Easy, Frugal Breakfasts!

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Easy, Frugal Breakfasts!

By: Cyndi Roberts

We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And that children that eat breakfast do better in school than those who don't.

However, we also all know that it isn't always easy to find time to prepare that all-important meal or to convince our children to eat it!

One way to create a positive attitude toward breakfast in your children is by showing them that you enjoy breakfast!

Eating breakfast as a family is a great opportunity to spend some quality time together. Spending time together, making breakfast can turn out to be a child's favorite part of the day!

By being creative and maybe just a little bit organized, you can make a variety of tasty and healthy breakfasts. Try these ideas:

  • for a quick and easy breakfast try a toasted bagel spread with low-fat cream cheese.

  • or peanut butter spread on whole-wheat toast.

  • how about a fruit smoothie? Toss whatever fruit you have in the blender with milk.

  • when you have a little time, prepare a large batch of pancakes or waffles. Freeze in a single layer, then stack in a zip-top bag. In the mornings, pop one into the toaster, then top with fruit and yogurt.

  • or spread peanut butter and jelly between 2 pancakes.

  • try some non-traditional foods, like leftover pizza--kids nearly always go for it!

  • kids don't want to drink their juice? Try this easy recipe for Orange Juice Smoothies.

    • 1/2 cup orange juice

    • 1/4 cup sugar

    • 1/2 cup milk

    • 1/2 cup water

    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

    • 5 or 6 ice cubes

      Mix all ingredients in blender till smooth.

Breakfast doesn't have to be ham and eggs anymore! Nor does it have to be cold cereal. By using a little creativity you can have a healthy breakfast every morning!

About The Author

Cyndi Roberts is the editor of the bi-weekly newsletter "1 Frugal Friend 2 Another", bringing you practical, money-saving tips, recipes and ideas. Visit her online at http://www.cynroberts.com to subscribe and receive the Free e-course, "Taming the Monster Grocery Bill".



Bryan 01.12.2008. 13:32

Going to Disney World on vacation does anybody have any park secrets or stories they would like to share?
LulaBell... Thanks for the tips. Not staying at the resort. We have an offsite condo. It has been booked for months now, wish I could change though with the current resort pricing available to close to travel time for that. I have never been so I am looking forward to the trip. We leave for Florida on Friday.
Thanks for all the tips folks I am really looking forward to the trip. I liked all the answers so I will send to a vote for best.


Admin 01.12.2008. 13:32

I LOVE Disney! Here's some tips for you. :-)

Bring at least 2 comfortable broken-in pairs of walking shoes and extra socks! Also try to bring a poncho....Florida is notorious for spontaneous rain showers and ponchos are much cheaper in your local Walmart or Target.

Make Advance Dining Reservations for Character Meals 60-90 days ahead of time (some as far out as 120 days in advance) ; Call 1-407-WDW-DINE. The hardest Priority Seating reservation to obtain is breakfast at Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom.

Extra Magic Hours- if you are staying in a Disney Resort, this program enables you to enter a selected park one hour early each day or up to three hours later each evening!

Use FastPass!- especially during peak seasons. FastPass gives you a specific timeframe within which to ride the attraction and keeping your wait time low.

Take advantage of package delivery to your Disney hotel's gift shop -- even for Photos at Splash Mountain and Rock N Roller Coaster! Just make sure you aren't leaving the next day because you won't get your package in time.

Bring Water Bottles with you into the Parks especially during the hot months! Purchasing water inside the parks will cost you $2.00 per bottle. Here are the items you may not bring into the parks with you -- Glass bottles, alcohol, large coolers, wagons, and inappropriate clothing.

Remember Florida Sales and Resort Taxes -As you work out your budget, keep in mind Sales tax in Florida is 6.5%. There is also a resort/hotel tax that varies from 11 to 12% depending on where the hotel is geographically located.

Utilize the Attraction Boards - Each Park has an Attraction Board which lists the wait times for individual attractions and show times. A CM is stationed at the board and can provide you with directions as well. In Disney-MGM Studios the board is located at the right corner of Hollywood and Sunset Blvds. In MK the board is located at the far (castle) end of Main Street on the left just before the hub as you head toward the castle. At Epcot the electronic board is just outside Innoventions West.

Utilize Disney hotel baggage handling. Drop them off if your room isn't ready and head for the parks! Likewise, on your last day, check out and leave the bags for later. Be sure to pack a small bag with clothes to change to upon arrival (include your bathing suits) so that you don't need to open all the suitcases.

