Since trying to pursue a more frugal and environmentally conscious way of living, I have adopted some practical principles which I find have helped to tuck some pennies away in the bank and made a difference in the way me and my family are living.
I thought I would share them here in the hopes of perhaps inspiring a stray reader to create some personal principles that benefit their own life.
- Clothes: if I want to buy a new item of clothing, I have to first sell an item of clothing. Whether this be on ebay, to family or friends, on the FB marketplace etc. Not only does this give me a bit of cash towards the new purchase, but it also frees up space for the new item. As an added bonus to this way of shopping, I also find that having the extra time to consider a purchase helps determine whether it’s something I really want, or whether I could do without it, or am not as enamoured by it as I first thought. Likewise if I thrift an item, I first donate an item.
- Cashback: utilising cashback offers, through both cashback sites and via my current account, has been a relatively new endeavour and is by no means a solid income. However, it is always a nice surprise when a few extra pounds return to my account. I find the best thing to do is squirrel these little flashes of cash away in a separate account. After all, if you look after the pennies…
- Reuse, Re-purpose & Resell: As a mother of two I know just how easy it is to get through clothes, toys, books etc. All the expenses can add up when you have children, even if you shop at a relatively cheap store like Primark. Whilst some clothes will inevitably be ruined, there are many which I’ve managed to salvage and pass on. Similarly, being in the midst of a house move, I have inquired with local people getting rid of internal doors, furniture and other things that need nothing more than a coat of paint. I’ve also tried to make the most of the things we already have, even if they don’t fit in with the ‘style’ or ‘decor’ of the house, why get rid of a hardly used dining table that was just taking up space in the garage previously? And if we have things in perfectly good condition that we can’t find a place for in our new home, we’ll sell it.
- Prep for outings: Some of the highest outgoings, though they seem small at the time, can be all those lunches out, the cups of to-go coffees and the on-the-go snacks for the kids. After realising that in one month all those micro transactions had totalled up to well over a couple of hundred pounds, I have since taken to prepping whenever we go out. I fill flasks with hot drinks, reusable water bottles with water and tend to fill a large baguette (no more than £1 at our local farm shop and even cheaper if we grab them at the end of the day) with whatever sandwich filling we have in the house and cut it into portion sizes. Homemade oat and raisin cookies are always a great thing to have on hand and saves us having to buy crisps or sweet treats while we’re out.
- Free Activities: Again, this is one of those costs that are pretty hidden. What’s a few quid here or there for soft play or the aquarium etc. It was a lot when I added it all up. Especially when I know that libraries, local parks, national trust walks, lidos, lakes and the seaside are all free alternatives and brilliant for children to spread their wings and explore. Just invest in a good pair of wellies for wet weather!
- Shopping 1-2-3: Shop at home first, shop second-hand second, shop new last. This is a mantra that I live by now, even when it comes down to my grocery shopping. I always shop at home first. I really want a new jumper, but wait, do I already have one buried in the winter-wear box? If not, can I snag one off a family member or friends? What about at my local charity shop? The cupboards are looking bare, we need to do a food shop; but wait, if I inventory everything we have in our cupboards, fridge and freezer and get a bit creative, there’s enough for at least 5 dinners!
There are so many other principles that I try to incorporate into my everyday life, buying loose vegetables, using glassware, tin or foil containers over plastic etc. However, these six things are the main ones that I am focusing on at the moment in order to maximise what my money does for me and be a little more sustainable. Hopefully this helps!