National Hugging Day!
Who can resist celebrating this wonderful day? We certainly can’t here at Frugal HQ, and with the cold weather and a hibernation sensation cuddling up under a quilt sounds pretty perfect. National Hugging Day is on the 21st January every year, and although it started in the US it’s travelled the world with it’s message of kindness and support.
The message also fits with where The Frugal Family is at currently, I’ve been developing ideas about how to best support families who are looking to become more ethical and frugal in 2018. There are a number of ways it could have gone, I was quite taken with the idea of a magazine… but that didn’t feel personal enough, so I’m going to start a membership group called
Plan It, Do It, Love It!
There is already a facebook group (who came up with the name – thanks x) with daily threads and ideas which will continue as it is, but I wanted to be able to have a more personal impact on families that really want to get motivated and start living in action. So… after much deliberation I’m starting a separate group for people that want the nitty-gritty. I think my 15 years of lecturing and as a qualified Life Coach are going to be a great background for the group.
Benefits of joining are:
- Running monthly planning sessions together online to get your calendar under control and support with finding savings and planning ahead.
- Q&A workshops relevant to the monthly theme – this will be linked to the main page theme, but more flexible.
- Exclusive resources.
- Discounts for members with ethical and frugal businesses.
- Guest specialists to help us out through the year.
ALL e-books and courses that the The Frugal Family has solely produced in the shop will be FREE to members. This includes the NEW Meal Planning and Sourcing Your Food 5 Day E-course at £25! which will be available next month.
I would expect you to save or make the fee each month (and more!), or over the year by working hard and completing your monthly ‘challenge’ we set together.
Membership to Plan It, Love It, Do It! will be just £9.99 per month (first month FREE)
or £99.99 for 12 months (2 Months FREE) paid up front .
This is a special price to help us get going and trial a number of ideas on these willing guinea pigs!
The first LIVE month will be March, but you can sign up now to grab your place, and access our Resources Bank and some other fun things for our February Founder Members – including a 1:1 chat with me to get you started.
It’s a really wonderful time of year to start your frugal journey, or to up your game if you are already on the road – and a bit of help with ideas, accountability and self care can only help. I’m using my own experience as the basis for the membership – the things that I wished I’d had access to, I’ve also used several polls in the fb group to see what people want and need to become the ethically frugal family they wish to be.
This confidential and friendly space, with some coaching and support will be a really safe place to discuss ideas and solve problems, with other parents and people who will really ‘get’ it. I hope you can join us, and I’m looking forward to meeting you face to face in our first Zoom meeting. If you sign up you will receive a welcome email with all the details you need.
If you would like to support us, but don’t think membership is for you we have a Patreon account you can sign up to for just £2 per month x
Say goodbye to June…
We are ending June with a cleaning frenzy… not an actual one because I hate cleaning, but all the theory is here on the website. We’ve made a few changes since starting our project, mostly in the products we buy and in the reduction in waste and water usage. It’s great for the environment but also helped with our savings so it’s a win-win. There are some great tips here for greening up your cleaning in all areas of the house – and they should save you some money too. You can find them on here or our YouTube Channel.
Plans for July
- Our free e-book should be out next month with seven ways to start your frugal journey.
- We also have the monthly newsletter starting for those who would like to learn more about us and what we’re up to, it’s not a copy of what’s on here, but all new and exclusive info!
- You can join our community at the bottom of every page xx
- We will be starting the planning for the School Summer Break – Staying Sane in the Holidays with our new page Frugal Events – I can’t wait.
June is Family Finance Month on our frugal planner…
We are finishing off our look at insurances, and as I start writing the next batch of ideas about how to balance the books at home (cleaning – ugh), I was saddened to learn of a family at our school that have a poorly little one, I gave our best wishes etc – and it struck me that our little family is in no way financially covered for needing to be off work if the kids have a long term illness or hospital stay… Critical illness cover usually means that if the person earning is too ill to work a payment will be made – but what if the person earning is ok, but needs to stay in hospital with their child?
I’ve been speaking to the lovely, helpful and well-informed Louise at AJProtect about what parents may need to think about when discussing the insurance needs of the whole family. It was an eye-opening conversation!
- Families need to have some Life Insurance so that if one parent dies, there is enough money for the surviving person to care for the children, pay the bills and keep the house running. This means that even non-earning parents need cover – as without them so many tasks would have to be paid for!
- Critical Illness cover CAN include your children up to age 17. Any payout will depend on what’s wrong – but the main ‘core’ illnesses are usually covered. For example, in the Vitality Life plan, a payout of between £5000-£25000 would be included.
