Cost Cutting Tips For The Monthly Visitor (one for the ladies)

Hi Ladies. As you already know, there is a lot of cost involved in our personal hygiene. There are the razors, the waxings, the skin care regime, the hair appointments, the make-up, nail care… the list goes on! And then there is the dreaded monthly crimson visitor and its associated costs. Whether you use pads or tampons, there is a wide range of brands to choose from, and we are led to believe that the pricier, fancy, all the bells and whistles brands are the best and must have option. Well ladies, if your monthly visitor is hurting your hip pocket, then it’s time to challenge that view.

A while ago I was desperate and skint and so purchased a cheaper (‘no name’) brand of pad to that that I usually use. I tried them with trepidation but ended up being pleasantly surprised! They adhered to my underwear much better than my usual, dearer, brand which meant they were more comfortable as they didn’t become unstuck, bunched up, or riding up into the nether regions of my behind. And, of course, better sticking power means less fear of leakage. How could this product be cheaper AND better quality?! As I have said before ladies, cheap doesn’t necessarily mean nasty.

I recommended this cheaper brand to a lady I know who struggles with budgeting on a low income and she agreed, this cheaper brand performed much better than the more costly brand she would normally purchase. We both agreed we would use this cheaper brand from now on. So why not give it a try if you find purchasing pads and tampons uses up more of your budget than you’d prefer.

Late last year I discovered reusable cloth pads. A lot of people wrinkle their noses at the thought of cloth pads (but what do you think our ancestors used?), but for me who has often wondered and worried about the environmental impact of disposable pads and nappies, was delighted to learn of their existence. I had used cloth nappies on my daughter when she was a baby and had wondered off and on about repurposing old nappies to create some sort of menstrual pad.

I found out a lady I know makes cloth pads so I decided to try them out. I got her to make me a pad and some panty liners (as I wear liners daily for LBL). Although there is a bit of an outlay initially for a full set of cloth pads, they will definitely save you money in the long run. On top of the savings and the benefit to the environment, there are a bunch of other awesome reasons for using cloth pads. I had been told that they will reduce period cramps, I was sceptical but again pleasantly surprised, and who wouldn’t want to reduce period cramps?? I was also told it would make the flow lighter, and here, I was very sceptical, but after trialling for over 6 months, it seems the claim appears legit. What I really liked about the cloth pads was the reduction in odour. I had always struggled to feel clean at that time of the month and that is partly due to that sickly metallic rotting meat smell I would experience every time I would take down my pants to go to the toilet. How can one expect to feel clean when emitting such a horrid smell? But the smell must have something to do with the materials in the disposable pad and how they interact with the menstrual blood (I’m really not sure), all I know is that horrid smell is not there when I use the cloth pads- YAY! Another bonus I noted was that I didn’t get nappy rash. When using disposable pads, especially is warmer weather, I would experience an uncomfortable rash on my behind. AND they stay wonderfully in place in your underwear 🙂

clothpads

Now, I hear you asking “What about tampon users?” Well you have not been forgotten. One option is the Diva Cup, though I can’t tell you much about these, as having never been a tampon user, I have never tried them. The lady who makes my pads though, is a tampon user and after doing some online research, she asked me to crochet her a tampon. I got online to do some research of my own and found that the design of these crochet tampons is quite simple, you just can’t use acrylic yarn because it won’t absorb the blood, a cotton and/or bamboo blend is the better option. See the picture below for the tampon I crocheted. (I used a yarn that is half and half cotton/bamboo).

crochettampon

These tampons use only a little yarn to make and so are a very cheap option (if you can crochet your own) for the monthly visitor.

So don’t settle for the more expensive brands of pads and tampons, unless you are happy with their performance of course. Explore other options, you may be pleasantly surprised too.

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Doesn’t Everybody Clean Their House At 2am?

My husband must have thought I’d gone off my rocker when he awoke to find me cleaning the kitchen at 2.45am this morning. Truth be told it was most likely a temporary side effect of the adjusted dosage of my fibromyalgia medication. However if has proven to be a blessing (at least for the moment, I do have a day of work at my day job to get through first) as I seemed to have gotten more housework done in these wee hours of Monday morning than I have in the last few weeks (due to a fibro flare).

But as always I can find a method in my seeming madness. Electricity is often charged at a lower rate during the night (this can depend on the plan you have with your power company), so running your energy sucking appliances such as the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer at night can save you money. While it’s not for everyone to be flitting about the house at 2am, it’s still worth running certain appliances at night, just pop on the dishwasher or dryer before bed and it can be doing its thing whilst you are winding down for the evening.

