Or "how to save money given the cost of living crisis". Shopkeeper has been crunching the £££ numbers, way before the current crisis, actually.
Most of the following was written several years ago when prices were much lower. The savings are still there, though, if not even greater, as the prices on this website have not gone up for some time. We are here with a mission, not just for profit.
#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 Small Flannel Hankies at £7.50 each. That is 144 flannel hankies. Actually I don't own or need 144 hankies as they are washable. I save money.
2021 October: Small Flannel Hankies are 2-Packs at £5.50 or 4-Packs at £10.00.
2022 December: Guess what? Cost-of-living crisis notwithstanding, our prices have remained the same.
#2 - Cosmetic Pads
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 Cosmetic Pads 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?
2022 December: Cosmetic Pads are 10-Pack for £8.50.
#3 - Table Napkins
I used to think cloth table napkins are only for posh people. People like me only use them at restaurants. Then I noticed that I do have friends who use cloth table napkins as a regular daily practice. But they do not wash them after every use. Instead, they are folded away (greasy bits folded out of sight) and re-used for the next meal.
At home, 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.
We now have 4-Pack Calico Table Napkins edged in different coloured thread. This is to ensure that the same family member gets their "own" table napkin back at the next meal. The ones we use at home go back at least seven, if not more, years. At only £15.00 (or £12.00), they are a good investment, I think.
2022 December: 4-Pack Calico Table Napkins are at £15.00, except for Seconds and Prototypes at £12.00.
#4 - String Bag
For a long time there were no monetary incentives in switching to a reusable bag such as a string bag. Since 2015, when single-use plastic bags were charged at 5 pence (and later 10 pence in 2021), we have seen a shift in the use of more 'reusable' bags. But we should hope to see an even bigger shift, many of these bags are still made of plastic.
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. It is better to NOT USE single-use plastic bags at all.
2022 December: These bags are still £3.80 each although the P&P has gone up with Royal Mail's most unreasoanble price rises. I'm still using some 2005 bags. Fact.
"Parcel of 3 string bags received this morning. Once again I am very pleased with them. Thank you very much for the speedy response, will be back when these ones wear out."
#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? Presents to us 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.
2021 October: New design bags available.