Penniless Princess – Shopping: Planning Ahead

**Penniless Princess** – Shopping for the weeks ahead

How do you shop? Where is your favourite place to shop? Let me know in the comments!

Sparkly April

**Caution: if you’re a veggie, this post has pictures of meat in it. Sorry! Avert your gaze if you would rather not see!**

As you may have guessed, I’m all about that budgeting, not that bass! In previous incarnations, I did like me a little bit of spending: a Mulberry bag here, Kurt Geiger shoes there, and above all, never ever let me loose in Michael Kors! But now I’m trying to save to move out, so it’s all about being money-sensible.

What I usually do is on a Monday or Tuesday, have my little list ready, and either at lunch or at the end of the day, I go to Tesco and get what I want for that week. Sometimes if I have a voucher I’m quids in, so I might treat myself – I got prawns one week: ooooh!

This week, however, I decided to go into forward planning overdrive. I had a voucher for £4 off a £20 shop at Sainsbury’s. This might not sound like much to you, but every penny counts! I actually have four of these vouchers: we’re on week 3 of them. But I try not to spend £20 a week on food if possible – and especially not now I’ve had my mega shop!

How to make your money go further:

1. This is my mega shop:

Penniless Princess meat feast






I bought some beef for frying, pork loin steaks and turkey breast. Turkey is a wee bit cheaper than chicken and I quite like the taste!

None of this was on”special offer”: the beef was the basics range, and all in all it came to just over £10.

2. Get your baggies ready! I like these resealable ones which you can get from any supermarket. Just to prove it, here I use ones from Tesco and Morrisons.

3. Get some good sharp knives. The beef was quite hard to cut with my “good” knife, so I used our proper chef’s knife. I sliced everything up – without mixing!

4. Bag ’em up! Just like this:

A months worth of freezer fodder

PRO TIP! Don’t forget to label them. Name and date, if you please.

So out of those three cartons I got 9 x portions of beef, 2 x pork steaks, 3 x pork pieces, and 4 x turkey! That’s 18 meals there! All but one of the beef got whacked in the freezer; the beef I had as a stir fry for tea.

This should last me the whole of April! (Bear in mind I haven’t bought anything for Easter.) I am pretty chuffed with myself. I also have a few portions of meatballs I froze from earlier on – plenty to go off!

The idea is to now only buy what I need fresh that isn’t growing in my garden. I mean, a girl can live on kale, but she needs some variation!

I shall let you all know if this kept me going for all of April.

How do you try to make your shopping (or money in general) go further? Please let me know in the comments!




Penniless Princess – Saving Pennies in Expensive Months

**Penniless Princess** – Saving Pennies in Expensive Months

How do you save your pennies? Please comment! I’d love to hear how you save – if you have any hints, tricks or habits you use.

Sparkly April

Hello all! April is here!

April is a big month for me, in about four different ways:

1. It’s Mum’s birthday – happy birthday!

2. It’s the start of the countdown to the summer season at work. Lou and I were just saying today how we feel like things should be kicking up a gear. So far it seems to be relatively smooth sailing… fingers crossed, eh?

3. It’s April Madness time in the garden! I’ll be planting out my potatoes on Good Friday, and starting off more tomatoes and beans (mainly to replace the ones that the frost got…)

4. It’s car insurance month!

Now, some of you might know that the reason why I’m a penniless princess is because I own three cars. Three cars! One of them is Millie my Ford Puma, the best car ever, but who isn’t currently a road-going car; another is the Flying Banana, my daily run around – a Seat Ibiza in bright yellow; and finally, of course, we can’t forget the little blue Subaru called Dickie.

Expensive little dude!

Expensive little dude!

April is car insurance time for the Flying Banana and Dickie. The Seat isn’t expensive to insure, however insuring a performance car for an under-25-year-old isn’t ever straightforward. I’ve had Dickie for two years now: the first year, when I was 22, was extortionate. Luckily it dropped by £300 the next year, and this year my renewal came in at about £150 less. Usually what I tend to do is just pay both insurances up front, after haggling with my insurers, pulling a bit chunk out of my savings. This year things will be different!

I’m really focusing on saving this year. I’m trying to save £500 a month, which so far is going OK, but the big thing is to not dip into my savings.

