The weeks seem to be accelerating at mach speed towards the school summer holidays. Eek. Somehow I have to shoehorn a bunch of work into the remaining days before the children skip out of school on the last day of term!
In the mean time, here are the five frugal things we’ve managed this week.
Cooked with home-grown garlic
Anyone remember when I planted some garlic cloves? I just stuck them in the herb patch, marked with bamboo boles from where we hacked back the clump of bamboo by the side wall. I was afraid they’d been frazzled in the recent heat wave, as the leaves dried up, so I pulled one up. Despite the small size, I was able to use half a home-grown garlic bulb in our spaghetti bolognese this week. So please to be cooking with food grown in the garden, even if it was a tiny amount!
Rang before the cooker guarantee ran out
Much as I love our new cooker (bought after much research and angst), it has a wobbly door. I think it’s just a screw missing from the door to the grill, but we haven’t managed to mend it. This week my husband leapt into action, and rang the cooker company before our free guarantee runs out. A repair man is due to visit on Monday – fingers crossed it’s something easy to fix.
Marvelled at the returns on the children’s Child Trust Funds
Back in the days when the Government handed out free money to babies, I invested the £100 Child Trust Fund (CTF) vouchers for both my children with the investment company Foreign & Colonial. The kids can’t touch the money until they turn 18, so I figured over such a long time frame the money would be better invested in stocks and shares than earning next to nothing in cash. (Nowadays it’s all Junior Isas rather than CTFs, but I haven’t switched the accounts over).
We’ve topped up the accounts here and there, splitting the money between two different investment trusts: Foreign & Colonial and F&C Global Smaller Companies. Last week a statement showed up, and F&C Global Smaller Companies is up 28% in a year. Admittedly it was an incredible year for the stock market, but it did remind me that it’s possible to make much more of your money by investing than saving, if you’re willing to make more risk. I’ll celebrate 28% while I can, because it’s not realistic to expect more than 5% to 7% over the long term – including any years when the stock market plummets!
Reused camping equipment
A recent highlight for my children has been heading off on their Beaver and Cub camps. I try not to take it personally when they are champing at the bit to spend a night or two away from home, and rush off to the minibus with hardly a backward glance. I am certainly eternally grateful to the Cub and Beaver leaders for all their hard work in whisking my offspring away to have such a great time.
When it comes to the equipment list, I also thank my lucky stars that my daughter doesn’t insist on all things pink.
This means we’ve been able to buy one set of camping stuff in neutral colours, which can then be used by both siblings, rather forking out for two of everything. We do all have our own sleeping bags for family camping trips, but can get away with a single (red) cagoule, one (blue) sleeping mat, and just the one (black) LED torch. We’ve even co-opted an ancient travel bag, from one of my husband’s trekking trips, to carry it all in.
Kept on running
I’m still plodding away with running as a frugal form of exercise, after somehow ending up with a place on a half marathon. I even packed my kit during a flying visit back to Leicestershire, and ran a circular route out to my old village and back. Had forgotten quite how hilly the roads were…
Recently I had to report my progress along with the other Great East Run competition winners, and then promptly hurt my foot. Such an embarrassing injury – I stubbed my toe on one of the children’s bikes! It’s quite worrying because I’m due to attempt my first 10K run next weekend, but currently I’m limping along with a fetching green and brown bruise. Anyway, I’m still hoping to stagger round the Chelmsford Race for Life on 23 July. If anyone fancies supporting breast cancer research (and I do appreciate that everyone has their own favourite charities), and encouraging me at the same time, this is my fundraising page.
Now over to you – any frugal tips to share? Ways you’ve saved money in the last week? I’d love to hear, so do share your ideas in the comments.