Friday, 3 February 2012

Can I live on £100 a month? and the ultimate frugal painting. AGAIN.

Hello all and welcome to my new followers, there has been a sudden influx of them.

I wrote this post the other day and some of you (I know at least one did) may have briefly seen the title appearing and then disappearing. For some reason my post was 'eaten' and I was fed up and so left it a few days to re-write it. Here goes.

I have been inspired by fellow blogger Scarlet to try an experiment. To see if I can live on £100 a month for the next couple of months. I am treating it as an experiment but underlying this there is a serious reason. As some of you may know, I am in desperate need of some new windows and doors, not just because they are ugly and falling apart (I could certainly live with that) but because they are a security risk. 2 of the back windows are rotten and falling to pieces, the patio doors can be lifted out with a spade and the front door would give way with a good hard shove from my shoulder. So quotes are in and doors are ordered leaving me with the very unpleasant task of paying for them. Now the last thing I want to do is to get in debt, moving here was to get away from those sorts of problems and to make my life simpler, easier and debt free. If I can live on the bare essentials for a couple of months then I can pay for the doors and windows and job done.

The upshot is that if I can hone all my basic needs and necessities down to £100 a month for a while then I can pay all of this off. Now there are a few people out there at the moment I notice who have recently named blog entries in a similar way to this, give or take a few pounds, I have seen living on £150 a month, living on £100 a month etc (you get the picture) and one thing these people seem to have in common is that they are feeding more than one mouth. Now I, on the other hand, have only myself to feed, so really this should be a doddle!

So the first of February came and I took out my first £50 to do a good stock piling shop. Did a little research on the net for the best prices for things and then went shopping, Aldi won the day for most things but was just beaten by ASDA for strong white bread flour which is only 60p there, so I popped in and bought 4 bags. Now I have a menu plan for 2 weeks, a fully stocked larder and freezer (still don't own a fridge, but watch this space) and £10 left in my wallet. So feeding myself is easy.

The challenge is set and the windows and doors are on their way.

Frugal Painting.

I have been painting away for a few weeks now, most is done and I just had the kitchen and bathroom left and a few coats of woodwork here and there to do. Basically I had put a hold on it, because I didn't really want to spend any more money on paint for a while so I was just going to live with the kitchen as it was.

The other day I was sorting out all the recycling bins (they had been left in a terrible state by the previous occupants, any old rubbish had been put in any old bin) and I discovered a half 10 litre can of trade magnolia in the bin. It seemed ok although I had to pick out a packet of antacids and a can of something unrecognisable but I found myself with an alright load of paint to use.

So cost to me doing the kitchen walls, £0.

It is done and I have just given the skirting boards and door the final coat of gloss.

I love getting something for nothing. (Speaking of which, my totally free cavity wall insulation comes on Tuesday and not a moment too soon considering the cold weather we are having).

I have put some pictures up in the kitchen now and once I have sorted everything out tomorrow it will be finished.


  1. Good luck Dan. I haven't found anywhere to beat Asda for bread flour. It had gone up to 68p but I was pleased to see it had gone back down again- that saved me 48p this month! I have 75p left for the month, but the fridge, freezer and cupboards are full, and I have bought things which will last well into March, so next month's shopping shouldn't cost as much. Great news about the paint!We found loads of paint dumped at the bottom of the garden behind the shed - none of it was usable though.

  2. Good luck with your £100 challenge, look forward to hearing all about it. :)

  3. Well done on the free paint. I stuck to a budget of £10 a week for just over a month, that was for two adults, all meals. We ate of of the freezer with top ups of fresh fruit and veg. I was surprised how, with menu planning, well we managed.

  4. Good score on the paint. Cheap if great, but free is best! Do you have a local freecycle website near your location? It's delightful when someone wants to 'get rid' of something and all you have to do is fetch it.

    What color is magnolia? Sounds like an 'off white'. Lovely for a kitchen - bright and clean. :-D

  5. Well done on getting so much painting done and frugally too. I'm sure you'll manage the challenge of feeding yourself on £100 this month.It's when you have teenagers and their boyfriend always munching their way through the house it starts to get difficult.

  6. Just like us. All it takes is baby steps:)

  7. Hi! I totally think it's doable especially as you have a goal in site. I'm doing a similar 'stockpile' shop tomorrow and then hopefully we can get through the month on £150.
    Good luck, getting the upgrades to your windows etc will make it so worth it :)

  8. The new windows and doors will cut your fuel bills down as well.
    We dont have a cavity in our house so obviously cant have it insulated.

  9. Good luck to you!! I'm sure you will be able to do it. I, on the other hand, would find it neigh on impossible, having three children, 2 cats and a dog, oh and a hamster and fish...unless they lived on oats and spuds for a month perhaps (the children, not the animals lol).

