Thursday, 30 October 2014

Frugal Errors and Overpriced Coffee

Yesterday we had a quick visit to Meadowhall, it was a necessary trip as son needed new jeans/chinos.  I like to get in and out pretty quick usually as people shuffling along at a snails pace wondering what to spend next just drives me crazy. So after a quick decision on my sons part we got the jeans and then made our way to  the Lego store ( we have to do this, it is the bargaining tool to get him to come and choose clothes he will wear!) we don't go to buy but just look and perhaps think what we might get for Christmas.
So after these brief amount of time we are heading out and we pass Starbucks, now I have to confess that over the past few months I have bought a few of these when we have been near one, nothing over the top maybe three times last month and a couple the month before.  I know you probably think 'so that is just a couple of pounds' but really when you look at it it is such a waste.  If my son has been with me or both of them I've bought us all one, at £3.00 a go that's £9.00 on coffee! To be honest the last time I had one mine was luke warm but I complain? No I was very British and grumbled about it to my son and did nothing.
The other insult about this place is that they charge you  extra to sit inside, you are a customer! Why are they charging extra to drink their product on the premises it's crazy!
Anyway it occurred to me that ever so slightly bit by bit for a couple of months I have been letting my frugal habits slip. I think this happens sometimes without us realising it, it becomes easier to spend money (or waste it) as you do so.  I have been doing the usual justifying that we do, you know what I mean 'I work full time, it's only a few pound, I'm allowed a treat' yes all of this is true but I like the freedom that comes from not having to spend money to feel good and having security behind me.
So I had a bit of a wake up call yesterday about what is important to me, and also felt a little shaken by how easily we can get sucked back into the wasteful consumerism. I walked past the dreaded Starbucks and decided that as we needed milk on the way home I would buy a jar of coffee that would last weeks and not just buy one cup.
I had to pass Tesco and when I looked they had coffee half price from £4 to £2. I came home and made us both my version of the caramel mac which Starbucks lured me in with.  I cannot drink milk I have to have Soya so this is how I made my coffee...
I spoon of instant coffee (half a cup of hot water)
Half a cup of soya milk heated in the microwave then whipped up with a fork until frothy and poured over
A good squirt of Syrup on the top (rest of the family take milk in theirs)
The syrup was from Aldi the other week £1, I use it for pancakes for the children.
Now look, that is as good as the overpriced stuff and I get to sit wherever I like.

I worked it out and the can of coffee says 55 cups on the side so 3.65 pence a  cup plus a bit of soya and a splash of syrup I think it works out to about 8 pence  a cup, as opposed to £3.00! I feel like I must have been in a bit of a daydream because yes we know it's expensive but you think well I'm out and I'd quite like a drink.  So stop and think.
There are a couple of other areas where I think I have also become a bit more free with spending and I need to reign it in.  I have bought fabric twice this month, I told myself it was ok as I have done extra sewing jobs but the idea of doing the extra work is to make money not spend it. I need to get back to sourcing more recycling for materials and not rely on the new stuff.
The weekly shop is always under control so maybe that is why I haven't noticed the other bits slipping away, now that I am mindful of it I think it will be easier to keep in check.
Has anyone else had a similar experience of realising they may have been a bit wasteful? I find it helps me to share as I become more accountable this way. 


  1. Good for you! Your coffee looks great.
    Oh how I wish I could get golden syrup and your lovely butterscotch syrup here in the US. Sadly not readily available and there really is no substitute.
    I agree that it is so easy to spend. A little here and there soon adds up. I have taken to thinking long and hard about even the smallest of purchases. I write down what I spend and am annoyed with myself if I look back and see a frivolous purchase. The other day I was shredding some old credit card statements and was so taken aback to look at what I had spent money on, three years ago or so. My cable TV, landline phone and new clothes are a thing of the past. At least now I am doing better. I love your tips on recycling and making over, it is really amazing what can be done with a little time and ingenuity.
    Pam in TX.
    P.S.Loved the new Scottie Dog bag.

    1. Thank you Pam. I like your idea of writing it down first before you spend, we do still have Sky TV but we have cut back. I did want rid of altogether but my husband likes it so we cut down instead. The thing is our phone and internet is all in the same bundle and having had issues with other internet providers we are reluctant to change again. It does seem silly to me though as we only watch a few things on it. Looking back over the month is also good as sometimes I have noticed lots of little spends adding up. xx

  2. Absolutely! I completely relate to what you are saying. I'm currently on a frugal mission to reign it all in. It's amazing how quickly all those little £2 and £3 bits and pieces add up and eat away at what's in the bank. As I read your post I was immediately convicted about yet more fabric I bought yesterday. It was only a £3.95 purchase but really - I did not need it, I have loads of fabric that is yet to be used up! I think that we are so 'programmed' into a consumer way of thinking that we actively have to change our mindset. Almost tell ourselves off in our minds while out shopping lol.


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