Monthly Round Up – The Best Ways I Made Money, Saved Money and Bargain Finds In May

May turned into a very busy month for me meaning there was very little action in terms of having clear outs to sell items etc. I only really visited supermarkets meaning I did pick up quite a few great cashback deals which saved me lots on my grocery bills which was great.

Made Money

I kicked off the first week of May with a £10 sale on Facebook Marketplace. I do love it when Marketplace runs smoothly as it is such as easy way to make some extra cash as people pick up from you. I also sold an unwanted clothing item which I was going to donate to charity as I thought it would never shift for £4 on eBay. Whilst not a huge amount, it all adds up and I was heading to the Post Office the next day to post a gift so was very pleased with this added extra. In the last week of May I sold another item I’d lost hope with for another £7.

Saved Money

Cashback Apps For Free Or Very Low Cost Snacks

I used Shopmium, Checkout Smart and Green Jinn offers to claim lots of snacks which were perfect for lunches. I ended up with:

  • 3 x Plantastic flapjacks – free
  • 6 Fruit & Veg Soreen Loaves – 12p
  • Off The Eaten Path pea snacks – free

Holland and Barrett Rewards Scheme For Free Treats

If you’ve seen other monthly round up posts of mine you may already be aware of my mild addiction to HiP Oat Milk chocolate. It is incredible and for the amount that I rave about it you’d think I was sponsored by them but sadly I am not! The bars have been appearing on Green Jinn with £1.50 off if purchased from the Holland and Barrett website. I’ve ordered this offer twice now, stacking discount codes to make each bar end up costing less than 80p each instead of £2.99.

Before placing these 2 orders I joined the Holland and Barrett reward scheme. When I went to place my third order I had a voucher worth £3.75 waiting for me to spend. I added the 4 HiP bars to my basket, stacked a 20% off code and free click and collect code as well as my voucher. All told, after cashback I paid 72p for 4 bars and a large pack of Brave Dark Chocolate roasted chickpeas. They’re all in date until next year which helped me justify this as I don’t have to plough through them all straight away. I’ll also be very hesitant about paying £2.99 per bar once this Green Jinn offer ends so thought it was sensible to stock up as I love them so much.

0 Unnecessary Beauty Buys

In May I didn’t succumb to the allure of the Boots clearance section and managed to only buy direct replacements if items ran out. I even managed to resist the 90% off Christmas gift clearance section as I didn’t need anything that desperately.

Comments Welcome

May ’21 – A Round Up Of All The Samples & Free Items I Got This Month And How I Got Them

Somehow the end of the month has crept up on me again meaning it is time to sum up all the samples and free items I managed to get in May. I’ll be honest that May was an incredibly hectic month for me so unfortunately I don’t remember how I received many of these samples and there’s a high chance that I’ve forgotten a few! I’ve included the details wherever I can recall them. Checking out my posts on how to get beauty samples will help give a good general idea.

Beauty

Gillette Pro Glide Razor – from Super Savvy Me

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti Ageing Serum – from the new sampling service Woman & Home Beauty Counter. This is a lovely generous 5ml tube size so really great for thorough testing out.

Paco Rabanne Lady Million Fabulous perfume sample

Jean Paul Gaultier So Scandal perfume sample

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r foundation sample – via an offer running one weekend where you messaged the specified accounts on Instagram to be shade matched and then receive a link for a sample.

Fenty Skin Starter Set sachet samples

Aerin Mediterranean Honeysuckle perfume sample

Estee Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Make Up SPF 45 foundation sample and Watery Glow Primer sachet.

Rituals The Ritual Of Namaste Glow skincare sachet samples

Guerlain 3 x Perfume samples from Boots Sampling. These came in a beautiful little white pouch with gold brand logo on. I shall be keeping these to add to a beauty gift for a friend as they look so fancy!

Guerlain perfume samples
Guerlain perfume samples via Boots Sampling

Home & Food

Unilever Anti Bacterial Products

I received:

  • Hand sanitiser
  • Cif Eco Refill surface cleaner
  • Persil anti bacterial laundry detergent

I got all of these via a sponsored Facebook advert and am really chuffed. The hand sanitiser will obviously come in very useful. I’m a big fan of an eco swap and have some empty spray bottles from previous cleaning products so this is an easy win for me. I’ve been wanting to swap to reusable cotton pads but been very wary due to having very acne prone skin. Having this detergent to add to my washes, which is apparently effective even at 20 degrees, has given me the confidence to try these instead of just composting single use pads which I’m doing currently.

