As I was putting the washing in the machine at 7am this morning just before I had my first cup of coffee and let the chickens out, I was suddenly struck by all the little money saving things I do without even thinking about it. Over the years I guess they become ingrained and just second nature - GOOD.
Those are just the kind of things you need as the backbone of a frugal life. I'm sure lots of you do even more but I thought I'd share a few of mine while they are fresh in my mind in case they are of any help.
All these tips are to do with clothes and washing them, I'll probably bombard you with tips on other things over the course of the next few weeks, my mind seems to have gone into money saving mode!
Firstly we wear mostly dark underwear and we have enough sets so that everything can be washed in one go once a week. I always buy multi packs of socks all the same design (usually plain black) that way when one sock gets worn at the heel or just too many darned holes in to make wearing it comfortable just that sock can be thrown away and the remaining one can be saved to pair up with another lone sock in the future.
I usually do about 4 or 5 washing loads a week. One load is Lovely Hubby's farm clothes one is towels, two are dark clothes (one being underwear and jeans) and one is light coloured/white clothes, halfway through each alternate week I do a single load of bedding. For each wash I use ONE washing tablet, I know the pack says two per load, ignore it extra powder just rots and fades your fabric, one IS sufficient. If we have an emergency and need to do a half load I use half a tablet. I use large size highly concentrated containers of fabric conditioner from the farm supply shop, but I only use about a spoonful for each full load. That's all you need, it is merely there to neutralise any detergent left in the fabrics. If I run out I simply put a dash of white vinegar in the dispenser drawer, it works just the same but with no scent. (Honestly your clothes won't smell like chips!!)
Immediately things come out of the washer I fold them neatly and then I dry outside on sunny, windy, breezy or dry days being careful to hang things straight and peg carefully. On damp or wet days I will simply put the washing on the airer at the top of the stairs where the heat from the kitchen rises up and warms the landing. If I need things quickly or simply want to get them put away I will drape them all over the Aga, it can dry a full load of washing over the course of the day. If you have hung things neatly you should not have to iron at all.
Since meeting Lovely Hubby with his complete non-iron tactics I have been converted. Only his nice shirts for work need to be ironed, eveything else is simply folded neatly and put away, once you have put your clothes on most creases disappear with your body heat. I even getaway with not ironing my jeans now as long as I have snatched them from the machine quickly and kept them straight!!
If you look after your clothes they will last you longer and save you money in the long run. I have also found that LOTS of my clothes that say 'Dry Clean Only' are perfectly happy in the washer. I buy lots of things from charity shops and decided early on that I would risk my purchases by washing them rather than forking out ridiculous amounts of money for dry cleaning, I have only ever lost one item through this (and we're talking years worth of purchases here). You do sometimes have to iron them carefully afterwards but that is so much cheaper than dry cleaning.
Something to remember is that you do not have to wash your clothes everytime you wear them. My rule of thumb is that if it has been against your skin it will probably need washing, so that's all underwear and usually little vest tops or t shirts, but the jumper or cardigan you had over your t shirt or your skirt or jeans will most likely be fine for a few more wears. Hang things up on hangers at the end of each day to air. We have plastic hooks that pop over the outside of the wardrobe doors and things stay on there over night. I use my nose the next day and if they smell fresh they get put back into the wardrobe ready for next time. The only exception to this is if you are packing clothes away after the winter for instance ready for next winter, then everything should be clean and fresh before packing to deter moths.
Lovely Hubby wears his outside 'farm clothes' all weekend, changing in the evening to clean clothes so that his really dirty things can just be washed the once each week.
Money saved here -
At least twice as many washes per box of detergent as advertised on the box
Less washes mean saved electricy (get out of the habit of washing every day unless you really have to)
Save money on sock purchasing
Save at least an hours electricty by not ironing
Save money on replacing clothes by looking after them carefully and washing some things less frequently.
We don't realise how lucky we are having machines that do all the work for us (well I do, I lived without a washing machine until my youngest was a year old, hand washing everything for four people including bedding and terry nappies), but we should still use them wisely and not just bung everything in without thinking.
Just a few little tips that I hope will help some of you, most of my Frugal Friends will most likely be doing all this (and more) already. If you have any more tips to share please leave a comment, I'm sure I do even more, but when it becomes second nature you simply don't realise all that you do.
Oh well back to packing up the kitchen, this job is going sooooo slowly, with lots of interruptions and...... well it is washing day!!
(pics from Google)
(pics from Google)