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#SaveMoneyMonday – Free Fun DIY classes for kids….

SaveMoneyMonday

Welcome to this week’s #SaveMoneyMonday!

In case you don’t know what #SaveMoneyMonday is, it’s my new weekly (ish) feature.  Every Monday, I’m planning to feature one small way to save money in one way or another – whether it’s getting something for nothing, sharing a money saving top tip or even a way to make some extra money.

This week I’m thinking about the Summer Holidays as my two break up tomorrow so I thought we’d have a #SaveMoneyMonday Summer Holiday tip!

I found this one when I was browsing for wallpaper for my kitchen wall which, despite it being something I was determined I would have done before the Summer Holidays, I still haven’t got around to doing!

free kids diy class

B&Q are offering DIY classes for kids aged 7-11 throughout the Summer and there seems to be a lot of stores participating so there should be one near-ish to where you live if you fancied joining in.  The courses at my local store include making things like a bird feeder, a bug-house, a wheelbarrow planter and a butterfly home.

The site says that the sessions last an hour but they may run over because they want everyone to be able to take home what they make and when I went to book a session I thought it was great value at £5.00 considering that it includes all materials and you get to take home what you’ve made.

But then I noticed that the sessions were free if you were a B&Q club member and guess what, the club is free to join – you just fill in a quick form and you’ll get an email with your membership number in which you can use to book your classes over the phone on 0845 600 5428.  I’m not sure what else you’ll get as a club member but it looks like there may be discount vouchers!

summer of fun

Welcome to this weeks Parenting Pin it Party….

I am so excited about the fact that the kids only have two days left at school before they break up and I only have this week at work before my long awaited two weeks holiday starts!  We have no plans at all yet which makes it even more exciting as we could do anything!

And to make an great week even better, it’s Monday and it’s my turn to host this weeks Parenting Pin it Party which I would LOVE you to all join in with.

To give you an idea of the sorts of posts that link up to this fab weekly linky, here’s my two favourites from last week:

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 (Just click on the images to visit the posts)

If you want to join in with this week’s Parenting Pin it Party all you need to do is link up one of your parenting or family related posts – even if you have an older post that would be suitable then please do link it up.  During the week I’ll visit you all and Pineach of your posts to the Parenting Pin It Party Pinterest board (which you can follow here).

It would be lovely if you have a couple of minutes to pop over and comment on a couple of the other posts linked up.

Oh and you don’t have to but as always, it’s much appreciated if you could include the badge in your post ;-)

The Diary of a Frugal Family

The Parenting Pin it Party is co-hosted each week by myself, Romanian MumKiddy ChartsMum of OneMummy AlarmAll you need is love and cake and The Fairy and the Frog.



A month of spending in review….

We were challenged by Wilson Field to keep a spending Diary for a month along with a few other bloggers.  Here’s our results:

Like most of you, I have a budget that I *try* and stick to but it’s not always easy – what with unexpected expenses, lapses of control and other unpredictables!

But I do try, and when I go wrong it’s usually for a good reason but the last few months have been particularly trying and for the life of me I couldn’t think what I’d bought when I saw our bank balance the day before payday last month and I had to have a really good think back over the previous weeks to reconcile things.

So this month I’ve been keeping a bit of a spending diary – not a super strict one although I’d highly recommend doing that if you always have some month left at the end of your money! I’ve been keeping track of extras that I’ve bought that I’ve had to take cash out of the bank for and they’ve certainly added up this month!

Since I was last paid on 23rd June, this is what I’ve got written down as paying cash for outside of my usual things that are budgeted for on a monthly basis:

£10 – school pencil case with required stationery. Don’t ask!

£10 – school trip money for Mast F.

£30 – spending money for Miss F residential.

£10 – bits and bobs for Miss F’s school trip.

£20 – party bus for Miss F’s leaving party at school

£10 – celebration meal for me and Miss F to celebrate SATS

£30 – school blazer and PE Kit

£10 – Nerf gun darts as we had a street Nerf battle but couldn’t find more than 7 darts beforehand.

£40 – new hoover as mine spontaneously combusted for some reason.

