Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Frugal Living

During the last couple of years I've been reading a lot of blogs written by people who already have, or are trying to achieve, a frugal lifestyle.  There are the people who have adopted it wholeheartedly with near self sufficiency, recycling and upcycling and full scale economies in those areas of life where they can't be self sufficient.  Then the ones who have implement a frugal approach in limited areas of their lives, maybe growing a few vegetables or learning to cook to improve their food bills.  And finally the ones who have the best intentions but not the willpower to make the changes.

Initially this interest was simply that ... an interest in how other people live. However, lately I've realised that I've taken on board a lot of the advice and it has become part of my new way of life without realising I've been doing it.  It was only a discussion with friends yesterday which made me realise this. 

There have been lots of small changes in the way I now live but these little changes add up.  Things like turning off the light when I leave a room, something I never considered before (although I can remember my mum complaining to all us kids about every light being on in the house even if there was nobody in the rooms).  I've been bulk cooking for the freezer to reduce the food bills, filling the oven when I use it to reduce the cooking costs and making more use of the slow cooker. Cooking for one is definitely more expensive but I've managed to bring my food bill right down and still eat well.  I decided this week to only have the heating on via the timer for an hour or so in the mornings, when I keep to a fairly regular timetable.  The rest of the time I'm going to put the heating on manually as required as there have been too many occasions where the heating has come on via the timer to warm the house but I have been out.  It does mean coming back into a cold house but it doesn't take too long to heat up and hopefully this approach will save me a lot of money!

I can't see that I'll ever implement some of the more radical frugal economies.    For example, I plan to keep flushing the loo every time I use it and won't be saving my washing water to flush through the system!  I definitely have no intention of sitting in a cold house rather than put the heating on and also won't be sitting in a dark room rather than have the light on, which is what some people advocate. Some approaches are just too extreme for me!

I suppose in a way I am returning to the way we used to live as children and am finally implementing the economies that my mum used to manage the family budget.  It's not really a financial need that is forcing me to do this but the realisation (call me thick if you want!!) that these simple economies not only provide a healthier way of eating but that the savings all add up and will allow me more of life's luxuries that my budget doesn't currently run to - extra weekends away and trips to London, new camera equipment and photography courses. The sort of things that are , non-essential' but are the 'icing on the cake'! 

I'll let you know how I get on.  Any suggestions for economies will be very much appreciated.


  1. I find myself doing a similar thing, and from outside influences I didn't even know I was absorbing - I've been involved in a community sewing workspace that's associated with a food cooperative, and between that and worrying about income a bit more I have been watching my consumerism, thinking about the impact of my actions on the world and my pocketbook.

    One thing I've been trying to get better at is unplugging things. A lot of things use energy when they're plugged in, even if they're not on, and although I don't remember the number I've read a surprisingly high percentage of household electricity goes to items that aren't in use (maybe as high as 10%). Anything that can be turned on by remote control will be like this, and I think charging blocks for laptops and phones also pull a bit of electricity all the time. We've got the television and stereo plugged into surge protector strips, which makes them easy since I just flip the switch on the strip.

    For the first time this year I'm covering the insides of most of my windows with plastic sheeting, as well. The gas bill will tell me how worthwhile that is, since the plastic isn't free!

    Good luck - I look forward to reading more.

  2. I do try to do little bits around the house, have to be honest and say our youngest (18) is the best,she goes around turning everything off - though this can be annoying if you have just walked out of the room for a minute you come back and the lights are off!! lol. xx