Frugal living – part 5

I have not done anything new, than doing what I’m doing already, as discussed in past frugal posts.
I am though changing how I cut my hair. I have been using this technique originally, as shared in this post, How to trim your own long hair at home. But now, I use this technique, which you will find in the link below. There are nine variations of how to cut your hair in this link and the one I use is method seven of nine, cutting pigtails.
After using the pigtail method, the only difference I do, is I don’t bring my hair to the nape of my neck, instead, I bring it into a ponytail at the front and point scissors upwards to cut, so not a blunt straight cut on the hair length.

Nine methods of cutting your own hair

The new method I now use, I have been doing a few times now. I changed the technique because I wanted to cut my hair shorter, but using the old technique would have made layers in my hair very short. This technique prevents that and it works for me.
As my hair is wavy, I find cutting my hair wet best, for previous technique I used and the one I use now.

In Frugal Living – part 4 I talked about thing’s I wasn’t going to allow myself to buy, until I ran out. I’m on my last bottle of shampoo now, so when I have run out, I will buy another. I’m also allowing myself to buy hand cream, after running out. But this is the only moisturiser I’m allowing myself, as I still have plenty of the other.

With downsizing from a two bed house, to a one bed flat, I’m hoping to see some savings. My rent is more than before, but I still hope to see some savings when it comes to heating. So this is what I will be observing the coming months.

What have you been doing in the frugal side of things? Anything new, or are you just continuing with what you have done so far?

Frugal Living – part 3

A difficult month money-wise, between last post and this. My budget did not go to plan either – money I wanted to save, I ended up touching. I did end up putting some away, but not what I originally planned. I suppose I should be thankful that I did put something away, because I wasn’t expecting it to happen.

Starting to freeze my bread

I know a few of my friends do this and just take out what bread they need. I have just started doing this myself now and it makes it so much easier for me, than I realised. I wish I did this sooner. I have been careful in the past when buying bread, to reduce wastage. But doing it this way, is much easier I have discovered and I totally recommend it.

Do you freeze your bread and only take out what you need?

My monthly phone contract

I ran out of internet allowance on the final week, so I had to buy an add-on. This did not help my budget and I hope to not do this on next month’s. I do use wifi, but because of where I was and what I needed to do, I had to get one.

No more cling film

Now I have no microwave, I don’t need to buy anymore cling film, when I run out. The remainder I have, I have had since last year because I hardly used it. I don’t know how much I have left, as I have not really looked. But I would not be surprised if I still had this box next year.

What I am not allowing myself to buy

You may remember the book review I did, “The Year of Less,” by Cait Flanders. I’m using one of her tips I have not used before and that’s creating a list of items I am not allowed to buy, because I have plenty of it.

What I have banned myself from buying:

  • Perfumes
  • Moisturisers
  • Shampoo
  • Nail varnish

I meant to share this in an earlier frugal living post.

If you liked this post, you can find past frugal living posts by scrolling either to the right, or further down, depending on whether you are viewing my page from laptop, or a mobile device, clicking on frugal living, under the categories.

Chit-chat June, with a bit of frugal living

On 19th June, after reading the Metro paper, I learnt that the ban on the sale of products that contain plastic microbeads had come into force. I am so happy to read this and it could not come soon enough. It’s been a ban that has been a long time coming. These tiny pieces of plastic affect sea life and are lethal to the sea creatures. Plastic microbeads were totally unnecessary in our products.

Walks, dvd’s and books

Like the previous month; ‘Chit-chat May,’ I had my walks out, watching dvd’s and into a couple of books, as well as my study. With the walks out in the sun, I should be ok with my vitamin D.
Speaking of vitamin D, since this post; ‘A bit of Vitamin D continued,’ I have decided to take this tablet daily all through the year, rather than just the autumn and winter months I was originally going to do.

I have chosen not to get the new album

The new album of Ben Howard; “Noonday Dream,” I was planning on buying originally, after listening to the preview samples of it on Amazon, I have chosen not to. I do not like this one, as I did when I bought the album, “Every Kingdom.”
But after coming across ‘2Cellos,’ via someones blog and looking them up further to listen more, I have bought their album, ‘Score.’ I found them relaxing to hear and surprisingly, I had the money to buy it.

Looking for that new home

I continue to bid for council properties in my chosen area as normal, but with one exception and that is my gut instinct I was ignoring, I am now listening to; an area I used to keep choosing because it regularly came up, when nowhere else did, I won’t choose anymore.
The only exception I would possibly be in this area, if the flat came up on the very outskirts in the opposite direction a couple of work colleagues walk home to and because it won’t be right central in the area, where it has known to be a bad area. But as big as this area is, choosing only that very small area on the very outskirts, it will not crop up often.
But if I had to live there, then it’s there I would feel safer, on the outskirts and where I feel my life would stay out of work, to a certain extent.