If you want to eat at one of the higher-priced restaurants, such as the ones at Epcot, consider making a lunch reservation instead of dinner. The food is just as delicious, but the lunch menus are often slightly smaller portions for a much lower price.

Beware of Souvenir Madness. Even the most frugal Disney visitor will surely buy some souvenirs to remind him of his Disney vacation long after he returns home. But its easy to get carried away and go way over board. So we recommend that you agree in advance on a "family souvenir budget" and then be sure to stick to it.

Don?t follow the crowd ? Many people will go to the right and move clockwise throughout Disney World?s theme park, so try going left and moving counterclockwise.

At Disney?s Magic Kingdom, beat the crowds by hopping aboard the Walt Disney World Railroad, which has train stations in Frontierland and Mickey?s Toontown Fair.

If you want to experience such immensely popular rides as Expedition Everest at Disney?s Animal Kingdom, Splash Mountain at Disney?s Magic Kingdom, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney-MGM Studios or Soarin? at Epcot, make them your first stop since they tend to draw some of the longest lines at Disney World.

If you love a parade, stake out your spot early since they usually draw crowds. Also, by picking a spot toward the beginning of the parade, you will get a jump on everyone else. You will have finished the parade and made it to the most popular rides while most of the crowd is still watching the parade.


E 30.04.2013. 17:40

I need some easy dinner ideas for a big crowd? We meet every week and share a meal together. In the past we have had build your own pizza, breakfast for dinner, southern food, bbq, taco bar......I am all out of ideas right now. I need something that isn't too hard and will be somewhat easy to prepare. Thank you!! :)


Admin 30.04.2013. 17:40

How fun! We have done a theme of vintage casseroles from the 50' and 60's. Everyone was frugal and it will usually involve some Campbell's cream soup Its also fun to have a crock-pot bar.
Family heritage is fun, too if your group has recipes that have been handed down from Grandma. (In my case these recipes are not so easy to prepare.)


yo mumma 20.12.2009. 11:28

what simple, inexpensive recipes can i follow to improve my skin? I'm sick of using prescription drugs that don't work for my acne, and I know that my diet is partly to blame for my skin. I'm a student so I can't really afford that much and I've pretty much never cooked a 'real' meal, so keep it nice and simple please :]

It would be great if you could give any links instead of just one or two ideas.


yo mumma

Admin 20.12.2009. 11:28

It's also due to hormones honey so if you can get to see a dermatologist that would be good to eliminate any issues.
A good diet will help, lots of water and exercise but use vitamin e moisturiser (if possible the oil). I know it sounds nuts using oil on your skin, but trust me, it works. I bought soya bean oil off ebay and it really helps my skin, I put it on at night to avoid looking greasy in the day and a little goes a long way - plus it's cheap! Do persevere with it and you will see results in days and it will help prevent scarring and wrinkles.
The easiest way to cook is to experiment with good foods. Those with a low gi (glycemic index) that are slow burning.
A typical day could be:
Breakfast options:- Scrambled eggs/peanut butter on toast/porridge with fruit
Lunch:- Baked beans on wholegrain toast/tuna mayo on a jacket potato with side salad, chicken or ham and salad in a tortilla wrap with veg soup
Dinner:- Fish, chicken, turkey with vegetables or salad and brown rice or wholegrain pasta
Feel free to mix any of these up - I have also pasted a link below for frugal recipes.
Good luck hun - get that vitamin e!


princess88 19.08.2008. 18:19

Can you name every way to cook an egg? I was wondering excatly how many ways there are to eggs, and I was wondering if someone could tell me all the ways.


Admin 19.08.2008. 18:19

1. Scrambled- A staple at any breakfast.
2. Over easy
3. Poached
4. Sunny Side Up
5. Add eggs to skillet bags from the grocery store
6. Hardboiled- They make a great anytime snack.
7. Breakfast burrito- cook eggs, put in tortilla, eat.
8. Chillaquillas- scrambled eggs mixed with cut up corn tortillas; add salsa and green chili for taste
9. Egg sandwich- great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner
10. Eggs in Raman Noodles- the combinations of two extremely frugal equals a frugal dynamo
11. Eggs in spaghetti noodles
12. Eggs mixed with chorizo- chorizo is a delicious Mexican sausage; can be served by itself or wrapped in a burrito
13. Eggs in a pita
14. Omelets- the possibilities are endless on this one; add whatever you want
15. French toast- bread dipped in eggs- how frugal can you get?
16. Egg?s nest- cut a hole in a piece of bread, put contents of egg inside hole, cook in pan.
17. Huevos rancheros
18. Eggs scrambled with rice
19. Eggs scrambled with beans
20. Pasta carbonara- cook some noodles, beat some eggs, pour egg mixture over cooked noodles; the noodles will cook the egg mixture; add come bacon and garlic.
21. Eggs scrambled in shrimp
22. Substitute eggs for meat in Hamburger Helper
23. Deviled eggs
24. Slice a hard boiled egg in your salad
25. Egg drop soup


balooga 11.06.2008. 14:13

Challenge - Meals for under $5 total for family of 4.? Trying to be more frugal! Any ideas would be appreciated!! Thank you!


