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February Challenge - 28 Days of Extreme Frugal Living.

It's a short month, let's see how low we can go in the frugal stakes after completing our January challenge.

I'm sick of people thinking frugal living is self-imposed poverty or else 'extreme' household budgeting, so I'm going to try it and find out for myself what the meaning of extreme budgeting really is.

Call it what you like - mean, frugal, thrifty, austere, mind-blowingly cheap... let's be hearing how extreme your budgeting skills can be.

How little can you spend during Frugal February?

We have 28 days and the countdown begins at the stroke of midnight tonight.

My 28 Days










DAY 10

DAY 11

DAY 12

DAY 13

DAY 14

DAY 15

DAY 16

DAY 17

DAY 18

DAY 19

DAY 20

DAY 21

DAY 22

DAY 23

DAY 24

DAY 25

DAY 26

DAY 27

Day 28

I'm in!

I have my car insurance renewal at the end of the month but that should be covered by not having to pay the council tax. I will "squeeze de p's" this month!  

I did my February shop last Wednesday, just topped up with fruit yesterday total spent so far £53.42 whick leaves me £46.58 for fresh fruit and veg during the rest of the month.

This month should be OK, but next month could be horrendous for various reasons.

Aiming to shop the house for as much as possible this month again & see how much we can put back into savings.

Since I technically had $10 until Thursday and some more bills due.  I am in.

This month we will eat meat from the freezer.

This month we will consume all produce before shopping for me.

This month we will use the stocks of paper products etc.

We will eat out once as it is my son's final restaurant at training college.  That should be it.

Any other suggestions?

Ultra Frugal February

Washing-up liquid crisis averted - pal got 2 bottles for £1 while she was in town, so that should keep me going for now and accounts for the first £1 spent this month. I need more milk, so that will be tomorrow's spend. There's always, always, always something!

I'm still using my soap-nut washing up liquid, Frugaldom, and am more impressed every time I use it.  It cleans surfaces beautifully and even cleaned the kitchen floor, (aka cat paw print parade  ), leaving it clean and residue free.

I've taken a leg of lamb out of the freezer for tomorrow and another 4 pints of milk.  Elder OOD made another flying visit home this afternoon and promptly raided the cupboards.  6 wheetabix, a ton of raisins and copious amounts of milk later - a small snack to keep him going until dinner and, btw, Mum, what are we having for dinner?
(No wonder the nations defence bill is so high, if all military men eat like that at least half of it will go on the food budget....... ).

I may need some lettuce and cucumber this week but that should be about it.

I will shop the house this month, I have 2 bills to pay out of the housekeeping this month totalling £100 and a fridge bursting.  With a little fresh purchasing, we should be able to cut the costs to a minimum. Lilo

I think I will also be joining in.

Already used some of DH vouchers to replace my microwave which decided to stop working.  Mind you, I have had it for about 8 years and it was as cheap as chips so it doesn't owe me anything.

I don't have any big bills to pay out for this month, two for next month though.

Suzan - if there were other ideas, I would certainly be letting you know.  I am also hoping there may be some new ideas on here. Like you, I will be using my cupboards and freezer again this month.

catsister - what is this soap-nut washing up liquid?  where did you get it etc?

Use more of my stored cooking apples for baking, pie making.

Make a weekly soup to have for a main meal to include pulses and have leftovers for lunches and have a pud.

Start baking more again.  

Continue making bread alternate days.

Continue with the crochet blanket and hopefully get it completed!

Carry on with my frugal living and keep looking for ways to improve money savings.


I'm going to blog each day's spends this months to see how frugal I can make February.

Used up a pepper and mushrooms given to me by neighbour who couldn't use them but didn't want to bin them.

Calculated precise costs for all meals, including cooking costs (total £1.94 for 2 of us eating 3 meals)

Splurged on coal to warm the entire house all day, so that wasn't so frugal.

Filling hot water bottle and using electric blanket rather than switching on electric heaters upstairs.