Off The Eaten Path 100g Pea Savoury Snacks – free after cashback via Checkout Smart

3 x Plantastic individual flapjacks – also free after cashback via the brilliant app Checkout Smart

2 litres of Minor Figures Oat Milk – free via Green Jinn after cashback. This is one of the best, if not the best, oat milks I’ve tried and the cartons are long life so whenever I see they’re free I pick them up. The offer came around twice that I spotted in May so I grabbed two cartons for the cupboard. Cashback apps have been brilliant for saving me money on dairy free items, it’s been ages since I’ve had to buy “milk”.

The Coconut Collaborative 6 Melt in the Middle Chocolate Puddings – I got really lucky by spotting they were offering these to the first 75 people to respond to one of their Instagram posts. I was really grateful for my timing! These arrived in the post in a large cool bag which I can see myself reusing for picnics in the summer and as I currently don’t have one this was an extra plus! The puddings themselves were very rich and sweet and turned incredibly liquidy once cooked.

Ironing Board – I managed to pick this up via the wonderful community app Olio where people list food or items they no longer need for free. I needed an ironing board and this will help me save some money by not having the buy one new.

Entertainment

Boots Health & Beauty Magazine

I’m a huge fan of this publication as I’ll always remember seeing unedited textured skin that somewhat resembled mine which is acne prone in one of the make up photoshoots which had zero connections to spots. It absolutely blew me away and I had to stop myself jumping out of my seat to run up to people waving this image at them saying “I could look like this!” as I’d previously always thought my skin, even with foundation on, looked profoundly wrong.

This is free to pick up if you have a Boots Advantage Card – if you don’t you need one immediately as it’s one of my favourites for saving money! They also have coupons at the back of the magazine for extra points or money saving offers.

5 Books To Read

I managed to find the time to pop to my local library to borrow 5 books to read which I found a great way to switch off before going to bed. I’ll often buy cheap paperbacks in charity shops but am trying to now only buy absolute favourites to save me both money and space. Libraries are a fantastic resource not only for physical books and magazines but free ebooks, audio books and more.

Which Ingredient Is Better For Treating Acne – Benzoyl Peroxide Or Retinol / A Retinoid? My Experiences Using Both Popular Ingredients On Acne Prone Combination Skin Including Differin / Adapalene, Duac, Acnecide & Smacne Acne Treatment.

This post sums up my personal experience using both of these ingredients. Everyone’s skin is different and will react in different ways so please don’t assume that was didn’t work for me will react the same for you! I’ve found pharmacists to be incredibly helpful and insightful with queries about prescription retinoids and both over the counter and prescribed benzoyl peroxide formulas. Let’s jump in!

What I’ve Learnt & Wish I Knew Before Starting

I’ve written a whole post on things I wish I knew before starting Differin. For both ingredients I wish I knew to break them in very slowly, not use daily straight away, to use a great moisturiser to help dodge any dryness and to wear SPF every day as both can sensitise your skin to the sun.

My Experiences Using Benzoyl Peroxide

I’ve used 3 products with this ingredient in so shall list my experiences with them all.

Duac5% Benzoyl Peroxide & 1% Clindamycin (a topical anti biotic)

For me this prescription stuff was awful. So awful I struggle not to swear when typing up my thoughts of it. It’s because of Duac that I spent a good few years thinking I was actually allergic to BP. I was prescribed this towards the end of a course of anti biotics – Oxytetracycline – back in 2016. I followed all the instructions and applied a very thin layer to my face one evening and woke up the next day with bright red, swollen, puffy skin. I looked like I’d got really bad sunburn with swelling. It was quite sore and I was mortified to have to leave the house. I tried applying even less, over moisturiser and still met the same fate. I consulted my GP and then gave up entirely on this product.

Acnecide Face Wash – 5% Benzoyl Peroxide

Fast forward to 2020 and a pharmacist recommended I give this over-the-counter wash a try along with my skincare routine at the time. They suggested this in full knowledge of my Duac experience as they thought that if this was only on my skin for 30-60 seconds it would help kill any acne causing bacteria without hopefully causing any negative reactions.

This didn’t make me look like a lightly inflated lobster which was a huge plus compared to Duac. It never stung on application. I’m able to use this perhaps 3 or 4 times a week at a stretch otherwise it causes my skin to become a little dry and tight in places. If I use it too often across my chin and jawline for some strange reason I notice a red sensitisation to my upper lip and around my nose. It is very effective at taking the anger out of pimples and I’ve found it helpful to have in my skincare arsenal for bad breakout days but it isn’t a product I use on a very regular basis.

