Thursday 4 October 2018

The 1000th Post and Goodbye !

So I've been blogging for just under three years and this is the 1000th published post ! Phew, a thousand posts about frugal living and saving to enjoy some good times !

I have very much enjoyed writing here but now I think I have said all I have to say about frugal living and would be in danger of repeating myself if I carry on !

A big thanks to everyone who has been reading and for all the lovely comments, I shall miss you but also think that this year is going to be a busy one and that I will have less time to think about what to write.

When I started the blog we had three children still living at home and now have only one and he's in the 6th Form. When I started both MrShoestring and I were working full time, very long hours as teachers. Now I am in the final year of an accredited counselling and psychotherapy course with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and MrShoestring only teaches 3 days a week most of the year.

All these changes have been helped along by frugal living and we've been able to give the children a hand in starting out as well !

I'm going to leave the blog up as a help and encouragement to others and in future you can find me lurking over at the 'Old Fashioned Thrift' forum at Moneysaving Expert.

Good luck to you and yours on your frugal journey and many thanks for reading over the years !

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Blue and White Plates

In the frugal round up last week I happened to mention that we need to replace our blue and white plates but that I did not want to pay £16.50 a plate, which was the new cost !

Well I spent a bit of time looking around the local charity shops with no luck. Then yesterday it was warm weather and I did not fancy tackling my university assignment, so off I went to a town about 10 miles away which I know has good charity shops !

I struck 'gold' in the first shop, an antique Royal Worcester blue and white plate, it was a bit expensive at £6 but seemed a bargain compared to new and I have been looking for several weeks, so I snapped it up! Then in the 4th shop along I found 2 more, what a lucky day. I had brought along a measuring tape but even so when I got home I discovered that one of the plates is just slightly too large for the dishwasher. Never mind I'll just wash that one by hand and at an average coast of just under £3 a plate I can't complain, as the final two plates cost £2 and 50p !

Waiting and searching around really does pay and I got my daily walk in as well !

Tuesday 2 October 2018

September Reckoning

September was an expensive month for us and we spent over the usual budget of £1500. Some of this was planned spending, like the £295 on car insurance but some was not, like new clothes for 6th Form and buying textbooks !

One area I was pleased about was that the petrol spend was about half what it had been before I said that I would only be seeing tutoring pupils at the house, instead of travelling to people. Not only has this saved lots of petrol but quite a bit of time as well, so that was good.

We also stayed under budget in the Food column, which was a big achievement as I have had to put up MasterShoestring's lunch allowance to £15 a week. This effectively means that I have just over £100 a month for the rest of the meals for the three of us !

Spending also increased because quite a few utilities went up in price and MrShoestring's union dues went up from the introductory rate to the normal one. With all these increases I'm having to keep a close watch on what we spend and I've also sent off a couple of packets of books to Ziffit. Every little bit counts !

We need some new plates, the old ones lasted 13 years but now they are chipped I  have to re-purpose them for something else. However, when I looked at the cost of replacing them, £16.95 a plate, I decided that I'll just keep an eye out round the charity shops over the next few months. Waiting almost always saves money !

Monday 1 October 2018

Book Review

I saw this book reviewed by Gina over at 'Home Joys' and thought that it looked interesting. It is short essays written by Amish and Mennonite women but the themes are universal, grief, hospitality, wonder etc.

All the essays are grouped into thematic sections but the writing within them is all unique with each woman having a clear voice. The writing is very strong and in fact I shall use a quote from one piece for my next university essay ! 

I was left wanting to know more about each author and was glad that there was a little biography and further details about each one at the back of the book.

I enjoyed this book and was glad that I was able to get it for free using my earnings from YouGov surveys !

Sunday 30 September 2018

Growing Your Blog

Right now if you go to the following link:-

you can download a free ebook on how 40 successful bloggers grew their blogs. They are all real life stories and the book answers lots of questions about which strategies work and which do not. It also makes clear that growing your blog takes lots of work and quite a bit of new learning !

A long time ago I decided not to monetize my blog as somehow it doesn't seem quite right to be making money out of people looking for frugal advice. However, others do not feel the same way and have been able to be a great blessing to others through their blog earning money, so I guess it's just a question of what you feel most comfortable doing !

Have a look at the ebook and see what you think ?

Saturday 29 September 2018

After lots of outdoor work yesterday and a play about St Michael and the Dragon, today we are going to rather more sedate Michaelmas celebration with a couple of lectures and a concert.

Michaelmas time, Michaelmas time!
Time is turning under the plough,
Under the stars, under the signs,
The ploughman toils with deep furrowed brow.
He turns his thoughts against the cold,
Buries his fears 'neath the Earth's deep mould.
Frost, like fire, burns white on the blade,
Of his iron share that red fire made.

Michaelmas time, Michaelmas time!
Time is bending over the scales,
Over the bread, over the wine,
The ploughman bows his head at the rail.
He turns his thoughts towrads the flame,
Raises his eyes to the thanksgiven grain.
Stars, like spears, gleam over the tower,
Of the house of God in Michael's hour.

Michaelmas time, Michaelmas time!
Time is changing the guard of the world.
Deep in his heart, dauntless in mind,
The ploughman guards against time growing old.
He stands and studies the star-patterned sky,
Fixes each spark in his wishing-well eyes.
Stars, like seeds, strewn over the land
And under the plough by Michael's hand.
I love this song as I think it captures so well that slow slide from the end of Summer, when you are not sure whether Autumn has arrived to the frost that is sure to arrive by November !


Friday 28 September 2018

Frugal Friday

Just a quick run down of the frugal things we did this week as the final year of my counselling course has started and as suspected, that means I'm getting pretty busy !

We picked butternut squash and sweetcorn and both were delicious but that is the end of the plants now as it got close to freezing at the start of the week. We ate the corn off the cob and used the squash for soup. Now I have lots of them in the utility room where it is cool and dry. I even found 2 more when I pulled out the vines !

I improvised a final cold frame using the guide we use for planting square foot beds and a large piece of plastic from a bulk order of toilet rolls. Once the beds were cleared of the sweetcorn and the butternut vines I planted spring onions, radishes and spinach in the hope they would sprout before it gets cold.

We ate a chicken on Sunday and then used the carcass to make stock. We also made pizza, chocolate cake, chapattis and pancakes. The menu plan and shopping plan have been made for October and I'll go shopping for it this weekend as I am much busier during the week now.

I got 2 free packets of seeds with the 'Kitchen Garden' magazine and made a final shopping list of what is left to buy and make for Christmas. I was delighted to see that the cotton flannel I am currently knitting can be paired with a delightful handmade soap I was given to make a gift for a god child. So that was one less thing to buy. Now I only need chocolate and some baking ingredients for some homemade gifts and my list is finished !