Used a past BBE dated cheap pack of sponge mix to make a fruit crumble. Enough there to serve 6, so 3 lots of pudding each for us.

I will join in as trying to save as much money as possible.
We shall have hm soup as our light meal
Cupboards are fully stocked so only fruit and vegetables will be needed,milk etc
No extras that can add up which will mean tying mr WP hands so he can't spend money he is muttering he needs wood

Joining in

This is a great challenge to join in.

I've finished paying for the Spanish trip (last payment January) and just have the euros to buy this month, so that's a big payout  

But I really really must save as much as I can!


Nothing spent yesterday and today.........

NSD here yesterday & today.
Corned beef & potato pie with extra veg for Dinner yesterday & today & 1 for the freezer, also bolognaise sauce and loads of meat balls made, All from stuff in freezer & store cupboard.

I will join in. As I was quite successful with sticking to the meal plan in Jan I do it again. We've set on €150 for February, it would be great if we maybe could make it on €120. The fridge was empty by the end of Jan. (literally). On Sat therefore we did our first grocery haul. Our supermarket had -25% that WE on oil, rice & pasta, so we stocked up on that (I think we saved quite a bit and it will last hopefully for about 6 months.) I will post the numbers later.

I plan for 6 NO SPEND DAYS. 02.02. was the first of those. Yay!

We plan to make two different soups each week and we bought 1 chicken to roast and make all sorts of delicious meals with the cooked meat, some of it will be frozen for later as well.

week 1 is cauliflower soup (it was -50%) and pea-zucchini soup, 1x roast chicken w peas + mash, indian homemade takeaway: 1x tandoori chicken, basmati rice, vegetable jalfrezi. I hope this lasts us the whole week.  

week 2 ... TBD

Day 2/28

Day 2

Had a visit from pal, who picked me up some milk on the way past the village store, so £1.62 spent today.

Daughter arrived with some accounts she wanted updating and brought me a couple of cartons of UHT milk plus 2 packs of cheese, so that seemed like fair payment, to me.

No other spends today.

NSD yesterday, or today.

Had both OOD around for Sunday lunch, along with Cam's girlfriend.  I cooked a leg of lamb that had been sitting in my freezer since last year.  Roasties, boiled potatoes, yorkies, the last of the Pigs in blankets and veg. I then made plum crumble,(with no sugar but added raisins and cinnamon for me), and custard.  It was totally NOM.

Am home alone again now but have enough left overs to take to work for lunch for the next couple of days and a couple of portions of crumble as well.  There would have been spare custard as well but Younger OOD spotted it........

The soap-nut washing up liquid is something that I made from some very old, unused soap nuts that I nearly threw away during my last clean out of the kitchen cupboards.  I must have had them for years,   Mishy.  I crushed 3oz of them and boiled them up in approx one and a half litres of water. I left the liquid overnight and then filtered it into an old washing up liquid bottle.I got the recipe from Not Just Greenfingers, website.  I think her quantites are different but mine works really well.  As she mentions, there are virtually no bubbles and the water looks as if it shouldn't clean greasy dishes, but it does.

I made a casserole last week and soaked the resultant, burnt,  dish in water with a dash of soap-nut liquid.  It came clean beautifully.  I think it would be fairly expensive to make if you had to buy the soap nuts but as I had them already..... it's a win win situation and means that I can save my brought liquids for another day.

We are hoping for a frugal month too and after spending time doing a freezer audit and a lidl shop we should manage on just buying fruit salad and milk. We had a huge gift of organic veg this week including potatoes so that will help loads.

for the first 2 days of this month I spent nothing but today made up for it. I am trialling a gluten free diet and wanted some rice cakes for lunch, the GF bread needs toasting to taste reasonable. I also bought a cup of coffee and a bottle of wine. On the plus side while checking the freezer this afternoon I realised that I probably don't need to buy meat for at least 3 weeks. This will be  big help as the council rates are due by the 17th and the car is having a service tomorrow. The money which was put aside for this has gone on lawn mower and car repairs.
In the next couple of days I will be sowing some lettuce, cauliflower and cabbage seeds to help stretch the dollars further.

