What a week that was! We started out with the last days of half term, heading off bowling and garden visiting, before the annual jamboree of the Hadleigh Sea Scouts Duck and Raft Races (water pistols optional). The terrorist attack on Southwark Bridge made me even more determined to make it to London for my meetings on Monday, and the week only got weirder with today’s general election results.
So throughout all that, here’s my round up of our five frugal things this week.
Took advantage of early bird bowling
As it was the last weekend of half term, we asked the children what they’d like to do as an outing. The preferred option was to go 10 pin bowling, so on Saturday morning we headed off to Namco Funscape in Ipswich, to take advantage of the £3.50 a head games if you play before noon.
It may only have nudged a few pounds off the total price, which we promptly poured back into the coin droppers, but we had a very cheerful time bowling. (And can someone explain the appeal of coin droppers? For my kids, it’s like moths to a flame, every time. I like a bit of the basketball game myself.)
We picked up food from Morrisons for a picnic afterwards, and the bowling trip helped me negotiate the next outing with the younger generation.
Got 2 for 1 entry to the Place for Plants
I was raring to use the 2 for 1 garden entry card that comes with the May back issue of BBC Gardeners’ World magazine that I ordered last week. On Saturday afternoon, we zipped along to the Place for Plants in nearby East Bergholt. It’s not just a plant centre, but also has enchanting gardens and an arboretum. Tickets are £6 per adult, with children free, so with one free adult ticket we covered the £5.99 cost of the magazine.
The children dashed ahead, exploring and playing Dr Who, and as my husband and I followed behind it almost felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.
The gardens are enchanting, with lawns, ponds, colourful planting and little paths twisting in different directions. The sun pierced light shafts between the tall trees and the wind whispered through the leaves. It looked beautiful last weekend, but must be particularly lovely slightly earlier in spring, with all the rhododendrons and camellias in full flower. If you’re interested, I’ve put up a couple more photos over on Instagram, so do head over there if you want to check out the marble run topiary and carpet of rhododendron flowers.
The garden centre looked good too – huge varieties of plants, gifts and tea shop – but on this visit we resisted the temptation.
Queried our insurance renewal premium
This week we celebrated three years since moving from London to Suffolk – which also meant our buildings and contents insurance was up for renewal. Buying home insurance for a listed building is no laughing matter. The premiums are sky high, driven by the enormous cost of rebuilding should the worst happen. We use an insurance broker, as the negotiating the policies is a bit more complicated than typing your details into an insurance comparison website. I asked if there was any leeway with our renewal quote and the broker came back with an extra £130 off – just shows it’s always worth asking!
Got sent £17 dividend vouchers from the Co-op
I’m a big fan of earning free money on spending you’d do anyway, from loyalty cards to cashback websites like TopCashback* and Quidco*. (If you haven’t come across cashback websites before, here’s my previous post).
This week I got sent my annual dividends from the East of England Co-op, which added up to £17 just for handing over my Co-op card every time I nip in for some milk, bread and a scout round the reduced shelves. Funny to think I voted in favour of the dividend at the Annual Members’ Meeting, and now here it is. The vouchers will help shave a bit off our food bills this month.
Started reading “The Millionaire Next Door”
I’d seen recommendations for a book called The Millionaire Next Door*, which promised to reveal the “surprising secrets of America’s wealthy”. I was sufficiently interested that when our library didn’t have a copy in the catalogue, I ordered one from Amazon. However, true to form, I bought a “like new” used copy with a gift card, so I only forked out £3.60 rather than £9.99 plus.
The book cheered me up enormously, in reinforcing my frugal tendencies. Mind you, any book with chapters including “Frugal Frugal Frugal” and “You Aren’t What You Drive” (given my rant on financing for new cars) was always going to appeal to me.
The basic premise is that wealth isn’t about spending up a storm and owning loads of fancy possessions. Instead, even people on average incomes can become wealthy, if they cut back on consumption to stash some cash and start investing. Sounds eminently sensible to me, and a lot more likely than winning a lottery jackpot!
Now over to you. Any frugal successes to celebrate, after a rather weird week? Ever read The Millionaire Next Door? Do share your thoughts and tips 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!