I shuffled through a bunch of financial admin this week, so it was great to blow the cobwebs away at the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival last weekend. Plus free food, obvs.
Here are my five frugal things this week:
Used free tickets to the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival
The festival is held at Snape Maltings, with beautiful views out across the reed beds. It was huge fun, visiting stands for loads of different food and drink producers from all over Suffolk, plus the chance to see talks and demos at several different stages. We spotted lots of suppliers familiar from the Co-op’s Sourced Locally range, and lots of new companies too. Great chance to sample products we’d never tried before!
My husband was a big fan of the Adnams tent and the kids enjoyed the children’s area, sponsored by Hillfarm Oils, with mini plastic tractors to drive, an insanely large combine harvester to climb in, hoop throwing to win salad cream and free pizza topping sessions. I was also glad to see a stand promoting the #FoodSavvy challenge to reduce food waste and save up to £70 a month (info here). We came away with a couple of fab Tiptrees canvas bags, some cheese as a present and new enthusiasm for cooking and eating local food.
Nabbed money off Morris pattern tops
I do like a bit of William Morris (remember our sofa from the Co-op small ads?), so when I heard clothing shop H&M had launched a range of clothes based on Morris & Co prints (here) I clicked madly to have a look.
I chose a £24.99 shirt for a Christmas present for my husband and an £8.99 T shirt for me, and turned out I could get 10% off and free delivery just by registering for the H&M Club, saving £7.39. I also picked up a few pennies in cashback by clicking through from Quidco*. Made me feel slightly less guilty about buying brand new clothes rather than scouring charity shops!
Signed up for a Marcus savings account
The launch of a new savings account last week prompted me to shuffle some of my savings around.
As I mentioned in my post about ‘where to stash your emergency cash‘, the new Marcus by Goldman Sachs account pays 1.49% gross a year from £1 right up to a whopping £250,000. That’s a pretty good rate right now, better than some of the interest I was earning elsewhere, and backed by a big bank I’ve actually heard of.
It’s a super simple account where you can whip money in or out whever you want, with no need to faff around with direct debits, make minimum monthly payments or leave your money untouched for at least a year. As an added plus, it was super easy to open online. Within 10 minutes I’d opened an account and transferred money across.
Used a couple of free trades to reinvest dividends
Since I finally switched my cash Isa money into investments, I don’t check it very often – better for my blood pressure, I reckon!
But I did have a look as it reached the third anniversary since first investing(previous post). Celebrations all round as the balance was up rather than down. The platform I use to invest charges £5 to reinvest dividends, ie use money paid out by investments to buy more of them. However, you’re also entitled to 4 trades a year for free. As some dividend cash had built up, I saved a tenner by using a couple of the free trades to reinvest the money myself. One day I’ll get round to working out if I can save money by switching to another platform, as I’m not convinced Alliance Trust Savings is my best option.
Read up on money matters
I was sent a free copy of “The Meaningful Money Handbook” to review. It’s written by Pete Matthews, a certified financial planner (CFP) who knows his onions, records an entertaining podcast and blogs over at Meaningful Money. His book aims to cover ‘everything you need to know and everything you need to do’ to manage your money. Pete is great at translating money matters into jargon-free, practical advice and he’s very honest about his own financial foibles (techie gadgets, anyone?).
The book focuses on three steps: spending less, investing wisely and a third step about using insurance to protect against life’s disasters, which you don’t often see covered so clearly. I particularly liked the tip about creating a one page document, with a sentence summarising any insurance you’ve taken out. For example: “If I die, a lump sum of £a will be paid to b from policy c held with company d”, ideally stored in a safe place with copies of the relevant policy documents. This would be a huge help for your family if you’re not around, incapacitated or (in my case) just forgetful. Well worth a read. Check it out here.
My latest money-saving column for Woman&Home magazine is out now (previous post). Cue much excitement here in Suffolk.
It’s the November issue with Phil and Holly on the cover, with tips on cutting the cost of meals out, films and make up, saving on your smartphone and dealing with credit card debt. Here’s a link* if you’d like to halve the cost and get a subscription copy straight to your door.
Now over to you – what’s your frugal highlight this week? Do share 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!