Days 2 and 3

Yay!  I had my first NSD yesterday in a long time!

Today will be a no spend day today as well as I don't have to go anywhere!

Can't really believe it  

Good work everyone!

I have spent $6.45 of my $10.  I bought bread and eggs.  Neither is cheap here. I will have to buy more bread but if I stick to the plan it will work until Thursday.  Then i will have an inventory to plan the weeks meals and shopping.  We are awfully low on most vegetables and fruit.  However it goes off quickly in this heat and I would rather it went rotten on their shelves not mine.

Catsister - thanks for this recipe, I have seen soap nuts in charity shops so will keep my eyes open and have a go.  I have also been looking at the blog you mentioned and it looks quite interesting. So thanks for that too.

I had a NSD yesterday as I was informed the paying guests parents were coming to visit next month and staying for 10 days in a local b&b.  Hmmm thought I, I had better get on and start my spring clean early as I have no doubt they will be visiting chez mishy towers.  Anyway, kitchen/breakfast room done and found a couple of bottles of stuff to use elsewhere and a bag of stuff for the charity shop.

Also did some tidying up and cutting back in the garden but my three compost bins are full so need a strong bag of some sort to store more compost in.

NSD today. Made some cards for february & march birthdays. Using up what card stock I've  got left.

Not a NSD for me as I gave towards a leaving collection and brought chicken feed- £16.45 for one bag of pellets and a bag of mixed corn.  It should last the girls for 6 weeks or so.

Things are going to get expensive though as I need to book for a seminar and hotel rooms tomorrow.  The seminar is in June so I have a few months to replace my savings but the need for careful house management is even more important now!

Nothing soent yesterday, had to post a parcel this morning and get some rolls for tomorrow DS2 is coming, going to do him bacon rolls at lunch time.

Huge amount spent today as I signed up for a homeopathy seminar and paid for the accommodation as well.  As it's in London this was not cheap! Thankfully we managed to get local halls of residence which brought the cost down somewhat!

I also spent time fruitlessly waiting on the phone to talk to someone about my account.  One raised blood pressure session I still didn't get through.

I made the last of the lamb into a lamb casserole, three vegetable and lamb pies and put some to marinade in a madras sauce. We have meals prepared for the next few days, with enough to take for lunch as well.

I don't think that I'll be needing to go food shopping for a few days yet.

Big spend alert!

£70 for 5 bags of coal
£2.50 for a box of firelighters (I wouldn't have bought them at that price but I'd to pay friend for them when she brought them!  )

suzan I have the same problem with keeping bananas for longer than a couple of days.
today I spent $1 on a doona(duvet) cover and pillowcase at the charity shop where I worked until Christmas. $50 on 2 cat carriers, these will be needed to transport the cats when we move but could be handy if we need to evacuate during a bushfire, the cheapest I have found previously was $75 for one. And razor blades, shaving oil for DH came to more than i would like t $22, fortunately this doesn't happen too often. On top of this the council rates of $1000 are due next week, and the car needed a service, another $300. So much for a frugal February. But this isn't stressing me because with  little shuffling of finances it is doable.

That's the good thing about Frugality, MaggieH, "with a little shuffling of finances, it's doable". I would never have been able to afford to go to the seminar before as it has never seemed 'doable'. It may of been that I had the money but as I had little idea of what was needed next or what bills were coming up, even  spare money had no spending power, IYKWIM!

I am proud of how far I've come!

Spent £7.46 on postage today, mostly returning Elder OOD's watch that he left at the weekend...grrr.  

Aside from that I've had a frugal day, and am very glad not to be going out this evening, the weather is foul - again!

NSD today, tomorrow will be the same too.

Menu plan done for the next 2 weeks using stores, just need milk, fruit and butter. 6 no spend days in a row  my hair is a mess so I will treat myself to a home done colour and trim my fringe a bit. I have made myself a new patchwork bag with stuff I already had in and there is enough to make another to sell so far so frugally good!

