The Angelicscalliwags Challenge: Week 3

Pull em up!


The challenge is on to pay off our mortgage in 2 1/2 years (mad goal) or in 5 years (sane goal).

For the rest of the posts in this series see here

In the interest of complete honesty, a sense of the ridiculous hit me this week.  I am making my own washing up liquid, merrily mixing away, when it occurred to me.  If I could give up fresh coffee I could buy enough washing up liquid to last me a month, if not much longer!  So this week I am going to pull up my (very) big girl panties and give up whether I want to or not.  And just for the record I don’t want.  Not even slightly.

Okay, now that’s out of the way, how did we do this week?

We did manage to put £100 into our mortgage account, but it wasn’t without some difficulty.  However, once my pants are where they should be (pulled right up) and the coffee is where it should be (in the shop instead of in me) we’ll sail through.

Number crunch time

Gary has asked me not to put specifics, which I will of course honour.  He is happy for me to use percentages.  This monthly sum up will be an overview since January 2013, which is when we doubled up our payments.  For the past three weeks we have paid an extra £100 per week.

Drum roll please……

We have paid off 8.1% of our mortgage since January.

We have 31 more months left until our mad goal, 55 until our sane goal.  And if I could just give up coffees we might make it!

So what have we been doing this week?

T11 had spotted some pallets which the local butcher had used to transport their Christmas turkeys on.  He asked the butcher if we could have them for fire wood, and glad to be rid of them, Ken said yes.  T11 fetched and stacked them beside our house for future use.  Gary and I got thinking and came up with an alternative plan to use them.  My husband is very good with practical hands on projects and has a real knack for making something out of nothing:

First he made a fence around a small area of our garden, to partition some space off for picnics and the such.  An area the children will not be allowed to play in.
First he made a fence around a small area of our garden, to partition some space off for picnics and the such. An area the children will not be allowed to play in.

He also made two compost heaps, which we will be able to alternate.  We have a large one now, but with the rabbits and soon to be chickens we really needed two.  One to use and one to pile stuff into to rot:

Here he is making them, including some removable doors to make using them easier
Here he is making them, including some removable doors to make using them easier

But T11 didn’t stop there.  Oh no.  Having seen a neighbour taking down a fence and putting up a new one, he went and asked if he could dispose of the old fence in our fire over winter.  The kind man said yes.  We now have enough firewood to keep the whole of Great Britain warm over the winter.

What have the children been up to?

T11 has been concocting.  I’m beginning to think my children might take after me a little bit.  I found T11 in the kitchen yesterday boiling up some leather we had kept from an old leather sofa.  He’d emptied my entire salt canister into a big pan and was boiling away furiously.  When I inquired, quite nonchalantly, what on earth he was doing.  He replied that he was in the middle of an experiment to stiffen the leather so he could make a lighter armour to wear in battle (???) and was hoping the salt would strengthen it.  He then went on to tell me he had enlisted the help of Gary who would be shooting arrows at the unsalted, unboiled leather and at his stiffened leather to see which would hold up as the strongest.  Not with him inside it, he was just going to pin it on the tree or something.  Well. that’s okay then.  Anyway, I digress.  He’s been concocting with his herbs and his concoctions are going to heal all.  I’ll say no more.  But if he thinks I’m drinking any of them he has another thing coming.  I’d rather be shot at wearing his (stiffened) armour.

What have I been up to?

Very little, if truth be told.  I’m still playing about with washing up liquid recipes, but I’m not convinced so far.  It’s not that it doesn’t work, it does.  Better than store-bought.  The problem lies in its appearance.  It looks revolting.  I’m not certain how something that smells so good can look so yuck but it really does.  We live in a very hard water area and this means the liquid separates leaving some curdy looking thing on top and some whey-y looking thing on the bottom.  I can give it a good shake and squirt it into the water and all is well.  That is until anything dirty goes in the water.  There lies the problem.  Its job is to be partnered with dirt, thereby removing it from the dishes, but without the bubbles to hide the gunk, it’s just not pretty.  I’d put up a photo but I’m fairly sure no one would come and eat at our house if I did.

