Festival of Frugality #200: The Fireworks Night Edition

Miss Thrifty26 October 20, 2009

Welcome to the (gasp) 200th edition of the Festival of Frugality! It is a milestone that calls for celebrations; hence all these fireworks.

Actually, it’s the perfect time of year for a fireworks display. Diwali took place at the weekend; here in the UK, the  biggest fireworks event of the year is also looming. Fireworks Night – also known as Bonfire Night and Guy Fawkes Night – takes place on 5 November.

So for overseas blog visitors, here are some insights into this much loved British institution. I have noticed that everyone in the UK (and New Zealand) thinks that Guy Fawkes Night is a traditional, jolly sort of affair put on for the children’s benefit; whereas everyone else thinks that we are savage oddballs inflicting psychological scars upon our innocent young. You can make your own mind up…

The Rockets

The night begins with a bonfire: the bigger, the better. In towns, villages and cities, giant community bonfires are held in local parks and areas of open land. There is always a tip top fireworks display. The better the show, the louder the “oohs!” and the “ahhhhs!”

The Rockets are this week’s Editor’s Picks: the colourful posts that soar into the sky and end with a BANG. (To keep with the frugal theme, the rockets pictured are from a discount fireworks store.)

Tyler presents Quit Worrying About 80% of Your Life posted at Frugally Green. He is looking at Pareto’s Principle, which will ring a bell with all those who have read the fantastical Four Hour Work Week book. A frugal blogger with a ken for Italian economists; what’s not to like?

Paul Williams presents Neuroeconomics: Helping Explain Why We Make Stupid Money Mistakes posted at Provident Planning. Neuroeconomics sounds like a really interesting book: it explores what is going on in our brains when we make financial decisions. (Goodness me: my Editor’s Picks this time round are taking on a rather cerebral theme!)

Wojciech Kulicki presents Navigating The 4 Stages of New Car Ownership posted at Fiscal Fizzle. A lot of thought has gone into this post – and some pertinent points have come out of it.

The Burning Guys

Except that it isn’t just a giant bonfire, with fireworks whizzing and going off in the skies above. It is also a pyre. Atop the pyre sits a lifesized effigy known as “Guy Fawkes”, or simply “the guy”. As the BBC explains:

Children make a Guy by stuffing some old clothes with newspapers, craft a head out of material, and either draw a face on it or buy a special cardboard Guy Fawkes mask. For a few days beforehand children are pushing guys around in prams, push chairs and go-carts, saying ‘A penny for the guy’. Adults then give them money – how much depends on how good the guy is.

As the pyre ignites and the guy goes up in flames, we all cheer – yes, the children included. (You think this is strange? In Ottery St. Mary in Devon, they spend Guy Fawkes Night running around the streets strapped to barrels of flaming tar.)

The guy isn’t just an effigy, of course; fashioned from rags and paper, he is also a monument to all things frugal and recyclable. The following posts stood out because of their shared, admirable commitment to the cause of Make Do And Mend.

Kristia presents Nine paper products to cross off of your grocery list. posted at Family Balance Sheet. Some really good ideas here.

Mama Squirrel presents Thrift and thanksgiving posted at Dewey’s Treehouse. She considers the fine line between thrift and cheapness.

Rachel presents A Simple, Frugal Christmas Part III posted at Life Off the Shelf. Starting early this year, Rachel!

FruGal presents Man alive, it’s nearly Christmas (keep it cheap) posted at FruGal. You too, FruGal?

Nicki presents Nearly Impossible: Cheap & Healthy posted at Domestic Cents. This is a post about frugal food.

The Happy Rock presents Frugal Family Traditions posted at The Happy Rock. This story revolves around a trip to a cherished park in autumn.

Katie presents Kitchen Tip: Leftover Pumpkin System posted at Kitchen Stewardship. I really enjoy this blog.

Viviana presents The Lean Singleton Eats posted at The Lean Times.

The Conspirators

The real Guy Fawkes belonged to a group of plotters who planned to polish off the Royal Family by blowing up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament in 1605. The plot was leaked and the hapless Mr Fawkes was apprehended in a cellar below the House, guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder. He was executed for treason. Bonfires were lit around the country and songs were written, all to celebrate the King’s escape from assassination.

The 1605 plotters were fiendishly cunning; the following bloggers demonstrate cunning of the clever, frugal variety. My kind of conspirators? The latter.

Ray @ Financial Highway presents Probate- Why and How to Avoid Probate Fees posted at Financial Highway. This post does what it says on the tin.

debt kid presents Following up on Zero-Based Budgeting posted at Debt Kid. This is an ambitious new cashflow management plan, which seems to be working well.

Fabulously Broke presents Languages, prices and the ups and downs | Fabulously Broke in the City posted at Fabulously Broke ….in the City. Blogger FB has found that learning a new language can be free, if you find a way to use rewards and pull on your networks for help.

The Lewes Bonfire Party

One of the biggest – and strangest – Guy Fawkes Night events takes place in the town of Lewes, East Sussex. It draws crowds of 80,000 and more. The town centre is closed and a torchlight procession takes place through the streets. The effigy of Guy Fawkes is burned alongside effigies of Pope Paul V (he was Pope in 1605; the plotters wished to restore Catholicism to the country at large) and topical personalities. Here you can see our Prime Minister and Chancellor being marched to the bonfire; with the economy in a mess, they aren’t popular figures right now! Previous effigies have included George W. Bush and Osama Bin Laden.