First week over just 3 to go then we can do it all over again

February so far has been a small spend month £9 on groceries I did pay for the cheap 5 day break but that is out of travel fund £109 for 5 days with an upgrade to a disabled caravan we opted for no entertainment passes(£24) or the bed linen(£15) we will bring our own.
I do need some things today but hoping to keep to minimum but Mr WP will be with me so anything can happen.

Thankfully a NSD for me today, I was beginning to worry that this spending spree wouldn't end!

I shall be home alone this weekend so will be able to catch up with some sleep - bad insomnia at the moment , and enjoy some 'me' time. I love not having to work to anyone else's timetable!

I have to go on a half day course on Tuesday, in Warwick. I'm hoping to call in at Aldi's on the way home - I should manage for groceries until then.

3 NSD again. I like this no spend lark.

Well so far so good for me on this extreme challenge.  I have done my weekly shop but not spent any other money on food in-between shops and I am rather pleased.  My weekly shop has come in at £50ish per week (give or take) which is also pretty good.  I know I must keep trying to get it below the £50.

We are out for our christmas pub meal with the First Responders tonight and we are using the money saved from my sealed pot last year.  Its the first time we have been out since christmas!

I need some new jimjam bottoms and I found instructions on Mfi3 so will give it a shot.

Right best get along....

Frugal February

I have been so frugal that I completely forgot to update on here but I am doing a daily blog post in similar fashion to last year's post-a-day I did on here.

I have kept things as frugal as possible, despite having had to fill the coal bunker, and spends on groceries amount to just £2.62 do far. Trying to eat from stores as much as possible, so culinary creativity may play its fair share this month, as will cabbage!

Downside is £145 to pay out next week for insurance, upside is that's for the entire year, just a shame it falls during February. Hoping to keep it extra frugal on the groceries and electricity this month so I have the chance to catch up with all the big spends before Easter so I can make some fun plans.

5 NSD's this week. Still managed to spend £15 at Aldi though. Must admit I owe the hk 2.99 for a crochet book I got.

Big spend today, but only because I had OH with me. Fatal!

have posted on my grocery challenge

I'm pleased with myself today.  I was late for work and didn't have time to take lunch with me.  I was VERY tempted to go and buy something but instead drove the short distance home, (and rescued my washing before it got wet   ), and made myself some pancakes.

Dinner tonight was a rather yummy but rather sloppy lasagne, (I can never quite get the texture right!), and I've made a bacon carbonara type dish for tomorrow night.

A NSD as well. I managed to satisfy my Amazon craving by getting a free book on my Kindle.  We use Fantastic Fiction a lot at work and as it links to Amazon the urge to one click over to the site of mass temptation is often hard to resist.

I'll be hitting Aldi tomorrow on the way back from a work's course in Warwick. I need cheese, some fruit and potatoes but that should be it.

Spending day for me.  I brought petrol, (£18.00 but the tank is full), did a run to Aldi and stocked up on fruit and salad stuff, (£10.92), and had to pay £4.00 for parking whilst I was on my works course.  I've claimed it back, plus 22 miles worth of travel allowance, which I'll get back in next months pay packet.

Am hoping for a few more NSDs for the rest of the week!

Weather and preparations

Good morning from cold wet, windy SW Scotland where we are ever so lucky in being up a bit of a hill and so far away from the devastation ripping across parts of SW England. There really is no quick, easy and sensible solution to coastal and flood plain areas flooding, is there? Thoughts with all who have seen their homes and businesses go under water and with all the livestock that may not be able to get free of it.

Makes me wonder, once again, how prepared I am for emergencies and I was horrified to read about flood victims pleading for military intervention to prevent looting! In this day and age, in this country, I find that totally shocking! Why are there so many morons in a country that offers so much for free?  

Hopefully prepared here for loss of power and/or snow, although snow seldom reaches us away down here in the 'tropics' of Scotland.

