21 September, 2018

10 Ways to Save Money at the Supermarket!

How You Can Save Money at the Supermarket 

Are you looking for ways to save some money while at the supermarket?  There are actually a number of tips that you can use to help you achieve your supermarket money saving goals.   

Your Own Carrier Bags 

In October 2015, a new law was introduced which aimed at the reduction of single-use carrier bags to help the environment.  This led to most major retailers now charging 5p per plastic bag that you use. Using your own carry bags will save you anything from 5p- 40p per shop which in a year adds up to £20.  

Most carrier bags are now made from sturdier materials and if one starts to break, there are many retailers that will replace it for you.   keeping a few carrier bags in your car, at home and even your desk at work will mean your always ready for a shop. 

Save Money by Going Online 

Price comparison websites have long been used to help people save money, but a lot of people do not realise that they can be used for groceries as well.  These sites will do all of the legwork when it comes to finding where the cheapest products are across a number of supermarkets.  It is estimated that you could save up to 30% on every shop when you use a comparison website.  

I personally recommended that you look at these websites especially,  if you have a shopping list that you stick to each week.  They will help you find the cheapest options and will tell you about any specials on the items that you usually buy.  

Snack Before You Shop 

If you go to the supermarket on an empty stomach, you will generally find that you spend more than you plan to.  You will generally buy more food to snack on over and above the food that you need for the week.  If you want to save some money, it is worth taking the time to have something to each before you head to the shops.  If you are in a rush or do not have anything to snack on, a few glasses of water will do the trick. Watch out for those end isle offers supermarkets do this on purpose to make you spend more money!  

Have a List 

A great way of ensuring that you save money while you shop is to have a list of what you want to buy and sticking to it.  The list could be details of the meals that you want to make in the coming week.  You should also keep a pen with you as you shop to mark off all of the items that you have bought.   

If you are going to be visiting the same store each week, you could list all of your items by aisle.  This will make your trip faster and will stop you from buying any unnecessary items.  When you have to move constantly from one aisle to the next, you will impulse buy.   

If the thought of carrying about a pen and paper is a bit too archaic for you, there are a number of apps that you can use.  These apps will help you keep track of what you need to buy and keep your costs down.  There are also some apps that will tell you how much everything will cost.  I also try not to take any extra people with me on the food shop my boys often want to sneak in things that are not on the list!

Keep Your Coupons 

If you see any coupons in your local paper or see one online, you should not forget about them.  You could end up saving some money on the product or be able to try out a new brand for less.  There are also some apps that you can use to keep track of your coupons.  You can find some coupons here - http://www.wowfreestuff.co.uk/free-coupons/  

Shop Weekly and Not Daily 

You need to get into the habit of a weekly shop instead of going to the stores each day.  When you plan for the whole week, you will generally find it easier to stick to a budget.  You will also reduce the chances of any impulse purchases as you are not in the stores that often.  

Look Up And Down 

To get you to buy the most expensive items, supermarkets will place them at eye level on the shelves.  The cheaper options will generally be on the bottom and top shelves which are out of your eye line.  This is why you need to ensure that you look up and down when you are going through the shop.  If you don’t, you could be missing out on a serious bargain.   

Look Straight Ahead 

When you get to the checkout, you need to change where you look and only focus on what is in front of you.  The tills still have items around them which are used to tempt you into spending a bit more.  When you do not look at these items, you will lower the temptation and stop yourself from spending more money.   

Get Rewarded 

Reward cards are a fab way to save and earn money. The cashier at the store will often ask if you have one while helps you to pick up points.  These cards will often have prize draws that you can enter and you will be able to spend your points on coupons.  I save mine up all year to spend at Christmas! 

Go Through Reductions 

There are items such as bread, cakes and meat which can be picked up for a reduced price.  Look for these and stick them in the freezer as soon as you are home.  If you are not going to use them at a later date, they will need to be used on the same day as you buy them. You can save up to 90% off each item if you go at the right time and if you unsure when to go ask your local store as each store can vary. 

What tips do you have to save money on your grocery shop? 


07 August, 2018

50 Free Things To Do With The Kids This Summer

With the summer holidays in full swing, I have been making it a mission to keep the kids entertained. I know many parents and even myself, worry about the cost of entertaining the kids and its not just for a week it's 6 weeks or more depending on where you live! I feel like I need a medal by the end of it!

The reality is many can't afford to spend money every day or even every week and I always like a challenge so this summer we have been trying to do as much as we can for free. If you are on Instagram please do follow us at @andrealouiseblog as we are sharing all the fun and free activities we have planned over the summer.

For those needing some inspiration, I have listed some easy and free activities to keep your little ones busy this summer. 

I hope you have found this useful, so far myself and the boys are working through our list don't forget to join us on Instagram for all the latest! In the last couple day, we have been out on several long walks with the dogs in the evenings, we've built our own lego houses, visited an old ruin and lastly, we went to a local ford to play in the river.

There are so many websites you can search for free days out such as Day's Out With The Kids and Money saving supermarket. Also, check out Facebook for free activities in your area.
If you have any fun and free/ low-cost activities I'd love to know. 


23 June, 2018

Be Tyre Ready this Summer

This summer the boys and I are going to be touring the Cotswolds. Our plan is to visit as many new and exciting places as well as rediscovering some of our favourites. 
One thing I have been doing is preparing the car, as the only driver in the house and the only one that has any interest in cars that aren't toys, means all the maintenance is down to me.

I have already started a list of what I want to pack and keep for the inside of the car but what about the outside of a car? The first thing I thought about was my car's tyres,  it’s what links you to the road and without those tyres, you aren't going now here!

