• Isabelle Margarita Home

Easy & Sustainable Ways to Save Money this Winter!

We find ourselves once again in uncertain times. Talks of wars, recessions and energy crises are in no way positive additions to our already busy lives. They are however real concerns that we must potentially plan for and adapt to.


So now that we've started off on this gloomy note

- what are we going to do about it?!


We started to think of ways that we could lessen the impact of rising costs at home. When we thought about some of the ways we, our friends and our families economise, we found that in turn, a lot of these ideas are good for the planet too. Win win!


Here's what we came up with:


Have a 'Takeaway at Home'

Arianne is fab at this, where as in my family, we do indulge in a weekly take away. Taking a tip from Arianne, I started to plan a weekly 'treat' dinner that I could make myself, but still tasted as good and felt like as indulgent as a takeaway.

  • Check out some of Arianne's great recipe's for home made spring rolls here

  • Or her home made sushi instructional here

  • I am totally in love with this home made sesame prawn toast recipe

  • Have you tried making your own pizza? So easy and the kids love it! Check out pizza bases by the brilliant Pizza da Piero - the best we've found so far


Not only is it a great way to add new recipes and skills, it's also healthier for you, you are in control of the ingredients used and it doesn't come wrapped in plastic or styrofoam - plus it saves you a bit of cash and probably your waistline too!


Take Your Coffee With You

Personally, I do enjoy having a coffee out - it feels like a treat. But when you think of the waste involved in just that coffee, it seems a bit irresponsible. There's the waste of the cup and lid which are largely unrecyclable, then there's also the waste of your money. Coffee seems to be getting more and more expensive, so why don't we just take it with us?


I recently bought a flask, as I noticed Arianne always has one. So simple, a bit retro and makes so much sense. I have hot coffee or tea available to me all day long, at a fraction of the price and no waste included. How good is that?


Use Electricity at Night

Do you have a 'day and night' electricity meter? If so, make the most of the reduced rate of electricity after 10-11pm, by timing your washing machine or dishwasher to start while you're asleep. It makes sense too - your dishes are clean when you wake up and your washing is ready to be hung out. We try to do this every night and feel that it does make a difference to our electricity bill.


Drying Clothes

Okay - you knew this one was coming...Ditch the plastic pegs!!

Investing in a good quality, marine grade, 316 stainless steel set of pegs means the last set of pegs you need to buy. No more broken plastic, no more cursing pegs that fall apart, just happy, reliable, rust free pegs that will serve you well! We can't shout about these enough and our customers agree. They are our best seller for a reason.


We get that winter is coming and it's not practical to keep putting your washing outside. I adore my Sheila Maid Clothes line. I can't tell you how much I love it! In the winter I simply get my clothes out of the washing machine each morning, hang them on the rack, hoist it up and forget about it until the next day. So simple, so easy, up - away from the floor and has that traditional look too.


Arianne has a hanging shelter, so that she can still get her clothes dry outside on the line, yet they're protected from the rain. It's a great idea if you have the available space.


Need dry clothes in a hurry? We totally know the feeling. But if you do need to use your tumble dryer, why not invest in some drying balls? They dry your clothes more quickly, which means less electricity consumed. Good for the planet and your purse!


Share Clothes

Sharing clothes seems to be coming back thank goodness. When we recently met, Arianne and I went through our clothes to see if there was anything we could borrow for upcoming weddings. I have a lovely dress that I am chuffed to say has now been to 5 weddings (on three different people) and I am sure will be attending a good few more. What a great way to justify a good investment piece!


If you don't have family or friends that are the same size, there are many options for renting occasionwear now too! All of these shops have fabulous choices of clothes for a fraction of the price:

I'm sure there are many more around too - we'd love to hear any recomendations!


You can now buy amazing pre-loved items that are complete one offs too. Check out the amazing @prelovedbyshayandjo who we are big fans of, and @missdaisyblue - lots of amazing choices here, if you're in Cork, @darlingandvintage is in Northern Ireland - she has amazing vintage clothes too. And of course don't forget to check out your local charity shops which will definitely have some gems!


