February 25

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Getting Back On Top

Week 4 – February 25th, 2019

It’s the fourth week of the month: if you can make the time, Write a Budget and Share Something.

How are your plans for a thrifty new year working out? I find January is usually an excellent month to start some new thrifty resolutions – any thriftiness at all seems like a stellar effort compared to the excesses of the previous month. Plus, sales shopping gives a certain thrifty veneer to spending more money, because it’s not really spending if it’s a bargain, is it. (Hmm…) And, given the state of most people’s bank balances in January, it’s not so much a lifestyle choice as a dire necessity. So a frugal new year seems entirely do-able in January.

February though… The shine has come off your new thriftiness – it is no longer an interesting challenge. And, with a new month’s pay in hand, it seems less urgent. You start to forget your new thrifty habits. But habits – thrifty ones included – thrive on repetition. The more often you repeat them, the more likely you are to keep on repeating them.

So, no pressure, but if you started out on a new journey to take control of your finances last month, this month was crucial. If you kept your new thrifty habits up through February then they will be well on their way to becoming second nature. If you did fall off the wagon though, dust yourself down and just hop straight back on this week by budgeting for next month. And remember to give yourself little treats to keep your morale up. Good Luck!

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, instructions to make deliciously fragrant luxury candles and a recipe for Apple And Custard Cake. See you then!

February 18

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – The First Preserve Of The Year

Week 3 – February 18th, 2019

It’s the third week of the month: if you can make the time, Preserve Something and Review Your Spending

I truly hate February. I live in Glasgow so the bright skies of a snowy winter happen rarely and are replaced most days with a grey sky so low you almost bump your head on it. By February I am over Cosy and longing for the freshness of spring. So I was delighted last week to see the vivid green and pink of rhubarb shoots flinging off the soil in my garden like a toddler’s duvet in the morning. (For the record, I was usually a lot less cheerful about my toddlers doing the duvet-fling.) Rhubarb shoots don’t just promise the eventual end of winter they offer crumbles and jam in the very near future.

But not now.  Now, if you want to start packing your pantry with thrifty preserves, you are going to have to think beyond fresh seasonal produce, meet February on it’s own terms, and bottle up some Disgracefully Drunken Prunes. Do it now, and they will be perfect for gifting next Christmas, for guzzling by November and for adding gravitas to your gravies and stews by the time spring is giving way to summer.

Take time to make up some labels for them too – read Glam Your Jam for an easy way to label like a pro.

As for the rhubarb… all in good time. Next month I promise to post recipes for rhubarb jam and gin when the first seasonal produce of the year is big enough to pick.

I will be back next week with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner and advice on how to be thrifty when you can’t be bothered.

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.

February 11

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Free Greens On Your Windowsill

Week 2 – February 11th, 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.

I loved the Ladybird Rapunzel book as a child but one aspect left me truly bewildered. At the beginning of the story a pregnant woman gazes out of her window, day after day, with a helpless longing for her neighbour’s… salad. Yup – the whole hair-tugging, tower-trapping tale stems from a longing for greens. As a child I found this incomprehensible. The message that lettuce leads to trouble may even have coloured my childhood refusal to eat the stuff. Maybe.

Now I get it though. Late winter sees me longing for crisp green leaves and sharp flavours. Happily I can buy them, bagged, from any supermarket, without having to rob a witch of her rocket. Unhappily, those bags are pricey. So I was pleased to discover that pea-shoots – a favourite of mine – are very easy to grow on your windowsill even in the depths of winter. So easy, a child could do it. And so thrifty it would be nuts not to. Click here for full instructions on how to grow them and how to make Smoked Mackerel And Pea-Shoot Gnocchi once they grow.

If pea shoots whet your appetite for almost free salad, take a look at Frugally Sustainable’s guide to growing greens on your windowsill. A couple of pounds for a packet of seed and some potting compost and you are set to save many times that. And your salads will be fresher. Maybe your neighbours will start to gaze with helpless longing at your greens too…

I will be back next week with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner and a deliciously decadent preserve.

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.

February 4

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Warm Hearts And Busy Hands

Week 1 – February 4th, 2018

It’s the first week of the month: if you can make the time, Put Cash In Marked Purses and Make Something

February is the most miserable month of the year (fact). It is dull days and dark nights indoors. What better way to spend them than with a project? Something to keep you busier than slobbing out on the sofa has to be worth a try.  And, if you are thinking DIY gifts might be the way to keep Christmas on-budget this year, this gives you plenty time to Get Ahead Of The Crafty Curve and make sure your DIY presents are presentable by December.

(Yes, I know Christmas only just happened. I feel ridiculous writing about next Christmas now. BUT… If you are depending on a brief crafting frenzy in December to fill Santa’s sack just be aware that Things Come Up and time runs out and a whole lot of unfinished projects plus a panicked dash round the shops in late December is not thrifty.)

