April 9

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Get Big Savings From A Tiny Garden

Week 2 – April 9th, 2018

It’s the second week of the month: if you can make the time, Try A New Free Or Cheap Activity and Grow Something.

It is Spring! Officially!! No matter what the view out your window might be telling you today… I used to find this a pretty blah month before I got into gardening. Now I notice all the tiny little signs of life around me with keen interest because they are the start of the countdown to gardening season. But they are also the sign that our lives are poised to expand back into the outdoors, after months cooped up inside. I need no encouragement to get outside but the Tartan Kids are a little harder to persuade. When Tartan Boy himself was very wee he needed no further persuasion than a scavenger hunt. He would do anything for a clipboard and a pencil. Tiny Tartan is a tougher nut to crack – he still gets the clipboard and pencil but he also gets a Smartie for each item on the list that he finds. Tartan Boy also gets one, which motivates him to help his little brother find some of the trickier items. Even in the great outdoors there is a place for bribery and corruption… You can find lots of different printable scavenger hunts for Springtime and beyond on the Tartan Thrifty Do Something board on Pinterest.

It’s time to start thinking about your garden if you have one, or your balcony, or even your windowsill. There is no space so tiny that you can’t grow something in it. A few years ago I set out to turn my very small concrete jungle into a tiny forest garden, so pretty you could eat it.  I spent several months building up layers, starting with trees and other tall structures to add height. The idea is to grow a garden that looks good enough to spend time in but that also saves you money by providing some food. In a patch our size it was never going to make us self-sufficient, but it could give us a lot of fresh herbs, and some fruit and  vegetables.

Since then, it has been flattened several times by winter storms, trashed by several months of building work inside the flat, then neglected while I devoted the next year to redecorating the flat. Even the worms in the worm bin turned up their tails and died during a temporary spell in a patch of sunlight. But the bones of it are still there – the trees took root, my perennials are pushing up through the soil as I speak and my herbs are thriving even though they do need a good trim. I am looking forward this summer to getting it back on track. What are your plans for your patch – however small – this year?

 

I will be back next week with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner and a suggestion about how to use the shopping you have already done to save you money.

 

Free, Downloadable Thrifty Habits Planner To Keep You On Track

Click here to download your copy of this week’s free Thrifty Habits Planner.

So, you want to get into the habit of spending less without putting in more effort? You need something to remind you what to do and when, so you don’t have to keep thinking about it. The Thrifty Habits Planner is a simple tool to help you do just that. Use it to pencil in which thrifty things you plan to do this week and to pin yourself down to when you plan to do them. If you take control this way at the start of the week, you are far more likely to have stuck to your plan by the end of the week. Sticking your plan up somewhere you will see it every day helps you to stay on track too.

Take time at the end of the week to give yourself a little treat as a reward for your thrifty efforts. Little splurges will actually help you to stay thrifty – read this to find out how.

 

March 12

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Get Your Money’s Worth From Your Council Tax

Week 2 – March 12th, 2018

It’s the second week of the month: if you can make the time, Try A New Free Or Cheap Activity and Grow Something.

When I first began Tartan Thrifty I wanted to give myself a system that made sure I used all the strategies that had helped me save money in the past, all the time. I spent ages listing everything we had ever found useful, and deciding what made the cut, what didn’t, and how often each strategy needed to be used. And that’s how the Thrifty Habits were born. This week’s habit – Try A New Free Or Cheap Activity – was not on the list. Largely because most of my thriftier lifestyle choices had been embraced before I was a parent and understood the vital necessity of having an arsenal of affordable activities up your sleeve if you are to avoid being shanghaied into spending your entire month’s food budget on one outing to a soft-play centre just because the kids were clamouring and you didn’t have a better idea.

I wanted to develop some better ideas.

The only problem was… the month I first introduced this habit to our routine, we had zero fun money. Whatever we did had to be completely free. And that’s when it dawned on me that, maybe, we were already paying for something the kids could do through our Council Tax. I like getting the benefit of what we have already paid for only a tiny bit less than I enjoy getting something for free, so I looked it up. You can find out how much of an eye-opener this was in Getting Thrifty With The Council Tax. Since then we have enjoyed hundreds of days out that we were paying for anyway.

I will be back next week with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner and some ideas for preserving rhubarb. I have never preserved rhubarb: if I have rhubarb, I want it in a crumble and I want it now. So I am hoping next week’s post will finally  make me develop some self control…

 

Free, Downloadable Thrifty Habits Planner To Keep You On Track

Click here to download your copy of this week’s free Thrifty Habits Planner.

