Welcome to Frugal Living in the UK!

Frugal Living in the UK - the pink bench!

Frugal Living in the UK went online in 2003 and has gradually grown into quite a collection of advice and articles. You’ll find recipes, food shopping tips, household savings, advice on cheap days out and holidays, ways to make a few pounds, get freebies and even sales and Frugal Christmas 🙂

Whether you want to reduce your debts, save for a holiday, stay at home with your children, live more simply or just beat the system a little and end up with more cash, we hope you find something here to help. Consider yourself as in a clothes shop – look around, try the ideas on for size, take what’s right for you and leave the rest for someone else.

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Latest articles:

Latest links:

  • Low Price Foods – amazing new clearance food outlet with impressive prices across food, drink and household goods.
  • TrustedHousesitters connect pet and home owners with reliable sitters. You can register as a sitter or owner on their site.
  • Everything5Pounds sell unsold stock from top High st. brands, all detagged, and all £5.
  • Swagbucks.com – pays gift cards and cash for things you do online anyway like shopping and taking surveys.
  • The Secret Gardening Club always have great offers on overstock from nurseries.
  • Graze are offering a first box free, with no obligation to continue past the first box!

Latest recipes:

frugal living: lavender jam being made
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Newsletter: it’s all about the tatties today!

tatties

First up, soup of tatties. It’s simple and Scottish, it’s delicious and it’s a new recipe on site. Also told, is the frugal story of the plate of food above. See it here.

Composting Fun and Tatties

Admittedly this is only partly about tatties. We have a new article here on making compost to reduce waste and save money. There’s also a section on growing no-dig potatoes.

Great recipes for October

Blended Soups
Roast Pumpkin and Garlic Pasta
Chick Pea Curry
Mushroom Gravy
Banana Raisin Flapjacks

Popular Pages and Posts
Healthy Eating and Exercising on a Budget
Books on Frugal Living
Frugal Christmas

As the world opens up again
House sitting and/or pet sitting can be cheap ways to holiday. TrustedHousesitters have owners registered in over 130 countries, from townhouses in London to renovated farmhouses in Tuscany. For all our advice on holidays, days out, railcards, motorway secrets and more go here!

In case you missed it last time:
Use code FREE10 for £10 off at Flava Buy Now Pay Later Supermarket. Not a discount store but they do always have some offers for pennies and there’s no credit checks or interest.

Stay warm and well fed as the season gets colder…

All at Frugal Living in the UK
http://www.frugal.org.uk

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and now, Facebook!

Tattie Soup, Potato Soup, Cheap Soup

Tattie Soup, potato soup, cheap soup

This tattie soup is so basic it hardly constitutes a ‘recipe’! Simple and traditional Scottish fare – children love it.

A Frugal Story

The full frugal story of the plate above: we lucked out with one of the £1.50 cheap veg boxes in Lidl. It contained about 10 onions, a burst bag of baby plum tomatoes, 3 lettuces, a pack of leeks, 5 oranges, 3 lemons, 3 apples and a wee box of chilli peppers. It was so impressive we wish we’d taken a picture of it, but it was unpacked and torn into the compost too quickly!

We used one of the leeks in the soup and those are the tomatoes. The hummus was one of a set of flavoured pots reduced to 20p, also in Lidl, and that’s homemade sourdough bread. Carrots, potatoes, parsnips and herbs were from the garden. If it weren’t for the olives (yellow stickered in Asda but still the most expensive item pictured) the plate would have qualified as a 25p meal.

Tattie Soup Ingredients

  • A little sunflower oil
  • Onions or leeks (1 or 2), chopped
  • Potatoes (2 lb/1 kilo/6 cups), cut into chunks
  • Carrots (about 1 lb/450g/3 cups), cut into chunks
  • Turnip or parsnips (8oz/200g/1 cup) – optional
  • Kale (or other greens) chopped
  • Garlic to taste, chopped
  • Herbs of your choice, fresh or dried. We used lovage (grow once, harvest for years) and parsley in the soup pictured above.
  • Sea salt to taste

Tattie Soup Method

Fry the onion in the sunflower oil for a few minutes to seal the flavour, then place all the other ingredients except the kale in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer until the vegetables are cooked (15 – 20 minutes). Add the green vegetables 5 minutes before cooking is finished to prevent them being over-done. Mash.

