that wobble away. :-)

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  4. We do not need meat daily,it is better to bulk our food out with veg etc.I was listening to an interesting radio show(from a nutritionist point of view) on the very subject.Sounds boring but it was enlightening.

    Lov Leebee x x

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  5. Your grub always looks so good. I always buy fruit and veg either (and much more) at Lidl or Aldi now, SO much cheaper than Sainsbury and just as good in my opinion.

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    1. In my experience, fruit and veg is not as fresh as that from the mainstream supermarkets.

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    2. My OH used to work for one of the big supermarkets, they simply buy when it is not yet ripe and keep it in their coldstores for weeks and bring it out when demand requires. The bargain stores don't have those coldstores on site and tend to buy it when it is ready to use so if you are going to use it when you buy it then it is probably at just about the correct ripeness. And I keep mine in the fridge in the green bags you can buy.My Aldi sprouts were still great four weeks after I bought them

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    3. I use the green stayfresh bags as well. You can reuse them and they work really well. That combined with buying seasonal fruit and veg from Aldi/Lidl is one of my biggest savings. Shirley Goode always used to reckon you should allocate a quarter of your food budget to fruit and veg and it's true, you can eat a much more varied diet than if you spend as much as possible on meat, and the savings on that proportion of your budget from buying at Aldi rather than Tesco really mounts up

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  6. I am actually super excited about trying to save and be extra frugal. It is becoming a game. I am hoping to be able to over pay more of the mortgage and save a bit more for future travel.

    I saw a programme on the words in the new oxford dictionary and a new word that has been entered is Flexitarian. Which means you eat meat but you can take it or leave it.

    I think a new buzz should be made about "conscientious frugality". More people need to know about it and try it. But with all the money spent after Christmas, I am unsure if the recession seems to be affecting anyone else around here.

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  7. We had stew and dumplings for tea - sat in front of a log fire :)
    L.x.

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  8. A couple of years ago for health reasons the doctor recommended I eat an "organic diet." Our grocery bill crept up to $1,000 a month trying to follow all of that. I realized very quickly we would never be able to keep that up. I found that just cooking from scratch as much as I could helped with the medical problems almost as much as the organic diet. My new rule is I want to be able to pronounce ingredients whenever possible...lol.

    I now always use Aldi for my most basic vegetables (carrots, etc.) because I can't beat their prices anywhere else. (Except summer local gardeners.)

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    1. do you have any space..even if just for pot's for growing some of your own, i don't turn space over for things i can buy cheaply here, but save a bundle growing things like pepper's, soft fruits and chili's, my rule if thumb is if it's going to cost me over a £1 im going to grow it. I grow mostly organic not for health but im not shelling out for chemicals :)

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  9. Toad in the Hole here with lots of fresh veggies. I used 3 sausages cut into pieces in the batter - made with Aldi flour. Made six servings - yum!

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  10. So right Froogs (as always) Aldi and Lidl do fabulous veg at a fraction of the prices in some of the other supermarkets, and I'm sure I could buy a goodly proportion of the shop display for the price of an organic delivered veg box.
    Christmas dinner cost about £15 for the 4 of us (well it's only once a year)....I didn't notice my professional chef son leaving anything on the plate so I'm guessing the difference between that and the posh food he usually gets to eat wasn't that vast.
    Do you have any low calorie recipes up your sleeve? ...my wobbly bits have increased a bit too much over christmas :-)

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    1. hi kittykitty, i have lots of cheap and delicious veggie recipes on my blog: http://frugaleatingintoronto.blogspot.ca/ - hope to see you over there, c.

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  11. I am a very proud Mum today. My son was out of work for 2 years and thanks to his ex was deeply in debt. In the last 3 years he has risen up the management ladder but pinched his pennies, budgetting and tweaking. Today he paid his last debt off - a total of £15,000 in 3 years.

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    1. Congratulations to your son. Well done.

      Dianne - Hereford

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    2. Congratulations. Your son must feel great x

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    3. congratulations to him. How proud you must be.

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    4. Justifiably So. You must be proud Vixen

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    5. I actually had tears spring to my eyes when I read this. Well done to your son, you must both be super proud.

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    6. What a great accomplishment for your son.

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    7. That is one determined young man. Well done to him :-)
      x

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    8. Well done to your son, my son had to do something very simply and using frugal tips from me managed to clear all his debts - then he moved back in with his ex !!

      Either it will work out this time or he will be repeating himself in a year or so :-(

      As parents we can only stand and watch and offer support when needed.

      Sue xx

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    9. Wonderful. Please tell him that his efforts are stupendous.

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  12. Your veggie lasagne looks gorgeous, and your bread more perfect than anything that ever came out of my breadmaker! A recipe for your lasagne (my veggie lasagne is always too sloppy),or even a hint on how you make cheese sauce in the nuker (stirring on the hob takes a while) would be appreciated :)

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  13. I am so going to try to be more frugal this year and you are my go to blog for inspiration. I know you get a lot of traffic from my blog because I can see everyone leaving my site by yours on the feedjit thing!!! I don't believe in personal debt but I do self gift like mad and frankly that should stop....I agree 100% with home cooking. I endorse it myself. I find it so soothing after a day of work to action same xxxx

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  14. Hi I have recently joined your blog... you have me hooked on cutting back on waste... your recipes always look yummy....Thanks for sharing!