So, you want to get into the habit of spending less without putting in more effort? You need something to remind you what to do and when, so you don’t have to keep thinking about it. The Thrifty Habits Planner is a simple tool to help you do just that. Use it to pencil in which thrifty things you plan to do this week and to pin yourself down to when you plan to do them. If you take control this way at the start of the week, you are far more likely to have stuck to your plan by the end of the week. Sticking your plan up somewhere you will see it every day helps you to stay on track too.

Take time at the end of the week to give yourself a little treat as a reward for your thrifty efforts. Little splurges will actually help you to stay thrifty – read this to find out how.

 

September 16

Thrifty Things To Do This Week: Free Food From The Urban Hedgerow

Week 3 – September 11th, 2017

It’s the third week of the month: if you can make the time, Preserve Something and Review Your Spending. If you only preserve one thing this month, make it Mulled Apple Jelly – sweet, sharp and spicy, it is delicious with sweet and savoury food, making it the perfect all-rounder.

Product DetailsI bought this beautiful book (full price – my secret shame) when I was a student. It took me to a time when ladies kept house with an iron hand. A time when herbal remedies and secret recipes were passed from mother to daughter like family heirlooms. A time when still-rooms and store-cupboards secured survival and pleasure for whole households. A kind of Poldark of the kitchen.

An odd choice for a twentieth-century twenty-something, studying at a city-centre university, don’t you think? Nowadays we don’t need home remedies, hand-made preserves, or DIY cleaning products anymore – we have supermarkets not still-rooms for all that. And – romantic as the notion of gathering in and storing the harvest seemed as I read the book – it was hardly something a city girl like me had the option of doing. Cities don’t have hedgerows bursting with free fruit, do they? Cities have shops.

Sloe Gin And Beeswax” is still on my bookshelves, and I still dip into it for useful advice and sheer escapism from time to time. It is a lovely book and I would still recommend it if you can find a copy – it has been out of print for a while. But since I first read it I have discovered that cities do, in fact, grow free fruit. I have picked all sorts of fruits, completely free, without leaving the city – sometimes without even leaving my local area. For more information about how to plunder the city’s food supplies, read The Urban Forager.

 

Free, Downloadable Thrifty Habits Planner To Keep You On Track

Click here to download your copy of this week’s free Thrifty Habits Planner.

So, you want to get into the habit of spending less without putting in more effort? You need something to remind you what to do and when, so you don’t have to keep thinking about it. The Thrifty Habits Planner is a simple tool to help you do just that. Use it to pencil in which thrifty things you plan to do this week and to pin yourself down to when you plan to do them. If you take control this way at the start of the week, you are far more likely to have stuck to your plan by the end of the week. Sticking your plan up somewhere you will see it every day helps you to stay on track too.

Take time at the end of the week to give yourself a little treat as a reward for your thrifty efforts. Little splurges will actually help you to stay thrifty – read this to find out how.

I will be back next week with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner, and advice about finding ‘free’ food in your very own kitchen.

July 25

One Week Of Thrifty Habits – Monday 25th July To Sunday 31st July

Getting Into The Habit Of Being Thrifty

Tartan Thrifty is all about getting into the habit of spending less without living less well. Some thrifty habits need to be carried out every day, some every week. Some only need to be carried out once a month – and, surprise, surprise, they are the hardest ones to keep up. To help with that you can find a wall-planner to help you keep on top of this week’s Thrifty Habits – the dailies, the weeklies and the ones that only come round once a month – here. Use it to plan when exactly you are going to carry out the Weekly and Monthly Habits.

Thrifty Things To Do This Week

Thrifty Habits Planner April Week 1 - New PageOn top of the daily habits (stashing receipts and checking your bank balance) and all the weekly habits (see box to the right) its time to Make Something and to Put Cash Into Marked Purses.
Now and again, it’s good to remind yourself why you are doing this. The obvious answer is… to save money. The answer lying behind that is that you want to save money because that will make you happy – which is why one of my Principles Of Thrifty Living is Be Joyful And Generous Not Miserly And Miserable.

Be Joyful And GenerousIf I had to sum up the Tartan Thrifty mission in two words, they would be “happiness” and “habits”. The first because that is what I believe is the real aim of thrifty living. The second because that’s what I think is the best route to long-term cost-cutting.  Mindless thrifty habits help us to effortlessly save money and feeling secure in our finances makes us feel happy.

So you can imagine how delighted I was to come across The Habits Of Supremely Happy People on The Huffington Post – two of my favourite ideas in one place! Take a look at it and see if you can add some extra sunshine to your summer.