This is something I’ve been considering carefully over the past few weeks while taking part in Karen’s Rubbish Diet challenge. I was quite pleased with how we managed – our bin this fortnight (including the week after I had a baby at home!) contained 5 carrier bags of waste and a few bits of polystyrene. Three of those bags were disposable nappies and sanitary items, as I wasn’t up to dealing with cloth in the first few days after baby was born, not to mention that he’s rather small to fit in most of the nappies I have!
The second week I figured out a few solutions, and found the bag of hand me down tiny wraps a friend had given me a couple of months ago. And the post partum pads I won helped me cut down on my own waste production, and of course the toddler went back into cloth, except overnight. Although tomorrow I’ll be writing more on that 😉
Given that many of my cloth nappies were from free cycle or hand me downs, they haven’t cost me much to buy, and yes, I do end up doing more washing, but overall, I think they are comparable in price to disposables, and of course, they aren’t going to take hundreds of years to rot down in landfill. (Plus I’m not throwing out clinical waste.) So that aspect of cutting down on waste has been money saving too.
Other parts of the process are more challenging. We live on a very tight budget atm – sign of the times, as well as sign of having four children now! The cheapest fruit and veg is the pre packaged stuff from Iceland, Lidl or Aldi, sadly – hugely cheaper than buying it loose at either the coop or the local greengrocer. Growing our own would be more cost effective, and maybe next year I’ll actually be able to do some of that, but this year the allotment is just a dream – no way can I get there and do digging with four children in tow! So the best I can do is try to choose stuff packaged in packaging that can be recycled – I need to find somewhere to take all these plastic bags that I’m not putting in the bin any more!
Buying carefully with food only helps our budgeting though if I’m budgeting with other expenses as well. So for big expenditures I use a cashback site – the bunkbeds I bought yesterday generated £8 cashback. Not too shabby. And I use comparison sites for things like mobile phone deals and credit cards (although when it comes to buying, I go back to my cashback site, so that I get the affiliate fees, not the comparison websites…).
The one thing that I’m not too good at is writing up and sticking to a budget. Part of the difficulty there is that our income fluctuates – freelancing/ self employment will do that to you. I’d love to find some regular writing jobs, instead of having the occasional sponsored post bringing in the cash, but realistically, I haven’t got the time or energy for job hunting on top of everything else atm. So squeezing every last penny until it yelps and ensuring we are getting any and all benefits we are entitled to is as far as I’m going atm.