This week has been an action-packed whirl of goody bag grabbing, bread baking, half marathon running excitement. Here’s a round up of five frugal things along the way!
Saved on transport and grabbed a goody bag
Last Saturday, I zipped off down to London for the SHOMOs conference and awards for money bloggers, organised by the amazing Andy from Be Clever With Your Cash. My Network Railcard came in handy for saving a third off the train ticket. I met up with two other bloggers at the station (waves to Olly from Savvy Dad and Laura from Savings for Savvy Mums!) and we walked down to the venue together. Exercise and saving tube fares – what’s not to like?
Once I’d finished hosting a panel about saving, featuring Lynn from Mrs Mummypenny, Mike from 7 Circles and James from Vanguard, I could take a deep breath and relax. I had a brilliant day chatting to familiar faces, meeting new people and learning a lot. So many amazing bloggers in one space!
I didn’t get either of the awards I was shortlisted for, but Kelly from Reduced Grub and Zoe at Eco Thrifty Living were extremely well-deserved winners. Do check out their blogs plus the full list of winners here, for inspiring reading. I was very glad to carry off some fizz from the raffle, plus goodies including a reusable water bottle. I’ve attempted to use the freebie jelly beans to bribe my kids into good behaviour this week, with mixed success.
Earned a freebie running top
Sunday was a big one. I was running in the Great East Run, along with my husband, my mate Rach, my three fellow beginner runner competition winners and oooh another 2,400 odd people. Slogging 13 miles round Ipswich in the sunshine was a big stretch for me, but I managed to stick to my race plan: “get round and don’t die trying”.
I made it over the finish line just under 2 hours and 45 minutes later, and am absolutely delighted that my husband and I were able to raise nearly £800 for St Elizabeth Hospice. The frugal part? I’d won a free place on the race, and got a goodie bag at the end including a brand new running top. (Tips on running on a budget here).
Kept an eye on call costs
I rang my Mum in Madeira to give her a blow-by-blow account of the race (sorry Muth), and managed to keep the call shorter than 30 minutes. We pay for an international call plan with Plusnet, which covers calls under half an hour. However, if you gas on for longer than 30 minutes, you rack up extra charges.
When I negotiated a better deal with Plusnet last year, they advised me to cut costs by ringing off just before the 30 minute mark, and then ringing straight back, restarting the next 30 minute call. It’s always worth checking the details of any call plan on your home phone or mobile, to stop bills spiralling.
Made some yellow-stickered sourdough bread
Ages ago I picked up a couple of half price packets of sourdough bread mix from the yellow-stickered shelves in the Co-op. They’ve been sitting at the back of the kitchen cupboard ever since, as I haven’t found time for all the kneading necessary.
Then I had a lightbulb moment reading Thrifty Lesley’s blog post about using a mixer to make bread. We have a Magimix, and after a quick google, I discovered one of the mysterious accessories is actually a dough hook. Face palm moment as I realised I could have used the food processor all this time.
So I gave it whirl while cooking stir fry for dinner, and the next day my husband took sandwiches made from sourdough bread in his packed lunch. The packets were reduced to 48p each, and I only had to add 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil and some warm water to make a substantial 750g loaf. It’s made me realise why I don’t bake bread very often – because then I go and eat it! Next step: pizza dough in the Magimix.
Sent out some invoices
This week, I managed to send out some invoices for work crammed into the first half of September. Always good to get paid for the work you’ve done! One invoice was for the Informed Choice Radio session I co-hosted with Martin Bamford, about underestimating the massive costs of long term care (check it out here).
That’s my round up of five frugal things this week. Now over to you – what’s your favourite thrifty tip this week? I’d love to hear, so do share your ideas in the comments.