Monthly Archives: February 2017

Online Shopping – How to Save Money

Online shopping is a huge business and with most of us, the ability to spend money is simply a few clicks away on the phone or pad. Most of my shopping (except groceries because I love food shopping) is done on the Internet and mainly via apps on my phone.

Here are my top tips to saving money when you shop online.

  1. Know what you are looking for? Google it and click the shopping tab. This will bring up loads of sites and prices where you can buy.
  2. Check eBay and Amazon. These don’t always show up in a search.
  3. Found the perfect site with the perfect price? Sign up to their newsletter – chances are you will receive an email with a code for money off your first order.
  4. Check cashback websites. Might as well earn some cashback on that purchase. I use TopCashBack and love it!
  5. Search for voucher/discount codes that you can use. There are loads of sites that can help you with this such as VoucherCodes and PromotionalCodes.
  6. No discount from the newsletter? Add the item to your basket and leave it there. Some sites will then email you offering an incentive to complete the purchase.
  7. Don’t forget to earn any points – check to see if they offer Nectar points on purchases. eBay does!
  8. Take advantage of free delivery. If your item isn’t urgent then take the free or cheaper shipping that takes a few days rather than the expensive next day delivery.
  9. A lot of items on eBay and Amazon are from China. Check Ali Express, the same item from the same seller may be on there at a lower price.
  10. If a site has a ‘chat now’ function, use it and see if they will offer you a discount. This often works on sites that sell electrical goods.

 

And none of these points even starts to go down the route of ‘do I actually need it?’

 

Just a few ways to save when you shop online! Let me know if you have any other ways!

Follow me on Twitter: @moneysavemum

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Charity Shop Bargains in February

 

This Wednesday, in the pouring rain, the children and I went and donated three bags of clothes and toys to our local charity shop. We have all been having a good clear out and as well as selling lots on eBay it’s really nice to be able to give to a charity knowing the money they raise will help their cause.

 

Once we had passed our bags to the lovely lady who volunteers at the shop, I let the children have a quick look around whilst I checked there were no Val McDermid books that I haven’t already read (there wasn’t).

 

My son, however, did find a Star Wars Speeder Bike straight from the 1980’s that he was ‘desperate’ to own. When I saw it was only £2 I couldn’t say no.

star-wars-bike

 

Which, of course, meant that my daughter really wanted something too. She loves reading as much as me and was looking at their children’s books when she noticed a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book that she doesn’t own. I didn’t think it was possible as I thought she had all of them possible! I then noticed that they were having an amazing sale on children’s books – 8 for £1!!

books

 

So, we gave three bags of toys and clothes and came out with one new toy and eight books! And I only spent £3 so I think it was a bargain!

 

I love shopping in charity shops, you never know what you are going to find!

 

Follow me on Twitter @moneysavemum

 

I Did It!!!

 

Debt one has been paid! And it was 14 days earlier than my target date!

paid

 

I have spent so much time literally staring at a spreadsheet that shows all of my debts and how they decrease over the year wondering if I can actually hit my targets when, on Sunday, my eBay items sold well enough that I had made enough money to pay my first debt.

 

Now this debt was £80. Most people will think that’s not a lot of money and would be easy to pay but for me it’s a figure I just didn’t have spare. I generally budget well each month but there is always something that pops up that I wasn’t expecting, this month it was a gymnastics competition entry fee, so there is never really anything spare to put towards my debts. Obviously, I’m paying them off slowly with monthly repayments but I really want them gone quicker than that.

 

To pay this first debt I used £11 that I made from TopCashBack, £20 savings and the rest was from selling things on eBay. I’m really enjoying this at the moment and it is also encouraging me to have a good clear out. For every one item that ends up on eBay another 5 items are donated to our local charity shop too!

 

I’m going to keep on top of the clearing and selling as I still have another three debts I would like to get rid of this year. This next one is £179 and I am giving myself until 28th May to earn and save to pay it off. I have confidence that I’ll be able to do it too!

 

Now it’s just waiting for the letter to arrive that tells me that the debt is settled. That’s a fantastic letter to receive!

 

Have you found an easier/better way of earning money to save or pay debts? Let me know, I would love to hear your ideas!

 

Follow me on Twitter @moneysavemum

 

A good week

This week has been a pretty good one for money saving, earning and blog posting. 

Money saving

I have added another £20 in Love2Shop vouchers this week. I spent two evenings for about 1 hour each time testing the smells of surface cleaner and hand soap. It’s a really easy way of earning vouchers but it’s not guaranteed. I can go months with no invite to test anything then a load turn up at once! 

I’ve also added another £3 to my Morrisons savings. 

Money earning

I’m using eBay as the main source of earning money. The money that I make is going towards some debts that I want and need to pay off. This evening I have hit my target to pay my first debt! I’m so happy because I’ve achieved this two weeks earlier than I had planned. I can’t wait to call Barclays in the morning and get rid of that debt once and for all! Now onto the next one. I have 104 days to hit that target which is hopefully more time than I need. I just need to keep on top of the eBay-ing!

Blog posting

I’m really enjoying blogging again and have had loads of views this week so thank you to everyone who has read my blog!!


My next post will be in the week!

