Saturday, 27 July 2013

Be Real!



Hello Dear Reader,

In the UK, we have see drastic price increases since 2007. However, on average, wages have risen by 1.5%. A lot of people have lost their jobs, their homes and are having real financial difficulties. We are faced with making a sensible choice with housing and downsize to a small house where we can pay off the mortgage sooner rather than later. Dearly Beloved and I both took pay cuts. My own, was my choice and I need go no further into the details on that matter. On the other hand, Dearly Beloved's public sector pay cut was not of his choosing. We now earn (after tax) £650 less a month than we did a couple of years ago. 

Our bills have not shrunk, they've just got bigger. Fuel is 52% more expensive than it was when we moved into this house is 2007. Food is 32% more expensive than it was in 2007. The huge increases in energy bills for our homes in the UK have risen 30% in the last three years. In real terms, we earn a massive amount less than we used to. Throughout all this, we've paid off debts, over paid our mortgage to the point that we've paid £52K back since we moved in here in 2007. Some where along the line, just to keep our heads about water, something has to give.

We heat only part of our house with a wood stove instead of running the central heating. We have four minute showers and no longer have baths. We cook in our mini oven and use our microwave. We fill a Thermos flask with water to save boiling the kettle repeatedly. We wash our car with a bucket and sponge to save water. We only buy what we really really need. We save every penny we can so we can cover any eventualities. We even got married on a tiny budget and just had FM and MW for guests and ate lunch in a fish cafe. I make any gifts I give. We don't eat out. We home cook everything but even that is getting more and more expensive.

I look for alternatives so we don't have to give up fruit and vegetables completely. I eat natural yoghurt with tinned fruit (in juice) to get protein and vitamins for breakfast. I supplement our shopping bill with frozen fruit and veg and some tinned too. I am not going to beat myself up any further because I can't buy a veg box. I would love to make cut backs but when I look at everything we've cut back already, I just wonder where I can cut back any further. 

I am not going to feel guilty about buying my clothes in Matalan (for work and about once every two years), shopping for groceries in Aldi or opening a tin of 19p spuds (we had some roasted and they were fine). I am not going to feel guilty about having to admit that I need to downsize to pay off my mortgage sooner rather than still have it to pay when I'm retired.

Let's be real! There are families out there who only ate today because a food bank fed them. Today and every day, families are losing their homes, their jobs and desperately trying to cope with benefits cuts, bedroom tax and reduced wages and ever increasing prices. My message to everyone is just to do your best, if you best is frozen fruit with Aldi plain yoghurt then give thanks that you can afford that! 

It's a hard world, I'm coping but thousands and thousands don't - let's give them, and their 19p tinned potatoes, a frickin' break!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxx

58 comments:

  1. Hello, Jane ! Because you have things to say and are articulate and really master the subject, have you ever thought of putting pressure on politicians in one way or rather. Have you got an idea of how it could be done, other than through voting of course. Even then though, it's difficult to know whom to choose and if it has a real impact anyway. May I say (again) how much I love your blog and your radio interventions.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Why would anyone need to feel guilty about shopping in Aldi (or Matalan)? I love Aldi and have shopped there for years - and must have saved a considerable amount of money in doing so. Personally, I always feel guilty when I very occasionally shop in Tesco as they have ravaged local high streets and local businesses in their bid to dominate the market.

    ReplyDelete
  3. living & raising a family is difficult enough without coping with constantly rising prices, not to mention job losses & pay cuts, it sounds like the UK is struggling big time @ the moment. Here in australia we have many families doing it tough too, but I thank god we have 'australian royalty' ancestors (1st & 2nd fleeters) cause we get to live in this paradise that is 'Aus land' we can have a bit of room (& weather) to grow veggies, fruit trees & run chooks, money is still tight & I strive every day to be more frugal, but life is good. There are too many experts in the world today - telling us what we should & shouldn't do/buy, how to raise our kids etc, making some feel guilty for so much - you need encouragement & hope when struggles are big. I would like to see websites like yours that help & encourage people to live within their means - giving them the tools to do so, be encouraged - given 'media time' in a positive fashion, it's not newsworhty unless it's doom & gloom - wouldn't it be nice to change that attitude, I'll get off my soapbox now, thanks for your website - I have learnt so much, Deb M

