We’re all feeling the crunch, so why spend money on unnecessary products and services when there are things you can do yourself in your own home for less and, more importantly, BETTER? These life hacks will have you saving cash without even trying, so read on to find out all sorts of clever ways to save money without even leaving your house!
1. Make your own mayo
It really couldn’t be any simpler, and it’s one of the easiest ways to save money since you probably already have these ingredients in your kitchen. Plus it’s REALLY delicious — winning!
2. Grow your own flowers
Fresh flowers in the home are lovely, but that weekly R80 bunch can rack up over a year, so why not rather grow your own? All you need are a few packets of flower seeds, some seed trays and space in your flower beds for the plants once they get established. Result? Fresh bunches for at least six months of the year! And don’t forget bunches of leaves can look gorgeous too. Here’s what you need to know:
- Annuals are the easiest flowers to grow — these are plants that sprout, flower, produce seed and die in the space of one year. The added bonus is that the seeds are super affordable.
- Choose sweetpeas, zinnias, cornflowers and cosmos for a gorgeous selection of colour and scent.
- Try an plant the seeds in seed trays in the winter months and keep them somewhere warm — a windowsill is ideal. When the seedlings are big enough, transplant them into bigger pots and keep them somewhere sheltered from the frost.
- Once the weather warms up in October, plant them out in their final position in your garden and wait for them to bloom. Don’t forget to keep the soil moist.
3. Colour your own hair
Nobody wants a bad hair day, but we all know that a trip to the hair dresser — especially to touch up your colour (greys? What greys?!) — can cost a pretty penny! At-home hair kits are real bargains, with most costing around R100, and they’re so easy to use.
The colour ranges and qualities have improved so much too, so there’s no excuse not to try them. Just remember to use Vaseline around your hairline to stop your hair dye staining your skin.
4. Make your own bistro-inspired salad to last a week
A simple chopped salad to make ahead that will last at least four days — great for lunchboxes and weeknight dinners.
- 1 head iceberg or Romaine lettuce
- 4 sticks of celery
- 200g radishes
- 1⁄2 bunch of parsley
- 100g baby spinach or rocket
Wash all the leaves well and spin in a salad spinner to remove the excess water (or wrap the leaves in a clean tea towel and shake well). Roughly chop the lettuce and put in a large sealable tub. Finely slice the celery, halve or quarter the radishes and roughly chop the parsley. Add to the lettuce with the baby spinach or rocket; mix and chill.
5. Be your own hairstylist
We all love an excuse to dress up and rock our favourite frock, but all the little bits and pieces for a night on the town, wedding or fancy function can add up. It’s another one of our simple ways to save money, so rather than spending money at the hairdresser, try one of these super fab styles that will leave you feeling like a million bucks without costing it.
6. Hem your own trousers
You don’t need to be a seamstress to be able to alter the length of your pants, so why pay someone else to do something you can do yourself?
- Start by unpicking the original hem.
- Try on your trousers while wearing your favourite shoes, then fold the hem of both legs to the length you want and pin in place.
- Take off the trousers and use your tape measure to check that your hem is straight and the same on both sides.
- Press with a hot iron, then sew the new hem using a simple catch stitch. Voila!
Read more: 30 tips to help you save money
7. Make your own salad dressings
Another one of our clever ways to save money is to make some simple dressings using up everyday ingredients. No extra shopping needed, no throwing away of unused ingredients, and delish dressing on call? Yes please!
- Mustard, honey & lemon
In a jar, shake together 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp honey and 5 tbsp sunflower or light olive oil.
Shake together 2 tbsp white wine vinegar, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 large clove of garlic, crushed, and 6 tbsp light olive oil. Season and shake again.
- Chilli & lime
Shake together the zest and juice of 2 limes, 1 mild red chilli, finely chopped, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp honey or brown sugar and 5 tbsp sunflower oil.
8. Grow a windowsill herb garden
Those bags of fresh herbs at the supermarket are convenient, but they’re expensive and you often end up having to throw the leftovers away. Why not grow your own? Here’s how:
- First, choose your seeds. Make sure you choose seeds that are good for growing inside, such as basil, marjoram, dill, chives and parsley.
- Next, choose your pots — for a cheap and rustic idea, why not recycle baked bean or soup tins? Remove the food label, lid and smooth rough edges, clean thoroughly, make holes in the under side then fill with a seed compost (you can buy this from any garden centre).
- Use one pot for each variety of seed that you have chosen and sprinkle the seeds lightly across the surface of the soil.
- Moisten the soil with a water spray and then, to encourage them to germinate, cover the pot with a clear freezer bag to create a mini greenhouse. Keep the soil moist and your seeds should grow in a few weeks. The herbs will be ready to use in cooking after about six weeks.
TIP: When picking your herbs, don’t take more than a third of the plant at a time — this will help it recover, giving you more later.
9. Make your own bread
Not only does this taste great, but it’s really good exercise for the bingo wings too, so add it to your list of ways to save money immediately!
- 225g white flour, plus extra for dusting
- 7g instant yeast
- 1 tsp castor sugar
- 1 tsp flaked salt, crushed, plus extra to sprinkle
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp sesame, sunflower or poppy seeds, optional
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, yeast, sugar and crushed salt. Make a well in the middle and pour in 170ml warm water and 2tbsp oil. Mix with a spoon or your hands to form a soft
- Turn out and knead for 6-8 min. Dust a baking tray with flour, add the dough and form into a large oval. Cover with clingfilm and leave somewhere warm for an hour until doubled in size.
- Heat oven to 200°C. Remove the clingfilm and score the dough with a knife. Drizzle with remaining oil and sprinkle with salt and seeds. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until deep golden.
Top money saving tip: Double the recipe and make a spare loaf to freeze.
10. Beat the dry-cleaners
It’s pricey, time-consuming and not very green, so why not try these alternatives?
- If you have a delicate wash on your machine, this should be fine for cashmere and silk.
- Most clothes are washable in cold water. Don’t soak, and never squeeze out.
- There are loads of good hand-washing powders on the market, and they get odours and spot stains out of most clothes.
11. Do a DIY gel manicure
Gel manicures are the choice for long-wearing, anti-chip nail colour, but it can cost at least R250 every time you go! Buying an at-home gel manicure set may seem like a splurge initially, but they actually work out cheaper per manicure in the long run.
Top money saving tip: Stick to the classics like red and plum — you’ll soon get sick of the more ‘faddy’ colours.
12. Make your own beauty products
Buying olive oil and sea salt when you’re next at the supermarket (although, you probably already have some in your cupboard) and mixing them up — 5tbsp salt to 1tbsp olive oil — will not only cost you next to nothing, it’ll do pretty much the same job as any good scrub. And since you’re mastering making your own products, why not try your hand at homemade soap, too?