The brand new The new Army Of Frugalistas

Those that participate will be joining a growing band of “frugalistas for whom spending money on something new is terribly last season. If you happen to haven’t made it yourself, it simply needs to be second-hand; the delicatessen is out and home-grown produce is in; and turning old clothes into carrier bags is the newest craze.

In the new mood of austerity ? born largely amid the credit crunch and the rising cost of food and fuel ? some surprisingly well-heeled and glamorous allies have been recruited to the ranks of green activists. Together with self-sufficiency farmers and folks who have been forced to make do and mend for straightforward financial reasons, they are now busy trying to chop their carbon footprint.

Elizabeth Hurley has described feeding a piglet on her farm as “absolutely divine The actress Julie Walters has also taken to farming, declaring her love for “the smell of the earth and the animals adding that she and her husband “talk in regards to the farm non-stop

And the rich are joining the famous in getting back to nature: a survey by American Express of its wealthiest customers ? Centurion card holders ? found 11 per cent had installed fruit and vegetable plots in their gardens. The firm is predicting this will rise to 40 per cent.

Meanwhile, the model Daisy Lowe has been photographed on an allotment to launch every week of green events held by Topshop and fashion magazine Rubbish.

From 23 June, the fashion retailer will run workshops and ask people to usher in three items of unwanted clothing to swap for someone else’s at its flagship Oxford Circus store in London, where designer Solange Azagury-Partridge will also show people how to turn junk into “scavenger chicjewellery. This comes ahead of another clothes swap event ? fronted by Hollywood actress Lindsay Lohan ? to be held in London’s Covent Garden next month by credit card company Visa.

The “Topshop Wants Your Rubbishcampaign, which can be being held in stores in Manchester, Glasgow and Dublin, would be expected to involve clothes but it surely goes further: there will probably be gardening workshops and information on cycle routes.

The newest in the backlash against plastic bags is another “designerlabel. But Morsbags are far removed from Louis Vuitton. The brainchild of Claire Morsman, a teacher who lives on a canal boat in London, the Morsbag is a gift to the world. Its website gives instructions on how to show old clothes into shopping bags, with people invited to form sewing “podsfor the purpose.

The bags, equipped with a label advertising the website, are then given away to friends and strangers alike in “guerrillabagging events. So far, greater than 21,000 have been made ? in between the odd glass of wine ? which organisers say should save nearly 11 million plastic bags from being thrown away. Pods have been set up across the UK and have spread to the rest of Europe, the US, India, Japan and Brazil.

Jenny Dyson, editor-in-chief of Rubbish, which is able to produce a free newspaper on green issues akin to “What to wear in your bikein the course of the week at Topshop, said the brand new mood of frugality in fashion had been born out a feeling of helplessness within the face of global economic problems and, particularly, climate change.

“I think recycling helps to make us feel a bit more in control; it enables us to feel like we are doing our bit,she said. “If we recycle our coat hangers and that helps prevent the Earth from using up its resources, after all we are going to do it and feel good about it. OK, it’s a tiny thing, but it’s doing something.

“There is this massive pressure on people to be green. Obviously the retailers are responding to that, and this is our way of being green in a fun way, a way that’s not dictatorial and bossy, which the green bandwagon can sometimes be./p>

Firstly of this month Judy Berger, founder of clothes swapping site whatsmineis, made a pledge to stop buying new clothes for a year and is documenting her experiences with a friend on a blog called the Frugal Fashionistas. The positioning now has greater than 15,000 members trading clothes.

Frugal bastions similar to Freecycle and have also seen a sudden surge in interest. In January last year Freecycle, a web site helping people to present things away, had about half 1,000,000 members; now there are nearly 1.3 million. Martin Lewis’s moneysavingexpert. com is sending emails with advice to 2.2 million people, more than double the figure last year.

Ten years ago Richard Cannon was a well-paid railway manager, but he quit in favour of the self-sufficiency lifestyle in Kent. The forum on his website,, has become a hotbed of discussions on downshifting and frugality.

Mr Cannon said it was “absolutely greatthat celebrities similar to Elizabeth Hurley, the rich and those within the fashion world were seeing the benefits of reconnecting with the land.

“We have something in common, if you like. In the event that they came round, we could have a really good chat about the vegetable garden. It’s something that’s so good to see,he said.

If the young women who gather at Topshop to trade clothes and learn how to sew their very own canvas bags go on to apply for allotments, then the trend really will have taken off. For the remainder of us, the brand new frugality is easy to attain.


Growing your own vegetables can save you £1,000 a year, in accordance with the Royal Horticultural Society, as well as providing a supply of organic, tasty and healthy food.

People in the village of Martin in Hampshire went further and joined forces to boost chickens and pigs together with vegetables. Their produce is sold at the local hall, making £27,000 last year.

