Friday, February 7, 2014

Frugal February Week One

This month I am working on my extremely frugal skills!

Basil is growing well but some of the other lettuces are still recovering from a cabbage moth attack! 


This is our front garden in the early morning light. 
  • Checked our spending last month against our budget and discussed with those living here -we all have to help remember to 'shop at home' first.
  • DH took out the old cucumber plant and revived one of the vegetable beds with compost and some wetta soil. 
  • We selected seeds for this new bed from our collection of seed packets:DH sowed these seeds when I was at work on Tuesday and they had started to come up by Friday! The radishes are first. 
  • I made soup in the slow cooker to freeze in small portions to take to work. My office is kept on the CHILLY side so it is not unreasonable to take soup for lunch even in summer. I save a lot of money by taking my own food and keep track of my nutrition and calories too.
  • I did a menu plan for the next two weeks after checking our calendars and the weather forecast. I made a shopping list and did the shopping at the local independent grocer.
  • I made a pie for dinner with some potatoes that were getting old, some fetta cheese which needed to be used up, some pastry from the freezer and a few slices of bacon. It has three eggs and a cup of sour cream as well. 

Tuesday, Wednesday. Thursday

DD bought some flowers last week. I picked them over, recut the stems and put the good ones in a white vase, so that we could continue to enjoy them a few days more. 
  • I took the soup I made on Monday, on two days for lunch. Office workers nearby sniffed appeciatively at the smell and asked, as usual, what I was eating. It was delicious.
  • The other day I took the pie with some salad.
  • My lunch includes a cup of 'real' coffee. We have a coffee machine at work that makes a fair cup for $1. I have a small plunger and bring my own coffee.
  • DH and I went to our choir on Tuesday. A small community group like a choir can provide lots of fun and entertainment for just a few dollars a week. 
It would cost me about $12 a day for lunch and a coffee in a cafe nearby. By having this routine I save around $2000 per year, and eat better food. 
  • I took the bus to work every day. It costs about $3 for the ride. It would cost me $8 a day for parking if I brought the car, not counting petrol costs and the cost on the planet of all that carbon just to get me to work. 
  • Left overs from Monday night's mega spaghetti bolognese will become Lasagna at a later stage. The leftovers are safely in the freezer where they cannot spoil.  Last night's Italian sausage and pasta had leftovers too, which we will enjoy as lunch today. 
  • DH made some wooden trays for DD to use to make paper. The wood cost $2. They fit into a plastic tray which we already had. We had fun making our first sheets of paper yesterday. I want to use them in a little craft project I have in mind. 
  • I was in an office supply shop for work and picked up two binder books for $3 each, in their 'going back to school' sales. I am planning to make quilted journal covers for these, and keep them in a 'Christmas gift" box for later in the year. I found a You Tube clip which shows how to do it. I love YouTube and all the kind people who share their expertise with others.


Our pomegranates are colouring up. They look like large Christmas decorations on the bush, and make a great addition to couscous with a casserole. 

  • Worked on my accounts. This is important to keep us on track with our budget. 
  • Dinner with friends at a friend's house. 
One potential disaster was averted when one of the pipes under the laundry trough burst, spilling hot water all over the laundry! Fortunately we were here when it happened. DH turned off the water and I called the plumber. As we knew it was going to cost a call-out fee for him to come and replace a flexible hose pipe, DD remembered another small plumbing job which was to change an O ring on the tap near the main bathroom toilet. That saved us $$ in excess water bills and was only a 3 minute job to add to the plumber's bill. 


  • Spent some time in the garden, feeding my plants with a special liquid fertilizer I keep in a bin with a good lid. It is part of a bag of pelletised chook manure, the liquid waste from my worm farm and some of the worm castings mixed with water. I apply this to our fruit trees and vegetables and they show almost instant gratitude! 
  • I taped up an old compost bin which was splitting. I hate to throw it out before it is completely ruined, so hopefully some gaffa tape will keep it going for a bit longer. 
  • We took care of our house with our usual 'home blessing hour" of cleaning and tidying
  • we used Skype to have a nice conversation with pictures with our son, DDIL and grand daughter far away. 
Finally, here is a quote which I thought summed up the week quite well:
"there is a skill (or art) to spending time. As the economist Tibor Scitovsky argued, we need to cultivate the skills to spend time in ways that yield high well-being. Gardening, DIY, hobbies and excellent activities for doing so".

I feel as though we have had lots of activities that yield 'high well being' -and cost almost nothing!

For example, this quilt is made from scraps from other quilt projects.

What do you do to yield 'high well being"?

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