I've always thought of myself as a thrifty person. I look out for 20% off codes before I shop for clothes. I try to stock up on things in the sales. I go to a few different grocery stores, which has reduced our spending loads as we used to mainly shop from Ocado. But recently, I've realised that I'm not as thrifty as I had imagined.
At the weekend, we took the kids to the Natural History Museum. Regular readers will know that Dubz is crazy for 'dinoroars'. We packed a lunch, and off we went. The museum is free, and there is free street parking on a Sunday. Sounds like a fun but thrifty day, right? Wrong. At the end of our visit, we let the kids pick out a few things in the gift shop - £40 later, I realised that I was far from thrifty.
So, I've decided to be more conscious of what we spend on family outings. I will endeavour to always bring a packed lunch. I will try to avoid gift shops. I will be in charge of the monthly budget for outings (currently this is Husband's domain, and he is the least thrifty person I've ever met). I've gone back to being a Mystery Shopper with Market Force. You can find cafes, restaurants, pubs, and enjoy a free cake or meal and get paid for it. There are also opportunities at shops, opticians and bowling alleys. You set how far you are willing to travel, and it shows you the opportunities available. You can then pick which ones you would like to take part in. This week the children and I will be eating pizza, for free, plus getting paid for it.
Also, I have just donated a bag of old clothes to H&M's Long Live Fashion campaign. They have rewarded me with a £5 off voucher. Normally we give old clothes to the recycling tip or to charity shops. But this way helps with my next shopping trip (I love H&M for clothes and accessories for me and the kids). And as I have until the end of August to use it, I can use it in the sales. I have another bag ready to be traded in for another voucher.
Lastly, I have loads of baby/toddler toys that I will be selling. I've never sold anything on eBay before, so I may try it out. Or else, I may use a local selling group - perhaps Netmums or NappyValletNet.
Is there anything else I can be doing? How do you stay thrifty and stick to a budget?