Folk have been discussing going a month without spending/buying, using up stocks and what is in the cupboard, emptying the fridge and so on.
I can't think of anything worse than using up my stores or having an empty fridge.
I spend a great part of my year growing, cooking and processing food. I rarely just eat what I have grown with no thought to the possibility of putting some by for a time when there isn't much coming out of the garden. I spend a great deal of time planning a garden that produces something each month of the year. Granted there is less available in the winter and spring, but I have preserved, dried, pickled and frozen from the Summer and Autumn glut for times like these. I cannot grow all we need, some years I have enough onions for a whole year, the next year I only grow enough for a couple of months. That's okay, I go to the shop and buy them. What I would struggle with would be not having a couple of onions in at all times.
I struggle to see how using up the stores saves any money. It will mean that for a given time you won't spend and therefore you will have money left over. Okay so far.. Do I take it that you won't replace the items used up?
Now I'm as guilty as anyone of having stuff in my cupboards that has been there for months because I haven't got around to using it up, probably because I really don't fancy them. Some weeks I will make myself use these up and may never buy that item again, but usually I will use up and buy again to ensure that I am rotating stocks.
Note my use of the word "stocks" I suppose this is telling. I see my blog as about frugality and self-sufficiency, with some (too much?) family stuff thrown in. Some might call me a "Prepper" and to a degree that is true - I do like to be prepared! A few years ago when we were without electricity for six days and water for two, the people in our village didn't think us quite as weird as they had before!. We fed several people and provided flask upon flask of hot water. We gave away candles and matches and shared what we had .We were comfy, warm and fed and were able to keep ourselves entertained without any power. There are those who eschew TV, but laptops, mobiles and ipad need recharging for continued use too. I must admit to feeling extremely smug that I had a treadle sewing machine and a wind-up radio (the sin of Pride I know).
Incidently, talking of TV, I do watch TV like most of you I am sure, I hand sew and knit or I un-knot string, or crack nuts or plait garlic etc. while doing so as I am not too good at just sitting. I watch programs that enrich and teach me . I also watch programs that make me laugh. If I assess my viewing I guess I watch BBC programs most of the time I do feel that I should pay to watch these programs and do not subscribe to the idea that it is okay to not have a license because I am watching it later on my PC/laptop. That is just expecting someone else to pay for a service which is then "stolen" by people who think it is clever to steal something paid for by another. That is more mean than frugal! oooh controversial Gill!
Guess I must be in that kind of a mood tonight and it certainly isn't "That time of the month" just cussed (almost) old age.
All for now
Hooray for you on your soapbox!!ReplyDelete
I don't get that no spend for a month either, just means spending more next month I reckon.
AND I so agree about the TV license, people watching on catch up is theft from me who has paid up year after year.
AND I like having stuff in stock and Being prepared. 20 years of Scouting where if I wasn't prepared for a Cub meeting i would have had 20+ boys running riot. Be Prepared is the Scout motto, it rubbed off on me!
I wish I had written this, you are clever.
Can I send everyone to read this post tomorrow?
You may gather that I was a little worried at the "fall out" from my post. Hence the early look for comments !Delete
So glad you agree re. the TV (I'm not surprised you agree about the Self Suff.)
By all means send them over.. the more the merrier!
I am going to do a lean month of spending, I brought stacks of foodstuff with me and have kept my cupboards full to overflowing. Now I want to use all the oldest stuff first, eat the "summery "food from the freezer so that I have room for a splurge on winter food. I will want more beans, pasta and rice, stewing meats, liver, sausages and bacon. I want to explore more ways of using Tofu and try some Quorn. I am thinking of buying another freezer ready for my garden produce next year (fingers crossed) Be assured that by the early part of November I will have enough food, candles and gas for my little camping stove and the barbecue to see me through a major white-out. I have been snowed in before and spent one memorable week feeding the 5 families who lived in the lane as the snow came the day before shopping day and they had nothing in. There were 7 children and 2 babies and goodness knows how they would have survived.ReplyDelete
I agree that rotating food is essential and using up stuff you won't use in winter makes sense. I'm planning on using lentils more this winter. I bought 2 x3kg bags from the wholesalers - past their use by date (lentils!!!) for £1 a bag. Like you I intend using less meat. You area person after my own heart re. being ready fro winter. Thank goodness you were there for those families.Delete
Last year I ran out of onions before the new lot arrived; it was disastrous. When I went to the shop to BUY some, I felt like a real failure. This year I have plenty.ReplyDelete
re your above reply to Pam: I bought some small pink lentils yesterday (very rare over here). I bought about a kilo (they were loose) and they cost over €7. Yours were a BARGAIN.
