The first step is the hardest

I’ve had a week of true frugal living. And I must admit, it’s had its ups and downs.

I think January will be my hardest month out of the sixth because there is a lot to pay for. Both of my parents celebrate their birthdays in January, so funds are needed for presents. I needed to put coins in the kitty for our New Year’s Eve celebrations, which was definitely worth it. I had a wonderful time seeing in 2014. New books had to be bought for the new semester, but I did get to use an Amazon voucher towards that cost, which helped a lot. I also needed to build up my food stocks after running them down before Christmas.

I’ve noticed the cutbacks on my shopping list the most, only buying essentials. I make a meal plan and only buy what I need for each week. This stops me wasting anything. I’ve found that I’ve enjoyed my meals more, because I’m really looking forward to them. There’s no money for extra snacks! I’m cooking up some of my favourites, including Sweet Potato and Lentil curry. I wish I had a picture to share, but my camera has packed up just at the wrong time! I’m going to ask amongst my friends and family to see if anyone has a spare one knocking around in a drawer. I don’t care how old it is, as long as it can take a picture without the batteries falling out!

Both myself and the chap have been busy with University preparation, so very little has been spent on outside entertainment. I’ve been keeping myself occupied in the evenings with various craft projects and DVD box sets that I received at Christmas. Free of charge fun! I don’t think much money will go towards social events this year. Everyone is knuckling down and concentrating on their own work; there just won’t be time for trips to the pub. This suits me down to the ground, and I can always have a friend over for a cup of tea during term time.

I start two weeks of work experience on Monday. I am so excited for this opportunity, but I know I will have to be very organised to make sure I stay within budget. I’m not sure if I will last on my £100 for this month, I might have to steal from February. But as long as I stay within the total of £600, I don’t think that’s the worst thing to do.

I’m enjoying reading all about other frugal adventures and challenges. Best of luck with all of your New Year goals!

Double sixes

For this, my very first post of 2014, I have to share my latest venture. This is no whimsical experiment. This is a life-changing type of mission.

In six months time, I will leave the sanctuary of University life. It will be up to me to navigate a path of my own in the big wide world. To do this successfully, I feel I will need as much financial aid as possible. In order to secure such a sum for my future, I need to be thrifty in the present. So, the challenge is as follows. Six months. Six hundred pounds. £100 a month.

Can it be done? Do you know, I truly believe it to be possible. With careful planning and resourcefulness, I think I can achieve my goal. £25 a week is not generous, but nor is it terribly meagre. I’m pushing myself to do this to take control of what lies ahead. I don’t want my parents to prop me up. It’s not fair on them. It was my decision to come to University in the first place. So it’s up to me to take responsibility for my own welfare when I leave.

Christmas gave me a good head start. Not only did I receive some perfectly practical gifts that will keep on giving throughout the year, but I also had Christmas money. This went towards purchasing some store cupboard staples whilst I was in Glastonbury. The price of their organic foodstuffs is much cheaper than Winchester.


Three days in and I’ve already spent £60. That doesn’t look good I’ll admit, but I have restocked my stores. I have also had certain expenses that won’t be present in future months, like school books for example. My cupboards are brimming, so I’m fairly confident that I can get through the rest of January on £40.

Already, I’m starting to feel that when you have so little, you appreciate it much more.

Home for the holidays

After seeing the news this morning, I am feeling terribly grateful that I travelled to Glastonbury on Sunday. I missed all of the horrid weather. Having booked my tickets months ago, I had seats on both trains ready and waiting. And the train itself wasn’t too jam packed, which is always a bonus. I am settled in Glasto with my parents for the whole week. I’m being spoilt rotten, and I know how truly lucky I am to be spending the festive season with my family. I try to be mindful of how many blessings I have, it makes me enjoy them even more!



I would just like to take the time to thank everyone for their comments and likes throughout this year. This has been the first year of The Domestic Storyteller and succeeded my expectations of my little blog! Thank you so much for proving thought-provoking comments and supporting me. I hope you all have a marvellous merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!

Rebecca xx

Defence is the best offence

How delightful it is to be able to return to my blog at long last. Other commitments have kept me away, but I return to you now with gusto!

