My round up of five frugal things this week seems rather profligate, with a trip to London, booze, theatre tickets and fancy chocolates. But ideal world, frugal living doesn’t mean deprivation. Instead, I’m all about making the most of my money – so bring on the cut-price fizz and chocolates!
Brought a lamp back to life
I was ready to take our dead-as-a-doornail standard lamp to the tip, but thought I should have one last try at making it work.
After unscrewing the fitting at the top, I found one of the wires had come loose from the connection. It just needed a teeny screwdriver to undo the screw, before I could poke the wire back where it needed to go, screw everything back together, and ta da a working lamp again. Total cost: 0p.
Booked cheaper theatre tickets
Tickets for big London musicals can cost an arm and a leg. Luckily Get Into London Theatre runs a New Year’s Sale, when you can book tickets at loads of great shows during January and early February for £10, £20, £30 or £40.
I decided to push the boat out as a family Christmas present, and booked tickets for a Sunday matinee performance for School of Rock. It still adds up for a family of four – but maybe half a limb, rather than a whole arm and a leg. Certainly, we wouldn’t have gone at all, if we’d had to pay the extra £200 (gulp) for full price tickets.
Hopefully the show will be experience we’ll all enjoy and remember, rather than spending the money on toys and extra stuff to clutter up the house.
The sale is worth checking if you’re a theatre lover living near London – there are 45 shows on offer, including Aladdin, Matilda, Annie, Les Miz and Wicked. The website is a bit clunky, the most popular shows sell out fast and you may need to be flexible about your dates, but it’s still worth a try: Get Into London Theatre. Plus there are no booking fees, no fees for paying with a credit card, and no fees for posting your tickets.
Used my railcard for money off bus and tube travel
I zipped into London this week for a work meeting followed by Christmas drinks with other money bloggers (cheers!). As always, I used my Network railcard to save a third off off-peak tickets. The £30 cost more than pays for itself over a year.
One added advantage is that it also saves money on tube and bus fares if I buy a day travel card rather than an ordinary train ticket.
So for example, my super off-peak day travel card from Manningtree to Liverpool Street only cost £4.05 more than a super-off peak return, but included unlimited tube and bus trips. As a single tube journey in zone 1 costs £2.40 with an Oyster card, I only have to make two trips with my travel card, and I’m quids in.
Cashed in on Clubcard points to cut the cost of booze
En route to the UK Money Bloggers meet up, I nipped into a nearby Tesco Express to buy a bottle of prosecco. For once my over-packing came in handy (think hefty Mary Poppins handbag, rather than a clutch containing only keys, lipstick and credit card).
I may not shop at Tesco very often, but I still had a Tesco Clubcard in my wallet, along with the entire £2 in Clubcard vouchers I received recently. I always stick vouchers in my handbag when they arrive, as they can’t cut costs stuck on my kitchen counter. I therefore saved £2 on fizz, which made the celebrations later feel even more festive.
I wouldn’t ever shop somewhere just for the loyalty card points, especially if prices are cheaper elsewhere. But if I’m shopping somewhere with a loyalty scheme, I’ll always press that plastic into action.
(Post with more than 80 ways to save money on food shopping here)
Got my Hotel Chocolat subscription refunded
Hats off to Hotel Chocolat this week for brilliant customer service. Regular readers may remember I’m rather partial to their fancy chocs as a once-a-year Christmas treat – so long as I can buy them for less.
I splashed out on a cut-price trial subscription to the Hotel Chocolat Tasting Club which offered a box and free gift for £9.95 rather than the normal £22.95. Actually, if you’ve never tried the tasting club before, you can get the chocs even cheaper by clicking through via TopCashback or Quidco and getting either £3.50 or £4.50 cashback. (Click here for TopCashback* or here for Quidco*)
I then did exactly what I recommend other people shouldn’t: forgot to cancel.
Unfortunately, I only went online to stop the subscription this week, nearly a month after my original order. Too late. They’d already taken the full whack £22.95 direct debit, and yesterday the second box showed up. Ouch. That’s a lot of money for chocolate.
I rang to ask if I could return the box, in the hope I could claw back some of the cash. The nice man not only said they’d refund the whole £22.95 but also said I didn’t have to send the chocs back, but could donate them to charity. I was due to drop off my #FoodBankAdvent box that afternoon, so I was able to take the chocs straight to FIND in Ipswich. Perfect timing and much gratitude to Hotel Chocolat!
Hopefully the chocolates will brighten someone else’s Christmas, as part of a food bank parcel. Plus, I have the peace of mind that I’ve definitely cancelled the subscription…
Now over to you – any festive frugal highlights this week? Do comment, 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!
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