Frugal blog: Savings on car and other...

The ford focus washer pump saga continues...
A new one was ordered in, came in at £14 instead of the £10 quoted, then sat on the side waving at me every day, until eventually I crakced and thought I'd take it on.

Removed front wheel (wrong one first as focus forums told me it was on passenger side, it wasn't!), removed inside wheel arch cover, removed and emptied washer tank (hidden inside of wing), removed old pump, then put everything back in reverse order. In total, about 45 minutes work.
Roughly £70 per hour garage labour plus £14 part = £84
Frugalways cost = £14 for part.
Saving of £70.
It appears to be working fine again, but knowing my luck, it will fail when it starts to rain.

Breakfast skipped again, as is normally the case in holidays. Saving one meal cost per day.
Dinner consists of cucumber and cheese/spring onion butties.

I've been looking for compost for my "no dig" front garden patch - it was an old driveway full of weeds, concrete, plaster and bricks. Need around a 3 inch coverage to rake over the top, then old carpet back on top. About a tonne would be good but prices from local farmers are £45 a tonne bag, bit pricey.

Hit a carboot yesterday, just the usual tat, being sold for way over the odds, fascinates me to watch for things...


  • Sold from cars which are less than two years old
  • Sold from cars with private reg numbers...
  • Pre packaged things bought specially for sale (ie. non carboot sale)
  • Toys with broken/bits missing, not good enough for sale on bayE, so they slap a £15 price tag on them and "do a carboot"
  • Enquire about a price and they inform you "they are [insert ridiculous high price here] in the shops!" - Who cares? You are not selling them in a shop!


You can tell a lot about people looking at the tat they've bought and are trying to sell. Disheartening when gifts they've been bought are being sold, some people have no scruples.
Most of the old toys believe it or not, are available cheaper at toy fairs...

Jobs need doing: Washing the focus - outside tap needs fitting out the back - fence needs fixing (starting to rot) - half pallet of bradstone needs moving from back garden (although to where and what can it be used for is anyones guess) - sort out compost

A happy Monday to you all...

Local areas now dependent on supermarket donations?

How have we got here?

Example: A local park, mostly looked after by volunteers, "wins" £2000 funding from tesco. Hurray shout local residents.

Think about this.
First of all, that £2000 comes from tesco profits - coincidence that at the time of posting they are laying off 500 staff and closing their tesco direct due to not being profitable.
Next, the £2000 isn't free money that tesco have sloshing around their bank account, it comes from profits, not overall sales, but profits. That's profit from the products they sell from their local council bias, planning permission stores, that have closed down many genuine local businesses and been detrimental to local markets in many cases.
This profit comes from the pockets of the very same local people cheering about how good it is that tesco have "donated" or "given" £2000 to a local project.

Next consider this... YOUR local council tax stands at record levels, when was the last time you saw a reduction in council tax?
If your area is like mine, I cannot remember the last reduction.
This same council tax cost, covers parks and gardens, maintenance and upkeep, etc.
So I'm paying record amounts for services locally, yet the very same parks and gardens are dependent upon tesco's scheme of "donating" money?
Why are so many volunteers tending to parks and gardens in my area? Why not council staff that take wages from our ever increasing council tax?

I don't see how this set up can be considered beneficial to the parks and gardens and my family who use them.

My council tax keeps increasing.
Any purchases made at tesco, are over priced. (If they can afford to "donate" £2000 a time, then I doubt they are "running on tight profit margins").
Any profits from tesco are given to shareholders with no connection in my area, meaning money earned is spent elsewhere (as opposed to local shops profits being respent within my area, increasing commerce for where I live)
Tesco playing the "local" card, when in fact a proportion of their £2000 donation will be written off their tax bill, meaning even less for UK services, like health, education, housing, roads, police, fire, etc. The list goes on.
Tesco's very position locally, means that fewer businesses will survive, bring less business rate funds into our local council, meaning yet more tax increases and less money for local services, to cover the shortfall.
Tesco get free publicity out of it.

We, the local people, get £2000 spent on a park or garden, that we already pay for.

How we came to be in this sorry state, needs explaining, by those in power.

Frugal blog: Surprise bill

After a buzzing Monday, one of those where loads of little jobs get done, Tuesday (today) has been a day of starting fast and steadily getting more tired, something I do a lot these days. I run out of energy much quicker, tiredness plays a part, until eventually I land home at around 5pm and I'm zonked.

