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Friday, 22 December 2017

More inspiration from Marigold.

Hello. Marigolds email has sure got you thinking, and adding to the discussion. She makes a lot of valid points. Her journey towards a frugal and sustainable lifestyle has meant some changes and a different way of thinking. Recapping on yesterday, Marigold doesn't need to read glossy magazines telling her how she should be decorating her house. She doesn't need to buy new, second hand is fine, and she now knows that every small find can save money by reusing it, to stop things going to landfill.

Let's carry on and read more of her email.

Since reading your blog I have been following the policy of making do/using what I already have with a view to doing a big shop once a month. I've started baking bread again...oh it's so yummy! and because I have free range chooks whose eggs I gift to people, this week I have been gifted mushrooms and enough mandarins to make fours pots of marmalade as well as fill the fruit bowl, onions, silverbeet and lettuce.  

For a while I have kept a jar on the window ledge full of white vinegar and when i get citrus peel it is popped in there to make a cleaner.  After about a month the oil from the citrus has seeped into the vinegar.  When I need more cleaner I take a cup of the vinegar and oil, put it into the container and top with water.   

Your talk about using detergent for floor, toilet and dishes got me thinking.  Instead I have been using this mix and it is fantastic.   I am using up old product I had and then refilling the containers with the mix. So now I have a spray cleaner and a toilet cleaner which contain the same product.  I've also noticed that idea of giving the detergent bottle a good squeeze so we get lots of bubbles is  real trap to over spending.   When cooking rice you can save the water and use that as dish washing liquid - no bubbles but squeaky clean dishes for free.......and no reliance on fossil fuels.  

A friend was advised by her Dr to add an anti bacterial product to the rinse cycle of the washing $12 a bottle.  I fell for it too - fear of germs pressure to consume - but as the container is nearly empty I am going to refill it with white vinegar.  It too is antibacterial and apparently anti static so clothes will not have bits sticking to them.

Thinking about your policy of buying on price is certainly making a difference to my budget.  I have also incorporated a new policy for myself: if a product increases in price I reduce my use of it by the same percentage.  This helps with finding new creative solutions as there comes a point where it is no longer viable to keep buying that product.  

This happened with the decaf coffee I buy for my plunger. I have one really nice coffee a day because it is a bronchial dilator and I think its more pleasant to enjoy that coffee than to have to use my asthma preventer everyday (unless I have a cold or hayfever and need the medication).  

I used to go to coffee shops and spend a lot of money each week.  So the process I went through of changing that was first to limit myself to one coffee a day in town.  Then I realized I always ate the same time..probably $10+ per day.  So then I cut out the food, unless there was a complimentary biscuit.  Gradually I realized I was still spending $5+ a day (I like a soy milk decaf latte).  i read someone said to figure out is it the coffee or the milk you enjoy so started having a plunger black coffee instead at home.  

Recently the pack I buy jumped from about $6.50 a pack to $10.50 overnight.  The way i have reduced my use is to make it in a small bowl using less than a teaspoon of grinds compared to 2 tablespoons.  I got 2 small souvenir cups from Paris in the second hand bargain bin for 50cents (I want a coffee in Paris for my 70th birthday in 5 years!) so now I have a couple of small delicious coffees, no soy or cows milk, less coffee used and I really love the flavour....and it reminds me of my goal and how I'm getting closer.

Marigold is making do and using what she already has. A great way to save money. Swapping resources with friends and neighbours. Cheaper ways to clean the house. Watching the prices of products she uses regularly. Buying on price and if it increases look at reducing consumption or finding a cheaper, just as good, alternative.

All these tricks don't come automatically, you have to practice them, you have to want to change your mindset and keep the notion of saving money at the forefront of all your thinking. No need to become obsessive about it, you can cut yourself some slack sometimes, but a little bit of wandering from the straight and narrow means you must make an effort to get back on it again. Don't want to slide down the slippery slope towards that dreaded word debt.