The quantities given make quite a large pan of soup – we eat half one day and store the rest in the fridge until the next day – you may wish to change the quantities to suit your needs. It also freezes well.

If you liked this tattie soup, why not check out our other frugal recipes?

Making Compost, Reducing Waste, Saving Money

making compost in recycled pallet containers
Making compost in recycled pallet containers

Making compost is a great way to reduce waste and nourish the soil. It also saves money if you are in the habit of buying ready made compost. And it’s easy.

Making Compost in Triple Bins

Above are our triple compost bins made from old pallets. They are the perfect size for hot composting (faster composting) as you want your pile to be 3 feet wide x 3 feet high to make sure it heats up in the middle. You can, of course, just make it in a pile or heap. The idea behind having three bins is to have one that you’re adding material to, one that’s being left to rot down (usually for 6 or 7 months) and one that’s finished and being used in the garden or pots.

making compost from kitchen scraps and other materials

What to Put in the Compost

  • kitchen scraps of raw vegetable origin (cooked food will moulder)
  • used tea bags
  • coffee grounds
  • grass cuttings
  • leaves and twigs
  • weeds that have not gone to seed
  • garden waste such as dead or finished plants
  • seaweed
  • hair and nail trimmings
  • the contents of your hoover bag/bin
  • ripped up cardboard, the lower quality the better

You’re looking to get a good variety of layers in there to balance the nitrogen from green things and the carbon from brown things.

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Doing It Wrong Can Be Right!

When we first started composting we did it all wrong in this container:

making compost in a plastic container

We used exclusively kitchen scraps which went a bit smelly and gooey. However, after about a year the goo did return to being basically soil and proved to be an exceedingly rich food for the plants. The ones that had a layer of this fertiliser in their pots or beds grew significantly larger than the ones that didn’t. So it can be done like that, even if you don’t want to use it for growing; it still reduces waste and returns veg scraps to the soil. The ground around compost bins always becomes beautifully rich, as you can see with the nettles above. And we don’t mean to knock the plastic bins – they can be very handy for smaller spaces.

making compost and growing squash

We intend using the wee boxes at the base of our pallet bins above to grow squash in next year.

No Dig Potatoes

Another use for cardboard in the garden is to lay it down on the ground to prepare the soil to be used in a “no dig” manner. The grass will rot away and you’ll be left with bare soil. We’re doing it over winter for next spring’s growing. We’ll then lay the seed potatoes on the ground without digging and cover them in a thick layer of grass cuttings which we will replenish throughout the summer. Potatoes should grow well in that – we will report back!

no dig poatatoes
Weighed down with old roof tiles.

Related posts

sunflower
A sunflower growing by the upcycled polytunnel (more to come on that later).

The Secret Gardening Club always have great offers of overstock from nurseries:

Carrot and Butterbean Soup, frugal food

carrot and butterbean soup

This carrot and butterbean soup is thick and nutrifying, just perfect for a cold day!

These quantities make about 6 bowls, adjust as needed.

Carrot and Butterbean Soup Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • about 8 large to medium carrots, scraped and cut up into chunks
  • 1 tin of cooked butter beans (large limas), about 400g
  • 2 pints/4 cups/1200ml of water approx
  • a little salt as desired

Method

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes and then add the carrot and stir well. Add water and bring to the boil – turn down to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until the carrot is cooked through. Add the beans and cook for a further 5 minutes or so until they are properly heated through. Season and blend. Was nice left a little rough but you might prefer to keep going until smooth.

If you liked this carrot and butterbean soup, check out all our other frugal recipes here.

New offers on the site this week:

£10 off with code FREE10 when shopping with Flava Buy Now Pay Later Supermarket (not a discount store but they do always have some short dated items for pennies). Offer valid from 27/09/2021 until further notice.

And The Secret Gardening Club always have great offers of overstock from nurseries:

Food Glorious Food: cheapest, fastest, free

food glorious food, starry beans

Food glorious food. We want it. Nay, we need it. And obtaining our food has all gone a little bit strange in the last couple of years, from only being allowed out to buy essentials during lockdown to facing empty shelves in the supermarkets in 2021.

