Thrifty Thursday

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Photo credit: Daniel Lewis
What a treat my daughter and I had this past Saturday. The Vue Cinema at Piccadilly Circus had a little Princess Do. They treated some bloggers from the newly formed MyFamilyClub Bloggers Network to a screening of 'Barbie: The Pearl Princess'. There were yummy cake pops (um, we might have had three), popcorn, fruit shoots and each child got a good quality wand and tiara (I've had enough of cheap and tatty tiaras). There was also one lady doing face painting and another doing temporary tattoos and balloon animals. 

Moozles, who is almost six years old, said we were so lucky. And afterwards, when I took her out for lunch, she said that the people in the restaurant must feel ashamed that they didn't have on princess dresses or have their faces painted. I didn't want to disagree with her. 

I had never heard of the Vue Cinemas' KIDS AM screenings before Saturday. I didn't realise that Vue showed kids films on Saturday and Sunday mornings (and school holiday mornings) for only £1.75. What a bargain. Moozles loves going to the cinema. But we only take her every few months as it can be so expensive. We will definitely be going again. I see that the 'Moshi Monster' movie is out soon. She will love that. Hopefully Moozles isn't disappointed in the lack of cake pops and face painting on offer.  

Cake pops from @KimberlyCakePop
Fab tiara from Fancy Dress Ball
Photo credit: Daniel Lewis
My little princess

On a side note, I have watched a few Barbie movies with Moozles, and normally they are a bit boring. 'Barbie: The Pearl Princess' was actually good and I may or may not have shed a few tears at the end.

This event was free, but the opinions expressed are completely my own. 

I am linking up this post to Thrifty Thursday over at Cold Tea and Smelly Nappies.


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Birthday parties are expensive enough, even when you're not hosting. Besides the buying the gift, you often have to dress up. Superheroes, Spies and Alice in Wonderland are just a few themes we've had this year. Some costumes can be worn again, some can be fashioned out of other costumes. In the third picture, we took Moozles' witch costume from Halloween, an old tiara, and a giant heart she coloured in, and we turned her into The Queen of Hearts.

       

My daughter is in Year One. With 30 people in her class, this equates to A WHOLE LOTTA birthday parties. We don't get an invite to every birthday party, but we get many invites. Since September, Moozles has been to 12 parties, four of which have been joint birthday parties. That's 16 gifts so far. This not include birthday gifts for the children of close friends and family. 

As a Stay-At-Home-Mum, I try to watch the pennies. I used to spend £10 per gift, but now keep that amount to £5-£8, depending on the child. But this means being organised. Once a month I go to TK Maxx and buy a few presents. TK Maxx are extremely good for jewellery-making kits, puzzles, yoyos, books and Lego. I used to buy gifts from Amazon, but I'm trying not to shop with them very often because of their non tax-paying ways. Also, Amazon aren't that cheap as you would expect for toys and crafts. Supermarkets sometimes have special offers on toys so it can be worth checking from time to time. I also stock up from department stores during the big sales in the summer and after Christmas. Things like girls' jewellery and pretty hair accessories are nice gifts as sometimes you can get bombarded with crafts and makeup (I'm not keen on the latter for my five-year old).

TK Maxx bargain!

I have re-gifted a few things as well, as Moozles got so many gifts for her last birthday that she never got around to opening everything. Also, I try to buy unisex wrapping paper, which can randomly be on special at your local supermarket. Sometimes I buy gift boxes and wrapping paper at pound shops. And I always have my daughter make the card. Not only is it cheap, but it is a fun little activity for your little one. How do you handle the costs of kids' birthday parties?

And for more Thursday thriftiness, see Cold Tea & Smelly Nappies.

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I'm back for my third instalment of Thrifty Thursday, which is hosted on Cold Tea & Smelly Nappies. This week I'm looking at small ways to cut your weekly food shopping bill. I know some people go grocery shopping at 5pm/6pm and get discounted meat and vegetables, but that does not work for me. I have two small children and they eat dinner at 5.15pm/5.30pm. 


