Living A Frugal Family Life Does Not Have To Be Scary

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Is Michelle breeding moths in her purse? Or Is She Leading A Frugal Family Life?

So I figure there are four types of people in this world. Carefree spenders who don't give a fig about the price - they want it, they buy it. Sensible spenders who consider their purchase, and spend wisely. Frugal spenders who will completely wear out everything before even thinking about replacing it. And then you have Me!

The expression ‘tight as a ducks ar*e' was invented for me. Although if I had a duck it would probably end up on the dinner table (sorry for offending any duck owners reading this!) along with a serving of plum sauce and Chinese pancakes.

Anyway, I digress. The main emphasis of this weeks email is to help pass on some helpful, if not frugal, money saving tips, so here goes:

Anti-Recession Tips To Use At Home.

If you are running a household, how do you make sure the impact of the recession will not impact on health in the family? Here are some anti-recession tips that you may find useful during these hard times:

Grow Your Own Veggies.

If you have been relying on the supermarkets for your fresh veggies, it's high time to consider growing your own food. What can be better than picking you own grown vegetables fresh from the garden for good health and family life? Even if you don't have a garden, growing vegetables and herbs in pots on your window-sill, also known as container gardening, can be very useful. Mint, sage, rosemary, basil and thyme are great herbs for container gardening. If you are pressed for time, opt for low maintenance vegetables that include garlic, onions, tomatoes, turnips, cabbage, leeks and kale.

Employ A Bit Of Frugal Bartering

Now if you have a bigger garden, growing your own cane fruits can be fruitful (pun not intended). Try raspberries, tayberries, or black and redcurrents. Plant a couple of goosbery bushes and a rhubarb plant in your flower border for a bit of interest as well as being productive. You can also do a bit of frugal bartering by trading some of your fruit, vegetables and herbs with neighbours who also grow their own food, or have a mature apple, pear or plum tree in their garden.

Make Your Own Meals.

Its been said time and time again, cooking your own meals from scratch is far cheaper than relying on overly processed, overly packaged convenience foods and ready meals, and is by far the best thing you can do for child & family health. If you are really pushed for time, why not have a marathon cooking session on a lazy Sunday where you prepare and cook meals for the whole week that can be frozen. Cooking in large batched saves you money on your energy bills too. Imagine having the oven on and crammed full with a large cottage pie, lasagne, fish pie, bread and butter pudding, and a pot of home made rice pudding sitting on the bottom of the oven. Cooking everything for the week once, then reheating portions in the microwave is much cheaper than running the oven to heat through a couple of frozen ready meals for dinner each evening. If you make large enough portions, you could even make enough for two weeks of meals.

Use your leftovers. Any leftover cooked veggies or meat can be added to a pot of soup, chopped and mixed with eggs, milk and cheese to make a frittata or crustless quiche. Save those stale loaf ends to make bread and butter pudding, or grind them up pop them into a bag and freeze. Handy for topping off savoury pies, coating chicken breasts before cooking, or making bread sauce.

Improve your grocery shopping habits.

Never ever go shopping when you are hungry! You will let your stomach rule your head and overspend on unnecessary items. If you have a friend who needs to shop, why not make a shopping list each, then meet at the supermarket and swap shopping lists. You certainly wouldn't think of adding things to your friends shopping basket that's not on the list would you? You just meet back at the checkout and swap trolleys.
Try not to shop with children in tow. Kids are notorious for sneaking into the trolley extra bits and pieces that you wouldn't normally buy, plus there's the age-old problem of pester power to contend with! Cutting out the junk they sneak in will also help to promote good health in the family.
Doing your grocery shop online does come with a delivery charge, but this can be cheaper than the cost of the extra goodies you put in your trolley yourself that you just couldn't resist! Plus it saves on your petrol not having to drive to the store. Online supermarket price comparison sites are worth their weight in gold for a busy parent. There's no bustling supermarket isles to navigate with your trolley, no queuing at the checkout or packing your own bags. You can do your shopping online at night when the kids are in bed, compare the price of your trolley at the leading supermarkets at the same time, pay and book your delivery slot without leaving the comfort of your home.
Switch to supermarket own-brands. Switching often works out much cheaper, plus most of the supermarkets get their own brands made for them by leading food manufacturers anyway, so for basic item such as cereals, nuts, crisps, biscuits, snacks, flour, sugar, tea and coffee, there is often not a lot of difference in taste, but a lot of difference in price. The same goes for supermarket cleaning product, hair care products, medicines and vitamin supplements.

Here is to a purse or wallet full of wealth - and not moths! And also to a bit of frugal family fun!

Don't forget that we are collecting your favourite family recipes to include in our new cook-book, so email us your favourite recipes for inclusion and we will credit your for the recipe and give you a free copy of the completed book as a thank you!

Stuck for something to do? Don't forget you can download your free copy of our Mini-Messy Tots Craft Book, full of our favourite crafts that you can do at home with the little ones!

Missed your copy of our latest magazine? Visit our website at to download our current issue today.

We also have Squidoo lenses here:

Wishing you the best of Family Life.

Michelle, Joint Editor, Cotswold Family Life

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