frugal


Should you prepare for isa season?

As a parent we all want to try and save for out children’s futures and even in today’s climate it is worth trying to save for a rainy day. MadDad works in the financial industry so he is my go too guy when it comes to asking about money etc, but I would always suggest that you find an Independent Financial Adviser to help you out with financial planning.

So firstly what is isa season?

In very basic terms it is a six week period in the lead up to when you have to subscribe to your Is, the 5 April 2012 (if you don’t use it, you lose it).
This often means that you can be bombarded with information telling you to open a cash isa on the lead up to this date and if can be very confusing.

So what is an isa?

A Cash isa is a savings accounts where the interest isn’t taxed.

A stocks and share isa is a managed collective investment again where the interest isnt taxed.

Should I prepare for isa season?

I decided to ask MadDad this and he said he would advise anyone to make an appointment with a Independent Financial adviser to discuss this. My first response was that IFA’s are for people with money, to which he told me this isn’t at all true. Many IFA’s get their payment from any investment you make through them or charge a nominal fee and they are perfect for people who are going through major life changes such as parents. They can often take an overview of a situation and help you put your new priorities in perspective.

People often think that isa’s are only for people with money and that they are not something that they can utilise to manage their finances, but again it is often about working smarter not harder and in today’s climate we need to know the best way of making our money work for us.

But don’t take my word for it, go and see a professional!


#savvyspender Twitter Party 28 November 7.30pm to 8.30pm 1

I would like to invite you to a great Twitter Party being hosted by me and the amazing Penny Golightly, on 28th November between 7.30pm and 8.30pm, all about shopping habits and family treats.

We would love to hear about how you stick to a budget, choose appropriate family rewards, spend your money wisely and if your shopping habits have changed recently compared to previous years.

I know how hard it can be to budget well in the current financial climate and talk a lot about saving money on my other blog A Thrifty Mum. But we really want to hear from you and I hope that together we can share some brilliant top tips that will help us all. Even though I often write about family money saving I still have a lot to learn and I love getting new tips and ideas.

And as if sharing your knowledge and learning new ways of saving money wasn’t enough to tempt you to join in, there’s even going to be prizes!

The party’s being sponsored by Barclaycard and their Freedom Rewards credit card. This new reward card is potentially very useful for organised spenders who pay their balance off every month, as you earn points on everything you spend, that you can then redeem in a range of high street stores (check out www.barclaycard.co.uk/freedomrewards)!

I’d love you to spread the word for us a little – more people joining in with #savvyspender means more money saving tips for us all.

See you there


Tesco Greener Living Quiz and my Top Tips for saving Money

Did you realise that on average it costs £59 a year to run a tumble dryer?  I didn’t, but itf you take a look at the Tesco Greener Living Quiz you will find out little nuggets of information like this and more. There is also a cool interactive house, which you can use to try and find ways of living a greener lifestyle whilst also saving money at the same time.  You can save approximately £400 a year just by turning your heating thermostat down by one degree. So I thought it would be a great idea to put together a list of ecological things that we can use to lower more »


Frugal Food – Utilise your Garden

One of the many comments I got on my feeding a family of 4 for £50 post was that we must be green fingered or have a lot of room for growing vegetables. The truth is we don’t and I am not, we have a small back garden, but in 2009 MadDad built me 3 raised beds, they are not large, they are 6 foot by approx 3 foot and we also have a couple of barrels that we fill with potatoes. But those raised beds and what pots we have round the garden supply me with a steady supply of vegetables right through till the Autumn. At the moment we more »


Feeding a family of four on £50

Zooarchaeologist (being a mummy) did a great post recently about shaving £200 off her monthly budget and I commented that I had got our weekly food shopping bill down to £50 for the four of us and she asked to see our Menu Plan, so I thought I would post one for you all to see, with prices too.  I do a weekly shop at Aldi and if anything else is needed it tends to be the co-op in the village. Now I do have a good store cupboard and freezer with staples like gravy, frozen stock), herbs, spices, flour etc in. Sunday Lunch – mince (£1.99) and onions with veg from more »


Menu Plan Monday and shortbread recipe

It is half term for me and the minimads this week, so I have lunches to make for all and then MadDad will be on on Friday, so we are going for a day out Monday Lunch – Sandwiches Dinner – Curry and rice Tuesday Lunch – Pancakes Dinner -Spag bol Wednesday Lunch – leftovers Thursday – Jambalaya Friday Picnic and pot luck Saturday Home made chicken burgers and wedges Home made pizza Sunday – I am not sure what meat we will be going with this week, I will see what is on offer at the butchers I also wanted to give you the recipe for the almond shortbread biscuits, more »


The Best Carrot Cake in the Whole Wide World 2

  Receipe 140ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing 2 Eggs 200g light brown sugar 300g grated Carrots, (grated weight) 100g raisins 75g pecans or Walnuts, chopped (optional) 180g self-raising flour 1 pinch Salt 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp ground Cinnamon 1/2 tsp freshly grated Nutmeg 1/2 tsp Mixed spice Orange cream cheese icing – this rarely gets put on in this house, as everyone eats the cake before I get chance!! 50g cream cheese, chilled 50g Butter, at room temperature 1 tsp vanilla extract 275g icing sugar, sifted 1 Orange, zest only Method 1. Preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2. Oil and line a loaf tin with greaseproof more »


Meal Plan Monday and More Frugal Food

Sunday Dinner was Mince, onions, dumplings and lots and lots of vegetables, one of my big tips for being frugal and following your meal plans is to make it as easy as possible, so today food will follow on and utilise yesterdays leftovers and additional amount that we cooked. Monday Lunch – Leftovers Dinner – Spaghetti Bolognese, utilising mince, onions and any left over veg with the tomato sauce we made over the summer Tuesday Lunch – Spaghetti on toast Dinner – Lasagna, bulked out with cottage cheese and vegetables Wednesday Lunch – Leftovers Dinner – Dahl and Naan Breads Thursday Lunch – Sandwiches and soup Dinner – Sausage casserole and more »


Menu Planning and Frugal Food Part Two

The Basics and MummyMads Rules I have a few golden rules that I always abide by and also make sure I have a larder with basic ingredients in. I don’t scrimp on chicken I always buy a good one or a happy one as I call them (free range), as they make better stock and just taste nicer with more meat in my humble opinion.  The same with eggs (our butcher sell local free range ones cheaper than the supermarkets).  I pop in to the local butchers and see what is on offer meat wise too. In the store cupboard and fridge I always have flour, eggs, caster sugar, lentils, beans, more »


Menu Planning and Frugal Food Part One

One thing that has come out of our lack of cash is my ability to feed us all well on less and less cash.  The two things that has enabled this to happen has been our menu planning and our garden. I thought I would give you an example of a weeks menu plan and how I feed us all. I do a main shop on a Thursday and base my weeks menu plan round our Sunday Dinner (chicken, Mince, Beef, or Ham).  This week it will be chicken. Friday Fish, oven chips and mussy peas.  I make sure I buy frozen cod or haddock fillets when they are on offer, more »


Budget Pouches and Cash Budgeting

There has been a lot of murmuring in blog land recently on being thrifty, managing on one income and the mend and make do lifestyle. I thought I would add my penny’s worth, as we have been living as frugally as possible on one income for a number of reasons.  People who knew me from old are totally amazed to the change in me, but it is so worth making sacrifices and changes to spend this time with my boys.  So as they say mother is the necessity of invention!! One of our biggest changes has been moving from never carrying cash to using a cash only system for incidentals, fuel, more »