I love September, as a fresh start when I return to work and the children return to school after the summer holidays.
My 11-year-old has just started at a new school, so there’s been a mix of excitement and nervousness, while my 9-year-old has a new teacher.
With both children back at school, I’ve been able to ramp up on the work front. Working from home has many advantages, but it can be tricky during holidays!
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I seized the chance to make arrangements for a couple of work events next week. Yes, I will actually be working outside our spare room. I’m really looking forward to the SHOMOs blogger conference and awards next Saturday, with the chance to catch up with friends, meet new people and learn loads. I’m also absolutely delighted to be a finalist for four blog awards:
- Best Personal Finance Blog
- Best Frugal & Thrift Blog
- Best Investing Blog
- Best Money Saving Blog
(Can’t believe it’s four, just had to go and double check. If you want to see all the other fabulous finalists, you can find the list on the UK Money Bloggers site)
So here are my five frugal things for the return to work!
Booked a bargain hotel room
I made a snap decision to stay in London over night, so I could attend a free workshop on Friday before going to the SHOMOs on Saturday. With only 10 days to go, I wasn’t expecting to find many budget rooms. Last year, I stayed in the Point A Hotel in Shoreditch after the SHOMOs, a fabulous budget boutique hotel (here’s my review). This year, I snaffled an even cheaper room at a nearby Travelodge. A basic room, with no wi-fi, breakfast, or other add ons, was £59.99. I did search for voucher codes for an extra discount, and signed up for the newsletter for 5% off my first booking – but none worked for this location and this date.
However, by forking out an extra fiver, I booked a family room and requested an extra bed. This means I can share the room with a blogger friend and only pay half. I reckon £32.50 for a Friday night in central London is pretty good!
Booked my train tickets for less
I was worried my train fares were going to be stratospheric. Normally, I try to arrange meetings from lunch time onwards, so I can travel off peak from Suffolk and use my Network Railcard* to get a third off fares (£30 a year, bargain, saves me so much money).
This time, with Friday’s workshop starting at 10am, I needed to travel earlier. On the way out, I cut costs by booking a single ticket for a specific train. Then I saved a tenner by using my railcard for the return trip, off peak on Saturday evening.
Booked parking with a discount via Just Park
Ever experienced the stress of showing up at a station car park only to find it absolutely rammed, without a space in sight? Not an experience I wish to repeat. I am not the biggest fan of driving in the first place, and managed to avoid it for many years by living in places where it was easier not to have a car (don’t laugh, they do exist).
Anyway, recently we bit the bullet and bought a second car (remember when our elderly car was towed away for scrap? Finally replaced it with a second hand hybrid). I’ve also bitten the bullet and been doing some driving. Driving to our nearest station in Manningtree and back is definitely cheaper than paying for the bus to Ipswich, longer train journey from Ipswich, and taxi back.
My magic parking solution to the packed station car park is to book a space nearby using JustPark. JustPark is a website and app where people with driveways or parking spaces can rent them out, and drivers can book them. The space I found costs less than station parking anyway. I also referred my husband, so he could book parking for one of his trips to London, and got £10 credit. This is paid out as £2 off five bookings, so makes my next few parking bookings even cheaper.
If you fancy trying JustPark, use this link to make a booking and we’ll both get £10 to spend on parking. Or if you list a parking space, we both get a £10 Amazon gift card.
Bought a work dress from a charity shop
I’m taking part in Oxfam’s Second Hand September, so rather than buying a brand new dress for the SHOMOs, I went charity shopping instead.
I found a fab dress in a St Helena Hospice shop – a silk Monsoon dress with a floral pattern and sleeves, so I’m less self-conscious about my arms. The neckline is a bit lower than I’d normally wear, but hey, it’s not J-Lo low. It ticks the budget box at only £9.50 and also helps cut landfill, extend the life of scarce resources and provide funds for a good cause.
Do check out my previous post with more about Second Hand September and how to take part!
Brought out a beautiful planner
Before the holidays, I went to a Bubele ‘Work Your Money, Honey’ event all about investing – and came home with a fabulous Hello Day planner in my goody bag. It’s almost too beautiful to use. It runs from August to August and has all kinds of pages for everything from meal planning to goals and budget notes. Hopefully it will help me plan both work and home life better. So for once it’s not just the kids who are starting September with new stationery, and it didn’t cost a penny!
Now – over to you! What are your frugal tips for a fresh start in September? Any financial resolutions for the return to work?
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