I am a member of Down the Lane …. http://www.downthelane.net/index.php …..
The Lane (as those who are regulars refer to it) is a site which also has a forum about downshifting…the experiences of everyone who visits there is so interesting….there’s always something to learn because people have such diverse lives.
Anyhoo the reason I mentioned the Lane is because we had a thread running called Frugal February – this is something that started last year and rolled out again this year.
The idea of Frugal February is to designate a month where we all make an effort to cut back a bit if we can or look at what we are doing and if we can do it any differently….everyone who wants to join in an writes down their experiences in a diary form………………
So it’s about sharing what you’re doing, how you are doing it, if it’s for a reason ie. saving for something or just cutting back debt and so on.
Now I think it’s good to do this along with others because as I said everyone has such diverse lives there is always something you can get from the other diaries that can be applied to your life.
So what did I do during Frugal February this year?
Frugal books: Free Kindle down loads……now some may know already about this but I didn’t discover it until December….. I don’t know where I was when these started but it was obviously not on this planet! For anyone who is not aware of this and were floating around in the same place of me when it happened here’s the deal…..You don’t need a kindle for this you can get an APP to put on your PC or your databook / ereader which means you can download kindle books to your PC ….and I’ve downloaded quite a few books (over 400 actually and that’s only cookery books that have caught my attention ) and all FREE!!!!
There are some things (like tea, coffee and other basics) I only tend to buy things when they are on offer but decided I would keep and extra special eye on that. We get our milk straight from the farm so it’s a lot cheaper than the shops (here 2 litres is $2.75+ and we pay $2).
I trawled through the freezers and used as much as I could of the stuff that had been there for a while….I did wonder if I might be able to shut down a freezer….didn’t happen
I only buy seasonal and as local as possible fruit and veggies…if it was good enough for my grandma it’s good enough for me…..or frozen if it’s on offer….no difference there but it’s about keeping a watch on things.
We can’t change our power supplier because we’re rural we’re very limited to changing BUT we can keep looking at how we use it….so we carried on doing that….BUT…. the only thing that really mucked it up was we haven’t had rain for goodness knows how long and in order to keep the grass green we need to irrigate and in order to irrigate we need to pump the water up….the power company I’m sure have been rubbing their little company hands together with glee
Saving and making a little money:
I’ve got all of J’s clothes from when he was a baby along with all the baby stuff (you know carriers, pushchair, cot etc). So I decided it was time I looked at moving it on to someone else who could use it (and it will also clear space in wardrobes where I’ve got it all stashed!!)…Frugal February gave me the incentive to get my butt into gear and get organised. I put things onto an online auction site that runs here in NZ…They had an offer on (handy that) so I could put things on and put photo’s up for free and of course I took full advantage of that!! 40+ auctions on and so far people have bought stuff that was just sitting in the wardrobe that’s amounted to almost $200…so I’m happy with that.
Save the change:
We don’t use cash very much so the piggy bank doesn’t get used much for loose change but our bank do a thing called “save the change”. Basically when you spend something through your account payments/EFTPOS (which is like a debit card) it rounds it up to the next dollar. It’s one of those things that you don’t think about much through the course of the month but it adds up. February saw $22 into the savings account….it all adds up. If you have a bank that can’t or doesn’t do save the change you could look at you transactions for the day and save the change yourself..it’s just a case of each transaction you round it up to the next dollar/pound.
On topic but something that we got regardless of Frugal Feb…..we did have a major find with regards to veggies….
Hubby went and picked up the veg (even though we don’t have any pigs now we have friends who do so we give them the fruit and we keep the greens for the cattle and sheep ..but every now and again you just wonder why things are in there……like these….
and these… Spring onions (6 bunches of them and these are not the first we’ve had…this summer I haven’t bought any spring onions at all!!) and Corn on the cob…we threw any we didn’t think were any good to the chooks and the cows (Lily and Daisy love Corn on the cob)…we were still left with 113 cobs !!! That will last us ages…so have kept some out and 90 have been sorted and frozen….it’s around 70 cents at the moment so it would have cost us $80+ if we’d bought it!!!
These are sat in the sink to be used but all because the bag was split….
This is not the only stuff – there has been huge amounts of corn just tossed aside we are feeding to the cows and sheep and chooks.
I think I’ve said before I’ve made countless pounds of Jam from fruit that was supposedly “rubbish”….. With reports of people starving in some areas of this global village of ours….as I said… it’s great from our point of view because we have saved a fortune on fruit and veg but this is one little shop at the bottom of the world…how much more waste is there like this that if it isn’t fed to animals just gets dumped in landfill (because this is where this would go if we didn’t pick it up) . We don’t go dumpster diving (that’s not to say I wouldn’t) but it’s kind like that except we go and pick it up with their full knowledge and bring it home.