Buying gifts can be expensive at the best of times. There have been many an occasion where I actually dread having to not only buy the gift, but then there is the cost of the card and of course, the obligatory gift bag or wrapping paper and tag.
Last week I had to buy a gift for a new baby boy and was pretty chuffed to pick up a pack of two sheets of paper and two gift tags for just 80p in Morrisons (not to mention the cutest little slogan all-in-one in Debenhams reduced to just £2.40!) but for other celebrations like birthdays, I try and keep a roll of wrapping paper in the house as I find this works out cheaper and you seem to have less waste, just being able to cut off the correct size for your gift and no minuscule bits of wrapping paper laying around that will never get used.
I buy a roll that is pretty universal in design, something that will work for all occasions and both genders and when it comes to tags, I pick up a pack of luggage tags for £1 in the local Post Office which I not only use on my suitcase when I go on holiday, but yes you’ve guessed it, I also use them as tags for gifts.
You can buy the classic buff coloured ones or the primary colours which work really well with my balloon themed paper and use them for Christmas wrapping as well. Its a pretty fashionable way to address things at present and they are all the rage at weddings for either favours or place settings and will be sure to save you a few pennies in the long run.
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.
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!
By my own admission, I left it rather late to book flights this year. You don’t get cheap last minute flights (fact) and if you are thinking of going on holiday where a package deal isn’t involved, you need to book flights early to get the best prices.
I like to use BA as I often find them cheaper than Monarch or Easyjet and also because you get to carry a handbag along with your hand held suitcase, with Easyjet you don’t, but the flight prices were at their cheapest with my favoured airline when they were first on sale back in September but I didn’t have the money to book then.
Then we had the lead up to Christmas and I still didn’t feel I could book and all the time, prices were going up and up, with all the airlines.
We are lucky in as much as we go to the same place nearly every summer and have a good relationship with the couple who manage quite a few apartments on the complex we stay at. If it wasn’t for this and the fact we no longer have to pay a deposit nor a breakages bond, it would have been impossible to book this year but with outgoing August flights for £32.99 and our return journey (with a different airline) for just £45 (58 euros), book we have!
Sacrifices will be made but the whole ethos of this blog is to save money on the essentials to afford the luxuries and if it means taking all of last years holiday wardrobe away with me and not buying anything new, the joy I get from watching my kids messing around together and laughing in the pool whilst I lay on a sun lounger with my book, is absolutely priceless and worth any sacrifice.
- Shop around for flights and don’t be fooled into thinking that you have to use the same airline for both the outbound and inbound flights.
- Avoid well known comparison sites and check the airlines websites directly. I often find this cheaper as the comparison site has to make money one way or another.
- If you use separate airlines, your return journey will most likely be listed in the local currency. At the time of booking our return journey, the price in sterling was £45 but in euros, 58.
- Save money by travelling light. I never have a problem with packing for 7 nights and hand baggage only.
- I decant toiletries into containers that hold less than 100ml.
- If you prefer to take full size products and are happy to buy your holiday toiletries in one go, order online at Boots for pick up at their Airport branch. If you do this make sure you order for the correct terminal and you must select the departures/airside branch (not landside). Order by 2pm for collection after 2pm the following day.
- Make sure you wear heavier clothing for travelling rather than packing it in your case. It may be required if the weather isn’t as great as you expected. Jackets, cardigans and trainers might well be a godsend on the airport journey, I’ve arrived back in the UK mid August to torrential rain in flip flops and shorts but have long since learnt my lesson!
- Create a budget plan of your holidays cost and when it needs to be paid by so that you know how much you need to save each month. Do the same for your spending money. It is far easier to spread the cost than be tempted to stick it all on a credit card.
- We use the local bus service from the airport to our apartment at a cost of 6 euros each as opposed to 100 euros for a taxi, so do your research into times and prices if you don’t have transfers included in your holiday.
A quick browse on the clearance shelf in Boots yesterday produced this little beauty which went straight in the holiday drawer. I’m thinking now that I should of got two! I used my Boots points again, so another freebie for the week!
Have you booked your summer holiday yet? Hotel or Apartment? How do you budget and do you watch the pennies whilst your away?
TRAVEL INSURANCE – I normally always use a comparison site for my travel insurance but Debenhams have some great deals on at the moment with single trip policies from just £4.99 plus free gift cards on various policies including travel, life and wedding insurance. Terms and conditions apply but you can find out more here. For example, I can get an annual family of three multi-trip policy for just £34 and get a free £10 gift card, so it is worth getting a quote and kids go free!
FAMILY AND FRIENDS RAIL CARD – If your looking to save money on rail fares over the next 12 months, the Family and Friends rail card has £10 off until 24th February making it just £20. You have to have at least one child with you when you travel but you can save a 1/3rd on fares. Get further details here.
FREE STUFF – I’ve been pretty lucky this week, first up a friend gave me two little Molton Brown samples that she got from the Department store she works in. They went straight into the holiday drawer as they are the perfect size for travelling abroad with hand luggage only (which means restrictions of sizes and amounts of liquids you can take) or weekend and overnight stays.
My second freebie was a £10 beauty gift voucher which came in the goodie bag I got from a new hair salon launch party. I just need to decide whether to put it towards a pedicure or a facial, decisions, decisions! I also got some Goldwell shampoo and conditioner samples and a small pot of hair gel, not that anyone uses it in this house, so along with a couple of glasses of bubbly and a cupcake, it was worth going!
What are your best deals of the week?