My first car

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The day after my 17th birthday (which was a LONG time ago) I booked my first driving lesson. I knew that as soon as I was old enough, I wanted to pass my test and get my own car. After 6 months of lessons and passing first time, I started looking. Working in a bank meant I could get a loan at a reduced staff rate. And a few weeks of searching for a suitable car, I found it. Even though it was 24 years ago, I still remember exactly what my first car looked like.

It was a blue Ford Fiesta E reg. It was around 5 years old when I bought it, and it was ALL mine. It meant freedom and not having to rely on my mum to get me from A to B. Being a parent now, I bet she threw a party when she didn’t have to be ‘mum taxi’ anymore. The car took pride of place on the drive, and I used to wash it twice a week. How I laugh at this memory, as my car is lucky if its gets washed twice a year.

I took pride in how my car looked, and I loved picking my friends up and heading off to somewhere new. But would I know what to do if anything happened to my car ? Would I be able to change a tyre ? I was a careful driver even at 17, but I wouldn’t know what to do if my car skidded.  Just the other day I saw a car skid right infront of me. Luckily they were ok, and seemed to hit an oily patch on the road after it had been raining. But when this happens its really important to have the right tyres fitted to minimise any damage.

With my first car I left all the maintenance up to my step dad. But at 41 I need to take responsibility, and make sure I have the right tyres fitted. This is where Point S car tyres can help. You can get an instant price online, and then make an appointment to have your tyres fitted. I was really surprised that our nearest Point S centre was only 8 miles away. They have a wide range of tyres available and budgets to suit everybody. I will definitely be using this service next time I need to purchase tyres.

This is a collaborative post and all words and thoughts are my own.

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Buying and selling items with Wanna

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Thirteen years ago I was about to have my first baby. A first baby that required an incredible amount of clothes, nappies, toys, sleeping products etc. I would spend my evenings reading baby magazines for the latest ‘must have’ product your baby just had to have. Having a baby is not cheap, and I dread to think how much we spent on brand new items for our first born. The nursery furniture alone cost nearly £1000, but I must admit we are still using the wardrobe for our daughter 13 years on.

There are definitely products I wish I had looked at purchasing second hand. When my daughter was born 9 years ago, I didn’t think twice about purchasing products from the likes of EBay and local selling sites. I used to buy bundles of beautiful Next clothing for her, for a fraction of the price. As they were baby clothes some had not even been worn. Toys were purchased from local selling sites, sometimes a quarter of the original selling price. When I was recently set a challenge to think of 3 things I wish I had not bought brand new for my first born, I found this an easy task.

Number 1 – Push along walker

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We purchased a similar walker for my son for £24.99. Whilst my son did use his walker, it was only used for about 2 months, and then sat gathering dust in the corner of the living room. I have seen pre loved walkers being sold for as little as £2.00. What a bargain.

Number 2 – Baby Clothes

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I know that’s its lovely to dress our little bundles of joy in brand new clothes, but how many times do they actually wear each outfit ? Babies grow so quickly, and I remember our son had literally outgrown some of his outfits before he got the chance to wear them. As with our daughter, I wish I had looked online for bundles of good quality baby clothes. I could have saved a small fortune.

Number 3 – Activity Centre

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When we purchased our activity centre I think it was around £80.00. Again I have seen these sell for as low as £15.00. I really wish I had bought ours second hand as again, whilst it was a great product, it really wasn’t used for long.

With just these 3 items I could have saved around £200.00. That is such a great saving, and I only wish I had looked at pre loved items more for my first born. There are many selling sites on the internet. Wanna is an exciting new app that is due to launch shortly. It uses an unique algorithm which will match you to your needs. Whether that is something you wish to buy, sell, or just searching for a local toddler group to attend. Wanna is all about connecting people together in your local community.

You can download the app from Wanna here, and see how Wanna can help you buy and sell things in your local community.  I only wish this app was available when I was pregnant 13 years ago.

Disclosure – I received payment to write this post for Wanna. All thoughts and words are my own

 

 

How to live for free – Book review

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*UPDATED* This book is currently free from 20th July 2015 to 22nd July 2015 and then from 24th July 2015 to 25th July 2015 from Amazon

Hands up who gets a little excited when they get something for free ? I love the word free, and I think this comes from being a SAHM for 7 years. As we only had one wage coming in, it was my job to make our money stretch as far as possible. I returned to work 3 years ago but I still love hunting out freebies. I use the website Latest free stuff every day, and have their app on my iPhone. The website is set into categories such as free days out, free food and free make up.

The site has also launched a book which is written by Deepak Tailor and Laura Folger. It can be downloaded from Amazon, but until the 13th March 2015 it is FREE. The books tells you how to eat for free, find free furniture and even sail around the world. I must admit I skipped this chapter as boats are not my thing. Another section that did not appeal to me was foraging for food and road kill. However there were plenty of chapters that did appeal to me.

The mystery shopping chapter is full of great tips and links to websites to sign up. I have been mystery shopping for around 8 years. In return for a detailed report, I have received free meals, free days out and free nights away in some fantastic hotels. Another section is about contacting your favourite brands in the hope that they might send you some vouchers or freebies. I actually did this a few months ago, and contacted Elemis, Molton Brown and L’Occitane by email (I wanted to change my skincare products and emailed for advice). I was pleasantly surprised when all of the companies sent me some samples to try.

