Wednesday, 28 September 2011

How to Make Ferrero Rocher-esque Chocolates

My boyfriend's mum LOVES Ferrero Rocher, but I feel like I haven't put any thought in when I present her with some on her birthday. They're also bloody expensive (although delicious!); the square box of 25 chocolates costs between £5.50 and £6.00.

So I got thinking about how I could make a more thoughtful gift for less. I adapted this recipe for a more frugal and easier approach to faking Ferrero Rocher. My recipe costs £4.30 for approximately 35 chocolates including cases, which makes each sweet almost half the price (12p per homemade chocolate compared to 27p each for true Ferreros). It's still not that cheap but it makes a lot more, so it might be worth splitting the chocolates into two gifts.

Fake Ferrero Rocher

- 75g ice cream wafers (1 pack of 48 Askeys ice cream wafers) - £0.70
- 100g chopped hazelnuts - £1.00 (you could make this cheaper by buying whole hazelnuts and chopping them up yourself after roasting them, but I would be missing fingers if I did!)
- 300g Nutella - £1.05 (£1.40 for 400g but you can use the rest elsewhere!)
- 200g milk or dark chocolate - £1.00
- Petit fours cases - £0.60 for 100 in Asda

  1. Roast the hazelnuts on a baking tray for about 8 minutes at 180°C. Let them cool for about 5 minutes.
  2. Crush the ice cream wafers by hand until the largest pieces are about 4mm in diameter. Add them to a bowl with the hazelnuts.
  3. Mix in the Nutella (spoons don't work well so it's time to get your hands dirty!)

  4. Put the mixture in the fridge for about 20 minutes to firm up.
  5. Cool your hands in cold water, then roll the mixture into balls about 2cm in diameter. If the mixture starts sticking to your hands, dip them into cold water again before continuing.

  6. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a glass bowl above a pan of boiling water. As soon as it's melted take it off the heat.
  7. Dip a ball into the chocolate to completely coat it, then place it into a petit four case on a baking tray. When they have all been dunked leave them in a cool place to set.

To present them as a gift, I coated the outside of a box with crepe paper and lined the inside with tissue paper. Then I just placed the chocolates inside the box in an air-tight container and finished it with a bow. (Bonus points because my cat loved the box!)

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Good, the Bad and the New Job

Everything's up in the air at the moment. I'm supposed to be starting a research job but it's a new company and they're still in the process of sorting out funding so I have no confirmed start date. It could be next month or in several months! In the meantime I've been working in a hotel (chambermaiding) but the hours are starting to decline now that the summer's officially over.

So I decided to get an evening job! I am now working three or four evenings a week in the local Chinese (two villages over, but still closer than the hotel!). I had a trial shift last night and it was a nice place to work. It's bloody difficult from one respect though – you have to learn the numbers for each different item (there are ~85) AND how much it costs! Eeek! I kept having to turn the menu round so I could look it all up! Apparently you pick it up really quickly though.

My black trousers for work were getting a bit raggedy, so I thought I'd keep those for the hotel and get some new ones for waitressing. I took myself off to town with £15 in my pocket. I tried on a few different pairs but the ones I settled on (and fit best) were only £6!

Walking towards the checkout with my trousers I felt the strangest sensation though. It was a large shop with a lot of different clothes, all fairly cheap compared to the high street shops. As I was walking through, the voice in my head started up again.

You could treat yourself with the money you've saved.

I was tempted but resisted. It almost felt like I SHOULD spend it though, since I'd allocated it towards buying clothes. But then later I was given a £10 tip from work. This was too much for my fragile will to take. I blew it on an evening out with The Boyfriend. I felt so guilty even whilst I was spending it. Argh, I'm so frustrated now!

Earlier in the year I told myself that all money I earned from tips I would be allowed to spend outside of the budget, but I think I've been spending it without really thinking about what I'm doing. It's this sort of wasteful spending that was one of the problems that got me into this mess!

So, new rule: All tips must be saved in a jar as a temporary emergency fund. Whilst I'm paying off debt I can't really start saving properly, but this can be a basic back-up in case the car breaks down, the hours get reduced even further at work, or I lose my job completely.

Free Broadband Trial...

We live in a remote area with terrible broadband (think 0.5MB). So we were REALLY excited when offered the chance to participate in a trial for BT for 4G broadband in remote communities! The men came to install it today! (Two guys, two vans, one tiny router...)

