Thursday 20th June 2024

Frugal swaps to save you money

Shoestring Jane’s top tips for making more frugal choices in our daily lives


Many of us are still feeling the pinch. The cost of living crisis hasn’t gone away!

It’s easy to feel deprived when you need to cut back, but I have found that some frugal swaps can allow you to retain a good lifestyle and you will barely notice the difference. 

Here are some ideas for frugal swaps to save you money without feeling disadvantaged.

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Swap disposables for reusables

Although these might cost a little more to begin with, buying reusable items wherever you can will save money and are more eco-friendly. 

Such frugal swaps might include:

  • Cotton wool pads for washable bamboo alternatives
  • Reusable razor (you will still need to replace the blades, but if you rinse and dry the razor between uses they will last longer)
  • Beeswax wraps instead of cling film – they last for years
  • Sanitary products like cloth pads or a Mooncup
  • Washable nappies instead of disposables

Swap laundry products for an Ecoegg

On a similar theme, investing in a reusable laundry egg, such as an Ecoegg, can save a lot on your usual laundry liquid or powder detergent. 

The plastic eggs are filled with pellets that help lift the dirt from your laundry without using chemicals. They need to be refilled every two months or so and, in my experience, work pretty well.

I have found that very dirty or stained clothing may need to be pre-treated with a stain remover before washing, but I think that’s the case with many detergents, too.

To give you an idea of the potential savings, you can purchase an Ecoegg starter kit with enough pellets for 50 washes for just under £8 on Amazon. After that, you can buy refill pellets for around a fiver each time you need to.

A 1.4 litre bottle of Persil laundry liquid will set you back £9 in Sainsbury’s currently, which will give you 52 washes. 100 washes with the Ecoegg costs approximately £13, as opposed to £18 if you buy the branded liquid.

Swap your dryer for the washing line

Even though our energy bills are dropping a little, it still pays to swap using your dryer for line drying wherever possible. 

Invest in an airer to help dry your laundry indoors. A heated airer will speed things up whilst still using considerably less energy than a tumble dryer.

Clothing lasts longer when it isn’t machine-dried. Where do you think all the lint comes from?

Swap frequent shopping trips 

If you are anything like me, if you go into a grocery store, you are likely to come out with more than the one item you popped in for! 

Lots of small shopping trips, especially if you use convenience stores, can drain your wallet. Instead, try a more organised approach. Plan your meals and write a shopping list so you can buy everything you need weekly or fortnightly with as few mini trips to top up as possible.

Swap going out for staying in

We all like to get out and socialise once in a while, but if you usually make many trips to restaurants, pubs, cinemas, etc., think about some cheaper options.

Could you invite friends over for drinks and snacks, have a games night, or host a potluck supper (i.e., everybody brings a dish or two to share)? 

If you have children, this frugal swap has the added advantage that you won’t need to pay a babysitter!

Swap branded medications for generic ones

I am often amazed at the price difference between branded products and generic items when it comes to things like paracetamol, ibuprofen and cough and cold medications.

Often, when you study the ingredients, they are identical. Rather than pay for the marketing, buy the retailer’s own version.

Swap out dry-clean-only clothing

Search out washable clothing wherever possible. Dry cleaning is expensive!

Having said that, I have frequently found that some garments marked as dry-clean-only are fine when hand-washed. You can also purchase dry cleaning kits to use in your dryer, which are much less expensive.

Swap to free books and audiobooks

Take advantage of the books and media available for loan at your library. In addition, get the Borrowbox app, which allows you to listen to audiobooks for free, as well as read e-books when you can’t get to the library.

I am addicted to Borrowbox and have an audiobook on the go constantly.

Swap to cash

If you are an impulse spender, take out a budgeted amount of cash each week for general spending. Once it has gone, that’s it!

I always think that cash is harder to spend psychologically. You really feel it when you physically hand over notes and coins. Having said that, it is actually becoming harder to spend as some retailers now refuse to take cash, so bear that in mind, too.

Grocery swaps

You can save money on food by swapping to supermarket own labels, rather than branded items. However, there are other swaps you can make, too. For example:

  • Replace chicken breasts with cheaper thighs
  • Swap fresh vegetables, fruit, fish and meat for frozen versions
  • Replace some meat dishes with egg recipes, such as omelettes and frittata
  • Swap jars of pasta sauce for homemade, using tinned tomatoes, onions, garlic and herbs. If you make several batches at once and freeze some, you will save time too
  • Swap fresh fish for tinned fish like tuna, sardines and mackerel

What frugal swaps have you made to help save money?

Photo Credits: Unsplash

Shoestring Jane

Mouthy Blogger

Shoestring Jane is a full-time self-employed mum of three daughters. Her frugal partner in crime is handyman extraordinaire, Mr Shoestring. They are constantly on the look out for ways to save and make extra money. Read more on her blog, Shoestring Cottage.

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