The last three Thrifty Thursday tips have been about freezing, leftovers and growing, each requiring the input of the previous, well if we are looking at things that way what comes first in this list of ways to save money - YOU DO !!
You have to look after yourself to be able to do any of the others. To be able to grow the food to freeze and to use as leftovers you have to be as healthy as you can possibly be and as happy in your own skin as possible.
Well to my mind you do. And this is how I stay healthy on a budget.
The first thing I do, and this is really cheap and easy, is to drink lots of water, whether it be free from the tap, or bottled water it really doesn't matter, what I do know is the most expensive bottled waters don't taste any better really than the cheap ones. I drink either filtered tap water or any supermarkets basic Sparkling water, sometimes I have a slice of lemon or lime in it either straight from the freezer or at the moment I have a jar of these slices in the fridge that were reduced to 39p from £1.59 an offer I could simply not say no to :-)
I eat as healthily as I can. I have treat now and then, and I can rarely say no to a piece of chocolate (that would be so rude), but by and large we eat well, we eat what we grow and supplement it from the shops and supermarkets aiming to have the fewest possible additives. I don't read the fat/calorie/sugar content of the foods I buy I read the ingredients list on the packet or label instead. I buy foods that have only the ingredients that I recognise and as few of them as possible.
The best foods to buy don't have labels at all. The longer you can stay in the fruit and vegetable aisle the healthier your supermarket shop will be, and also the cheaper. If you buy vegetables to make a nice veggie casserole or curry you will get a heck of a lot more for your money than if you buy a pre-prepared ready meal version.
If you're short of time during the week have an afternoon at the weekend when you set to and make big pan fulls of soup, stews or curries and freeze them in meal sized portions, then you will have ready meals of your own for pennies rather than pounds.
Once you've got your insides nice and healthy, the outside is starting to look better too, so don't throw money at buying fancy products, find out what you like and what suits you and stick to it. I make our own soaps because I like to have simple ingredients and it works out so cheap compared to buying the same quality of soap from the shop. But you can find some really good bargains, especially if you buy supermarkets own baby or 'simple' soaps. But find out what suits you and use that.
Find products you like and trust and stick with them. I dye my brown hair blonde because it brightens me up and makes me feel good, but I do so economically, as my hair is so short I only use half a pack at a time, so these four packs bought when on offer will last me nearly all year.
I recently pared down my make up bag and rarely any make up now, the chickens just didn't appreciate the effort :-)
But I do spruce myself up when we go out together, using my favourite brands of foundation and mascara, even these I buy when on offer making sure I get a years supply at the time.
I did try switching my face creams to the supermarkets own brands, working my way down the price scale, but I honestly found that for me it didn't work, my skin was dull and sometimes greasy and I had more spots.
So now I've switched back to my favourite brand, yes, it is more expensive but it suits my skin and I use it wisely and try to buy only when it's on a really good offer, stocking up when it is. In my opinion being frugal is not about struggling to manage with something you don't like or that doesn't like you it's about knowing what to spend your money on and when.
And once you've spent your money on something, it's about making sure you get every last drop of that product available for use. If you hear a quiet 'thud' in this house it's usually the sound of an upended bottle falling off the neck of the bottle it's been balancing on for hours as it finally lets go of every last little bit of content.
In this picture you can see cheapo shower gel being dispensed into our handwash dispenser, I do this because it costs only 10p for the shower gel and it does a brilliant job of getting our dirty gardening hands clean, this is one cheap product that does suit us both. I usually add a couple of drops of tea tree oil to it and give it a good shake, this helps to heal any cuts or scratches we might have picked up and makes the 'handwash' smell lovely.
In this house all tubes are cut in half and the products scooped out for use, usually you get at least an extra few days out of them. If you have never done this before next time you think you've used all your hand cream or toothpaste just snip the end of the tube, you will be amazed at the amount of product left in there clinging to the sides trying to avoid being used.
So it's all about commonsense and getting the most for your money, spending that money wisely on products that suit YOU. No matter what the adverts may promise us and what the airbrushed girls in the glossy mags imply that we might end up looking like, we will a;ways ever only be ourselves. If we get the inside as healthy as possible then we can work on the outside in the way that suits us best.
The best beauty treatment of all of course is absolutely free and that is SLEEP and while you are asleep you cannot be spending any money at all ... so the most frugal tip of them all is to go for a nap.
I hope you have enjoyed Miserly March's Thrifty Thursday Tips, now what can we do for April :-)