Blog : Little Lilypad Co

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The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky and entertaining daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or by one of our baby bloggers. Occasionally we accept guest posts too. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) education and swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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Category: Money Saving

  1. Five Frugal Things I've Done This Week

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    Despite my best efforts (or not as the case maybe), I don't feel like I have been particularly frugal lately. May was a really expensive month and with the 40 Things To Do in My 40th Year challenges, I know I need to save a little more this month. My plan is to write a post about it each week to make me more accountable, so here goes!

    Free Make Up!

    Make up is expensive, especially if you want the named brands. Emma Bradley very often shares links for free make up samples which are always welcomed, especially when recently my daughter got to try a (very small) sample of MAC lipstick. 

    I also subscribe to Martin Lewis's money saving email and he sent out a link for Max Factor make up last week. If you spent £14, you got a free gift which includes a primer, mascara, kohl pencil and lip gloss. Obviously if you don't need or use any of this stuff it isn't such a great deal but I was running out of lip gloss and primer so was ideal timing for me.

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    Costa Coffee Club

    We seem to spend a lot of time in Costa, whether it is waiting around for one of the girls to finish an after school club or going for a warm drink after swimming, I decided that getting a Costa Coffee Club card was the smart idea. It definitely has been because with my points I have had a few free hot chocolates lately ...... without even doing anything differently!

    Annual delivery pass savings

    I am sure I have probably mentioned this before but as I buy a lot of things online, having annual delivery passes totally makes sense. I use Amazon Prime (it has genuinely got me out of trouble with their next day delivery on more than one occasion) but the big one for me is Next. £20 a year means that you get free delivery every time you shop. So you only have to make 5 orders in the year to make this pay (my husband might say that I do this in one month but we won't mention that). For me it is having the freedom to order clothes / gifts / homeware and look at it at home, without the worry of not liking it and it costing me to order alternatives.I know it probably encourages me to shop more with Next online but I suppose it works for both me as the consumer and them as the brand. Win win!

    Laptop savings

    Buying in advance

    Buying online helps me to seek out the bargains but popping into local stores can also mean you find some great deals. My present cupboard is currently stocked right up and I have got gifts sorted for my daughters friends birthdays right up until the end of August. Finding deals makes me more organised and prepared (which I love) but also helps with the bank balance too!

    Not going out

    Later in the month I have some really exciting days out planned from Ladies Day at the Races and Afternoon Tea at the Ritz (squeal) so this weekend, I am staying put. I am not spending any money and going to eat out of the freezer. No takeaways, no taxis, no spending!

    Wish me luck!!

     

  2. Planning a 13th Birthday Party without breaking the bank

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    May has been EXPENSIVE. Not just a little bit expensive but REALLY REALLY expensive.

    You see I have a teenager. Enough said, no?

    I have a teenager with a birthday and the desire for a "different kind of birthday party"

    Many of her friends have had big parties, with disco and 100 friends. I did not want to go down that road but wanted her to celebrate with friends that matter, not half of her year group who she barely speaks to most of the time. Plus she wanted something a little different.

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    So what did we decide to do? Hold a party on a boat! Now before you think I have actually lost my mind, there was a method to my madness. If I hired a hall I would have the hire of the venue, a DJ and the capacity for ALOT of children. On the barge we were limited to 25 people and we could plug in our own playlists, money and stress saving right there!

    My daughter wanted the very fashionable "drip cakes" that are seen all over social media and whilst they are STUNNING, they are also expensive when catering for 25 people. I received quotes for around £50 which on top of the boat hire was beginning to give me palpitations so was delighted to find a supermarket version for 1/5 of that price! 

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    After stressing about making sure I got the right cake, the irony is that none of the girls ate it so was more than happy I had chosen the cheaper version.

    Saving on a DJ was perfect as the girls played their own songs for the first hour or so but then some of the mums got involved and took over the playlists so we had everything from YMCA and the Macarena. The teens tried to resist dancing but the sun was shining and the boat floating along the canals of Birmingham and the party vibe took over.

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    We didn't do party bags ..... I mean teenagers do not want plastic tat (although I am not sure anyone ever wants plastic tat) and we created our own photo booth with a frame and some silly props. Another saving but with teens who love a selfie, you have to have some photo opportunities don't you?

