After writing lots of heavy articles on debt, we could do with a shorter and easier read. This lead me to realise that despite beginning a series called ‘A Fistful of Frugal‘ (five frugal things Mr B and I do), I’ve added no further posts to the series. So here’s Instalment two of ‘A Fistful of Frugal‘ with frugal, homemade cleaning tips. This is the bathroom edition. Continue reading “‘A Fistful of Frugal’ – Bathroom Edition”
* Photo courtesy of dreamstime.com (As soon as I next make my next batch, I’ll snap a picture and add one of my own).
Another Autumnal day calls for the last of the fail-safe and easy soup recipes we use. This time it’s with carrot, orange, coriander, and ginger. The recipe name may sound as if the cooking will be a large production. It isn’t. Especially if you use cheats, as I often do!
It’s also yet another soup that can be suitable for vegans and those with gluten intolerance. Ensure the stocks used are suitable for you and you’re good to go.
I like to make a large batch of this on the hob, as it’s quick to make. By making much more than needed for one dinner, we can freeze portions and use on lazy days. Batch cooking like this saves not only your energy and time but your energy bills too!
I’d been making this soup for a few years before meeting my (now) husband. Trying to convince him that orange works well in this recipe wasn’t easy. He thought I was ‘mental’ to include it, but he changed his tune after trying the soup for the first time. Now it’s one of his favourites.
My inspiration for the recipe was from Riverford Organic Farmers (the people who I’ve ordered veg boxes from). I tweaked it a little, as you may also want to.
Finally, I can’t let you go without sharing these fun facts (well I enjoyed them, but then I’m a bit of a nerd) taken straight from Wikipedia:
‘The provitamin A beta-carotenefrom carrots does not actually help people to see in the dark unless they suffer from a deficiency of vitamin A. This myth was propaganda used by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War to explain why their pilots had improved success during night air battles but were actually used to disguise advances in radar technology and the use of red lights on instrument panels. Nevertheless, the consumption of carrots was advocated in Britain at the time as part of a Dig for Victory campaign. A radio programme called The Kitchen Front encouraged people to grow, store and use carrots in various novel ways, including making carrot jam and Woolton pie, named after the Lord Woolton, the Minister for Food. The British public during WWII generally believed that eating carrots would help them see better at night and in 1942 there was a 100,000 ton surplus of carrots from the extra production.’
Enough chatter. You want the recipe…
Easy Carrot, Orange, Coriander and Ginger Soup
1 large onion (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped) *Optional.
900g of carrots (chopped)
1 tsp of fresh ginger (grated) *We store our root ginger in the freezer and take it out to use when needed. In a pinch, or to save time, you could also use ginger powder.
2 tablespoons of oil
Juice of 2-3 oranges (and zest, if you wish) *To save time, use 150ml of orange juice instead.
1 litre of veg stock
A few coriander leaves (chopped) *You can use chopped parsley leaves if preferred. To make the recipe more frugal and easier, use dried versions of the herbs instead.
Plain yoghurt or creme fraiche (use dairy-free or gluten-free if necessary). Salt & pepper to taste.
1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add the chopped onion. 2.Cook on a gentle heat for 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft. 3.Add the garlic (if using) and cook for another minute or two. 4.Add the carrots, ginger (and zest, if using), stir to mix and add the hot stock. 5.Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes (or until the carrots are softening). 6.Blend up the soup mixture in a blender or with a hand mixer, until smooth. 7. Return the mixture to the pan, add the orange juice and reheat on a low setting. 8. Add salt and pepper if desired and a blob of yogurt if using.
We like to eat this for dinner with either crusty bread, french baguette or with sandwiches. Nom, nom, nom.
Let me know if you try it, or if you tweak it, and how it turned out!
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Yes, I mentioned the ‘C’ word! I’m sorry, but at the time of publishing, there are only 89days until Christmas (I found out by using this pretty cool countdown clock! With that in mind, here are some ways on how to save money on Christmas.
Make a Budget!
Really, this is THE most important thing you can do:
1) Look at what money you’re expecting to come in over the next few weeks or months (depending on how often you get paid) and what you know has to be paid out and write down what you have leftover to save each week/month.
2) Think about what you would expect to spend on Xmas this year, not forgetting:
all of the food
possible nights out for work parties, and kids’ school parties
entertaining at home
‘Secret Santa gifts
wrapping paper and cards
Basically, anything that you usually shell out for, (not to mention the gifts you buy) and tot it all up.
Divide the above amount by the number of pay-cheques you’re getting and you’ll see how much you’ll have to save each week/month to be able to achieve the spending you’d like to do without going (or going further) into debt. Write that number down.
3) Finally, compare the amount you came up with in step one with the amount needed to be saved in step two. Is there a discrepancy? Will you have less to spend than you’d hoped? If so, then you’ll either have to make cuts in your discretionary spending leading up to Xmas, reduce what you spend on Xmas or find a way to bring in extra money before Xmas, plus, check out the next tip:
Cut down on Who You Buy For
This isn’t easy and may require a few conversations with people, but there really is no law that says you have to buy your child’s teacher a gift each Xmas, or that you must buy that cousin you don’t really like a present, as well as all of her children, just because she buys you all something you don’t want or need each December.
If you can’t afford to, don’t want to, or it’ll push you further into debt, just decide to stop. It’s much easier than you might think. Focus on your family and your financial peace of mind. If you really can’t say no to people then consider the next tip:
Some people groan at the thought of this, but it can be much easier than you think. Everybody has some sort of skill or service they can offer.
Are you a knitter? Then look at Pinterest for cool knitting ideas, such as a mug cosy pattern (buy a cheap mug and fill it with marshmallows) that won’t take long to create.
