With the current economic situation, more and more people are looking to save money wherever they can - especially when it comes to household expenses. One of the best ways to save money is to devise a food budget and cook at home.

Improving your basic cooking skills to get your family eating more healthily is just the first step to cutting down on how much you spend. Creating simple but flavourful dishes which satisfy your hunger will reduce your desire to splash out on takeaways and junk food. Read on for a range of home cooking tips to help you save money.

Vegetables

Image by Charles Haynes

1. Portion control

One way to employ healthy eating tips is to watch portion size. Our bodies only really require three ounces of meat per meal, so when making meals try to have meat fill no more than one quarter of your plate. Opt for plenty of vegetables and balance out with pulses or carbs.  This will save you money and encourage you to think about how your food allowance is spent.

2. Plan ahead

As a large pot of stew or casserole cooked using a slow cooker can last several nights, it can go much further when it comes to feeding a family on a budget. Alternatively, a crown rib roast, lamb leg or pork shoulder can also be a good staple. What doesn’t get eaten as part of a roast can be cooked the following night in casseroles, curries or pasta dishes.

3. Make lunch from leftovers

Whatever you’re making, cook a little extra and put it in a container for lunch the next day. Even something as simple as a salad can easily be bolstered with a can of mixed beans, ham or cucumber. This is a great way to save money on wastage and stop you spending cash during work hours.

Rice-leftovers fritters / Croquetas de arroz

Image by Lablasco veg menu

4. Never throw away stale bread

It can be tempting to throw away hard bread or think it is only good to give to the birds. However, stale bread is fantastic for jazzing up soups, salads or creating a golden crumb topping. Simply toss with oil and bake in the oven to make delicious croutons.

5. Try frozen food

Frozen food is not only considerably cheaper, it has a much longer life. Whether you choose frozen meat, fish or vegetables, you’ll have an affordable and healthy option ready to cook at a moment’s notice.

6. Shop seasonally

Not only will food be less expensive when it is in season (shops will want to move stock as quickly as they can knowing it won’t keep), you will reap the benefits of even more delicious ingredients.

Fourth of July veg box

Image by Jessica Spengler

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We've done it! We are finally in our new house although we have no internet access and I somehow managed to smash my new phone :-( So I feel like I'm currently living in a black hole with no way of communicating with anyone.

The OH is on the case today though so hopefully the phone line company will pull their fingers out and get us back online very soon then all will be back to normal (whatever that means!)

I'm loving our new house and having a whale of a time decorating each room.

Sorry for anyone that was hoping to join in with Thrifty Thursday last week I just didn't get a chance to find anywhere with internet. Hoping to get it going again this Thursday though :-)

 

 

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This week we haven't really been very thrifty at all, we've actually spent quite a bit buying things for the new house. That's one of the downside of buying a brand new home, there are no fixtures or fittings, so we've literally had to buy everything from curtain poles to toilet roll holders!

We did however manage to save a bit of cash with Lj's new furniture. We found the perfect 3 piece set for her colour block bedroom which was going to cost us £196.97 + £20 delivery from a well known high street store.

pink furniture

I really wasn't happy with that price so I went home and did some research online and managed to find the exact same 3 piece set for £169.99 with free postage! So today I managed to save us a total of £46.98 which I was happy with. It just goes to show that if you look around there are deals to be had.

Thrifty Thursday

Thrifty Thursday Badge

Thrifty Thursday is a weekly linky and a place to share your thrifty posts. It doesn't matter if they are old or new and can be about anything to do with saving money and being thrifty. Whether it be a post on cutting back on your food shop or your latest thrifty find link it up, I'd love to see it. To read more about the rules and thrifty Thursday click here.

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Free Family Fun

Having fun as a family doesn't have to cost the Earth and there are many activities that you can do for free. Here's 50 to get you started...

