how do I....save/provide even more for my children

The whole reason for the selfsufficientish website was to offer a place where anyone can ask, HOW DO I...? So who knows why it has taken us so long to have a HOW DO I? section, but here it is. So if you want to know how to do anything selfsufficientish then here is the place to ask.

how do I....save/provide even more for my children

Postby london2london » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:54 pm

Hello All:
I joined some time ago and have been lax about getting in here to properly meet you all. (Sorry about that - but the story will explain all :iconbiggrin: )

I have been fortunate to work part time for good money for the past three years - still left me offically below the poverty line but for us gave a really decent standard of living, in our eyes. We had taken the nonmaterlistic route years ago and stuck with it when I started working. We buy second hand, new when it is cheaper than second hand - bartered - traded etc. Due to work didn't get much of a garden last year but aspire to have a kick ass one this coming year. Etc etc

I am now faced with a situation where I am going to have to leave work - I haven't been fired but due to cut throat politics, gossip and back stabbing it has become miserable. I refuse to join in on any terms (I left grade school loooong ago) and as such it seems I am getting the brunt of it. Honestly it is a HUGE silver lining as the job (though I LOVE what I do the people I work with suck) requires tons of unpaid overtime etc. I have given myself 4 months to hang in there - get through our brutal winter and allow me to pay bills 4 months in advance (pay double each month - it will be very tight but a 4 month cushion will give me huge piece of mind.)

So I come to you wise sages to get the BEST money cutting tips out there. I am very flexible - very open minded and will give anything a go once. I am so lucky the kids are too - and thankfully they do not make demands on me for expensive toys, trips, clothing etc. My son is in a wheelchair so anything requiring mountain hikes is out :lol: I am especially in the market for household saving tips (cleaners, foods etc) and also any great websites for the kids (they love science and ecology) - also crafts, how tos. I am putty in your hands folks!
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Re: how do I....save/provide even more for my children

Postby Pumpkin&Piglet » Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:31 pm

This is fab for children's activities. I've already done some with my 4 year old and we loved them. I tweaked some for our needs but I'm sure you can work out what you want/don't want!

http://pinterest.com/claire_haslam/free-learning/


I have a green cleaning book where you can make most households cleaners with natural products but generally I find vinegar or bicarbonate of soda is all you really need, although I do use lavender a lot too. You'll be able to find all the recipes online. I've no idea if it's cheaper, I assume so.

I wouldn't be surprised if you already do the green clean thing though. There's a thread on here started by a student I think on how to save money and live on a very tight budget, its got loads of tips on including skipping.

Hope it all goes well :icon_smile:
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Re: how do I....save/provide even more for my children

Postby Green Aura » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:01 am

I can't offer any specific sites but there are loads of crafts sites that cater for all ages/abilities - the search can be good fun too. I've also put a couple of suggestions on your other thread.
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Re: how do I....save/provide even more for my children

Postby Skippy » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:14 am

Maybe worth a look -
https://www.scrapstoresuk.org/


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Re: how do I....save/provide even more for my children

Postby Rosendula » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:12 pm

For us, I think the biggest money saver is the food - growing and making as much as we can for ourselves, visiting the stupormarket as seldom as possible and skipping as many aisles as we can. Home made bread and wine are our major savers :occasion5: . When we had chickens we ate a lot of eggs and now I have to buy them it physically hurts to pay for them :lol: .

Get a pen and some paper and think your way through your house, writing down everything you buy for each and every cupboard in each and every room, then try to think of ways in which you can cut down or do without. It's worth re-visiting the list after a few months as you will come up with new ideas, or at least remember ideas you never got round to putting into practice.
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Re: how do I....save/provide even more for my children

Postby citizentwiglet » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:59 pm

Absolutely the supermarket thing. I haven't grown as much as I'd have liked to recently due to horrific weather, so I've relied on the supermarkets a lot more. I find Aldi and Lidl are less geared towards the cynical marketing the major retailers use. Even so, write a menu, ONLY buy what you need for your weekly menu. Get a feel for the shop so you can write your list in order from walking in the shop. Keep focused, once you've bought the carrots your next stop is toilet roll, so ignore EVERYTHING else until you get to the loo roll. Buy the value versions - T***o Everyday Value Cornflakes, for example, are 31p a box! I don't know if you're a meat eater, but if you are, consider swapping mince for Beanfeast - 90p a packet and makes a lovely lasagne, cottage pie, moussaka...bulk it out with frozen mixed vegetables and maybe a can of kidney beans or some cooked lentils.