Is anyone else making a success of changing their lifestyle for the better, without it being too much of a chore? Come back tomorrow for the third part of Marigold's email

I struck lucky at Tesco last night. I arrived at 7pm and a warehouse trolley full of yellow stickers was already priced up at the end of the veg aisle. No one was taking much notice of it, the store was full, people were busy stuffing things into their overflowing trolley's, and not looking for the bargains. The third sticker had gone on and everything was very cheap. Yipeeee, lucky me. There was everything I needed, lots of fruit and veg.


The cost of my yellow stickers was £7.18, for that I got £63.15 worth of food. The rest of my shopping was £11.58, giving a total of £18.76 for the whole lot. I gave away two shopping bags to people on the self serve tills, and today I gave some of the food to a friend up the road, and a neighbour across the road. Still plenty left for me. They were gobsmacked at how little I had paid for it. All in all, a successful shopping trip.

I had a nice surprise today. Joyce, the elderly lady who I walk Bailey poodle for gave me a wonderful Christmas hamper that she had made for me. It was very big, and very heavy.

A fantastic assortment of goodies, she has put a lot of thought into it. I am dead chuffed.

So now I have loads to eat, enough for a month or more I would say. Lucky me.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

31 comments:

  1. I enjoyed Marigold part 2, and I also enjoyed your positivity! It makes a huge difference whether I look at change as ‘sigh, I have to do this’ versus being positive and deciding ‘I want to do this”. Works for walking, dieting and spending...of course, it took me until my late 50’s to figure this out. :). Better late than never.

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  2. I love the idea of Marigold being able to have her coffee in Paris with her fun lifestyle of not being led astray by consumerism.Today I've made 3 wreaths & 5 posies which would usually have cost me £25 -£30 at the least.These cost me £6•40.I'm so happy with them.That is such a beautiful,yummy hamper from your friend Ilona and its so interesting-not like those supermarket ones.I'm doing a small fruit ,choc & nut one for a neighbour-not as special as yours x

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    1. I know every so often I laugh about the idea of it all. I'm saving to walk the Camino de Satiago, coffee in Paris....5 years feels a long way away but hopefully with all the tweaks to my life this can happen. Who knows what will be happening in my life by then but it's a fun goal, reading and research is part of the journey, walks as training are enriching my life and if it comes to it and I have coffee in a French restuarant here well, I will have saved a good resource and had fun doing it. I'm begining to wonder if I could allow myself to spend my savings that way (air miles!); so I've decided 'm going to open an allocated account and then I can save but make the decision later. The 30 day delay probably goes out to a three year delay on this one....oh and the Midi....I let it go and then I pick it up again! Marigold.

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  3. A lovely hamper from Joyce, how kind of her. But you deserve it for all the kindness that you show to others too. Kindness finds kindness. Excellent bargains from Tesco, well done! As ever I enjoy looking at those. And Marigolds email has made for inspirational reading- frugality for the win! Hugs to the fur balls,xxxxx

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  4. How sweet! Such a nice gift. Merry Christmas.

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  5. Marigold has certainly made me think and I pride myself on being thrifty.
    When I was younger I used to love "lifestyle " magazines though I used to browse through a friend's castoffs because I couldn't afford my own. Now I find them boring. Do you think we grow out of them as we grow older and also see the reality of the advertising ploys?
    Her idea of making cleaning fluid is excellent.
    I make my washing up liquid last longer by using half a bottle of washing up liquid topped up with water.
    I'm delighted that you've been given a hamper .Enjoy, you deserve every bit of it!
    Have a very happy few days over the Christmas period. Sue

