Thursday, 28 August 2008

Piggy gives you money for once!

That's right - I found a way last year to get piggy to pay me for once. This comes in the form of site called Pigsback.

This site allows you to click some of it's 'Bonus' boxes throughout the week, and clicking each one credits you with £0.5p. This gives you roughly £0.70p per month, around £8.50 a year or more for free.

In addition, you get bonuses for signing up to things (you can later unsubscribe if you want), sometimes worth £1, £2 or more, which takes your yearly free earnings up to much more.

So this estimate can rise to £25 per year for nothing! If your partner does it too, you could get a free £50 a year, just from clicking bonus boxes and signing up to things.

On top of this you can then earn money back on purchases you make via the site. Let's say you want to sign up to Lovefilm for postal dvd rental, this gives you £12.50 cashback to your account, just for signing up! There are so many others, buying clothes, music, make-up, gifts, dvd's and much more.

Last year I earned £60 from the site, and my husband earned roughly the same - this was with no spending. Just the freebies! In 2008 this rate has come down due to less deals, but it is still FREE money to be earned and top up your bank account.

Well worth it. You get this in the form of 'Rewards', which I choose to receive in voucher format for shops like Boots, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose etc. I then use these for Christmas. This saved us alot on the Christmas expenses last year as you can imagine.

If you are interested or want more info just drop a message on here. I am also happy to refer you if you would like, just let me know, and you can then go on to refer friends and family.

I recommend you use an e-mail account set up especially for cashback site join-ups, ie, it may get more spam than your usual account.

Remember - get piggy to pay you for once!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Free Money in your mouse - yes, really! cash? Yes. Make cash from just clicking sites online - no catches, but some (easy but medium to longterm) work involved!

I have now released my latest & updated guide to clicking on the internet. It earns up to a massive £3.59 a day if you follow my sugested clicks! The text below is an explanation on how to get started - contact me via the MSE Link below if you would like the daily routine itself.

The key is:
1) to click every day if possible and
2) be patient as it can take a week or so to show up
3) look at this for the long term

If you take it seriously the next 12 months will be a great chance to get free cashback for clicks for any goal you have. If you also buy your pressies, clothes, gadgets and more via the cashback sites, you will of course earn even more cash on top! I make most of my free cash from just clicking though!

The basic concept:
You can make money daily, from clicking.
Websites will pay you small cash amounts as incentives to click on their links so they can show you their products. You can click on these every day and earn money. You do not need to buy anything. If you click over a period of time, these amounts add up and you can then cash-in what they owe you. Simple - but involves daily clicks and self-discipline!

You must be prepared to put the work in for all sites and to wait at least 12-14 weeks for the money on each site to start to look like anything significant! Remember - this is a long term thing and patience is essential as it can take a week or so for the first cash to drip in so do be patient and read on...

From the cashback sites below I made over £375.89 in 2007 for free + £120 in vouchers (hubby and I do it) from Pigsback so I'm very chuffed indeed (with more pending as I type). I have made NO purchases, just clicking away slowly but surely.

You DO need to be disciplined though to get this free cash & it helps to have a goal in sight - for me it was that Christmas 07 food & booze was totally FREE and funded by cashback sites ;o) and I DID IT!

I can e-mail you the guide and I am sure my cashback routine will help you out even if only small amounts here and there they do add up and when you get the payout it will all be free so I think it is worth it for 15-20 mins a day (or more time = more money if you have the time). I can also e-mail you an automatic cashback calculator to help you see your earnings build up as you go - change it as you like.

Step 1 - Join Up

I recommend you join the sites below (PS: feel free to use the referral links, or if you prefer you can go directly to the sites if you do not want me to refer you). Each site has been selected by me because they are good earners - I have dropped a few over the last few months and the list below are the current updated best in my view:

Get £££££ bonuses straight-away for signing up to these sites!

Here are some links for signing up to the main cashback sites if you are not already signed up:

MoneyBackMadness £10 bonus join-up!

