Archive for June 2013

Lemon and raisin frugal recipes cheesecakeIn the ’90s when ever I thought of frugal recipes I turned my attention to my copy of  How to Feed Your Family for £5 a Day written by the incredibly talented and innovative cook Bernadine Lawrence.  Bernadine’s book was updated in 2012 and imho is the best frugal food cookery book out there. Now that we have the internet  every one has access to lots of frugal recipes and frugal foodie sites, but I would still highly recommend you buy a copy of Bernadine’s book.

I always wanted to try out the baked cheesecake recipe which has a filling made from sweetened mashed potato, lemon and sultanas but for one reason or another I never got around to it. Well what better day to bake some thing new from my favourite frugal recipes book than a miserable grey Sunday? Having explained to my children that I was making a “fake bake” cheesecake using mashed potato and being met by looks that suggested care in an institution might be on the cards I set to work. My daughter decided to join so an hour or so later the fake bake was ready. So far three of my children have sampled the cheesecake and all declared it a resounding success. I must confess I’ve already happily munched my way through more than one slice and am having to restrain myself from sampling some more!

Ebay selling - Debbie Bliss wool for beds

I am trying to raise some money to buy beds so am resorting to Ebay selling to fund this. I have had a clear out of wool that I will probably never get around to using so at the moment it’s trying to sell balls of wool to provide the cash for bed frames. This weekend Ebay is offering free listing to private sellers so I am hoping to have a clear out and get some more items listed today. My camera is not the most reliable and I don’t own a fancy mobile capable of taking decent images so it is a bit hit and miss as to what the photos end up looking like.

Apart from Ebay selling I have been busy this week mystery shopping  and have added Frugal Living Mum to Facebook & Twitter. I’ve also been cooking with the £1 for 500g steak mince from Westin Gourmet which has gone done well with the troops. If you missed out on Westin Gourmet’s steak mince offer make sure you keep checking their site for more weekly specials.

Getting free samples is always satisfying. Yesterday I went to the dentist’s which is never a cause for celebration in my book, even when it’s only for a check up but I did manage to get some free toothpaste samples whilst I was there. I am taking three of the children for a check up this week so I’ll be sure to get some more free samples then. The secret to bagging a few free samples is not being shy – if you don’t ask you don’t get!!
free samples from the dentist

There are a lot of online resources dedicated to letting you know about all the latest free samples. Large companies give away free samples hoping that you like their products and go on to purchase their products on a regular basis. This week as well as mystery shopping I have found out I have been accepted on to two new consumer test panels. Being accepted on to consumer test panels means you are typically given free products before they are launched to test and give your feedback to the companies concerned. In the past I have done this for a large cosmetics company but I am now trying to target  consumer test panels for groceries so I can make my money stretch a bit further on the household food shopping bill.

Places to find free samples

  • Student Cash – not just for students – freebies, price glitches & reduced price items
  • Magic Freebies – free stuff from solar panels to product samples
  • Hot UK Deals – hot deals, free samples & UK competitions
  • Facebook – a hunt around Facebook can be profitable. Just by liking a producer you are often able to request a free sample.

If you know of other sites dedicated to bringing you links to free samples please feel free to add them as comments.


Raising chickens for eggs always becomes more popular during a recession and more people seem to be getting a couple of back yard hens for egg production. We have two garden hens who very generously provide us with two eggs a day. Our chickens are Columbian blacktails which is a hybrid bred specifically for egg production. They are in their second year of lay so in theory their egg production should be starting to reduce, but so far nobody seems to have told the girls.
Raising chickens for eggs

According to Channel 4’s Super Scrimpers programme based on having two hens raising chickens for eggs will save you about £150 a year. You also know have the assurance that your eggs truly are fresh daily and are free range. Keeping hens in the back garden or yard is not difficult. If you live in a flat it may not be practical, but you could always rent an allotment and put a few chucks on there.back yard hens

What you need for raising chickens for eggs

  •  A coop – we purchased a ready made one in financially rosier times. Making your own is a lot cheaper and there are plenty of plans for chicken coops online.
  • Woodshavings for the floor of your coop – agricultural merchants sell large bags and are cheaper than pet shops
  • Food for your chickens – what type of food your birds require will depend on what age your girls are when you get them. If they are just about to start laying when you buy them or already in lay you will need layers pellets. I pay about £8 for a 20 kilo sack which seems to last forever.
  • Oyster shell – this helps your girls with egg shell production
  • Containers for food and water
  • Hens!! When you are raising chickens for eggs do some research and pick a breed you like the look of. If you are new to poultry keeping I recommend hybrid hens as opposed to pure breeds as being bred for egg production they are hardy and will give you the best return for your money.


Free vouchers for playing bingo at lets you earn free vouchers for playing bingo. I’ve played at Woohoo for some time now and managed to earn a fair few free vouchers so I’m happy to recommend it to you.  It is totally free to sign up at the site and you play bingo with free points that are provided daily. There are various ways to increase the number of points you have to play with such as completing challenges and participating in chat games. The site is easy to navigate and if you need any assistance there are plenty of friendly chat moderators to help you out. Most of the players are happy to chat too.

You play with free points to earn various coloured stars which you can exchange for vouchers or free gifts. The vouchers I always save my gold stars up for are £20 Amazon vouchers as these come in handy for my love of purchasing second hand books. You could save your Amazon vouchers to put towards Christmas or birthday presents too. Lets face it there is plenty of choice at Amazon. Love2Shop free vouchers are also available for playing bingo at Woohoo along with chocolate, sweet and champagne hampers so there is plenty to choose from.

Racking up enough gold stars to exchange for vouchers or gifts can take some time, but there are ways to maximize your chances of winning more gold stars. Every evening there are jackpot games in certain rooms so for example you can earn 100 gold stars at 7pm, up to 50k point at 8pm and 150 gold stars at 9pm. If you are already online at that time it isn’t much effort to log in to the site for the chance of winning free vouchers for playing bingo. Who said frugal living couldn’t be fun too?