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DH has really f-ed up our finances…so much so that we need to find £300 a month to pay stuff back…all because he is a disorganised idiot. Love him anway, but I need some help in limiting how un-green we end up!
I know we’ll have to swap our lovely organic veg box and health food shop stock up stuff for supermarket own brand (which I am already hating!), I won’t compromise on tolietries, especially as all we need is body wash and shampoo…I may look at making my own…which should be cheaper. I’m upset about not being able to afford ethical yarn, but making our clothes is now going to be essential for stuff I can’t find in charity shops. We’re only going to be going out to free stuff (I’m sooooo glad my Mum buys us zoo and national trust memberships for Christmas every year!!!) and taking a picnic…
Actually, it doesn’t sound quite so bad now I’ve written it down…it’s only the lack of organic good quality food I’m bothered about really…and I am working on that by doing lots at the community allotment…
Ok, I’m going to give myself some more goals to ‘off set’ the rubbishy food….any ideas for more things we can do? We don’t own a car and DH is already getting his bike fixed rather than busing to work, I’m going to walk to and from playgroup rather than busing too…
I too find myself ending up in the dreaded supermarket! Compensation is that I look for the reduced/going out of date stuff and getting cheap organic produce that way. Last time I got organic spinach, tomatoes, strawberries and cucumber all half price. And they lasted longer than their sell by date anyway.
Good luck, Kate x
We are also in a bad financial place - no debt (as yet!) but DH out of work, only doing temp stuff here and there and me only working part-time. What we’ve done is place the emphasis firmly on the ‘reduce’ part of ‘reduce, re-use, recycle’ (which is where it should be anyway!) and we’ve just stopped buying anything which isn’t absolutely necessary. We didn;t buy much anyway, and it’s been easier than I thought. This time of year is easier for going out for free - we just go to lots of parks, p;laygrounds, country walks, always take our own food and drinks. The library is also great. We’ve got a Family & Friends railcard which cuts down on train costs, we spend a lot of time on our allotment, which also provides free organic food. When we buy food, I prioritise - so I try and buy organic tomatoes because the children eat a lot of them and they eat the skins, but it’s not so important with something they only eat occasionally or have peeled. I also go to the lcoal monthly farmer’s market - it may not be organic but it does seem to ahve less pesticides than ordinary supermarket produce, plus of course it’s local.
The other thing we’ve done is to really carefully monitor the use of electricity, gas and water. So we’ve cut right down on flushing the toilet, been massively vigilant in turning off lights and everything, been strict with the heating even in winter, and been ‘companion cooking’ in the oven to save on gas.
We never had takeaways or anything anyway, we shopped around when our house insurance came up, and generally organised out finances (such as they are!) to within an inch of their lives. Have you seen http://www.moneysavingexpert.com - really handy for hints and tips.
Hope you pay it all off soon!
Druid, boat-dwelling, home educating mum of DD1 (11), Aspie DS (9) and baby DD2 (2), & part-time step-mum to 2 stepdaughters, 9 and 7.
Thanks for the tips and advice , We too really need to tighten our belt as my dh has been put on reduced hours and has had to take a cut too.
We bought lots of reduced organic fruit/veg yesterday at the supermarket and i plan to make meals and freeze like veg curry/chilli/lasagne etc with the veg thats very ripe and wont last that long.
Traditional toys. No batteries required, just imagination…
I’m sure a lot of us need to cut down right now, so maybe we can carry on supporting each other with this? We don’t have a car and our house looks quite tatty (it is clean!) - but on the other hand we’ve spent money on window repairs, loft insulation and had a new boiler put in just before babes was born.
I like what’s been said so far. Living simply as far as possible sounds the way to go and it is great you have access to a community allotment. I should imagine there’s potential for swopping plants, seeds, goods (services even?) have you got a local lets scheme?
It also means some (hopefully free) social events, especially now the weather is looking up - something to look forward to, eh?
Let’s see, what are we focussing on right now. Well. I’ve just spent far too much money on food - but I try to bulk buy and that’s why. Just stocked up on wholefood basics to go in the store cupboard upstairs. Things like organic noodles, rice, pasta, flour for bread, that sort of thing. Decent wholefood baked beans. I’ve got a wicker basket with clean picnic things in it ready downstairs so my aim is, whenever we go out somewhere, instead of spending money on food/drinks, it will be easy to grab something.
I’m just getting into the habit of getting into a continuous supply of salad leaves, I haven’t been buying any of these, which is good, as organic ones are really expensive, (and you can’t get them round here anyway).
Otherwise, what people have said about the REDUCE bit about reduce, reuse, recycle applies to us too. Although sometimes I think that if you don’t actually consume that much, there is a limited amount you CAN reduce. Hey ho.
I try not to get too worried about it, though. It is a difficult time and a challenge, we are all going through a global recession, and for people with small children it can be an expensive time that hopefully won’t last for ever. I know they are sometimes expensive when they’re older, but some expenses fall away. We used cloth nappies for a good while, but babes is huge so had to switch to chlorine free and they were really expensive. She has just finished using them at night, so that makes a difference of £25 a week. no wipes to buy anymore either. Also, she’s going to school in September, so that will be a change, and hopefully a relief from some childcare costs.
Don’t forget about the mother earth homesteading website, some of the things on there are a bit naff, but others seem to work and what they call ‘homesteading’ seems to speak to people just now. I don’t have the URL just now, but if you Google it you should find it.
With both myself and my partner facing redundancy I’ve had to look at how we can reduce costs. Instead of shower gel / bodywash and liquid hand soap I’ve returned to good old fashioned soap (Knights Castile - an older woman in a charity shop spotted it in my bag one day and commented she hadn’t seen it in years!!!). I found a shop where I can buy 6 bars for 99p. Bargain!
