Monday, 18 March 2013

All @rse about face to me :o)

Good morning. This is the sight which greeted me as I opened the curtains at 7am, oh no, not more snow! It's getting a tad annoying now, especially as it's getting quite close to the date when I set off on my long walk. According to the weather reports we should be expecting it to be cold, with rain and snow, untill the end of the month. It's not clear whether it will be gone by the time Easter arrives at the beginning of April. I am going to have to do some serious thinking here, whether to postpone the walk untill the weather picks up, or to say stuff it, just do it anyway. I don't much like the idea of trudging mile after mile getting drenched to the skin. Although my waterproofs are pretty good at keeping the worst off me, if the weather doesn't improve, it's going to be more like an ordeal rather than a happy challenge. I'll make a decision soon.
My apologies for not posting last night. My broadband connection sometimes throws a wobbly and simply disappears off the face of the earth. I tried closing the computer and router down and then starting up again, which worked for a while, but half an hour later it was lost again. I decided that the best options was to say stuff it and make a start on another car body panel art project. I was thinking I want to make small holes in the panel and tried drilling, but that didn't work too well. Then I thought, aha, it's plastic so I can melt it. Yep, heat a nail up on a gas flame, held with pliers, and it quickly cuts through it. Good, now I can get on with an idea I have. 
I think you might have noticed by now that I've enabled word verification. To be honest, the spammers were doing my head in, all automatic of course. Masses of them, every two minutes, were coming in. It has been such a relief these last 24 hours to see that now they are blocked, I have no spam comments at all. I am sorry that I have had to inconvenience you in this way, I hate word verification myself, and know how difficult it is to see the gobboldygook we are supposed to copy into the little box. Don't be confused if I suddenly change the settings back, I want to see if intermittent on/off makes any difference to the spam bots, how long does it take them to recognise changes in status. It's woman against a machine, and I suspect machine will win. It's quite worrying really, the way computers can rule our world. 
Anyway, what shall I talk about now? A couple of things I have seen on a forum, which are linked in a way. Have you noticed when people want to make changes in their life, they seem to go about it arse about face. I'm talking about money saving here, tightening the belt, and cutting back, though the same thing also happens when they want to lose weight, start growing veg, stop smoking, or get fit. 
The will is there to start making these changes, but then they feel they need to spend money to achieve their goal. As I have demonstrated in my fitness video, you don't actually need to spend money to get fit. Yes, I bought a cross trainer, because I find that fun to use, and I saved up for it. I deliberately put it in my living room so I can do a few laps at anytime. I didn't actually need it, but I do actually use it. How many people have exercise equipment out of sight in their spare bedroom, shed, or garage, bought in a flurry of well meaning enthusiasm. And how many people actually make time to use it, or is it a case of out of sight out of mind. So, what's arse about face where buying exercise equipment is concerned? Just looking at the rowing machine or exercise bike does not make you fit. Nope. Putting some music on and dancing around the living room, is cheap and good for you. A bit of skipping, stepping, and stretching is good for you, and it's free, no equipment needed. 
Have you noticed how many people are hung up about following a particular weight loss diet. They read about a new idea in a magazine, and think, oh, I'll try that. Weighing portions, counting calories, buying shakes, the this and that diet. They end up constantly thinking about food and spending more money at the health food store. They buy more gadgets for their already full to bursting kitchen cupboards, which eventually get donated to a charity shop because they have lost interest. Being on a diet is pants, it makes you spend money, don't do it. So how can I talk about dieting, because I have no need to lose weight? Well I do know a bit about it, I crept up to almost 11 stone while I was driving, stuffing my fat face with all mannner of crap. My diet was mainly heart attack material. Why do you think I don't need to diet now?  