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    1. I've been trying the diluted dishwashing liquid but don't like the way the plates get a bit greasy....lightbulb moment....I sprayed a little of my vinegar and citrus oil cleanee to try it.....beautifully clean plates and no reliance on fossil fuels. I consider the peel free as usually I'd have it as a result of eating citrus. So now this cleaner that only costs me for the white vinegar, is a cleaner, toilet cleaner, now a dishwashing liquid...probably work well on hair too...going to try. If i'm not using the peel as zest, candied peel or cleaner I also dry it and use as a great fire lighter. At one stage I had a great supply of it from a cafe so was able to use it for paths around the chooks run I had at that time (they free range now). It was great, aromatic and had a beautiful crunch when dry but as soon as autumn and winter came it went mouldy as the climate is too temperate here. Still as winter hit it got mushed with the mud and those areas of the garden are much richer now. Marigold

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  6. I used to make a hamper for my late brother every Christmas as he lived alone. So easy to do as I used to add one or two items every week when they were on special offer and by Christmas it was full. It's a lovely gift from your friend. Like Marigold I use white vinegar as a fabric softener in the washing machine as it cuts down on mould in the drawer. Also use it to clean limescale and the bath shower and toilet. Happy Christmas Ilona have a lovely time xxx

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    1. Great idea to put a hamper together. I got inspired by you guys and added to the bit of Christms cake for the lonely bachelor over the road....just a quick flick through the cupboards I am working through and that hamper is bulked out. Tonight I'm baking bread and finishing my rustic houmas to share with neighbours too and they feel like really real gifts... few free range eggs in there too I think. Happy a loving holiday everyone. marigold

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  7. FROM JENETTE I’m trying to fix my anonymous problem !
    So many ideas from both Marigold and Ilona - I went into our local hardware store today to buy a sponge to wash my car as I have to admit to paying for it to be cleaned - anyway the man who owns it is very frugal and was telling us about a customer who had been in and said he had spent 2,000 pounds on his child for Christmas presents - I can’t believe that someone could consider that normal but apparently asking around it’s me that’s not normal!!

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  8. What I love most is Marigold's attitude. 100% positive can-do spirit. Bravo!

    Mimi

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  9. I wonder....if as we age, we just realize we really don't need so much "stuff"? I'm almost 60, and don't want 90% of the stuff I wanted when I was young. I remember as a young teen, sitting with my Grandma and looking through a catalog together...she said she didn't really see anything she wanted, and I couldn't believe it because I could have picked out 100 items I wanted! But now that I'm older I realize exactly what she was saying.
    Deb in Ohio

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    1. I think there is something in this. I think as we age we have also had time to make mistakes, to learn that buying that flash "thing" didn't give us happiness and we start to learn wht is really important to us. I had a new stove put in yesterday...a new reconditioned stove. It works well, looks fresh (after a big clean!) and the electrician says I'll be able to get parts and have it maintained for years. Last night after it was installed I was as excited as if I'd brought the $1,000 more new stove, which could break down much earlier. But added to the relief of having a stove and oven top that now works properly, and which I will now not need to move things around to get an even cook, i have a timer and a clock that work AND a feeling of virtue and relief that something has been saved from the landfill; that still has many uses in it. The old one was taken away for scrap by a man who does that to survive without a benefit. So the people who benefitted were the earth, the seller, me, the electrician who needed the cash and the scrap man. A few more locals, than if i'd got it through a store AND a stove has been kept out of the landfill. Now I'm going to try and save that $1,000 as if I was paying off the new stove. That means delaying other purchases, gives me time to find alternatives and then at the end I should have cash for savings or the purchase of something that needs upgrading at the appropriate time....In fact, a bank account with the money if you can put it aside, and money you save in the year would be interesting...however the goal here is to save money as we are on limited incomes so just keeping a list of those savings and being enabled to improve your situation may be another way of recording your achievements because of your choices made. Marigold

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    2. LOL! This frugal game is fun....I suddenly thought after my last reply that my challenge for 2018 is to record all the saving i make in 2018 to see what I can achieve. it could be good to do that each year to see if you can improve on what you achieved previously.....but how to record when your outgoings are so reduced and become a habit? I was looking at Penny Pinching Mum last night. She was talking about how she and her children survived on US$500 a month. Some really interesting ideas there. She would feed the kids on nutritional value. If they had brocolli one day they would not get an orange as they had recieved their Vitamin C quota. She pointed out that a third of our groceries is about our drinks...when i checked it was true in my case....she suggests just drinking water most of the time...something else to try and healthy for the aging brain and the growing body. she had the kids well on her side playing the "get out of debt" game with her...what great skills they learnt.

