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Monday, 26 March 2018

My Driving Journey

For anyone who knows me, I don't drive, or at least I didn't until last October. See, when something happens and you realise how helpless you are (husband hospitalised last year) it forces you to bite the bullet, and face your biggest fear. My biggest fear being the idea of driving. I had never really wanted to, and didn't feel at all able to do it.
Of course, last October I got into a car, and started learning. Yes, there have been challenges, but.....surprise surprise, even though I am out of my comfort zone, I am enjoying it; plus I have the added bonus of learning with my kids! Ha ha, we are often swapping notes on driving experiences, and best sites to visit for theory. (Which I passed in February)
I have definitely had scares, just this last weekend: people not giving way at a roundabout, and just zooming through, someone weaving over into my lane in the town centre (heading straight for me), a horse lorry suddenly deciding it was a great thing to park vertically across the road on a bend on a 60m.p.h road, a bloke with a van deciding the main road was a great place for his kids to be while he was blocking half the road.

Last week I took my first test.....but, failed. I had two minors, and one serious fault for positioning in wrong part to turn right in a one way system. I had realised that it was one way, but the end of the road came quickly, plus it was in the country, and there was nothing other than the dotted lines, which I had of course failed to notice!

The biggest challenge was night driving, but now getting used to that, and if anything driving in cities is easier in the dark in my opinion. Next biggest has been parking, as there are new moves in the new test, including pulling up on the right, and reversing two car lengths. Sounds easy, but it isn't if the road isn't straight.

There are so many things you can fail on; signalling too early, or too late, going too slow/fast, hesitation, positioning, steering, bumping the curb, causing someone else to slow down, or stop, incorrect observations. It isn't just a case of following the road! In fact, it is exhausting, and I don't know about anyone else, but it makes me starving! Also, the independent driving on the new test is twice as long, so twice as long to make an error! You can fail because of someone elses' mistake if your response is not appropriate, or reaction not quick enough. I wonder how many who passed years ago would pass now? Definitely not everyone judging the state of some people's driving.

Anyway, hopefully next time I will pass? I don't know, but it is scary!

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Weekly Food Shop Savings Without Compromise

I used to often buy brands such as Mcvities, Kenco, Nestle, and Andrex, but of late have been disgusted by the shrinking of the pack sizes. Shreddies is only 440 grams (that is 60grams lost) Digestives are 100grams smaller, Andrex have less tissues, and so on. I decided that I would check out the supermarket brands and see which were the best. Of course I already buy some supermarket brands, but was reluctant to change on stuff like butter, biscuits, shreddies, and coffee. I have since changed my mind, and will run through all our favourites, having tried them all!

Now, I was really annoyed when Anchor, and the other main brands hit past the £3 level. I had previously bought for £2 on offer, but couldn't find any! So, I tried all the supermarket spreadable butter brands, and Asda was the worst, but Tesco was the best, and more real butter content than the leading brand.

Asda own brands have top marks. They have a huge range, and they are super cheap. For example, you can get multigrain loops for 89p a box. There are loads to choose from- malted wheats, wheatbisks, cornflakes, fruit, and fibre etc. They have the best range of any supermarket.

Again, Asda wins, their chocolate biscuits are excellent, and 44 pence for 300 g a fraction of the price of Mcvities.

Asda's range wins again. Their own brand columbian coffee is superb, though we didn't like the Italian one, as it was too bitter. £1.99 for 100g.
Also, their 200g coffee is only £2.39 60p cheaper than the other brands.

Be interested to hear your favourites.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Powershop- a Fantastic New Way of Saving on Electricity

If you are looking to trim off your budget, then Powershop is a good way forward. I recently did an energy price comparison, and spotted Powershop; a new energy company on the market, and offering a new way to save money.
Basically, you need to download the app, or monitor on your PC regularly. I tend to send a reading every other day. Unlike other electricity accounts they update your bill on the spot, so no getting out the calculator!

One thing I have learned, to make the savings you really do have to purchase in advance. Easy once you know how! They have powerpacks on offer, so worth checking back daily for this. Let me give you an example; over Black Friday week they offered a pack saving 39% ish, and Friday 13th. There have been some random tropical packs, and seasonal packs. The other way of buying packs is to buy the future packs, and you are allowed five of these and the savings vary- The February pack (which will actually cover me from Jan 4th to February 3rd) is offering a 23.7% saving on their standard tariffs.

Now, the first month I ended up paying around 11p per KWH for my electric. I could have brought that down to 10, but was still working out how to use it! Once you get into the swing of things it is easy, as long as you check back regularly.

I like the element of control it offers, and all the graphs and such. It has helped me to bring my consumption down a little, as I know more about when my energy consumption is high.

I liked the fact that customer services were easy to email, and got back in the day with an answer to my question. Very quick switchover too.

