We are so excited about this year here at Frugal HQ – we have been making lots of plans, some of which are too far fetched… but some are going to be actually real!! There is much more work to be done before we can share them, but to get us going for the year, if you are just starting out on your ethically frugal life, or want to up your game quickly – here are five really easy things you can do RIGHT NOW to get you into your frugal groove:
1. Check Your Utilities –
You should really make this part of your monthly or annual plan. More details are in our FREE e-book, but you should be shopping around to get the best deal on your gas and electricity (longer term you should be checking/changing all your regular household bills). We use Switchcraft as they do all the work for us! You just sign up, and then they email you before your current deal ends and give you the best choices to move to – no more forms after that initial sign up. You can specify if you only want to deal with the big energy suppliers, or just green or whatever you feel comfortable with. If you use this link we get a bit of a commission, and £5 of that we give to Charity: Water x.
2. List What You Need –
Grab a bit of paper or your phone, and start a list of what physical items you actually need in an average week or month. Then add in special or unusual things like birthday gifts. Then check in with the rest of the family and add their items. You can now have fun finding as many of these items as you can from:
- what you already have – make do and mend, repurpose, upcycle etc.
- what you can make for yourself – cards, gifts, washing powder?
- what you can get on free cycle sites, from friends, skips, schwooping etc.
- what you can actually do without when you think about it, or do less often
- what you can ask someone else to get for you – e.g. as a treat, favour, in exchange for babysitting…
- what you can find in a deal, coupon, voucher, special offer
You will then be left with the items you need to buy, at full price and can make that part of your budget (you have a budget right?). If you know what you are looking for to cover the year, you can make better use of deals and discounts.
3. Sell Unwanted Stuff –
After you have listed what you need, and had a good rummage in the cupboards and shed to find things, you are likely to have also come across lots of things you don’t need/want/like/fit and now is the time to get rid of them. You can sell them, give them away, or swap them but clutter isn’t good for ethically frugal living and it’s not good for your mental health either so start working through it gently. If you can re-gift things to cover some of the items from no. 2 above then do so – just remember to keep a list of who gave it to you before you give it to someone else, this can also be useful if you need to donate to school raffles and other events during the year.
4. Assess the Leftovers –
You can have a cheap food shop in much of January by being more aware of what you already have in the cupboards and freezer and odd tins around the house that you got in the mad dash for Christmas. By using up those leftovers carefully and only buying the additional things you need you should be back on track very quickly. You need to be willing to have a few ‘odd’ meals and we call them UFO’s (Unidentified Frozen Objects), but it’s all for a good cause – YOU!
5. Start Meal Planning –
If you don’t do this already, or stopped bothering for a bit get back in the habit of planning what you and the family are doing for the week and only buy what you need to cover those meals. Remember with back to school you may need to add in lunch box items or after school snacks. We find in the Winter we do eat differently, so get in lots of cheap veg and make up soups! Think about where and when you shop, and also moving ‘down’ towards the value brands on some items. January is a good month to start new habits and start as you mean to go on.
Our theme for this month is to Start Something – January is a great time to gather energy and ideas for the year ahead. Keep in touch using the form below to get inspiration delivered to your inbox throughout 2018 xx
Everything is more exciting when it’s made into a funny shape- I even got away with emergency ‘pizza’ made from a slice of bread because I cut them into Halloween spiders 🕷
How is it October already?
We are not big on the Halloween thing, so are going to a local Light Party (50p each) and then have some sweets to hand out to people that may knock on the door – luckily the kids have never asked to go Trick or Treating so not had to cross that bridge yet. I managed to get sweets on Approved Foods at a song, and we just use the same costumes year on year out of the ‘box’. I got a range of accessories one year for 25p each at a cheap shop on 1st November. So, all in all it doesn’t cost us a lot of money – with a few home crafts thrown in if required we then move forward to Bonfire Night…
Just to prove I’m not the only person banging on about reusing mugs, or using recycled products, here is The Guardian showcasing the argument for coffee shops (you know who I mean…) being more green. However, we can all make an individual difference too, but recycling our cups or taking our own – and yes, this is going to be another photo of my own re-using mug as I love it sooooo much.
Before ordering from Approved Foods, clear out your cupboards (and maybe the shed too!?!)
The school holidays are upon us, and we now have four kids eating us out of house and home… quick fixes are lots of home baking (double whammy of cheap AND entertainment) and Approved Foods, who sell off near to and out of date foods. We have just ordered enough food for snacks etc to last the whole of the holidays, all in date until the end of August for less than one lunch out for us all!
Halve your meal!
If you usually make enough for two adults then split it into four instead. Put two in the freezer for another time, and fill the rest of you plate with salad or veggies.
The benefits of this are not just financial – but great for your health too. Buy whichever veg are on sale to broaden your palate, or grow your own…
You can freeze any leftover dregs of wine (white or red) and then use a cube, or whatever shapes you make, in cooking x
Please label them carefully! 😉