The Disorganised Mother’s Guide To Money Saving

Two months have passed since I pledged that this year would be the year that I took control of my finances, the year that I made changes and spent less, the year that I organised my home and my life. I’m disorganised, I like to wing it and I have a tendency to leave things until the very last minute, but now that I no longer have a guaranteed monthly income Spencer and I really do need to be sensible and save ourselves some money. We like the finer things in life and so we want to spend less money without compromising on style, taste or our lifestyle.

It hasn’t been easy but we have implemented a few simple changes which I believe have saved us money. Now don’t get me wrong, we aren’t saints, we’ve had quite a few major cock ups where frivolous Leanne has reared her head and come out to play. Like yesterday, when I bought Aria a pair of £25 Vans because they were cute (wait until you see them, they’re adorable!). I justified it because her feet have only grown by half a size in a year so they will last her ages. Things like this aren’t sensible and aren’t how to save money.

Moments like the above are exactly why I need to save money on the everyday, mundane things. Things like food shopping and home essentials.

My main goal was to start food planning, this would result in less food waste, money saved and a healthier diet. I’ll hold my hands up and admit that since publishing that post I have done a complete total of two meal plans. Shocking I know. BUT we have still managed to get a little more organised in that department and save money. Instead of just having no food in and ordering a takeaway I will now go for a walk up to the local co-op to pick something up for tea, granted, their prices are a little higher than the supermarket but it is still cheaper and healthier than ordering a takeaway. Another thing that we have started doing on the rare occasion that we actually make it to the supermarket is buying several seasoning sachets and then following the shopping lists on these, completely winging it but we have delicious home cooked meals without spending a fortune. On the occasions that I manage to meal plan I tend to do an on-line shop. I compose a meal plan on the notes on my iPhone, make a list of the ingredients, check off what we already have in the cupboards and then place an order on-line. I order it to be delivered on a day that I am working from home so that I can opt for flexi delivery and save a little more money.

Another major change that we are implementing is switching to LED lighting. The #LEDeasy campaign from the lighting superstore has really opened my eyes to the benefits of switching, not just for financial reasons but also for environmental reasons. LED lights last an average of 11,000 hours, they are energy efficient and (the photographer in me loves this) you can choose the level of warmth, bye bye tungsten induced yellow tinted indoor photos!

We’re never going to be a frugal family, but we’re getting there.

*Collaborative Post*

Can You Feed Your Family For Just £2 A Day?

When Voucherbox got in touch to ask if I would like to take part in their £2 food challenge I couldn’t resist, I love food, I love a challenge and I love saving money! For this challenge Voucherbox have teamed up with Zamcog to help support Zambia’s most at risk children through food and education. They are challenging families to feed their family for just £2 per head for a day. Giving our family of three a total budget of £6 for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

can you feed your family for just £2 a day? Join the budget food challenge with voucherbox and zamcog

It is difficult to believe how much of a struggle this challenge was, especially when you consider that it costs just £2 a day to both feed and educate a child in Zambia. I’ll be honest, I thought that this would be easily doable, but I was wrong. There was a lot of fiddling around with my meal plan in order to try and eat filling, healthy meals while keeping the costs down.

So, what did we eat and how much did we spend? We spent a total of £5.79, which gave us three healthy meals, a snack and a pudding and some change!

Breakfast – Porridge & milk – £0.54
Tesco Everyday Value Oats 1kg 75p || Approx 120g = 9p
One pint milk 45pLunch – Ham salad sandwich – £1.72
Tesco white Danish bread 45p || Approx half the loaf = 23p
Tesco Everyday Value Ham 60p
Nightingale Farms Round Lettuce 40p
Tesco Cucumber Portion 24p
Nightingale Farms Cherry Tomatoes 49p || Approx half used = 25p

Tea – Spag Bol & garlic bread – £2.99
Tesco Beef Steak Mince 250g £2.00
Tesco Everyday Value Chopped Tomatoes 31p
Onion 16p
Tesco Large Garlic 50p || Two cloves used, approx = 10p
Tesco Everyday Value Spaghetti 500g 20p || Approx half used = 10p
Tesco Everyday Value Garlic Baguette 32p

Snacks – 54p
Tesco Everyday Value Chocolate Mousse 20p || 3 out of 4 used = 15p
Tesco Loose Bananas 13p x 3 = 39p

My top tips for feeding your family on a budget are to shop the stores own brands, they are usually just as nice as the premium brands for a fraction of the price, and to buy things that can be used for various meals throughout the week, for example the large bag of porridge will see us through breakfasts for quite a while.

You can read more about the campaign here, where you will also find details of how to take part yourself.

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Can you feed your family for just £2 a day? The answer is yes! Find out how with this meal plan and shopping list.

 

*In collaboration with Voucherbox.co.uk and Zamcog*

January Sales – There Is Still Time to Grab A Bargain
*Disclosure – This is a Sponsored Post*

You could be forgiven for thinking that you have missed the boat with the January Sales, it is the twelfth of January already and most of the sales actually started before January so surely you’ve missed all the bargains by now, right? Wrong!

last minute January sales bargains with The Works - Christmas presents, toys, gifts and health aids

Whether you are looking to put a dent in this year’s Christmas shopping, stock up on birthday presents or treat yourself there are savings to be had for everyone. Here are some of my top picks for all kinds of January Sales shoppers.

Salter NutriTwist || RRP £69.99 || Was £30 || Now £20

The NutriTwist is perfect for those of us who are looking to make healthier choices in 2017. It can be used to easily make smoothies, soups and sauces as well as doubling up as a stick blender.

