I’ve always had to live on a budget, some times more strictly than at other times. Probably most of us have, and as I had to leave work a bit earlier than I thought I would, I’ve really had to work out how I can live well on a lot less than my usual wage packet. And the good news is, I am doing okay. I thought I would share some of my tips, knowing of course that the other Starts at 60 readers will have plenty to share as well. So here goes.
Eat less meat. Since ditching meat to improve my health (which it has), I eat more plant based food and my grocery bill has gone down considerably. I also make my own sauerkraut and Kombucha which keeps me well and saves me lots of money. I use a lot of whole grains to bulk up my meals and the bonus is that I’ve lost weight and my blood pressure has gone down to normal.
Shop on the discount days. My local health food shop has 20% off the whole range on the first Tuesday of the month. If I need to stock up on vitamins, then that is the time to do so. You can save quite a bit. Especially on items like coconut oil or beauty products.
I am trying to make a few beauty products now. Deodorant has worked well, and I plan to try more. Also I make my own house hold cleaner spray with water, white vinegar and a bit of tea tree oil. It’s quite effective along with a bit of baking soda for cleaning most surfaces.
Bulk stores. We are blessed to have a whole foods bulk store in town and I regularly get things like rice, buckwheat, oats and much more there. It saves me a lot of money and as the packaging is brown paper bags, there is a lot less waste. It’s fiddly, but I do refill my honey or Tamari sauce and other liquids as well. I find this so much cheaper.
I have quite a few roadside stalls near me. Bananas, citrus in season, vine ripened tomatoes, avocados and garlic are always fresh and really cheap. Also they are unsprayed and its is only the cost of the loose change I keep in a tin in my glovebox.
I like to shop at sales. I seldom buy clothes full price. I haven’t had much luck with op shops but find that garage sales are often fun. If I see something I really like in a shop, I keep an eye on it until hopefully it goes on sale. Yesterday I went to ‘crazy’ day at a local nearby town and most shops had 50% off clothing. I finally bought the scarf I had my eye on for weeks.
Sell what you don’t need. I used to use eBay but found that postage made things really hard to make a profit on. So, I now put surplus things on to our local Facebook page which has a ‘Buy, sell and swap’ page. I’ve got rid of handbags, clothes, boots, a mattress, books, kitchen appliances and more. I put a few photos up and I always get quite a few offers as I make sure they are a bargain. Then I have a bit of spare cash that I can put away for something special. If I have excess Kombucha scobys I give those away on the local Facebook fermentation site. Often I get a lovely bunch of herbs or some garlic or ginger in return.
My local TAFE has a hair and beauty training section. I get regular ten dollar haircuts. They are fully supervised and I’ve been really happy with those that I have had. Likewise beauty treatments are really cheap. They are learning, so sometimes can be a bit on the slow side but I’ve had hot stone massages, deluxe facials and manicures all for a tiny fraction of the price you would pay in a salon. Win-win.
So these are just some of my ideas. I haven’t saved enough for a holiday yet, but I’m slowly getting there.