zero waste glass jars
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Zero Waste No Spend Kitchen Wins

You will be surprised that you have never thought of these easy zero waste no spend hacks for the kitchen. Saving the Earth has never been more affordable, or fun. Do not worry about skill level. I can do it, you can do it!!

Affiliate links are contained in this post meaning I may take an income from any sales at no cost to yourself.

If in doubt about what a No Spend Challenge is have a read of our Getting Started Guide or have a watch of our how to YouTube video…

Bulk buying / safe storage / happy prepping!

A no spend challenge does not mean no spending! Complex I know. What it means is that you make the most of what you have got. When there is a sale or you have a coupon you must make the most of this. Capitalising on a bargain is the only time it is a bargain. So please do not be pulled in by sales for things you cannot store or use. Sometimes I have been guilty of creating more waste by ‘bargain’ shopping. I am mainly talking about your food shop here! Do not bulk buy shoes or handbags!

Zero Waste Storage Solutions

My in-laws have a serious caffeine issue. They have very kindly donated to me all of their used coffee jars for the last few months. I also have some super usefulChalk Paint which I use for SO MANY projects! So for me this makes sense…

plastic waste free jars
Bulk Buying only makes sense when you need what you are buying. To reduce waste, I use glass storage jars.

To reduce any chance of waste I store all dried goods in these sealable jars. As I have painted on them I have the space to also pop on the best before date, to the lid. This means when stored I can still see.

 

 

Grow Your Own = Zero Waste

A packet of seeds will only cost a few pounds, but will produce a high yield for your kitchen.

 

I have been swapping plants with neighbours and sometimes you will be able to grow just a few plants from seeds, and then get some young plants in exchange. Suddenly zero waste and luxury fresh food go hand in hand with budget planning. This rocks for me as

no waste here
easy to grow from seed or cuttings, you will have a never ending supply.

I always find a weekly shop with fresh fruit and vegetables will cause food waste. So therefore I go mid-week, meaning actually I spend more in the shops.

This year I have even grown lavender from seed! Always read the instructions on the packet and make sure that you look on Freecycle for people giving away plant pots.

Compost Your Veg Scraps

We have just made a compost heap from old pallets. This means we can have two bins on the go, the first we fill then move to the second one once the first is getting ready to be used. This gives us a constant supply of free, hig

h quality compost. So alongside the free pots, cuttings and seedlings we are doing ok. There is no plastic required to wrap our food up before it arrives with us, we just dig it out of the ground. I have a few clever little ideas for maximising small spaces. You could easily try things like Potato

zero waste here
Putting your waste to good use.

Towers as they are so easy on your back.

Small space – fast pace compost

We are working towards moving to a smallholding. So we have not always had a medium sized garden, or any garden in fact. So we are pretty happy with windowsill gardening – see micro greens and how to grow them.

I write all this so you realise that I understand. We do not all have massive spaces to cultivate. If you wanted to purchase a compost bin as one of your larger investments you could do worse than a ready made compost bins.But do check your local Facebook swap shops for pallets. I also like the rotating compost bin as it can be a much quicker process and flies and vermin cannot get in. Which means you can use your zero waste ethos to the max!

tips on creating tasty zero waste mealsLazy Zero Waste Cooking

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a lazy person. However, why would I waste time cooking from scratch every night? I do make sandwiches and use a beeswax wrap instead of cling film as it has a single cost attached and doesn’t make any further waste.

Next thing I do for lunch is leftovers – glamourous, wonderful leftovers. So obsessed am I with ‘no waste’ that I actually create waste by making too much food. That way I can have it reheated for lunch the next day, or use some of the ingredients for dinner the next night.

Best waste to create..

Roasted vegetables are my absolute go to. If you roast root veg you can then use it again in an omelette type dish. Or in many different ways, but if you go

Leftovers create waste to be eaten.
soups, ‘spanish’ omelettes, cold with dips, twice cooked, or frozen for a later date. Root veg rock!

for Mediterranean veg you can make soups, bases for pasta sauces and all sorts of other yummy ideas. Either way you can add as much or as little flavour as you like. If you are growing your own veg, this is virtually cost free. Perfect for a No Spend Larder Challenge! To be fair though I have a block when it comes to carrots as mine are always wonky!

 

When can an egg clean your clothes?

When it is an eco-egg! The one here says it will clean 1000 loads, I have asked several forums and the consensus seems to be even more.
so far I am very happy with ours and it works out A LOT cheaper than any other detergent available. I also have very delicate skin, and it is not having an adverse affect. So I would recommend giving it a try. Very much a better option for our oceans and our pockets!

 

inspiring bit …

I hope that I have given you all a few places to start. We are finally feeling free because of our No Spend Challenge but we have always been super keen on upcycling and reusing. I want us all to feel more confident to give things a try and if there is no cost attached I think we have nothing to lose! Please get started and let us all know how you do on our Facebook Page or by subscribing here! So time to get stuck in! Make that promise to yourself, you are going to buy the seeds, start the compost, use a wrap, save your leftovers. Whatever it takes to make the first step, you can do it!

Zero waste can mean zero cost!

I’m going to be adding more. So why not join in? why not start saving money? Why not carry on Saving the planet? I’m loving it, so might you!

30 day no spend challenge
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No Spend Challenge – Get Started

No Spend does NOT mean no spend. You are still paying rent / mortgage and all of your bills. Any existing debt can still be included in those bills. You will then set your own goals to fit in with your own life.

Why ‘No Spend’?

For our family it has always been the case that we spend what we earn. When we first got together my husband came preloaded with bad debt. We managed to live on the breadline and pull ourselves out of debt. Having never felt that we spent excessively, why do we still have no real savings? We do own our own house, or some of it at least! I am finding that we are not alone in now earning a middle range wage, no children, but no savings.