How is everyone coping, how is it affecting life and are you prepared if you need to take speedy action either for yourself or to help others?

Freezing cold, wet and windy here in Yorkshire again today, but nothing like where my son lives in Devon, although their home is on a hill so they are safe from any flooding. Looting....despicable people!! My heart goes out to all of the victims of flooding wherever they live, even when the water goes its the devastation they are left with that will take months even years to put right.

I hope we are well prepared for emergencies here, plenty in stock so we wont starve, we also have the caravan in the back garden so we could if necessary move in, we have 2 gas bottles on standby in the shed and the solar panel is connected. Pretty self sufficient really and very very lucky! Its goes without saying that if family, friends or neighbours needed help then we would be right there helping in any way we could.  As long as I had access to the garage freezer and approved foods stash I think I could feed the street for a month!!  . Of course if we lost power there would be an awful lot of cooking to do with everything defrosting!

A NSD for me yesterday   , and today should be another.

Aside from having candles, a wind up torch and a camping gas stove readily to hand we don't have any long term survival gear.  I'd like some mini solar panels/rechargers but the cost doesn't blend with MTH plans - and there's no chance of a much coveted log burner, either.  We could survive for a week but would be very cold as our house is all electric -we'd have to throw ourselves on the mercy of neighbours who have gas.

I am aware of these shortcomings and MTH will be capable of living off grid!

Thought provoking thread, Frugaldom, thank you!

Being prepared

Catsister, we have a thread about being prepared, it has loads of helpful tips and suggestions. It's one of those topics that has come up regularly over the years - we all say we'll be prepared but I'm not too sure if any of us actually are.

My coffee filters arrived - pack of 100 - and I am expecting my pack of thermal mugs to be delivered today. Total cost to me was £3.82 after I used my Nectar Points to pay the rest.

Have been doing my best to earn the extra Nectar Points by way of AdPoints but they really don't have many ads running, do they? I had hoped when it said maximum 250 per week that it meant that was your limit every week. It's rubbish this week - only 24 points so far and nothing left for me to choose!

I need to get out my mojo bag and make sure the little imp is still inside - feeling a bit like it's trying to escape and hide!

Did anyone else make a billy can or mojo bag, or am I the only one? Anyone got any photos of their to share?

How do

I think we should be ok in an emergency for a week possibly two.  We have enough foods, water, lighting, portable gas cooking but not much in the way of heat!  DH is pretty good at being adaptable but lacks ideas, IYSWIM.

Soz. frugaldom I didn't do the billy can or mojo bag, can't help with a photo.

My usual day for food shopping is thursday but I didn't go today, I may go tomorrow or put it off till Saturday as there is nothing we need at the mo.  I am also trying to put off going food shopping by one day each week so next week shopping would be Sunday then a Monday etc.

Right time to wonder...


I made a Billycan NYK, but am at a loss as to know how yo load the photo on here...

I can put it on my rusty, stale blog if you'd like to take a looksee?


Slipped off the Frugal wagon today as I was a teeny bit bored at work and made the mistake of  wandering onto Amazon.  I ended up buying a cheap DVD, (a Keanu Reeves film I haven't seen ), for £1.46 inc P+P, and a Kindle book for £2.73.  It's the newly published third book in the St Mary's series and as I've loved the first two, I couldn't resist!  

So, just under five squids have gone on 'wants'......... I have absolutely no justification for the spends, aside from the fact that I wanted them! I'm declaring them to be my valentines presents to me and will be moving swiftly on...(and making a mental note to step away from Amazon when I'm bored!    

I daren't look at Amazon Kindle, although I did get Twelve years a Slave for 49p the other day.

Billy Cans

Hi RW, if you take a loo in this thread - - it explains how to get the photos loaded so you can add your billy can to the thread where that challenge is. I like seeing what others are doing on here as I never seem to have time to read everyone's blogs. Will take a look, see if you added a photo to yours.

