How are your frugality efforts going this dark and damp January? I am still on a no spend month and doing really well. Honestly, there is very little to spend your money on when it is cold outside. January is a good month to cut your costs for this very reason. In addition, I am signed off work with continued pain from my trapped nerve, so I don’t feel much like going out spending. I could go crazy and shop online, of course, but I feel no need. I am enjoying the thrift and frugality of my no spend challenge!
My one fail? A cup of tea at the hospital on Saturday. I had an awful allergic reaction to some painkillers and came up in a horrendous rash. It was so bad I had to go to A&E for blood tests and a blast of antihistamines and steroids. I will let myself off. We didn’t think we would be very long and really needed to buy a tea whilst waiting around.
I don’t normally show pictures of me in my pants on my blog, but I had to share! I was like this from my neck down. Shocking, ain’t it?
You may have read last week’s post Five free things to do on a no spend month. As I have plenty of time on my hands at the moment, I have been thinking of more things you can do rather than spend money when you are doing a no spend challenge, or even when you are just on a tight budget.
Volunteering gives you the chance to do something useful, meet new people, increase your skills and improve your job chances. It also costs nothing! If you are bored but have no money to go out, how about looking at volunteering opportunities in your area? Do-it.org is a good website to get you started.
Change energy providers
I know it’s not exactly exciting, but doing a price comparison on your utilities is well worth the effort every now and again. A no spend challenge is all about saving money, so this is a good time to re-evaluate your spend on the essentials.
I have been getting a few quotes this week. I’m not just going for the cheapest, though. They need to have a good reputation for customer services too for me.
Have an audit of your makeup and toiletries
I don’t wear that much makeup, but even I was surprised by the makeup items I had forgotten when I had a clear out recently. Two very nice lipsticks stashed at the back of my drawer, plus an unused mascara that someone gave me. If you don’t use them quickly enough, the oils in them start to turn rancid. They don’t last forever! Finding things you have forgotten about will hopefully stop you wanting to buy more, so a no spend challenge month is a good time for a clear out.
The number of toiletries has decreased since my youngest went to university, but we still have duplicates of things. For some reason, we have many bottles of shower gel – I rarely use this as I prefer soap and I am trying to reduce my plastic consumption. However, since they are here I am working my way through them. We also have lots of bath bombs that various daughters have purchased or been given as presents. Usually I wouldn’t use those either, but a hot bath and a good soak is good for my painful neck and shoulder.
Play board games
Most of us have a cupboard full of board games, but how often do we actually play them? Bring the family together for an old-fashioned, non digital afternoon of Scrabble, Monopoly, Cluedo or Pictionary. It’s not a board game, but my favourite is still Boggle!
Clear out your books, CDs and DVDs
You can make a bit of money on this one! Declutter and have an honest look at the books, CDs and DVDs that just gather dust but are never taken off the shelf. If you don’t love them, will never read, view or listen to them, then sell them onto to someone who will. If you decide on a proper clear out, you can sell these and all sorts of other stuff (old phones, tablets, gift cards and more) through Music Magpie. I love a declutter, and a no spend month is a good time to make money from your old stuff.
Do some baking
There is something incredibly therapeutic about baking, I find. If you aren’t massively artistic or creative, like me, you can still create something good with your hands by following some decent recipes. As part of my no spend challenge, I cleared out the larder. I wanted to keep our grocery costs low this month too by using up what we had. There are lots of things to bake with in my cupboard – flour, icing sugar, baking powder, dried fruit and more.
I made my daughter a chocolate birthday cake and have also made my easy fruit cake. Next I plan to bake some spelt bread again as I have both spelt flour and yeast!
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