Make friends with people who have older children - they will have hand-me-downs. I honestly can't remember the last time I needed to buy my children clothes (apart from shoes and undies) because I have so many friends who have hand-me-downs that they would rather give to me than give to the charity shops. My boys have 4 winter coats each, and have some rather fancy labels - none of which I've bought myself, and all in absolutely smashing condition. People are often embarrassed to ask if you would like such things, so just drop it into conversation that you love getting clothes handed down to you. I must get a huge bag a month of all manner of things - we have just inherited a Ted Baker bodywarmer that I wish fitted me!

As has been mentioned, pinterest is an amazing source of crafty stuff - most link through to full blogs, so be sure to bookmark them or make a list so you can always go back and check.

If your children love science and ecology, the best thing you can do is grow your own. Even with a tiny garden, you can have a lovely herb garden, grow salad leaves and spring onions, potatoes in sacks (not enough for self-sufficiency, but the looks on their faces when they tip out the bag and harvest the spuds is priceless, and home grown spuds are a wonderful treat!). There are container gardening books available, and Freecycle is great for unwanted planters. Even if you don't have a garden, there are lots of things like herbs, salad leaves, cherry tomatoes and peppers that can be grown on sunny windowsills.
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Re: how do I....save/provide even more for my children

Postby JoseyJo » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:26 pm

If you haven't already discovered it http://www.naturedetectives.org.uk/ (woodland trust) is great. You don't have to join and there are lots of free downloads - spotter's sheets, activity ideas, booklets, puzzles, colouring.
Good art ideas on http://www.deepspacesparkle.com/ and http://www.artprojectsforkids.org/ (some to buy but also some free)

Re. food, we are still trying to reduce the costs but definitely making own bread and cakes/biscuits helps. We've started to buy some flour in bulk to reduce cost further and will try other things in bulk too. I try to stick to market/farmer's market/local farm shops (not the over-priced kind!) for veg/fruit as cheaper AND tastes better. Have also found Lidl fruit and veg quite good - less bland tasting than many supermarkets.
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Re: how do I....save/provide even more for my children

Postby niknik » Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:02 am

mainly, for the long term future, instill in them the self -sufficientish ethos. which I´m sure you are already doing!the pressures from contemporaries will make them- most likely- want them to be consumerists, but whatever you can teach them now will be b the best you can for their future
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Re: how do I....save/provide even more for my children

Postby Keaniebean » Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:13 am

That's a good point Niknik. Two of my children are very happy to have things passed down, to have charity shop toys or things that other kids wouldn't look twice at. My eldest is a different story however and it makes for some interesting 'debates' :cussing: :cussing: she wants this and she wants that because she sees it as her entitlement. I'm sure she is far better than some of her friends at school who seem to have money to burn, but it's hard.

Like Twiglet said already Pintrest is a great source of things - I live on there for craft ideas, free sewing patterns and free meal ideas.

One of the things I do with my kids is to scour the charity shops for board games or sometimes a DVD or two and then make a 'date' of it. We have popcorn or some sweeties from Lidl or Aldi and just dedicate that time to being with each other. Also don't be frightened to use old books to make new things from too, you can make gift tags, envelopes, cards, garlands, fancy paper aeroplanes or even bowls, baskets from a cut up comic book/magazine and if done with care these things can easily turn into gifts.

I have to say that the 99p shop is quite good too sometimes - although it's getting harder to find a bargain in there too I have found echinacea tincture, eco friendly shampoos, deodorants and lots of crafting stuff in there that I know is £6 or more in other shops. :thumbright:
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Re: how do I....save/provide even more for my children

Postby Crickleymal » Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:54 am

citizentwiglet wrote:. Even so, write a menu, ONLY buy what you need for your weekly menu.


This. Valuable advice.
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Re: how do I....save/provide even more for my children

Postby boboff » Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:57 am

You can tell the people doing this, like me, as we always have to go round twice, once to get the bulk of the list, and then the dash back round in reverse to pick up the Puree, wraps and Leeks!
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