Slow and Steady

Posts Tagged ‘frugal

When I did weight watchers years and years ago, the thing I enjoyed most was that you have unlimited amounts of 0 point soup. I always had a batch in the fridge for those times when I wanted to snack. It’s really easy to make. Water with a veg stock cube, a  tin of chopped tomatoes, and any veg you want (apart from root veg).

Yesterday, while experimenting with a new recipe, I had to boil some carrots, and a potato. When I finished, I was just about to pour the water down the sink when I remembered that all the nutrients from the veg are in the water!

So I used it to make soup. It’s really delicious, and I’m glad that I didn’t waste the water.


I think it’s been pretty good going, 2 years not working, and have managed to keep myself out of the red, but yesterday that all changed. I knew it would, which is why I took out the credit card that I keep hidden away.

My car was due for both a service and MOT. There were a few things wrong and the bill ended up being nearly £450. AND… The exhaust has a slight leak and the cost of that will be over a £1000 when it needs doing.

My friend has said I’ll be able to pick up a 2nd hand one somewhere, however I’m still waiting for a parcel shelf he said would be easy to pick up too. I’m slightly pissed off, but I knew it was coming. I just didn’t expect it to be that much.

What makes me smile is how much I’ve changed over the years, because the old me would have said ‘let me just go and stay in an hotel to get away, have a massage and get a pedi, or buy new shoes (especially now its the last week of the Harrod’s sale), as I’m in debt already’.

No, the current me will go on being frugal, and as money saving as possible. I refuse to use my swimming lesson money on this. I know how odd that sounds, but I need those, and it was a present. All the money I get from surveys, anything left from my weekly budget and anything I sell on ebay will go towards the paying off that card.

If you look at my meal plan, you’ll say that today was the day I was eating a ‘surprise’ dish. Turns out it was meatballs with cous cous. Really nice it was too. It reminded though that when I was in my own place, I used to use masking tape as food labels for the freezer. I must pick some up the next time I’m out and about which will be never if the snow doesn’t clear!

Yesterday with the mince I made, I decided I wanted them in tortilla wraps instead of rice. I found an easy recipe so decided to try making them. They were dead easy (not in perfect circles though) and so cheap. The flour cost about 7p. The cheapest I’ve seen them for is 78p in Lidl!

Cheap and cheerful tortilla wraps

Here’s the recipe

Makes 8 –

250g plain flour (plus extra for rolling out)
1 tsp Salt
1 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
150ml warm water

Sift flour into mixing bowl with salt. Put oil in jug of the warm water then pour liqui over flour stirring well, eventually using your hands. Knead for about 5 mins. Cover dough and let rest for 15 mins.

Divide dough into 8 pieces, and then roll out each into a flat circle (ahem – or whatever shape you can manage!!). Get frying pan really hot (no oil) then turn heat down med-low. Put rolled out flatbread on pan for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Turn over and do other side. easy peasy.

With the mince, I also decided to make some Jamaican patties!

Jamaican patties, cheap and frugal

I’ve still got a load of mince left too! amazing what some beans and carrots can do!


I’m dead impressed with myself, I did walk away the pounds again today. I wanted to increase my walk to 3/4 of a mile, but my back was hurting, especially when I was doing the side steps. I think it may be because I did the exercise in the evening, instead of first thing in the morning, and I was tired from the walking I had done in the day.

My friend locked herself out of her house, and I have the spare keys. Afterwards, I decided to pop in the supermarket and get some essentials and the shelves were practically bare! Both Sainsbury and Lidl had no eggs, I couldn’t believe it.

Finally after months of searching, I have a car. I’m so pleased because that means that I have a bit of my independence back and will work towards being able to drive long distances again.

I ended up getting it from Leeds from an ad I saw on ebay. As soon as I saw it I knew it was the one.

I had a bit of palaver getting the money out from my bank though, I didn’t realise that you need to order money if you are taking out more than £500.

Anyway it’s been so well looked after, I even have the original recipe for the car when it was new! I have named my baby Chilli, and will definitely look after this one better than my Corsa.


So far this year I bought a used laptop, a 2nd hand bed, and now a used car.

As I bought the car for less than the budget I decided to treat myself to a brand new entertainment system that has everything: Bluetooth so I can hear my phone calls and any music on my phone over my car speakers, a usb port so I can plug in a flash drive and listen to music,  and an aux facility to plug in a mp3 player. I was going to buy it from Halfords and get it fitted there too.

I went to my local one and spoke to one of the audio fitters, and he didn’t seem very clued up, I really didn’t trust this person to touch the electrics of my car.

I went on Ebay, and found the same set I was looking at for half the price, it’s used, and still had a 6 month warranty. I found a local audio fitter on Google. When I phoned to ask for prices the man told to me come in before I buy the set to make sure it can be done as the car is old.

I was very happy with the attention to detail he gave, and he showed me the 2 ways he could install it. I went with the cheaper version which means that the old system will still be there, so if I decide to sell Chilli, I could take the system out and rewire the old one to work again.

The cost of the used system and fitting is less than the cost of the new system in Halfords!

