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Blogger’s Chat with The Frugal Teen

After a (not so) short break, I am back with something new! I am joined today by the lovely Annelies, AKA The Frugal Teen, to chat about how she makes and saves money.

Welcome Annelies, and thanks for joining me today!

I know you were young when you started, when and how did you first start saving money?

I was probably about 14 when I really started getting into freebies and refusing to pay a lot of money for things such as presents. To this day I still go to the same make-up counters for foundation samples rather than buying the full product!

What do your friends and family think of your lifestyle?

As a (just turned) 19 year old, I think my family appreciate it a lot as it means I don’t spend so much at university but I think it’s considered very uncool when you’re a teenager. When you’re an adult you’re friends might go “oh wow, teach me how you do that,” whereas a teen friend says “I’m going to teach you how to spend!”

Having said that, recently friends have been asking if I have a discount for this or if I’ve come across an offer on some product or another; so I think my reputation is turning more positive!

Would you describe your love of scoring freebies and savings as your hobby?

I would say so yeah, except I spend a lot more time on it than an ordinary hobby. Actually, I’d describe it more as my lifestyle… being cheap; I think that’s a good summary.

Being a student, how does being frugal impact your university life?

Being frugal means that I worry less about finances in the future. If I save some euros each week, then that’s a few euros less of potential debt and can go towards more important things like a later holiday.

I think being frugal is also helpful for studying and being organised because I’m less tempted to go out every weekend partying etc. and I’m less tempted to buy food at the cafeteria so I become more organised in the morning as a result so I can pack my lunch. There are many more examples though.

What are your favourite ways to save money?

Definitely cashback. The hauls you see people get is really extraordinary. I intend to start writing to more companies for coupons though.

What are your favourite ways to make money?

For me Shopitize is super easy (I’ve earnt over £30 in Amazon vouchers with it so far) as well as survey sites. Some sites such as Toluna takes years and (in my opinion) are pointless, but some like GfKmedia and YouGov can earn you money quickly.

If not, then a part-time job is obviously more efficient but studying at university doesn’t leave enough time for that unfortunately.

I wish I knew all of this when I was at university! How has saving and making money impacted your life?

I think it’s made me become more mature and less materialistic. I associate objects with money not pleasure. So where some girls might see a make-up palette and think “I’m missing that in my life, I need it,” I think “oh my gosh that’s so much money, I’m much happier with my current one. I don’t need that it’s a waste.”

It’s also prepared me for the future when I will have to save: for a house or for a family etc. It won’t be a shock to the system when I can’t go shopping every week. For me that’s super important and almost an achievement as I am surrounded by temptations and pressures so it makes me happy that I can overcome these and save.

It’s a important skill to learn and you’ve mastered it young! How long do you spend searching for savings? Can you talk us through your general routine?

Not as much as I used to for obvious reasons unfortunately. It’s hard to put a figure on it because I like looking up deals etc. whenever I have time so if I have lots of time I’ll be doing lots of searching!

What are your favourite accounts and blogs to follow?

The Mini Millionaire

Savvy Couponing and Cashback (fb page)

Extreme Couponing and Cash Back UK (fb page)

Emma Drew’s blog

Some great favourites there! What saving are you most proud of from 2016?

Moving abroad to uni so I could save over £7k a year!

I hope that I will be able to graduate with no/very little debt!

That is a tremendous saving, congratulations! Tell me, what are your goals for 2017?

To get all birthday presents and Christmas presents for under £10 and be more proactive in my DIY attempts. I always see good crafts I want to try out.

And finally, what tips would you have for someone who wanted to follow in your steps?

Start by following the basic sites like LatestFreeStuff and then start following pages on Facebook by typing in key works like coupons and cashback and UK. Here you’ll find many pages where people contribute deals etc.

Then you can start googling for coupons and downloading cashback apps. From here on be original and see how you can save money!


Thank you for joining me today, Annelies. It’s been an absolute pleasure, and I wish you great savings for 2017!

You can find The Frugal Teen on Twitter and Instagram, and her blog.

Save

Save

meal planning

Lately, I’ve been noticing how much food I’ve been wasting because I haven’t properly planned my week. How often do you buy something just to chuck it away when you notice it’s out of date? Way too often, right?