Sharing school uniform and items that are quickly grown out of such as soccer boots etc. makes so much sense. If you are part of a parents association for your school or a coach in your local sports team, why not make the suggestion?


My husband simply takes along a box with 'boot swap' written on it, to the boys soccer matches. Parents take what they need and replace with the items they no longer need. So simple, so easy, saves money and kids keep playing! The boys' national school also have a uniform donations box, the contents of which is either emailed to parents or set out at school events, for parents to take what they need for a small donation. Easy!


Share Food

Do you make your own food? Do you have a poly tunnel or chickens? Do you make blackberry jam that you have too much of? Us too.


Sharing food is not only a beautiful thing to do, but helps build and support communities. If you have a glut of tomatoes, why not share them with friends and neighbours? You could also offer them to your local shelter or charity. I am always surprised by how thrilled people are when I offer them some spare eggs. It's so easy for me to do it and makes a real difference to those that receive them. Feel good factor abounds!


Hot Water Bottles & a Jumper

There's no getting away from it - this year electricity is going up in price. One of the easiest ways to combat this is to use less electricity. Turning down our heating just a little will make a difference to both the planet and our pockets. Investing in a hot water bottle will keep you warm and snuggly and they now come as long skinny ones for your neck, ones wrapped in teddies for the kids and all sorts of other combinations. I recently bought one for my children and they had no idea what it was. Time to introduce them to the things we knew as children!


One of the simplest ways to reduce our heating bill and stay warm, is to simply throw on a jumper. It's so simple and so easy to do. We also love to snuggle up on the sofa with a big throw and it's amazing how warm and cosy it feels. Slippers are another great little investment that many of our kids probably won't have used much before.


Isn't it amazing how many of the ways our parents and grand parents economised and lived are now the ways we are re-adopting? It's almost as if we need to revert to simpler times in order to protect both ourselves and the earth.


The De-Bobbler!

The de-bobbler has been a game changer for me. I love buying clothes made from natural fibres - and a woolen jumper or cardigan for the colder months is a must have. Admittedly I am quite heavy on my clothes, which can result in a lot of bobbles. I don't like bobbles - they make me dislike the clothes they are on, which is such a shame and a waste.


An electric lint remover (as they are otherwise known) changes all that. I too was sceptical at first, but it really does make jumpers, cardigans, coats and whatever else you have that bobbles, look like new. Plus - the whole process is so satisfying, I might be a bit addicted! Don't throw out bobbled clothing, give it a new lease of life with a de-bobbler. They're easy to find and super easy to use - plus a whole lot cheaper than buying new jumpers!


Stop Buying Disposable - Invest in Long Term

It seems as though we are so used to using disposable products, that we don't think of an alternative, longer term option. Just because it's cheaper to throw something away and replace it, doesn't mean that it's the right thing to do for both the earth and for ourselves. Sometimes, investing in a more permanent alternative can be cheaper in the long run.


Think of these alternatives to disposables:

  • Cling Film & Tin Foil - Bees Wax Wraps/ Tupperware/ put a plate on top!

  • Plastic Bin Liners - Washable Bin Liners (we are BIG fans of these, they are honestly fab - see our review here)

  • Bottles of Water - Water Filter & Glass Bottle

  • Disposable Coffee Cups - Keep Cups

  • Disposable Razors - Reusable Razors


Buy In Bulk

Buying in bulk is a no-brainer. You get more product for less money - you need to purchase less often and it uses less packaging. This is great for things like washing up liquid, washing powder or fabric-conditioner (if you use it), pasta, pet food...the list is pretty endless. There are a couple of drawbacks though - you do pay more up front and you also need space to store the product. In the long run though, buying in bulk is good for everyone. Why not get together with friends, family or neighbours and share the product? You can set up your own mini re-fill store!


Do you have any ingenious money saving tips? We would love to hear them and give them a go!


Remember: We cast a vote every time we spend. Let's make that vote count...

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As always, hoping you, your family & friends are safe and happy,


Keelly & Arianne xx


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