Frugal Pleasures

careful, sparing (of), economical, esp. as regards food; sparingly used or supplied, costing little

So says the Concise Oxford Dictionary.

There was a deeply unpleasant comment on a blog post (not this blog) yesterday which implied that unless one was truly poor then one had no right to blog about frugality. Well I am by no means poor and I say -utter rubbish to that. I practise frugality in many areas of my life, not all, but many and I have as much right to blog about it as anyone.

Here are some things that give pleasure which are either sparing of food, cost little or are completely free.

1) Eating leftovers for lunch. In this case leftover baked lentils with cheese with the end of a homemade loaf.

2) Making a roast stretch to at least three meals. On Sunday I roasted a  free-range duck. It cost £11 and was reduced from £16. Out of many people's price range for sure and not often in mine. I didn't buy any other meat that week.
 In order to ensure the duck was used as frugally as possible I first of all made some stock with the giblets. This was used to make gravy to eat with the roast duck.
 Next I saved all the fat from the roast (being extremely careful not to splash any on my person). Some of the fat was used to roast the potatoes which we ate with the roast duck.
On Monday I stripped the remaining meat from the duck (I only allowed one serving each on Sunday as there is not a huge amount of meat on a duck) and used it to make a stew with some little grey lentils which we ate with mash.
 The carcass went into a big pot to be made into stock. I used some of the stock to make my lentil and duck stew and some to make the lentil dish in the picture above. The rest I froze for future soups and stews. The fat is in a basin in the fridge and will be used for future roast potatoes. It will keep there for a long time.
An expensive food frugally used.

3) Using every last crumb of a loaf. Because I make all our bread the last thing I want to do is throw it away. I wouldn't throw food away anyway.
 The picture above shows some  breadcrumbs I made with the end of a loaf last week . I made them to top some frozen fillets of white fish. First I processed the bread- crust and all until fairly finely crumbed, then I added the last fifth of a jar of sun-dried tomatoes plus their oil, a small chunk of Parmesan and some parsley. I processed it again and produced  rather wonderful flavoured breadcrumbs which, because of the oil crisped up marvellously in the oven. I had too much so I froze the rest for another time thinking they would be good fried up and tossed with spaghetti or sprinkled over chicken pieces and baked, or as a topping for something.
Other things I do with the ends of a loaf apart from simply placing it crumb-side down on a board and slicing it the other way to eat with soup are; cubing it and frying to make croutons and making into breadcrumbs and freezing to use later in bread pudding, treacle tart or to coat fishcakes, chicken, fish or to add to burgers and meatballs.

4) Something from the garden. I know not everyone is lucky enough to have a garden but there are catkins and pussy willow about in the hedges at the moment and they would look lovely in a jam jar or an old beer bottle like the one my forsythia is in.

5) The public library. When I was in my local library the other day not only did they have the latest Jamie Oliver but they also had  the baking book I showed on my last post. Both pristine and new. Completely free. So, to the anonymous commenter who said they couldn't afford the baking book check out your library.

6) Free meat sorry couldn't resist. What I really mean is the pleasure of watching  wildlife. I get enormous pleasure out of watching the birds in my garden and the squirrels even though many regard them as pests. If you sit in our garden long enough without moving you see hedgehogs and woodmice and sometimes frogs.

7) Line-dried washing. Available only to those fortunate enough to have some outdoor space but such a pleasure, for me anyway. The smell of fresh washing, the sight of it blowing in the wind, the joy in simply pegging out each item. I love it.

8) Sex
(unless it results in another mouth to feed).




  1. hehe.....I loved your blog today...
    Thanks for visiting this morning. It wasnt just about one thing for me... In general, it was about people deciding others needs and excessives....
    Judging when they are different

  2. I'm pretty sure I saw the comment you were referring too. What a great post, there are so many ways to be frugal no matter what your income is. Truly laughed at your last point.

  3. Anonymous5:23 pm GMT

    Lovely post Sue. I have seen a number of similar comments to the one you mention above and I believe that although for some people it is a necessity- frugality should not be perserved for the poor only. We're probably somewhere in the middle although we could probably afford to be less frugal (but not by much), we would rather save money where we can to put it away for something else such as my country house with chicken and bees dream. I also think reducing waste and trying to reduce our impact on the planet also plays a big part in our decision to be frugal.
    I'm also a big advocate for public libraries- I just don't understand why more people don't use this wonderful free resource.