I buy things with good intentions, but sometimes things get pushed to the back of the fridge or some exciting meal distracts me and food goes to waste. No more. I’m on a mission to meal plan every week!

Meal planning is a great way to make sure you’re not wasting food, and not wasting your money. So how do we go about this meal planning malarkey?

Meal planning

I’ve made a handy printable so you can get started.

Getting started

Get a pen and paper and scribble down any ideas.

Decide whether you just want a vague meal plan for the week, or if you’re going to stick to a schedule all week. You can be as rigid or as flexible as you like.

What’s happening this week?

If you have a crazy week ahead, you’ll probably want your meals to be as convenient as possible and your meal plan can take this in to account. You can plan to cook and freeze meals ahead of time, or plan quick and easy meals to save yourself time. Maybe you have a quiet week ahead and more leeway to try more adventurous and leisurely meals?

Anticipating your week ahead can make life easier and less stressful, if you have a chance to accommodate it before hand.

What’s your budget?

Think about how much you want to spend this week. Watching the pennies, or splashing the cash?

Watching the pennies can be a good time to have a look in the cupboards and see if you can get creative with what you already have.

How are you feeling?

Sometimes when it’s dark and cold, there’s nothing better than hearty, filling food. Likewise, in the summer, sometimes all you want is something light and refreshing. You can feel out what kind of mood you might be in the week ahead and plan what kind of meals that be ideal.

Do you have something you’ve been meaning to make or try? Can it fit in to your week?


How I plan my week

  1. I check the offers on Clicksnap and Shopitize.
  2. Check if there’s any coupons or freebies floating around with a quick internet search.
  3. Take in to account what my plans are that week.
  4. Plan any meals that I’ve been craving.
  5. Give myself a ‘cheat day’ on a Saturday.

FREE MEAL PLANNING PRINTABLE

 

meal planning printable

Click here for your free meal planning printable.


Do you plan your meals ahead of time? How does it work for you? Let me know!

balancing your social life and your financial goals

Your finances and social life can often clash. You want to be a good friend, but you also want to meet your financial goals. Sometimes our family and friends may have the best intentions, but they can come in the way of our financial goals. Staying in and keeping your pennies safe may seem tempting, but sometimes it’s just not realistic.

You can meet your financial goals, and have fun. No need to become a social recluse! So, if you find yourself always feeling tempted to spend more, or pressured to part with your money around certain people, then what can you do to stick to your financial goals?

Balancing your social life and your financial goals

Know what your goals are

Make a mental note of what your savings goals are. Better yet, write your goals down and how they will benefit you when they’re reached. It’s easier to stick to your goals if you have a precise number in your head.

Remember why you’ve set these goals

It’s always good to remind yourself why you’re saving. Keep a reminder somewhere; set a reminder on your phone, or have a note or photo hanging in plain sight. It’ll help you keep your goals in you mind and encourage you to stick to them.

Set firm boundaries

If someone’s always trying to persuade you to go out and part with your money, let them know that you’re on a financial fast and you’re not spending money. Be firm about your goals, if someone can’t respect your wishes then they might not be the best person to be around anyway.

Suggest to do something free instead

If your money gets eaten up, try to find a cheaper alternative instead; if you like your takeaways why not buy takeaway ready meals from the supermarket or create your own ‘fakeaway’ at home.

Are you on O2? Take advantage of the freebies on 02 Priority, like free coffees, and use these times to catch up with friends. Even better, invite them round for a good old cuppa and a natter.

Set an amount for monthly leisure activities

Give yourself an allowance! Saving money doesn’t have to be boring, allow yourself a set amount for fun every month, and decide which of your plans are worth spending money on. Balance really is the key here, you don’t need to stop doing everything you love.

Start mystery shopping

With mystery shopping, you can save money and get paid. MarketForce is a great site for mystery shopping, there’s assignments for pubs, restaurants, shops and more.

Start comping

There’s no guarantees with comping, but there’s the potential to win anything. Set your sites on winning days or meals out and do what you love at little or no expense to you.

Make money online

You can commit to making some extra money online specifically to put aside for your social life. There’s any number of ways to do this. Sell your unwanted items, do surveys, usertesting, sell a skill and more.

There is really something for everyone. You can balance your social life and your financial goals.


I’d love to know how you balance your social life and your financial goals! Let me know below.

how my kindle saves me money

I love to read. I read on average 50 – 75 books a year, so having a Kindle is a great money saver for me. I can load up my Kindle with cheap or free books and not feel any strain on my finances.

