The Difference between ‘Saving’ and SAVING – How We Lie to Ourselves

The Difference Between Saving and SAVING

Ok, so what IS the difference between ‘saving‘ and SAVING?

At first, you might think, ‘What the hell? There isn’t a difference!’, but there really is.

There’s a lot of ways that we can ‘save’ (definition No 1) money, and by that, I mean saving money on purchases.

For example:

  • Using coupons and vouchers.

  • Buying things on sale instead of full price.

  • Lowering your thermostat.

  • Going to cheaper petrol stations.

All those sorts of things.

So, the aim is that you’re either saving on what you would have paid, or you’re abstaining completely.

For example:

Previously, you might’ve gone out every Saturday and bought new clothes. Now, however, you’ve decided to only buy clothes as and when you need to replace things.

So that’s the first definition of ‘saving’ money. It’s really just spending less.

The second definition is SAVING money (definition No 2). What I mean by that is actually putting money into your bank and leaving it there for an extended period of time. This could also mean investing it.

The distinction is important because, oftentimes, we lie to ourselves. We feel good because we’ve:

 
  • Bought a ‘two for one’ offer in the supermarket.

  • We’ve cycled instead of driven to work all week.

We’ve all ‘saved’ on things in this way and we’ll say to ourselves, ‘I’ve saved money!

While that’s great, and I’m not knocking it (I loves me a bargain!), we also need to ask ourselves:

‘Have I actually done something with the money that I would’ve spent?’
‘Have I spent my ‘savings’ elsewhere, instead?’

So, for example, let’s take the coffee drinker, who spends, let’s say, £5 every day on coffee.

She’s gone through Monday to Friday and she’s not spent any money on coffee. By the end of the working week, she usually would’ve spent £25. On Saturday, she thinks, ‘I’ve been so good this week, I haven’t bought any coffee! I’m going to treat myself to a takeaway pizza tonight.’

That’s great (no judgement made), but all she’s done is exchanged one purchase for another. She’s not actually saved any money. If, however, she said to herself, ‘Great! I’ve saved £25 this week on not buying coffee! I’m going to put that £25 in an interest-earning savings account.’ Then that gal has actually SAVED money.

The Difference between 'Saving' and SAVING - How W
Photo: Tom Sodoge on Unsplash

I know it sounds so obvious to point out, but in daily life, our buying behaviour isn’t always so apparent to us.

So, there is an important distinction. The first way of saving is, (the way I distinguish it), ‘money-saving‘. To recap, to me, that means:

  • Getting deals/bargains.

  • Paying less for goods or services than usual.

  • Getting something for free, whereas before I might’ve had to pay for it (like finding a free book to download).

To me, these are all money-saving tactics, but SAVING is the actual physical act of adding money to a bank account.

It’s a simple thing, but it can often trip people up, so that’s why I felt it was important to talk about today.

It’s all very well being frugal, but if you’re not actually doing something with that saved money, whether it’s:

Moving some money from your current account into a savings account,

or

Putting money you normally would’ve frittered away on sweets or chocolate into a jar,

then you’re not actually benefiting yourself at all.

It’s important, on a psychological level, to make that clear in your head. Being aware of these small behaviours will give you your best chance of succeeding at saving in 2018.

The Difference between 'Saving' and SAVING - How W
Photo: Aris sfakianakis on Unsplash.

What I’d like to know from you guys is:

Have you ever found yourself thinking that you’re doing well at cutting back on spending, or finding deals in the supermarket, etc, only to think:

‘Well hang on a minute, I haven’t actually got any more money!’

or

‘I’m still struggling at the end of the month!’

If so, I hope this post helps to bring this savings issue to the forefront of your mind. What I want for you is that each time you make a ‘saving’, that you think:

‘Right, I saved that on my shopping, I’m actually going to physically move that money over into SAVINGS.

Although I haven’t used them, there are apps that will ’round up’ your purchases to the nearest pound. The spare change is then sent to savings or investments. Do you use them? Do you think they’d help you to save money? Let me know!

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is gradually getting bigger. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me an email or all three! I will always try to help you.


Lisa aka ‘Bunchy’

Our December Budget – How Did We Do? – Christmas Edition

Our December 2017 Budget - How Did We Do? Christmas Edition

Christmas is over for another year but now is actually a good time to touch on Christmas budgets.

It feels like ages since I’ve written a proper blog post. Like many people, I took advantage of the Christmas period by spending quality time with family and relaxing.

I have lots of blog posts in my head for 2018 but first wanted to share how our monthly budget went. This is for your entertainment, encouragement, (or to compare with – and be glad that you’re doing better!).

For anyone who celebrates any of the winter festivals (be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid, etc,) you no doubt encountered costs that fell outside your typical monthly budget. We’re no different, How we all manage those additional costs will vary, however.

For new readers, you’ll see that I use percentages, rather than monetary amounts. This is both to respect my husband’s wish to keep our income private  (it’s a low income) and to give a better comparison, per category, for whatever size budget you’re working with.

Christmas Budgets
Image by Bunchy The Budgeteer

Here’s How It Went for Us

Mr.B’s wages were on the lower than usual side, due to him having some sick days in December.