I've tried eating more fruit and veg through the day, tried extra couple of hours of kip, but nothing really improves.

The focus' washer pump has gone, in days gone by it would lead to a trip to the scrappers and a couple of quid, a quick lift of the bonnet and a simple replace job, connect the pipes up and away we go again, good as new.
In todays' "easier" world, it will now involve a ten quid outlay, two day wait for the shop to get it in and, I'm reliably informed from various ford focus forums, jacking the car up, removing the passenger side wheel, removing the wheel arch cover, then the windscreen water bottle. I'm told that the pump is located underneath this and can be changed via a bolt running through the top of the little water tank.
"Easier world" car work results in a 2 hour fiddly job, whereas a previous world job, was 15 minutes of messing with little that could go wrong.
Pound to a penny, when I remove the wheel arch cover, one of the screw heads will ping off or I'll need a special tool, etc.

There's nowt on the box again tonight, so I'll try and get an early night after reading a few pages of my latest book, "Working for victory" which is a diary of two women during the second world war, working in a tool makers factory.
54 hours per week they did on various shifts, to help the war effort, learning a new trade and having only one week per year off and one day off a week. Todays world wouldn't be able to stomach the workload, conditions or lack of holidays, that includes me.

The dog has started chewing my cheapo picket fence panels, put up in a useless attempt to stop her sitting in my strawberry beds!
On the subject of strawberry plants, could not believe my eyes when I saw B and Q (that bastion of do-it-yourself knowledge... not) were selling strawberry plants for £6 each!
If you want to save yourself some cash, speak to an allotment owner or gardener, they'll give you some for free. Starwberry plants should be moved in your garden beds every three years, you can also thin them out once they've flowered and they will sprout new plants out, once established, cut the sprouting stem off from the baby plant, hey presto, more strawberry plants.

Frugal blog: A typical Sunday

A slow start, finally got a decent nights' kip.
Managed to fix a new copper tap on to the outside water tank (to collect rainwater for the garden) using the old one I'd replaced on our out door tap front, the tank is an old loft water/central heating tank we had taken out when the new boiler was fitted.
I can add comfy leaves again to the water in there, but with no rain for over a week now, levels were running low due to watering in the strawberries everyday. (They are in rain guttering fixed to to the fence, part of my upward growing effort due to lack of space and a dog that eats everything, when it's at ground level.)

The dog hasn't yet eaten the fruit trees I planted last year at corner points in the garden (to take water out of the lawn and killed most of the clover/weeds) it did eat them last year, the stumps are sprouting leaves again.

Pressure cooker threw up a top tea of steak, onions and gravy, with buttered mash and carrots, life saver. H was able to sun herself in the garden for a bit before sitting with Mum tonight.
Only one more week until I have to get the compost/manure for the no dig front garden, lifting the old carpet I put down is going to be a job and a half, but it will be worth it if we get some veg out of it.
Enjoying a quiet night, with no hassles now sprog2 is in bed, flat out, must be doing something right...

Protect your data online - Tips

Our personal information is being gathered at an alarming pace, in everything that we do, everyday.
Protections exist, we are always told, regulations prevent businesses and their third party businesses are there to "Hold business to account," a whole host of small print and exclusions, buried in reams of "Terms and conditions" can be read on their websites.

I don't care about any of it, one jot. The only person whom is going to protect my information, is me!

Here are some tips for you, that I use. (Right or wrong, misguided or not):