Don’t possess a creative bone in your body? That’s ok! Offer a new mum an afternoon where you’ll hold her baby and do some laundry while she grabs a shower or maybe takes a nap.
Wrack your brains for what you can offer and know that whilst people rarely remember what you’ve bought them, they’ll always remember the time you’ve spent with or on them. If they don’t appreciate you for it, then you might reconsider why you’d give a gift for them in the first place.
This is something that most office workers will be very familiar with. It usually involves receiving some useless but hilarious gift from an unknown colleague, but the idea can also be extended to family and friends.
If it’s a completely new concept to you, it basically just involves a group of people putting their names into a ‘hat’, everybody taking a name and without telling anybody else, buying that person a gift. A price is set for the gift (an amount everyone agrees on) and by Xmas, the gifts are all put together (labelled, obviously), and passed out to the correct recipient. In this way, everybody gets a gift and everybody only has one gift to buy. It can save a fortune.
Yes, I really said that! When you say ‘second-hand’ to some people. they envisage smelly and horrible clothes from a charity shop, but come on, don’t be a snob, there are so many beautiful, gently used items to be had both in shops and online (it’s what eBay was built on after all!). It’s a great way to give somebody something you’d never usually be able to justify buying brand new and it also keeps those things from going into landfill. A double win!
These were introduced by inventor Sir Henry Cole in 1843, who had helped to bring about the penny post three years previously (a coincidence?).
Whilst I can see the value in posting a card to somebody you’re not going to see over the Xmas period, and who you’d really like to keep being reminded of the fact you care about them by the presence of a card on their mantelpiece, I don’t see the point in writing a bajillion cards and handing them to people you are going to see right up to the big day. Neither do I see the point in posting numerous cards to people who you never have any sort of contact with from one Xmas card to the next. It’s a massive waste of money, resources and who knows if the recipients even want the hassle of finding somewhere to put the cards, let alone the mountain of recycling they have to add to in the New Year (that’s if they don’t just throw them into the normal waste – shudder!).
There are ecards, email, instant messaging, texts, a whole host of social media and even the old telephone call that can replace sending a card. All are either free or very cheap and you’ll probably say more to the person you’re contacting. ‘But I like to support my favourite charity by buying cards!’ you cry, well then you’ve got to read this 2015 article.
Whenever I’ve not made a proper plan for eating over the festive season, I’ve invariably gone overboard with how much food I’ve bought. I’m guessing I’m not alone with this.
If you’re fed up buying food that spoils, are sick of turkey and even chocolate (you’d have to be MENTAL), then before you shop, plan out how many of those days off work you’re planning on eating differently to your usual week then plan what you’d like to eat for breakfast (even if it’s a chocolate orange), lunch, dinner, snacks, and booze, and what you know your family and/or guests will likely want to eat and buy only that.
If you are having guests, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask them to bring some food or drink that will travel well and if it’s all getting too expensive, consider just one day of feasting. Not only will it help your wallet, but your waist will probably thank you for it too.
Finally, if nobody likes Xmas pudding, sprouts or turkey, etc, just don’t buy thempurely in the name of tradition!
What do YOU do to save money on Christmas? What’s your biggest festive, financial regret? I’d love to hear!
I love hearing from you and want to grow this community. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.
‘A Fistful OF Frugal’ will be a regular semi-regular feature where I share five (five fingers equals a fist, right?) frugal things that either my husband or I do to save money. I’m going to kick off with those that I use in my personal grooming and I hope that even if they’re not things that you’d choose to do, that you’ll at least find them interesting.
I cut my hair (with the help of Mr B!)
I looked for videos on YouTube and found one that kept instructions simple. Granted, I keep a simple haircut, but there are tutorials for many styles, dependent on how brave you are!
I make my deodorant
I really don’t like the idea of repeatedly smearing dodgy chemicals onto the skin near my lymph nodes and breast tissue and so did some research and lucked out on a fantastic recipe, which just so happened to use ingredients that we already had in the kitchen. Once made, it lasts me many months and works better than even such brands as Mitchum worked for me. My husband tried it and though he said it worked more effectively than regular deodorant, he didn’t like the oiliness in his underarm hair. (N.B. It has never left oil stains on my clothing). Here’s the recipe.
I use a homemade exfoliant.
Now, there are many recipes using a combination of ingredients, either using sugar or sometimes salt, as the main ingredient, and I have tried many of them, but I always go back to the thing I’ve used since I was a teenager, which is plain old granulated sugar! If you want something less abrasive, then use a recipe that mixes it up with an oil, for instance.
Using sugar gives me really soft skin and must have saved me a fortune (not to mention all of the plastic that was kept from landfill and nasty chemicals from my skin) over the years and, as we take sugar in our tea, we always have it in the house!
I use a homemade face mask.
I’ve experimented with homemade masks over the years, but always went back to my beloved clay masks, but when my favourite clay mask was discontinued recently, it was the kick I needed to look into homemade masks once again.
I have an ongoing battle with acne. Yes, I’m 40 and not only do I have to contend with wrinkles but spots too. Life’s cruel.
I really want to make my own clay masks, but the initial outlay is a little bit much for me to justify right now, but I found a recipe that is working very well for me and, you guessed it, everything required was in our kitchen.
I do my manicures and pedicures (though not as often as I probably should).
My fingernails aren’t particularly high on my list of priorities, but when I do decide to look after them, I can do a pretty good job with some very simple and inexpensive tools. Even if you’re the type of person that likes those amazingly creative fake nails, with jewels and charms, there are tutorials for free on YouTube and not only do you save a fortune by doing it yourself, you’ll be learning a new skill. Hey, maybe you can start earning money by offering your new skill to others!
What frugal things do you do? Please share so that we can all learn from each other!
I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is gradually getting bigger. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.