Welcome to the first instalment in our mini-series of money-saving tips for your home. With the price of everything rising, a trip to the supermarket or watching bills go out of your bank account can induce small moments of panic. However, there are lots of small ways to counteract those that collectively add up to make a big difference.
With a heatwave upon us, everyone is making the most of the outdoors, so this week, we're focusing on the outdoor room of your home. Here are our top money-saving tips for your garden. Some you might have heard of, and some you might find new and inspiring. Whether you have a large garden or just a little patch of space, there's something here for everyone.
Up your upcycling
We love a good bit of upcycling, and it's something I do a lot of both inside the house and in our garden. There are so many ideas you can put into place here without spending a thing.
Just completed a renovation project? Use leftover tiles to cover a squared edge planter or a tabletop. Leftover bricks have many uses in the garden - utilise them in a pathway, build a BBQ surround - or even a pizza oven!
Convert tin cans that would otherwise go into the recycling bin into small planters for herbs or seedlings. Just sand the sharp edges down and drill a few holes in the bottom to allow drainage. You can either peel off the labels and leave the tins bare or paint them funky colours.
Almost any tub, pot or other vessels can be transformed into a garden planter. It might be an old sink, an old trunk, some worn-out drawers or even a bath if you have the space! Old ladders cut down to a lower height make a lovely stand for potted plants. You can prop them up against a wall - be sure to tether them, so they don't fall over.
Buy tools on a time-share
There are those tools that are really handy when you need them but are an expensive outlay and only used a few times a year. Things like strimmers, gutter cleaners, pressure washers etc. They're often bulky, too, taking up valuable storage space. So why not split the cost and use them with close family and friends you trust who live nearby? It's a win-win for all of you!
Find a tool-sharing scheme
Tool sharing schemes have caught on in recent years, and with a bit of research, you're almost sure to find local Facebook groups and apps like Nextdoor, The Good Neighbour and many more. In most cases, you can choose to hire a tool for a day, a few days or a week. If you're in London, there's The Library of Things - and if you're inspired to start your own scheme, they offer guidance on how to set one up in your neighbourhood.
Propagate your own perennial plants
If you buy annual bedding plants each year, you might want to have a go at propagating your own. Many bedding plants are actually perennial, meaning they'll re-surface every year rather than dying off after one season. If you're rather green-fingered, or even if you're new to this level of gardening, give it a go. Many gardening websites offer tips on how to take cuttings from perennials, and you'll find you'll spend less money on plants in the coming seasons.
You can also split herbaceous perennials when you buy them. Rosemary, lavender and even potted supermarket herbs can be divided to make more plants. Split them before planting - many can tolerate the rootball being cut in half with a sharp knife or spade or gently pull it apart. Once planted, they'll quickly bulk up, giving you much more value from your initial spend.
Use toilet roll tubes to grow seeds
Stop tossing those toilet roll tubes into the recycling! Their shape and biodegradable nature make the perfect pot to cultivate your seeds in. Place the tubes upright in a container - packing them together, so they don't fall over - fill with compost and add your seeds. When they're ready for planting, simply pop the whole thing into the soil, toilet roll tube included. They'll break down as the roots grow through them.