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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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

 

Five Frugal Things For August

Regular readers will have noticed that I have somewhat diversified my blog over this past year,I experimented with with writing solely about being frugal and money saving but I missed sharing posts about our family life and although it is suggested I didn’t want to niche my blog so I decided that refocusing as a family lifestyle blog would cover all of the topics I wanted to talk about and give me the freedom to write about whatever took my fancy.

As I’m frugal at heart I still want to share with you some of the things we do or have done as a family to help us save and make money and I thought a monthly post would be perfect.

Five Frugal Things For August

  1. As British Gas customers we get free electricity on a Sunday between 9am and 5pm and we’ve  been making the most of this offer by getting as many wash loads done as well as charging everything right up, I’m not sure how much money exactly we will save but it sure does feel good knowing that I don’t have to worry about energy costs one day a week.

2. We have packed in lots of fun this Summer holidays and it’s almost all been for free, by making use of local parks, the library and a ton of our own crafts and toys we have kept costs right down.

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3. I always buy the children’s clothes throughout the year to spread the cost, I buy early for each season and also shop the sales. I have just started to buy some Autumn and Winter pieces but I’m glad I didn’t buy too much as we were given two free bags of clothes for Jake which contained everything he will need for the next few seasons ahead.

4. For me being frugal comes hand in hand with being prepared so this month I have stocked up the freezers with enough meals to last us until mid October maybe even longer, by doing this it leaves extra money in our weekly budget to cover birthdays and celebrations which we have a ton of towards the second half of the year and any household maintenance during the colder months.

5. I’ve started the process of decluttering and organising, how is this frugal you may ask, well firstly I found some more items that I could sell one of which already sold and I also found things that I thought I needed to buy, it always pays to check what you already have before buying anything.

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We have lots of plans for September and also a few different events to attend so I’m hoping to cut our costs even further to absorb the extra expenses. I will also be working hard to find new earning opportunities so I can add some extra pounds to our family pot.

I hope you enjoyed reading this frugal update, if you have any money saving tips for me then please leave me a comment I love to hear from you.

Angela xx

Ever Have One Of Those Days ?

I’m not one of those people that dread Mondays, I try to look at it as the start to a brand new week filled with possibility but after the day we had yesterday and today looking to be no different I’m left wondering if one of THOSE days is going to turn into one of THOSE weeks.

Monday morning started just before 6 am when Jake woke the house before the alarm clock had a chance to, sometimes I have a coffee before I feed the children but they were claiming to be starving so I made them some toast and then for some unknown reason popped my bagels in the toaster while I was still rushing around serving breakfast and distributing drinks, needless to say I burnt my bagels.

I salvaged half and crunched my way through my breakfast, I hate food waste so no way would I admit defeat and get some cereal instead.

I remember wondering what the rest of Monday would have in store for me, I think the universe must have been listening.

The getting everyone ready for school routine went that smoothly that we were back downstairs with 45 minutes to spare before we had to be out the door so I decided to do the washing up and get a few other jobs done, I was feeling rather pleased with my little self being so productive when I accidentally tapped the Pyrex jug on the tap and it exploded (this is not an exaggeration) into what seemed like a thousand pieces.

I stood in shock for a moment and looked around the kitchen which was covered in glass, no where had seemed to escape the rain of Pyrex and now I had to race against time to get it all cleared up before we needed to leave.

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I made a little joke on Twitter asking if anything else could go wrong this morning and I soon found out.

I dropped Daisy off at nursery at normal time and had just sat down after cleaning the house and triple checking for any stray bits of glass when the school phoned for me to pick Daisy up as she wasn’t feeling well, she had a temperature and a headache that had come out of nowhere.

The rest of the days chores were put on hold while I cuddled my poorly little girl, when Daisy is poorly she gets an incredibly high temperature that’s really difficult to bring down so as you can imagine it’s very worrying.

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When bedtime came around Jake did his usual running off into Daisy’s bedroom where he slipped on some discarded toys and busted his lip on the toy box, cue blood everywhere, as the cut looked quite deep FrugalMrW took him to A&E just to check it didn’t need stitches, three hours later he was back home his usual cheery self without stitches thankfully.

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When I finally got into bed I couldn’t settle thinking about all the events of the day and hoping our run of bad luck was over.

Daisy was still running a temperature this morning so I decided to keep her home, I thought I would get on with some things I didn’t get round to yesterday, as I had a ton of washing I thought I would pop some in the dryer and that’s when I discovered that it was broke, bear in mind this is the second brand new broken dryer we’ve had in two months (long story for another time).