Admin 11.06.2008. 14:13

Homemade soup! It may initially cost more than $5, but you can eat it for several days (or freeze portions for later consumption). Add a new vegetable, meat or spice each day to give it new life.

Potatoes are a cheap staple and are very filling - mash, boil, bake, fry or grill - there are so many ways you can use them.

Eat LESS meat! Go meat free every other day and make smaller portions. Buy a whole chicken - it should be enough meat for several meals if the portions are small.

Pasta is always an inexpensive meal.

And for some great, super cheap meal plans, check out:
$45 Emergency menu (One week's worth of meals for a family of 4-6ppl - breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks for just $45!): http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/40dollarmenu.htm

And $70 Low Cost menu (Same thing for $70): http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/70dollarmenu.htm

Google: Frugal menu plans, fugal meals, frugal recipes, etc. You'll come up with hundreds of results.

While there are many, many ways to cut back on meals, please be certain you are not cutting out essentials. You should be sure your family is consuming 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day as well as the recommended servings of dairy, grains, etc. It is easy to be frugal and still have good, nutricious meals, but you will have to be creative.

Good luck!!


Bird79 13.09.2006. 21:59

where can I cut back to save money? I am trying to figure out a way that I can cut some cost to be able to stay home with my baby. Have any of you tried working from home. If so what are you doing and does it really work? I really want to stay home with my baby but I don't want to feel broke all the time.


Admin 13.09.2006. 21:59


Does your hubby work? If he does there are LOTS of ways to save and stay home with your baby and not be broke!!!
I am a stay at home mom of 4 kids ( at least until they all are in school and I take care of my mom full time as well.) and there are so many ways to save. Not saying that you cant save if your a single parent you can I have, (before I married my kids dad) Its just easier when someone else is working too.




This is not so much a money saver as it is a time saver, but my mom always said time is money...so here it is.
When I make pancakes, waffles or french toast I make lots of them and freeze them. During the week when we used to have time for only cold cereal or toast for breakfast, I can pull the individually wrapped servings out, microwave them and the children get a hot breakfast at least 3 mornings during the week. Also, when it comes to cutting those pancakes, waffles or french toast in a hurry, you just can't beat the pizza cutter; that way everyone gets to start eating at about the same time and nobody is late for school.

We have gotten WIC an it has really saved us a bundle you get your milk, 100% juice, cheese, cereal & eggs. If anyone can use this all you have to do is call your local health department and they can help you. This really helps out. You have to meet income qualifications but with most all of us being on 1 income it wouldn't hurt to try. In our state, they can get this until they are 5 yrs old. This tip is for cloth diaper users. Try making reusable wipes! I cut up an old flannel sheet into small washcloths that fit into a wipes container (about 8x8 or so). I finished the edges so they are very durable. The wipes get washed and dried with the cloth diapers. No mess, no fuss. Even if you don't use cloth diapers, they are great to have around. Hope this helps.
If you have a Farmer's Market nearby, buy your fruits and veggies there! And you save a lot and it's fun! Just be careful not to buy more than your family will eat in a week or so. An inexpensive outing for the family. Take the kids to Burger King to play in the big playcentre. The drink refills are free and you can also join the kids up to the Burger King club where they get free monthly treats plus a great treat bag at initial sign up. Just be sure to feed them before you go there so that your only output is a couple of drinks. It is much cheaper then one of those high priced indoor playgrounds and also your ear drums dont suffer quite so much!!!!
1. Attitude of gratitude -- A long journey begins with a single step and this is your first step. Begin with your own attitude towards being frugal, because it will impact the rest of your family. How can they be excited about changes if you aren't? So start by being thankful for all that you have, even if your life seems far from perfect (Guess what? We ALL feel that way! ).