Sliiight problem: the SIM inside the router is german, so several websites decide to helpfully change their language to German! This includes Blogger, which is currently telling me to "Post veroeffentlichen"! Luckily I have an A level in German so I can get the gist of it! :) I have no idea how to change the language settings back though!

Sunday, 25 September 2011


An economist on the news the other day described the UK as a nation of borrowers. The average Brit has £4264 of debt (EXCLUDING mortgages and student loans) (source: the national money education charity Charity Action) and the average household debt including mortgages is a whopping £55,814! Whilst it's almost impossible to avoid getting a mortgage (unless you're rolling in it!), the other debt is potentially unavoidable. Why do we do it?

Luckily I don't owe £4264. (Well, if we're counting student loans then I'm waaayyy over. I think my four year course gave me a debt of ~£24,000, but that's another blog entry!) Now that I've paid off my £500 credit card I'm also lucky that my debt is interest free. My graduate account overdraft is 0%, as is the money I borrowed money from someone to help buy a car a couple weeks ago (apart from the guilty feeling knowing that I haven't repaid them yet).

My problem was partly frittering money away whilst living in London, partly a once-in-a-lifetime two week tropical ecology field course to Kenya (followed by two weeks travelling), and partly just not having an emergency fund. When I needed some expensive dental work I had nothing to fall back on except credit.

I have been at the point where you only have £10 to last the month. Now I'm trying to turn it around. I'm taking some responsibility.

I don't want to be a statistic.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Cheap meals: Tasty Lentil Salad (Vegetarian)

When I was about seven years old there was a sale on baked beans at our local supermarket. A can of beans cost just 3p with a maximum of 4 cans per customer. My parents took my (even younger) sister and I along so that in total we could buy 16 cans of beans for 48p. We were pretty poor and had beans for most meals in a variety of different ways. I got so sick of them that I hated baked beans for a good five years or so after that!

Whilst it is possible to live on the absolute cheapest food available, you can rapidly get bored of it. My object is to find a variety of meals that cost less than £1 per person (or portion) to cook, hopefully with leftovers that can be taken to work the next day.

My recipe for lentil salad comes in at £2.92 for four portions, or 73p each. It is a variation on this recipe using cheaper ingredients, no coriander (because I hate it) and increasing the garlic (because I love it).

I am also concerned about nutrition. According to Calorie Count's recipe analyser, one serving contains:

So it's pretty healthy. It's also easy to cook! Look:

Tasty Lentil Salad (serves four)

250g green lentils (aka Lentilles vertes) – 500g bag costs 92p
4 tomatoes – six cost 69p (Lidl)
1 red onion – 20p
100g salad cheese (if you're not worried about the high saturated fat and sodium you could add more) – 50p for 200g
Juice of 1 lemon – 35p
4 cloves of garlic – 26p
1.5 tsp oil (I used olive oil).

  1. Rinse the lentils thoroughly before adding them to a pan of boiling water. They don't require much stirring but don't let the water boil down. Burned lentils smell SOOOO BAD! These need to simmer for 40 minutes.
  2. Whilst the lentils are cooking, roughly chop the tomatoes and cut the cheese into cubes (approximately 1cm x 1cm). Put these to one side for later.
  3. Chop the red onion in half and slice it. Crush the garlic cloves.
  4. When the lentils have been cooking for about 25 minutes heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Fry the onion for approximately 5 minutes then add the garlic and fry for another 5, stirring regularly to prevent the garlic burning.
  5. Drain the lentils once cooked and mix in the garlic, onions and lemon juice. Plate it up and then add the tomatoes and cheese to the top. 

    (Totally forgot to take a photo of the finished product! Blogging fail! :D)
Depending on how hungry you are, you could add some pita bread to the meal too. (55p for six wholemeal pita in Tesco, or 18p for six Tesco Value white pita breads).

Let me know what you think if you make this! :)

Friday, 23 September 2011

Frugal Evenings

Bored of sitting in watching the same old DVDs on repeat because you can't afford to have a good time? Why not try some of these cheap/free ideas to pass the time?

Next time I need some evening entertainment I'll try one of these;

Games night – Invite a few friends round, dust off the Scrabble and have a games night! My favourite game is Cranium, which you can play with 4+ people in teams. It's great to bring out everyone's competitive sides!