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Whilst I feel I am fairly clued up on getting things for free and saving money, there were still items in the book I had never heard of. I made notes as I went along, and at the start of the book it inspires you to record your goals, however big or small they may be. Some of my goals are

Check the Latest free stuff app every day and apply for the freebies that appeal to me and my family

Do not eat out unless we have a money off voucher. Not free but moneysaving

Make sure I use the coupons I print. I am terrible for finding out of date coupons in my purse

As well as using the Latest free stuff app, I use Shopitize and Checkout Smart apps which are featured in the book. These are great apps for getting cashback on your grocery items, and also getting items completely free. Below are some of the items I have received free by using these apps, and free coupons.

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Whilst there is no way I could live for free completely, I do think the book has some great suggestions and I enjoyed reading it. Thank you to Latest Free Stuff who sent me a copy of the book for free. All words and opinions are my own. Download the book for FREE from Amazon up until the 13th March 2015.   

The £10.00 Christmas revealed – 2014

I blogged a few weeks ago saying how hubby and I set a strict £10.00 budget for each other for Christmas. We have been doing this for a number of years now. I love the challenge of getting ‘as good as I can get’ presents with just £10.00. So here are the presents all wrapped up

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And here are his presents !!!

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Hobbit Calendar – £1.00

Umbro Aftershave – £1.00

Simon Scarrow book – £1.00

How to poo at work book !!! – £1.99

Lancôme Mens smellies – £1.99

Lego Keyring – £0.44

Snickers – £1.00

Socks – £0.37

Welsh Magnet – £0.50

Wispa and Flump – £0.71

Aftershave Sachets – Free

And here are all my gifts. The boy did well !!!!

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Better get braving those January sales ready for next year.

 

The £10.00 Christmas – 2014

Last year some of you may remember I blogged about ‘Amazing what you can get for a tenner’. Hubby and I have a limit of £10.00 for each others Christmas presents. Yep no Radley bags or Pandora charms for me. We started our tradition around 4 years ago when we were saving to go to Florida, and we now do it every year. Its amazing how much thought you put into it with only a small budget. I am great at sourcing bargains, and this year he has a total of 9 presents to open on the big day, beating his 8 of last year. We do have some rules….. has to be EXACTLY £10.00. Not a penny over or under. I had 71p left but after much searching managed to find 2 items for 10p and 61p. The other rule is you can’t just go to Poundland and buy 10 items.

Presents are now all bought and wrapped as you can see below. Will do a follow up post after Christmas with all the shite exciting presents I got. Just need to work on the kids now and get them to agree to a ‘tenner Christmas’ !!!

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It pays to shop around

It amazes me how many people don’t shop around for bargains. Now I love a bargain, and spend a fair bit of time researching the internet for the best price. This time of year will see a lot of the shops go head to head as they compete for our business in the run up to Christmas. Argos already has their 3 for 2 toy offer on at the moment. Now my daughter has asked for an annoying thing a Furby for Christmas. Now the minute the kids go back to school I start thinking of the C word !!! Yep I am one of those annoying people who like to be all done and dusted by the 1st of December. So last night I started the ‘Great Furby Research’.  Its priced at £48.74 in Toys R Us (which is actually reduced from £64.99). People had posted that B+M were selling them for £39.99. The cheapest I can find it is £35.00 from Amazon with free delivery. That is a £13.74 saving !

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Next on the list was an iTunes voucher for the tween. He wanted a £25.00 voucher which of course should cost me £25.00. Quick google on the internet and I found Boots have them on offer for £20.00. A great saving of £5.00. It was also reported that Tesco were doing the same offer, but they were still £25.00 at my local Tesco.

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Another item on daughters list is the Lego Shopping Mall. Now this is not cheap and retails around the £80.00 mark. It did drop to around £60.00 a few weeks ago when Smyths Toy Shop had a 20% off weekend. Tesco is selling the set for £64.00 but unfortunately they are out of stock at the moment. This is a good price and means I can cash in some of my Clubcard vouchers making it even cheaper. Just hope it comes back into stock and stays at that price.

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Keep an eye on ‘Deals’ websites such as http://www.moneysavingexpert.com and also http://www.hotukdeals.com (hotukdeals have a great app too). Here you will find all kinds of offers and discount codes which are especially good in the coming few months. Happy bargain hunting.

 

 

 

 

Our bargain break at Easter

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As you know I love holidays, and as soon as the kids go back to school after half term, my thoughts quickly turn to the next holidays. Our school breaks up again for Easter on the 4th April, as our borough now has a ‘spring break’ . This will always be the first full 2 weeks in April regardless when Easter falls. Anyway over the past week, I have been looking at places to go which are nice, and are also cheap. We are heading to Corfu in the Summer holidays so I knew there was not much money in the holiday budget.

As we have Merlin cards, I was looking at Premier Inns down south so we could visit Thorpe Park and Chessington, but I just couldn’t get a few nights together at a good rate (my good rate for a Premier Inn is basically anything below £30.00). I also looked at Hoseasons, another favourite of ours. We had booked a few hot tub holidays through Hoseasons in the past, and had always been pleased. But I knew the budget would not stretch to a nice holiday sat in a hot tub.

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Anyway on Monday evening as I was making the tea, an email came through. It was advertising 4 night holidays in March and April for £69.00 !!!! Now this email was from a holiday park in Scotland we had visited 5 years ago, and I still happened to be on their mailing list. It is a family run park, with all the amenities we look for in a holiday… pool – entertainment – shop to buy wine – nice caravans etc. Well tea was quickly abandoned, and I grabbed the phone thinking there is no way this offer will be on during the Easter holidays. I gave the dates I wanted to go and the lady said that yes they had 1 caravan left at the price of £69.00. I quickly snapped her hand off, gave my credit card details and quickly texted the husband to say we were going away.

So we are all excited about our bargain break of £69.00 going back to the holiday park in Scotland we always said we would love to return to. Have you had a bargain break in the past ?

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