My February paycheck was a biggie as I got an extra week’s wages, so straightaway I put as big a portion as I could feasibly get away with into another one of my accounts, earmarked as Dickie’s insurance.

Then obviously I had some unsuspected expenses. I won’t be the first person in the history of the world to admit that I have underestimated how much money I spend in the average month, and how much money just seems to zip out of my account. So I had to dip into Dickie’s account, here and there, and it went down a little bit.

Luckily I managed to get a good deal from my insurance company. I also decided to pay my Seat monthly – it might be a weeny bit more expensive in the long run, but it’s a little easier on the eye than a big chunk going out all at once. But insuring the Dickster on monthly payments is insane!

April has to be a careful month now! I have totalled up my outgoings and know now that on certain days I’ll be a lot lighter in the monetary weight department. *sigh* I suppose it’s all about learning to be a grown-up, eh?

So, Penniless Princess is all about me documenting my attempts to save my pennies, curb my spending (which has been, admittedly, wild in the past – whoops!) and to share the things I’ve learnt along the way.

Wish me luck!

I’d love to know how you all get on saving. Do you have a good way you’ve found of saving? Have you any good hints or tips on how to save?



Minimalist March – Week Three

Week three has been the biggie! Most specifically, week three Saturday.

Today I’ve come at it running. I woke up at 7, thought that was a bit early for a weekend, dozed until what I thought was half eight (it was 7.45). I had my cup of tea, checked emails, scrolled through Pinterest, and spent about twenty minutes waiting for my computer to finish configuring updates. I got changed, decided to walk the dog, came back, had a perfect boiled egg and soldiers (one soldier did desert the Noble Battalion of my plate – for the gaping jaws of Bilbo! Cheeky sod), and thought, let’s be at it.

I got some good tunes on, and this morning I dragged half my life out and through the blender.

I had three foot-high piles of notes from my entire undergraduate career (and I still feel like there is more somewhere – I know there are a couple of modules missing). They have been stuffed in bags ready for the “Twisted Firestarter” (aka Grandad, who is a bit match-hasty) to try his best to smoke out the village.

Oooh, wasn't I a little clever bee?

Oooh, wasn’t I a little clever bee?

I then went mad with the shredder. As some of you may know, in my brightest heart of hearts, I long to be a writer. I’ve longed to be one since I was thirteen. Maybe younger. Today I’ve just gone through ten years of notes – and filled six huge bags full of shreddings. Brutal! It is all in my head, or not worth featuring in the paperback edition of my collected works.

A little brutal, maybe! But all this shredding won't be wasted.

A little brutal, maybe! But all this shredding won’t be wasted.

Then we moved onto clothes. Not clothes! I am a hoarder, a compulsive purchaser, and a permanent scorner of returns. I have also gone up a size or two since I was 18. And even though I am sure I have donated many things to charity, in either those bags you get posted through the letter box that you leave on your drive and hope the charity (and not some opportunist in the same vein as Bilbo the soldier-thief), or bunged into the clothes bank. So I have been harsh, and brutal, and realistic. I have six huge bags – even bigger than the shreddies! – full of clothes to go in the clothes banks.

I do think that if I had never spent all this money in the first place, I would be loaded!

I have also filled the spare bed with an entire wardrobe of clothes to try and sell on eBay. These are things that are top quality, some of them never worn, that I think might make somebody else happy.

Cheesy, I know!

Finally, I tackled my books. I have a big plastic box, I think designed to go under a bed, and it is full of books to take to the second hand bookshop. These are books I’ve read that I have clung onto, deluding myself I might read them again (James Joyce, I’m looking at you), and books that it’s about time I gave up on.

I feel a lot better for going through all this. There’s a lot of work ahead, especially with sorting through my clothes, ironing them, taking attractive photographs, and listing them all on eBay. There must be about fifty items – I don’t think I have enough hours/energy on a weekend to do it in one slog. It might end up having to be a one-a-day type thing. But I will get it done!

Check back for an update on what progress I’ve made!

How is your Minimalist March coming on?


Minimalist March – Quest of Week Three

It has taken me a lot longer to do each too individually than I thought it would. It’s taken me about three weeks to do my bedroom. This is because usually I’m so tired after I get home from work that by the time I’ve cooked, ate my dinner, washed up and had a bath, had an actual conversation with my parents, it’s normally half nine and I just want to curl up and read a book. Sometimes I can motivate myself to do maybe an hour’s work – but this is usually sorting through paperwork, you know; the type of personal admin you do accumulate over the years.

