Friday’s green and frugal five

What a month! I got back from holiday into one of the busiest periods of the year at work, and was asked to start take on the tasks of the new role I’m moving into in early November early. It’s been a hell of a month, frankly. 

  • My boss did give me carte blanche to work as much overtime as necessary, so at the end of this month I will be submitting a pay request for a straight 20 extra hours. Not to be sniffed at!
  • I renewed the car insurance, but with a new provider for less and through Compare the Market, so we have another year of buy-one-get-one free cinema tickets on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Honestly we probably save £100 a year doing this, plus the £50 we save on renewal by switching to a new provider!
  • Used the above this week, and treated ourselves to ice cream by packing our own spoons and hand towel and buying a tub at the nearby supermarket, which halves the cost and enables us to get better icecream.
  • Our housemates freezer needs defrosting, so we’re eating down ours so that there is room for their things. We haven’t spent a lot on groceries recently.
  • Haven’t put the heating on yet, just making sure we keep doors closed. I have a blanket by the sofa for when I get cold late in the evenings, and another on the bed.

As ever, post inspired by Katy’s blog.

Friday’s green and frugal five

Friday’s Green and Frugal Five

Well, I’m currently not feeling great, but at least the sun is shining and the U.K. is enjoying some good summer weather. It is also excellent washing-drying weather too, and that’s good for saving energy and money!

  • I have finished therapy! I have never regretted paying for it, but it is very nice to be able to reclaim that £40 a week. It’s going straight into savings, but I did use it as an excellent excuse for lunch out on Wednesday.
  • I visited all of our local charity shops (and that’s a lot!) and didn’t find anything I needed. I have to admit to being diassapointed, but that is how it goes sometimes. Charity shopping is a bit hit and miss. I am pleased I didn’t bring any impulse buys I didn’t need home.
  • I have nothing planned this weekend but a few hours at my voluntary job. This should mean that I don’t spend very much (if anything).
  • Letter from the water company came this week, telling us they need to reduce our monthly payment by £10 due to our low consumption. We have built up £230 in credit with them! Our four person household consumes just two litres a day more than the average two person household.
  • Even though I have been forgetting to make my breakfasts the night before, I have made sure we have bread in the cupboard and I’ve been making jam sandwiches in the mornings. I have had a couple of lunches out, and bought one breakfast, but it wasn’t a total disaster. Gotta keep working on this, as packing lunches and breakfasts is such a relatively easy way to save money.

As ever, this post is inspired by Katy’s blog and readers.

Friday’s Green and Frugal Five

Friday’s Green and Frugal Five

A good week!

  • After July being such an awful month, I had to get my spending under control. What I want is to be spending substantially less than I earn, every month. In order to achieve that, I basically need to stop spending money most days, in the same vein as my by-nothing-days challenge. I am very pleased that in the last seven days, I have only spent money on one single day! This month is going so much better than July’s.
  • Remembered to pack breakfast and lunch every working day this week. This saves a substantial amount of money, and I’d been really bad about this last month. It was helped by the fact that we’ve had some cheese in the house due to having guests – and nothing is easier than a cheese sandwich!
  • Walked home from work on Wednesday. It’s just under 5 miles, so I always take a bus, but the weather was good and it was wonderful to walk through the countryside in the blazing sun. I figure it’s frugal, as it’s healthy, and having good health is ultimately cheaper than not.
  • Hung washing on the line, on racks, and over the bannister rather than use the tumble-dryer. We are still running the water heater, but we don’t have heating and we don’t have any cooling or fans. Just lovely open windows and a coastal breeze.
  • My partner is making a storage box for our camping trips out of wood from an old futon we stashed in the attic about eight years ago. We are really keen on using up supplies we already have, and this is a fantastic reuse of material that would otherwise go to the tip.

This week has honestly been such a relief after last month. Whilst we have lots of camping trips and trips to see friends, and I’m sure this coming weekend will be expensive, I feel like having spent the first ten days of the month solidly under my belt in terms of almost-zero expenditure has made me feel a lot less awful about my spending.

As ever, this post is inspired by Katy’s blog.

Friday’s Green and Frugal Five

Fridays Green and Frugal Five

I am absolutely knackered. So knackered, I don’t really think I’ve managed a particularly good week. But here goes…

  • Only had a half out at the pub on Tuesday. Too tired to drink anyway.
  • Trying to get my unused holiday at my second job converted to cash. The only reason I haven’t used it is because it took them nine months to actually confirm it!
  • All this weeks washing has been rack or line dried, even the three loads my partner did yesterday. Realised it costs us at least 50p every time we use the tumble dryer, and told my partner this, so I think we’re experiencing renewed enthusiasm for line drying!
  • Posted a graphics card that my partner no longer needs to a friend of his. Expensive electronics getting a second use, friend saving money, cost me less than £3.
  • Used paint left over from glossing the new back gate to paint the top of the cat’s dining table, which as it was bare wood was incredibly grim after a year of accumulated cat detritus! Really nice looking, and finally easy to clean.
Fridays Green and Frugal Five

Friday’s Green and Frugal Five

What a week! I know I’ve said this before, but I’ve put myself in a bind for the next month with a lot of evening/weekday activities, so I’m feeling the pressure somewhat. There just isn’t the usual time to consider everything, and I’m a little worn out some days. So, not much surprise that I’m late on this week’s Five.

