Friday, 10 July 2009
The 6 month Review - What can we reduce?
Well one minute we think it’s Summer and the next – it’s Autumn/Winter! The last couple of weeks have been strange weather-wise and also personally, I am a big Jacko fan so the new hit me hard, hence lack of updates, my apologies for that.
Anyway today is green day, so today’s focus is about what you can start to live without and reduce resources. As times get tighter and we see the news headlines talking about more job losses, higher cost of living and the lack of mortgage lending, cutting back is on all our minds.
Are there any items you would be able to do without? Those little niceties that you think you ‘need’ to buy but can in fact either make at home, buy second hand, or not buy at all? Not only would they declutter your life, they would leave more cash in your purse.
Coffee on the go
Sweets and chocolates
Snacks like crisps
Bus fares or taxi fares
Beauty of make up products
Outings to the pub
All of these slowly drain away from our pockets and don’t seem like much but can amount to a lot over the year. We have all heard the Starbucks quote that a take away coffee every working day can cost around £650 a year – sounds very painful that way!
So for me, this is my 6 month review on how things are going. Below are the things I have either started to make myself at home, or stopped buying completely:
- Washing up liquid – make at home for a fraction of the cost (see right hand menu for how to make this) – now just costs around £10p per litre.
- Handwashing soap – same as above
- Kitchen counter spray – same as above… barely costs 1p per bottle now.
- Magazines – I probably buy one every 3 months now, if that.
- Clothes – I have bought almost all my clothes in the past 6 months from second hand stores and all are of good quality, saving me at least £200.
- Washing powder – I buy the big boxes on an offer then cut it with half of soda crystals (around £0.69 per KG). This means one box has lasted us over 6 months, at a cost of around £5.50 for washing all our clothes for half the year.
- Paper towels – stopped buying and now use small rags cut into squares – has saved around £4, not much but it all counts.
- Beauty products – I make my own now from shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba or almond oil and some essential oils plus some kitchen cabinet ingredients. Although it costs a little in raw materials, I estimate that it has still saved me around £30 these past 6 months, possibly more. See right hand menu for recipes – the beauty oil alone that I made saved lots! I have made lip balm, moisturiser, cleanser, exfoliator and beauty oil from around 6 ingredients, amazing really and so natural, no preservatives as I can just make them when I need them.
- Foods – sounds daft but I used to buy Hummus a couple of times a month – I make my own now for a fraction of the cost then freeze it in small pots for as and when I need it. Other examples: Chilli oil, vanilla essence, tomato and onion chutney and more – these have saved us at least £20 compared to store bought.
- Movies – We rarely pay full price for a movie – get a free sim card from Orange on Google and this gives you half price movies every Wednesday when you take a friend. We also see a lot of free movie previews which cost nothing. Savings are around £50 so far this year, compared to paying ticket prices.
- Energy - Obviously with teh warmer months there is less expense, but we have decided to keep our direct debits as they were so we can have some money on account over the next few months. Also, we have made conscious efforts to always turn off rather than leave items on standby, I charge my phone at work etc. Plus being outside more means less use of gadgets inside.
- Plant your own - we have planted green beans, basil and tomato which are all going well. Savings so far probably £1 as we have only used the basil, but once the tomatoes ripen in 4 weeks or so I am hoping we will save more.
- Amazon - selling books I had read but were still in good condition - have sold arounf £4 worth, nothing much but then I haven't bought many books this year either...
Hopefully these give you some great ideas to continue with and maybe make some cuts or have different ways at looking at your spending / making items at home. Be it honey lip balm, vanilla essence or delicious chutney, once you start to see the product marketing for what it is you can save lots more money!