Friday, 10 June 2016


 Image result for fridge freezer

The large household appliances we all have to shell out on from time to time, those "big ticket items" as they are often called, need to last us as long as possible. They have a habit of breaking down and being condemned by the repair man just when we have no cash to replace them.
Here's a quick guide to how you can save money on repairs and replacements on your big appliances:
Average life of a freezer is 11-12 years. Average life of a fridge is 13 years. 
here's some tips which may prolong your appliance's life:
  • Dust compressor coils (usually at the back) every 6 months. if they don't work properly it make shorten the life of the compressor
  • don't open the door more than necessary and wipe down the door seal with a damp cloth to keep the seal working efficiently. Try shutting a piece of paper in the seal - tug it and if it slips out it easily may be time to replace the seal which will of course save money on energy bills.
  • clean underneath the freezer to retain good air circulation and if your freezer is not a self defrosting model, defrost when the ice is no more than half a centimetre thick as a build up of ice could over work the motor and burn it out.
Tumble Drier
Average life 13-14years 
  • empty the fluff out of the lint trap regularly and check other air vents too.
  • Check your drier is level as, if it is not, the parts supporting the drum as it wiggles around during use could wear out.
Average life 9 years
  • Keep clean inside as a build up of burnt food can cause unwanted electrical sparks.if it is very wet inside after cooking something leave the door open or dry with a soft cloth.
  • Gently wipe the control panel with a damp cloth only as any cleaning products could seep behind the panel and cause your microwave to malfunction.
Washing machine
Average life 10 years
  • Leave the door open after use to reduce the risk of mould forming.
  • check the door seal regularly and clean it with a soft cloth.
  • Don't overload the machine, the correct weight of washing will mean cleaner results and a longer life for the motor.
  • Every few months run your machine empty on the hottest wash to kill off any bacteria.
  • Check the pockets of clothes to make sure there are no items that could damage the drum.
  • Don't slam the door, this could break the catch or damage the seal.
  • check the hoses as they can crack over time.
Average life 9 years
  • Clean the filters. Consult your manual if you are unsure how to do this.
  • Once a month run a cleansing cycle.
  • In hard water areas check the sprayer arms for a build up of mineral deposits and wash in warm water.
  • keep door seals clean with a damp cloth to combat grease.
Lastly - start saving up for new appliances whenever you can- you never know when you may need to replace them.


Thursday, 11 February 2016


You may have seen Ilona (AKA the Mean Queen) a frugal blogger, lately being hailed as the world's most frugal woman and in the last few weeks she's certainly had a lot of media coverage!
She's on Youtube (see video below), she's been on national and local TV, on local radio and in the Daily Mail newspaper. 
In her daily blog postings she shares pictures of her frugal shopping and meals, her craft work, her walking, the summerhouse she built from scrap doors and her pets. 
She certainly does really well on buying reduced "stickered" food late in the day at her local supermarkets - I'm never so lucky and if I do spot something it's mostly a 10p reduction!
But more importantly, Ilona makes the point that you need to eat what you have and not what you might feel like. So her very sensible method is to buy those reduced stickered food items THEN decide how to cook and use them - very practical and frugal.
Of course her media exposure had drawn all sorts of unkind comments (as well as admiration) but there can't be much wrong with eating healthily, having no debt, owning your own home, having holidays and running a car, being physically active - and HAPPY! 
Well done Ilona - a woman after my own heart - as my blog title says:
"Happy Frugal Year isn't about being mean, miserly or unhappy - it's about saving money where you can, in order to be able to afford to splurge where you want to!"


Dry cleaning is really expensive and more and more clothes and home textiles seem to require it if you believe the label info. 
However, if you use your common sense, a lot of so-called "Dry Clean Only" items may possibly be washed by hand or if your washing machine has it, in a hand wash style low temperature programme. Look at the composition of your garment and if it's manmade nylon, polyester, acrylic type fabrics then it should be okay to hand wash. The most common reason manufacturers say items are dryclean only is often due to the strength of seams, delicate fabrics, or beading.

Monday, 25 January 2016


Image result for kidney beans
Do you keep a store cupboard of useful ingredients? I don't know how many people do these days- is it seen as an old-fashioned idea?  Well I certainly keep a frugal well-stocked cupboard which will always enable me to make a meal or three if the weather's too bad to go out for a few days to shop, or more importantly if there's no money left at the end of the month!
So here's my 25 must have items for a useful, frugal store cupboard:
1.Tinned tomatoes (or carton tomatoes) - chopped or whole- your choice. You can use them for a pasta sauce base or soup base.
2. Pasta - any shape. use for pasta bake, lasagne or with a sauce.
3. Garlic - keep a bulb in a cool, dark cupboard. Use it to add taste to your pasta dishes or salad dressings.
4. Rice - any kind you prefer. Makes an accompaniment to curry or a meal in itself with a stock cube and any leftover veg.
5. Olive oil - can be used for marinades, frying or salad dressing. Can be expensive but last for ages.
6. Curry paste - use a couple of spoonfuls with chopped tomatoes to make a curry sauce base.
7. Stock cubes - ideally all the flavours you use (vegetable, chicken, beef) they can flavour risotto or sauces and soups or just make gravy for your roast.
8. Tins of tuna - use to make fish cakes, add to pasta and tomato sauce, or just tip out onto a plate of salad.
9. Soy sauce - gives a great taste to any stir fry dishes, dressings and marinades.
10. Tomato purée - thickens your sauces and casseroles and can be used as a quick topping on pizzas.
11. Runny honey - use in marinades, to make flapjack or porridge topping.
12. Kidney beans & butter beans - either dried or for convenience, tinned. Use in salads, chilli, soups and vegetarian dishes
13. Lemon juice - in a bottle. Use in recipes, dressings, marinades. Saves money and stops waste when you only need a little juice for a recipe.
14. Mustard - either French, wholegrain or English. Use as condiments or in marinades, salad dressings, sauces and casseroles.
15. Chickpeas - as with kidney beans you can use in salads, curries and soups.
16. Red lentils - great in curries and soups and can bulk up mince dishes such as bolognese and shepherd's pie.
17. Oats - makes cakes, flapjacks, porridge.
18. Dried Thyme - any dried herbs are useful, but thyme is my favourite as it holds its flavour well and adds a lovely richness to pasta dishes.
19. Plain flour - use to thicken sauces and casseroles as well as batter mixes for pancakes.
20. Eggs - of course! Boiled, scrambled, fried or poached, cake-making, pancake making- our most versatile ingredient!
All the above can be bought in supermarkets' basic ranges and it's worth researching the lowest prices before you buy.

Monday, 16 November 2015


 Image result for whole grain rice
Wholegrain rice is better for us, but always takes longer to cook. if you can plan ahead, soak it in cold water overnight and you can shorten your cooking time by around 15 minutes. Saves time and money.


Image result for celery
You can keep celery for around a month if you wrap it in foil in the fridge. But if it's already gone a bit limp, stand the whole thing in a large jar of cold water for half an hour (it sometimes helps to slice another piece of the bottom of the root) and it will recover.


 Image result for runny honey
If your runny honey has gone solid and white in the jar - don't waste it. Remove the metal lid and heat the glass jar in the microwave in 10 second bursts until the honey is runny again. Quick tip: put the jar on a small microwaveable plate first as it can be too hot to pick up after heating.