Smacne Acne Treatment – 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide

Up until this product if you’d asked me whether I’d “take it or leave it” with BP I’d have said “leave it”. However; this completely blew me away. At the time of publishing this post I’ve been using this for 6 weeks and applying this every morning. I’ve experienced zero irritation, swelling, dryness, redness or any negative side effects at all whilst my break outs have remained manageable and any spots go away quickly. If I’m going to be really fussy I’ve bleached the inside of my reusable face coverings for using this product but that’s just a given for BP and I’d rather that than my bed sheets!

When Smacne kindly gifted me their products I explained in advance I was really hesitant to try them given my previous experiences with this active ingredient. I am SO glad I gave this a go and am still in shock that they’ve been able to create a formula with BP that works brilliantly to tackle break outs without nuking my skin.

My Experiences Using Retinoids

I’ve never used over the counter beauty product retinol. My only experience is with the prescription Adapalene also known as Differin. I’ve had 3 tubes of this in the past 14 months and prior to the Smacne Acne Treatment it was my go to for managing break outs effectively.

Differin / Adapalene

This has worked wonders for my skin. It’s been the only topical prescription to ever actively make a difference to my acne and hugely help clear it without any really awful side effects. However; it was really hard to break in at first as the instructions didn’t say to use gradually so I did experience some really intense dry soreness to begin with. Once I got past this I was completely hooked. I can’t use this 7 evenings a week without getting dry, often little flaky patches just beneath the corners of my lips. A rich night cream is a must for me when using this. I’m very grateful I came across this medication as I definitely worked for me and helped give me a lot of my confidence back.

How To Use Differin / Adapalene. Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting A Prescription Retinoid For Acne.

My Personal Favourites: Smacne Acne Treatment VS Differin / Adapalene

Which do I love the most? This is tough.

Based On My Personal Experience Smacne Acne TreatmentDifferin / Adapalene
Irritation / Dryness1/10 – minor itching >5 times in 6 weeks4/10 – occasional dry flakiness which is never sore or uncomfortable
Most Annoying Thing About The ProductBenzoyl Peroxide bleaches – I wouldn’t risk using this at night so my face coverings get bleached as I use in the day time followed by SPF.

Even after using for 12 months less than 7 times a week the dry patches come and go
Easily Accessible?Smacne don’t sell this individually meaning you have to buy their AHA BHA Aloe Cleanser and this treatment as a package from America. I wish it was more accessible in the UKA prescription is needed from a GP.
Prescription?NoYes (in the UK)
Good For Managing Spots?Brilliant – 10/10Also Brilliant – 9.5/10
Good For Hyperpigmentation?Doesn’t do anythingMassively helps.
I can’t pick a favourite!

Acne treatments and skincare are such personal things. Unfortunately it often comes down to lots of trial and error to find what works.

Comments Welcome

Very Lost Cost Ways To Support Local and Small Businesses

I’m a firm believer in shopping small and trying to support local businesses, particularly after the difficulties faced in 2020 causing so many shops to close their doors. I decided to put together this post of ideas to help support local businesses or smaller companies without spending a fortune as I came up with a few ways to do this through 2020 which I’ll be continuing this year.

Cards For Any Occasion

I decided to stop buying cards from high street chains and instead buy from smaller sellers online such as shops on Etsy mid pandemic last year. I started doing this halfway through 2020 and commissioned a crafty friend who makes cards and offered a similar service to MoonPig but on a much smaller scale during Lockdown 1.0. The prices were virtually identical to what I’d pay for 1 card in most high street shops but also included postage. I also managed to get some beautifully illustrated Christmas cards for family delivered for prices similar to Paperchase etc.

Hot Drinks

I very rarely visit coffee shops as it is but decided to turn my back on the giants like Costa, Starbucks, Pret etc in favour of spending my £3 ish per drink at independent coffee shops. I have to be honest since going dairy free I’ve not been hugely impressed with Costa or Starbucks drinks and have actually preferred visiting small local bakeries as an occasional treat.

Check Local Grocery Options

For example it may work out equally as cheap to have a milk man deliver milk to your home instead of buying it in a supermarket. The other benefit to this is that it reduces plastic waste as glass bottles are refilled and reused. You may find local egg deliveries from farms in your area too.

Saving Loose Change

I don’t often use cash these days but still have a piggy bank to throw pennies, 2 pence and 5 pence coins in. A couple of times a year I will count this out and use the money to buy items I really need such as things for the home from local charity shops. I find this a great low cost way to contribute to charity’s fund raising efforts as well as getting something out of it personally as well. You could easily use this money to put towards local coffee takeaways or similar.

