Family Budget

5 frugal HAPPY things – Family Budgeting

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Today is a frugal happy day for 5 lovely reasons that don’t involve money

 

School Ends Today

My kids finish school and I am proud as punch of them for making the most of this time at home, for keeping in touch with friends and family, working hard and independently and exercising daily. I have a special tea and a little letter written for them both,ssssh.

 

frugal HAPPY things

 

Create Your Own Calm is Out Today

My books out today! My brand new book Create Your Own Calm is published today ahead of schedule as an ebook. It is packed with activities to help anxious kids and is absolutely timely for the fall out from lockdown. I do hope it helps and I am excited to see it out there in the world. (Harper Collins will publish the paperback in September)

 

 

Walking – One of my fave frugal happy things

I have spent this morning walking with my lovely pal Catherine. Such a treat a proper morning off working and not a penny spent ( well she did buy me a cup of tea)

 

frugal HAPPY things

 

Reading

I am lost in a good book at the moment and an going to treat myself to an hour in my favourite armchair reading today. The book was a gift form a lovely friend Dorkymum and it’s beautiful. It is also filled with poems from Dorkymum (AKA Ruth!) husband the acclaimed beat poet Young Dawkins. It is a treasure.

 

 

More frugal happy things – Bubble Baths

I am planning the biggest longest warmest bubble bath tonight to celebrate school being out and to relieve my sore muscles from my super long walk and to read my book. Always love a good bath, do you?

 

 

So they are my 5 frugal HAPPY things from today – over to you. I hope you have had a happy and thrifty week.

Join the frugal linky!

Come and link up your money-saving posts this week into the link below.  Do let your readers know that you’re linking up with the five frugal things linky by adding a little line to the bottom of your post like this one:

I’m linking up with this Cass Emma and Becky in this week’s ‘Frugal Friday’ linky.

 

 

Best Phone Case Gifts Under $50 for Your Loved One

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Today lets take a look at the best phone case gifts under $50

 

Best Phone Case Gifts Under $50

 

Buying something for someone you love isn’t as easy as you might think. You want to get them something that’s both functional and perfectly suited to their style and personality all for a reasonable price. Accomplishing this might be harder than you think. The good news is, there is an affordable solution to this problem: stylish phone cases.

Think about it: a phone case is a perfect gift. Most are reasonably priced for under $50. They’re also practical – everyone needs a phone case, and they need to be replaced every so often if someone gets a new model of phone or wants a change in style. There is also any and all kinds of styles available, so no matter how unique the style or interests of your loved one, you’ll be able to find the perfect case for them.

 

Best Phone Case Gifts Under $50

Below, we’ll review some of the best options out there for affordable and stylish phone cases.

 

Trendy Phone Cases

If your loved one is up to date on current trends, there are a ton of great options available. Trendy phone cases, such as these from Casely, are popping up all over the internet. Things like tie-dye, floral patterns, neon, and marble are all enjoying popularity at the moment. Fashion, accessories, and even technology have all recently been inundated with these styles.

These trendy cases would be best suited for someone who is up to date on everything new, and who likes to have their personality shine through in their clothes and accessories. Matching your phone case to your clothing is a great way to complete a cohesive outfit and add another aesthetic element to your style.

 

Astrological Cases

Building off of phone cases that are trendy, phone cases that have an astrological theme or design are also a great option for a gift. This astrological style that is currently very popular includes things like moon and sun designs, general space themes, and zodiac signs. There are even cases that use tarot cards as their design inspiration. Crystals and geodes, another very trendy and popular design element and decor item, are also featured on these phone cases. Think of a very natural and spiritual style for these types of cases.

This type of design would be perfect for someone who is passionate about stars or spirituality. Another great thing about these cases is that they can be both simple or bold in their design, so you have even more great options when choosing the perfect case for your loved one.

 

Understated Phone Cases

On the other hand, some people tend to prefer to keep their phone cases understated and simple, only really utilizing them for the purpose of protecting their phone. Sometimes it can be hard to find a phone that’s both plain and not too bulky since most simple designs are often the ones that you see marketed only for drop protection.

While there are plenty of patterned cases to choose from, there are also great collections of understated cases. These include phone cases that are all one color, a simple neutral pattern, or transparent. This would be a great option for a loved one that has a more sleek style or enjoys styles that are understated and simple. These could also be considered timeless – they might not see the point in choosing a trendy phone case if those trends will only change.

