Over a month since my last post…

…again. I am so sorry. I just do not know where the time goes these days.

In fact, that’s not strictly true. Most of my time goes on making baby food, washing baby clothes and feeding and changing said babies. Between that and working three days a week, there’s frankly no time left for the finer things in life.

Which is just as well, really, as I recently received my first payslip without any extras added in (I was owed holidays and my maternity bonus for the first couple of months back). It seems that, taking into account the cost of the commute as a percentage of my three day week rather than five, I now have enough money left to pay my half of the rent and bills, to be left with exactly £19 a month for food shopping and such. Hum.

With this in mind, I’m in the process of turning myself into a real super-scrimper – not just a thrifty shopper as in previous years, but a money-saver-extraordinaire. So far this year I have:

  • Gone back to the reusable nappies. We stopped using these as soon as the weather became such that I could no longer dry them on the line. Living in a house with storage heaters makes indoor drying rather tricky. But, as is common with storage heaters, we are on Economy 7, so a quick splurge at Lakeland courtesy of a January sale voucher and a dip into our savings, and we now have a three tier electric airer ideal for drying our nappies overnight. This costs less than 5p an hour to run depending on your tariff, so on Economy 7, I assume is quite cheap. I do a wash in the evening, and switch it on before I go to bed for fluffy, warm and dry nappies in the morning. We have set it up in our unheated, un-double-glazed bathroom, through which we used to lose a lot of heat from the main part of the house, and have since found that we can turn the heating down as a direct result! I’ve factored it into my reusable, birth-to-potty nappy costs and as most of these were bought “pre-loved”, our total costs still come in under the £200 mark, meaning that everything is paid for in 181 days –  roughly 6 months. If I do a full load every three days, that then brings my reusables in at 2-3p per nappy, rather than 11p as standard, an annual saving for twins of £233!
  • Continued using my laundry egg. For best results from this I find I need to do one hot wash a fortnight, perhaps sheets or towels, on 60º with a Fairy liquitab. This seems to keep the machine happy, and the clothes coming out fresh. Otherwise, I have been using my £15 egg at 40º since last summer, have not run out of refills yet, and our clothes come out as clean and fresh-smelling as a daisy! In fact, I now actually notice the smell of washing liquid on clothes that arrive from ebay, for example.
  • Bought a bulk-shop from Approved Foods to stock the cupboards up, and used my Supermarket to cut down my usual weekly Tesco online shop from the standard £70 to £41.90. Although I should probably take into account that this excluded my usual £10 box of disposable nappies for the first time in quite a while…
  • Filled in the forms from Egg that I’ve been ignoring that might entitle me to a refund on loan insurance from a few years ago.
  • Returned to reusable wet wipes. So simple to do with a couple of packs of cheap microfibre cloths (SO soft, no matter how often you wash them, and absorbent too!), a Tupperware box, a camomile tea bag, a few drops of oil and some baby bath. I’ve started making up a box on an evening and popping in the fridge for the next day, keeping them next to the storage heater (NEVER on it!) so that they are not too cold during the day, and popping straight into the nappy bucket as I use them. My cloths were bought from Asda and Matalan, but these from amazon are a very good buy – one pack would be plenty!

I’m now on the lookout for anything else I can do to save pennies – reading the moneysavingexpert forums at every opportunity to pick up tips, and revisiting my cookery books to unearth old and cheap recipes. We’re swapping two meat nights a week for veggie meals, and I’ve picked up some great ideas from Jamie Oliver’s Save with Jamie TV show over the hols, on ways to cut down waste and really make food go further. “Jamie’s cabbage” as we call it, is now a regular side dish, and is, in fact, the leaves from the cauliflower that I previously would have thrown away. I’m going to ask our lovely greengrocer, Paul, if he’ll considering doing me a seasonal veg box every week for a fixed price too, as we’re on really good terms (and his wife was one of the midwives on my maternity ward when the boys arrived!). And I’m trying to get us back into good habits with regards to turning off lights and appliances when not in use, boiling the kettle less often, using the oven to capacity (cooking more than one meal at a time to maximise usage) and adding as many tiers as possible to the steamer whenever we use a saucepan. Any other top tips would be gratefully received!

And now, to finish up, a few very belated “what I wore” pics – largely from my office visits before Christmas, and one from Christmas day!

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Dress: Lady V London; tights: Charnos; cardi: Very Clearance via Ebay; shoes: M&S Footglove via charity shop 

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Dress: Ronni Nicole via Ebay; cardi: Matalan; belt: M&S; boots: a gift from Dapper’s Nan; scarf: a gift from a colleague

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Dress: M&S via charity shop; cardigan: Ness; hold-ups: Charnos; shoes: Bertie

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