I have also been gathering supplies (all of which I have on hand) to try out Tonyia’s recipe for home-made laundry powder.  Tonyia very kindly left me the recipe in a comment, and as she tells me it works even in hard water areas, I’m looking forward to giving it a go.  Thank you Tonyia!

I also checked into the price we’d pay for eggs and toast every morning and when I compared with our oats it really didn’t come out frugal at all.  Does anyone know what I could add to the oats to make them more filling.  My mum adds nuts, dried fruit, a banana and some blueberries to hers.  If I did that to all 7 of us, we’d be bankrupt by the end of the week!  Any ideas?

Frugal Tip #3

My frugal tip this week is a slight extension of last weeks.  Each Autumn and Spring all five children get what we call a clothes package.  These are clothes that they need to last them through the up and coming season.  The packages might contain clothes they wore the year before, if they haven’t grown out of them, but more often than not they are new to them clothes.  They are not new clothes, however.  As a family we go charity shopping often.  The local salvation army gives us £2 to spend each time we take in a bag of bits for them to sell.  Given tops sell for 40p there, you can imagine the veritable treasures we can pick up.  I buy the children’s clothes, using this money.  Obviously, you never know what you might find, so I buy clothes I know they will wear even a couple of years from now and I save them up.  Currently I have about two years worth of clothes put to one side for my older ones and about 7 years worth for my littles.  In this way I pay out very little money to cloth our family.  We buy shoes and under wear new and one new, matching outfit for church every Autumn.  Usually a dress for the girls, this will do for any smart occasions as well as Christmas and of course Sundays.

When the time comes to put together their packages, I probably spend about a week shopping our supplies.  Now the older ones are, well, older, they shop with me so I am never giving them clothes they don’t want to wear.  On the odd occasion we have something neither girl wants, I will either keep it for the little ones or it will go back into the bag for charity and help earn us £2.  Again, it is a win win situation.  And yes, all my children enjoy it!

What am I reading?

Crystal’s blog is a treasure trove of ideas.  She and her husband saved up to buy their own house debt free and she really knows how to stretch a penny.  She has written many e-books and this published book, available on Amazon:

I thought I would reread this and maybe apply each chapter, one at a time, to my life.  The first chapter is all about setting goals.  Yup, done that.  S’easy peasy, thought I.  Flying through to chapter two, I gave myself a congratulatory pat on the back.  Chapter two was my undoing however.  It said before I could move on to the actual budgeting I had to declutter my life and home.  Brilliant idea in theory.  Problem is I want to pay off my mortgage the next five years, and frankly it would take me that amount of time to declutter.  I may, by necessity, have to skip this chapter and (without patting myself on the back this time) move on to chapter three.  We’ll see.  I could do a small amount of obligatory decluttering.  Maybe I could tidy up my bedroom.  After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

And for a more English based look at frugality this blog is worth popping to for some ideas saving pounds rather than dollars.

What will we be doing next week? 

  • Trying the home-made laundry liquid
  • Buying ourselves some hens (tomorrow hopefully).  Then maybe we can have our eggs for breakfast after all.
  • Figuring out which foods will fill for less
  • Trying to give up buying fresh coffee

And on that note I leave you with a self penned farewell ditty:

Ode To Coffee

Goodbye, oh cup of coffee,

Goodbye dear caffeine hit.

I’ll miss you every morning,

More than a little bit.

You’ve been my support,

For just over two years.

Through sleepless nights,

and excessive baby tears.

But alas! you’re not cheap,

and you’ll get in the way,

Of me reaching my goal

of this mortgage to pay.

 So it’s goodbye dear friend,

and on to pastures new,

I have worthier ambitions

than imbibing you!

Yes, I know, is that really the best I could do?  Yup!  Just think what I could achieve with some caffeine inside me…..