Let’s Extend Self-Care to Our Possessions

A few days ago I was paying for something in a shop, and as I approached the till my partner and I both noticed that there was a handbag sitting on the counter. It was a very expensive designer handbag; open, with what appeared to be a large amount of cash simply sitting on top. The customer in front of us was a man with a young boy and it didn’t belong to him. The lady at the till had no recollection of who may had left it there. We handed it over and a supervisor came to check for identification so she could make an announcement . We can only assume that the owner eventually realised that they were without their bag, and returned to retrieve it. But it got me thinking… 

Do we value everything we own? Do we treat our valuables, and our hard earned money, with the care that we should? We are encouraged, and rightly so, to keep self-care as a priority – but are we also extending this self-care to items that we own? I put together a quick list of 10 ways we could extend our self-care principles to our possessions. Indeed, for those who may find it difficult to start on a self-care journey, starting with taking care of the things you own can put you in the right frame of mind. Not to mention the cost savings – if we take care of what we own, we buy less and eventually we learn to own less too. 

🚗 Keep your car clean, tidy and regularly maintained, check your tyres, oil and water 

👖 Store your clothes properly, don’t throw them in a pile (guilty), wash them according to labels, mend as required 

👠 Don’t chuck shoes on top of each other, store them neatly, wash trainers, buff leather 

👜 Keep your handbag organised, free from clutter and don’t leave money loose inside (and don’t leave it behind you in the shop!) 

🛌 Protect your furniture, rotate kitchen chairs, flip cushions & mattresses, use protective ‘feet’ to save your floors 

🏡 Keep on top of house maintenance, don’t let anything fall into disrepair – it will be more economical in the long run 

🍴 Protect your oven, clean it regularly and use a non-stick sheet on the bottom to catch any food 

🔌 Try to fix things when possible – see if you can repair the kettle/zip/lamp before they end up in the bin 

📱 Mind your electronics, invest in a good phone case, ensure you store and carry your laptop correctly, allow your batteries to run down every now and then to help the longevity 

📂 Keep important documents together, have a stationery drawer, keep birthday supplies together – when everything has a place; you save time and you save money 

10 Easy Steps to Reduce Food Waste

In Ireland, there is over 1 million tonnes of food waste disposed of each year. This is approximately the weight of ten thousand space shuttles or 100 Eiffel Towers! This is simply shocking, and that is only for Ireland. We need to all do what we can to bring this figure down and there are many ways to do this. Today I want to share 10 of the easier steps that each of us could take to reduce our household food waste. 

1. Meal Planning 

Plan your meals for the week ahead and make a Shopping List based on those meals 

2. Avoid Impulse Buying 

When you’re at the supermarket, avoid going ‘off-list’. If you see something new that you’d like to try, make a note to include it on next week’s meal plan 

3. Make Meals that can be Used in Multiple Ways 

For example, a Bolognese can be served with pasta, but can also be turned into a Shepherds Pie or a Chili Con Carne. A Roast Chicken can be used for a rice or pasta dish, soup, sandwiches or salad 

4. Buy Exactly what you Need 

Buy the quantities you need – don’t buy a large bag of Carrots if you only need 3. Buy the exact amount of Bananas you know you will eat. 

5. Freeze Prepared Veg rather than let it go to Waste 

Sometimes it is not possible to buy only the quantity that you need, or it may be more economical to buy a larger pack. Often we buy Celery and only need a couple of sticks, chop up and freeze the rest so that you have it ready for the next time you need it 

6. Keep a Note of Everything you have at Home 

Be aware of what’s already in your Freezer, Fridge or Pantry. This helps to avoid unnecessarily buying things on the double. Keep an eye on the expiration dates to ensure everything gets used 

7. Have Leftovers for Lunch or Freeze them 

If you have leftovers from dinner, consider having them for the next day’s lunch. You could also freeze the leftovers for a quick dinner on days when you don’t feel like cooking 

8. Store Food Properly 

Make sure open packets are stored airtight – keep a roll of sellotape close by and use it for pasta bags and biscuit/cracker packets. Learn which Fruit & Veg should be left out versus in the fridge. Use airtight reusable lunchboxes for baking supplies or open packs of cheese and ham. 