Cutting back on spending can become an exercise in doing without (which is why Be Joyful And Generous, Not Miserly And Miserable is one of my guiding Thrifty Principles.) But there are plenty things – luxuries and necessities – that become affordable on a frugal budget when you make them yourself. Making something not only helps your cash to go further it adds the pleasure of trying out new things, exercising skills, becoming absorbed in the moment… Not to mention the satisfaction of creating something with your very own hands.

So, if this is a Thrifty Habit you have yet to embrace, make this the month you give it a go. Your first project doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to get finished this month. And it doesn’t have to be your own idea – the internet is full of people who want to inspire and instruct you to make things.  If you are stuck for inspiration, check out the Tartan Thrifty Make Something board on Pinterest. Or why not run up some of these cute and cosy little hand warmers from The Idea Room to see you through to the spring? Heart-warming. (Sorry.)

I will be back next week with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner and a suggestion for growing premium salad at Primark prices.

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.

February 3

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Budgeting Without The (Costume) Drama

Week 4 – January 28th, 2019

It’s the fourth week of the month: if you can make the time, Write a Budget and Share Something.

Congratulations – you have made it to the end of January. Did you make it on-budget? Or were you still in holiday-mode at the start of the month… and scrabbling to get back in control for the rest of the month? If you did, then you (and I) are not alone.

A monthly – or even weekly – budget is vital to staying on top of your finances. Planning what to spend and what to save is a serious business – but we shouldn’t take it too seriously. You don’t need the perfect system, or the most complex spreadsheet. You can start without the right app or the right qualifications or the right attitude. The important thing is just to start. Click here to find out What Downton Abbey Taught Me about budgeting without faffing.

I will be back next week with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner and some heart-warming advice on how to make the most of dreary February evenings.

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, instructions to make deliciously fragrant luxury candles and a recipe for Apple And Custard Cake. See you then!

January 21

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – We’re Jamming

Week 3 – January 21st, 2019

It’s the third week of the month: if you can make the time, Preserve Something and Review Your Spending

Why is preserving one of my regular Thrifty Habits? You can buy preserves in supermarkets so why bother making your own?

I’ll be honest – if you are struggling to find enough time to fit in everything, then dropping Preserve Something will not destroy your finances forever. Jam is not an essential food group – you can live without it. And supermarket cheapest chutney is not the worst thing you could ever put on a cheese sandwich. So shopping value ranges or going without is easily as thrifty as making all your own preserves from scratch.

No, the reason I still try to make most of our preserves is because I like a little treat now and again. And I like my treats to be lovely – but not at luxury prices. I want artisanal preserves at Aldi prices. Making my own is the best way I know of getting that.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that making your own is always cheaper – it is not. Read Making Jam And Saving Money for some thoughts on when it is – and isn’t – worth making your own. And always keep The Thrifty Preserving Rules in mind.

Sadly this is too early in the year to actually start bottling up nature’s bounty. But that makes it the perfect time of year to start day-dreaming about what you are going to make later this year. Try Larder Love for mouth-watering inspiration. And it is never too early to begin saving jam jars.

I will be back next week with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner and some soothing thoughts on budgetting.

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.

January 14

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Gimme Some Hygge

Week 2 – January 14th, 2019

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

‘Tis the season to be snuggly. The weather is not inviting,  so why not make like the Danes with their hygge and get cosy indoors?

Hygge involves actively creating a comforting environment in which to sit out winter. Just turning up the central heating doesn’t cut it. You need snuggly throws, wholesome food, good company… and warm, twinkly lighting. A log fire is, of course, the gold standard, but keeping out your festive fairy lights would help too. And there are always scented candles – twinkly lights and comforting aromas in one swoop. You could descend on Ikea for cheap tealights. Or, you could get your cosy on  by creating your own. That way you get to be on-trend and on-budget. Have a go at my Teeny Tiny Teacup Candles or Luxury Scented Candles.

Wax melts at a fairly low temperature, making this a child-friendly activity. Make candles with the kids and that’s you nailed hygge and a new, cheap family activity without actually leaving the house.

(If you want to read a less cosy take on hygge, read The Hygge Conspiracy by Charlotte Higgins.)

It is way too early in the year to do any gardening but the perfect time to start planning how to save money by growing your own when spring comes around. Click here to find out how to save money – and avoid wasting it – in the garden this year.

I will be back next week with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner and advice on how to make preserving work for your purse.

 

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.

