30 ways to save £1

I’ve seen lots of fun posts recently about ways to save £1. These are full of great ideas so I thought I’d take my turn. Money Supermarket have asked bloggers to share their money saving tips and one lucky blogger will win £2000!! Find out more here.

So, I present 30 ways to save £1!

  1. Always write a shopping list before you go to the supermarket. This is probably my number 1 money saving tip and saves me loads of money each week!
  2. Plan your meals for the week to make sure you only buy what you need and minimise waste!
  3. Batch cook things like bolognaise and curries so you can stash a couple of portions away for nights when you don’t want to cook.
  4. When eating out with small children, don’t waste money ordering them a seperate meal which they probably won’t eat. Just ask for an extra plate and create a toddler dinner from whatever the grown ups are eating.
  5. For a cheap way to decorate your house, keep pretty cards or postcards and frame them. No-one will know its not a proper picture!
  6. Close curtains early to keep the heat in your home.
  7. Buy a water bottle, fill it and take it out whenever you go out. Saves buying one out and about for at least £1 per bottle.
  8. Turn off the lights when you leave the room.
  9. Learn how to do some basic repairs to your clothes so you can get more wear from them.
  10. Bake cakes and biscuits for the tin – much cheaper than buying them!
  11. Buy second hand toys and books for your kids. They don’t know the difference!
  12. Have a present box or cupboard so you can pick up bargains when you see them and never have to panic buy a gift!
  13. Sign up to cashback sites like Quidco.
  14. Take a packed lunch when you go out for the day rather than buying food.
  15. Shop around before all purchases, you can save a lot of money!
  16. Learn how to get better fuel economy from your car and make your petrol go further!
  17. Don’t park in the town centre, there’s usually a cheaper car park if you are prepared to walk 5-10 minutes.
  18. Get organised and make sure you always pay your bills and credit card off on time so you don’t get any fines.
  19. Deal in cash not cards. It really makes you think twice about unnecessary spending.
  20. Get a piggy bank and chuck in your spare change once a week. It will soon add up.
  21. Let your kids get creative and make cards and presents for relatives. The kids will have fun and the gifts will mean a lot more.
  22. Keep a price book so you can check when your favourite products are on a great offer and stock up!
  23. But don’t stock up on more than you need. Its not a bargain if you end up chucking it away!
  24. Cut coupons from magazines to save a few pennies on your shop.
  25. Use your local library. Free books and cheap DVD rentals.
  26. Stop buying magazines and do your reading online instead.
  27. Days out don’t need to be expensive. Head to the seaside or the park with a picnic and enjoy the fresh air.
  28. Pick up a reward card from any shops that offer them.
  29. Check you have the best deals on all your bills. Sometimes it pays to switch.
  30. PIck up pennies that you find on the street – keep looking and eventually you might find £1!! 🙂

So that was my 30 ideas. Have you got some of your own? Why not do a post yourself if you are a blogger, or leave a comment if you’re not!

Disclosure: Money Supermarket have kindly offered to pay £1 for each tip up to £30


Telesales, Cold Calling and Sleeping Babies!

When Pumpkin was born, we would spend hours every day working through a list of tricks to get her to go to sleep. She wasn’t a fan of sleeping, and would fight the urge to close her eyes for as long as possible. We had a routine of rocking, dim lights, a musical mobile, and early on, a white noise app on our phones. A sleeping baby was our aim and once she had finally closed her eyes we would back away silently, congratulating ourselves on a battle won!

But why is it that is always the exact moment that the doorbell rings, or the phone, or some other loud noise? Perfectly timed to wake the sleeping baby.

I wouldn’t mind so much, but more often than not the phone call was a cold call, of no interest to me at all. So one baby awake and crying, one frazzled Mummy and one telesales person who gets told where to go!!

My problem with unsolicited phone calls is that they are never ever going to work with me. I have never changes energy supplier, or upgraded my TV subscription, or ordered a new conservatory based on being cold called. In fact, the companies who do this go way down in my estimations just by calling. I guess it must work on some people though or they wouldn’t keep doing it.

Another pet hate is charity cold calling. Now I support a number of charities in various ways. I’m not going to list them here as I don’t feel the need to justify them. But phoning people up and trying to pressure them into setting up a Direct Debit is a really lazy way to fundraise in my opinion, and it really harms a charity’s image in my mind. I know there are lots of fantastic causes out there. I wish I could support more, I really do. But ultimately I have to choose who I want to support and how I want to do it. And I have never done it off the back of an unsolicited phone call or visit on my doorstep!