Go for a walk – Yes, in the evening. No, it's not that cold. It's really relaxing to go for a night-time stroll if you wrap up warm. I live in the middle of nowhere so I tend to take a handy bodyguard (in the form of The Boyfriend), but dog-walking in a well-lit, still-busy area could be an alternative. Remember to be safe.

Volunteer – Spend the early evening volunteering at a local residential home, chatting to the people there. Many are quite lonely and would appreciate your company, especially if you take the time to get to know them.

Baking – Make a friend or relative a batch of cookies for when you next visit. Blast out the radio and dance as you mix for added entertainment!

Reading – Thanks to my Uni workload I still have a small mountain of fiction from Christmas left to read! I need to keep a book by my bed to read each day!

Craft – I've begun making my Christmas presents but it's taking longer than I was expecting. Good job I'm starting early! Other things to make could include Christmas cards, a scarf for winter (if you can knit) or a new bag from scrap materials.

Then again if a film night is your thing, you could always make your own cinema snacks, dim the lights and watch with some friends for a more social experience.

Right, I'm off to do something even more productive – tidy away my crafting mess! :)

Thursday, 22 September 2011


There's a family in New York who pick up every coin they see discarded on the street. Would you feel strange bending down to pick up a penny? Perhaps you'd reconsider when you learn that in 5 years they've found $1087? Generally I only pick up a coin if it's silver and shiny, but for $200 a year I might be tempted to put more effort in!

And as for money that's already mine...

When cleaning out my old car for scrapping I found ~£6 in change. It made me wonder just how much change I have knocking around whilst I've been struggling to pay back my debts! I sling 1, 2 and 5p pieces into my flowery piggy banks (both gifts, it's not like I collect them!). I've never considered these coins to be worth my time as it takes sooo many of them to make a substantial amount. I'm slowly coming round to the frugal notion that every little really does help, especially when I can't justify spending 30p on a hot chocolate some weeks!

Well, it was time for me to look after the pennies and hopefully the pounds were about to look after me!

After opening up both piggies I was pleased to find a nice little pile of coins in each (although I felt that I was violating one of them whilst dragging the 2p coins out!). It looked like a fair amount of change but nothing to get too excited over. 

Sitting in my counting house counting out my money (wearing gloves because I really hate the smell of money!) I found I had accumulated £7.21 of coppers! 

The real excitement came from lining up stacks of 5p coins... I'd collected £14.50! This is over a few years, but hey, I can really use that money! :)

Altogether I'd been ignoring on £21.71 of “useless” change! That's a month of free phone contract with a fiver left over for a trip to the cinema (2-for-1 of course)!

Next time I see a penny, I'm picking it up!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Umbrellas Make You Poor and Lonely

I hate umbrellas.

Umbrellas are wielded by selfish people desperate to carve themselves three feet of space on a busy pavement with no regard for the eyesight of others. Do NOT get me started on people using those five foot golf umbrellas in towns...

Even excluding their antisocial properties, I put it to you that umbrellas are the opposite of frugal. If you live in the UK you're used to being pelted with rain. But think; when was the last time it was raining but NOT windy? Watching people wrestling with inside-out umbrellas is one of the best parts of a rainy day! However, turn an umbrella inside out a few times and it's ruined.

Alternatives? Invest in a quality raincoat (and even waterproof trousers if you want to keep extra dry). It will you save money in the long run and you can't look any worse than the brolly-tamers.

You're also far less likely to blind me.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Beating the Voice in my Head

I sometimes find myself slipping back into the mindset of “well, what difference will £10 make?”. If someone suggests going for a meal, a little voice clears its metaphysical throat in the back of my mind and whispers “it's not like you do it every day”.

This week's persuasive extravaganza is the annual local fair, with it's £2-a-go rides. When my sister and I were young we'd have to beg our parents to take us (two kids multiplied by several rides really adds up!). Whilst it's always been a part of my childhood, I no longer want to waste a day's wages being flung about by some nausea-inducing behemoth.

The thing I like best is the atmosphere and smells of the fair, so I've decided to take £1 with me (for some fresh doughnuts for myself and The Boyfriend)! When I get there I always want to join friends on rides and persuade myself that it's a rare treat. My friend asked us to meet him there but I don't want him to wonder what was the point if we refuse to go on the rides. I guess I just need to talk to him about it because I must do this to prove to myself that I can enjoy events without blowing my budget!