Non referral –

Loyalty Shopper

Non referral –

We Promise To ** NEW - like Quidco **

Non referral –

Get Pounds Back

Non referral –

Cashback Rewards

Non referral –

Cashback Chief £2.50 bonus sign-up!

Non referral –

Quidco (not a referral link)

Remember to click the activation e-mails per site to fully start your cashback membership of each site and get the bonus welcome money per site (where applicable).

Remember when you have registered for WePromiseTo, to sign up your debit or credit card details for the OFFLINE shops, you can earn cashback on the high street at:

- Superdrug
- Cineworld
- Halfords
- Little Chef

and more coming soon - just by shopping on the high street! If you have registered your cards, those companies will then automatically put up to 3% back into your online WPT account, even though you shopped on the high street.

This is the first time I have seen this feature and it's great!

Also, remember that they do a monthly draw, whereby you can win cash from their Honesty Pot.

Step 2 - Be Disciplined

I have an A4 guide - just e-mail me for a copy. On it I have shown what amounts you earn per click, this way you never forget anything. Remember that the guide is what I have at the moment, you should check each cashback sites yourself as time goes on as there will be new clicks added that are not shown on the enclosed routine. Don't miss out on new or extra clicks!

Do the clicking religiously every day for around 15 minutes (you can choose to do more, or less) and the amounts will build up. If you start to feel lazy or can't be bothered at any time - think of the final goal - what will you use all that free money for? Set your goal and maybe stick a photo next to the A4 Guide as a reminder. Could be a weekend away, Xmas food or Xmas presents, a spa day, paying off debt - anything. Sign up to all the enclosed sites and do it for at least 12 weeks and it will be worth it because you can then start to transfer cash to your savings account, sometimes sooner. Of course as well as clicking, buying through the cashback sites will also increase your cashback to fantastic levels.

Before you go to each cashback site:
Clear Your Cookies

It's important to always clear your cookies between each cashback site just in case, so I have included that as well as a reminder on the sheet. How?
To clear your cookies go to Internet Explorer > Tools > General > Browsing History > Delete Cookies.
Also if you are on a cashback site that allows you to click on the same link twice, like High St Web for example, click once and follow through, then clear cookies, then click again and follow through so it tracks twice.

I also find it helps to save all the cashback sites to your favourites in the order they are listed on the A4 Guide too.

Step 3 - Start Clicking

Once you have joined the above sites you will get some free bonus cash straight-away (up to £22.50 if you sign up to all sites), others are later when you cash-out.

Then simply start your daily routine at whatever time you like and click away at the same time-ish each day. Remember - generally you need to click through, then carry out a search, then click on an external result/site for the cashback to work properly. You must also ensure you delete cookies between each cashback site.

Each site allows you to see your total (see enclosed for an example you can modify) so I know how much I have earned across all of the sites.

You need to be self-disciplined each day and make sure you do it so the free cash is slowly building up across all sites. For me, I like to take Sunday off! Each day I do my clicks between 8:00 and 8:15, just 15 minutes, before I start work. You can choose whatever time suits you but I'd say a day off is needed so I chose Sunday ;o)

Step 4 - Get Paid
Then when you have reached each sites' payout level, you will get paid! Check each sites' terms but you can request to get paid directly into your bank account or Paypal, but I don't do that as it costs money to send it to Paypal and as an avid MoneySaver every penny counts!

When you get paid by each site pop the money into your ISA or savings account so you can spend it on something special. Then start building the money up again with more clicks! OR if you don't trust yourself not to spend it... save it all year and then cashout...

PS:When you have reached your payout level on Moneybackmadness they pay you £1 for each month you don't cashout, which is great. I rollover my payout each month I can for the extra £1! I think they allow 4-5 months so it's £4 or £5 free!

