Thursday, 31 July 2014

Summer hols 30 day challenge - Day 9

Does anybody out there use Quidco? 
Have you made any money from it?
I signed up for Quidco ages ago but, since I don't really have any disposable income I rarely buy anything. As a result I haven't given it much thought lately. 
This week, however, I decided to have another look so clicked the link on an email they had sent me. 
Hmmm - not about to book a holiday; hubby doesn't need a new suit; can't afford any home improvements or DIY projects; don't need a new phone deal (£5 pay as you go on my old brick lasts me months!) This is why I'm not their ideal candidate.
Hang on a minute, ClickSnap, what's that?
Apparently you can earn cashback on your grocery shopping by uploading your receipt if you buy any of the weekly offers. This week there haven't been any products that I would buy but as they cover the 3 supermarkets that I may use I thought it worth signing up for. From what I've read it is similar to TopCashback's Snap & Save scheme and it's a good idea to use both together. I shall check out TopCashback when I get a moment.

Any tips on getting the best out of Quidco or TopCashback?

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Summer hols 30 day challenge - Days 6, 7 & 8

I would love to say that I have discovered some amazing money spinning/debt reduction secret and I'm about to share it with you here! In reality I have spent the last three days chopping up shirts, ironing and die cutting to produce more tiny triangles for my new quilt idea.
My son was throwing out some shirts this week, so naturally I nabbed them for my stash.

I also sorted out the next batch of material.... 

.....and die cut some old magazines.... add to the English paper piecing 'tumbler' quilt I'm working on.

I wish I'd gone more random rather than stripy now, what do you think?

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Summer hols 30 day challenge - Day 5

More die cutting of triangles yesterday, my pile of old shirts is almost gone. 
I fear, however, that my iron is about to pack up on me having tripped the electrics twice on Thursday. I've been using a circuit breaker since then but need to start looking for a bargain just in case.

So much for saving money, eh?

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Watching the watcher

Here's our dog, Angel, watching the neighbours cat watching the pigeon that nests in our tree every year. I couldn't quite get all three in but they made me laugh anyway!!

Summer hols 30 day challenge - Day 4

Malcolm has spent some time lately getting rid of a lot of junk from the garage with the intention of being able to put his beloved Beemer in there over the winter (a money saving manoeuvre in itself)

 When he bought a motorbike a few years back it was kept in the garage while the car was relegated to the driveway. The bike was sold some time ago but the accumulated 'stuff' that took up residence beside it still remained.
That includes my stash!!
Much of the wool I had was used to make this crocheted blanket 

and what's left fits into one plastic box. The bulk is taken up by material that has been begged, stolen and borrowed over the years and it is long overdue for a sort out.
So, as part of my 30 day challenge, I have begun the process of turning my stash into 
  • soft furnishings for our home or the kids uni flats
  • Christmas presents/birthday gifts for friends and family
  • items that I can try to sell online, either Ebay or in my currently abandoned Etsy shop
This morning I began with my stash of checked cottons, most of which began life as my daughters shirts.

From this....

....via the ironing board.....

....and the die cutter.... these lovely triangles just waiting to be made up into something new and gorgeous!

So far I've only used the smallest scraps for these tiny triangles, the larger pieces may become different shapes - hexagons or tumblers perhaps?

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Summer hols 30 day challenge - Day 3

This morning I spent a fair amount of time getting up to speed on our credit card debt. Between us we have 3 cards all of which we went over the limit on some time ago. Not a fact I'm at all proud of, we took them out when times were rather more secure, then used them as a 'lifeline' when they weren't. Ah well, no use crying over spilt milk.
Having checked up on all 3 balances, I've decided to take a leaf out of Frugal Queen's book. I'm hoping to pay more money towards the smallest one first while still paying the agreed amount on the other two. Then I can snowball onto the next smallest, paying the agreed sum plus what I was paying on the first, then snowball those amounts onto the third.
Well that's the theory, there's never much left at the end of the month, but it's got to be worth a try! 

Oh, and Malcolm gave Sam a haircut - a number 2 all over - with his hair grooming kit, saving him £6-£10. I bought Malcolm the kit a few years ago and it's saved him a small fortune by now. 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Summer hols 30 day challenge - Day 2

Today I began my reclamation of the wilderness that has become the garden!
As Malcolm had already done a lot of cutting back at the weekend the garden bin was pretty full and not due to be emptied until next week. I reckoned that I could squeeze in a few weeds though and, as it was a gloriously sunny morning, I set too weeding our driveway.
As you can see it is a long overdue job......

.......and a rather long driveway!

So how does this fit into my challenge? Well Malcolm's solution would be to zap it all with expensive weedkiller, wait hope for it all to go brown and then let me get down on my hands and knees to pull all the dead weeds out.
 An hour in the peaceful sunshine, chatting to neighbours passing by, no money spent - result!

Any tips for gardening on the cheap? 

Monday, 21 July 2014

Hallooooo! Summer hols 30 day challenge, Day 1.

Hi everyone, sorry I've been away so long - where has the time gone?!! 
 I've been stopping by on all your lovely blogs as often as I can, I just haven't had the time to comment let alone post anything new here.
Today is the first 'official' day of the school holidays and I am sooo ready for six weeks off. It has been such a tough year for us mentally, physically and financially. Since September I have been working 8 hour shifts with 2 yr old children in a Nursery and Malcolm has been back with the Council grass cutting and emptying bins since February.
At 50 and 53 it has taken it's toll on our increasingly aching bods, but it's good to be working - I'm just glad that I'm term time only!
Unfortunately Malcolm's job is only seasonal, ending in October and not due to start again until April next year. This and several years of unemployment following redundancy have meant us racking up some serious debt. We are constantly trying to live within our means and reduce that debt where we can. Many thanks to those of you with good advice to offer on frugal living, I have already made big changes.
To keep me focussed and help us further on our way I have set myself a 30 day challenge. During my six week break there are 30 'working' days (weekends off - don't want to be too drastic, it's my first ever challenge!) On each day I will take at least one action to
  • reduce costs 
  • save money 
  • make money
  • find extra work 
  • generally help our financial situation
Today I have sorted out our Annual Renewal for Tax Credits.
I'm not sure where this fits in with the above as it may result in a reduction in income - obviously not the desired effect. However we were overpaid last year for Working Tax Credit (our fault, not theirs - oops!) so I really wanted to get back on an even keel. This seemed as good a place to start my challenge as any, it feels good to have it out of the way too.

Wish me luck!

What have you done recently to help your finances or live more frugally? I'd love to read your comments.