Monthly Round Up – The Best Ways I Made Money, Saved Money & Bargain Finds In September

How we are almost at the end of the month baffles me. I’m sure I say something similar every month but this one has really just shot straight by me. Once again this has been a very busy month with little on the money making clear out front but let’s jump right into the round up!

Made Money

I sold an item I paid 45p for on eBay and made £5 profit unexpectedly. I have been relisting my eBay items but sadly no one seems interested in what I’ve been trying to shift now for a couple of months. This surprises me as I’ve previously had a lot of luck when clearing out my unwanted clothes with one of the brands in particular. It had been on my to do list for a while to delete all my active listings on Marketplace and reupload them as I find the newer something is the more likely it is to shift. I had several time wasters ask if items where available, keep a conversation going for a short while and then poof into the ether. I had about 4 false starts thinking I’d lucked out which is a shame but not the end of the world.

Saved Money

I’ve started keeping a running list of odd bits I need that aren’t desperate and then buying them whenever I see Top Cashback’s £2 bonus offer. This means as well as getting the average % back on my purchase I’ve also effectively saved £2. I managed to line this up with a bank holiday deal in Homebase to save 20% on the item, get free click and collect plus the usual cashback and the extra bonus. This is definitely something I’m going to keep up.

I met up with friends for a scheduled dinner and managed to knock £9 off the bill thanks to using my Tesco Clubcard vouchers.

I also managed to get £4.40 worth of dairy free yoghurt for £1.60 by using coupons in the free Tesco magazine. It’s a real favourite of mine that I only usually buy when its on offer so this made me very happy. Its the Alpro Greek Style Coconut yoghurt and the best way I can praise it is by saying I don’t usually like coconut much but can’t get enough of this.

Bargain Finds

I feel like it’s been a little while since I found a gem on Marketplace but mid way through the month I lucked out by finding a beautiful metal plant stand with two saucer platforms for 8in pots on the app. It is the perfect colour to go in a space I’ve been sprucing up and I paid a whopping £7 for it. I’ve really struggled to find nice plant stands online for a reasonable price, this one is originally from Habitat and should have cost around £40. It’s in really good condition and matches my style perfectly so I’m really pleased.

Don’t hate me but I also started my Christmas shopping. This was accidental. Whilst queuing to pay in a shop I spotted they had reduced wax melt packs on clearance for 62p. A friend of mine loves them so I grabbed one of these to add to a hamper-style present which will have lots of odd bits and bobs in. The packaging makes them look far more expensive than the price I paid which I love.

I managed two beauty purchases this month but both were dramatically lower than the RRP. One was a product I’d tried a free 30ml sample of and fallen in love with and the other was a brand I’ve been really keen to try. First up I got a 50ml bottle of the REN Evercalm Day Cream for £14.99 instead of £38 from TK Maxx. They had two listings on their website which were identical expect for the price, one was £14.99 and the other £24.99. I opened this the moment I got it home and am really happy I got it. I wouldn’t pay £38 for a day cream but love that I’ve been able to use this at a more affordable price. I almost wish I’d got 2.

The second beauty buy was from Ethique. They were offering a free fully size cleanser far with any purchase and I’m really keen to find a plastic free make up removing balm. I’ve also seen this brand on shelves in Holland & Barrett for months now and been so tempted. I bought a soap mini for £2 and got their oil cleansing balm bar worth £14 for free. I did have to pay a fairly high delivery charge but for £5.60 I was really happy to have both of these to test out. Naturally reviews will be coming.

Comments Welcome

Monica Vinader Jewellery- Eco Conscious 100% Recycled Gold Vermeil Silver Earrings Review

I’m a huge magpie. I love delicate, simple, elegant jewellery pieces. My existing jewellery is all very thin, small and either plain or featuring very small gemstones. I like both silver and gold finishes. My fussy skin means that I can only wear precious metals without having a bad, uncomfortable reaction so the lowest I can go on the precious metals scale is 925 sterling silver.

