The best ‘cheap’ changes which positively impacted my life

I’m one of these annoying individuals who save a good chunk of their money and still don’t look like they are giving something up. And that’s accomplished with some really small changes. I am today showing four of the many such small changes which I can truly say I have implemented in my life, am sticking with and am seeing actual benefits to my life from.

Making my own deodorant

I’m not kidding. This one is a biggie to start with. Did you know that you can make your own deodorant, smell good and not worry about the ton of dodgy sh*t cheap supermarket deodorants contain that might or might not give you cancer?

Switching to a natural deodorant initially had a big cost and two important benefits for me. The cost was close to 10x that of a regular deodorant which you can get for less than £1. It did not deter me because after trying one, my armpits are happy with the skin a lot soother to when I used regular deodorants, even when I sweat. They look nicer too – first big benefit. This is because my sweat glands are not being clogged up by aluminium, talcum powder and wherever else, instead they’re just allowed to do what they were made to do. Secondly, because natural deodorants work by incorporating antibacterial ingredients such as coconut oil, even when I do get sweaty, I don’t smell. Even when I spend hours exercising.

And now onto the homemade part. Shop-bought natural deodorants are comparatively much more expensive than the regular ones – this is because of the ingredients they contain, the manufacturing process and much better ingredients. But they also have a significant marketing mark-up and I didn’t want to pay it. So I looked into the ingredients, realised that I have most of them at home and I made my own for less than the regular deodorant’s price. The base recipe for a natural deodorant is simple: some coconut oil, some baking soda, few drops of your favourite essential oil and some arrowroot powder or cornstarch to bind it all together.

Cleaning the house with vinegar and water solution (and on occasion, baking soda)

I have wooden worktops. And two cats. And a lot of windows and mirrors. And floorboards on the upper floor. There is a lot if cleaning, moping and de-greasing going on and there is no way I’d be buying a bottle of multipurpose cleaner every month. Instead, I buy a £0.29p bottle of distilled vinegar, not worry about wearing protective gear and just give the place a good scrub every few days. It’s a great antibacterial, anti fungal non-toxic cleaner which does not bother all that wood and works on shiny surfaces, including glass and mirrors. The non-toxic part is particularly important if you have kids and pets – they lick everything. I don’t mind the smell either, it never lingers. And yes, it works surprisingly well in removing dirt and grime!

Bringing lunches to work

I like a good lunch. It’s something that can be expensive if bought, so I make myself cook it. And over the years I discovered something unexpected around the act of meal prepping and subsequently bringing lunches in. As you probably know, the meal prep starts with a meal plan and a trip to get the groceries. However, because bringing my own food to work almost daily saves so much compared to buying lunch, I end up with enough savings to feel quite guilt-free over having my groceries delivered. So the two hours I’d spend in store I can spend on meal prepping instead. And the 30 minutes I’d be running around The City to find something suitable I can instead spend writing this blogpost. So perversely to the common opinion that meal prep takes time, I’ve found that it saves time if you can commit to it. I’m committed.

Running outside instead of going to the gym

I used to go to the gym probably around 4 times per week. I also paid accordingly, sweated accordingly and joined some good classes. But I got to the point in life where I really stopped enjoying the act of communal sweating. So I switched to outdoor exercise, namely running. And I will say, if running on a treadmill is boring AF, running outdoor is not much of an improvement on that except for my vitamin D level going up and my costs going down. I don’t look at the calorie count of my activities as I did in the gym, the small numbers stopped being interesting when I moved into the fresh air. Now I simply focus on getting one foot in front of the other, breathing and occasionally showing the finger to some random or another who cuts in my way. Exercise in the gym was never something that got me out of my own head, but running outdoor does, and with that comes more calm and perspective, both highly desired. And for the cost? I already had the clothes and shoes, so zero.

The above are all small changes – and yet all significant. Would you try any of them in order to benefit your pocket, and also your life? And if any, what changes have you implemented that also brought unexpected positive side effects?

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