£269.52 total spend for this month, so far! It's proving t be quite an expensive month, but the house insurance had to be paid and it's cheaper paying it in one instead of by instalments.

Getting to the stage that I am sick of the sight of rain now, even some heavy frost or snow would make a change. Spending extra on coal, logs and even electricity is creeping up as we need to try and keep things dry.

I am hoping to make it three NSD in a row today.  Things have been helped by the fact that I've been, 'home alone' since Sunday afternoon, so the house is tidy, washing up to date and a rough menu plan is in place.

Last night I had turkey and broccoli stir fry, (noodles from AF ages ago, broccoli rescued from the back of the fridge and the turkey was the last of the  strippings from the turkey carcass, taken from the freezer on Sunday,(I thought it was beef!).  I shall make a small turkey casserole with the remains which will do me dinner tonight and tomorrow evening too.

Tomorrow I'm off to Oxford with a friend.  We're going to a couple of museums and will have lunch out.  So, not a NSD but one that  I've been looking forward to for ages!


I am so pleased to see yet another person who is part of the 'forget to label the tubs in the freezer' brigade. I seldom bother to label anything unless it's in a tinfoil carton with a cardboard lid, hence my persistent mistakes.

LOL, I always think that I'll remember what's in each carton, after all they look pretty distinctive when they go into the freezer..... you think I'd have learned by now!

I've come home again this lunchtime to put some dumplings into my turkey stew.  I love stew and dumplings and it will be perfect just when I'm home this evening.  

Food updates

My latest Approved order just arrived - now well stocked up with pasta, pittas for cheap pizzas, ice cream and mango. Now I MUST knuckle down and use up things rather than keep on buying more or my kitchen is never going to get done.  

Tonight's 'Nile mince' is going to get bulked out with some herby dough balls / dumplings for dinner and I'll use up more cabbage with it.

I have already prepared the base for a cheesecake (4 packs for £1) and have some homegrown blackcurrants defrosting to endure we're keeping up with the 5-a-day.

I have done a bit of stocking up too this week, we called at the mill shop, its like approved foods and you have to get it while its there, also passing home bargains we popped in and bought 4 packs of tea bags and some more nicky toilet rolls, all of these things will last more than a month. Despite the shopping I will still come in on budget at the end of the month. Hoping for a Mean March!!

Last weeks shopping came to £27 which is very good.

This week, I stocked up with Ecover washing up liquid as it was on offer and I saw loo rolls on offer too.  

Still eating up out of the fridge this week so all in all, not doing too bad.


I have tried my best to keep things to the absolute minimum this month but having got down to my last bag of bread flour, decided to try a few of the bread mixes from Approved. Have ordered 4 of those along with more sugar, Marvel and a couple of fajita kits and more cheesecake mix to take the order over the minimum required £15 ... my order came to £15.01   Order won't be here until next week, so it's technically March groceries, but to keep myself straight, I've added the spend into my February budget.

Total spend for February, so far, £289.78 including £145 for annual house insurance. Must go and check my cashback balance now.

My cash back has now been claimed, a lovely £24 in Amazon vouchers! Will finalise my February challenge figures later today, hope everyone else did well.

Edited in:

Extremely frugal February has seen the following spends:

Groceries: £36.39
Electricity: NIL - I topped the pre-payment meter right up to last us all winter
Coal: £70 for 5 bags
Other: £6.32 + £7.52 in vouchers for coffee filters, firelighters and some thermal mugs.
Telephone & Internet: £15.79 (line rental paid in advance for 12 months)
Deliveries: £10.50
House Insurance: £145.78 (buildings & contents for 12 months)
Donations: £5.00 to a very brave friend who is doing a charity abseil down the Forth Bridge in May.

Total cash spends for February £289.78

Monthly average budget is £333.33, so I am about 13% under this month, despite a couple of big spends. I haven't ventured further than neighbours' houses other than our late-night walking expedition in search of the Northern Lights.

I think I did not too badly but, as ever, I could still do better!

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