The set came on Friday and I went straight to the fitters and it was done within half an hour. I drove home listening to songs on my phone via bluetooth, and even took a call. They said they could hear me clearly which I was very happy about.

Second hand doesn’t always mean that they’ll be cheaper though. As I explained when I bought my laptop, there were cheaper ones that I could buy new, but I’d much rather buy something used, that has won lots of plaudits, and awards, than a cheap new product that is going to fall apart in a year.

However in other cases, when the new ones aren’t going to last that long anyway, I’m all for buying cheap stuff. I looked for car mats, and Argos ended up being the best place for them.

I definitely think that it’s worth looking for a second hand version first.

A few weeks ago when I stayed at my flat to get away from the world, I decided that when I move back, I’m going to utilise all the secondhand furniture that it is possible to get nowadays.

Last night, I was sitting on my bed, and felt the base drop and break. When I laid down, my legs are a lot further down than the rest of my body. I’m sure that it will be no surprise when I say my back and neck are very stiff and painful this morning.

I immediately started to look for a new one, as a bed is really important for the health, especially as my neck and back aren’t 100% anyway. They were all really expensive, then I remembered my decision to look at second hand goods first.

I was dubious about using a mattress that someone else had used, until I remembered that I used to stay in hotels for work weekly, and they definitely didn’t change the mattress when each guest checked out!

The first place I had a look at is Freecycle and there were a couple of beds in my area, but they were doubles not singles. Next was Ebay, there were none in my area, that would be ending today. Gumtree didn’t have anything either, and I was starting to think I was going to have to shell out for a new one.

Then I remembered that my old flatmate gave her furniture to charity, there was nothing wrong with any of them, but she was downsizing.

So I went to the  Oxfam site. Luckily there is a furniture shop not too far from my home. I phoned them up and they had 3 single beds in store. I got my dad to give me a lift there, and found a comfy looking bed (they were all stood up, so no chance of trying it before buying), for £24.99. It has storage underneath, which is something the old bed didn’t have.

I’ve just woken up from a nap on it, and I’m very pleased with my purchase.

They had some lovely items, and will definitely be using it when I move back home.

This week I wanted to see if it really was worth the effort going my local market instead of going to the supermarket.

My market still has most of their signs in pounds. I’ve converted it to grams for comparison. Now 500g is 1.102 pounds, but for ease I’m going to go with 500g=1lb.

I used Asda as the comparison because it came up as the cheapest when I used


Asda price £1.39p for 500g

Market £1 for 500g

Baby Plum  tomatoes

Asda price £2 for 500g

Market 70p for 500g


Asda Price 40p for 500g

Market 50p for 500g


Asda price £1 for 2

Market 96p for 2


Asda price 20p each x 8 = £1.60

Market 8 =£1


Now the market eggs say that they are free range, but have no markings on them, so I’m going to compare them to the normal range to be fair.

Asda Price 6 eggs = £1.37

Market 6 eggs = 80p


Asda price = £1.47 a kilo 2.1 kilo =£3.087

Market 8=£1 I weighed the 8 and it was 2.1kg. That’s roughly about 50p for a kg.

Galia melon – This is a hard one to compare because I don’t know what size the Asda ones are. The one I got from the market was quite small. I’m not going to include this in the comparison, but here are the prices anyway.

Asda price £1

Market £1 (2 for £1, and I gave my friend one, and she gave me half of her spring onion)


Asda total £10.85

Market total £5.96

Additional comments

Onions were 35p/lb in the market, which is 500g. Onions in Asda are 87p/kg so it’s cheaper to buy at the market but

Lidl had a special offer on this week 1kg =34p.

8 apples weighted 2.1kg. When I started to put 2.1 kgs worth of apples in the trolley it got up to about 12 before I just decided to do the calculation. LOL

Supermarket bits

Smoked mackerel with peppercorns

Asda price £7.92/kg 300g = £2.38

Lidl £7.667/kg 300g = £2.30


Asda £1 each 3= £3

Lidl 39p each (special offer) 3=£1.17


Asda 87p

Lidl 34p

Frozen Sweetcorn I was really surprised that this wasn’t sold in Lidl. As you can see Asda is significantly cheaper, but when I drove into the car park it was full and I wasn’t going to queue for 1 item.

Asda 68p/kg

Iceland £1/kg

Salad seeds

Asda 93.8/100g 175g =£1.64

Lidl 45.1/100g = 79p


Asda =£8.51

Lidl/Iceland = £5.60

So all in all I spent £11.56. The same basket in Asda would have been £19.36 (excluding the melon)

I got more than I had set out to buy for less than the original shopping trolley!

As long as I can get a friend to help me, I’ll definitely be making more use of my market.

I was surfing blogs when I came across this post by The Frugal Duchess.

I started think about the term ’emergency fund’ and wondered if  people really sat down and calculated how much they need a month.

I have locked myself in to a very high mortgage rate. I’m not complaining because I love my flat, and wouldn’t have been able to have it if I didn’t get that mortgage.

However taking the mortgage out of the equation, I was shocked at how little the other bills were. I realised that worse case scenario, I could survive on less than I thought.

You have a try, guess a figure and then get your bills and work out a month sum. How close were you?