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!
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.
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.
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.
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 try it here.)
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!
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