Blogging challenges are always fun, and if you are a blogger, you might have come across a few posts recently which talk about money-saving tips. Money supermarket explains:
"To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the £1 coin, we're asking the UK's most talented and creative bloggers - that's you, by the way - to give us as many money saving tips as they can. We want 1,000, to be precise!" Thankfully, you don't have to come up with one thousand tips, thirty will do just as nicely (check the link above for all the terms and conditions). Blog away and you might win the top prize of £1000 (or even a double sum if they get over 1000 tips from the blogging community).
Here are a few of my money-saving tips:
Make your own inexpensive beauty products:
1) Put rice (about half a cup) in a mug, add the tepid water and stir well, once you get the cloudy whitish water, pour it carefully into another container and use as a cleanser for your face.
2) Make your own facial scrub from 1/2 tbsp of oatmeal mixed with some water, gently rub into your face and rinse with the cold water.
3) Take a couple of cooled teabags (everyday or camomile tea), place on the tired eyes to relieve the puffiness. Also good for the infected eyes, just dip the cotton wool in cooled strong black tea or camomile tea, rinse your eyes with it (less expensive than the eye drops)
4) Forget about the pricey skin products for dry skin, prepare a soothing lotion with camomile and cucumber: using a juicer, extract the juice of one cucumber, mix with the contents of 2 camomile tea bags and pour 450 ml of freshly boiled water, after it is cooled, add 2 tbsp of glycerine, leave it to get infused for half an hour. Strain the contents in a clean glass jar. This lotion can be kept in the fridge for up to 10 days.
5) For a nourishing face mask mash 2-3 overripe strawberries, spread on your face and rinse in 5 minutes, your skin will feel refreshed and moisturised. You can do the similar mask with overripe apricots.
6) Have you seen those expensive chocolate moisturising masks? Mix 2 tbsp of cocoa powder (but not the hot chocolate mix, as it already has sugar and other ingredients) with 2 tbsp of Greek style yogurt, 1 tsp of oats and 1 tbsp of honey, and hey presto: a truly decadent mask, good enough to eat, which will give a boost to your skin.
7) Those who suffer with dry skin prone to eczema know only too well how pricey the products like Oilatum or Aveeno could be. To relieve the itchy inflamed skin, create a DIY oatmeal soak for your bath, it takes literally minutes to prepare and is very soothing: put 1 mug of oats with 1/2 mug of baking soda in a food processor and blitz until very fine. Add to the warm bath and stir, stay in the bath for 15-20 minutes.
Cooking (food and drink) tips:
8) Be creative with the leftovers: - a whole chicken might be pricier than a couple of chicken legs, but one chicken will provide you with several meals (lacking in ideas? check this post One chicken, three meals)
9) Bulk up the minced meat with grated vegetables and lentils, even better, make your own minced meat, then you will know that you are not eating Don Quixote's companion.
10) Forage in the garden or nearby foods for the nettle tips, mushrooms, berries, primrose flowers, wild garlic (if you are not sure what to do with the nettles, read these posts, for example, Spring boscht with beet leaves and nettle or Soup with nettle and ground elder).
11) Grow your own herbs on the window sill or in pots if you don't have a garden, it is much more cost-effective than buying the small bags of herbs, half of which will dry or rot in the fridge. Put an onion in a glass jar with water, and soon you will be able to enjoy the spring onions any time of the year.
12) Flavoured salt costs a lot, and you can create your own version at a fraction of a price. Would you like to try a DIY flavoured salt with rose petals and coriander?
13) If you are a latte or a cappuccino addict, buying a takeaway cup of coffee at around £2.25+ each time adds up to quite a big amount of money, which would be wiser spent on a decent coffee-making machine, it might cost more to start with, but if you use it daily, it will be a good investment that would save you money in the long run.
Home and garden money saving tips:
14) Run out of the drain cleaner? mix 200g of bicarbonate of soda with the same amount of the table salt, stir well, pour the mix down the sink and leave for 10 minutes. Boil the water in the kettle and pour over the sink, it will clear the drain.
15) Wrapping paper and gift bags can be very pricey, especially the seasonal variety. You can make your own with a minimal effort and saving a few pounds. Ask your local furniture/decorating stores for the discontinued fabric sample books or wall paper sample books. To give you some ideas what you could do with these free samples, read the following posts - Wrap it up on a budget and Create your own gift tags.
16) Fancy photo frames could be very pricey, save money by picking the picture frames in the charity shops for almost nothing, paint them with acrylics and jazz them up with embellishments: bright pencils, buttons, ribbons, and you will have unique framed gifts for your child's bedroom.
17) Going to a wedding? or planning a romantic dinner at home? Decoupage a plain candle, or do a stamped image transfer, and you will have a personalised gift for much less than the gift shop varieties. Find how to make a stamped candle in a post A Valentine's candle for your flame.
18) The empty coffee cans can be easily recycled and given a new life as gift containers (or Easter baskets), just paint them over with the acrylic paints and decorate using stencils or ribbons.
19) If you were wandering around the garden centres and gift shops before Christmas, you might have been appalled at the price of the Christmas wreaths. Personally I cannot justify spending £30-50 and more on a seasonal decoration. Look for the wire/hay wreaths without any decorations which you might find for a pound in the pound shops and decorate with the fresh greenery, ribbons and bells.
20) Recycle your Christmas cards by cutting them to create the tags, or embellishments that you can use for a new batch of Christmas cards.
21) Are you into sewing? Don't discard the empty thread spools: create your own place card holders by wrapping them in s piece of fabric and gluing it to the spool. Make the groove on the top of the spool where you will place a name card.
22) Don't discard the used ground coffee: it makes a perfect free plant food for the plants that thrive in acidic soil like roses, evergreens or rhododendrons.
23) Another gardening money-saving tip: after the spring clean in the garden, use the wood ash from any bonfire to spread around the strawberries to prevent the slugs from the strawberry patch (no need for pricey chemical stuff).
24) Gardening could be a very expensive hobby. It goes without saying that buying seeds rather than plants would save you money. However, you can also check the so called bargain corners and see if there are any plants on offer that you can buy for just a few pennies.
25) Stick to the shopping list, don't be tempted by any offers that you don't need (and a note to self too: if you make a list, don't leave it at home, as happened more than once to me)
26) If you see the BOGOF, don't grab the goodies to add to your trolley, it will only be a bargain if you are going to use it.
27) Buy in bulk those food items that can be kept in the cupboard, like chutneys, rice, pickles etc, when they are on offer (for example,Tilda rice is on offer at Waitrose until the end of this month, so I have bought quite a few bags that will last me a while)
28) Use loyalty cards: my particular favourites are Nectar and Boots cards. Every time I get a spare fiver on Nectar, I treat myself to a papercrafts or foodie magazine.
29) If you have a baby or a young child, you will get extra points for buying the baby-related products like nappies etc in Boots. I tend to save the points till Christmas time, and then spend them on buying the gifts, especially when they are on 3 for 2 offer, or treat myself to a new perfume.
30) And of course, before you start shopping, compare the prices on Money Supermarket website.
And I want to end my post with a rather bizarre tip which I heard many years ago on the Russian TV: put your newly bought tights in the freezer overnight before wearing them (once they thaw), as apparently they will last longer and you won't get ladders. Whether it's true or not, I don't know, as I never tried.
This is my entry to the 30 ways to save £1 competition.
If you enjoyed reading my tips, you might love to read the other money-saving tips as presented by
Madhouse Family Reviews
Competition Grape Vine
Dragons and Fairy Dust