Five Frugal Things For December

I’ve really had to dig deep and remember what frugal things I have done this month. I always knew that December wouldn’t be the most money saving month but I had a planned for that fact.

I’m constantly having to remind myself that doing something frugal no matter how small does make a difference. I find it’s like a balancing act between knowing where to save and where to spend. Writing these posts every month has helped me to celebrate the little wins and to identify where we need to improve.

Here’s my five frugal things for December.

1. I ordered something and when it arrived it wasn’t what I expected at all. I was really disappointed with the quality and In the past I would have just put up with it. This time I packaged it back up and returned it for a refund. It’s only a small refund but every penny adds up.

2. Thanks to a good stock of meals in the freezer I have been able to miss a whole week of shopping out. We may have eaten some unusual combinations but nobody has gone hungry.

3. Chris and I sat down and planned our financial goals for 2017. It was good to look back on our successes and useful to see what our failings were in 2016. I’ve got lots of new ideas to incorporate next year. What frugal means is a very individual thing for some it’s living to the extreme and for others like myself it’s about small changes that can make a big difference.

4. With the mixture of temperatures in December there have been some days that we haven’t needed to put the heating on at all. This makes my heart very happy although anyone who visits usually remarks on how cold my house is. I say put a jumper on !

I must reassure you that the kids are never cold I like to think I’m contributing to them having a strong disposition.

5. I’ve carefully packed away the unused wrapping paper and gift bags to re-use next year. I’m not ashamed to say that I haven’t had to buy any new wrap for a few years now. I highly recommend buying the 10 metre rolls in the January sales.

How To Cut Your Laundry Costs In 5 Easy Steps

As Spring approaches my mind always turns to thinking about what more I can do to save money and cut my energy bills, I like to use a lot less energy during Spring and Summer so I can use a little more during the Winter months.

If you have a family then you will know that one of your highest energy costs comes from washing and drying your clothes, towels and bedding, even more so if you have babies and toddlers who require several outfit changes a day.

Here’s my guide to cutting those costs in five easy steps.

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Is It Dirty?

Before you toss those clothes in the laundry basket as yourself if they could be re-worn, do the sniff test if you must, not only will this cut your wash loads in half it will also prolong the life of your clothes as over washing can cause damage to the fibres and fade colours quicker.

Fill It Up & Turn It Down

This is such an obvious one but only wash when you have a full load, if you need to wash something urgently and only have a small load then make use of the speed wash cycle on your washing machines, time to get your manuals out and learn what those numbers and symbols mean.switch-1033640_1280

Also turn the temperature dial down, unless you are washing  heavily soiled load then 30 degrees will still get your clothes clean, I’ve even seen some powders and detergents that work at 20 degrees, this really does help to save you money on your energy bills.

Don’t Be Brand Loyal

Shop around for the best priced detergent and softener (unless you have allergies or skin problems) , or even better make your own detergent, there are loads of YouTube videos showing you how to do this.

I have never been brand loyal when it comes to detergent, I always go for the special offers and my current favourite is a store’s own brand which cleans fantastically, smalls amazing and is super cheap, sometimes all you are paying extra for is a brand name.

Watch Your Doses

Read the dose that the manufacturer recommends then half it, you do not need half as much detergent as you think you do, your clothes will be just as clean and your product will last twice as long so it’s a win win situation.

Think About How You Dry

Of course the most obvious solution to cutting laundry costs is to line dry, I’m a huge fan of this method but living in rainy England means that sometimes using my tumble dryer is unavoidable so I try to use it sparingly and more effectively.

Make sure you always remove the lint from the lint trap, leaving it to build up reduces the warm air flow around the clothes which increases the drying time and we all know that tumble dryers devour electricity.

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Also make sure you shake out your clothes (especially socks) before you put them in the dryer, there’s nothing worse than finding a wet rolled up sleeve in a pile of dry clean washing.

 

Are You Frugally Prepared ?

A few weeks ago we all got sick, one after the other we caught the flu and FrugalMrW had to take some time off work. First to look after the children while I was laid up and then because he came down with it himself, this will result in a loss of earnings for us at the end of January.

As I lay in bed shivering and aching I felt so relieved that we had worked hard last year to become frugally prepared for a small loss of income. FrugalMrW is the main earner in our household and his wages cover all of our essential bills so you can imagine what a disaster it would be if we were unprepared.

Listed below are some things that we have done which meant that we didn’t have to feel too stressed or worried while we were both trying to recover from illness. I can’t stress enough how much being frugally prepared helps in emergency situations.

I’m confident that when FrugalMrW’s wage packet is a little light at the end of the month we will be absolutely fine. I hope these tips help you too.

how-to-befrugallypreparedLearn To Live On Less

Over the last few years FrugalMrW have been through some tough times financially. In our mid 30’s we found ourselves having to build a new life from scratch. I struggled with this for some time as before I met FrugalMrW I had been used to a comfortable life where money wasn’t something I had to worry about. I had experienced poverty during my childhood and was so frightened of returning to those dark times that I buried my head in the sand a little and carried on spending.

I knew things couldn’t carry on as they were so I did a ton of research on becoming frugal, and saving money. I had always loved bargain hunting and searching for free stuff so I took what had been hobby and made it part of my everyday life. We began saving as much money as possible and thinking outside the box when it came to living well on less.

There are so many fantatstic blogs, articles, websites and forums out there with invaluable advice about learning to live on less. Soak it all up and find ways to make those ideas work for you.

Stocking up & Meal Prep

My next tip is to stock up your freezers and cupboards with enough meals to last you at least a month or even longer if you can.

I’ve tried shopping week to week in the past sticking to a strict budget but it didn’t work for us. I thrive on being prepared and organised so I bought a small chest freezer last year and started stocking it up. I began adding a few extra items to my shopping list each week as well as looking for reduced (yellow sticker) items and bargains every time I went shopping.

By starting off slowly  we are now at the point where we can afford to buy a months worth of meat at a time to stock the freezer up. I use a local butcher who offers some fantastic bulk buying options. Not only is the meat a bargain it’s fantastic quality too so much better than the supermarket.

Currently I use Asda, Aldi and  Home Bargains to stock up on the on cupboard and toiletry essentials.

I also buy a large bag of potatoes, carrots and broccoli which I prepare in advance and freeze into portions so we always have something to accompany our meals.

ID-10013992Emergency Fund

I know how hard it is when you have a house to run, food to buy and debts to pay but I feel it’s really important to have a little emergency fund in place. Even if it’s just a weeks worth of money to cover the absolute essentials.

Try to squirrel away a few pounds each week. You could even save up any spare change in a jar to raid in an emergency.

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Spending Ban

Declare the whole month a ‘no spend’ month.  This means that you are banned from spending on anything other than essentials.  You have to be really strict and decide between what is a ‘need’ and what is a ‘want’.

Pay The Minimum

We all want to pay our debts down as fast as possible but sometimes if things are really tight in your budget you have to accept that paying the minimum is good enough. You might be having a bad month but next month could be fantastic and leave you with enough for a big chunky over payment. Don’t see it is a set back, be the tortoise slow and steady wins the race.

Do you feel like you are frugally prepared for a financial emergency ?

If you have any other ideas about being prepared please leave me a comment I love hearing from you.

angela

 

Images courtesy of Serge Bertasius & Simon Howden from freedigitalphotos.net