After the excitement of Mothering Sunday, we’ve had a thrifty and uneventful week. No snow, no mad work deadlines, and the chance to write a post about essentials for an emergency food stockpile.
Here’s a round up of our five frugal things this week.
Saved with an early Mothers’ Day meal
This year, we did a Mothering Sunday outing on Saturday. Yup, we headed off to Cambridge a day early, a spur of the moment decision first thing in the morning because it fitted in with other plans.
One bonus was that when we went for a family-friendly lunch at Pizza Express, my husband and I could take advantage of the “2 courses for £9.99” set menu which wasn’t available on Mothers’ Day itself. Looking at the normal cost of our choices, plus tip, we shaved more than £18 off the bill. (Which also reminds me why we don’t eat out very often). No planning required. I used the free wi-fi in Pizza Express to to check offers after we arrived, requested the code, and then showed the email on my phone to the waiter.
Afterwards, the children got to spend gift vouchers they’d been given, and I dragged everyone to Cambridge Botanic Gardens.
Made a celebratory sponge cake
On Mothers’ Day itself, we headed over to see Granny and Grandpa for tea, taking flowers and a cake. My son suggested lemon drizzle cake, which normally just involves adding lemon zest to the batter and pouring a mix of sugar and lemon juice over the cooling cake. This time, I made it more of a celebration by putting lemon curd and raspberries in the middle, with more raspberries and lemon buttercream icing on the top. Lovely to see the grandparents and we rounded off the afternoon by quite literally playing Happy Families.
Got a long-awaited parcel in the post
I was absolutely delighted when my copy of Jack Monroe’s budget cookbook “Cooking on a Bootstrap” showed up this week. I paid for a copy back in 2015, when Jack was funding the publication via a Kickstarter project, but producing the book took rather longer than expected!
I’m a big fan of Jack’s previous books with their super low cost recipes. I bought a copy of A Girl Called Jack* and borrowed A Year in 120 Recipes* from the library, so was glad to support the production of a new one. (Check out the veggie chilli from storecupboard ingredients and the ever popular carrot, cumin and kidney bean burgers)
Now I’m looking forward to trying loads of recipes from Cooking on a Bootstrap, and will report back. A version with photos is due to be published later this year, but in the mean time you can find loads of Jack’s recipes for free on the Cooking on a Bootstrap website.
Scanned receipts for my tax return
As I’m self-employed, my receipts can be a money maker.
Specifically, I can claim allowable expenses to cut my tax bill. Think things like train tickets for occasional meetings in London, or website hosting. However, it’s all too easy to lose the receipts before I finally get round to submitting my annual tax return. This year, I’ve started using an app called 1 Tap Receipts to scan my receipts as I go along and the app magically extracts all the info, sorts it into tax categories, and stores pics of the receipts. I can even forward email invoices to 1 Tap! I also get to feel virtuous when taking photos of the receipts, smug in the knowledge I’m not just leaving everything till the end of January.
Yes, 1Tap does have a subscription fee, but as I save 20p in tax for every £1 I claim in allowable expenses, I figure it helps me save more than I spend. For higher-rate taxpayers it’s even more worthwhile, because they save 40p for every £1 claimed.
If you fancy giving 1Tap a whirl, use this link* to get a 20% discount on subscriptions, which start from £14.99 a year.
Post with more last minute tips to cut your tax bill
Picked up a mega Morrisons meat pack
Vegetarians look away now.
I spotted online that Morrisons decided to mark National Butchers’ Week by selling a £10 pack of meat that would normally cost more than £15. It’s all stuff we’d eat, and I figured it would keep us going for a while, if I padded out portions with veg and bunged some in the freezer.
When I asked at the meat counter in our local Morrisons, the butcher explained the packs were flying off the shelves as fast as they could make them.
The offer runs until Sunday, and each pack is meant to contain a hefty 2.3kg of meat:
- 900g pork loin joint
- 420g steak mince
- 450g lean diced beef
- 8 pork sausages, approx 530g
In practice, mine contained 10% extra, weighing 2.54 kg in total. The sausages, mince and stewing steak were all a bit heavier, and the pork joint actually weighed in at 1,075g, making the pack an even better deal.
I also added a pack of Kerry Gold butter and a jar of jam to my trolley, as Top Cashback Snap & Save* are offering £1 cashback and 20p cashback respectively, just for sending in a copy of your receipt.
If you’ve never joined TopCashback before, sign up here* and you can get £15 cashback when spending £40+ at ASDA Groceries before April 5.
Now – over to you. Any frugal tips to share? Great savings on food or family activities? Do let me know in the comments, 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!