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  15. Hello, I might be one of your "visitor stats". :) I've been following you for a few months and enjoy your matter of fact approach to frugality.
    I am working towards paying down our mortgage and thoroughly enjoy your blogging.
    Keep it up, I check in everyday now!
    Thanks much.

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  16. I love this blog too. I'm always watching for hints or inspiration. I have to be frugal just to pay the mortgage. No hope of overpaying. I dread the time when the interest rates start going back up.

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  17. Love veggie Lasagne. Anyway you don't need meat every day, even if you could afford it. I don't eat it anyway.

    I just pulled out a loaf from my breadmaker, as I came in late it was a mix this time, which I keep just in case and buy when on offer. Usually it is Aldi strong flour. I've never tried sun dried toms in bread.

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  18. Anyone had seen the program " 50 shocking Facts about diet and exercise" on Chanel 5 this week?
    Very funny approach and very shocking trues about diet and food industries.
    The simply and frugal life is the answer for so many questions, economic and healthy points.
    You can see on channel5 web site.

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  19. Froogs, I have to read you every night now before I go to sleep. I love your blog and you are so right about trying recipes and getting them right.
    I have said it before but must again advise your readers to try your faggotts. They are the best! I have a large stash in my freezer now, in bags just like you said. Any tips on how to get my bread less solid and a bit lighter? It just feels heavy when I make it.

    Thanks
    Sarah

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  20. Hi Froogs,I recently discovered our local community farm sell lovely, fresh (almost all home-grown, nothing air-feighted),organic fruit and veg loads cheaper than Lidl or similar. Plus it's delivered to our door at no charge (saving on fuel). Also those that are willing (and have the time) to muck in and get there hands dirty, get theirs for free! This is not just for country folk, they deliver boxes to people in the nearest city too. It's worth searching online, incase there is a scheme like this in your area (I wish I'd found out about ours earlier). These places are begining to spring up all over now, making it possible for more of us to have the good life(though in my case too minus the posh wellies and Kirsty frock) on a tight budget. It's definitely worth supporting them. I am sure most people would much rather put their grocery money into the local community than give it to the supermarkets, given the chance. Mind you, my daughter was horrified when she saw the amount of mud on our carrots! and the celeriac ;O)
    I've been loving your recipes, have worked though quite a few of them now and all have been enjoyed. Many thanks xx

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  21. Tonight it's leftover turkey vegetable soup from the freezer that I made after Thanksgiving. There's nothing like hot soup on a cold night. And as always, thanks for the inspiration to keep on keepin' on, Froogs! I look forward to your posts every day.

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  22. Oh I love the way you have with words Froogs. Straight to the point with added humour. I'm sure there's a book in you somewhere, one day eh?
    Made a lovely adzuki bean casserole yesterday, wholesome and hearty. Just as you say, simple, healthy food.
    x

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  23. Oh I love the way you have with words Froogs. Straight to the point with added humour. I'm sure there's a book in you somewhere, one day eh?
    Made a lovely adzuki bean casserole yesterday, wholesome and hearty. Just as you say, simple, healthy food.
    x

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  24. I do not know how I found your blog, but I am thankful. Your words are very encouraging. I am especially more aware of cutting back on waste since food has become more expensive. I make my own version of soup....we call it garbage soup. You take whatever vegetables, rice, pasta sauce, etc. you have leftover that you would normally throw away and freeze it. Each time you have a little bit of this or a little bit of that (which some folks would normally throw away) place it in a freezer container and keep adding to it until you have enough to make soup. I sometimes have to only add a can of corn, tomatoes, etc. to the mixture. It is really yummy especially with a grilled cheese sandwich.

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  25. I make enough bread rolls every Sat for the following week and freeze them ready slices. When I make packed lunches I just take out a frozen roll from the freezer and fill. It's defrosted by lunchtime and still lovely and fresh.

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  26. Precooked and frozen (now defrosted) apple pancakes for dinner tonight - it is so hot here today (44 degrees celsius) an easy dinner is all that is needed! It's true that you can find simple solutions - our bathroom window gets the afternoon sun (did I say it was 44 degrees c today????) so we thought how could we fix this, firstly we thought a trellis along the back wall, then we thought an outside blind, then something else, all costing money we don't have! - what are we currently using? A big piece of cardboard fixed in position with an old mop! Love it!!!!!
    Judy xx

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    1. Judy I feel for you. Everyday I am anxious about the heat and humidity and to my surprise it was so very hot in cool places like Hobart today. Keep safe and don't over do a thing.

