Eco-Friendly Living

A selection of articles focused on eco-friendly living.

Frugal Friday Five – Go Green – 21st September 2018

Frugal Friday Five – Go Green – 21st September 2018

Once again the weather seems to be grabbing the headlines.  This time because it is windy!  This year has been quite erratic for weather.  We had lots of snow in March, then beautiful sunshine for about two months in June and July, and now it is hurricanes.  It serves to remind me that I need to push harder to live an eco-friendly life.  But achieving this whilst on a budget isn’t always the easiest.  Therefore the theme for my Frugal Friday Five this week is “Go Green”.  Here are five frugal things I’ve done this week that are also “green”:

 

Ditched the tumble dryer

I love my tumble dryer.  But it is expensive and terrible for the environment.  I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how I had changed my laundry schedule.  We are now three weeks into this schedule and it is working so well.  I’m doing less laundry yet everything is still getting washed.  Plus it is far less stressful!  The washing machine goes on once a day and overnight to get the benefit of cheaper electricity rates.  However the best bit is that I haven’t used my tumble dryer in that time!  Three weeks my tumble dryer has gone untouched and it makes me so happy.  I can’t wait to see the impact it has had on our electricity consumption.

 

Today though it is a bit rainy outside so my own clothes are still sitting in the washing machine whilst I decide what to do with them.  I’m thinking of using my hanging dryer and hanging my underwear of the living room light fitting.  And I’m also having a look at the clothes horses on Amazon.  Think I might invest in one of these:

Ditched the dishwasher too

Our dishwasher broke!  Well maybe!  It is probably just some lump of burnt food stuck in the outlet pipe but it has led to a review of our dish washing practices.  It turns out that we are lazy.  We will happily reach for a new cup rather than reusing the old one or happily use an array of utensils when cooking that far exceeds the amount of utensils that we actually need.  Because my husband and I both hate washing up we have been far more conservative about the stuff we’ve been using to ensure minimal washing up.

 

There’s some debate about whether washing up by hand uses more water than a dishwasher so I have been extra careful to use as little water as possible.  But we are definitely saving on electricity and it is so nice to not have to empty the dishwasher every day and just tidy up as we go.

 

Reusable swimming nappy

Regular readers probably know that we use cloth nappies.  I bought a load of these when my first child was born and we’ve been able to use them for both children now.  Hence we are officially saving small fortune now.  What I haven’t talked about before is the fact that we also use reusable swimming nappies.  Most people I know buy disposable swimming nappies and use a new one every time they go.  As keen swimmers, whose kids have weekly lessons and then will go occasionally at weekends too, this is an expense and a waste that I’m not prepared to make.  These little wraps will go underneath the Happy Nappy that most swimming organisations insist on and then I just shove them in the wash with the rest of the swimming stuff.  Again we have used these for both our children AND I have been selling on the outgrown ones for only £1-2 less than I paid for them.  A definite win on both the frugal and go green fronts!

 

DIY Natural Bath Smellies

This week my family has been hit with the start of term colds.  My youngest got it first and then one by one it has spread through the family.  This has made for some grumpy and tired children as well as a grumpy and tired mummy.  In these times I always remember a saying that someone told me “if your kids are grumpy, take them outside. If you’re already outside, take them inside.  If that doesn’t work, shove them in water!”  This is pretty much my philosophy on parenting.  Hence we have had a lot of baths.  To make bath time more interesting I like to add essential oils.  This not only makes bath time a sensory experience but can also help relieve some of the symptoms of my kids’ colds.  My favourites are these from Neal’s Yard.  I’ve got a small, but well chosen selection in my cupboard.  They are far cheaper that elaborate bubble baths or bath bombs and contain far less chemicals that are harmful to both my children’s skin and the environment.

 

Switched to a safety razor

I wrote a whole post about this called “Should You Switch To A Safety Razor?”  And the short answer is yes you should!  I bought one a couple of months back and I just love it.  It is the perfect ladies’razor.  I shaved on Sunday and only now am I starting to get that fluffy regrowth which from a hairy woman means that is a really close shave.  The safety razor is the perfect replacement for disposable razors that save both money and the planet.  Take a read of the post if you want to know more.

 

What have you done?

You’ve heard from me but I’d love to take further inspiration from you.  Let me know what you’ve been up to.  Or, like me, you can link up with CassEmma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five Frugal things I’ve done this week’ linky.

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Frugal Friday Five - Go Green! Five frugal living and eco-friendly ideas to save money and remain environmentally conscious. #saving money #frugalliving

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Eco-Friendly Living, Frugal Friday Five, 14 comments
Should You Switch To A Safety Razor?

Should You Switch To A Safety Razor?

Recently, I treated myself to something I’d been after for a while.  On my journey to an eco-friendly home I have been on the look out for a new razor.  I’ve tried epilating, disposables, electric shavers and various men’s razors.  But either they didn’t give me the shaving experience that I wanted or they resulted in large amounts of waste.  Some internet searching lead me to the safety razor! Unfortunately, funds did not permit me to invest in one at the time so I pinned it to a Pinterest board called “Gifts for Me” and waited until I had some money to spend.  Well, that day came so I took the plunge.  And oh wow!  Totally worth every penny.  Here is my review:

 

What is a safety razor?

A safety razor is a traditional style razor.  It has a detachable head where you place a razor blade.  Traditionally used by men, this product has seen growing popularity across the genders because it is easy to use and environmentally friendly.  The razor blades can be replaced easily when they become blunt meaning that you consistently get a good quality shave.

Are they eco-friendly?

Yes and no!  They are made entirely from metal, although some might have a handle made from something else.  Therefore you do not need to worry about plastics and other non-recyclable products.  Plus with correct care your safety razor should last you forever so you’ll never be throwing it away because it doesn’t work or the blade is blunt.