It’s good to keep abreast of changing ideas and new concepts as they pop up in these strange times.

This is our wee rundown of alternative food purchasing/obtaining methods from a buy now pay later supermarket to groceries on bikes, short dated shops and a free food app.

Buy Now Pay Later

Flava is the UK’s first and only Buy Now Pay Later Supermarket. Everyone gets £100 credit and there are no fees, no credit checks and 0% interest is charged. This is not a discount store but there are always some special offers available for pennies. Well worth a check!

£10 off your shop with code FREE10!

Flava Buy Now Pay Later Supermarket

Cheapest: Short Dated Food

Old favourites of ours, Low Price Foods and Approved Foods sell clearance and short dated food and household products. Many items do actually have quite a long date on them. This is a great way to stock up the cupboards.

food glorious food, low priced food

Fastest: Gorillas on Bikes!

If you live in one of the areas Gorillas cover (at the time of writing: London, Manchester, Nottingham, Reading, Southampton and Cambridge), you can get a grocery delivery bicycled to you in 10 minutes! Standard retail prices.

Bulk Ordering

SAS sell direct to the public in packs of 6. Prices offered are at discounts of up to 50% off either price marked products or RRP. SAS stands for Share and Save, encouraging customers to work with family, friends, neighbours and colleagues to save money together.

bulk food ordering

Food Glorious Food for Free: Olio

Olio is an app that you can download to your phone to share food in your local area. It does have a desktop version too. People share things that they can’t use up in time from their fridge, or cupboard items that they no longer want. Food Waste Heroes (which you can volunteer to be) collect yellow stickered or surplus food from businesses and then share it on the app.

food glorious food, wee potato star

If you liked this article on Food Glorious Food, go see the list of our other food related pages and posts here.

Bulk Food Ordering – Share and Save

bulk food ordering

A new bulk food ordering website – SAS – has launched. This on-line Grocery Wholesaler deals in food, non-food, health and hygiene products and soft drinks. They sell direct to the general public in packs of 6. Prices offered are at discounts of up to 50% off either price marked products or RRP. SAS stands for Share and Save, encouraging customers to work with family, friends, neighbours and colleagues to save money together.

In these changing times of supply issues and food shortages, it’s good to know of many different places and ways to shop such as bulk food ordering.

bulk food ordering from SAS

There is a £50 minimum charge with free delivery on orders over £75.

At the moment there’s a free gift of 3 bottles of Heinz Tomato Ketchup 570g valued at £6 for every new customer.

Visit the website here

bulk food ordering

Related

Apple Chutney with Ginger and Garlic

apple chutney with ginger and garlic

This apple chutney was inspired by a recipe from The Cranks Recipe Book, but we changed it a bit to our liking! It’s great for using up windfall apples in the autumn. The combination of flavours here make for a delectable chutney, completely delicious, and better than any you could buy.

Sometimes old railway lines have apple trees with fruit for the taking due to people throwing their apple cores out the train windows in the past. Parks and other public grounds often have the trees too. Look out for them in your area!

Apple Chutney Ingredients

These quantities fill about 3 medium jars. We doubled up and made 6 this year!

  • 750 ml. cider vinegar
  • 675g. molasses cane sugar (or any very dark sugar)
  • 3 bay leaves (make little tears in them)
  • 1 kg. cooking apples, peeled and chopped
  • 100g onions, chopped quite finely
  • 100g of raisins or sultanas
  • 100g of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • a little seasalt

Method

apple chutney - apples on the tree!

Slowly dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a large pan. Add the bay leaves. Prepare the apples, onions, garlic and ginger and add these also with the salt and raisins. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer for about 2 hours, stirring frequently, until the excess liquid is gone.

Cool and jar. Gorgeous in a cheeze and pickle sarny, as part of a ploughman’s lunch or just with some crackers as shown above.

