Champagne lifestyle on brown ale budget or similar?!

(68 Posts)
umiaisha Fri 24-Oct-14 14:14:05

Since giving up work 2 years ago to be SAHM achieving this has been my mission. Would love some new ideas from any savvy mumsnetters on how to save ££ without compromising on the finer things in life.

Have listed a few of the things I do below:

- Have you hair cut/coloured/whatever by a trainee. I never pay full price for my hair and actually find that the students are generally more enthusiastic, have better ideas and really look after you. Had a full head of highlights, cut and blow dry this week for £10 + a £10 tip and am very happy with it.

- Shop around for things like gel nails. I have found a shop near me that gives you your third visit half price, which isn't loads but more than any of the others are offering. I also do my own toe nails now as find that a lot easier and just have a pedicure a couple of times a year.

- Get your eyebrows and other threading done in an asian shop. Far cheaper than the usual salons/stores. Was horrified to see that Fenwicks charge £20 for eyebrows!

- If you exchange christmas/birthday lists amongst family give a lot of thought to what goes on it. Amongst other bits I have Topshop vouchers which I can save for when I need something or fancy treating myself and Chanel nail varnish that I can't justify buying for myself! Same principle can be applied to lists for the children.

- Save monthly for holidays and christmas. We have done this for so long that it becomes another bill and we don't really notice it.

- We like to eat out at least once a weekend and have made it a mission to keep the bill under £35 by keeping an eye out for discounts/vouchers etc and often giving dessert a miss.

Over to you..

Grumpyoldblonde Fri 24-Oct-14 14:30:40

Oh you and I are on the same page!
I have spent years dedicated to the pursuit of keeping up appearance while keeping the wolf from the door.
I have just bought today 2 gorgeous bunches of very expensive looking flowers for 99p each reduced from 10.00 , I know they will be good for at least a week and really lift my rooms. I ask for things like nice shower gels and candles for birthday and Christmas and also today Tesco had a really nice wine reduced to clear at 3.75 each, currently chilling in the fridge.
I colour my own hair, get it trimmed at Supercuts for 14.00 and have found ROC products in Poundland from time to time. I have 2 pairs of boots originally priced at 235.00 for both but I paid 50.00 in the fag end of the sales in March - they are good quality and will last years if I look after them, My coat was 12.00 in the charity shop, lots of cashmere and had the tags on - I was thrilled! My local charity shop has a 50p rummage bin and I often find expensive makeup - unused which I know is from the free gifts the department stores give with multi-purchases and simply wont be used by the person who originally bought them. All books from charity shops and coupons for everything I can possibly manage. I love chanel perfume and buy the lidl smelly likey which I spray liberally then have a little squirt of the real thing.

umiaisha Fri 24-Oct-14 14:45:53

Grumpyoldblonde - we were clearly separated at birth! I need to get back into the habit of visiting charity shops as nothing beats the buzz of finding a gem in one! What is the Lidl perfume called please? I tend to buy a cheaper one for the day (usually M&S) but would imagine there are further savings to be made on that one?

Thought of a couple of other things..

1. Always buy the M&S dine in for £10 - especially when there is a whole chicken in the deal. We are not big wine drinkers so save it for presents.
2. Befriend people who work in useful places! One of my best friends works at the airport and so I can use her discount to indulge my designer handbag addiction and one of OH's friends works in Selfridges which is very handy too.

Definitely agree with buying good quality shoes/boots. Cheap ones are definitely a false economy.

Grumpyoldblonde Fri 24-Oct-14 14:58:32

YY to the Dine in for a tenner with he whole chicken, and some value products, see the other thread - to keep the grocery bill down.
Also I have a magazine subscription, I pay 1.00 a copy then pass it on to a friend who gives me any mags she has finished with. Our car should have been 2k but as you say we have a useful friend and we got it for 900 - same as the dealer paid for it!
The Lidl perfume is Suddenly Madam Glamour which has a similar, weaker smell of Coco Mademoiselle, I drench myself in that then top up with real Chanel. Also I am not above a good squirt of a tester when passing through a department store. My handbag was also 4.00 in a Charity shop, never been used and 2 friends have asked to borrow it to match outfits! I like Next perfumes for a cheapy day to day.
Keep it coming - going to love swapping ideas with you!

umiaisha Fri 24-Oct-14 17:57:36

I have also 'given' up buying magazines (except to take on holidays) and make do with the interiors one my mum passes on to me. Thanks for the Lidl info - will make sure I get there next week.