 

However, the blades do need to be changed.  I ordered some blades when I purchased my razor and was disappointed with the amount of packaging they came with.  I am determined to find a different company though who is more environmentally conscious about how they package their product.

 

Related posts:

16 Essentials For An Eco-Friendly Kitchen

Your money or the environment? You can save both!

 

How about saving money?

Like I said above, this should be a one time investment.  I paid approximately £15 for mine and I expect it to last me a lifetime.  The blades are going to need replacing but I purchased 100 for under £8 (I’ve since seen them for less than this) and I’ve been using the same once for about a month now.  Obviously, the amount of shaving you do is going to change the frequency with which they need replacing but this just gives you some idea.  Also worth considering is that they don’t require any electricity to power unlike the electric shaver option so another small saving there.

Should you switch to a safety razor? Take a look at how a safety razor could be the money saving, eco-friendly frugal idea that you need in your bathroom today. #frugal #ecofriendly #lookingafteryourpennies

How do they work?

I have been using mine in the same way that I would use a disposable razor.  I apply shaving soap whilst in the shower and get to work.  Initially I was worried about cutting myself but this has not been an issue at all.  Actually, I used to have regular issues cutting myself with disposable razors (I always shave too fast!) but haven’t had a single issue with this.  They are truly a “safety” razor!

 

What about shaving soap?

You don’t need anything special and in reality you can save even more by ditching your fancy aerosol.  For this you just need some soap, or my favourite: whipped coconut oil, and you are good to go.  If you fancy it you can buy a proper shaving soap.  These usually come in refillable pots and many claim that they give a closer shave too.  As an example check out this beautiful shaving soap refill.

 

Is there a particular brand or model you recommend?

I bought the Jagen David L5 and unless I get given a different one it is likely to be the only one I use.  I chose this model for two reasons.  Firstly, it was a good price and secondly it had good reviews across the internet.  I had narrowed my search criteria down to a long-handled razor in the first instance.  Many people were saying how they preferred this style and I agree that it a comfortable fit for me.

 

There you have it!  What is stopping you from getting one?  Take a look at the selection available on Amazon here.

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

 

Should you switch to a safety razor? Take a look at how a safety razor could be the money saving, eco-friendly frugal idea that you need in your bathroom today. #frugal #ecofriendly #lookingafteryourpennies

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Eco-Friendly Living, 17 comments
16 Essentials For An Eco-Friendly Kitchen

16 Essentials For An Eco-Friendly Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home.  There are some rooms in my house that go virtually untouched from day to day, but no other room gets quite as much use as my kitchen.  We eat in it, play in it, organise in it, talk in it, socialise in it, cook in it and store all manner of things in it.  Therefore, it makes sense to turn your kitchen from normal kitchen to eco-friendly kitchen first.

 

For us the journey to becoming environmentally conscious was both sudden and gradual.  One day (not long after my first child was born) I realised that I needed to do more to protect the planet and to create a healthy world for my children to grow up in.  However, making the change remains an ongoing process where I slowly learn new things and make informed and intelligent switches.

 

It may seem like an impossible or unachievable task when you first start the process to transforming your home, and life, to one with a reduced impact on the planet.  Hence it is important to remember the following:

  1. Any change you make has a positive effect. You might be just a tiny drop in the ocean, but you are joining a movement of people all making similar changes.  When many people chose to make a difference that’s when the big change occurs.
  2. Change first those things that will have least impact on your life. For example we made the switch to more gentle cleaning products early on in our journey.  For us this had virtually no impact on our day-to-day lives as we had no idea what was in the products we were using before so these products just slotted right into their place.  Once you have made these minor tweaks you will want to make more and will be willing to make more dramatic changes.
  3. Do not allow the opinions of others to deter you from your goal. You know you are doing the right thing so don’t let someone who frowns when you tell them the changes you’ve made derail your plans for an eco-friendly life.  Instead, persist and you will act as an educator, showing them environmentally conscious adjustments do not need to change your whole life.
  4. Talk to people about the changes you are making. When you make the switch to a more sustainable products there’s little harm in sharing this with your friends and family.  It could be that they were unaware that such products existed.  Knowing that there are simple swaps out there could be just the thing that is needed to encourage others to do the same.

 

Now I am not expecting you to run out and spend a load of money to save the planet.  If I did that I would be a terrible personal finance blogger.  What I am encouraging you to do is look for solutions that exist in your home and your lives already.  Or if one does not exist then there are plenty of DIY projects on Pinterest that will teach you how to make many of these products.  Crafting and DIY projects are wonderful because the sense of achievement in huge and you get to fill your home with many unique items.

 

Naturally you may find that there are some items that you need to source from outside your home.  That’s OK!  But remember to try all the usual tricks from finding a bargain.  You can check out my post on saving money when you shop here.

 

Wondering where to start on your journey to becoming more environmentally conscious? Well I recommend the kitchen. Check out these 16 essentials for an eco-friendly kitchen. #ecoliving #zerowaste #moneysaving #lookingafteryourpennies

Anyway, here are the top switches we have made in our kitchen on our eco-friendly journey:

  1. Food bin

This one, surprising, was one of the later additions to our kitchen and a bit of a splurge.  Where we live, the council provide us with a small food waste bin for outside and a smaller caddy for indoors.  But it is ugly!  For a long time I refused to have it in the house because I did not know where to put it or what to do with it.  Plus it was not particularly good for locking in any odours.  One day I realised that it was only vanity that was standing in the way of including this feature in our kitchen, so I spent some money and bought a lovely brushed steal one.  It looks great and has a special feature that traps all the smells.  Check out some options for your home here.

