Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Being Money Savvy - Paying by Direct Debit

So over the coming weeks, I am going to be switching any bills that we do not already pay over to Direct Debit and I would love for you to join me and see just how easy it is.

I am all for making things easier and simpler and that is what paying by Direct Debit can do for you.  As a busy mum of two boys finding time to manage household stuff is often the last thing on my agenda.  Plus I would much rather do fun stuff than house admin!

Make sure you are money savvy. Why you should be paying by Direct Debits. How you can benefit from managing your payments with Direct Debit
I wish I had been taught how to budget and manage money when I was at school.  I never really worried about my finances until I had children and we were trying to live on a smaller income!  Now I try and make sure I have a handle on my money, rather than it having a handle on me!
First off, let's start at the beginning - What is a Direct Debit?  In a nutshell, a Direct Debit is an instruction from you to your bank or building society to pay another account on an agreed date.  

So I bet you are wondering how that can save you time, well quite simply you only have to set a Direct Debit up once and then you do not have to do it again. For people like me, it is great as I never get into trouble by paying bills late!

In addition to giving you more time to do the things you love, paying by Direct Debit can also save you money, which is a huge bonus.

Make sure you are money savvy. Why you should be paying by Direct Debits. How you can benefit from managing your payments with Direct Debit

The benefits of paying by Direct Debit:

  • No more queuing in real life or virtually on the phone to pay bills.
  • You only need to set up the Direct Debit once saving time for regular payments.
  • You can use it to pay regular bills even if they are of different amounts.
  • You can often get a discount on bills by paying Direct Debit.
  • No more late payment fees.
  • The Direct Debit Guarantee means that, in the unlikely event of an error in the payment of a Direct Debit, you’re entitled to a full refund from your bank or  building society.

Let’s switch to Direct Debit together

So over the coming weeks, I am going to be switching any bills that we do not already pay over to Direct Debit and I would love for you to join me and see just how easy it is.

Fancy winning £10,000?

Even better once you have switched you can enter the Freedom Guaranteed prize draw to win £10,000.
 Make sure you are money savvy. Why you should be paying by Direct Debits. How you can benefit from managing your payments with Direct Debit

This post first appeared on Mum in the Mad House 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Multi-function furniture for your home

If you're looking to give your home a stylish new makeover, there are more than a few ways in which you can do it. Whilst spending your money on an array of separate items may be one method, there's also a great range of multi-function furniture out there that can not only save you some pennies, but can also save you space too.

Facilitating guests

The living room is invariably one of the biggest rooms of the house. And as such, it can often perform a variety of functions which is why many items of furniture in the living room can benefit from being multi-functional.

One of the biggest joys of owning a home is having friends and family stay as guests. But often there simply aren't enough beds or bedrooms to go around. But this wonderful living room displays how a sofa-bed can provide an easy and compact solution to the bedding dilemma. And the use of a chest of drawers as a subtle storage area adds to the room's multi-functional capacity.

Other pieces of furniture to consider when maximising space include footstools that can be opened up to store extra items, as well as extendable dining tables that can be put back to their more compact position when your guests have left.

Bedroom functionality

The bedroom is another great place where you can simply save space with some smart pieces of furniture. For example, the Ottoman beds provided by Bedstar feature an easily-opened lid mechanism that can free up some extra space and can be used to contain those thick woolen blankets that aren't required except for the chilly winter months.

Another multi-functional item in the bedroom that is often overlooked is the mirrored wardrobe. These offer a huge space-saving feature, whilst the use of a mirror can have the additional benefit of making a compact space seem bigger than it really it is.

Kitchen solutions

Few areas of the house have the sheer variety of applications as the kitchen. Used for cooking, cleaning, eating and socialising, the kitchen is the epitome of a multi-functional space. And as such there are some great ways that you can add to the efficiency of kitchen operations.