Because I eat healthy food, end of. The ocassional chocolate bar, or biscuit, or ice cream, does pass my lips, but as a treat. So, what's arse about face where weight loss diets are concerned? It makes you focus on food which gives you a feel good boost if you are down, rather than food which you need to keep your body alive. There is a difference. On a diet you feel deprived of all the nice things that you can't eat, you feel sorry for yourself, and have a treat, and another, and another. I have trained myself to love steamed vegetables. Simple food can be just as nutritious if you vary it, and costs less, so a bonus there. 
I'm on a roll now, what's the next arse about face example. Growing veg. There are two reasons why people start growing their own veg, (1) to save money, and (2) home grown veg tastes nicer. Good reasons. If you are in it to save money, like I am, it's a bit arse about face to go to a garden centre and buy a spade, a fork, and loads of tools you think you might need. Then buy a greenhouse with all the paraphenalia that goes with it, flower pots, staging, the list is endless, one thing leads to another. The gravel to put on the floor of the greenhouse, the slabs to lay around the outside of it, so it looks neat and tidy. OMG, it's got to look neat and tidy. You're growing vegetables to eat, they grow in muck, nothing neat and tidy about that. You can get loads of free stuff for your veg garden out of skips, from neighbours who want to get rid of something, from freecycle and freegle. All I bought was a few bags of compost to get my seeds started and get my raised beds going. I scrounged loads of hoss muck from horse owning friends, and turned my own kitchen and garden waste into compost. Spending money to save money is arse about face.
Ok, so I admit it, the next example is something which I know very little about. How to give up smoking. I have never smoked so I haven't experienced how hard it is to give up. I can only write about how I see it, from my common sense approach. I think we all recognise that tobacco is a poweful drug, once hooked it's very difficult to go back. In my mind, arse about face comes into this when you substitute one method of getting a nicotine fix, with another. So you stop the fags, and start on the patches. Or you get the electronic version because you feel lost without something in your hand. So, by delaying the outcome of stopping smoking you merely put it on hold for a while. You want to let yourself down gently, you feel lousy and you need a crutch to prop yourself up while you experience withdrawal symptoms. A bit arse about face if you want to ditch the dreaded weed permanently. I don't want to turn this into a lecture because addiction of any kind can be crippling. If you try and give up, and fail, keep trying. If cutting down is not working, try cold turkey.
One more example of arse about face. A woman does an online shop and spends £155, she is chuffed that she has chosen some special offers that have given her a reduction of £27, money that she feels has been given to her. Erm, no, it was hers in the first place. She thinks she is in profit, and this idea could be taken up by others to help them pay off their debts. I agree that buying multiples of the same item if it is on offer is a good thing, but only if you actually need them, and can be sure of using them. Having a mini version of Tesco in your pantry is not good housekeeping, it can get out of control, and becomes hoarding. She doesn't say if she did an inventory of her cupboards and freezer before she placed this large order, whether she had worked out how long it would last her, and whether the stuff was actually needed. I have never done an online shop, but I suspect that you could easily get carried away ticking the boxes, a bit like being let loose in a sweet factory. Tick a box, oh, we'll have this, and we'll have that while we're at it. Might as well chuck that in the trolley as well. I can't see that curbing your spending is any easier when shopping on line. If your instinct is to buy whatever you like, then justify it by focussing on how much you have saved on special offers, your spending is out of control. Seems a bit arse about face to me. 
I think I'd better stop now. It's going to take you a few days to trawl through this lot. You've got double rations this morning, two posts in one. My fingers have set the keyboard on fire, ha ha.  
Lunch time. Toodle pip.

