Prepping, saving money and losing weight.

Dear all,

It’s been a while. Too long…

I needed a break, needed head space, needed to concentrate and focus on getting on the straight and narrow. Forgive me if I’ve not responded to some of the messages people kindly sent me, I tried to reply to most xxxxx

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and moved smoothly into the New Year and that you had time to make plans and set goals for 2019. What are they? I’d love to hear…

I’ve started off 2019 in a really positive way. On September 10th 2018 something finally yes FINALLY clicked and everything has been falling into place regarding nutrition and how I am feeling about myself. I decided to commit to only fuelling my body with mostly plant based highly nutritional food…my aim was to eat 90% non-processed, cut out added sugar and sweeteners completely (I only have these on special occasions if I’m attending a social event or meal out with work). Cutting out the sugar and cutting right down on the salt was incredibly difficult for the first few weeks but then it all fell into place. I’ve been steadily losing 2lb or more every week and since September 10th (nearly 4 months) have lost 45 lbs… which is essentially over 3 stone. I’m thrilled.

Because of eating this way I’ve had to give baking and recreating 1940s recipes a miss for a while. Too much temptation right now but I will start up again in the not too distant future.

I tried really hard to “make do and mend” during 2018. My main goal was to feel more financially secure by building an ’emergency fund’ which essentially is money available that I could use should the Sh*t Hit the Fan (ie health problems, losing my job). Being a singleton there is no financial back-up with a partner having a job should anything major happen. My thoughts were to aim for a 6 month emergency fund. How I calculated this was to look at all the expenses I would need to cover in the worst case scenario (no pay check coming in or unable to work) so things like, rent, bills, food, expenses, debts, insurances, petrol, extras etc. I worked this out to be £1300 per month to cover everything.

So that works out at £1300 x 6 = £7,800. I ACTUALLY FLIPPIN WELL MADE THAT GOAL AT THE END OF 2018! (started with literally nothing in the bank!) I saved nearly £4500 and cashed in some old shares at work to help me reach my goal quicker!

As a woman who is a saver rather than a spender but has been unable to save throughout her life because of circumstances, this is such a HUGE relief to have achieved this. I am now able to sleep better at night!

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still a way to go as I do have some debt (next on my list to blast a hole in!) and I’m now trying to build up funds to cover other expenses such as car repair, clothing. I don’t want to use my emergency fund for these kind of items.

It’s not been easy. I see colleagues with nice cars, going on holidays, dining out most weekends, going to bars, buying wine/beer/drinks for home, buying new pets/livestock, buying houses, getting takeaways, going to concerts, having their hair and nails done. I really don’t do any of these (except of course if I get invited out on a free works do or meal!). BUT I’m totally happy with that right now as I’m finally beginning to feel SAFER and more SECURE.

While I’m not talking survivalist mode here, I AM talking about re-kindling my interest in building up a small stockpile to help make the emergency fund stretch further. I am currently slowly building up a three month supply of food to help see me through should anything happen that would be deemed a personal emergency (again financial or health). It’s amazing what one can stash away in a plastic box under the bed! When I’m done I’ll show you what I’ve got…it’s only in it’s infancy right now but Savers and Aldi’s range of tinned kidney beans, chick peas, porridge oats, pasta, rice, lentils are really inexpensive! Again, living with insecurity for so long especially in my latter years in Canada and before I got my job here, security is a HUGE necessity for me so I’m quite relieved things are now heading in the right direction.

And this is the next part I really want to focus on. I’m looking at energy saving right now. I’ve purchased a small supply of solar bulbs and I’d also like to build and regularly used a solar oven. The idea in the summer of setting a stew in the black enamel pan in a solar oven before I head off to work and it all being cooked by the time I return is rather obsessing me right now. In the interim I have just bought a 1.5 litre 120 watt slow cooker to do exactly that. I’d love eventually to be off-grid one day but this process has to be learned so I’ll be slowly doing that over the coming years.

I’d be interested to hear how everyone else saves money and can be more earth friendly while working full time. I’m all ears!

At the end of the day I do believe that eating and living more like our Grandmothers is a good thing for us financially, psychologically and environmentally. Let’s get this straight, I love my modern gadgets but I also see that we have to have balance so I find I am drawn to non-electric items, simplicity, making do and appreciating everything I have.

And although I love my gym membership NOTHING beats a long brisk walk in our beautiful countryside.


C xxxxxx

42 thoughts on “Prepping, saving money and losing weight.