December’s Outgoings and Our Monthly Budget Categories – (shown in percentages of December’s net/after-tax income) :

  • Mortgage: 23%
  • Council tax: 6.3%
  • Gas and electricity: 3.4%
  • Water: 2.4%
  • Groceries: (Includes food, toiletries, and household needs) 8.8%
  • Internet and landline: 1%
  • Life assurance: 1.3 %
  • Mobile phone bills: 0.5 %
  • My dental insurance: 0.6%
  • Mortgage overpayment: 0%
  • Pensions: 0.3% (In November 2017 Mr.B was been enrolled in his workplace pension. The amount taken from his wages is the compulsory minimum required. The percentage we’ll be adding when actively investing in our pension funds will be higher).
  • Holiday savings: (‘vacation’) 0%
  • Emergency fund savings: 31%
  • Personal spending money (has to cover clothing, haircuts, makeup, and gifts for each other on special occasions): 8.1%.
  • Petrol: 1.3%
  • Miscellaneous/unexpected buffer: In relation to December’s income, our total miscellaneous spend was 0.8%.
  • Sinking funds: (the linked article explains these): 12.5% allocated to our short-term savings.
  • 7.5% of our total December income was then spent from the sinking funds on the following:
    1. Some Christmas and January birthday gifts.
    2. A new hot-water bottle and cover!
Our December Budget – How Did We Do? – Christmas Edition
Image by Bunchy The Budgeteer

Now, I have to say that the percentage we spend on Christmas gifts is much lower than your average family. That’s due to:

 

  1. As a couple, we don’t celebrate Xmas, yet have felt obliged by our family to get involved, even on a small scale.
  2. The gifts we buy for each other come from our individual ‘allowances’, so that doesn’t show up in the figures.
  3. My mother-in-law puts together the most amazing hamper for us each year. While it’s not food for ‘proper’ meals, it’s packed with ‘naughty’ food and plenty of booze!
  4. I’d predict that we spend less than half on gifts for people than what the average person spends. We only buy for parents/step-parents, my grandmother, and our 10 nephews and nieces.

December 2018 will be different. We’ve decided that December 2017 was the last year that we celebrate Christmas at all. We haven’t yet told all the family. My mother-in-law has insisted that she still wants to give us a hamper because it brings her joy. I’m not going to rob her of that. We aren’t doing it for monetary reasons. The money we would allocate to the people we buy gifts for will go towards their birthday instead. This means we’ll be spending the same amount on each person, but yearly rather than twice yearly.

How was December for you? How do you divide up your budget? Do you need to make a budget? Did you spend more than you’d intended? If so, why? I’d love to know how everyone else did.


You may also be interested in reading: ‘How to Save Money on Christmas 2017‘, ‘A Peek into Our Monthly Budget‘, which is the template we use each month, ‘Are You Within The Recommended Guidelines For Your Monthly Expenses?‘, and ‘Money – Where On Earth Should I Begin?


I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is gradually getting bigger. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.


Lisa a.k.a ‘Bunchy’

Happy New Year! Better Money Habits for 2018

Happy New Year budgeteers! Are you ready for some better money habits for 2018?

There’s nothing like a fresh year to form new and healthy habits. That includes your financial health.

What new habits do you want to form? Are there some less-than-helpful money habits you’d like to get rid of? How about making 2018 the year you finally commit to:

  •  Getting out of debt?
  •  Saving a percentage of your income each month?
  •  Making and FOLLOWING a realistic budget?
  • Cutting back on unnecessary retail therapy?
  • Cooking at home more and ordering fewer takeaway meals?

Whatever your financial goals for 2018, I’m here to encourage you along the way and share MY wins and fails too.

I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me with the Bunchy The Budgeteer blog in 2017.  I have exciting plans for the blog in 2018 and shall strive to offer you valuable content over the next 12 months.

Normal blog posts shall resume on Thursday the 4th of January.

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is gradually getting bigger. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.

Lisa a.k.a ‘Bunchy

A Quick, Easy, and Effective Homemade Deodorant Recipe

A Quick, Easy, and Effective Homemade Deodorant Recipe

If you’re looking for a quick, easy, and effective homemade deodorant recipe that really works, then you’ve come to the right place.

But first…I had a deodorant DISASTER recently. The reason? I decided to try a different recipe, which was more complicated, involving the use of a bain-marie.

Imagine my horror when I discovered, part-way through the day, that I had the dreaded ‘B.O’! Ugh, I was so embarrassed and gutted. Plus, what a waste of time and effort!

I persevered for a few days, but no, I still smelt after doing housework or by getting a bit sweaty. Not a nice situation.
Now, partly due to being perpetually unwell and partly due to feeling lazy, I did the unthinkable. I bought a shop deodorant!

So now I’ve decided that, as with most things in life, it’s best to stick with simple. Following the old adage of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it’ is also sound advice.

So without further ado, below is the recipe that REALLY works (at least for me). I’m certain it’ll be effective for everybody, so give it a try (it takes mere minutes to make) and let me know how you get on.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda
    (sometimes known as baking soda, NOT baking POWDER)
  • 4 tablespoons of cornstarch

Method:

  1. Mix together the bicarb and the cornstarch
  2. Add the coconut oil and stir/blend until completely mixed.
  3. Pop it into a small jar.
  4. Apply with fingertips.

(Tip: If you shave your arm-pits, then wait awhile before applying, or it can irritate the broken skin. I try to shave at night and leave off the deodorant, preferring to use after my morning shower).

So, I’m going to put my ‘sell-out’ deodorant in my bathroom box, (where we keep ‘extras’) as my ’emergency deodorant’. The failed homemade deodorant? I’ll dig it out of its pot and chuck it in the compost. It’s all natural after all.

