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Baby Shopping Online – Save Money Everytime

It sounds too good to be true and many people are suspicious at first but earning cashback on your internet shopping is safe, simple and just plain sensible.

The UK’s No 1 Free Cashback Website, Topcashback.co.uk is featuring a couple expecting twins this August to demonstrate just how much can be saved by using the site.

Ann and Steve Croft from Reading entered the competition to be featured claiming they were avid fans of the site and couldn’t believe why anyone wouldn’t want to use it. Top Cashback has almost a million members, it costs nothing to join, there are no fees and no catches. Joining takes about a minute – enter an email address and a password – then click through to the website of any one of about 3,000 retailers, and shop as normal.

You can buy just about anything you can think of from major High Street names and smaller niche suppliers and the back office technology tracks your purchase, calculates the commission and allocates it to your account in the form of cashback. You can check your Top Cashback account anytime and request the funds be paid direct to your bank account, your PayPal account or receive them as Amazon vouchers. There’s no minimum amount and no deductions.

Over the next five months, we’re going to highlight some of the baby purchases that Ann and Steve have made through Top Cashback just to illustrate how much can be saved


Stay TUNED in to babybudgeting to see how they do!

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This is a post from CCCS. They offer a really valuable free service.

After the excitement of expecting a new member of the family settles, the reality of how much this little bundle is going to cost sets in.

As you may well know, the average cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 21 equates to around £800 a month. As NS&I have reported that we are only setting aside £82.92 every month, we would have to save for a very long time to be able to support the upbringing of a child!

At the same time prices are increasing and many of us are relying on credit to fund priority expenditure including spending money on the kids. And with unemployment on the rise it’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain credit repayments. It doesn’t help that (according to Shelter) two million of us have used credit to pay for housing costs.

cccsWith all this is mind, it is no wonder that demand for debt advice is on the increase.

To introduce ourselves, we’re CCCS – the UK’s leading debt advice charity. We provide free, confidential and impartial debt advice to anyone experiencing financial difficulties.

We answered around 300,000 calls last year and also provided online counselling to over 60,000 clients through our online debt counselling service. Around half of our clients have a family, and given the usual domestic worries, you don’t want additional financial stress hanging over you as well!

Unlike the fee-charging debt management companies you may have heard about we explore all of the options available and we don’t charge a penny no matter what solution we recommend. We also have specialist support services such as welfare benefits, counselling for the self employed, mortgage arrears support and bankruptcy support.

Finally, as well as providing debt counselling, we also help people to avoid unmanageable debt in the first place. Our MoneyAware blog is packed full of the latest money-saving tips, debt and credit advice and discussions on how to keep yourself free from debt worries. We’re also on Twitter and Facebook.

So if you’ve got a debt problem, or if you know someone that does, get in touch. We can help.

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Valentines on a budget

We would all love to make a grand gesture on Valentine’s day and show our partners how much we love them. These days we often need to keep things simple and on budget whereas before we may have splurged. But, as always, there are ways and means.

Here are my top 5 valentine treats that just cost effort and creativity:

1. Gift your partner a treat day off – give them a little voucher entitling them to the following: A day to lie in and have breakfast in bed, no child care responsibilities, all the meals cooked and all the chores done and complete freedom to do as they please. I received this once and it was HEAVENLY.

2. Create a home spa for your other half. Run them a big scented hot bubbly bath and light around it with candles. Put their most favourite music on and make them a lovely snack tray. Heat the towels on the radio and lat out clean Pj’s for them. You could even offer to wash their hair for them. After help them moisturise, perhaps a little massage…

3. Time to walk together – ask a friend to trade you a baby sit so you and your partner can go for a walk hand in hand on Valentines day. Go somewhere lovely, feed the ducks, fly a kite or just be together and talk. 1-2 hrs will be plenty of time to reconnect and get your cheeks all pink. (You could always finish off with a little hot choc somewhere cosy.)

4. Organise a lovely romantic meal (at home). Make their most favourite meal and ban them from the kitchen so they have no idea. Wait till the children are in bed and set the table as if the Queen was coming! Best of everything, candles, music and chairs close together. You are aiming for seductive culinary delights!

5. Special cuddles for Valentines make everyone happy and don’t cost a thing. Look and smell your most ravishing and INSIST on an early night (together).

Happy Valentines Day everyone…. you don’t need money to make it magical (but DO get/make a card) or you may well be in BIG trouble x

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Parks are a budgeting mums no. 1 summer budgeting activity option.

 Local parks can be absolute lifeline for all parents for the following 2 reasons: they are free and open all year round …hurray. Usually empty of big kids on a weekday, they are usually well maintained by the council, safe, and they help your little one expend loads and loads of energy and they usually have a bench for you to rest your weary feet. They are also lots of fun.

park

 Don’t ever let the weather put you off, get wellies and an all in one rain thingy (for baby not for you, you would look really stupid no matter how practical!) and brave it anyway. Children are so much better behaved when they have run off their excess energy and got some fresh air and it will perk you up too if you are having a down day.

puddles

Parks also a good place for them and you to make new friends, pick leaves for pictures, jump in puddles, have races, practice on bikes etc. Magical. Even if your baby isn’t yet walking a little swing and a play in the sandpit as well as seeing other children play is great stimulation.

sandpit

 As they get bigger a flask and a book (for you of course!) aren’t a bad idea!