9. Share Dishes when Eating Out 

If you’re eating out; consider sharing meals. 1 starter, 1 main course and 1 dessert between 2 means the chance of food waste is less, and you’ll keep costs low. I love starters, so would even suggest choosing 3 starters to share rather than a main meal 

10. Monitor what you throw away 

Over a few weeks, keep a notepad in the kitchen and write down every food item that gets wasted. There may be things you are buying that you don’t get to eat, or only partially eat. You may find your portion sizes are too big. If it helps to tie each item to an amount, you would likely be shocked at how much money is being wasted on uneaten food 

Breaking News – Spend Less than you Earn!

Breaking News coming to you from One Foot in the Save HQ tonight!! Our income, whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, needs to be greater than our expenses for that period. This is the most obvious thing in the world, but if we think about it – there is likely very few of us that have fully lived by that philosophy. If we did, we would not have car loans, credit cards, personal loans etc.  

If you are buying things now and paying for them later….it’s likely that your income is not greater than your expenses. 

If you say that you have no time to budget and you’re not too sure of the exact amounts of what’s coming in versus what’s going out….it’s likely that your income is not greater than your expenses. 

If you say to yourself “Sure I’m on a high salary, of course I can afford X/Y/Z”, without actually doing the math to see if you can….it’s likely that your income is not greater than your expenses. 

If you are buying or doing things because everyone else is….it’s likely that your income is not greater than your expenses. 

If you continually keep a rolling balance owing on your credit card from month to month, without acting on a plan to clear it off….it’s likely that your income is not greater than your expenses. 

If you find that pay day often signifies the time when you pay people back for money borrowed to simply ‘get by’ the previous month….it’s likely that your income is not greater than your expenses. 

So the biggest change we can make for ourselves and our financial future is to start living by this rule. I’ll say it again in mantra-esque style… “My income should be greater than my expenses”. Repeat it. Maybe again just for fun. Ask yourself are you living by this. If not, try to identify the reasons that you are not. Make it your goal. 

The Path to Freedom

If you’re starting on your savings journey, are stuck in a rut, or even simply curious about wanting to have more money at the end of the month, I wanted to do a quick recap on what I have done so far and my next steps towards financial freedom. 

1.       Track and Analyse your Spending 

See exactly where your money is going. You work hard enough for your income – are you happy that you are maximising it’s value? Choose a month to review or start tracking every single purchase/bill from today 

2.       Cancel any unnecessary subscriptions 

Do you have any Streaming/Music/Delivery subscriptions that you could do without and/or don’t use? Cancel them and see how much extra money you could put towards debt or savings. 

3.       Switch Providers 

Shop around for cheaper electricity, gas, phone, broadband, waste collection, insurance, even mortgage. Look at all of your bills, see if you can get better value elsewhere. Also check with your current provider to see if loyalty is rewarded by way of discount. 

4.       Start Meal Planning 

Pick one day each week to plan out the week’s breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Try to include what you already have at home, and make a shopping list for the rest that’s required. 

5.       Set a Grocery Budget 

If you don’t already have one, set a weekly or monthly grocery shopping budget. You’ll be surprised how far you will make your money work for you when you are capped to a certain amount. Make it a challenge! Buy more own-brand items. 

6.       Start an Emergency Fund 

Start contributing money every month to an Emergency fund – we can budget for what we know, but all we can do is prepare for the unknown. Make sure that you have a rainy day fund for the unexpected events so that you don’t have to reach for that credit card. 

7.       Pay Off Debt 

I am on a path to attack and eliminate my debt. Apart from my mortgage, I have a Credit Card balance, a Personal Loan and a Car Loan; and I am attacking them in that order. I’m hitting the debt with the highest interest first, and making the largest payment I can each month. 

8.       Investing 

To start with, I am doing a regular savings investment account. When I have paid off all of my debt, I will research additional investment opportunities. I am also making sure that I am contributing the maximum possible to my employer provided pension. 

9.       Saving Pots 

Apart from the emergency fund, investments and pension, it’s a wise idea to keep other saving pots for costs that you know will happen throughout the year. Ideas for these saving pots are Christmas, Birthdays, Car, Insurance Premiums, Holidays.