Frugal Living Tips 2

Here’s the next installment of my frugal living tips!

  1. Does that item have a 2nd use? Use your old toothbrush to clean up the grout in your bathroom and all those tough places to reach, like round the taps. Re-use carrier bags as bin liners. Re-use that newspaper when painting or cleaning your shoes.
  2. Shop around. Take this example, my local superstore stocks several varieties of tinned coconut milk. If you go to the obvious place in the store, you will pay the maximum price. However, look around in the specialist sections for different nationalities (like Polish or Caribbean) and you will find the same product (albeit a different label) for half the price!
  3. Shop yellow stickies! Go to your local supermarket or corner shop and look for the reduce section. Daily, you will find an ever changing array of foods that are close to their use-by date, at a hefty discount! Put the perishables in the freezer and just take out what is needed. Fruits and veggies are easy to tell when they’ve gone off and it’s rarely at their use-by date! They will keep for a few more days, no problem. You can also find items with damaged packaging at a fraction of their usual cost.
  4. Sell your unwanted items- try eBay, car boot sales, freeads, friends- whatever!
  5. Trade-in your old books, CDs, clothes, computer games & DVDs. Try sites like Zapper, WeBuyBooks & Amazon.
  6. Sign-up to survey sites and add £100s to your income each year! Try YouGov & IPSOS as good starting places.
  7. Adopt my motto- never pay full price for anything! Wait until the item you need comes on sale or offer. After of course, shopping around for the best price!
  8. Down-shift a brand. Do you always buy brand names- then you’re paying too much for most things! Try the store brand of baked beans, stuffing, mustard. No doubt you’ll find it’s just as good. Already buying store brands? Then try the basic or economy range. 7 times out of 10, we can’t notice any difference and often there are less unpronounceable ingredients!
  9. Stock up! When that item you use regularly is on offer, stock up! Put it away in a cupboard and you’ll thank yourself later on.
  10. Batch cook. Make double what you need and freeze half. You’ll soon see the savings on ingredients and electricity or gas adding up!

Frugal Living Tips

I consider myself a minimalist, starting the journey. I am also naturally very frugal which I think is helpful on this path. Today I want to share with you all, some of my tips for frugal living. I’m going to add 10 at a time, so as not to overwhelm you or I!

 

  1. Squeeze every last drop out of that tube, if necessary cut it in half. You’d be amazed how much is left at the bottom of a tube of moisturiser or toothpaste!
  2. When you get to the bottom of your liquid soap, add a tiny bit of water. That helps to get it all out and doesn’t dilute it too much.
  3. Cook from scratch- you will always pay less for raw ingredients. Please, please don’t buy ready meals- they’re full of rubbish like excess salt and sugar.
  4. Make do and mend. Learn how to sew, so you can darn that sock or glove, or sew a button back on!
  5. Use a scoop to measure out your washing powder- most companies will even send you one for free!
  6. Learn how to do basic DIY, like putting a bolt on a door or hanging shelves.
  7. Always search around for the best prices (I think I’ll do another blog post on this soon), but there are lots of internet search engines to help you
  8. Join up to coupon sites, like www.supersavvyme.co.uk
  9. Join up to www.moneysavingexpert.com
  10. Share things with others, or join a local swaps/ share group. This can really save you money on big items you might not use that often, like drills or lawnmowers.

How do you wash your dishes?

Dishwasher Hand wash dishes

The great debate of the moment in our house is how to wash the dishes.

As you know, we recently moved house. Unfortunately our dishwasher didn’t survive the move and so we were forced back to washing all of our dishes by hand. This led to some interesting discussions on how we should approach dish washing in the future.

Now we used to live in a tiny, one-bed flat. We didn’t have room for a dishwasher, even though we wanted one! So every night, we would have a big pile of dishes to wash. It was always the last thing we felt like tackling, after a hard days work. You’ve just eaten a big meal and sat down to relax, when you remember that enormous pile of dirty dishes. You know you must tackle them tonight, or you won’t have the crockery and pans you need for tomorrow. You also need the kitchen counter space back, as your kitchen is so tiny. It was never something we looked forward to and washing dishes seemed to take over half our lives!

Now I cook everything from scratch- eating take-away or even a ready-meal is a very rare occurrence in our house. One of us also has a  special dietary requirement and so, all of this equals extra pans and dishes- usually at least twice as many.  We didn’t look forward to having guests over- partly because it was a massive squeeze to get even two more people around the table. Dishing up the food was tough because there wasn’t enough space to lay out the plates and the pots it had been cooked in. But mostly because the pile of dishes would become extreme. We worked out we were spending at least an hour a day washing and drying dishes, this doubled if we had guests or if I baked a cake, for example. The task felt endless.

And so, I have to laugh at these minimalist bloggers who are proponents of having as few dishes as possible and washing up by hand. They must be mad, I think. Although I know that washing dishes by hand uses less water, which is great for the environment and your pocket if you are on a meter. But, using a dishwasher is more hygienic and gets the dishes to a higher temperature during the wash. Sure, dishwashers ruin your glassware faster and no doubt take the pattern of your crockery faster too. But how do you manage, maybe they’re not bakers and home cooks?

But what about you, my readers? Do you wash dishes by hand or do you have a dishwasher? What difference does either make to your life? What are the reasons for your choice? I would love to hear your thoughts. Come on- join the debate!