£20 – family takeaway as a treat after a planned weekend away ended early following a collapsed roof and emergency evacuation situation (more on that to come ;-) )

£40 – I bought something I saw in the sale for Miss F which I know is going to be on her Christmas wish list.  It was half price so I couldn’t really not get it, could I?  It’s packed away now for the next six months!

£20 – treats for great reports / SATS

£20 – A pair of Vans reduced from £50 to £20 for Miss F

That’s a lot of unplanned extras to our budget isn’t it?

Some were more essential than others and some could have been avoided but either way, it’s good to see them all written down.  I try to allow space in our monthly budget to pay for unplanned things because no matter how hard you try and budget for everything – life gets in the way.

One thing I would say is that just because some things are unplanned and could have been avoided, it doesn’t make them bad purchases.  If you overspend or buy something as a treat then don’t worry about them too much as long as you have spare money for them.  It’s when you buy things and then can’t afford to pay for the essentials that it’s a problem!

The things I didn’t write down specifically were my shopping budget which I know is currently a bit higher than it needs to be and can definitely be reduced with some more considered meal planning.  I find it harder to meal plan at this time of year as we’re out and about all over and the kids are often our playing with their friends on a night so I’m really flexible with meal times.  I think this makes it harder to meal plan, that and the fact that we’re less likely to want to eat slow cooker meals which we kind of associate with winter meals – wrongly I know.

This month I’m challenging myself to try and use my slow cooker more for meals that are ‘Summer Friendly’ so I’ll be researching some new things to cook in it.  I’m also going to go back to posting our meals daily (ish) on my meal planning blog as that’s been sadly neglected in the last month!

I’m also planning to try and make some extra money by having a car boot sale because the Summer Holidays are always hard on our budget.  We do limit days out and treats but even one day out to a theme park can cost upwards of £60 these days!

We were sent a spending diary kit in exchange for writing this post and sharing all of my overspending from the last month with you ;-)

Review: Prezzy Box….

*Warning – this post may include a gross over usage of the word WOW*

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who’s started their Christmas shopping, am I?

I always start early so I can find the best presents for the best prices and I’ve already bought Miss Frugal’s two main presents (I could tell you what they were but I would have to kill you ;-)) which means I only have stocking fillers to buy for her.  Master Frugal has no idea what he would like but I know there’ll be Xbox games on his list so I’ve been buying the odd Amazon voucher and stocking them up ready for when he decides which ones he wants later in the year.

As for everyone else, I have no idea yet, apart from I’m buying my friend a ticket to Sound of Music singalong at Sunderland Empire next year – she’s buying me one in exchange and we can’t wait! ;-)

The problem about buying presents for other people is that I want the presents to be amazing – something that they will open and say WOW!  My budget doesn’t really stretch to WOW though unfortunately so it’s usually a gentle yeay more than a WOW.

But recently I’ve discovered Prezzy Box which is an online site that I think is going to help me be more WOW!

I was asked if I wanted to review a  couple of things by the lovely people at Savoo as they had a few money saving codes for Prezzy Box on their site and I was really surprised at the unique-ness of some of the gifts.  Don’t get me wrong, some of the gifts are quite pricey and some are a bit gimicky but actually, a lot of them are great.

It’s really easy to find what you want even if you don’t actually know what you want as the gifts are all in categories and then sub categories so if I was looking for something for Mr Frugal I could choose ‘Gift for him’ and then I could drill down further into things like ‘joke gifts’, ‘retro gifts’, ‘food gifts’, ‘football gifts’ etc.

We chose to review the Sun Jar as I’ve been after one of these for ages but at £15.95 I thought it was probably a waste of money and that it wouldn’t work as well as the blurb says it will!  I thought it would be good to help Miss Frugal who was going through an odd phase of not settling at night in the dark.

sun jar review

The Sun Jar has been a big hit and every bit as good as the website and the reviews say it is – I quite fancy a few for the garden now for the Summer nights we plan to be sitting out there!

We also tried out the bunny headphone jack which lets you plug two sets of headphones into one jack – resolving the age old problem of listening to the same music with your friend using just one set of headphones.  One earpiece each means that you can’t move your head for fear of ripping the headphone out of your friends ear so this is a fun but quite practical present!

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Both of these are definite WOW presents that I’d love to give and receive – shame Miss Frugal spotted them before me!

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