Friday, 27 January 2012

Living on Less Money - Ways to Save

People often ask me how we manage financially since we have 'downshifted' our lives and the answer is quite simple ...We improvise. Most things we do or want in life there is always a cheaper alternative and when I say cheaper I don't mean the quality of the product or experience is less, I just mean in the financial sense. 

We recycle as much as we can ie; our old bed will soon be a bench for the garden (blog post to follow), we make furniture from driftwood and old pallets, in fact we don't just stop at furniture we have made a tree house, hen house, garden furniture, decking and fencing all from pallet wood. Some clothing can be re-used for cleaning cloths, patchwork crafting, old jumpers can be turned into leg warmers and mittens etc. The list is just endless. With a bit of imagination you can save a fortune and live on far less money.

I'm not saying we never buy anything new, of course we do. I like a new outfit or kitchen gadget as much as the next person. We love good quality garden tools and having a decent telly. The kids like most phones, games consoles etc. But we are careful, we are frugal and we rarely pay full price for anything. We spend time looking for reduced items and special offers, we grow as much as we can and keep chickens.

Spending less money does take more effort but it really is so satisfying and leaves more time to spend together as a couple and as a family. Before we downshifted we both worked around the clock. We were like passing ships in the night and after so many years it chipped away at us and destroyed us. It ruined our relationship and lead to a separation. When we got back together we knew things had to change and since we have  downshifted our lives we are happier than we have ever been. The previous pressure we felt has been relieved.

One of the things we do to save money is create useful items from pallet wood. During the warmer months Papa spends time collecting discarded pallets from local businesses. If you wander around to your nearest industrial estate and spot some pallets out the back then just ask if they mind you taking them away. Most of the time they say yes as it saves them the time of getting rid of them. 

We have saved a massive amount of money by using pallet wood and the things we have made with it are used daily. My whole garden has been built with pallet wood.

Have you used pallet wood to save money or to make something useful?

 This blog post is part of the Thrifty families blog carnival over at Family Budgeting


  1. That's funny because I'm on my way out the door to get me some more pallets! Haven't made anything quite yet- but have a zillion ideas:-) Thank you for the inspiration!

  2. ohhhh Katie, you'll have to do a blog post and show us when you do get around to using your pallets. Im always on the look out for fresh ideas x

  3. Hello I've just stumbled across your site & just wanted to say that I like your pallet recycling (& that photo of your perching hens is just wonderful!).

  4. My shed on the allotment is made from pallets.....and I'm planning on using pallet wood to make shelves for in my dining room (sanded back of course so no one gets splinters!) doing a bit of wood work :)

  5. I need a new fence and bam there you are! Partner is chuffed to bits. Perfect post timing! xx

  6. Thanks Everyone. It does take a little extra work to be frugal but its worth it isn't it.

    Thrifty Household - Thanks for stopping by - I Love your blog x

    Things and stuff - We made some shelves from pallet wood for our lounge...we sanded them and gave them a coat of varnish, they look really nice & rustic. They are also really strong x

    Cupcake Mumma - Pallet wood is perfect for fencing - free & solid. I have a white picket fence out the front that we also made from pallets. All you need to buy are the nails, gate hinges & posts. You can re-use the pallet nails if you wanted and sometimes posts can be found on industrial estates too (always ask first before taking them though). Our local businesses know us now and keep wood aside for us x

    Lady Guru - Thats Fantastic. Getting all you need for a fraction of the price is satisfying isnt it. I wish we had realised it when we first started our family x

  7. Great post, my dad uses pallet boxes for things all the OH is not so handy ;)



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