Things I Only Own 1 Of – Saving Money The Minimalist Way

I’ve previously written a post on things I don’t buy to save money, some of which coincidentally benefit the planet, but this time I felt inspired to write a comprehensive list of things I only own one of in a bid to reduce spending and the accumulation of unnecessary stuff. I made this change within the last 3 years. Whilst I love living cheaply I always aim to buy good quality items when on offer so they last and I don’t have to keep buying them. I also dodge fad items instead opting to buy things I genuinely love or are classics.

  • One set of bedding – it’s reversible so has 2 patterns. I find these dry really quickly when washed first thing, particularly in the summer, and I’ve yet to find a pattern I love as much as my current set so don’t see the point of owning more than 1.
  • One large towel – I’ve never felt the need to own a second or third as this totally does the job for me.
  • One of each staple make up products such as foundation, mascara, quality eye shadow palette etc. I don’t wear make up very often and just stick with the same styles. I’ve never understood the need for multiple primers, contouring products etc but that stems from being very fussy with what goes on my face due to adult acne.
  • One of each basic toiletry -I find keeping things simple helps my skin not to freak out, save me money and keep my bathroom shelf from being clogged up.
  • One phone case – which I bought half price on eBay 3 years ago and it’s still going strong. Again, the print is very me and it works brilliantly. I don’t need a whole wardrobe for my phone…
  • One pair of glasses (and sunglasses) – I find it hard to switch between prescription styles and they’re not cheap so if I like them enough to spend quite a bit on them I certainly should like them enough to wear them exclusively!
  • One LBD – A Ted Baker dress purchased from a charity shop for £16
  • One pair of trainers – bought from an outlet
  • One hair styling tool … a hair dryer – I don’t use curlers or straighteners. I sleep with my hair in french braids if I want beachy waves.
  • One classic black leather handbag purchased from an outlet for £50 around 6 years ago.
  • One basic belt in black leather that does the job so I don’t need any others.
  • One overnight bag with over the shoulder carry strap. Sometimes used when stocking up on food with packets, tins etc. It’s a great multitasking bag.
  • One manicure tool – a glass nail file which has been with me at least 5 years.
  • One small TV – I grew up in a house with only 1 TV so have never understood the need to have multiple in several rooms.
  • One subscription service only – Amazon Prime which I use to watch TV and films, listen to music daily, on occasion order things for myself and friends.
  • One pan – the flat I live in has a fully equipped kitchen meaning I don’t need to own any glasses, chinaware, cookware etc. If I did there frankly wouldn’t be enough space in the kitchen anyway!

Comments Welcome.

Home Decor – Personalising A Rented Room On A Budget

Given that I’m currently indoors on lockdown and becoming ever more familiar with the four walls of my bedroom I thought now would be a good time to write a post on how I’ve personalised rented rooms whilst saving money within house shares over the years. I always opt to live in homes that are furnished to save me buying large items like beds, wardrobes etc and then worrying about the hassle of moving them later. I prefer to buy quality items for less rather than just super cheap things that won’t last and my home decor tastes are very 1950s-60s in terms of colours and prints so there’s lots mustards, tropical vibes and Orla Kiely-esque items. Sticking to a loose theme or colour palette helps tie a room together without everything having to totally match. Below are some tips:

  • Be nice to your landlord. When I first moved to London I worked freelance and lived out of a suitcase. I explained this to my landlord who very kindly kitted the room out with clean duvet, pillows, bed sight table light, bin etc so it was totally live-able without me having to buy anything at all. In my current home I mentioned to my landlord that I wanted a desk for the room and he offered to buy one if I sent measurements. I got a really nice £60 desk delivered from Amazon within a week. It has a shelf which makes for stylish, neat organising.
  • Ex-Display Items are a great way to get good quality products really cheaply. Many years ago I picked up a £45 Pixar style green lamp for less than £10 if memory serves me correctly from Homebase. It’s stylish, a great colour and much nicer quality than other lamps at that price.
  • Work Clear Outs can be helpful to add bits and bobs to your home. Friends of mine have gained new office chairs when furniture has been replaced and I ended up with a beautiful mint green IKEA Pixar lamp.
  • Reversible Bedding Sets give you two designs in one so you can change up your room without buying more items. I own one bedding set as my home has a tumble drier and I love the patterns. I got my current set about 2 years ago from Dunelm Mill, it’s 100% cotton and the duvet and 2 pillow cases set me back around £20. Prior to this I visited Wilko for double polycotton sets from around £14.
  • TK Maxx / Brand Alley are worth a browse if you love a high end brand but can’t afford them. I got 2 Orla Kiely pillow cases RRP £25 for £10 in TK Maxx. The colours match my existing duvet set.
  • eBay has lots of brand-fabric cushion covers for around £7.99 that you can fill. John Lewis have an Orla Kiely one very similar to mine for £40 online.
  • IKEA are helpful for very cheap, boring necessities like a 95p bin as well as some pretty, low cost decor. I picked up a very ’50s patterned plant pot with cactus for £2 and a yellow flower shaped ceramic dish that I use as a plant saucer. Both match my Orla prints very well but cost a fraction of the price.
  • Charity shops are great for odd nicknacks.
  • I quite like leaving toiletries I use regularly on the side if they happen to match like my giant Batiste tropical dry shampoo (£3 in Savers) as its practical and still looks pretty.
  • Photos and posters can be a bit tricky. I tend to use whatever is available like nails already banged into walls or bed side tables for photo frames. In the past I’ve hung a length of cotton from a nail and used mini pegs or paperclips to clip photos on in a vertical line. I plan to tape a piece of cotton to the top 2 corners of a print to hang on the wall on a hook above my desk. I’ve seen some beautiful botanical print individual wrapping paper sheets in Paperchase and Liberty for £2-5.