If your park isn’t the business get campaigning to your local newspaper/MP or anyone who will listen. If you want to comment on your local park go check out www.greenstat.org.uk/   GreenSTAT is a system that gives people the opportunity to comment on the quality of their open spaces and how well they feel they are being managed and maintained . Writing and complaining to a local paper can often help too.

 Do take action your local park is going to be a vital part of your life for the next few years!

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Our guest post today is from Brenda at the green familia and here she shares some fab tips on energy efficiency.  Thank you Brenda!

Energy efficiency at it’s purest!

One of the easiest ways of saving money and being kind to the environment is to be energy efficient.  Here are some tips on how to achieve this.

  •  Turn off all electrical appliances at the wall when not in use.  Even leaving them on standby is still using up electricity which you are paying for!
  • Keep your fridge and freezers dust free at the back.  Once a month get into the habit of giving them a dust down, this helps them be more energy efficient.
  • When replacing your washing machines, dishwashers etc, go for one that has a high energy efficient rating. Which? Is a good resource for finding out the best ones.
  •  Turning your heating down by just one degree, can also help you lower your energy bills.
  •  Ensure your house is fully insulated from the loft to your doors and windows!
  •  Switch to low energy light bulbs.
  • When cooking, make larger portions and freeze the left overs for another day. 

 


  •  Use lined curtains on windows that are slightly draughty to prevent too much heat loss.
  •  Invest or make your own door draught excluders, again to prevent heat loss.

These are only just a few tips, but if you can implement a few of these into your daily lives, you will find that eventually your energy bills will be less and you will have a more energy efficient house which will help in your strive to be greener.

Brenda writes over at www.thegreenfamilia.co.uk, which is a light green natural living shopping blog.

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Are you looking for things you could do to immediately help your finances

Rummage through all your clothes drawers and anything with a good label and no longer wanted bang straight on ebay

Resolve to be greener and save more money and turn off the power (including standby) when items are not in use.

immediately help your finances

Cancel any gym subscriptions and get walking/jogging/cycling.

 

Find a mobile hairdresser who will do your whole families hair for probably 2/3 of the price you usually pay just for you. Just make a few calls.

Compare car insurance, utilities, life insurance etc. some time online could save you a fortune.

Call your local supermarket and ask them when they reduce bread/cakes/fruit etc. and get to the shop 5 mins. before!

Go round your home and gather up all the unwanted books you have and pop them onto Amazon to sell. No cost to you and they can sit there till they sell.

Get out the paints and get your children working. Even a baby can handprint a card. It will save you £’s and Granny will be delighted. Make lots of cards all at once. In the long run this is a great little saver.

Check you are getting all your entitlements www.directgov.co.uk

Feel down the sides of the sofa!

Check your fridge and meal plan the next few days and use up all those things near their use by date to avoid waste.

Cancel any magazine subscriptions

Leave your car at home and bike or walk

Buy yourself a flask for take your own coffee.

Whilst you’re at it a sandwich box is a good idea too!

Spend an hour online researching everything that is free (or v cheap) in your local areas, parks, museums,  toddler groups, swimming sessions, Knowledge is very valuable.

Check all your old handbags and coat pockets you are bound to turn up something

Join twitter and you will never need to go out to socialise again!

Practice the following phrases until they just tumble out easily:

  • No I’m sorry we can’t make that
  • Interesting idea, but let me get back to you
  • Moneys a bit tight would you like coffee and a play at ours instead
  • Would love to have you all back to mine for a play next week…shall we all bring a pack up and have a big picnic in the garden?

Don’t forget to make sure you have emergency home cover in place to avoid heavy expenses if something goes wrong like a burst pipe or a broken locks

Good luck!

P.S  Read some great thrifty blogs including Thrifty Home and Family Budgeting  and Simple Parenting

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 I have always thought reusable wipes sounded brilliant from an environmental and economical perspective and yet…. a bit icky? I was delighted to have a go at using Cheeky wipes reusable baby wipes kit and finally break my reusable wipes block.

                                                                    

 What a fab product! The system is very simple, you have a clean wipes container and a mucky wipes container with washable bag. Use then transfer and wash with towels/reusable nappies/bedding on 60 then reuse. Little bags for clean and mucky whilst out and about are also included. The oils included with the kits give such a sweet fresh smell and it is so lovely to know that no chemicals are touching your baby’s bum. It is also great to know that you are reducing your landfill contribution. Our children need that! But for me the most impressive news of all is that you will save

               * £200 *

at least using this product instead of disposable wipes. Really impressive stuff for a simple, environmentally friendly transition. WOW!

Yes it is slightly more effort but our world, our children and our budget deserve it and you soon get used to doing things slightly differently.

 Please tell everyone you know who is pregnant to give these a go and get them on their gift list and perhaps have a go yourself. You know it make sense.

The Cheeky wipes set retails at £34.95 and can be purchased from www.cheekywipes.com where any questions you have are thoroughly addressed.  The customer testimonials for this product are amazing.

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