Are pink lentils orange? If they are then they really are expensive where you are.Delete
There were two bags at that price and I snaffled them both. I suppose I should have left one for someone else and not been so greedy!
My attempt to clear space in the cupboards is beacuse I stocked up and kept stocking up almost to the point of paranoia, I wasnt using and rotating, last year I got into canning but I have used hardly any of it, all the stuff that has been dehydrated just sits in its jars and packs, I hope we can be as self sufficent in food as possible in the coming years, but I have to get into the mentality of use what I prepared and stop picking up what I am assuming is bargains, its only a bargain if its something you normal buy and use.ReplyDelete
I have got into some really bad shopping habits and I need to get back on track, I also need to clear space in the freezers, we have pigs going to slaughter in about a months time I do not want to buy a third freezer.
I like to have a good store cupboard and its a nice feeling of security to have plenty there, but it has to be rotated used and replaced not just keep adding to.
We watch TV on a proper TV cant be doing with this catch up or i player thinghy, we have our tv license on direct debit, so wedont have the big outlay each year. I akin it to paying royalties, this i player thinghy to me is like photocopying books, they shouldnt be allowed to watch for free, I always thought the license gave cover for radios as well, I am sure they must listen to radios.
Hi Dawn - it used to be true that you needed a licence if you had a radio but nit a TV but the radio only licence was abolished in 1971 and there is now no charge. I reckon my TV licence is good value for what I get from the BBC!Delete
I know what you mean about stocking to the point of paranoia. At certain times I can get a bit over the top, for instance , if really bad weather is forecast. I think the way my parents generation viewed "having stuff in" has influenced us too. They really did go without in the war and many were determined to never be without a good store cupboard again.Delete
I just had to use up some freezer stores to make room for a couple of lambs!
I didn't know that about radio licences FC. Still good value in my bookDelete
With you all the way here! Good on yer! xxxReplyDelete
Thanks Sandie Hope the Chickens are okay.Delete
I agree with you. Sometimes reading 'frugal' blogs gets a bit depressing where one frugal 'expert' suggests something and then everyone else follows.ReplyDelete
I like your blog because I can relate to it (this one and frugal in Suffolk). It is what I consider a proper frugal blog, not 'I have a frugal blog, but whoops, I just spent £20 on food in M&S'!
I'll get off my soapbox too!
Climb aboard the soap box Donna, there is plenty of room!Delete
FIS does it well doesn't she?
I can quite see where you are coming from with your dislike of the Stoptober idea – but it’s horses for courses. It would make no sense for you as you are clearly well in control of your food stores.ReplyDelete
I did something very similar in September when I allowed myself a budget of just £30 for food and in the even spent just over £20. I regarded it not as delaying spending but rather as mitigating the effects of previous over spending. I’m slowly munching my way through food supplies which if left too long in freezer or cupboard would deteriorate. I’m hoping that before too long I will be at a stage where I can do an inventory and thus do more planned food shopping instead of buying whatever because I haven’t a clue whether I’ve got it in stock.
As my user name says, I am frugally challenged!
I entirely agree that stores need using up before they deteriorate and that you have to do without to save for things you need sometimes. (better than going into debt) It is the clearing out of cupboards and fridges etc and being without some stores that I struggle with.Delete
Love that you set a budget and were WELL within it. Good feeling.
If Stoptober means only buying essentials then that's what I'll be doing but I also had a Stoptember, a Stopaugust, a StopJuly etc. I am saving like crazy to get some big repairs done on the house and have only been buying what we absolutely need for several months now. I stock up when things are on offer so the cupboards tend to be full of dry goods and toiletries most of the year round. If any good offers come up this month and I know we will need to buy them in the next few months then I will stock up because this will save money (I know we'll be needing a Stopvember already to help pay for the huge repair bills without getting into debt). It would frighten me to have empty cupboards because our weather can get really bad up here and we can be cut off from the shops, certainly the cheaper shops. If we had to rely on using the village stores it would cost us more money, so it makes sense to stock up when visiting the bigger, cheaper stores which have more offers.ReplyDelete
Hello Susan. Agree entirely!Delete
What a great post. I like to have enough in stock so that bad weather, illness or any other emergency doesn't create a problem with lack of food or household necessities. Its good to rotate stock & to buy things that you know you are going to use when they are on offer, and to consider carefully all potential purchases before making them (or not!). It just seems so obvious, but seemingly it isn't! Totally agree with you on the TV licence too, it needs to be paid for; TV watching is a good chance for me to sit & knit.ReplyDelete
Thankyou for your post, Vee x
Hi Vee. Thanks for dropping by. You just said what I was feeling, only more succinctly !Delete
I keep a stocked house, too. However, I am working on rotating things in and out. Doesn't mean I won't pick up what I need though...or if a good sale presents itself. I think the challenge is designed for people who really need cash to throw at something else.ReplyDelete
As for the TV it works a little differently here in the US, but like you I keep my hands busy while I watch. :-)
You are probably right and I know that we all need to "pull our horns in " from time to time, some more so than others.