When FrugalMrW told me that we needed a new tire for the car as well I had to laugh, what else was there for it ? days, weeks and even months can be like this sometimes and they just make you appreciate the quiet peaceful uneventful times even more.

I’m hoping the rest of the week will be a little kinder to us while we nurse poorly children, try to arrange a replacement dryer, squeeze the budget for a new tyre and try to stay sane.

Do you have days like this ? how do keep your spirits up ? leave me  a comment 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’re Celebrating Easter 2016 On A Budget

I don’t know about you but I like to treat the little ones in our life to a few little gifts each this time of year, the bigger children prefer some spending money (no surprise there)  so for us it’s really important that we stick to a budget when celebrating Easter.

You could argue that to be really frugal we could buy them one Easter egg each, some are as cheap as £1 but as I’ve said in previous blog posts I love seasonal celebrations they make life fun and as long as I plan, save and budget for these occasions I’m more than happy to treat the children.

I’ve tried to stick to a £5 budget per child and I think I’ve done really well only going slightly over on one purchase, I can only share with you what we have bought for Daisy and Jake as I don’t want to spoil any surprises for anyone else as I know they like to read my posts.

For the past few years I’ve bought similar things for the little ones, a small Easter egg, a t-shirt, a book and some smaller Easter themed treats.

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The books were amazing value and cost me either 99p or £1 from Home Bargains and B&M Stores, Daisy love ‘Little Princess’ books, I once spent an hour going through every book in the children’s section at the library to find every Little Princess book they had so Daisy could borrow them so she’s going to be delighted.

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The t-shirts were a bargain at £2 and £3 from Asda, I tried to choose something Spring themed for them both.

The bunny biscuits were 59p from Home Bargains, they also had chicks and Easter egg shapes and the Thorntons small chocolate bunny bars were on offer for four for £1 also at Home Bargains making them 25p each which I think is fantastic value.

FrugalMrW and I don’t really bother with buying Easter eggs for ourselves, we already eat way too much chocolate already.

One of the best things about Easter for us is the extended bank holiday weekend as FrugalMrW doesn’t have to go to work, this year we have a car and are planning a couple frugal days out to local parks and nature reserves, we also have a free family ticket to a National Trust property that I won last week so we are hoping to take advantage of that weather permitting.

At home we will be doing some Easter crafts, playing in the garden and watching some Easter themed movies so it’s going to be a fun packed weekend for us.

What are your plans for the weekend ? have you picked up any Easter bargains ? leave me a comment below 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

A Little Shopping Haul Of Bargains

It’s been a while since I shared my bargain buys with you, if you are like me and love seeing what bargains other people have bought then this is the blog post for you.

I may be frugal but I also love shopping so bargain hunting is the perfect compromise for me, last weekend I had a little treat money to spend so I joined the Saturday shoppers and searched out the last of the January sale bargains.

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Excuse the creases in the photos above, we shoved everything in the same bag to save on buying extra carriers, I scoured the rails in H&M for these long sleeve bargains, the grey jumper is so slouchy and soft, it’s really light as well so ideal for Spring.

I very rarely wear light colours and definitely not pink but I couldn’t resist the style and butterfly print on this top, two tops for under £10 now that’s what I call a bargain.

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I never need an excuse to stock up on stickers, Daisy and I are big sticker fans we use them in our journals and for crafting activities, the ones priced at £1 and 50p actually scanned through the till at 25p, don’t you just love it when that happens !

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This was a total impulse buy, I’m a sucker for a gimmick and the candy apple on the front enticed me, it cost 50p from the reduced tub in Primark.

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I picked up these joggers from Primark for £5, they are so comfy and soft and ideal for relaxing in at home, the original price was £8 so not a bad saving.

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Another impulse bargain buy from the till points at Primark but how could I resist at £1 each, they are a fantastic size and have a shimmer effect on them, the Star Wars one is FrugalMrW’s (don’t tell him I told you).

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I picked up these slippers for Daisy from Deichmanns shoe shop, with a 75% saving on the original price they cost £1.74, how amazing is that ?

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Yes I’m 38, yes I have too many phone cases already, but Batman for £1, I couldn’t not buy it, and it looks fantastic on my phone, I bought it from Primark, they had loads of phone cases, accessories and other little knick knacks on clearance.

I think I did pretty well, there’s nothing like having a good old mooch through a clearance bin or a sales rack, hope you have enjoyed looking at what I bought.

If you like these sort of posts and would like to see more of them in future then leave me a comment below, I would love to hear about any bargains you’ve found as well.

Angela xx