The frugal community on social media is such an inspiring one and I absolutely love picking up their money savvy tips. It has always been important to me to keep on top of my spending habits and prepare for the future, but there has never been a more significant time than right now. With a baby on the way and a pandemic to deal with at the moment, finances have become a priority for myself and my husband. Here are my five frugal things for May 2020.
Growing our own vegetables. For the first time ever, we’ve been attempting to grow our own veg at home. I say attempting as we don’t really know what we’re doing, but we’re giving it our best shot. After planting potatoes in the garden about two weeks ago we’re starting to see a couple of tiny shoots coming through. We also have a couple of egg boxes ready for starting some tomatoes and strawberries, which I plan to get round to this week. The hope is of course that one day soon we can begin cooking with our harvest, even if it’s just a small one!
We’ve even been growing our own spring onions in the kitchen. This one feels like a bit of a cheat as it turns out this is incredibly easy to do! When you chop off the green from a bunch that you buy in the supermarket, keep hold of the roots balls at the bottom. Sit them upright in a glass of water and within days they will start to regrow. It seems that this happens infinitely as we have been regrowing ours for several weeks now. It may not have saved us a fortune yet, but it’s certainly a welcome contribution.
Saving money during lockdown. This is one which I obviously can’t take full credit for, but I’m adding it because it has had a big effect on our finances. Over the last two months everything has been closed. From pubs, to restaurants, to shops, to cinemas. All of the places we would usually spend our money at the weekend, and often during the week too, have been out of reach. Our only extra outgoings have been the weekly takeaway which comes from one of the several local businesses we hope to still see around when life returns to normal.
So little opportunity to spend means that our savings accounts are smiling at us. With my own work having reduced drastically in the last four weeks, this brings me so much reassurance. I think it’s fair to say we’re definitely learning a lot about what we might consider necessary spending in the future too.
Creative new ways of earning. Lack of work has presented one major advantage for me. More time to be creative. So much so that I’ve been able to discover new ways of earning and I’m pleased to say that one way in particular has been a great success for me. For a few years now I have dabbled in print and card design but I’ve never really done too much with it. A slow moving Etsy shop has been the extent of my success.
Then I was introduced to a company called Thortful. They have an incredible selection of cards on their website, from the beautiful to the hilarious. When I found out that you can also apply to be a creator I jumped at the chance. As it doesn’t need my attention too often it is essentially a passive income, so when the payment comes through it feels like free money. Another relief in the finance department, but also a new creative outlet for me that I’m really enjoying and that should be sustainable for the coming months and years.
Homemade cards. It was my Grandma’s birthday recently. With just a week to go, I realised that getting to the shops to pick out a card wasn’t going to be the easiest thing to do. Instead, I decided to make my own. I’m good with watercolours and have a lot of paper in the house, so I attempted a freehand floral arrangement and it came out quite well luckily. I’m one of those people with 100 spare envelopes in the house, so all I had to do was dig in the junk drawer for a stamp and I was all set. Grandma has dementia and so may not have even really noticed the card, but making it for her myself made it that little bit more special for me. At a time when it’s not possible to see her, it’s a nice memory to have.
Repairing instead of replastering. Whilst we have a lot of spare time available at home Mike and I decided we would start decorating the baby’s room. It was coated in several layers of wallpaper and paint and we had no idea what condition the walls might be in underneath.
They’re not great, with a few decent cracks running across the original plaster. The good news however, is that it is all reparable. Had there been no lockdown right now we might have just asked our plasterer to come and skim the walls for ease. Instead, we’re taking the time to sand and fill them in preparation for painting. It will take longer, but it will save us a fair amount of money. Plus, we’re in no rush!