  1. Go for a walk.
  2. Do tree rubbings.
  3. Go to the beach.
  4. Have a movie night.
  5. Go to the park.
  6. Have a picnic.
  7. Go rock pooling.
  8. Go fossil hunting.
  9. Make a den.
  10. Make you own treasure hunt.
  11. Grab a blanket, lie on the grass and make pictures with the clouds.
  12. Get baking.
  13. Dust off your helmets and go for a bike ride.
  14. Bird spotting.
  15. Climb a tree.
  16. Make cards for all of your friends upcoming birthdays.
  17. Try your hand at origami.
  18. Dig out the old board games.
  19. Grab a hairbrush a have a sing song.
  20. Teach your child a skill that you can do such as cooking, sewing, playing an instrument.
  21. Get your colouring pencils out and make your own comic book.
  22. Visit a local museum, many are free entry or some ask for a small donation.
  23. Have a pillow fight.
  24. Download some free games online.
  25. Have a thrifty BBQ. Dig out any meat from the freezer and use it up.
  26. Visit your local market.
  27. Go foraging.
  28. Upcycle an old piece of furniture.
  29. Make a fairy garden.
  30. Write a letter to a friend or family member that you haven't seen for a long time.
  31. Get on Google and find out what is going on in your area for free.
  32. Have fun with food.
  33. Make your own playdough.
  34. Create your own masks.
  35. Have a game of charades.
  36. Find you local toy library and borrow a new toy to play with.
  37. Have a game of I spy.
  38. Make a journey stick while you are out walking.
  39. Take a trip to your local library. Choose some new books to read or why not join in with an activitiy like bounce and rhyme or story telling
  40. Wash the car.
  41. Read a book.
  42. Make you own marble run out of old toilet rolls.
  43. Hold a toy swapping party and swap with your friends
  44. Make paper aeroplanes. (There are lots of free tutourials online)
  45. Do some junk modelling from old ceral boxes, toilet rolls and egg boxes.
  46. Flower pressings. Pick flowers from your garden and press them between heavy books.
  47. Feed the ducks.
  48. Swim in a river or the sea.
  49. Roll down a hill.
  50. Do some stargazing. (There are free worksheets online that map out the stars for you)

Fun for a Fiver

This post was inspired by a box of goodies that the lovely people at Wilson Field have provided us with for their 'Fun For A Fiver' campaign.

fun for a fiver

  We have had great fun the last couple of weeks testing out all of the great products.

Some were easy to use...

fun for a fiver ice lollies

Others not so much! I have decided that I am offically rubbish with origami so I drafted in my nieces and nephew to have a go...

Origami #funforafiver

and as you can see they had great fun...

Origami #FunForAFiver

We still haven't got around to making the cakes yet (too busy packing) but I'm hoping to make them tomorrow so the kiddies can have them for pudding. I'll tweet a picture with the results.

double chocolate cupcakes sainsbury's

I'm saving the egg heads for the kitchen windowsill in our new house, not sure they would survive the move :-)

egg heads

Family Fever

12 Comments

Recently we have been trying to cut back the cost of our weekly food shop, this week we got it down to £44.29 which I though was quite good  for a family of four but definitely still room for improvement.

Cutting back on your weekly food shop

This shop was at Lidl and we did it in quite a rush in-between school pick ups, if we had a bit more time I think we could of got the final cost down a bit more. We didn't meal plan before we went (we never do) instead we like to see which items are on offer and then work our meals around that.

Hopefully next week we will have a bit more time and we can beat this weeks total. How much do you normally spend on your weekly food shop?

Thrifty Thursday

Thrifty Thursday Badge

Thrifty Thursday is a weekly linky and a place to share your thrifty posts. It doesn't matter if they are old or new and can be about anything to do with saving money and being thrifty. Whether it be a post on cutting back on your food shop or your latest thrifty find link it up, I'd love to see it. To read more about the rules for thrifty thursday click here.

6 Comments

Home Decorating

If you are a regular reader here then you will know that we are moving in less than two weeks, eek! My mind has gone into major overload with all of the new design ideas for the rooms (as you can probably tell if you follow me on Pinterest).

For our bedroom I have decided to go for a 'Peacock Colour Theme'. Here's a mood board of ideas I'd like to incorporate...

Peacock Colour Bedroom

 I'm not sure whether I am quite brave enough to go for a grey feature wall, I know the other half isn't that keen but I think it looks pretty striking with the blues and purples.

teal bedroom

 I have been desparately searching for the perfect bed throw but I'm still yet to find one. I'd like something colourful with a hint of ethnic maybe... Peacock Colour Bedroom

For the beside tables I really want two Tiffany style lamps... Tiffany lamp

We are going to up-cycle our current bedroom furniture by spraying it teal and putting new decorative knobs on them. I'm hoping it will look great *fingers crossed*.

teal furniture

I really can't wait until we move now so I can let my creative spirit go crazy.

peacock

*All of the above image were found on Pinterest and you can find them on my Peacock Colour Bedroom board*

So what are your thoughts, do you like the theme and should I go for the grey feature wall or have a teal feature wall instead? I can't decide!!

Post Comment Love

18 Comments

Since having children our social life has taken quite a hit, gone are the days when you can just pop up to the pub for a bottle glass of wine after work on a Friday. These days going out is a full scale operation and half the time we are too tired to organise the whole thing.