  1. Reusable wipes

We love love love these!  We have integrated reusable wipes across our home and family so it makes absolute sense for them to be a big part of our kitchen.  They were first introduced when we started introducing our eldest to solid food.  The mess was unbelievable so we had a stash of wipes of hand to clean everything up.  We soon came to see that we could use these for many different purposes and they have now replaced napkins, kitchen rolls and cleaning cloths in our kitchen.  Here are the ones we use.

  1. Storage pots

Food waste is a terrible thing.  My husband particularly hates it.  But buying food in bulk or cooking in batches is a necessary for someone who is trying to keep the costs down.  This is why we have a lot of storage pots.  We use them for freezing food or packing up lunches.  My favourites are these by U Konserve.  I use them for putting the kids snacks in and for keeping leftovers in the fridge.  Many people might decide that foil or cling film might work instead but this is literally creating waste.

  1. Jars

Jars are great!  I save jars from various foods like mayonnaise and peanut butter and then transform them into various useful items.  Jars are perfect for storing food that you have bought in bulk that comes packaging free.  One example is that in our house we store our loose leaf tea in jars.  This means that we do not need any packaging for transporting the tea home and it stays fresh for ages.  I’ve also used recycled jars for lunchbox ideas, for growing plants in and for freezing.  A good stash of jars is a wonderful thing!

  1. Bees wax wraps

Oh these are amazing!  I made my own bees wax wraps and used fabrics that I love so I want to use these all the time.  We love wrapping up homemade cakes or biscuits in these when we take them round to friends houses.  They are a great replacement for foil and cling film and can be used to cover bowls and dishes or for directly wrapping food.  They can only be washed using cold water though so it is not advised to use them for meat products.

  1. Eco-egg

We swapped laundry detergent for an Eco egg.  This simple product will go in the washing machine with your dirty laundry and produces the same results as washing powder or laundry detergent.  It contains none of the nasty chemicals, is much kinder for your skin and you get so many washes out of it that it will save you money.  This one is one of those very simple swaps that you can make a start with.  Click here to check out prices of Eco egg on Amazon.

  1. Silicone cupcake molds

The kids and I love baking!  We regularly use up “less-than-best” fruit by making buns or muffins, or want a tasty treat to take on a picnic or day out.  One day I realised that I was cooking my cakes in a paper case that got almost instantly thrown away.  It is so wasteful!  The solution to this was reusable cupcake mold.  Now once we have eaten the cakes we wash up the molds and put them back in the cupboard for next time.  What is even better is that they come in beautiful colours that make our cakes look fab!

  1. Herb garden

This one may be less obvious to see the impact on the environment but trust me it is there.  When you buy dried herbs the come, once again, in some sort of packaging.  They have also been processed and transported from farm to factory to shop and all of this harms our beautiful planet.  A simple selection of pots by your back door or along your kitchen windowsill with your favourite herbs growing in them can prevent all of that.  Plus bringing plants into your home will cheer you up and make your house look great.  Just remember to give them a bit of water every now and then.

  1. Vinegar and bicarbonate of soda

These are the only products you need to clean your entire home.  You don’t need 500 bottle of various products lurking under your kitchen sink.  Most of them will just be variations on that same thing.  There are many tutorials on the internet about how to use vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to clean your home.  Trust me you will not see any difference in the level of cleanliness in your home.

  1. Ice lolly makers

It’s been a hot summer so far and keeping my kids happy and hydrated has required near enough my full attention for the last two months.  At the start of the heatwave I was buying Tesco’s version of Mini Milks but disliked the amount of sugar and whatever else that might be hiding in these.  On top of this I was throwing away plastic wrappers and lolly sticks.  That’s when I found the silicone lolly molds.  (Have a look at them here.)  I now fill these with juices or homemade smoothies and sometimes even just water for my youngest.  When they are done, I give them a clean, refill and pop them back in the freezer.  They’re so easy!

  1. Water bottle

If you haven’t got a reusable water bottle then you might be the only person without one.  This is the first step most people take on their eco-friendly journey and it is such a simple one.  Not only do you stop yourself from buying single use plastic bottles but you save yourself money AND it encourages you to drink more water too.  I got a Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottle for Mothers’ Day this year and I love it.  You can check out prices on Amazon here.

  1. Lunchbox

When you were a kid you probably had a lunchbox with some character on it that you loved at the time.  Some member of your family might make your lunch and you’d pack it in your lunchbox and take it to school with you.  Why did you stop doing that?  Buying lunch every day is expensive and it generates an extraordinary amount of waste.  Think!  That’s a sandwich wrapper, a crisp packet/yoghurt pot and a drinks bottle that you are throwing away every day.

  1. Reusable straws

There has been a big crackdown on plastic straws in the last year or so.  Many companies have now stopped automatically providing straws with their drinks.  This is an excellent step forward, but I actually do quite enjoy sipping icy cold drinks through a straw.  For this indulgence, I treated myself to four stainless steel straws.  I love them!  They look amazing and I do not feel any guilt about using them, because I wash them up and shove them in the drawer.  If I know we are going out for a meal and I might want a straw with my drink, I take these with me.  They are so easy to rinse off when I get home.

  1. Drinks cup

A bit like the water bottle this is one of the early steps that many people take.  Buying a reusuable cup for hot drinks is a sensible choice.  It stops all those single use cups from going in the bin.  You save money because places like Starbucks will give you money off if you bring your own cup.  AND you get to choose a cup that looks awesome.  I personally am more of a tea drinker so I found a lovely glass and bamboo travel mug with a diffuser and some very good friends of mine bought it for me for my birthday.  Unfortunately I think the one I have is no longer in production but you can have a look here to get some ideas.

