One could actually argue that things like toilet bowl cleaner and bathroom deodorisers are not actually necessities in life but in the interest of modesty and sensory comfort these things are nice to have. I have always bought these things on special and stocked up a little, I am running out of stuff like this now. As our grocery budget is down to very little I don’t want to buy these sorts of products, to all intents and purposes they are not necessary items. Every week I am coming across little things like this and make decisions whether to go without or make something myself. These from last week:
Toilet Duck: Generally the only other cleaning solution I use is vinegar with a small squirt of detergent but toilet cleaner seemed a bit different. Stuck with an empty bottle I decided I could make something….water, vinegar, baking soda, a little detergent and a few drops of tea tree oil. Guess who spent ages filling a bottle with a weird neck with a funnel, turning it this way and that till finally had 3/4 bottle and was satisfied. Only then did I decide I didn’t need the stupid bottle anyway and any old bottle would’ve sufficed! This worked really well, is nice, fresh, clean – but shouldn’t have been shaken at the end because the baking soda and vinegar frothed up in the bottle. A totally different method is called for next time lol. Mix in a jug and use a different bottle.
Bathroom spray deodoriser: Over the years I have collected odd used bottles of essential oils when I’ve seen them in thrift shops and garage sales for nix so I have a wee stock of them. I filled the spray bottle with water, added a nice mix of oils (violet, rose and lemongrass) in just tiny amounts so not overpowering, and a teaspoon of glycerin which acts as an emulsifier. Very pretty scent, it’s natural and actually hangs around alot longer than anything else I used.
ANTS!! We have never had ants, ever. So last week when I saw a few on the bench I thought they had just come in on something from the garden and wasn’t concerned. The next morning I was horrified to see a small army of them on the bench AND through the dehydrator full of dried figs I hadn’t emptied the night before. Ew! and blast them, what a waste. Google solves all problems and I found two solutions. Spray with white vinegar because ants sniff out their trails to return somewhere and put little piles of cornflour (cornstarch) around, they will eat it, take it back to their nest and it kills them. I haven’t seen any since…which is really good because I tend to get phobic about yucky things eg flies (ants as it turns out!) around food. Which reminds me of a problem we had with a field mouse when we first came here. I cannot stand spiders but think mice are pretty cute as long as they don’t live in my house and I don’t have to handle them. So when we had one living in our kitchen my answer was to get a humane trap…. at $11 this was alot dearer than any alternative method for extinction. For two weeks the mouse would eat anything in it and just wonder in and out of it at his leisure, it wouldn’t work. In the end I was getting so wound up about a mouse in my pantry I bought a trap. 10 minutes after setting it it went off, mouse caught and me (the oh, so humane one) dancing around the kitchen with glee saying “I finally caught the little b……d!!”
Dog biscuits: We needed some, I had veges in the fridge that needed using so made my own. They get meat so these just need to supplement and will now be a regular thing, they loved them.
Hot water cylinder insulation: We had been discussing the need to get our power bill lower and insulating the hot water tank. The cheapest we could find was over $90 but we had half a bag of ceiling batts leftover so that’s where they have gone. Incidentally, we paid $50 to insulate our ceiling with recycled batts….a guy Roger knew was collecting them as he helped demolish a house and selling them for extra money.
Glasshouse 🙂 After 2 years of collecting windows and materials Roger spent the weekend building a glasshouse for the grand cost of $22 (two little windows purchased) and after alot of hours, banging, sawing and expletives, it’s finally together, it just needs painting now and I think it’s pretty sweet….and I’m pretty impressed with my husbands tenacity in doing all this with a yucky cold!!
I finished work about 5 weeks ago and money is definately getting alot tighter. We have chosen to do this which makes it rather alot different to those who simply have no choice about being broke. We realised it would be a challenge but we were up for it. Still are, we are liking it this way but I must admit to a fair few moments of sheer anxiety as I realise there is no money for any little transgressions off our path – and what if…?! We really need some savings, there are no credit cards, no nothing. On a very mediocre one wage there is a need to be really vigilant about spending, we find we are thinking about things in different ways. Example, $2.20 TV guide that just goes in the trolley every week. It’s only $2.20 but for $105.00 approx a year do we really need one, I don’t think so and why the hell was I still buying it when we have cut down on so much else!? Everything’s a mindset. I don’t NEED a gardener magazine once a month because we know how to garden and have a computer, I still have to argue myself out of the habit of just grabbing one because that’s always been a treat for me. At $9 that’s $108.00 a year. Little things mount up, 10 little things is alot of money. I occasionally like a glass of wine but go through most weeks going without….but another week it matters and I’ll buy a cheap bottle of wine because I deserve a b….y wine once in a while! We live 26 km from town and I go once a week only, $10 for gas is better than $20. It’s made me really aware of all the extra little things we spend money on when we have it that we don’t need, especially if there two income earners. We always had one takeaway meal a week, chinese or similar but not now….that’s almost our grocery allowance.
We don’t feel deprived of anything, we are doing just fine. Our needs are being met and that’s alot more than many can say. There is a difference choosing the option of going without as a lifestyle and having it forced on one by necessity! We are both very grateful for the opportunity to be able to do this, our lives are alot richer for it and I truly mean that. This year has been about working towards a goal of being able to live on the bare minimum we could – I guess most people would call that very weird. We will make the choices that enable us to do it – such as not needing a TV guide when we have a ‘master remote controller and flicker-arounder’ in the house 🙂 At the end of the day we don’t even NEED the TV, do we, let alone a magazine to tell us what c..p is on it for our viewing pleasure.