Anyone who has visited my blog before will know that in all areas of my life I’m making a real conscious effort to make better choices for the planet. This started last year with my beauty routine as I switched from bottled hand soaps and shower gels to bar soaps, began investigating more environmentally friendly skincare that still helped my acne prone skin and much more. Around the house I’m starting to go for cleaning products that aren’t harmful to aquatic life that we pop down the drains. In terms of style, my go-to for clothes is to shop second hand. When I had the opportunity to own items from Monica Vinader I was really excited and naturally did my homework on the brand.

Things I Like About The Brand

Their jewellery is made with 100% recycled precious metals. Their packaging is 100% recyclable made using FSC certified cardboard and their deliveries are carbon neutral meaning they’re having no negative impact with CO2 emissions. Their head office and stores are all powered with renewable energy sources. Their diamonds are all sourced ethically and their jewellery, along with their suppliers, is registered with the Responsible Jewellery Council. They also have a jewellery recycling programme where you can send old, broken, unworn items to avoid them going to landfill. Pieces come with a 5 year replace warranty and lifetime repair service.

The more I read the more “green” MV seemed to become which I was really happy to see. They’ve also partnered with charities on several occasions in fundraising efforts for causes such as the NHS amongst the mayhem of Covid-19 last year.

Many of their styles are very simple without being boring, they’re understated, very classy and look modern. Think simple chain bracelets, textured metal hoops etc. They’re right up my street in terms of style.

My kindly gifted Monica Vinader jewellery items

My Thoughts On The 2 Items

I am now the happy owner of 2 pairs of MV earrings which were kindly gifted. I have some small rectangular hoops and tiny textured huggie hoops. Their catches don’t feel remotely flimsy, the pieces feel sturdy, well made and I know that once they’re in I don’t have to worry about losing an earring. Both pairs clip securely into place but are still easy to remove without having to yank out of my ear.

Dangly earrings and particularly those with fish hooks freak me out, I can’t wear them as they make me feel so uncomfortable. I love that the larger rectangle hoops stay put so unless I shake my head very quickly from side to side I’d never even know I had them in. I can’t feel them move which is a huge win for me.

The rectangular hoops are my favourites. I wear them in my second lobe piercings and have worn these, along with the huggie hoops, in rotation almost every day since I got them. Prior to this I was really lazy with changing my earrings. I love that these are easy to grab and make me feel that bit shinier every day. This is especially lovely given that I can’t really wear bracelets for work.

The Final Word

I have a code which will save 20% on purchases: MVINSIDER18-507B

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A Love Letter To Facebook Marketplace – How I’m Furnishing My Retro Home Cheaply & Saving Money On Just About Everything.

If it weren’t for Marketplace I can fairly confidently say I’d have deleted my unused Facebook profile by now. At the start of the year the wonderful Rhiannon behind the account Rolling With Rhiannon advised me to use Marketplace to browse low cost second hand furniture to kit out my home. I cannot express how grateful I am for these words of wisdom. Whilst some people may default to Ikea to furnish or decorate a home on a budget, I now flock to Marketplace. I have a borderline addiction and check the site at least once a day. Earlier in the year when my need for furniture was a bit more desperate I was on there 3 times a day, morning, noon and evening. It paid off.

Not only have I made some very easy sales to get rid of clutter but I’ve picked up some real gems for my home which I adore. They’ll always mean so much more to me than if I’d gone out and bought cheap flat pack items. Come to think of it every item of furniture I’ve bought this year for my home, bar one, is from Marketplace.

Free Items I Got From Marketplace

I’m a huge fan of a bit of retro, mid century, teak furniture. The original G Plan, Parker Knoll Nathan and Schrieber furniture brings me so much more joy than the Ikea staples, although I’m aware they have their time and place. I saw an advert for a giant mid century wall unit for free around 20 minutes from me. I wasn’t in the market for something this giant but as it was listed for free I clicked on it. By reading the description I discovered the ‘seller’ was having a house clearance and more items were available which she then sent photos of throughout the day. Upon arriving at the property first thing the next morning I saw even more furniture in the same style and left with 3 items for zero cost. I was so pleased and grateful that I tried to pay her but she wouldn’t accept anything for the units which are in excellent condition. I was just told that her relative would have wanted them to do someone a good deed and give them a loving home which made getting them even more meaningful. Whilst there, as she was trying to avoid paying someone to take things away, I was offered to rootle through kitchenware etc for anything I’d like at no cost.

