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My Diary For 2023

Every year I write a blog post about which diary system or set up I am going to use for the following twelve months. In recent years, I have moved away from a Filofax (I trialled something earlier this year - more of that in a minute) and fallen in love with the Hobonichi printed diaries. For the last two years I have used a Hobonichi Weeks as my personal planner and I won't be deviating from that this year. I have tried a Hobonichi Techo A6 a couple of times but have never managed to feel comfortable with it size-wise.  I have always lusted after the Hobonichi Cousin A5 as a main work planner so, this year, I have bitten the bullet at launch time and invested in my very first one. Hobonichi Weeks The Hobonichi Weeks is a slim diary with a yearly, monthly and weekly layout. The main section is a "week to view with notes" and there are an additional 70 note pages at the back. This year (2022) I used the "Mega" version which comes with almost three times as m

Saving IS Fun, I Promise - Guest Post

Today, I have a guest post from Tamsin Oxford, one of the team of writers at Playpennies - a UK Parenting website with top tips, money saving posts and great snippets of news.  In return I have written a little piece for them on Healthy Lunch Boxes on a Budget which you may find useful for picnics over the summer holiday or when the new school term starts in September.  So, over to Tamsin who, I'm sure, will have some handy hints to help us save some pennies over the next few months...
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Saving is fun. It is. I promise. No, it isn’t always a tedious chore that demands more of your time than you actually have and gives you a headache and results in your eating that chocolate you shouldn’t. Although, yes, sometimes it is that too.

There are things in life that you can’t avoid paying for – your house, your transport, your food , and your clothes. And your holiday (a break is often essential for your own sanity).

How often have you walked out of your local after doing the monthly shop and felt physically ill because of how much it cost? It’s time to get in on the Great Bargain Hunt. This has become something of a national past time now, and sites like HotUKDeals are positively thrumming with people who love to hunt down special offers.

Spend some time looking for offers on your essential items, preferably non-perishables, and buy them in bulk. Sometimes the stores don’t even charge for postage so you can do it in a flash and have everything come to you. No travel costs expended, no carrying heavy bags while juggling a tot, no sweaty slow people blocking your way.

You can even sort out your clothes, your kids’ school clothes, and other home essentials at the same time.
The other thing, which I started using recently, is the voucher code. I know it sounds like a lot of work but when you see even more money coming off a special offer you just found, you feel fantastic. Recently I bought a product that was already down by £80 and, thanks to a handy voucher code, I got another £10 taken off. It removed my delivery cost and made me feel smug for days.

Vouchers are also ace for those nights when you just can’t face cooking but balk at the cost of take-out. Many of the big fast foodies, like Pizza Express and Dominos, have vouchers available online so you can get up to £7 taken off your final order. Or even a free pizza.

Hunting for bargains does take time. It does. But it can become very addictive. You can buy fantastic birthday and Christmas presents for a fraction of their normal retail prices and the money you save can go straight into your holiday account.

That’s a neat trick I learned from a money expert too. When you do save money, take the difference and pop it into a savings account. This also applies to when you go on diet or quit smoking. Calculate how much you used to spend a day on chocolates or cigarettes, and put that into this account. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll have at the end of the month.

This money can either be your emergency fund to support those unexpected crises, like a collapsing car or roof, or it can go towards your next holiday. While the former isn’t half as nice as the latter, you won’t be as inclined to rock back and forth sobbing as you would have been without these savings.

I’ve always been really fond of finding bargains on the internet and initially I was teased, a lot. Now people come to me when they’re desperate to find something but don’t want to pay a fortune for it.  Whenever we get together they always ask me what bargains I uncovered that week.

Personally, I love it, and will even send great deals along to other people who need similar things. Gone are the dusty days of pained expressions and now saving is fun. FUN!

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Thank you Tamsin - some REALLY great pointers there.  I know a lot of you out there are fanatic and fantastic savers so the comments box is OPEN for all your top tips.  Where are those voucher codes to be found?  Do you have a "money back" scheme that you want to promote?  Have you found a great little website that offers discounts for ordering online?  Share the links here and lets all save some money in the long run.

Photo Credit 1: Google Images
Photo Credit 2: Google Images