Originally, I was going to load this page up with all sorts of tips, then two thing's changed my mind.
1. I watched a 'fly on the wall' TV programme where Michael Portillo
(a very well off Politician with no children) took the place of a single mother with 4 children for a week.
2. One of my other interests is Home Front history of
World War 2.
Looking into it I decide that frugality to many is an essential part of living and not a 'clever extra' . For example, Michael Portillo can be frugal, but for the single Mum on loads of benefits probably can't be a lot more frugal than she is.
During the wars is probably a fantastic way of looking into frugality. Gardens became farms, clothes were mended not brought, lights were turned off and so many thing's were sacrificed for the good of yourself and others.
So, I won't write anything telling women how to be frugal. It's not for me to tell a woman she's overspending, what savings to make on food. I probably wouldn't know any way and I'd get a good slap !! Better to dig into skips than to dig my own hole !
If you are taking the downshifting / more self reliant route, all spending is more calculated and thoughtful - that is if spending money is actually needed atall.
Let's take some examples and options;
Luckily for the likes
of us, not many
people do !
'Find a skip, find a happy Richard' someone said to me up the Pub ! If you've any
shelving jobs to do, no problem - Look at the shelving sections of a DIY store and
you'll find that most are just laminated chipboard. You'll find loads of them in skips,
some with the brackets attached still ! Plus, what are kitchen units made of, the
same, so there's definitely no need to buy shelves which are purposeful and
often can't be seen anyway because of the stuff that's on them. Builders skips
can be a good source for plumbing pipes, guttering, taps, any old wood for a
Rayburn and a plethora of other items for the DIY enthusiast. Council tips in Parks
are good for plants at certain times of the year.
The problem is becoming a hoarder and occasionally getting things that don't work so beware becoming a hoarder, you can't take it back to complain !
Charity Shops and Jumble Sales are the next best to free. With the shops, find the lesser known charities who haven't yet gone into fancy marketing and have to pay for it with higher price's (unless it's 'your charity' of course). Clothes, materials and books are usually the best, sometimes kitchen stuff as well. Jumble Sales are a little forgotten about nowadays, but they're still out there and can be found in the Classified columns of local newspapers. Sure, have a few bits of 'going out' clothing but for doing the gardening, lounging around in the evening and popping down the shops, who needs a Gucci Tee-Shirt.
Cheap, but not so cheap .
Boot Fairs are still popular, but since TV programmes on 'value' etc., have come about, the bargains are a little harder to find. The 'Here, every Weekend' one's can be become routing and attract the White Van 'professional' Booters. The more couple of times a year one's are usually the best. They attract the family boots which are usually people simply selling off excess and every sale is a bonus; give them an offer and you normally get "Yeah OK then". These are good for kiddies toys, kitchen appliances, pictures and clothes. Keep an eye on thing's you could sell on at your own Boot Fair. A good tip is to see what they're asking, say £1.50, walk around the corner and put a single £1.00 coin in your pocket and say "Can you change a £20 note because I've only got a pound"
These are good and also provide good entertainment watching everyone else. Take a pen and paper and note what thing's are selling at if you have the same item for sale in your Boot Fair trasure !.
Items are often sold by the box so dig deeply. People will see something of a bit more value, then hide it under a load of other tat hoping no one else will see it. Be careful with electrical items and think 'why are these thing's here?'. If you've got a Van, listen for "That's nice, but I can't get it home". If it's on your way, politely interupt and say it's only just out your way, if they pay for the petrol - you've then got there for nothing !
Always look in the paper classifieds for bargains. Again, most of these ads are free, so people will put them in not too worried about how long it takes to sell them - so offers will usually work.
There is so much free stuff in fields and hedgerow's and much can be made from Fruits, Herbs and nuts found just laying around or about to go mouldy on tree's. Don't just look at thing's as food, there are a lot of things you can use for Shampoo's, hair / skin tonics, soaps, dyes etc. Do a search on DIY cosmetics, Health use of herbs and so on.
On the food, make more than you need and sell / barter the rest. A weekends work could give you all sorts of jams and preserves to sell. As said in the Garden Farm page, it's not the value of the item grown, it's the value of what you've made it into. A jar of chutney may be made up of about 5 pence worth of seeds and 10.pence worth of vinegar and others, but sell for £1.30.
Horseradish is completely free, bit of vinegar, bit of mustard, bit of cream or plain yoghart and you've got a small jar worth £1.
Frugality and self-reliance go hand in hand and will feed off each other. There's a lot of money not to be spent if we keep our eye's open, have a good imagination and think 'there's a bob or two in that'.
Yes, you could end up like me - a successfully poor but happier person
Two recipe's only !
1/2 cup finely grated horseradish
1/2 cup cider vinegar
6 oz. liquid pectin
3 cups sugar
Cook sugar, horseradish and vinegar over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add pectin and stir. Boil 1 minute stirringconstantly.
Remove from heat and skim foam. Pour into sterilized jars andseal.
(Thanks Trisha from acountrylife.com)
Long-keeping horseradish sauce
For the syrup: 1/2 pt white vinegar to 1/2/pt white sugar + a little salt.
Dig horseradish root in midsummer.Wash well and peel underwater.
Cut up the root roughly and put through the finest cutters of mincer.
In meantime make the syrup by dissolving the sugar and salt in tye vinegar over a low heat. Allow to go cold.
Use a wide-neck jar with a vinegar-proof lid. Pack in a little horseradish then add a little syrup - fill the jar in this manner. Make sure it is tightly packed and no air spaces are left.
This will keep 12 months or more.
To serve: To a tablespon of horseradish add same quantity of thick cream and extra vinegar to taste.
More on Horseradish in the Natures Free Gifts Section HERE