Thursday, 8 November 2012


I've often said that since starting this blog my life is turning around and can honestly say I've never been happier. Don't get me wrong, life is not a bed of roses and the kids think I am more barmy than ever and this is because of a number of reasons. Now I only buy what I need and not what I want.  I avoid supermarkets at all costs and choose to shop around my local town, except for baking stuff.  I've not found anywhere else that stocks baking ingredients. 

Instead of having too much week at the end of the money, the roles have been reversed and any extra is going towards the mortgage.  The cupboards are bulging and we've never eaten so well.  Chicken nuggets, frozen chips, etc,  are totally out of the question, along with takeaways.  Everything is made from scratch. If the elder 2 choose to eat out they do so with their own money, they are both working after all. 

My shopping bill has reduced each week because I've stocked up on items that I know I will use.  I have used Approved Foods a couple of times, and again only bought what I needed.  There are some groceries on there that are more expensive than my local Heron Food store but others that cannot be sniffed at.  McDougalls Scone Mix £2.99 for 3.5kg and extra virgin olive oil £1 for 250ml. I am still trying with baking my own bread but have quite a way to go.  Still not perfected it yet.  That's why I always look in the reduced section first at Heron.  Today I was able to buy a full loaf for 20p because the sell by date is tomorrow.  After putting up the lunches most will be used, and the crusts will then be saved and frozen to coat Friday's fish.

I have been decluttering by either giving items away to people who need it, see here.... or selling it on Ebay and Amazon.  Remember that untidy bookcase?  Well, some of those books are surprisingly worth a small fortune.  Ebay is going well, the television we had in the bedroom sold for £57.17.  Not bad considering Hands On was going to tip it and said we wouldn't get anything for it.  I sold 2 dresses, 1 brand new for £5.52 and another one that I had worn for £9.70.  I couldn't quite understand that.

The thing is I want to share this with everyone.  Why has it taken me to the grand old age of 36 to realise it???  That's why I am finding it increasingly frustrating when friends and certain family members (Unthrifty Sis is not included in this statement btw) say they are struggling to make ends meet, yet in the next breath tell me about where they are going out for their next meal or where they are going at weekend.  Putting this diplomatically without sound didactic I suggested they cook their own meals to which their answer was that it was cheaper to buy a carvery than to cook it themselves.  I'm sorry, I have to disagree.  I'm going to be blunt here, it boils down to laziness.  I too have been guilty of this in the past but now prefer my own cooking to anyone elses.  We live in a society now where everything is so rushed that actually cooking a proper meal is too much effort for the majority, which will only be passed on to younger generations.  As much as elder 2 think it's time to call the men in white coats,  they do appreciate a home cooked meal and seeing me cook for the family every evening will hopefully be something they will take away with them for the their future families!


  1. Honey, if you realized the joy of frugal living at the ripe "old" age of 36, you should be so proud! There are people who are way, way, older who still don't get it! Economic circumstances when we were younger (i.e., lack of proper preparation for careers) meant that we were relatively frugal compared to others because we HAD to be, so cooking from scratch, etc., has always been a part of my life. However, there has definitely been room for improvement, and I am just beginning to REALLY tackle that as of late (and I'm over 50). So pat yourself on the back for doing so very well at your "old" age, and thank you for taking time to share your experiences. I find them very helpful and inspiring, as well.


    1. I think because I had my family and mortgage quite young I feel an age now. So true about room for improvement and glad you are enjoying the blog. I honestly didn't think people would be that interested :)

  2. hiya,
    interesting reading in this post...I do know exactly what you mean I really DO, and yes cooking your own is far better...but some while back would you have wanted to listen if someone told you otherwise?
    People do love to have a bit of a moan without taking responsibility to make any changes.
    It'll come when those people are ready to do it and everyone's journey has a different start the meanwhile all you can do is fly the flag and smile!

    The other thing is, not quite the equivalent of carverys being cheaper than cooking, but you know scones consist of just flour/sugar/butter/egg/baking powder & mix with milk, so how could a scone mix be any cheaper or easier than those store cupboard staples? and by baking your own you can go halves with wholemeal flour and then not only will it be cheaper but healthier and more filling!

