Friday, 4 December 2015

5 Frugal / Thrify tips and tricks | November 2015

These may seem really obvious to some of you and perhaps not so to others.

1. Simple swaps to reduce your shopping bills

This can be a really quick win, but it can also be a gamble.
Take a look at your shopping receipt, study the trends, What do you buy most often? What is the most expensive items that you buy? Take a good hard look at the items falling into the 2 categories, buy most often and most expensive. 

With those that you buy most often, its usually not a question as to whether you need it or not, but whether you can get the same thing cheaper, perhaps by buying another brand. You may be reluctant to change, and at first that can be hard. I often buy the one that I want and also buy the cheaper brand at the same time so I, a. have the original version in stock if the new version doesn't meet my standards, and, b. It gives me something to compare to. For example, I only ever used to buy Heinz baked beans, I purchased those, along with some Tesco own brand and also 1 tin of Tesco value. Whilst the Tesco value beans were OK and didn't have an unpleasant taste, they were smaller and the sauce was quite watered down, The ordinary Tesco own brand were still cheaper than Heinz and were very similar in quality. I am still making a saving here, not as much as I would with the value beans but you have to actually want to eat them otherwise why buy it?

With the items that are most expensive, ask yourself is it something you really needed? and could you have picked it up cheaper? do your research for next time.

2. Substitute & Get creative

Ran out of your favourite moisturiser? Perhaps you have none of that pink blush left? Or maybe you have ran out of your usual kitchen cleaning spray. Before you go out and buy exactly the same product to replace something ask yourself, Do I have something else that will do the trick? I find that usually I answer yes to this, perhaps my fave moisturiser has ran out, but I have so many others just asking to be used. I have a rule, if I am not going to use it then I don't need it, this does make me a little more conscious of the sheer volume of stuff I have as a result of previously over buying, it also pushes me into using/trying my excess products rather than getting rid.

Another question I would ask myself if I don't have a substitute is, Can I make one? I would really recommend surfing the web for this one because there are so many recipes for all sorts of cleaning products, natural detergents and even beauty items that you can make at home using basic household ingredients, for instance a lot of the cleaning products need Vinegar, lemon juice and/or bicarb of soda, none of these will exactly break the bank, plus they aren't harmful to the environment.

3. Re-use,Up-cyle and Re-fashion 

When I think the time has come to throw something away I have a little think, Can this be used as something else? Can I do something to fix this and make it work properly again? If I answer yes to any of those 2 questions then I keep hold of the item. It's not always easy to think of examples here, but here is one that occurred recently.                                                                                             
I managed to shrink one of my jumpers in the wash, rather than throw it out I thought this would be just perfect as a cushion cover. This is in my to do pile, but the other required ingredients are simple, a wide eye needle and some grey or yellow wool (which I most definitely have somewhere), and some scissors.. oh and some time.                                                                                                           
With lot's of ongoing projects and such it is easy to accumulate clutter, and I do want to avoid clutter and hoarding. I have a dedicated box, in a dedicated area where I keep my re-usable items and I don't let it over flow, keeping it all in one place is a good way of managing it!                                           

There are some great ideas here for some standard re-usable items such as jars, packaging and old clothing.  

4. Get organised

I always find things tend to cost more when you buy them last minute. Also if you have something that you need to spend a lot on, consider putting a little money aside in the run up to that so it doesn't make such a huge impact on your wallet. I try to over save and make sure I have more than I think I need from the offset, we have recently had work done on out house, because we were organised we were also able to do some elements of this ourselves, saving around £300, even so the job cost a little more than we were expecting so it's always good to be prepared for life's little surprises. 

5. Stay in

This might sound like an obvious one, but with party season fast approaching the temptation for lots of expensive nights out comes with it. I find that I can easily spend £60+ on a night out, so doing this on a weekly basis will seriously burn a hole in my pocket. Also, having done work on the house it seems such a shame to spend so much time away from it. It's a great idea to get people around for nibbles and a few drinks this time of year, it's certainly cheaper and you could cut the cost even more by asking your guests to bring a little nibble each or BYOB, at the end of the day it's the company that's the main part, so you can really focus on being  good host and making sure a great time is had by all.

Perhaps you have some frugal tips for any aspect of life that you would like to share? I would love to hear them, please drop me an email to and I may even feature yours in my next frugal tips and tricks. 

Cookie x

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