Five frugal things this week (16 March)

Photo of orange orchids in the glasshouse at Cambridge Botanic Gardens to illustrate my post on 5 frugal things this week

Gorgeous orchids in Cambridge Botanic Gardens

 

After the excitement of Mothering Sunday, we’ve had a thrifty and uneventful week. No snow, no mad work deadlines, and the chance to write a post about essentials for an emergency food stockpile.

Here’s a round up of our five frugal things this week.

 

Picture of Pizza Express Jesus Lane for my five frugal things this week post

Rare meal out for Mothers’ Day

Saved with an early Mothers’ Day meal

This year, we did a Mothering Sunday outing on Saturday. Yup, we headed off to Cambridge a day early, a spur of the moment decision first thing in the morning because it fitted in with other plans.

One bonus was that when we went for a family-friendly lunch at Pizza Express, my husband and I could take advantage of the “2 courses for £9.99” set menu which wasn’t available on Mothers’ Day itself. Looking at the normal cost of our choices, plus tip, we shaved more than £18 off the bill. (Which also reminds me why we don’t eat out very often). No planning required. I used the free wi-fi in Pizza Express to to check offers after we arrived, requested the code, and then showed the email on my phone to the waiter.

Afterwards, the children got to spend gift vouchers they’d been given, and I dragged everyone to Cambridge Botanic Gardens.

 

Picture of a lemon cake decorated with lemon buttercream icing and raspberries for Mothers' Day

Saved the smartest raspberries for the top

Made a celebratory sponge cake

On Mothers’ Day itself, we headed over to see Granny and Grandpa for tea, taking flowers and a cake. My son suggested lemon drizzle cake, which normally just involves adding lemon zest to the batter and pouring a mix of sugar and lemon juice over the cooling cake. This time, I made it more of a celebration by putting lemon curd and raspberries in the middle, with more raspberries and lemon buttercream icing on the top. Lovely to see the grandparents and we rounded off the afternoon by quite literally playing Happy Families.

 

Picture of Cooking on a Bootstrap book from Jack Monroe

It’s here!

Got a long-awaited parcel in the post

I was absolutely delighted when my copy of Jack Monroe’s budget cookbook “Cooking on a Bootstrap” showed up this week. I paid for a copy back in 2015, when Jack was funding the publication via a Kickstarter project, but producing the book took rather longer than expected!

I’m a big fan of Jack’s previous books with their super low cost recipes. I bought a copy of A Girl Called Jack* and borrowed A Year in 120 Recipes* from the library, so was glad to support the production of a new one. (Check out the veggie chilli from storecupboard ingredients and the ever popular carrot, cumin and kidney bean burgers)

Now I’m looking forward to trying loads of recipes from Cooking on a Bootstrap, and will report back. A version with photos is due to be published later this year, but in the mean time you can find loads of Jack’s recipes for free on the Cooking on a Bootstrap website.

 

Screen grab of 1Tap Receipts app showing a receipt for Virgin wifi and an estimated £28 tax saving this month

Logging expenses with 1Tap Receipts

Scanned receipts for my tax return

As I’m self-employed, my receipts can be a money maker.

Specifically, I can claim allowable expenses to cut my tax bill. Think things like train tickets for occasional meetings in London, or website hosting. However, it’s all too easy to lose the receipts before I finally get round to submitting my annual tax return. This year, I’ve started using an app called 1 Tap Receipts to scan my receipts as I go along and the app magically extracts all the info, sorts it into tax categories, and stores pics of the receipts. I can even forward email invoices to 1 Tap!  I also get to feel virtuous when taking photos of the receipts, smug in the knowledge I’m not just leaving everything till the end of January.

Yes, 1Tap does have a subscription fee, but as I save 20p in tax for every £1 I claim in allowable expenses, I figure it helps me save more than I spend. For higher-rate taxpayers it’s even more worthwhile, because they save 40p for every £1 claimed.

If you fancy giving 1Tap a whirl, use this link* to get a 20% discount on subscriptions, which start from £14.99 a year.

