A Guide to Father’s Day on your Budget!

With so many special days / holidays through out the year it can soon be a costly expense. I am not saying they shouldn’t be celebrated, they most certainly should be. A celebration however does not have to cost a penny or can cost as much as you want as long as you budget wisely.

In this post I am sharing two examples of Fathers Day, from which you can take the ideas you like and create the perfect Father’s day for the Dads/Step-Dads/Father-in-Law/Grandads/Grandpas in your life. Celebrate whatever your budget.

A Free Day of Celebration

  • Dads favourite breakfast, coffee and juice made for him.
  • Make a little gift for example a book of vouchers and a handmade card (find out if nursery or school are making something)
  • What does Dad want? – Does he want an hour or two on his own? Then take the children to the park. Maybe he wants to go to the park or a walk as a family? Maybe there is a sports event on TV he was wanting to watch or would love nothing more than a family movie afternoon? These all cost nothing so if you have enough room in your day they all be done.
  • End the day by making Dad his favourite dinner (fit it in to your food budget)

Variations on the day

If you have budgeted a set about like we do then below are a few changes you could make. Please remember you do not have to do them all and whatever fits your budget and your family this year is perfect:

  • Take Dad out for breakfast (this was my choice for mothers day)
  • Buy a small gift and a handmade card (don’t change this the children love to make them and they are always better than brought cards)
  • Keep the day simple and I believe the free options of the day are best but you could look at paying for a small day out or going out for coffee and cake.
  • Does Dad want a takeaway or maybe a meal out?

5 Current Non-Fiction Favourites (June)

This month in my 5 series I am sharing 5 non-fiction books that I would recommend and I would and will read again. To see the last post in my 5 series click here. If you are also a big reader like myself see my latest blog post on saving money on books right here.

Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

This has to be my favourite non-fiction book. The reason for this is it felt like she was speaking to me during so many parts of this book. If you are looking for a motivational read, something that will make you stop and look at whether this is you and make a few changes in your life this is for you.

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

I heard about this book from several podcasts and blogs. I had heard great things so thought why not give it a listen. This book has made a difference in our marriage, we were not in a bad place but this book has shown me how my husband needs love to be shown and it is different to how I recognise love. May sound a little strange as you may have thought like me love is love but we are all so different. I now know his love language and my own, it has given me ideas on both how to be with my husband better and how to communicate what I need more effectively.

Business Boutique by Christy Wright

If you are a woman looking to start their own business or to pursue a life long dream career, this is the book for you. It takes you on a journey of questions that once complete writes out your business plan and gets you on a path to start whatever you have set out to do. I enjoyed listening to the very relateable journey of Christy Wright from her mum’s small business that was her life as a child to the business she started and the career she now has as a Dave Ramsey Personality and speaker. Highly recommend if you are looking to start your own business or have a hobby you think could be more.

How to be a Happier Parent by KJ Dell’Antonia

I had to add this one in even if I am currently only half way through reading. I have added again because this book is so relateable the author offers lots of advice on very common areas of parenting that I know myself, friends and family members discuss and try to help each other on. What the author does however is come from a place of understanding. She is not saying I do everything right so follow me, she is saying I have felt your pain/sadness/frustration/insert emotion on this topic, she tell you parts of her life that make you see she has been where you are. She then talks you through what she has found, what she tried and for her didn’t work and her tips to help you. I am yet to finish this book but if her tips change parts of my parenting for the better I will report back.

Smart Money, Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey an Rachel Cruz

This is written from both the parent (Dave Ramsey) and child (Rachel Cruz) perspective. It takes you through teaching your child about money and setting them up for college/university and beyond. This can be read by parent or child. Look out for my full review on the book in the next few weeks.

Bonus – my next read – The Read aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie

This is another book I have heard about from podcasts and blogs. I am a lover of books and we read bedtime stories but would love for books to be a little more within the home. Hoping to find tips to help me make reading more of a hobby and self-care for my children as they grow up. I know this starts with me so hoping this book will be a little support I need.

What is your current non-fiction favourites?

Saving Money on Books

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Reading is a big part of my week, it is the way I learn new things from business to parenting and is also how I unwind. I love nothing more than unwinding at the end of the day with a romance novel and a bit of chocolate, that right there is my type of self care. If like me you are reading five plus books a month it can soon add up so today I am sharing ways I save money on books. The idea is that for any book lover, one or more of these will help you save a little money on your next few reads.

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Your local library

This is likely to be one that most are at least aware they can use but not everyone goes and gets books from the library as they latest titles are not always there or have a wait list. Did you know though that many libraries now offer ebooks and audiobooks though apps you can use on your tablet or phone? This means the choice is even wider and the change of you getting the book you want it greater. Make sure you are checking the library either by visiting or using their app before buying the latest book you want.