    ReplyDelete
  4. People do think we are 'Tight' though, I do feel that from friends - but it's out of necessity - I work in the NHS, no pay rise for last few years, no increment as top of my pay band, they have taken our car user's allowance off us so we are worse off than 4 years ago! I try so hard, but it is difficult to raise kids with these big struggles and pressures from without the family.

    ReplyDelete
  5. congratulations you are doing what is right for you and I wish you every blessing in your new abode. I get very huffy with people who are rude about tins etc. We are doing the very best we can on whatever limited means we have. I read an article that seemed to imply it was impossible to have a healthy diet on £12 a week per head and that you would need double that. Who are they trying to kid. There are millions of us out here living on lots less and doing it in as healthy a style as possible. Set myself a challenge to live on a £1 a day for amonth. The first week is up tomorrow and I am coming in at much less. Don't know what I am making such a fuss about as I have been living on this sort of budget most of my life. I will be eating the same weekly menu for the next three weeks as this week I have cooked everything in four portions and frozen three. Probably not ideal according to the 'foodies' but beggars cant be choosers and a full tummy is far more important than aesthetics after all in caveman days we ate the woolly mammoth until it was gone.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Froogs. I'm getting a bit fed-up with the latest trend of knocking tinned and frozen stuff. Life was a struggle for our family when I was little. My mum worked so hard and they were just getting back on their feet after the war in a lovely new home...and along came me! Money was very tight, and time away from work even tighter. We never went hungry. Good food at home, good school dinners (not free). Veg. were a mix of tinned and fresh, and desserts either a hot pudding with custard, like spotted dick (properly called Plum Duff), or suet pudding served with jam or golden syrup. A couple of nights we'd have tinned fruit rhubarb, peach slices with evaporated milk. Sunday night tea would be tinned fruit cocktail (luxury!)and jelly as well as the Carnation milk. Mum often filled ready-made sponge flans (they're still around) with drained tinned fruit and Quick-Jel (quick-setting jelly). I especially looked forward to Christmas as we would have a couple of tins of strawberries, oooh!, and mandarin segments!! My mum could not afford manufactured cakes and pastries so always made her own. i used to long for a 'shop-bought' cake to be like my friends; I now realise what a good cook my mum was -- not fancy stuff, just good basic fare. She worked wonders to eke out a very small housekeeping budget, often walking another quarter or half a mile to save another halfpenny (quarter of 1p nowadays) or penny (half of 1p today)on a jar of jam.

    The coal fire in the front room was lit only at 4.0 pm during the week ready for the evening. We lived all day in the kitchen, where we had a small paraffin heater. Funny, we seem to be going back to that kind of pattern now, after the increased fuel prices of recent years!

    We need to remember that, just like my mum back then, we are all doing the best we can with what we have and what we know. We still have tinned food in our house, though if it's fruit it's more likely to be in juice than in syrup! Moderation and balance are key. Tinned does not automatically mean inferior! As Froogs and Plato have both said, 'Be kind'.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, I know people would be sniffy about some of the stuff we ate growing up but it was during a recession, there wasn't much money, interest rates were really high and my parents did a grand job making the money stretch. Myself and my brothers are still here and going strong so the food did us no harm at all. In fact I still see a tin of mandarins as a real treat!

      Delete
    2. I love tinned fruit cocktail and mandarins!

      Delete
    3. I still like tinned mandarins and much prefer trifle made with tinned strawberries just like my dad made

      Delete
  7. Waves a flag for Frugal Queen! People have different levels of frugal. Some think they are frugal for buying yellow stickered food, some think because they grow and barter and some think shopping in aldi is better than tescos. Everyone is different.

    maybe there should be a multiple choice test. With Froogs as Grand Master expert. I would be Tries hard a lot level. lol each to their own I guess.