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    3. It's actually Penny Pinching Mamma. She has some really extreme get out of debt survival tips. She got me thinking when she suggested about a third of all groceries are for drinks or to do with drinks. She and her children just drank water and reduced her costs dramatically. Really worth a visit.

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  10. Inspiring is the word for Marigold! So good of her to share her ideas with us. I use the citrus peel infused vinegar for cleaning, and it is particularly good for getting rid of iron stains in the toilet from our hard water. The acid dissolves them. I too find the magazines and catalogues more boring as I get older. I toss most catalogues right into the recycling without a look, as it keeps me from temptation, and most of the merchandise is of such poor quality. I do buy the occasional magazine for a treat still, but I check it carefully first to make sure that it has material that I really want to read. I tend to only buy a magazine if I am sure that I will use one or more articles for reference more than once. I get magazines out of the library, but do find most are boring and hold up an unrealistic idea of domestic perfection.
    Your hamper looks yummy! Your neighbor really appreciates your loving care of her dog.

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    1. Great to know it works on iron stains fellow citrus peel and vinegar user. I"ve got a rusty lid I was going to work at - going to try that....oh yes and on the parts of the washing machine that has rust. Perhaps I can clean it back for painting. Marigold

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    2. I tried the cleaner on the rusty jar and lid and it worked a treat. then I tackled the tiny bits of rust on the cooker, it jus
      st wiped off. remembered I had some appliance patch up so once clear of rust applied that...it's made a big difference. Then i tried washing my hair in the cleaner and it has come up really soft and sqeeky cean and shiny. Someone asked what i was doing different - you should have seen their face when I said I washed it in toilet cleaner. LOL I enjoyed that moment. Marigold

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  11. Another fabulous post!
    What a nice neighbor you have! Food is a great gift, my favorite.

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  12. A wonderful post, Ilona. Have really enjoyed reading it and learning a few more housekeeping tips. Well done on all that wonderful inexpensive shopping, too.
    I would like to wish you a very Happy Christmas, look forward to your blog posts in 2018.
    Margaret P

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  13. How wonderful a hamper. Ilona has enough food for the Christmas period, and has not had to battle a supermarket. The greedy shoppers did not even notice the bargains. I get upset at the amount of meat produce people buy. Which is then thrown away. Each piece of meat was alive, and should have respect. Anyway have a lovely Christmas Ilona and thank you for all your help and advice this year. Everyone have a super time.xx

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  14. Another excellent post. It's not until I look back over the previous few months that I can see where I have made more progress. This year I have stopped buying squash to drink. Christmas has been further streamlined with a few well chosen cards from the charity card shop run by the volunteers in the library rather than buying charity ones from the supermarket where they take a hefty cut and most of my presents are being wrapped in scarves I was given on freecycle. Arilx

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    1. Oh I love the idea of scarves fir wrapping...our charity always has so many

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    2. Oh I love the idea of wrapping presents in scarves; our charity shop has so many over the year. I'm going to srat gathering them slowly through the year.

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  15. All in all, very sensible and inspirational comments from Marigold and you, on both posts. They are all things which I should be able to have thought of myself, yet somehow, a lot of it I have not. I do do some of this, but not nearly enough.

    The great value (huge value) I find in your blog, and posts like Marigold, is it helps me to "realise" these sensible and frugal methods are attainable. The more I read them, the more my mind sort of "bends" that way...grin.