Top Cashback allow you to withdraw any cash that has cleared, no minimum payout level, which is fab ;o)
Loyalty Shopper update every Wednesday for your earnings (sometimes Thurs or Friday)

More Free Cash/Vouchers

I would also recommend you join Pigsback if you are not already a member. You get vouchers to spend in stores such as Waitrose / John Lewis / UCI / Top Shop and more just from clicking and spending no money. I earn around £10 every 5 weeks and so does my husband - we have £120 from 2007 alone and used it towards Christmas.

Please let me know if I can refer you to Pigsback and I will do so asap - just let me know your initial, your surname and your e-mail address.

Here is the MSE thread that I have set up all about this guide & the daily clicks full of Q&A’s and tips etc:

Please subscribe to the thread ;o) I can then e-mail you the spreadsheets and list of clicks that go with the guide.

Please do ask any questions on the thread so we can all benefit - I will be there to help and once you get set up you will be flying, possibly earning £25 per site every 3-4 months or so or maybe even in less time / earning more money depending on your routine / extra items you buy etc. An MSER helped me to get into this so I would like to help others too - don't be afraid to ask questions there, even tiny or 'silly' ones.

Enjoy the free cash & hope to see you on the above MSE dedicated thread if you have questions!

Please do the above and do not post your e-mail here if possible, and if you do, delete it as soon as you have posted it, so spammers can't see it. Thank you.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Snowflaking - the way to go this Winter

Well today I thought the weather was suitably miserable to talk about Snowflaking. This isn't the actual snowflake discussion (I mean, surely it won't snow *properly* this year), but the humble small amount of money saved.

'Snowflaking' is an American term for saving small amounts here and there. For the £13 you got from a cashback site, the £8 you saved on a meal out because you had a voucher, the £10 you got from a relative for a birthday gift or for Christmas. Even the little savings pot we all have on the sideboard (well, all of us addicted to not wasting cash!) - that can go in the Snowflaking account too.

Step 1 - Identify the first debt that you want to to pay off.

Step 2 - Begin looking for any way you can save or make small amounts of money. Don't worry if they're too small - that's why they're called snowflakes.

Step 3 - To 'find' these snowflakes you can do things to reduce your regular outgoings and save the difference. You can also use things like gift money and cashback as snowflakes.

Step 4 - When you have a snowflake in hand, throw it at the debt you targeted in Step 1. One way to do this is to make frequent, online payments of snowflake amounts. I do this and it works very well. Just find a decent savings account to place it in as that interest will be important to compound what you are earning in the account!

Step 5 - Continue to find snowflakes wherever your can. The power of this system is in repeating it frequently. After a while you will find that it has become quite addictive and a game. That's when you can make it really work for you!

Step 6 - Visit for more information and inspiration!

I have done this all of 2008 and it works well - I have a spreadsheet where I make a note of all the 'hidden' money I save each month to my savings account, amounts that I wouldn't usually have noticed. This is from vouchers, cashback that I would usually have just spent, half price movies on Orange Wednesdays, free movie previews and much more and much more.

I hope you already so something like this and that the idea of it will enhance your system, or get you to start ASAP - Christmas is coming, and Snowflaking from today could pay for Christmas 2008!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Making dinner time easier

Hi everyone. Today we had a leisurely stroll to the local market - very little spend. All I got was an old fashioned bottle for £1.00, an original HP Sauce glass one, which I thought would look nicer than my current fairy liquid bottle! I saw on a programme where someone used an empty bottle instead of their boring washing up plastic one and thought it was a fab idea.

We then wandered along to TK Maxx and found a 350 count pima cotton fitted sheet in a mocha colour for £9.99 which I thought was great - it has a luxurious feel to it. We also got a fan-style metal steamer for £2.99 to place on top of pans. We used to have a dual layer bamboo one, but in our old flat it went musty due to humidity. Plus it took up loads of space so this metal one takes up far less (it's an expandable one) and can also go in the dishwasher.

For the remainder, I shopped for bits and pieces. I try to plan ahead 2 weeks worth of dinners, so we both know what's for dinner each night and you don't have that feeling of it being a hassle... it's not only worked well in terms of reducing hassle, it saves cash and time too. I print out some A4 calendar sheets for an entire month and *try* to fill it out as much as I can with ideas (downloadable from here). I then use one of the Nobo drywipe boards, and a drywipe pen to write out 2 weeks of food from the A4 paper sheet.