 

 

 

Sustainable Phone Cases

More and more, people are looking for options that are sustainable and kind to the planet. Phone cases are no different. If your loved one is starting a low or zero waste lifestyle, or just wants to make more conscious decisions in general, then they would certainly appreciate a sustainable phone case.

There are first of their kind phone cases, offering choices that aren’t only durable and cute, but completely compostable too. With a sustainable phone case, your loved one can enjoy a stylish new phone case while also maintaining peace of mind that they are doing all they can for the planet.

 

Multi-Purpose Phone Cases

For someone who is always on the go and enjoys a more minimalist aesthetic, phone cases with built-in pockets or cardholders are always a great choice. These built-in accessories will enable your loved one to keep their credit cards, ID, or frequently used cards like a metro card at close hand. This is also great for professionals who need to show ID or have a badge for work since this provides an easy alternative to rummaging around in a bag.

This would also be a great option for that person who doesn’t like to carry much at all, preferring to go about their day without a purse or a bag. Expanding on this idea, a case with a built-in pocket or cardholder is perfect for anyone who loves to travel. Having your phone and cards together is a great way to condense your belongings and keep the most important ones close at hand.

 

Best Phone Case Gifts Under $50

 

Customizable Phone Cases

Of course, there is always the option of a customizable phone case. While there are countless options for phone cases already in existence, some people want a design that they know is one of a kind. Luckily, there are usually a ton of great options available for customization. You can choose from different patterns or from something plain, then add text or photos. It’s a nice gesture to gift someone a case that they know you specifically designed for them.

Adding photos is also a great way to personalize a phone case. Think about it: people use their phones constantly. Why not have a photo of friends, family, or a beloved pet somewhere that you can see all day?

 

Final Thoughts

As you can see from the choices above, there are almost infinite options to choose from when looking for a phone case to give a loved one. Whether they would prefer something trendy, simple, functional, sustainable, or even customizable, there is a way to find the perfect phone case.

 

 

Best Phone Case Gifts Under $50 is a feature post

 

How to exercise when you’re on a budget

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How to exercise when you’re on a budget

Contrary to popular belief, exercising does not have to be expensive. Many think that getting a good workout means spending a substantial amount of money on a monthly gym membership or spending a fortune on a variety of gym equipment, however this is not the case. In this article, we uncover some innovative ways to exercise when you’re on a budget.

 

Exercise at home

One of the easiest ways to exercise when you’re on a budget is to lose the gym membership! The gym isn’t the only place where you can do a decent workout. Sure, there is more equipment available when at a gym but if you’re looking to save pennies where you can, you should begin exercising at home.

You can easily make use of household objects as substitutes for weights, you just need to be innovative and use your imagination. Instead of using the heavy dumbbells in the gym, how about using full cans of food or a big bag of rice? These are everyday household items that make for perfect gym equipment.

Alternatively, use your dining room table or chair for a basis for doing standing push ups. This is a great way to give the body a workout at home, without the need for fancy gym equipment.

 

Utilise the resources online

With social media having an incredible impact on our everyday lives, there is no time like the present to get online and look at some of the workout resources. There are, quite literally, thousands and thousands of workout videos available online for free, either on Instagram, Facebook, or Youtube.

By using these free resources to your advantage, you can easily do a high impact workout from your home with no need for a gym membership. Think of it as having your own personal trainer on your phone. You could research varying kinds of workouts to keep your routine mixed up and fresh.

 

Buy multi-use equipment

In order to keep costs down, you could look to invest in some equipment that has multiple uses in order to get more value for money. Here are a few examples of multi-use equipment that you could look to buy:

 

  • Exercise ball – This a popular one that has many different uses. An exercise ball can be used to work the abs, to support the body during weight training activities, and for cardio exercise. Exercise balls tend to have a long life span too so this will be an investment that you would feel the benefit from for years to come
  • Treadmill – While this purchase may seem like a luxurious buy, having something you can use at home can save hundreds of pounds on gym membership fees while letting you exercise any time you like. Even better if the whole family uses the treadmill, you’ll get even more for your money
  • Muscle recovery products – If you’re exercising on the regular and trying new things, your muscles will need some appropriate treatment to prevent injury. Using tools, like a foam roller or massage gun, is a great way to keep your body in a good condition for working out and also can be used to warm your muscles up prior to exercising. Another great, cost-effective purchase.

bike

 

Partner up with a friend

When you are exercising on a budget and wanting to save money on a gym membership, a great way to keep yourself motivated is to partner up with a friend. By doing this, you will keep yourself motivated and can have someone to relate to when you are feeling the strain of working out.