  1. Tea and coffee making facilities

Do not get one of those pod machines!  That is too much waste!  We have one but we haven’t used it in a long time.  It is expensive and all those little pods just end up knocking about on the planet forever.  However a good set of tea and coffee making facilities is a great way to help the environment.  As I’ve just said I love tea, particularly loose leaf tea.  Near to where I live we have a brilliant tea specialist shop (luckily I have a couple to choose from here) and I am able to take my own jar in and they will supply me my tea without any packaging.  They do coffee too!

 

If coffee is your thing then there are some great machines out there for making coffee at home.  Plus there are some great online tutorials too.  Making your coffee at home is a top money saving move but it also prevents any temptation from those coffee shops and the potential waste that goes with it.

  1. Fabric sandwich bags

These are one of my favourite things in my kitchen.  Washable sandwich bags.  If you are someone who makes their lunch and takes it to work every day then great.  If you are parent who bulk buys snack foods and takes those out with you then great.  But if you are putting these things into plastic bags that you then throw away then you need these.  They come in different patterns and sizes and styles.  There will be a design to suit your need.

 

A good starting point

This is by no means all the items you need for an eco-friendly kitchen.  These are just some of the ones I have found and love.  My advice is every time to throw something away to try and think of way not to have to do that again.  Once you adopt this mindset you will gradually find that eco-friendly living becomes a fun game.

 

What items have you introduced to make your home more eco-friendly?

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Wondering where to start on your journey to becoming more environmentally conscious? Well I recommend the kitchen. Check out these 16 essentials for an eco-friendly kitchen. #ecoliving #zerowaste #moneysaving #lookingafteryourpennies

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Eco-Friendly Living, 2 comments
Things You Buy Every Week That I Don’t!

Things You Buy Every Week That I Don’t!

Have you ever taken a look at your shopping list and thought “why am I buying all this stuff?”  Every week we buy items that we think we need.  Well, you do!  I stopped buying many of these items because I realised they were expensive and unnecessary purchases.  If you want to save money, take a look at these things to stop buying.

 

Related posts:

Extremely Frugal? Would you go THIS far?

9 Steps to Save Money Every Time You Shop

 

1. Bin liners

This is the most recent item to be removed from our shopping list.  The day I realised I was buying these bags just to throw them away was the day I vowed to stop buying them.  And we did.

 

Now we just throw our rubbish straight into the bin.  At first I thought this was going to be hideously messy and be a pain to clean up.  Then I thought about it and discovered that it is not as bad as I thought.  Firstly we hardly throw anything away anyway.  We recycle or reuse.  Food waste goes in a special bin or goes on the vegetable patch.  And secondly what does get thrown away is fairly clean.  It’s the plastic seals from the mayonnaise jar or the lids from yoghurt pots.  Anything that is a bit dirty I just give it a quick rinse first.

 

Plus it’s not as though I love my bin so much that I don’t want it to get dirty and therefore need a bin liner to protect it.  If it gets dirty I spray it with a bit of anti-bac and then squirt it with the hose.  Easy peasy!

 

2.  Laundry detergent

OK, this one I still do buy but I don’t buy anywhere near as much as you probably do.  We traded laundry detergent for an Ecoegg a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back.

 

With an Ecoegg you just chuck it in with your dirty clothes and it cleans them just like your powder, tablet, liquid or gel would.  But the best thing is they last ages!!  I’ve replaced the inside bits of my Ecoegg once, maybe twice in the 2-3 years that I’ve had it.  And during that time my clothes have come out clean every time.

 

Eco egg comes with the added bonus of being great for sensitive skin so I love using it for my kids clothes.  It is also fragrance free, so clean things just smell clean and not like anything else.  AND it doesn’t dump a load of toxic chemicals into the environment.  Love it!

 

3.  Fresh herbs

I started a herb garden two or three summers ago and I adore it!  Not only was a great introduction to growing your own food and a great project for my daughter, but I am saving so much money.

 

I sourced my herbs from various places.  A few I grew from seeds in cut down milk bottles on my windowsill.  Some were cuttings from a friend.  And one or two I bought as established plants.  All in  all it was fairly inexpensive to set up with just the cost of soil and a few pots on top.

 

We now have a great selection of herbs at our disposal.  I love sending my daughter out into the garden to collect fresh thyme for dinner or to get a sprig of mint for my tea.  Plus when the colder months set in I take a load of cuttings and dry them out indoors to use throughout winter.  It really is quite a lovely way to save money.

 

Here are 9 unnecessary purchases that you making every week. Ditch these items from your shopping list and save money, boost your budget and help get yourself debt free. #savingmoney #groceries #frugal #budgeting #lookingafteryourpennies

4. Aluminium foil

You just don’t need it!  Honestly, think hard about when you use it, and then try to think of a way to not use it.  For nearly every situation I could come up with a better solution.  For example, wrapping your sandwiches in it.  Just get a lunch box or a reusable sandwich wrap.  What about cooking with it?  Use a Pyrex dish with a lid if you are looking to keep in the heat.

 

I’ve not bought foil in a long time and I cannot say that I miss it.  Yeah you might have to be a bit creative at the start but once you’ve figured it out you find it is easy to give up.

 

9 things to stop buying every week. If you want to save money on your groceries and become more eco-friendly then you need to stop buying these items. #savingmoney #groceries #debtfree #budgeting #ecoliving #frugalliving

5. Shampoo and conditioner

I’ve mentioned this before here.  But I don’t buy shampoo or conditioner.  At least not the normal versions that come in bottles from the supermarket.  I instead buy shampoo bars.  These last for ages and make your hair feel great.

 

I paid £6 including delivery for my last shampoo bar.  I fully expect that to last me 6 months and that is with washing my hair every other day.  The great thing about shampoo bars is that they are zero waste.  No plastic bottle.  And they don’t contain anything nasty that coats your hair in plastic or whatever.  They just let your lovely hair do its thing.