You do some lovely sewing. I bet much of the finishing is done in front of the TV
A good post. As I have said elsewhere, I soon learned that the weather here (Wales) can be a lot worse than where we came from on the South coast. Definitely more dramatic and MORE of it! Living on a steep hill, sometimes when it freezes you can't get out, and we have flooding down along the bottom lane too (the river is something else in spate). I always keep a very good storecupboard, but am only human and sometimes the stuff at the back gets overlooked! At least it WAS there for an emergency : )ReplyDelete
Like you, however, I cannot see the point of running everything completely down as a way of saving money, because in the long run it doesn't. You just spend twice as much the next month replacing it. I have a "use it" list where the moment I start on a spare of something, it gets added to the shopping list.
As for the tv, one of us will soon be old enough to qualify for a free licence. I have to admit I will be a lot happier when we don't have to line pockets at the BBC. We have Sky, so it feels like paying twice over. I'm another one who can't just sit and watch the tv, and am usually sewing or crocheting or something at the same time.
When we moved to a more rural area and started smallholding we noticed that there was a lot more weather about!. We wouldn't go more than a few hours without checking the weather forecast, especially in the winter. It is part of a preparedness that makes sense to us.Delete
At what age do you get a free TV licence?
P.S. If something is on offer the month you are NOT spending, do you just ignore it, although it would save money in the long run? Not in this house . . .ReplyDelete
If I have the money in my purse I would buy it.Delete
If I don't sometimes practise the 'use up everything in the freezer' technique, when I get round to defrosting it I find things that are centuries old! However, this year's runner beans, peas and broad beans should last us through until next Spring = raspberries too.ReplyDelete
When I was making room for the lambs last week I found a big bag of broad beans and as I didn't grow any this year they must be from 2013. They didn't look too good , so I gave them to the chickens! ( still not a complete waste)Delete
I wonder if you froze some beans in tomato sauce.
I am not a fan of using what you have ,i have tried it in the past but it always then have to spend more to stock up again, I buy to stock up whenever it saves me money in the long term and not living by a supermarket within walking distance i have to have a stock of everything so i do not have to pay local shop prices, I use aldi most of the time but check out morrison for reduced meat when i am there , Today i cooked a £9.00 frozen turkey( from Aldi ) and will be portioning it for quick meals from the freezer , I dont use marks and spencer they are way to expensive and Don't rate approved foods for myself although lots of fellow bloggers find it useful , I prefer to use stock cubes and herbs for flavouring , I live a truly frugal life xReplyDelete
Not being near a supermarket does focus your spending doesn't it.? When I worked I was forever popping into shops, just to get out of the office for a little while and could always top up on groceries then. Now i always use a list and make it worth my while getting the car out (and using petrol)Delete
I think it just gives us a psychological thrifty boost. I feel like I am being thrifty therefore it kind of rubs off in other areas of shopping. I know what you are saying though, an empty freezer will need replenishing at some point.ReplyDelete
I know what you mean by a thrifty boost!. Some weeks I try extra hard to save, make and make do and then put some change in the pot in the sock drawer (to take my daughter out for lunch when we go Christmas shopping.)Delete
Just popped over to your blog, what lovely voices!
I always keep things stocked up. As OH is self employed we have had times when we had no money at all coming in and had to rely on those stocks. As soon as I could I built up my stock again. What I would really like though is an old fashioned pantry where I could walk in and see what I have :)ReplyDelete
oooh yes a pantry! I grew up on an old council estate. The houses all had large black ranges, outside loos and walk in pantries. The black ranges were taken on in the sixties in modernisation and the outside loo was merged into the inside(downstairs) bathroom. but the pantry remained. I now live in a much older house, but there is no pantry. Just "under the stairs"Delete
Each to their own, I suppose, and well written. We tend to have No spend, use-it-up months several times of the year. We did it one year in January when we wanted to save hard for a woodburner, and I did very hard for a couple of months another year to replace the savings I used to buy my new-to-me car. It's not just using up the stores for us, it is a complete stop on spending on anything other than absolute essentials. It shakes us up a little and we make more inventive meals, we can re-set and recharge our frugal muscles, and it helps me to appreciate all that we have and enjoy. It's a choice, and it doesn't work for everyone. I won't run the stores down completely, though - we're far too well stocked up! We have halved our family here at the moment, with the loss of my husband in July and our elder DD off to uni in Sept, and it is taking me a while to get used to buying less, cooking less, and storing less. I'm getting there, slowly!ReplyDelete
I think regular assessment of stores and finances is exactly the way to go. We all have lean times when we need to "pull in our belts" or a particular item to save for. But emptying your cupboards is contrary to good housekeeping.Delete
It must be difficult to assess how much to buy and cook under such circumstances. Take care.