    Most everything I wear is bought second hand shop (and most always even on sale there). It is a rare occurrence for me to buy new clothing. This Christmas I did purchase a couple tops, but they too were on a super discount, and nearly the price of the second hand shop.

    For myself, a great hindrance to being as thrifty and practical as you and Marigold, is I am NOT an organised person. I am not well co ordinated "mentally" or physically. I am past middle age, and some time back I came to make "peace" with the way I am. I used to be quite sure next time/next week etc. I would magically become "organised". Of course, this caused myself considerable stress (as I was NOT), and it only seemed to get worse/less organised.

    Some time back I made "peace" with what I am, and instead I work on very small baby steps. Looking back over time, I realise now that I have made progress. For that I am happy. I continue to make small improvements and it works for me. I think it is this way of living you have, is much enhanced by your good organisationl skills/thoughts.

    Re magazines...I too agree they are chock full of advertising and pseudo advertising. And lack much in the way of literature/reading materials. Sadly magazines today are mostly printed commercials.

    Thanks to you both (Iona and Marigold) for sharing what you'se have learned, and technqiues. I love reading your (both) writings, and it continues to help me point in the direction I wish to go.


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    1. I'm not organized either.I feel better about it now I have read that it doesn't come easily to you also.I have to prioritiese my daily activities.Ilona,Marigold,yourself & our other friends here help me also-Thankyou x

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    2. I think you are approaching things exactly as you need to. As I have got more years under my belt I've had to realise I can no longer work in the garden for four hours at a time; now I might be able to do several stints there of 20 minutes at a time. I nibble at things now and try to do those things first that I know I can do in five minutes. That way I try to give myself a sense of achievement - no matter how small. Like you I can feel very disorganised and I have noticed that often comes with feeling overwhelmed. Over the past couple of years I've been trying to simplify my life (inside the house). I did the Kon Mari Declutter system....(and need to keep going back to it). New habits take time to set in; if at first you feel not so well co-ordinated just remind yourself you have made a start and you can make another start when you are ready...in an hour, a day, a week or month. I believe these changes we make are part of an ongoing process of making choices about our lives. Recently my sister and brother in-law came and helped me around the house and it made a real difference having that support. Ask for help if you need it. The Mean Queen's saying "I'm beating the system" has helped me to keep experimenting and to keep trying, to keep re-starting. As I write I realise I'm feeling overwhelmed in the garden, because things keep growing and I have lost a couple of plants to convolvulous lately....my next productivity action is going to have to be weedmatting and mulching better around my fruit trees....I'd better get re-started organising the garden. Good luck with your re-starts - you can do it, just keep going with small nibbles at things. It's the direction not the speed. Marigold

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    3. flis and Anonymous

      Thank you both. It does help to hear others are also struggling with this. One of the biggest/best things for me is to accept that what is, is what is, so to speak. Although I am not "organised", there are many things over life I have to be very glad and happy and proud of. Many i'd wished I done different, but sometimes I am a bit hard on myself with that..sigh. Re organising, it is as you say (Anonymous), it is very important to allow myself the joy of feeling the "sense of achievement".

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  16. Another really good 'post from Marigold', full of wonderful ideas and tips.

    Your yellow stickered bargains are amazing, isn't it funny how everyone was so busy buying full priced food and overfilling their trolleys that they were forgetting to look for bargains. I guess some folk are not happy with Christmas unless it has cost them a fortune. The hamper off Joyce is lovely, and so thoughtful.

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  17. A really good post, will get a lot of people thinking and realising they can still cut costs.
    What a lovely hamper.
    Have a lovely Christmas Ilona.
    All the best Marlene x

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  18. Thank you Ilona for these past 3 posts they have been very inspiring. I have been a spendthrift most of my life and am trying to change. It certainly has not been easy but your posts encourage me. I consider these last ones to be your Christmas gift to me, haha. I do not usually make New Year resolutions but this year mine will be to become more frugal. Have a Merry Christmas Ilona in your cozy house with your furry loves.

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