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Five frugal things... and a few frugal foul ups

I've been reading a few blogs who post a 'five frugal things', sharing the ways they've been saving money recently. I've included not only my five frugal things, but also a couple of mess ups along the way. 

Five frugal things
Surprise cash!
I think the folks at Student Loans have been on the sherry. For those folks lucky enough to have avoided dealing with Student Finance England, here's a rough description of how it goes: you submit a War and Peace length study about your finances to them, a few months later they put them into a random number generator and then send you a letter telling you how much they'll lend you to keep you going through the year. A few weeks after term starts and you really need the money for such fripperies as paying rent, the promised cash lands in your account. So it was for me this year, until I got a series of letters from Student Finance recalculating the loan amount they'd give me. They alleged they'd miscalculated it, and owed me extra. A wodge of cash turned up in my account. I've shoved it all in my savings and ignored it. I was never counting on it in the first place, so I can do without it now. I'm hoping I can avoid dipping into it for a while, and maybe even use it towards a  holiday.

Buying bargain books
I love Simone Lia. She's an artist and cartoonist and she is brilliant. She has a cartoon strip in The Guardian, and used to have one called Chip and Bean in the Independent on Sunday, which I loved deeply. She also wrote Fluffy, which is a truly lovely and sweet graphic novel. I found out recently that she'd written another book, They Didn't Teach This in Worm School. It's a kids book, but Simone Lia's universe is such a lovely place to be, I'm always happy to spend a few hours there as an adult. I bought it second hand, which saved me a few quid, and I got cashback through Quidco. Result! (If you're not a Quidco user yet, may I heartily recommend it? It's an easy way to get money back on the stuff you normally buy - if you sign up through my referral link here, you can get £5 free too.)

Make it do or do without
I have to wear an ID badge when I'm on placement. Like passport photos, photos on ID cards seem to be designed to make you look like you, only you after a 25 mile marathon, followed by half a bottle of vodka, and an entry into the 'pull your least attractive face' competition. Apart from giving anyone who sees it a good laugh, my ID card has a nasty habit of making tiny holes in my shirts. Nearly all of them have tiny mouse-nibbles in the same place. After trying to sew them up myself and wincing at the results, I bought some iron-mending tape that fixes up the holes much better. I spent £2.50, and saved myself buying any new tops for a while. Nice.

Savings for reviewing
I bought a new pair of shoes from Schuh for wearing on placement. Not only do they do a 10 percent student discount through Unidays (a rather handy discount scheme for sixth form, college and university students) but once you've bought a pair, Schuh offers another 15 percent off if you post a review. That means a handy 25 percent off the next pair I buy. And I could really do with some new work shoes. (Side note: Schuh have a range of vegan shoes. You can find them all here.)

And the foul-ups
Paying for travel twice
At the end of my last placement, I ran out to try and meet a friend who was visiting London for the day... and realised I'd left my Oyster card somewhere along the way. Happily, you can always get a new one sent straight out. It takes between five and ten days to get that new Oyster card and in the meantime, you have to pay for your travel. Having paid for it once already. Aaaand I had to pay £10 to get the card replaced. Total foul up: £30.

Trying to do without a budget
After a very thrifty September (thanks to a spending ban and a judicious use of a budget spreadsheet) for some reason I did without either in October. You can imagine how that went... I found myself overspending gratuitously. Total foul-up: I don't even want to think about it. I could cry.

Cookie monster
I love how vegan London is becoming at the moment. There are a few cafes on the high street in suburb where I live, and not so long ago, they didn't have much to offer the plant-based diner. Now they're both adding vegan options to their menu: before you had to ask if they could make you something, now it's on the sandwich board outside. The problem? Well, you start selling vegan cakes and a frugal vegan walks by... you can guess the rest. Total foul up: £5 worth of vegan goodies.

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  1. Great list but I can only see 4 frugal things - did one drop off the list? I miss second hand bookshops - there were some great ones when I was a student and every now and againg we would take a big pile of unwanted books for some cash back which gave a nice discount on our new pile of books we took home. And I think there is an opening for someone to make some better ID cards. And I can see the link between your cafes offering more vegan options and your budget blow out :-)

  2. Sounds like at least to me, the good frugal things balanced out the foul ups. Although having more vegan options is always a good thing... :-)


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