Not quite sure where this week went. The kids are back at school, my husband’s back at work and I’ve done a bit of writing. We’re looking forward to a whole load of friends coming to stay for the bank holiday weekend, so I’ve knuckled down and done some (if not enough) housework. Here’s my round up of the five frugal things we fitted in!
Made easy peasy meringues
Why did no-one tell me how easy meringues are to make?
I used a couple of egg yolks in attempts at a cookie recipe (it was hopeless, let’s not go there). This left a couple of eggs whites to make me feel guilty. I do hate throwing food away. I tried making meringues when we first moved, as something Agas are meant to do really well. Turns out if you have an 80-year-old converted Aga, not so much. The simmering oven wasn’t even warm enough to cook meringues, and that’s really saying something. They just oozed to death over 24 hours.
Anyway, I thought I’d try again now we have an electric cooker. I whipped the egg whites up into stiff peaks, gently mixed in 2oz / 56g caster sugar per egg white, spooned the mix onto a baking tray lined with grease-proof paper and bunged them in the oven. That’s it! I followed Delia’s instructions to heat the oven to 150 degrees, then turn it down to 140 degrees straight after putting the meringues in.
Cook for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven, but leave the meringues inside while you wander off and do something else for four hours or so. Ta da, meringues that were crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Bliss.
Rang up about a hefty mobile bill
It’s all to easy to think “yeah, yeah, bin” when a bill comes through the letterbox or an email pops up.
This week I was really glad I read the email with my monthly mobile bill. Not because it was three times what I expected (ouch), but because it inspired me to check the charges and call the company. I’d been whacked with £2 a day for exceeding my data allowance – and that really mounts up if it happens half way through the month!
So I rang Virgin Mobile to find out why, as I thought I used free WiFi networks wherever possible. The good news from a frugal perspective is that they kindly promised to refund half the charges.
More importantly, they talked me through switching off mobile data whenever I’m on WiFi, to avoid going over my allowance in future. I think the call centre lady was surprised at the depths of my ignorance, but in case anyone else is similarly clueless, turns out there’s a “mobile data” button one screen back, and I should only switch it on when I need internet access but I’m not on WiFi. (Short pause for the technologically competent to bang their heads on their desks). It hasn’t been an issue before, so fingers crossed it’ll be fine in future, without switching to a more expensive tariff.
Nabbed a couple of Toucan craft boxes for £1
Remember I signed up for a 60 day trial of Kids Pass, a discount pass for families, for just £1 ?
Well, I got an email from Kids Pass offering a free craft box as part of a Mister Maker Club subscription, plus the chance to add a box for a sibling for just a pound. Normally, the boxes costs £6.93 each including postage.
I duly signed up, and two personalised boxes arrived today, just in time for the bank holiday. If I don’t want to pay any extra, I can cancel in the next week or so. With great self-restraint I haven’t ripped them open, so will have to wait for the children to discover what’s inside. They’re designed for children aged 3 to 6, so maybe a bit young for my two, but I thought it was worth giving them a whirl.
Could yet be £1 well spent if the weather is rubbish over the next few days. If you’d like to try one too, you can also get a Mister Maker craft box for £1 using this link* or a 60 day trial of Kids Pass for £1 here*.
Claimed free seeds from the Co-op
Currently, our local East of England Co-op is giving out tiny seed pots for free (as mentioned in my post about where to buy seeds for less). You get a sticker for every £5 you spend, and need 4 stickers to claim some seeds. My kids are keen on the colourful packaging, and this week I picked up some beets to go with last week’s carrot pot. We’ve watered the soil discs, planted the teensy seed mats, and now we’re waiting for signs of life. Many cheers for free seeds and maybe even some free veg too!
Was grateful for free parking
Last Sunday, I drove the children over to take part in the St George’s Day Parade in Long Melford, together with hundreds of other local beavers, cubs, scouts and explorers.
That sounds so simple, doesn’t it?
Yet it was a big deal for me, because I don’t drive, and it was the first time I’ve ever driven my children. (Don’t worry, I do have a licence from decades ago).
There’s a longer post to write about driving and our move to the country. For now, I was extremely grateful I could take advantage of free National Trust parking at Melford Hall, rather than trying to squeeze into a space between the hordes of other parental cars. An unexpected way to make the most of National Trust membership!
So now, over to you. Any thrifty successes to celebrate? Suggestions for a bank holiday on a budget? I’d love to hear, so do comment below.
*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!