- There is also something called Income Protection, when you are signed off from work you can claim 60% of your gross pay as a monthly income until you are fit to return to work. As the illness of a child means you may well be signed off with stress – this cover is also worth considering for parents. It would also be an important one to consider should a parent become ill as the bills still need to be paid…
Looking carefully at your family finances isn’t always a very comfortable conversation – but is certainly one of the most important ones you can have as a family. We have tried to share our experiences and research in the Finances section – we haven’t completed all the work ourselves yet, and working out how to much we can pay for monthly insurances is our next task. When you are responsible for children it suddenly seems so much more important to have a backup plan.
I’ve been talking to Louise as I’ve found her to be on my wave-length, it’s a good option to discuss things with a professional when you’re ready. You can find someone via your bank or building society, via your employer or look online. If you are in the UK and want to talk to Louise you can contact her at AJ Protect 01473 35 15 85 or tweet her @ajprotectltd.
It’s been a much calmer week all round, and so ‘we’ have started to consider what we are buying for Christmas and lists have been created – presents, food, cards etc. One strategy we use is to stick to one supermarket and use their points scheme, this means we have a nice sum to use for our Christmas Treat Foods.
A new strategy is to use TopCashBack for items we buy online (we also order things via this for family and friends). I am totally amazed by how much we have saved over the year by using TopCashBack and when I was checking how to actually get the money out I realised that you can get an extra 6% more money FOR FREE by having your money on a shop card instead of straight to your bank. This could be used as a gift card for someone, or in a shop we are likely to be getting presents from anyway – with four kids every penny counts.
One great way to support local business people is to shop locally, particularly in the run up to Christmas. I will be doing a post about that in more detail next week, but here I wanted to focus on the great power of holding a ‘party’ at home and inviting one or more local sellers to come along.
These are usually very informal gatherings that are useful on lots of levels
- your friends get to meet up for a day/night out,
- they get to shop easily without queues and carrying heavy bags,
- they also get more unusual gifts or discounts,
- The benefit of being the host is that you will either get a ‘thank you’ gift, or a heavy discount on your own purchases, as well as the loveliness of having friends over for a catch up.
We have done this to support local businesses with lots of mutual benefits, those people have become lasting contacts and it’s a really nice way to shop. There are loads of different parties you can host, from cosmetics, kitchen wares, books and clothes. Our favourites are Phoenix Trading and Arbonne both offer a very personal service, have great products and people really enjoy seeing and buying them.
Used postage stamps, from anywhere in the world, of any age, are a valuable way for charities to raise funds. They sell these stamps, usually by the sack, to stamp collectors. Called “Philately”, stamp collecting is a thriving hobby among people of all ages. You can learn about different countries histories, culture, communications, and much more. We all receive mail, and normally once we are finished with the envelope, it ends up in the bin – but this is a way that you can save something that you might likely throw away (what could be better than saving something from landfill, or the compost bin, and at the same time supporting whatever cause is important to you, as well?) Save stamps from your office mail, Christmas cards, birthday cards, anything with a stamp on. Once you are finished with the envelope, carefully tear the stamp off the envelope, taking care to remove an area of paper around the stamp. Collectors like the stamp to be undamaged, and even check for the perforations (those frilly bits around the stamp edges!). Removing an area of paper around the stamp, ensures that the stamp is undamaged and therefore worth the most to the charity. If you would like to find charities to support with your used stamps, have a look at http://usedstampsforcharity.weebly.com/ which has a regularly updated list of UK charities needing used stamps, including the RNLI, many health and animal charities.
Re-use all the junk mail envelopes you get. You can add labels or just scribble out the address. I have a stash for all the returns we have to send into school.
Before ordering from Approved Foods, clear out your cupboards (and maybe the shed too!?!)
The school holidays are upon us, and we now have four kids eating us out of house and home… quick fixes are lots of home baking (double whammy of cheap AND entertainment) and Approved Foods, who sell off near to and out of date foods. We have just ordered enough food for snacks etc to last the whole of the holidays, all in date until the end of August for less than one lunch out for us all!
I’ve been pondering how very many things I WANT – don’t need, just want.
While I think it’s important that life if full of beautiful unnecessary things to be enriched, I can see the practical side of leaving some things in the shop to be enjoyed by someone else (great positive re-framing there!). Not only is this good for my impulse control practice, but is also a great money saving technique.
I’m working on trying to consider what I will do with an item, what other things I could use that money for, what I will feel if I leave it for someone else… it’s a bit mindfulness and a bit frugal. It feels more of a choice than a strict budget imposed from someone mean – I’ll let you know how it goes…