A very happy and frugal New Year to you! Here’s hoping we’ll save lots of money in 2008. That is – I’m hoping my lacklustre financial start to 2008 won’t continue….!
Christmas augured well. Our little free range chicken (apologies Thelma, Lexi and Molly) was delicious and I was smugly surprised by my delicious homemade Christmas pudding. We steamed the hell out of it for six hours on Christmas Day, but it was fab. What a relief!
Our frugal entertainment on Christmas Day was fun too. DJ & I took our neighbour Nina’s dogs – Arty and Nessie (Arty is a Westie and Nessie is a Scottish terrier) for a walk in Norsey Woods (DJ dragged them through the muddiest places he could find) as she & the family were away. It was great fun and completely free (as was the dog poo we had to scoop up…). Although I felt guilty considering Nina had given them a bath the day before….I’d never taken a dog for a walk before – coming from a cat-loving family – and it was fun. DJ tried out the training techniques he’d learned from The Dog Whisperer, which since he bought us a Freeview box for Christmas has become his favourite programme, but I’m not sure how far he got! I kept finding dog treats in his trouser pockets when I was doing the washing…Strange man.
We were very lazy during Christmas and pottered about, going for the odd walk. The only major trip out was visiting a karaoke booth in Soho (!) for our friend Emma’s birthday. Many songs were horribly murdered and there were several dead artistes spinning like tops in their graves that night. Brilliant fun! James refused to accept any money for the booth hire, but drinks were obviously how the place made their money. One friend paid £18 for three drinks – ouch! Afterwards we visited Bar Soho – it’s the typical West End joint with self-important bouncers and sky-high drink prices, where you can’t hear yourself think (I get more like Victor Meldrew every day…). I got a round in there (still cheaper than the karaoke place) and, for once, dodged the annoying woman in the toilets expecting money for her expertise in handing me a paper towel. Is nowhere sacred?! My heart sank when I noticed her (having a weak bladder means an expensive night out!) but I blanked her and dried my hands under the hand dryer.
But it was my trip to Ireland to visit the folks after New Year that proved the biggest expense. I thought I’d been clever avoiding the Stansted Express and using local buses to get to the airport. A £3.40 bus to Chelmsford, followed by £9 return bus from Chelmsford to Stansted– terrific! But over there I came down with a tummy bug the day I was meant to go home. We went to the airport anyway – Mum was visiting friends in England and I was meant to fly with her – but in the end Dad dropped her off and drove me back as I desperately tried not to redecorate the car interior (thanks for the excellent nursing, Dad!). Annoyingly, it was too late for me to change the flight so I had to buy another one for £65. Aghh!
Let’s hope the rest of 2008 is more frugally successful! What are your frugal New Year resolutions?