Remember flasks? No family picnic was complete without a large flask of tea with milk stored separately in a cunning glass bottle like a flattened marmite jar in the base. Didn't Bill Bryson tease us about this national love of hot drinks in "Notes from a Small Island"?
But I digress - the point in Frugal February is that flasks are very frugal- they save you time, money and gas or electricity. Normal black coffee - however you make it- keeps well in a flask. It's also fine with milk in - make sure it's really hot though. It's a bit more complicated if you like a skinny latte mocha or something like that, but you could always give it a try.
If herb tea's your beverage of choice, then you've got to get into flask use! Stop paying £1.80 or whatever for what's basically a mug of hot water when you're out. Just make the tea in the flask- don't bother with a teapot- and leave the bag in if you like a strong brew or take it out after a few minutes. Of course, if you grew and dried your own mint or other herb last summer- well done- that's much more frugal, but one step at a time.
This is dried mint from last year. It's easy to grow and to dry - I just left it on some newspaper in a sunny place indoors.
Oh, and it's better if possible to use separate flasks for tea and coffee (that's why I've got such a big collection).
Flasks are also useful indoors- for keeping your coffee or tea warm for longer (or for later), and if you keep one by the kettle you can put any spare boiling water in there rather than just leaving it to cool down in the kettle. Electric kettles are very power-hungry so this really is worth while.
Of course I love a local independent cafe too, especially for the coffee! We've come a long way since 1969 when Ladybird books published "come to France" including these exotic depictions of French cafe culture
And, finally, a bit of flask history - I learnt from the Thermos website that:
"1978 saw the introduction of the world's first Stainless Steel Flask by Thermos revolutionising hot and cold beverage storage around the world"
and we can be part of that peaceful revolution... send me your flask tips and stories..... V, if you're reading this, hip flasks deserve a whole post to themselves.