Friday, 18 May 2012

Frugal Friday...

Sometimes savings can be as simple as maximising what you already have. This works particularly well if you need a short term boost to your finances - for spending money for a holiday for example, or because you've had an unexpected expense or shortfall in income to be dealt with. Even once you've got this Frugalisticness (no, it almost certainly wasn't a word, but it is now!) down to a (fairly) fine art, it's still worth looking at possibilities in this direction.

One area that this" maximising" approach works really well is in the bathroom - specifially toiletries - I frightened myself rigid when I first decided it was time to look at reducing my stockpile. Shampoo and conditioner enough for a family of 6...for a YEAR! Makeup I'd long since forgotten I had, and never used. Shower gel & bubble bath...well, we won't talk about those! The first step was to identify what I had, and the second? To identify that impulse-buying tendency. Shampoo on special offer in the supermarket? I'd grab a couple on the basis that it was a good price. Half price eyeliner in the Avon book? Absolutely - better have two! Buy one get one free on something else....? Oh, go on then! Sure, it was all bought at good prices, but that doesn't change the fact that I was heading for the territory of it all going off long before I used it! Oh, you'd not realised about shelf life on those sort of things? Well true, so long as something like that smells OK it is unlikely to harm you, but that doesn't mean it might not smell different to the scent that was intended, or change consistency, and in either case you're unlikely to fancy using it. (The exception to this by the way is Mascara, which should be replaced fairly often regardless to avoid the risk of causing eye infections.) My first approach was to make a start on working through the half-used bottles of shower gel, shampoo and bubble bath. The problem was, I would get something new, open it to have a sniff, take a couple of baths or showers out of it, then move on to something else, so the bathroom cabinet was full of partly used bottles of STUFF! At least a couple I threw out - either because they smelt a bit odd, or because the reason I'd stopped using them was simply that I didn't like them. The approach with body creams & lotions was slightly different - again, I had lots, but that turned out to be mainly because I never got around to actually using them! Oops! When I made time to slather myself in something delicious smelling after a shower, not only did the stash start diminishing, but my skin thanked me for it too!

Special offers are designed to suck us in, remember. Whether it is BOGOF's in Tesco or "Better than half price" elsewhere - they are designed to get us reaching for our purse. Remember - retailers aren't putting these sorts of offers on to do you a favour, they are doing it because it turns them a good profit! The other thing I have noticed over time, is that there is always another offer along in a while - as a BOGOF finishes in ione place, a half price offer for the same product starts elsewhere. There are some products now I simply *never* buy without some kind of deal. Coffee for example, or toilet rolls. Shampoo is a great example of this. Poundland sell Alberto Balsam shampoo. So do 99p Shop, so that's a penny saved. Asda however, pretty much always sell them at 4 for £3 - so that's the unit cost down to 75p each. To really pare it to the bone, last time I was in Home Bargains or B&M, both were doing a twin pack - one Shampoo, one conditioner, for £1.49! Another good example - the Avon book. I am an Avon rep, and there are two specific tricks I've noticed over time: 1) NEVER buy anything at full price - within a few books, it will be discounted (I tell customers this!) and 2) The offers go in cycles - a "best ever" offer on Skincare or shower gel, for example, will always be repeated again a few months later. I'm guessing this applies to most shops, too.

So, go on then, go and raid your bathroom cupboard, and see what "stuff" you're accumulated, that by working your way through without buying more. You might be richer than you expected at the end of this month!


No comments: