If you look at my blog list you might have noticed I have been reading "thrifty" blogs for quite a few years.
Frugal Queen and Life After Money are old favourites. Shoestring Cottage is a great new discovery. I find them very inspirational. Yet my own budget planning is still rather hit and miss.
What does thrifty mean to you? Maybe you see it as mean and penny pinching? I see it as not being wasteful and being clever with your money.
The plain fact is this family of 5 need to be thrifty. We have little choice. Then there is the whole issue of helping the planet and not wasting the earth's resources. I want to do that as well. The two often seem to go hand in hand.
OK we are not talking massive debt, but I don't want any debt. If I can afford to pay it off, surely a bit of budgeting would mean I don't need to borrow in the first place. And I would avoid any interest charges.
In some areas I think I'm pretty good at spending wisely and in other ways I'm rubbish.
I'm writing this post as a way to record what I think I do well and, more importantly, the parts I need to change. I hope it will help me focus on what I need to do, instead of doing the impressive ostrich impersonation I've been so good at up to now :0)
This year my new year's resolution was "spend less and save more". Easy to write but not so easy to do.
I've made a start by changing our energy supplier ( that was easy to do) and I've also changed the car insurance company for our main car...saving over £100. I've also paid this in a lump sum, rather than a monthly payment which we did before, and which incurred interest charges.
I'll be reviewing each annual bill as it comes up and trying to get a better deal, rather than simply carrying with the same company, putting the premium up every year, as I have done for too long.
I'm also planning to reduce our mobile phone costs and I'm working on hubby about the pay TV.
I would happily get rid of that...he's not so keen. That said he is quiet frugal in many ways so things could be worse.
To try and reduce our food bill I've been shopping around and writing a meal plan. Taking a list to the supermarket and trying to stick to it. I've also been using cash. I find if I know I only have a certain amount in my purse it focuses my mind not to get carried away.
It's a good feeling to not waste food and planning makes me look in the fridge and store cupboards to see what we actually need....rather than guessing once I get to the shops.
Our home is well insulated, we have low energy lights and an efficient gas boiler. Lately I've been choosing a lower temperature clothes wash and a shorter dishwasher cycle. Both seem fine most of the time.
Yesterday my slow cooker was going all day and it produced a great casserole. I always cook the Sunday roast it this money saving gadget too. We only have a small joint and it cooks much better in here. The meat is so tender and does not shrink.
The whole family regularly have packed lunches. I'm not keen on making these but I know they are a big saving compared to buying from cafes and even the school canteen.
Hubby and I have given up our weekly dancing lesson. We had practised for over a year and were not making much progress. It's a bit of a shame to throw in the towel, but it's saving us money. We go for an evening walk most days instead, so there's still time to be together and chat about the day without any interruptions. Oh, and we call into the convenience store to see if there are any yellow sticker reductions...we just have to resist the cakes :0)
Being frugal in January has meant the expense of Christmas is almost all payed off. I just need to keep up the momentum and start saving for future bills this year.
I'm staying away from the shops as much as possible. Even the charity shops which I like to support and which gave me an almost guilt free shopping experience. This year I will be getting organised and donating stuff instead. That way I'm still supporting them and I'll be able to enjoy a less cluttered home, where hopefully I know what we already have and where to find it...hopefully.
Things are going well so far in this area. I like coming home with less shopping and no unnecessary stuff that I just fancied at the time.
What is necessary or not is subjective I know. At the moment I'm still buying bird seed for the wild birds in our garden. But I'm not going to buy any plants this year.
This is my container to collect vegetable peelings, an old pot my mum in law was getting rid of. I like to make compost, so when it's full I take them to the compost bin up the garden. It's better than them going to landfill and feeds my garden for free.
I'm also not going to be buying any yarn. I have plenty to keep me going over the next 11 months.
I could keep writing but I think I better stop now. I hope you didn't mind this different sort of post from me today.
And thank you so much for all the kind comments about my latest blanket. They made my week.