Post with more last minute tips to cut your tax bill

Picture of a Morrisons meat pack with mince, stewing steak, sausages and a pork joint for my 5 frugal things post

Packing meat

Picked up a mega Morrisons meat pack

Vegetarians look away now.

I spotted online that Morrisons decided to mark National Butchers’ Week by selling a £10 pack of meat that would normally cost more than £15. It’s all stuff we’d eat, and I figured it would keep us going for a while, if I padded out portions with veg and bunged some in the freezer.

When I asked at the meat counter in our local Morrisons, the butcher explained the packs were flying off the shelves as fast as they could make them.

The offer runs until Sunday, and each pack is meant to contain a hefty 2.3kg of meat:

  • 900g pork loin joint
  • 420g steak mince
  • 450g lean diced beef
  • 8 pork sausages, approx 530g

In practice, mine contained 10% extra, weighing 2.54 kg in total. The sausages, mince and stewing steak were all a bit heavier, and the pork joint actually weighed in at 1,075g, making the pack an even better deal.

Now bring on the bolognaise sauce, beef and veg stew, sausage casserole, roast pork and hopefully some leftover pork to make a pie.

I also added a pack of Kerry Gold butter and a jar of jam to my trolley, as Top Cashback Snap & Save* are offering £1 cashback and 20p cashback respectively, just for sending in a copy of your receipt.

If you’ve never joined TopCashback before, sign up here* and you can get £15 cashback when spending £40+ at ASDA Groceries before April 5.

 

Now – over to you. Any frugal tips to share? Great savings on food or family activities? Do let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear!

 

I’m linking up with CassEmma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five Fabulously Frugal things I’ve done this week’ linky.

*indicates an affiliate link, so anything you buy through it will help support the blog, as I will get a small commission at no cost to you. Many thanks!

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Pinterest size image of orange orchids for my 5 frugal things this week post

7 Comments

  1. March 17, 2018 / 9:41 am

    Oh lucky you to get Jack’s book early! The rest of us doubters and slackers will have to wait until August for our copy.

  2. March 17, 2018 / 6:52 pm

    1Tap sounds like a fantastic idea, great for keeping on top of things and saving in the long run!

    • March 24, 2018 / 8:13 am

      I don’t normally recommend anything I could do myself for free, but I really think 1Tap is going to save me more than the subscription. If I scan receipts that can come off my tax bill straight away, I won’t either lose them or forget them by the time I force myself to do my tax return.

  3. Kathryn Hipkin
    March 22, 2018 / 6:38 pm

    Great stuff. Haven’t posted here for ages as my husband’s business went into liquidation just before Christmas (literally. 21 December) so just trying to stay afloat really.
    Entered a few comps but nothing much from those and also emailed to Nicky Elite because they have added fragrance and lotion to their toilet tissue (WHY? I am allergic to those things) saying I would not be buying it any more. This was just a general grumble but a massive box turned up today with a 12 pack of toilet tissue in it. Not complaining. Also, gave some tickets that I won to my friend and she has given me £5 Love2shop vouchers, which was very kind and unexpected of her, just happy the tickets were used.
    Kids wanted to go to McDonalds today so got 3 free food things from their Monopoly. Apps drain my battery really quickly so I tend to avoid them. Don’t think I can get up to 5 this week, well done to you!

    • March 24, 2018 / 8:15 am

      Oh gracious must be very tough with your husband’s business going into liquidation. Good luck. Hope the freebie loo roll, vouchers and MaccieD’s all help!

  4. Jenny Hughes
    March 26, 2018 / 6:42 pm

    I love the idea of saving on meals out with the family. My husband suggested the idea this year as money is tight (house deposit). He thought I’d be upset, but I loved the idea. Like you, we saved almost £20 off a meal. I’ll be doing this every year now (and for his birthday).

    • March 26, 2018 / 9:16 pm

      Glad you successfully saved on a meal, and great idea doing it on birthdays too.

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