    What luck with that paint!
    I find the value/smartprice ranges in the supermarkets are often just as good as the more expensive 'regular' items, btw.
    My husband, by the by, sells doors, amongst other things, on Ebay (reclaimed doors) strangely enough. Amazing what people chuck out - in their skips!

  10. Hi Dan. You have done so well to get to your dream home and sorting all the gritty stuff connected with the move. It will be a struggle for a few more month (remembering my move into my home 22 years ago) but from the summer onwards you should see some more improvements in your financial situation. As you don`t need to heat the house you will have spare cash for some
    more improvements, items you might need to make life a little more comfortable. As a single person you can also make use of real cheap ideas of feeding yourself. You might want to consider buying the cheap individual packs of supa noodles and enhance them with some fresh veg and mushrooms to make stir-fries. Eat cous-cous and top it with oven baked vegggies, buy dried pulses and cook them yourself. Then add them to sauces or make salads with them. Very cheap and filling. You could also have an organic veg box delivery for about £10 per fourtnight with free delivery from 'Riverford'. Then all else you have to buy is the extras to make meals with pasta, rice or pulses. Your budget idea of £100 per month is achievable as you have just yourself to worry about. Good luck with that.

    I`m decorating my my tired old kitchen at the moment. Your efforts with your home have inspired me to finally tackle my niggling eye sore.

  11. Hi. It depends on what you are including in the £100 a month. I am just logging my spending on food only, to discover how much I need to keep my body alive. I spend very little on anything else for myself. It's the cats which take most of my cash.

    I was in the same situation as you in my last house, window frames crumbling, and a door falling off, with no money for repairs. I was a bit cheeky and asked my ex bf for an interest free loan, knowing he was still sweet on me. He put £3,000 in my bank account, and I paid him back by paying installments into his bank account. It worked out very well. Have you got a wealthy ex gf, ha ha.

  12. Congratulations on finally managing to post Dan! I don't know if you have a council re-cycling centre near to you but ours and I'm sure most, sell paint cheaply that others drop off.

  13. Good luck with your challenge, Dan. You have the determination to win through.
    Love from Mum

  14. I think you are so right prioritizing doors and windows - get the best you can afford, it a one-off thing. When I was living alone I ate lots of soup and eggs and now and then a great big sandwich ! You can make a veggie and lentil soup so cheaply !
    Definitely check out freecycle and the recycling centers and sometimes paint shops have clearance paint; worth a look.
    Try Hillbilly Housewife for really cheap meals.

  15. Good luck with the challenge, it's perfect doable and, so long as you keep on top with the basics, you'll be able to start creeping some variety and maybe even small treats in!

  16. Hi Dan. I used to find that whilst it's cheaper of course to feed one than a family, you get much less variety for your £1. So much fresh food comes in bulk too large for one person, so you're forever eating yesterday's leftovers! Still, that never hurt anyone and it's definitely a good idea to get those doors fixed by the sounds of it!!

    Asda is soo unbelievably cheap compared to the other supermarkets, even Tesco! As for Aldi and Lidl, they are the cheapest but only have small stores down here so the selection isn't too good and Asda value range often wins out.

    That free paint is epic! :D Free is a magic number!

    What are you using the £100 for? Does it include food and household items, as well as a "living allowance" for the odd pint etc.? :D

  17. Good luck with your challenge!

    And who doesn't love free stuff?

  18. Oh good luck, I will be really interested to see how you get on with your £100!

  19. Fantastic find on the paint, i love a freebie.

    I am doing somethign similar out of necessity £150 per month for 4 of us, me and my 3 children, it can be done, with a little immagination.

  20. Love the free paint! Bet that felt good!

    Sounds like everyone is interested in your challenge and looking forward to supporting you!

    Sft x

  21. I realised today that if lived on £100 a month for 4 years I would probably be able to clear my mortgage completely. Now I know that this is probably an impossible and unsustainable reality for four years, because things always crop up and you never know what is around the corner, but it is an interesting thought isn't it.

  22. Hi Dan, good luck with the challenge. During some very lean times, I used to visit the veg market at the end of the day, when the traders were packing up. Some stall holders don't like having to re-pack stuff into their van and take it back to base so are happy to sell off half boxes of produce with a short life such as soft fruits, tomatoes, mushrooms etc. It may be worth checking out to see if they still do that. Lentils are king in these type of exercises - so versatile and cheap!

  23. In Canada we have freecycle - I would have loads of odds and ends paint to donate to your cause. Is there something like that so you could try and get more paint for free? We are downsizing, quitting our jobs and becoming purposely underemployed for a better way of life - less work = more living. I completely understand the idea of trying to live on little. Good luck in your challenge!

  24. I am really late on this but just as another bit of support....I think you can *definitely* manage on £100 a month. :-)

    Good luck and I look forward to reading about how it is going.