I try to keep a very organised wardrobe so I can maximise re-sale on ebay. I tend to buy all my clothes via a personal shopping service at Topshop as I find I make less 'mistakes' this way and love everything I buy. I do the surveys on valuedopinions.co.uk as they pay out in Arcadia vouchers that I can put towards this.

Do you buy anything from Boden? I have never bought anything for myself but somehow find myself on their mailing list and they keep sending me £10 off vouchers, 20% off, free delivery etc. Used creatively these can result in free clothes for the kids - usually sale items. Just ordered a tshirt for DS from the summer sale which has cost me nothing and will be put away for next year.

I always make a point of going to the paperchase sale as I love their stuff but can't justify paying full price for it. Fantastic for cheap nice cards, gift wrap and stocking fillers for the kids.

One thing I need to save money on is presents for the kids to take to parties. I always leave it too late and then get carried away. Need to be more disciplined and organised on that front!

Boardingbabe Fri 24-Oct-14 18:48:41

Good thread! I used to do regular hot yoga classes, but at £12 a pop I can't afford them anymore! My solution is to have a hot bath then do my yoga DVD! It basically has the same effect!

Grumpyoldblonde Fri 24-Oct-14 18:49:57

Hi again,
My daughter is 10 now and this is where the B & M shop is useful, pretty make up sets and brush/comb vanity sets that they love at this age, I get most presents from there, but last week I ventured into Poundworld for some cleaning bits and they had some JLS perfume gift sets, some of her friends still love this band so I snapped a couple up.
I don't buy from Boden, I am not fussed where my clothes come from as I have learned a certain "uniform" works for me, I love costume jewellery and think the cheapest outfit can look great if it is well accessorised, so a scarf, chunky bangle and so on can transform a supermarket top. Also, well cared for shoes/boots and general good grooming.

Have you ever done an asprin face mask? If not you are going to love me for this, crush a few uncoated asprin with a spoon, then mix into a paste either with water or depending on your skin moisturiser, leave for a few minutes (careful not to get near the eyes) then rinse well, voila - a salon style facial! for around 10p - small tricks! (once a month is ample)

I have my scented candles lit, my lamps on and a glass of my bargain wine to hand - all feels very elegant even if the bank balance is a little light!

trainersandaches Fri 24-Oct-14 22:39:27

Lovely thread idea!

One cheap luxury I do is to have lovely drinks - so sparkling water with a squeeze of lime, or homemade cordial with ginger, mint, lemon and sugar syrup. We also keep a little stash of alcohol and have gin and tonics or whisky sours on a Friday night.

I always blow dry my hair so it is a bit swishy and keep it clean so it looks 'done' even if on closer inspection my roots need a touch-up!

Get Seche Vite and OPI nail varnishes from TK MAXX - I also got a pair of Vera Wang pjs last year - feels so luxurious to have posh jamas even if I am just watching TV!

loveka Sat 25-Oct-14 11:27:31

Make your own wine! It is so easy from a kit- we use Beaverdale and the quality is excellent. All you need is the big plastic bin, airlock etc as initial outlay. Thereafter it works out at £1.10 a bottle. Even if - no when, it has to be when- our circumstances change we will still make our own.

And if you have a soda stream you can turn it into sparkling!

Captainweasel Sat 25-Oct-14 12:32:44

I do the same. Ask for nice things for birthdays and Christmases. Dm buys Milton brown and Jo Malone for me. I buy the basics when on offer in boots and use points to buy nice mascara's and clarins moisturiser.

Have just bought loads of new clothes on eBay for a fraction of the price. Only things I needed though.

This way I can afford the luxuries - riding lessons and associated paraphernalia.

Sometimesitsnowsinapril Sat 25-Oct-14 17:16:56

Great thread, I could give Martin Lewis a run for his money!

Things off the top of my head

- avon have gel like nail varnish around £6 a bottle. Both my colleague and I have a bottle keep it at work and share the colours.

- reduced flowers - tesco around 7.40pm reduce them to pence - I have a bunch of roses 30p and a mixed bouquet £1 in my living room. They look lovely and are good for at least a week.