Free or 99p Kindle Books

For many readers, your favourite authors can not write quick enough for your reading so you are always looking for new authors to read. A great way to try a book from a new (to you) author is to look for series of books, many have the first book for free or 99p this is because the author hopes you to get hooked enough for the next book in the series. You don’t have to buy the next book though or you can use the other options mentioned in this post to keep reading the series. Also search the word free along with the book genre in Kindle for free book options.

Prime Reading / Kindle Lenders Library

Did you know you get access to over one thousand books to borrow through Prime Reading, you just need a prime account and a way to read kindle books (tablet, kindle or app). You can download up to 10 at a time ad will be prompted to return one when you reach your limit, read more here. You can also get one free book to download and loan each month through the Kindle Lenders Library. This allows readers up to one Kindle Unlimited Book each month, there is no due date but it will auto return when you choose your next book. Want more than one book from the Kindle Unlimited Section consider the Kindle Unlimited for a small monthly fee you will have access to over a million titles. To get a 30-day free trial of Kindle Unlimited and for more information click here*

Cheaper Ways to Buy a Paperback

Maybe your not convinced by reading on a tablet and a good old fashioned book is your thing. Look in charity shops, I always give my read books in to charity shops. You will have to keep looking as it really is pot luck what the shop has in on that day but you can get some real gems for great prices. Look for shops that always have offers for example The Works always have 3 for £5 on selected fiction and 6 for £10 on children’s picture books or many supermarkets have 2 for £7.

Non-fiction

Non-fiction can be quite expensive to buy so if you are unable to find the book in you local library and your an avid learner/non-fiction reader have you considered audible? This is my choice of non-fiction reading/listening and it is a lot cheaper than buying each book. I personally have the standard one book a month but there is different options depending on how much you want to listen to.

Present idea

We all have our favourite authors and for me they are the people I will always be willing to pay full price when their latest book comes out or even pre-order. The best way I save on this is to ask for gift cards as a present. This also works for subscriptions. My family generally ask what I would like for mt Birthday or Christmas and I will always respond to one requesting a voucher for amazon or a national book voucher which will allow me to buy a book or two.

These are ways I save every month on books, some make a bigger difference than others but all save me a little. How do you save money on books? What is your favourite book? I am always looking to add to my ‘to read’ list.

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Camping Essentials

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Going on holiday (vacation) may seem like a long way off if your budget is tight, or if you have been focused on paying off debt for so long. But maybe that is because your idea of a holiday is currently out of reach, maybe the holidays you are used to seem completely out if your budget. Have you tried camping? Personally my family love it and love nothing more than the great outdoors. It can be a very affordable way to have a small break.

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Holiday (Noun) – An extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in travelling. – Oxford Dictionary

What I enjoy about camping

  • Freedom for a holiday whenever your free – With so little to take, you can easily fill your car on a Friday afternoon and be away for a weekend in no time.
  • No TV – Ok so this will not be a positive for everyone but it is amazing for me. No discussion on TV for a week and add in a huge amount of quality family time for me equals and amazing holiday.
  • Other than the tent it is really budget friendly – After the initial purchase of a few essentials you have all the equipment for a weekend/week away whenever your free. A tent pitch for the weekend can be cheaper in price than a family day at a theme park.
  • Each holiday so different – It is what ever you make it, site seeing / relaxation / forest and coastal walks your options are endless.
  • The children love it – If you are wondering what your children will make of a camping trip, they will love it. Our camping holidays are the ones my childen ask when we are going again.
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My Essentials

Here are 10 of my essentials that are a must for us when making a tent a holiday home. These are the items that mean the tent is not just a bedroom. You may already have a lot of these around the home so use them as this will help allow you to stretch your budget in other areas of your holiday.

I have not included a tent as this really is a personal choice, if you have a £50 budget you will find a tent, don’t get me wrong it won’t be the best and it is not going to last years but it will work for now and will do what you need. The choice is endless and if you have saved for one then a bit like when you pick a home think what do you need for example we need three bedroom compartments they do not need to be huge (just fit in a bed and a bag of clothes) but it makes sleeping better for us. My husband is 6ft 7in so we need one with standing height, it is just a must for us. What is your list?

