I'm just back from the dentist. Thankfully all the work is finished now because I feel like an elephant has jumped all over my face.
It'll be fin later once the numbness wears off but for the minute it feels like both my cheeks are really swollen and I imagine I look like Pob or Buzz Lightyear.
I can't complain really. All in told I've had about £2,000 worth or work done completely free of charge, yet another benefit of being a SAHM.
Anyway, today's Works for me Wednesday is a themed edition. Best frugal tip.
I've loads, most of which I do now out of habit so when I'm asked what I do to save money usually my mind goes completely blank.
Still I'm sure I can manage a few.
Buy second hand clothes where possible. Kids grow so quickly that it would surprise you just how many brand new clothes, still with the labels attached or worn but in perfect condition clothes you will find in your local charity shops. Also consider buying in advance, if you spot a beautiful winter coat that won't fit them until next year, buts it an absolute bargain, buy it and store it.
If your own kid's clothes are in less than wearable condition when they're finished with them because of rips or tears or whatever, salvage the buttons and any cute patches or appliques before using the remaining cloth as rags or cleaning clothes. Kids are forever losing buttons off clothes and quite a lot of the time you can replace it with one from your stash or cover a little worn patch or hole in the knee of their jeans with one of those little appliques.
Limit day trips for little ones to free places such as the beach or forest, some museums also have "free" days (but please do leave a small donation) and pack a lunch from home when you're going on any trips out with the kids. Have you seen how excited a four year can get when allowed to play with your wooden spoons. They don't need all that paid for entertainment, besides an over stimulated child is a miserable child come bed time.
Learn to knit and pick up a few basic sewing skills and you'll be able to alter your kid's clothes to get an extra season out of them. Trousers getting a little short in the leg but still plenty of room in the waist, turn them into a skirt or shorts. And how many pairs of mittens, scarves and hats does your child lose throughout the course of a school year? These are all very simple things to knit which you can work on in your spare moments (?) so that you have a stash ready for emergencies.
Make your own household cleaners using bicarb, vinegar, lemon juice and salt. I usually just add a couple of tablespoons of cheap dish soap and roughly the same amount of vinegar to a large spray bottle and fill with water. It hasn't failed me yet. But do bear in mind that buying a huge bag of lemons out of season to clean your home isn't frugal, its green but it ain't frugal.
One of the higher ups at Barclay's Bank was once quoted as saying that he would never consider having a Barclay card because of the high charges. Now that guy was being very well paid by Barclay's and if he isn't brand loyal why should you be. Shop around, make sure you're getting the best deal and on larger items always ask for a discount, especially if you plan on paying cash. Everybody gets this idea that haggling is limited to market stalls but I don't think I've ever paid full price for anything and I've saved a hell of a lot over the years. £100 off our bed, £310 off our kitchen appliances isn't anything to be sniffed at.
If you happen to have the freezer space, bulk buy when the opportunity comes up. Throw a few £££ aside somewhere when you have it so that when you spot a good offer on meat or berries who can stock up without putting a dent in that week's budget.
Learn to make jams, chutneys and relish so that you can take advantage of a glut of produce such as strawberries, raspberries or tomatoes to name a few. Also if you happen to have a "pick you own" farm close buy pack the kids up and head out. You'll get a cheap day out in the sunshine, the kids will fill their bellies with good things and learn where food comes from and at the end of the day you'll have a mountain of lovely fresh fruit and veg to take home.
Use dried beans instead of the more expensive tinned variety. Yes they're more convenient in tins, but they tend to have virtually no texture left whatsoever. Take a bit of time at the weekend and boil up a huge pot of dried beans, whichever ones you tend to use the most often, once they're cooked rinse with plenty of cold water from the tap and then divide into sandwich bags and freeze for later use. You can even use them straight from the freezer, just allow ten or so minutes extra cooking time and you can do the same thing with rice for quicker meals, just very slightly under cook the rice, separate into bags, add a tablespoon or two of water to each bag and freeze. when you need them just open a corner of the ziplock bag and microwave from frozen for 2 or 3 minutes for perfect fluffy rice every time.
Bake your own bread. There really isn't anything to learn, bread is one of the easiest things in the world to make. Even a bad loaf can be whizzed in the processor and kept for breadcrumbs.