Since I became a Stay-At-Home-Mum, we’re down to a single income – something I’ve not had since I was single! Pre-baby, we were DINKs (Double-Income-No-Kids), and we got used to having both wages coming in regularly, so it’s been a big change and we’ve had to adjust very quickly, but I really think we’re getting there. Here are a few things we’re trying in the hope of pinching the pennies and stretching the pounds just a little further:
1. Meal planning and bulk cooking are my two life-savers. Whenever I have a day I know I’m going to be in town for a long time, I set up a meal to cook in my slow cooker (chilli, curry, stew, broth, whatever) and make enough for there to be several portions extra so I can freeze some. That way when I unexpectedly get detained and don’t have time to cook dinner, I have my very own microwave meals to hand! As a result of this, I never buy ready-made meals any more, which cuts down costs and helps the waistline because I know exactly what’s in my food. And because I know what we’ll be eating over the course of the week, I know exactly what I need to buy when I’m grocery shopping. I write a list and I stick to it!
2. When cleaning, GO NATURAL! It’s amazing what you can do with vinegar, lemons and bicarbonate of soda. Take a leaf out of your granny’s book and use them for cleaning – its way cheaper and kinder to the environment than commercial cleaners and you get excellent results. Since I started doing this, the skin on my hands is much softer as I’m no longer using chemical cleaners! Have a look HERE for some Green Cleaning Recipes.
3. Learn to bake. I’m saving a fortune on biscuits, cakes and pies since I took up baking and again, no nasty additives that you get with ready-made stuff. And homemade cookies really do taste better, Don’t be afraid to use the “smart price” supermarket brands for your baking – it’s WAY cheaper and the results are still great (I use flour that’s about 25p for a big bag).
4. Learn to sew. If you can stitch up a burst seam and sew on a button, your clothes will last longer before they’re relegated to the scrap heap. And if you can do your own alterations too, well, you’ve just saved yourself a trip to the tailor AND the money you would have spent there. You can get a small sewing machine for well under £50 and it’s worth the initial outlay when you can save so much money by using it. I don’t have my sewing machine just yet, but I’m planning on investing in one if Santa doesn’t bring me one for Christmas!
5. Get crafty! If you’re at all arty or creative, consider making gifts for birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions. I cross stitch and do a little sewing so I’ve made a few gifts for family and friends – personalised bookmarks, cushions, pomanders etc. They all look lovely I tailor them to the individual’s tastes – if I’d had to buy them I’d have spent ages searching for something and then a heap of cash to buy them – saving time AND money again! I have a stock of cross stitch and craft gear at home so I only have to occasionally pick up specific items I need for certain projects, but they usually cost just pennies and not pounds.
There are loads of other ways to cut costs, but these five are particularly relevant to me and I just thought I’d share them with you. If you have any others you’d like to share, please do leave a comment – I’d love to hear them!