Towards the end of the month, when we find ourselves incredibly poor and scraping the proverbial barrel for any sign of life (or coppers), we get to thinking about how we can repurpose what we already have.
Think of these life hacks as the modern equivalent of making breadcrumbs out of, er, stale bread. Y'know: thrifty and useful!
1. Use vinegar to clean your washing machine
This'll be especially pertinent if you're an environmentally aware clothes-washer, and fond of washing your bits at 30 degrees. It's great for the planet, but after a couple of spins, the damp water, coupled with warm, damp bacteria will mean that your drum is going to start smelling a little bit peaky. Drop a cup of white vinegar into the detergent drawer, run the machine, empty, on a 60-degree cycle and Bob's your uncle: your machine'll be back to new.
2. Use coffee grounds as a body scrub...
Don't rinse them down the sink, throw them in the bin or compost them – instead, use your used coffee grounds to make a stimulating body scrub (it's all that caffeine!) that'll give your skin a whole new lease of life. You can experiment with a few different combinations, but we like a super simple mixture of coffee grounds, coconut oil and a little brown sugar. Good enough to eat!
3. ...or as plant fertiliser
Just make sure you're using used grounds (because fresh ones are acidic), and work them into the soil around your plants, shrubs, roses etc. You can feel extra smug knowing they're going back to nature, where they belong.
4. Moisturise with coconut oil
You can pretty much do anything with coconut oil, in fact – from using it as a hair mask (work into damp hair, wrap your head in a towel and leave on for as long as you like) to working some of the semi-solid oil into dry patches such as elbows and knees. It's also good for taming unruly eyebrow hairs, keeping lips soft and moisturised and rubbing into dry cuticles.
5. Use over-ripe avocados as a face mask
Because we have all known the pain of waiting three years for an avocado to ripen, only to have it go past the point of goodness without you even noticing. RAGE. No need to bin it, though – mix it with a tablespoon of runny honey until you have a thick, sticky paste. Then whack that green goo all over your face and wait for the doorbell to ring. Rinse it off after 15 minutes for a moisturised money-maker.
6. Use ketchup to neutralise the green in your (dyed) blonde hair...
Yep, really. The acid in the ketchup will help neutralise the slightly green hue you can get from a cheap or badly done half-head. Put it in after shampooing, like a conditioning mask, and rinse off after 15 minutes or so. Ta-daaaa!
7. ...or to polish your silverware
We know, we know – this is all a bit Downton Abbey of us, but if your metal cutlery has gone a bit past its shine-by date, a rub with some tomato ketchup will get it right as rain (it's the acid). It's particularly good if you have any brass bits that need to be shined up.
8. Use mayonnaise to remove water rings from wood
Yep, really. Rub a small amount of mayonnaise into those irritating white water rings that show up on wooden furniture, leave it overnight and then rub off the next morning. Bingo!