    Heck lots of people probably think I am wasteful as I like a holiday.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Gosh Froogs this is so true! And I just quoted a similar sentiment to my friend yesterday, life is hard, but be kind as everyone is going through something!
    I have just had a mastectomy and start chemo next week, but i truly feel blessed and lucky that the cancer was caught early and has not spread. I know the next few months won't be easy but at least i have the chance to get through this.
    My friend that i spent yesterday with suffers from depression. They are trying to sell an investment property (in a depressed area) and are struggling financially.
    Another friend suffers from depression, her husband has MS.
    So it is so important to be kind as you just never know from the outside what someone is going through!
    I have set your picture above as my desktop on my computer, never hurts to have that reminder to be nice!
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  9. I hope your audience grows, because more people need to read articles like this! Here in the US, we now have Aldi, and I LOVE shopping there. I buy all our basics there and save at least a third over shopping at Walmart or any other large store. Today I combed Goodwill to find my husband "new to him" sweatshirts to wear this winter while working in the shop, and found 3 that look new for $2 each. I also found a Christmas gift for one of our kids family, something really nice that I know they will use. I too make any gift I give to someone, usually a quilt, PJ's, or something knitted. One thing I do here that you may not have enough sunshine for in the UK is to grow plants in my big windows. I had my husband install wire shelving (we already had) in two big windows in my office. I grow lettuce and herbs all winter long, and some flowers too! I look for seeds on clearance in the fall, and usually find enough to grow whatever I want. I'm collecting used windows now to turn into a greenhouse out in our back field someday.

    Things here in the US are hard too. We do have a food stamp program that helps people without a job or with a disability buy food, but it's only about $2 a day per person. Most younger people don't have the cooking skills to make the food last all month. I really don't know what the answer is. A person can really only cut back so far. We buy cords of wood all year round when we have extra saved, and have plenty stored in our out buildings. We get a really good price ($60 a cord) because our wood guy knows to call when he has a surplus. I really don't know how younger people get by anymore. If I didn't know how to sew, quilt, knit, cook from scratch, freeze extra meals, preserve veggies & fruit, and how to keep a pantry full we would be in bad shape too.

    I love your blog, and all your ideas. I think it's time that like-minded people work together for the greater good. We've started bartering for payment, when a customer has something worth it. I'm driving a "new to us" van right now because my husband did work for someone that didn't have cash, but had an extra vehicle. He also got a boat this week for bartering engine work on another boat. We don't need a boat, so will sell it or barter it for something else! People have to get creative for sure!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love reading your blog posts Froogs. You deliver with passion and you make me to think. You mustn't get rattled by 'tinned potatoes'. They are all part of the diversity of thought that might provide clues to the solutions we are all looking for. Plato is right, we all need kindness and respect for each other to get through our every day struggles.
    Here in Australia we have one of the world's most prosperous economies. We are doing very well compared to other countries so we are told. We did it on the back of the mining boom and China's thirst for everything we can dig out of the ground. But the prosperity is not evenly spread. Like in your country people are losing jobs, the young can't get work, and housing, transport, utility and food costs are escalating. Government cut backs are rampant and they target the most vulnerable. Single parents with children over a certain age on welfare recently lost over $100 a fortnight from their payments to encourage them to get work. I hear of families sleeping in cars, not able to pay for basics and having to rely on emergency relief agencies that cannot cope with the demand. At the same time we are subsidising the more well to do with private health insurance, private education, purchase of new cars, investment properties and superannuation and the list goes on. The growing gap between rich and poor worries me but that is enough of my rant.
    You asked what more can one do to reduce costs. For me the answer has been to reduce my dependency on others (especially big corporations) to sustain me and my family. Like you, I mend, make, re-use, recycle, refuse at every opportunity. I like to think that I am taking back control of meeting my basic needs. After years of scrimping and saving we now have solar on the roof that will pay for itself in about 4 years, we have 11,000 litre tanks that collect water from roof and feed it into the home for showers, laundry etc. Mains water is used for drinking and food prep and when the tanks run out. We only have wood heating that uses fallen logs we collect and store. Most importantly our relatively small block of land grows some, not all, of our vegetables, herbs and fruit. Yes, it is hard work and it does take time but it saves us heaps. Finally, I am slowly eliminating consumables found in the middle isles of my supermarket. The wealth of information on the internet on how to 'make yur own' is amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Government has wasted billions of dollars of taxpayer money on various schemes over the past 6 years, such as the NBN, Insulation and solar schemes, plus stimulus bonuses to low income earners etc and that is why they are now cutting services wherever they can in an attempt to balance their books. Unfortunately they are targeting the most vulnerable in an attempt to do this. Australian income tax is amongst the highest in the world, and there is very little that can be claimed back on it - it's highly misleading to suggest that the inequality in our society is caused by lack of taxation of the so called wealthy. Australia has one of the flattest societies for wealth in the Western World.

