Five fabulously frugal things I did this week
Each summer, we go to Canada for around six weeks and I don't want to waste money on foreign transaction fees on my spending while I am there. It can soon add up for when you are gone for so long.19 January 2018
Thank goodness it's Friday.
It's hard to believe that another week is almost over – it's time to share five fabulously frugal things that I did this week to save money.
Made do and mended - Everything I could find
We all have a fraying mobile phone charger or a suitcase with a broken zipper at home which is destined for the bin. But rather than toss these items in the trash, I’ve been mending it with with Sugru.
I was sent a starter kit last week and have decided that the self-setting rubber is the best thing since my trusty roll of duct tape.
The putty is mouldable, bendable, waterproof and resistant to any temperature, what's more, it sticks to almost anything – even fabrics – and dries to a rubbery finish.
So far I've fixed two broken drawers in Audrey's bedroom and my office, the bath panel, as well as the handle and rack on the dishwasher. It's brilliant!
Available at Amazon.co.uk, B&Q, Robert Dyas, Maplin, Hobbycraft and Rymans, the possibilities are endless – and as a three-pack of Sugru costs just £6.99, it can save you a fortune on buying replacement items.
Sugru: in my opinion, the best thing since Duct Tape
Linked up all my loyalty cards
A quick look in my wallet revealed that I have a whopping 12 loyalty cards. But this week, I read a study from Mastercard which revealed that while 92% of consumers are registered with a loyalty scheme but a fifth of us haven't redeemed any points. Does that sound like you?
So I download the BINK app to link both mine and my husband's debit cards to these loyalty schemes, meaning we won’t miss out on your rewards. From there it'll auto-collect points and rewards from a range of retailers including River Island, Dorothy Perkins, Topshop, Iceland and Morrisons.
Plus, if you enter your log in details for each account, you can see just how many points you have accrued, making spending them much easier.
Said "Hello" to £64 worth of free food
It's hard to be on Instagram without Hello Fresh popping up on your feed each night. It seems that working parents everywhere love it – but I'm not convinced that it is good value.
I've been wanting to give it a try for a while, and was fortunate that my friend Erica kindly offered me a coupon for a free week's trial.
I ordered a family box to be delivered tomorrow and thanks to the discount, saved £63.99.
Also, I "skipped" the next week's delivery on my online account, and set a reminder in my diary to cancel the subscription the day the box arrives.
Whether it offers value for money is yet to be seen, but I am happy to have £64 worth of free food either way.
My Hello Fresh free trial. Enough to feed a family of four, for four days – and worth £64
Cut my overseas spending
Each summer, we go to Canada for around six weeks and I don't want to waste money on foreign transaction fees on my spending while I am there. It can soon add up for when you are gone for so long.
In other years, I used a Travelex Supercard, which linked my existing debit card to the account, so anytime I made a purchase the money was debited to from my registered bank card. It was all managed through a mobile app and offered a near-perfect exchange rate – effectively allowing fee-free purchases.
The card was brilliant, though too good to be true it would seem: last summer the foreign exchange provider suddenly withdrew the card from the market due to "high costs".
Always on the lookout for alternatives, I was interested to see that this week a new product that might fill this gap came on the market.
Like the Supercard, the Curve Mastercard, operates in the same way as any normal bank card and will be accepted anywhere in the world that accepts Mastercard. Users simply load your existing credit and debit cards onto the app and then set a default account for any payments to be taken from paying with your Curve Card. Getting one seems easy enough. I simply ordered one by downloading the Curve app from the App Store or Google Play Store and followed the sign-up instructions.
Bear in mind that there are downsides to using this product which must be considered. The biggest is that any purchases made using Curve are not protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
This protection means your credit card company is legally obliged to refund you if a purchase goes wrong, even if it is the retailer's fault. However, this protection doesn't apply when your purchase goes through a third party such as Curve. The good news is that Mastercard is still able to offer its less comprehensive Chargeback service when you use Curve though.
I don't plan on making any big purchases on the card, so I'm not too bothered about this.
While Curve promises to remove exchange fees for overseas spending, this offer is not quite as generous as it seems. For spending abroad, it will still add a 1% fee on top of the actual exchange rate while cash withdrawals are subject to a £2 flat fee.
This makes it more expensive than the best buy credit cards for overseas spending. According to Moneywise Magazine, the Mastercard Halifax Clarity Credit Card and the Visa Credit Barclaycard Platinum Travel Credit Card users are charged the Mastercard and Visa exchange rates respectively, which is normally within 0.1% or 0.2% of the actual exchange rate.
But personally, I don't like spending on a credit card, much preferring to spend actual money I have in the bank – so the Curve card still offers a better solution to paying on my Santander debit card while I am away.
I’ll keep you posted on how the maths pan out.
Made my cashback go further
I've been using cashback websites for years, and have long had the rule that I will only cash in my balance when I reach around £50. Otherwise, you find yourselves with a few quid here and there and it gets swallowed up with daily bills.
But remember, only opt for the voucher option if you are going to spend it – having money on a gift card is worthless if it goes unspent.
So how frugal have you been this week?