Thursday, 27 September 2012

7 DAY INTERACTIVE MEAL PLANNER COMPLETE WITH SHOPPING LIST!

If you're bored with the same old meals every night and also need to budget and plan to save money, then the NHS 7 day meal planner will provide you with recipes to choose from, your chosen menu plan and will even email you the shopping list to go with your choices!
The meals are low-fat, healthy and not complicated - a real bonus!

RANDOM MONEY-SAVING NUMBER 22

Close your curtains!
During the winter months when it's cold, closing your curtains will help to keep your house warm, meaning you save on heating costs. If your curtains are longer than radiators underneath windows, then try to tuck them behind the radiator.
If your front or back door lets in a draft, consider putting up a curtain behind it to keep the cold air out too. You'll need a good thick one to stop draughts and hook-on linings can help with this - or buy old curtains from a charity shop and double up by sewing them together. You can use any left over fabric to sew a draught excluder "sausage" and stuff it with old tights, worn our sheets or any other old clothes (cut up) you may have otherwise thrown out!
Catch up with all the Random Money-Saving Tips so far...

Thursday, 20 September 2012

THE WHOLE SORRY PPI RECLAIMING BUSINESS...

For anyone who hasn't yet heard, been phoned, received unwanted texts - the whole dirty business of people wanting to reclaim your PPI (Payment Protection Insurance) on your behalf, seems to be escalating beyond control.
Perhaps to begin with some of these firms who advertise that they can get you thousands back may have been genuine - insomuch as they would have got your refund of PPI (always supposing you ever paid any) and would have charged you 30% of whatever they got back. However, now we seem to be plagued by any number of shonky pop-up firms who may get your money back, but you never receive it and they then become "uncontactable" - shorthand for "gone into liquidation".
The truth is, you can get your own PPI back if you follow a few simple steps (which is all any PPI reclaiming company would do) and then all the money you reclaim is yours.
Firstly, if you know who you had the PPI with, then things should be fairly straightforward; you write to them and tell them you believe you've been missold PPI and that will start the process. If you don't know the details of your PPI payments, then you need to check your credit report (does cost a couple of pounds but there are ways to get it for free) this will give details going back 6 years of what loans etc you have had, thus providing contact details.
For template letters, FAQs and masses more info go to www.moneysavingexpert.com and start reclaiming!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

RANDOM MONEY-SAVING TIP NUMBER 21

Check your bank statements every month!
Always, always check your bank statements every month. Checking will pick up any suspicious activity, any reckless over spending, tell you when you’ve gone overdrawn (and how much it cost you) and whether you have any forgotten (or even cancelled) direct debits that are still slipping unnoticed out of your account every month!
Know about your own finances and how much you spend every month - stay in touch with your money – or lack of it, because no-one else can do this for you and you’ll be all the richer for it!
Catch up with all the Random Money-Saving Tips so far...

Friday, 14 September 2012

RANDOM MONEY-SAVING TIP NUMBER 20

Don't pull up your lettuce! 
When you harvest any lettuce you've grown, don't pull the whole plant up, just cut across the stalk at ground level. You have your lettuce to eat now and in a couple of weeks, you'll also have some lovely baby leaves to eat, growing out of the stalk you've left behind!
This tip was really useful to me this year, because, due to the strange weather we had in early summer, my lettuces didn't grow - they bolted! The leaves of bolted lettuce tend to be tough and a bit bitter, so really the plants are no good. But, this year instead of pulling up and discarding them, I cut the plants off at ground level and a couple of weeks later, had a lovely crop of small tender leaves - so not quite a complete loss!
Catch up with all the Random Money-Saving Tips so far...

RANDOM MONEY-SAVING TIP NUMBER 19

Research!
This is just like planning your meals before you do your food shop, but this research can be about anything you buy.
I needed some of my usual eye cream recently and was horrified to see how much it had gone up in price since the last time I had bought it - so I Googled it to see what it costs in all the major high street retailers and, yes, guess what they were all within a few pence of each other on price (£9.95- £10.20), however, another result showed a seller on Ebay listing my cream for £4.50 + £1.00 p&p! 
Of course I checked out the seller's feedback and made sure they were a genuine supplier - done! And for around half the price of anywhere near me! My cream was with me in 2 days - no problem.
I now Google a lot of fairly common items that I buy for the home, especially if they are priced around £5 or more. This has resulted in me buying my coffee and my fabric softener from Amazon and even, once, my toilet rolls! And these were all delivered post free. 
Don't forget, mysupermarket.com also shows supermarket prices of Asda, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Tesco and Ocado to help with your comparisons.
Prices are going up and wages aren't - it pays to do your research!
Catch up with all the Random Money-Saving Tips so far...

