Keeping clean on a budget 


Hello Dear Reader,

Not knowing how to do something does not make someone stupid. People grow up unable to cook, budget, make do and mend, thrift and so on. They are not stupid. There are some experiences that people don’t have until they need to and then they have to learn. No one should ever be condemned, shamed or blamed but some people haven’t had the experience of keeping clean on a minuscule budget. Currently, in the U.K. Families are having to cut back on hygiene as they can’t afford to keep clean. Now, we can add hygiene poverty to, heating poverty, food poverty, water poverty and period poverty.

I’m not referring to issues such as buying cheaper shower gel but not being able to afford to heat water or pay the water bill! People of my age remember the Rayburn, parkray or emmersion heater being cranked up on a Sunday night, pushing the financial boat out to fill and turn on the paraffin heater in the bathroom and that was the weekly bath! The rest of the week was a ‘strip wash’. Younger people, may never have learned these skills.

Hair was washed in the bathroom sink with two ‘fill ups’ for a couple of rinses and that was that. Now, I’m not suggesting anyone relives the 70s and 80s with me as I think people are genuinely cleaner now for a daily shower. However, people are living in desperate times where  food and living costs means they have very little money for personal hygiene.

Here, for what it’s worth are my tips and feel free to ignore them.

Basics – I don’t buy a lot of toiletries and happily use soap bars, shampoo, talc and anti perspirant and I buy those in Poundland. Even cheaper versions would be a litre of bath gel which is no different from shower gel for 50p. I used it for years and topped up shower gel bottles and hand wash pumps. I currently use Vosene shampoo from Poundland but I used to use Tesco everyday basics shampoo that’s 50p a litre. I buy anti perspirant for a Pound and get through a can a week. Lidl and Aldi have really large cans for 79p, that I pick up when I’m there. The only other product I use is Aldi’s moisturiser for £1.69 and that can last me almost a month.

Water costs – I live in the South West Water area and we have the most expensive water in the UK so I’m used to saving water. I have a gas boiler which heats water on demand and have previously owned an electric shower which also heated water on demand. I have the cheapest tariff for gas and electric and I pay by direct debit. I never leave a tap running, I’m used to jumping in a cold shower and not wasting water whilst it warms up and washing head to toe, including my hair in under five minutes and jumping out. Here in France, we have a tiny hot water tank and we still have to have very quick showers so we can get two showers out of one small tanks. 

Short of water and means of heating it. If you have a prepayment meter and you have the lowest of incomes then a shower is not an affordable daily option. Growing up, many of us didn’t have showers and managed to keep clean.

Above, is my bathroom sink (from our previous home, before we downsized) and I kept a bowl in the sink as I used the water to flush the loo. I used to keep a kettle on the landing and use a kettle full of boiling water to warm up a bowl of cold water. 

First, I’d wash my hair and then in the second rinse water, wash myself from top to bottom with a flannel and bar of soap.  I used to put the loo lid down, place the bowl on the floor to finish by washing my feet. Again, the water went down the loo. Three bowlfuls would be the most I’d need, that’s about seven litres of water. I went to work fresh and clean and I used to shower twice a week. 

Now, I shower daily, have enough hot water, enough toiletries but I’m mindful that people are going through tough times. Local foodbanks are grateful for donations of any: toiletries, sanitary protection, laundry products, loo rolls and cleaning products. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx


Saving water to save £1000 a year

Hello Dear Reader,

Our water bills are iniquitously expensive. Un-metered water for my house costs £1400 a year. The rising costs of energy and water means that a deep hot bath is a distant memory. I can neither afford the water or the gas to heat it. The boiler is off and we’ve thrown away the bath plug so we don’t even think of a bath. Since moving to our current home five years ago, our energy bills have doubled and our salaries have reduced, mine by choice and Dearly Beloved by having his salary reduced by 10%. It’s not unusual for families with two working people in the UK to have to count every penny due to the rising cost of living. I have though reduced my water bill to under £400 a year.

 Here are all the things I do to save water:
1. Keep a bowl in the sink and use the hand washing water to flush the loo.

2. Shower standing in a stacker box or baby bath and use the water to flush the loo.

3. Use floor washing water to flush the loo.

4. Use a bucket and soapy water to scrub the steps and patio instead of a hose pipe.

 5. I make sure clothes are actually dirty before I wash them – I only use a short wash programme.

6.I don’t use our hot water system – there’s no running the tap to wait for hot water – there’s no hot water!

7. I only boil one cup of water at a time – saves electricity too.

8. We wash the car with two buckets of water, one to wash, one to rinse.

 9. I get my hair wet in one bowl of water in the sink,  with the hot water from my kettle, wash it and then rinse it in the shower.

10. We use a shower timer and have four minutes.

11. I only use my dishwasher once a day or less to only use it when it’s full.

12. I scrape the plates and dishes so they only need the minimum wash time.

I don’t consider any of this to be a hardship, instead, I just see this as the way it is. There’s no point in complaining or feeling resentful that in some areas of the UK, water is part of council tax or in certain areas you can fill a Olympic swimming pool for forty quid. I have no choice but to be shafted sideways by the local water company (South West ‘eckin’ Water) but I will do all I can to give them as little money as possible!!

Here are a multitude of ways you can save water and money.

Saving Water Tips

Visit the OHOP website for more saving water tips

I hope you found this useful. Over to you Dear Reader, any one else saving water to save money. How many cubic meters of water do you use a quarter or a year? We use 200 litres of water a day and I wonder if we could cut it back further? 

 Until tomorrow, Love Froogs

Our Home, our planet paid me to place the infographic, but I can assure you that saving water will save money and it’s a valuable global resource and we shouldn’t waste it. I will use the money to help pay for my utilities. 

Using free winter water

 Hello again Dear Reader,

The weather is fantastic today. It’s chilly but dry and sunny. Again, I was able to get outside to do ‘garden jobs’. As I said yesterday, I don’t like the gym or what seems like pointless going no where exercise, but I do enjoy hard work. I must have had a good upper body work out, both today and yesterday as my triceps are still aching, so good work went on again in the bingo wing area! I should patent this work out. Today’s is called ‘scrubbing the step’.

First of all, get an old broom handle, that snapped half way and you couldn’t repair and run it up and down the cracks between the paving slabs and get all the moss and grass out! This makes the triceps ache!

 Now your slabs are moss free, get some water from your butt! No jokes please! We’ve all got gallons of it sitting there, nothing to water in the garden. So now’s the time to get the soap and scrubbing brush and get your patio, steps, deck or paths a good clean.

 The weeds before my very sophisticated broken broom handle weed remover tackled them.

 Get the water onto the step, or where ever needs it, give is a tiniest squirt of bleach and washing up liquid and now put your back into it, get those shoulders working and get scrubbing.

 Now rinse, when you do so, keep scrubbing, it’ll keep cleaning it.

I’ve only done a small section today, but will continue to do a bit more each week, using the water from the butt and not the tap. We also use this water for rinsing the car when we wash it. It also got bucketed in (whilst I remembered) and a couple of buckets are by the loo to flush it. That’s another work out I should patent………carrying buckets!

Now my lovelies, here’s my challenge to you………get out and use up the water in your butts……….let me know how!