On our way to saving towards our goal of early retirement (FIRE movement), we love to look for new ways to save money and cut corners no matter how small they may be! As a famous UK supermarket once said "every little helps". From making our big furniture items to cleaning products that are used every day (well for Megan at least!), we can always find a way to be more efficient.
Not only do we save more money, we are becoming more conscious of the things we use, more sustainable and most importantly wasting less! Being more minimalist goes hand in hand with trying to have lower waste; we consume less or what we already have or reuse it!
Here's some ways we save money in our home:
DIY cleaning products
It's easy to buy a $2-3 bottle of kitchen or bathroom cleaner every few weeks, but we can really save money over time by making our own! Not only will we waste less plastic bottles, we'll also be making a more natural product with less chemicals knowing exactly what is inside!
Leftover citrus peels and a jar/ or Essential Oils
Empty spray bottle
If you're using citrus peels, collect these in a glass jar filled with white vinegar over a week or two. Once it's been over a week or more strain the vinegar into an empty spray bottle, filling it half way. Fill the other half with water. And there you have it, a fresh citrus smelling household cleaner!
If you're using Essential Oil simply fill half an empty spray bottle with white vinegar, then fill the rest with water and add a few drops of Essential Oils.
If you have tough stains, sprinkle a little baking soda and then spray with your DIY product for a big fizz. Leave for it for a while and scrub away!
When we are throwing out our food into our regular waste bins we use up more space and in turn changing our bin liners more frequently. It's a small cost to buy bin liners every month or year, but since Sam and I started composting we realise we change our regular waste bin every two weeks. We actually change our compost bin more! Not only does it mean we save up to $10 each month on bin liners, we are contributing to our local community garden compost using ShareWaste.
Grow back your veggies
There's many vegetables that you don't need to throw out or compost! You can use the ends you would usually discard and regrow them including spring onions, celery even pineapple! I have started with spring onions and even persuaded other friends and family to try it.
Simply toss the ends into a small glass jar, fill it up with 1/1.5cm of fresh water and watch them grow over a week or so!
Cook a vegetarian meal one night (or more)
We began 2019 eating meat and now we would class ourselves as sustainable eaters! We don't want to buy meat because of the pollution it causes, plus it is expensive. You can save money and the planet by choosing one night a week to cook a vegetarian meal. This could simply be removing the meat or replacing it with tofu or sweet potatoes! Some idea's from our regular meals are; satay tofu, pumpkin soup, pulled jackfruit or sweet potato or vegetable curries.
Buy fruit and vegetables seasonally
Depending on which season you are in, it is noticeably cheaper to buy whatever is growing locally in those months. Supermarkets will have to import the fruit and vegetables that aren't growing in New Zealand (or any country) and prices will shoot up. For example in the summer months this year we could find Avocado's for as little as $1 each. Once Autumn hit, Avocado's were as much as $6 each! As much as we love them, we had to cut them out of our meal plans and opt for something more seasonal! Although there are foods we love, it does mean our diets are varied throughout the seasons, making meals more interesting! Here is a guide to eating seasonally in New Zealand.
Reusing coffee grounds
There are so many uses for leftover coffee grounds. I keep mine in a glass jar under the sink and use them as and when I need to, including getting tough dirt out of pots and pans. My favourite use for coffee grounds is to make a face & body scrub. My recipe is:
3 tbsp coffee grounds
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
Girls, use a menstrual cup or reusable sanitary products
The average period costs the NZ woman $2640 each year, for tampons and sanitary pads. Not only is that a big expense when the cost of living in New Zealand can already be expensive, the waste it causes is also an issue. I bought a menstrual cup whilst travelling a few years ago and it has saved me tons of money so far! Having reusable products means you never have to buy another again. My menstrual cup cost the equivalent of $60 and I've not had to buy any other product since 2017. There are many options when it comes to menstrual products, here's a great selection to get you started!
DIY home decorations
I aim for as little clutter as possible, but I must admit I love making our home cosy. It's easy to get sucked in to new trends and want to be comfortable in your home, but it can come at a big cost. I am sucker for candles and recently we have been able to reuse a lot of the leftover wax to make our own candles. I also love a good fairy light and created some homemade string lanterns! Opting to make our own home decorations means we save money but can also make our things to our own taste, plus we enjoy them so much more knowing we made them with our own hands.
If you have any other tips and tricks to saving money in your home, I would love to know! :)