By having a workout partner, it is a great way to stay focused on your workout goals. You could do a workout over a Skype/Facetime video call when working out at home or you could go for runs/bike rides together!

It doesn’t need to cost a fortune to get fit. There are many ways to exercise on a budget and we hope you find this article helpful on exercising when you’re watching your finances.

 

Ways to Cheer You Up

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Today – Ways to cheer you up

This lockdown goes on and on doesn’t it and in some ways we adapt. We find ourselves in a new routine, whatever that might look like for us and we adjust.

But I don’t know about you but I have lots of days where I feel constrained and frustrated and sad and I have to dig deep to keep my spirits up. I find my moods change back form bleakness to getting on with things pretty quickly o but I have undoubtedly had some down days.

Talking to friends I know this is the same for them.

Let’s find some ways to make you smile this week.

 

ways to cheer you up

Ways to Cheer You Up

It got me thinking…what would cheer you up? What could I share with you this week that would bring a smile to your face and help you feel nurtured?

 

Let me cheer you up with music

You can’t beat music to lift your mood, can you? It can always cheer you up and it most certainly always cheers me up.

 

Take a look at my list of 50 happy songs for some inspiration. You can even download my playlist if you like. It would make me smile to know we were listening to the same upbeat songs.

Or maybe you would like to imagine your on desert island discs and you have to pick your favourites ( and listen to them). I picked my favourite desert island discs and it did most definitely cheer me up. 

 

Cheer you up music

 

 

Pampering to cheer you up

How about a pamper day at home? Lots of ideas to nourish your body and help you feel spoilt without leaving the home or breaking your budget?

 

cheer you up

 

 

Cheer you up baking

Baking always gets me in the zone and simple and delicious are my key ingredients. You might want to try my easy shortbread recipe or how about lemon snaps?

 

shortbread

 

Cheer yourself up with a good book

It absolutely never fails to work for me  to read a good book always brings a smile to my face. if you are stuck for ideas I have plenty for you. Take a look at 100 books to read before you die and the best books on happiness

(if you are looking at cheering your teens up with a good book on happiness take a look at my book Be Happy Be You and for younger kids Create Your Own Happy)

 

 

Cheer Up Quotes

 

Last but not least here are some lovely cheer up quotes to cheer you up ( I love a good quote!)

Cheer up when the night comes, because mornings always give you another chance.

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. – Albert Einstein

The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up. – Mark Twain

When everything feels like an uphill struggle, just think of the view from the top.

If “Plan A” didn’t work. The alphabet has 25 more letters! Stay cool.

Let your smile change the world. But don’t let the world change your smile.

You carry so much love in your heart. Give some to yourself.

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius

There is no investment you can make which will pay you so well as the effort to scatter sunshine and good cheer

Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle.     

 

Did those quotes cheer you up? Og I do hope so A read of a cheer up quote always shifts something for me.

 

So there you go we have come up with some ways that would hopefully cheer you up on a budget. Do you have any to share with me?

 

How’s your week been?

 

Join the frugal linky that will cheer you up!

 Have you been thrifty this past week?

Come and link up your money-saving posts this week into the link below.  Do let your readers know that you’re linking up with the five frugal things linky by adding a little line to the bottom of your post like this one:

I’m linking up with this Cass, Emma and Becky in this week’s ‘Frugal Friday’ linky.

 

Budgeting for Kids (How to Teach It)

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Budgeting for Kids & How to Teach It by Tim Bennett, Head of Education  from Killik &Co.

Lockdown has presented many families with all sorts of logistical, practical and financial challenges. But it has also thrown up opportunities. One of them has been the chance to engage more often with our children and take the time to teach them a few things we probably all wish we had learned earlier in life. And what better example than how to understand and manage money?

 

 

Budgeting for kids

Here are my top four tips for parents wanting to give children of almost any age a better grasp of where it comes from and just how easy it can disappear. Budgeting for kids is such an important lesson.