I love LIDL. If there is one near you (I'm sure Aldi is similar), go there! I only discovered LIDL last year as and have found it great at helping me stick to my food budget. I go once a week for certain staples, which include free-range eggs, whole free-range chicken (less than a fiver!), parmesan, own-brand oatcakes, bread, fruit and vegetables. Highlights include a whole cucumber for £.49 and six large free-range eggs for £1.00.

These six items cost less than £5.00 in total!


We also get a weekly food delivery from Ocado. Husband and I love Waitrose, but I find that shopping there often leaves me with a hefty bill. There seem to be more discounts on Ocado, plus it is so convenient having heavy things like loo roll, laundry capsules and dishwasher tablets delivered straight to the house. Once you have done a few shops with Ocado, you can also check your favourite items to see whether they are on special. That way, if I know we will need coffee soon, I can keep checking whether or not they are on offer.

Hope these tips have helped. Happy Thrifty Thursday! 


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I had heard of Mystery Shopping before, but thought it would be difficult to get a gig like this. Last week I signed up to Market Force, and after completing a test that confirmed I was able to express myself in words, I became a Mystery Shopper. I was able to limit my possible assignments to within a five-mile radius, as I did not want to travel too far. Immediately there were eight possible assignments. But they have loads of assignments at airports and major train stations, so I will definitely look into those when I next do some traveling. 

My first assignment was last weekend. Although I am a Stay-At-Home-Mum and can complete assignments during the week, I like the idea of going off at the weekend and having some free/comped family time. I also like the idea that sometimes I can have some 'me' time whilst getting paid.

So off I went last Saturday. My son was napping, and my daughter and Husband were building a robot. I went to a coffee shop, where I had a lovely pot of tea and a very delicious slice of carrot cake. My assignment even required me to use the WIFI, which I happily did. What a treat to have 20 minutes to myself, away from the house. And for my trouble, I had my tea and cake reimbursed. Plus I will be paid £2.75 for the assignment. 


I've decided that this money will go into my 'Night Out' fund. I don't go out very often, but if I complete 2-4 assignments each month then I will have money for the occasional Mums' Night Out. And I won't have to ask Husband for booze money. 

If you would like to check out Mystery Shopping, then I totally recommend Market Force: http://uk.marketforce.com/register/?ref=198&reu=1235197
I have also signed up with Grass Roots (recommended by Emma from From Aldi to Harrods), but they haven't had any available assignments so I cannot vouch for them.

If you want more tips on Thrifty living, check out Gina from Cold Tea and Smelly Nappies, who runs a Thrifty Thursday linky.


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When my daughter was in nappies, I was in the lucky situation not to have to worry too much about the cost of things. Although I would try and buy nappies on special or the big bulk box, I normally bought Pampers. Now that I am a SAHM, we have to keep a tight reins on our finances. To keep nappy costs down, I had to do a cost and quality comparison across various brands.  My son is wriggly and does lots of wees and some crazy poos so I cannot skimp on quality in favour of cost. Although Pampers are good, they are a bit expensive (even when on special). I was not at all impressed with Tesco's own brand, Tesco Loves Baby. Boots own brand nappies, Boots Baby, also failed to impress. I have never tried Sainsbury's own brand, Little Ones. 
 
I have priced the size 5 nappies as these are what my 20-month old has been wearing for the past few months.  
 
Here are my Top Three Nappy Brands:
 
1. ASDA Little Angels Comfort Dry
Size 5 Junior 11-25kg, 40 nappies per pack
£5.97/pack , two packets for £10
Asda Little Angels Nappies
 
2. LIDL Toujours
Junior, 11-25kg, 44 nappies per pack 
£4.69/pack
Lidl’s disposable Toujours nappies top the Mumsnet chart for the second year in a row!
 
3. ALDI Mamia
Size 5, Junior,11-25kg, 40 nappies per pack
£4.49/pack
Mamia Ultra Dry Junior Nappies - Size 5
All three nappies are good at protecting from leaks, but the Little Angels are definitely the thickest and best for night time sleeps. It has won awards, as have Toujours and Mamia. All three seem to be quite comfortable. My son has sensitive skin and none of the top three have given him or contributed to nappy rash. The Toujours nappies are the most cost-effective so sometimes I will get them and primarily use them for daytime usage. 
 
Hope this helps! Happy Nappy (changing)!
xx



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