Other than that I use cloth nappies, a sponge and water instead of wipes and go to any car boot sales, jumble sales, charity shops etc that I can to buy clothes, toys etc. This is a perfect time of year for jumble and car boot sales.
Food has always been a massive bill in our house which I’ve been trying to reduce since being on maternity leave. We get a veg box and if veg start to look a bit sorry I make them into soup which DP takes to work. I also work round the box and have noticed we buy a lot less food rather than just doing a huge supermarket shop getting our ‘usuals’. We must have wasted a huge amount of money that way over the years.
I read on this forum about using a tablespoon of soda crystals (50p from supermarket) in main detergent drawer and then just one tab (we use Aquados Simply Washing tabs) in wash which has significantly reduced our washing powder usage. I think four refill boxes (from website - 4th free) has lasted us 6 months.
Hope this helps a little. xx
Co-sleeping, cloth nappying, baby-wearing, breastfeeding and baby-led-weaning mum to DS (Dec ‘08)
No spare cash here either. We also get National Trust membership as a gift and use it loads. Most weekends we go to our local NT properties and take a picnic. We spend nothing and have a great day out. We are also member of Education Otherwise and make enormous use of the free English Heritage membership, again taking a picnic and spending zero. Other than that we go to all the free local places of interest ie museums, art galleries, farms and have a family railcard which saves enormously on cost.
We have also cut our gas/electric/water usage quite a bit which has been a saving of around £200 per year.
We cook/make everything we eat right down to bread, pittas, cakes etc. We have a weekly fruit and veg box and plan all our meals around that. Have grown lots in the garden this year and have just started eating our salad leaves which saves around £2 per week. Hubby has lefover dinner for his lunch the next day. We dont have take aways or ready meals just make our own pizza, veggie burgers etc. My treat is usually a glass of wine!!I don’t buy any conventional cleaning products, just use vinegar, bicarb and tea tree and soap nuts or eco balls in the washing machine. Use Green People toiletries at the moment but am hoping to save some cash by making my own body wash and shampoo from now on.
Clothes wise we only replace what needs replacing. I do buy some new things from places like Frugi or Spririt of Nature, but I buy bigger sizes so they last. Last years dresses are being worn with leggings this year and so on. Damages items are repaired and any bargain buys snapped up at charity shops.
Try and write down everything we spend so I can keep a track of where our money is going.
Don’t worry, you’re not on your own, I am sure there are lots of us in this situation especially at the moment.
Mum to 3 wonderful daughters aged 21, 17 and 11
LETS Member 33
ooh yes superstarpen, you’ve just reminded me. Someone recomended a laundry recipe to me too. 1 tbs washing soda, 1 tbs soap flakes in the drawer of your washing machine as usual. I’ve tried it out for this last week and have been really pleased with the results. Both products are as cheap as chips and says on both packets that they are completely and harmlessly biodegradable. I’m very pleased so if that helps anyone else that’s great.
Yep, we’re very lucky to have a community allotment…my friend runs it as part of Transition towns South Liverpool! I’ve got some more ideas though now and am actually looking forward to doing a bit more to consume a bit less!
In terms of food bills, planning a weekly menu and sticking to it can really help to reduce food bills. I use to buy “monthly”, ‘cept I seemed to popping to the shops constantly because I’d forgotten something, or fancied something I didn’t have in and would end up spending 15-30.. when really if I’d just bought what I needed it would be say a fiver.
I always try to keep my store cupboard well stocked with dried pulses, lentils, rices, pasta, noodles, bulgerwheat, couscous, flour etc so if I can’t afford to shop one week I can still put together tasty and nutritious meals. I try to stock up on tinned tomatoes too and every so often I’ll buy a larger veg box and blanche and freeze some as it’s nicer than frozen veg from the supermarket.
Money is a big issue for me at the moment and I’m holding on by the skin of my teeth until I can start childminding and then start earning a bit more. I’m also looking at things I can make and sell via ebay or similar; I’m planning on being an agent for a toy company; these things won’t provide me with a reliable income; but rather a bit extra now and again that hopefully I can put away for Yule and birthdays or even a nice day out somewhere.
I’ll be looking to see what veggies I can grow to help supplement the food a little - realistically this year it will probably only be toms and strawberries; but everey little bit helps.
Wouldn’t it be nice if our communities where we lived did a LETS type scheme; that would be so handy!
I use to buy “monthly”, ‘cept I seemed to popping to the shops constantly because I’d forgotten something, or fancied something I didn’t have in and would end up spending 15-30.. when really if I’d just bought what I needed it would be say a fiver.
This happens to me constantly, and cause I’m in the shop, I end up buying junk, well, choclate, sweets, crisps, biscuits, etc. My problem with meal planning is I can plan meals, make them, the dh comes in from work, looks at it, says I don’t fancy that and makes himself a bacon sandwich! Grrr! Apparently he’s sick of mince and chicken, which are the cheapest meats, so tough!
My allowance seems to be eaten up by paying off direct debits, and bank charges from the month before!
On the up side, we don’t go out anywhere. Ever. All dh wants to do on his odd day off is veg out in front of the tv and its lonely going by yourself - ds is too little to talk to! And if I’m out, I just buy stuff to make myself feel better, not sure why it does, cause I feel guilty when i get home, or the bank statement comes in, I jsut shop for stuff I don’t want or need when i get lonely and bored.
If you’re after extra cash, i do these surveys online, actually I suppose they’re quite consummerist, so you mgiht not approve, but they pay you (peanuts) - i’ve made about a fiver in a month, so if you’re desperate!
Mother to Harry (6) and Oliver (4) and Hannah who arrived at 5.57pm on Friday 10th May 2013
http://adventuresofthreelittlemonkeys.blogspot.co.uk/ - our new blog, Three Little Monkeys