 

For conditioner I just use a little apple cider vinegar mixed with water.  It de-tangles and makes hair so shiny.  Until you try it you probably won’t believe me but it is just as good as “normal” conditioner.

 

6.  Some cosmetics and toiletries

Yeah I don’t really do make-up or fancy moisturisers or toners.  They scare me really.  I worry about what is in them and whether I want that stuff all over my face, plus I mostly just don’t have a clue what to do with half of it.

 

This said there are increasingly some great products available that are great for your skin and don’t contain all the horrible stuff that I try to avoid, but they are also expensive.  I don’t like spending money.  But you knew that already.

 

There are so many tutorials out there for making your own cosmetics from very few ingredients.  I personally am happy to go without most of the time.  I’ve got a charcoal eye liner, some natural eye shadow and lippy that I can whip out for a special occasion.  The rest of the time I just use coconut oil.  And I get that as cheap as I can too.

 

Here are 9 unnecessary purchases that you making every week. Ditch these items from your shopping list and save money, boost your budget and help get yourself debt free. #savingmoney #groceries #frugal #budgeting #lookingafteryourpennies

7.  Baby products

I’ve mentioned before that we use cloth nappies so I won’t go on about those again.  But I want to mention here that I don’t buy anything from the “baby” section when I do my grocery shopping.  Literally nothing.  To me it’s all unnecessary.

You might be interested in:  Must Have Parenting Hacks to Save Money

We don’t buy nappies. Or wipes.  We make all our own food so we don’t need purees or special baby crisps and crackers.  I breastfeed so we don’t need formula.  We don’t use shampoos, soaps or creams on our kids.  They get water and the odd bit of coconut oil (again) for most things.

 

When I walk around a supermarket, which is rare, I actually feel quite proud that there is a whole aisle that I don’t need to go down.  I turn it into a game now.  I try to find more aisles in the supermarket that I don’t need to go down by making switches in my home.  It is amazing what you can eliminate.

 

8.  Food bags

Again I don’t really understand these.  They’re a bit like bin bags.  They serve a purpose for such a short period of time then they get thrown away.  It doesn’t make sense to me.  Plus I can buy reusable food bags in so many pretty patterns, so why wouldn’t I?

 

This one is like foil.  It won’t take you long to come up with ways to replace all the things that you use food bags for.  Storing food can be switched into reusable bags and boxes.  Putting your lunch in them, you can use a lunch box again.  What else could you possibly use them for?  If you think you have a use for them that you absolutely cannot live without, let me know.  I’d really enjoy convincing you otherwise.

 

9.  Kitchen roll

Yeah we don’t have kitchen roll.  I don’t miss it either.  Visitors that come to my house seem to miss it more than me.  They will look around my kitchen and go “where’s your kitchen roll?”  I actually think it is quite funny now.

 

We stopped using kitchen roll when we decided that it could be replaced by a cloth and a towel.  Both of these things we can wash and reuse.  A cloth wipe can be used to clean anything.  And a towel will absorb any spills.  I’ve seen a few people say “what about things that you don’t want to use a reusable wipe for?”  Well if it really is something so disgusting that I don’t want to put it in my washing machine, then I have old scraps of fabric that I save from really worn out clothes and bedding.  I can use those and then throw away.  You don’t need kitchen roll.

 

What unnecessary purchases are you making?

If you eliminated all these items from your weekly/monthly shop, how much would you save?  Then work that out over the year?  Then the next ten years?  At what point would you consider it a worthwhile saving?  For me, it’s easy.  These items are bad for my budget, bad for the environment and some of them are bad for our health.  Therefore it is easy to let them go.

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Here are 9 unnecessary purchases that you making every week. Ditch these items from your shopping list and save money, boost your budget and help get yourself debt free. #savingmoney #groceries #frugal #budgeting #lookingafteryourpennies

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Eco-Friendly Living, Saving Money, 22 comments
Extremely Frugal?  Would you go THIS far?

Extremely Frugal? Would you go THIS far?

Frugal living seems to be a bit of a natural state for me.  When left alone I will gravitate towards frugal living.  I love anything that saves me money and double points if it is environmentally-friendly too.

 

Over the last few years I (not so much Mr. Pennies) have made a few choices that could be called extreme frugal living.  Most people I know would never even consider some these choices.  But wow! I think I love them all.  I have more money and am closer to my zero-waste dream.

 

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Are you extremely frugal? Or are you looking for ways to slash your budget and make your debt free dreams a reality? Well with these four eco-friendly ideas in your life you could save a lot of money.

 

So here are my extreme frugal living top 4:

Cloth nappies

I’ll start tame.  Cloth nappies are almost mainstream now.  I can go to most baby or toddler groups and find at least one other parent there who is either using them or has tried them.  But for every one I find there are probably 10 others who have given me odd looks.

 

Well the joke is on them.  As frugal living tips go this one is easy peasy.  You can buy cloth nappies on the high street now and they pretty much work like normal nappies.  The only difference being that rather than chuck them in the bin to spend an eternity attempting to decompose in landfill, you stick them in the washing machine.

 

“What about poo?”  is a phrase I get a lot.  Well you’ve got a couple of choices: 1) if you can, shake it down the toilet, or 2) if it’s runny, just chuck it straight in the wash.  Occasionally we get a few “lingerers” but we just remove and rinse again.  And when it is your own kids , it doesn’t actually seem quite as bad.  Well I don’t think so anyway.

 

We use Bambino Miosolos (found here on Amazon).  They come in the cutest patterns and you can get them from lots of High Street retailers, such as Aldi, Boots, Asda etc.

