Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Resurrecting your blog!

I have been away from the money saving and blogging world for a few months.  My bloggers mojo left, deserted me! It left the building.  A 'proper' writer would call it writers block!

In addition I have had to get my son assessed thinking it may be dysgraphia or adhd but actually  ended up dyslexia and Irlens! This has taken up a lot of time and money as we funded it all ourselves! 

Long story short I have been carrying on with the money saving, penny pinching! I have set a retirement target amount and am currently at about 7.5% of it saved!!! That as it stands gives us 15 more years of work! Erg that's about 5 years more than I wanted! 

So it's refocus time in the stretch your pennies household with the aim for mortgage free and able to retire in 10 years.  

First I'm thinking, a declutter and a go at the dreaded eBay! God I hate eBay! 

Friday, 29 April 2016

Product Testing/Reviews. Reviewers required for Etekcity Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer

I have had a lovely email from Ethan at Etekcity.

He is looking for people experienced at reviewing, particularly on Amazon to give an honest review in exchange for receiving this product free of charge.

The product is as follows :-


Interested? please drop Ethan an email at etekcity.uk@gmail.com

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Junior Cricket, Keep your kids entertained this summer

With many of the sports ending for summer the kids are starting to get a little bit lost and will need their weekly fix of sports training sorted out soon.

I just wanted to drop a quick post together to suggesting getting on the internet and searching for your local cricket clubs.  We did this last week and joined the little one up for the local junior cricket club. Our club trains in the evening after school over the summer and charges £45 for the whole season including a branded cricket shirt.  This works out at about £3 and change per session for 90 minutes.

As its on in the summer evening, parents can take advantage of the summer sunshine to watch the kids playing, walk the dogs or like we did pop into the social club for a lemonade!

I thought this was a really cost effective way of keeping the kids fit and entertained during the summer, what bargainous clubs have you found?

Friday, 8 April 2016

toiletries tip of the day!

Just a quickie! My tip of the day is to decant items like shampoo, conditioner, shower gel etcetera into a bottle with a   pump.  

Why might you ask? Well, you use less which saves you money and extra chemicals into the environment.  Secondly, you can bulk buy larger size bottles which are once again cheaper and less packaging.  Finally they make virtually no mess.  The kiddies will really have to try hard to squirt this everywhere.

This is my top tip of the day!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

I am back!

Hi All

I have been so busy over the last month or so and have sadly had to neglect my blog.  Do not dismay though as I have been busily carrying on with my penny stretching efforts and I am now back!

The school holidays have been pretty frugal, we had saved a voucher we won for a family ticket to a local museum and have used our season tickets a couple of times.  Noah did a holiday camp at the Norwich City football club which is fantastic and most of the premier league clubs have a similar offer in place.  The weather has not been on our side on the money saving front but we have done our best.

We have busily been making savings here and there, we have found that shopping fortnightly has really helped us as we were finding that we couldn't make it every week so were doing top up shops.

I am currently testing and reviewing a load of loose leaf teas which is obviously a real chore!  These have been sent via Amazon review trader from which I have received some fantastic things free or cheap.  I have not needed to purchase any toiletries in months.  See my post on Amazon review Trader

We are in the process of testing educational software Maths Whizz and Literacy Planet.  That is an ongoing thing and I will be writing a series of posts on the pro's and con's of a few methods of helping the kids with their school work (applies to home schooling too).

Here our our New years resolutions update for end of March 2016

1.  Not waste money at all.  Review every bill again, look at all expenses, tax etc I pay and minimise it.  Look at all money I earn and interest on savings etc and maximise.
- Have been getting monthly rewards on my halifax and co-op account by fulfilling the criteria.  Have moved all savings to the highest rate account I could for the amount.  
2.  Overpay mortgage standard payments by £500 per month or £6000 per year.
- £1006.22 Overpaid this month this is my second best ever month.  really don't quite know how we managed this.  Total year to date £2153.21/£6000.  35% of annual target!
.  Increase short term savings by £3000 in 2016 or £250 per month.
- £598.32 added to short term savings, that's fantastic.  I have worked out that I actually need to save a total of £7000 this year to have increased savings by £3000 at the end of the year as I will be spending close to £4000 on the guttering.  Currently ST savings for the year total £1752.69/£7000 so 25% complete and 25% of the way through the year.  Epic!
4.  Learn the basics of investments by reading Tim Hale book
- I must really start reading this but I have been so busy.
5.  Design, apply for planning (if needed) and start to build a home office
- No Progress yet .
6.  Continue with garden improvements 
     a) Replace small bit of fence
     b) Remove two trees required to do home office
     c) Remove big border of weeds and lay grass
- No Progress although I did speak to friend who wants some plants from the big border that she needs to come and look at them
7.  Replace guttering before winter 2016
- Added the £3500 (+£500 contingency) to the short term savings to pay for the guttering.  Separately to the short term savings, in the home renovation funds I have £770 this is earmarked for the short term savings.  So 19% in the earmarked account and will top up what I need from the S/T savings when I get it done if that makes sense!
8.  Start renovations on Bedroom 3
- Have been tidying/decluttering stuff to be sold in the village garage sale next month.  After this bed 3 should be able to be started
9.  Visit a country I have never been to before.
- No Progress although plan to book flights soon
10. JW - Do second counselling course and apply and hopefully start Uni part time.
- all completed and have a meeting re volunteering monday.  Still considering if Uni is for me as its a big commitment.
    SM - Do silversmithing 2 course
- No Progress
    NMW - Start dance classes
- Doing a local class most weeks 
11. JW - Start relearning the piano, but I need to save up for and buy a keyboard first!
- No Progress, still looking for a piano.  Money prioritised in other areas currently.
    SM - Do pottery course and throw a pot.
- Still waiting for a place to come up in the class.
    SM and NMW - Learn to skate backwards.
- ongoing
12. Change all light bulbs to LED at home
- Changed over several bulbs this month.  
13. Buy a super king sized bed
- No Progress shame!
14. Write 1-2 blog posts per week.
- explained above
15. Teach the boy how to do up his shoelaces!
- Have been trying, not ready yet.
16. Go camping at least 5 times.
- Soon hopefully.  Just need the sun to come out for a few days
17. Declutter an item from the house for every day of the year 365, actually make that 366 its a leap year!
- Have been quite good at this to be honest this month and have been putting a lot aside for the garage sale.  
18. Start on upstairs bathroom.
- No Progress
19. Investigate getting onto mains sewage.
- No Progress
20. Do a random act of kindness every month.
- Have informal interview for voluntary work Monday.