There’s no magic money tree

Children are naturally inquisitive and have an appetite to learn. Sadly, if they are anything like mine, they will be equally voracious when it comes to acquiring stuff, whether games, bikes, clothes or toys. So, it is vital they understand early where it all actually comes from. The key here is to ask, rather than tell, them. In short, life only presents a few ways to acquire money – unless you marry it, inherit it, steal it or win it, most people are faced with having to earn it. Why not, therefore, take the time to explain what Mummy and Daddy do all day while they are at school and why?

 

 

The cost of opportunity

Before lockdown, which has massively curtailed our spending options, we lived in a world of huge and almost overwhelming choice. This hits children early, from the moment they first visit a toy shop, play an online game or start receiving pocket money. So, it is vital they grasp the concept of ‘opportunity cost’ – the idea that every spending decision comes at the expense of something else. For example, “if you buy Buzz Lightyear now, you can’t afford Woody”.

So, how can we improve our children’s grasp of this slippery concept? When they are young, the key is to make sure they realise that money is a finite resource – a pocket money budget, supplemented only on special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas or to reflect special achievements (perhaps at school) is a good start. As for saving for the future, a simple incentive scheme, whereby a parent agrees to match every pound saved (but not spent) with one from their own pocket can help to nurture a sense of the value of delayed gratification and thinking about their future selves.

 

Tasks and rewards are effective when budgeting for kids is being taught!

During lockdown quite of few of us have been hurling ourselves into cleaning, DIY, cooking and childcare with varying degrees of enthusiasm. But right there lies an opportunity to educate our children by getting them involved and giving them the chance to earn a little extra pocket money. Even relatively small children are often capable of a bit of dusting in their own rooms, for example. Whereas, older kids can unload dishwashers, clean cars or hoover. The point is twofold – you want them to feel responsible for the home they enjoy and show them that effort and reward are connected.

 

Money makes money

A key concept all children (and adults) must be taught if they are ever to fully understand saving – the power of compounding over time.

There is no need to make this too technical to start with – for example, you can start with quiz questions, such as “if I put a domino on the floor and then another that is 50% taller next to it and then another that is 50% taller than the second one and so on, how tall with domino 32 be?” (to which the answer is higher than Mount Everest). Those examples can lead naturally into a discussion of how you create returns on money. Does  50% sounds realistic to them? If not, what might they have to do to achieve a high return versus a more modest one. Clearly the level of this conversation can be tailored to the age, knowledge and interest level of the child. The point is to ensure that they understand that money left alone in the right place can grow. As such, they are finding out about one of life’s very few free lunches!

 

Budgeting for kids is not hard to teach but it is absolutely vital to their development into smart, savvy and solvent adults.

If you enjoyed this post on budgeting for kids you might also enjoy my post on creating a money-saving mindset

 

What Thrifty Means

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Thrifty means ….

‘practising thrift or economical management; frugal: a thrifty shopper.’

 

 

How’s your thrifty week been? Let me tell you about mine

 

Thrifty means being organised

One of the most productive things we did this week was giving our tin and fridge a real once over so that we can be sure what food is near its use by date gets eaten up.

This organising also meant we could make a really good meal plan that meant there was no waste. We do try and do this on a regular basis but it’s not so easy to find the time.  However, one silver lining of lockdown is we do have more time. We also have more people eating at home regularly so we get through way more food – meal plans have been a must.

 

thrifty means

 

Thrifty means Snail Mail

This week I received a postcard from Tasmania and a card from Saint Albans Way,  both of them absolutely warmed my heart.

I think it is lovely when friends cross the miles with something as simple as a handwritten note and I have to think that it really is something I should do more of. Snail mail is a cheap and simple pleasure and one that is so appreciated.

I put both the card in the post go to my desk and I’ve looked at them a lot over this week I thought about my friends who sent them and their kindness and I think it’s something I’m going to be doing a lot more because it’s probably the cheapest form of happiness isn’t it, just sending someone a letter or a card, and so valued.

 

thrifty means snail mail

 

Thrifty means hustling

I’ve always been a positive person and positivity has been in abundance in my life since I was very young.

Earlier this year I was quite poorly though and being a self-employed person that had quite a knock-on effect financially. I don’t qualify for the government’s Self-Employment grant which was pretty disappointing and I work in marketing and copywriting and it is thin on the ground at the moment.

This has meant I have had to be creative and hustle a little and I have managed to conjure up for myself some new work and some new projects thank goodness which means that money is back on track.