You may also be interested in reading ‘A Fistful of Frugal – Beauty Edition‘.

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is gradually getting bigger. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.

Lisa a.k.a ‘Bunchy’

Our November 2017 Budget – How Did We Do?

Our November 2017 Budget - How Did We Do?

It’s a little late, but I said I’d show you how our November budget went and how we did, so here it is!

November was an unusual month. We’ve been looking after a neighbourhood cat whose owners were unable to pay his vet bills. The poor cat had been wanting to spend a lot of time at ours. With me being a qualified Veterinary Nurse, I was quick to see that something was wrong with him. Three vet visits, medications, sedation, and blood tests revealed that he was F.I.V positive. and he had to be euthanised at the beginning of December. It broke our hearts, but we don’t begrudge paying the bills.

We can’t afford to have an animal of our own full-time. Our income will reduce in April unless I can make a success of a home business I am working on. It’s important to us to have our animals insured and to have the best food and veterinary care. With this in mind, we’re not yet able to fit this into our monthly budget. Others may think we were mad to use our Emergency Fund savings on an animal that wasn’t even ours. There wasn’t a moment of hesitation for us though and we knew that it wasn’t going to be an ongoing cost. it highlights what I’ve said before, that personal finance is personal.

 3.1% of our November income was extra income from selling some stuff from around the house. One of the items sold included our secondhand PlayStation. We’d bought the PlayStation by selling our secondhand Wii. We’d bought the Wii from selling other household items. You get the picture of how we usually manage to buy ourselves ‘new’ things!

Our November income was also bumped up 9.9% above the usual amount by receiving an ‘extra’ government payment. This was because one of the two months of the year when, due to receiving my payments fortnightly, I receive three instead of the usual two payments per month.

Our November 2017 Budget - How Did We Do?
Image Photo by Volkan Olmez on Unsplash

 

November’s Outgoings and Our Monthly Budget Categories – (shown in percentages of November’s total income) :

 

  • Mortgage: 20.3%

  • Council tax: 5.5%

  • Gas and electricity: 3%

  • Water: 2.1%

  • Groceries: (Includes food, toiletries, and household needs.) 10%

This was more than we usually spend on groceries. We had some money left over from October’s grocery budget and spent that. If we’d have been frugal and used the usual amount, we could’ve put the extra amount to our Emergency Fund savings. Yet, we’re human and it was a tough month. I was ill with a cold (which I’m still fighting and now Mr.B has gone down with it). So we were lazy and treated ourselves to a couple of takeaways. We also threw some of the cat products we had to buy into our grocery bill, rather than take more from our Emergency Fund.

 

  • Internet and landline: 0.9%

  • Life assurance: 1.2%

  • Mobile phone bills: 0.5%

I went over on my mobile phone bill and so covered the overage with my personal allowance.

 

  • My dental insurance: 0.5%

  • Mortgage overpayment: 0%

  • Pensions: 0.9%

Mr.B has now been enrolled in his workplace pension. This is the compulsory amount that came out of his wages. The percentage we’ll be adding when actively invest in our pension funds will be higher.

 

  • Sinking funds (the linked article explains these): 11% allocated to our short-term savings.

5.8% of our total November income was then spent from the Sinking Funds on the following:

  • Our six-monthly dental check-up. I will get back half of what we spent, as I have dental insurance.
  • Some winter car items and we got a punctured repair on one of our car tyres.
  • A couple of Christmas and birthday gifts.
  • Some new and second-hand items for the office and kitchen.
  • Holiday savings: (‘vacation’ to U.S. readers) 0%

  • Emergency fund savings: 34%

  • Personal spending money (has to cover clothing, haircuts, and makeup): 7.1%

  • Petrol: 1.1%

  • Miscellaneous buffer: In relation to November’s income, our total miscellaneous spend was 4.5%.

4.5% is almost seven times the amount we usually allocate for unplanned expenses! This was due to caring for the cat. We added to the miscellaneous category from our Emergency Fund as the expenses arose.

 So there it is! Not a typical month by any means, but we managed. We were still able to put a decent amount towards our Emergency Fund. This was mostly due to November’s income being higher than average, thank goodness!

How was November for you? How do you allocate your budget? Do you need to make a budget? I’d love to know.

You may also be interested in reading: ‘A Peek into Our Monthly Budget, which is the template we use each month, ‘Are You Within The Recommended Guidelines For Your Monthly Expenses?,  and ‘Money – Where On Earth Should I Begin?

 

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is gradually getting bigger. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.

 Lisa a.k.a ‘Bunchy’

What Are Sinking Funds and Why Do I Need Them?

Have You Ever What Are Sinking Funds and Why Do I Need Them?

Have you ever heard of ‘Sinking Funds‘? If not, then you may be wondering what they are. Your next question may be whether you need them.

Sinking funds are savings for expenses you expect to encounter, but don’t know when. They may also cover infrequent events that don’t occur each pay period, such as Easter.

When setting up your Sinking Funds, you have various choices:

  • You may decide to use separate bank accounts for each sinking fund.
  • You may keep the money in jars at home. This isn’t the safest idea for anything other than small sums of money.
  • You may want to lump all your savings together in one place. We do this and keep track of what money belongs to what fund/purpose on a spreadsheet, but a notebook would do.

What you decide to save for will vary from what we or any other person saves for. Certain things will be the same, for example, if you also buy gifts for people at Christmas. You may have children’s costs to consider, whereas we don’t. The key is to think of all the irregular costs that catch you out and destroy your regular monthly budget. Try to include those things.

