Frugal Matters

It has become a badge of honour: How long can you leave it before turning the heating on? We have never made it to mid November before. We are saving money and preserving fossil fuels, hooray! Yesterday morning, I got up and shivered. ‘I think this is it,’ I said, ‘We’ll have to have the heating on tomorrow.’ Mr PC agreed.

We have decided to set the heating to come on in the morning if the temperature is going to get below 5. In the weather report, they predicted us nighttime temperatures of 9 degrees, so we didn’t set the thermostat or the timer. This morning I was cold and regretted it! It was 4.7 degrees, according to our thermometer. I had planned to have a morning on the allotment, planting my broad beans, but when I went out on the school run, the air was so damp – not quite drizzle, nor mist, just that wet cold that lays itself on your face and seeps through your clothes. I decided not to go.

Fortunately, by the time I was getting home, the sun had peeped through, and the sky was turning blue! I loaded up the car and went off to sow some seeds. It was glorious! I now have the dual satisfaction of a job complete, and a dose of sunshine. Plus the anticipation of broad bean houmous in May!

That, after all, is the point of the allotment. To provide us with cheap food and exercise. The exercise part has been great. Cheaper than gym membership, and an actual real reason to go. It hasn’t done very well in respect of cheap food this year. I didn’t harvest enough stuff to cancel out the hire charge for the allotment. Partly because I got it too late in the spring to get much in, and partly because over the summer holidays and early autumn I wasn’t going there often enough to harvest things at their best. We ate lots of lettuce and cucumber, but lots of lettuce went to seed. The beans were mostly old and stringy by the time I got to them, and the broccoli went to seed. I did get to eat some delicious raspberries, and my spaghetti squash was a triumph. My purple sprouting broccoli is looking great, and I’m really looking forward to it. If we are still here next year, I plan to do so much better. As I won’t have to start by digging my beds out from scratch, and I already have my onions, garlic and broad beans in, I feel like I’ll have a headstart!

Another place I go to for frugal food is Approved Food. They sell food which is slightly out of date, or surplus to requirements, at big discounts. My latest order arrived yesterday, and it was great. I always get some treats when I shop there, so we had some marmite flavoured cashew nuts, some pretzels (Aldi have stopped stocking these and I was getting withdrawal symptoms – mostly mooching past the snack food with a miserable look on my face) and a few packets of love hearts, because the children love them.

We also got some soup:

This soup is out of date, but we each had a cup yesterday and it was absolutely fine. I ordered 20 packets for £2, and each packet has 4 sachets. That’s 2 and a half pence per cup. I’ll probably add some mini pasta stars, or a sprinkle of couscous sometimes, but guess what we’re having for lunch for the next couple of months?

About planetcoops

Living a busy family life in a beautiful place with a hundred and one things to be achieved.
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3 Responses to Frugal Matters

  1. Your dedication to your craft is fantastic and amusing at the same time. It’s been relatively warm this winter so saving a few bob by not turning on the heating is quite feasible (until now I guess).

    Those dry cup a soups will never go off. Hermetically sealed and as dry as the moon, there is nothing for the mould to grow on!

    I have never seen someone say “lots of lettuce went to seed” before either. I hope to use that one day myself.

  2. You can’t beat broad beans. You literally can’t. Our seedlings got drowned in stinky quicksand during a big aftershock in June and were then crushed under two once-in-a-hundred-year snowfalls in July and August. They carried on gangbusters regardless and now we’ve got more than we can eat.

  3. planetcoops says:

    ‘Bolted’ is the correct term for lettuces, but I like the phrase ‘gone to seed’!
    And Bernard, obviously I hope that my broad beans don’t have to suffer what yours did!
    (still no heating on today – nighttime temp was 11).

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