      Delete
  11. The scourge of Socialism. It is a political scam that promises to give everything to everyone by taking from those who have more to those who have less. When there is no one left to take from everyone goes down together, except for the politicians who pocketed their share while redistributing the wealth. I never thought I would see America going down that road but now we are, too. Utterly devastating to the decent folks who are just trying to support a family, who didn't have the foresight to fight Socialism with everything they could muster. And now they wonder what the heck happened while they weren't looking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and I are on the opposite sides of the political divide. In the US and UK capitalism have allowed big business to do as they please. In both our countries, the bigger the business, the greater the tax evasion. If all the massive corporations paid their fair share and the banks were under tighter control then we wouldn't have had the 2008 crash. Unchecked and uncontrolled capitalism is nothing more than usury whilst equality in taxation and making everyone pay their taxes (as well as earning their own keep) would learn to a fairer society. There will always be the sick, weak and disabled and it's our job as Christians to care for those less fortunate than ourselves if that's socialism then so be it.

      Delete
    2. Well said, Frugal Queen

      Delete
    3. Agreement from the US, Froogs :-) Well said!

      Delete
    4. As a US citizen, you put it perfectly. If Socialism means everyone has to have, then call me a Socialist. I want it in this country to prevent hospitals from going belly up due to charity cases (never turning away anyone who cannot afford it which I appreciate), poor administrative management, incentives to doctors for prescribing more drugs instead for helping patients make better lifestyle choices and Big Pharma greed.
      And Linda, it is the mega mega rich who have benefited financially by selling a joke called the American Dreams. Right off the backs of the workers, not the unfortunate people trying to make a decent wage.

      Delete
  12. I totally understand Mrs Frugal. I live by myself and find it hard to afford any real luxuries any more. Rent and costs used to leave me with some money in my pockets to both save and have some fun ten years ago. Now I buy my clothes cheap off the internet or second hand, and haven't had a proper holiday away for about 7 years. Instead my two week break will be spent at home, while going to the local film festival, but only during the day to cheap tickets (don't get me wrong, I understand that is still a luxary). For that I have put $10 or $20 away every fortnight all year.

    I love reading your blog, you do a fine job of telling it like it is, and I admire you and your husband for choosing to downsize and live even more simply.

    Julie Q

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think tinned spuds are really nice!

    As some of the other commenters are picking up in different ways, food is politics. I got angry that Tescos were ravaging local economies and then expecting free labour from workfare, so OH and I began a project to boycott supermarkets last year. We managed for 9 months and found our grocery spending practically halved because we stopped picking up crap we didn't need. We stopped because we got fed up of not having decent fresh meat and fish. But we learned a lot.

    Now, the way I see it, so long as we are only taking basics or stickered items, they're not going to be making too much out of us.

    Don't feel bad if you can't afford fresh all the time. Frozen food actually contains more nutrients than fresh sometimes and tinned food is not so bad for you either. Like you, I would love to be one of those people who takes a veg box, but it's not practical right now.

    Good luck with the house sale.

    ReplyDelete
  14. God, you talk so much sense! I love your blog!

