Low income? Having to make things go further?
That's the lens for you. I haven't always been on low income but always believed in what my grandmother taught me since a very early age: save, recycle, conserve, reuse and repair. She was raising a young family during WWII and, even if life was better and more prosperous for her in the 70s and 80s she still thought in WWII "mode".
I'm now in a position where money is tight and have to "may do" a lot of times.
In the UK we have a great program on TV called "superscrimpers" and I absolutely love it. It's packed with money saving ideas so I thought I write a lens and spread the world.
I hope you find this lens interesting and useful. Any ideas you have would be appreciated.
The photo is some potpourri I made by drying flowers and adding a few drops of mimosa essential oil. The glass bowl cost me 50 pence in a charity shop.
Pretty homes for pennies
I never throw away old clothes, towels or sheets. I use them to make cushions, patchwork covers and jar covers for my home made chutneys.
I can't afford to buy a "proper" sewing machine so I bought a mini one that does just the job at a fraction of the price.
To make my cushions I use stuffing from old pillows or buy cheap second hand old cushions in charity shops and re-cover them with some of my material from old clothes. The picture is of a couple of cushions I made with material from 2 old skirts.
To make candles for a cost that's near to nothing I keep old drippings of wax and leftover bits of candles and when I have enough I put the wax in a metal pot and heat it on a bain marie. When the wax is melted I dip the wicker in and secure it at the bottom of a jar (recycled). Hold the wicker vertical and pour the wax in. If you want you could add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
Easy to make yet looks lovely and smells great. Dry flowers (in the sun is best), add a few drops of essential oil and pour in a nice bowl!
Mini sewing machines
If you don't have a lot of money I would recommend a mini sewing machine. You can't really use them for thick fabrics but are easy to use, do the job, and economical.
I personally would not recommend a handheld sewing machine. I think they are quite fiddly and not very reliable.
Food glorious food
Nothing gets wasted in my household, especially when it comes to food.
Any leftover meats (usually from my roast chicken) goes into a pie the following day or in the freezer to be used at later date.
I even save leftover gravy by freezing it in ice cube trays.
When it comes to boiled or mashed potatoes a drop an egg in them, mix, put the mixture into a tray covered with baking paper in the shape of muffins. Freeze them, once frozen I transfer them into a freezer bag and when I need them I have instant potatoes cakes that just need to be reheated in the oven.
I slice it and leave it to slightly toast in the oven. When cold and toasted I transfer it into a plastic bag and bash it to make bradcrumbs. If I have a lot that needs to be used quick I make bread and butter pudding.
Freeze it for later meals!
I tend to make large amounts of sauces for my pasta. This way I save a lot of money in bills as I can cook 4 meals in one go. I freeze portions and defrost it overnight when needed. Heat it for 5 minutes and it's ready!
Grow your own
Of course a great way to save money on your grocery shopping is to grow your own. It's easy to grow your own vegetables and herbs and you don't need a garden. Plants such as tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, broad beans and herbs can all be grown on a windowsill.
If you have a garden potaoes, carrots, parsnips, onions and most salads are very easy to grow.
I also like to have a couple of fruit trees in my garden!
Picture is my little apple tree
Beauty ideas on the cheap
Beauty products can be very expensive but here're a few ideas to save and look fab!
A great BODY SCRUB is made up with salt, olive oil and few drops of your favorite essential oil. Mix it all in a paste and store it in a jar.
For a FOOT SCRUB do as above replacing the salt with sugar
For a BODY MOISTURIZER you can use olive oil with a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
A good FACE MASK that costs pennies is made by combining a mashed banana to two egg whites. Mix into a smooth paste, spread evenly on face and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse with worm water.
To reduce DARK CIRCLES and puffy EYES simple place a cold teabag (I put it in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes prior to treatment) on the eye and leave for about 15 minutes
NAIL TREATMENT for stronger healthy nails consist of 1 yolk, spoon of honey and 5 spoons of milk. Mix well and dip your finger tips into the mixture for about 10 minutes. Rinse.
When it comes to FOUNDATION I buy one one shade darker than mine and when I use it I mix it with a cheap face moisturizer, this way my foundation lasts almost twice as long.
For shiny looking HAIR mix a pint of warm water with a tablespoon of honey. Use as a final rinse after washing your hair.
More affordable beauty ideas
Here's the bible for superscrimpers!