Friday, 21 June 2013


I've heard it said, that mile for mile, the small watery expanse of the Solent, between the south coast and the Isle of Wight is the most expensive stretch of water to cross in the world! I can well believe it, as the IOW is a favourite destination of mine and the ferry costs for a car and occupants are always around £100.
However, Wightlink are offering 10% off their ferry crossings (not much, but you have to get your savings where you can!) until 31st December 2013. 
So if you are planning a staycation this summer, just use the code MP13WHV for car bookings or MP13WHF for foot passengers, valid on both Standard and Economy tickets on all Wightlink routes.
Happy frugal holiday!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013


It's summer (in seasonal principle, anyway) and that means festival time! All sorts of festivals are being put on all over the country now, since their revival a few years ago, but they can be expensive! However many of them are free and you can find out where and when they are, on this free festival map.


Yes, it's true, workers spend an average of £7.81 on sandwiches, snacks and drinks a day, and this adds up to around £90,000 in a lifetime! However, those who take a packed lunch and make a hot drink in the office, spend only an average of £1.50 per day!


We all like to buy things (why is that I wonder?) and often come down with a bump from that high of buying something, when we get the credit card or bank statement. It's a lesson we can't ever seem to  learn - that buying stuff doesn't really, really, in the end, make us happy!
So, with frugality and my own Year Of Not Spending very much in mind, I've got a 10 point mantra for you to go through if you are thinking of buying something! (and we do have to think about spending - no impulse buying for frugallers!).
  1. Do I really need it?
  2. Do I have something that I could use instead?
  3. Can I borrow it from someone? 
  4. Can I actually afford this right now?
  5. Have I researched this item well enough?
  6. Is it something that's going to be on offer/reduced soon?
  7. Can I find it cheaper elsewhere? 
  8. If I buy it do I have somewhere to keep it? 
  9. Is it good quality? 
  10. Will I regret buying it?
I often find that by the time I've thought all this through I've gone off the idea of buying whatever it is any way!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


I remember some years ago being very, very broke and, for some reason I can't now remember (I think I may have been trying to retrieve a piece of biscuit), I stuck my hand right down the sides (warning this can be painful!) of some big squashy armchairs we'd been given years before - and bingo! I found some cash! (along with many bits of broken biscuit and cake crumbs). It wasn't an awful lot, about £3 I think, but as this was back in the early 1980s, that seemed quite a bit to me!
Another time, when on holiday and sitting in a pub on a big leather sofa, I found £4 in pound coins all down the side of my seat cushion!
So don't snigger or sneer- when you need some cash, think of all those places that money may hide; under car seats or mats, in old handbags, in coat or trouser pockets and down the sides of chairs - I've even found coins in the filter of the washing machine - but they broke the pump and cost me £80 - not very frugal!
Happy frugal cash hunting!


It's that time of sneezy, eye-watering, cough spluttering year again! Yes, pollen counts are up and, apparently, because we had a cold, fairly low pollen spring, we are going to have higher pollen counts now! 
Hayfever remedies can be very expensive and prices vary greatly, particulalry if you are buying "branded".
However, you don't need to pay through the nose (see what I did there?) for your hayfever tablets - do your frugal research as there are many non-branded substitutes and online chemists that will save you money!
The first thing you need to decide is what active ingredient you need/prefer. For example, Zirtec, Clarityn, Benadryl, Piriton (brand names) all have different active chemicals and when you are choosing a generic non-branded substitute, you will need to check the back of the pack to identify which one it is you're getting.
Take Zirtec for example, active ingredient Cetirizine Hydrochloride, the price ranges from £3.29 (for 7 tablets) in Boots right down to 99p (for 14 tablets) in Tesco's for their own brand substitute.
Remember to also check for any 2 for 1 offers which may also save you money.
But of course, if you are living in Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland, or are in England and over 60 years old, then a prescription for a hayfever remedy from your GP will be free!

Monday, 10 June 2013


I'm half way through my Year of Not Spending (YONS), so I thought I should explain exactly what a YONS means for me and how it works...
Of course I am spending - we can't live without it costing something unfortunately, but this is a Year Of Not Spending, not a year of spending nothing - there's quite a difference.
I buy groceries, pay household bills and car costs including petrol. 
I don't continually buy new clothes, shoes, make-up, perfume, etc or coffee and lunches outside the house.
I get a lot of free perfume, toiletries, face creams etc from freebies on the 'net - some of the bigger things I win in free to enter competitions, I keep to give for birthday and Christmas gifts.
I don't pay for diet club memberships - I do the 5:2 diet, there are plenty of free recipes and guides to it on the internet (no need to buy a book!) and I walk, garden and work on my allotment when I can, for exercise. I do not pay for gym memberships.
I buy birthday presents (if I have to - see above) and cards (at the cheapest place I can find - they only get thrown away!) as necessary. If possible I use loyalty card points from grocery shopping and Nectar Adpoints (which is a non spend earn) to buy gifts and any small items I have to have for the home.
I only buy clothes if they are "cost neutral"- this means selling some old clothes/items on Ebay and using the cash to buy the necessary cheap clothes from charity shops!
My philosophy is "Do I really need it? If I do, can I get it free? or what can I sell to make the money to get it if I need it?"
So far it's working. As I've said before, the mere act of paying attention to every would-be purchase raises consciousness and makes me thing about everything I spend.
Happy frugalling!

Sunday, 9 June 2013


If you're anything like me, your plant labels get trodden on and broken each year which means you have fewer and fewer (and I seem to need more and more!)! I resent paying out for these little pieces of white plastic that get buried deep or smashed - or just plain disappear, so I've made my own this year from small drinking yogurt bottles.
You need a clean empty yogurt container and a pair of tough scissors - I happen to have some old kitchen scissors that do the job nicely. 
  • Cut into the neck ring and then cut it off.
  • Cut down to the base several times to create even sized strips - don't go too narrow as the plastic is a little flimsy, so the wider your labels are, the better.
  • Cut off your strips where they join the base and remove any decal plastic (it should just pull off).
  • Cut points at one end - done!
You will need a permanent marker to write on the plastic - I used a pen that writes on CDs.
One small pot makes 4 labels, they're quite flexible so won't break easily and, as we have at least one of these pots each day, we'll always have a plentiful supply!