- ebay and charity shops are my friend. Have picked up some great bargains

- we go abroad every year - use the sun holidays - four nights in France during school holidays £350 inc travel.

Keep them coming I love tips like this.

CheerfulYank Sat 25-Oct-14 17:19:18

Oooh, watching with interest!

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 25-Oct-14 17:43:18

Buying online always go via topcashback or quidco. With topcashback you can transfer £50 (+ they add 5% )a year to tesco vouchers which then quadruple in value for restaurants and days out.

Watch out on topcashback for the magazine discounts they do them a few times a year and essentially you get paid to trial magazines, so long as you remember to cancel. For example they had £5 cash back for any magazine subscription and lots of 3 issue for £1 trials. I did several as separate transactions ( there was a three transaction limit), added the date to the calendar and set a phone reminder to cancel. Lots of nice mags and paid to read them.

Daily mirror do a £5 off £40 shop at Aldi on the third thursday of the month. Its valid for a week so you can easily buy two and get two shops in and buy long life milk / tins etc for the month if you need to make the shop up. I believe todays mail have a £5 off £40 at Lidl too.

We went on holiday for the first time as a family summer just gone. We booked flights via easyjet a year in advance to Iceland for £37 each in August! We booked car hire early in the new year and it was about half the airport price for shopping around and paying in advance and again booked accommodation direct. The five of us went with food and trips out for less than a five days in centreparcs would have cost us at the same time of year. We've booked next summers flights two weeks ago, we're going to Copenhagen this time for similar money now searching for accommodation and car hire deals.

Buy and sell via ebay. If you get a nice new to you top, sell something. If you can see what you've got it all gets worn and no point having dead stock in your wardrobe making you feel like you've nothing to wear because its jammed in so you can't see what you've got.

My DC are very good at sorting out their old toys to sell on ebay. They use the money towards the next thing on the wish list. By me shopping around they often manage to trade old for new without having to earn much to make up the difference. DS2 was desperate for a textra dog last Christmas but didn't remember till after we'd brought lego! We agreed to look out for one. Boots had them, i think it was boxing day for under £30. He sold some no longer played with play mobil to pay for it.

Grumpyoldblonde Sat 25-Oct-14 17:57:49

Another thing, lend and borrow. I have 2 close friends of similar size and tastes so for weddings and other big occasions we borrow each others posh dresses (we have separate wider circles of friends so rarely go to the same functions) likewise, bags and jewellery. We will also borrow suit jackets for interviews and work dinners- saves a bomb.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 26-Oct-14 00:00:35

Super drug MUA make up is really good, the eyeliners are the best I've used (I've bought chanel & dior before) and the undressed eyeshadow palette doesn't wear off in a night.

I've just started using boots coconut & almond hair care, it's on offer two for £2 so I've tried the deep conditioner & the leave in conditioner & my hair feels brilliant & smells of coconut. It's excellent quality so I can see myself sticking with it.

Most of my home-wear is tk maxx, eBay or bought in sales. I got two cushion covers in sanderson damask for £32, they look brilliant for half the price a shop like John Lewis would charge you.

On the magazine subscription websites some have a facility to only search for ones with a free gift.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 26-Oct-14 07:08:04

Just thought of another, check eBay or amazon for makeup. The loreal lip gloss I want is £9 in boots but £5 unopened on eBay.

Sometimesitsnowsinapril Sun 26-Oct-14 08:34:59

I have a stash cupboard - I am a year ahead on celebrations/occasions. Eg Halloween coming up? Bought decorations/outfits in the sales last year. Christmas? Buy through the year on offer, in sales etc.

We go away a lot. As said before use the sun holidays, holiday pirates etc. we have an out of season break at haven and you can put down. £25 deposit and pay the rest off monthly. We are going next weekend. Always plan what is needed for holiday and buy in accordingly.

Ds is starting secondary next year - raided sainsburys stationary sale and he is fully equipped with folders, paper, pens etc for pence.

I want my family to gave the best life we can on the limited income we have and I think we aren't doing too badly. I love planning, researching etc so this has become a way of life - also helps that DP is totally on board.

ismellonehugerat Sun 26-Oct-14 08:43:39

Ooh, loving this thread!