2. Use Everything -- when you are cooking, think about how you can get every last food mile out of what you are making. Meat bones and vegetable trimmings can be made into wonderful stocks. Leftover vegetables and meats can be thrown into the same stock for free soups and stews or put into pot pies, homemade "hot pockets", crepes, casseroles, you name it. Look at food waste in an entirely new light, try to get every thing out of your food dollar!

3. The Price Book -- This is the most useful tool in making sure that every food dollar you spend is spent well. The basic idea of the price book is to have a system for tracking prices so that when you see something on sale, you will know whether it is really a good buy or not. I use a three ring binder and looseleaf paper. At the top of each page, I put several column headings: Date, Store, Item, Size, Price, Unit Price, Sale. At the top right hand corner of the paper, I put the name of the item (such as "bread", "milk", "cereal", etc). When I see a sale or even a regular price, I write it down in the price book. It is easier to do this at home with store receipts or sale ads, instead of in the store, where some employees may mistake you for a competitor's spy -- it does happen! After a few months of tracking prices, you will know what is a good deal and what is not. The most important section of the price book is the unit price, because that tells you, no matter what size the item, how much you are actually paying per pound or ounce or other unit of measure.

4. Bulk Buying -- With the price book in hand, you will be able to bulk buy with much more confidence. Now when flour goes down to 49 cents for a 5 pound bag, you will know that this is an excellent price and to stock up. Then when it goes back up over a dollar, you'll still be using the flour that you bought for the lowest price and smiling.

Bulk buying can be a little scary at first. Buying so much can be intimidating. How will I use this all? How will I store it? The answer is to get creative.Things that can be kept at room temperature can be stored under beds, in closets, anywhere. This is especially true of canned goods. Flour can be frozen (to prevent weevils) and then stored in airtight containers at room temperature.

5. Use your freezer -- Eventually you will want to have a deep freeze to stock up on good deals on meats and other frozen items. A freezer is a great investment and tightwad tool. If you can get an older one cheap, it may be a good deal if it is still efficient -- 10-15 year old models are ok, but a 30 year old freezer will cost a bundle in energy. Check out newer, more efficient models and put the word out that you are looking for a freezer.6. Cut down/out on the junk food -- If you can get the tribe to completely give up the soda, chips, cookies, candy, etc, good for you! We have been working towards this goal for some time now, and have managed to cut out soda (we still drink kool aid ), most cake, and alcohol (I consider this to be junk, you have to decide for yourself). We have cut down on baked goods, and I make any we eat from scratch. We still buy chips for lunches only, and enjoy popcorn and homemade pizza on our weekly movie night.

7. Make it yourself -- Ban those convenience foods! If you can't totally cut out junk foods, make them yourself. A large homemade pizza costs about $2-$3 to make, compared to frozen pizzas which are typically $3-5 for a small size and delivery pizzas which run you about $8-20 each. If you bulk buy the ingredients and make the dough and/or sauce from scratch, it can be even cheaper to eat in
8. Cut down or stop eating at restaurants -- Make it a special occasion to go out to eat rather than a common event. Eat out once a month and use coupons to cut costs even further.9. Clone your favorite brand name and restaurant recipes -- This is not as hard as it sounds. Most popular convenience foods and restaurant foods were inspired by their homemade counterparts. Ther secret to recreating these foods well is to go back to the original homemade versions. Many basic cookbooks have wonderful recipes for homemade sauces, breads, etc. There are some great cookbooks that strive to duplicate some of the more favorite purchased foods. One of the best is called Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur. He has three books out with more in the works. 10. Eat less meat -- Does spaghetti really have to have all those meatballs? Does your pizza really have to have all of that meat on it? Only you will know for sure what your family will miss and what it won't. Many other cultures use meat sparingly in their dishes. Check out Asian and Indian recipes in particular. Try to think of meat as an accent to the dinner rather than the main course. If this is too difficult, try cutting portion sizes of meats and adding more side dishes to compensate. There is always a way to cut down on meat consumption.

11. Stretch Meats -- You may be able to get away with extending your meat by mixing in extra veggies, grains or even TVP (textured vegetable protein). TVP is made from soybeans and there are quite a few restaurants that use it, so it may be more familiar than you think (it's also very healthy). It comes in chunks or crumbled. It is dry and can be rehydrated before using or in the actual recipe you are using it in. You can hide it best in ground beef dishes, especially, dark ones, like chili. If TVP is not an option, stretch meats by cutting amounts in recipes and adding more beans, veggies or grains to the dish until your family complains, then ad back in a enough to make them happy.

12. Use your leftovers -- Get a free meal by saving those leftovers. If you think you will forget about them, label them and freeze. On leftover night, have a smorgasbord. You can also create "party trays" with smidgeons of this and that arranged prettily. Restaurants offer these, why can't you?