  1. Wellington Boots* – you never can guarantee the weather so these are a great item to have even if only needed once or twice.
  2. Waterproof Coat* – again you can never predict the weather and you will be so thankful on your trip to the toilet at 7am when it is pouring with rain.
  3. Sleeping bag* – there is nothing worse than getting cold in a tent. I have linked this one as a good option but would really recommend visiting a camping/outdoor shop to see what type you would prefer even if you come home to buy it online later.
  4. Airbed * – we personally prefer an airbed they are compact and the air you put in to them is adjustable to what you would like. But again there are many bed options to make your stay more comfortable so find what is right for you.
  5. Stove *- For that morning toast and tea.
  6. Kettle* – A must for the coffee in the morning and the hot chocolate on the cold evenings.
  7. Saucepan * – there is so many meals you can cook with a couple of saucepans
  8. Electrical Hook Up * – For lights and phone charging may seem basic but it will feel like a luxury.
  9. Table * – For breakfast in the tent or to take out for the barbecue.
  10. Camping chair * – To sit around the table or to fold and take on picnics or to the beach.

A few little luxuries

I thought I would share 7 of my little luxuries that take a camping holiday a little easier. None of them are essential but they all make my holiday feel a little easier or nicer.

  1. UNO * – We love board games and card games in our family. Card games are great to take camping as they take up very little room but can be hours of fun. Uno is our favourite!
  2. Book * – Most people would love 5 more minutes to read and a holiday is a great place to sit down with a good book. I have linked one of my favourite romance books.
  3. Walking Socks * – If your a big walker on holiday a pair of walking socks can make a difference. Not an essential but a little luxury.
  4. Camping Cupboard * – I hate spending my holiday surrounded in piles of things because you have no where to put them. So a little fold away cupboard gives home to so many things that I am no longer surrounded in chaos.
  5. Storage box * – Great to take things in the car and then when you arrive can be the a great place to store your shoes. This will stop the tent getting so dirty if you have had a weekend of rain.
  6. Swimming gear – Whether it is a trip to the beach or a local swimming pool it is all part of that holiday feeling for us. I haven’t linked a suggestion for swimwear because it is such a personal choice.
  7. Change (Money) – A lot of camp sites have a launderette, you may not fancy washing clothes on holiday but a little change to dry the swimming towels a little quicker on a cold day can make the world of difference. It will also stop the tent smelling damp.

Do you enjoy camping? What is one essential you would always take?

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5 Podcast Favourites (May)

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Last month I shared my post on 5 Habits That Are Changing My Life. I thought I would start making this a regular post and each month I will be sharing 5 things on a particle topic/theme. This month I am sharing 5 Podcasts I am currently enjoying. Podcasts are a great free way for me to learn something, whether this is on parenting, budgeting or business. Podcasts really are for anyone with a wide range of topics from children to business to true crime and everything in between.

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1. Rise

If you have not yet heard of Rachel Hollis I would certainly recommend taking a look at her work as she is very motivating and inspirational. I would also recommend having a read of her book Girl Wash Your Face *. This podcast covers a wide range of topics from health, fear and business she gives her views and tips on subjects taking a warrior over victim approach which I love. Great for personal and business growth.

2. Rise together

This is Rachel Hollis’ second podcast where she is joined by her husband Dave Hollis. They talk about growing as a couple, from supporting your partners dreams, vacations as a family, fitness and more intimate subjects. If you are looking for growth in your relationship I would highly recommend a listen.

3. The Dave Ramsey Show

If you follow Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps in anyway this is a great motivational podcast. We are currently on baby step 3 and debt free screams are still motivational to keep any bad spending habits in check. If you are in debt and looking to become debt free this is certainly for you.

4. Run Pod

This is a new one for me but I really enjoy it. I have been running for about 7 months now and it is certainly the exercise for me. This podcast is by Jenni Falconer and she interviews runners from celebrities to the man who started Park Run. It is a great way to hear how they all got started running, which makes my progress feel great and what they currently run. You also hear things like their favourite trainers etc which for someone fairly new to it all helps with my next choice. A real informative podcast.

5. Coffee + Crumbs

This is ran by three mummies and they discuss a magnitude of topics for the mummy of today. The main reason I enjoy this podcast is it is like listening to a group of friends when you meet up for a coffee, which is just what you need when you are half way though the week and your house looks like it has exploded.

I am always on the look for a new podcast, what would you recommend?

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Family Holiday in Devon

We had a lovely week away in Devon during the Easter holidays. We picked a lovely holiday home at Cofton Holiday Park. I thought I would share a few pictures from our adventures.

The week started a little cold and windy but that didn’t stop us taking a visit to the local beach and eating the holiday must have ice-cream.

We visited a small but beautiful National Trust site Finch Foundry. My son loves history, he really enjoys learning about who used to live there and what they did with the site. I really like that they try to include the whole family and have little things like dress up outfits to keep many children interested in the visit. After following the ‘secret’ path we ended up on a beautiful walk through the forest.

