The Angelicscalliwags Challenge: Week 6


Welcome to week 6 of the angelicscalliwags challenge.  The challenge is on to pay off our mortgage in 2 1/2 years (mad goal) or in 5 years (sane goal).

For the rest of the posts in this series see here

How did we do this week?

We didn’t do so well this week.  We had to call a plumber out, pay our car insurance, household insurance and put enough aside for our car tax next week.  We also took our two older children productive plant shopping on account of their sister getting her chickens.

We put by £50, not great but nothing to be sneered at either.

What have we been doing (or not doing) this week?

  • Blogging is a funny thing.  Just recently I’ve had people I know telling me they read my blog and even  a couple of people I don’t know coming up to me and asking if I write the angelicscalliwags blog, as they recognise my children from their pictures!  This presents a problem if I want to do anything on the sly.  Snacking for example.  Each time Gary and I get the nibbles and are unable to control ourselves (basically every time we get them), we furtively tip toe down to the local shop, looking over our shoulders to make sure nobody who reads the blog actually sees us!  I made the suggestion (okay it was just in jest!) to Gary to check before buying anything that there is nobody we know around!  I do, however, have a list of things that are deemed acceptable to buy locally – loo paper and milk.  Buying anything not on that list (of two items)  is the surest way to a guilt trip unless we are not seen!  I just thank God I have insomnia and can go late at night, with a big black coat on, a curly wig… not really, but it’s tempting!  All this to say – have I stopped snacking?  Um, that would be a no.
  • It seems I put too many photos up on my blog because I keep having to pay for more space.  So I’ve been looking through old posts and deleting unnecessary photos to enable me to post current photos without paying for any more space.  See, I can be frugal when I called to be.
  • We filled ten bags full of things for the charity shop.  This batch was mainly made up of clothes given to me by my mother.  It’s a good job mum and I are so close because at least once a week she brings round something else she has grown out of.  The conversation goes something like this:

My mum:  I’ve got something for you!  (my heart sinks because I know what is coming next)  I thought you might like these (she holds up article of clothing excitedly)  They are HUGE on me (granted she has lost weight)  Claire, they are just ENORMOUS, look! (she hold large article of clothing up against herself)…….  I thought they’d be perfect for you!

Me:  Mum! (now I consider myself a little on the large size maybe, but huge would be exaggerating somewhat!  I mean, a dinosaur might be thought of as huge where as I am more elephantine.)

Note to self:  Must give up snacking so that said clothes are too big for me too.

These clothes do serve one purpose though.  Being so gargantuan we don’t need too many pieces of clothing to fill each bag and earn us £10 at the charity shop.

  • This next point might be weird even for me.  Whilst I was peeling the spuds for mashed potatoes I noticed that a lot of peelings were going into our compost bin.  In fact they filled it to the brim.  So out of interest I weighed them.  Yes, I know it is a little extreme.  I’m trying to redeem myself for not giving up snacking.  So I had peeled 2.5kg of potatoes and this produced 500g of peelings.  That means I’m composting 1/5 of my bag of potatoes!  Next week I’m going to try to mash with peelings on.  It’s also healthier that way.  Or so I’ve heard.  An earthier kind of goodness.
  • Whilst decluttering (yes, I’m still at it.  I told you, I’ll be lucky if I finish before the five years is up) I came across the children’s flannelette cot sheets.  So I did what any aspiring frugalista would do.  I cut them up into wipes.  And I did it to a background of my husband’s dulcet groans of disappointment.  Home made wipes would not be Gary’s most favourite of possessions and he is peculiarly attached to our disposable ones (not so attached he doesn’t throw them out after use though).  We’ve used reusables before and he was less than impressed.  This time it’ll be fine.  I gave him a spray bottle to go with them.  Sorted.

What have the children been doing this week?

One of the reasons we didn’t manage the whole £100 was because we took our two eldest children shopping for plants.  C10 had a large amount of money spent on her chickens (which by the way have made no effort whatsoever to begin paying us back in eggs) and we had told the others we were willing to give them £10 each for something for their individual projects.  We did this last weekend.  T11 had commented that if we didn’t get a move on, the tomato plants would need harvesting rather than planting.  Point taken.

T11 chose four tomato plants which thankfully were in full planting season (yes, I do know that’s not a technical horticultural term…yet).  They are the short stubby bushes which have fruited prolifically for us in the past.

L10 chose some herbaceous plants which would die down each year and come back the next bigger and better.  She could not wait to plant them before picking the flowers.  So she didn’t.  She now has two very bare looking plants whilst we have gorgeous bunches of flowers throughout our house.  The girl’s obsessed I tell you.  She needs a leash.

Are they not just so beautiful, just like my girl.
Are they not just so beautiful, just like my girl.

Frugal tip # 5

Whilst I fully understand that there are one or two things we do which would be considered an insult to the frugality movement so lacking in parsimony are they but I surprise myself sometimes finding that there are certain things I do, and have done for years, which many would consider extreme.  Hairbands is one such thing.  The moment I snag a pair of tights irreparably they are immediately consigned to my hairband stash.  I haphazardly cut each leg into a multitude of circular strips, pop them in a basket and we have a pretty endless supply of hairbands.  Don’t mock!  These are free (brilliant when there are five girls in the house) and are very gentle on your hair.  In addition because I only wear black tights they are a good colour to hide what they actually are.  No one will know!  That is unless you go public on your blog…..

What an I reading?

Little House Living– this is a blog which, if you can overlook the occasionally odd English, is a wealth of information.  She has been living frugally for years, with the hope of buying her own Little House on the Prairie.  She and her husband and son have just started RV living in order to speed up the process.

Again I’m reading Down-To-Earth looking back at her old posts, hoping to gain some insight about keeping chickens a little more frugally.  I just LOVE this blog.

I’ve also been perusing  Low Cost Living.  This is a new to me site and one I shall enjoy looking in more depth.

What will we be doing next week?

  • Next week we are starting our Little House on the Prairie summer adventure box.  This will give us many opportunities to flex our newly formed frugality muscles and learn some new skills to boot.  Whether or not any of it will actually save us any money remains to be seen.
  • I will also be working with Gary on perfecting the art of no spend days.  Each week we fail miserably but that doesn’t mean we will fail miserably this week.  Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up again.  Or something like that. (Educating the children is clearly paying off.  That is a fine example of a Chinese proverb)
  • Another five bags to the charity shop to earn £10, bringing our total to £30 to spend there
  • Beginning to teach the children some skills which will help them remain frugal into their adulthood

Since next week is the end of the month I will be having a look at how we are doing so far in our quest to be mortgage free.


  1. I can just imagine that Mum / Daughter chat. Can your hear me smiling? Say hello to her for me. Have you ever tried eating unpeeled boiled potatoes without mashing. lots of people have done that here for as long as I can remember. Maybe it’s a throw back from the potato famine. Everything here seems to have some connection to that event.

  2. This post makes me laugh. I think you’ve all done really well, taking into account all the extra expenditure you have to make this week. Keep going! 🙂

  3. Oh my! I’ve been giggling all day at the thought of you and Gary sneaking to the snack shop with your trenchcoat collars turned up!

    As for the blog costs … I’m sure you could cover them a hundredfold if you move to being self-hosted? Either that or we’ll have a whip round!

  4. Love the image of you sneaking into a store with wig and big black coat. Its funny what recognition brings! Good luck this week – and putting aside what you did is nothing to sneer at- especially considering your expenses – life happens after all, and it often costs more than we expect!

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