The Hummingbird Bakery – Life Is Sweet || RRP £20 || Was £4 || Now £2

If, like me, you think new year, new diet – schmiet, then this cookbook is for you! Recipes include all American favourites such as Peanut Butter Ice-cream and Toasted Marshmallow Cupcakes, as well as new takes on Hummingbird classics, such as Red Velvet Brownies and Black Bottom Pancakes.

50 Card Games Box Set || RRP £14.99 || Was £7 || Now £3.50

This contains all that you need to play over fifty card games, some one player and some for the whole family to enjoy. This could be as an entertainment package for upcoming Summer holidays.

Disney Princess – My Book of Everything || RRP £9.99 || Was £7 || Now £3.50

Aria already has this book and she loves it, it keeps her entertained for quite a while. The book has a great combination of fairy tales, colouring in and stickers.

Santa Is Coming to Cardiff Colouring Book || RRP £4.99 || Was £2 || Now £1.50

For the super organised amongst us now is the perfect time to stock up ready for Christmas at a fraction of the cost. This colouring book is just one of the reduced Christmas presents available.

Farmyard Floor Puzzle || Was £6 || Now £3

This giant thirty piece puzzle is suitable for ages 3+. It is bright and colourful, and well, who doesn’t love a jigsaw?

This is just a small selection of the products available at a bargain price – see the full January Sale at The Works here.

Money Saving Plans for 2017

Now that I have left my job for my blog I am aiming to seriously cut down on costs in 2017. Self-employment comes with a great deal of uncertainty, not knowing where or when you next pay will come from is quite scary, especially when your mortgage payment is due! As a result I’ll be putting some tried and tested money saving tips into place.

Discounts 
Before making any purchase online try and find a discount code, you will be amazed by how many are out there. You may not always come across one but it doesn’t take long to run a quick google search and check sites such as Voucherism, When using Google I usually just search ‘*retailer name* discount code’. You will likely come across expired discounts which can be frustrating but when you find one that works, even if it’s just for free P&P, it’s a great feeling and often a great saving.

Discounted Vouchers
As well as searching for a discount code whenever I make a purchase I also search for a discounted voucher. I use Zeek, I have the app on my iPhone and quickly search for the retailer to see if there are any vouchers available to purchase. If you purchase an online voucher you will receive the code instantly, if you purchase a physical voucher it usually arrives within a few days by Recorded Delivery.

We are using Zeek for pretty much every purchase that we make nowadays, even our grocery shopping. We tend to buy a Tesco voucher on payday and then use this to shop throughout the month, this means that the majority of our shopping is paid for in advance and we have saved money on it. The savings aren’t huge but they add up, for example there is currently a £100 Tesco voucher available for £97.

What’s great about Zeek is that as you are paying with a voucher rather than a discount code, any discount codes that you find can be used along with the voucher, so you could technically get double the discount. If that isn’t enough they occasionally send offers out, such as £5 credit which is fantastic and would mean that the example £100 Tesco voucher above could be purchased for just £92 – saving you £8.

If you like the idea of Zeek sign up with my link and receive £5 free credit to get you started, alternatively you can use promo code 2LBI8B for the £5 credit.

Cahsback
I’ve been making use of cashback sites for quite a while now, but I do tend to forget about them when making purchases on my phone. I’ve set my computer to pop up and alert me when there is cashback available on a site, I don’t think there is a way to do this on my phone so my aim for 2017 is to remember to utilise these sites more.

My cashback sites of choice are Quidco, where so far I have earned £130 in cashback, and Kidstart. Kidstart works in a slightly different way to most as all cashback goes into a savings account for your child rather than to you. While you aren’t saving money I thought it was worth mentioning as it is a lovely idea and Kidstart is one of the only cashback sites that I have come across who pay cashback on Amazon and eBay purchases.

Food Savings
We waste a lot of money on takeaways. After a long day the last thing that I want to do is cook a meal, and very often we just don’t have any food to create a meal from. We need to be more organised with meal planning and shopping lists. Now that I’m working from home I have more time to plan, prepare and cook. I intend to utilise my slow cooker more often and cook larger meals for tea so that I can have the leftovers for lunch the following day. Spencer has also started taking sandwiches to work instead of spending £2+ each day on takeaway lunches.

Always visit the reduced section when visiting the supermarket, but be careful, sometimes you can get a real bargain, other times it’s actually cheaper to buy the product in a 2 for £3 type of offer than to pay the £1.80 that it has been reduced to! I often pick up things like mince when I see them cheap and pop them in the freezer.

I am useless at coming up with meal plans so am hoping to take inspiration from blogs who regularly publish them, such as the below :

http://savings4savvymums.co.uk/tag/meal-plan/
http://www.mrsshilts.co.uk/category/meal-planning-monday/
http://www.milkandnappies.co.uk/search/label/Weekly%20Meal%20Plan?max-results=12
http://gymbunnymummy.com/tag/meal-planning/
http://www.nellyscupcakes.co.uk/search/label/meal%20planning%20like%20a%20boss?&max-results=10
http://mummysknee.com/category/meal-planning-monday/
http://www.theygrowsoquick.com/search/label/weekly%20meal%20plan

You never know, maybe when I get into the swing of things I’ll start publishing my own meal plan!

I hope that you found my money saving tips useful. Do you have any that I haven’t mentioned? Would you like to see regular weekly meal plans posted here? Warning – they will likely contain delicacies such as fish fingers & chips on a regular basis! 

*Sponsored Post*