 

January 7

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Spend Less Without Trying

Week 1 – January 7th, 2019

It’s the first week of the month: if you can make the time, Put Cash In Marked Purses and Make Something

A Happy – and thrifty – New Year to you! Made any resolutions? Was spending less one of them? It’s a safe bet you and I are not alone in that. Most people start January with an uncomfortable amount of debt, or at least a niggling sense that their pre-Christmas spending got a little out of control.

worried gift-giverWhich is why right now is the perfect time to rethink your spending for next year – now when it is still 52 weeks away. Now when the memory of what went well this time is still fresh in your mind. Now, when the reality of your January bank balance is begging you to. Twenty minutes planning now could save you hundreds of pounds, and take most of the stress out of gift-shopping this year.

Click here to find out how to reduce your gift buying budget for next Christmas – in fact for the whole year – in five easy steps.

And if all that seems too much like hard work for now, why not spend this week giving yourself one gentle nudge each day towards spending less all year. Click here to find out how to Nudge Yourself Towards Spending Less In Only One Week.

I will be back next week with a fresh thrifty habits planner and a look at whether or not you can save money by growing food – even in January.

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.

December 17

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Steel Yourself And Shop At The Last Minute

Week 3 – December 17th, 2018

It’s the third week of the month: if you can make the time, Preserve Something and Review Your Spending

Are we nearly there yet?

Do you feel like you have been doing Christmas forever? I get that, I really do, but…

From about 23rd December, supermarkets start marking down their Christmas gifts in a last ditch attempt to shift them all before it’s too late. If you have anybody still to buy for (and nerves of steel) hold off until then and spend a couple of hours trawling as many supermarkets as you can.

Or not. It’s up to you. Forget I even mentioned it and go put your slippers on and your feet up. Much better plan.

We have decided, as an experiment, to go a step further and not buy our Christmas Dinner until closing time on Christmas Eve. This is largely prompted by the fact that we are shorter on time than money and I just have not bought so much as a single mincemeat pie so far. But it is also prompted by the fact that we spend Christmas at Tartan Towers by ourselves. We have a very laid-back day on the 25th. If Christmas dinner is a more… eccentric menu than usual we can take that in our stride. I do not recommend this strategy if you are expecting guests!

I am curious to see how this works out but also right out of my comfort zone – I usually start prepping the dinner round about October. The thought of hitting Christmas unprepared terrifies me, but this year I am going to Feel The Fear And Not Do It Anyway. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I will be back next year with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner.  In the meantime, enjoy your Christmas, however you spend it and whatever you spent to get it.

Update Not only did we successfully buy our Christmas dinner at 5pm on Christmas Eve, we picked up two turkeys for £15. I cooked one on Christmas Day, freezing the cooked leftovers and removed most of the meat from the second one to freeze in small portions and turn into curries, stews, pasta sauces, etc later. The bones from both made a fantastic pot of stock that kept us in delicious risottos for the next three months. We had the aisles almost to ourselves and the whole family enjoyed having a basket each to fill with whatever treats they fancied. Prices were ridiculously low (did I mention this was in Aldi – even by Aldi standards the prices were ridiculously low) and we enjoyed the experience so much that we decided to do it again the next year. Next year the turkeys had all flown the coop, but we got several chickens instead along with lamb and pork and beef roasting joints that kept us fed for months. Who knows what will be on our festive table this year – we are looking forward to finding out just before closing time on Christmas Eve.

 

 

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.

 

December 10

Thrifty Things To Do This Week – Festive Family Fun For Free

Week 2 – December 10th, 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.

‘Tis the season to be jolly and ’tis the week to try out a new, free activity. But for maximum impact this month – don’t! Don’t do something new – try a cheap activity you have done at this time of the year before.

Why? Because if you don’t do something all the time but you always do it at this time then it becomes a Tradition. And Traditions are the lifeblood of Christmas.

When grown adults grow misty-eyed about Christmasses past it is almost always the things their family did every year that they recall – not the gifts they received. That’s very important if you are doing Christmas on a tight budget, because gifts cost but traditions don’t have to.

So do something festive and free this week. Gather cones and twigs and greenery to deck your halls. Or make DIY airdrying clay ornaments with cookie cutters. Or watch a festive film together. Or decorate the tree; or put out the lights and light the place with candles for one night; or make sweets; or…

Your family, your traditions – just make sure they are ones you will always be able to afford. That way, if Santa ever has to tighten his belt, you will still be able to do all the things that make Christmas Christmassy for you and yours. And when your little ones are all growed up, they will be able to recreate the Christmas they loved as children without spending a fortune. Click here for simple advice about keeping the cost of an outing down.

If you are making sweets, by the way, or if you have a stash of truffles in your freezer waiting to be coated in chocolate, now is the time to order in some packaging for them. Click here for more information.

 

I will be back next week with a fresh Thrifty Habits Planner and some last-minute advice. Have fun!

 

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.