13. Pack your luches -- This is a great way to use up leftovers. Lunches don't have to be boring either. Think of items you might order at a deli and duplicate them at home. I send the hubby and kids with homemade hoagies, pitas stuffed with tuna, BLTs, pigs in blankets, cold pizza (they love this), bologna burritos (just a bologna sandwich on a tortilla instead of bread), and homemade hot pockets. I always have them participate in the lunch decisions or in actually making the lunches. This helps stem complaints. I include nonmessy fruits like bananas, apples and grapes, dried fruit, trail mix, popcorn, chips and homemade goodie -- cookies, pudding, rice krispy treats, etc. Click here for lots more creativ brown bag lunch tips, ideas and recipes.

14. Take drinks with you -- If you are working and spend money on coffee, buy a thermos and take your own. Take along water or tea in a big jug on outings, especially during the summer months -- this will help you resist the temptation of stopping at a fast food joint and ordering an overpriced, undernourishing soda. Pack drinks for the kids if you pack their lunches. When I did the math with my price book, I found to my amazement that the half pints of milk from the subsidized milk program are much more expensive than sending milk I buy at the store! Here a half pint (1 cup) of milk at school costs 25 cents, but the milk I buy at Aldi is $1.79 a gallon, or 11 cents a cup. I can send my kids to school with twice as much milk and still save money.

15. Fill up on healthier foods -- As you may have noticed from the selection of lunches above, I try to include healthy foods in the kid's lunches. I try to offer fruits and popcorn as snacks, rather than junk food, I offer them water between meals with the occasional Koolaid. I buy whole grain breads only and try to make mostly whole or half white/half whole grain baked goods. Any change is better than none. Whole grains and healthy foods fill you up and nourish you. You will eat less and crave less because your body is nourished more. Think of wholesome foods as an investment in your health. You may also find yourself visiting the doctor less often.

Some suggestions for putting more healthy foods in your diet: try eating brown rice instead of white, wheat bread instead of white, offer water between meals instead of koolaid and soda (and try to actually drink 8 glasses of water daily), keep fruits on hand instead of candy and cookies, fix veggie trays and dips for snacks instead of offering chips. These little changes, done daily can add up to big savings in money, loss of weight and better health.
. You do not need to wash with hot water unless you are trying to sterilize your laundry. Use the warm or cold setting to save money. Set your rinse on the cold setting. Washing in cold water can save the typical family over $120 a year!
When washing dark clothes for the first time use cold water and put salt in the water. The salt helps set the color. To brighten dark clothes after they have been washed several times, repeat the procedure. Even your washer needs to be washed once in a while. Run the machine on hot water, normal cycle, and add a bottle of vinegar to clean the soap film and scum that's built up inside.

Stockpile when items are on sale.

Buy in bulk when it saves money.

Use generic when possible.

Shop at thrift stores, even food (i.e. bakery) thrift stores! *** I get all of my bread, pastries, cookies at the Wonder BRead Outlet Store!!***
Buy merchandise with the best unit pricing. Bigger or smaller does not mean cheaper. Know your merchandise: buying poor quality at any price is never a bargain!

Buy with cash only, not credit. *** Iuse my Visa Bank Card. It works like a credit card, but it will only draw as much funds as you have in your checking account. Stop using checks unless its neccessary, this way you dont have to worry if you have written a cold check, neither will you be tempted to write one.***
Many stores have the policy to match their competitor's prices. If you see something in the newspaper that you want, but don't want to travel to that particular store to get it, cut the advertisement out and take it to your local store. Use coupons if you have them. Remember to bring them along!
Send off for rebates to get items free, or nearly free!
Check for "multi-purchase" discounts, or Buy ? Get ? Frees. Honor your spending limit. To save time, compare prices online before shopping brick and morter stores.

Check your pantry to see what you already have. Don't spend money on things you don't need.
Plan your spending to avoid impulse buys.
Grow it or Make it yourself and save!
You have heard this before, but it is so true ... don't shop for groceries on an empty stomach!! **If I dont have anything qick and easy at home I will get a cheeseburger at McDonalds, yes its bad, but it works on the tummy thats about to get groceries.**
Hope this helps a bit and no I havent worked at home..... yet.


Paige M 13.12.2008. 20:41

i need help for christmas i cant afford any thing this year ? I live in temecula CA. I cant afford christmas this year what should i do. If you know some one who can help me with my situation please leave a comment. thank you!