If you have any low cost non permanent home decor tips please let me know in the comments.

Accidentally Saving Money During Lockdown & Trying To Look On The Bright Side

We are living in very strange times at the moment on lockdown in UK like many other countries across the world. It would be all too easy to get swept up with worrying so instead I am writing this post trying to focus on some of the little accidental financial positives that have come out of this situation. Below are some of the ways I’ve saved money since lockdown began.

£0 On Travel as we’re only allowed to make essential journeys and I’m able to run my errands locally thus avoiding any need to use public transport. I usually spend around £25 a week on travel and I believe we are now week 7 on lockdown in the UK so I’ve saved myself about £175 which is not to be sniffed at.

Staying In As Opposed To Going Out. As I’m largely stuck at home 24/7 I’m inadvertently saving lots as my usual activities like going to the cinema, meals out or drinks have all gone completely out the window. Normally I’d typically socialise like this about twice a week but since the government announced we stay at home I’ve spent a whopping £0 on my social life relying on WhatsApp video calls, live music streams on Instagram, blogging, Netflix, Prime and books for entertainment. My phone provider O2 have announced free unlimited minutes to all customers until the end of May so I’ve been making the most of these calling elderly relatives and staying in touch with friends.

Spur of the moment purchases like extra items picked up when out toiletry shopping, window shopping leading to purchases etc have all stopped whilst I’ve been indoors. I’ve been avoiding online shopping unless it’s for things I vitally need like shampoo and toothpaste that I can’t get locally.

Cancellations of events later this year are totally understandable due to the current climate. I’m due a £120 refund for 2 concert tickets that was supposed to happen in July. Naturally I’m really upset it wasn’t rescheduled but trying to see this on a positive note. I did get to see the band perform live last summer so it could be worse.

Make up and make up remover are things I’ve not used at all since we went into lockdown. I really don’t care about video calling friends without being made up, after all we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, so I’m more than happy to have an excuse to give my face a break whilst I stay indoors. I have to say so far being make up free has made no difference to the state of my acne prone skin!

Food is the one area I’ve understandably spent more on in the past couple of months but as I don’t have a lots to look forward to at the moment I’m happily allowing myself some treats from the supermarket. I’ve never bothered with takeaways and have probably increased my weekly food shop by around £10 buying things I wouldn’t normally like pizza, ice cream and mangoes.

I spent a Cath Kidston Gift Voucher after receiving an email saying all their stores were closing and a quick Google led me to believe they’d gone, or were quickly going, into administration. I had a £14 gift card from CK so thought now was a good time to spend it before it was too late, especially as they were offering free delivery on any spend. I picked up a roller skate printed bag in the sale reduced from £25 down to £16. I found a further 10% off sale code online bringing my total to £14.40. If CK went under I realised I’d no longer be able to collect their quirky prints that I’m so fond of so treated myself to a frog mug for £8. Cath Kidston offer 10% off full price items for new customers on their first order so (with permission!) I signed up my friend’s email address to get this code, saving me 80p which is better than nothing.

In total I paid £7.60 for the 2 items to be delivered to my door and saved £14.80 according to my order confirmation.

My new Cath Kidston bag – with an incidentally positive message for the current times we’re in…

If you have any comments on accidental savings you’ve been making since lockdown began please let me know.

19 Things I Don’t Buy To Save Money

I’ve recently seen posts on this theme on other thrifty blogs and really loved the idea so decided to jump on the bandwagon. Below is a pretty diverse list of things I don’t buy which saves me money.

