Sunday Savers

I’ve decided to make Sunday the day I post about what I do around here to save money and cut costs. I need a bit more structure; otherwise this place will turn into a pigsty.

I need to get one thing straight right off the bat. For me frugality isn’t a personal choice. I make ends meet, sometimes barely. I have a nice house by my standards, but then with the house prices at the minute if I sold it I couldn’t afford a house half the size so in that way I’m just lucky.

I’m cheap, tight or frugal; call it whatever you want, because I have to be. If I threw money away on things the bills just wouldn’t get paid. It's that simple really.

I think I’ll start with the small everyday things I do, although please bear with me if I run off on a tangent a lot of these things I do without thinking. A lot of the things I do are green as well. I prefer to be as green as possible at home because my job is sickeningly un-green. Although I’ve never quite figured out whether I do the things because they’re green and saving money is the bonus or vice versa.

I don’t buy any cleaning products, none whatsoever. I do buy a bottle of all purpose soap called Stardrops which costs around 50p for a half litre. You can use this to clean everything from dishes to windows, upholstery to floors and everything else in between. I’ve also been known to buy magic sponges which are £1 for four, but I keep these for specific things, when the Stardrops and elbow grease just hasn’t worked.

I mend clothes from simple things like fixing hems and re-attaching buttons to altering some of toots and my own clothes to get an extra season out of them. I do this every year with jeans for toots. The one thing I will spend a bit of money on is a couple of pairs of jeans from Next. They have an adjustable waist and adjustable leg length so for around £10 a pair she gets an entire year or more out of them. I’ve taken a few pairs up into shorts when there has still been plenty of room left at the waist.

I use old clothes for cleaning clothes.

We always use the library, but I was brought up to use the library. They’re threatened with closing on a regular basis and we need to support local libraries. People keep your kids away from the internet as long as possible and GO TO THE LIBRARY or there may not be one to go to.

I prefer to shop in charity shops. Some people really don’t like the idea of second hand clothes but so many have such a “throw away” attitude to clothing that most of the things I buy have barely done a hands turn. Especially the clothes I buy for toots in fact a fair amount of them still have the shop labels attached.

I spend between £50-60 a month on food shopping.

We grow our own vegetables and have a pear and apple tree as well as a lot of berry bushes.

I keep an emergency food sale fund of around £20 a month. Sales don’t rally follow any pattern here and sometimes a really good bargain just crops up and I’ll use the fund to stock up when I see them.

I am not brand loyal. I rarely buy the same brand of anything, if it’s on sale and I can think of a way to use it, then I’ll have it.

We used washable nappies on toots. I’m not great at sewing and I’m not that dextrous at the best of times, so we went with the shaped Motherease nappies. I bought second hand from Ebay and got a huge batch of 24 nappies, hundreds of paper liners, 12 covers, two small bins with mesh bags and four booster pads. I paid £85 plus £10 postage for the full set and sold them again 18 months later for £70 plus postage. £25 for 18 months worth of nappies was a real bargain. We don’t pay for water here and I did three loads of nappies a week (four in the first few weeks) at around 50p a load.

I don’t make my own laundry soap. It’s virtually impossible to get borax here any more and the homemade soap just doesn’t work without it. I just buy whichever soap is on offer and use a hell of a lot less than what it states on the pack. Most of the time a tablespoon or two works just fine rather than a half cup per load. I also always run a full load, never half loads.

We don’t take holidays. We’ve only had two in the last 10 years.

I don’t drive, never have. I don’t possess a license and I’ve never applied for a provisional. There is nowhere I want to be that I can’t get there under my own steam. We do own a car though. Himself drives for work and at the minute the car gets out once a month for the big shop. We spend around £10 every six weeks on petrol and the car is low emission so the tax is cheaper as well.

There are hundreds more things I do every day and big one off things which I do to save money but I’ll elaborate on these each week.

If I’m missing out on anything I could be doing to save money, and I’m sure I am, I’d love to hear your ideas and tips.


  1. One thing I love about buying clothes at garage sales or thrift (charity) shops is that they've almost always been worn and washed a few times already. That means I don't have to worry about the clothes I pick not fitting after I take them home and wash/dry them.

    Great list. I do lots of these things myself. I don't usually make my own laundry soap anymore, either. I like the way it works, but I think that, like you, if I buy cheap and use far less than recommended on the label, I save as much money if not more.

  2. Nice to learn of another N.I blogger, I am originally from the same neck of the woods though now living across the Irish Sea. Am not so good at being thrifty, but thanks for the top tips. Hz :)

  3. thanks for the suggestion to freeze my peppers...I'm totally going to do that!

  4. Annie, I've never thought of it that way. I've lost count of the amount of times I've bought something new only to wash it and have it either shrink or go out of shape. Now I like charity shops all the more.


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