What a glorious start to the week, with all the sunshine. Last Saturday we just pottered around, and lay around on blankets on the lawn with books and games. It got a bit busier, especially mid week when I headed off to London to speak on a panel at the very first Stepstoinvesting.com event, designed to help new investors get started. Oh, and somewhere along the way I celebrated my birthday.
So here’s my round up of our five frugal things this week.
Saved on ice cream after the St George’s day parade
On Sunday, we headed back to Long Melford so the children could take part in the Sudbury District parade for St George’s Day. (You can just spot the banqueting house mentioned in this post in the background of the photo above)
It really was an impressive sight as hundreds of Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers and Leaders from just part of Suffolk streamed up the hill to the church service, flags waving in the wind and led by an amazing marching band. I reckon every Sunday would benefit from the addition of trombones and a bass drummer styling out a natty leopardskin number.
Afterwards, we were all keen on the idea of ice cream in the sunshine, so we nipped into a local Budgens and bought a box of four Magnums – distinctly cheaper than buying each one individually!
Nabbed a free birthday muffin
Birthdays in the age of social media: I woke up to a Whatsapp message from Australia, a Facebook post from New Zealand and an alert that I could claim a ‘sweet treat’ for my birthday via the Greggs Rewards app.
The Greggs app also happened to be offering a free bottle of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, so I nipped in to claim both after the school run and chose a chocolate muffin. The sugar free Coke cancels out the muffin, right?
Celebrated with a meal and free fizz
My birthday celebrations did not stop at a chocolate muffin. Shock horror, my husband and I actually went out for a meal!
The grandparents very kindly came over to babysit, and we walked down to the Hadleigh Ram. The food there was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand, and it does a great value Grill Night on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can choose a main meal from the grill, side dish, sauce and glass of house wine starting from £15. It also does fabulous and not remotely frugal cocktails. However, turns out if you sign up for a Stuart Inns Friends card, you also get a glass of free fizz on your birthday. Cheers!
Now, I’m not suggesting everyone can make it to the Ram (although hey come on down to Hadleigh, it’s a great place and the Sunday Times was pretty keen). But the combination of free babysitting plus a set menu at restaurant close enough to avoid taxi rides can make a meal out more affordable.
Got the Gardeners’ World 2 for 1 garden entry card
Another week, another magazine. But this time it’s one for garden fans. If you like visiting gardens, run down to the newsagent now. The May issue of BBC Gardeners’ World magazine includes a year-long card admitting 2 people for the price of 1 to 424 gardens throughout the country. I reckon we’ll cover the £4.99 cost in a single visit.
Earned extra interest from the TSB fiasco
As a blogger and journalist, it’s never great when you write about deals that promptly change.
After slaving over Monday’s post listing six ways to earn thousands from your current account, I got a press release the very next day trumpeting that First Direct was canning its long term £100 bribe to switch current accounts.
(Do check out the post anyway, not least for the great money content added at the end by other money bloggers taking part in the new #MondayMoney linky)
I have now updated it with the new generation of bribes, including a £150 Expedia voucher, improving online course or fancy Bose headphones – only for TSB to change the interest on its current account.
I won’t labour over the hideous problems TSB has been experiencing with its internet banking, but the head honcho has promised to increase the interest on the TSB Classic Plus current account from 3% to 5% starting on March 2. That’s pretty high in today’s low interest rate environment (although you might still want to look elsewhere for long term savings). However, as the maximum balance for 5% interest is capped at £1,500, it only works out as an extra £30 a year. Still, as a TSB customer who doesn’t use it as my main current account, I’m glad to take the extra cash.
Did I mention the free crisps?
Last week, I launched a giveaway supporting a local business, Fairfields Farm, with the chance to win three packets of its new range of Heat & Eat crisps. There’s still plenty of time to enter before the end of Friday 4 May, just scroll down to the end of this post and click away!
Now – over to you. What was your frugal highlight this week? Do say in the comments, I’d love to hear!