  • This is the first time in ten years I haven’t camped out for the bank holiday. Saved c.£30 in petrol, £50 in ticket, £25+ in food, £10 travel expenses, and didn’t generate substantial rubbish or CO2. Spent much less than this donating to the honeymoon fund of two friends who got married this weekend and generously invited us to share their day, feeding us two meals and giving us an excellent excuse to dress up and dance!
  • Gave a lift back to town to a wonderful couple who we met at the wedding, saving them cash and cutting down on journeys/petrol/CO2 between us.
  • Didn’t buy a shredder, instead burnt old papers in the backyard. I think considering the cost of producing a shredder, shipping, electricity, and our only very occasional need to destroy personal papers, this is the best solution.
  • Had a extravagant (for us) but broadly well behaved Anniversary day with my partner, eating out at an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant and drinking tap water, and using a Meerkat Movies voucher to see a film for half price afterwards. Total cost c.£44 for both of us.
  • Complained about a book I bought off an Amazon seller that was listed “as new” and has a torn dust jacket and water staining. Pleased to be given 50% off; I don’t mind the damage to the book and I’m happy to keep it, I just mind the listing being wrong. 

As ever , this post inspired by Katy and the NCA folk.

Friday’s Green and Frugal Five

How’s my New Years resolution going? April edition.

I did it! Plus some. The aim for his month was eight buy-nothing days. And I totally cracked it, which is weird when I consider I did really bad at spending in general this month and went way over my desired budget. I actually spent more than I earnt this month, by a disappointing chunk. It’s okay, I have built up a buffer, but I really have my hear set on adding to that, not taking away.

Big sources of spending were gifts (basically a chunk of cash given to my partner to cover them whilst they were without debit cards due to fraud), health (minor ailments plus therapy) household (the bloody gloss paint that didn’t work and the long-needed curtains), and transport (a three month bus pass) and groceries.

Of those gifts, transportation and household were all abnormally high, totally £300 probably between them. Realising this has made me a little happier, but damn, what a month! I really need May to be better, but I’m wary. I’ve a wedding and two weekends away, and a weekend with my mum in May, none of which is conducive to frugality. Ah well, fingers crossed, and check in next month to see if I survived!

How’s my New Years resolution going? April edition.

The best way to treat your cat for fleas

I realised recently that the trick I’ve been using to give my cat her flea treatment isn’t that well known, so I thought I’d jot it down here in case it helps anyone.

I’m talking here about applying the spot-on liquid flea treatments, the ones you put on the back of the neck. I should say first, that the ones you can buy over the counter in the UK aren’t really very strong, so they may not be effective. The best stuff can be bought from a vet – you’ll need an appointment, and they’ll want to see your cat and check them briefly, but I found it easy, quick and not particularly expensive. After that you can just pick up a repeat prescription every time you need a top up.

However if your cat is anything like mine, you find that when you try and put that liquid on his back, he’ll freak out, buck up and down, scratch you and if you’re really lucky, try and bite you. And not the cute biting either, the real stuff with feeling! You’ll only get half the dose on him, half will go over your hands, and you’ll get at least a few nasty scratches on top of a really pissed off feline. Overall, a rubbish experience for both of you.

To avoid this, I basically do four things:

  1. Warm up the liquid. This is the key! Get the little plastic vial and put it somewhere warm – a skin-temperature cup of water, down your bra, in your pocket – whatever works. You don’t want to over-heat the flea treatment, but if you get it to skin temperature you get a precious few extra moments to put it on. The closer it is to his skin temperature, the less of shock it is to the cat, and the slower he’ll be to start freaking out.
  2. Restrain the cat. Ideally apply the treatment when you have someone to hold the cat firmly – and I mean both sets of legs, back and front! Our cat is like a jack-rabbit, ready to buck out of my partner’s hands as soon as she feels anything unpleasant, so he has to hold her quite firmly. If you’re on your own, you can wrap the cat in a towel to safely and gently restrain clawed paws, though watch out for the sneaky paw-out-the-neck-hole manoeuvrer!
  3. Part the fur at the neck, but don’t stress too much and don’t use a comb etc unless your cat is very happy with this normally. The more natural you can keep it, by just using your fingers, the better. Then apply the liquid quickly and firmly and let the cat go as soon as possible. Don’t worry if you get it on yourself, just wash your hands when you’re done.
  4. Bribe the cat with a large plate of its favourite food. We always use tuna, its a guaranteed score, but whatever you use, make sure it’s real food and not just a few treats. This way you’ll end up with a cat which knows to expect a really good treat after the treatment, which makes it less pissy and easier to handle, and he won’t give you the cold shoulder half as much, which will make you feel much less guilty too!

Hope this helps. Honestly, warming the liquid is the key to making the whole thing more bearable for both of you. It only takes a few minutes of prep and it’s worth a try – and do let me know if helps.

The best way to treat your cat for fleas