  1. You are amazing! It’s been so great to watch you over the last year. You are an inspiration to us all! And although I’d love more recipes (who wouldn’t!) you have shown us the other side of the Make do and Mend spirit – making do and mending to save for a brighter day. Congratulations on your success and KBO!


    • Awww thank YOU Michelle, I promise to do more recipes, I have plans for more frugal vegetable based recipes 1940s via video in my kitchen, think that could be fun. Thanks again for leaving such a nice comment and dropping by to read my infrequent blog updates! xxxx C


  2. Carolyn I am so proud of you, such a long way you have come to this place you are in!! I so admire your spirit. and it does feel good doesn’t it?? I must confess at 76 I am right along with you, as we never want our $$ to run out before we do! ha. I am cleansing, purging, my home from the top down this new years, but have never been able to do my clothes closet. I will try again this year, it needs it so badly. I leave it to the end which may be an error. will let you know if I am able to face this final frontier. best wishes,
    Ann Lee S, Vancouver Island, BC Canada


    • Oh gosh Ann, I am purging my bedroom right now! I have so much stored in boxes that I just don’t need and at least half my clothes can go to charity so I’ll join you! Am also trying to make room for my food store which is more important! Look forward to hearing how you are getting on with your home purge! C xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Just a note Carolyn, I DID IT, I TOTALLY PURGED, SORTED, CLEANED MY CLOTHING CLOSET. It was much easier than I had expected, the dread was mostly in my head! 3 bags to thrift, a lovely clean bedroom and closet, SO HAPPY! I hope you are getting yours done too, it is such a wonderful feeling. ann lee s


  3. Congratulations! You are doing great! I’ve been eating healthier and will start regular exercise as soon as I can build up my strength. I was sick with a bad cold for a month and afterwards I had no stamina. My doctor found a nodule on my thyroid which might account for my excessive fatigue. So, once that’s sorted out, I will begin exercising!


    • Well done with the healthy eating Marian! Yes you must look after yourself and I hope they quickly get to the bottom of the nodule on your thyroid so you can receive the best treatment and get yourself well again xxxxxx I betcha that is something to do with it xxxxx Take care


    • I too have been reading gdonna blog since it’s Infancy. She is a very inspiring woman, especially since both sets of my grandparents died when I was very young and then I lost my mother.


      • I’m another follower of gdonna, just recently, and love that they are currently living as in 1942 … some wonderful bits of philosophy in this blog for sure, its inspiring to me, and so peaceful to read just before going to bed, relaxing and reassuring. ann lee s


  4. I’m so happy your back on line. We have sat down with our budget for the year and have no debt coming in from last year! Candles are great to have around. If you go to the market you can find oil lamps for sale and use those for lights also. Not worried about weight gain right now, too busy burning calories going through snowbanks to get to the chickens out back. Hauling water can and will make you appreciate a good dinner at the end of the day. We love your recipes. Hope you don’t mind that I tell people about your website for ideas on staying healthy and losing weight at the same time. Don’t forget freeze dried fruit for your needs. Are you going to can next Fall? That will help a lot with your budgeting if you put a pound aside where you can, and buy the fresh fruit and vegetables for next Fall.


    • Awwww thank you so much for letting people know about the blog, that’s a HUGE compliment!!! xxxxx Oh gosh I bet you burn off TONS of calories dealing with all the deep snow!!! (not to mention your body trying to keep warm when you are out in it!). I really would love to get back in to preserving/canning and will see what I can do this summer! People are always giving away fresh veg they have grown in their gardens and then there are all the free blackberry bushes! xxxxxx


  5. Well done Carolyn! Hope you achieve all your goals this year however slow. Happy new year! By the way where is that beautiful tree?


    • Thank you so much 🙂 xxxx That tree is in Sherwood Forest, I enjoyed a walk there last weekend. Because all the leaves were off the trees it was lovely to see the twisted and interesting branches on the trees. xxxx


  6. Carolyn…in regards to your comment on slow cooking…If you watched Wartime Farm Ruth made a stew using a straw box. I bought something called a “wonder bag” from Amazon to do the same thing. You put the stew on the stove and bring it to a good hard boil for 10 min and then put the kettle (and lid) in this bag and let it cook throughout the day. By the end of the day food is cooked and delicious. Veggies are not soggy.


  7. Congratulations, you are an inspiration. What you are doing does translate the 1940 rationing into our modern times. I think that is important. I need to do this. Thanks for sharing your success and struggle.