  • Tupperware and Cling Film – I inherited this one from my very thrifty dad. To store food I use ice cream tubs or some yoghurt tubs which come with sturdy plastic lids which are a great 1 portion size for freezing things like ragu for dinners.
  • Lunches On Work Days – I always take a packed lunch to work either making sandwiches, salads or leftovers from dinner the night before. An average Tesco meal deal costs £3 and based on this I save £15 a week or £60 a month by making my own lunch.
  • Hot Drinks – As much as I love my coffees, I was raised on instant and reduced Nescafe Azera at £3 for a tin is more than good enough for me instead of a daily almost £3 spend in Costa or similar.
  • Full Price Meals Out – I often use O2 priority moments for deals like 2 mains for £10 in Pizza Express or try to visit places on discount days.
  • Water – I never buy bottles of it and in restaurants am happy with tap water.
  • Takeaways – In my family we never had takeaways as my dad was a frugal, very good cook. I’ve probably had about 3 in my whole life and personally don’t see the point of forking out on them. During the current pandemic I had a huge pizza craving so picked up a treat one for £3 in Co Op. Good enough for me.
  • Carrier Bags – I leave reusable bags by the front door for food shopping and fold a plastic bag up really small into my handbag just in case.
  • Alcohol – I’ve always been a minimal drinker and decided last December to give it a complete break for a while.
  • Ice Blocks – I reuse any plastic bottles in the house as ice packs by filling them up with water, freezing overnight and throwing into a picnic bag during the summer. I’ve even clean used 1pt milk bottles in the past.
  • Ice Cubes and Ice Lollies – I’ve never understood why people buy big bags of ice cubes in the summer! I make my own ice cubes in a £2 ice lolly mould I purchased last year from Ikea. The lolly mould is a brilliant multi-tasker for making ice cubes, freezing slices of lemon for cooking and making healthy desserts from frozen smoothies, juices etc.
  • Cleaning Cloths – I cut up old t-shirts when they’re past their best and use these. I tend to throw them in the wash with kitchen tea towels and baths mats and then reuse. Once they’re too tatty for this use I recycle them by taking them to H&M where they collect old clothes and fabrics to transform them into loft insulation etc.
  • Fabric Softener – Growing up this wasn’t something that was ever used and as I have sensitive fussy skin I wouldn’t be able to use any of the scented ones anyway so just stick to supermarket own brand non-bio washing liquid to clean my clothes.
  • Make Up – I rarely wear a full face of make up, my basic daily staple at the most will include foundation (used as concealer in areas) and mascara. I collect freebies from beauty club memberships etc to stock up my make up bag to save me spending lots of money. For me the miniatures are perfect and last a long time due to how infrequently I use them.

My favourite methods to collect high brand make up for free is to join the Debenhams Beauty Club, Glamour Beauty Club, check O2 Priority Moments and sign up to make up counters’ websites to receive free gifts during your birthday month. If there are specific items of make up I want to purchase, which maybe happens twice a year if that, I save up my Boots points and use those. I strongly recommend downloading the Boots app to maximize points collection.

My current collection of deluxe make up samples all collected for free
  • Perfume – Again, not bought due to having slightly sensitive skin. I can wear perfume for a couple of days before having to take a break and due to its short shelf life and price I’ve never been able to justify buying big bottles of designer fragrance. Instead I rely on free samples collected online via promotions or in store offers from shops like Debenhams who offer great sized minis.
My current collection of perfume samples either collected from online offers or via the Debenhams Beauty Club
  • Face masks, serums, eye creams etc – Anything beyond a basic cleanser, toner and moisturiser I don’t buy. This is due to having on-off problematic skin and suffering from blemishes. I don’t like to deviate from a routine that works for me and frankly haven’t the time, patience or spending inclination to add more than 3 steps to my skin care regime.
  • New Clothes – Wherever possible I buy second hand clothing from sites like eBay where I search for lightly used items in good condition. I still purchase things like underwear, socks and shoes new but whenever I can I buy pre-loved outfits from quality brands that I trust. It enables me to afford a wider range of better quality clothes than if I were to buy new such as picking up Cath Kidston dresses retailing new at £60-80 for around £18-25 pre-loved. I sell any clothes I no longer wear and use this to fund my second hand clothing purchases.
  • Full Price Fashion – Any clothing items I don’t buy second hand I tend to pick up from outlet stores or buy ex-high street items online or from markets such as Roman Road where I’ve bought £25 New Look jeans for £10 identical to ones I already own. If I have to buy something I always try to invest in good quality items that will last a long time to save me money in the long run.
Skechers trainers – RRP £75 purchased in an outlet store for £44.19
(These are still available full price on their website too!)
  • New Books – I either rely on the library, book swaps, charity shops or buy books second hand for a maximum of £2 – if its a particular title I’m after I’ll stretch to around £4 with delivery online.
  • Magazines – Living in London I pick up quite a few free magazines and tend to get the Boots’ magazine which is free for beauty club members whenever shopping in the store.

If there are items you don’t buy to save money please let me know in the comments as I’m always keen to learn new ways to save!