 

No poo

Confession: I didn’t use shampoo or conditioner for a whole year!  No I didn’t stop washing my hair completely but I did stop buying specific products for it.  And my hair loved it!  It was clean, bouncy, shiny and just magical.  And I saved so much money.

 

Rather than using shampoo, I switched to something called the “no poo” option.  Instead I washed my hair with various things including bicarbonate of soda and apple cider vinegar (ACV).  Both of these products were already in my cupboard.  If I ran out of either of them I would just use something else that I did have.  Like coffee or beer or fruity tea.

 

Alongside the benefits that I noticed to my hair and my bank balance, I also had far less waste.  There was no longer a collection of different plastic bottles in my tiny bathroom bin.  No poo is pretty low waste.  If you buy the basics you need in bulk they will last you ages.  This is because you can only wash your hair every four days (longer is the goal) and you use so little of them anyway.

 

Alas, two kids and a job meant that I didn’t keep this one going forever.  It was more time-consuming than a more traditional hair washing schedule so it had to go.  But I do now use shampoo bars rather than normal shampoo.  Shampoo bars are the perfect half-way house.  They last a longer time, contain fair less nasties, come in less packaging and do just as good a job as the stuff you buy in the supermarket.

 

Are you extremely frugal? Or are you looking for ways to slash your budget and make your debt free dreams a reality? Well with these four eco-friendly ideas in your life you could save a lot of money.

Reusable menstrual products

After using cloth nappies on my eldest I got a bit jealous of that cushion-y softness.  Plus I learnt that nappies are just awful for the environment and feminine hygiene products (horrible phrase) are just as bad.  It was my turn to do my bit.

 

There exist washable sanitary towels.  And crocheted tampons.  And menstrual cups.  All of these products will save you money eventually.  Like cloth nappies they involve a higher initial cost but them long term savings.  I was able to save even more money by making my own pads.

 

I’ve not had many periods (2 in total I think) since I feel pregnant with my eldest nearly 4 years ago.  But the few times I’ve used my cup or my towels they’ve been excellent.  They do everything you want them to do and are super comfortable.

 

I even went a step further and used reusable maternity pads and didn’t need to buy a single disposable pad.  I now have a lovely collection of night time pads to use when Aunt Flo decides to show up again.  Much nicer than those crunchy old things rustling all night.

 

There’s a blog post all about this brewing in my mind, so sign up to get notifications for when that manifests.  But for now I will say that you have three basic choices; pads, cups and tampons.  Pads are used like your normal disposables and normally have a popper to hold them in place.  You keep them in cold water until you are ready to wash and then chuck them in with the rest of your laundry.  Cups are used internally and take a bit of practice.  (This is the one I’ve got: Diva Cup)  They will need sterilising before use and then emptying and rinsing up to every 12 hours.  I’ve less experience with tampons but from what I hear they are inserted in the standard way and then stored and washed like pads after use.

 

This was a daunting step to take but I love them.  There are loads of great designs and every time I use them I feel like I am claiming my period back from the corporations and the patriarchy.  #feministthroughandthrough

 

Family cloth

Also known as reusable toilet roll!  Yeah we went that far! Well I did and the kids.  For me this was the ultimate.  I’d done cloth nappies and I’d done reusable menstrual products.  The big hurdle was just poo.

 

I kept a pile of cloth wipes (we used these ones from Cheeky Wipes) next to the toilet along with a box to keep the dirty ones in.  After I’d done my business I would wet a cloth and wipe and chuck it in the bucket.  When it came to washing time I would just chuck them in with the cloth nappies.

 

Now the pros of this are that it wasn’t costing me anything.  Zero cost!  I already had the wipes but I could easily have used cut up bits of old t-shirt or towel instead.  Second benefit was that I was feeling much…erm…fresher.  The use of water made me feel cleaner and there were no leftover toilet paper tails as I like to call them.  And lastly they are great for the environment.  Even recycled toilet paper needs cleaning and bleaching and goodness knows what else.  These just needed a wash.

 

If I’m being honest the reason I’m using the past tense here is because I stopped using them.  I don’t really have good reason why.  I think I stopped because I didn’t have good storage systems.  Mr Pennies would whinge that everything looked messy and in the end he wore me down.  That said I’m currently plotting the return of family cloth.  I just need some pretty baskets to store them in.

 

How far have you gone?

Would you try these ideas?  Or have you gone even further in your attempts to save money or the planet?  Send me a message or comment below.

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Are you extremely frugal? Or are you looking for ways to slash your budget and make your debt free dreams a reality? Well with these four eco-friendly ideas in your life you could save a lot of money..

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Eco-Friendly Living, Saving Money, 16 comments
Must have parenting hacks to save money (and be awesome parents)

Must have parenting hacks to save money (and be awesome parents)

Mr. Pennies and I have two little kids.  They are the motivation behind all we do but we refuse to let them be expensive.  Children have very basics need when you look at it.  They need food, drink, clothes, a wash occasionally and cuddles.  Therefore we choose cheap parenting.

 

When we found out that we were going to have a new member of our family we did what most new parents do and bought all the stuff.  We had entered a completely new world and we were vulnerable to the marketing and advertising.  Over the first few weeks of her life we realised that nearly all of what we had bought was pointless.  With a few simple (yet possibly controversial) parenting choices we were able to save ourselves hundreds if not thousands.

 

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This is what we did:

Having a baby? Use these cheap parenting hacks to save money and be an awesome parent. A few parenting techniques that won't break the budget and will help you raise healthy children. #parenting #money #budget #lookingafteryourpennies

Cosleeping

Our kids sleep in our bed.  Technically my husband sleeps in my eldest’s bed but when she was little she slept in our bed with us.  We bought cots and cribs and decorated a lovely nursery for her sleep in but she barely touched them.  She didn’t sleep in the nursery once.  Yes you might worry about the safety of this but there are ways to reduce the risk, see here.

