Treating Yourself On A Budget

It’s hard to believe but we’re already in December;  that time of the year that we all either love or loathe. Regardless of how we feel  about it, we all tend to end up having to be quite tight with our budgets once Christmas comes knocking but I want to give you a few ideas that will let you still treat yourself, even when the money isn’t flowing.

A lot of these things will be obvious but at a time, such a Christmas, we often forget about treating ourselves; in the rush of present buying, present wrapping, card writing, decorating, food shopping and plenty more as well, we forget that sometimes we need to just step back and have a bit of time for ourselves, or spend a little money on ourselves just to get that ‘feel good’ factor. Thankfully there are Plenty of ways to do that without having to cut back on your present buying or having less tinsel on your tree.

Firstly Shopping Trips – Now not everyone enjoys shopping but if you do you know how dangerous it can be when you’re low on funds. That said it doesn’t have to mean that you can’t shop at all, you just need to be shopping savvy. Shops like Poundland, Wilkinsons and Primark may have bad reputations but they’re absolute treasure troves if you’re wanting to treat yourself without breaking the bank – Pop in to Poundland for a nice scented candle, some chocolate and even a dvd, maybe a trip to Primark for some nice new fluffy slippers and suddenly you’ve got a much nicer evening and the joy of retail therapy all for £5.50!

And what about Date Night? Never, ever, forget about Orange Wednedays – If you’re not on Orange then find a friend who is and ask them to send you their code if they’re not using it. The cinema is So expensive but if you Really want to see a film then getting it BOGOF is going to make a massive difference. Also check out voucher sites as they often have vouchers for restaurants, similarly if you collect Tesco Clubcard points you can get some fantastic vouchers to go towards a nice meal out.

If you’re normally someone who likes to go on nights out to see your friends then maybe you can consider a Luxe Night In instead. Why’s it Luxe? Well you’re going to spend a little more than you would, normally, on a night in but it’s still going to be Much less than you would on a night out. If everyone brings a drink, a dvd, a bag of pop corn or sweets and a bottle of nail polish then you can have a great night in. The host can cook some cheap oven cooked pizzas and garlic bread (which everyone can chip in for and which can be surprisingly nice if you get them from the fresh rather than frozen section, and Still very cheap) and then you can all swap and use someone else’s nail polish to mix things up, maybe bring some face masks as well and you can have a pamper session, watch some different films as everyone’s brought something different and eat some tasty food all for a Very small amount.

In a more general sense never forget 3 for 2 offers, if you’re a beauty junkie, like me, then Boots and Superdrugs’ offers are just fantastic and that’s not to mention reward points too – I can have a whole shopping trip just on reward points if I’ve saved up a bit! And don’t forget to use sites like Topcashback, you can earn plenty throughout the year and then when the more frugal months hit you’ve got some money saved so you can still look after yourself whilst buying lovely things for everyone else!

As well as money saving sites there are also streaming sites such as Netflix and Love Film, if you’re a movie buff then maybe, instead of buying dvds, you can subscribe to one of these services and still enjoy your favourite films without breaking the bank.

There’s so many ideas once you put your mind to it – I think the most important thing to remember is that, even during the festive period when you’re trying so hard to please everyone else, it’s ok to take some time out or spend a little bit of your budget on yourself!

 This is a guest post by Laura from Petit Moi Big World.

Does meal planning work for you?

When it comes to saving money, I am pretty much game for anything. There are some that go that extra mile too far for me, however I will give most things a shot. One such thing that I keep seeing across the board is meal planning. Myself and Steve don’t meal plan as such, we often just see what is in the freezer or cupboards and try to make something out of it. However, this often leads us down the wrong path as we often find we are missing just one ingredient or that one ingredient should have been defrosted for 24 hours first…meaning we have to plan something else entirely or buy even more of said ingredient to use straight away – hardly moneysaving!

I have, however, decided to give proper meal planning a go. There are numerous threads about it on MSE and many bloggers post their meal plan for the week. Whilst Steve works odd shifts, I cannot guarantee that my meal plans will be Monday to Monday but I do plan on posting my meal plans once a week – the day won’t necessarily be consistent though.

We are going to properly start next week – Steve goes on nights on Friday night so I am cooking tea for just me and Jack for 4 or 5 days. We are also going food shopping with our £100 Tesco gift card on Thursday and grabbing plenty of stuff for the freezer and the cupboards – unfortunately, this does mean that I will be frantically pulling everything out tomorrow to see what is out of date or what we don’t need to pick up at the supermarket.

I’m keen to know if meal planning works for you. Tonight we are having pasta bake – a cheap option – and something that will fill us all up, plus leave some for Steve to take for lunch tomorrow. What is on your current meal plan for the week?