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First week back at work for me this week! For the first time since I was at university, I am part time again. It makes me so happy to have the extra time at home with my family but when we made this choice we knew that it would leave things a little tight money wise. However, I have repeatedly crunched the numbers and know that we can make it work. But it does give me that extra push to be super frugal.
Luckily, with the return of routine and everyone busy with work and school, it gives us less time to get bored. Boredom often leads us to start spending cash on things we don’t really need. Therefore, this week has been a fairly cheap one naturally. These are my frugal highlights:
You know I’m a fan of meal planning. You can see my latest meal plan post here. This in itself saves us lots of money, mostly because I enjoy trying to buy all our food as cheaply as possible. But the other great thing about a meal plan is that once you have made it you feel kind of compelled to stick to it. This works wonderfully when it comes to packed lunches. My husband, my eldest and I all take a packed lunch when we go to work or nursery. It’s written in the meal plan. I spend less than £10 a day on food and drink for my whole family and packed lunches are a big part of that.
I’ve talked about Quidco before in a previous post. It is all about getting cashback on your purchases. Quidco has lots of retailers on there but the one that it doesn’t have is Amazon. I quite like Amazon! They aren’t always the cheapest but they are so easy to use. Plus I can earn vouchers from all sorts of places to use on their website. But, I also like cashback.
This lead me on a hunt to find a cashback site that does offer cashback on Amazon purchases, and this is when I found Kidstart. They give you Amazon cashback, however they operate a little differently to the others. They give you cashback but pay it into your children’s savings accounts. This system also allows friends and family to connect their accounts so that they can save for your children too. And I think it is brilliant! I’ll be using Amazon a lot in the run up to Christmas so I’m looking forward to that extra cash making its way back to my kids. If you want to sign up and get Nanny and Grandad and all your mates to sign up you can do so here.
OK, I’m not completely committed to this one, but I did it so I thought I would mention it. Wombling is when you look for other people’s receipts and claim any unclaimed loyalty points from them. Now some people will scour car parks hunting for such receipts. I’m a bit more casual and will just look for those receipts that happen to be at the till I was using or left in my trolley. Normally it is only a couple of points so I don’t feel too bad about it, but every now and then I feel like I’m doing something really naughty and stop. What do you think? Cheeky?
Last week I received an email from our energy company saying that they were going to increase our monthly payments by 50%!!! Outraged, I did what I always do in these situations and did the maths. I worked out that we were actually in credit AND we had probably gotten a bit lazy and there was definitely room for improvement. After I’d phoned my energy company and told them to put it back to what it was, thank you very much, I went on a rampage around the home looking for solutions. A few chargers were unplugged, the hot water schedule was reviewed and then I looked at the washing machine and tumble dryer.
We love our washing machine and our tumble dryer! I wouldn’t be without either but I am completely aware of how much energy they both use. We do a lot of washing with two kids in the house and being a generally ourdoorsy family. But I decided we probably over do it. So I sat down with a pen and drafted a schedule that meant one load a night. This also means we can take advantage of cheaper energy at night (we’re on Economy 7) and then we can use the washing line to dry everything the following day. We are about a week in and it is working really well so far. I’m even tempted to start spacing out the loads even more. Watch this space eh?
I started doing surveys with YouGov ages ago. I did them all the time for a while but then things got busy at home so I eased off. But recently I’ve got back into them. The way it works is that you get points for completing a survey. Once you get to 5000 points you get £50. From my experience you can get between 25-200 points per survey but the average (mode to be precise) is 50 points for each one. So it’s not a lot of money but I’m not far off my payout now so it’s getting a little exciting. If you fancy having a go you can sign up here.
You’ve heard from me but I’d love to take further inspiration from you. Let me know what you’ve been up to. Or, like me, you can link up with Cass, Emma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five Frugal things I’ve done this week’ linky.
Disclaimer: Remember the information you read here does not represent advice. Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you. Read the full disclaimer here.
Looking After Your Pennies is an eco-friendly personal finance blog written and managed by Charlotte Jessop.
I write on a variety of topics including frugal lifestyle, eco-friendly living, money making ideas and generally how to make your money go further.
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