Penny’s Savings 2018 – Weeks 2, 3, 4 and 5

Hmmmm. So that plan of writing this section of the blog on a weekly basis has failed somewhat. Mainly due to a ten day stint of agonising toothache and being somewhat off my head of pain killers!

What I did learn from that little episode though is that if you don’t leave the house for anything other than the school run fo a week you don’t spend much money. The savings are further enhanced when the antibiotics from the dentist don’t allow to drink for a week and at once point the pain is so bad that all you manage to eat in a 48 hour period is two soggy Weetabix. Then again, it’s not the kind of lengths that I recommend when you’re wanting to save money!

The other thing that’s been taking up my time is trying to find us somewhere new to live. Buying a property isn’t going to be cheap, but in the long run it is going to be so much more cost efficient than renting in this part of the country. With the deposit that we have saved up and the price range of property that we’re looking at, chances are that our mortgage outgoings will be about a third of what we are currently paying in rent each month. There are some additional costs that come with owning a home over renting, but we are really hoping that the difference in monthly accommodation outgoings will enable us to put money away into a savings account (or offset mortgage) so that we can be prepared for those extra costs when they come in.

Penny's Savings KidsPass

As far as main savings over the last month, I carried on what I started in week 1 and we had another family trip to the cinema where having a KidsPass enabled us to save a whopping £15.98. That means a total saving on cinema tickets of £27.24 in the month. So worthwhile.

I also made a couple of sales purchases in January which saved me about £8 in total (one being a new swimming costume for my daughter). Finally I also got round to downloading the Wuntu app (a bit like O2 Priority, but for Three customers) and was able to get a free cup of tea at Costa which saved me £2.

In addition to the above, regular use of Topcashback means I earned another £4.79 of Cashback with them (mainly on my OH’s work expenses) and using my American Express Cashback credit card aded up to a further £24.75.

January was also the month that I finally got round to setting up a proper savings account to make the money from my house sale last year actually work for me. I managed to find one that pays interest monthly and make a whopping £47.83 in just the first month.

All in all it’s not been the biggest month for savings after all, but oh how I plan to turn that around in February!

Total savings for weeks 2, 3, 4 and 5 £65.81

Total Cashback for the weeks 2, 3, 4 and 5 £29.54


Total savings for the year to date £387.19

Total Cashback for the year to date £62.26

Total saved for the year to date £449.45

Penny’s Savings 2018 – Week 1

Here we go. Week 1 of my savings for the year. I’m going to try and do a post like this every Monday so I can see how we go week to week. If you’ve read my first post of the year then you’ll have seen how keen I am to save properly in 2018.

Penny's Savings Week 1

There were a few big purchases this week. Mainly because we decided to buy a new mattress, rather than continue to suffer with the cheap one we bought quickly when we first moved in together. We’ve not got rid of the old mattress though as I’m pretty sure it will come in handy when we move house.

Under bed storage boxes (Argos)

Buy one get one half price – saving £9.00

Cashback via Topcashback – £0.28

American Express Cashback – £0.33

Mattress (Dreams)

Sale price reduction – saving £249 (annoyingly the following week another £30 was taken off the sale price!)

Cashback via Topcashback – £22.41

American Express Cashback – £3.11

Board Game (Waterstones)

Used £10 loyalty card and £5.77 of rewards points towards price

Airport Parking (Holiday Extras)

Needed for for a work trip my boyfriend has to make, but still an opportunity to make some cash back.

Cashback via Topcashback – £0.75

American Express Cashback – £0.56

Cinema Trip (Odeon and Kids Pass)

Saving when buying tickets via Kids Pass – £10.26

I bought a £1 for 30 days trial membership of Kids Pass over Christmas as my kids desperately wanted to go and see a specific film in the cinema later in the month and I was trying to find a way to save money on a cinema trip. It turns out to be a good move as my step daughter also wanted to see something when she came to stay. I therefore actually saved £11.26, but have taken off the initial price of the Kids Pass trial. I’m very very tempted to sign up for a regular subscription at £2.99 a month (a special offer I think as they say it is normally £7.50 a month). If we were to go to the cinema with one or more kids once a month (this trip was just two adults and one child) it would definitely save us at least £8 a month.

