UK Cashback

I’m a big fan of UK Cashback sites and as you can see from the screenshot above at my favourite cashback site Quidco I am well on my way to achieving £1000 in cash back. Cashback sites work by paying you back a proportion of the money you spend online with different merchants. The money is paid direct in to your bank account at regular intervals. You can even set the level at which you wish to get paid say once your cash back reaches £10 or £20. Some merchants will pay you back in cash more than the value of the item you have purchased to try to attract you to their sites.

The disadvantage of all UK cashback sites is that you must order goods by clicking on links at their sites to track your purchase and in some instances the tracking software does not work so you will not get paid. Cashback may also be declined by the merchant for a number of reasons so please be mindful that you will not always get your cashback as advertised.  However, if you have shopped around and already made the decision to make an online purchase checking a  UK Cashback site before you proceed with your purchase doesn’t cost you anything and will usually result in cash back you wouldn’t otherwise have had so you haven’t got anything to lose.

I love Quidco

If you have decided to live a more frugal lifestyle there are lots of things you can decide you no longer need and can do with out, but food is not one of them so to reduce your food spend you are going to have to look at cheap meals you can cook.  I like to look at cooking cheaply as a challenge – the more mouths you have to feed then the more money you can save.

sausages-onion-gravyHaving been hood winked in to feeding my family horse meat recently (thanks  Asda corn beef) I decided to look at different options for buying meat. I no longer trust the supermarkets and when I looked at buying my meat from farm shops with high welfare standards their prices were outside my budget. I want to be able to cook cheap meals for my family but I do not want to compromise on the quality of the ingredients I am using. Cheap meals shouldn’t have to mean feeding your family horse!

I did some searching online and discovered Westin Gourmet which lets you order gourmet meat online at competitive prices. My first order was for 20kg of chicken breasts which entitled me to 18 free sausages and free delivery. This may seem a lot of chicken to order all in one go but my oldest son and a couple of his friends have already bought 6kg of chicken from me at cost price so I have a mini meat co-operative now.

Earlier in the week I’d used a £50 e-voucher earned by accumulating nectar points against my weekly shop which I had delivered from Sainsbury’s and which came to just under £13, so had lots of ingredients waiting to make cheap meals for my family. Sausages are always popular in our house so I decided that had to be the first thing I tried from my Westin Gourmet order.

Step 1 – I chopped up 1.5kg of onions from my weekly shop and gently fried them for 30 minutes adding a dessert spoon of  sugar to maximize the sweetness of the onions.  You have to make sure you constantly turn the onions to avoid them sticking and burning so no wandering off! When the onions had caramelised nicely I put 2/3 of them in a container in the fridge to make quiches the next day when I had more time.

Step 2 – Brown the sausages. I did this in a frying pan turning the sausages for an even colour, but you could be healthier and oven cook them.

Step 3 – To make the gravy take your already caramelized onions and add them to a pan with  a heaped spoon of plain flour. Mix these together then pour in approximately a pint of boiling water with a beef stock cube dissolved in it.  Simmer the mixture on a low heat until your gravy starts to thicken.

Step 4 – Serve your sausages and onion gravy with freshly cooked vegetables. We chose to use carrots, runner beans and mashed potatoes as that’s what we had in.

If you are vegetarian or vegan this meal could easily be adapted for you by using vegetarian / vegan sausages and making the onion gravy using a non meat stock cube.  Onion gravy also is a great accompaniment to nut roasts and burgers.

Happy cooking and I’ll be sharing another cheap meal recipe with you soon featuring the left over caramelized onions.

Hi and welcome to my new frugal living blog. I am Frugal Living Mum a mother of 5 children based in Barnsley. I’ve had the good fortune to live in a household with a very healthy combined six figure income and I’ve experienced the challenge of living below the poverty line.  I am self employed and have seen my income fall recently, so along with a lot of families my personal finances fall in to the “could do better” school report category. If you are in a similar situation and looking for ways to save money or make your money go further this is the blog for you.

frugal livingAs a child growing up in the 1970’s my mother fell firmly in to the aspirational self sufficiency movement. When other families were tucking in to the all new ready meals my mum was showing us how to grow plants and bake our own bread. At the time as a child wanting to be like every other family I did not appreciate the valuable life skills she was teaching me. Now I am eternally grateful for her investment of time and effort as a parent. She gave me a lot of the tools needed to start my frugal living journey which I’ll be sharing with you.

My personal idea of frugal living is living well for less; I do not wish to live like a pauper but I do want to get the most I can out of the money I  have.  My idea of what “living well” means will of course be different from yours so frugality is very much a subjective term. Some people practice frugal living to reduce debts, to live within restricted means or as a way to save towards the lifestyle they want in the future. Whether you have decided to give living frugally a try permanently or temporarily I hope you will gain some new ideas from the blog.

My next blog posts will be showing you how to save money on your food bills including cheap meals for the frugal family.  Nothing too advanced and no special equipment needed!