My free furniture acquisitions don’t stop there. I also scored a dining table which seats 6 to 8 people depending on whether it is extended or not. There are no signs of fading on it and minimal scratches that once table mats are on there no one would ever notice. It’s almost an extra bonus that these items I’ve got were free because I adore the style and would happily buy them over new furniture.

4 furniture items later and my lounge is significantly more habitable. I’m a huge plant lover and have had a spider plant on my list to add to the collection for some time. A 15 minute walk round the corner and I was able to pick up 6 plant cuttings and 1 parent plant at zero cost from a lovely lady who told me when leaving to message if I struggled at all to keep them healthy. I passed 2 plant cuttings onto friends and the rest add some cheerful bright green to my home.

Low Cost Items I Got From Marketplace

Before picking up the 3 free units from the house clearance I’d bought a corner unit in the same style for £20 on Marketplace. This will be going in my lounge along with the others, I’m planning to pop my TV on this.

I also got 4 beautiful mid century style dining chairs which have a lovely curved wooden shaped detail in the backs. I’d seen these online selling for anything from £125-200+ and I paid £40 for mine. The seats looked a little worn but they were sturdy and had no other major defects. A quick whip round with a staple gun and some new fabric and they were everything I wanted them to be. This means my dining set cost under £80, the table was free, the fabric I bought online at a reduced rate compared to an upholstery shop and the chairs were obviously just £10 each.

I was able to get a nest of 3 coffee tables which are in keeping with the style I love for my lounge for £20.

I picked up a giant human sized Pixar floor lamp which retailed new at over £80 for £20. I was even more thrilled with this when I happened upon a virtually identical shaped lamp in DFS for £224 and I prefer the colour of mine! It makes a real statement whilst being fun.

The Final Word

All told, so far, I’ve got:

  • 3 side tables
  • 1 dining table
  • 4 chairs
  • 1 corner unit
  • 3 teak units
  • 1 floor lamp
  • 6 plants

For a total of £125 (not including the fabric cost for recovering the chairs) which wouldn’t even cover the DFS duplicate lamp!

It’s important for me to stress, my Marketplace habit isn’t just about saving money. Throughout all areas of my life I’m really trying to make better choices for the environment and buying second hand ticks this box. I haven’t made any compromises by purchasing these items at all. If I had to choose between the items I now proudly own or modern, white styles seen everywhere if they were both priced identically and I’d opt for the retro style every time. Marketplace has made my money go so much further, allowed me to meet some very thoughtful, kind individuals and helped me feel like I’m lessening my environmental impact. Win win.

Comments Welcome.

Household Cleaning Eco Swaps – Low Cost & Easily Accessible – A Review Of Ecover Washing Up Liquid & Toilet Cleaner

Is it really possible to get excited about washing up liquid and loo cleaner? Yes, for me it is. After buying both of these I was significantly more excited than usual about cleaning.

If you’re new here I’ve been making a real effort in the last year to clean up my act to help the planet without spending a fortune. When something runs out I do my best to find a more environmentally friendly alternative that is either the same cost as the product I was buying previously or even cheaper. Believe it or not this is possible. So far swaps have largely focused on my beauty routine including saying goodbye to bottled hand soap and shower gel in favour of paper wrapped bars as one example of many.

Now products are finally starting to run out in my kitchen and around the house so some more swaps have been made. It’s almost embarrassing how excited I get about an affordable swap that is really easy to come by and that’s how I feel about discovering these products from Ecover.

It’s bugged me for a while that most washing up liquids have written on the back “harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects” and we are literally washing this down the drain into the water systems. It blows my mind how companies can sell products like this. Cheap supermarket own brand dish soap never lasts five minutes and the flashier stuff like Fairy more often than not irritates my skin which added another layer of excited when I found Ecover as it is labelled as suitable for sensitive skin. I hoped this would mean no more irritated skin from doing the dishes that instantly leaves me reaching for soothing hand cream or questioning why I don’t own some glamourous rubber gloves.