We've found a great way of keeping up a social life is for our friends to come to over to us or we go to them, generally with the kiddies in tow for a sleepover to save on babysitting costs. Recently my friends and I have been having quite a few girly nights in.

Here are my top 5 essentilas for a great girls night in...

1) Alcohol

This one for me is a must! There's nothing like relaxing with a glass of wine after a hetic week with the kiddies. If you are feeling a little more adventurous then why not try your hand at some cocktail making, just make sure that you have some paractamol handy for the morning after.

Domino's Pizza2) Takeaway

There's a huge amount of options for takeaway foods these days. On our last girly night we ordered from Dominos pizza.

I've never had Domino's pizza before but I have to say it was amazing! We also had BBQ chicken wings and wedges. Dominos Pizza

If you are going order takeaway then I would recommend Dominos. We ordered ours online and then sent the men out to pick it up. ;-)

Domino's Pizza

3)  Music/Chick Flick

If you just want to get together and gossip all night then background music creates a nice atmosphere or if you are all gossiped out then stick on a romantic comedy and crack open the popcorn/ben & jerrys/chocolate/more wine *delete as appropriate*

4) Pamper Products

Style Lux Blackhead KillersNo girly night would be complete without a bit of self pampering. A nice easy product to use is a face mask like these blackhead killers.

Don't forget to get a silly selfie of you all with your face packs on...

 

Style Lux face masks

Just don't take the mask off infront of your 5 year old son. I think I scarred the poor boy for life!

Face Mask

5) Onesies

Now this is a new one for my but I've been informed by my teenage niece that onesies are now a necessity for any girly nights in. I've yet to actually buy one but I must admit they do look very cozy!

So there are my 5 essentials, what do you like to have on a girly night in?

*Disclaimer: I was sent the face masks and the dominos pizza's for free for the purpose of this post*

Family Fever

2 Comments

easter bonnetThe Easter holidays are not too far away now, it won’t be long before that cute and fluffy rabbit comes and hides gifts of chocolate eggs all over your home. But when you and the kids are all chocolate-ed out what are you going to do with yourselves? Here are a few fun craft ideas:

Easter Bonnets

When you were little did you partake in an Easter bonnet parade at school? Well, why not hold your own at home with the kids and their friends. Everyone gets a basic hat and a load of craft supplies before making their own millinery masterpiece. Everyone can then catwalk through the living room showing off their hard work.  Whose hat do you think will be the best?

Bunny Masks

Turn your children into Easter bunnies for the day by making these simple masks. Cut out a simple mask shape from white card but include some ear shapes. Fill these ears with pieces of pink card and surround with cotton wool. Cover the rest of the mask with cotton wool before adding an elastic strap. It’s that easy!

Rice Krispies Chicks and Nests

Stock up on Rice Krispies and Coco Pops for this seasonal twist on the chocolate treat. Use the Coco Pops to make large basket shapes and mould the other cereal into chicks. Add mini eggs to the nests, chocolate chip eyes and a caramel beak. Delicious!

Decorative Eggs

Not all eggs at Easter have to be made out of chocolate. Hard boil some medium chicken’s eggs and decorate them with all the colours of the rainbow. Paint and glitter are always a fave. When you are all done then you can have an egg rolling contest. Start at the top of a ramp or hill and see whose egg rolls the furthest. The winner will be awarded a prize.

decorative eggs

If you are feeling adventurous then you could even try marbling the eggs. Fill a tin or bowl with shaving cream and swirl some food colouring into this. Dip your eggs in so they are completely covered and remove to dry. Once done you’ll have some beautifully coloured swirly eggs.

Pretzel Chicks

You may not realise it but pretzels can be made into scrumptious little chick shaped snacks which would go down a storm with the kids at an Easter party. Simply fill the holes of the pretzel with yellow icing or marzipan. Then turn the pretzel 90 degrees so the rounded side faces the left; the two curves will become the chick’s head and bottom. Add on a black pearl eye and an orange chocolate covered sunflower seed as a beak and you have a little chick.

Easter Baskets

If none of these crafts catch your eye then maybe try decorating an Easter basket? Simply wind ribbon around the handle and add shredded green paper to the basket so it looks like grass ready for the eggs to be placed inside. Stick pictures to the side if you would like to make it feel more seasonal.

So will you be getting crafty over the two week Easter holidays? We’d love to see the results!

(Image Credits: Wikimedia and Minnellllium)

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