Five fabulously frugal things I did this week (14 Oct)

Picture of bright orange pyracantha berries when we were out for a walk

Bright orange berries when out for a walk last weekend

This week has been a mixture of highs and lows on the money front. I was excited to win a couple of competitions, but could have done without my big frugal failure. Read on for my round up of our five frugal things this week!


Picture of the Morphy Richards slow cooker I won when our local East of England Co-op reopened

Many cheers for Co-op competitions

Won a slow cooker!

Loads of people have recommended using a slow cooker to cut food costs, but I’ve never had one. When I posted more than 80 ways to save money on food shopping, even more people piled in to praise them.

Then last weekend, I only went and won one! Our local East of England Co-op celebrated a big refit, and promised prizes from £5 vouchers to a flatscreen TV for the first 50 people who showed up at 10am last Saturday. My daughter and I nipped down to investigate, got one of the last golden envelopes and came away with a 3.5 litre Morphy Richards slow cooker. Many cheers for Hadleigh Co-op! So now I’m keen to experiment with new recipes, and work out how much it might actually save compared to our normal oven.


Picture of chopped winter vegetables ready to make soup in the slow cooker

A frenzy of chopping

Tried soup in the slow cooker

I christened the slow cooker by making soup – nothing too tricky for a first attempt! Meant I could use veg we already had knocking round: potatoes, carrots, parsnips, celery, onions and a couple of leftover broccoli stalks, plus a veg stock cube. Also meant my husband was able to take soup for his packed lunch for several days this week, as a change from sandwiches.


Picture of a the winning selfie, with big red 25 at the Buttermarket birthday celebrations, and my children sitting on the numbers.

The one that won it.

Won 4 cinema tickets!

After our trip to the Co-op, we headed into Ipswich, and walked past the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Buttermarket shopping centre. I scanned a promotional leaflet for vouchers and savings, and spotted a competition to win four Empire cinema tickets for posting a pic on social media. I figured there was a fair chance the competition wouldn’t get hundreds of entries, and the kids were up for a photo. One tweet later and on Monday we found out we’d won the tickets! As a family ticket would normally cost £20 I’m glad we scooted back to take a picture. Any film recommendations? I’m thinking maybe Paddington 2.


Picture of the home page of the Bean website, which helps find, track and manage bills and subscriptions

See how much you can save

Prompted to cut costs by Bean

I posted earlier this week about using a new free service from Bean to cut household bills. I genuinely recommend the website, as Bean makes it super easy to check your direct debits, cancel ones you don’t need and switch to cheaper options elsewhere. I keep a close eye on our finances, but even so it prompted me to cancel a £5 trial subscription for Mollie Makes before it shot up to the full price at nearly £30 every six months. All helps save towards the cost of Christmas. (Read the full post or .)


Picture of my Samsung phone with a smashed screen

One smashed smartphone

Forced to replace my phone

My frugal failure this week was dropping my smartphone while out for a run. Turns out attempting to keep running while removing a too-hot fleece and juggling a phone in an armband was not my best plan. One smashed screen later, and my phone was out of action. Damn.

Back at home, I checked out replacements. I wasn’t overjoyed at forking out for a new phone, but figured at least I could try and save money where possible. Luckily I’m not hung up on having the latest, flashiest iPhone, when a contract costs a whopping £60 odd a month.

Instead, it normally works out cheaper to buy a less recent handset outright, with a SIM-only deal for calls and data. I think one of the benefits of salting away savings is that you have the money if needed. This meant I could afford a lump sum at short notice.

After a quick scan online, I went for a more recent version of my old Samsung, with longer battery life, and stuck with my existing SIM-only deal. The cheapest contract cost £20 a month for two years. In contrast, opting for a handset and SIM-only deal should save at least £40, and hopefully more if the new phone lasts for longer. Plus, with the joys of free next day delivery, I was up and running with a new phone on the same number less than 24 hours later.


So now – over to you. Any frugal successes to celebrate? Or frugal failures to lament? Do comment, as I’d love to hear!

I’m linking up with CassEmma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five Fabulously Frugal things I’ve done this week’ linky.


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  1. 14th October 2017 / 1:13 pm

    Well done you, sounds like a great week. Sad about the phone but these things happen don’t they!

    • 15th October 2017 / 10:17 pm

      Pain about the phone, but (through gritted teeth) guess it’s necessary to budget for emergencies.