Paige M

Admin 13.12.2008. 20:41

A Do-It-Yourself Christmas: 34 Great Gifts You Can Make Yourself
Thursday, 13th November 2008 (by J.D.)
This article is about DIY, Frugality, Hints and Tips, Shopping

If you're new here, you may want to learn what this site is about. I encourage you to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

Last month, I asked readers to share their favorite frugal Christmas ideas. You responded with over a hundred fantastic tips. One common theme for saving money and adding meaning during the holiday season was to make gifts yourself.

My wife and I are lucky to have many crafty friends. Every year, I?m delighted to see what they create for the holiday season. I drew on our own experience, pulled some of your best tips from the past, and scoured the web for new ideas, in order to produce the following mammoth list of do-it-yourself Christmas gifts. But remember: in order to complete many of these, you need to get started soon. Enjoy!

1. Almost everyone loves homemade truffles, says Mo. ?My husband and I made them last year, and they were a big hit. I had no idea how easy to make they were, and we covered them with different kinds of crushed nuts and such. It was really fun! We then went and bought blank little white boxes and I decorated them with just some wrapping paper (glued) and ribbon. I think all together, we made about 15 boxes of truffles (9 truffles each box) for under $30. And we used good chocolate to boot!? Upside? Yum! Downside? They should be made only a short time before giving, and eaten soon after. If you?ve never made truffles before, try this recipe from Alton Brown.

2. JM has a great suggestion, one that many of you may have already seen: ?[My mom] gives some people unbaked, made-from-scratch cookie kits. Basically she gets most of the dry ingredients to her favorite cookie recipes together, along with a mason jar, a note card, and some ?country? style ribbons. She then layers all the dry ingredients in the mason jar, screws on the lid and prints the recipe on the notecard in an old-fashiony looking font, and then ties it to the jar with the ribbon. The result is cool looking, because the ingredients are layered in the jar.?

3. Create a secret hollow book. Find a cheap musty old classic at your nearby Goodwill or used bookstore. Glue the pages together, use an X-Acto knife to hollow out the center of the book. Now the recipient can store his treasures!

4. Martha Stewart has a great idea: create a recipe booklet containing a collection of your favorite holiday recipes, and then include it with a small assortment of samples. ?Pass your culinary traditions on to your friends.?

5. Live in a cold climate? Give your friends the gift of warmth with a homemade hand warmer. If you know how to make a beanbag, you know how to make a hand warmer. Use wool or cashmere or felt material, but instead of filling the bags with beans, fill them with ceramic pie weights. To use these toasty treasures, simply microwave them for a couple of minutes and then slip them in your pockets.

6. It?s difficult to go wrong with themed gift baskets. Did you can your own pasta sauce over the summer? Use a colander for a basket, add some garlic bulbs, gourmet noodles, and a wooden spoon ? a little taste of Italy. Or consider a breakfast basket. Or a breakfast basket (syrup and pancake mix), a movie basket (popcorn, candy, and a movie rental coupon), or a gardening basket (a trowel, a gardening hat, and some packets of seeds).

7. If you?re artistic, GRS-reader Beck suggests giving memory drawings: ?Draw a very simple black-and-white picture of a memory that you have of you and the person (e.g. me and my dad playing NES back in the day). This could be a very simple (think Shel Silverstein) drawing. Frame it and gift. The great thing about this (besides being cheap) is that you can give it multiple times to the same person. They will have a growing collection of ?memory drawings? from you.? Beck reports this gift is very well received by family members.

8. Elizabeth has another artistic idea, one that was very popular with readers when she suggested it: ?I?m a graphic designer, so this year I?m creating a booklet that Photoshops my 6-year-old nephew onto cheap stock photos of world landmarks, such as the Great Wall, so it looks like he?s traveled the world.? This home-made travel brochure is perfect for adventurous young minds. (Come to think of it, I think one of those would be fun for me ? and I?m no longer young?)

9. Give the gift of experience. The Gift Weblog suggests, ?There?s nothing like giving someone the gift of experience, it is something they will always remember.? Sample gifts of experience: sky diving, scuba lessons, hot-air balloon rides, cooking school, lunch with a hero, etc.

10. What could be cuter than a stuffed pig? This project from Martha Stewart allows those who are handy with needlework to assemble an adorable, docile pet from felted woo


The Contentious Otter 26.04.2012. 15:58

Was it hard for Anne Romney, remembering that she had to check with the help to make sure they got the kids? off to school before she sat down for her breakfast mimosas?