    I absolutely adore food blogs, and food mags etc, but this snobbery business does get on my chimes. Trying to make out that if you don't buy the best then your cooking will taste like poo. Not the case. Even Sainbury's with their 'try something new today'. Hm. No. Trying to get food costs down, not increase them, so I'll stick with what I know thanks!

    Keep up the good work lady, and I hope your house sells quickly. Well presented, clean and tidy, so I'm thinking it will.


    ReplyDelete
  15. What a range of comments. We each how our own reality and how we perceive the world. It is OK to have a different point of view and to express it without fear of ridicule.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Your blog entries are enlightening. I so much like reading from you. It's true that we all struggle nowadays. It's not so easy to make ends meet, not when prices constantly increase and wages constantly get reduced. If you are lucky enough to have a salary at all. I myself have my contract expiring on August 31st and it's 99% sure it won't be renewed. And it's not that my job isn't a useful one, since I am a social worker and God knows if social worker are mostly needed in this historical moment! I am getting married in October and I think we'll need to make our best to make ends meet, especially if I can't find another job by then! Your blog is a real help for many!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Your blog entries are enlightening. I so much like reading from you. It's true that we all struggle nowadays. It's not so easy to make ends meet, not when prices constantly increase and wages constantly get reduced. If you are lucky enough to have a salary at all. I myself have my contract expiring on August 31st and it's 99% sure it won't be renewed. And it's not that my job isn't a useful one, since I am a social worker and God knows if social worker are mostly needed in this historical moment! I am getting married in October and I think we'll need to make our best to make ends meet, especially if I can't find another job by then! Your blog is a real help for many!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dear Froogs, also in Italy is the same, I love read your post are realistic and you are a great woman! Sincerly I admire you. All of best
    Clarabella

    ReplyDelete
  19. A very well thought out post as usual froogs. I was only thinking the other day I now spend more or less in a month £130.....I used to feed a family of 4 and visitors on that.

    I am making more of an effort to shop more frugally. My main shopping is done at Aldi and through Approved Foods. There were things I used to get from Tesco but bit by bit I have found similar at Aldi. Their fruit and veg are by far better quality than Tesco and I look for more reduced stuff.

    Clothing wise its more difficult, now I am retired I do not need the clothes I did when I was working. I am still wearing clothes I bought 10 years ago. I must admit I buy classic clothes which do not go out of fashion. I also have shoes that are 10 years old, they are still good. OH keeps our shoes polished and looking good. Last year My stock of clothes was looking sparse and I spent £100 in Bon Marche, their clothes suit me, the clothes I bought are now 'best clothes' and my other clothes have moved down a slot. In winter I wear mostly trousers, summer tends to be light trousers or skirts with tee shirts. Like you I do not wash clothes if they have been worn once, unless its been very hot and a tee shirt is wiffy. I hang them on a hanger outside the wardrobe and leave them for 24 hours and then put them away.

    It will be interesting to see how much our heating costs us this winter, we have no chimney, so no fire out heating is gas which is far more expensive than electrio, depending on the readings (which I take every Monday) I may well swap to oil filled electric rads. Electric is approx half the cost of gas. Our water is metered and the water board have just reduced the amount we pay per month to £14. I aim to try and get that down even more.

    Love the pictures of your house, I can understand why you want to move and I hope you are successful in selling and buying something smaller.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank God for Aldi I say. If I hadn't of discovered it back in 2011 (and I am gutted I didn't discover it before), I don't know what we'd be eating now.

    There is definitely supermarket snobbery out there though and I know there are certain people who would secretly sneer at me if I told them I shop at Aldi. But sod 'em frankly. I have come to realise if you are aware of the savings to be made by shopping at Aldi versus one of the big four (for the most part) but choose to ignore it then you've either got money to burn or you're just stupid for going along with the snobbery.

    Thanks again for another honestly written and inspiring post.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Sheesh Froogs! What brought that on?!

    We use lots of tinned stuff. Tomatoes especially - who doesn't, in UK or even the Mediterranean?

