Friday’s Green and Frugal Five

So, as part of my super-frugal January (like Frugalwoods ‘uber-frugal-January’ except not as hard-core!) I have been extra careful this month with my spending:

  • Cleaned and packed my thermos flask and took it to work, so that I could fill it with coffee I made there, just before I left to drive to my moms. Didn’t buy coffee at the service station when I stopped for a break. No horrible disposable coffee cups!
  • Packed extra food (partly thanks to my lovely partner who had bought me something special when they had been food shopping) and made sure I didn’t buy any food at the service station. Less rubbish, and some home-made food using up things from the cupboard.
  • Repeated the whole thing early in the morning on Monday, to make sure I didn’t buy anything on the way back from moms, even though a lovely sweet milky coffee would have been rather enjoyable! Again, no disposable cups or fast-food rubbish.
  • Drove carefully and kept my speed under control, so I managed to make it to moms and back on a single tank of petrol – good for my pocket and the environment.
  • Taken all lunches, breakfasts, snacks to work, made coffee at work, avoided buying any food at all. Used tupperware or old jamjars, and totally saved on waste packaging!
  • Managed to realise I needed to cancel my gym class booking early enough that I avoided paying the late-cancellation fee! This is all new to me, so I feel like I did damn well on that one!
  • Sorted through one of the coin pots to pull out the pound coins into a separate jar. We’ll need to get these changed once the new coin comes to the UK in March, or we’ll run the risk of losing the cash completely! Only one jar left to sort…but it is the biggest :/

After a weekend away, I’m really looking forward to being at home this weekend, and getting on with some gentle decluttering. I also really want to start running down the outrageous overstock of food we currently have in the cupboard, which means I need some time at home to think through our pantry contents…preferably not when I’m starving to death after having been to the gym! Hopefully I’ll have a successful and completely frugal weekend; I wish the same to you!

As ever, this post inspired by Katy’s lovely community.

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Friday’s Green and Frugal Five

3 things that are saving my life right now

It’s been ages since I wrote one of these. But right now, there’s one thing that’s completely saving my life right now, and that’s running.

I know. I never thought I’d say it, either.

Exercise is a real psychological knotweed for me. I’ll probably explore it a bit more in a later post, but basically my current focus on running/exercise in general is down to two things. One, I’ve recently been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in the hands. Two, I am trying to grow as a person, and tackle those things that scare me.

Exercise scares me. Because I’ve ‘never been any good at it’, because I often feel fat (I’m not overweight), because of a whole host of things. But being diagnosed with a chronic, incurable, frankly not-even-very-treatable-at-all condition like osteoarthirits has made me rather keen to have something that I can do at those times when my hands give out and I am stuck at home feeling like I’m trapped and useless. So that something is running. I don’t know if it always will be, but right now I’m enjoying the challenge. I have short-term goals, and longer-term dreams, and that’s keeping my brain happy and focussed.

The weird thing is, running is also kind of eating up my headspace. I find myself thinking about it when I’m not doing it. Thinking about when I will get to run, whether I can fit it in tomorrow, whether it will go as well tomorrow as it went today. It’s quite strange. I assume these thoughts are occurring because the whole running thing is completely new to me, and I’ve made it goal-orientated in the short term. That’s basically crack for my brain, which is now super-fixated on ‘doing the thing’!

However it’s working, I’m definitely keen on it, and it seems to be good both for my brain and my hands. I’m not sure why it’s reducing the pain in my hands, but I’m definitely happy about it!

 

Being at home is also a really big thing that’s saving my life right now. Just having time to be at home, to potter around, to tidy things, to make food, to do the washing. Boring, every day types of things. I’m not sure when I became so aware that having time at home is so good for my sense of wellbeing. Perhaps it just crept up on me. But these days, I look at back-to-back full weekends with a sense of dread. I need down-time between working weeks, time to ground myself in my own space. I try not to turn down too many activities, but I do turn down some. I just hope it doesn’t make me too boring!

Okay, so only two things, but they’re big for me 🙂 I hope you’ve got something good going on in your life too.

3 things that are saving my life right now

Frugal January

Argh, argh, argh, I spent way too much in December. Special food, presents, and charity donations all added up – as did the fact that I joined my work gym! More on that later – though for now, it’s worth noting I had to pay the whole year’s fee up front in one go. Ouch! Eminently worth it though – it works out that I get each month for less than £15, including classes. I still managed to make my regular savings payment at the end of December, but right now my everyday account is not looking particularly flush.

It doesn’t help that January is a long month. In fact, in my world it’s extra long. I got paid for December on the last working day before Christmas Day…and I won’t get paid for January until the very last day of the month! I have to admit to feeling a little bit perturbed when I looked at my calendar and realised that is still three weeks away from today.

In order to deal with this, I’m going to have as frugal a January as I can. I’m feeling very inspired by Frugalwoods, who are doing an Uber Frugal Month. If you go to that post, you can even sign up to receive an email a day for the next 30 days, with encouragement, tips and tricks. I find it really helps to feel part of a community, and her tips are pretty good.

So far we’re ten days in, and I’m not actually feeling ground down by the experience, which is good. I have a tendency to let a perception of ‘being broke’ make me miserable, and then sooner or later I give up on the whole thing. Not so this time! I’ve just got to remember I’m not broke, I’m saving.

In terms of spending this month, I’ve been pretty good. I’ve done extra work to keep spending down, with the result that I’ve spent next to nothing. Exclusions are paying now for events that will happen later in the year, and thus getting a reduction in fees, and a few bits associated with visiting my mom at the weekend. So, a couple of cups of tea and snacks whilst we were out, and the toll road fees to get there. I even managed to take my mom around a number of shops and not by anything at all for myself, even though I was tempted!

I have a day in the city scheduled next week, to meet up with a friend who just happens to be down from up-north, but hopefully I will be able to avoid spending too much. It’ll be worth it, for sure. I’m really looking forward to it, and that’s worth a little expenditure, as I need to have good things to look forwards to. Thanks to a very kind friend, I even have a giftcard for a coffee shop I can use if I need a pick-me-up this month, which will be really handy.

The aim of all this is to build up a buffer of cash in my regular account. I avoid using an overdraft facility, even for surprises/emergencies, but that only works if I make myself my own little ‘overdraft’ buffer. And of course, I’d still like to replace my phone, if I can just build up enough cash…!

 

Frugal January