Another reason would be how much I cringe at the thought of being consumers. Our planet struggles to maintain us all, so we already grow our own as well as make our own crafts. Why not extend this? How can we not at least try?

Your reasons may be similar and I have spoken to people in the UK worried about Brexit and the cost of living going up. I have met people who have one self-employed member in the house and this worries them. Whatever your ‘why’ I can guess it boils down to insecurity about the future.

What are you spending on?

We have two sorts of cost each month, fixed and variable. The fixed ones aren’t all that ‘fixed’ actually. A good mortgage advisor would come in handy each time you need to remortgage and there are ways to negotiate a good price. I am changing job so my super efficient hybrid on higher purchase may need to be tweaked to reduce our overall costs. Our Gas and Electric are not on a fixed term contract so we will look at price comparison sites every 6 months to stay ahead on the amount we spend. I am looking at our water bill and whether we might be better off with a water meter this summer.


We have never been able to stick to looking at receipts to see how much we spend on variable costs. You can see the start of the problem there! However with the no-spend year we don’t intend to. By popping some rules together we will be able to cut all of the variable spending to the minimum.

Rules –

  1. no cutting back on FairTrade products. This is a non-negotiable really as I have been out in countries where modern day slavery has been deployed to bring us cheap foods. It is icky and not something I would like to support.
  2. small steps are also important, see the tier system below!
  3. homemade is acceptable as an alternative, we will look to reuse, recycle and repurpose where we can.
  4. fix first then look to replace
  5. money for pets not to be adjusted, we have furry friends who need certain essentials. That said I do intend to create a lot of toys for them still
  6. medicine is not to be affected. This is particularly important as poor Paddy has just come off his motor bike and he needs dressings and pain medication still
  7. We may need a bit of discretion around gift giving as we have two young nephews and a niece. We are thinking for the older one to give experience days though.

I have a YouTube channel so check out my scary video on the subject!

 

No Spend Tier System

So I have set up the Tier system. It is a bit like when we start a new diet and go all out to ensure we hit our first weeks target. It is not always sustainable and with the best will in the world cutting out carbs or only eating potatoes is not the most exciting way to live!

So we want this detox to work and a no spend year will have everything that life can throw at you in any given year! So if you are suddenly visiting sick relatives in hospital, do not be afraid of getting a quick coffee as a pick me up! You can’t always be thermos flask ready! With the Tier system I intend to start off realistically and if one month is particularly hard I can drop down a Tier. I will show you what they look like for us and you can have a think too.

Tier 1.

No online shopping for anything other than groceries. New clothes, shoes, jewellery, perfume, make up – all banned! Cancel that Netflix. Visit the gym for the first time to get money back and stop any future payments!

Now that I have scared you all, fancy a declutter? Start to get some income as well as no spend! We will talk more about what to do with your unwanted stuff later on!

Tier 2.

Oh no this is the big one for us! No eating out; lunches, nope. Coffees? Oh poop no! Sandwich on the train to a meeting? Only from your beeswax wrap my love! Sneaky doughnut from the staff canteen? A minute to the lips a lifetime to the ‘no spend’ fail room.

This should be achievable and surely we will start to feel that these are more ‘treats’ once we are done?

No luxury bathroom goodies, or garden treats. A big one for me are plants. So I am squeezing seeds for food into the groceries category, but I am not being hedonistic with it! I will frugally still accept gifts of seeds from others as well as swap mine.

Tier 3.

Hardcore no spend only! Travel expenses to be cut. I am going to be 2.3 miles from work so surely I can walk/cycle or run? For a year? Holidays to be cost free. I will be unpicking all of these things along the way so don’t worry! Gifts for free or homemade. This may be hard as there are often times at work when you need to give a donation – a leaving gift or maternity. So we are happy to still be generous here, or offer a handmade alternative! We will also avoid spending on interior decorating. This is a tough one as we have only lived here three months. We still have lots of DIY to do around the place – luckily we have all the power tools we need!

 

How are we going to manage an entire year of no spend?

By still having fun! Beauty products can be homemade and fun girlie nights in arranged. Hosting a games night, with homemade pizza can be great. Date nights can be movie nights and we can build our own BBQ in the Summer. We can arrange a clothes swap or attend ones which are available in our local area. There are museums to visit and even open air productions for free.

Using the Tier system will allow us to go deeper one month than another. If it is pouring with rain I will not feel guilty for driving to work, I will just need to be aware that it will impact on our overall success.

 

Over to You!

I will be sharing ways we are reducing our spending throughout the year and let you know if I need to drop down a Tier at all. I will be making my own old fashioned cleaning products. Alongside beauty products made from the garden.

There is no one way to do this.

It is up to you.

Dip into Tier one first month then progress to Tier three, one week each month for the rest of the year. Look to adopt elements from each Tier or skip and just do Tier 2 and 3? Up to you and your families needs. Keep on track by sharing how much you are saving with the rest of the family, or just keep a secret stash account for paying off the mortgage? Whatever your reason why, let’s do this together!

I am starting this fully on April 6th 2019 as it is the start of the financial year. It is a challenge so I will share the bleakness as well as the surprise successes.

Good luck and let’s make this work!

 

Urgent Financial Help

If you are in dire need of emergency financial advice and the debt is getting too much have a look at Citizens Advice website as they have even more useful advice.

However, if you want to have a sneak peak at some of our crafty upcycling to date check outour Crafty Up-Cycling pages here and equally if you want to get some growing started have a look at our Veggie Patch pages here.

 

Best of luck getting started!