    You asked, so I venture to comment that you could save by making your own yoghurt. Easi-yo powder makes fantastic yoghurt, not as they make it on the packet but by adding a couple of tablespoons of their rather expensive Plain Greek Yoghurt powder to 2 pints of warmed milk and a large tin of chilled evaporated milk so the result is at blood temperature before adding the powder. It is very quick; easi even; nicer than anything in the shops and so thick you can stand a spoon up in it. It can be strained to make Philadelphia cheese taste-alike.

    Another really easily made thing that would happily find its way onto a posh table is chutney made with tinned apricots. I saute some onions, add chopped apple and pear from the trees - (June Drop) windfalls on the ground now will do. Add some curry spices, then just a bit of brown sugar and Aldi balsamic vinegar to taste. Add the apricots - the sort in fruit juice rather than sugar syrup stir a bit and leave to mature in the fridge. It doesn't last out of the fridge as there is so little preservative in it, but the generous jewel-like pieces of apricot mean that it doesn't last long anyway. Curried apricot and apple chutney would go well with your pasties or faggots.

    Seriously, I wonder from the strength of your comment if a troll has been at work to rile you. I know from your posts that you have received messages being unkind or condescending about your frugality. Why anyone would do that I cannot understand. However, when you have the time it would be fun to do a post on the collected thoughts of trolls (if you have kept any)!

    The house looks lovely, I am sure that it will sell easily. We have just had a few days camping at Padstow and yours is such a lovely part of the world. The house prices around Padstow are astonishing and I would be surprised if the demand does not spread as far as you.

    Good luck.

    Jon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since I discovered Easi-yo I tend to make all my yoghurt from scratch. The sachets aren't cheap so I use UHT skimmed milk, milk powder and a dollop of a previously made batch (similar process to having a ginger beer' plant) and it works fine. I went strawberry picking recently and pulped and froze a lot in ice-cube trays, just add a couple of cubes to a small pot of yoghurt - keeps the yoghurt cool as they melt, so great for picnics/lunches. Otherwise, I pick up fruit that's going cheap (in Aldi/Asda/Tesco) and use what I can straight away or freeze it for later - or try a spoonful of (home made?!) jam stired into freshly made yoghurt - mmmmmm!

      Delete
  22. A good post and I am with WendyP, we must be of similar vintage, we used tinned fruit as a treat for Sunday with tinned cream that it was always my job to shake! Unfortunately there is not an Aldi or Lidl near me, I would have to drive considerable distance, one of the downsides of country living, along with not having a choice of fuels, no mains gas in a lot of villages here but I can grow enough salad, veg and fruit for my own use. I don't know how I would manage if all the family came back to live now, I feel for families with growing children but I suppose you do not have to eat meat or buy alcohol, I haven't purchased these items for years. I feel the majority of the population and everyone 'in charge' in this country is so far removed from real lives, perhaps we need a revolution and bring back proper old fashioned socialism.