We always say our children are more most creative when they are bored and I have to say for me I think I’m most creative and productive when times are hard (possibly because I have to be?)

 

Thrifty means reflecting

We can use the cars again now to drive to destinations for walks. Yesterday I took my car out for the first time in about four months and we drove to a lovely local spot and had a walk, me and my daughter and it was really relaxing and good to be somewhere new. Yet whilst I enjoyed it I realise that if I’ve managed this long without a car, do I actually really need one?

There is a bus that goes past the end of our road by the canal which would’ve led to a lovely park area anyway.

 

Apart really from picking up the kids from school,  taking to the doctor appointments or clubs, I don’t actually drive very much.

I do walk an awful lot. I love walking.

I’ve never really liked driving and I am wondering if it’s just a really big expense a really big expense that I don’t need. I never drive outside Nottingham anyway as I’m an anxious driver and unless I’m driving very local I never feel comfortable. Maybe it’s something I do not need in my life, do you ever consider getting rid of your car?

Thrifty mean eflecting on all areas of your life to see if you are being wateful.

 

Thrifty means researching

I have been learning some new things recently. One of the things I’ve been focusing on is SEO search engine optimisation.I think I told you last week I bought a little course on it well the course was an expense but I had 30% off. It was really, really well recommended and I can see the fruits of my labour already. I just wanted to say really that’s what I’m all about not spending too much sometimes I do think it’s very valuable to invest in yourself but that the research behind that it’s really important.

I have quite often bought courses that have proved not worthy. I got a very cheap course a few weeks ago that I’d seen advertised on the Internet and it was only priced at $10.  It promised a magic 10 ways to X and I was excited but then so disappointed – I’d read it all before. To be honest it was rubbish and despite being super cheap at $10 it was a waste of my money.

I do think it’s worth spending money on learning but cheap options are often exactly that.

Research what you spend your cash on folks – that’s what being thrifty means.

laptop

So they’re my money thoughts this week and the frugal things I’ve done. Mainly I have been considering what being thrifty mean.s

Thrifty means many things doesn’t it? Some action, some thinking, some researching.

What do you think thrifty means?

I hope your week has been okay and that you are well and healthy. I would love to hear from you about how you save money this week or any money thoughts that you have had.

Take care and I will see you next week for five more Frugal Thoughts

Becky

 

Join the frugal linky & share what being thrifty means to you

 Have you been exploring what thrifty means this week?

Come and link up your money-saving posts this week into the link below.  Do let your readers know that you’re linking up with the five frugal things linky by adding a little line to the bottom of your post like this one:

I’m linking up with this Cass, Emma and Becky in this week’s ‘Frugal Friday’ linky.

You might also like my post on define frugal

 

The financial benefits of renting as a family

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“This post may contain affiliate links. Check my disclosure policy for more information”

There’s certainly an expected timeline of life that’s been instilled in society for years; find a partner, buy a house, get married, have a family and retire. But of course, there’s nothing wrong with going against the status quo – and many people do. In recent years, marriage often falls lower down the priority list and people are choosing to start families younger. Similarly, more and more people are renting.

Buying a house is a huge financial commitment and getting on the property ladder is becoming more and more out of reach for many. People renting well into their 30s is becoming the norm, and as a result of this, renting as a family is too. Whilst many people may see this in a negative light, there’s actually some great financial benefits to renting for families…

Less costs to worry about

Ever heard the phrase, ‘renting is dead money’? Whilst it’s true that you’re paying someone else’s mortgage instead of your own, you’ll be living a less financially-complicated lifestyle as a result. There are a lot of costs that come with owning a home; stamp duty tax, solicitor fees, buildings insurance, home maintenance repairs, plus the cost of selling-up and moving. 

When you’re renting, all these costs (and more!) are for your landlord to worry about. All you need to do is make sure your rent is paid on time, and perhaps cover your bills if not included in your fixed monthly payments to your landlord. Whilst you’re not saving every penny for a house deposit, or spending time trying to find the best remortgage deal to free up some money for a new car, you’re left with more money for the things that matter; days out with the kids, family holidays and making memories.

No home maintenance costs

When you rent and the property needs a little TLC – be that structural repairs, fixing leaks or boilers – these responsibilities all fall to your landlord. Every landlord should have landlord insurance. There’s plenty of great insurance policies out there and landlords can use companies such as CIA to compare and be sure that they are getting the best deal on specialist insurance and contents insurance. Unless any damage in the property was your fault or any items damaged belong to you, or the fault of anyone in your household, this is another cost you can avoid. 