I have ignored my original plans of not looking privately. After decorating my two rooms where I currently live, I planned to stick out for this year. (Unless something came up from council.) But I have now ignored my original plans because a flat I happened to see when looking out of curiosity at what was going, appealed to me. I tried to forget about what I seen, but after two weeks of not being able to forget about it, I queried. I gave them details they required and then I viewed the one bed flat. The flat was lovely and perfect size for me, but because the shared entrance was dusty and musty, it affected my asthma.
I also know that for my money, I would get a better flat one day than that one, so I will be patient and keep looking. I know finding one will happen one day, but I won’t rush when it comes private. Since looking at that one, I will have a 2 months break of not looking private, then after that, depending, it may work out where I will stick it out. But it doesn’t mean I won’t look now and again. 🙂

Job interview I had

I talked about in ‘Chit-chat May,’ how I had a job interview. I was not impressed with it, so I had gone to the interview in looking forward to possibly working for them, but left because I had mixed feelings about the whole thing and a concern. I won’t go into detail here of my interview and exactly what happened, but it is not the first time I have had an interview with the same large company. The difference is, because of where my job would have been, means a different place where interview was held and different people doing it. But it still lead down to the same thing and feelings. I did not get the job in the end, but I wouldn’t have accepted. I did get feedback from my interview, that I shall take on board because I know I did not do well in the interview.  The feedback ended on a positive note how they would like me to apply for certain jobs, so I emailed a couple of questions I originally had, which they answered back to, but I doubt I will apply for anymore with them.  I continue to look elsewhere, while having email alerts for any jobs that may come up with the company I currently work for.

Study

I have passed my second assignment and looking at questions for assignment three, I know I won’t have any problems completing. All I need to do is sit down and get stuck in, reminding myself why I am doing this course.

I sold my cat carrier and Casio keyboard

I am not in a situation to have a cat and it will be a long time before I am, but I am also realising that if I was in a situation where I could, I don’t plan to have another cat. I’m not saying never, but it could be a good few years, even when I am in the right situation. I am enjoying the freedom of going out when I can, without the guilt of leaving a cat home alone and no, I have no plans to have two cats. So I sold my cat carrier, as there was no point holding onto it for many many years, with the possibility of never having another.
But this won’t mean by not having a cat myself, I won’t think of cats. I would like to still help Cats Protection where I had Miley from and where I would have future cats from, when I can, by donating things that will be useful to them, like cat food for example.

I also sold my Casio keyboard, for cash to put to other things, when in the end I did not use it much. It was better selling for cash than keeping. I have space too, where I originally had it and feel relaxed by seeing that space.

I’m also selling one of my small bookcases, just to shrink a little bit more in furniture, with knowing how small some flats can be, from ones I have viewed on in the past.
It’s an oak effect bookcase, with extra deep shelves. I bought this originally from Argos some years ago, so for any friends who live near me, if you would like this, or know someone who would like one, I am currently selling it for £5. Buyer to collect.

A special month

This month as been a particular special month for me. I finally got to meet up with a couple who I have not seen for many years since they retired. Although we email occasionally and keep in touch since they retired from the old work place I once worked at, I have not seen them for many years. Finally, we met up and chatted over a cuppa and we hope to do it again. They are a lovely couple, who I will never forget.

Frugal living – Money

As I mentioned in “Frugal living – part 1,” I had to change the way I shop. (See that post for more, which when you are on that post, scroll down to “Changing the way I shop.”) This topic now follows on from that.
When it comes to money, although I have got by, I want to save, without dipping into my savings every month. So although I do budget and I write every month my income and outgoings in a book, it was time to re-evaluate, to see if there is a chance to save something every month.
Although I was strict with my budget when it came to bills and put some savings away where I could, after this, the spending on groceries and going out, I was relaxed on. I have been relaxed with this part the last couple of years or three, because just for once, I wanted to enjoy myself and not think about this part. But things now have to change, because due to my savings and how my hours go up and down, I cannot rely on council tax benefit or housing benefit. Currently, I have no help with council tax and only a small help on housing benefit, so I never count this part, because I cannot rely on it.
Now last month, I was able to save more than I expected and I did not touch any savings. But this was due to back pay with hourly rate going up and also a fair bit of overtime I did.
This months pay is different and I could see I will have had to juggle and I thought I would not be able to put anything in my savings this month, but I have, hence i was able to buy the album I mentioned earlier in this post. Any change by the end of the month from my ‘groceries and going out’ budget, also gets put away and saved.
By juggling, I won’t need to touch my savings and things will be tighter than expected, because I am counting for every single pound and penny again.
I am going to have to be inventive when it comes to going out. This is nothing new, it’s I just have not done this since my early 30’s. So this month and the following months are going to be different.
When I choose to go out this month, it will be parks and packed lunches, otherwise staying at home.
Going out in a cafe this coming month is going to be only once to most twice this month, if it involves eating out and not just a drink.

I’m so glad I get help with prescriptions, dental and spectacles, but especially my prescription and dental. Had I no help here, my health would have declined.

