Five fabulously frugal things I did this week (9 June)

Picture of palest pink rhododendrons caught in sunlight at The Place for Plants

Gorgeous rhododendrons at The Place for Plants

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.


Picture of coin droppers at Namco funscape bowling with lots of 2p coins and a couple of prizes on top

What is the appeal of coin droppers at the bowling?

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.

PIcture of lots of different coloured flowers by the side of a stream at The Place for Plants after we got 2 for 1 entry tickets

Myriad of colours at The Place For Plants

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.

Picture of wisteria tumbling over the front door of our house, where we made a saving on our insurance quote

Wonder if wisteria adds extra to the insurance quote?

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!

Picture of £17 in dividend vouchers from East of England Co-op membership

Pounds aplenty from the Co-op divvy

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.

Picture of the book the Millionaire Next Door

Aka how small frugal changes make a big difference

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.


I’m linking up with Cass, Emma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five fabulously frugal things I’ve done this week’ linky.

*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!

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  1. Alice strang
    9th June 2017 / 7:09 pm

    Free contraceptives from local medical centre!!! Saved well over £10!!!

    • 17th June 2017 / 9:53 am

      Way to go! Frugal in so many different directions.

  2. 10th June 2017 / 12:33 pm

    I love the sound of that book! also, I didn’t know your home was listed. How lovely!

    • 17th June 2017 / 9:55 am

      The book challenged my thinking about wealth, but did make a lot of sense. Bit like ‘Freakonomics’ for interesting angles.

    16th June 2017 / 10:11 pm

    I love using spring onions in cooking but they are very expensive compared to ordinary onions. I popped into Morrisons yesterday to buy some tomatoes just as two large crates of spring onions were being marked as “5p per bunch”. I bought 20 bunches and trimmed and chopped them all when home. They are now in the freezer. Best pound I spent this week!

    • 17th June 2017 / 9:56 am

      Great idea about chopping and freezing spring onions. I often have a bunch going floppy in the fridge, must try that!

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