Friday, 30 January 2009

February Challenges

Well it’s been another few days and my skin is still feeling great, so the other cosmetics are definitely out in my next recycling box.

I will be making some more of the oatmeal/honey/milk cleanser for the coming week, plus some actual face moisturiser and a body one, as my unrefined shea butter from ebay has arrived. I am expecting some rose essential oil too and I will then be set to go. A cheap Argos hand blender has been purchased so all in I have spent approx £9 to get these basics which will do me for at least 6 – 9 months which is an amazing saving compared to this time last year.

In addition, I will be able to use the rose essential oil to add to my homemade shower gel or handsoap if I want to, so that’s another plus, however this will be rare as I will use it sparingly because it’s not the cheapest oil – more likely grapefruit / lime etc will be used and I will save the Rose for face moisturiser or cold cream.


February marks the start of another month, another chance for me to beat the monthly challenges and they may be something you already do. Some I already do and some are ones I’d like to start:

- Monthly supermarket challenge – I try to stick to £120 for two people for all food, cleaning and drinks, but wine normally blows this budget to around £135ish. Let’s see how we do in February.

- Monthly No Spend Day Challenge – This is my personal challenge and every day that I do not spend any money at all, I mark it as an ‘NSD’ in my diary. My personal best has been 21 x NSD’s in a month – not bad but very rare that happens! More average is 16 or 18 NSD’s per month. I find that it focuses the mind though and I know that most times I won’t hit 18 NSD’s in the Summer months...

- Cash Only Challenge – This is a new one for me - I am going to withdraw cash in one go this month and not visit the ATM as much to make it stretch. Not only will it save me time but it will ‘hurt’ me more to get the cash out of the drawer and see it dwindling away there than in the bank, so hopefully I will stay away from the drawer!
Plus as the banks and savings accounts are offering such poor interest rates now, the justification to leave it in the bank is getting less and less of an issue, so this may help me put a few more coins in the piggybank at the end of Feb.

- Less Electricity Challenge – Another new idea - I am aiming to have one night each week where we get back from work and literally only have a radio on. This means we can catch up properly with eachother, read, enjoy quality time, file old paperwork, clean house and all those things that seem to build up with all the busyness of the week. I am hoping it will help us lead a simpler life with ‘less static interference’ – let’s see whether it happens!

February is a hard month for challenges - Valentines day is coming and for those in a relationship it marks an expensive time – will you be treating yourselves or saving money in the credit crunch?


Mrspolkadot said...

Hi there

I've been reading your blog (and LOVING it). I think I'm in the process of reading it "cover to cover", and making notes of the recipes that I'd like to try. I never treat myself to cosmetics and basically stick to sharing my sons baby stuff for my skin. Now I'm doing a shopping list "alayou" so that I can make my face feel pwetty again.

I've also started using your budget spreadsheet in the last few weeks and I can see a difference already.
My fiance loves letting me get on with it too because he's been getting treats too. This week I got a kenwood major mixer off freecycle (Ive wanted one for ages as I recently started my own cake decorating business) and I had £40 worth of Amazon vouchers thanks to you teaching me how to use pigsback properly, so I bought a mincer attachment for the kenwood which cost me £5 for delivery-last night we had 100% pure beef burgers on our bbq because DF minced a joint, and it was WAY different from any we've had before (even when we've made from scratch using store bought mince. Now I can't wait to do my monthly batch of bolognaise sauce and we've ordered some sausage cases to do our own sausages.

I'm rambling...sorry, I just wanted you to know youve turned me into an eager learner

But why I wanted to send this to start with is I noticed you said wine purchases push your budget up by about £15 a month. My DF has always brewed his own beer so recently I decided I'd like to make my own wine. You can get a starter kit at wilkinsons which makes 6 bottles and gives you the basic equipment you need to continue (costs £20). And then your kit will cost £7 for 6 bottles. I'm doing a chardonnay now and then I plan to try some strawberry and then some elderflower.
And again, a REALLY nice addition to your gift hampers as well as a saving on your personal consumption. Same deal, the longer you leave it the better it tastes, so you can start making anytime for Christmas.
Oh, and as far as space goes because you are in the flat...the starter kit is a nice size for a kitchen counter top so you dont really need huge amounts of space.

I hope that was a little nugget you've not caught on to yet so at least I can say I gave something back to you for all the changes you've made in my house
Can't wait to read more on your blog...again, Thank you.

p.s. I tried to send this as a pm on MSE but your inbox was full:)

SavingsNow said...

Hi Mrspolkadot and thanks a million for your kind comments, it's so great to hear someone has been able to benefit from sawpping ideas and my obsession with personal finance/making stuff!

Wow you are gettin gthe bug by making your own homemade cosmetics and goodies! Plus online cashback sites and vouchers make it such a pleasure to get items for the home, they almost seem free! You just need to put the time into the research etc. Lovely that you can now apply it to food as well, because homemade does taste so much nicer. In Autumn/Winter I plan to do so much more - Summer it's harder with the nice weather!

Making booze is still on my list but thanks for your advice - I will pass it to my hubby who last Winter fancied the idea of it but wasn't sure where to start. Also we have a brewing shop not too far from us, perhaps they can offer a starter kit as well, or I could get him one for Xmas. I guess I always worry whether we'd be 'loving it' and friends or family we introduced to our makings would think it was like vinegar... ;op

My inbox is clear now - feel free to send another message across on MSE if there is anything else I can help with!

Always great to get your comments on the blog though so I know what's of interest - planning another now, have been very lazy this month...