So long as you’re looking after the property, you won’t be hit with any unexpected maintenance costs – something that homeowners need to keep in mind. Although it’s always sensible to have money set aside when things go wrong, you can focus on things such as any necessary car repairs, parking tickets, replacing broken furniture – whatever it may be.

Home ownership doesn’t always mean equity

A big argument for buying a house is the equity that you’ll then gain in the house, meaning you’ve always got money behind you. Whilst this is completely true, home ownership equity doesn’t always equate to profits. 

The housing market is quite unstable at the moment; first with the uncertainty of Brexit, now with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic… House values in your area could always decrease, which would drag down the value of your home and lose you money when you come to sell. 

Furnished properties

Quite often with a rental property, you’ll find that some come partially – or perhaps even fully – furnished. Be that with sofas, bed frames, or white goods and appliances such as fridges, freezers and dishwashers. When you buy a house, you then have to fill it with everything you need to live comfortably. Whilst there’s certainly something nice about doing this, it takes a lot of time, energy and of course money. 

If you do move into a partially furnished rental property and the furnishings are not to your taste, then that’s ok. It’s always worth asking your landlord if there’s minor changes that you can make. If you want to swap out things for your own, it’s usually not an issue if you can keep whatever was there before safe, ready to swap back out if you ever move to a different property. 

Everyone lives a little differently. If you can buy a house and that’s what you want, then that’s great. If you can’t, then renting is no inferior option. There’s many financial benefits to renting as a family, leaving you better off with more time and money to spend on your precious loved ones.

Free postcards to send to loved ones during lockdown

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Today – Free postcards to send to loved ones during lockdown

 

Be quick! 5000 available.

CEWE is giving away thousands of free postcards to help people across the UK keep in touch with friends and family during lockdown.

The photo printing specialist has launched the offer in a bid to help people stay connected, even when they have to be apart. Whether it’s a simple gesture of support, a heartfelt ‘I miss you’ or a message of thanks to an everyday hero, CEWE is offering people the chance to create a postcard for their loved one free of charge, including delivery.

It comes after new research by CEWE revealed just how much looking at photos can boost our mood, with the research revealing that looking back on our memories makes us feel happy (56%) and relaxed (30%).

Free postcards

Clare Moreton, photo expert at CEWE, said: “We know the power that photos and messages can have in bringing people closer together, even when they have to be apart, so we wanted to help people across the UK to keep in touch with their loved ones by offering our postcards free of charge. Our app makes creating a postcard quick and easy to do and we encourage people to take up our offer – just a small note to say hello could really brighten up somebody’s day.”

To get the offer, download the free app from CEWE on your smartphone or tablet, design a postcard and enter the code SENDJOY when checking out.

It’s that simple and you will make someone superhappy

To find out more visit: https://cewe-photoworld.com/postcard-offer

 

If you are finding things tough you might also like to take a look at my post on a frugal week in Lockdown how to manage anxiety in lockdown

How To Make Packed Lunches Easier (& cheaper!)

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“This post may contain affiliate links. Check my disclosure policy for more information”

Are you one of the many thousands who is guilty of rushing around in a morning desperately trying to figure out something you can put in your children’s lunch box last minute? If you end up all flustered and opt for buying school dinner because packed lunches just seems like too much of a hassle, take a look at the tips below to help make packed lunches easier (and cheaper!)

Getting Organised For School

It will ease the pressure, may get us to school on time and get you into the habit of getting organised so preparing pack up becomes quick and easy instead of feeling like a chore!

Start With A List And Go Shopping 

Just like I talk about in my beginners guide to meal planning, sit down with your kids and create a list of all the lunches they like. Ours are very basic and are mainly corned beef, cheese, jam or cooked chicken sandwiches in bread, wraps or breadcakes but it doesn’t have to stop there. Although it may be difficult to put together reheated leftovers and hope that they just keep warm in an insulated bag; you could always create a mixed salad, couscous or something similar. The key is to find lunch foods and snacks that your kids will eat that are also easy to pack. 

Once you have several different lunch ideas your kids like and will actually eat, you can simply rotate through them and make the ingredients part of your weekly shopping trips. 