 

Now you can either just chuck your kids in your own bed or you can buy a crib that attaches to the side of your bed.  We used the Chicco Next2me cosleeper and found it great.  It folds up nice and small so we can take it on trips away.  It straps easily to the side of the bed.  And it keeps baby nice and safe on their own sleeping surface.  It is definitely a solid purchase.  You can even pick them up secondhand for a good price.  Or if you are not happy with that you can sell it when you are done and make some of your money back.

 

(There are guidelines for safely cosleeping with your baby.  You can find them here.)

 

Cloth nappies and wipes

Ok!  These can get expensive but only if you are addicted to the patterns.  (That’s kind of a confession there!)  However there are some significant savings to be made.  A set of 30 cloth nappies could cost you around £200-250.  Cloth wipes another £25.  And then a little bit to wash them every couple of days.  But that’s it for you nappy expenditure.  I bought a set of cloth nappies when pregnant with number 1 child.  I am still using most of those nappies now for my youngest.  This means that I have had two children using the same 30 or so nappies.  And it has saved loads.  AND they are great for the environment.

 

Baby led weaning

We feed our daughters scraps from our plate.  Well not the eldest one any more.  And not technically scraps.  Baby led weaning means giving your children proper food as soon as they are old enough to have food (6 months ish).  We have never bought purees, child specific food or any of the associated paraphernalia.  They have a plate and a cup and they eat exactly what we eat.

Yes!  Quite a lot of food ends up on the floor.  And yes it does break my heart to see this.  If you’ve got a dog then you get to feed the dog as well as your kids.  Yay!  If the food is retrievable it will go back on their plates.  That bit of floor gets cleaned as often and as thoroughly as the table so I don’t worry too much.  But aside from the mess, it is easy and cheap.

Breastfeeding

Now I get that some people can’t breastfeed or don’t want to breastfeed.  That is not a discussion for this post or this blog but it is definitely worth considering from a financial perspective.  Breastfeeding is free.  It requires no additional equipment and is available on tap.  When that is compared to formula where the costs will build up, then there are some savings to be had by whipping out a boob.  And I am aware that I am making the choice to breastfeed seem like choosing between Coke Zero or Diet Coke.  For many people it can be hard work and you might need to buy extra equipment like nipple shields or breast pumps.  You might even decide to pay out for a lactation consultant to help you get everything started.  My own journey was hard initially but now it is so easy AND free.

 

Babywearing

Don’t buy a pram!  We bought a pram and it was a lovely pram, but I just don’t like prams.  When you go shopping you have walk out of your way just to get to the lift.  They take up so much space in car, in your house, in cafes, in shops.  Yeah you can put all your bags and whatever on them but they restrict you.  I dislike that.

 

Wear your children instead.  Now I have a sizeable collection of different wraps, slings and carriers.  That’s a personal choice (not the best one financially!).  You need one, maybe two carriers and that is it.  You can get good wraps that will last you through until your child is pre-school age for less than £50.  Compare that to the price of that fancy pram you’ve been looking at and it speaks for itself.  A good place to start would be with a
stretchy wrap.  They have a great resale value too.

Not only do you save by not buying a pram, you also don’t need to buy to buy all the pram related stuff.  We didn’t need pram suits, those cosy toes things or even blankets really.  We would just put them in a normally amount of layers for the weather and then they’d snuggle in to us.  When it rained I’d just zip my raincoat over the top of them or they’d be nice and dry under my umbrella.  No tiny raincoats needed.

Having a baby? It doesn't need to break your budget. A few parenting choices can save you big cash!

Have fewer toys

This one I’m not very good at.  I have a weakness for beautiful wooden toys but there is money to be saved here.  There is now a good amount of research that says children benefit from having fewer toys.  And I believe it.  Children need to be bored to be creative.  Fewer toys means that children have to use the toys they do have in different ways.  Too many are overwhelming and they don’t learn how to play with them properly.  Therefore I recommend buying a few, well-chosen toys that can be used in a variety of ways and keep the rest of your money for other things.

Cheap parenting hacks that mean starting a family need not break your budget. Plus you'll still be an awesome parent.

 

Is cheap parenting for you?

Some of these things may not be right for you.  Research them.  Find out what you can and make an informed decision.  An excellent place to start would be: The Attachment Parenting Book. We have made these choices because we felt they were right for our family and the money that we saved was a bonus.

 

I’m taking part in the Mummy Monday linky with Becca from Becca Blogs It Out

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Having a baby? Use these cheap parenting hacks to save money and be an awesome parent. A few parenting techniques that won't break the budget and will help you raise healthy children. #parenting #money #budget #lookingafteryourpennies

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Eco-Friendly Living, Saving Money, 12 comments
Your money or the environment?  You can save both!

Your money or the environment? You can save both!

Your money or the planet? Save both!

7 easy ways to save money and the planet

I remember the moment that I decided that this personal finance blog would have an eco-friendly twist.  I had popped to the shops to get eggs and some other things for impromptu cake making session.  I’d dragged my whole family with me for the exercise.

 

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Anyway I’d picked up most of the bits we needed and then realised that I hadn’t picked up the eggs.  I left my husband with the kids looking at crisps or chocolate probably and “nipped” to get eggs.  I only had about three choices: cheap, mid-range and fancy.  The fancy ones were in a standard cardboard egg box and were free range but were also expensive so they were immediately eliminated from my choices.  The mid-range ones were about 14p per egg.  These were again in a cardboard box and free range.  They ticked my personal boxes for being able to recycle the packaging and being kinda nice to animals.  The cheap ones were 12p per egg.  Not even that much cheaper really but came in a plastic box and from caged hens.  That was my dilemma!