The main tip about impulsivity in general is to stop using your debit card. If your budget is £30 for the week, only withdraw £30. Leave your debit card at home and don't even think about using a credit card instead!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Ten Frugal Christmas Gifts

*Edited to remove The Boyfriend's gift, because the sneaky bugger found my blog!*

What would you say if I told you I'd already started making Christmas presents? What about if I said I'm making all my gifts this year? Is it cheap or thoughtful?

I broached the subject of making each other Christmas gifts to my family earlier this month. It went down quite well except my dad's worried that he's not very crafty. In contrast, although he's agreed to it, my boyfriend does think it's a bit of a cheap thing to do. I realise it's a bit different but hopefully if this year's a success we will all stop using money to quantify how much we mean to each other!

In the past I've spent probably £300-400 each year on Christmas presents, which was far more than I could afford. This year I'm aiming to spend less than £150, leaving me more breathing room at the start of 2012!

Here are ten gifts that I will be making this year:

Sweater bag: £0 – Great for mums, aunties and grandmas. I already have a jumper and bag lining so this should me nothing but time. You could probably find a jumper in a second hand shop quite cheaply however.

Mulled wine sachets: £1 each – As well as making myself one, these will be a nice little gift to send to friends.

Tissue holder: £1 – My mum carries tissues with her at all times so this is a good one for her.

Modified USB: £4 – I think these chewing gum USBs are brilliant!

Handmade envelopes: £0.30 – My sister makes cards so I've been making loads of these envelopes from beautiful magazine pages that were discarded in rooms where I chambermaid. The 30p price is for a nice bit of ribbon to tie them together!

Framed drawing: £2 I'm not bad at pencil sketches so I'm going to give my sister a framed drawing of her and her boyfriend.

Herb garden: £7 – Perfect for someone who likes cooking. I'm currently growing rosemary, thyme, parsley, basil and coriander for potting.

Cookies in a Jar: £4 – These seem to be quite popular in America. You basically layer the dry cookie ingredients into a jar and provide instructions as to the quantity of eggs and butter to add before cooking. I also want to find some Christmas shape cookie cutters. Perfect for children!

Chocolate Hazelnut Balls: £3 – Lovely crunchy and nutty chocolates. Be warned that I found the recipe needed more Nutella as the balls didn't stick together properly when I made a trial batch!

I'll probably have some recipe trials to show before Christmas (both the successes and my current bout of culinary failures!!)

What do you think about making your own Christmas presents? Traditional or tacky?

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Hypermiling for Beginners

In an effort to try and reduce the number of times I have to pay 140+p/L to run the golden beast that is Jools the Peugeot, I've been reading about hypermiling. This is where you make a conscious effort to maximise your fuel economy using various techniques. An added bonus is that by saving fuel you're cutting emissions and benefiting the environment!

I must admit that I've not fully embraced all hypermiling techniques; turning off your engine to coast downhill and “drafting” (driving close behind a lorry to reduce air resistance on your car) seem too extreme for me. Some of the methods make a lot of sense when you think about them though:

Don't speed – The Energy Saving Trust stated that 55-65mph is the most efficient speed for any car, with fuel savings of up to 40% when compared to speeds above 70mph. Make sure you stick to the speed limit on dual carriageways/motorways! (And any other roads!)

Idling – Don't leave your car running whilst you wait for it to heat up or waiting for someone to nip into a shop. If you're stopped for more than a minute you'll be wasting fuel.

Maintenance is key – Ensure your engine is kept running smoothly. Use the thinnest recommended oil for your car to reduce friction. Regular services are also recommended and I might just keep this up on my car.

Feeling hot? – Air conditioning in cars can increase fuel usage by 10%. Winding the windows down apparently doesn't have too much of an effect below 40mph, but it will increase drag significantly on the motorway.

Lose weight – My parents keep all sorts of junk in their car. Don't use your boot as a storage unit!

Full tank of fuel? - Similarly to the point above, a full tank of fuel has been shown to be heavy enough to reduce fuel economy.

Tyre pressure – Ensure your tyres are kept at the correct pressure. Deflated tyres will increase drag.

