Five Frugal Things For January

Although my focus for this year is increasing my income I’m still a frugal girl at heart. I won’t be going hardcore frugal but I will still be implementing those little frugal wins in to my month.

In January I find I’m at my most motivated with frugality. After the excess of Christmas and the great declutter that comes afterwards I’m more than ready to scale right back.

 

  • I challenged myself to a no spend month, buying only what was essential or budgeted for. I’m happy to report I’ve stuck to it. I avoided the temptation of all the pretty new season things in the shops. My prize £250 gift card did arrive so I have treated myself a little but I’m not counting that as it didn’t come out of the budget.

 

  • After having a huge declutter I managed to sell some things and make some extra money to put in our holiday pot. I used Zeek to sell some unwanted gift vouchers and Ziffit to get rid of some books and DVD’s. I’ve also sold some little bits on the local Facebook selling pages. I have a few larger more expensive items to sell so I’m trying to figure out the best way to do it.

 

  • My eldest daughter Jess gave me a huge bag of second hand clothing for Jake. There were loads of goodies inside like pyjamas, fleeces and tops which you can never have too many of. Lots are the next size up so I will be storing them for next year.

 

  • As we have had to use the central heating a lot more than we usually do I’ve been busy trying to reduce how much electricity we use. I’ve been running around after Chris and the kids turning lights and sockets off that aren’t in use. Do you live with one of those people who think you need every light on in the house, you have my sympathies.

 

  • I have actually managed to stick to a meal plan and shopping list this month. I’ve gone for simple meals that are quick to prepare and make. This means that I haven’t been tempted to indulge in a take away.

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Five Hidden Costs of Christmas

This evening we made a mad dash to buy Daisy a nice dress before her class Christmas party tomorrow. I’ve known about the party for over a week but it suddenly dawned on me this afternoon that a recent growth spurt meant she had nothing suitable to wear. Although I thought I had budgeted pretty well for Christmas it got me thinking about what other hidden costs the festive season can bring.

Here’s a list of five things that might get missed out when planning a Christmas budget.

1. Batteries There’s nothing worse on Christmas morning than hunting through the junk drawer in search of batteries for newly unwrapped toys. I think a lot of us simply forget to add these essentials to our Christmas shopping lists. Stock up while there are offers on or opt for the more budget friendly rechargeable batteries.

2. Stamps If you send Christmas cards or presents by post you are going to need to stock up on stamps. To keep costs down you could look at using one of the cheaper alternatives like My Hermes.

3. Childcare Are you going to need a babysitter over the festive season ? If you have parties or events to attend you might want to think about this when planning your budget.

4. Unexpected Visitors Keeping a little bit of extra money in your present budget might be a good idea in case people decide to visit unexpectedly. Hopefully they will give you enough warning so you can pop to the shops for some extra mince pies and a bottle of wine.

5. Fuel Both visiting and having visitors can mean an increase in fuel costs. You might need to fill up the car more than usual if you have a lot of people to visit. Being at home more and hosting  parties could see a rise in the amount of gas and electricity you use. Budgeting an extra few pounds in the months before should help cover any extra costs.

There are probably lots more little hidden costs, I think the only way to avoid them is to plan ahead. I hope this post has helped you with your Christmas budget.

 

 

Halloween On A Budget

I love a good old celebration and Halloween is no exception, I’ve mentioned before that I always celebrate little events and occasions as they make life a little more fun and of course it gives me a great opportunity to test out my budgeting skills.

The bargain shops like Poundland, B&M, Poundworld and Home Bargains are chock a block with spooky decorations, scary costumes and delicious sweet treats, I always pick up a few things as soon as the stock hits the shelves as they have a tendency to sell out fast.

img_1763These frightful wooden menu boards were only 79p each from Home Bargains, I’m going to display them in the kitchen but I’m not sure I will have many requests at tea time. I also picked up this sweet smelling Halloween candle for 69p again from Home Bargains.

This year we can get away with not buying a new costume for Daisy, she want’s to dress up as Elsa from Frozen so we are using the costume she already has in her dressing up box, I don’t think Jake would wear a costume for any length of time so I will either pick up a second hand one or use one of the cute spooky tops that came in a bundle of clothes we were given. If you are a creative type you could fashion an awesome costume yourself there are a ton of fantastic ideas on Pinterest.

Speaking of Pinterest I’ve been busy creating a board called Halloween On A Budget that I’ve been pinning lots of ideas to.

As the October half term falls in with Halloween we will be doing lots of Halloween themed crafts, a great way to find ideas to keep the kiddo’s busy is to check out some blogs you can find a ton of great crafts, recipes, activities and facts, here are a few to get you started.

