Simple ways to save before Xmas

Tis almost the season to be jolly but that happiness can be hampered by not having enough cash. Here are a few quick and easy ways to try and boost your pennies before and beyond the big day when most people need to tighten their belts after the festive squeeze.

  • Check your insurance renewals. Our home insurance is due next month and, rather than blindingly accepting the renewal notice I received through the post, I have shopped around and found a better deal. Result? An extra £30 in my pocket.
  • Survey sites – a great way to pick up high street vouchers which you can use to pay for some pressies. My favourites are Swagbucks and Valued Opinions and One Poll pays out in cash. £20/£25 is more than achievable before the big day and they can be used online.
  • Revamp your shopping budget and meal plan like a demon! This is one of the best ways to save money a month and you will see the benefits all year long. I find an online shop the best way to stick to that budget and you benefit from all the online freebies e.g. this week I have a pack of McCain Roast Potatoes for nada. I pay £3.00 per month, which is a tiny fraction of the petrol costs I would incur, together with the stress levels of a physical supermarket shop! Compared to this time last year, I spend £20 per week less.
  • Batch cook your meals. I was getting totally naffed off cooking three separate meals each night at varying times. I now try to get two meals out of every I prepare. For example, I cook a roast chicken on a Sunday and use the leftover meat to make a curry and another little roast for hubs and me. A couple of foil takeaway tubs from Poundland and Bob’s your uncle and we have two extra meals! There is an excellent Facebook page called Feed Yourself for £1 a day which is full of great meal ideas and cheap recipes. It’s revolutionised my meal times and being prepared with something tasty and healthy in the freezer stops you reaching for that takeaway.
  • Make good use of your points! I just cashed in £12.00’s worth of Clubcard vouchers and bought two joints of meat for our Christmas dinner. An easy way to spread the cost of your festive food.

Would be great to hear your top tips!

Vicky x

Bargain autumnal parka!

I stumbled across this bargain parka the other day whilst browsing the new arrivals on everything5pounds.com.  I do love this site and have picked up some bargains, particularly when they turn out to be ex-high street items.  You do have to be a bit savvy about sizes and it pays to read reviews but, all in all, I am a fan.

parka

My parka came today and I LOVE it! It’s actually ex-Primark stock (Atmosphere) and the quality is brilliant. It’s a great weight for Autumn and an absolute steal for a fiver!

Anyone else picked up some great bargains from the site?

x

 

March Monthly money round up

This month hasn’t been too bad for stashing away a few extra pennies and we are now on track for the big move in a couple of month’s time (bit scary now!).

I sold my beautiful pink shopper bike on Facebay for £60.00. I loved it but, with work and a little one, just never got the chance to ride it – this went straight in the moving fund.

bike

I much prefer Facebay to ebay, so much quicker and without the hassle of postage. I also love buying bits off there. This week was a Toy Story cot bed duvet cover – Sam’s latest love and kind of mine too!  A bargain at £3.00.

I took the chance to do more overtime this month – an extra £110.00

I’ve managed to reduce the weekly shop from £60 to £55 a week over the month, mainly by buying slightly less and freezing more. I seem to make a lot of stuffing balls but end up with a lot of waste, so this time froze the excess, the same with a punnet of mushrooms, which were then used for another couple of meals. I’ve also started buying pasta in bulk. Small changes but they mount up over the course of a  month. I have also just signed up for a free trial of Tesco’s Delivery Saving Scheme, which, straight away, saves me £12 to £15 per month!

I’m still using Swagbucks and One Poll to save for Christmas presents and buying bits as and when I see them.

Happy saving x

 

 

Easter fun!

I’m definitely one for an occasion – I absolutely love Christmas and Easter. I have even more of an excuse to go a bit over the top now that I have a little one!

I’ve always wanted an Easter tree but they are usually stupidly expensive for a bit of plastic, so this year I made my own. We hunted the twigs down on one of our many woodland walks and then decorated it with some pretty chicks, eggs and glitter – all from Poundland. Sam loves it and, as I already had the planter, it cost me a grand total of £3.00. Bargain!

PicMonkey Collage 2.jpgI also picked up this gorgeous little pot from there, added some chicks and an egg stake, and a cute little Easter treat for my mum, rather than the obligatory egg, as she’s following  the Slimming World plan!

I have to admit, I am a bit of a Poundland obsessive. I love the fact that you can pick up so many cute bits for pence. Sam had loads of fun this week with a doctor’s set, proof you don’t have to spend a fortune.

Happy Easter!

 

 

Car Insurance – happy haggling

One of the biggest savings I make a year is with my car insurance. I have never paid the full renewal price but it seems that many automatically renew each year. I recently read that a staggering billion a year could be saved if people didn’t just accept their renewal price.car

I start looking for the best quote 4 – 5 weeks before my renewal is due. I use a mixture of price comparison websites and individuals, as not all companies are listed on the sites. I then ensure that the competitive quotes include all the benefits of my current insurance and that mileage and excess are the same, as when it comes to bargaining with the insurer they will look for little differences as to why they can’t match the quote you have found. Be sure to make a note of the reference of any quotes and have them in front of you when speaking to your insurer. It’s worth looking at insurance offered by the supermarkets too, as they can often include club card points etc.

I generally haggle the quote down to around £100-£150 less than I have been quoted. This year I have changed insurer and  and used a staff discount to benefit, so from the original £450 I was quoted have paid just £285. Pretty happy with that!

Do be careful and check that your policy doesn’t automatically renew – lots of people get caught out this way and then end up needing to pay a cancellation fee if they don’t want or need the cover.

Happy haggling!

 

 

 

Never too early for a bargain

Hello all on yet another rainy day!

So, this week I started my Christmas and birthday shopping for the year! I realise the mention of the ‘C word’ is very painful for some people prior to November but I do like to be organised. I’m a firm believer in buying something when you see it, rather than panic buying closer to the time, when you end up buying something over-priced and with little thought gone into it. I also have quite a big family, so the thought of saving it till 2 pay days before Christmas brings me out in a bit of a cold sweat!

My bargains this week were all birthday ones and for the little guys and gals in the family, who are always fun to buy for.

First up this adorable Disney Princess dress up gown with matching tiara from Tesco. Full price this was £12.50, reduced to £4.00 in the sale. I was browsing the clothing sale rail for something for my little boy when I spied this. Really chuffed with it and hopefully the little girl in question will love it too.

dress 2

Next up was this Animgaic Rescue Hospital horse recovery play set, also from Tesco. I would have adored this as a little girl, as I was horse obsessed. Who am I kidding – I still am! This currently retails on Amazon at £8.90, so was a great little buy for £2.00.

horse

I’ve noticed that you don’t tend to find these sorts of deals on the Tesco Direct website but, instead, in store, so I would say it’s always worth keeping your eyes peeled throughout the year to pic up those end of line bargains.

Finally for the little Disney Cars obsessed man in my life, a Disney Cars Mack Truck Transporter. Sam loves Mack from the film and this has the benefit of the truck folding out to become a play set. This usually retails at £22.99, which I think is fairly shocking for a piece of plastic! I picked this up for £11.99 in the sale from Argos, which is much more acceptable and a good deal, as the cheapest I could find it anywhere was £15.99. It’s been stashed away for the wee one’s 3rd birthday and I am sure he will be thrilled.

I’ll be updating my bargains throughout the year. I would to hear some of yours!