"Being Scrooge" 

or Siew-Peng's been crunching the £££ numbers 



#1 - Flannel Hankies 


When hayfever season starts it was not unusual for me to go through three boxes of paper tissue in a week. Hayfever usually lasts about six weeks for me. In a year it would not be unfair to say we went through (2 boxes per week x 6 weeks of the hayfever season) + another 6 boxes for the rest of the year = 18 boxes. 

The recycled paper tissue are about £1.50 a box (dearer if you want balm and all that). The annual paper tissue bill could come to £1.50 x 18 = £27. 

The bill for paper tissue in 10 years alone would be about £270. This would buy 36 packs of miUK Small Flannel Hankies at £7.50 each. That is 144 flannel hankies. Actually I don't use 144 hankies as they are washable. I save money.



#2 - Cosmetic Squares 

I do not personally use make-up, so please read the following with a large pinch of salt when it comes to the estimates. 

Organic cotton wool pads and balls (the disposable kind) are about £1.99 for a pack of 100. Assuming that one needs three (or four) a day, one goes through one pack of 100 disposables in 33 (or 25) days. In 365 days, one goes through 1,095 (or 1,460) pads. This would be equivalent to 10.95 (or 14.6) packs of 100 disposables. 

At £1.99 each, 10.95 (or 14.6) packs are £21.79 (or £29.05) a year. That's £43.58 (or £58.10) in two years. Or £65.37 (or £87.15) in three. 

The miUK Cosmetic Squares are £7.80. OK you might need two packs. Still I think we can safely call this a great saving. 

Time to make the switch? Or help someone make the switch?



#3 - Table Napkins


We used to go through at least one roll of paper kitchen towels in a week. The cheap recycled ones average about 50 pence a roll. In 52 weeks we would have spent about £26.


A 4-Pack Calico Table Napkins is only £12.00 while a 4-Pack Hemp Table Napkin is £19.00. 


A good investment, I think.


#4 - String Bag


Until recently there were no monetary incentives in switching to a string bag. Now that plastic bags are 5p each at most supermarkets, we are beginning to see a shift.


Our weekly shop used to require at least six plastic bags. That is 6x52=312 bags a year. Or £15.60 if we had to pay 5p for each bag. The Short /Tote Handle bags are £17.20 for a bundle of five. Even with the P&P added on, the cost can be recouped in just over a year.


I started using these bags back in 2005, and have retired only one so far, banished to keeping some gardening stuff in place in the shed. 


More importantly, we have reduced greatly the number of bags going into landfills. Even though we often re-use a bag for rubbish, they still ultimately end up in a landfill.



#5 - Cloth Gift Wrapper 

On the shelf underneath our coffee table is half a piece of a gift wrapper. I can't think why I still have it, apart from the fact that it reminds me of the last time I actually bought a paper gift wrapper. 

Even before I started making and selling the Gift Wrapper Bags on this site I've been 'making' our own wrapping paper. My son and I would -- at messy play time -- do all sorts of painting, with sponges, with strings, with combs, etc on large pieces of paper (try re-using/smoothing out scrunched up packaging paper) and turn these into 'gift wrapper'. 

Still these home-made paper gift wrappers could only be used once. So the cloth versions are grand. We have a set at home -- various sizes and colours -- of organic cotton and silk. We keep using the same ones. We don't mind. 

Three birthdays a year, one wedding anniversary, Christmas presents for us three and the extended family, birthday presents for our son's classmates, godparents, grandparents, close friends, nieces, nephews, etc. Even if I bought the 20p a piece paper from the lady at the market, that is still a lot of money to spend on some very nice paper that can be used only once. 

I can't say I have exactly saved money on this one ... yet. I guess I want to convince myself that I am investing in the future. 

If I were to save that 20 pence for the 20 presents (a very low estimate indeed) that I need to wrap, that will save me £4 a year. Except that most gift wrappers are at least 50 pence each. That takes the cost (or saving) up to £10 a year. The Gift Wrapper Bags are probably going to be usable for another 30 years as they are only used at gift-giving times. That will make it a saving of £10 x 30 = £300. 

The problem? Friends and family who have received these bags do not send these back to us when it's our turn to receive presents? Our presents still come wrapped in paper! The reason is people find these bags too beautiful to part with. They find all sorts of uses for them, other than as gift wrapper bags. But at least these bags are not being landfilled. 


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