A Not So Frugal Half Term

Its official, I hate half term and not for the reasons you may think. Oh no I have never been one of “those” mums who can’t wait to get the kids back to school, mine never drive me round  the twist really and I enjoy their company, but having the kids off school does come at a price when you are trying to be frugal.

Sure you can search the internet to find free stuff for kids and I have done free entry museums, kids go for £1 train fares, picnics in the park but nothing is ever really free when you think about the cost of travelling to your chosen destination and buying something to eat whilst your out.  As your children become older, like mine,  a sandwich in the car doesn’t exactly cut the mustard, they are more interested in Nando’s or Wagamamas before or after the cinema visit if I’m honest and considering we really don’t do much all year except our annual holiday, I can’t not offer a couple of days out and therefore find myself having spent £60 this week. Ouch.

Yes it feels painful to write it down and I was actually really shocked by the fact I put £100 in my purse and now find myself with only £40 left to go back in the bank/holiday/contingency funds. The worst part about it is remembering where it all went, I know how much a few things cost, like the £10 that went on petrol and £35 on food out for 2 days, as for the other £15? A coffee in Nero’s for £2.50 that still leaves £12.50 unaccounted for, even after emptying my purse and handbag for receipts of any description!

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The only saving grace of the two days out was popping in to a Department store whilst the kids were in the cinema and getting a sample of a Mac face and body foundation I have heard great things about but that I would never buy at full price (who knew Mac decant product for you into a little sample pot) and a perfume sample of Victor and Rolf Flower Bomb perfume which I love. I can never walk past a beauty counter without trying to snag a freebie, it’s all about “luxe for less” after all!

Roll on summer and picnics at the beach, although we have Easter to contend with first! 

How are you finding half term? Spent more than you accounted for?

[Money) A Funny Old Week

Lots of no spend days last week,  in fact although I moaned about my friend saying she would meet me for an all day breakfast at £4.95 with cup of tea included, it turned out to be the only day I actually spent any money!

Mon – No spend.

Tuesday – No spend.

Wednesday – Bus Fare £4, Blow Dry with Junior Training £5, All Day Breakfast £4.95.  Total £13.95.

Thursday – No spend.

Friday – No spend. We don’t do Valentines in this house.

Saturday – No spend.

Sunday – No spend.

Another funny old week of no late night Supermarket bargain hunting and no cheap flowers bought at all last week but I did have a bunch bought by a friend so that saved even more money, thank you S!

I find the easiest way to achieve lots of no spend days is to steer completely clear of the shops!  Once in town and it becomes a different story, I pop into Boots to look on their clearance shelf, I look at clothes, always on the hunt for a bargain, I’m tempted by coffee shops and caramel latte’s so by keeping away from the town centre definitely works for me.  How do you manage to achieve your no spend days and do you have to keep away from the shops to achieve them?

 

[Money] Frugal Things That Have Made Me Happy This Week

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Using up leftovers from the Lamb  joint to make curry. Yummy.

Getting a Blow Dry for £5 from a junior overseen by a senior stylist at my regular salon.

Meeting friends for lunch.  I thought I was just going to her house but received a  text saying she would meet me at a local pub for an all day breakfast for £4.95 which includes tea or coffee and finished off by using the word “bargain”.  I wasn’t happy initially as I had just paid £5 for my hair and £4 for my bus fare that day but reluctantly went to the cashpoint and withdrew another £10, so mixed emotions really although it  made a nice change and was a very good breakfast.

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Free perfume samples.  These always come in handy. I pop them in my bag, ideal for freshening up if you are out and don’t want to carry a bottle of scent, plus it’s a great way to try fragrances you may not have had before.

A friend arriving with tulips.  I love tulips and is my first bunch this year.

Oh and you know the holiday I told you about in my last post, well it turns out hubby used some of our Avios points and got £72 off our BA return journey which only cost us £63 in total to get home in addition to our £32.99 each to fly out! Funny how he forgot to tell me about this and I know we have to wait until the end of August for our getaway but with this awful weather, all I can think about is sunshine, beaches and laying round the pool!

Have a safe weekend and I hope you haven’t been too badly affected by our adverse weather  conditions.  I really wish me and the kids were going somewhere warm for half term but sadly not!

January Spend, Lessons Learned And Frugal February

 

Food:- £231.27.  Not bad for a family of four. My greatest success was last Sundays pork joint feeding us for three days and a couple of late night supermarket trips where I picked up lots of veggies which were made into soups etc

Utilities – Key Meters:- Gas: £70.00. Electricity £95.00. Always trying to be careful with our gas and electricity costs and consumption. Shame the rest of the family aren’t so good at it! Roll on summer when these costs will go down considerably! I know that the washing machine and tumble dryer use the bulk of the monthly costs but I refuse point blank to have wet washing hanging around the house after once reading it was bad for your lungs! I only dry things on an airer that can’t be tumbled dried as I always read the labels in an effort to look after our clothes.

Socialising:- £16.20. Lunch out with friends at a Brewers Fayre where meals were 2 for £10 and a top up Diet Pepsi was £2.35.  A bite to eat and drink last Sunday night at a local pub where my bar meal was £4.95 and I spent £3.90 on drinks.

Other:- £57.59. I bought two No7 Protect and Perfect gift sets in the Boots 70% off sale £4.80 each reduced from £16..  I bought 10 birthday cards for £1 in an effort to never get caught without a card! I bought a birthday card for a relatives birthday and put £10 in it.  I get my hair hi-lighted roughly every six weeks and that cost me £36 including blow dry.

Lessons Learned

Food: More than happy with the amount spent and the quality of food we eat. Will take advantage of half price meat deals in an effort to get more out of a roast dinner.

Utilities: Actually astonished by the gas and electricity costs, lets see how I can get it down for Frugal February.

Socialising: Very happy with the amount spent. I don’t go out often so there will be months with a zero spend.

Frugal February has kicked off with two no spend days so far and enough on the meters to last us a good few days yet!

How is your Frugal February going?

[Eating Out] 2 meals for £10, Who Knew?

Food And Drink Hero Image

I have  to admit I had never been to a Brewers Fayre pub/restaurant before and when I was invited out to lunch with a group of girls for a friends birthday, I was a little apprehensive to be honest and really concerned about the money I would spend as I have also been invited out on Sunday to catch up with one  of my best friends who is home for the weekend.

I only had to see the 2 for £10 section of the lunch menu and I soon had a smile on my face.  Everyone  else seemed to be ordering from these specials, so with a glass of pepsi which you can refill as often as you wish, it was a total win, win.

I ordered the fish and chips (well it was Friday) and it was really nice. I liked the look of everything else that was ordered, smothered chicken, curry, sausage and mash etc and even though they also have a small selection of desserts on special also, I was really good and didn’t have one, so spent a grand total of £7.35 and had a good three hours of laughter and chat with friends, priceless.

Brewers  Fayre also do  a loyalty card system where you can swap points for food, certainly worth picking one up if you eat there regularly. Find out more here.

I had allocated £30 for both events this week and to be honest, it is really rare for me to go out twice a month let alone twice in one week.  I will let you know how much I spend on Sunday, I’m hoping to stay on track with the buffet night at the local curry house! Speak soon and have a great  weekend!