Thursday, December 3, 2009

Frifty Foughts...

Apologies for the title - perhaps I have worked too long amongst small children and French people, few of whom can pronounce the sound 'th' successfully... So, here are some 'Thrifty Thoughts' (please enunciate like Her Majesty the Queen).
Anyone who's been reflecting on the subjects of my posts recently (although probably no one has) will have noticed a definite lack of spending. We have messed around and done some crafting with things we already have... (See my last THREE posts on the subject of my slipper with a hole in the toe!)We have begun Advent with some handmade family traditions.
We have scoured highways (unsuccessfully)...
... and byways (more successfully) for freebies.
I have also MADE some money by finally getting my litte blog shop up and running, selling lovely French Vintage finds I picked up this summer.
But all in all, Tif's Challenge of the Utmost Kind has come at a perfect time for us. See the sidebar if you want to know more about it.When we had the work done on our 'about to collapse' patio roof, we had a choice between getting a big, long-term loan for the whole amount, or getting the smallest, quickest loan possible and just stumping up the rest of the cash from our current and savings accounts. We decided to go for the latter, and therefore had a very lean month in November: very lean indeeed!
I was already reflecting, at the end of October, that the Challenge of the Utmost Kind was beginning to affect how I thought about spending money - I was less prone to think: 'Here is a problem, how can I spend money to solve it?' and more likely to drift into a longer-term, more enjoyable but less 'quick-fix' solution. What good timing, indeed, when we faced a month of basically not spending at all!One useful thing was that I took the time to defrost the freezer and inventory its contents. A bit OCD? Well, perhaps, but ever so handy and money-saving. We barely needed to buy meals, I had so much in there, which only required a bit of thinking ahead for defrosting and recipe ideas, often using the SloCooker (Crock Pot) for the cheaper bits of meat. See the category for 'mysterious pork meat'? That's still in the freezer...
I don't want you to think I'm polishing my halo (and grabbing my pipe-cleaner harp) or that I'm telling you that anyone can live on virtually no money - some financial problems are much worse than ours. But what I am reflecting on is that the mental shift caused by Tif's Challenge has made it easier for us, and actually rather fun, to Make Do for a month, and we think it will actually stand us in good stead for reducing future living costs too.I'll leave you with a photo of the last thrifty thing I bought before we had a Shut Down on spending - the ornate red and gold mirror, 2€ at Veti Relais, as a start of a whole collection of small mirrors we want to hang to brighten up a dark wall in our living area. Finances are jiggling themselves back to normal now, but we have learned, we really have, that thinking you live in a thrifty, environmentally-conscious way, and actually doing it, are two different things, and sometimes it takes a shock to make you realise that!

14 comments:

Michela said...

Hi Floss, thank you so much for your advices about the Pudding!
So true that foreigners can't pronounce that weird sound..."th"..I still remember the silly expressions of my English teacher..her tongue among her horrible teeth..blaaahhh!
"I'm teaching you the Queen's English" she repeated!Ha ha!
I've enjoyed a lot reading how clever you and your family have been with your challenge!

Serenata said...

You have been doing very well Floss. I've not done so well on the spending front unfortunately - I haven't bought anything new, but have spent a bit recently on CS items, and now it is time to pull in the horns.

I think having an inventory of the freezer is a good idea and I've done something similar in the past for our cleaning products!

We still don't have an oven so either getting that repaired if possible is going to be our next priority!

Lululiz said...

Oh my, the freezer. I know deep down in there somewhere are things which have been there for far too long. Its just too easy to buy "bargains", shove them in the freezer and promptly forget about them. Thanks for the timely reminder (of sorts, lol), I should clear mine out before Christmas and organise it.

Sarah said...

Well done guys! It's actually a bit of fun sometimes. It could be awful but it's how you think about it that changes things. Sort of like a challenge I guess. And you have passed with flying colours madam!

I'm grateful to not have a deep freeze. We have two small freezers under fridges so not much can go missing. There are some things which could probably go west, but there are way more things that should be done before that. Hence the elves! P.S. I'm considering sharing them later in the year.

bad penny said...

Food bills are spiralling out of control but at least I'm getting one egg a day - hopefully more in the Spring !

We had a few " eat up meals " this week too. I did joke to my son that if things get too bad we can eat the chickens !

Itch2stitch.com said...

I love the feeling of being thrifty, after all why spend when you don't have to , and why not recycle and find alternative uses for things we would sometimes throwaway? I use a slow cooker a lot, and always try to make a few meals from one lot of meat! Good post.. as always! suzie xxx

A Bun Can Dance said...

Hello Floss, Isn't it great? Like you I am finding that my outlook on 'material things' and spending money in general has changed significantly in the last two months. Being unable to buy 'willy nilly' means that I now seem to have real priorities for spending.
Lovely to hear how you've got on. And the freezer list is an excellent idea!
Happy days,
Denise x

Maria said...

This post hit home for me, thrift has been a way of life for us for the past three and a half years (husband in final year of degree), only just surviving on my salary. But if we had not been in that situation I may not have taken the plunge and started my bussiness, doing something that I love.

Ashley said...

Great post, I am not sure that I could commit to the challenge of the utmost kind, but it does make you think. I have been feeling very proud of myself for not buying items for myself. Seeing as we will be facing a few financial issues next year - I will have to see what I can do to save more. One thing that really irks me is how much I waste on food, I often find myself throwing out food that has expired or veggies that we didn't eat fast enough.

Barbara said...

Thank you for your lovely post, Floss, I'm discovering all sorts of things in my freezer too (and I only began the challenge a few days ago!)

ps I think we have identical slippers, (but mine come with white paint stain near toe and no hole just yet) All repair options are good but I prefer the Liberty fabric one I think...

TheMadHouse said...

Well done on both the repairing and the spending. We are using our cash flow crisis as a challange and trying to deal with it in the best humour possible!!!

Pomona said...

I have always been a bit of a secondhand Rose, but one of the good things about the challenge has been seeking out handmade alternatives to high street shopping - sometimes making myself, but also buying from individual designer-makers and crafters. I have discovered so many through blogging, and it has made Christmas shopping so enjoyable. The challenge has been a really good way of discouraging frivolous spending, on magazines, etc, too, a habit which I had fallen into, and I have not missed them at all.

Pomona x

silverpebble said...

Floss I need to take some serious leaves out of your book. We have to be thrifty too - and sometimes I'm not thrifty enough. You're inspiring!

Can I just say that your wreath is absolutely lovely. Very very easy on the eye!

Angela said...

Great Post. I love the slipper [you shall go to the ball, after all, Cinderella]
...and even if your frozen children frust their fredbare socks at you, you go on being frifty and frugal and foraging in your freezer!
Blessings xx