Saving Money During the Holiday Season

In Budget Smart Girl's Guide on November 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Thank you to the folks at www.cloudfreebies.co.uk for letting me print and share this article with you. It features tips from Natalie Cooper and Kez Richards. They offer tips for those based in the UK, but I think the advice is universal.


Two money-saving super mums have joined forces to share their money-saving knowledge and find ways to cut the cost of Christmas Groceries.


Frugal money saver Natalie Cooper and coupon and deals expert Kez Richards save on just about every aspect of their lives. They believe it is possible to save on everything from groceries to holidays and would never dream of spending a penny without first price checking or using a discount code or coupon.


The biggest stress that is placed upon most parents is the huge mounting costs of Christmas with decorations, food, presents and all the trimmings it can almost seem like an obligation rather than an enjoyable time of year. By putting their heads together, Kez and Natalie believe there is enough ways to save money on your Christmas groceries that you can more than cut your bill in half.


Here is their top ten tips to save on your Christmas groceries


  1. The biggest and most important rule of getting the most from your grocery shop is to compare the prices of the items you are going to purchase and take in to account the cost of the fuel it takes to travel to that particular store. You can use price comparison sites such as mysupermarket.co.uk to compare all major supermarkets.


  1. Loyalty schemes reward you with points, coupons and exclusive discounts and can often lead to huge rewards that can be doubled up at Christmas time. Reduce the cost of your Christmas food shop by using vouchers that have been earned throughout the year, this is the easiest way to get free fresh produce.


  1. There is a huge amount of money to be saved using coupons and thanks to these money off vouchers Kez Richards saves up to £400 a month when combined with cashback rewards. There are plenty of printable coupons that can be found at the click of a mouse and most large supermarkets even have in store magazines full of them.


Cashback reward systems are a relatively new idea but are very quick and simple to use. The idea is that you do your shopping and snap a photo of your receipt and receive rewards based on the items you purchased. Popular cashback apps include Top cashback, Shopitize and Checkout Smart.


  1. Clearance items are a well-known money saver but their a few ways to optimise these savings and pick up some incredibly cheap fresh produce for your Christmas dinner. By shopping close to the end of the standard shopping day you will find huge amounts of reduced meat which is perfectly good to freeze for a later date. For example Kez managed to purchase a large free range chicken for under £1.


  1. You may have never heard of the secret art of wombling but for a lot of couponers this is one of the biggest ways to save money. Many supermarkets offer price promise vouchers which can be used on your next shop, these discounts are printed on to your shopping receipt. A lot of people will throw their receipts away without checking and Womblers will collect these discarded receipts and redeem in bulk against their next shop. Don’t forget to check your receipt before your discard it so you don’t miss out!


  1. A lot of products now come with ‘try me free’ promotional offers which means you can purchase the item and then claim your money back later. In most cases you will receive a full refund in the form of a postal cheque. Natalie recently managed to get over £80 worth of these ‘try me free’ products and not only received full refunds on them all but made profit on them by receiving cashback rewards.


  1. This may seem like an obvious tip but its one most of us struggle to stick to, never shop when you’re hungry and always write a meal plan or shopping list and stick to it! If you can succeed in doing this you have overcome the biggest money-saving hurdle.


  1. Shopping online is not only convenient and a real-time saver but it can also help you avoid all the temptations that shops offer. If you use online discount codes and e coupons you can make savings even from home and still reap the benefits of loyalty schemes. There are lots of discount code websites that can be found just be using your search engine.


  1. There is a lot of miss conceptions about basic brand products but in many cases they are the same ingredients just in cheaper packaging. Most people by with their eyes but if you want to save on your groceries then don’t pay more just for pretty pictures and branding.


  1. The final money saver is enjoying the free things in life, it may seem hard to believe that any company would give you a product for free. However market research is very expensive so to get free feedback and advertisement a company will distribute free samples. Natalie and Kez are avid freebie hunters and have previously found free milk, meal kits, sauces, spices and even free chocolate and sweets.

You can save your self-time hunting out freebies and coupons by heading over to http://www.cloudfreebies.co.uk

Adventures in Budget Smart Eating Book Cover

In Budget Smart Girl's Guide on November 18, 2014 at 10:03 pm

I thought I’d share the cover of my cookbook with you before I posted it anywhere else, so here it is. I’m hoping for a December 1st release but fingers crossed!

Once it’s published I’ll be giving away some free copies.



It’s Meatless Monday-15 Minute Soy-Peanut Veggie Pasta Stir-Fry

In Meatless Mondays on November 17, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Last week I faced two problems. One was lack of time due to spending almost every hour of the day getting my cookbook finished. The other, leftover ingredients from last minute recipes I’d been testing for said book. A little of this and a little of that. All I had to figure out was how to pull everything together and make dinner. Here’s what I came up with and I think it’s perfect for a 15 minute Meatless Monday meal.

3 cups leftover spaghetti (or any other pasta you have on hand)

2 cups cooked broccoli florets

½ a 15 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained

1 cup cooked, sliced carrots

2 cups cubed tofu

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup chunky peanut butter

2 teaspoons sesame oil

¼ cup orange juice

1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey

Good pinch of red pepper flakes, more or less to your heat tolerance

Oil for cooking

In a bowl add the peanut butter, red pepper flakes and sugar, slowly add the sesame oil, and then whisk in the soy sauce and orange juice, mixing until everything’s well blended and the peanut butter has, ‘melted’.

Over medium high heat and in a large skillet, heat the oil and cook the tofu cubes until they’re lightly golden brown. Add the carrots, broccoli and red pepper and stir together.

Next add the spaghetti and mix everything together and slowly add the peanut butter/soy sauce dressing and cook for another few minutes until the pasta and vegetables are warmed and well coated with the mixture.

Serve immediately with chopped peanuts, sesame seeds and soy sauce as accompaniments.

Serves 4.



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