If there is one thing I am passionate about it is saving money! We are currently on one wage and saving to move so the need to save money is essential. However I do not think you have to miss out on the things you enjoy to save money, it takes a bit of thinking. Every Friday I will be sharing the frugal/money saving things I have done that week to hopefully give others some ideas.
1. I used free children's playgroups to entertain Michael. Children's activities can be expensive which is why I am a massive fan of our local sure start/children centres. We are very lucky we have three different centres in our local area which means we have a range of baby/toddler groups to choose from such as toddler talk, play with a story, make and shake etc. They are free to attend and have a range of toys and activities for your child to play. Ranging from 45 mins to 1h30mins they easily fill some time with your toddler. Some Sure Start centres are currently closing due to lack of funding so more people really do need to make use of them.
2. Picked up reserved books from our local library. Another place more people need to use! I have no idea why some are not making use of their local library-ours is great! Our local library holds free events from time to time, children's story time and a sticker book your child can complete by taking our books. I love reading but buying a new book every week can be costly. As a result this year I set myself the challenge to not buy any new books. Instead I have been making use of my libraries online reservation service and reserving the new hardbooks recently released. Really simple to do, you may wait a few weeks if the book is in real demand, but the library sends you a message when you book is ready to pick up.
3. Picked up cheap/free baby items. My younger brother and his girlfriend are expecting their first child in 5 weeks. I am so excited to have another niece/nephew to get some baby cuddles. I really wanted to sort them our a nice gift without spending a lot so have made it my mission to get baby items as cheaply as possible and will put it all in a large hamper. The stuff in the picture below cost me less than £3! Some items I got free by sending of for free samples, the large pampers I got for only £2 using a coupon, the munchkin products I actually won and the rest of the items are from Poundland/Home Bargains. I still need to get them a bit more and will buy the baby a outfit when we do know the sex but its good to know you can sort out a gift without spending loads.
https://www.pampers.co.uk/offers-pages/samples-on-demand- Get a pampers coupon here!
4. Bought Michael's 2017 winter coat in Next Clearance. I always buy Michael's winter clothes in the spring sales this time of year and this week I ordered him a parka coat at £17 reduced from £34. Now you could get a cheaper coat than this, the winter just gone Michael's coat was practically new from Ebay. However I do love Next for children's clothes, I find them great quality, long lasting and nice designs so when I saw this coat I really wanted it for Michael. I have also got jumpers, long sleeved tops, thick trousers in the next size up for Michael put away. It is great if you can buy children's clothes in advance at a reduced prize.
5.Sent off for two adult Thorpe Park Tickets. Every now and again myself and my partner Dan love to go out for the day just the two of us having some much needed couple time. One of the places we love to go together is to a theme park. Theme park tickets however can be expensive, so I use the Sun newspapers coupons whenever I can. You just collect 10 tokens from The Sun newspaper, send them off and you will be sent two tickets to Thorpe Park saving you a lot of money. I also use The Sun's £9.50 holidays and I am hoping they will again have tokens for Legoland again this year. Last year our entrance was free to Legoland for Michael's 3rd birthday. There are 2 for 1 vouchers, free child entrance, 50% off etc for attractions everywhere so before you go to any attraction, look for a voucher!
6.Arranged with a friend a free haircut. This one was sort of spur of the moment. One of my friends is currently retraining to be a hairdresser and wrote a Facebook status asking for anyone with long hair available for a straight cut for her to practice and put in her portfolio. I volunteered, not only will I be helping out a friend, I will also get my hair cut. Double win! Not everyone will have a friend who can do this, but having a look some hairdressers training collages are looking for volunteers so may be worth looking into. Or look into a mobile hairdresser. Not only can you get your hair cut in the comfort of your own home they are often cheaper than going into a salon.
7. Meal planned dinners and lunch. I do this every single week, and have really stuck to it this week since I am currently trying to eat healthy after Easter and a holiday. Knowing what we are eating means I stick to a strict shopping list, only buying what we need. I would strongly recommend this!
8. Used Youtube videos to work out. On the theme of eating healthily, I have also worked out three times this week. Now gym membership can be expensive and even if I did have one, childcare would mean I would find it difficult attending the gym as often as I would like. However there are a range of workout videos free on Youtube and I mean loads! There is a video for any type of workout you fancy. You can also do a workout in the comfort of your own home. If you do like workouts in a group setting, our local park has free exercise groups running every Saturday so may be worthwhile having a look to see if there is anything in your local area.
9. Added to my birthday/Christmas stash. I buy gifts for birthday and christmas in advance, especially for children's gifts when you know roughly what they like. This week I bought a barbie doll reduced to £2 for a cousin and took advantage of The Book People sale and bought Michael some Star Wars books heavily discounted. Now some gifts I do have to leave and buy full price. Michael's main Christmas present for example I will buy a couple of weeks beforehand because I have no idea what he will want to ask from Santa. However things like books, games, puzzles, sticker sets, clothes etc are perfect to buy reduced and put away for your own child, family children, or birthday parties your child is invited to. On the same note I always have birthday card in the house from the Card Factory where you can buy 7 different designs for £1.
10. Used mini mornings at Vue Cinema. As a family we love the cinema! Michael is really good at sitting at the cinema and sees it as a great treat. However the cinema can be expensive which is why we make use of our local cinema's mini mornings on a Saturday/Sunday and half term mornings. You can see a children's film for £2.50 each. It will be a older film, this week we saw Sing. However Michael really does not care and it is better than paying full price. Also if it is your child's first time going it does mean you lose less money if you do have to leave early. Our cinema also does a children's box for £2 where you get some popcorn, a small chocolate bar and a drink. However a lot of people also take in their own snacks as well further saving yourself money. Other cinema chains offer a similar thing. If you do want to see a new release, we have a premier cinema not too far away from us where all tickets are £4. May be worth looking into to see if you have one near you.
So that's it for this week, doing things like this does save us a lot of money and does mean we do also have treats. Being frugal/saving money does not mean you always have to go without.
Let me know if you have done anything frugal this week or how you have saved money in the comments below.