Banquette seating in particular can aid issues of space in a kitchen. Apartment Therapy illustrate how banquettes offer a chic alternative to traditional dining options as they can be installed in virtually any space, and additional storage areas can easily be implemented beneath the benches meaning that your kitchen is able to be a fun, functional and social place for you to enjoy.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Fabulously Frugal is taking a holiday

My fellow hosts  Cass at Diary of a Frugal Family, A Thrifty Mum and Emma at Mum’s Savvy Savings would like to say thank you for all taking part in Fabulously Frugal, but we are going to be taking a summer holiday.  Part of the reason that we are all as frugal as can be if that we all have children and love spending time with them, so in order to concentrate on our families over the summer holidays we have decided to give #FabulouslyFrugal a little holiday of its own.  We will all be back on Sunday 6th September in a whole new school uniform ready to start saving and planning for Christmas.

Thank you to everyone who has commented, linked and joined in.  We really appreciate your involvement and hope to see you again in September.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Free Minions colouring book and other Minion Freebies

We have been waiting with bated breath for the Minions.  In fact we are all off to the cinema tomorrow to celebrate Mini turning nine.  He decided ages ago that he was going to go to the cinema with his friends to celebrate his birthday with the Minions,

Tesco are also celebrating with lots of free fun activities this weekend and have a fab free minion colouring book that you can print out.

On 27th & 28th June Tesco invites you to join the Minion event. Pop along to your local Extra, or a selected Superstore, with your little Minions for colouring in, treasure hunts and lots more…
  • Family photo opportunity with a life sized cut out Minion and props from the film
  • Creative activity station for the kids with FREE Minions colouring in book
  • Spot the Minions treasure hunt around the store with a chance to WIN a family cinema ticket for 2 Adults & 2 Children (Under 12)
  • FREE cardboard Minion goggles, Haribo sweets and banana and apple samples
Event times: Saturday 27th 9am–5pm & Sunday 28th 10am–4pm
Find out more here 

Thank you to Tesco for sending us a selection of Minion goodies, although I am going to have to buy another duvet cover for Maxi!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Recording your expenditure

Welcome back.  I have been absent from #Fabulously Frugal for a couple of weeks, so do accept my apologies for tardiness.

This week I want to talk about recording your spending or expenditure if we are getting fancy.

I have a fab sheet for you to use each month to help, but this month we are going to keep it super simple and record in a notebook EVERY PENNY we spend.

Then we are going to take a look at our bank statements and record what we have going out of a regular basis too.

Don't worry too much about cutting down your spending at the moment, we really need to get a handle on what you are spending where.

Download your copy of our budget sheet here

Do you have a post that is about thrifty parenting, decorating or lifestyle.  One that is about frugal food or crafts and art.  or even a post about making the post of what you have, then please do link up.  Each week we make sure we pin the post, feature some on our facebook pages and then we each have a round up on a Sunday. Let’s all share that being frugal can be fabulous. 

The Mad House

Please take a look at my fab co hosts and their posts, Cass at Diary of a Frugal FamilyMum in The Mad House and Emma at Mum’s Savvy Savings.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Sanctuary Spa Summer Beach bag less than half price

Hopefully summer is on it's way and this fabulous offer from Sanctuary Spa is a great deal with £45 worth of products for just £22 and a fab summer beach bag too.

This fabulous collection contains everything you need to get ready for summer. Prep your skin to perfection & then take your handy travel size essentials with you on your adventures.

The gorgeous Summer Beach Bag contains the following:

  • Gentle Polish Body Scrub 200ml
  • Luxurious Body Butter 300ml
  • Intensive Heel Balm 75ml
  • Cleansing Burst Body Wash 250ml
  • Silky Smooth Body Lotion 75ml
  • Feather-light moisture spray 50ml
  • Ultimate Salt Scrub Sachet 60g
  • Velvety Hand Cream 30ml
  • Charles Worthington Sunshine Protector Shampoo 75ml
  • Charles Worthington Sunshine Protector Conditioner 75ml
  • Charles Worthington Sunshine Protector Leave-in Spray 50ml

Friday, 29 May 2015

Celebrating 25 years of Aldi with cocktails!