    ReplyDelete
  23. A good post and I am with WendyP, we must be of similar vintage, we used tinned fruit as a treat for Sunday with tinned cream that it was always my job to shake! Unfortunately there is not an Aldi or Lidl near me, I would have to drive considerable distance, one of the downsides of country living, along with not having a choice of fuels, no mains gas in a lot of villages here but I can grow enough salad, veg and fruit for my own use. I don't know how I would manage if all the family came back to live now, I feel for families with growing children but I suppose you do not have to eat meat or buy alcohol, I haven't purchased these items for years. I feel the majority of the population and everyone 'in charge' in this country is so far removed from real lives, perhaps we need a revolution and bring back proper old fashioned socialism.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Firstly let us judge not lest we be judged. We are all subject to various pressures and unfortunately many struggle to feed and clothe their families. We should be helping one another not condemning sensible choices.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Alas modern life seems to be aimed at making people feel bad about something but especially food. My father was brought up in the Great Depression of the 1920's, he lived with four siblings and his parents in two rooms and a kitchen... with outside loo - no bathroom. He used to sleep in a bed in the cupboard. He says that they thought themselves well off and told me a story about one of his friends at school who invited him round to play and at his house he was offered a cup of tea in a jam jar instead of a cup. There are levels of poverty! He ate bread smeared with lard and came to enjoy all the really fatty cuts of meat that are supposed to be so bad for you nowadays... Bread and jam was a pudding and most days the main meal was soup.... and just last month he celebrated his 90th birthday and he's still going out dancing every week! I know alot of this is the luck of the draw and the genes you inherit... but there is plenty of nutritional value in both tinned, frozen and packet foods and I don't see why you can't live an active healthy and long life with a varied diet that includes a good amount of all those things.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I volunteer in a soup kitchen/food bank/food pantry in Maine (US) where I currently live. We've seen an increase in the number of clients, even in the year I've been working there. I too have become increasingly bothered by the food snob issue. I wrote about it on my budget cooking blog last month--here's the link in case anyone is interested: http://www.craftivistinthekitchen.com/2013/06/fundamentalist-food-fanatics-and-cult.html



    And you are quite right about frozen and canned food being good. Right now, my husband and I are part of a community supported agriculture farm, but we were given a share through the food bank where I work (it was donated by the farm). We enjoy going to the farm and love the food but we could never have paid for it. Anyway, studies have shown that sometimes canned/frozen food is better than fresh, nutritionally speaking. It is packed right away, whereas fresh produce often travels a long way and sits around. Anyway, I wish you success with the house sale and I hope you find another house that suits you :-) We plan to move to Ireland next spring, so right now every extra penny goes towards that and we do our best to have as many extra pennies as we can!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hello, I hope that the house sale goes well for you.
    I used some tinned potatoes the other day, fried them in the pan with some cajun spices and served them with a salad. The children loved them, there is nothing wrong with tinned potatoes.

    S x

    ReplyDelete
  28. Feeling poor can have a lot to do with attitude! We don't have a lot of money but feel rich and blessed every day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bully for you, I go tell that to the folk queuing at the food bank, maybe if they adjust their attitude their kids won't cry with hunger !!!!

      Delete
  29. I caught the last 20 minutes or so of The Food Programme on Radio 4 today...it was about food blogs including A Girl Called Jack. It was really interesting and I my try and find it to listen again. She talked of her time using the Southend on Sea Food Bank. Also interesting was Skint Foodie. In fact they were all interesting!

    I recommend anyone try and find it on catch up if you have access to that facility.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I don't know why I didn't start shopping in Aldi years ago. I'm at the end of my own 'Just use what you have July' and the cupboard was almost bare. I restocked yesterday using an Aldi £5 of a £40 shop voucher which I picked up in a newspaper thanks to a tip off from the Money Saving Expert website. I also had a £6 off an £30 Tesco shop. The cupboard is full again with enough tinned & packet food for 2-3 months having spent what I used to on meals for a week. I don't care what others think of me shopping at Aldi & I know that I will be debt free before the end of the year.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Absolutely love your blog and have read almost all of it over the last 6 months. You have utterly inspired me to keep at my own frugal journey this year and I thank you for that...long live tinned spuds!!! x

    ReplyDelete
  32. Just today was an editorial in the US about people who have never learned to cook or budget and their kids are facing real problems with food and nutrition. I wish I could point them all to your blog about how to cook on a budget and get the most from each penny.

    We have forgotten many of the hardships faced by just our parents in their lifetimes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The same here in the UK - I have tried in vain to offer cookery lessons and demonstrations at community centres and ther are not interested - they just give fish and don't teach people how to fish!

      Delete
    2. I'm not sure what food banks/pantries are like in your part of the world, so this may not be relevant. But we have the same problem at the food pantry where I am--there is an amazing amount of really high quality, healthy food donated from the local supermarket and the many local farms that are around here. Plus we get cooked food from the Bowdoin College dining room and other donations. There is so much food. So many people could use it. Unfortunately, some of the people that could benefit the most don't take the food because it is unfamiliar and they have no idea what to do with it. So one of the things I do is food/cooking demos in the pantry lobby using food that is in abundance to encourage people to take it. I always have a handout with creative recipe ideas and information on how to stretch the food that they get. Maybe food pantries in your area would welcome your demonstrations/cooking classes where the community centers didn't?