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

WARNING! CHRISTMAS IS COMING!

Okay, once again I am guilty of uttering the "C" word at the end of summer, but think on this - Christmas is on the 25th December every year, and every year we seem to get caught out thrashing the credit card in December and broke in January (and perhaps February and March too).
The average Christmas spend per family is around £600 and as this is more than can be managed in one month for most of us we need to start planning now.
Check your cupboards for last year's Christmas puddings - they'll probably still be in date! Well, it's one thing less to buy! Make a list of everything you usually buy in the way of food, start thinking what you can do without (those boxes of dates that no-one eats for example) and start buying a couple of items a week. 
Count up all the people you have to buy gifts for, set a budget for each present and start picking up items that are on special offer now. Search your cupboards for presents to "re-gift" - my other half always gets at least one scarf and one pack of sports socks every year - something has to go! This tip comes with a very big warning though - do make a note of who gave you these presents. I was once given a very unusual bottle of hand cream that I had given a relative 5 years before! Needless to say, it had gone off! So if you cannot remember who gave you the item, list it on Ebay now and sell it to get some "present money".
So re-gifting takes planning; sort your presents out in the New Year, label those items you cannot use, with post-it notes saying who gave them to you and then pack them away for next Christmas (or for birthdays if the gift is not "Christmassy").
As of today, Christmas is 103 days away, which is really not very long to buy a stack of food, decorations and presents! Get planning!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

RANDOM MONEY-SAVING TIP NUMBER 18

Portion Control!
Keep track on just how much food you are allowing per person - we all sometimes have far too much rice or pasta cooked and often we eat it all anyway, sometimes it's thrown away (terrible!) and rarely it is used in leftover recipes (or more often, later found in a furry heap in the fridge!).
I've found that the amounts of pasta and rice recommended per portion on the back of packets are often ridiculously huge, and, even worse,  I know some people who just pour it in the saucepan and don't weigh it at all!
So my tip is to always weigh your rice and pasta, and always count out your potatoes. For a curry where rice is an accompaniment I use 2 ozs (approx 50g) per person. If I'm entertaining I may use 3ozs. For pasta I use 3 ozs per person (as an accompaniment), or where the meal is pasta based, 4ozs, and for potatoes; 4 baby new ones or 3 medium older ones. 
There are also portion guidelines for meat and fish (just Google it) which catering businesses use to avoid waste and expenditure - keeping to these will save you money too!
It's not being mean, it's being sensible, not wasteful - and frugal!
Catch up with all the Random Money-Saving Tips so far...

FREE HALLOWEEN KNITTING PATTERNS


For all you crafty frugallers out there, you have a few weeks to create all your Halloween goodies! I've rounded up some lovely free Halloween knitting patterns created and generously given by those talented craft bloggers out there in the bloggerverse! These all take small quantities of yarn, so are suitably frugal!
So to begin - a quirky Halloween wig, shown in pink, but I  think it would also make a really great black witches' wig, then we have a cute pumpkin Jack O' Lantern HERE and a pumpkin decoration HERE, a fabulous pair of fingerless Halloween pumpkin mitts, a Halloween witch doll, a pumpkin tea-cosy, and a tiny ghost to spook us all out!

Happy Halloween knitting!
(and don't forget, if you're looking for free Christmas knitting patterns, check out my Free Christmas Knitting Patterns blog!)

Sunday, 2 September 2012

RANDOM MONEY-SAVING TIP NUMBER 17

Use Shopping Lists! 
Plan, plan, plan! Before you spend anything, plan out your purchases - this also goes for your grocery shopping. 
Making a shopping list before you visit the supermarket always proves cheaper than not making one - think ahead, plan your week's menu, check what ingredients you already have in the fridge, cupboards and freezer and buy only what you will need. 
Do not be tempted by anything that's not on your list! Keep your list handy all through the week so that when you run out of cleaning stuff, kitchen roll or whatever, you can note it down straight away. No more walking around the supermarket picking up things you think you may have run out of only to get home and find you have 3 bottles of toilet cleaner hiding behind the toilet bowl! 
Catch up with all the Random Money-Saving Tips so far...