Where growing, making & good living come together

Had your first frost of winter yet?

Posted by on Friday 21 October 2011 in growing | 7 comments

Yesterday I was thinking all autumnal thoughts but for some reason, I’m in winter mode again today – possibly because I’m off to the yarn shop with a winter woolly in mind and when I come back, I need to start work on that winter to-do list… The garden is my biggest worry in that respect as gloves can be worn without being washed & we survived last winter without decent curtains in some rooms etc, but plants will die & (terracotta) pots will be ruined if I don’t do something about them soon.

Which leads me to thinking about first frosts…

We were down to about 2C/36F in our bit of West Yorkshire on Wednesday night but it’s supposed to be a bit warmer for the next few nights – only about 8-10C/45-50F – and long term forecasts, which admittedly aren’t as accurate, say similar, so we might not see our first frost until November at this rate.

How about you?

Read More

Poll: what seeds have you started so far this year?

Posted by on Thursday 14 April 2011 in growing | 0 comments

I’ve been seeing lots of people blogging and tweeting about their greenhouse contents recently – what’s been sown and when. It’s interesting that some people nearby are planting some of their things much later than me – but other things earlier. I guess we all find our sweet spots between ours schedules and our plants’ demands.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to see what people have sown up until now so I made a poll – feel free to tick all that apply. Sorry some things have been grouped together and other things have been missed out entirely — the only way to avoid the list getting super-super long!

I’ve put my answers in now but I’m hoping to add to it by the end of the day – I’ve got a whole load of “to plant in April” things just begging to jump into soil!

Read More

Why are you frugal? Poll update

Posted by on Thursday 16 December 2010 in frugal | 2 comments

A couple of weeks ago, I set up poll asking what drives people’s frugality.

Part of the reason I asked is because a lot of frugal living blogs/personal finance sites are really focused around paying off debt. People detail their debts and progress in paying them off in their signatures on every comment/forum post – most of them are well in five figures and one person I saw talked about having US$1million of debt (!!). But that’s not why I’m frugal – and it’s not why a lot of people I know are frugal – so I wondered what it else it could be.

As of this morning, most people who voted were pro-actively frugal – just over 20% of people said they were either frugal to live within their means or to avoid getting into more debt, and just under 9% in order to save for something, mostly something in particular. Only 3.5% of people were doing it to pay off existing debt.

Adding to the proactively frugal number, over 26% are frugal as a side effect of living a simple/green life or for other political/philosophical reasons (such as anti-consumerism or stuff minimalisation), and another 12% said they were frugal so they didn’t have to work/earn as much.

Over 10% said they actively enjoy being frugal – mostly that they have to be creative and learn new skills to live on a tight budget. And another 12% said they’d always been frugal and couldn’t imagine living any other way.

I realise that the results are not necessarily representative of the population at large, even the frugal population at large, just a selection of the people who read this blog and took the time to vote, but I find it interesting all the same. We hear so much about debt – not just when on the personal finance sites I mentioned above but in the media – that it’s good to hear that not everyone is rampantly spending with free abandon.

Thanks to everyone who voted!

Read More

Why are you frugal? A quick poll

Posted by on Wednesday 1 December 2010 in frugal, meta | 7 comments

I follow a lot of frugal, green, simple living and growing blogs – some of my favourites are listed in the sidebar but I read many, many more. Amongst all the great advice and ideas, I’ve noticed that just about everyone has their own reason for being frugal or growing their own – and that’s made me wonder what drives me/us too. What drives you?

I’ve listed what I think are a dozen reasonably common reasons for frugality here – but I’m sure there are many, many more reasons for it — and for many people, it won’t be just one thing, it’ll be a combination of a few – so feel free to tick as many as applicable.

For me, it’s a certainly a combination of more than a few! I’ve always looked after the pennies and I think I’d still look for offers/bargains even if I had a million pounds, I think it’s an unchangeable trait now.

Living cheaply allowed us the freedom to quit the shackles of our full time jobs and start working for ourselves – and it still allows us to do what interests us rather than needing earn a fortune to pay the bills.

I am a greeny and I abhor easily avoidable waste, and related to that, I also strongly dislike excessive consumerism – so I guess that’s part of my drive too. There are elements of frugality I find fun – cooking, growing, making etc – and I like having hobbies that help me save money and live well. I’m also definitely be ticking the “thrill of a good deal” box! Frugality isn’t all doom and gloom as far as I’m concerned.

So what about you? What drives you to be frugal? Is there something I’ve missed off the poll list?

Read More