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  27. I wish could afford all those brands you named froogs!!! I do own a kidston bag but it was a gift off my twin. I feel a tad guilty as all I have feed my children is reduced chicken for the past three days, so tonight it will be erm..... I dont know yet.
    I got a breadmaker of DH for Xmas out of curry's and it was only £35. I havebt used it yet, but I cannot wait to use it. Allie xxxxxx

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    1. Don't we all, but life isn't like that! I've never stepped into the world of the perfect people and I see no need to. Chicken is better for them than pizza and chips, you're doing your best xxx

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    2. reduced food is perfectly fine. I went stalking those yellow labels after Christmas and snaffled some marvellous bargains including 3 gammon steaks for 35p, a heap of pastrami for 50p and a heap of ox tongue for 50p. Your reduced chicken is not a cause for guilt, but for celebration as it shows that you are managing your money well. I cook a lot of 'bitsa' meals e.g. risotto, stew, frittata, where you can include all those odds and ends that lurk in the back of the fridge or in the freezer. I freeze any leftovers, no matter how small the amount, that I know I won't use within the next day or two.

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    3. I would be proud to feed my children reduced chicken as it shows you are feeding your children cheaply but healthily. We quite often eat reduced chicken and use the leftovers for pies and curries.

      Well done you for finding a bargain!

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  28. froogs, you are so right (and so funny!)you make my day!

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  29. Oh balls, I have a south facing patio a Volvo (paid for with cash of course) and a taste for celeriac... I do shout "hurry it up dears" to the blokes building the new Aldi in town every time I pass on my way to the beach though!

    I love the fact you talk about repeating menu plans. It's something people ask me about a lot and look at me as though I've said the most amazing revelation when I say you don't have to eat something different every day and that keeping a copy of an old plan means it makes things easier over the months. Keeping it simple is one of the keys to success in my world.

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    1. I keep my menu plans on an Excel spreadsheet and it's a doddle to copy over onto a new page. I have a basic plan - Sunday roast, Monday leftovers or storecupboard, Tuesday sausages or mince, Wednesday eggs/cheese, Thursday Chicken, Friday fish and Saturday something a bit more elaborate - not necessarily expensive but something I wouldn't cook on a week night. I've got another spreadsheet with basic recipes organised under these headings so when I do my meal plan I can vary the meals while sticking to the basic outline even when I totally lack inspiration. There are times when I wish they would invent another (cheap) animal when they roll their eyes at chicken again and lamb or beef is too expensive, they don't like pork or ham very often but they still want a roast

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    2. We do something similar. DH cooks on Sundays so we usually have pasta, Monday is usually a stewy thing with potatoes, tuesday rice/quinoa, Wednesday spicy something, Thursday clear out the fridge, Friday curry, Saturday pizza/stirfry/ something quick and yum!

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  30. 'I wanted my life to be organic, free range and fair trade, you know......all a bit Totnes and yogic, with a bit of Riverford on the side, a sprinkling of Seasalt, a dash of French lessons all tossed in a Volvo and served on a south facing patio. I wanted the hunter wellies, a frock like Kirsty and a bum that never sagged'...hahaha, i LOVE that description!
    I used to long for that kind of life, but have come to realize that i dont NEED it. In fact, nobody NEEDS it.
    As long as we are fed, have a roof over our heads, and have our health, we are a darn sight luckier than some.
    Happy New Year Froogs.

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  31. Great post Froogs!

    That veggie lasagna looks delish :)

    x

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  32. So true. Time to focus on the really important things and turn your back on the latest trends.

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  33. 'I wanted my life to be organic, free range and fair trade, you know......all a bit Totnes and yogic, with a bit of Riverford on the side, a sprinkling of Seasalt, a dash of French lessons all tossed in a Volvo and served on a south facing patio. I wanted the hunter wellies, a frock like Kirsty and a bum that never sagged'

    People who APPEAR to have that kind of life usually have a rather lucrative income stream (media contract, husband in banking) and wouldn't last a week on minimum wage let alone manage it in "style"!





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  34. Happy New Year Frugal queen and all, I've been reading your posts for a while now, i love the fact that from reading your posts i can see how contended you are and finally I've taken the big step of becoming a little more Frugal myself. i've seen it coming for a while. But was always to frightened...as i'm hopeless at writing lists and keeping to them. But i'm like bring it on 2013...i've armed myself with a bread machine, plastic containers note pad and pens.
    Keep up the amazing posts frugal Queen you are a great inspiration. x

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  35. I have been out for a cyle ride this afternoon after working this morning. Ive made some choc chip muffin type cakes so we can have a treat while out cycling tomorrow. DH makes all our bread rolls and they are frozen but if I see wholemeal bread in Lidl or Aldi with 50% off I buy a loaf and stick that in the freezer too. Tomorrow will take sandwiches in toaster bags and a tiny gas powered stove so they can be toasted in the frying pan. We know all the good busstops LOL and sit in one for our lunch break. We have a lovely time ( unless the weather is awful) and it is frugal and helps keep us it as well.

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  36. Simple home cooked food from simple ingredients. Makes sense to me. I cook all my meals from scratch using whatever gets harvested from my allotment.

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  37. Often worry about not wanting to give my girls named brands and to make them follow the crowd, or not dishing up fancy meals but your so totally right they have a simple meal and very happy with it! Thank you

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