So how do they get our phone numbers? Well one way is that other companies will sell on their mailing lists and contacts to these companies for telesales. This makes me really annoyed and I always make sure I remember to tick the little box to say I don’t want my details passed on, but that doesn’t seem to be enough to stop it.

We have just moved house, and have a new phone number now. I’ve hardly given it out to anyone (mainly as I can’t remember it yet!) and still the phone calls have started. I know the people that make the calls are just doing a (pretty thankless) job but its hard not to get annoyed. Especially as they are often trained to get chatting with you and avoid telling you the purpose of the phone call until they have warmed you up! I used to make an excuse that I couldn’t talk now (changing a nappy or in the middle of breastfeeding were favourites!) but then they would ring back again so now I’m a grumpy woman who tells them they are wasting their time.

I guess I must be missing out of lots of ‘special deals’ and exclusive offers by this approach, but I’ll live with that if I could get to a point where my first reaction when the phone rings is a sigh!!

Disclosure: I was asked to talk about telesales on the blog by Bounty. As a thank you they sent me a funky Trimphone. Thanks Bounty 🙂

Rest and recreation: Creating a play area in your child’s bedroom

Sponsored Post on behalf of Silentnight

In an ideal world we’d all have the money to splash out on a dedication space for every function of our homes. However, unless you’re Brad or Angelina reading this then chances are that you’ve had to hold back on having the lift and indoor Jacuzzi installed, and made a few concessions when it has come to the design of your house and home. When you have children the matter is particularly complicated – you obviously want to provide them with the best space possible for play and development, but for your own sanity it’s important to be able to enjoy your own space too – one that won’t be buried under a mountain of toys and clutter.

When space is at a premium, creating a play area in your child’s bedroom is the obvious solution. This allows you to create a space for your child that they can develop a real sense of ownership over, and keep the rest of your house relatively free of toys and clutter at the same time. The trouble with this, of course, is that your child needs both a place that is calm and relaxing for bedtime, but imaginative and inviting for playtime. So what can be done to create a practical balance between the two?

If you are going to create a combination bedroom-playroom, the key is to keep the two elements as separate as possible. The way that you organise your child’s bedroom can really affect the way they perceive it, and so getting the layout right is a key part of this. Your child’s creative space is pretty easy to engineer – a small table and chair will give them a place to colour and paint, whilst a relatively clear carpet area nearby gives them the chance to free play with their toys. However, ensuring that your child has an area in which they can be messy and creative is equally as important as creating a special area where your child can go and relax.

Setting up a “calm corner”, with comfortable seating and the child’s bed, can help create a clear and visible distinction between play and rest-time. Decorating this area with pastel colours can also have a calming effect, as many educational experts agree that it is these small, subtle details that can affect how a child behaves. If he or she is old enough, let your child play a part in designing the room. This helps them to develop a sense of self, and to identify the bedroom as ‘their space’. Since the bed is the most crucial element to get right, allow your child to choose from a selection of mattress and frame designs. Specialist retailers like Silentnight.co.uk and Layezee offer a wider selection of mattresses, frames and headboards that can help the child to personalise their bed a little more. Failing that, you could also allow them to choose from a selection of colour schemes or wallpaper designs. You might wind up raising your very own Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen!

Crack the Habit – Guest Post from Ecoegg

I met the team from Ecoegg at The Baby Show last month and am currently testing out an Ecoegg as a replacement for washing powder which I will be reviewing on the blog soon! Today I have a fab Guest Post from them just in time for Easter.

The Easter period has transformed from a once religious festival to a celebration of over indulgence. Easter has a negative impact on your health, your purse and the environment! Yes, it’s great fun, but do we really need to be so wasteful. Why not crack the habit?

A recent scientific study has shown that during a typical Easter period an average child will receive over thirteen Easter eggs and consume over 12,000 calories of chocolate and Easter goodies. That’s enough calories to keep them going for a full week! To burn of those extra calories, a child will have to run the equivalent of 56 miles. That’s the distance from London to Brighton! As the vast majority of children are unlikely to run 56 miles in order to burn of their over indulgence, they stand to gain up to four pounds in excess body fat. For many families, Easter has become nothing but a chocolate-eating fest.  Is it any wonder that obesity and diabetes is plaguing the UK?

An average British child under 12 will receive £24 worth of chocolate this Easter. Most children will receive one £3 egg from their parents and a further twelve from extended family and friends. Does a child really need thirteen Easter eggs? The price of Easter eggs is set to rise again the year due to the ever increasing price of Cocoa. The cost of eggs soared by up to 140% last year, and is set to increase further this year. Political unrest in the main cocoa producing countries and increased VAT are two of the main reasons for the ever increasing cost of Easter treats. With many families in the UK now officially in poverty, is £24 an expense most families can really afford?

