I’m just loving this accountability check each week. In fact, just knowing that at the end of the week I’ll be writing about the money saving things I’ve done- makes me work even harder to not have any negatives to report. You might want to try documenting your spending too. It’s a great feeling knowing that you reign in the spending and save more.
This week, schools were on half term break which meant that we had the kids to feed and entertain for longer periods. Well, here are some of the things we did to ensure we didn’t go over budget. Luckily, we subscribe to the Fun in Brum newsletter which outlines what (usually) free activities are happening in the city that kids can participate in.
British Athletics Indoor Championships
Well, the 18-year-old who is currently touring in Australia is actually an athlete who would have been participating for his local club at the event held in Birmingham on Saturday and Sunday at the Arena Birmingham. And when he was here we would all go to almost every athletics meet he was in. Those days were really expensive as the events were held all over England and as we hate driving long distances, we would have to go by bus and, on occasions, even by taxi.
Not this time. We managed to bag some free tickets for the Sunday event to see some of the best British athletes compete for their place in the World Indoor Athletics meet also to be held at the same venue in a couple weeks. We were able to get the tickets for free because my sister is a foster carer and they do get offers like this from time to time. We suspect that tickets become available to families with children in care when the event has not been sold out. One of her foster daughters was even able to invite a friend to come with us.
We made sure to pack a picnic lunch as food, drinks and snacks at these events, are usually very expensive. The kids brought some of their sweets from the goodie bags we gave them last week for Valentines Day. The only thing we spent money on was for a taxi ride there and back, as we don’t like driving into the city centre either. We can do without more parking fines!
It was a really amazing day watching records being broken in the events such as high jump, and 200m sprint. The atmosphere was electric and I am happy to report that we weren’t the only frugal ones as we saw lots of people who also brought their picnic to the event. I don’t know how well the vendors did. Good for us!
Dental Appointments, Charity Shop Visit and Freebies
We always make sure to book these dental appointments well in advance and always choose a half-term break to get the routine checks and cleaning done. And we book for all of us so we make a little day trip of it. This way, the kids don’t miss any time from school, which is a big focus for us.
Then, as a little reward for ‘enduring’ the dentist, we took a little trip to the charity shop. I was really only after an old pack of scrabble games as I’ve seen some really cute craft items on Pinterest that I want to have a go at. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any so I’ll have to forego that for now. The others found some items for the craft they wanted to do. This included wool for crochet pieces and some glue. We always grab a bargain when we go to the charity shop. This time we didn’t donate anything but we usually do. Our next donation will come when we do our next spring cleaning and declutter nearer to Easter.
It is amazing to think that what you have at home and no longer need, other people are willing to have, and vice versa. Our environment will thank us for continuing to get as much use as possible out of the products we consume.
We don’t often get the bus but this week we did get the bus one day. I picked up a copy of the free newspaper (The Metro). I was pleased to see an offer for reduce priced McDonald’s meals. We don’t go as often as the children would like but we were able to indulge them this week using the food vouchers.
Experiments With Food
Check out our weekly meal planning post for this week to see more details. What we basically did to pass the time, and also get the little one’s brains still ticking, and get food to eat without buying takeaways was to prepare all our meals at home. We experimented with making butter from cream, making ice cream of different flavours in plastic bags, and made cakes in cups. It was much fun for the kids and great satisfaction for us as teachers as we let them chose one to write up as a proper experiment. They will need these skills in their Science and English lessons. We are pleased to say that all the experiments were fun and frugal. Nothing went to waste, and the kids now have some knowledge that will certainly come up either at school or in their peer groups.
It wasn’t a real fashion show but it was another fun and frugal activity that we did. We just used a piece of card on which to outline a female form, then we used bits of newspaper to ‘make’ clothes to fit the body. It was so much fun, especially for the nine-year-old who already has her eyes set on fashion. Wouldn’t it be great if she eventually turns out to be a fashion designer who had her humble beginnings in our home? The sky is the limit, I say.
The best part about this is that these dress up doll things are sold, but ours were free of cost. We will use a plastic wallet to put the card body in so that the costumes can be changed often using double-sided tape. It was at least 2 hours of good fun, and the pieces are put away for whenever they are needed again. By the way, the photo of the dress below look like actual fabric but it was actually from one of the pages of the free Metro.
Sharing the Love
On Friday we are attending a blogging lunch session with other Birmingham bloggers. Lunch will be provided free of cost so that’s a bonus for us. We will be hosting one of the sessions on how to get Pinterest to work for your blog and business. We will also get free tips and advice on reaching out to brands and also how to improve our photography skills (you can tell they are hardly existent at the moment, can’t you?) The younger ones will be with friends who we have hosted earlier and they will take their snacks and a packed lunch with them.
Meetup With Friends
At the time of writing this, I am looking forward to meeting up with my former work colleagues from one of the schools I worked at. They know that I now work from home and blog about living the frugal lifestyle and so they are always interested in knowing about any recent frugal finds or whether I know about any bargains or deals that they can benefit from. So yes, amongst our usual catch up chats, I will tell them about my affiliation with certain brands that they can get deals with, if they use my affiliate links. Of course, I know not to take over the conversation and act as it ‘it’s all about me’, because it isn’t. I’m excited to hear what they’re up to, what the classroom is like now, and of course, all the latest gossip. I have a few ideas for a frugal meetup with the girlfriends, but this time we will meet up first in a church cafe and then see where it takes us. I will make sure to not go overboard with the spending, whether it be a meal or a little shopping. I’ll make sure to report on what we actually did.
This week could easily have cost us maybe 10 times more than it actually did. Some people forget that they will have 6 weeks of the summer break to cater for, so they spend too much when it is just a week’s break.
A good idea is to find out what opportunities your children can get involved in your local community, do some childcare swapping with friends, and involve the children in fun learning activities at home which cost very little.
I do hope you have found some encouragement and motivation to do much better for your budget in the long run. Hope you’re looking forward to next week’s report as much as we are.