Such a glorious week in Suffolk, with the sun shining.
I’m celebrating because the wisteria has finally flowered, with no need to envy the amazing display over the road. Coming home is such a lift, with the lilac, cornflowers, alliums, irises, purple pelargoniums and aquilegia all out. Boy I am glad I started posting a #floweraday over on Instagram, so now I can actually recognise some of the flowers we have! Do come and follow me over on Instagram if you don’t already.
Right now, I’m very excited about Saturday. Not because of the royal wedding (although congrats Harry and Meghan, all health and happiness as obviously you’re both regular readers).
No, I’m excited because it’s the 179th Hadleigh Show! So today I will be mostly baking cakes to sell in the Hadleigh Sea Scouts tea tent. If you live nearby, do come on down, it’s a fabulous day out.
Back to this week, and here are my five frugal things:
Profited from an annual members meeting
On Saturday, I nipped along to the East of England Co-op annual members meeting, over at Wherstead Park. I really support the Co-op, as it’s owned by its members, and does a lot to support the local community and local suppliers.
Plus, if you rock up at the annual members meeting, you can find out how the business is doing and get a goody bag, free lunch and the chance to vote on the dividend. This year, East of England Co-op is celebrating 150 years, so we even got some birthday cake.
I enjoyed reading the book with a history of the Co-op, and I’m grateful for a second goody bag at the end of the day so both children could scoff a Hadleigh Maid walnut & mallow whirl and benefit from reusable water bottles for school.
Tough trading conditions mean the dividend has been cut from 2% to 1.5% of spending, but those dividend vouchers always come in handy (see last year and the year before). Worth getting a Co-op members card if you shop there, if you don’t have one already! You get a voucher for £3 off a £20 spend just for signing up. Even better, if you’re an NUS card holder, you get an extra 10% off your shopping.
Reduced our line rental
I noticed our last phone bill was higher than normal, and gave Plusnet a quick call. Turned out our one-year deal for line rental had run out, so I signed up for another year. Paying for 12 months in advance costs £197.88, saving £30 compared to paying £18.99 a month. It’s often still be possible to cut the cost of bills, even if you don’t fancy switching supplier. (More in this post)
Started trying to grow an avocado
In a triumph of hope over experience, given my limited success with house plants, I started trying to grow an avocado from a stone. I wrote a guest post for the Money Advice Service about how to save money on gardening (here) and someone suggested regrowing veg like celery, spring onions and lettuce from the root ends. Given how much avocadoes cost, this seemed a pretty frugal plan.
Pros: fun trying to find the cocktail sticks and suspend the stone, sputnik-like, over a glass of water.
Cons: helpful Twitter follower pointing out it will take a good 10 years before I’m like to see any avocadoes.
So let’s just say I’m not planning on any major savings soon.
Helped out by hand-me-downs
This week, a massive parcel turned up from my sister. Lucky for me, her children are a bit older than my son, so we benefit from clothes they have grown out of. Even luckier, my daughter isn’t into girly clothes. So we now have an assortment of trousers, slippers, T shirts and a handy cagoule to widen the children’s wardrobe. Very handy as they’ve both been shooting up in height!
Now I just need to go through the chest of drawers and winnow out stuff that’s too small, to give to another family with younger children. Passing on perfectly good children’s clothes is a great way to save money and prevent landfill at the same time.
Got a free ticket to the Chelsea Flower Show
I am beyond excited to be heading to London for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show next week, thanks to a ticket from M&G Investments, the show sponsors. Flowers and finance – what a fantastic combination eh? M&G are even doing a six-part series of gardening podcasts called Let’s Grow, with Holly Mackay from Boring Money.
I went to the Chelsea Flower Show before, years ago, and it was a riot of colours and ideas. I got to see the back of Alan Titchmarsh’s head, marvel over the show gardens and try to prevent myself buying essential garden equipment like massive waterproof cushions and cast iron fire pits. (Do fancy one of those squishy swinging sofa type thingies though).
There are still a few tickets available, and you can cut the cost if you’re a member of the Royal Horticultural Society. For example, an all day ticket next Thursday costs £105 to members of the public but only £68 to RHS Members. With evening tickets after 5.30pm, members can cut the cost from £45 to £39.
You can even cut costs on RHS annual membership too, if you’re willing to sign up for direct debit – so £45.75 for the first year rather than £61 for an individual. Still brings the same benefits with RHS garden entry and partner garden entry.
Now over to you – what’s the most frugal thing you did this week? Do say in the comments, I’d love to hear!