The Contentious Otter

Admin 26.04.2012. 15:58


Absolutely no prob for the pampered Princess Ann:

See, she had her fortifying "breakfast" BEFORE fussing w/ details like the childrens' well being.

So w/ a few Xanax, strawberry daquiries, and boxes of Swiss chocolates flown in early every AM under her ample belt, Princess Ann was in typical top form to deal w/ her...

Housekeepers, maids, butlers, laundry personel, chauffers, mechanics, maintenance people, cooks, nutritionists, psychologists, doctors, landscapers, nannies, personal trainers, personal assts, tutors, bookeepers, nurses, veternarians, librarians, computer specialists, audio specialists, spiritual advisors, fashion advisors, tailors, security detail, vehicle detailers, blacksmiths, sailing instructors, polo instructors, riding instructors, miscellaneous, astrologers, masseurs and Dobermans.

Easy when you'r truly committed to frugal, modest, conserv family values


Joshua B 09.04.2008. 15:55

Can i live on gbp8000 a year? i mean in a flat...

Joshua B

Admin 09.04.2008. 15:55

Far too many unknowns for any one to give you an answer... you will have to do some of the adding up and taking away yourself...

Break it down a bit... 8000 a year is fairly abstract to most people... this is, what, 160 a week... after deductions? If it isnt after deductions, then you will need to find out what it will be after deductions... probably around 6-7000, which is nearer 120-140 a week.

Anyway, if so, then you have 160 a week to play with... where you live, can you get a flat for 160 a week? After the rent, you will need to figure in the council tax (annual bill divided by 52) and bills (water, gas, electric), if you have a tv then tv license too... so how much does that all come to a week? Electricity and gas shouldnt be more than 5-10 each a week, water will be once or twice a year and shouldnt be too much (you should be able to find out how much from the landlord, it may be included?), depends how much you want to heat and use.

Are we still in credit? You now need to get to your job so you can get paid... how much is this going to cost a day? Times it by 5 (assuming you work 5 days a week) and take it away from what was left after rent and bills.

Are we still in credit? If so, you now need food... breakfast, lunch and dinner each day... same again on weekends... so times by 7 this time. Take this away from whatever was left after rent, bills, travel. You will want to add in your washing expenses in here, both bathing and laundry.

Is there anything left? You will need to use whatever is left to pay for your clothing renewal, entertainment, holidays, xmas and birthday presents, snacks, treats for yourself... any pets? I suspect we hit zero quite a while ago to be fair... I think you will struggle quite a lot on this annual income.

You may be eligible at that income for help with council tax, you would have to ask about this. I doubt it will help enough to make it viable.

Actually looking at it from the other perspective... is 160 enough to live on? You will need 50 a week in food, lighting, cooking and heating, this is the Income Support amount and is what it is for, so if it is enough for them, it should be enough for you. Travel is, say, 15 a week... so we have spent 65 on food, bills (not including council tax) and travel so far. Council tax is whatever it is in your area and you may be eligible for a deduction, so I will use mine for illustration only - 25 a week, so we are now up to 90. That is just to match people on income support. If you have a tv, then add 3 on at this point.

So out of the remaining 65-70 a week you have to pay:

your rent (lets see whats left after the other essentials)
clothing (on average whats that? 5-10 a week? do you mind charity shop clothing?)
washing (a very frugal 1? call it two, you will need to change your toothbrush every now and then)
laundry (3 for one load at the laundrette, all in together?)
entertainment (One night out a week with 4 pints is 10, how much do you drink? does it cost to get in where you go? is there a kebab, chinese or fish and chips involved at the end of the night?)
holidays (forget holidays!)
xmas and birthday presents (start making cards? and learn to knit? you can use the rented room's carpet as wool for the first year?)
snacks (forget snacks, who needs em!)
treats (games machine? dvds? music? forget it all)
Anything else you spend money on?

This will leave you with, not only quite a dark and lonely existence, but only about 40 a week for rent even if you take my frankly ridiculous amounts for your expenses. Sorry to be blunt about it all... but I suspect you are thinking about moving out of your parents place and think it will be easy or even possible... it really isnt. And when I compare it to income support, in no way am I suggesting this is the answer either!!!

Its not going to be enough - even with house-sharing you are going to struggle a great deal.


None 20.12.2012. 01:09

Would I survive in London with a maximum of 600 pounds per month? My budget is a certain 500 pound salary I get from my part-time job, plus some money my family sends - amount is uncertain, I'd say another 100 p/m.
So I've done some looking to see what's available out there and I am thinking I could hopefully find a cheap house share with bills included, e.g. around 95 p/w, ideally near enough to work so I wouldn't need transportation. I also think of budgeting the shopping not to exceed around 120 monthly. So, unless something urgent and expensive came up, I would be able to deal with it all.