I have made no secret of my love of budget supermarkets, in fact my weekly main shop is carried out at Aldi and  I often pop to Lidl too.  I LOVE their food and their prices.

Can you believe that Aldi turns 25 this year?  I couldnt.  Looking back I began shopping at Aldi nine years ago when we relocated back to the NE of England and it was where my mum shopped.  As we used to go shopping together every Thursday it made sense that I started buying from there too and it was amazing.  Not only did we love the products, but we started seeing massive savings, which was really important as we were living on a single wage,

Since then I have become a big advocate of Aldi and can not wait until the plans are passed for one closer to home (which is in the pipeline).

To celebrate this monumental birthday Aldi sent us a cocktail hamper. 

I am going to admit that we haven't had the opportunity to try the cocktails out yet, but I have got a vanilla pod in some sugar so that I can make them as soon as we have a warm weekend! 

I can vouch for the Prosecco, as it is a regular purchase (hic)! 

Pomegranate Punch

The juicy pomegranate and hint of lemon make this cocktail the ultimate refreshing tipple for a sunny day.

·         25 ml Tamova Vodka (£10.39)
·         20 ml lemon juice
·         2.5 teaspoons of sugar
·         3 teaspoons fresh pomegranate seeds
·         Freeman’s Bay Marlborough Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc (£9.99), as desired
Decoration / to serve:
·         Add a few pomegranate seeds and a piece of lemon zest for garnish


·         Add the vodka, lemon juice, sugar and pomegranate seeds to a cocktail shaker
·         Stir until the sugar has dissolved and then shake hard over ice
·         Pour into an ice filled tall glass
·         Top with the sparkling sauvignon blanc

Lemon Pie
This sweet, lemon fizz tastes of summer sip after sip. 

·         10 ml Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin (£10.39)
·         10 ml Goccia D’oro Limoncello (£7.99)
·         1 teaspoon sugar
·         1 vanilla pod
·         Contevedo Cava Brut (£4.99), as desired
·         1 lemon 

·         Flavour the sugar by placing a vanilla pod into the sugar pot for a couple of weeks
·         Add the gin, limoncello and sugar to the glass and stir to dissolve
·         Top with cava and garnish with a lemon twist

Very Cherry
The combination of the cherries and vanilla extracts heighten the fruity flavours of the brandy, making this the ultimate indulgent sweet treat.

·         20 ml Napoleon Brandy (£11.39)
·         10 ml cherry juice from frozen cherries
·         1 teaspoon sugar
·         1 vanilla pod
·         175 ml Valdobbiadene Prosecco Spumante DOCG (£7.49), as desired

Decoration / To serve
·         Garnish with several frozen cherries on a cocktail stick.

·         Flavour the sugar by placing a vanilla pod into a sugar pot for a couple of weeks
·         Defrost the frozen cherries and squeeze out the juice
·         Add the brandy, cherry juice and sugar; to a glass and stir until the sugar has dissolved
·         Top with prosecco

Shooting Star

Vodka and fruit juice create the perfect base for a cocktail, but a dash of Prosecco adds a subtle sparkle.

·         25ml Tamova Vodka
·         25ml of raspberry juice from raspberries
·         2.5 teaspoons of sugar
·         Valdobbiadene Prosecco Spumante DOCG, as     desired

Decoration/to serve:
 3 apple slices
·         2 raspberries

·         Defrost half a pack of raspberries and sprinkle with sugar
·         Squeeze the juice from the raspberries and collect in the bottom of the glass
·         Add 25ml of Vodka and stir to combine
·         Gently pour the prosecco over a spoon into the glass, then add the three frozen raspberries and apple slices to garnish

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