Parks are a budgeting mums no. 1 summer budgeting activity option.

 Local parks can be absolute lifeline for all parents for the following 2 reasons: they are free and open all year round …hurray. Usually empty of big kids on a weekday, they are usually well maintained by the council, safe, and they help your little one expend loads and loads of energy and they usually have a bench for you to rest your weary feet. They are also lots of fun.

park

 Don’t ever let the weather put you off, get wellies and an all in one rain thingy (for baby not for you, you would look really stupid no matter how practical!) and brave it anyway. Children are so much better behaved when they have run off their excess energy and got some fresh air and it will perk you up too if you are having a down day.

puddles

Parks also a good place for them and you to make new friends, pick leaves for pictures, jump in puddles, have races, practice on bikes etc. Magical. Even if your baby isn’t yet walking a little swing and a play in the sandpit as well as seeing other children play is great stimulation.

sandpit

 As they get bigger a flask and a book (for you of course!) aren’t a bad idea!

If your park isn’t the business get campaigning to your local newspaper/MP or anyone who will listen. If you want to comment on your local park go check out www.greenstat.org.uk/   GreenSTAT is a system that gives people the opportunity to comment on the quality of their open spaces and how well they feel they are being managed and maintained . Writing and complaining to a local paper can often help too.

 Do take action your local park is going to be a vital part of your life for the next few years!

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Thanks Kate for a fab, green guest post that affects all of us…some top tips indeed! Over to Kate….

Thanks to Becky at Baby Budgeting for allowing me to write this guest post. I’m expecting my first child in May and invested in “How to afford time off with your baby” a few months ago. I really enjoyed reading it and felt compelled to offer a few of the money saving, green tips I have learned working at kitchen appliance retailer, Appliances Online…

When it comes to eco-friendly tips, the words green and cheap often go hand in hand, especially in the world of kitchen appliances. The most obvious way to go green is to choose the most energy efficient models in your budget next time you upgrade, which will save you money in the long run. But if you’re not ready to change your appliances there are still ways you can reduce energy usage (and electricity bills) in the kitchen. Here are my top five tips:

1.      Cool leftovers before freezing – using leftovers is a great way to save on grocery bills but make sure the food has cooled before freezing or putting it in the fridge. If you put hot food in a fridge or freezer it will raise the internal temperature of the appliance. This can spoil your stored food and your appliance has to work harder to regain its original temperature – which unnecessarily wastes energy.

2.      Use your sensor tumble dry settings – yes, in an ideal world we’d all be line drying our clothes to save on electricity but in the “lovely” British climate this isn’t always possible. Plus, if you live in an apartment like I do, you probably won’t have the space to air your clothes outside so you’ll find you have days where the tumble dryer is in very high demand.

Sensor drying stops means the machine automatically stops when the laundry is done. Many of us just estimate the length of cycle with the timer settings and this leads to over drying and energy wastage.

3.      Iron clothes when damp – leave a little moisture in your tumble dried clothes and they’ll iron more easily. The benefits of this are threefold; you save energy in your tumble dryer, you don’t waste water re-dampening the fabric to get rid of difficult creases, and ironing is far easier (which saves electricity as well as your valuable time). Sensor tumble dryers often have several drying levels to help you choose – cupboard dry, hanger dry and iron dry.

4.      Use your pan lids – because heat can’t escape a covered pan will boil water in a fraction of the time of an uncovered pan. Not only does this save energy, it’ll help get tea on the table much more quickly.

5.      Completely cover hob burners with pans – using a pan which doesn’t completely cover the burner on your hob allows heat and energy to escape – so save energy by not using small pans on large burners.

Hope this post has been useful – for more kitchen appliance tips you can read the Appliances Online blog.

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Thanks to Jessica at Green Families for this brilliant green and budget consious post

Green and Budget-Conscious Cleaning

According to 2007 statistics, the average family spends over £2 a day on household cleaning supplies. You can cut these costs AND get rid of all the toxic chemicals through supplies found in your pantry without sacrificing germ-killing power. And all while having a positive impact on the earth!

For example, did you know that vinegar kills 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold and 80% of germs? That’s pretty powerful stuff!

Here are some simple, easy and effective solutions that you can make yourself with just a little time and effort:

All-purpose cleaner (also makes a great shower cleaning spray):
Mix 2 cups water, 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 big squirt of eco-friendly dishwashing detergent.


Wood polisher:
Mix two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice – and it smells great to boot!

Window cleaner:
Mix 1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent,?3 tablespoons vinegar, and 2 cups water ?in a spray bottle. OR just use vinegar directly on the window, depending on dirt levels.

