Friday, 23 July 2010

Back on the frugal thrifty wagon

I hadn't really noticed it, but my bank balances are telling me otherwise, but we appear to have dropped off the wagon seriously and are deep in to our overdrafts again *sigh* noones fault but mine, our holiday inevitably cost a lot in fuel and wet-weather entertainment, and bills just seem to be endlessly going up. Our latest expense increase seems to be the car insurance; I wish we could survive without one but living in a rural village with one bus service to limited destinations every hour makes it impossible; despite us making no claims it's increasing by £15 a month! I'm livid, how do they justify increasing it so much above inflation, but going on price comparison sites it seems one of the cheaper options still, I'm considering lowering it by increasing the excess we'd pay but this terrifies me especially once my income is lowered on maternity leave, would I be able to just find £100-150 like that should something happen? Maybe i'd be better trying to do so and then put the extra money we'd save away in an emergency fund to pay for it should it happen (or any other emergency) I've been considering this for a while now, at least it's in my control still then to use if it's needed rather than paying extra for zero excess but never benefitting (not that a claim would be a benefit but you see what i mean). It also irks me that figures released recently that estimate how many uninsured drivers there are out there, very frustrating when us law-abiding citizens are clearly paying to make up the difference.

Anyway I digress. Living costs are certainly increasing, so I really need now more than ever to take control of our debt and spending. This includes sourcing cheaper alternatives for things we buy, not buying anything that we truly don't really need, stopping splurging on little items and treats for GS unless they are bargains/car boot finds and even then i need to encourage saving them for bday/xmas treats rather than showering him with treats which I know he doesn't really need (this will probably be my hardest challenge), not eating out much when theres an abundance of food at home, and shopping wisely according to a meal planner & making things go further. I also want to get back in to crafting again, so i can build up a couple of homemade gifts for birthdays and xmas.

Another challenge will be over the summer holidays. Whilst gs is not yet at school (he starts in September) my niece is and Granny Nanny & I look after her whilst her Mum is at work throughout the holidays. The challenges with this are both kids love to get out and about and are very hard to entertain at home, they are a little young yet to involve in many home-craft activities without getting bored after 5-10 mins, so it proves very exhausting to constantly put on a new craft hour after hour, day after day, so we end up going out, which usually ends up costing money be it in fuel, food or admission. I have been researching local events advertised in the library and out and about with low-cost/free activites, and think I have accrued a pretty good list so far!

The birthday plans are well underway! We have chosen a Toy Story 3/space theme seeing as GS loves this and also there is an abundance of stuff for this in the shops right now. My MIL bought some themed paper plates, cups and napkins, and i've roped in all my lovely family members to make cakes for a fab tea party spread. I'm hoping to go around the local B&M to get a few goodies for party bags (nothing major- i really disagree with expensive lavish party bags!) and thanks to your excellent suggestions I have quite a few good toddler party games up my sleeve.

Friday, 2 July 2010

3 year old birthday party ideas welcome!

It is GS's 3rd birthday in August (my doesn't time fly!) so after a bit if umming and aahing about what to do we've decided on a tea party at home for close friends and family and their children, there will be about half a dozen or so toddlers so I want to put on a few party games, make some party bags etc but desperately need ideas please!!

Anyone got any links to blogs or websites with ideas for toddler parties, things I can perhaps make for the goody bags or games? Anything you've tried yourself that went down well? I'd be very grateful if you could share!

I already have in mind to put on a buffet of traditional party food; homemade biscuits & cupcakes, Angel delight & starwberries, sandwiches, sausage rolls, pineapple & cheese on sticks, homemade pink lemonade, etc. I'll be roping in family to help me prepare it, and then it can all be ready before guests around so I can mingle better without rushing around. Going to get a cool box and pop ice in it to keep adult drinks cool so people can help themselves. I remember last year we had a BBQ at August bank holiday and I seemed to spend most of it in the kitchen fetching drinks, cutlery and cloths as Mr G.T was busy guarding the BBQ, so want to avoid that this time around!