If you want to give it a go I have a £25 referral link here in which you will receive £25 when you are switched. What's not to love? If you are paying more than 11p per kilowatt hour you will definitely make savings, plus no unexpected bills. In the last two months it says: ''In the last 2 months you've saved
off Standard Tariff Rates.''

Friday, 10 November 2017

Christmas Money Saving Ideas

When there are a lot of people to buy gifts for Christmas can be daunting, and not to mention expensive. It doesn't have to be. Already this week I showed my mum how to save £7 on her purchase with the help of Google! Not to mention introducing two of my eldest to Topcashback on 'have to purchase stuff.'
First things first though, I do start in January. Stuff is sold at knockdown then.
I will share some of the ways I have saved money this year:
1) Closing down sales in the summer. (75% off stock prices)
2) Buying random Poundland purchases throughout the year. (Stock changes)
3) Groupon etc for stuff like gift vouchers. ( recently purchased two Curry's gift vouchers for £10 instead of £20)
4) Amazon Warehouse deals, and 'seconds.' (often just scruffy packaging)
5) Googling the item you are looking for for the lowest price, and possibly getting it secondhand. (I just got a book for £3 instead of £12)

My golden rule is that I never buy a large item without pricing it online first. Often you can consider a secondhand, or refurbished version too. Great if you are on a budget!
Please share any tips you have in comments. Oh, and don't forget topcashback!

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Everyday Moneysaving

Just last week, Morrisons launched their wonky veg box. You can now buy it for £3, which I believe represents excellent value. I had a huge califlower, swede, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, onions, and cabbage.
They also do a £5 box which contains courgettes, onions,leek, swede, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, and potatoes, and an organic box for £7. I haven't tried the organic one, but it looks to be exceptional value.

Also, thinking ahead to Christmas, and chocolate tubs (I like to have some on hand for rewards, and gifts) The Morrisons ones are only £3 at the moment (usually £4) and include just over a kilo of chocolates. I have really been getting fed up of shrinking sizes; it seems the Quality Street ones have shrunk again this year, plus they are £5.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Mom Strong

I was recently fortunate enough to get a sneak preview of Heidi St John's new book, 'Mom Strong'.

To be honest it couldn't have come at a better time, as I was feeling quite discouraged due to an awful lot of setbacks, and trials. This was just the thing to remind me that we need to be firmly rooted in God's word. Heidi points us first to the word of God, and encourages us to know God's word, and read it often. That is what we need especially living in times such as these.

Each chapter is honest, sometimes raw, sometimes funny, and often you say to yourself, oh, been there too! She also has a lot of children and can identify in a way I think only mums who have had more than the average number of kids can! I really do think she is more honest than a lot of writers would dare to be! However, it makes it realistic, and definitely not sensational. There is much food for thought.

The book comes in Kindle form, or hard copy, there is a Bible study, and a journal you can buy. (I can't wait to get the Bible study, which isn't just based on the book, it is designed to get us really into the word of God)
Here is the link on Amazon

My favourite quotes from the book are:

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Back to School?

Ok, so being perfectly honest here, and about to make a shocking revelation.........we haven't actually got that much done in the way of schoolwork this week. In fact absolutely nothing happened on Monday and Tuesday (yes, you did hear right). I am afraid life happens, and that is good, well I tell myself it is a learning opportunity. Tick lifeskills, tick PE, (they went cycling), Science, (new fridge delivered)and I am sure I can come up with more.....
Monday I had a new fridge, and you know how it is; the fridge has been there 11 years and all that jazz, plus the logistics of getting it out. Fun! Not....It really did start to resemble something out of the Laurel and Hardy film where they moved the piano.
I am also in the process of organising exams and have realised after filling out all the forms till after midnight that the essential documents I need have been sent off to get licences. Fail.
No one was really in the mood for book work, as they decided that Power Rangers was much more fun. Oh, and don't think of trying to answer two phones at once, it isn't good! It does not save time, just creates confusion.
Yesterday was better, we did get work done, and the teens did some work on grammar so I can evaluate where they are at, and what needs to be worked on.
In the midst of all this son 2 started his new job, which means really early starts. Son 1 starts a new job, but he gave me a headache trying to establish what size chest and arms etc. At one point he was absolutely convinced that he was a 30 inch chest; which of course would equal around age 10. It took me quite a bit of persuading, but it didn't help the tape measure stopped after a certain point. Daughter 1 can now drive herself, but it is complicated when three need to be North, South, and East at once. Short of cutting oneself in several pieces (my husband discovered as a child that it kills worms doing that) there is not always a solution.
So, as organised as I like to be (I always set my watch fast so I get places on time) I have to accept that I can't do everything. Ha, and I definitely can't do anything without acknowledging God first. I am not superhuman, but with God all things are possible.
On the positive side the men in white coats haven't got me yet, but there is no room for complacency. Ha ha.