Fun Fact (from Wikipedia):

‘The sinking fund was first used in Great Britain in the 18th century to reduce national debt. While used by Robert Walpole in 1716 and effectively in the 1720s and early 1730s, it originated in the commercial tax syndicates of the Italian peninsula of the 14th century, where its function was to retire redeemable public debt of those cities.’

Our Sinking Funds have saved our skin and our budget many a time! Here’s what we put money by for each month:

  • Home insurance premium (buying it yearly works out cheaper than monthly premiums).
  • Car tax (buying it yearly works out cheaper than paying for it more frequently).
  • Car insurance premium (buying it yearly works out cheaper than monthly premiums).
  • Breakdown cover.
  • M.O.T. & servicing.
  • Sight tests every two years.
  • Boiler service.
  • Six-monthly dental checks.
  • Prescriptions.
  • Unexpected dental bills.
  • Car repairs, parts & tyres.
  • Gifts (birthdays and Christmas gifts for family. We buy for each other out of our personal allowances).
  • House renovations and items.
Do you save regular amounts of money each week or month for costs that you know will come up? What do you save for? I’d love to hear.
 

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is gradually getting bigger. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.

Lisa a.k.a ‘Bunchy’

A Peek into Our Monthly Budget

A Peek into Our Monthly Budget

Last month I wrote a post called ‘Are You Within The Recommended Guidelines For Your Monthly Expenses?‘. It covered advice on the ideal allocation of income within a budget, as percentages. E.g. How much of your income to spend on housing, etc.

I thought you guys might find it interesting to see how we divide our money month to month.

Due to having budgeted for so long, I pretty much know how much money we need to put into each category every month. Due to this, we have an ‘ideal’monthly budget template that we begin with and this is what I’m going to share further on.

This month (or even last month!) hasn’t been ideal, as we’ve had a TON of unplanned and emergency expenses. If you’re human, you’ll know what I mean. You may start with good intentions and then BAM! It all goes Pete Tong (that’s ‘wrong’ for those not familiar with Cockney rhyming slang). I’ll be sharing our expensive October and November with you at the end of the month.

Our Income

Mr.B is not on board with me sharing our exact numbers. To show you how we divide our income, I’ll have to use percentages.

There are many conflicting pieces of data about what the average income is. We’re a two-person household. Yet, our income is lower than the median average 2017 individual UK salary. I’m not basing that on the ridiculous sources where the mean average gets used. Mean averages take into account a few earners receiving huge salaries. Most people will never have those incomes.

Our income consists of Mr.B’s wage, my very small government help (due to medical conditions). We also receive a small amount of money from somebody paying us back for a loan, plus a £3 a month reward from our bank. At times we may get extra money if we sell something we no longer want, but otherwise, that’s it.

NB: Twice a year I receive three government payments instead of the usual two payments per month. This is due to receiving my government help on a fortnightly basis. If you get paid every two weeks, this will happen to you too.

Our Outgoings and Our Monthly Budget Categories – (shown in percentages of monthly income) :

  • Mortgage: 23.1% 

  • Council Tax: 6.3%

  • Gas and electricity: 3.4%

  • Water: 2.4%

  • Groceries: (Includes food, toiletries, and household needs.) 8.2%

  • Internet and landline: 0.8%

  • Life assurance: 1.3%

  • Mobile phone bills: 0.5%

  • My dental insurance: 0.6%

  • Mortgage overpayment: 0%

  • Pensions: 0%

  • Sinking funds (the linked article explains these): 12.5%

  • Holiday savings:  (‘vacation’ to U.S. readers0%

  • Emergency fund savings: 30.8%

  • Personal spending money (has to cover clothing, haircuts, and make-up): 8%

  • Petrol: 1.3%

  • Miscellaneous buffer: 0.8%

Some of the above categories need some deeper explanation, but I’ll go into that in future posts.

Your own allocations will likely be very different to ours. That’s because it’s likely that you’re in a different financial situation.

Remember that things are always changing for most of us. For example, I have plans to begin a home business providing online services. If I can manage this with my health limitations, then our income will increase. Yay!

But, next Spring, our income is going to reduce. Also, we’ll have (all being well) completed our Emergency Fund and begun investing. This is why, though a budget template is useful, all our circumstances can and will change.

Where is your money going every month? Take a moment to find out and ask yourself if you’re happy with what you discover. Are you meeting your financial goals? Do you need to set some goals?

I love hearing from you and want to grow a community. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message, or all three! I will always try to help you.

Lisa a.k.a ‘Bunchy’

Websites and Apps to Save You Money

Websites and Apps to Save You Money

Last month I told you about ‘Top 10 Apps and Websites That Earn You Money‘.

Today I’m sharing eight websites and mobile phone apps that can save some of your hard-earned cash. I use every single one of them.

So, in no particular order, here are some great websites and apps to save you money:

Petrolprices.com
Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

1) Petrolprices (app and website)

Petrolprices is a great service that I’ve used for a couple of years. It helps me to save money on petrol, by showing me the cheapest petrol in my area, for that week, via an email update. That’s how I use it, but the website (and now, app) offer much more than that.

Petrolprices.com compares UK petrol and diesel prices in 8,490 stations. They boast a 98% coverage of the UK market. It’s updated daily, 365 days a year. Petrolprices.com receive approximately 8,000 daily updates. This ensures that their data is accurate and up to date.