Don’t forget to freeze anything you can too and avoid any fresh foods going to waste. We pop in the packed lunches frozen savouries for example. By the time lunch time comes around they are defrosted and ready to eat!

Pack Lunches The Night Before 

Another tip that I should really take a leaf out of my own book on is preparing pack lunches the night before. Mornings are busy and not always the perfect time to have to worry about what you put in yesterday or what it should be today. We should really try to pack them after dinner at night because when the kids go to bed I do not want to move!

You can even get the kids involved and have them help with lunch prep )and clean-up afterwards!). Don’t forget you can store cold items in the fridge and have everything else sitting in the lunch box ready to go. It wouldn’t actually take us long to get into a rhythm of preparing lunches whilst we are cleaning up after dinner. I know I will appreciate this new habit in the morning when all we need to do is grab a couple of things from the fridge and chuck themin the kids bags.

Prep What You Can As Soon As You Get Home 

When you get home from the food shop, keep lunch foods out and see what you can do to prep things ahead of time.

child in blue striped t-shirt holding a plastic box of raspberries

Instead of putting that bag of grapes away, go ahead and wash and store them in little bags you can grab and toss in the lunch box. The same goes for things like carrots and even salads. Slice cheese as needed and as I’ve already touched on be sure to freeze any savouries.

Get In The Habit Of Cleaning Lunch Boxes As Soon As The Kids Get Home 

To make lunch prep even easier, get the kids into the habit of cleaning out their lunch box as soon as they get back from school. Mine does empty his every single day & when my youngest starts staying pack up she will do the same. Granted it’s usually in the morning before I repack it but they still do it!

My eldest also put’s his drink and any containers near the sink to be washed and bins any uneaten food. Having everything clean and ready to go will make it easier to pack the new lunches later on that night.

We should all (even me!) stick to these tips because it won’t take us long at all to get into an efficient lunch packing routine. Good luck in trying to get the kids involved but if we maybe put them in charge of much of the preparations; not only will this make your life easier in the long run, it will give them a sense of ownership over their lunch too!

If you have any tips on how to make packed lunches easier then please feel free to drop your ideas in the comments down below!

Sustainable Pest Control In Your Garden

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Working towards a more sustainable lifestyle by growing your own food is all well and good but it’s probably defeating the object to a degree if you are resorting to poisons to get rid of unwanted critters!

Don’t worry though, there are several things you can do before resorting to poisons that will also poison your food supply. The key point to remember with pest control in your flower bed or vegetable patches is that we are not trying to remove the pest completely but to protect your plants and crops from serious damage. So here’s to a pest-free garden without having to use harmful chemicals.

Natural Insecticides

Did you know that there are many things you can plant that will actually deter predators from your garden?  Planting marigolds for example in your garden will repel many bugs so be sure to check with your local garden centre or nursery to find out what plants can repel the pests you have in your yard.

Barriers can also be created to prevent rodents from getting into your garden using chicken wire.

If you have infestations of grub worms or insects, you may want to consider an alternative type of pest control. Be careful what you buy though because any insecticide for sale in the UK must go through a registration process, especially if the product claims control of an insect pest so don’t just buy anything.

Many potential garden pests are actually sensitive to specific features which make things a lot easier (and safer!) than using any form of liquid at all. Slugs, for example, do not like copper piping or the sharp edges of eggshells so if you find slugs in and around your planters, such materials may keep many species away. Other methods to keep pests away are plastic bottles and straw around the base of plants.

Simply spraying your plants with water or with a light soap solution is another method and one that has been used for some time to remove aphids and similar species from flowers too.

Natural predators can also be used to help get rid of unwanted pests.  For example, adding ladybugs to your garden will help to eliminate aphids from attacking plants.  Having a pet dog or cat can also help get rid of unwanted rodents!

We have to remember though that not all invaders to your garden should be considered unwelcome though!  We actually need insects to help pollinate plants and decompose the soil.  Earthworms are excellent at helping to decompose organic matter in the soil and provide nutrients for plant growth so there’s no need to get rid of everything during pest during your sustainable pest control.

In general, unless insects are eating your plants’ leaves or harvesting your veggies before you get the chance, you may just want to leave them alone. 

Part of living a sustainable lifestyle is learning which organisms can actually work with you for plant growth so I hope these sustainable pest control tips help!

Feel free to Pin to read again later!