Monthly Archives: November 2010

Decluttering 10: Week 2

It’s been quite good having the focus of getting rid of, or organising, ten things a week – enough of a focus to get me going but not so much it becomes an annoying chore! Here’s what I’ve managed to get done in the last week:

  1. Colander: A cracked, plastic affair which Husband bought a replacement for months ago. Why I have been hanging on to it since is something of a mystery.
  2. Plant: Sadly deceased (they have to be hardy to survive living in this house).
  3. Coat: Ah, a faithful old friend but ripped and ragged beyond wear. Even though I’d gone off it I had been rather sentimental about it (it has been to many places with me including New York and Prague). I was on the verge of getting rid of it last winter and then realised that, due to the cut, I could actually wear it over my bump, thus it survived another winter. But tramp chic isn’t a look I’m really going for…
  4. Lipgloss: Free with a magazine about two years ago, residing unused and unloved in a drawer. I don’t wear lipgloss (the texture makes me feel weird plus it comes straight off. I don’t get lipgloss) so it had to go!
  5. Hot water bottle: Discovered in a drawer, gone crackly and disinegrated. Bye bye.
  6. Frying pan: Fell to pieces. Literally.
  7. Frying pan: Replaced the same day the old one went into bin. Did not buy cheapest one available for a change. I am hoping this means it will last a bit longer. Frying pans seem to have a short life span here. Like plants, they need to be hardy to survive…
  8. Pile of old magazines and catalogues for recycling
  9. Old phones: Two dead handsets. One died after being dropped in the bath (Husband likes to make phone calls from the tub). the other died of natural causes. Time they went in the bin.
  10. New phones!: Actually bought these when we saw them on offer a month ago but had failed to unpack and charge them up. I know – mental. Got a couple of cheap phone bills out of it though! Now charged up, in situ with an answering machine message and everything.
Categories: Decluttering | 5 Comments

Decluttering 10

I’m on another decluttering mission! I did really well earlier on this year when we did a lot of redecorating and other home improvements but, inevitably, this is something that needs to be done again and again and again to keep on top of. I vowed I wouldn’t let things get quite as out of control as last time. However, even though a lot of stuff went, there is still more that I could get rid of. Does anyone else find that they end up looking at the same things over and over again while clearing out and yet they only get rid of whatever it is on the 5th or 6th round? Most of the time I find myself throwing things out that I could have thrown out the last time, if not the time before. I suppose sometimes it takes a while to decide if you really want to keep something or not.

Anyhow, I’ve decided that I am going to set myself the challenge of getting rid of 10 things every week until I can honestly say that I want to keep everything we’ve got. This will also probably entail a bit of reorganising, thus the 10 things I have to do can include:

  • Items that I am getting rid of (either by giving away, taking to the charity shop, keeping back to sell or going in the bin)
  • Items that need be thrown away and then replaced
  • Sorting out an untidy area: a drawer, a cupboard, a storage box, the corner of a room and so on

Since there is no time like the present I thought I might as well just get on with it. It took me about ten minutes to do a quick sweep around our bedroom to find the following items to get rid of:

  1. Tatty old scarf from H&M
  2. Black top
  3. Old hairbrushes x3 (what kind of brushing emergency was I keeping them for?!)
  4. Wallet (not used for about 8 years)
  5. Packs of contact lenses x 4 (prescription now out of date)
  6. Make-up bag
  7. Black fleece top
  8. Calligraphy set (I’ve had it over ten years and never used it!)
  9. Small handheld mirror
  10. Scented sachet

Not bad. And now I can put my feet up knowing I’ve done something vaguely constructive!

Categories: Decluttering | 1 Comment

The challenges of financial motivation

I’ve written several posts this year, contemplating the challenge of keeping focused on finances. This is something I find tricky because I’m not particularly motivated by money – weird statement from someone who writes a PF blog, I know. I suppose what I mean is that the idea of having money for the sake of it just doesn’t really do it for me. However, I am interested in saving because I’d like to buy a larger house eventually, I don’t want to be left financially stranded in an emergency and, let’s face it, very few people aren’t going to have to provide for themselves in the future. Therein lies the challenge. When the goals get bigger (buying a house, providing for retirement, creating a nest egg or whatever the goal may be) they sometimes seem so far off that it can be hard be motivated by them, particularly when you start running out of fresh ideas for how to scrape any more out of your budget.