    • Yes, agreed. Everyone filled up on lots of veg and oats, ate little processed food, moved around a lot more, ate only small amounts of dairy and meat and made do and mended stuff! I’m sure it must have been tough sustaining that for so long but at least it did actually sustain people. xxxxx Thanks for leaving your comment C


      • Carolyn, I had to laugh, as this sounds exactly like the new Healthy Eating Guide put out in Canada this New Year!! tiny amounts of red meat, fill up on veggies, fruit, beans, etc. The world is in a pretty sorry state and we all have to wake up! ann lee s

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I have been wondering how you have been!! For some reason you feel like an old friend. So happy things are falling into place. I look forward to your posts and emails. Please try not to be gone for so long this time!!


  9. Great Post, Carolyn! When I was much younger, my BFF had all the lovely stuff, the always new SUV with a back seat TV for the kids, a big house, the big screen TV (when they first came out), top of the line computers and expensive toys.
    Here’s a thing that I used to do when she got a new thing which I would have liked: Price it out. Look up the price. take what you currently owe and add that amount to it. Really LOOK at that new debt number. How would you feel if that was really what you owed? Would the joy of owning that item be acceptable with the new debt load? Look at it again a few months down the line. See the item depreciating, not being the new shiney and ask what of that initial debt would you have paid down? When you covet a second, third or fourth thing, on a separate piece of paper, add those into the debt number. Repeat the process. Then once every few months add all the new “debt” together and add it onto your actual debt. Be sure to include the interest rate. That is the price of indulging oneself and not being realistic. Could you sleep well knowing that you had that kind of debt? I know I can’t. If I can’t pay cash for it, I don’t get it. That included my car. Oh, and always, ALWAYS include the price of financing in the total of any debt. Would you actually hold that amount of interest money in your hand a light it on fire? Because that is what you are doing when you have debt.

    I’m treating money and diet the same. It’s hard. It means saying no to yourself in the moment for a better life in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment Memy! You are SOOOOOO right! I read somewhere that often your neighbour that has the outward signs of wealth such as the new car, nice clothes, best phones etc can often be the very people who wouldn’t be able to pull out £1000 in cash in an emergency but rather would have to bung it on their credit card. Have got to a stage where stuff means little to me but security and peace of mind means a LOT more. Of course it’s not wrong to live like that and it’s pretty normal as far as I can see but don’t think I could sleep! Am still fretting with my debts I’m still paying off! LOL! xxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy New Year, Carolyn. I’m so glad to hear from you again and, my oh my, you really do look and sound better for the time away. I still remember the old farmhouse in Wales 😊. Keep on keeping on. You’re always an inspiration.


  11. Went through this exact process myself! It’s so rewarding to have some food and cash put away for a rainy day isn’t it?! Sounds like you have it all together but email if you ever need some help! 😊👍🏻♥️



  12. Two pounds a week is fantastic! You should be really pleased. When I was losing weight I averaged a half a pound at the start to a pound a week at the end. I mentioned this to a woman I know and she said – “how disappointed you must be”. I asked her if she ever did math because a pound a week is 52 pounds a year and that is a fantastic amount of weight to lose.

    Always do the extensions. They are so rewarding. My Mom started saving for emergencies back in the 1950s. She put a nickle aside each day for each of us, the household and the pets which was 35 cents a day. Her thought was that no matter what happened she would be able to feed us and pay for electricity and Dad would manage the rent.

    I started doing this – a dollar a day or $30 a month – a few years ago . $365 a year may not seem like much but over the past 9 years that has added up to $3285 and it was hardly noticeable coming out of the budget.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. wow, i am so happy i came upon your blog as i feel as if i found a kindred spirit…….trying to pay off debt, saving money, get healthy, lose weight and prepare for the unexpected. wonderful and informative post, thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Prepping, saving money and losing weight. – Spring Valley Pawn Shop

  15. Just catching up with your blog after a long absence. I love your blog and your WW2 recipes and encouragement to frugal but joyful living, eating right without spending a lot of money. Instead of an enamel pot with a solar oven as you mentioned, have you ever seen this non-electric slow cooker? or something like it?
    I do not have one of these and am, in fact, currently on the Instant Pot learning curve. But they used pressure cookers a lot in previous eras, just not electric ones.


    • What a great idea, I guess its similar to people using hayboxes during WW2 to continue cooking their stews etc without using the rationed fuel!!!! Thanks for that link!! Thanks also for returning to catch up with my blog, that’s lovely to hear xxxx


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