Monthly Round Up – The Best Ways I Made Money, Saved Money & Bargain Finds In August

Well, we’re officially over halfway through the year. How this has happened baffles me. Whilst I had hoped to have a quieter month this month to try and shift some bits on eBay or Marketplace the reality is I’ve been preoccupied with enjoying my summer and remembering a little what real life was like pre the dread C-word in a way that I’ve felt safe.

I made a whopping £0 selling my unwanted items in August but I did score some great, necessary bargains that still make this post worth writing in my opinion.

Bargain Finds

I officially have an addiction to Facebook Marketplace and I’m totally ok with this as it has been saving me a fortune. This month I picked up 3 items of free furniture and in August I found a wonderful statement floor lamp. I was initially loosely hunting for a different style one before coming across this human sized Pixar lamp in a pale green blue colour. It’s magnificent. It was listed as “like new” and I can’t see a single mark on it.

I was chuffed to get it, knowing it was a bargain but I only got more smug from there. I looked the exact one I had up to discover it cost over £80 from the Range. Days later I saw a virtually identical shaped and sized lamp to mine retailing for over £200.

Mine cost me £20.

This month I resisted the lure of the Boots clearance section with strong willed determination to work through my accidentally hoarded stash of beauty products. I’ll no doubt be visiting there next month as I’m one of those people who starts their festive shopping very early to avoid stress and help save me some cash.

Saved Money

This month I began venturing to eat out in restaurants again after what feels like the longest time. Below are some of the ways I saved money whilst having a much needed night off cooking.

Tesco Clubcard Vouchers – These were converted to cover the bill for Pizza Express minus drinks and as I don’t drink this wasn’t costly. I also visited a Chef & Brewer chain where I enjoyed an entirely guilt free steak and chips as I had Tesco vouchers to cover the cost of my main meal. Without these I highly likely wouldn’t have splashed out so much so this felt like a real treat.

Remembering Money Saving Expert’s Nandos Hacks – yes, there are such things. I learnt ages ago that ordering 1 large portion of fries was cheaper than the price of 2 regular sides and it was rumoured you got more chips. So I decided to test this out with a friend and we both agreed we had more food for less cost. We also opted for the refillable zero drinks as these dodged the sugar tax cost and saved us a few extra pennies. I’m well aware we could have been even cheaper by only having tap water but as this was my first Nandos trip in over 18 months I fully intended to enjoy the whole experience and the little savings all add up.

Being A Low Cost Plant Mum – Ways To Save Money On House Plants, Cheap Places To Buy Them & Easy Ways I’ve Found To Keep Them Alive

It started with a few small cacti before escalating as a won a £50 IKEA voucher last summer and used this to get a Monstera, or cheese plant, which I’d coveted for years but had worried about keeping it alive as I’d never had a large houseplant before. I would never had spent £15 on a large plant with no plant care experience so am still really happy I won the voucher. Below are a few of the ways I’ve saved money on plants as well as things that have helped to keep them healthy. I am by no means a green fingered expert and I have lost a few along the way over the last couple of years. I am currently the proud owner of around 12 indoor plants which are all going through a major growth spurt thanks to the summer weather!

Low Cost Places To Buy Houseplants

Wilko – I picked up an Anthurium for £5 in Wilko. I’ve seen virtually identical plants to mine for £12+ in places like Homebase and even B&Q. It’s hard to predict what Wilko will have in store and often the plants look like they need a little TLC but I’ve seen Bromeliads again for £5 instead of £12-15+. They also have a good range of tiny cacti that are reasonably priced.

Sainsbury – they have some amazingly priced houseplants with many in ceramic pots for around the same price as what you could expect to pay for the pot alone. I don’t usually rate this supermarket for value for money but was really impressed by the price tags on plants I’ve seen on a couple of visits. I’ve been very tempted on more than one occasion to add to my collection.

B&Q – whilst some are still pricey B&Q on the whole does have some well price plants. On a recent visit I saw a whole wall’s worth of plants wrapped in brown paper packaging for £4.50 in pots which were 12cm diameter including cult favourites like spider plants, ferns and many other leafy plants with pretty foliage.

Facebook Marketplace – in my local area I’ve seen spider plant cuttings starting as low as £1. This is a great place to start looking.

Ikea – has some low cost cacti options with 3 in a pack for £5 including lovely little ceramic pots for them. The only thing I don’t like about this is that you can’t pick the 3 you want as they come in a multipack.

Tesco – I’ve picked up a mini cacti or two in Tesco. I find these to be pretty well priced and generally well looked after.

Don’t Be Afraid To Barter

Yes, this might sound mad but I’d had my eye on a Spotted Begonia for about a year before eventually finding one in a local shop. They were £8 but all had incredibly dried out soil, some damage to their leaves and the tips of the leaves looked dry and crusty on a few of them. The plant definitely didn’t look it’s best so I took it to the till, explained my concerns and was immediately offered the plant for £4. Since buying it and watering it regularly it’s almost tripled in size and makes me very happy. If you struggle with spot prone skin and need a reminder that spots aren’t ugly I can highly recommend getting yourself one of these plants! Both B&Q and Wilko have reduced plants when I’ve asked. I never abuse this finding fault with perfectly healthy plants.

