This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
Just thought I would write a quick post expressing how I guess so many of us were feeling on 1st April this year. We all knew that the 1st of April was looming when our energy suppliers were having to hike up their charges but suddenly it became a reality. It didn’t help that on 31st March the temperatures dropped and we had snow in some parts of the country. In the past that has meant a quick trip to the thermostat to whack it up, when my husband isn’t looking of course. But that is a luxury not many of us can afford any more. It has to be thrifty choices, so now it is another jumper or, as I found, one of these light down-filled sleeveless jackets from Uniqlo.
Of course, it does not stop there, everyone has had to raise their prices because rising energy prices have a ripple effect. My dog groomer raised her prices so I found myself stretching the interim time to the next appointment for an extra three weeks. I will be doing the same with my own hair appointments so I too will look like one of my woolly Doodle dogs for a few weeks every couple of months.
On a more basic level we all choose to shop in whichever supermarket suits us, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s Tesco or the even more convenient delivery service, Ocado and we thought this choice was for life. However, many of us are now looking at Asda, Aldi and Lidl. Planning menus and buying only what we need i.e. no little added extras (like crumpets at the weekend) find their way into my shopping basket, has become another way to cut costs. I remember Monday being leftovers day when I was growing up. Normally it was the remains of the roast beef lunch minced up into Cottage pie. Food wastage has to now be a thing of the past. Our parents could teach us a lesson on this.
I have a food waste bin and our local council has asked us to think carefully before filling this to the brim. Was this food that could have been eaten? It certainly rang home with us and every time I open it I think, could there be another use for this food.
Leftover vegetables have always been used in soups. Sometimes the combination of flavours is a little odd but at least I know that is one meal expenditure saved plus fresh vegetable soup is healthy.
As I come into summer I no longer dress salads and I serve the dressing in a jug to be used as needed. A good tip is to store the leftover salad in a glass container rather than a plastic one as it will stay fresh for longer. Also, these glass containers can be used in the oven, microwave or freezer.
Buying new clothes now seems like a total luxury. Only buying to replace a much-worn item is more of my mantra now. No more just clicking on that item that catches our fancy, just think again. Read Maggie Cox’s article ~ FASHION FOR OLDER WOMEN: GOOD FOR THE PLANET – GOOD FOR THE PURSE where she has some great tips, probably better than the one the husband of a friend of mine is using. He has taped their new gas estimate to his wife’s computer screen in an attempt to moderate her spending.
In my bathroom, I have been cutting open supposedly empty tubes of skincare creams and finding I have another few days of use in there. Whether you call this thrifty or canny it all comes back to the need to be more careful with money.
However, maybe it was not just the energy rises that have affected us. We have also been emotionally influenced by the war in Ukraine. People there now have nothing, no heating, electricity, water, or food – all the things we take for granted. Their strength and resilience are remarkable. It shakes us to the core and stops us from moaning about any of the cutbacks we have been forced to endure.
Meanwhile, we have so many good things that come for free, a walk in the countryside, a chat with a girlfriend, a re-read of one of our favourite books and, as for cooking, how about these 48 leftover recipes from BBC Good Food, or another free activity – an early night with your partner!! 😉
Thrifty choices help our wellbeing in these tricky times we find ourselves in. Read more ideas on how to look after ourselves here.