The available plans are: Basic, Plus and Business

I use the basic, free service, which includes:

  • A search function by fuel type and radius of your search (finding you the cheapest fuel, wherever you are).
  • Information on the lowest and average fuel prices for every station in your location.
  • One user per account.
  • The option of a daily, every weekday, twice weekly, weekly, or monthly email price alert.
  • 20 free monthly searches (which is adequate for 98% of users).
  • Five petrol station results per search
  • The option to filter by cheapest stations.
  • A five, 10, and 25-mile search radius.
  • An option of further searches at a cost of £1 per 10 searches.

(The free membership remains free because it contains adverts.)

I also enjoy the articles in the ‘news’ section of the newsletter email I receive (also on the website).
There are regular motoring-related articles as well as money-saving motoring guides.

If you want extra features, then consider the Plus plan (or, if you’re a business, the Business plan) below:

The Plus Plan:

(A 14-day free trial is available.)

£2 per month (though you can save 17% by signing up for an annual plan).

100 monthly searches

10 results per search

Five price alerts per email

Completely ad-free

Two to 30-mile search radius

Priority support

One user per account

Fuel route planner

Filter fuel by brand

The option to filter by cheapest AND nearest stations.

View all stations

Pay £2 to get 100 more searches

 

The Business Plan:

£12 per month (Save 17% with an annual plan)

500 monthly searches

10 results per search

10 price alerts per account

Completely ad-free

Two to 30-mile search radius

Priority support

10 user accounts permitted

Fuel route planner

Filter by brand

Sort by nearest stations

View all stations

Pay £10 to get 500 more searches

The following extra services are available for Plus and Business members only:

Route Planner:

This allows you to put in a start and end destination. The planner then tells you the cheapest/nearest stations available along your route.

Rewards:

Get discounted offers and exclusive rewards on everyday motoring costs. Have the ability to earn fuel on everyday motoring purchases. (The ‘Fuelback’ programme.).

Sign up at petrolprices.com or download the Petrolprices Fuel Finder App.
Google Play rating: 3.2. Available for Android and iOS device users.

The app looks handy for unfamiliar places, as it allows you to find the cheapest or nearest fuel stations. It’s available for Basic, Plus and Business users.


BoobkBub.com
Image courtesy of Dreamstime.com

2) BookBub (website or app, but the app is only available for iOS device users).

I love this site! To date, I’ve scored 119 free books (of high user rating) and stored them on my phone via the Google Play book app. It’s also available on Kobo and Nook and is available on both Android and iPad.

Get signed up for free and chose your favourite genres and authors. Then, every day you’ll receive an email informing you of free and very discounted ebooks. You’re not obliged to ever buy anything unless you want to. The best part is that any books you get for free remain yours forever!

If you’ve chosen to follow an author whose books become discounted, BookBub will alert you. The same if the authors have new releases or books available to preorder.

BookBub makes money by publishers and authors paying them for their marketing tools.

Here is BookBub’s book category (it’s pretty extensive!):

  • Bestsellers.
  • Crime Fiction.
  • Psychological Thrillers.
  • Cosy Mysteries.
  • Historical Mysteries.
  • Thrillers.
  • Supernatural Suspense.
  • Action and Adventure.
  • Contemporary Romance.
  • Historical Romance.
  • Romantic Suspense.
  • New Adult Romance.
  • Paranormal Romance.
  • Erotic Romance.
  • Dark Romance & Erotica.
  • Sports Romance.
  • Time Travel Romance.
  • American Historical Romance.
  • Historical Fiction.
  • Women’s Fiction.
  • Literary Fiction.
  • Chick Lit.
  • Christian Fiction.
  • LGBT.
  • African American Interest.
  • Science Fiction.
  • Fantasy.
  • Horror.
  • Teen and Young Adult.
  • Children’s.
  • Middle Grade.
  • Advice and How-To.
  • Biographies and Memoirs.
  • History.
  • Cooking.
  • Christian Nonfiction.
  • Science.
  • Politics and Current Events.
  • Religion and Spirituality.
  • Parenting.
  • True Crime.
  • Business.

Sign up at www.bookbub.com or download the app.
App Store rating: 4+


Greggs Rewards
Photo by Janita Sumeiko on Unsplash

3) Greggs Rewards (app)

Although I’m not a frequent visitor to Greggs bakery, I downloaded the app and joined for its freebies. If you do frequent Greggs, then you’ll get even more from using the app.

Once you have the app installed you’re eligible for the following:

Free Coffees:
For every seven coffees you buy, you get your eighth one free!

Prize Draw:
Every month five people win £50 in their prize draw.

Birthday Treats:
My favourite! On or around your birthday, you’ll get notified that you can choose a free treat. Yum!

VIP Tasters:
Every so often you’ll be able to pick up a free item to try, such as a bag of popcorn or a soft drink.

You can choose to use the app to pay for your regular Greggs purchases by topping it up by card or PayPal. If you chose this way of paying, then the first time you top up by £10 or more Greggs rewards you with a free breakfast!

Visit www.greggs.co.uk for more information and to download the app.
Google Play rating 2.9 (App Store rating 4+).


HotUKDeals
Photo by Neil Cooper on Unsplash

4) Hotukdeals (website and app)

I’m pretty sure that my husband can’t stop looking at this site (it could be worse). Not only have we used it many times to grab fantastic bargains, but only today I used it to bag a free eye test!