I remember when I took my test almost 10 years ago my instructor always told me to check my tyres and to this day I still do.

What do you need to look out for on your tyres? 

PSI -  Do you have enough air in your tyres? Keeping your tyres inflated actually makes the car more cost-efficient. Low PSI can cause your tyres to wear out faster and affect the handling of the car.

Over inflating your car will also have an effect causing a faster wear on the tread depth. If you feel your old tyres need replacements because of tread issues, you can opt to book tyres online for Dorset (if you are local there or for any other place) at Point S.

Tread Depth - is your car road legal?  Tred depths should be checked regularly and if you're unsure on how to check this then you can check with a 20p.  Place the 20p in the tread depth and if you cant see the outer band then your tyres are above the legal limit. 

Overal Condition - Does your tyres have any unusual appearances, check for cracks and nails and glass as these catn be picked up whilst driving. 

Its very important to keep on top of your cars test a study by confuse.com found that 2.5 million cars failed their MOT due to tyre issues in a 12 month period. Think about how many accidents could have been caused or where caused due to bad tyres. 

Experts say you should check your tyres weekly for any physical damage and monthly for the tread depth and tyre pressure. 

Is your car summer ready?


11 June, 2018

The Quick Guide to A Memorable Kitchen Makeover

The Quick Guide to A Memorable Kitchen Makeover

 Flipping through home d├ęcor magazines, you come across those exquisitely remodelled kitchens with latest culinary gadgets to cook fancy meals and then you look over to the dull, out-dated version you have at home and feel disappointed for not having enough funds to refurbish. A very basic average cost for kitchen remodelling ranges from £20,000 to £25,000. These figures leave you at a place where you keep wondering if you could ever have your kitchen makeover after all. The best of regular kitchens that sends out hearty meals don’t look as good if they lack maintenance. While maintenance is the key to a clean and tidy kitchen, if you wish for a more revamped look where you don’t have to keep the dollars rolling out of your pocket, here are a few things you can do for a modern interior design in your kitchen space. 

Shelf and storage- How to do them some justice

 No, we are not shopping yet; let’s see what you can do with what you already have. If your kitchen space is not that big and crowded with cabinets, you can consider opening the sides up and going for an open shelf look to exhibit your beautiful serving dishes and bowls. In case you are blessed with an empty wall in the kitchen you can have bought in open shelves with brackets to install them on the wall. What to do, when none of these options are good enough? Read on! 

Paint your way to new cabinets 

So, you love how your cabinets safely store away every kitchen utensil you need and don’t wish to get rid of them any sooner. If your cabinets are in good shape you can just get some paint and carry out a DIY project yourself to avoid extra costs of installing roll-out shelves or other storage units. While paint is a safe choice to stick to a low budget, you can also consider switching up the hinges, pulls or knobs on the cabinet with contemporary ones for an updated version. If your cabinets are made from wood you can also get them sanded and re-stained for a better look. 

Buying an island 101

 Kitchen islands can be really expensive with all the storage space and the high-end finish, but since we are looking for a quick fix without spending way too much for a revamp you can get something unusual and make it work. You can go for vintage pieces at local flea markets or opt for ones with a table like features, for example, a factory cart, repaint and update with a marble top to make your own personal kitchen island without having to spend a buck load of money. Increasing the aesthetic with a gorgeous backsplash If you don’t mind spending a bit while getting a makeover for your kitchen, you can opt for trendy styles and textures when it comes to the backsplash. Make sure you don’t have a cabinetry that’s from the 70’s and pair it up with trendy and fun colour and texture. As an easy option when Sensitivity: Internal & Restricted, it comes to installation you can use stick and peel backsplash. Stencils and paint are also another option to opt for a stylish look if you want to spend less on the backsplash. If you are ready to spend more than just a few bucks you can go for Shiplap. 

Let’s shop for budget countertops

 Stone countertops no doubt look extremely beautiful but what if that’s not something you are ready to pay for? No worries, you can get granite to replace the stonework concept and get a similar upgraded look for the countertops. Formica is a great option when you wish to go for that rocky look for your countertops and it’s cheaper. Now, if you are short on space you could just opt for the island instead but make sure, you choose something that stands out a little and not just some big chunk of a table that would just gather dust in the basement later on.

 More Greens Please!

 That’s not something you often here in a kitchen, especially with kids, while it’s up to you how much green you add to your plate, a kitchen could always use a little green in the makeover process. You can opt for a small herb garden to go just by the sink and use them while cooking or get some small potted flower plants as a part of increasing the aesthetic value in your kitchen. While water is always available in the kitchen, you would need to put a little effort into keeping these babies looking fresh at all times. So what happens when you go for a vacation and come back to dull green wilted plants in your food paradise? 

The faux greens

 We don’t know if you’ve ever been on the red carpet but faux plants have definitely been there and done that. Some of the best indoor plants are succulents and small potted bushes which work great in case you don’t have a lot of space to cover in the kitchen with large indoor plants. These silk plants are customized with fire retardant chemicals that are non-allergens along with UV protection. Since most kitchens are not in the open, you don’t need to opt for UV protection. These technologies along with the fact that they won’t grow and do not need any looking after means when you go for a vacation you will come back to the same old greens you left back at home. 

Lights, Camera and Cook!

 When you have the right light setting in the kitchen, you would get some Instagram worthy pictures of delicious food. Drop the fluorescent and go for can lights or halogen fixtures under the cabinet. It’s all your call, after all each kitchen means something different to the owner. 

Summary: Here’s how you can transform how your kitchen looks with just a few changes within your budget. No high-end gadgets, just a few smart lights, paint, stick and peel backsplash with a few green faux plant toppers can leave your kitchen looking comfy and welcoming for the guests. 

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