As you can imagine, this is a controversial event. No-one seems bothered about chucking Gordon Brown on the bonfire, but the historical head of a church – however much he may have been hated 400 years ago – is, erm, another matter entirely. The following posts were selected because they push the boundaries – the frugal boundaries, rather than the decency ones.

Mike @ GLBL presents Money Saving Monday: the problem with mass transit posted at Gather Little by Little. I have included Mike in this category because he weighs up the costs of private transport and mass transit and concludes that sometimes, just sometimes, your gas-guzzling, environmentally unsound car comes out on top.

Doctor S presents Frugal Vegas Vacation: No Hangover In Sight posted at Finance Your Life. Frugal and Vegas? Do those words really fit together? Good luck Doctor S!

Baker presents Is Christianity the Only Path to ‘True’ Financial Peace? posted at Man Vs. Debt. In this video post, Baker – who has a lovely blog header, by the way – takes issue with one of the revered Dave Ramsay’s guiding principles.

Kevin presents The Most Common Things People Steal posted at The Red Stapler Chronicles. His argument: that “the line between being extremely frugal and stealing is slowly being erased”. Yowzers.

Peak Personal Finance presents Teach Your Child About Responsible Credit Use posted at Peak Personal Finance. Blogger Miranda recommends adding your teenager to your credit card as an “authorised user”; a decision that is sure to ruffle a few feathers.

The Jacket Potatoes

The barbecues come out on Fireworks Night. Foods traditionally eaten include jacket potatoes, wrapped up in aluminium foil and left to roast in the barbecue’s embers. (Traditionalists roast them in the bonfire.) These posts are the jacket potatoes: some staple ideas for a good, frugal lifestyle.

KCLau presents What are Your Saving Habits? posted at KCLau’s Money Tips. Blogger Jacquelyn describes how the humble notebook can transform your spending and saving habits for the better.

Hannah presents Feeding Babies Frugally: The Early Months | Cooking Manager posted at Cooking Manager.

J.D. Roth presents Spend Less Than You Earn posted at Get Rich Slowly. J.D. says that this is his #1 piece of personal finance advice.

Miss M presents Fight Fatigue: Make Meals Ahead posted at M is for Money.

Tom @ Canadian Finance Blog presents 10 Money Management Tips For Expectant Parents posted at The Canadian Finance Blog.

Manshu presents Prepaid debit card fees and facts posted at OneMint.

MoneyNing presents Credit vs Debit Transactions with Your ATM Card posted at Money Ning. (Note to UK readers: in the USA the shop assistant asks, “Debit or Credit?” when you hand over your bank card. It’s almost as bemusing as when you get your US bank statement and realise that you have been charged a monthly service fee and charges for not-at-your-bank ATM withdrawals. Confusing.)

The Sparklers

Sparklers = happy kids (and happy big kids). These posts don’t just sparkle; they are little gems, filled with useful tips and quirky frugal ideas.

Francine Jay presents My Top Ten Frugal Pleasures posted at FRUGILLIONAIRE. Like me, she finds that the simplest pleasures can go a long way.

retirehappy presents Best Companies to Retire From posted at My Retirement Blog. Sadly, I fear that many of us will have to dream on!

Patrick @ Military Money presents 2009 Veterans Day Discounts posted at Military Finance Network.

Craig Ford presents 28 Tips for Organizing Your Finances posted at Money Help For Christians.

DR presents Chase Slate with Blueprint Credit Card Review posted at The Dough Roller.

PT presents 15 Surprising Places You Can Trim Your Budget posted at PT Money.

Mrs. Accountability presents We Found Some New Toilet Paper «Out of Debt Again posted at Out of Debt Again. You go, girl!

The Toasted Marshmallows

Ah, the humble, toasted marshmallow: it transcends national and cultural boundaries. Like marshmallows toasted over the bonfire, these posts are fun, moreish – and provide a sweet ending to any festival or fireworks night.

The Financial Blogger presents Tips on Budgeting for a Wedding – Getting Married Without Going Broke posted at The Financial Blogger. Everyone loves a wedding!

FMF presents Free Money Finance: Real-Life Money Saving Story posted at Free Money Finance. This one is about saving on car insurance.

Super Saver presents Eat Out for Less – Off Peak Dinner Deals posted at My Wealth Builder.

Bucksome presents Giving and Disney posted at Buck$ome Boomer’s Journey to Retirement. This post is about a new Disney promotion; definitely one with a happy ending!

Image credits: dominic’s pics (fireworks); docklandsboy (Gordon Brown effigy); unsung (jacket potatoes); audiotribe; (sparkler); ninahale (marshmallow).

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26 Responses to “Festival of Frugality #200: The Fireworks Night Edition

Thank you for including my post about our new cheap industrial sized rolls of toilet paper, lol! Love the theme!!

October 20, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Who knew there was so much to learn about Guy Fawkes Day? Thanks for putting together the carnival and linking to my post.

October 20, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Tyler says:

The lesson on Guy Fawkes day explanation is much appreciated by this Yankee.

Thanks for hosting and including my article on Pareto’s Principle. Keep up the great work.

October 20, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Thanks for hosting! I’ll link.

October 20, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Viviana says:

Thanks so much for including me. Great round up. Cheers.

October 20, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Doctor S says:

Thanks for hosting and selecting my post!!! Great job!

October 21, 2009 at 2:09 am

Rachel says:

Thanks so much! It was fun to be included!

October 21, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Bucksome says:

Thank you for the great carnival and trip across the pond.

October 22, 2009 at 1:06 am

Thanks so much for including me in this wonderful festival; you did a brilliant job with the theme!

November 2, 2009 at 2:50 pm

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