Another bonus of cleaning the house in the middle of the night is that there is no child/ren to tornado through the house in your wake undoing all the good work you’ve just done. As I look around my tidy house right now, everything is currently remaining in its place… at least until the threenager gets up in a few hours.

My brain is naturally more productive from anytime after 8pm until somewhere around 3-4am… yup sucks to be me, as it doesn’t suit society in general for people to be most productive at night, especially when you have a day job and children. My brain literally throws ideas at me until I get up and do something about it. Tonight it was cleaning the house, then some writing. But I’m not complaining (ask me at 3pm when I’ve hit that brick wall), it is serenely quiet sitting here at my computer, typing away, and listening to the little frog that resides outside the dining room window croak away.

I even managed to get some polymer clay baked tonight in the oven while I was folding washing, so I will have to show you soon what I have been up to with the clay.

Ah! 4am approaches. Good Morning All! Welcome to Monday 🙂

Inventive Ways Of Staying Warm This Winter

What I have been hearing these past couple of years from people on a low income is that their utilities bills are becoming very much unaffordable. Pensioners are sitting in their homes freezing and afraid to turn on their heating, some spend their days in shopping centres to make use of their heating (and alternatively their cooling in summer). There is nothing we can do about the cost of electricity or gas, the only thing we can really affect is our consumption of these utilities.

When faced with this reality, that the only way to reduce the cost of utilities is to reduce consumption, most people despair as life becomes miserable without the comforts of ample heating within the home. Living a frugal lifestyle when it’s forced upon you rather than a lifestyle choice, can be miserable. We don’t always have a lot of power over certain situations we find ourselves in, but we do have a choice on how we react to those situations. So, we can choose to be miserable about it, or we can turn frugal living into an adventure, a challenge, a lifestyle.

Any knitter or crocheter will be able to tell you how warm and uncomfortable it can be to knit or crochet big items in warmer weather. This is because woollen items sitting on your lap as well as hands constantly moving keep you warm. You know what it’s like on a cold day when you sit on the couch and shiver, but if you get up to do the dishes or vacuum the floor, all of a sudden you’re sweating and looking to turn the heater off. If getting up to do housework isn’t an option for you but you can knit or crochet, this might be a way to keep warm, if not to turn heating off altogether, to at least maybe turn it down to a lower setting and reducing your consumption that way.

If you do happen to be a knitter or crocheter, then you have the talent to make beautiful items to keep you warm during those cool winter months. If you have already stockpiled your home with beanies, scarves, afghans, blankets etc. then how about making items for charity? A lot of hospitals, animal shelters etc. accept donations of knitted or crocheted items. This way you can keep yourself warm by knitting or crocheting and then enjoy that lovely feeling that comes with being able to help someone less fortunate. I find that being able to make a usable donation when you yourself are on a low income is an empowering thing and can make you feel more gratitude for your particular situation.

If sitting and doing a big project from start to finish is difficult for you then a handy little thing to do when you have five minutes to spare here or there is to crochet a granny square. You can do this from leftovers/scraps of yarn, it doesn’t take long, and you can add it to a collection that months later when there are enough squares, you can then stitch them together to make a blanket or afghan. They don’t need to be the same size squares or a particular colour pattern, as sometimes an eclectic patchwork of granny squares makes a wonderfully interesting, yet functional blanket. Below is a blanket that I am working on that is inspired by Mabon/Autumn Equinox. It’s an easy little project to do in front of the TV, and you can do as many or as few as you feel like (as long as you are in no rush to finish it).

Mabon inspired granny squares.
Mabon inspired granny squares.

In my 9-5 day job I work with many people on a low income. Some have become quite resourceful over time about living frugally. Some tips I’ve picked up from people along the way, to reduce gas and electricity consumption (and water consumption) are as follows:

  • Switch all power points off at the wall when not in use.
  • Don’t leave televisions and other appliances on standby.
  • Only boil enough water in the kettle for the amount of cups you need (i.e. don’t boil a full kettle to make one cuppa).
  • Consider what appliances you really need particularly during high consumption periods, for example do you really need a coffee machine? If you decide the answer is yes, then consider if you really need a kettle? Or can you boil water on a gas stove top instead?
  • Reduce shower times or shower with your significant other! Share a bath.
  • Don’t leave lights burning in rooms that you are not in at the time, for example don’t leave the bathroom light on if everyone is in the lounge watching TV.
  • Get out of the house and stay active where you can, less time in the house means less consumption of utilities.
  • Catch water where you can, if your shower takes a while for the hot water to come through then catch the wasted water in a bucket and use it to water the garden.

With winter fast approaching here in Australia it is time to prepare for the cold months ahead with our heating bills in mind. I hope you found these few tips helpful, if you have any to add please feel free to leave them in the comments below.