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Don’t Panic!
Don’t Panic!

Easter School Holidays are upon us (at least here the in the UK they are!) – they are a difficult one to plan as the weather at this time of year is a bit unpredictable. It could be anything from glorious sunshine (friend of the frugal) or knee deep in snow – this year the forecast is for the cold stuff…

This can make 2-3 weeks off school hard to plan and prepare for. Here are 10 suggestions that I hope are worth your consideration…

 

  1. Visit to a car showroom, lots to look at and ‘play’ with ahem…
  2. Continue your love affair with a local library
  3. Visit to the toy shop (bear with me…) to make a Christmas or birthday list. Mine love this – you give them a pad and pencil to write down the names of things they love, and then in the car on the way home they give the list numbers so most wanted is number one etc. For some kids you could let them take photos maybe? You can also grab any free catalogues or similar and make a collage list when you get home. Supermarkets are good for this as well, and you can grab some bread and milk while you are there.
  4. Wrapping sessions, we try to get gifts for friends and relatives organised in advance and then have a grand card making and present wrapping session on the table, works for us.
  5. Indoor challenges,  – try making an assault course, playing traditional games like pass the parcel (with toys they already have or sweets/treats from the cupboard) or musical statues. If you have older children you can try a board game or jigsaw day
  6. Cut up any Easter egg boxes, wrapping paper etc so you have a collection of pictures you can then use to make a collage. You are likely to have things related to farms and Spring so use that as your theme.
  7. Plant some seeds. This is a good time of year to grow things indoors, easy options could be cress seeds, sunflower seeds and beans. Watching things grow is always such fun and you can sneak in a bit of science too… 
  8. Hunt the ______ games aren’t just for Easter! You could cut up the letters of their name and hide them around the house. Or cut up the favourite characters in a TV show and they have to find the whole gang.
  9. Collections… these are actually a real pain in the neck as we end up with bags and boxes of weird things we can’t identify all over the house BUT they do keep kids occupied for quite long periods so probably worth it. You can take a walk in the woods (don’t forget a thermos of hot chocolate or soup if it’s cold) and collect, pine cones, seed pods, sticks, stones, feathers, leaves etc. Try not to pull blossom off the trees!
  10. We have a free download with a week of kids activities you can print off and use – just follow this link and add your email address x
Stop the Press!
Stop the Press!

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

Happy Planning!
Happy Planning!

As our new series Staying Sane in the Summer continues, it’s made me realise just how much planning I do for school holidays – I’ve never written it down before and I was genuinely surprised that I could fill every day in July with ideas! I do find myself more able to enjoy time with the kids when I have a back up of activities, lots of ideas, know what’s available locally and some fixed points in the holiday for certain events. I don’t dread them like some families do (that’s not to suggest I don’t find them exhausting…). Today I mention some of the things we’ve had from school, the NHS provides brilliant resources via their Change4Life program to reduce childhood obesity – these ones are based on the LazyTown TV show that our kids have loved – so much free fun to be found.

Another aspect of planning the time is that you can see where busy and quiet times will happen, we like to have down time to just watch tv or play as it’s supposed to be a holiday… if you can see when you have free activities planned it’s nice to then just have days at home in the garden or making forts.

I’m trying to enjoy this process of planning – rather than looking at it as a chore I’m focusing on having precious time with the kids, we’ll have about 18 Summers with them before they don’t want to be seen with us (probably less than that!). When I thought of it like that it didn’t seem enough time at all, as they saying goes the days are long but the years are short… enjoy this Summer xx

 

The Staying Sane in the Summer series is a gallery of tips, ideas, links and downloads to help you plan and manage the long School Summer Break. I really hope it helps you to enjoy feeling more in control of the time and to have fun with your family without worrying too much about the cost as most of the things you will be doing are going to be free or very frugal. Kids really don’t need much money spent, they like fairly simple things – it’s often adults that go for the most expensive options as they may have lost confidence in their ability to stay sane with the children home for that long.

It’s been a while…
It’s been a while…

This is my first Thursday Thought in a very long time – and as I started to type, I realised just how much I’ve missed it. The last few months have been, shall we say, ‘Challenging’… I thought I could write a website, run a household, care for four completely crazy kids, walk the dog and remain sane quickly. I was wrong. It’s been so hard to learn all these new technical terms and skills (and I thought I was pretty IT savvy!), and then just when I felt ready to share this work with the world – my site got hacked and I was too devastated to start again for a while.

But, I just love it – I love the feedback I get from people who say an idea helped them in some way, or that they have connected with our worries and concerns and appreciate our efforts to share our small changes into big changes philosophy. Frugal doesn’t mean cheap, and it certainly means planning and effort – the rewards are worth it though, and this website is worth it. I like what I’m doing, and I’m not going to let a poor hosting company change that – so I’ve moved to a great one called www.laskos.com. It was nice to be reminded that there are good people in the world x

So, sorry but there will be lots more where this came from!!!

Thursday Thought 43

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.

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Thursday Thought 38

Everything is more exciting when it’s made into a funny shape- I even got away with emergency ‘pizza’ made from a slice of bread because I cut them into Halloween spiders 🕷 

Phew! 

  

Reuse and Recycle

Just to prove I’m not the only person banging on about reusing mugs, or using recycled products, here is The Guardian showcasing the argument for coffee shops (you know who I mean…) being more green. However, we can all make an individual difference too, but recycling our cups or taking our own – and yes, this is going to be another photo of my own re-using mug as I love it sooooo much.

Pay attention coffee shop types…

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Thursday Thought 36

Stamps! I was so thrilled to be in touch with these guys on Twitter- I remember sending off used stamps to Blue Peter as a child but had no idea they could still be recycled and raise vital funds.

I would encourage everyone to do this simple thing, I know we use traditional post much less and receive lots of post without stamps on at all but please save what you can ✉️💌📮📦

Stamps for Charity

Save Stamps – Guest Post

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 which has a regularly updated list of UK charities needing used stamps, including the RNLI, many health and animal charities.

stamps

T-shirt Re-shirt

Another great recycling project, this time with old but loved t-shirts. Sometimes you just can’t throw them away, and here are some fun ideas of how to give them a second life. This is particularly nice with kids clothes that they have grown out of, or loved items that have been worn until holes appeared…

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FMetDaanMagazine%2Fvideos%2F1966702713567443%2F&show_text=0&width=560“>T-shirt Re-shirt

Show me your makes!