Woman saves £11,000 in a year (but had to use this super-soaker creatively)

A woman managed to save herself £11,000 in a year through extreme methods, including ditching shampoo, toothpaste and toilet paper.

Zoe Morrison, an Eco-friendly blogger, decided to try and save as much money as possible whilst also being eco friendly. During her year long struggle she used bizarre methods to keep clean, saving money in the process, including ceasing to wash her hair, brushing her teeth with baking products, and not using toilet paper for a month.

Zoe, from East Sussex, gave up these hygiene essentials in order to search for green alternatives for her and her family. Though her methods may seem extreme (at one point on her blog she considered using the old Roman "sponge on a stick and salt water" method in replacement of toilet paper) she did manage to save over £11,000 for her and her family, whilst also helping the environment.

"I am so passionate about being eco-friendly as it's not only good for the planet but also for your wallet too.

"Before I changed my lifestyle, I was spending so much cash on green products without really knowing how environmentally friendly they really were, or whether I was actually getting good value for money.

“I soon realised that being eco-friendly ­actually does save money. Even if you have to spend a bit more at first, what you’re buying lasts longer – and you can buy stuff in bulk.”

How she saved £50 on toilet roll - and you can too! (But don't)

Over the year Zoe managed to save £50 by not using toilet roll. In her blog post "how to have fun cleaning your bum!" Zoe outlines how she saved the £50 by cutting out toilet paper altogether.

She considered the following possible alternatives to wiping:

  • Dry cloths (need washing afterwards, which is a bit of a pain)
  • Old newspapers (could ask a newsagent if they could give you outdated ones that haven't sold - will need composting afterwards)
  • Stones (think large smooth pebbles)
  • Leaves (not sure which leaves would be good for this, plus you might need to check that any leaves you do use are safe to be used for bum wiping purposes. Could be annoying to constantly collect and will need composting afterwards)
  • Grass (grass lawns are widespread in the UK, but unless you want to go outside and wriggle around on one, it might not be such a preferable option...)
  • Using a wet sponge on a stick - apparently the Romans used to do this (and they use to share them - soaking them in salt water between uses).
  • Wet cloths (still a pain as they need washing afterwards)
  • A hose next to the toilet (great if you have one already installed, a bit expensive if you don't)
  • Bidet (again great if you have one already installed, a bit expensive if you don't)
  • Left hand and water (not my preferred method)
  • The water pistol/ spray bottle method (I think this one is a winner!)

Of the list, we probably find the stones to be the most disturbing method, and the water pistol method to be the most grotesque misuse of a super-soaker known to humanity.

Zoe eventually went for the water pistol. As Super Soaker say, "wetter is better". Zoe spoke about her decision on her blog:

"Once I discovered the water pistol/ spray bottle method, I was sold on it. We have a few of them that normally barely get used, so I fished them out from the back of a cupboard. I think it's great - all you need is a tap and the water pistol or spray bottle. You don't get anything dirty (e.g. a cloth/ sponge/ stone/ hand), you don't need to wash anything up or sterilise anything and you don't need to collect/ compost anything. It doesn't use up much water and a small one can be carried around with you. Not only that it may also be quite a good option for anyone who uses a menstrual cup (read more about my experiences with them here). Yes a water pistol might not be very eco-friendly in itself, but it is reusable and we have them already, so I am now making better use of what we have."

Unsurprisingly, Zoe only managed to keep this up for a month, before deciding that she toilet paper was a necessity.

Her money saving methods

Whilst some of her methods for saving money came from spending too much in the first place (she managed to save £500 a year by not buying an organic chicken every week, and stopped using her tumble dryer four times a weeek) a lot of her methods managed to save her a lot of money over the year, and are great for environmentally friendly folk who are looking to save money.

Over the year she managed to save £50 on wrapping paper by using old clothes, and it looks pretty good too.

She also managed to save £500 a year by cutting down on gifts for her kids, switching to using bicarbonate of soda instead of toothpaste (something that is possible, though your breath will smell of baking and visits to the dentist will end in massive arguments).

She also took to growing her own herbs in a bathtub, making her own yoghurt and, the classic, buying in bulk.

She also recommended people embrace second hand goods, telling the mirror:

"There is a stigma against second-hand goods. But if you get into the mindset of not having to have everything, then there is an abundance of things out there that people don’t want .

I love finding ways I can get items for pennies or even for free. Reusable community sites like Freecycle are great for getting stuff for the kids, I got a trampoline worth £30 and mini scooters worth £60 each all for free.

We got a bed, a mattress and a headboard from Freecycle . I have done clothes swaps and ended up with more than I had in the first place.

Being genuinely eco-friendly can save you money. Don’t waste food or energy. Don’t waste what you have."

All great advice, once you get over the fact that she used a supersoaker instead of toilet paper for a month.

Zoe, 36, has now saved so much money she has been able to give up her job and spend more time at home with her family. Even better, she told the Mirror:

"I have now gone back to using toilet paper. That one wasn't really a money saving thing but more from the perspective of saving the environment when you look at how much of the rainforests we are losing and how there is so much waste."

She now saves the planet by blogging at www.ecothriftyliving.com without going quite to those extremes.