Friday 24 January 2020

Making the best use of what you have

It occurs to me regularly that one of the leading principles of frugality is making the best use of what you already have, rather than constantly chasing the “next big thing”.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking IT gadgets, houses, cars or clothes; if your jeans are perfectly serviceable, why waste the money replacing them?  Don’t waste money on unnecessary spending.

I think about this principle a lot, usually when I’m pottering around the kitchen or getting dressed in the morning for work.  I’m still wearing suits purchased  over decade ago.  Admittedly, fashion has been kind over the last two decades - no massive shoulder pads or exaggerated silhouettes - but, beyond stretch jeans, I’ve been ignoring fashion for years. My clothing purchases are driven by a) when something wears out, b) my size - I am fatter than I was in 2008 - and c) the capsule wardrobe concept, where I try to ensure everything goes with everything-else, for maximum wearability.

On the house front, our fridge-freezer died in August 2018 and the replacement annoys me because, while having the same exterior dimensions, the freezer section is smaller and less flexible than the old one.  It is thicker walled and better insulated, but the shelf positions are fixed, with no alternate slots, and there are fewer shelves in the door.  It holds about 20% less than the old freezer as a result.  In order to freeze the goose we purchased at Christmas, I had to remove one shelf and stand the goose up vertically, carefully packing everything else around it.

The goose is an excellent example of making the best use of what you have. We were away at Christmas but when we finally cook it, we’ll harvest 1-2kg of cooking fat, 2-ish litres of goose stock and enough meat for 4 meals.  Nothing is wasted.

- Pam

Friday 3 January 2020

Fashion on the Ration vs Yarn Addiction

I mentioned in my last post that I’m doing Fashion On The Ration again this year.  My big weakness isn’t clothes, it’s yarn.  I have a stash of humongous proportions, so I don’t need any more yarn, but I still managed to blow 40+ coupons on it last year.  Seriously, I bought so much yarn that I lost count!  Some of it was one-off-specials, the sort of thing you find at shows but don’t see every day:  Tweed Valley Clotted Cream 4-ply; some Poledale sock yarn.  I bought a jumper’s worth of each.  There’s no excuse for the rest:  12 x 100g balls of Regia sock yarn, in three different shades of grey (it was a really good price, though); plus several assorted skeins of sock wool, which has now been turned into socks. 

My plan for this year is to knit up at least 20 balls of yarn from stash AND NOT BUY ANY.  Right now, I’m knitting another Blanche Too, from Susan Crawford Vintage.  The first one was out of Debbie Bliss’ Wool of the Andes; this one is out of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk DK, which I’ve had in the stash since I worked in the centre of Reading in 2006 (I bought it in the sale at John Lewis).  I’m almost up to the armpits and started the year on skein 3.  Now on skein 4; it should take another 4 skeins, so that’ll be 6 off the target by the time I’ve finished.

I’ll update the sidebars in a moment.

- Pam