Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A month of frugality: Short cuts in the frugal life

Image from here
There is nothing simple about frugal living. Frugal living is time consuming. Cooking from scratch, taking your lunch to work, ensuring you have no food wastage, tracking your spending; it all takes time and dedication. I lapse from time to time. I take short cuts.

Let me share some of the ways I keep things frugal but simple.

1. We have chickens. Chickens are great because they are pets for the kids and grateful recipients of scraps and slightly flaccid over-ripe vegetables. Instead of sending food to the bin, the chickens take care of it for me. And they produce lovely fresh eggs in exchange. They are the best 'short cut' we've ever had.

2. I regularly make a big batch of soup. Soup basically cooks itself. It is a great way to use vegetables and it is such an easy lunch time meal to take to work.

3. Try to cook meals that can be turned into something new with minimal effort. For example, mince is the basis for many easy meals like pasta bake, tacos, nachos, san choy bow etc. Why not cook a big batch of mince one night and freeze some portions for later use. That way the subsequent meals will be quick and easy.

4. Plant seedlings instead of seeds. Seeds are definitely cheaper, but I have had a better success rate with growing our own vegetables from seedlings. Make sure you choose vegetables that don't need a lot of TLC if you don't have a lot of time to spend in the garden.

5. Catch the train. Instead of sitting in traffic adding kilometres to your car mileage, you can enjoy a book and get some incidental exercise. Public transport is an eco-friendly, wallet friendly choice and it might just mean you can ditch your second car, which really is a frugal option.

6. Keep extra-curricular activities to a minimum. Not only do they put a big dent in your budget, you will spend your life ferrying children from one activity to another, zapping you of precious time. Set a household rule and stick to it. They have their whole lives to explore hobbies and sports.

7. Exercise in the great outdoors. It costs nothing and is so important for mental health. If you can incorporate your exercise into your general routine e.g. commute you have achieved the ultimate frugal short-cut.

Have you got any frugal short-cuts you can share?


Sarah said...

I love chickens - sadly I don't have enough space for them but SD's parents keep them so all our veg peelings etc go their way and in exchange I get lovely free range eggs.

I'm also a believer in stretching food - I cut up a beef joint that would only have given us one meal the other day and turned it into chili beef for one meal and a casserole that was enough for two meals for us all.

Walking is THE best exercise (or cycling) - Gus and I go for miles and I love just getting out there away from day to day life.

River said...

Cooking from scratch, ensuring I have no (or little) wastage, tracking my spending, all of these are going to get a stern review here in my house. I've been leaking money like a dripping tap and it has to stop. Thankfully, soup season is fast approaching.

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