It works by normal people discovering and submitting deals for everyone to make use of.

It’s a real community and gets very funny at times in the forums. ‘Deal hunters‘ vote to decide which deals are ‘hot‘ and which are not.

When you join up you’ll see deals, voucher codes, competitions, and freebies. There’s also an ‘Ask’ section (an advice forum).

Categories of deals include:

  • Audiovisual.
  • Computers.
  • Entertainment.
  • Fashion.
  • Gaming.
  • Groceries.
  • Home & Garden.
  • Kids.
  • Mobiles.
  • Personal Finance.
  • Restaurants.
  • Sports & Fitness.
  • Travel.
  • Misc.

You can filter results to hide deals only available in other peoples’ local areas so it’s relevant to you.

You can also filter by:

  • Price.
  • ‘Min temperature’ (of a deal).
  • Hide expired deal.
  • Hide NSFW (‘not safe for work’) deal images.
  • Switch custom listing on.
  • Hide local deals.

The list of retailers is enormous and includes:
eBay, Asda, Very, Currys, New Look, Homebase, Sainsbury’s, and Amazon.

Check out: www.hotukdeals.com or download the app.
Google Play rating 4.4 (no App Store rating).


mySupermarket.com
Photo by Kai Oberhäuser on Unsplash

5) mySupermarket (website and app)

mySupermarket is a free to use, independent price comparison site. They boast that they save shoppers, on average, 30% on each grocery shop.

mySupermarket collects prices from the main UK supermarkets (and other retailers). The site’s updated every day with the latest available prices, promotions, and vouchers.

To use it, choose the retailer you wish to shop with and use the mySupermarket website to do your online shop. While you shop, mySupermarket compares your basket to all the other retailers. You then have the option to switch your basket to the cheaper retailer or take advantage of product swaps to save money.

The thing I love most about the website is the ability to filter my product search by comparing Price Per Unit (PPU). That way, I know that I’m getting the very best value for my money.

For example, you see pasta sauce jar ‘A’ priced at 95p for 500g and jar ‘B’ priced at £1.10 for 700g. You might think the cheaper one is the better deal. Yet when you discover jar A is 19p per 100g and jar B is only 15.7p per 100g, you’ll see that you get more value with the larger jar. This is only better value if you’ll use all the larger product of course!

mySupermarket has some great extra features, such as:

‘Import Favourites’:

Do you already shop online at a particular supermarket? You can import your favourite items from your online shopping list to mySupermarket.

‘Quick Shop’:

Type your shopping list into the ‘Quick Shop’ notepad and mySupermarket will show options for the items you need. You can find this feature in the form of the quick shop button next to the search bar.

‘Savvy Shop’:

The ‘Savvy Shop‘ shelf displays products which are at least 30% less than their usual, average price.

‘Swap & Save’:

While you’re shopping you’ll get notified when you can swap an item for a cheaper alternative. You’ll get notified too if you can save more by choosing a product with a better unit price.

Once you’ve finished your shopping list, either check-out via your chosen supermarket or print off your list and shop in-store.

Retailers available for comparison on mySupermarket:

  • Tesco
  • Morrisons
  • ASDA
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Boots
  • Superdrug
  • Waitrose
  • Ocado
  • Aldi
  • Lidl
  • Poundland
  • Iceland
  • Marks & Spencer
  • Amazon
  • Poundstretcher

Sign-up at: www.mysupermarket.co.uk or download the app.
Google Play rating: 4.1 and App Store rating of 4+


Asda Price Guarantee
Image courtesy of Dreamstime.com

6) Asda Price Guarantee (website)

Asda promises that if your ‘comparable’ grocery shopping isn’t 10% cheaper than Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, or Waitrose, then they’ll guarantee to give you the difference back.

To be eligible, you have to meet the following criteria:

You need an Asda Groceries Home Shopping account to claim your vouchers. You don’t have to have done an online shop. Items bought in-store still qualify.

You need to have purchased at least eight different items. One of these of must also be available in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, or Waitrose.

How to Claim:

If you shopped in store, you can usually check your shop three hours after your shop. In some circumstances, you may not be able to check until 6 am the day after your shop. The Asda Price Guarantee site will notify you of this, if so.

You need the barcode on your receipt to check your shop. Log into your Asda Groceries Home Shopping Account on asdapriceguarantee.co.uk. Enter the receipt barcode number and if you qualify for a voucher, you print it off and use it in-store. (excluding Asda petrol stations) before the expiry date on the voucher.

You MUST show your original receipt along with the voucher when you get to the checkout. If you don’t, you won’t be able to use the voucher. Your original receipt gets signed with the initials of the Asda cashier and then returned to you.

You can compare your shop up to 28 days after you made your purchases.

If you shopped online, you need to wait up to 24 hours from your shopping delivery before you can compare it. As with in-store shopping, you can compare your online shop up to 28 days after you made your purchases. You can also view and compare your last three online shopping orders at any one time.

If your shop qualifies, an e-voucher gets uploaded to your account within seven days. You can then use the e-voucher towards a future Asda online shop.

You have 28 days from the date you received a voucher to use it.

Per household, there is a limit of 10 vouchers per calendar month or a value of £100 in vouchers per calendar month. If a voucher takes the amount you have received in a calendar month to more than £100, you won’t receive any more than £100.

You can use as many Asda Price Guarantee vouchers as you want in a transaction. Other types of vouchers that Asda accepts are also permitted alongside them.

