the skinflint philosopher

Attempting to thrift our way to a better life, with a toddler in tow!


“I’d still have the eggs”: Liebster Award

I remember playing something a bit like this on long train journeys, when everything about getting you from A to B is taken out of your hands- no need to operate a car or bike, no need to concentrate on your steering or technique, and not even any need to navigate. This gives you the wonderful opportunity that we have so little of normally, when you are a very captive audience,unable to distract yourself by doing that little job that just needs to be done, or instead doing the opposite by filling your mind with entertainment TV-style that enables you to have no thoughts what so ever. So something that really gets you to stop and think about your thinking, is worth doing, even when no train journeys are available. Metacognition is the buzzword of the day if you want to file that one away for a rainy day. Bearing that in mind I’d like to thank Pelin from this great blog, Minimalist gunluk/journal, for passing me the baton with the Liebster Award and getting my metacognition going today. As for the title for this post, no point asking Digger about his thoughts, as the answer would still be eggs (sorry, you’ll have to see a previous post to make sense of that one!).img_2881

In this blog-eat-blog world, here are the rules:

  1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you
  3. Nominate 5-11 bloggers that you think are deserving of the award.
  4. Let the bloggers know that you nominated them.
  5. Give them 11 questions of your own.

So here are Pelin’s questions for me and my answers:

  1. What inspires you?
    Sunshine and the thought of wasting it. Better to get out and do something now, in case it isn’t sunny tomorrow. Or in 5 mins. Four seasons in one day on this little rock.
  2. Do you like reading fiction or non-fiction? A recent favourite?
    Fiction: I can’t narrow it down, but three epics it has to include, A fine balance- Rohinton Mistry, The Poisonwood Bible- Babara Kingsolver, A prayer for Owen Meany-  John Irving.
  3. Who is your favourite family member?
    Couldn’t say. I’m not sure I can measure ‘favouriteness’.
  4. If you could wear the same thing everyday, what would you wear?
  5. What is one song you are listening to lately?
    Album playing at the moment, Bob Dylan, The times they are a changing. Quite apt I hope.
  6. How long have you been blogging?
    Less than a month.
  7. What is your favourite colour?
  8. What animal do you identify with yourself most?
    Now this means we have to put our anthropomorphic stereotypes into play, as how we characterise animals will influence readers perceptions of our answers. Is a fox sly? Is a sloth lazy? Is a bee busy? Break the mould, animal kingdom! But, if we are going down that route the Skinflint Philosopher would have to say a squirrel, hoarding away her nuts for the lean winter months.
  9. Are you currently working on any goals? If yes, what are they? See the answer above. The reason for the blog is to try and help that happen- if I write it down it isn’t just a pipe dream in my head is it?
    We are planning a change in circumstances, but for that to happen, we need a bit more financial security behind us. So we penny-pinch now, with the aim to make that change. Not saying too much at this stage in case things don’t go as planned, but watch this space!
  10. What are you most attracted to in humans?
    Uniqueness. But maybe squirrels look and act unique to all other squirrels. Who knows what goes on in Squirrel-topia. 
  11. What would you name yourself if you had the chance to choose your own name?
    And now for the philosophy; a name is just a label, but one we collectively agree on. Does changing a name change the person you are? Big thoughts on this when we were deciding what name to give Tiddler before she was born. How do our choices as parents influence that child’s life in future- what perceptions do names sum up for other people- colleagues, professionals, friends, lovers- who she will meet at different stages of her life? Will Tiddler like or hate her name (not ‘Tiddler’, I mean her actual name in the real world). Guess we’ll have to wait and see. 

Ok, now to my questions and nominations:

Nominating officially according to the rules, but anyone reading this please feel free to comment your answers too.
1.Maverick- not a blogger but I think would make a great one- maybe this will start you off?

Questions for you to answer if you would like to:

1. How does/did your mother describe you?
2. Do you agree?
3. Do you believe in fate?
4. Why do birds suddenly appear, every time you are near?
5. Could you pass the Marshmallow experiment?
6. What could you do tomorrow that would help make you happier?
7. Best form of eggs? (results of this question will be passed on to Digger!)
8. What is the best gift you were ever given?
9. Why?
10. What one thing are you doing for somebody now, that you hope someone will do for you in the future?
11. Do you wear a watch? (subject matter for a forthcoming blog post)

I don’t know about you Pelin, but I found the questions much harder to write than the answers. Maybe that says something about me.