Jessica from Beauties And The Bibs has this great advice ” When ever I used to plan Halloween at work . Poundland would be my go to place they have everything you need . Also I would search Pinterest for activities like unlucky dip . Where the children have to touch horrid things with a blind fold on”

Carly from Mummy and the Chunks made some Halloween decorations using Hama Beads.

Kirsty from My Two Mums shows you how to make spooky finger puppets on a budget.

Sonia from This Mummy Loves shows you how to make budget friendly hand print spiders.

Kelly from nature Mum Blog has written all about the history of pumpkin carving.

Hannah from Cupcake Mumma has some fabulous budget friendly ideas to celebrate Halloween.

Jocelyn from The Reading Residence has some ideas for funny and unusual kids costumes for Halloween.
I hope this post has given you lots of ideas for celebrating Halloween on a budget, if you have any more budget friendly ideas leave me a comment i love hearing from you.

Happy Halloween

Angela xx

Two Tiny Hands

Five Frugal Things For September

Can you believe we are in the last week of September already ? no, me either but I am happy to say that we have had a fairly productive, frugal and thrifty time this month. Here are our five frugal things for this month.

adventures-in-websterlanf-11. Free books, I can often be found perusing the pages of Freegle and Freecycle on the look out for things we can make use of, things that previous owners have fallen out of love with. I took a chance on asking for what was described as a pile of pre-school books and i’m so glad I did as it turned out to be a huge box of books suitable for both the children with titles that were on my ‘to-buy’ list all in fantastic condition. There was also a little surprise of a Leap Frog write and learn toy which Daisy hasn’t put down. Daisy also brought home a free book from school from BookTrust which was nice.

img_1952 img_19512. Less waste, I really wanted to focus on waste and as Zero Waste Week falls in September I thought it was the perfect time to make a conscious decision to reduce our household waste. I’ve been cooking exactly the right portion sizes, buying the exact amount of fresh produce we need for a week and recycling as much as we possibly can. I used to be guilty of putting gallons of milk on mine and the children’s cereals then tipping it away once the cereal had been eaten, I’ve been using a lot less and it’s saved us money as we don’t need to buy milk as often as we were.

3. Budgeting, we had a lot of events and celebrations to attend this month which could have gotten quite expensive but we sat down at the beginning of September and wrote a budget which I’m delighted to say we have stuck to, sometimes we have even come in under budget which is fantastic.

4. Online Earning, although I’ve not been hammering the surveys as much as I would have liked I still earned a nice little pile of money and vouchers,  which I’ve put towards Birthday and Christmas presents meaning that we don’t have to dip into FrugalMrW’s wages which is always a bonus.

IMG_0887[1]5. Selling Stuff, after having a good old declutter we were left with a few things to sell, we donate most of our unwanted’s to a local charity shop who use the profits to support people back into work which I think is awesome. We sold a couple of things on Facebook selling pages and used the money towards a day out, I’m going to use Gumtree for the things that are yet to sell.

Have you done anything frugal this month ? leave me a comment I love hearing from you. I will be back in October to tell you what frugal things we have been up to.

Angela xx

 

Family, Frugal & Home Goals For September 2016

August was such a busy month we packed in lots of fun but also met lots of our goals too which makes me very happy. The Summer bucket list isn’t quite complete but we did manage to tick most of it off and we will try and complete the rest of it in the first few weeks of September before the weather turns colder.

We met lots of our frugal goals and got lots of little jobs done around the house, my focus for this month is going to be decluttering, deep cleaning and organising.

Family,Frugal & Home Goals

Family

  • Celebrate our grandsons 2nd birthday.
  • Celebrate our nieces 1st birthday.
  • Complete our bucket list.
  • Celebrate Daisy’s first day of big school.
  • Lose 4 pounds (personal goal)

Frugal

  • Menu plan & stick to a list.
  • Line dry as much as possible.
  • Finish Christmas present shopping on a budget.
  • Pay £50 extra to the credit card debt.
  • Look for new earning opportunities online.

Home

  • Deep clean oven & hob.
  • Declutter every room.
  • Paint bathroom radiator.
  • Tidy garden & put Summer toys in storage.
  • Declutter and organise paperwork.

September is a busy month with lots of celebrations and a few exciting events to attend, I’m also having my haircut (within budget of course) which is such a treat.

What are your goals for September ? leave me a comment below I love hearing from you.

Angela xx

 

How I’m Getting Back To Basics With Frugality

This post is a little bit of a confessional, for the past few months despite trying my hardest I just can’t get fully back on board with frugal lifestyle I’ve even considered changing my social media name from FrugalMrsW to SpendyMrsW so I thought I would tell you how I’m going to turn this around by going back to basics.