Of course we change things around but at least it removes the headache each night of thinking about it. It means either of us can get home and start dinner, because it's planned out and all the ingredients have been bought. Having the month view also helps buy food in advance if we see any deals like 2 for 1, or BOGOF (Buy One Get One Free). My husband is happy to menu plan and to be honest comes up with more creative things than I do, so that's a definate plus to make sure we're eating varied meals. Before I go shopping I check the drywipe board and look for any underlined items, as that means we don't have the item at home. I then write up the shopping list and only buy what we need, which means spending less and throwing away less.

Friends have commented on it, and I think maybe they think it's a tad OTT, but it works and ensures we waste less and only buy what we need. On average, saves us £60 a month compared to when we did not use it. So, who cares what anyone thinks, for £720 a year extra in savings!

Here is a meal planner link - I will add more as I find interesting links:

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Lavender dreams... and cotton luxury?

I have recrntly started to read a book called 'Home Comforts' which is a classic home-keeping book. I am far from the traditional homekeeper, so I was interested to learn more - you know, the questions you *can't* ask anyone else as you want to seem like you know it already... and I should, really!

Anyway, I rented it from my local library, and have it for at least 3 weeks. The chapters are all clearly defined and although I have skipped some (as they are not relevant to our small flat), I can see it being a valable resource so may try to see if I can buy it sometime as an investment. I was given Delia's 'black' basic recipe book on that basis too and have found it extremely helpful.

The main thing I was interested to read today was about the importance of the right bed linen. We have never spent that much, often going on price rather than anything else, as you often wash and replace that I have found a few fitted sheets do us fine, having lasted several years. But it has made me re-think this - are our sheets that great at £5.99?

I find one is too thin and I hate having to use it (in fact I generally leave it til last if I can) as it is skinny, scratchy as a result and I could feel the matttress underneath. Even last year when we invested in a matress protector (from Argos, around £7 I think), we still find it our least favourite. This has happened with a duvet cover too, which has gradually lost colour and is less soft than I would ideally like, regardless of adding any softener to the wash. However, I should add that it must be 3 years old now - or is that just me being a modern consumer and not expecting it to last more than that?

For Summer we mostly use cotton (a mix of cotton and poly) like most folks, then in Winter I like flanelette.

So now that Summer seems to have deserted us here in the UK, I am wondering if now is the time to try and find some bargains for next Summer's bedding, as what we currently have will do us fine for now.

It might be that Egyptian cotton really is worth the hype, I don't know, but that's probably where I will start researching. It seems that a set for a double bed can be bought for around £25 - including the fitted sheet, flat sheet and 2 pillow cases.

However, then there are the different 'levels' - 180, or 400 threads per inch? It's a minefield! Anyone with any thoughts on this please do share them, as I'd love to treat us to something new but don't want to spend too much, or in contrast, too little on something that is near-enough what we already have.

In the meantime, I have followed the book's advice on airing the bed all day whilst I am at work. I have pulled back the covers fully and opened our window at the top as far as it will go.

I also have a lavender spray that I made with water and a few drops of essential oil. I keep this by the bed for nights when I cannot sleep of just need something soothing or refreshing to help feel sleepy and relaxed. This is also good lightly sprayed in the air above the bed to freshen things up until the next wash.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Make your own Homemade Yoghurt

This recipe makes around 1 litre of delicious yoghurt (900ml if strained through muslin cloth fot thicker yoghurt).

Slow Cooker Yoghurt

• Place 1 litre semi skimmed milk in your slow cooker (I use longlife milk)
• Gently whisk in 5 tablespoons live yoghurt (as Starter yoghurt – a small Yeo 150g pot seems to be enough)
• Whisk in 2.5 tablespoons milk powder
• Cover with a cloth & lid
• Set on LOW for one hour
• Turn off and leave overnight

Please note that this can also be done in a switched off warm oven (after you have used it for a meal, say), if you do not have a slow cooker. Still needs to be covered with a cloth and lid and left overnight.