This week I’ve been trying to list stuff on eBay to try and flog. But I was out Wednesday night with work and last night I got really annoyed with my computer being slow, so I ended up spending the later part of the evening trying to sort it out.

Minimalist March is also running alongside my own personal writing challenge, plus my frugal living (it complements frugal living certainly!).

One thing that I have been hoping to uncover, which I have not found as yet, is something I am now starting to miss, as I’m getting more and more involved in blogging, and would be something very useful for eBay as well; and that’s my camera.

At the moment I use my phone. It’s an iPhone 4S which I think is about a dinosaur now. The camera is passable, certainly; it usually takes great pictures of my vegetables and seedlings and loves to take pictures of Bilbo, but he is very photogenic. However now that I’m reading other blogs and getting more into the serious stuff, I am realising a proper camera is probably a better medium for all this.

Now I do have a camera. I got it for my birthday a couple of years ago. I found the case. I think I found its box as well. But no camera! It’s been missing for a while. I think I tried to get the police involved but they just sneered at me.

Minimalist March - ou est le camera

So where is it?! I found the laptop cover I was looking for while I was still in teacher training. I even found the shoebox with mum’s wedding shoes in. I even found my birth certificate, which I’ve been looking for since god knows when. But no camera.

Look at this mess!

No filter - just to give you an idea of the mess my life is in!

No filter – just to give you an idea of the mess my life is in!

Wish me luck!

Katy x

Decluttering – March, the Month of Minimalism

Hello, and a warm welcome to March!

A new month! Picture of our calendar at home (it's a Samoyed calendar - full of lots of dogs that don't actually look that much like Bilbo!)

A new month! Picture of our calendar at home (it’s a Samoyed calendar – full of lots of dogs that don’t actually look that much like Bilbo!)

It’s the beginning of a new month – the best time for a new beginning. And on a Sunday, no less! This is excellent timing: if it had been on a Monday, it would have been dulled by that back-to-work slump, and I’d be tired from a long day at work and a long drive home; probably too tired to even think about making the most of March. But the first is on a Sunday – that’s a whole other story.

I found a wonderful article – and website – on Pinterest yesterday, and it’s inspired me to make something of March. Already I’m tackling a few new things for March: I’m writing now seriously, intending to enter a writing competition; I’m trying out vlogging, to see how that works; not to mention work is hotting up right now!

Here is the article, on

Please check it out! It might inspire you, just like it did me.

Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest are all full of ‘instadaily’ and ‘photo a day’ and ‘100 days of happiness’ type things. But this one really piqued my interest. I come from a long family of hoarders: the house we live in at the moment was my great uncle’s house, and he was a legendary hoarder. We three moved here after he passed away, and we moved from a smaller house (2 and a half bed) into a bigger house (4 bed), filled this house, a huge shed that dad turned into his workshop, and a whole shipping container and half of another one with all of our junk. I’ve hoarded things my whole life: clothes, books, sentimental bits and bobs, mementos from old boyfriends and uni days and old school friends and old dreams.

But over the past few years, I’ve started to feel a disinterest in the things that I held on to for so long, out of pure habit. I moved home after university because I didn’t have a decent job: I was working two part-time jobs; then I went from internship to minimum wage job, to-ing and fro-ing a bit without finding my niche. I thought teaching was my end game: I applied and was rejected and reapplied and through sheer desperation got accepted. It meant my life was fragmented, dictated by the thought that in September I’ll be somewhere else. Now that I have a static, permanent job with a sense of longevity, I feel like I’m in a position where I’m in control of my life, rather than the odd chances of life being in charge of me.

This now means that I have the time – and I suppose the long-distance projection of time too – to finally do those things: sell those skirts that don’t fit, those shoes that I’ve never worn, those uni books I’ve not read and don’t need to.

And so, the Minimalist Challenge mentioned in the above article is my new purpose for March! Every day I will do something to declutter – list something on eBay, give something to a friend, sell something on Amazon, throw those old ticket stubs out, doing more and more every day. I’m trying to save for a deposit, too, for a little home of my own: who knows? Through this I might make a little bit more money to go towards that!

So please, check back to see how I’m getting on! And let me know if you want to join me to make March the Minimalist Month!

Love, Katy