  • Never wish anyone a happy birthday.
    I value all my friends/family's privacy, why would I pass their date of birth on to a private company and it's third party associates?
    My timeline is full of children's birthdays... all being collected by the platform business. Why would I protect my own date of birth, then hand over the date of birth for my children?
    It's a process, so that in the future the platform won't need to go hunting for it, they already have it on file. (Besides which, children are not permitted to have facebook accounts, yet their personal information is being gathered from an early age, via their family's accounts.)
  • Never reply to a "Do you remember..." post.
    Have you seen the switching website business adverts, that show Skeletor and He-Man dancing, etc?
    They are appealing to a demographic, an age group born at a certain time, falling in an age bracket.
    Same applies with posts.
    I like/comment on them, puts me in a demographic, along with those in my friends list.
  • Tagging in photos.
    No thanks. Facial recognition is being used by most businesses nowadays, via their "security" cameras in branches.
    Greggs uses it, yes Greggs!
    I went in with sprog2 to pick up my Mum a doughnut, looked up at the security screen and red squares were around both of our faces. Asked the staff to turn it off, they didn't have a clue, "I just serve at the counter!"
  • Profile pictures - No.
    Big NO from me.
  • Open a new browser before logging in to any other website.
    As I move from bookface, to another website, many websites track which website you go to. Bookface goes a bit further and I have proof!
    If I open a web browser and look at my timeline on bookface, then click on my address bar and say, visit the twotty website, you'd think that would be it?
    All bookface would see is the website that I've gone to right? Wrong!
    A few times now, I've had my speakers on in the background as I surf the web, I've gone from bookface to twotty, yet whilst browsing twotty, the ping noise (of a new post to my timeline on bookface) has sounded.
    I go back to bookface and there is indeed a new post to my timeline!
    How could this be? I'm not logged in to bookface, I'm not on their webpages, etc.
    Yet whilst browsing their so-called rival, twotty, I still get their new post ping?
    I asked both twotty and bookface why this is the case... guess what?
    None of them will ever reply.
    So now, I always close bookface in the browser and open a new browser window before visiting another website.
    (Frugalways does not track which websites you come from/go to, if you honour us with your time and website visit. I am neither interested nor want to know your choice of browsing)


We've all had it happen to us, "For data protection can you confirm your date of birth?"
Unless it's a government department (ie. tax office) or a NHS department, not a single business has a right to ask my date of birth, hold my date of birth on file, etc.

When asked where the business obtained my date of birth from, not one single business can provide me with a straight and open answer as to why they have it on file.
It is none of their business!


Have a smart TV?
NEVER connect it to your internet. It can collect as much information about my household as it wants, but I will never let it publish that information, via my own i.p. address, back to the business/manufacturer.
There's a reason that none smart TVs will not play certain file types via their almost useless USB sockets. So you buy a smart TV!
The smart TV then claims you can view tubeyou, filxnet, etc, via your equipment, as well as playing basic MP4 files (for music, TV and videos) via the USB sockets.
Smart TVs also collect your data.
They can listen in on conversations, using algorythms, then target advertisements (so they say) to your needs (how considerate of them).
What data are they sending back to businesses/manufacturers?
Numerous examples of smart TVs having their "reporting back" function being turned off, only to discover (via their internet connection scans) that it continues to send back information, therefore deceiving the user into believing that they have control over the smart TV, when in fact, they do not.
Many of the "web browser" features listed with TVs are not actually full browsers at all.
I tested a sony blueray player's claims and found that the browser on the blueray play returns different (and fewer) results on internet searches, than my borwser on my PC.

There's a reason why business/manufacturers don't like people using PCs and prefer people to buy smart devices... PCs can be scanned to check for things, most smart devices cannot. (Not just for the obvious profits from selling and updating smart devices either!)
Exactly the same applies to smartphones, smart meters, smart appliances, etc.


It has become almost unavoidable (even by a saddo like me) to avoid all use of supermarkets.

These businesses are perhaps the biggest users of our personal data out of all of them.
One such supermarket, runs an "income tracker" and quotes the findings of it to the industry (and which other businesses I wonder?).
I have asked this supermarket a few times, where exactly do they obtain the data for their "income tracker" to report each month?
They have yet to provide a single answer to any of my questions.

  • Do supermarkets have some access to our bank accounts when a customer pays by debit card?
  • Are supermarkets collecting our data when we use their cash machines to withdraw money? (Even more apparent lately, with the news reports of many cash machines to close down)
  • Are supermarkets collaborating with credit card companies to obtain our data?
  • Or are supermarkets using algorthyms that are wildly off and simply guessing/pigeon holing most of our data, then selling it on for profit? (Read misleading).

Whatever the methods used, whenever I'm forced to use a supermarket, I pay by cash. I refuse to contribute to supermarket's gaining any information, as regards which company I bank with, account details, etc.
I even mix up the times I visit, sometimes early doors, sometimes late at night, sometimes not for weeks at a time.

I will be adding to this post as I come across more instances of big data collection, etc.
Are there any instances of big data collection that you've come across that I have not mentioned?