The financial (and environmental!) blessings of looming unemployment.

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It’s not all bad. We are making changes and doing things the way we probably should have been doing them all along. Things we will continue even when TMD secures a new job. Small, simple changes that are more friendly on the pocket…and the earth.

1. No more paper towel/kitchen roll. We have a jillion washcloths. Blue ones are now kept folded in the bathroom for bathroom cleaning – stuff I do every morning (!). Washing shower walls, the sink, the toilet, etc. A bigger tub of all the other colours is kept in the kitchen – wiping the table after meals, counters, doing dishes, cleaning appliances, and anything else.

The only time I use disposable products is when wiping moisture and gunk from the bottom of the windows, as I want to get rid of that and not spread it around.

2. Cloth nappies! The babies are both in cloth nappies for the first time this morning…and I keep hearing the opening lines to ‘big booty bitches’ in my head. Every time we use a cloth nappy we save .15. We get through a lot of nappies and have no doubt spent thousands on disposables since they were born.

We got these nappies for free from freecycle (score!!) so even bigger savings. They are very preloved and some may just need to be pitched. We also discovered that roughly half the nappies are too small, so we’ll pass those on to another local family interested in cloth.

3. My mooncup. I’ve been meaning to write a post (or two or three) about the wonders of reuseable menstrual cups. I LOVE IT. It costs about the same as 6 months worth of disposable products, but should last for years and years. (I will write more about cups in another post. Look forward to it!) And shout out to @violetsouffle for this wonder in my life.

4. Pulling our fingers out and applying for money we are entitled to. Again, we have lost thousands and thousands in unclaimed money since the birth of the babies. Yesterday we sent off for our tax credits. Today I started applying for disability benefits. Even were she to find the perfect job tomorrow, these are still things we are entitled to!

I’m now considering making (or buying cheap ones on ebay!) fleece wipes. What other things could we be thinking about? Small, easy changes that will make a big difference over a month, year, or lifetime?

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18 Responses to “The financial (and environmental!) blessings of looming unemployment.”

  1. Natasha Says:

    All good changes, and brilliant to see a positive update from you on this matter.

    Other things to consider could be: turning the heating down or off and wrapping up warm instead, switching all your bulbs to energy efficient if they are not already and making sure lights are turned off in rooms when you leave to cut down your energy bill. Along the same lines make sure you switch off your TV and computer when not in use – never stand by.

    No take outs. Switch to cheap brand foods and products at the supermarket. No more heinz! Don’t let any food be wasted – if you have veg that is going soft, make soup! If you’re going out for the day pack a lunch, never eat in a cafe. Get a porcelain take out cup or a thermo flask (‘I’m not a paper cup’, or ‘eco cups’ are great) to take coffee out and about avoiding coffee shops.

    Make sure taps and showers are never left running unnecessarily. Try to walk instead of taking the car if possible to avoid fuel costs….

    Every time you are about to spend money think, “Is it really necessary” and if not, avoid it.

    Allow yourself to a treat a month if you’re missing things badly and you’ll enjoy them more and won’t feel deprived. So, say, the last weekend in the month could be take out friday and soft play saturday for example.

    Stick with freecyle for things like toys and clothes and avoid buying things like books by using libraries.

    All simple things that can make a big difference 🙂

    PS: Completely off topic, I had a dream about you last night! We were both really heavily pregnant with triplets – Was a scary dream!! lol

    • existere Says:

      Lots of good ideas here, thanks so much. The standby one is something I am terribly guilty of – though recently our little tv (of course) broke so now nothing in the bedroom is ever on at all, let alone stand by!

      Maybe you’ll have triplets next. It has a nice ring. Singleton, twins, triplets…

  2. lilmissmasonjar Says:

    I have a Diva Cup, and I have had it for about 6 years, so definitely a cost effective alternative to disposable feminine hygiene products.

  3. saralema Says:

    Do you already use cloth for wipes? We have used washcloth for wipes from the start. I received a big warehouse pack of wipes at one of my baby showers and am still using it for when we go out and about.

    Also, since you will be doing diaper laundry anyway, you could consider family cloth instead of toilet paper. I haven’t taken that leap, but know people I have read that do it love it.

    You clean your bathroom EVERY day? You rock. I’m lucky if it’s once a month! Disgusting, I know. I’m not exactly proud.