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I spent a lot of time over the weekend looking back on past posts and journal entries to see what I was doing this time last year to both save and make money and I’m feeling motivated and determined to achieve the success I’ve had previously although in a much smaller time frame as I only have six months of the year left to do it. There have of course been some really good progress this year we bought, taxed and insured a car with FrugalMrW’s matched betting winnings and we also reduced our fuel bills  but I feel that I’m letting little things slide so it’s time to climb back on that frugal horse and ride towards the sunset once again.

Here’s the plan

Meal Plan

Planning our meals is now more important than ever not only for our finances but for our health I was recently diagnosed as diabetic and have many changes to make. On a Sunday night I will sit check what we have in stock and plan every meal for the week ahead this will also include the sides to go with the meals I’m hoping sticking to a plan will help us to cut unnecessary spending.

Needs vs Wants

I’ve fallen into really bad habits lately, the spending bug has bitten me and although it’s not high priced items I’m buying the little purchases are all adding up. FrugalMrW and I have a set amount of fun money each month but we have both been guilty of going over this amount we are both aware of this and are taking steps to prevent this by questioning our needs verses our wants.

Free Entertainment

Despite the fact that we have a good amount of vouchers stashed away for free days out we have been choosing to spend our weekends shopping instead and this definitely needs to stop. I’m going to spend lots of time looking for fun and free events that we can all enjoy and when we do have a day out we are going to take plenty of food and drinks with us so no need to spend whilst we are there.

Check Daily

As you know I work from home so finding lots of different sources of income is really important for me, I have all the tools, knowledge and skills but they are no good if I’m not checking daily for opportunities. I get a little time in throughout the day to work and I spend most evenings working too but have found myself forgetting to check some of the websites I should be checking so I’m going to create a bookmark of all the sites I need to visit daily as well as setting up some google alerts.

I’m hoping that following the steps above throughout July will help me to get back on track and I’m going to revisit this list at the end of the month and see what else I can start doing to move us towards our goals rather than further away like we to have done just lately.

I know this is a wordy post but I hope it’s helped some of you who are perhaps feeling the same as me, thank you if you made it to the end. If you are feeling like me or if you have any more suggestions for me please leave me a comment below as I love hearing from you.

Angela xx

Money Monday – How Being Disorganised Can Cost You Money

Being disorganised isn’t just about your house being a little untidy, forgetting a birthday or missing a dentist appointment, being disorganised can cost you money as well. In this weeks Money Monday post I’m going to share with you some ways being disorganised has cost our household money and the tips we’ve implemented to stop it happening again.

how being disorganised can cost you money

  • Buying Duplicates

This can apply to so many areas of your life from buying groceries, tools, clothes or toiletries if you don’t know what you own then you will waste money buying duplicates. I’ve lost count of the times we have ended up with 3 bottles of sauce or 6 shower gels all because I didn’t check my stock before making a shopping list. I have even bought a whole new wardrobe of Summer clothes for Daisy before finding a box full of things from the previous year that I had stored away for her to grow into.

Nowadays I combat this by simply checking what we have before I go shopping for anything, it really is that simple by taking a few minutes to check you can save yourself a ton of money.

  • Check That Balance

Have you ever gone to check your bank balance and noticed that you haven’t got as much money in there as you thought you had ? being disorganised with your finances can cost you so much money, you need to know how much your household bills actually are and also check that you are not paying for anything extra you didn’t know about like a long forgotten subscription or that you’ve been charged twice for something.

I recommend you give yourself a financial check up every 6 months at least, keep a spreadsheet of your outgoings and cancel anything you are no longer using, also check your bank statement regularly for an discrepancies. You might also want to keep a spending diary if your outgoings have gotten a little disorganised so you can see where your money is going.

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  • Missing Deadlines

I profess to be a pretty organised person but I don’t want to embarrass myself by admitting how many times I have missed a deadline and it has ended up costing me money, signing up to free trials and offers is great but when you forget the deadline for cancelling and end up paying for an extra month of the product or service then it really defeats the object. I have also missed deadlines on earning opportunities when I haven’t checked what date they had to be completed by.

Nowadays if I take out a free trial I work out the date I need to cancel it by and write it down in my diary (bullet journal)  where I know I will see it in plenty of time.

To stop me missing deadlines for earning ops I keep a separate journal where I note down the date something has to be completed by, I’m also really careful now not to take too much on so I can easily meet those deadlines.

I hope this has been helpful for some of you, by taking simple preventative steps and making little changes you really can save yourself some unnecessary spending.

Have you ever wasted money through being disorganised ? leave me a comment below I love hearing from you.

Angela xx

When Being Frugal Really Pays Off

 

Since the start of this year we I have been trying to be extra frugal when it comes to how much gas and electricity we are using and when I checked our bank account last week I was in for a nice surprise in the form of a refund for being in credit with both accounts, I finally had proof that being frugal really does pay off.

