Trying to live a leaner life never sounder appealing. In fact when I gave up full time employment to look after the kids and their magical mystery box of illnesses I dreaded the thought of coupon cutting and eBay shopping.

But looking back over the last year, it really has not been so bad,

True, we are not flush or swimming in diamonds.  But I am debt free, confident in my ability to make money, and I am there for my kids when they need me.

And life is different but still the same.

We still have copious amounts of days out, being a blogger has perks.  But we always take a packed lunch, bring our own water and don’t stop for tea on the way home.

We still holiday.  Every year I collect clubcard points which transfer into avios points which turn into a break away.  Last year we had an unforgettable break in EuroDisney, this year they are just waiting to be spent on another exciting adventure.

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We eat well, but meals are planned in advance.  Clipped to the fridge on a Sunday night and followed religiously.

OmeletteSky TV has gone, replaced by a cheaper Netflix.  The kids need their iCarly and me, I currently can’t exist without my weekly fix of “Orange is the New Black.”

We laugh a bit more now finances are not the sole focus of our life.  I still work a little bit in my old day job, as a freelance recruiter I still help people find new banking jobs, sales roles, and admin roles.  But it is not as demanding as it used to be, less hours means 

We still worry about the future but live very much for the moment.

A tough year behind us,  and seeing troubles around us has taught me that for now, the present is a priority.

I am trying to embrace mindfulness along with thriftness. I embrace pleasure where I find it. A dog walk in a beautiful wood, a hug from one of my children, a rare moment of silence in my manic household.

I think I am starting to find balance in my world.

It feels good.

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The summer holidays are upon us and it is challenging to be thrifty when the children are constantly around.

This weekend, my children wanted to go to London which can often end up being very expensive.

However, I agreed, on the promise that all I would spend would be my train fare…

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Before going on any day out make an elaborate packed lunch, taking treats and snacks to keep everyone going.

Make sure you pack enough water.  In London you can end up paying in excess of £2 for a bottle of water.  I prefer the free stuff that comes from my tap.

Sightseeing in London on a Budget.

What to see.

The Southbank is one of my absolute favourite places.  It lights up during the day with outstanding street performances, a book sale to tempt any literary lover and it even offers a sandpit.
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We have been known to spend days wandering on Southbank, finding new (free) things to explore and sometimes just people watching in the sun.

Princess Diana’s Playground

Whereever we are, my kids can always spot a park from a mile away.  They all love swinging through the air, battling imaginary pirates on ships and generally having fun.  This weekend was no different, they swarmed into the playground and whooped with delight as they each found some equipment.

The playground is beautiful, set in rare London greenery and is restricted on numbers so do get there early.

Changing of the Guard

You cannot get more London than this.  All of my three children were captivated by the process of changing the guard.

They posed for photos, chuckled at the horses and watched on in wonder at the intricate parade.

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And it didn’t cost me a penny.

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

We ate lunch near the Houses of Parliament in a small, shaded square.  I told stories of Guy Fawkes and we Googled the history of Big Ben.

It was a history and fine dining experience rolled into one.

And again, it cost me nothing!

We had such a good day for the price of a train ticket that we have sworn to do it again.  It would seem our capital is not that expensive for mothers and kids!

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In every stage of our life we must ask ourselves a series of important questions – most notably, whether certain decisions were worth it.

This is especially true in the world of finance where any expenditure we make needs to be justified to ensure that we’re not needlessly wasting money and this great bingo video highlights the question in a really unique way:

The video is actually documenting one of our favourite bingo calls: number 56 – was she worth it. The end result is a great little clip that gives the question an interesting take … after all, who hasn’t looked at their favourite family pet and decided that they’re worth all the expense and looking after?

The videos themselves are all being uploaded on YouTube by Costa Bingo who are behind the campaign. They didn’t film the videos though, that was all done by people like you and me which gives them a really authentic feel.

In total, 90 videos will be put online to provide a definitive list of all the bingo calls used in the popular game. There are still a few weeks of the campaign to go as it recently hit its half-way point so it’s important you stay tuned and keep on top of the latest videos as they’re uploaded.

 

I am always looking for new ways to save money in easy ways.

One of our biggest expenses as a family is food. With five of us to feed, and all of us with large appetites it can be expensive. Really expensive if you take my love of steak into account…

But I have found a solution.

MySupermarket

Not heard of it?

Then grab a cuppa and a rich tea and let me explain and give you the tools to reduce your monthly shopping bill (significantly).

MySupermarket ‘s sole purpose in life is to reduce how much we spend on our weekly groceries and to save us busy people a bit of time as well. By using the mobile app – mySuperList – you can compare shopping prices on the go, from home and even in store. Plus they have some additional funky features as well to help shoppers save their hard earned pennies.

Want to know more?

Let me tell you about the scanning feature.

Once you have downloaded the app, you can scan any food, anywhere. So pluck a can of beans out of your cupboard or browse the shopping aisles, mobile in hand.

Simply scan, and mySuperlist will highlight the prices across all the stores – showing you the best deals.

If you do this from home you can quickly build your shopping list, scan the item, add it to your list, check out the best deals and rest assured you won’t forget to buy it ever again.

Perfect for the scatty minded amongst us!

Swap and Save

mySuperList also gives you the opportunity to check out deals and see if they are as good as the appear to be.

Again, by scanning the item you can see if there is a better deal available. For example – you may want to purchase one can of tasty baked beans but there could be a cracking deal on if you purchase a multi pack of four.

You can scan, find out, then simply swap and save!

Clever eh!

mySuperList

With mySuperList you can take your list in store or send it straight to an online site. By shopping online you can access nine stores in one go! That saves a fair bit of time hunting around for the best deals.

These are only some of the features of mySuperList, you can also have price alerts, cash back and savvy buys.

The average Joe saves £17 a shop when they do their shopping through mySupermarket. Over a year that is a humongous saving of £884! – you could go somewhere nice with that, or save it – obviously *cough*. You can find full details on mySupermarket on their site and download the app from iTunes today!

Happy thrifty shopping

In association with mySupermarket

 

Our house is really quiet at the moment, my youngest is away with her Nanny for the week.  It feels like the place is empty, and we can’t wait to get her back.

And oh boy, do I have a treat for her when she returns.

Look at this beautiful box of hidden treasures.

The fabulous high street jeweler, Goldsmiths, has launched a new range of Little Wishes, beautiful jewelry that is just for kids.

Now my small one loves to be like a grown up, and her plastic necklaces and bangles frustrate her – because they are not like what mummy wears!  So she is going to be delighted when she has a little peek inside this box.

The Little Wishes range stock gorgeous necklaces, lockets, silver bracelets.  They have everything to make a little girl feel really special.

They don’t break the bank either, prices start from £29 for a charm bracelet and then you can add charms on as you go – perhaps as treats for birthdays or Christmas?

You can pick up a pair of stunning pearl earings for your pre teen or teen at a great price of £19.

So do you want to know what is in the box?

Oh, go on then….

Isn’t it stunning!

She is going to love it!

Watch this space…..