 

I was stood looking at these choices for a long time.  Occasionally the money saving part of me would win over and I’d pick up the cheap one.  Only to be instantly disgusted at myself, put them back and then pick up the other ones.  I’d then dither about whether I could call myself a personal finance nerd if I didn’t go for the cheapest ones.  Those would go back too and I’d scratch my head a bit longer.

 

Eventually my husband rescued me and chose some eggs on my behalf.  I can’t remember which ones he picked up but I remember the cakes we made and they were lovely.  Anyway I realised that sometimes there are times when we have to decide what is more important to us.  For me this battle between looking after my pennies and saving the environment is a common one.  That’s why I have created this list.  Here are 7 ways to save money and the planet:

 

  1. Turn down the thermostat

More broadly this can be called “use less energy”.  Turning down your thermostat buy just 1◦C will save you approximately £40 a year.  Or you could get yourself a Nest Learning Thermostat and let that figure it our for you.  We haven’t got one of these yet, but it is definitely on my wishlist.  It learns when you need the thermostat up and when you cope with it down and does it for you automatically.  If you don’t trust yourself to do control the temperature of your house, grab one of these.  It will do it for you.

 

There are other ways to save energy.  For example, you could make sure that your house is well insulated, particularly your loft.  Some councils offer grants to help you pay for this, so it may be worth doing your research.  You could also use your tumble dryer less and stick your clothes on an airer or on a washing line.  Line dried clothes are awesome!  They smell fresh and the sun will bleach away the stains too.

  1. Buy a water bottle

Ok.  Yes.  This might cost you money to begin with.  If you object to spending the money, then you can put it on your birthday/Christmas wish list.  However, if you are the sort of person who is prone to buying drinks when out and about then this is a must.

 

I rarely used to leave the house with any sort of drink.  Only if I was going on a hike or to a party would the thought of taking drink cross my mind.  If therefore I was going shopping and I got thirsty I would just buy myself something when out.  This could have been water or some sort of fizzy drink.  Most of these cost somewhere between 50p and £2 each.  And most of them come in a plastic bottle.  And I normally just threw this straight in the bin when I was done.  None of this is good for your bank balance or good for the environment.

 

The solution is easy – invest in a water bottle.  I say invest because you should get one that you love.  One that you want to use all the time and show your friends.  This way you will be more inclined to use it and remember to take it with you.  Before you know it, you’ll stop buying drinks when you are out.

  1. Buy a travel coffee cup

Like most people I love a hot beverage in the morning.  And throughout the day if I’m honest.  Now I’ve never been much of one to stop off at a coffee shop on the way to work but I know exactly how expensive they are.  I also know that they love making you that drink in a plastic lined paper cup that will go in bin as soon as you are done.

 

Now you have two choices with this one.  Go for the full money-saving option and make yourself a coffee at home.  Use your fancy coffee machine and take a drink with you.  Or you can take your mug into Starbucks and other places and get them to put your drink in your cup.  Some of these places will give you money off your drink for doing this.

  1. Walk instead

A bit too obvious?  How many times have you jumped in your car to drive that short distance to the shop?  I know I’ve done it.  I still do it far too often now.  There are alternatives though.

 

We are currently a single car family, and this has forced us to be a bit more creative with our methods of travel.  When my husband has the car, I have taken to walking places or getting the bus.  Some of these places are a reasonable distance away.  Occasionally we end up walking as an activity all in itself and we have fun stopping and looking at things we find on the way or the kids will have a little snooze and I can pretend to have some “me time”.

 

Walking, cycling, taking the bus.  All of these are better for the environment and you’ll probably find that all of them save you money too.

 

  1. Fix things

A little while back our oven died.  After having a little cry about the sausages that were lukewarm in oven and no longer safe for consumption, I started planning what to do next.  A new oven would have been a big and unwanted expenditure for us.  But what else could we do?

 

The answer is YouTube.  If your stuff breaks there will be someone on YouTube that can show you how to fix it.  Our oven turned out to just need a new element.  We watched a video and fixed it ourselves.  We ended up only spending a few pounds and our oven didn’t end up unnecessarily in landfill.  (There are some things that you shouldn’t try to fix on your own unless you are a pro.  Be sensible!)

 

  1. Get reusable stuff

I am slowly replacing everything I own with reusable versions.  Each time I come to buy some consumable item I have a little research and instead buy the reusable version instead.  There are some truly fantastic products out there.  I, for one, cannot shut up about my silicone cupcake moulds.  They were a couple of pounds on Amazon and I use them so much.  You may have to replace items slowly but in the end you will find that you are throwing away less and spending less.  Plus you don’t ever run out of these things.  They are always there.

 

Here is a short list of things that you might want to consider switching to reusables for: kitchen rollrechargeable batteries for kids toys, razors, nappiesfood wrap and toilet roll.  A more complete list will appear soon.

 

  1. Repurpose your stuff

Sometimes stuff does break or wear out and you can’t use it for it’s original purpose any more.  But, that does not mean it cannot be used as something else.  When our frying pans and sauce pans got to the point where they were no longer any good for cooking on.  We replaced them, BUT we gave the old ones to our daughter and she now uses them in her mud kitchen.

 

Old fabrics are another great thing to save, particularly if you are a bit crafty.  I’ve recycled old clothes into new clothes, dusters, patched up other clothes with them and even made birthday cards with them.  Pinterest will provide you with a long list of uses for those old fabrics.

 

Eco-friendly and money-savvy

A few ideas to get you started.  There will still be those “egg” moments but at least you can sleep a bit easier knowing that you can achieve your money goals without compromising your morals.

 

Ask yourself: what else can I do that both saves money and the planet?

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Eco-Friendly Living, Saving Money, 20 comments