I will be looking for more hours of work, of course, but I wonder how I could cope if I decided to go sooner than later. I am a person who lives simply and healthily and doesn't spend money on alcohol, cigs, luxuries etc. I would say I'm scared but would also find it thrilling to have some quiet time and my own space.
What else would there be to count as an expense? And what is your general opinion?

I don't drink coke, but I know what you mean. I have experienced London for the last 5 months though, living on the same budget and I think that there are some cheap ways of living unless you want to party often. I'm currently sharing the rent of a small room with someone. We share the bedroom (awkward) but we have our own kitchen and bathroom, so rent is quite expensive. I've been thinking that I need more privacy so I'd rather look for a house share and at least get my own room while sharing other facilities with housemates.
Thanks everybody... I will indeed think about it some more or wait until my circumstances are better, but I would beg you not to answer questions just for the sake of it. Clearly some of you have no idea, or still live with your parents. There was no need for so much dislike that almost seemed personal, in some answers (=rude). If you haven't done research, you can't properly answer. Know there are rents in Zone 2 for 95pw with bills included. Living in London for 5months now, me and my roommate haven't spent more than 60/w to feed both of us,so don't be ridiculous. Yes I have had to buy some basics from Sainsbury's every now then, I've had nights in instead of nights out, but it doesn't make anyone a miserable existence or a tramp, if they can still have fun. Nobody loses their dignity if they don't eat at restaurants every day. Also consider what % of the people living and working in London gets a 8.3 wage. There are also many students who have a worse
state than me. Anyway. Ty.


Admin 20.12.2012. 01:09

Adding my suggestions to Nikita's very helpful pointers....

It's not going to be easy, but then you already know that. But, yes, it's just about possible for someone like you who is clearly frugal in their lifestyle.

Bar work may fit in with your part-time job. Not great pay but good English-speaking staff are always in demand.

Things which may help eke out your budget:
Use local libraries for internet access (and to keep warm on days you're not working!) This will save you money on heating.

Cut your transport budget immensely by getting hold of a bicycle. Will a friend or relative lend you one? If not, register with your local freecycle group and look out for a bicycle and a lock for it; also a helmet. I would love to say 'buy a new helmet', but if you can't afford one, 2nd-hand is better than nothing.
If you have anything to offer first on Freecycle (I've seen all sorts offered (magazines, even empty jam jars!) this will make you more credible with the other group members and you can then post a "wanted" notice for a bicycle. Also join the Freecycle cafe group if there's one in your area: people there are always swapping skills, time and other free stuff. There's usually a good community you can tap into: help and be helped!

You can get free help to repair and maintain bikes in lots of places in London. The people at Hackney Bike Workshop are great and I'm sure will recommend if there's another bike hub nearer for you. http://hackneybikeworkshop.com/

Food. Find your nearest Aldi, Lidl, Asian supermarket and/or fruit & veg market. All these are cheaper than any of the big supermarkets for a lot of stuff. Get to know the basics ranges of Sainsburys etc: quality is absolutely fine on most things (flour, cream cheese, canned tuna, eggs are some of my staples). If you're in the City on any Sat afternoon, check the various big-name supermarkets for sandwiches & ready-meals at crazy-reduced prices (20p for BLT etc).

Porridge is my great economy! A 1kg bag of oats from the supermarket costs 1.10 (Sainsbury's price; may be cheaper elsewhere)... I measure 25g for a portion, add water not milk plus a good shake of cinnamon (buy cheap from Asian shops) and a teaspoon of cheap marmalade, bring to the boil and leave it to stand for at least 15 mins to fluff up before bringing back to the boil and serving. Keeps body and soul together more healthily and cheaply than any other breakfast I know, and the oats keep for months.

It's not all gloom and scrimping. Enjoy all the free stuff London has to offer! Museums are almost all free and often so are talks and other events there. There are free lunchtime concerts in many churches (with a collection at the end, but an appreciative audience is welcome even without contributing) and there's often free music in the lobbies of the Festival Hall/Southbank complex. Big events like the New Year's fireworks, Thames Festival, Lord Mayor's show etc are all free. Even paying gigs can be really cheap: my best bargains this year have been some brilliant sessions at the Water Rats (Grays Inn Road) with tickets at 8.

Anyway, good luck. If you have other questions, you know where we are.


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