The Marshmallow effect

Skinflintery broken down here into 9 steps ( great for those of us who not only like the idea of being frugal but also love lists as well!
Personally, I think number 6 on the list has got to be the one I most want to teach to Tiddler. In our ‘want-it-and-want-it-now’ society, I increasingly see children (and adults) who don’t understand the value of possessions, money or time. Children who shrug off breaking the latest iphone with ‘I’ll just tell my parents to buy me another one’, children who drop litter or don’t clear tables because ‘that’s the cleaners job’… how can we expect the next generation to have respect for their OWN possessions or time, if they don’t respect anyone else’s.
I hope Tiddler can learn she is the mistress of her own destiny, and a little bit of the Marshmallow effect (
will shape her life for the better.

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Make like a tree

These images have done the rounds on the internet, so apologies but I’m not sure of the original source to give credit where it is due.  These trees make me consider how they have been expected to be limited or controlled by their environment, but yet life itself has a way of taking what opportunities there are, and finding a path or a route that enables them to, excuse the pun, branch out in new and often unexpected directions.  I would say these trees have gone ‘off grid’ except for the fact that the geometric designs they have created mean that doesn’t quite sound right for the point I want to make. In chaos there is order perhaps too.

Be like a tree folks.

Finding a path through adversity

Finding a path through adversity


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“Something old, something new?”

I salute the logic here.…

Estimate for a typical wedding cost comes in feet first and slapping you in the face with a round total bill of £30,000 according to some reports,…/01/average-cost-of-wedding
so if the thrifty stars of the yahoo article put their ‘special day’ on for 10% of that, we have to give them some credit. And long may the marriage last if money is not their main focus, as oft (mis)quoted, “the love of money of the root of all evil”.

Two points the skinflint philosopher wants to make about this theme for the time being (plenty more to come another time!).

I especially shake my head at the chosen headline ‘serves rubbish food’ (ho ho did you see what they did there folks, d’you get it?) as a way to pour scorn and disgust over food health and hygiene issues. How many times dear friends, must we hear before we understand that ‘Best before’ and ‘use by dates’ are not the same thing? The great British public being fearful of heebie jeebies and bacteria (while happily forking out for probiotic yoghurts and stilton mind you) are either scared or guilt-tripped into throwing food out before necessary, thus contributing among my list of food related deadly sins- money waste, packaging waste, food miles waste, irrigation water and agricultural production waste, land use waste, blah de blah the list goes on. Why do vegetables have a use by date anyway? Are we so far removed from the land and its bounty that we have to have someone in a white coat and with a plastic mesh over their head tell us whether we can eat an apple or not? Common sense should apply, but sadly for many, that is not an item you can checkout at your local supermarket.
Obviously there is a personal choice on what you feel happy feeding yourself with, and what you want to serve up to great Aunt Gladys and the in-laws on your nuptial day, but given that food bills are a major part of out monthly outgoings, we need to understand and think more about what and how we spend our money on.

Secondly, the whole concept that a wedding (or any other socio-cultural event) must have a certain conformity is a worry. This article celebrates the savings made, but doesn’t question why the costs were there in the first place. Why does celebrating something have to come as a hit to your wallet? Do people only accept a rite of passage if you flaunt your materialistic version of it in front of them? Should they not be there to be part of your memories and experiences, not to judge you on how many tiers the cake had or whether the sugar almond bag was properly tied in the colour of the moment ribbon?
And if you are going to apply skinflintery, why not go the whole shebang? Ask guests to do a faith supper (everyone brings a plate of food to contribute) instead of gifts? Prevents you have do some decluterring somewhere down the line too, so minimalism scores strongly too with that scenario.

As always, how you spend money is up to you. We all have our own preferences and priorities for our pennies, but given the phrase, “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue”, then I for one would argue that no brides would want the ‘borrowed’ bit to be referring to a thirty grand dent in their bank balance.

Go for the “something new” approach, and you might just surprise yourself instead.

Celebrating our customs and traditions now comes at a high price

Celebrating our customs and traditions now comes at a high price

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Beauty by design

The best of skinflintery applied to the art world- making amazing use of natural found objects to painstakingly create these pieces of beauty. And of course, from the philosophical point of view all these (apart from the photographic record) are inherently transient which makes it even more worth stopping to take the time to look. The allure of the natural world is essentially fragile, and we don’t spend enough time looking at it before it is gone.