  4. Anonymous5:34 pm GMT

    here, here for frugality. I think eating leftovers is one of life's great pleasures (assuming they are nice leftovers, that is), we are about to exactly that this evening. Can't say the kids are thrilled, but you can't have everything can you? Like the pillowcases - we have the same ones!

  5. I got that same baking book out of the library - first person to check it out - and used it to make some very frugal Welsh cakes. Which don't even require you to turn on the oven. If it upset me so much that other people could afford things that I couldn't, I think I'd stop reading their blogs and stop tormenting myself.

  6. Sue your post is both pithy and fun. Laughed out loud at No 8!

    I read it out to my husband and he asks if you do lessons, re frugal cooking, just to be sure we are on the same subject!

    I love left overs, in fact we have just eaten left over chilli from last night. The flavours develop so well overnight.

    Keep up your brilliant blog. I love it. How rude to leave an anonymous note!

  7. Some people are just miserable..too bad for them. In the USA I see plenty of people who are 'given' food money and are considered poverty who don't have a clue of what frugal is. As a matter of fact, the morjority of people who have more money are the most frugal people I know...hmmm, maybe that's why they have more money! Sorry about my rant, I just have a real problem with the, bash the better off, which is a real popular thing to do here in the States and I am done with it!

    I love your blog and have learned so much from you about canning and baking and cooking and have been impressed many times with the way you never waste anything.

    Thanks for the time that you take to share all of these wonderful things.

  8. The opposite of frugal could be seen as wasteful, income is not the issue with frugality. We all have a responsibility not to be wasteful with the resources with have available to us. I know many people who get a kick out of being frugal it takes effort, ingenuity and creativity. I like your perspective and your ideas. :)

  9. I never saw the comment. Your posts are always interesting. I think myself frugal. Husband and I bought up three boys and the older they got the more expensive they got! When eldest son was about seven a long time ago now he is 30 this year, they did the 50yrs of their school, this was 1989, the school was built special for the evacuees 1939. During the history they did food and he questioned this with me that they bought/eat so much a week. So we did an experiment. We bought an extra large chicken and eat it.
    Sunday - Roast,
    Monday - Cold, also made stock with carcass and took more meat off carcass kept separate (I froze this - sure they didn't do this during the war but I did!),
    Tuesday - Curry, Made with meat taken from carcass before making stock.
    Wednesday, Curry again,
    Thursday - Chicken Pie made with the meat taken from carcass after making stock with added vegetables to bulk out pie.
    Friday and Saturday Soup/chunky vegetable casserol.
    I was always taught by my mother to be frugal, and I hope I have passed it on to my sons.
    Julie xxxxxxxxx

  10. Wise. wise words Sue. Number 8 has got me in trouble before now (child 4 was a delicious oops) but it also does you good, as does the laugh you gave us all. Washing on the line is a wonderful thing - especially the smell of it when you take it in. Smelt it today for the first time in a long time and it put a spring in my step.

  11. I couldn't live without the library - and I've lost count of the number of books recommended by bloggers that I've borrowed. Even if the book isn't on the shelf you can order items - amazing. I really, really fear what is happening to our libraries because of the government's attitude towards them. Drastically cutting funds, advocating community-run libraries - scary stuff. If the libraries start being more frugal about the quality (and variety) of books and service they can offer, then our own frugality will certainly suffer.

  12. Love todays post and I couldn't agree more! I waste as little as possible and spend ages looking for recipes to use up things that would othrwise be thrown out. I agree with you on points 1-7 but by the time I've done thos number 8 has to wait because I'm shattered ;o)

  13. Well said! I giggled and agreed with you all the way through that post. We buy oven ready pheasants from a game dealer at the end of the shooting season (£2.50 each) and freeze them to use during the year. I roast or casserole a bird which gives the two of us two nights' meals and the carcase is used for stock which I often freeze and use for soups or recipes requiring chicken stock. As farmers, we're only too aware of the work that goes into producing meat, fruit and vegetables and we hate to see waste. I think frugality (not to be confused with meanness) is something to be encouraged regardless of one's financial situation.

  14. Anonymous7:59 pm GMT

    Hi Sue,

    Please don't let any comments stop you from blogging, I'm sure you won't. You can't please all of the people all of the time.

    I always enjoy reading your blogs and check to see if these a new one.