  2. irene blackwell
    15th October 2017 / 8:52 am

    Could save even more by getting a sim only contract from tesco frpm £7-50 a month !

    • 15th October 2017 / 10:20 pm

      Tesco does great deals on Sim only. We actually have a Plusnet deal that’s officially a fiver a month but tend to spend a bit more than that, so I budget based on the average monthly cost over a year

  3. Kathryn Hipkin
    15th October 2017 / 3:24 pm

    Congrats on your slow cooker win and commiserations about the phone!
    Mixed bag for me; shopped at Aldi as it’s the week before payday. Finally told MIL that the kids do NOT like Haribos; she gives them either a tub or a massive box every week and I’ve been wanting to tell her for ages that they don’t get eaten but oh kept saying I shouldn’t (?). The kids are chocolate lovers like their parents! Anyway, as she insisted we take this week’s box, I’m going to make it a part of one of my nephew’s Xmas presents.
    Got some free vouchers for Carabao drinks at a promotional stand the other week; not a fan tbh but the cans have a competition on. The vouchers expired 15 October so nipped into WHSmith and spent my 3 vouchers on 3 promotional cans. Won another mini football, I keep hoping for the £10!
    Had a go on the Cadbury football stadium promotion last night and won 2 chocolate bars. Unfortunately, you have to install software which OH absolutely refuses to do on ANY of our computers and even were that not the case, we do not have a printer at home. Went to the HELP to say we had no printer but they were no help at all and basically said that the vouchers were designed to be printed so you HAD to have a printer to get it. Still, maybe my waistline will thank me!
    And I have won a prize on twitter for half term, a £10 voucher for Starbucks from Compingoo. Possibly not where the kids would have chosen as they do not drink coffee, but they have plenty of cake so it will still be used as a little treat.
    Thanks for sharing, as ever, and now, I am off to do a bit of cleaning in my son’s room and also searching for any old pound coins that we might have missed.

  4. Nicola MontesDeOca
    15th October 2017 / 8:33 pm

    Excellent article
    Great slow cooker recipe and easy
    Pork loin (uncooked)in slow cooker. Throw in dehydrated onion soup 1 cup of red wine (drink rest hic) 3/4 cup soy sauce 1 cup water and chop up 4 garlic cloves and put on top of meet. Cook on low for 4 hours and serve with anything else yummy. Mashed potatoes are good as the gravy from meat is the best!

  5. 16th October 2017 / 10:30 am

    Yes, congrats on winning your slow cooker, Faith! I had one and tried it several times, and maybe because I didn’t do things correctly – although I’m a stickler for following recipes when something is new to me – everything which came out of it tasted much the same. As I have a perfectly good oven (it’s 17 years old and in very good condition, that’s frugality for a start, it’s a wall-mounted oven and so I don’t have to crawl on the floor to get things out of it.) and as I’m retired and don’t actually need to have something cooking all day long (I am sure that not all food benefits by being slowly cooked) so I sent it to the charity shop. But that’s me, I have no doubt that 99% of people make great food in them!

    As for your smartphone, I’m embarrassed to say I have a Very Old Mobile, from 8 years ago. Now 8 years is a long time in mobile terms, is it not? But the blimmin’ thing works. I can phone and receive and send texts. Do I want Apps, something else to distract me and waste my time? I think not. I’m not a technophobe where I think something is useful to me, but I am happy not to have a smartphone and save myself around £50 a month, or whatever. I have Broadband, TV and landline for around £40 a month, and I use pay-as-you-go on my mobile. It’s not that I can’t afford a smartphone, but every time we buy something new, something else goes into landfill, please bear that in mind.

    My next ‘saving’ is actually SPENDING – a new freezer for the garage is coming today. It is a Blomberg 3-drawer model and one that doesn’t cut-out if the temperature in the garage drops below 10C. This, apparently, is what happens to cheaper freezers. It’s also an ice-free model, so no hacking ice off in due course. I intend to batch-cook and save myself time (it won’t actually save money, we’ll still be eating the same amount of food and then that food will need to be re-heated.) But time is important to me, it’s as much a valuable commodity as money.

    Have a good, frugal week, Faith.
    Margaret P

    Another saving I have made is cancelling one of my subscriptions to a monthly glossy magazine.

  6. 16th October 2017 / 6:47 pm

    What a lucky week, well impressed with 2 wins. Im looking forward to reading your slow cooker recipes, I always seem to remember you for baking and often come back to your site for recipe ideas..

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