The Grim Reality

OK, so 2 days ago we moved house. It is completely and utterly the most stressful thing you will ever do. And do you know why I think it is SO stressful, mostly because of how much stuff you have! You have to;

  • Box it all up
  • Wrap breakables extra carefully
  • Create and inventory of stuff
  • Arrange insurance
  • Arrange removal
  • Move it- lift it, carry it, shove it- whatever
  • Unpack it
  • Dispose of packaging
  • Find places for everything

Imagine if you didn’t have that stuff, then none of that would be necessary. It is physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting.

So, at my last count- despite my best efforts at purging- we moved with around 75 boxes, plus all our furniture; beds, wardrobes, chairs, tables, desks, pianos and more. I could not believe after all my efforts to get rid, that we ended up with that many boxes. I dread to think how much we would have had otherwise! So, two days into our new home and it already feels too small. There’s not enough cupboard space for everything and there aren’t enough places to put things. Which is truly, utterly crazy- this is a 3-bed house after all.

So I’ve begun purging again. Admittedly some of it is furniture we’ve inherited with this house which is completely superfluous. But, this stuff has to go. I feel the weight of it heavily right now. I truly believe you’ll never experience the burden of your possessions until you box them up. You’ll understand it better if you then have to move them. But after doubting The Minimalists approach (i.e. of boxing it up) Find it here: http://www.theminimalists.com/21days/day3/ I am fully on board with that part of their approach!

To be honest, I could not have left it all boxed up, I mean we couldn’t even move around the house there were so many boxes. So, we have begun unpacking. But I have mentally noted which items are not staying in my house. I will not rest until I have minimized. I hope I don’t have to move again for quite a long time, but next time I do- it is going to be minimal moving!

OMG- How much stuff do we still have?!

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This is our stuff. It isn’t even all of it- I still haven’t finished packing. It doesn’t even include the furniture. (You can ignore the table and the piano in view, as these aren’t ours and will be staying at the property after we leave. But still OMG- 50 boxes and counting. Most of which we wouldn’t notice if we didn’t have. I just can’t believe after a couple of months of purging stuff, we still have so much. After we move, I need to be more far more ruthless about getting rid of things. Beware- it’s so deceptive, until you box it all up- you can hide stuff in cupboards and drawers. Just because we are moving, I do not intend to stop minimizing!

Stuff that’s been leaving my life!

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I thought you might be interested to see some of the stuff that’s been leaving my life. I wish I had taken a picture of it all in a room, so I could visualise just how much has gone! Instead, I’m going to compile a list- it might not be everything in minutiae because I think that might be boring for us all. But here goes!

  1. Wedding Dress (one of the biggest things I’ve got rid of, in terms of size and value and emotional attachment!)
  2. University textbooks- numbering at least 20
  3. Other books- I should say about 40 have gone
  4. DVDs
  5. CDs
  6. Ornaments
  7. Clothing
  8. Shoes
  9. Crockery
  10. RugOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  11. Jewellery
  12. Toiletries
  13. Soft toys
  14. Make-up
  15. Vases
  16. Food Processors and blenders
  17. Kitchen Utensils
  18. Electronics
  19. Wet suit
  20. Storage units
  21. Sewing machine
  22. Peg bag
  23. Furniture
  24. Bags
  25. Wigs
  26. Watches
  27. Fancy dress items
  28. Musical instruments
  29. Board games
  30. and more!

I have to say I am completely shocked at the amount of stuff I had squirrelled away in my house that I was just not using. I barely feel like I’ve made a dent in the ‘stuff’. But I am starting to feel like my living space is clearer now and I have more room to breathe and be creative. I know I can lose much, much more in my journey towards minimalism. But I am already feeling the benefits- emotionally and financially!

Difficult Decisions

Well, we’re in the process of moving house. We’re in the slightly unusual position of buying a house from a family member and this means we’ve inherited lots of furniture and other bits too. Now there are downsides and upsides to this, especially for the minimalist.

We’ve acquired a lovely 3 piece suite, a dining table and 6 dining chairs- all useful things which we’ve never had before. However, we’ve also acquired most of the stuff that went with the house. Thankfully a friend who was setting up home has taken most of the contents, but to be honest we still have a significant amount.

I now have to contend with an additional printer, another stationary cabinet, another bookshelf. I find it hard to get rid of things like this- that ‘might’ be useful, either now or in the future. I guess I need to get out of that mentality. One of the hardest things is inheriting a fridge freezer- over 15 years newer than the white goods we currently own. But we have a separate larder fridge and freezer at the moment and this is a 2 in1. And it’s much smaller than I would have chosen.

Because of the amount we’ve outlaid on the new house. moving costs etc, my husband is adamant that we can’t get rid of it. Plus, we have a small kitchen where space will be limited and there isn’t room for a separate fridge and freezer. We were originally going to have the fridge inside and the freezer in the shed. Then we thought we might stack one on top of the other.

The thing is not only is the freezer on this fridge freezer tiny, but the fridge is a lot smaller than our current one. Now I’m all for minimalism (you know this by now!) but, I also believe in home-cooking. This means I often have a lot of things in my fridge, particularly if I’ve made a big lasagne for example and a pudding. Or I’ve got a big piece of meat in, just waiting to be cooked as a roast dinner. I just know it wouldn’t all go in.

Oh the dilemmas I wish I didn’t have right now! Has anyone else inherited items that make this minimalism journey seem harder?