Do A Little Research

When I first got my cheese plant I read up on the best ways to water them and very quickly came across a few helpful hints and tips which have served me well in the last year. I bought a brilliant second hand book called The Care Of Houseplants very cheaply online which gives problem solving advice e.g. if it has yellow leaves it’s because of x y z. It gives at least 5 problem solving options for each plant in the book to cover most eventualities.

Under Water Not Over Water

I’ve learnt the hard way that it’s almost impossible to save a drowned over watered plant whereas underwatering, in comparison, can be relatively easily corrected. I’ve always erred on the side of caution with watering out of fear that I’ll kill plants off completely by drowning them hence being a fan of the bottom watering technique.

Bottom Watering

I water almost all of my houseplants except the cheese plant, using the method of popping the plant on a saucer, filling this with water and then leaving them to drink it up or not as the case may be. I’ve found this really helpful as sometimes it’s hard to tell if plants need watering and this way it reduces the risk of overwatering or drowning for me! If plants don’t want water they simple don’t suck it up and if the do the saucer ends up emptied.

Be Patient

I never buy loads of plants at once. I tend to pick one up, learn it’s likes and dislikes over a couple of months until I’m confident I can keep it healthy before buying more. I also won’t spend over £10 on a plant, my average is about £5. If a plant isn’t looking it’s best rather than rushing to drastic action I remember not to expect immediate results and not to throw every attempt at problem solving at the plant. I bought a £5 Umbrella Plant in B&Q and no matter what I did with it the odd few leaves kept turning brown and dropping off at first. I tried one new option every 7-10 days such as relocating it, not watering it, etc and eventually it settled down and began churning out very cute tiny umbrellas as it grew.

Comments Welcome

Where the real house plant obsession began – my beautiful giant cheese plant for free via an IKEA voucher competition prize

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.

June ’20 Freebie Haul

A post summarising all the freebies I claimed that arrived in June. Considering all these were claimed online I’m pretty surprised and impressed with what I got. Having more time on my hands in lockdown definitely meant I was able to fill out new freebie forms faster so missed out on less though!

Lenor Unstoppables – from Super Savvy Me

£15 worth of items from Superdrug – claimed as a new customer to TopCashBack. I paid 89p including delivery for the bundle below. My cashback arrived about 3 weeks later (but it can take up to 3 months)

Giorgio Armani Foundation – from a SoPost sponsored advert on Instagram.

YSL All Hours Foundation – also from a SoPost sponsored advert.

Rituals Anti Ageing Skin Care samples – signing up to their newsletter prompted me to sign up to a SoPost freebie giveaway.

Oral B Toothpaste mini sample from Super Savvy Me.

Estee Lauder Perfume from a sponsored social media advert

Mike’s Alcoholic Sparkling Water spotted through Instagram. As I don’t drink this will be put towards a gift hamper as it is a full sized can.

Fairy Dishwasher Tablets – a sponsored Facebook advert with Super Savvy Me

It Cosmetics 4ml CC+ Cream – Boots online samples

£50 Ikea Voucher – for winning a Super Savvy Me competition.

Omorovicza Mud Face Mask – via a sponsored social media advert

Comments welcome!

Saving Money At Home – I Won A £50 IKEA Voucher!

I’ve never won a competition. I recently signed up to Super Savvy Me to claim Proctor and Gamble free samples which meant a mini Oral B toothpaste and Lenor fragrance booster dropped through my letterbox which was great. Whilst logged into my account without giving it much thought I entered 2 of their competitions to win store vouchers and miraculously won a £50 IKEA Voucher with no expiry date. To say I’m excited would be an understatement.

Since the start of my student years I’ve always lived in furnished rented properties relying on them having well stocked kitchens and decent enough furniture as I own virtually nothing in the homeware department. It was so bad that my first landlord in London actually lent me freshly dry cleaned pillows and a duvet as well as a bed side lamp, bin and mirror. To give you an idea, I’m in my mid-20s and I have 1 pan, 3 mugs, 2 bowls, 1 plate and 2 gifted glasses to my name when it comes to kitchenware. That’s it! I have 1 bedding set, 1 blanket, 1 gifted cushion, 1 large bath towel – you get the idea. Ultimately I’m fine with what I’ve got and never been able to justify a huge homeware spend as I can comfortably get by. I intend to be a homeowner one day in the future so know that this will involve a fair bit of spending when the time comes as I currently have so little which is another reason I’m so grateful to have won this prize.

This voucher will be used for treats I previously wouldn’t have splurged on as well as lots of basic essentials like a set of tumblers and a long extension lead to overcome poor socket placement in my home which has become more apparent since working from home. I’m holding out a lot of hope for a small cheese plant which I’ve wanted for a good few years and intend to treat myself to a fancy room fragrance. Before going I plan to make a list of items that would be most useful so I get as much benefit as possible from this voucher rather than just picking up any old items. I honestly cannot wait but am hanging in there until I can safely visit a store without having to queue outside for several hours to make the most of this experience – and hand pick my plant of course! I plan to gift petrol money and / or some of my freebie collection to a friend with a car to make this trip even more enjoyable and save me wrestling a monstera and more on public transport!

Unsurprisingly given my small selection of homeware, I’m a huge IKEA novice so comments are particularly welcome for things I should look out for or bargain products loved from this store!

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