Charity shops, eBay and Gumtree all the way here. If I am looking for a particular item I often search on eBay and sort by distance to see if something is available locally which you can pick up. It means I often win auctions because I bid a little bit higher because I don't have to worry about paying the postage.

Like Sometimes, I try to plan ahead. I always have a look in the greetings card box in the charity shop and pick up lovely cards for 20p or 50p. I rarely buy new cards these days which saves a fortune.

My favourite shops are ALDI, LIDL, B&M, Poundland and Dunelm Mill. I do love John Lewis and Waitrose but most of the food I buy in Waitrose has yellow stickers... If anyone has any advice on yellow stickers it would be appreciated.

Grumpyoldblonde Sun 26-Oct-14 12:19:50

Another yellow sticker fan, I am often in Morrisons before 8am to snaffle the reduced meat for the freezer.
I love the fact so many of are living the good life for less! I am pretty good at rescuing plants and always head for the clearance shelf at the Garden centre, I have made up hanging baskets for less than a pound before now.
and totally agree about buying in advance in the sales, I have 2 x boxes of Christmas cards in the cupboard at 10 pence a pack.

flowerygirl Sun 26-Oct-14 18:04:30

Love this thread! Totally on board with having a stash cupboard, I've been buying Christmas gifts since the summer, nearly all done.

I used to only buy clothes and baby items in charity shops but I've started finding a lot of household bits for a bargain price. Needed photo albums the other day and was headed into town, found two lovely quality ones for £1.50 each smile

VeryThelma Sun 26-Oct-14 18:19:25

My tip is to wait for the book people to have free delivery code then buy a "collection" where you get 10 books for £10 these can then be used for birthday presents and this year all the kids had a book instead of a party bag (no more plastic tat hooray)

confusedofengland Mon 27-Oct-14 08:23:55

Great thread! We are definitely not rolling in it but manage to enjoy some of the finer things in life grin Some of my tips:

- Buy food from the reduced counter in the supermarket in the evening. At 7/8 pm my Tesco reduces fresh food by up to 90%. We have had lots of Tesco Finest products this way - steak for 50p, duck, posh bread etc. This can take some hanging around the supermarket in the evening but is well worth it. Apparently there is more reduced stuff on a rainy day or a big sports day (eg England in football World Cup) as people would rather stay home than go shopping, so the shop has a lot to get rid of

- Sign up for product tests & free trials! I've had a few product tests on MN (the latest being a free breakfast out for the whole family) & we have been going to the cinema for free this month because I signed up for a month's free trial with SunPlus (I don't usually go near the paper but love the freebies)

- Ask at the beauty counters in department stores for samples of perfume, I have quite a collection of the latest fragrances for nothing smile

floraldora Mon 27-Oct-14 23:55:39

What a brilliant thread!

My tips are:

For kids' parties, buy multipacks of cards (£1 for 5 cards) and a huge roll of wrapping paper (around a £1 too) from Asda. Buy presents from Home Bargains. Or Asda often do 2 toys for £10 deals, which are also good for party presents.

Serve homemade soup with crusty bread as an evening meal once a week. It costs hardly anything to make and is healthy too. We also tend to have something like egg and chips, or jacket potatoes with beans and cheese once a week too.

For kids clothes, check out the sale rails in Primark. I have bought items for £1 from our local Primark before. Have also bought Primark bedding sets for £3 in the reduced section; they're brilliant quality and lovely designs.

Grumpyoldblonde Tue 28-Oct-14 13:10:30

Another, T K Maxx is excellent for luxury bedding. Slightly different but I went to Harrods a few weeks ago, just as a day out and walked through a department that had lots of glassware and fragrances (room scents) It felt so luxurious and I realised that the vases and glass just gleamed, cue me going home to wash all my displayed vases and polish mirrors. I really makes a difference to see the glint. So now everything displayed will go through the dishwasher monthly. Also I like the perfume snaps that sometimes come in magazines, I pop them in the hoover canister to scent as I vacuum or rub them on light-bulbs.
keep em coming ladies, loving the thread!

JeanetteDanielsBenziger Tue 28-Oct-14 13:33:30

Perfume parlour for scent, currently I smell of tom ford black orchid for the princely sum of £3.
Shop John lewis sale for good quality knitwear, I got two viyella cardigans worth nearly £300 for about £30.

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