Saturday, 6 January 2018

Railway journeys

I've chosen a new-to-me car but it's at Atherton, the opposite side of the country to where I live so I need to book a railway ticket so I can go and collect it.  This is always one of those projects which takes time.

My nearest station is Market Rasen, Lincolnshire so I searched for Market Rasen to Atherton, which is near Manchester.  I use a Senior Railcard which gives me 30% off on all fares and £28.50 came up as the cheapest.

However, I noticed that I would have to change at Barnetby, a station again not far from me so I search again, this time for a journey from Barnetby to Atherton.  This came up as £30.95.  How can that be?

I then decide to see if it would be cheaper to split my ticket.  The price is now £15.25.  Same train.  Same journey.  (I've decided to travel from Barnetby because I can get a lift there.)

Splitting my ticket does not mean splitting my journey.  It is the same train and I  do not have to get off the train, providing the train actually stops at the place where my ticket splits.

The site I used to find my tickets is  Don't forget that I also used my Senior Railcard which, of course, I bought with Tesco vouchers.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Some have frugality thrust upon them

Why is it that nothing ever goes to plan?  I'd expected January to be a minimum spend month.  Christmas is over, everything to be paid this month was planned for and I had few needs.

Except I have to buy a car.  This is a major headache.  I need a specialised vehicle and can't just spend a tedious afternoon trawling local forecourts.  Instead I have to travel considerable distances to view used wheelchair accessible vehicles.  This costs money.  I always have my cars professionally inspected before I buy.  That costs even more money.  And although I got a fair settlement from my insurers I decided that it would be sensible to buy something a little newer so that has cost money too.  Grr.

But Grr isn't enough.  I have to trim my spending, maybe delay a couple of things, look for extra cash wherever I can so that I can rebuild my reserves.

So this month I'm being super careful.  

My first target is grocery spending so today I've decided to make bread instead of buying it.

My subscriptions to three organisations are due this month but they could be delayed until February.  I'm normally very well on time but this year subscriptions will have to wait a month.

And I've decided to make a tinned goods list to encourage me to use a few more of those.  

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

A Very Nice Man!

Sometimes I can't believe my own stupidity and tonight was one of those times

Whenever I have a home delivery of groceries I immediately set up a new basket ready for the next delivery, usually a month hence.  Then over the next three or four weeks I can see what I need and add or deduct from my basket.  Usually the system works well and my £40 minimum basket is very carefully chosen consisting mainly of cleaning materials, heavy stuff and frozen food, all of which I am only too happy for someone else to carry for me.

I had such a basket set up for tonight and had kept amending it over the past four seeks since my last delivery.  Unfortunately I had forgotten to re-check out the basket and I suddenly remembered at 23.50 last night.  Last amendments are at 23.45 so tonight the man arrived with about ten pounds worth of groceries to which would be added £1 for delivery and £4 because my total shop was below the £40 limit.  Not a very sensible way to shop.

But the delivery man was very sympathetic and said, he'd take the whole lot back "because he had been unable to deliver it" and I will get a full refund.  How's that for a nice man?

And how's that for a dozy shopper?

Monday, 1 January 2018

A New Start and a Very Boring Post

Hello to anyone who is still reading this blog and a Happy New Year to you!

December didn't really happen on this blog but it did on my main blog.  I completed the Advent Challenge from Bible Society (see my last post) but I changed a few of the challenges to make them more suitable for a disabled lady living in a tiny market town who says hello to everyone she meets anyway!

I think my main "frugal" achievement in 2017 was managing to track my money in some detail for the final eight months of the year.  I've always been able to track my current account spending but haven't previously been so good with tracking cash expenditure.  I use YNAB (You Need A Budget) for which I won free software, and I count the cash in my purse each day then try to remember where it went.  I have a category called, "Money Gone Walkabout" for the mysterious disappearances but have needed to use that less and less.

This has meant that I now have very good information on which to base my 2018 budget.  I've decided that I won't have a main holiday this year but will have a couple of short breaks and some special days out.  I think this will cost less and bring me more joy.  I've checked my 2017 food expenditure which varied wildly month to month, and have a budget slightly reduced from my average spend.

My huge expenditure this year will be to replace my car.  I was in an accident (not hurt, not my fault) on 30th November and although the insurance company has made a fairly good payout, I still need to find a little extra from my savings.  Oh dear.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Advent Challenge

Another of my favourite sites at this time of the year is the Bible Society Advent Challenge.  This is an Advent calendar for thoughtful grown-ups with maybe a bit of help from children.

Each day there is a Bible thought but there are also caring actions.  This could be as simple as letting someone in ahead of you when you are driving, doing a bit of litter picking, or buying someone a bunch of flowers.  Each day there are three suggested actions to choose from.  I have to admit that occasionally none of the suggested actions is suitable for me but I substitute with actions like visiting a lonely person or donating to a food bank.

This year there are also craft activities.  (There may have been crafts in previous years but I don't remember.)  There are models to cut out and make each day for children to build their own nativity set - just print the sheets, add colour and glue and there you are!

Space travel

The last century has seen huge advances into outer space with missions being sent high above the earth to find out what happens up there.  Most of the information which these mighty craft send back is far too difficult for me to understand.

However, there is one extra terrestrial mission which has been going on for several centuries and in which I take a keen interest.  On just one night a year men and women, girls and boys, have gazed up into the heavens in the hope of seeing a string of reindeer pulling a huge sleigh full of presents and a jovial gentleman wearing a highly unusual red flying suit.

The great thing is that recent advances in technology have made it possible for us to see that stout gentleman in his cosy suit as he goes about his business.  Although his sleigh travels faster than the human eye can see it, photographic advances mean that special cameras high in the sky can trace his path and take special footage which can be slowed down for us to see.  Satellites enable his course to be followed with great accuracy.

The agency responsible for tracking Santa is NORAD (The North American Aerospace Defense Command) and although most of their work is highly secret they share their Santa knowledge with anyone who cares to visit to their Santa Tracker (hover for a link).  From early December they make available archive footage of Santa's journeys in previous years, they have a free on-line Advent Calendar of games to help train Santa watchers and lots of useful information about him.

This Frugally Challenged Santa Follower thanks everyone at NORAD for this chance to expand her knowledge  and she recommends their website to all her readers.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Rice up against hunger!

Sometimes what is needed is something teeny tiny.  Or even better lots of teeny tinies.  

You may have realised that I spend quite a lot of time sitting.  I can't stay on my feet too long, that's just the way it is.  I do all sorts of things whilst I sit - I sew, knit, complete puzzles, enter competitions, complete surveys and quite a bit more.  I read blogs, surf the net, exchange e mails and all the rest of it.

But there is a very special site which I have been using for years and which I love.  It's  Through this site you can give rice through the Word Food Programme and it won't cost you a penny.

All you have to do is answer multiple choice questions on maths, science, language, humanities, or geography.  You even choose how hard the questions are.  For each correct answer ten grains of rice will be given through the World Food Programme.

I love it.  I've expanded my vocabulary, brushed up my geography and even ventured into maths problems.  The site is entertaining and free to use.

No matter how little money you've got you can make a charitable donation this way as no money is asked for.  There's not much that is tinier than a grain of rice but neither is there much which is more vital.