After a shopping trip yesterday, it got me to thinking about how the sunshine affects a family on a budget. Maybe some of these ways of saving money in the sun might help.
It goes without saying that sunny weather makes for great drying. Sunshine is the most fantastic bleach, if you have white sheets with stains on them, babygros or vests that have blotches, wash them in powder only (no softener) and hang them out to dry in direct sunlight from morning until evening. If you’re scared of spiders, don’t leave your clothes out overnight or you will find their webs between clothes pegs and clothes. Try not to squish or destroy the spiders as they will naturally manage flies in the garden, gently remove them from clothes pegs and release back into the grass.
We’ve a water butt that we use to collect water from our gutters all year around. In this weather we use it for watering our plants. Keep an eye out as you can sometimes get them on special. If this sunny spell continues a hosepipe ban and water restrictions are only a matter of a few days away. This way we get around any limits put on our water usage as long as we have water in the butt. In the next few years, we’ll have water meters so the water butt will save us money in the long run.
If you’re using sun cream, you’re going to need to wash it off at the end of the day. Immersions are expensive to use. Everytime you flick that switch it could cost you as much as €1.50 to heat a full tank from cold. If you have a gas boiler, turn the valve so that every single radiator is off but you heat the hot water alone. Set your timer for the gas boiler to turn on for a maximum of 45 minutes at a time. I have mine set to heat in the morning and in the evening for 90 minutes total over a full day. It is cheaper than turning on the immersion and I’m sure of having hot water all through the day because of a well insulated hot water tank. This means I also use hot water from the tap for my washing up instead of boiling a kettle which is also expensive to run.
There have been points over the past week where I’ve cursed the ice cream van and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Instead of buying expensive ice creams from the van, I’m sticking lollipop sticks into the top of each pot in a tray of fromage frais, then freezing the entire tray. To serve I loosen the ice pops by running an individual pot until a little warm water then jiggling them around a bit.
I keep a couple of small plastic bottles 3/4 full with water in the freezer. Never fill them to the top as water expands when it is frozen. They make for a combination of a cheap cooler pack and a handy slushy cold drink when you’re out and about.