Every week I share five frugal things that I’ve done during that week just to show you that the small things you do all add up to a great frugal lifestyle where you can learn to live a fabulously frugal life.
Before I start though, I do want to say that being frugal to me is about getting the best value for our money – it’s not about doing without for us or about not having nice things. We all have different financial situations and we’re all frugal for different reasons – we’re frugal so we can afford to do nice things together.
1) I shared my weekly meal plan over on Meal Planning Made Easy this week but I thought you might like to see my bargain lunches.
My favourite ever soup recipe is spicy butternut squash and sweet potato soup which I’ve probably mentioned more than a few times in the past as it’s my favourite ‘cook on a weekend and eat through the week’ recipe. Last weekend though I bought a pack of similar style pre-prepared soup mix from Tesco for the bargain price of 78p so I bought that instead of making my own and it was *almost* as tasty as mine.
It made three lunches – Sunday, Monday and Tuesday although I’ll be honest, by Tuesday I was a bit bored of it so I feel like I would have been better freezing the final portion for later in the week.
26p a portion is fantastic although I did add a bit of extra sweet potato chunks from my freezer to it as it seemed to be more butternut squash and onion. 😉
2) I’ve had some news last Friday that’s going to mean a few changes in the New Year – nothing bad but definitely something that’s going to mean that I need to be making a ‘Be better with Time Management’ kind of New Year’s Resolution when it comes to it. 😉 Basically, I’m going to be leaving the house earlier on a morning and getting back home a little bit later so I’ve been trying to get my head around how that’s going to look for us as a family.
There are a couple of things on my mind that I need to specifically sort before the New Year:
- Breakfasts are usually hard work here as I have typical teenagers who like to get up at the last possible minute so I’m pretty sure that if I’m not around they’ll be even more last minute and will struggle to make time for breakfast. That means that I need ‘grab and go’ options that I can batch prepare. I’m thinking mini omelettes and breakfast muffins of some sort for them along with some of those Belvita breakfast biscuits as a plan B. For me, I’ll definitely not have time for breakfast before I leave as I’m always running late so I’ll go for the mini omelettes and where I remember to make them the night before, I’ll take some overnight oats to work with me to eat when I get there.
- For tea on a night, I’m going to need to rely on the kids to help me a little bit more and I’m more grateful than ever that they’re proficient enough in the kitchen to be able to do that.
- I need to up my Batch cooking game which is something I’ve not been great at lately. I need to sort my freezers out again and have a good batch cooking session to give me a head start. Being able to get something out of the freezer the night before to just whack in the oven when I get home is exactly what I need. Having a good stock of our own freezer ‘ready meals’ when Master Frugal was in the hospital and subsequently recovering was amazing – we used them all up and haven’t got around to replacing
3) Remember me telling you about my huge water bill and what we were doing to reduce our water consumption?
Basically, over the years our water bill has gone up a little bit each time we’ve been billed which we’ve accepted as normal increases taking into account that we do use more water now than we did when the kids were younger now that we have a teenager who could break the world record for the longest possible shower.
We did try to decrease our water usage and I’ve even called the water company a couple of times to discuss it as I was told the average consumption for a family of four is around £35 which meant we were using an above average amount of water when I genuinely would have expected us to be below average.
I asked our neighbours what they were paying and they were very similar to us so I just accepted the higher bills. I did make changes to our water usage (I literally would shout at Miss Frugal to get out of the shower after she’d been in for 5 minutes) so I would have really expected our bill to come down but no, our last bill was a huge one which meant our payments were going up to £46 a month! Hence the renewed focus on using less water that I shared in my post.
Anyway, we’ve all focused on reducing our water consumption and I’m pretty confident that we’re using less now than we were before – so much so that I was actually looking forward to getting my next bill. But then, we got a letter out of the blue saying that although our house was linked to the right meter as far as water supply is concerned, their billing system had us paying someone else’s actual bill!!!!
So all this time, we’ve been trying to reduce what we were using and not seeing much impact because we were being billed incorrectly. I was told we were owed £30 and that our bill would be reduced accordingly but even that didn’t seem right to me so I queried it and someone else looked into it and it turned out we were actually due a lot more than that back. And I mean a LOT.
Our monthly bill has also reduced substantially which is fantastic – especially taking into account the recent changes we’ve made to use less water.
The moral of this story is to challenge anything with more determination than we challenged our bill over the years and to double check where you can. – If I’d just read the number on our meter and compared it to the one on the bill I might have noticed it was ever so slightly different or if I’d been a bit more challenging when I spoke to the water company then they might have discovered the error sooner.
As this has been a super-long post already today, I’ll share a couple of quick wins from this week with you for the last couple of things:
4) I made a batch of homemade Febreze using some lavender scented fabric softener and it’s gorgeous. I’ve made a smaller bottle to keep upstairs in the bedroom as it’s so relaxing. It really complements the linen spray I’ve made using lavender essential oils.
5) I’ve had a few no-spend days this week which is something else I haven’t really focused on much lately with all that’s been going on. They didn’t happen because of any deliberate effort on my part – it just seemed to work out that on three days, I haven’t needed to spend any money. I’m still taking it as a win though! 😉
As usual, we’ve been having some really good discussions this week over in our Live Well, Spend Less Facebook group. We’d love to welcome you to our little community if you fancy popping in.
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