Monday, 9 May 2011

The Economy Drive, signing up

The trouble with money is when you realise you haven't got the balance right. Having just finished work to complete a project I've suddenly become stony broke. My income stream is almost dried up and mu outgoing stream is more like a racing river. I need to get on top of things and was reminded by two invaluable posts Fashion's Most Wanted 'Time for an economy drive' and Vintage Vixen 'Dream On' Both posts are brilliant - a must read to remind us how to do it on the cheap and how it is okay to mess up but rein yourself in and get on top of things.

It is hard to find the balance on fiscal sense for oneself and having hopes and desires. It is the blending of reality (your income) and what you can do (how to achieve goals). I felt spurred on by Christina and Vix - I spend too easily and I don't go the extra mile at times to do something on an affordable scale. I will buy new rather than hunt around. Sometimes this is fine but often by deciding to set a limit on what you can spend, it makes you more creative and look around for alternative ways.

In some respects I'm really good. I grow things, make bread, do monthly meal planners and have a household budget but equally I fritter things away. I will suddenly invite all and sundry around and go mad on food and drink so everyone has a great time. I still want to do this but need to think about not blowing the budget and make everything go further. I don't need to get olives and nibbles etc. Just a meal, pudding and a fun drink - I'm favouring the Venitian Spritz (recipe below post) - all homemade.

Vix made me think about how to focus. I really want to go skiing this year for Christmas so I'm going to have that as a goal. It is the same price as skiing in the February half term and neither Mr MDS or I have been skiing since the arrival of the petit garcon. We would like him to learn to and although this is indulgent I do think it is important to have a goal. We've got all the gear so all I need to get is a ski suit for the petit garcon - even he has got thermals due to all the cold weather we had last year. I even got him salopettes from TK Maxx two years ago but they are too small now.

I also want to clear the last bit of my student loan - only 10 months to go and get rid of my overdraft. Because I'm in the midst of writing it really doesn't matter if I don't go out. My mind is elsewhere and I've partied for Britain over the years, home and away. My best cure for jet lag is to go out to a club, dance a bit and then go to sleep. Of course that's not on the cards these days. My next step is to cut out all wastage, no processed foods, no more wine, no coffees and no ebay, amazon or anything.

To assist my endeavours, I will make a mood board. One that reminds me why I'm not spending money. After all I've been styling for years and creating outfits out of anything. I spent a few hours in front of the mirror trying on different combinations to remind me I don't need any more clothes! It did remind me that I do need to lose my spare tyre or two and that is a great motivator as clothes always look better when not so snug.

The most important thing is the roof over our heads, food on the table and the rest is just a bonus.

Venetian Spritz Recipe

Spritz is a popular apertif in Venice. It is reasonably priced and always served with a complimentary bowl of potato chips, making it the perfect beverage for tourists wanting to appear inconspicuous and save money at the same time. Italian bartenders will usually offer a choice between a Spritz made with Campari or Aperol, another bitter aperitif.


  • 2 oz Prosecco*, Italian sparkling wine from Treviso
  • 1 oz Campari
  • Splash of Soda water or more if you want to have 2 glasses!
  • Green olive and lemon peel twist (optional)


  1. In the glass add ice, Prosecco, Campari and soda water.
  2. Garnish with a green olive and lemon peel twist impaled on a short wooden skewer.
  3. Best enjoyed while sitting alongside a canal in Venice

*White wine can be substituted for Prosecco.


  1. I think you are very good at your economy drives.. you were last year.. I am also trying to be good.. I do find it easier in the summer tho.. xx

  2. Love the spritz recipe. I will definitely try it soon.

    I'm on a health drive (alongside my usual thrifty ways) so am avoiding take-aways. My big mistake is to confuse 'cheap' meals out and takeaways with being 'cheap' per-se ... £30 might be cheap to eat out, but I could cook a meal for a 6th of that price!

  3. No wine? You cannot be serious! That's taking frugality a step too far, methinks ...

  4. Loved this post! I'm like Perdita - I tend to spend on take-aways.....

    or Amazon....

    Things MUST change!

    My goal is chickens and bees of my own. *focused face*

    Ali x

  5. Gosh I hope we can all benefit from this common goal and support each other on our individual journey to reach it.
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Good luck Kate! And thanks muchly for the spritz recipe. There's always Prosecco in our house (Lidl do a great version for £4/5 a bottle btw) so I'll definitely give it a try.

    I've been having this conversation with SO many of my friends recently. None of us are particularly big spenders but things seem to have hit everyone hard recently and we're all feeling very poor.

    I blame my stupid car. I'm off tomorrow to spend £150 on taxing it. It's only a bloody Clio! Hate the stupid thing.

  7. I love your mood board and that recipe is definately something I'll be copying.
    Good luck with your frugality quest.
    I agree with the need for a goal to aim for otherwise you'll just get fed up and the spending urge will kick in. I've been known to carry a picture of an Indian beach in my purse so when I feel the need to buy something frivolous I'll see it and change my mind.
    Several of our friends go overboard with the entertaining expenditure, we've told them that we visit to enjoy their company and the food's the last thing on our minds. Whilst it's lovely to have posh deli olives and stuffed quails eggs a bowl of Bombay Mix is perfectly acceptable.
    Good luck. xxx

  8. I've always loved this quote by ee cummings "I'm living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart".

  9. Great post, definitely reflects how I'm feeling at the moment! Life in general just costs so much these days, we really are in hard times. I'm thinking of making my own wine again (made a gorgeous red wine with my Dad a few years again). We already had the equipment so the kit and incredients cost £50 to make a wine that you would probably spend around £7 in a supermarket. We ended up making around £250 worth of great red wine. xx PS I'd be really interested to see your mood board xx

  10. I want a mood board but I would cover it in pictures of things I want from NAP and pictures of Puerto Banus and then start crying.

  11. These posts are great for a reality check. I wish I was better at economising. I'll have to bookmark this and come back when i'm ready to make the comittment!

  12. The spritz sounds gorgeous, campari is my favourite drink at the moment - so refreshing for the warm weather. A mood board is a good idea. I might just stick up my old employers logo on the fridge as an incentive not to end up back there! ;) xx

  13. Dear Kate, love the cocktail recipe.

    Good luck with the economy drive, you have the willpower to do it. I'm doing alright so far. I haven't spent on anything frivolous at all. Have a good week xx

  14. Hi my dear!! Very best of luck on the economy drive, you've actually got the basics covered with a regular budget and a monthly meal planner, to get your student loan and overdraft down would be a fabulous achievement too.I need to step up the selling, so I'm sure I'll be setting up Etsy soon too xx

  15. Keep your purse at home??? All great ideas and I hope you reach your goals x

  16. The mood board is such a great idea, I have a ton of scrap books and folders, which I keep interesting mag articles and inspiration in. All I have to do is delve into them for inspiration with the cloths I already have rather than buying more. It really is worth saving for something wonderful for your whole family like you skiing trip - just remember you dont have to deny yourself everything, life is for enjoying after all x

  17. This all sounds very admirable - I wouldn't be able to give up wine though...


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