So far we’ve all survived the first week of the Easter holidays, partly thanks to the glorious weather in Suffolk. It’s been a genuine pleasure to get outside in the garden and head off for assorted outings.
Here’s a round up of our five fabulously frugal things this week.
Got out for a family walk
We started the holidays with a laid back weekend, with much Lego, swingball and the whirr of the mower as my husband cut the grass. When it descended into a hefty dose of screen time and YouTube, we dragged the kids out for a walk near Polstead. One of the pleasures of moving out to Suffolk has been the the beautiful scenery that surrounds us. Despite some* initial complaints, they end up investigating the hedgerows, clambering over tree trunks and running full tilt across the field by the church. (*For some, read a lot, loudly. But the complaints did disappear once we got going. Thank goodness.)
We stopped for ages by the little bridge over the ford, while they stripped off socks and shoes for extended paddling in the river, to the accompaniment of me saying “remember I haven’t brought any spare clothes”. The afternoon sun shone, and part of the walk took us through a tunnel of trees covered in white blossom. I really do love this time of year, and we all enjoyed getting outside entirely for free.
Stocked up on an Easter veg offer
While I was in Morrisons, I spotted they were doing a special offer on vegetables for Easter, with bags at 50p each or 3 for a pound. I guess it’s a cunning plan to lure people in who’ll be catering for a crowd on Easter Sunday, and hope they buy lots more at the same time.
Anyway I stocked up a couple of 1.5kg bags of potatoes, a couple of 1kg bags of carrots, a 1kg bag of onions and 500g of leeks. At just £2 for 6.5kg of staple vegetables, it should keep us going for a while!
Bagged some bargain baking ingredients
I realise Poundland might not be the first place that springs to mind when you want to bake up a storm.
However, when my daughter and I were out in Ipswich, I noticed Poundland had a whole load of ingredients at less than I’d normally expect to pay. We went in to get some cake decorations, as Poundland sells them at two tubes for a pound. I then added 1kg of caster sugar, 300g of dessicated coconut and 140g of ground almonds all for – you’ve guessed it – a pound each. Normally in Morrisons I’d expect to pay £1.60 for the same quantity of caster sugar, £1.28 for only 200g of dessicated coconut and £1.82 for 150g ground almonds, so I was glad to find them for less.
I’ll use the sugar in the cakes we planned, the coconut for these New Zealand biscuits, and the ground almonds for a recipe known in our family as Seriously Chocolatey Pudding.
Used Club Lloyds cinema vouchers
My two have been campaigning to see the film Boss Baby. We usually wait until children’s films come out at cheaper children’s showings, when the tickets are only a couple of pounds each. However, we still had some free cinema vouchers, one of the perks you get each year with a Club Lloyds current account. My husband was only too happy for me to take the children while he was at work, so he could avoid sitting through this particular film. I did try for Beauty and the Beast, but no, Boss Baby it was.
I carted the children off to Cineworld yesterday afternoon for an entirely free showing which would otherwise have cost us £21.99 if booked in advance on the website, or £24 if we just rocked up at the cinema. (And don’t tell Cineworld, but we also spent £1 in Poundland for 6 snack packs of Butterkist popcorn, rather than spending a small fortune in the cinema foyer).
Made the most of a birthday book token
During one of our trips to Ipswich, I took my daughter to Waterstones so she could use her birthday book token. It’s been months since her birthday, but we usually get books at the library rather than in a book shop, and it can be all too easy to forget a voucher even if you’re near a shop.
Anyway she zoned straight in on the “buy one, get one half price” table, and emerged triumphant with two paperbacks for just over a tenner. Looks like some of my attempts to bang on about bargains and value for money have stuck!
If you ever have vouchers that you’re worried you won’t spend before they expire, remember there’s a website called Zeek that will buy them for cold, hard cash. Alternatively, if you’d like to save money, you can buy discount gift vouchers there too. I’ve mentioned Zeek before, as I’ve used it to get stuff like wine, a frying pan and cinema tickets for less.
Now over to you – any thrifty triumphs to report? Great ideas for frugal family-friendly fun? Do let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear.