My main memory of this week is: hot.
Hot for Fathers’ Day, hot for my attempts at running, extra hot for traipsing between hair cuts and swimming lessons and Beavers.
It was so hot in my son’s bedroom up under the eaves, he preferred to sleep on a folding bed on the first floor landing (although admittedly he’d already claimed it as a den).
So here are my five frugal things from this week’s furnace of a heat wave.
Used a voucher for free tea for two
On Fathers’ Day, my husband’s greatest wish was to visit the Bentwaters Cold War Museum. Reckon he thought he’d cash in on reserves of paternal goodwill to get us along. The blast doors, decontamination shower and airlock all looked suitably apocalyptic, and the main war operations room was straight out of a NASA rocket launch.
Afterwards, we nipped over to nearby Sutton Hoo, as my daughter is “doing” Anglo Saxons at school, and has to draw a picture of the famous helmet. As we have National Trust membership, it helped cut entry costs. They’d really pushed out all the stops with a birds of prey display, a tented village of Anglo Saxon re-enactors and a replica boat. The children had a go at striking Merovingian coins and writing their initials in runes, and then we all retreated with ice creams to recover from the heat. I also finally remembered to use my “National Trust Tea for Two” voucher from a Woodmansterne birthday card. It’s been stuck at the back of my purse for longer than I care to remember, but at least it was handy when we were in the right place at the right time!
Bought a summer dress from a charity shop
Turns out my assorted summer shirts and summers skirts don’t actually work very well together. Tops fine with trousers, skirts fine with long sleeved T shirts, none of it a great combination to beat the blazing sunshine.
I ended up throwing caution to the winds on Wednesday (while wishing for wind, any wind) and spent an entire fiver on an EAST cotton dress from the EACH shop. No worries about combining with anything at all, and a lot more suitable in the heat. I’d always rather save money, save resources and cut landfill by checking charity shops before buying brand new clothes.
Made a meal from yellow-stickered mushrooms
In all this heat, I really haven’t fancied slaving over a hot stove. This meal was a quick and easy option when I spotted a couple of punnets of half-price mushrooms on the reduced shelves in the Co-op. Bagging yellow-stickered bargains makes a big difference to our food costs.
It’s an adaption of an early Jamie Oliver recipe for wild mushrooms with pappardelle, although I didn’t have wild mushrooms, pappardelle or parmesan, but did have button mushrooms, closed cup mushrooms, fusilli and hard goat’s cheese.
It’s a good one because it relies on store cupboard ingredients like pasta, olive oil, lemon, chilli flakes and garlic, plus a handful of parsley from the garden. I added a few cherry tomatoes and cucumber on the side for a minimal effort, low cost meal that still tasted good.
Won gift vouchers from a competition
Whoop whoop I won £25 of East of England Co-op vouchers after entering their Sourced Locally competition.
I mentioned Sourced Locally fortnight in my post about the story of a shopping list. During the fortnight promoting food from local producers, East of England Co-op ran a competition encouraging people to share pictures enjoying #SourcedLocally purchases on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
I tweeted and instagrammed a photo of the salad nicoise I made with Fairfields Farm potatoes and Havensfield free-range eggs, and was delighted to be one of the winners. (If you don’t already follow me on Twitter and Instagram, please do! Would be lovely to see you over there)
The £25 gift vouchers were particularly well-timed, as I’ve been making an effort to cut our food costs during July.
Got a good deal and extra loyalty points on a new toothbrush
Before you snort at the limited savings on a toothbrush, I should point out that it was an electric one.
My dentist recommended that I get a new electric toothbrush. He’s not so keen on Philips Sonicare. Apparently Oral-B is where it’s at. As I am close to selling a spare kidney to fund a tooth implant (long story, still have a couple of baby teeth, one is so wobbly it’s not long for this world), I was keen to save cash elsewhere.
Turns out Boots had a few of my dentist’s suggested brushes at half price. I checked on pricespy to see if this was actually a good deal, and it turned out you could get the same model for the same price from Argos, Amazon and Superdrug too.
However, what swung it for the Oral-B Pro 2000* from Boots was that I’d just been sent vouchers from my Boots Advantage card, and by topping up my order with contact lens fluid, I could claim an extra £5 worth of loyalty points on top of normal points for the purchase. Boots Advantage card is one of the more generous loyalty schemes, so I always use the card if it makes sense to shop there, and hoard the points to help with the cost of Christmas.
I also made sure I clicked through from TopCashback* before ordering, in the hope of earning an extra £1.55 in cashback. I may not get the cashback as I used a Boots voucher code on top, but hey I figured it was worth a try. (More explaining cashback websites here)
The combination of sale offers, comparing prices, loyalty points, vouchers, cashback websites and using a cashback credit card may not reach a huge amount for one purchase, but all those small amounts do add up over time. (Previous post on how small changes made a big difference during 2016).
So there you are – my five frugal things this week in an attempt to avoid the heat. How’s your week been? Any frugal successes to celebrate? Do share your thrifty tips in the comments, I’d love to hear.
*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!