Anticipate the road – Braking and rapid acceleration really reduce fuel efficiency. Rather than driving right behind someone in a queue of traffic, leave yourself a bigger gap and slowly trundle your car along. Don't tear away from traffic lights either! This also makes you a safer road user as you will plan how to adapt to the conditions ahead.

The fuel consumption of my 1.9L diesel engine has been the same as the 1L petrol engine in my old Nissan Micra. Whilst the different fuel probably helped, I believe that my new larger engine would've been more expensive (and polluting) to run without my new frugal driving methods.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

How to Find a Job

The recently released UK unemployment figure for July was 2.51 million, or 7.9% of the working population.

I feel for the majority of people who are desperately trying to find work. It is very difficult to find a professional job in Cornwall, where the majority of positions are seasonal roles related to tourism. I applied to many research places only to be outcompeted by people who should be able to find much better opportunities (although fortunately have now found a position that should start next month).

Here are a few things I learned during my search:

Spend SEVERAL hours a day looking and applying for work – Treat your job hunt as the full time occupation that it is. I spent 4 to 8 hours most days looking and applying for the latest positions advertised in my area.

Where to search – As well as your local paper, you should regularly check the government's Jobcentre Plus website, which has all of the positions advertised in your local Jobcentre. Check it every day because the best jobs are rapidly snapped up. If you know what area you want to go into, search on websites dedicated to your field (for example I regularly checked the New Scientist website for science-y roles. You should ask around in case anyone has heard of a job opening. Walking through town you will see several job advertisements in shops and local businesses. Keep your eyes and ears open!

Claim Jobseeker's Allowance – If you are over 18 and actively seeking work you are entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance, so don't feel embarrassed to claim support whilst you are unemployed. If you are under 25, you are entitled to £53.45 per week. It's not a lot, but it'll help you get to job interviews and keep food in your belly.

Find a high-turnover job to tide you over – Jobseeker's Allowance is useful, but no-one can really live on £53 a week. Find yourself a seasonal or minimum wage job with a short period of notice (most will be just one week so you can leave as soon as you find something better) and flexible hours. This will give you some financial breathing room whilst you hunt for the perfect job for you. For example I spent this summer working for minimum wage as a chambermaid in a hotel, receiving ~£180 a week for ~34 hours work. Ensure that you sign off from Jobseeker's Allowance once you find a job, even if it is just temporary.

Tailor applications to each role – Once you've found something to apply for, research the company and the position and tailor your CV (resume) accordingly. What skills does the job need? Which of your experiences is the most relevant? Ensure that if they ask for a particular skill you give examples that show you possess it. If you have related work experience it should be on the first page of your CV, however if you are changing careers you should have key skills on the first page instead.

Send speculative letters – If the companies you want to work for aren't hiring it's time to get pro-active. Write a speculative letter (and accompanying CV) describing why you would make the perfect addition to their company. List your skills and experience and how it relates to what they do. This is how I got in contact with the company I will be working for soon. Often you won't even hear back from them, but you just might make them think about potential opportunities they're missing out on!

Don't give up – It's can be soul destroying to keep receiving rejection letters or not even hearing back from applications you spent hours perfecting. Don't forget that you are competing with people who are likely a lot more experienced than yourself, especially if you are a recent graduate like myself. The best thing you can do is to just keep going!

Driving a Golden Car

Owning a car is one of the least frugal things you can do, so why are there over 31 million cars on the road in the UK? Frankly, in cities like London with excellent public transport I have no idea why people feel the need to drive. Even the convenience factor of having your own vehicle is negated by the frequency of the buses/tubes, which are usually within walking distance even on the outskirts.

I, however, live in Cornwall. Unfortunately for me (and my bank account) I live 8 miles from the nearest town and 2 miles from the poorly-serviced bus stop. This makes it almost prohibitively inconvenient to use public transport and a car is an essential expense.

My little Nissan Micra finally gave up the ghost about a month ago, so I was forced to buy myself a new car. I was hoping to get away with spending £550, however the cars I looked at in this price range were.. interesting.. One man tried to sell me a “great little runner”, which it may well have been if he'd managed to get it to start.

In the end I bought a £750 Peugeot 306, which came with 12 months MOT but no road tax. It's a 1.9L engine, which means I jumped to the higher tax bracket of £215 for a year. Luckily it's diesel, which means its uses less fuel than the petrol equivalent, however the cost of petrol at my local garage is 135.9p/L, whilst diesel is 139.9p/L. (I include this rip-off so that in days to come I can look back and long for the days when it was this “cheap”). I've worked out that it'll do ~10 miles per litre of diesel, meaning I'm spending ~£20 per week on fuel.

