Monday 19 June 2017

Scottish Friendly's Money Saving Diary Challenge

It was with good timing that Scottish friendly got in touch with me and asked me to join in with their Money Saving Diary Challenge. Whilst I am so much better at being thrifty nowadays I know that there is still some money being wasted and I could do a better job.

So with this in mind, I kept a record of my spending habits for a week, so see where I could cut back or where I was already saving some money.  Here is how I got on -

We have just returned from our holiday and Hubby is still on a days leave so we decide to have lunch out amongst the washing and catching up on work.  The plan is to eat at the local college restaurant where you can get a really lovely 3 course meal for £9.99 and then use your Taste card too to get 2 for 1! It normally means we end up spending around £16 for us both for 3 courses and a soft drink.

However when I called the College restaurant they were closed and we headed off to a local fabulous burger joint and ended up spending £25.48 for our meal and thus I totally failed on this first opportunity to save money. I have a Taste card and local TownCity Card so I really should have used one of those and for a 2 for 1 meal - oh well, next time! Overspent by £9.48

On the way home we do go into Lidl though as I want to get the kids some yogurts and again I am reminded just how good their pricing is. I spend £19.79 and this is comparison to buying the same goods at Sainsburys is a saving of around £7, so I really must shop there more often. Saved £7

Again I was at home catching up with all my jobs and outstanding work. I had planned to meet Miss M in the local coffee shop for a treat whilst we waited for Miss E to finish a school club. However we went over to the park and had a drink and cake that I had packed from home. Saving around £6.50

The Sainsburys shopping was also delivered today as the cupboards were empty after our week away. I know some may think it is a waste of money to have the shopping delivered but I live around 8 miles from the closest supermarket and as I have shopping delivered every week I have a yearly pass that I buy for £30. Even if I only have 46 weeks of shopping delivered in a year (allowing for holidays) it only equates to a cost of 65p per week instead of the regular £5 for the morning slot I have. Saving of £4.35 for using my delivery pass.

I should also mention that we do all our shopping on Tesco credit card and ensure we pay it off every month. Thus we do not pay any interest but we gain points for Clubcard deals and enjoy a free meal out every quarter at somewhere like Prezzo or Pizza Express.

Again another home day but I'm due to meet a friend for coffee in the morning. Instead of having it out, we come back to my house and enjoy what I already have in and result, my hubby had made a cake yesterday too. Saving of around £5

Introduced my husband to the world of Quidco and got £10 cash back for the recommendation. He has to do lots of online purchases for work so we may as well benefit from some of those without it being any extra cost. I also bought a couple of books for my Kobo and got another 20p cash back. It is amazing how it all adds up. I had some money ready to be taken out and have chosen to take it as an M&S gift card which has a 10% uplift, so I received £27.40. Savings £37.40

The girls are off school today due to polling and they are badgering me to go swimming and have lunch out. I'm trying to be aware of what we spend so as the weather is nice, I take them down to the lake and they swim there without cost and we head up to have staff lunch at the conference centre where we live. Lucky for them it is spaghetti and meatballs today for staff meal so they are over the moon. This is a good money saving day - £15 saved for lunch and £10.50 for swimming entry.

The girls and I did head out to do some errands and had a mooch around a few charity shops, imagine our surprise when we found a roller skate bag in one of them for £2.50. This is fabulous as one daughter had asked for one of these for her birthday and it was going to cost £15.63. If you can resist the tat I always manage to find some great deals in our local charity shops. Saving £13.13

We also popped into M&S as I'd received an email to say their uniform was on a 20% deal and as we need some new tops for the September term, now was the time to buy them. Add to this my Mums staff discount of 20% and I can part pay with the voucher I got from Quidco, we are making some serious savings on boring items that need to be bought and whilst M&S is more expensive than the supermarkets I do find their shirts for my son and polo tops for my girls, last far better. Saving £21.36

JJ is off to youth at church and our church is around 10 miles away, so a 20 mile round trip. I hear a local friend is going over for a meeting so they agree to take JJ and we save for the petrol from those journeys. Saving £3.50

I've done my self-employed accounts today and as I earn below the tax threshold I have transferred £1150 of my allowance to my husband who is the higher earner. This saves us £230 a year in tax payments and they backdate it for a year too - result! Saving £230 a year

I've been crafting with the girls today and we've had so much fun. We made some gingerbread men to give to a friend for their birthday and some birthday cards too. We've made a stock of about 15 cards and if you estimate that they would normally cost a least £2 each, that is a £30 saving for the cards alone and about £5 for the biscuits rather than buying a gift. Savings £35

We jumped in the minibus today to go to church rather than taking our own car. After realising that each return journey costs us £3.50 I'm keen to save whenever we can. Saving £3.50

In the afternoon we took out the minibus with a group of volunteers from where we live and we visited Batemans National Trust site. We had an amazing time and gained free entry as I will write about our day out there. Blogging really does have some advantages and is one way that I save a lot of money. Of course I have to put the time and work in so it is not free, but it allows us to spend our cash in other ways or to save it for the future. Entry for our family would have been £28.90 for a family ticket and we took a picnic tea instead of going to the tea room too. Saving £43.90 

Overall Savings
After a shaky start to the week with the overspend on our meal out it has been a good week since and I have found that just by being really conscious of what I am spending and what things cost has made a real difference. Our total savings this week has been £426.66 and that is pretty spectacular. Of course we won't have savings like the tax transfer every week but there are plenty of small actions I can take to save more.

I estimate that in the next year if I am more careful with our spending we could have saved £3,120 and that will be an amazing start towards the bigger car that we need.

Why don't you give this challenge a go as well? You might find like me that you mange to make some substantial savings and what would you do with them? Why not have a peek at Scottish Friendly and see what you could be doing with your savings.

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