Last week got off to a crazy start, as a horde of families descended on our house for the May bank holiday weekend.
Love it when some of our oldest friends can join us in Suffolk. We pottered around in the sunshine, read the papers, abandoned the children to the trampoline and pressed the eBay croquet set into action. Ritual visits were paid to Sweet Memories and the Adnams shop respectively, according to the generation. The Kings Head was running a beer festival, only one of the air beds deflated and we even managed an outing to Lavenham.
Since then, I’ve managed to wade through some of the admin uncovered in a whirlwind of tidying before the visitors arrived.
Here’s my round up of our five frugal things this week.
Baked scones for a home-made cream tea
All our visitors are united in their love of cake. We decided to stay close to home on Sunday, and therefore didn’t venture out to a tea shop. The weather was so nice I was inspired to knock up some fruit scones and a banana cake, to use up a couple of over-ripe bananas. I was even able to use some of the bargain mixed fruit from my Approved Food* order. (Post about Approved Food here, if you’re not familiar with it)
We ate it all sitting outside in the sunshine, together with some fabulous chocolate brownies (many thanks to Sally!) and plenty of prosecco.
Freshly-baked scones, still warm from the oven and piled with jam and cream, are a genuine pleasure. They’re also super easy to make and cost pennies, rather than the pounds you’d shell out in a cafe. Check out the recipe I used here, if you’d like to have a go.
Profited from a Nectar promotion
Since moving from London, I rarely order our supermarket shopping online and prefer to potter around the Co-op and Morrisons instead.
However, with 20 people to feed for a few days, I went straight for an internet delivery. Sadly Morrisons doesn’t deliver in our area, so I opted for Sainsburys instead.
It turned out to be great timing for a big order, as Nectar was offering 10 x normal Nectar points on Sainsbury’s shopping over the bank holiday weekend.
Thanks to the special offer, we earnt 1,310 Nectar points on the delivery. This is worth £6.55 against future food shopping, or over £13 if I hang on for a Double Up promotion. With some partner offers, the points could be worth even more.
I’ve written about supermarket loyalty schemes before, and would never recommend buying food from a more expensive shop just for loyalty points. However, if you’re shopping somewhere anyway, it’s worth claiming any free money on offer!
Saved £30 on our home phone bills
I posted last year about my efforts to cut our home phone and broadband bills down to size, and recently got a reminder that our landline rental contract was due to expire. By paying £185.88 up front for a full year, rather than shelling out £17.99 each month, we saved £30. As Plusnet’s monthly line rental price is due to increase to £18.99 from 29 June, and the annual charge will go up to £197.88, it was definitely worth sorting it out now rather than putting it off. Even better, I could do it all online in a matter of minutes.
If you have the cash available, and aren’t intending to switch provider, you can often make big savings by paying annually rather than monthly. We’ve had good experiences with Plusnet* so will be sticking with them.
I’ve just added up our bills before and after last year’s changes, as sometimes you do wonder if promised savings will really materialise.
I rang Plusnet last April, after our homephone and broadband bills hit nearly £490 a year. All the actions I took then – paying line rental for a year, negotiating a better broadband deal, adding an allowance for mobile calls, keeping international calls to less than 30 minutes (you just ring off and ring back if needed) – mean our bills have fallen more than half, to under £225 for the yea afterwards.
We didn’t even have to switch provider, but last year’s couple of calls to Plusnet saved us £265!
Sent in entries for the Hadleigh Show
We’re already getting over-excited about the 178th Hadleigh Show, the annual agricultural and country fair coming up on 20 May.
This week I got round to submitting entry forms for the Flower Arranging Classes. Sadly, I am not turning all Constance Spry. Nor can I enter another Victoria Sponge, as the WI isn’t holding a baking competition this year.
Instead I emailed details so the children could compete in the Class 9 age 11 and under “garden in a seed tray” and “decorated flower pot (any medium)” classes. Given there are four cash prizes for each category, and first prize is a fiver each, they’re both pretty motivated.
The frugal benefit is that it’s free to enter, and any competitor entering two classes or more gets a free ticket. Bingo, two child tickets to the Hadleigh Show, which would otherwise cost £7 each in advance or £5 each on the gate.
Admittedly the saving to us is probably only £6, as now I’ll be buying two early bird adult tickets for £18 rather than a family ticket in advance for £24, but it all adds up.
The deadline for the Horticultural Classes and Flower Arranging Classes is fast approaching on 13 May, so if you’re keen to compete, get your entries in soon!
Earned some extra interest on our savings
Good news on the savings front this week, when a friend signed up for the Chip smartphone savings app using my referral code. It means we both get a choice of either an extra 1% interest or a tenner. I’ve been shovelling over money into Chip as I can potentially earn more interest on more money than with any of the high interest current accounts. It’s also a great way to save without any effort at all, as it checks your current account, works out how much you can afford to save, and transfers small amounts every few days.
If you want more details, check out the post I wrote on Chip, and if you’d like £10 or some extra interest use the code 4T0C9I.
So now over to you – any frugal tips for bank holiday weekends? Do share your ideas in the comments, as 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!