A Fistful Of Frugal – Beauty Edition

‘A Fistful OF Frugal’ will be a regular feature where I share five (five fingers equals a fist, right?) frugal things that either my husband or I do to save money. I’m going to kick off with those that I use in my personal grooming and I hope that even if they’re not things that you’d choose to do, that you’ll at least find them interesting.

  1. I cut my hair (with the help of Mr. B!)
    I looked for videos on YouTube and found one that kept instructions simple. Granted, I keep a simple haircut, but there are tutorials for many styles, dependent on how brave you are!
  2. I make my deodorant
    I really don’t like the idea of repeatedly smearing dodgy chemicals onto the skin near my lymph nodes and breast tissue and so did some research and lucked out on a fantastic recipe, which just so happened to use ingredients that we already had in the kitchen. Once made, it lasts me many months and works better than even such brands as Mitchum worked for me. My husband tried it and though he said it worked more effectively than regular deodorant, he didn’t like the oiliness in his underarm hair. (N.B. It has never left oil stains on my clothing). I can’t find the link to the recipe I use, but I found a website with three recipes that are very similar.
  3. I use a homemade exfoliant.
    Now, there are many recipes using a combination of ingredients, either using sugar or sometimes salt, as the main ingredient, and I have tried many of them, but I always go back to the thing I’ve used since I was a teenager, which is plain old granulated sugar! If you want something less abrasive, then use a recipe that mixes it up with an oil, for instance.
    Using sugar gives me really soft skin and must have saved me a fortune (not to mention all of the plastic that was kept from landfill and nasty chemicals from my skin) over the years and, as we take sugar in our tea, we always have it in the house!
  4. I use a homemade face mask.
    I’ve experimented with homemade masks over the years, but always went back to my beloved clay masks, but when my favourite clay mask was discontinued recently, it was the kick I needed to look into homemade masks once again.
    I have an ongoing battle with acne. Yes, I’m 40 and not only do I have to contend with wrinkles but spots too. Life’s cruel.
    I really want to make my own clay masks, but the initial outlay is a little bit much for me to justify right now, but I found a recipe that is working very well for me and, you guessed it, everything required was in our kitchen.
  5. I do my manicures and pedicures (though not as often as I probably should).
    My fingernails aren’t particularly high on my list of priorities, but when I do decide to look after them, I can do a pretty good job with some very simple and inexpensive tools. Even if you’re the type of person that likes those amazingly creative fake nails, with jewels and charms, there are tutorials for free on YouTube and not only do you save a fortune by doing it yourself, you’ll be learning a new skill. Hey, maybe you can start earning money by offering your new skill to others!

What frugal things do you do? Please share so that we can all learn from each other!

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is growing each day. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.

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Money – Where On Earth Should I Begin?

Some debts appear to cause more problems than others, such as those debts that cause the phone to keep ringing, with creditors hassling you to pay up, and you may be tempted to address these first, to the detriment of other areas. Robbing Peter to pay Paul? Yeah, sometimes Paul’s going to have to wait.

image courtesy of Dreamstime.com

This is something I’ve been asking myself when thinking about starting this blog. It’s also something most people ask themselves when they make the decision to get a handle on their finances.
Mr.B and I don’t use credit cards or any sort of credit. We do have debt, however, in the form of a mortgage. This is often referred to as ‘acceptable debt’, but to us, we won’t fully relax until that bad boy is paid off. It’s going to take a long time, but we’re determined to get it paid off early-(er). That being said, in the past, we have each taken out loans, have bought items from catalogues and thankfully, we didn’t encounter any problems that caused us to get behind on payments. It could so easily have happened though.

You may have credit card debts that are mounting up or you may be having sleepless nights due to being behind on your electricity bill. So where should you begin?

Ok, so let’s get real. Getting behind on any bill is a worry and will have to be addressed at some point. I’ve had many close family and friends dealing with debt. Growing up, it was a way of life. I remember as a little girl, having to hide and keep quiet when the debt collector was knocking at the door. I remember having to answer the door at times, after being told to lie and say that my mother wasn’t home. I also remember having our gas and water cut off. I’ll never forget being hungry when there wasn’t anything to eat at teatime, which thankfully didn’t happen too many times. Sort of tells you why I’m passionate about personal finance, right?

Some debts appear to cause more problems than others, such as those debts that cause the phone to keep ringing, with creditors hassling you to pay up, and you may be tempted to address these first, to the detriment of other areas. Robbing Peter to pay Paul? Yeah, sometimes Paul’s going to have to wait.

If you find yourself having problems with unsecured debt such as credit cards and loans, but you’re also behind with your mortgage or rent, you need to prioritise paying to keep a roof over your head, no matter how many times those credit card people are calling you each week.

One of the great voices in personal finances; Mr. Dave Ramsey calls this sorting out your ‘Four Walls’. These are the areas you must take care of before anything else:

  • Food: We all have to eat. This is priority number one. Potatoes and bread are needs. Biscuits, crisps and eating at McDonald’s are wants. Sorry, I love junk food too, but you know it’s true.
  • Housing: This comes next. If you can’t keep a roof over your head, then you’re stuffed. Talk to your landlord, mortgage company or council, make an agreement and get up to date on those rent or mortgage arrears. This section also refers to your Council Tax and your basic utilities, such as gas, electricity, and water. Internet and TV subscriptions aren’t part of this, as, though it may be painful to cut them out, they obviously aren’t a need.
  • Transportation: If you work, you need a way to get there so that you can keep earning. This may mean making sure that you can put fuel into your car every month, or be able to afford your bus fare/travel card.
  • Clothing: This means covering the basics to keep you and any children warm and in adequate shoes.

Once you have all of these areas covered, then you can begin to look at what you have remaining each month. Only then should you begin to address your other bills. I’ll cover tackling unsecured debt repayment in another post.

Please never lose hope. There is always a way out of debt, but it needs careful thought, planning and to be thought of as more of a marathon and not a sprint. If you ever find yourself feeling desperate, please consider using Citizens Advice and National Debtline to talk to somebody about it.

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is growing each day. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.