Christmas preparations have been proceeding harmoniously. I have most of my presents sorted, as well as travel arrangements organised. Even New Year plans have started to take shape. Talking of shape, I’ve decided to take control of my own. This time of year is infamous for gluttony and overindulgence. Instead of waging war with temptation, I am opting for a defensive stance.


In the run up to the festive season, I plan to be the epitome of health. I have removed any lingering junk food from my stores today, most of it being donated to fellow housemates. I still won’t tolerate waste on my path to health! From now until Christmas Day, I will be striving to eat no chocolate, sweets or processed sugar of any kind. I became reliant on the sweet stuff during my hectic assignment time and I truly need to cut back. This is not a declaration of never eating chocolate again (let’s not be silly), but rather taking control of the situation to a more sensible level.

The Christmas holidays have begun, so I now have more time to do more exercise. I have missed running regularly, and will soon establish an exercise routine.

By eating clean and exercising more, I’m hoping to lose a little weight, certainly. But more importantly, I want to adopt a healthier way of life and not crave wrong food as much as I do at the moment. That’s the plan anyways.

They think it’s all over.

Some of the more eagle-eyed amongst you might have noticed a distinct lack of posting on my blog yesterday. Yes, after 20 days of consecutive blogging, the NaBloPoMo challenge finally beat me. I was sorely tempted to keep going, pretending my faux pas never even happened, but I would only be cheating myself. I’ve never taken part in a blogging challenge before, and it was fun to come up with ideas for posts every day. I plan on surpassing 20 days next November. But for now, normal blogging service will resume; Monday OPPD post, Wednesday post and Friday post. Not every Friday post will be about Frugal Fridays, only when I’ve got something truly frugal to write about!

As for today, I have unleashed my inner Christmas fairy. I cracked open (not literally) my piggy bank last week, and I’ve saved £22 in pound coins in about seven months. It’s not an incredible amount, but it is certainly enough for a fair few gifts. I have spent £8 of that on chocolate gifts this morning, making the most of the offers at Sainsbury’s.


I have £14 remaining to buy stamps, pay for postage and buy a few smaller gifts to go alongside my homemade items 🙂 Let the festivities commence!

A penny for the pot and a pound for the piggy

With my income grinding to a shuddering halt by the end of October, I have to think wisely about where to place each coin. I am paying a price for my freedom, but as a girl of simple means, I plan to relish this challenge. It’s not completely foreign territory to me.

I have always had a penny pot. They have come in various guises throughout the years, from hand painted jam jars to decorative wooden boxes. My favourite was a large figurine of Belle from Beauty and the Beast, brought back from a trip to Disneyland Paris many moons ago. She is not retired, she is currently housing the household fund for our house.


My current penny pot was inherited from my mother, as the best things often are. It’s a retro HP edition, featuring cartoon characters from back in the day. It holds the required plastic bags as well as plenty of copper. I never keep pesky pennies in my purse, opting to purge them into the pot at the end of each day. Then, when it is too heavy to lift, I tip the contents onto the carpet and count it out into neat rows. It is bagged up, carried to the bank and transformed into gold.

I sometimes use the pound coins gathered to purchase some essentials – see Frugal Fridays #11. But most of the time, the coins tumble into here:


My piggy bank was a charity shop find from when I first came to live in Winchester. Even at the start of University, I knew I would have to save for those rainy days. This year, as I did last year, I’m saving exclusively for Christmas. When I unplugged it last December, the treasure found went towards stamps, wrapping paper and other such festive things. It was so nice to have a helping hand, all ready and waiting. I worked so well that I am repeating the exercise this year. I don’t keep a record of what goes in, it will be a jolly surprise when the time comes. It will roll around soon enough.

I have been saving in my piggy since June, but other Christmas preparations have begun more recently. I have kitted up several craft projects to make as gifts. I have dug out Christmas cards that were purchased in January, naturally. Lists have been drawn up to tick each person off when a gift has been found. Just a short list, featuring only those who truly matter.

It may seem unfathomable to mention Christmas already. But when you’re adhering to a budget, careful planning ensures a merry time for all.