The Asda Price Guarantee voucher can only be used once per transaction and there isn’t a cash alternative. If the value of the voucher is more than what you shopping amount costs, you won’t receive any change or credit back.

As well as not being redeemable in Asda petrol stations, the vouchers cannot be used in transactions with any third parties who operate at Asda in-store concession points (such as photo processing). Nor can vouchers be redeemed against:

  • Kiosks (including Tobacco, Newspapers, and Magazines).
  • Lottery.
  • Gift Cards.
  • Mobile Phone Top-Up Cards.
  • Infant Formula.
  • Optical.
  • Prescriptions.

To find out more, check out: www.asdapriceguarantee.co.uk


Costa Coffee Club
Photo by Nolan Issac on Unsplash

7) Costa Coffee Club (website and app)

Although I’m not a big coffee drinker, I do, on occasion, find myself visiting Costa coffee shops. Seeing that a loyalty card was available, I picked it up and have always used it.

At some point, I discovered that Costa had a smartphone app. This replaces the need to carry a loyalty card, so I downloaded it.

Whether you chose to carry a card or download the app, the Costa Coffee Club is worth signing up for. Back in August, I visited Costa with a friend and her husband. I couldn’t believe it when the barista told me that I had enough points to pay for everything!

The loyalty programme gives you five points for every £1 you spend and each point is worth 1p. If you’re a regular Costa customer your points will mount up in no time.

Costa Coffee Club isn’t only about collecting points. By becoming a member you can get free treats, bonus rewards, exclusive offers, and get alerted to secret events. Oh, and unlimited WiFi! Plus, when you download and register with the app you get 100 bonus points! So if you’re already a cardholder it’s worth signing up for a new account if only to bag your points.

The app can also be used to:

• Track your points balance to see when you have enough for a free coffee or treat.
• Find details of your nearest Costa stores including directions, details, opening times and facilities.

(Unfortunately, the Costa app is not currently available for use in Northern Ireland).

Register at www.costa.co.uk/coffee-club or download the app for Android or iOS.
Google Play rating: 3.4. App Store rating 4+


CheckoutSmart
Photo by Ramiro Mendes on Unsplash

8) CheckoutSmart (website and app)

This is another app that I use often and LOVE.

You download the app, sign up, buy any of the featured products listed in the app, upload a copy of your receipt (or delivery note) and get rewarded.

Once your receipt gets processed you’ll receive an e-mail confirming your reward. You’ll be able to see this in your CheckoutSmart account balance.

Unfortunately, all the products are brand name goods. Though we tend to buy shop’s own brands, I use it to buy the ‘free‘ items. I have to pay for these items at the time of shopping, but I can claim it back. This means that I’m getting to try products for free. Even if they’re items we won’t use, we can either give it away to friends and family who WILL use it or donate it to the food bank.

I’ve only ever used CheckoutSmart to shop in-store, but you can also use it for online shopping.

Retailers involved include:

  • Tesco
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Asda
  • Morrisons
  • Waitrose
  • Ocado.com
  • Co-op
  • Iceland
  • M&S
  • Aldi
  • Lidl
  • Budgens
  • Londis
  • Spar
  • Boots
  • Superdrug
  • Wilkinson
  • WH Smiths

Be aware that there’s a processing fee of 5% if you transfer out any reward amount under £20. I like to wait until my balance is at least £20 before I cash it out. I want ALL my money, thank you very much!

You can only have one CheckoutSmart account yourself. More than one account per household is ok but no more than two CheckoutSmart accounts can be linked to a single payment (BACS/PayPal) account.

You can redeem several offers in one receipt and you can upload up to three receipts per day.

Some offers are available only to you. To ensure that you can view the full list of offers available you’ll need to be signed into your app.

To upload a receipt, you sign in to the app and hit the ‘claim’ button at the bottom of the screen. From there, you follow the simple directions.

All CheckoutSmart rewards are available on top of any in-store promotions. Items that have been ‘reduced to clear’ or fresh items reduced in price and close to expiry aren’t eligible for rewards.

For more details and to sign up, go to www.checkoutsmart.com or download the app (available for Android and iOS devices).

Google Play store rating: 3.6 (No rating for App Store)


Are there any money-saving websites or apps that you use? If so, please share so that everyone can save money!

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is gradually getting bigger. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.

Lisa a.k.a ‘Bunchy’

Easy Carrot, Orange, Coriander and Ginger Soup

bunchythebudgeteer_easycarrotorangeandgingersoup_dreamstime.com

* Photo courtesy of  dreamstime.com (As soon as I next make my next batch, I’ll snap a picture and add one of my own).

Another Autumnal day calls for the last of the fail-safe and easy soup recipes we use. This time it’s with carrot, orange, coriander, and ginger. The recipe name may sound as if the cooking will be a large production. It isn’t. Especially if you use cheats, as I often do!

It’s also yet another soup that can be suitable for vegans and those with gluten intolerance. Ensure the stocks used are suitable for you and you’re good to go.

I like to make a large batch of this on the hob, as it’s quick to make. By making much more than needed for one dinner, we can freeze portions and use on lazy days. Batch cooking like this saves not only your energy and time but your energy bills too!

I’d been making this soup for a few years before meeting my (now) husband. Trying to convince him that orange works well in this recipe wasn’t easy. He thought I was ‘mental’ to include it, but he changed his tune after trying the soup for the first time. Now it’s one of his favourites.

