Five frugal things for the end of January

Picture of snowdrops

Snowdrops from the front garden

I always start January fired up with enthusiasm for my New Year’s Resolutions, but it can seem a looong time to the end of the month. Despite attempting a low spend month, we’ve still had reasons to celebrate – not least of which was finally filing my tax return!

Here are my five frugal things for the end of January:

Picture of my mother enjoying afternoon tea for less, with a cake stand piled with scones, sandwiches and cakes

Sconetastic afternoon tea at The Strawberry Teapot

Celebrated with a cut-price afternoon tea

My mother celebrates her birthday in January, so I planned a day out for the two of us in Sudbury. We went on the bus so my mother could flex her bus pass and discover where Sudbury bus station is for future solo trips.

We pottered round the shops and sights of Sudbury, and finished off with afternoon tea at the Strawberry Teapot Tearoom and Cakery. The freshly made sandwiches, scones and featherlight cakes tasted all the better knowing I’d got a Groupon bargain* (affiliate link). It was on offer at £18.50, down from £34, but I was able to use a £10 voucher from buying another Groupon deal, so it only cost £8.50 for the two of us!  

Also marked my sole alcoholic drink during Dry January, as the deal included a glass of Prosecco. Hard life.

Picture of the needlepoint kit I bought from the Sue Ryder shop

Charity shop winner

Started a bargain needlepoint kit

In my New Year quest to do more stuff I enjoy, I dug out a needlework cushion kit I bought from a charity shop ages ago. Originally I planned to give it away, but then decided it wasn’t a suitable present and stuck it down the side of my dressing table. 

Anyway, I’ve been enjoying sewing away in the evenings, while I watch TV with the kids. I’d thought that £6.50 from Sue Ryder was quite a good price, as needlepoint kits with all the canvas, needles and wool can be expensive. Got a real shock when I checked online, to discover the kit sells for £99 brand new. Definitely a bargain!

Previous post: A cornucopia of charity shops

Picture of six packs of Ape Snacks plus a cotton reusable bag

Freebie snacks for review

Bagged some freebie crisps for review

Bit random, but over on Mumsnet they were asking for families to review Ape Snacks. So I filled in the form, and we were sent six packets, with two packs each of lightly salted, cheesy and sweet chilli flavours, plus a thick cotton reusable bag.

The kids were excited when a big parcel showed up. Suspect the product is more suited to younger kids – when it says ‘lightly’ salted, Ape really means it – but it was fun trying a new brand for free. 

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Pinterest size image of snowdrops for my post with 5 frugal things for the end of January

Earned interest on a regular saver account

Every January, I count my blessings, because our First Direct Regular Saver account matures. Regular saver accounts pay higher interest than normal if you commit to saving a limited amount every month for a year.

By starting an account in January, the money shows up just in time the next January to help towards the double whammy of Christmas credit card bills and my tax bill. 

We set up standing order for £300 every month, which generated £97 interest when the account finished this week. I reckon £97 just for setting up a standing order is not to be sniffed at.

Sadly the 5% rates seem to have disappeared, but even at 2.75% we’ll still be starting another First Direct account ready for next year! (Here’s a table with the highest regular saver rates, over on Savings Champion). 

Previous post: Where to stash your emergency cash

Picture of scissors and thread by a sewing box

Tips to cut your tax bill

Submitted my tax return on time

I’m going to class filing my tax return as a frugal thing, because if you don’t meet the deadline by midnight on January 31, you get a £100 fine. As I’m self-employed, I have to file a return every year – and remember to pay any tax owing!

To help towards my tax bill, I also wrote a sponsored post with easy tax tips for self-employed, over on the PensionBee blog. Deducting allowable expenses, such as receipts for my travel to London for meetings, or simplified expenses when working from home, definitely helped cut the total.

 

Now – over to you. What frugal successes do you have to report during January? Hope you’ve had a good month and do share in the comments, I’d love to hear! 

 

Want more frugal inspiration?  Do head over and join the Much More With Less #MoneySavingYear Facebook group, to share thrifty tips and support. It’s a private group so your comments won’t be splashed all over your friends’ Facebook feeds.

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

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