I am the mum of three beautiful children and I also work full-time, so life is certainly busy! So I know that life can get so busy sometimes that we look for what we perceive as the quickest and easiest way to get things done – but this does not necessarily mean that it is the best option for our wallets!
When I was looking a little while ago at ways that I could cut costs in our budget, I stumbled across the following 4 skills that, once added to your arsenal, will make not only great monetary savings, but also give you back some life skills that I think have gotten a little lost in our crazy, hectic lives.
I must admit that I am personally not so great at this skill – luckily I married an amazing man who can sew a button back on a shirt like it’s nobody’s business! Mending a hole in the toe of your sock, hemming pants so they are just the right length, replacing lost buttons, putting a patch on the knee of your toddler’s pants – these are all possible to do yourself!
Back in the (not so distant) past, it was unheard of to throw out a shirt just because a button has fallen off – in fact most shirts give you an extra button on the inside of the shirt just in case! So next time you put your big toe through the end of your favourite comfy socks, don’t throw them in the bin and head to the shops to buy a new pair – sew that hole up! YouTube offers plenty of tutorial videos or sewing and mending all types of clothing – and if you are lucky enough, you may have picked up one of those tiny sewing kits last time you were in a nice hotel, so you will be all set to sew!
When I was younger I saw gardening as the biggest chore! When Dad would ask me to come outside to help, I would whinge and complain because I just didn’t see the point of watering the strawberry bushes when we could just go to the shops and buy a punnet! But now I am older I see my garden as the perfect place for me to save some real money!
For my birthday last year I asked for a peach tree, which I planted in my garden, and this year we had a nice amount of fruit for us to pick and enjoy. Vegetables and herbs do seem to be a lot quicker and easier to grow, so I would definitely recommend giving them a go! If you are looking for some vegetables to grow with minimal outlay, I would recommend the following, all of which can be grown from kitchen scraps:
- Spring Onions
Now how is that for value? Buy one bunch of spring onions and never have to buy them again! Information on how to grow the above vegetables from kitchen scraps is readily available on the internet – so get growing!
Cooking From Scratch
I love to cook and I love to bake (and love to eat!), so this tip comes very, very easily to me. In our household we make most meals from scratch, including all of our bread and baked goods. For me, not only is it an amazing money saver, but a far healthier alternative to the processed rubbish available at the supermarket these days. It literally takes me 2 minutes to pop all the ingredients into our bread maker before I go to bed at night, and in the morning we wake up to the delicious aroma of freshly baked bread, which cost just cents to make! As many meals use a lot of common ingredients, you can save yourself a fortune buying in bulk to stock up your pantry!
I find this also cuts down a considerable amount of food waste, as I can easily use up the fresh ingredients I have in the fridge (that are getting dangerously close to bin worthy), by grabbing a tin of diced tomatoes and some pasta from the pantry and cooking them all up. So do yourself a favour and take those microwave meals out of your trolley and whip yourself up some fresh spag bol tonight!
It saddens me that the age old skill of bartering appears to have been lost over time. Swapping the lemons off the tree in your garden for an afternoon of babysitting, or the eggs from your chickens for some of your friend’s handyman skills to change that dripping tap washer – whatever it is that you are in need of, it never hurts to see if there is something you have that you could barter with, rather than paying cash for the goods or service.
Bartering can also be used when you are in a retail store – you just have to ask! I enjoy nothing more than negotiating a better deal with a shop assistant when looking for a product such as white goods or electronics – the thought of paying the ticketed price makes me cringe! I find the approach of “I’m really interested in this product – what’s your best price?” seems to work really well. And the addition of a notebook in my hand has always helped the negotiating process along, as they know I have been doing my homework and I mean business!