    I'm looking forward to The Quince Tree photo due tomorrow. :-)


  15. I think that that person who made the negative comment is hurting.
    I consider myself wealthy by anybody s standards but waste very little and am frugal with my rescourses. If you have nothing and not much hope of every having any more frugality must get exhausting. I remember my mother telling me how poor she was in 1916 and had to eat porridge for dinner many nights and did nt eat an orange until she was 9 year old. That is not going to be a reality for most of us.
    I was reading a frugal blogger the other day who lives in Cornwall has a decent job her own house and two dogs. She was crying bitterly about the high food prices and castigating the super markets and saying how unfair it all was. I felt compelled to point out that poverty is relative and that most of the world live on less than two bucks a day.
    My comment was deleted and the blogger was quite rude.
    I am constantly grateful for everthing I have and have been given (love education good values etc) and I get the feeling that the nasty commenter might not have been so lucky.

  16. Surely the OED forgot to add to its definition careful, sensible, green.
    I can't believe that many people DON'T do the things you've listed- it's just common sense that you've talked about, isn't it?
    Really enjoyed reading. Ax

  17. Anonymous8:14 pm GMT

    Lovely Lizzie XXX

  18. Sue, loved your post. I try to live "GREEN" and walk lightly on the earth. I learned that from the American Indians... we use all our leftovers.. until I can't take a 4th meal of it, but by then it's almost gone. We have chickens to eat our veggie leaves and ends. They produce eggs for us. Enjoy #8 while you can.. before you get too old. LOL

    We had snow last night here in Oregon and I put some fun pix up.

    ((hugs)) Teresa

  19. Great post Sue :)

    Must remember number 8 sometime ;)

  20. Honestly, don't some people talk utter tosh? Of course you can write about frugality; you can write about anything cos it's your flipping blog. Isn't that the point? Righty oh, rant over. I do love visiting Sue! x

  21. What a great post Sue! I realise for some people frugality is a necessity, not a choice, but I think there's also a certain respect in frugality - for your food and where it comes from, be that animal or vegetable, from using every last scrap and not wasting anything. It's commonsense in my book. I often get brand new books from my library (love my local library, always have a stack of books out) - though with reference to my dear friend Pipany above, my local Cornish branch is heaps better than her local cornish branch!!
    Diana x

  22. Do you realise you could write a book with all the tips and hints you give out? Love your posts. Keep them coming.x

  23. Great post Sue. I am pretty sure I know the popular site you are referring to, and I have to agree with you. Being frugal to me is just another form of 'treading lightly'. Being a little kinder to our limited resources, and a deep appreciation for what we have. This refers to No.8 as well! cheers Wendy

  24. Quite agree! Nothing better than feeling as though you've made something/cooked something/reused something for next to nothing - whatever your income. Doesn't everyone love a bargain?!

  25. I have noticed a few comments from 'anonymous' on a few blogs, not sure they are the one and same. I am not in the position of having money to splash around, however I am not bitter about it. Even if I did, I would still be mindful of not cluttering up the environment with excess, just because I had the money to do it, it is pure waste.
    Love your little squirrel, and please don't mention #8 around me it has been a drought here for too long :) or should that be :(
    x Sandi

  26. Well said Sue. For lots frugal living is a necessity, but when we think of all the waste in our more wealthy societies we should be ashamed. I think frugal living should go hand in hand with ethical living where ever possible. All our choices have consequences either for our own wallets, or for food/clothing producers around the world.
    With 5 kids, most of our pleasures are free/heavily discounted/second-hand (bit too much of no8 for us!!), but I don't think we miss out on very much!
    Sandra x

  27. Heya,
    Just a reminder to use your bread crumbs too for Queen of Puddings and in meatloaf or meatballs, stale bread for eggy bread or toast, and save your butter wrappers in the freezer to grease your pans (or use a paper towel to wipe a margarine/butter container and pop them in the fridge to use the same way). And keep a jug by the kitchen tap to run the water into as you are trying to get the water hot (or cold), then use the water in the jug to rinse the sink, or water your plants. Conserves water and lowers your water bill. :-) Yep, been caught by the last point myself... LOL

  28. I enjoyed your post Sue and love hearing about how your stretch your meals. Being frugal to me is to not live wastefully. This isn't just about food. It's other things too like water, petrol, clothing, power and gas. The list is endless really.
    Some of my siblings have disagreements on whether global warming is actually ocurring or not. Whether it is or isn't is not the point. The point is lets not waste the resources we have, lets be careful about what we do and everyone will benefit, not just now but in the centuries to come. And that's my little rant.
    Have a wonderful weekend and happy frugal living. :)
    Anne xx