Cinema snacks

Bringing our own popcorn and cans of drink from home – saving £22.35 for three of us

Panto Drinks

We also took my step-daughter to the panto at the weekend, and made a real effort not to go to the bar before the performance or at the at the interval as we would normally do. In the end I did go to the bar, but only for a glass of (free) tap water as I was thirsty. Estimated saving £15.

Vintage Reels (eBay)

For a little blogging project that B and I are working on…

Cashback via Topcashback £0.09

General spending

As it’s the start of the month, my boyfriend had quite a few work trips to book in advance. He’ll be able to claim the costs on his expenses, but we still can collect the cash back by booking it on our American Express card. If you (or your partner) travels a lot for work, I’d definitely recommend looking into how to make as much cash back as possible on their trips. I’ll soon write a separate blog post on this, but the biggest tip has to be getting a cash back credit card to pay for everything with. It will cost your company nothing more, but will make you some money in the process. If there are going to be big expenses like flights or hotel rooms then it all soon adds up.

Other American Express Cashback over the week £5.19

Total savings for the week £321.38

Total Cashback for the week £32.72

It’s hard to know this early on in the year is this is a good week for savings or not. And I do also realise that the figures are particularly big due to a big purchase, but I’m still pleased at how much we’ve managed to save so far.

I’m also particular pleased with the amount of cash back to date. The combination of a cash back credit card and regularly using Topcashback really seems to pay off. Now what I need to do is put that much money into a savings account and see how it grows over the year.


Total savings for the year to date £321.38

Total Cashback for the year to date £32.72

Total saved for the year to date £354.10

Five frugal things I did over Christmas and New Year #5frugalthings

As well as telling you all about the savings I make on a weekly basis I also plan to join in with Emma, Cass and Becky’s fab weekly linky: “Five Fabulously Frugal Things I’ve done this week“. It’s a great way of keeping track of all the things that I do that may now just be second nature to me.

This first week back at routine has been a bit of a disjointed one, so I’m concentrating on the fabulously frugal things I did over Christmas and New Year instead.

Hitting the Charity Shops

I have absolutely no problem in people knowing that I buy things in charity shops to then give as gifts. Loads of stuff that you can find in charity shops is in excellent condition and if I can find the things my kids want there then it’s a win win situation as I also save money. Both kids received books and DVDs that were found in charity shops this year.

Planning ahead

Both my boyfriend B and 5 year old Master C are train obsessed so we often find ourselves on eBay looking at various model train related things. Master C was shown a video of an Underground Ernie train set that we saw at a model railway exhibition earlier in the year so we hit eBay straight away to see how much the sets are (as we knew that they were no longer available new). We managed to completely luck out by finding someone selling a huge set (for anyone interested we got the original Circle set with track, controller and train, plus a second train – Jubilee – three track extension packs and the International Station) and it only cost us £60. A complete bargain when you look at the prices of the sets individually online.

Five Frugal Things Underground Ernie Five Frugal Things Underground Ernie

Using cashback sites

I’ve been a huge fan of Topcashback for years now and use it as much as possible. Quite a bit of my Christmas shopping was done online and I used it whenever possible. The one transaction that I’m most pleased about this is when I spotted a special 10% cash back offer for eBay. I’d already planned to buy my boyfriend something that I’d spotted on there so jumped at the change to get 10% cash back on it!

Making my own tea

Anyone who follows me on Instagram will know that I love a cup of tea. My downfall is that I regularly work in cafes and coffeeshops and these cost money. I’m also known to make us stop on a journey somewhere and pick up a cuppa from Starbucks or Costa. Far from cheap.

We had a lot of travelling around the country over Christmas between various family gatherings so I made a real effort to make my own cups of tea before I left and take them with me in a travel cup. Those times I had to stop I made a point of going to McDonalds instead. Not only is their tea far cheaper than other places, but it tastes exactly the same and if you collect the “beans” on the cups you also get your seventh cup for free!

Kicked started my savings for 2018

As I’ve already outlined here on Penny’s Savings, 2018 is the year that I really need to save in. We may only be five days into 2018, but I’m going at it with great enthusiasm and keeping track of everything I spend and save now to make sure I do my absolute best to ensure my goals for the year are met.

So that’s my five frugal things for Christmas and New Year. I hope to be sharing with you every week as to what else I get up to!

Five frugal things

I’m linking up with Cass Emma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five Fabulously Frugal things I’ve done this week linky.