    This post is headed "planning a birthday party without breaking the bank" and I am not suggesting for a moment that it was the cheapest option available but in comparison to a party with 100 people, it was definitely the more cost effective. That said, everyone had an AMAZING time, we had mums who wanted to join us on the boat, the sun was shining and it was certainly something that they will all remember and for me, that is priceless. Unfortunately the addition of the birthday presents, family gatherings and shopping trips for outfits offset any savings I made and made the month an expensive one!

    So I hope no one wants anything glamorous for dinner this month as the budget has been squeezed ...... I wonder how long I can feed them birthday cake for??

  3. What Are The Best Savings Boosting Products On The Market?

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    Most people experience challenges when it comes to keeping some cash for use in the future. Especially as parents, it is crucial for you to focus on your long-term goals. The goal could be to save money for home renovation, purchase a car, buy a home, or start a business. To succeed in saving the target amount, you have to start monitoring your spending habits and reduce expenses. Here are some of the best saving boosting products on the market.

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    Open an Individual Savings Account (ISA)

    Opening an ISA at your preferred financial institution is one of the best products that will boost savings. At the end of every week or month, you deposit a certain amount of money in the ISA account. It will help you grow savings efficiently without paying taxes, as you are limited to £20,000 each year. Once you lock your cash in the deposit account for a fixed period, you earn an interest income which adds money to your account.

    Automate Savings (Use an App)

    To boost your savings further, it is crucial to automate savings into your ISA. You can you use automated programs to transfer a certain amount of money to your account. You can set the app to deposit at payday or several times during the month.

    No Credit Card

    To increase your savings, limit access to cash in the account. Put the funds in your savings account, which is not linked to a credit card.

    Lifetime ISA

    A lifetime ISA can help you increase your savings. You can use the cash to purchase your first home or use it after retirement. Once you save £4,000 per year, you get 25% bonus in your account from the government. The maximum amount is £1,000 and age limit is 50. Additionally, lifetime ISAs can have cash or stocks or combination of the two.

    Help to Buy ISA

    In case you are saving to purchase a first home, you should consider keeping cash in a help to buy ISA. The account attracts a government boost of 25% of the amount of savings. The maximum bonus is £3,000. It is available for first time home buyers.

    Stocks and Shares ISA

    The account allows you to invest your money in a flexible and tax-efficient manner. It offers higher returns than a cash savings account. The gains are tax-free, and you can invest up to £20,000. The stocks and shares ISA allows you to invest in the best portfolio. You can spend on shares, cash, bonds, or commodities, but remember, your capital is always at risk.

    Pay Debts

    Paying old debts such as education loans, will not only improve your credit score, but also boost your ability to save. Once you have repaid all old debts, you can focus on increasing your savings. Subscriptions To increase your savings, you need to reconsider whether you need various subscriptions services. You can reduce payments to magazines, premium channels subscriptions among others to lower monthly bills and boost savings. Do you really use that gym membership (be honest)? Can you reduce your phone bill?

    Coffee and Other Unnecessary Spending

    If you love coffee, you can cut daily visits to café and start making coffee at home. Importantly, reduce shopping on items not in the budget.

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    Consult a Financial Advisor

    Set aside some cash to purchase a book on savings tips or consult an advisor. The guide will motivate you to continue savings and we love stuff that motivates you!

     

  4. Financial planning : Advice for a first time landlord

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    We have had lots of discussions with friends recently about planning for the future and so many of our friends don't have the "pension pot" that their parents did but are choosing property over pensions. The theory is that property is an investment and unless something really terrible happens, you are never going to actually lose money on it. (fingers crossed).

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    Lots of people now have "blended" families with two people coming together after divorce and are faced with the dilemma of having two houses. Again, so many of our friends have chosen to live in one house and rent out the other. Sounds simple doesn't it? What I didn't realise was all the red tape involved in this from changing your mortgage to the different insurances you need. You need a crash course in the etiquettes and rules of renting not to mention a guide for first time landlords on property insurance.

    Quotezone Landlord

    There are lots of things to consider but equally you avoid all the costs and headaches associated with selling a home too. Ultimately, if you rent your old house out rather than sell it, you could end up over time with a valuable asset that generates a regular income ..... which maybe better than the ever reducing pension pots that our forecast for our generation!

    What do you think?