    1. Fully agree - you can't tell people how to run their lives. They will only take advice on board when they want to.

      I normally always bake my own scones from scratch and have never used a scone mix before it's just that so many of my bloggy friends have used it I thought I'd give it a try. It would cost roughly £4.29 to batch bake 80 scones from scratch, I haven't included egg and baking powder in that. This mix bakes 96 scones for £2.99 and all that is needed is water. I don't know if I'll like them as I tried a sponge mix the other week and that was vile and will never be using one again, so it may be false economy after all. Hey ho we live and learn xxx

  3. You are doing great! All this cooking from scratch is not just fun but also saves you pennies. As for the kids taking an interest in cookery. Why not involve them in your cooking sessions? I`m sure they could chop some carrots or onions whilst you get on with things. Little folk often like to stir a pot whilst you`re doing something else around them. Don`t expect them to like cooking just from watching you do it. If they have a little go at easy tasks that help you they soon find that it`s fun to help mum around the kitchen. Get them inolved early on and they will soon pick up the skills that will make them able and willing to have a go themselves when they are older.

    1. To be fair Elder 1 is quite a dab hand in the kitchen and I can leave her to cook a meal. Elder 2 shows no interest whatsover but then again I was the same at her age. In fact the cookery teacher hated me with a passion and now I love it.

  4. I loved reading this post as it reflects the way that I often feel. I don't usually have the courage to say anything! I enjoy cooking from scratch but it does take a certain amount of time, organisation and knowledge. When I was first married I didn't have a clue. Maybe the government should add thrift to the National Curriculum!

  5. Quote "That's why I am finding it increasingly frustrating when friends and certain family members (Unthrifty Sis is not included in this statement btw) say they are struggling to make ends meet, yet in the next breath tell me about where they are going out for their next meal or where they are going at weekend".

    I laughed loads when I read your blog today. I'd be rich if I had a pound for everyone who has said this to me. They really do miss the point don't they. A family meal at home, that has been cooked with love and care is cheap to do and I find always always tastes nicer than a meal out. You know what goes into the food too i.e. no chemicals, preservatives, e-numbers etc etc. Also, the kids do learn from you, even if they show no interest, but it is there somewhere in the backs of their heads and hopefully it will come back to them when they need it.

    I totally agree with your post today. I tell people this message via my blog now as family and friends don't listen/ say they haven't got time to cook or say they cook from scratch anyway (even though they don't really as they are too busy going out for meals lol).

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading your blog today. Thank you

  6. Lol, if your children think you've flipped tell them that I am about to try making my own water crackers.... :-D

  7. It's a nice realisation when you suddenly see just how much you can turn things around with just a bit of effort isn't it.

    I use the App Food Scone mixes too, they really are brilliant value for money and mean you can have scones on the table a few minutes after thinking that you fancy one, absolutely nothing wrong with using some short cuts sometimes. I add alsorts to mine too, sultanas, cheese, spices and herbs anything I think of and fancy at the time.

    Once they are used up you can make your own mixes, including rubbing in the fat and then storing them in the freezer in a large plastic box. Something I intend to do again when I have gotten the the bottom of my never ending bags of mix.

    What you are doing WILL rub off on your children more than you realise, and no matter how much they tease you, there will be an element of pride and the knowledge that you are doing it because you love them and want a better life for them.

    My eldest son remembers only too well how seriously hard up we were when he was growing up and used my recipe for 'Potato Peeling Soup' when he was struggling to get himself out of debt after his marriage break up. He did it within months and survived on real basics while he did, I was so proud of him.

    Well done on what you have achieved up to now, both with your finances and this lovely Blog.

    Sue xx

  8. I had to chuckle to myself at your blog today..especially the bit about folks moaning about money and then outlining plans to spend what they don't have..some of my family are like this and definitely think i am crazy..however i am debt free and can spend money if i choose too..and i don't spend an awful lot to be honest..avoid supermarkets and buy second hand and if i can't buy it i have a go at making own family now can see the bigger picture i am creating for them and myself..
    I cook from scratch everyday and homeschool the 2 littlies...we make meals and learn about it as we go...and they have stsrted to actually eat what we cook now..even better when its fresh out the garden and turned into a meal..
    Life is good and getting better everyday..
    keep up the good work

  9. We also cook from scratch and have done so for many years now. In the early days we did buy ready meals but quite honestly they taste stale to me, which when you think how many days they have been made before eaten, technically they are. My problem used to be waste but leftovers are now an exciting change from a sandwich (homemade, of course). So well done on your conversion.