I purchased a 950ml bottle on Tesco Clubcard Price for £2. In the store their 900ml bottles of Fairy, so less product, were the same price so this does work out cheaper than buying a brand with labels declaring it dangerous to sea life. But it gets so much better from there. Ecover’s washing up liquid comes in a 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottle which is fully recyclable and it is made in a zero waste factory. On the back of the product there are details for how to find your local refill station. These are spread around the UK so you can take the empty bottle to a store to have it filled up again meaning no further plastic bottle purchases are required. I don’t live in a big city at all, I looked up my local area for refill locations and was thrilled to find 3 within 7 miles. One of which is on a road I travel down daily on the route to and from work. The ingredients in the product are also plant based and biodegradable.

The product smells amazing, I find the bottle aesthetically pleasing and all told I’m really chuffed with this. To test it out I intentionally left my washing up overnight rather than cleaning it after cooking and had no difficulties removing things like dried on pasta sauce, almond butter or ice cream from my pans and dishes.

When purchasing the washing up liquid I was also in the market for some loo cleaner. Ecover’s 750ml bottle with an RRP of £1.75 was £1 Clubcard price. I’ve used the supermarket own brand one which costs less than 50p and found it rather useless staining my toilet blue and not really doing much besides. The Clubcard price deal placed this at the same price point as Duck & Harpic products but of course Ecover has the upper hand by not including any nasty ingredients which are detrimental to the environment. The only thing which disappointed me with this was that the bottle is made only from 50% recycled plastic unlike the washing up liquid, but given that this formula is also made with biodegradable ingredients it makes me feel like I’m doing better than not trying at all.

As the toilet cleaner claimed to remove limescale I popped the plug in my bathtub, squeezed a little of this on the offending stain that refused to budge with 4 other cleaning products and left for the instructed 10 mins. I returned to the bathroom smelling lovely and not eye watering like bleach. A quick wipe and the whole area was sparkling like new. I even sent a photo of the bottle to a couple of friends I was that impressed which brought to mind the online memes about how you know you’re an adult when you get excited about buying things like a vacuum cleaner.

The Final Word

Thanks to offers these cost me the same as other branded equivalents which seem to have no eco considerations. I appreciate that own brand options are cheaper but given how long an almost 1L bottle of washing up liquid will last me, and how much better this is for the planet than previous things I bought, I’m more than happy with this switch. I can’t wait to investigate refilling the bottle! I’m aware that solid bars of washing up liquid exist which eliminates the need for any plastic bottles but what really appeals to me about these Ecover products is how easily accessible they are as I could pick them up on my weekly shop without having to think in advance about ordering something online or venturing to a specialist store. I really hope that offers like this will encourage more people to make the swaps whilst buying their groceries. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more supermarket available eco conscious cleaning product swaps as my current products empty.

Comments Welcome.

Eco Effort Round Up: Recent Recycling Scheme Discoveries, Zero Waste Laundry Product Swaps, Packaging Free Supermarket Options & More.

I’m really trying to do by bit for the planet without hugely increasing my spending and decided to write bi-monthly posts on the recent eco efforts I’ve made. I remember in school many ears ago being really upset by the deforestation of the Amazon and wanting to do something about it so these little swap wins really make me happy as I know I’ve taken small actions rather than doing nothing at all. I’ve had quite a summer clear out and with every eco swap I make the more conscious I am of the rubbish that is still left. I find products designed to help the planet often fascinating such as packaging made from sugar cane, which is sustainable and totally recyclable. Some inventions completely blow my mind, one of which is included in my recent discoveries. I’ve found better ways to “bin” things as well as some low cost swaps that will lessen my impact on the planet. Read on to find out more.