My inspiration for the recipe was from Riverford Organic Farmers (the people who I’ve ordered veg boxes from). I tweaked it a little, as you may also want to.

Finally, I can’t let you go without sharing these fun facts (well I enjoyed them, but then I’m a bit of a nerd) taken straight from Wikipedia:

The provitamin A beta-carotene from carrots does not actually help people to see in the dark unless they suffer from a deficiency of vitamin A. This myth was propaganda used by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War to explain why their pilots had improved success during night air battles but were actually used to disguise advances in radar technology and the use of red lights on instrument panels. Nevertheless, the consumption of carrots was advocated in Britain at the time as part of a Dig for Victory campaign. A radio programme called The Kitchen Front encouraged people to grow, store and use carrots in various novel ways, including making carrot jam and Woolton pie, named after the Lord Woolton, the Minister for Food. The British public during WWII generally believed that eating carrots would help them see better at night and in 1942 there was a 100,000 ton surplus of carrots from the extra production.’

Enough chatter. You want the recipe

Easy Carrot, Orange, Coriander and Ginger Soup

(serves four)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (chopped) *Optional.
  • 900g of carrots (chopped)
  • 1 tsp of fresh ginger (grated) *We store our root ginger in the freezer and take it out to use when needed. In a pinch, or to save time, you could also use ginger powder.
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • Juice of 2-3 oranges (and zest, if you wish) *To save time, use 150ml of orange juice instead.
  • 1 litre of veg stock
  • A few coriander leaves (chopped) *You can use chopped parsley leaves if preferred. To make the recipe more frugal and easier, use dried versions of the herbs instead.

To Serve (Optional):

Plain yoghurt or creme fraiche (use dairy-free or gluten-free if necessary).
Salt & pepper to taste.

Method:

1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add the chopped onion.
2. Cook on a gentle heat for 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft.
3. Add the garlic (if using) and cook for another minute or two.
4. Add the carrots, ginger (and zest, if using), stir to mix and add the hot stock.
5. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes (or until the carrots are softening).
6. Blend up the soup mixture in a blender or with a hand mixer, until smooth.
7. Return the mixture to the pan, add the orange juice and reheat on a low setting.
8. Add salt and pepper if desired and a blob of yogurt if using.

We like to eat this for dinner with either crusty bread, french baguette or with sandwiches. Nom, nom, nom.

Let me know if you try it, or if you tweak it, and how it turned out!

Here is the inspiration for the Easy Carrot, Orange, Coriander and Ginger Soup. You may also want to have a look at Mr.B’s (the hubster) Vegan-Friendly Frugal Tomato Soup, my Frugal And Healthy Spicy Lentil Soup  and my Chunky Autumnal Vegetable Stew Slow Cooker Recipe.

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is growing each day. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.

Lisa a.k.a ‘Bunchy’

Chunky Autumnal Vegetable Stew Slow Cooker Recipe

Chunky Autumnal Vegetable Stew Slow Cooker Recipe

I’ve been craving a hearty and chunky vegetable stew for a couple of weeks now. Something ‘Autumnal’.

I don’t know about you, but Autumn is my favourite season. Yes, there are some downsides, such as:

  • Being cold.
  • Having increased heating bills.
  • Not being able to dry our washing outdoors as fast as usual.

Yet, we can enjoy:

  • Getting wrapped up and going to feed the squirrels in leave-strewn parks.
  • Snuggling up under a blanket with a hot mug of tea and a good book or film.
  • Filling up on yummy, stodgy, home-cooked food.

bunchythebudgeteer.wordpress.com-chunkyautumnvegetablestew

* Image courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Feeling grotty today and not wanting some rather sad looking vegetables to go to waste, I pulled out the slow cooker. So much easier than regular cooking and I knew that if I began to feel more ill (I did), at least I’d made dinner!

Here’s the Recipe:

  • 2 red onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 leeks (finely chopped)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 4 small carrots (cut into large chunks)
  • 4 small sweet potatoes (cut into large chunks)
  • 4 small Maris Piper potatoes (cut into large chunks)
  • 150g dry red lentils
  • 2 litres of hot vegetable stock (made with 3 veg stock cubes and a teaspoon of vegetable bouillon – because I ran out stock cubes).
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of dried parsley
  • Gravy granules to thicken, at the end of the cooking session.
    (Or instead, you could omit the gravy granules and mix some cornflour with water and add).

Method:

  1. Peel and chop up the veg.
  2. Make up the stock with boiling water.
  3. Put all the ingredients in the slow cooker.
  4. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.
  5. Thicken if desired.
  6. Add dumplings if desired.
  7. Enjoy!

This made enough for me to put a few container fulls into the freezer, for nights when neither Mr.B nor I want to cook.

I had this for dinner this evening and it was scrummy!

It’s a cheap, healthy meal and won’t bust the budget. It’s also suitable for vegetarians and vegans (even the dumplings were vegan-friendly!). Many supermarket stocks and gravy granules are also gluten-free. By using them, this stew can also be enjoyed by people with gluten intolerance.

Let me know if you try this recipe. Though not exactly the same, I based the recipe on one from my Sarah Flowers slow cooker recipe book, which you can find here.

Do you have any good vegetable stew or soup recipes that you’d recommend? Please share, so that we can all enjoy!

For more soup recipes, check out my Frugal and Healthy Spicy Lentil Soup and my Vegan-Friendly Frugal Tomato Soup.

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is gradually getting bigger. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.

Lisa a.k.a ‘Bunchy’