  29. Possibly, Sue most of the people who read your lovely blog are frugal in the true sense. Not letting good food go to waste and planning at least a bit what we eat. I feel very sad for the people who genuinely struggle, but see so many -who consider themselves poor- spending lots on take away meals, DVDs or gaming products as well as cigarettes and alcohol. No wonder these people are poor spending so much to go literally up in smoke..... Sorry that's what comes from being back at work in the good old NHS

  30. I got a brilliant cookery book from the charity shop for 20p. I prefer older cook books anyway: it makes sure the measurements are in imperial.
    Being frugal means that I do less paid work to spend time being up my family. The most important job of all.

  31. I'm all with you ! Why waste money or food or anything just because one isn't poor ? What is poor anyway ? I remember my student days when I lived with practically nothing and had to seriously stretch my money, and plan very carefully... it didn't hurt. I got my teaching certificate (thank God, I had nothing left in my saving's account the last two months and had to get a bank loan)but didn't binge when I earned a living. I can buy more things now if I want, but most of the time I don't because I don't need it, and I just couldn't think that I can waste something because I can afford it.
    Totally agree on N°8 !! lol

  32. Hi Sue,
    I`m totally with you about being frugal. Also it means less waste and i can`t stand to waste anything. Keep up the good work you`re a star.
    Love Carole from Rossendale xx

  33. Anonymous11:00 am GMT

    Hi Sue, Great post.
    I love line dried washing and watching the rabbits that hop around our garden (although the veg patch doesn't benefit)

  34. lillieandlace1:09 pm GMT

    Love your blog,

    Inspirational, lovely ,funny ,

    lillieandlace Xx

  35. I too saw that comment.I can understand their view as I am in the same boat but if your attitude is fueled by bitterness you are not going to change things for yourself or appreciate what little you have. Until my circumstances change I will happily enjoy the delights of others. And as Maya Angelou said 'If you don't like something-change it. If you can't change it-change your attitude'.
    Love and stuff xx

  36. Great post :) Me and OH think the same!

  37. The last point certainly made me smile and reading through all your post I felt myself nodding in agreement.
    There were proposals to close a whole batch of libraries in our area but, following a lot of objections, they have been given a "stay of execution" for 12 months. I call in most Saturday mornings.

  38. Great blog Sue, that comment made on your last blog was very unpleasant indeed, I myself had one the other day, and it quite upset me, so have changed my settings on here so I can read any comments before they get published.

    I too NEVER waste anything and always use up leftovers {I love them} I watched a programme the other day on the food channel, and a family of 8 were spending close to £600 a week on food!! At the end of each meal, they were throwing away loads of leftovers into their 'food crusher' it pained me to watch, they may as well of been throwing their money in there.

    I took great pleasure in hanging out my washing today, and having all my windows open for the first time in an age...

    As for sex, chance would be a fine thing!

  39. Sue,All i've got to add is another"Here Here",i too love reading your blog and the comments that are left by other bloggers,are'nt we all having to watch the pennies and make our food go a bit further, just be a bit more aware of things generally,(ESPECIALLY point 8)!!!Ha Ha
    Could i ask how you bake your Lentils or am i being a bit of a dime bar???
    As ever Best Wishes
    Sue xx

  40. I think that frugality is independent of income and that some people are just naturally frugal. I agree with your principles of using up leftovers and making a roast dinner stretch to 3 or more meals. Common sense as much as anything. I laughed at no. 8 too.

    Re your last post...I am not a fan of Primark either, but H&M is great for young boys clothes as it seems to be one of the only places that does bright colours rather than just various shades of mud.

  41. Well said. I believe that being frugal is very good, it's something our generation doesn't do enough of, if you believe my mother (who, of course, is always right!!). Her generation HAD to be frugal because they went through the war years when rationing and making do was a fact of life. Given the needless waste today, being anything less than partially frugal is deeply unpleasant whatever the budget and in any case, making your meals stretch is a fine art so all credit to you for that. Surely the squirrel would make an excellent pot roast!!!! (joke).

  42. Kate Shepherd7:14 pm GMT

    Well said Sue, common sense surely dictates that frugality isn't about being rich or poor it's about making the most of what you have and not wasting the worlds resources; food, materials, money, whatever. How anyone can turn this into a negative kind of beggars belief. Love your blog, always sensible and great fun too. Best wishes.


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