Using leftovers to make new meals ? similar to shepherd’s pie from roast lamb ? was once standard practice, and makes good environmental in addition to financial sense. ‘The New English Table a cookery book by Rose Prince, gives loads of recipes for leftover food.

Avoid fast food by taking drinks and snacks from home everytime you exit, and reusing plastic water bottles by filling them up from the tap. Putting excess water from a recently boiled kettle into a flask will keep it warm for later cups of tea and coffee.

It was common within the 1940s and 1950s to reuse silver foil by washing it; now is a good time to revive the thought. Wise mums already pack their children’s school sandwiches in plastic bags from loaves.


Rediscover the sewing machine to mend and alter old clothes ? old jeans can become a denim skirt; dresses will be cut down into tops. Turn over frayed shirt collars; patch elbows and darn socks. Join the Morsbag movement; turn them into carrier bags and display your love of all things home made.

Arrange parties with friends to swap clothes you now not wear for other people’s unwanted fashion. Seek out vintage styles in charity shops, rather than on the high street. Scour eBay and auctions for designer pieces at lower prices.

Make the most of the “model daysoffered by hairdressers and sweetness training colleges to get a cut-price or free haircut. Before an enormous night out, visit the cosmetics counter of your nearest department store to get a free makeover.

Shun expensive skin scrubs and exfoliators and instead mix sea salt and bicarbonate of soda with ordinary shower gel or olive oil for the face. Those old style ideas reminiscent of avocado face masks and cucumber slices for puffy eyes actually work.


Attempt to avoid using the tumble dryer: it’s expensive and wears out clothes more quickly than line drying. Dry shirts on their hangers to avoid using the iron, and get the creases out of clothes by hanging them within the bathroom while showering.

Heating uses more power than anything within the house; putting reflective sheets behind radiators will send heat into the room rather than the wall. Avoid putting radiators under windows.

You possibly can often switch off the oven a couple of minutes before the end of cooking time, as it would retain the required temperature for long enough to finish the dish; and the only energy-saving trick is to put a lid on saucepans, which accelerates cooking and retains more heat.

Fitting insulation can dramatically cut bills. Check price comparison sites to make sure you are getting the best deal, and keep an eye on direct debit payments. The Wattson gadget from Firebox shows how much electricity you’re using in the house, either in watts or pounds ? which is sufficient to get anyone switching off appliances.


The common power drill is switched on for about 12 minutes in its lifetime, while lawnmowers are used once or twice a fortnight. By lending and borrowing large tools you’ll be able to share the fee with others.

Vinegar, lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda are effective, environmentally friendly and cheaper than chemical cleaners. Soapy water and old newspaper is the best way to achieve clean, streak-free windows. Stop buying disposable wipes; use old socks and other rags for cleaning.

Collect small pieces of soap in a dish and combine them to make a brand new, free bar. Cut the tops off milk and soft drinks bottles to make use of as scoops, funnels or pots for plants.

Buy furniture at auctions and choose things that can be repaired. Repaint, restuff and reupholster to increase their life, rather than buying new. Check in your local freecycle website.

Buy a pc that suits your needs: sending emails and searching the internet doesn’t require vast amounts of computing power. Search the online at no cost downloads and try open-source operating systems corresponding to Ubuntu Linux. Recycle printer paper.


Rather than splash out on costly gym membership, use a local park and public swimming pool for exercise. Even getting off the bus a stop early does the job. Many large companies are part of the “Ride to Workgovernment scheme to subsidise the price of buying a bicycle.

After the initial outlay, electric cars cost substantially less to run than combustion engine ones, at about 1p a mile compared with about 14p a mile for the average petrol-fuelled car; plus, for those within the capital, there’s no congestion charge or parking fees in central London.

For cars that can use it, liquefied petroleum gas or LPG is usually about half the price of unleaded fuel. Keeping the tyres pumped up and taking out unnecessary stuff from the car will make it run more efficiently.

Consider taking the train to mainland Europe instead of flying. Unless the trip is urgent, using a sleeper train is a part of the fun and could be cheaper than a hotel room. Train stations are always in city centres, allowing you to avoid the expensive taxi fare in from the airport.


Remember the local library? Well, if it’s still there, likelihood is yow will discover the most recent bestsellers and classics available free of charge borrowing. There are also magazines and newspapers within the library, and all libraries now have computers for free web surfing. Join a web based DVD rental service.

Search out television studios and find out how to become an audience member through the filming of comedies, quiz and game shows. That is usually free. The arrival of iPlayer saves recording on videotapes or blank DVDs.

BookMooch is a book-sharing website where about 2,500 books are swapped between 80,000 members worldwide. About 10 per cent of them are within the UK.

Abandon the cash-guzzling giants of the Barclays Premier League and embrace the lower-league game for cheaper match tickets.


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