The run up to Christmas is starting, so it’s time to examine spending a little more than usual, with a view to squirrelling way some funds for presents, festivities and the like. Here are some frugality projects to think about for the month of October.
1. This is the time of year for mists and mellow fruitfulness, as they say. Forage for wild blackberries for crumbles, pies, jams and jellies. Pick sloes for sloe and crab apple jelly , which is perfect with cold roast meats. Puree windfall apples for use later in the autumn. Rosehips make a terrific syrup packed full of vitamin C, which can be drizzled on pancakes, poured over milk puddings and given to children on a spoon as a tasty placebo medicine when they have minor colds and sore throats.
2. Try traditional weekdays markets, farmers’ markets or a local Women’s Institute for your meat, fruit and vegetables this month. The food will be a lot fresher and cheaper, and you may well find unusual varieties packed full of flavour.
3. Use beans, rice, lentils, barley and soya to bulk out the meat you are using for bolognaise and casseroles.
4. Look out for cheaper cuts of meat and fish to stretch your grocery budget. For example shin of beef, chicken wings and pork belly make lovely autumn dishes, and good fish to choose include mackerel, sardines and squid.
5. Cheese fans can save quite a lot of money by choosing British cheeses rather than continental ones.
6. See if your energy supplier will give you a free electricity monitor.
7. Clean out your domestic appliances , descale everything, put a new bag in the hoover, clean out all the filters in your tumble drier, clean out the powder dispenser in your washing machine, and make them work to maximum effect. That will save you effort in the long term, as well as money. You may also prevent unnecessary repairs.
8. Look at your list of standing order and direct debits, and see how many unnecessary memberships and subscriptions you can get rid of.
9. Avoid using the car and public transport, and bike or walk whenever you can. Travel as light as you can.
10. Put a weekend by to clear out everything in your house that you haven’t used for a while and don’t see yourself using again, and put the lot on Ebay for someone else to enjoy, as well as to raise funds.
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