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Everyone is talking about extreme frugal living in 2019. Luckily, it 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.
So here are my top four extreme frugal living tips for 2019:
Ok! Not the whole child, just their nappies. 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.
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.
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.
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
We use family cloth! Or 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.
Do you want even more extreme frugality tips to kick start your journey? Check out this post.
Would you try these ideas? Or have you gone even further in your attempts to save money or the planet? Have you tried extreme frugal living? Send me a message or comment below.
Don’t forget to check out what my fellow UK Money Bloggers have done in their frugal living efforts.
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.
Looking After Your Pennies is an eco-friendly personal finance blog written and managed by Charlotte Jessop.
I write on a variety of topics including frugal lifestyle, eco-friendly living, money making ideas and generally how to make your money go further.