This week took us from the end of the Christmas holidays to the start of term, as the children headed back to school and I tried to get back to work.
Here are five of the frugal things I’ve done this week, to get our low spend January off to a good start.
Cut Christmas cards into labels
Shades of Blue Peter. Rather than just chucking our Christmas cards into the recycling, I cut out some of my favourite images as labels for next year’s presents. Should brighten up the wrapping at a total cost of 0p.
Snaffled Christmas cards in the sales
I do still send some Christmas cards to family and friends, so was glad to find half price cards for next year in the Paperchase sale. I’ve popped them in our present cupboard so with any luck I’ll be able to find them again come December.
I looked for crackers and wrapping paper too, but didn’t spot any I really liked. Did manage to nab a few presents in sales at Debenhams and Boots though.
Bought Uno for less online
For us, Christmas 2019 was the year of Uno. My son borrowed a pack from the grandparents, and we all enjoyed playing it. Came in particularly handy when we went out for a pizza before the pantomime (cut price thanks to Meerkat Meals & Movies!), playing rounds whenever we were waiting to order, for food or for the bill. We played loads over Christmas and New Year too, before returning the cards.
So when we spotted Uno in Waterstones, while browsing for ideas with a Christmas present book token, my daughter suggested buying our own pack. But £8.99 seemed a little steep – so I checked on my phone, discovered I could get Uno on eBay for £2.49 including delivery, and ordered that instead.
Headed out to Mersea Island
We seized our chance on the last day of the holidays to head out to Mersea Island, somewhere we’ve never been before. Strictly speaking it’s only an island a couple of times a day, when the tide is high enough to cover the single causeway onto Mersea, but I was intrigued.
Even on a blowy grey day there was a bleak beauty to the walk by the beach in Cudmore Grove Country Park. The kids particularly liked the playground and exploring a pillbox on the clifftop. Definitely a budget outing when you only have to pay a few pounds for petrol and parking. We’re all keen to return, although perhaps with a picnic on a sunny day in summer!
Opted for a fakeaway rather than a takeaway
Last Friday, I had a go at making fish and chips rather than trekking to the takeaway. I used the recipe for fish, chips, peas and tartare sauce from the fab ‘Home Economics‘ cookbook (affiliate link) by Jane Ashley, which I reviewed here. Miraculously given the picky eaters in our family, we ended up with clean plates all round. Result.
I had a go at totting up how much it cost, using Morrisons Savers frozen white fish fillets and potatoes from a Christmas veg offer. Rather than the £18 we’d usually spend at our local chippy, it came to less than £3 for our family of four.
Obviously it was more faff for me with the cooking, but definitely helped cut costs and calories in January!
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Now – over to you. What frugal successes are you celebrating this week? How have you got 2020 off to a frugal start? Do share in the comments, I’d love to hear!
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