After writing my last post (‘Is Frugal Still Fashionable?’) which touched on this subject, I went on to read a few of my favourite blogs. Move To Portugal provided links to some great posts out there in the PF blof ether and this post at Get Rich Slowly, ‘What to do when personal finance becomes a bore’, really struck a chord. It discusses how difficult it can be to stay motivated once debts are paid off and you’ve cut your expenses down as far as they can go. It goes on to point out that once you are down to your bare essentials there isn’t much more you can cut before having to think of ways to earn extra money if you want to be able to save more. This really resounded with me. Some readers might remember a post I wrote a while back (you can read it here) where I talked about the struggle I was having in working out my long term financial plans because I didn’t really know where to place myself as a saver/spender anymore. The post at Get Rich Slowly talks about making saving a game which is kind of what I was trying to do with Project £1k. The goal is arbitrary really – I’m just saving for the future but trying to motivate myself by having something to work towards.

The post really gave me a bit of food for thought as I don’t often consider how to make more money – I tend to just concentrate on how to spend less of it! I don’t know exactly where I’m going to go with this train of thought. Things are busy at the moment so I suppose I’ll just let it rattle around in the old grey matter for a bit until I hit upon an idea.

Categories: Frugal ideas, Saving | 8 Comments

Is frugal still fashionable?

Hello all! I’m back a bit sooner than planned – the plan having been to get a bit organised, take some decent photos, spend a bit more time on posts rather than just rambling on but then life doesn’t always go quite to plan, does it?

Nothing drastic has happened. I’ve just spent a bit of time doing some sums, scaring myself a bit and trying to come up with a plan. I’m generally quite succesful at not doing the whole ‘regrets’ thing but I can’t help being a bit annoyed at all of the money I’ve wasted over the years. So I’m just going to get it off my chest once and for all: Oh My God. What was I thinking? I used to earn enough to put back in a few weeks what it will now take me months and months of careful budgeting to achieve. FOOL. There. I feel better now I’ve said it. Line drawn, ’nuff said. I’ve mended my ways and am now just going to get on with it (and not dwell on the past because that would be even more stupid)!

My reaction to facing a few financial realities might seem unorthodox – I’ve been shopping. Yup, in the last two days I’ve spent £80 on food. I appreciate this might be what some people spend on the average week but on Shoestring Alley it is a lot. What this means is that I am all nice and stocked up. We have a four drawer freezer which is rammed with food – I literally can’t get anything else in there. We have salmon, lamb, pork, chicken and beef in various forms as well as peas and pastry (yup, the pre-rolled stuff. I’m a new Mum and there’s no time for making pastry from scratch at the moment). The (admittedly small) cupboards are groaning under the strain of dried and tinned stuff (chopped tomatoes, lentils, tea bags and so on) and the fridge is full.

I’ve written a list of everything (and I mean everything) we’ve got in the kitchen. Old packets of this and that are on the list with all of the new stuff so I know exactly what I’ve got – and what I need to use up so it doesn’t go to waste. My plan is not to do anymore ‘big’ weekly shops until it is all gone. I should be able to just pick up fruit, veg, milk and yoghurt as I go along. I’m actually kind of curious as to how long it will last. I’ll report back.

By the way, is it just me or is frugal not quite as fashionable as it was this time last year? A year ago you couldn’t switch on the TV or the radio without hearing about the economy, redundancies, debts, repossessions…while it all got a bit depressing it also seemed like everyone was really focused on growing your own, make do and mend, cutting back and setting budgets. Have we got used to the way things are, have things got better or did it get dull? I’m not sure. I know I’ve struggled to keep focused on it in recent months. Maybe because so many of the things that were novel to me on the lead up to starting this blog (like saving money, not buying clothes etc so often, getting rid of stuff I didn’t use) have all become more like second nature and, thus, are not quite so interesting anymore. Whatever it is, I’m going to attempt to get a bit of that enthusiasm back. Through reading some of the really brilliant blogs out there and keeping up with this little one of my own, I really feel like I’ve learned things that are going to put me in good stead for the financial future – whatever it might hold. So, fashionable or not, I’m carrying on!

Categories: Frugal food, Frugal ideas | 14 Comments

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