How my Kindle saves me money

Free samples

How many times have you started a book just to get bored and abandon it? I know I have, countless times! The great thing about e-readers is that you can download a free sample of every book. You can read the first chapter or two and really get a feel of the writing style and plot and find out if you want to read more. You don’t have to waste money on books you don’t like. I no longer have unread or abandoned books on my shelf because I couldn’t get in to them.

Free classics

You can pretty much find every classic novel for free. I actually saved myself hundreds when I was at university (reading English) because I just downloaded the free book instead of buying the paperback. The highlight and search functions also came in really handy for assignments!

You can find free books here:

Transfer files

You can transfer files on to your kindle. If you have some books or documents you can email them to your kindle, or transfer the files when it’s plugged in to your computer.

Very handy for rare books that you can only find online! No need to trawl the Internet for that precious paper copy that’ll ultimately cost a bundle.

If your book is in the wrong format for your e-reader you can convert the file online.

Great deals

I will buy books in advance that I’ll save for later in the year. In the January sales I bought around 20 books for £20. That’ll do me for most of the year.

There’s great deals on all throughout the year, where you can get great chart-toppers for a fraction of the RRP. Look out for Kindle Daily Deals, Monthly Deals, Countdown Deals and other deals for discounted books.

Stops me buying

Having an e-reader stops me from buying books that’ll just sit on my book shelf. I tend to only buy physical books now if they’re pretty and will make great room decorations … as vain as that sounds!

Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited

Occasionally I will Spring out on a month of Kindle Unlimited. At £7.99 a month you can borrow 10 books at a time. You can return any of those books and swap them at any time, as many times as you like.

If a lot of the books I want to read are available then I’ll just pay for a month’s subscription. This is great when I have a lot of books I want to read but don’t want to keep paying the individual cost of each book. You can pay and then cancel straight away; it will ask you if you want to cancel now or at the end of the month. I select end of the month and don’t have to worry about the subscription rolling over in to the next month.


You don’t need to buy an e-reader to enjoy what Kindles have to offer. You could download the free mobile app, or the Kindle desktop app. There are of course other e-readers out there, but I’ve only ever used a Kindle. I can’t state enough how much I love it. If you read a lot, I’d say the cost of a Kindle is well worth your money for what you can get out of it.

I have the cheapest Kindle and in the past I’ve had the Kindle Keyboard. I bought the cheaper one because I missed my Kindle Keyboard! They both lack the back light that the other Kindles have.

Not only that but having a Kindle motivates me to read more. I love seeing what percentage I am through my book, and how long is left in each chapter, “I’ll read the next 5% and then I’ll put it down!”


Do you have an e-reader? What do you think of it?

* this post contains affiliate links

topcashback

TopCashback

Much like Quidco, TopCashback is a site that gives you cashback and discounts on your shopping.

Shop smarter and get the best deals for your online and in-store purchases. You can get cashback on everything from groceries to insurance, so there’s a bunch of ways for you to make money when you shop.

Features

There is a Free Cashback section of the site, where you can earn money without spending a penny! There’s everything from surveys and trials, to competitions and products. A great way to make those extra pennies.

Aside from the cashback you can get when you shop online, TopCashback has some great additional offers for shopping in-store.

  • There is a Printable Voucher page, with vouchers for restaurants, days-out and more.
  • There’s also a Snap & Save page, that gives you various rewards for snapping a photo of your shopping receipt.
  • You can register your card to get in-store rewards when you shop with your credit or debit card.
  • New to TopCashback is the Cashback Notifier add-on.

Getting started

topcashback

It’s easy to get started with TopCashback. After a quick sign-up to the site, you can just browse the offers and click on what takes your fancy. That’s it! Just shop as normal and your cashback will show-up in your account within 7 days.

Just make sure to disable any adblocking software you might have.

Cashout options

TopCashback has an impressive number of ways to cashout:

topcashback topcashback topcashback

As you can see, there’s something for everyone. It’s great if you want to choose whatever is most convenient for you.

Join TopCashback today

Click here to join TopCashback

It’s free to join and a classic account is also free. You can choose to pay £5 a year for a Plus account, which gives you additional benefits such as bigger bonuses and faster payment.