The longer you leave the yoghurt to develop, the thicker and more 'yoghurty' it will taste.

If you like it thicker (like Greek Yoghurt)

Then sieve through a muslin cloth for 1.5 hours & refrigerate (I buy 12 big sheets of muslin off Ebay for around £5, this then makes 48 sheets worth - this can then be washed and reused).

This can then also be used as the starter yoghurt a couple of times.
Each time you will need to add more starter tablespoons (ie: 2nd batch, will be 6-7 tablespoons and 3rd batch will be say 8-9) with slightly more powdered milk each time.

I have not successfully managed to make a 2nd batch this way yet - any comments most welcome!

This is delicious with honey and pine nuts or walnuts, or with fresh fruit, great on cereal and also perfect to go with curries or sauces that would normally need coconut milk, which is more expensive.

It’s also green - you are also reducing travel miles as well as packaging, by making your own yoghurt.

The initial cost is around £0.50 for milk, £0.55 for yoghurt and say £0.10 for powdered milk. This is just £1.15 for 71 litre of yoghurt. Even less when you make the 2nd and 3rd batches! In the shop you would pay up to £3.00 for 1 litre...

I would love to know what you all think if you give this a go!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

The Strawberry emerges!

Ok so it's not the most exciting thing to anyone else, but the one strawberry we have is starting to blush and resemble a fruit, instead of a green nobbly thing... so here you go - for us it's a major moment!

Also the dill is coming along nicely as you can see, so although it will take some time, I imagine some nice Winter dishes will be complemented with this hopeful batch... and we simply placed the seeds in a strawberry plastic container from the supermarket, so there was no need to spend cash on the pot.

I have had a busy weekend so am very tired, but my husband made some fresh bread this afternoon, which technically cost us nothing this week, seeing as we bought the main ingredients from last weeks budget. With the price of bread going up and up, I think he's enjoying making it himself and producing something almost for nothing. It's cooling as I type and only our second ever loaf, so this shows anyone can make it!

We're following Delia's recipe, as we found that the recipe on the back of the Somerfield 'strong' white flour pack didn't work as well (it was too yeasty, they suggested 2 tablespoons of dry yeast, Delia uses 1 teaspoon and also lets it sit and bubble with warm water up prior to starting the recipe).

As you can see, it's just cooling on our grater as we don't have a wire rack, but this works just as well and saves on buying anything fancy. I am looking forward to trying some of it in a while, perfect as a little snack before we have tuna gumbo - this is a delicious and easy dish:


3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped, then cooked
1 chopped white or red onion
1 clove chopped garlic
2 tomatoes, chopped
Small bowl of sweetcorn (frozen is cheapest but small tin would work)
Handful of peas
1 tin of tuna
Handful of green beans, topped and tailed, cooked/steamed
Some black olived, de-pipped!

Fry onion and garlic then tomatoes, when done place in a big bowl. Heat sweetcorn & peas (just pouring boiling water over them does the trick) and drain the cooked sweet potato. Then pour these into the bowl with the cooked green beans. Mix all the ingredients together, add olive oil and seasoning (oregano and paprika work very well). Add a couple of tablespoons light mayo and the olives, serve with mixed leaf salad. Delicious!

Free financial whizzy applications

Here's a useful selection of applications that can be downloaded for free, to use towards budgeting, investing, calculating interest, compound interest and so much more:

Free financial applications

Friday, 8 August 2008

Are you a saver or a spender?

Click here to read an interesting article on savers.

It seems many of us couldn't survive more than 7 weeks if we lost our job!

I think the ideal is 6 months wages, which would cover you for a while, takes time to get to that amount but it would allow you to feel a bit more relaxed...

I think we'd manage around 3 months each at the moment, so still much more to be done.

Rail - Easier - Cheaper...