Drain cleaner:
Mix 1/2 cup baking soda, 1 cup vinegar, and 4 cups water. Dissolve baking soda and vinegar in boiling water. Pour the solution down the drain, cover with a drain plug for several minutes,
then flush with hot tap water until the clog breaks.

Air Deodorizer (one of the most toxic products that we can use in our homes):
Mix 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp vinegar, 2 cups water, and 10 drops of your favorite essential oil in a spray bottle.

Another easy way to freshen your home is to simmer some water on stove and add cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, peppermint ,etc.

For general limescale around sinks or in a kettle,

Use a bit of vinegar in with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda and some water to dissolve. (I could write a whole post on limescale alone – never experienced anything like it until I moved to the UK.)

Take some advice from my mother and use bicarbonate of soda directly on carpet stains. Follow-up with some vinegar and you have a cheap and safe way to get rid of carpet stains and
smells.

Lemons are also great for cleaning and shining too, including copper and brass.

If you don’t have time or the desire for the DIY options, I can happily recommend Ecover or Method products. We use Ecover’s washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets, and even their laundry
liquid. And I must say Method’s Ylang Ylang Shower Spray is my latest guilty pleasure. If you are watching carefully, you can find great deals on these brands as well. And it’s best, if
possible, to buy in bulk with less packaging and less cost overall.

Here’s to a green and clean home!

Jessica St. Clair
Green Families
www.greenfamilies.co.uk
0753 107 2029
www.twitter.com/greenfamiliesuk 

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 Earth Day

Earth day is coming soon and you might want to plan a prty. If you child loves to have a celebration and a bit of a party this is a brilliant reason. Here’s some info. 

Earth Day began in 1970 in the USA and is celebrated on 22nd April each year. It is a day to think about our planet and what we can do to keep it healthy; to think about saving water and energy, reducing pollution, recycling, protecting our animals, trees and plants, and generally getting kids interested in protecting their environment.


Here are ten ideas for celebrating Earth Day with your children:

  •  Sow some tomatoes/strawberries or whatever your kids will like to eat in your garden or window box.
  •  Put some water and seed out for the birds
  •  Feed the ducks
  •  Go for a bike ride or a long walk (leave the car behind)
  •  Hold a nature hunt (send the kids out into the garden or park in teams to find various items on a list you provide)
  • Gather family and friends together on a beach or at the park and combine a picnic with a litter pick
  • Get your kids to recycle everything they use on that day; milk cartons, paper etc. into the right boxes in yourhome. Let recycling become part of their everyday life.
  •  Have a toy clear out and donate them to your local homeless shelter or charity shop. Do make sure your child selects the toys to go.
  •  Have a party and make it all about the Earth

 My friend Sarah and I hosted an Earth day party on our local park last year and invited about 10 families. They thought we were mad but came along anyway and it was really lovely. We did bark rubbings, a walk around the park and we had tree shaped biscuits. We all swapped a book and we planted runner bean seeds in little pots to take home. We had the best of times, spent very little and we were teaching our kids something important. I would love love love to hear about your Earth day celebrations and I will post bck here about this years party on the 23rd.  Time to get party planning…..and there really is no need for a party bag!


Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.  ~Cree Indian Proverb

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.  ~Native American Proverb

 

 

 

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Fancy some free lawn care tips ?

My hubby loves his garden and pre-kids we would spend a lot of money on it, making it beautiful. The lawn had to be just so and we would have pots and pots of gorgous flowers outside.

Now we don’t want any dodgy chemicals anywhere near the kids and we are on a major budget. In keeping with Bank Holiday tradition yesterday was a ‘mow the lawn’ day.  Having been sadly neglected over winter it was time to get our garden summer ready.

I hate to say it but it looked pretty rubbish once mowed! A bit patchy jaded and faded. Rather than rush out an buy lawn care products ( as we would have done pre-kids/budget I trawled the net for advice. These 2 top tips came up again and again and I thought I’d share them with you. They are

ORGANIC, CHILD FRIENDLY and FREE!

Here you go…..

  1. Only water when really dry so the roots are well watered. If you just wet the top you will encourage roots at the surface which are much more vulnerable to drought damage.
  2. Cut regularly and just lop off the top 1/3 (it’s about developing a healthy root system apparently!)

Now I am sure there are plenty of useful products that are child friendly and cheap out there but hey free advice on free options works for me. Good luck and if you know any other (free/child friendly) lawn care tricks please share them!

 

Find out ways to optimise space in your garden here

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