Five frugal things for October

Picture of the House of Lords, where I went for a work event

The last couple of weeks I have been mainly writing about pensions, death and taxes. Which is fun.

But in between, I got to zip up to London for the launch of a retirement report featuring spangly gold catsuits. Back at home, my sister and my family have come down from Edinburgh to stay, many cheers. 

So here’s a quick round up of my five frugal things so far in October!


Picture of charity shop pink jacket and purple dress for my post on 5 frugal things for October

Going loud for less

Cut the cost of new work clothes

Oxfam’s Second Hand September may have finished, but I still reckon charity shops are a brilliant place to find work clothes on the cheap.

I nipped into our local East Anglian Children’s Hospice (EACH) shop in search of an outfit for a smart event, and emerged £17.50 lighter, but clutching a purple dress and raspberry pink Planet jacket. Definitely louder than some of my normal choices, but sometimes it’s good to stand out in a sea of dark suits!


Picture of cakes served as afternoon tea at the House of Lords

Mmmm free cake

Free tea with a retirement report

There are times when I particularly enjoy my job. Being invited along for afternoon tea at the House of Lords, with guest star appearance by the Scummy Mummies, was one of them. Thought these cakes were so pretty they deserved a photo before we all scoffed the lot. 

The event was held for the launch of Interactive Investor’s Great British Retirement Survey 2019, which surveyed a whopping 10,000 people. The findings really laid bare some of the gender differences about pensions. Half as many women are confident they’ll be able to maintain their standard of living in retirement (17% vs 30% of men), twice as many women fear they’ll have to make major lifestyle changes (37% vs 18% of men) and twice as many women are likely to work in retirement out of financial necessity (41% vs 20% of men).

So I’ll keep banging the drum about the importance of saving for retirement, if you do ever want to stop work! And if you’d like to get started, here’s a post that hopefully won’t send you to sleep, all about ‘What is a pension and why you should care“.

(But if you just want to check out the gold spangly catsuits, see the pic in my post about how to stop impulse spending)


Picture of two books I borrowed from the library

Borrowed not bought

Borrowed work books from the library

I’ve had a couple of books on my ‘must read’ list for ages. Rather than adding to Amazon’s profits, I decided to reserve copies from our local library for free. Can recommend both. Richard Thaler is fascinating on behavioural economics in ‘Nudge’, recognising the realities of how we actually behave, rather than assuming that we act rationally at all times.

It’s also brilliant to read the updated version of ‘Your Money or Your Life’ by Vicki Robin, one of the original proponents of FIRE (financial independence, retire early).

Normally I like reading escapist trashy novels as a break from all those articles on death and taxes, but sometimes it’s good to read something more thought provoking!


Picture of my son under a duvet den as one of my five frugal things for October

Den building delight

Keeping kids quiet for less

Joy of joys. Half term is upon us, with the regular juggling act between working from home and keeping the kids entertained.

Half term starts a week earlier in Scotland, so my sister and her family have already been down for a visit.

Ideal world, our offspring wouldn’t actually stare at screens 24/7. I’m posting this pic as an idea of what they get up to for free, once unplugged – a massive duvet den helpfully blocking the entire staircase. Believe it or not, there is an additional cousin buried above my son. But hey, kept them happy for a grand total of 0p, while it was chucking it down outside.

More ideas: Half term activities on a budget plus here and here.


Feeding the five thousand for less

What do you cook when you have a bunch of people round? And are coping with multiple generations plus picky eaters and preferences for non-spicy food?

I get into such a groove cooking for the four of us, I’m always looking for affordable ideas when we do have people over. This week, with visits from my sister’s family of four, plus my mum, and the odd cousin or two, I’ve been doing more mass catering than normal. 

In the end I made industrial quantities of fish pie for one meal, served with broccoli and yellow-stickered sugar snap peas, and then best ever chocolate brownie with ice cream and strawberries afterwards. Another evening, I bunged a lot of bolognese sauce in the slow cooker, to eat with a mountain of pasta, salad and garlic bread.

I’ve just tried to add a link to my favourite fish pie recipe, only to discover I’ve never written it up. Must remedy that, as I rely on a recipe with less faff, where you don’t cook the fish separately, and bung in frozen peas so you don’t necessarily have to serve extra veg.


So now, over to you. Any thrifty successes to share? Tips for surviving October without breaking the bank? And do let me know your meal ideas when catering for crowds!


Want more frugal inspiration?  Do head over and join the Much More With Less #MoneySavingYear Facebook group, to share thrifty tips and support. It’s a private group so your comments won’t be splashed all over your friends’ Facebook feeds.

I’m linking up with Cass, Emma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five fabulously frugal things I’ve done this week’ linky.

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  1. 19th October 2019 / 9:23 am

    Spangly gold catsuits? I do hope you tried one on? The free cake looks rather marvellous too :). I’m off to the charity shop right now for a root round!

    • Faith
      27th October 2019 / 8:10 am

      Hahahaha not sure the world is quite ready for my in any form of catsuit! Hope you had a good charity shop trawl.

  2. 21st October 2019 / 11:30 am

    Wow … you’ve been busy, and it all sounds like lots of fun. Love your pop of colour, I’m much too conservative at the moment I really need to find another colour I love and make a splash too.

    For October I’m saving money by getting back my Challenge mojo with a new Challenge on my Challenging Myself blog. This one is called ‘For the Price of a Coffee’, which sees me buying as much food as I can each day for the price of my usual (almost daily) cup of coffee. Which of course means as well as eating cheaply I am not buying coffees … so win win 🙂

    • Faith
      27th October 2019 / 8:09 am

      Sue – great to hear from you! Have been loving your ‘For the Price of a Coffee’ challenge, very creative with stretching your ingredients. Hope it all went well.

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