Monday, 7 February 2011

The art of living frugally #2

Tips for other areas of life; places a few pences can be saved.
Repurpose and reuse - upcycle. Charity clothing bags. Maybe it's just the area I live in but it's a rare week indeed that at least 1 of these doesn't come through the door. Being an inordinate hoarder; and having seen some of the scams operated this way [although to be fair probably less likely around here] I rarely have clothes to go in these and if I am having a clear out I'll take it to the local shop myself. [I tend to favour the PDSA.] Experience has told me that though there's a cheery 'if you've nothing to donate at this time leave the bag outside so we can collect it for reuse' message printed on them they rarely if ever get taken back and you end up with a pile by the front door getting dirty and blown around the street. I use these as bin bags now. Don't get me wrong - I'd rather they went back to the charity but if they're not picked up back they come into the house to be repurposed; and save me money on buying black bin bags. At last count I had 30 of these so I think I'll be alright for a while should the supply suddenly dry up.
Plastic reuses. There's so many ways to reuse plastic packaging for different things; especially if you grow any plants. From reusing water cooler cups for seedlings to grape boxes as mini propogators the only limit's your imagination. Find rather more ideas here. My latest flash of 'inspiration' [if I can be so presumptuous to call it that] is to use the shaped plastic from muffin packaging as 'cloche' style tops for plastic cup seedling pots. Neat huh?
VAT rate awareness - loopholes therein. My friend put me on to this one. Things like cotton wool, moisturiser &c - get them from baby ranges! It's VAT free so generally a good saving. I bought Boots own baby moisturiser - 300ml for £1.39 when I got it [It's now £1.42] as opposed to their own brand basic 'adult' moisturiser - 150ml for £1.49 at the time [now £1.52.] 10p more for half the mount of product - go figure!! My friend also gets baby range oatcakes as they're way cheaper than getting them from the regular cracker aisle in the stupormarket she says.
Local offers - our council does a compost giveaway every year. The compost is made from the green rubbish they collect throughout the year then in the spring they'll park up in a local car park and you can fill 4 bags for free. There's also the local campaign against wasted food and other rubbish - don't let Devon go to waste / Love Food Hate Waste. They'll send a free bag, pen, spaghetti measurer, magnetic memo board [really handy for the shopping list], book of tips for leftover food etc etc to local residents for free.
Freebies online - I've mentioned this before but it can be worth it. These 2 bags were both freebies I signed up for or heard about online. The jute one was in return for sending in plastic bags for recycling so we can't complain about that!
Swaps - we were lucky enough to have a local seed swap set up in Exeter - there's a few of these around the country. Or how about just setting one up at work or for other items? I actually managed to give up a load of my 'spare' [as much as seeds can ever be 'spare' - yep seedaholics anonymous here I come] seeds last time and came back with a mere 2 packets of interesting things to try.
Freecycle - get joined up to your local freecycle group. Here people post items that they no longer need but that are perfectly good and you can email them to request them. Posting 'wants' is also allowed and you have the satisfaction that you've saved not only some pence but also the item from going in landfill. Yay all round!


  1. Lots of useful info in this post Ruth, thank you. I get so frustrated when I see yet another plastic bag begging for my clothes, the average is three per week; we'd all be walking around naked if we only gave away one thing a week here.

  2. Too cold for nakednes here yet... :-D


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