24 comments:

  1. Yes, lots of info to read through today, but very informative and makes a lot of sense.
    Please wait until the snowy weather clears up before you sent off for your long walk..I want you to enjoy it and stay healthy, so please think of postponing it for a little while.

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  2. Hello Ilona from House fairy
    Glad to read you are trying to keep people on the right track. A Lot of things can be done with out spending money.Even my adult DD was saying yesterday, Her friends join a gym and with all good intentions do not go. My DD goes almost every day on track to keep her size 10.

    I also read about the lady that spent £155 in the grocery store and paid £3 for home delivery. Thought she had saved £27 in taking up offers.
    I hope that food will last the month and not to much of it goes in the bin as out of date.

    I have been through my cupboards today, checking on dates. Yes, a small amount went in the bin. Mainly DD's flavored tea's and some cough mixture.

    Take care...

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  3. Hi Debbie here. I've never heard that phrase before, arse about face, it made me laugh. I might have to use that one, is it a northern saying? I guess I have been guilty of this. I have bought a few money saving books to get me motivated only to realise it just boils down to common sense (silly me). Mind you I have used the library quite a bit so I'm not a complete no-hoper. Anyway fingers crossed for the weather and your walk it can be very changable this time of year.

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    1. Hi Debbie. Yes, I like that phrase, it's possibly a northern thing. I think it sounds better than back to front or wrong way round.

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  4. Wow that is one helluva post! I too utter a few expletives each time a see a fresh snowfall outside. It really is starting to annoy me and where I live my end of the road it is the last bit to thaw. So when my neighbours have dry pavements underfoot I'm still slip sliding all over the place.

    I smoked once behind the bike shed at school - cliched I know, but it really was the place to conduct extra curricular activities at my school. I was offered a cigarette and nearly gagged on the smoke. The next day I had a dreadfully sore throat and it left me wondering why anyone would want to inflict this on their body. Never smoked again.

    Linda xxx

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  5. You are so right about diets - they don't work! All they do is make you think about food and what you can and can't eat, how many calories / points / sins you have left that day. Eat less and move more is the only way (I lost 2 stone doing this a few years ago then got lazy and regained about a stone). Haven't seen that online shopping story, prefer to go and look out the bargains and only buy mostly what is on the list.

    I think you may need to postpone the walk, I have just persuaded my mum to stay in Spain another 2 weeks, they were due to come home 2nd April but after telling them how bad the weather is they are staying till the middle of April to enjoy a little more sunshine :0)

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  6. hi Ilona, we to are considering our easter options because we go out to Enjoy and not to Endure.Its really no fun cycling and camping in snow, sleat and rain.Had enough of that last year. Safety becomes an issue especially off road.Take care.

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  7. Great dose of reality check, and I can't agree more with the "stockpile for zombie outbreak" mentality. Some of the blogs I read, in which the author stockpiles (love your comparison to a Tesco store!), still seems to buy more stuff so the stockpiling is clearly an emotional safety blanket as opposed to actual pragmatic needs.

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    1. Couldn't agree more, Anon. I have a stockpile of toilet rolls, they were cheap, I know I'm going to use them, and it saves carrying bulky items from the supermarket. I have a month supply of cat food and cat litter, I don't expect my cats to die in a month. I cannot for the life of me think why people need a bulging chest freezer, as well as the smaller freezer they have in their kitchen, unless they are feeding the five thousand.

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  8. Hi Ilona. We say arse about face here in Australia too.

    I like your no nonsense language and no nonsense advice.

    I think it's arse about face to say you have to go on an expensive holiday in order to relax from your job. But then you get more stressed from the debt to pay off the holiday and having to work more to pay for the holiday and then needing another holiday to ...and round and round it goes! Nice walk on a weekend, time with family and friends, camping. There are cheap options to de-stress and to have fun and won't add to you credit card or debt.

    And your walks show us how it can be done,

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    1. Another good example, luci. I'm off out for a walk now.

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  9. Some so called "frugal" blogs just dont get it. The way some of them justify and rationalize spending money in the name of frugality makes me laugh. I think some people cant seem to stop spending even if it is just charity shop stuff that they dont need and dont sell on.
    Having a decent pantry is good but extreme stockpiling( hoarding) just causes shortages, drives prices up and if food got that scarce we would have to defend it with our lives.

