It’s all very well to save money on food shopping – but what about the other stuff? I reckon that at least a third of my shopping bill each week is on non-foodstuffs. Admittedly we have three cats who will only eat expensive cat food: I buy three boxes of 12 pouches a week for £11 and that just about lasts if supplemented by biscuits – another £3 or so. There’s no point in trying them on the cheap stuff: they just turn their noses up at it. I am planning on downgrading our toilet rolls from Andrex to own brand once my stockpile (thanks to special offers, not Brexit-induced paranoia) runs out.
But where I think I could save money is on cleaning products. I’ve done a quick calculation using Tesco’s website and I think it would cost more than £20 to buy all the products I have under the sink. The first saving would be on dishwasher tablets, rinse aid and salt: £9 for 84 Fairy tablets. Rinse aid (own brand is fine) is £1.30 and salt (own brand) £1.70 for 3kgs. I could save money by using own-brand tablets – Lidl’s are £3.29 for 40, so roughly half the price of branded ones. But I’m saving even more by not using the dishwasher at all: no pricey electricity, either. A bottle of washing up liquid costs 50p from Tesco. I will eventually cave in and use the dishwasher but at the moment I’m getting my hands wet instead.
I buy cleaning wipes: environmentally damaging as well as expensive (£1.75 for 80 Dettol wipes on offer at Tesco. Then there’s floor cleaner (£2 a litre); furniture polish (60p for 300mls); window cleaner 70p for 500ml); toilet cleaner (£1.75 for 750ml); surface cleaner (£1 for 500ml); bath cleaner (£1 for 500ml); disinfectant (120ml Zoflora, £1.30) and sink unplugger, £3.40 for 300ml. I also buy Lakeland’s oven cleaner at £7.99 for 500ml because it’s really good and doesn’t make me feel ill when I’m using it.
I can ditch most of the above for bicarbonate of soda, white vinegar, lemon juice and soda crystals. This combination of acids and alkalis should clean up most grease and grime. Bicarb (alkaline) plus lemon juice (acid) certainly works on brightening up the stainless steel taps. I’ve previously done the trick of sealing the shower head in a plastic bag full of vinegar or lemon juice overnight to get rid of limescale (again, it’s the acid – vinegar – fighting the alkaline – limescale). Amazon has 3kgs of bicarb for £9.87 which is a lot cheaper than buying small tubs from the baking aisle of the supermarket. White vinegar is 39p for 568mls at Tesco which has 1kg of soda crystals for £1 and 500mls of lemon juice for £1. I would add a bottle of bleach for 45p for the toilets and washing up liquid at 50p. I try to clean the cooker with a paste of bicarb. It kind of works and is easy enough. But it doesn’t get it as the proper stuff. I’m going to try cleaning the plugholes with baking soda rather than using sink unplugger. I’m not keen on cleaning the windows with vinegar as I think it will make the house smell like a chip shop. But maybe the saving will help me ignore the smell.
And see our SMM guide to saving on shopping.