Five frugal things to start January

Picture of purple cyclamen from the far corner of the front garden

Cyclamen, as our first flowers of 2020

This week took us from the end of the Christmas holidays to the start of term, as the children headed back to school and I tried to get back to work.

Here are five of the frugal things I’ve done this week, to get our low spend January off to a good start.

Picture of ribbons scissors and Christmas cards made into labels

Here’s one I prepared earlier

Cut Christmas cards into labels

Shades of Blue Peter. Rather than just chucking our Christmas cards into the recycling, I cut out some of my favourite images as labels for next year’s presents. Should brighten up the wrapping at a total cost of 0p.


Picture of the Christmas tree cards I bought with 50% off in the Paperchase sale

Cut price Christmas cards

Snaffled Christmas cards in the sales

I do still send some Christmas cards to family and friends, so was glad to find half price cards for next year in the Paperchase sale. I’ve popped them in our present cupboard so with any luck I’ll be able to find them again come December.

I looked for crackers and wrapping paper too, but didn’t spot any I really liked. Did manage to nab a few presents in sales at Debenhams and Boots though.


Picture of a game of Uno and mug of tea

Cut throat card playing

Bought Uno for less online

For us, Christmas 2019 was the year of Uno. My son borrowed a pack from the grandparents, and we all enjoyed playing it. Came in particularly handy when we went out for a pizza before the pantomime (cut price thanks to Meerkat Meals & Movies!), playing rounds whenever we were waiting to order, for food or for the bill. We played loads over Christmas and New Year too, before returning the cards.

So when we spotted Uno in Waterstones, while browsing for ideas with a Christmas present book token, my daughter suggested buying our own pack. But £8.99 seemed a little steep – so I checked on my phone, discovered I could get Uno on eBay for £2.49 including delivery, and ordered that instead. 


Picture of my two children walking on the beach on Mersea Island, as one of my five frugal things this week

Blowing way Christmas cobwebs on Mersea Island

Headed out to Mersea Island

We seized our chance on the last day of the holidays to head out to Mersea Island, somewhere we’ve never been before. Strictly speaking it’s only an island a couple of times a day, when the tide is high enough to cover the single causeway onto Mersea, but I was intrigued.

Even on a blowy grey day there was a bleak beauty to the walk by the beach in Cudmore Grove Country Park. The kids particularly liked the playground and exploring a pillbox on the clifftop. Definitely a budget outing when you only have to pay a few pounds for petrol and parking. We’re all keen to return, although perhaps with a picnic on a sunny day in summer!


Picture of home-made fish, chips, peas and tartare sauce


Opted for a fakeaway rather than a takeaway

Last Friday, I had a go at making fish and chips rather than trekking to the takeaway. I used the recipe for fish, chips, peas and tartare sauce from the fab ‘Home Economics‘ cookbook (affiliate link) by Jane Ashley, which I reviewed here. Miraculously given the picky eaters in our family, we ended up with clean plates all round. Result. 

I had a go at totting up how much it cost, using Morrisons Savers frozen white fish fillets and potatoes from a Christmas veg offer. Rather than the £18 we’d usually spend at our local chippy, it came to less than £3 for our family of four.

Obviously it was more faff for me with the cooking, but definitely helped cut costs and calories in January!


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Now – over to you. What frugal successes are you celebrating this week? How have you got 2020 off to a frugal start? Do share in the comments, I’d love to hear!


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. 13th January 2020 / 12:53 pm

    yes, Chip is ace – and I love UNO too. I’m currently reviewing a fakeaway book and will have a cmp up this week. will let you know!

    • Faith
      23rd January 2020 / 10:45 am

      Oooh the fakeaway book sounds great, do share a link when the comp is running!

  2. Nancie
    22nd January 2020 / 8:13 pm

    Honestly, my American ears are enchanted by all the British expressions you use! Love all your ideas too.

    • Faith
      23rd January 2020 / 10:45 am

      Aw thanks Nancie, I’m touched! Glad you enjoyed reading the post and hope the ideas are helpful.

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