  4. boo Says:

    i too am in awe of the daily bathroom cleaning! in the scheme of general meaness ( and i am the queen of mean as we is so poor and have been for sooooooo long i’ve lost count) i’m going to advocate chamomile tea instead of baby wipes. we use cloth wipes and keep a closed beaker of tea by the changing table and just use that – with the cloth nappies and this, no nappy rash and one happy baby bottom. oh yes and fleece liners inside the nappies – without wishing to be unpleasant (although i am), poo just slides off fleece and it acts as a one way barrier for wetness. AND it’s made from recycled plastics! hurrah all round!
    good luck with the job hunting, money worries suck big time but economising can be a positive challenge too…still, not so positive that i would turn down the euromillions. ho hum.

    • existere Says:

      I love the chamomile tea thing. LOVE it. For so many reasons, but mainly cause it sounds so earthy and awesome. May very well do this!! Thank you for this tip.

      The daily bathroom stuff is because I am now a FLYlady whore. Do you know her? Our bathroom is not clean – the floors are still dirty, there’s always sposies in piles (not anymore, I guess!), etc….but the toilet, sink, and walls are always sparkling now. I feel awesome about it.

  5. Bobbie Says:

    When Ash and I both worked we would do once a month cooking (cooking a months worth of meals in a weekend) and although the initial cost was high for all the groceries you don’t buy anything but perishables during a weekly shop so it actually saved us a ton. You do need quite a bit of freezer space though so it doesn’t work well if you don’t have a deep freeze.

    We use cloth dipes too and love them. I have a mix of WAHM made from etsy & ebay, and pockets that I really love. We use the cheapest brand detergent to wash them and only use a small amount, I run them through a hot rinse cycle and then wash in a warm/cold rinse regular cycle. In 14 months I haven’t had any issue with stinky diapers. I have had a couple stains but they sun out very easily. Because I really dislike doing laundry (it’s ash’s job, i do dishes) I only have enough diapers for about a day and a half so I have to wash daily (ash refuses to wash diapers, they were my idea so I have to do them)

    Good luck with all the savings, it adds up quick!

    • existere Says:

      I don’t know cloth nappy lingo. i will have to google ‘pockets!’ We’ve got what I can only called shaped ones – plus PUL covers and fleece liners.

      I’ve heard about this monthly cooking thing in so many places. I’ve even heard of friends getting together and each one making massive quantities of one recipe and then everyone splitting them so you end up with five or six different meals!!

      Sadly, our freezer is so small that someone not living in this country would not believe me. A packet of five bagels takes up about a quarter of the room! No lie.

  6. Tat Says:

    I had a Lunette cup which I accidentally burned and I was so disappointed I was that I had to go without it for a whole period until my new cup arrived. I’m not sure why menstrual cups are not more common, they are so much more comfortable than any disposable products, especially if you have a heavy flow

    • existere Says:

      I think they aren’t common because they aren’t big money makers. I read they were invented at the same time as the tampon, but big companies chose to manufacture tampons because women had to buy more every month.

  7. Lauren Says:

    Cloth wipes will help! I have a couple of containers of water around the house for dipping wipes into and only ever dip clean wipes in to keep it hygienic. I guess you’d have to keep these out of reach of toddler hands, or in containers with lids on. OR you could have a couple of sports drinks bottles to squirt straight onto wipes or just a little at a time into a dish.

    We write down everything we spend. This makes us think about whether or not we need to buy something because we know we’ll have to write it down! (I have also done this with food, makes me think about what I don’t need to eat!).

    We also realised that we both had expensive taste in cereals. Now we just get own brand bran flakes or porridge and add stuff to it if it’s too bland.

    If you have a local veg shop you may find that certain veg like carrots and potatoes are cheaper there than in supermarkets. Another way of being green is buying what is in season in this country, they tend to be the cheaper veg. We are also lucky enough to have an Aldi close by which is super cheap for fresh veg, and milk, and things like tins.

    Buy in bulk when there is an offer on. Things like tinned tomatoes last forever!

    Remember to turn the computer off once in a while :p

    Someone mentioned turning the heating off, if you try to go out more then this will help too. The house always seems so warm when you come in from the cold, even with heating off!

    If you are entitled to certain benefits (like tax credits) then you may be able to get healthy start vouchers which I think is about £3 per child per week towards things like veg, milk, formula, vitamins.

    If you do need to buy clothes/equipment for the babies, check out nearly new sales like the NCT ones: http://www.nct.org.uk/in-your-area/nearly-new-sales

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