I have found a brand new way to save money on rail travel, since no longer serves our area (and that used to be £1.50 per trip to London sometimes, we saved lots of cash).

The site is called:

I found I could book each leg of my trip separately, which is the only annoying thing as I would have liked to do it all in one go like a 'shopping basket'.

Still, I only paid £5 one way to London, and another £5 for the return trip the next day. Plus this £10 includes booking fees and posting to my home. Technically the tickets were £3 each though! The service was very quick too, tickets arrived within 3 days of my online order.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Homegrown veggies - for first timers!

We're not gardeners. We kill plants, with too much or too little love. However, with the price of food rising by the week, we're starting to reassess whether we couldn't learn to plant a few seeds. We only have a small patio garden, it has enough room for a few pots though so we thought it would be worth a try.

So, last Wednesday, we took a trip to the local B&Q and got some compost, some seed trays, seeds for Kos lettuce, small carrots and herbs. We also got some Chilli, but unfortunately it's soo late to plant those now.

Our carrot has taken longer but started to sprout too:

And here is a picture of the dill - still not sure what to cook with it but it will be nice to have it available when we need some:

We also bought a ready-grown pepper plant for £10.50 at a local flower shop, which has around 14 peppers on it, so this should save quite a bit when they have start to hit fully grown size.

We bought a strawberry plant which so far shows one perky strawberry, here's to hoping the next one will come up soon or it will be a short lived fruit salad!

Sadly we missed the correct time for planting tomatoes, but my next stage will be to try and plant potatoes, which by all accounts just needs a deep box with holes for the water to drain, and plenty of soil!

All in all, we probably spent £27 on everything.

Cutting the cost of... cutting hair!

We recently bought a hair clipper with all the extras for £19.99, this will have paid for itself once Damon uses it another 2 times as he was paying £8 per visit to the local hairdresser. It's a good quality Remmington Titanium with 13 pieces, we got it from Argus but we should probably have used really to get the best price, however, he was wanting to get it done there and there... I have convinced him that now each time that haircut time comes around, that £8 will go into savings for Christmas, when we're off to see my Mum in Portugal for Christmas and we can really enjoy that money treating her and her husband to a special meal, money that otherwise we wouldn't have had.

Pricebook for shopping

Here are some pics of my shopping pricebook - this has saved me an absolute fortune! I did not believe it would at first, but actually over time it's a valuable exercise.

I got it in Sussex Stationers for £2.99, it's mostly blank which I found was the best format for me. I write each item in the correct section (it's alphabetised) and then I write where the item came from (Sainsburys, Co-Op etc), the weight, price and the eventual price per Kg. This way when I see a deal, I can check if it's the best price I have paid, or there's somewhere else I could get it cheaper. It's great to use and then note the prices, as they work out the price per kg for you ;o) I also always note when that price was a 'Deal' as opposed to it's normal cheapest selling price.

Today as an example, Co-Op have Utterly Butterly on BOGOF (Buy 1 Get 1 Free) for 500g. This makes the price per kg on the deal £1.36, so 500g is just £0.68p which is a great price. Plus it can be placed in the freezer.

I have been writing in mine for around 10 weeks now and I can honestly say it's saved me around £40 by now, all for £2.99 and a bit of elbow grease!

You may also be interested in meal planning to save more cash - see my 'Making Dinnertime easier' post - you can also download this meal planner:

Money Saving With Martin

My first recommendation would have to be that you join to save loads of money. Martin Lewis will then send you a weekly e-mail on Wednesdays with all the latest UK news and deals - vouchers off and much more.

Wow - I have my own blog - what a concept! I like the idea of having a place to share info and learn too - feel free to join in!

The reason I set this up is due to a site called Down To Earth (linked to on the right). Rhonda inspired us to live a simpler, easier life, despite the fact that we live in the UK, in a very small flat.

So I thought this blog could be a place for others in the same boat to share tips and ideas on how we can all make more out of less... and spend less so we can enjoy life more.