Free Ways To Support Small Businesses

To try and drum up business most will have social media accounts like Instagram or Facebook pages. Simply interacting with these, liking, commenting or sharing in any way will help others to find new small businesses to support. It also means their posts are reaching a wider audience of prospective customers. I love this because it doesn’t cost a penny to share the love and may result in a sale for a small business. Even telling friends or family can help make a difference.

Comments Welcome

Forever Saving For A Rainy Day Turns One – Celebrating A 1st Birthday & 10K Thank Yous – I’m Having A Party & You’re All Invited.

Firstly, I am incredibly proud that Forever Saving For A Rainy Day has reached it’s first birthday and that I’ve been able to consistently post content that I enjoy writing in the face of what has been the most outrageous 12 months. I’d spent years wanting to run a blog without quite knowing where to start or what to say so this does feel like a special occasion worth celebrating. I created my accompanying Instagram account as I was worried I’d be unable to meet the demands of regular blog posts and knew I’d be sad to give this up but here we are 12 months later still going strong!

Daily routine and life as we all knew it got turned upside down in March 2020. There have been many times that I’ve been grateful for having Forever Saving For A Rainy Day. It has provided a routine amongst the monotony of lockdowns, a sense of purpose when following the “stay at home” rules whilst furloughed and a connection to the outside world to help combat some isolation that I can imagine so many people have felt.

10,000 Thank Yous

Secondly, I want to thank each and every single person that has ever interacted with this blog or my Instagram account in any way. I hugely appreciate you all and was absolutely blown away recently to get a notification from WordPress to inform me that my blog has hit 10K views. When I started writing posts it never occurred to me that 100 people would want to read content I’d put together, let alone 1,000 and 10,000 certainly didn’t cross my mind. Despite having never physically met users behind their Instagram accounts and blogs I feel as though I’ve found a lovely network of supportive, sharing individuals, some of which I feel fortunate enough to call friends. Many of us have bonded over a skincare addiction, acne positivity, thrifty living, eco swaps and more. This has all had such a positive impact on me which I am very grateful for.

2,000 Thank Yous

I hit 2K followers on my Instagram page a couple of days before my 1 year Instaversary which was a wonderful surprise. It really isn’t all about the numbers at all but as my page was so close I had been hoping it would tip over the 2,000 mark for my one year anniversary!

In the last 12 months, as a result of Forever Saving For A Rainy Day, I have gained a huge amount of confidence regarding my skin and am no longer remotely ashamed that it is acne prone. It feels like a huge weight has been lifted. I’ve developed a borderline obsession with skincare but after so many years of begrudging spending money on my face for it only to still feel unmanageable it’s such a refreshing change to enjoy experimenting with products again and sharing my thoughts on them. I have also discovered so many new ways to save money thanks to an amazing community of savers on Instagram. I’m now an avid fan of cashback apps for free food, loyalty schemes for further birthday gifts, Facebook Marketplace for kitting out a home on a strict budget and many more.

Other highlights for me have included anyone that has reached out to me, either via messages or comments, to say that my thoughts I’ve typed up have helped them even in some small way. Be that a review which resulted in them finding a product suitable for their skin or another way to save money as I appreciate that for so many, budgets have had to get even tighter as a result of Covid. The kind comments always stay with me and make me smile every time I read them. I’ll never forget my first from Beauty For Old Bags, a fellow WordPress blogger, who said “This is so brilliant. Thank you so much. I am so grateful that I can’t even speak” when I posted about refusing to apologise for having acne any longer as I’d decided enough was enough. It also hugely makes my day when people reach out to ask if I’ve tried a certain product because they trust my skincare reviews to be brutally honest. I have such fun writing them.

I’m also incredible grateful that I was asked to include my money saving tips in an article for Fabulous magazine and that incredible brands have gifted me a range of products to try. This certainly wasn’t a position I ever thought I’d find myself in and every gifted product offer does feel a bit like a “pinch me” moment. As cliché as it sounds, it is a dream come true.

Since the pandemic broke out, like everyone, I’ve been isolated, I’ve missed – and still miss – loved ones as well as many simple things I once took for granted from being able to hug my friends, to eating in a restaurant and more. My normal routine has been thrown totally out the window and I’ve spent months at a time wondering what day of the week it is. Forever Saving For A Rainy Day has been a wonderful little lifeboat of joy amongst all the chaos and I want to say a whole hearted thank you to each and every single one of you that has been involved in this journey with me. I considered giving extra special shout-outs but realised I’d be here for days listing everyone! I appreciate and am grateful for you all.

Take this as your sign to have a slice of cake or treat with me to celebrate the occasion. Here’s to you all for helping to make this happen.

Comments Welcome