Well said! I keep a well stocked pantry and replace things as soon as I get to the last one in stock (does that make sense?) I also stock up when things are cheap. If I had to restock my pantry in one hit, it would cost a fortune! XReplyDelete
I think we especially feel this way as winter draws near.
I reckon we would need a larger car to carry the stuff too!
Great post - found via simplesuffolksmallholder. Now following you too! Like you, I cannot 'idly' watch TV- there is always yarn to wind, stuff to knit, school templates to cut out.... Have a weekend full of blessings xReplyDelete
I particularly enjoy hand sewing and mending while watching TV. last week I was cracking nuts!
Good to have you on board on the follower bar.
Does anyone know how long you can keep dehydrated mushrooms? I dried mine and store them in glass jars in a cool pantry, but now they are two or three years old. I am slowly learning to preserve much less as I end up throwing stuff out or feeding it to the animals!ReplyDelete
it is some time since i dried any mushrooms. They seem to have left our paddock for good now! My understanding was that 2 years was the max for mushrooms, but I'm no expert.ReplyDelete
Anybody out there know ?
I know just what you mean about preserving more than we can eat, which is why I either sell or give away surpluses.
Thanks for visiting
I've never taken part in these type of challenges, mainly because I'm just not organised enough, I don't even menu plan. I never thought about having to spend more the following month to replenish stocks though, that's a good point.ReplyDelete
I have to say that I am better organised nowadays than I used to be. I do menu plan, but am happy to change it if a bargain comes up or unexpected guests arrive or, as this weekend we are bringing stuff in before the frost gets them So I guess this week we will be eating lots of stuff with courgettes and beans!ReplyDelete
Great post, Gill. Love, love your blog and your attitude to life. I think no-spend weeks/months are o.k. to pull you up and are used for non-essentials but it is a bit gimmicky and may not help people to understand the truly frugal life which is making the best use of your resources and not going without or feeling deprived in the process. I would be a bit lost without my pantry and if beets are the only things in my fridge that is what we eat until they are gone. I dont eat approved foods either; for me personally it would not be a good choice. I like to make all my own stocks and seasonings from fresh ingredients with no additives. It is very reassuring to have a reasonable pantry and that is very important.ReplyDelete
Wait ! I am tettering on the edge of the soap box, better jump off while the goings good !
I'm glad I'm not the only one slightly bemused by Stoptober.If you are always frugal (and that means not over stocking) it shouldn't be necessary. If I have a frugal recipe but just need an ingredient from the shop what should I do? I could haul something out of the freezer but is that necessarily cheaper than the frugal meal that I had originally planned? Frugality for me is about ensuring that I use up food before it goes off and to have a (reasonably priced) replacement ready when an item that I use regularly runs out. We're vegetarian too and need a regular supply of fresh vegetables so it just wouldn't work for us. I certainly don't want to do a mammoth restock just before Christmas.ReplyDelete
Just took a look at your blog and clicked the follower bar and come back to find you have made a comment here.
I have always found that January is a good "Use it up month" with all the detritus from Christmas to use up (I LOVE doing that!).
Just popped over to your really busy blog/ site. Lots to see.ReplyDelete
We are both contractors, so my stores are vast. everything is rotated, even the toiletries. things like shampoo are really expensive and if you haven't worked for a month or so you don't really want to spending on those things. Adding a few cans every week of items you eat constantly wont hurt your budget or an extra toiletry item. Then if you have no work you know you are safe for a while, this can also work for being made redundant. or like as you said if there is really bad weather.ReplyDelete
Yes, label me a "prepper". It seems like a swear word in this country. I would rather be smug later, that going begging at a neighbours. its common sense to me. we are running our cupboards down as we are moving house soon. I look at the shelves and it scares me. So low...
Great post. Sorry for the long comment
Thanks for commenting Sol.So glad you agree. Even if you don't have the space to keep huge amounts of stuff, keeping a couple of weeks food in makes sense, especially as winter approaches. I think it is also important that we learn skills for independence to.Delete