Follow me on Twitter @moneysavemum

Ultra cheap tomato soup recipe

OK, so I thought I would try something a bit different today.

One big expense that I have cut out this year is the work lunch. I was basically too pre-occupied in a morning to think about what I would eat for lunch so would often end up at the local sandwich shop for my favourite bacon, brie and lettuce baguette. Yes, it was yummy, but once I had added the afternoon snack I was spending over £4 a day. That’s around £80 a month! Ridiculous! So I now take my lunch with me. I mainly have leftovers which I love, or take a couple of eggs and bread for scrambled egg and toast.

One thing I love though is homemade soup. It’s just so easy to make and cheap too. I make it in bulk so I only have to cook for work lunches once a week.

One of my favourites is a simple tomato and chilli soup. I make four servings and it costs me about £1.40 in total! It’s thick too so I don’t have to have bread with it, the soup itself is enough to fill me up.

So here is the recipe for my super cheap super nice tomato soup (prices are from Asda)

Ingredients:

Three carrots – 9p each
One Onion – 8p
Two vegetable stock cubes – 4p each
1.5 litres of water
1kg passata – (a box from Asda is 500g for 39p!)
Dash of Olive Oil – 5p
Teaspoon of sugar – 8p
Optional:
Crushed chillies – 5p
Handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped – 15p

Method:

  1. Roughly chop the carrots and onion
  2. Add a dash of olive oil to a large pan and add the carrots and onion
  3. Fry for a couple of minutes and keep stirring to avoid burning
  4. Boil the kettle and add 1.5 litres of water and two vegetable stock cubes to the pan
  5. Add both boxes of passata
  6. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat to simmer for around 30 minutes or until the carrots are soft and the liquid has reduced down by about a 5th (on my pan its an inch below where the liquid started)
  7. Remove from the heat and start blitzing with your hand blender
  8. Add a teaspoon of sugar and the a sprinkle of crushed chillies if using
  9. Keep blitzing until there are no lumps of carrot left
  10. Add the chopped basil leaves if required and stir through
  11. Split the soup between 4 soup containers

And that’s it! When the soup has cooled you can freeze it for another day or refrigerate if eating within two days.

The soup containers I use are from my local pound shop and the cheapest hand blender I have found is at Wilko for £4.75!

cups

My bargain soup cups! unfortunately I don’t have a picture of my tomato soup because I ate it all!

I would love to hear your reviews on the recipe.

Follow me on Twitter @moneysavemum

Sunday evening summary

So this week has been an ok week. Lots of thinking and even more maths to figure out what I need to do to make money, how I am going to distribute it between debts and Christmas and I’ve rediscovered Twitter!

I have saved another £23 towards Christmas this week which is brilliant. Everything is on track. 

I have added lots of things to eBay – this is my main way of earning money to pay my debts. We have LOADS of stuff in the house that is just sitting there so why not declutter and make money at the same time. 

I’m still on track to pay my first debt off by the 28th February. If eBay goes well this week I may even be able to do it sooner. 

Finally, I have rediscovered Twitter and I’m really enjoying posting little bits again. 

I’ve got some ideas for future blogs including some ultra cheap work lunch recipes that I can’t wait to share too!

Next blog post will be in the week!

Follow me on Twitter here

New Year New Start

I started last year saving well and blogging regularly about how I was getting on and ways to save and earn money. Unfortunately as the year progressed although my saving was still on track I lost sight of the blogging element.

So, after a month to reset, the saving is back on course and blogging has started.

As last year I managed to save so well for Christmas (£100 worth of alcohol, £400 worth of food, computer consoles, board games, scooters, all paid for with my savings) I’m trying two things this year.

  1. Save for Christmas
  2. Pay off debts

Christmas saving will pretty much be the same as last year. I want £150 minimum in vouchers, £500 for food and alcohol. Paying off my debts will be harder.

In my youth, before the recession, when banks threw money at you from the moment you turned 18, I embraced it. Credit cards, loans, overdraft, store cards, I had them all. And when I was struggling to pay the banks simply upped my limit or gave me another loan to pay a card off. Now I’m not blaming the banks, I am at fault but there has to be some sort of responsible lending issues going on to.

Now I have been with a debt management company for some time, slowly paying off my debts. I could have gone down the route of bankruptcy and all of my debts would be forgotten by now but this was my mess and I was responsible for fixing it.

I have paid of a number of debts over the years but I still have some to go. So, with this in mind, I am utilising websites such as eBay and TopCashBack to earn money to pay these debts.

I’ll blog again and go into more detail with regards to the debts but I am currently looking at getting an £86 debt paid as soon as possible. A lot of people will think £86 is not much and why don’t I just get it paid, but its not that easy when you budget your monthly pay pretty much down to the pound. I have already saved to pay this debt and earned a bit more. The original plan was to have it paid by April 1st but I am now planning to have it paid by February 28th.

£68 has been earmarked for this debt so far so less than £20 to go. I have things selling on eBay so there is even the possibility of paying this debt before the 28th if things sell well.

A quick rundown of my Christmas savings too are:

  01/02/2017
Asda £40.00
Park £40.00
Boots £16.16
Nectar £23.29
Morrisons £8.00

I’m pleased with this start.

My items I’m selling on eBay can be found here.

A new blog will be coming soon! I promise!