That's not the end of the expense of running a car however; I still had to insure it. I was on my parents' insurance whilst I was at University but now I felt it was time to start building my own No Claims Discount (for future cash saving). I'm 22 and still count as a “young driver”, so with no NCD I knew it was going to hurt. It ended up at £56 per month (£668 per year – almost what I paid for the car!).

These ongoing costs have all been added to my budget (which I'll mention in a later post) so I knew I could just about afford them alongside saving money, but I just wondered how much I'd be spending overall on the car this year...

Initial purchase: £750
Insurance: £56/month (£668/year)
Fuel: £20/week (£1040/year – OUCH!)
Tax: £215

So even before any repairs, next year's MOT, oil, de-icer, screen wash, car parking money, etc., the grand total is: £2673!

When I first calculated this I couldn't believe it and had to add it all up again in the vain hope of an error! Sadly this was not the case. I'll definitely be using some hypermiling techniques to get the most of my fuel! 

It's just so frustrating that I have to try that much harder to save money in other areas just to get to work safely and in less than 2 hours!

Friday, 16 September 2011

I've Finished Uni, Where Should I Live?

Over one third of 20-35 year olds in the UK live with their parents.

The hotly debated topic between myself and my housemates in the final year was where to live when we finished Uni. At the time I was totally against the idea of moving back in with my parents. My parents wound me up after a week or so of the summer holiday, imagine months of it (or even years *shudder*)!

I had hoped to live with my boyfriend (of 5 years.. it's about time!). He had the foresight to think about saving money for his Masters degree however, meaning I just couldn't compete with the £100 his mum was charging for rent, bills and food.

I looked into renting a flat of my own but Cornwall's one of the most expensive places to live in the country. The rent alone was too much for my meagre budget, even aside from bills and this new concept of council tax – glad we avoided that one as students!

When I start my new job in autumn I will probably become a lodger, but to save money for the time being I am living with my parents. We agreed on the rather cushy rent of £30 a week, which includes bills although I do buy some food for the four of us (my younger sister's currently living at home too).

So what are the pros and cons of living with your parents?

It certainly feels like a step backwards. You go to Uni feeling like you've become an adult, capable of functioning in the real world, but then return to the same bedroom you've had since you were two. (Complete with a faded carpet depicting teddy bears, dolls and building blocks...) It certainly took a bit of getting used to, both for myself and my parents who had got used to living on their own again. At times we can get under each other's skin, although on the other hand it's nice to see them regularly again.

Another major issue is that your independence is severely reduced. I was used to living by my own rules, doing what I liked whenever I fancied. Now I have to let someone know if I'll be home for dinner or what time I'll be back from work!

In my present circumstances, where every pound counts, the positive effect on my bank account outweighs any other issues I had, including the slight dent to my pride when many friends have now permanently flown the nest. I'd be interested to hear from other recent graduates to see if their situation differs to mine.

To anyone considering moving back home after Uni: consider living with family if you need to save some cash, although it's not a situation that everyone would enjoy!

An Introduction to the Frugal Graduate

University is over and I've joined the real world. My student bank account has been converted to a graduate account, but unfortunately they remembered to transfer my overdraft too. I'm slowly digging my way out of the hole and back up to £0...

I studied Biology at Cardiff University and my good grade can attest to the fact that I did not waste my money on too many nights out or all day shopping trips. I didn't even enter my overdraft until the second year of Uni, but then it was engulfed by a month in Kenya with the University studying tropical ecosystems (fantastic, but I'm still paying the price!) Since then I lived in London for a year on a work placement, which was far more expensive than I'd anticipated even with the salary I received!

So here I am, two months after graduating, working as a chamber maid in a hotel and living with my parents to save money! I've managed to pay off my small credit card debt and buy a car to get me to work (although I was lent some money to help with this that I want to repay as soon as possible). Luckily a research job is in the pipeline for the autumn and beyond (for which I'll be moving out) but money will definitely still be an issue.

A frugal lifestyle will enable me to save money and hopefully benefit the environment by reducing wastage and recycling items for new uses where possible. I will use this blog to document the ways I've been cutting back and reducing my deficit!