If you liked this apple chutney, try some of our other frugal recipes

More apples: Apple Pie and Fruit Crumble

Sausage and Bean Pie

carlin peasDelicious and filling, this sausage and bean pie is a perfect winter dish, and can be made with a variety of ingredients which will affect the overall frugality of it. At the end of a shopping week we found Carlin Peas at the back of the cupboard and soaked them overnight but any beans would do. We combined these with a box of Linda McCartney sausages from the bottom of the freezer.

To make the pie:
Pastry ingredients (for four people, adjust as required):
300g of flour (any type, self raising will puff up a little, plain won’t – we used wholemeal spelt obtained from Approved Food (also check Low Price Foods) in these pics, white would be lighter in colour).
150g of vegetable margarine
tiny amount of water (2 or 3 tablespoons)

Pastry method:
Place flour in a bowl. Break the marg into small pieces and rub it in to the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add a very small amount of water and knead this into flour until you have firm dough (adding more water if too dry or more flour if too wet). Sprinkle flour on your working surface, divide the dough into two equal pieces and roll each one out to fit your pie or oven proof dish. Line the bottom and edges of the pie dish with one section of the pastry, ready for the filling.

pieFilling and Baking:
Ingredients:
Beans of your choice (we used 200g dried beans). You could even used baked beans and skip the gravy part!
Sausages of your choice – we used six LM ones
a little oil
1 red onion chopped
gravy mix or flour to thicken
water as needed
salt to taste

Method:
Cook your beans and sausages as per packet instructions. Fry a red onion off in a little oil and add your pre-cooked beans along with their cooking water (or add water as needed if using tinned beans). Chop the cooked sausages into chunks and add these too. Make a thick gravy of the mixture (we used original Bisto) and add salt to taste. Place filling onto the pastry in the pie dish and then cover with the top pastry, sealing the edges with a little water. Make some cuts in the top to let out steam and bake in the oven at 200C/400F for at least half an hour or until the pastry is browned.

Nice served with a large salad.

carlin2



Spicy Sweet Potato Fajitas

Simple to make, lovely to eat.  Particularly frugal for us as we found these wraps reduced to 10p on Christmas Eve (freezer has quite a pile of them now) and the peanut butter at 4 jars for £1 at Approved Food, and it’s the nicest peanut butter we’ve tasted!

Ingredients for four people:
4 wraps or tortillas of your choice
a tablespoon of vegetable oil
3 or 4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin sticks
1 onion, very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon each: dried coriander, ground cumin, dried fenugreek. Or you could just use some curry powder.
1 tablespoon desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon peanut butter
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a pan and fry up the onion and sweet potatoes for a few minutes before adding the spices and mixing well. Add the coconut, peanut butter and salt along with a small amount of water (a few tablespoons), cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are soft. It should only take a few minutes: sweet potatoes cook much faster than white ones.

Lay out your wraps and divide the sweet potato mixture between them. We lay it out in a line and then fold down the ends of the wrap before rolling the fajitas up for less messy eating!

Yum!


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Beer Battered Onion Rings, frugal food

beer battered onion rings

These beer battered onion rings are gorgeous! They’re light and crispy and fluffy and wonderfully flavourful. And really, really simple to make.

Ingredients (for four side portions or two greedy ones)

  • oil to fry; we used sunflower
  • one large onion
  • about a cup/120g of self raising flour, we used Asda’s gluten free
  • about 200ml of beer of your choice; you could substitute sparkling water instead
  • half a teaspoon of salt
  • a quarter teaspoon of dried turmeric (optional, makes the batter more colourful)

Method

Slice up your onion to make the rings, not too thinly, and discard the skin. Whisk together the flour and beer/water until a nice thick batter forms. You don’t want it watery but neither do you want it too stiff like a cake mix.

Heat your oil. If you have a deep fat fryer: go for it! We used a large pan with the oil at about an inch deep and did the rings in three batches. Test the oil with a small drop of batter: if it starts bubbling and frying, it’s ready.



Dip the onion rings in the batter, coating them well, and then pop them into the oil to fry for a few minutes until the batter goes nice and golden. It’s best to do this, both the putting in and lifting out, with a fork or other implement: don’t burn those fingers!

You can lay them on a kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil if you want.

Pile them up and enjoy!

beer battered onion rings

If you liked these beer battered onion rings, be sure to check out our other frugal recipes here.