admin / November 19, 2014

Saving Money During the Holiday Season

Thank you to the folks at for letting me print and share this article with you. It features tips from Natalie Cooper and Kez Richards. They offer tips for those based in the UK, but I think the advice is universal.


Two money-saving super mums have joined forces to share their money-saving knowledge and find ways to cut the cost of Christmas Groceries.


Frugal money saver Natalie Cooper and coupon and deals expert Kez Richards save on just about every aspect of their lives. They believe it is possible to save on everything from groceries to holidays and would never dream of spending a penny without first price checking or using a discount code or coupon.


The biggest stress that is placed upon most parents is the huge mounting costs of Christmas with decorations, food, presents and all the trimmings it can almost seem like an obligation rather than an enjoyable time of year. By putting their heads together, Kez and Natalie believe there is enough ways to save money on your Christmas groceries that you can more than cut your bill in half.


Here is their top ten tips to save on your Christmas groceries


  1. The biggest and most important rule of getting the most from your grocery shop is to compare the prices of the items you are going to purchase and take in to account the cost of the fuel it takes to travel to that particular store. You can use price comparison sites such as to compare all major supermarkets.


  1. Loyalty schemes reward you with points, coupons and exclusive discounts and can often lead to huge rewards that can be doubled up at Christmas time. Reduce the cost of your Christmas food shop by using vouchers that have been earned throughout the year, this is the easiest way to get free fresh produce.


  1. There is a huge amount of money to be saved using coupons and thanks to these money off vouchers Kez Richards saves up to £400 a month when combined with cashback rewards. There are plenty of printable coupons that can be found at the click of a mouse and most large supermarkets even have in store magazines full of them.


Cashback reward systems are a relatively new idea but are very quick and simple to use. The idea is that you do your shopping and snap a photo of your receipt and receive rewards based on the items you purchased. Popular cashback apps include Top cashback, Shopitize and Checkout Smart.


  1. Clearance items are a well-known money saver but their a few ways to optimise these savings and pick up some incredibly cheap fresh produce for your Christmas dinner. By shopping close to the end of the standard shopping day you will find huge amounts of reduced meat which is perfectly good to freeze for a later date. For example Kez managed to purchase a large free range chicken for under £1.


  1. You may have never heard of the secret art of wombling but for a lot of couponers this is one of the biggest ways to save money. Many supermarkets offer price promise vouchers which can be used on your next shop, these discounts are printed on to your shopping receipt. A lot of people will throw their receipts away without checking and Womblers will collect these discarded receipts and redeem in bulk against their next shop. Don’t forget to check your receipt before your discard it so you don’t miss out!


  1. A lot of products now come with ‘try me free’ promotional offers which means you can purchase the item and then claim your money back later. In most cases you will receive a full refund in the form of a postal cheque. Natalie recently managed to get over £80 worth of these ‘try me free’ products and not only received full refunds on them all but made profit on them by receiving cashback rewards.


  1. This may seem like an obvious tip but its one most of us struggle to stick to, never shop when you’re hungry and always write a meal plan or shopping list and stick to it! If you can succeed in doing this you have overcome the biggest money-saving hurdle.


  1. Shopping online is not only convenient and a real-time saver but it can also help you avoid all the temptations that shops offer. If you use online discount codes and e coupons you can make savings even from home and still reap the benefits of loyalty schemes. There are lots of discount code websites that can be found just be using your search engine.


  1. There is a lot of miss conceptions about basic brand products but in many cases they are the same ingredients just in cheaper packaging. Most people by with their eyes but if you want to save on your groceries then don’t pay more just for pretty pictures and branding.


  1. The final money saver is enjoying the free things in life, it may seem hard to believe that any company would give you a product for free. However market research is very expensive so to get free feedback and advertisement a company will distribute free samples. Natalie and Kez are avid freebie hunters and have previously found free milk, meal kits, sauces, spices and even free chocolate and sweets.

You can save your self-time hunting out freebies and coupons by heading over to

admin / November 10, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-Cajun Hashed Potatoes with Baked Eggs

A hectic week because I’m putting the final touches to the cookbook so I thought I’d share another recipe from it with you. It’s perfect when you’re short on time, plus, sweet potatoes are on sale now.


1 large white potato, peeled and shredded

1 large sweet potato, peeled and shredded

1 large onion, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon Cajun spice mix

4 eggs

4 tablespoons of oil


Preheat oven to 375

Put the while potatoes in a sieve over a bowl and sprinkling with salt to draw out some moisture.

Meanwhile heat the oil in a large roasting pan.

Drain the potatoes and squeeze out any extra juices.

Add them to a large mixing bowl along with the onion, sweet potato, Cajun mix and s and p. Mix together and then add them to the heated oil and mix thoroughly.

Cook until the potatoes are crisped and browned, and stir frequently so they don’t stick to the pan.

When they’re done remove pan from the oven and make four indentions in the hash browns.

Break an egg on each indention.

Return pan to the oven and cook for about five minutes or until eggs are set.

Serves 4.

Copyright-Excerpted from Adventures in Budget Smart Eating-2014.


admin / November 3, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-Herbed Mushroom and Pea Risotto

The herbs in my garden might be done for the year but I’m glad I took time to dry most of them. With that in mind I thought of a recipe where I could put some of them to good use and came up with this risotto that I think is perfect for a fall supper.

Mushrooms have a woody flavor that pairs perfectly with herbs, and peas; well, I always keep a few packages of the frozen variety sitting in the freezer. An added plus, I recently read they’re a good source of protein so great as part of a meatless meal. Although you should use Arborio rice for a true risotto, if you can’t find any or it doesn’t fit into your budget than regular rice should work too. The key is to add warm not cold liquid about half cup at a time for the creamy consistency that’s characteristic of a true risotto.

1 cup Arborio rice

2 cups roughly chopped mushrooms

1 cup frozen peas

½ teaspoon each of dried thyme and oregano

Generous pinch of salt and pepper

4-4 ½ cups of warm vegetable stock

2 tablespoons oil

Over medium high heat, heat the oil and add the mushrooms. Stir, and then add the salt and pepper. Cook until they’re starting to get some color and then add the peas.

Stir together for a few minutes and add the thyme and oregano.

Next add the rice and give everything a good stir to make sure both the vegetables and rice are well coated with the herbs.

Cook for a few minutes and slowly add ½ cup of the warm vegetable stock. Continue cook until the stock as evaporated and then add another ½ cup.

Repeat the process until the rice is tender…you might need more stock or even less.

Serve immediately.

This is great as is or combined with some type of store-brand veggie burger that has a ‘meat’ like substance…not the grain variety.

Serves 6.


Check out the new Budget Smart Girl Store Dismiss