Autumn has finally hit with the start of October. Our garden is ankle deep in crunchy orange leaves, but we’ve been lucky lately with glorious sunshine and bright blue skies.
Unusually, I’ve zipped back and forth to London twice in one week. Otherwise we’ve been battening down the hatches for a lower spend October, after the excitement of the summer holidays and the return to school. I posted yesterday with 80+ ways to save money on food shopping, and I’m hoping to put a lot of them into practice!
In the mean time, here’s my round up of our five frugal things this week.
Given some cookery books
My mother-in-law had a clear out of her cookery books, so I was the grateful recipient of a whole pile of different books. I’m looking forward to scanning the Nigella and River Cafe books in particular. Think I already have my mother’s version of Elizabeth David’s “French Provincial Cooking”, so will whisk that off to the hospice shop (unless anyone else wants it?). There was also a 1950s Aga cook book, with charmingly retro illustrations.
Brand new cook books can be hideously expensive, and I find that often I only use a couple of recipes. Nowadays if I’m tempted by a new title, I try to borrow it from the library first. That way, I can find out for free if I’m actually going to use it, before splashing out money and shelf space.
Used a Nectar voucher in the nick of time
This week I was very grateful I actually read an email from Nectar.
Back in July, I swapped some Nectar points for a Pizza Express voucher for a couple of pizzas or main courses. The voucher cost 1,000 points, which seemed a good deal – normally 1,000 points would only buy £5 of Sainsbury’s shopping, rather than £20 odd for two main courses at Pizza Express.
In the end, we didn’t use the voucher during the summer holidays. Then last week, a Nectar email reminded me that the Summer Rewards vouchers were due to run out on Saturday. Eeek! Luckily we were heading into Ipswich on Saturday morning anyway, so we finished with a family lunch by the quayside. Our family meal out ended up costing £25, including the children’s food, drinks and tip.
Signed up for a student discount card
I admit I’m not the most obvious member of the National Union of Students.
However, it turns out you can get an NUS Extra card even if you’re not a full time student, but are studying online with certain e-course providers. (Andy over at Be Clever With Your Cash has a great post on this). This week, I duly signed up for a NUS Extra card, which cost £13.50 for a year, including the postage. Among other discounts, I’ll now be able to get 10% off any food shopping at our local Co-op, which will be well worth it.
If you score 5/5 on this quiz you might be a wine genius. Test your skills and win a £20 voucher https://t.co/PeRFzG2VsP
— Majestic Wine (@majesticwine) October 4, 2017
Nabbed a wine voucher
I spotted an offer from Majestic on Twitter, promising a £20 voucher if you took a quick wine quiz. It only had five questions, and turned out it didn’t matter whether you got them all right or not. So now I’ve got a voucher for £20 off when spending £60 or more, which can be used in store or online. It will come in very handy when stocking up on wine for Christmas.
Transferred interest across to our main current account
Last weekend, I spent a chunk of time updating my spending diary and checking what cash we have where.
(Here’s why I’m a big fan of spending diaries)
I try to earn as much interest as possible by spreading our emergency savings across several current accounts. Weirdly, some current accounts pay higher interest than most savings accounts nowadays. However, they limit how much money can earn a higher rate (spoil sports). This means that every month or so, I go online and transfer any interest payments above the maximum balance into our main current account. Even though several of the accounts have cut their rates in the last year, the interest still comes in handy for paying bills.
My highest interest rate right now is actually with Chip, the automatic savings app, which pays up to 5% interest. I’ve raved before about Chip, but if you sign up with code 4T0C9I before the end of 13 October, you can choose between getting £10 or 1% interest (and I get the same choice too). For every friend who signs up with your code, you can then earn an extra 1% interest. Interest rates are so rubbish right now that even the initial 1% from Chip is better than many savings accounts elsewhere.
I’ve also been trying out a website that makes it easier to keep an eye on payments from multiple accounts, so hopefully will have a proper post about that next week.
That’s my round up of five frugal things this week. Now over to you – what’s your most frugal tip this week? I’d love to hear, so do share your ideas in the comments.