      Delete
    3. I LOVE that you hand out recipes. I think that is one of the biggest issues. Where I live in semi-rural NJ some of those using the food bank are the immigrants that come to do the backbreaking agricultural work. We were told no more pasta as they did not know what to do with it and give rice and beans instead. I am fine with that, but why not teach them how to make pasta dishes as well or give them a recipe or two for mac and cheese not just hand them a box of it.
      I wanted to say that I know from someone who works at a local food bank that Panera Bread, Target and Trader Joe's always donate food and the recipients are immensely grateful. The CSA I joined allows you to donate your box or things you do not use to the local food bank as well. Nice to know people do care and do give.

      Delete
  33. My ex MIL is English. Her mother didn't cook and neither does she. Reheat or buy in is the extent of her cooking. I have to agree it isn't easy right now. In Australia electricity prices have risen almost 100% over the last five years. Many do not have the income to cope with such rises. Would've, could've and should've don't help. The craziest thing is that food shows are so popular and yet most struggle with the basics. I don't need to see someone using exotic ingredients like sea urchins but would rather basics were shown at least once in a program.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Very similar in the US. Prices continually go up on everything, but wages don't. Even when my husband's social security went up, it didn't really, because they took more out for healthcare. Finances have drastically changed for us since I've had to become a full time caregiver for him in January. I work, but not much and it wouldn't even be cost effective for me to work more. Well over half of my pay goes to the cost of a private caregiver to be with him while I work and another portion for gas just to get to work. I've been trying to find ways to do work from home and haven't had any luck as of yet. Like you said...I'm keeping it real and appreciating what we do have. I cook a lot from scratch and have cut from bills where I can. Getting much better at frugality as well as faithfully following a budget.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Aldi apple pie in the oven right now! Mmmm.....

    ReplyDelete
  36. Aldi apple pie in the oven right now! Mmmm

    ReplyDelete
  37. Stay strong and try to stay positive, that is what I keep trying to say to myself right now. We are all on a journey and the frugality although it may seem tough at times will come out right in the end.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Frozen veggies and fruits are my fave to buy from Trader Joe's (owned by Aldi's) Their price on Canadian organic blueberries is excellent and I buy them to make my son smoothies with frozen mangoes :)
    After reading all these comments, it is nice to know that no matter where any of us are in the world, we are in this together and reaching out. Now if only all of our country's politicians would pay attention to our common man voice,then maybe, just maybe, we could right ourselves back into economic shape. Alas, I fear they just turn a deaf ear.

    ReplyDelete
  39. A brilliant post Froogs.

    We each do what we have to do in order to achieve what we want/need and no-one has the right to criticise and impose unwanted opinions on us. If we're doing the best we can that's it ... we ARE doing the best we can.

    I am getting sick of reading (A Girl Called)Jack's critics at the moment and the folk that have jumped all over her because she uses tinned potatoes are unbelievable. If you compare the cost of fresh potatoes to tinned we are all mad to buy the fresh, you get so much more for your money with lots of tinned food and I for one would sometimes rather have a tin lurking at the back of the cupboard, knowing it can lurk there for as long as it wants and be there when my purse is empty and I need to rustle up a meal, than have a mouldy old potato or other food item that needs throwing away and is therefore money in the bin.

    I've found that tinned potatoes are brilliant boiled, roasted, fried and cooked in any way you can think of, we should ignore what it says on the tin and just think of it as a part cooked potato.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I live in *the* potato-growing region of the US and spuds are cheap. Canned potatoes have always been a major treat, LOL.

    ReplyDelete

If you want to comment but don't want the comment to be published - please let me know in the FIRST LINE of your comment .Comments are moderated and may get published. Trolls are ignored!