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The good news didn’t stop there, as we are always in credit on both accounts our overall monthly payments have been reduced as well, with the cuts we have already made this year to our outgoing expenses this gives us so much more wiggle room to grow our savings and pay down our debt.

Sometimes it’s hard to see an overall result when you are doing very small things frugally everyday, I’ve felt like some of the choices we have made this year about where and how to spend our money have been leading us off the path from our goals but I’ve realised that the small changes I make everyday mean that we can make some mistakes and be a little frivolous every now and again.

Here are the things we have done so far this year that have made a huge difference

  • Only used the central heating when absolutely necessary.
  • Hung washing out to dry at every chance even in Winter.
  • Been a stickler for switching lights and plugs off when not in use.
  • Reduced washing loads by checking if clothes are really dirty.
  • Cancelled Sky TV.
  • Cancelled Netflix.

I know there is so much more we could do but for now I’m happy with the changes we have made, I don’t want to live an extremely frugal life I’m just happy to save my family some money so we can enjoy little treats and days out throughout the year and eventually be totally debt free.

What have you done this year so far to save money ? let me know if you have any hints or tips on living a more frugal lifestyle I love hearing from you.

Angela xx

 

 

Frugal, Financial & Home Goals For April 2016

Last month was a mixed bag for us when it came to meeting our frugal, financial and home goals, the first half of the month didn’t go so well in terms of meeting our goals but we turned things around in the second half and we are well and truly back on track and heading in the right direction again.

FRUGAL, Financial

Frugal & Financial Goals

  • Pay £70 extra towards credit card debt.
  • Set up a new budget for grocery shopping.
  • Look for new earning opportunities.
  • Sell unwanted items.
  • Look for free activities and family days out locally.
  • Line dry as much as possible.
  • Save £50 towards Christmas.
  • Look at balance transfer offers for credit card.

Home Goals

  • Deep clean bathroom.
  • Do fly-lady flight plan every day.
  • Tidy front garden, remove leaves, trim hedges & mow lawn.
  • Research fixing shed roof.

I think that’s all for this month, we seem to work better and achieve more if we keep our goals realistic and to a minimum, anything extra we do achieve becomes a bonus.

Do you set yourself goals each month ? let me know what works best for you and how you stay motivated to meet your goals, I love hearing from you.

Angela xx

 

 

How We Are Celebrating Valentines 2016 On A Budget

I know that celebrating Valentines day isn’t for everyone but I love little occasions like these throughout the year, they keep life interesting and fun and you don’t need to break the bank to celebrate either.

I love to include the little ones in the celebration, it’s a great opportunity to have conversations about love and relationships, we usually do a craft activity and bake something valentines related as well.

Here’s what we have planned for Valentines day 2016.

The Little Ones

I like to buy the little ones a Valentines gift so I gave myself a budget of £5 each, I came in under budget by picking up these lovely things from Home Bargains.

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These gorgeous cuddly monkeys have velcro feet and hands so the little ones will be able to wear them or hang them in their bedrooms, they are a really good size and a bargain at £2.99 each.

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In our house a celebration isn’t complete without a little chocolate, these cute little lady bugs and hearts were 99p each.

Valentines Meal

We were thinking of using £10 from our budget to treat ourselves to one of the ‘dine in’ special offers that the supermarkets usually offer this time of year, but we have some delicious steaks in the freezer from our bulk meat order, FrugalMrW will make some homemade chips, fried mushrooms and vine tomatoes to go with it and we will treat ourselves to a decadent dessert as part of our shopping budget.

Entertainment

We will spend Valentines day as a family, playing games, decorating love hearts with glitter and sequins and snuggling up on the sofa watching Disney movies, when the little ones go to bed FrugalMrW and I will choose a slushy romantic comedy to watch on Netflix.

Gifts

This year FrugalMrW and I have agreed on a £5 budget to buy each other something, I’ve asked him to spend mine on flowers which he will buy early in the week to avoid the inflated prices and I will buy him chocolate which he loves just a smidgen less than he loves me.

I also picked up this adorable frame for 99p from Home Bargains, I have some free credit in my SnapFish account so I will order a photo of us and display it on our bedside cabinet.

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I will always think that spending time with someone and not money on them is what truly counts in life but it is nice to treat each other a little as well.

What are your plans for valentines day ? will you be sticking to a budget ? leave me a comment below I love to hear from you.

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Angela xx

Here are some posts I’ve written about Valentines day in previous years:

Low budget, No Babysitter Ideas For Valentines Day

Toddler Makes – Easy Valentine Chocolate Treats

Valentines Day Dedication For My Husband