So, we’ve almost survived week one of Pud’s temporary enforced joblessness without needing a divorce lawyer! This has been made possible by a number of factors, including me being at work for three days and Pud keeping himself busy by painting the hallway and landing (everything comes to she who waits, even if that wait has been for over seven years).
We’re not at the leather-pancake eating stage just yet but I’ve decided to start making my own small contribution to surviving on a reduced income, in the event that it takes Pud some time to find another job. Some attempts have been successful, some haven’t, so I thought I would share a few with you – just in case you need to save a couple of quid from time to time:
- Leave your car at home. Obviously not recommended for long-distance trips but using your legs or bike wherever possible gives you valuable thinking time to cook up more cost saving schemes and saves petrol and wear and tear on your car into the bargain. PLUS I’ve yet to knock a wheelie bin down with my bike – bonus!
- Ditch the expensive face creams. Oh, how it pains me to say this as I was all set for a lifetime of luxury products giving my haggard skin a fighting chance but hey; there’s a lot to be said for Wilko’s 99p moisturiser (if you don’t mind a bit of eye-sting upon application)
- Menu planning. Make a list of every meal you’re going to cook each week and stick to buying just what you need
- Looky-likey crisps from Aldi. By golly these impersonators taste more like the originals than the brands themselves and cost about, oooh, two pence for ten bags (note, you must resist the urge to spend an additional twenty quid on delicious Belgian chocolate and thirst-quenching German beers when you ‘pop in’ for said crisps, otherwise that rather defeats the purpose doesn’t it)
- Fruit and veg from the local market. I say, if it saves you a few pennies, then it’s well worth having your arms wrenched from their sockets as you lug home umpteen bags of spuds, onions and seasonal fruit that you didn’t even realise you needed until you spotted two punnets for a pound winking at you from a stall nearby
- Homemade cakes. For some reason my family seems to quite like my claggy, burnt on top, undercooked in the middle cakes and as I keep saying to anyone who will listen (and many who won’t), a bag of flour, six eggs and a kilo of sugar costs less than a box of chocolates and goes a looooong way in the world of cakery. PLUS you know what you’re getting when you cook it yourself (most of the time anyway)
- Tinned tomatoes! Is there any meal that you can’t stick these cheap little fellas in??
- Menu planning. Once you’ve bought only the things you think you’ll need, you will then invariably have to buy extra convenience food for the days when either a) Pud is taking care of dinner as his repertoire extends to three freezer meals and a bowl of pasta and pesto or b) you simply can’t be arsed to cook from scratch because all you really want is a big, greasy pizza that’s ready in fifteen minutes flat (margherita pizza: 89p from Iceland if you’re interested)
- Anything other than Heinz baked beans. When I have a puddle of orange-tinged water slopping on my plate where there was once thick, tasty bean juice, I’m just not convinced that Heinz make beans for anybody other than themselves, like some of the cheap brands would have you believe
- Own brand toilet paper. In one week we went through nine, yes NINE rolls. Admittedly, I did have a rather bad case of what my friends and I have affectionately dubbed the Vodka Shits, after a particularly hefty session of cheap house doubles (see how I’m saving money even on a night out?) but where did the other eight rolls go I ask??
- Extra special offers. Pud was so pleased with himself for spotting a tub of margarine for fifty pence at our local shop that he immediately snapped up another. Closer inspection of the Best Before date belied the real reason for such cheapness and even as I type, the lurid yellow spread is festering away in the depths of our fridge, daring the next unsuspecting victim to lift the lid at their peril
- Attaching a paint roller to a broom handle with sellotape in a bid to reach the tops of the hallway walls rather than buying a purpose-made one. I don’t think I need to elaborate ……
So there we have it – a little stroll through our first attempts at cutting back. I’m sure there will be many more to come and I’d love to hear any cost saving tips you might like to share. The best one gets a prize……..who likes mouldy butter??