If looking for a cheap and fun day out then I would recommend the Haldon Forest Park as it is part of the Forestry England there is a car park cost but that really is all you have to pay for. Or you can add bike hire, Zog activity pack or an afternoon at Go Ape your visit really is up to you. We decided to buy the activity pack but in all honesty you really don’t need it and the trail is just as much fun without it, it was a lovely way however to keep my youngest two entertained through out the walk.

Whenever we are in Devon we always visit one of the Rock Fish restaurants. If you enjoy a great fish dish we would highly recommend seeing if you are near one.

By the end of the week the sun was truly shining and so we had to go back to Dawlish Warren Beach to fully enjoy an afternoon on the sand. Sandcastles and sea dipping was enjoyed by all, plus ice-cream of course.

It was a beautiful and relaxing holiday that was just what we needed. Have you been away this year or do you have holidays planned?

Grocery Money Saving Tips (No Coupons)

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Groceries is one of the biggest expenses for most households behind your mortgage. However you have some control over how much you spend, this may mean changing a few things you eat or spending an extra half an hour planning but you can reduce your costs. I won’t be mentioning coupons in this post, yes they can save you money but in the UK it can take a lot of work to find coupons and they are in most cases not for things you would usually buy.

So here are my tips to savings money on your food shop:

  • Find your shop. Every business has a ideal client and that is the same with a supermarket/grocery shop. This is not about the type of person you are but the type of food you buy. One shop you will find will always have offers on the food you eat and another it will feel like you never get an offer. Find your shop as this will be your cheapest.
  • Everyone says this but meal plan and write a list. It sound so simple but saves you so much money. I personally use The Minimal Mom’s meal plan and shopping list, here is a link to her video if you want to take a look.
  • When your favourite items are on offer buy more. If an item you buy weekly is half price buy two you were going to buy it full price, do it again if it is still on offer the week after. Your are not going to buy enough to build a stockpile that will feed the street, but you will have enough that on a five week month when money is stretched a little thin you have several products you don’t need to buy.
  • Eat less meat. Start small with one day a week an you will immediately see a difference. If no meat is not an option try reducing the size for example instead of 500g of beef mince in a Spaghetti Bolognese try 250g and build it up with lentils.
  • Just buy what you need. I have mentioned buying from a list and buying more if your favourite weekly products are on offer, but do not buy items just because they are on offer. What do I mean? Buying six packets of biscuits you rarely eat because they are half price is not a good deal. They are still costing you money, so you are adding to the food bill on something you don’t need. We all know we say we will buy these and they will last 6 weeks and in reality they get eaten in less than 6 days.

What tips do you use when grocery shopping? Comment below so we can all learn more!

5 habits that are changing my life!

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Over the last six months I have been making small changes to my life, it is allowing me to live more simply and more intentionally. Like most adults months go by and before you realise it you are half way through the year, you are no closer to your new year goals you set and no idea how half a year went so fast. I wanted to change some of that if I could, so these are the 5 things currently making the most impact.

Waking up at 5.30

This has been my biggest change. I won’t lie my children get up early, (between 6am and 6.30am) so it hasn’t been hard for me to push it to 5.30am. That first half an hour to an hour on my own is incredible. I can say it makes me more productive, more intentional with what my day looks like and a more patient parent. For the pure fact I generally get to drink a warm cup of coffee on my own before the day begins is a win all on its own.

Less TV

This might not seem like much of a change to make but when you say ‘I just don’t have the time’, I can now say that I do have time. I have time to craft, read or exercise all things I said I didn’t have time for. Could you cut out one programme, what could you do with that extra 1/2 an hour. I totally understand that watching maybe your way way to relax, I didn’t however say cut it out just watch less.

Gratitude

I have been following Rachel Hollis for a little while now and I follow her gratitude and goals morning practice. This consists of writing down five things I am grateful for, ten goals I have made happen and the goal I am currently working on each day. The gratitude part for me has made a big change to my mood. When something ‘bad’ happens I no longer say I have had a bad day, something bad happened in my day but so did good things and that perspective has been a great shift for me.

Exercise

I have exercised very irregularly for years, and by this I mean less than once a month. I wanted to pick up something that wasn’t going to cost much to start and so after downloading a free C25K app I started running. I have recently written a blog post with ideas for budget friendly exercise, click here to take a read. For me although I am starting to see a few physical changes, the mental almost meditation feel I have when running is why this change with be a permanent fixture.

Reading non-fiction

I am an avid romance reader, I can read about a book a week. Non fiction on the other hand I find quite difficult to get through. As I know there is so much to learn inside the right non-fiction books, I decided to start listening to them through either Audible or my local library. I have listen to a range of subjects on business and life in general and I have learnt so much. If you are not a non-fiction reader I would certainly recommend listening to them.

What helps you live a simple intentional life?