Seeing my income and outcome is a reminder to me that it’s not just if I want to save for the holiday, but to live. But until I find that perfect morning cleaning job, I will get by as I have done so far. Until I get that other job, there will be no holiday for 5 days next year, only possibly the odd day trip. But as long as I am inventive on my local days out, I don’t see this being an issue.

And when I do get that second job, if at any point my hours were 30, or more, they’d be no way I would claim WTC again. (Working Tax Credits.) As much as this is supposed to be a benefit to help people, it can also cripple you, if you have a lot to pay back in overpayments. I thankfully only have an amount of under £50 to pay back after my DLA stopped and my hours never changed, but I know of some that have to pay thousands and with my hours now varying, I could see this easily happening to me. There is no way I would give the tax people a chance to cripple me, because of overpayments on WTC.

Frugal living –  Looking at alternatives for internet

It’s a long while before I can leave my internet contract, but as I know I will put my notice in when time comes up because of their below standard service earlier this year, I have started looking around. From looking around, I see having the internet and home phone (because there are never ones without landline,) will not be an option, because of how expensive it has become. It seems for me, the best contract is who I am now back with, with my pay as you go phone.
But until I make my full decision, this month I have been seeing if what I do when it comes to using the internet and everything else, can be achievable with my pay as you go phone. While doing this, I am seeing if it will work out more, or less than the contract I see so far that is best for me, using Wi-fi when there is one.
I started this challenge on the first of this month and it will end tonight, so some of my posts have been created from my phone, as well as when I have either left comments on my blog posts, or when I read other people’s blogs. So if you have spotted some weird typos, before I spot them, then this is why.
As this post airs, I already know what the results are for me and it turns out contract is way to go.

Frugal living – part 1

So since this post, ‘Frugal living,’ how have I been getting on? As well as what I do already I mentioned in first above post, I have also:
Bought no food bags since running out, which I was practically nil when I written the above post originally and just use my Tupperware containers for my packed lunches.

My socks that have been wearing out, have really been wearing out to the extent that it wasn’t worth me sewing them I felt.

I still use the baking soda and vinegar for cleaning my oven, but for nothing else, like the bathroom for example, which I still like to use my usual cleaner for that. I know from how well my oven looks, that cleaning the bathroom would look good to with this method, but I am happy and find I a convenience to use my usual method for those.

I continue to save glass jars that will be a replacement for my plastic Tupperware containers when they wear out.

I have reused a few empty toilet cardboard rolls for storing my electrical leads, usb leads etc.. in.
In the past, I have created toys for my pet cats I have owned and I have filled them with compost and grown plants from seeds in them, transferring them directly in the garden when ready, as they compost down.
For further ideas what you can do with the empty cardboard rolls, take a look here in, ‘Natural Living Ideas,’ which will take you directly to their post for further inspiration.

I have washed out a couple of empty Soya milk cartons and filled them to about three-quarters full of water, to fill empty spaces in my freezer. As you know, keeping our freezer filled up helps us to save energy, so me doing this, than buying food to fill the space was saving even more money for me.

As you know from a past post, I recycled an empty sesame oil bottle to stand my fake flowers in.

recycling a bottle

I reused some empty yogurt pots, a margarine tub and an empty powdered milk container as temporary pots to grow my Forget-me-nots in.

I have one liquid soap bottle left for my kitchen, but I plan to use bar soap as I do already in the bathroom, as it lasts longer and so it will save me money. When this last liquid soap container is empty, I will save the container, in case I get shower gel for Christmas. (I don’t have a shower, only a bath where I currently live.) If I do, the shower gel will be emptied into this empty hand soap container and I will use it as handwash, as I have done before in the past.

I may share more in further posts, if I do anything more different, hence I have put part 1 in the post title, in case this topic grows.

Microfibre cloths

I already use microfibre cloths when I damp dust, or other cleaning in my home, but I now have bought more, some months ago, as dish cloths. (Particular colours and designs, so I recognise it is just for this job.) So when the others have gone, that only last so long before you can throw them away, these will go in the place and then when they look grubby, they can be washed and re-used, saving money.

Changing the way I shop

Due to a tighter budget, (a little more of this will appear in Chit chat – June post,) I have to change the way I shop.
Every couple of months, or three, I used to do an online shop for the month and have it delivered to my door and in between this, just get the odd extras where needed, like milk, fruit etc… Having it delivered was especially handy when it came to cat litter and cat food. But now as I have no cat and because my monthly budget has to be less than before, it means it is not viable for me to shop online because of the minimum spend you have to make to have your shopping delivered. So I am back to walking into stores 100% and carrying my own shopping.
I am personally looking forward to my monthly budget challenge when it comes to my groceries and going out. One part of me says I won’t be able to do it, but the other is saying, I am going to enjoy the challenge. 🙂

And not forgetting…

I still continue to trim my own hair, after coming across this clip to show you how. This post will tell you more, if you have not seen it already: “How to trim your own long hair at home.”

Share your ideas

Share your ideas of what you do, as part of frugal living, in the comments of this post. It doesn’t matter how big, or small you do it, because every little bit helps your own finances, as well as the environment.