Decluttered Make Up & Recycled The Items

Garnier have partnered with Terracycle to pop cardboard bins across the UK to collect unwanted make up items. I’ve seen a few of these bins in larger supermarkets as well as Boots and Superdrug stores making them very easily accessible which I love. Whilst having a good sort through my make up this month I decided to be brutal on a declutter by being really honest with myself about how long I’d had items, when I’d last used them and if I was likely to again. I popped deposited them in a Garnier bin that I found. To give an idea of how easily I’ve found these I’ve so far come across 3 in my local area in supermarkets or Boots and I don’t live in a big city. I was pleased to see the bins were quite full so people are engaging with the scheme.

This month I discovered that The Body Shop have relaunched it’s recycling programme to help recycle trickier skincare and beauty packaging. They’ll accept items from any brand which I think is fantastic and I’m keeping any awkward to recycle items to one side to deposit in store.

Discovered Packaging-Free Options At Supermarket Counters

I reached out to supermarkets via Twitter and had both Tesco and Sainsburys confirm that they’re happy for customers to bring in their own containers for shop assistants to fill at their counters to avoid the use of plastic bags. I’m so pleased this is an option as although I don’t eat meat that often for convenience I tend to buy cold cooked meat packs weekly. That’s one more plastic-free switch for me!

More recently I’ve made a really effort to cut back on the amount of plastic in my weekly shop. I’ve used my own bags for years but in the last month I’ve made a real point of sticking to packaging free fruit and vegetables. I’m pleased to see more options are becoming available although I’ll forever roll my eyes at why cucumbers need to be shrink wrapped in plastic?! My local Tesco has varieties of potatoes, broccoli, carrots, apples, bananas, citrus fruits etc without packaging so I’m trying to stick with those and shop seasonally as this keeps costs down also.

Ordered More Wild Refill Deodorant Blocks

I placed my first online order for 3 blocks of deodorant from Wild Refill. I used the discount code they gave me for my blog which is NOT affiliate – FSFARD20 to get 20% off. Delivery was free. I’ll admit they are more expensive than the deodorants I used to buy at £1 a pop but these have zero plastic waste, I love what the brand stands for as well as their fundraising efforts and the products are highly effective for me. I’ve not struggled with any skin irritation and much prefer the scents I’ve tried already to any deodorant I’ve used previously so I don’t mind paying for these at all. Quite a lot of eco swaps I’ve made have worked out much cheaper e.g. bar soap over plastic bottled shower gels so for me it all balances out. Given the name of my blog, Forever Saving For A Rainy Day, I think it speaks volumes about this product that I’m willing to pay a bit more for this eco swap.

Discovered More Ways To Recycle Soft Plastics

Since the start of the year I’ve been collecting anything labelled as “recycle with bags at larger stores” and doing exactly that. I was slightly amazed and horrified how quickly these things added up. I didn’t realise until very recently that you could also chuck crisp packets into these collection bins as well as things like clingfilm. Whilst I don’t use clingfilm I am quite partial to crisps so this was a nice discovery to reduce what I send to landfill. I tend to take my items to Tesco as this is most convenient for me but I’m aware the Co Op also offer a similar service.

Bought An Eco Egg For Laundry

After posting that I intended to make this switch quite some time ago my laundry capsules finally dwindled and one of my amazing Instagram followers messaged me to say they’d seen the Eco Eggs on a stunning deal in Home Bargains. I was able to pick up an egg which is suitable for sensitive skin, approved by Allergy UK, fragrance free and capable of doing 720 washes for £4.99 instead of £24.99. 720 washes is due to last 3 years if doing 4-5 loads a week. At most I do 2 so not only if this a magnificent way to save the planet, it’ll also save me a fortune if I get on with this. I genuinely legged it to Home Bargains the morning after I was told about this deal for their opening time I was that excited. The egg itself is made with recycled plastic, the inner packaging is recyclable and the more I read about it the more impressed I was. It’s non toxic so not harmful to aquatic life also. The egg itself is surprisingly light. A housemate of mine had one, I never heard it in the washing machine, she struggled with eczema and this didn’t flare it so I’m almost embarrassingly excited to try this. I’m hoping this is goodbye plastic for my laundry! Needless to say in time a egg review will be coming.