A survey by Friends of the Earth has revealed that in some cases for every £1 spent on Easter eggs, consumers could be spending the same amount or more again on packaging. It has been estimated that 4370 tonnes of cardboard and 160 tonnes of foil waste was created by the packaging used to protect Easter eggs. Many of the leading brands are actively planning to reduce packaging on Easter eggs, but the majority still contain several layers of unnecessary unrecyclable packaging which inevitably ends up in landfills.

With delicious egg shaped temptations at every turn from February to April each year, it would be near impossible to fully resist the delights of a little Easter indulgence, but do we have to indulge on such a grand scale? As our little ones learn by example, we should be the ones to take the lead and show them that you can absolutely have a little treat to celebrate Easter but why eat chocolate to the point of nausea?

Why not crack the habit and swap some of your Easter eggs for one of these alternative Easter gifts:

  • Paint your own Easter egg kit- for around £5 you can keep your child occupied for a couple of hours and you also don’t have to worry about the calories they are consuming. www.dotcomgiftshop.com
  • Ecoegg laundry egg- the revolutionary new way to do laundry, completely replacing laundry detergent and lasting for up to 720 washes, it saves families £000’s. www.ecoeggonline.com
  • Buy a chicken for a family in Malawi- for just £10 you can buy a brood of chickens for a family in Malawi, allowing them to earn an income from selling the eggs. A guilt free Easter Egg!- www.giftsinaction.org.uk
*This is a sponsored post

Benefits Of A Modern Tumble Dryer

This is a sponsored post.

A few months before Pumpkin came along, we invested in a tumble dryer and it was one of the best investments we made. Yes in an ideal world I would dry all my washing on the line but the British weather isn’t really designed for that in winter! I do try to dry washing over radiators in winter but the amount of washing that a baby or toddler generates is amazing – I’d run out of room! The lovely people at Appliances Online have written a fab article about modern tumble dryers that I am pleased to host here.

Traditionally, tumble dryers have a reputation for being basic, noisy and inefficient appliances. However, more recently, some of the top brands have introduced much quieter, more efficient models to the market, which are jam packed with programmes and features.

Below you’ll find the benefits of some of our most technologically advanced tumble dryers. It’ll help give you an insight into just how far tumble drying technology has come. Forget about those loud, money draining appliances from yesteryear and focus on these beauties.

1) If you are never quite sure how long to set the timer for on your tumble dryer, or you’re worried about the amount of energy they waste, then take a look at the Beko DRCS68W condenser tumble dryer. It offers a choice of 11 programmes and, more importantly, 7 sensor drying options for you to choose from.

Sensor drying takes the guesswork out of doing your laundry as it allows you to select the level of dryness you require. The advantages of using sensor drying instead of traditional timed drying are that it saves you energy as it only uses the exact amount of power and heat required. It’ll therefore cost you less on your electricity bills and will help towards protecting the environment too. It also protects your clothes against over drying, which causes unnecessary stress on the fabrics.

The DRCS68W is the perfect appliance for smaller families or couples, with its 6kg drying load. It also benefits from a reverse drum action, to keep your clothes tangle free. You’ll find an automatic anti-creasing feature to rotate your clothes every minute after the cycle has finished if you’re unable to remove them right away, so you’ll never have to worry about creased up clothes again!

2) The Hotpoint TC5M80P tumble dryer is affordable, effortless to use and offers value for money each time you use it. As this is a condenser dryer, there’s no need for a vent or for it to be positioned near an external wall. This means you have ultimate flexibility as this dryer can be placed anywhere in your home. It comes with a 5 litre reservoir container which collects the expelled water from each drying cycle. You will have to empty this, but it’s made really simple for you as it has an empty water indicator to let you know when this needs to be done.

A flexible range of drying temperatures means this model can easily accommodate different fabrics that require different temperatures. Everything from t-shirts to underwear can be effectively dried and having the ability to vary the temperatures gives you total control and stops you from ever ruining your favourite jumper.

3) The Hotpoint Aquarius TVM570P tumble dryer is the best way to dry your clothes exactly how you want them. It comes complete with easy to set programmes to ensure you always get the best results and special features to prevent creasing. There is a reverse tumble action which means that the drum can spin in both directions, so your clothes don’t come out of the dryer in a tangled knot. There are also high and low heat settings for your delicate items and it gives you the power to select the dryness of your laundry too. Impressive.

This model also comes with the added bonus of a Refresh Final Cool Tumble, to protect your clothes and your hands. It reduces repeated stress on the fabrics and stops garments stretching as they are pulled out of the dryer. It will also cool the clothes so you can wear them straight out of the drum.

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