Being A Low Cost Plant Mum – Ways To Save Money On House Plants, Cheap Places To Buy Them & Easy Ways I’ve Found To Keep Them Alive

It started with a few small cacti before escalating as a won a £50 IKEA voucher last summer and used this to get a Monstera, or cheese plant, which I’d coveted for years but had worried about keeping it alive as I’d never had a large houseplant before. I would never had spent £15 on a large plant with no plant care experience so am still really happy I won the voucher. Below are a few of the ways I’ve saved money on plants as well as things that have helped to keep them healthy. I am by no means a green fingered expert and I have lost a few along the way over the last couple of years. I am currently the proud owner of around 12 indoor plants which are all going through a major growth spurt thanks to the summer weather!

Low Cost Places To Buy Houseplants

Wilko – I picked up an Anthurium for £5 in Wilko. I’ve seen virtually identical plants to mine for £12+ in places like Homebase and even B&Q. It’s hard to predict what Wilko will have in store and often the plants look like they need a little TLC but I’ve seen Bromeliads again for £5 instead of £12-15+. They also have a good range of tiny cacti that are reasonably priced.

Sainsbury – they have some amazingly priced houseplants with many in ceramic pots for around the same price as what you could expect to pay for the pot alone. I don’t usually rate this supermarket for value for money but was really impressed by the price tags on plants I’ve seen on a couple of visits. I’ve been very tempted on more than one occasion to add to my collection.

B&Q – whilst some are still pricey B&Q on the whole does have some well price plants. On a recent visit I saw a whole wall’s worth of plants wrapped in brown paper packaging for £4.50 in pots which were 12cm diameter including cult favourites like spider plants, ferns and many other leafy plants with pretty foliage.

Facebook Marketplace – in my local area I’ve seen spider plant cuttings starting as low as £1. This is a great place to start looking.

Ikea – has some low cost cacti options with 3 in a pack for £5 including lovely little ceramic pots for them. The only thing I don’t like about this is that you can’t pick the 3 you want as they come in a multipack.

Tesco – I’ve picked up a mini cacti or two in Tesco. I find these to be pretty well priced and generally well looked after.

Don’t Be Afraid To Barter

Yes, this might sound mad but I’d had my eye on a Spotted Begonia for about a year before eventually finding one in a local shop. They were £8 but all had incredibly dried out soil, some damage to their leaves and the tips of the leaves looked dry and crusty on a few of them. The plant definitely didn’t look it’s best so I took it to the till, explained my concerns and was immediately offered the plant for £4. Since buying it and watering it regularly it’s almost tripled in size and makes me very happy. If you struggle with spot prone skin and need a reminder that spots aren’t ugly I can highly recommend getting yourself one of these plants! Both B&Q and Wilko have reduced plants when I’ve asked. I never abuse this finding fault with perfectly healthy plants.

Do A Little Research

When I first got my cheese plant I read up on the best ways to water them and very quickly came across a few helpful hints and tips which have served me well in the last year. I bought a brilliant second hand book called The Care Of Houseplants very cheaply online which gives problem solving advice e.g. if it has yellow leaves it’s because of x y z. It gives at least 5 problem solving options for each plant in the book to cover most eventualities.

Under Water Not Over Water

I’ve learnt the hard way that it’s almost impossible to save a drowned over watered plant whereas underwatering, in comparison, can be relatively easily corrected. I’ve always erred on the side of caution with watering out of fear that I’ll kill plants off completely by drowning them hence being a fan of the bottom watering technique.

Bottom Watering

I water almost all of my houseplants except the cheese plant, using the method of popping the plant on a saucer, filling this with water and then leaving them to drink it up or not as the case may be. I’ve found this really helpful as sometimes it’s hard to tell if plants need watering and this way it reduces the risk of overwatering or drowning for me! If plants don’t want water they simple don’t suck it up and if the do the saucer ends up emptied.

Be Patient

I never buy loads of plants at once. I tend to pick one up, learn it’s likes and dislikes over a couple of months until I’m confident I can keep it healthy before buying more. I also won’t spend over £10 on a plant, my average is about £5. If a plant isn’t looking it’s best rather than rushing to drastic action I remember not to expect immediate results and not to throw every attempt at problem solving at the plant. I bought a £5 Umbrella Plant in B&Q and no matter what I did with it the odd few leaves kept turning brown and dropping off at first. I tried one new option every 7-10 days such as relocating it, not watering it, etc and eventually it settled down and began churning out very cute tiny umbrellas as it grew.

Comments Welcome

Where the real house plant obsession began – my beautiful giant cheese plant for free via an IKEA voucher competition prize

Saving Money At Home – I Won A £50 IKEA Voucher!

I’ve never won a competition. I recently signed up to Super Savvy Me to claim Proctor and Gamble free samples which meant a mini Oral B toothpaste and Lenor fragrance booster dropped through my letterbox which was great. Whilst logged into my account without giving it much thought I entered 2 of their competitions to win store vouchers and miraculously won a £50 IKEA Voucher with no expiry date. To say I’m excited would be an understatement.

Since the start of my student years I’ve always lived in furnished rented properties relying on them having well stocked kitchens and decent enough furniture as I own virtually nothing in the homeware department. It was so bad that my first landlord in London actually lent me freshly dry cleaned pillows and a duvet as well as a bed side lamp, bin and mirror. To give you an idea, I’m in my mid-20s and I have 1 pan, 3 mugs, 2 bowls, 1 plate and 2 gifted glasses to my name when it comes to kitchenware. That’s it! I have 1 bedding set, 1 blanket, 1 gifted cushion, 1 large bath towel – you get the idea. Ultimately I’m fine with what I’ve got and never been able to justify a huge homeware spend as I can comfortably get by. I intend to be a homeowner one day in the future so know that this will involve a fair bit of spending when the time comes as I currently have so little which is another reason I’m so grateful to have won this prize.

This voucher will be used for treats I previously wouldn’t have splurged on as well as lots of basic essentials like a set of tumblers and a long extension lead to overcome poor socket placement in my home which has become more apparent since working from home. I’m holding out a lot of hope for a small cheese plant which I’ve wanted for a good few years and intend to treat myself to a fancy room fragrance. Before going I plan to make a list of items that would be most useful so I get as much benefit as possible from this voucher rather than just picking up any old items. I honestly cannot wait but am hanging in there until I can safely visit a store without having to queue outside for several hours to make the most of this experience – and hand pick my plant of course! I plan to gift petrol money and / or some of my freebie collection to a friend with a car to make this trip even more enjoyable and save me wrestling a monstera and more on public transport!

Unsurprisingly given my small selection of homeware, I’m a huge IKEA novice so comments are particularly welcome for things I should look out for or bargain products loved from this store!

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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.