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  10. Hi Ilona. I haven't read your blog for about 6 weeks due to chronic pain (fybromyalgia)but came back to it yesterday evening. What a refreshing site you have! You are not squirriling away 100k to pay off the mortgage and still say that "you want to live a simple life" - yes, simple but with the proviso of having a big house at the end of the frugal thing and the mortgage! Nor do you mention your"sewing" classes when you appear on local BBC radio (I thought the BBC looked out for that sort of thing!)when espousing frugal living. How utterly refreshing! Also, I am pleased that you still allow for anonymous comments. I was thrilled with the first keep fit video and had a go as far as I could. Very well done and with such cheerfulness. Best wishes Natalie

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    1. Hi Natalie. Thank you, I know what you mean. My game plan is to be happy with what I have. I manage very well on a pension. I don't need any more. Everything I do is for fun and enjoyment. Best wishes Ilona

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  11. Frugalatchristmastimefrugalalways19 March 2013 at 16:43

    As tomorrow is the day George Osbourne's budget is revealed to the nation, I was wondering if you could make a post tomorrow explaining what would do if you were Mr Osbourne to fix the UK as you seem to have views on many things and I am sure many people would love to hear them - you never know, maybe Mr George Osbourne reads the blog!

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    1. Hi, I don't think I am clever enough to do that. The only thing I could suggest is to make sure the balance of exports and imports is more equal. At the moment we are importing stuff we could make here. We should open our factories and start producing more, giving people jobs and wages, which they could put back into the economy by buying British.

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  12. I laughed when I read your blog today as it is so true what you said. Diets...in the past, if I tried to diet I eat more from the minute I say "i'm on a diet", so it never works lol.

    Stock piling is only any good if it saves you money...it's not good stocking up on 'special offers' if a) they aren't actually cheaper than normal b) if you can't possibly use your stock pile before the 'use by date' or c) if no one in your family actually like what you buy...I remember my dad buying what felt like hundreds of tins of strawberry pie filling, when I was small and I can assure you, it didn't feel like a treat anymore after the third or fourth pie lol

    Anyway, I enjoyed your post today, thank you.

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  13. Thank goodness it's not just me...I was getting a complex!!
    Jane xx
    PS Wait for the good weather...then we won't all worry!

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  14. Just a quick visit with a recipe for you Ilona. I read your blog avidly and like you I have an eclectic taste in food, I am not vegetarian but choose to eat meat sparingly both for health and cost reasons. We had unexpected guests for lunch on Sunday and what I had planned would not stretch. I opened 2 tins of chick peas spinkled on a teaspoonish each of cumin seeds and Korma curry powder, a good pinch of salt and black pepper and a glug of oil. I stirred it up and poured onto a bed of roughly chopped mushrooms and cooked for 15 to 20 minutes in a hottish oven, enough to cook the quick fruit crumble I made for pudding. I served the dinner with a big salad and everyone loved it, no leftovers. It was all done on the cheap as I had been to Asda and picked up a bag full of yellow stickered bargains. Even at full price it would have been a frugal meal.

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    1. That's amazing Pam, very inventive, and your guests liked it. Just goes to show what can be done with very little.

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  15. There are many things in life that seem arse about face to me, given up on diets, I think it is important to eat healthley and that is what I am trying to do. I've stopped reading the 'extreme' frugal blogs, I dont want to wear a hair shirt!! x

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  16. You kindly left me a comment on my blog.
    I wanted to thank you so much for something you don't know you have done. I have been a 20 a day smoker for 25 years now. It was the worst thing I ever did! I have tried giving up but only lasting days, sometimes just hours. Recently, you posted about smoking and added some you tubes including one on Alan Carr. I read and re read your post, I watched the videos and I am totally thrilled that I have now been a non smoker for 15 days. If you hadn't posted that, I would still be killing myself at a cost of £50 a week.
    So from me and my lungs to you illona

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  17. Gardening tip: used coffee grounds are excellent for pest control. Mix them with the earth around nests and drop it inside. If you don't drink coffee, ask for it at coffee shops, they will give you a bag of the stuff and be happy you saved them a trip to the dumpster.

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