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Frugal Tips Masterpost

I’ll be adding to this post over the coming weeks as a way of cataloging different ways to save money and resources. Give us a shout if you’ve got anything to add 🙂

Food

  • bulk up food using cheap fillers such as oats or rice to make meals go further
  • use the internet to compare prices on branded products – e.g. Vitalite varies by as much as 75p per tub depending on where you shop
  • look out for cheap fresh produce e.g. at local markets, horticultural shows, different shops, promotions such as Aldi Super Six
  • forage simple foods such as blackberries and chestnuts
  • check out local freebie sites and don’t be afraid to ask if anyone has excess e.g. apples from their gardens
  • get as much out of food as you can by saving veg for stock, using up older veg in stews and freezing food that is approaching the end of its shelf life
  • spend some time comparing costs between frozen vs tinned vs fresh, and brand vs basics vs homemade
  • never be a slave to best before dates. Use your own judgement on whether a food is safe to eat (as a vegan blog I shouldn’t have to say this but… be careful with meat and dairy which can carry lots of nasty things like e coli)
  • BEANS BEANS BEANS

Cleaning

  • use vinegar and water in a spray bottle to clean most surfaces. The smell will dissipate after a few minutes. White vinegar is best but malt can be used (be wary of using it on light surfaces).
  • Use bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to unblock drains
  • Bicarb can also be used to scrub tough stains or remove odours e.g. from the fridge
  • a bowl of hot soapy water, some newspaper and a bit of elbow grease will give you streak free windows
  • almost all Co-op cleaning products are vegan and relatively inexpensive. Also look out for Astonish products in the pound shops etc.

Hygiene (use your own judgement on what is gross or not)

  • save up to buy reusable sanitary protection such as menstrual cups and cloth pads
  • “if it’s yellow, let it mellow”
  • squash your toilet roll so that members of the household use less
  • measure how much much water is used to fill your bath vs to run your shower for your normal length of time. If you shower for longer than 5 minutes, a bath may actually be more water saving!
  • wash your hair less often – washing daily is bad for your hair anyway
  • use a shower timer
  • try a ‘navy shower’ and only turn on the water to rinse, or fill a bucket and only use the water in that
  • use cups/jugs/buckets to measure water usage
  • don’t leave taps running
  • consider peeing on the compost (men’s urine is especially beneficial to compost production)
  • turn your water temperature down on the boiler to save energy

Bills

  • use smart meters to track usage
  • turn down the water and heating temperatures on your boiler where possible, and make use of thermostat timers
  • ensure your boiler is at the correct pressure and radiators don’t need bleeding
  • turn down radiators in unimportant rooms
  • back radiators with foil so you don’t lose as much heat through the walls
  • consider putting insulating plastic on draughty windows
  • shop around for the best deals, and don’t be afraid to ask your provider to match a better quote
  • challenge unnecessary charges such as administration fees if you feel they are unfair (be willing to argue this though)
  • check your mobile phone deal – are you using all that you’re paying for? If not, move down a tariff (I pay £5 a month for Giffgaff. It’s low on the internet side but I’m learning to cope!)
  • Are you getting full usage out of your homephone/broadband/TV package? Check if you can cut out parts you don’t need (e.g. I got rid of our call plan as we have free calls from our mobiles)
  • Check if you are eligible for discounts or support with council tax. If you live alone OR the person you live with doesn’t have to pay it (e.g. student), you should get a 25% reduction.
  • Never auto-renew contracts. Check comparison websites then ask your provider to match the best quote.
  • Use a thermometer! If the air temperature is above 18 degrees Celsius, turn down your heating and put on a jumper. (never let your house get too cold, e.g. sub 10, as I have learnt first hand how this can be hazardous to health)
  • Boil your kettle once a day and keep unused hot water in a flask
  • Use lids on saucepans

Exercise

  • Check out Couch to 5k training programmes to start running
  • Check out other free apps such as Bridge to 10k, press up trainers etc to motivate you to do more
  • Attend a free Park Run
  • Use workout videos from Youtube such as the 30 Day Shred
  • Use your own bodyweight and items around the house e.g. this NerdFitness workout
  • Keep an eye out for free gym passes online and in local papers
  • Ask gym-going friends if their gym offers a free/cheap bring-a-friend option
  • Volunteer to walk doggies and get some fresh air at the same time

Miscellaneous

  • Use freebie sites to get samples for things you will use
  • Air dry clothes if at all possible
  • Re-use what you can, e.g. chop scrap paper up into note squares, re-use packaging materials, save sturdy glass bottles and jars
  • Consider growing your own – herbs and some vegetables are easily grown on the windowsill if you don’t have the space/time to garden
  • Consider asking neighbours or friends to borrow costly/bulky items such as lawn mowers or carpet cleaners
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