Hi and welcome back to 5 frugal things I have been a bit remiss lately!

frugal choices

Here are 5 frugal choices I made this week instead of 5 frugal things…

  1. I didn’t book a last minute holiday even though I REALLY wanted to because we want to move house and awe need the money!
  2. I didn’t turn down small fee paying work because…see above
  3. I didn’t sleep much as I want to earn well this summer AND be with my kids and something has to give!
  4. I didn’t bow into demand and get an icecream every time the icecream van stopped by instead I stocked up the freezer with cheap choc ices!
  5. I didn’t but all the clothes and shoes I spent an hour putting in a shopping basket at Jules despite the great sale because …see 1 above

I am proud of my thrifty choices. How has your week been?

P.S Have been blogging about a great back to school book discount here is you fancy a peek!



Join the linky


As always, we’d love you to join in with us by sharing what frugal and thrifty things you’ve been up to this week – whether it’s an Instagram picture (#5frugalthings), a blog post or even a video.  Just add your link to the linky at the bottom of this post.

You don’t have to share five things you’ve done, anything thrifty or frugal that you’ve been doing is perfect.

You’re more than welcome to copy and paste the badge above but it would be even better if you could let your readers know that you’re linking up with us by adding a little line to the bottom of your post like this one:

I’m linking up with this Cass, Emma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five Fabulously Frugal things I’ve done this week’ linky.




It is no surprise that during the summer holidays, parents are faced with unprecedented costs – not least due to the need for childcare with children off school, but also the need to buy more food, plan activities to keep children occupied during the day, and often, to purchase new items for school such as uniforms, sports kit and stationery.

Our recent survey of UK households found that a quarter (24%) of parents’ summer budgets goes on funding children’s activities, including summer school, kids’ clubs and sports camps. This alone is already taking up a huge chunk of household spending, but that is really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the summer costs for the average UK family.

budget over the summer months


It’s all about planning

According to the Money Advice Service, the average cost of sending a child under two to nursery is £222.36 per week for full-time care. This is a hefty figure by itself – but combined with the inflated cost of holiday care, alongside all the other summer necessities, many families are left in a pinch.

Our research also showed that the average parent spends between £180-£200 on school uniforms per child, per year. As most uniforms need replacing before school starts again in September, this is another factor parents need to consider when planning their summer spending.

Making a list of the family’s income and outgoings is an easy way to see how the small things can quickly mount up – and to understand what spending is essential and where certain areas can be cut back, whether that’s a weekly takeaway on a Friday night, or a rarely-used gym membership – every little helps.
Saving for summer

Many families already save during the year for Christmas, and should think about using the same tactics to save for the additional spending needed during the summer months. Once you’ve made the list to see where money can be saved, putting some of these funds aside each month, where possible, could help to ease the summer spending burden on parents.

Another trick to save money is The Loose Change Challenge. The ‘putting money in a jar’ trick has been a moneysaving tool for decades, but in today’s world of contactless payments, fewer and fewer people have pennies lying around.

The digital solution lies in The Loose Change Challenge, which is an easy way to save money. All you have to do is check your bank account on a weekly basis, and move any ‘loose change’ into a savings account. For example, if you have £50.73 in your bank account on a Friday, you take the 73p and put it into another account, and do this on a weekly basis.

Whilst it may not seem like much, over the course of a year, the average person can save around £180 in these small increments, which can be put towards the cost of a school uniform or holiday childcare.

Funding the summer holiday period is always going to be a tricky time for parents, especially as the cost of childcare continues to rise. But with these moneysaving tips and tricks, parents can begin to budget more effectively and ease the summer spending worry.



this blog post was sponsored by Ferratum





When it comes to saving on dental work, this might seem difficult at first. The cost of serious dental treatment in the UK is continuously rising. That is why so many patients are looking into better, more pocket-friendly options. There is a way to have affordable dental implants abroad; for example you can get dental implants in Croatia, Spain or Hungary.

dental implant treatment abroad

Are dental implants abroad safe?

You may wonder if dental implants abroad are safe for you. Actually, the quality of materials (implants, crowns, etc.) and the quality of the treatment itself is comparable to what you can get in Britain. Forget about dental offices with outdated equipment, nasty smell, loud drills or bad hygiene. That era is gone. Nowadays dental clinics in Europe are equipped with the latest technology tools and devices, modern, safe X-ray machines and best materials (white fillings, porcelain for crowns/veneers, etc.). European clinics are also very hygienic – the dentists know that they have to adhere to the European standards and safety of their patients is a priority for them. Dental implants abroad are not only safe but they can be a solution to your tight yearly budget.


How much are dental implants abroad?

If you look at Dental Implants Worldwide Costs Guide, which is available for free on dentalimplantsfriends.com, you can see that the average price for dental implants in Croatia is EUR814 (£740) for single implant, the minimum price is EUR600 (£545) and the maximum price is EUR1,000 (£900). This is still considerably cheaper than in the UK where a single dental implant can set you back even EUR2,000 (£1,800)!


Where to get a best deal on dental implants abroad?

Did you know that you can get a discount voucher for your dental implants in Croatia or other country of your choice? Many dental clinics abroad offer such vouchers for more expensive treatments like dental implants. You can even get a voucher worth EUR199 (£180)!

If you decide to visit one of the above dental tourism destinations, check the tips on how to pack light for your dental holidays in a warm country.




feature article



Shoestring Jane blogs about living a fun and frugal life at http://www.shoestringcottage.com. and is here today to share her best tips for budget gardening with us. She writes about healthy eating on a budget, frugal gardening and growing your own food, making extra money and finding the best bargains. You can also find Jane on Twitter on Instagram and on Facebook

 Tips for budget gardening


Make the most of your outdoor space without spending a fortune

We are so fortunate to have a lovely big garden here at Shoestring Cottage. It is the perfect place to relax and unwind. We have a patio and seated area, a vegetable patch, a greenhouse, lawns, various flower beds and some wild flower areas. What more could you possibly need?

However, we rarely spend much money on the garden. It would be very easy to bust the budget at the garden centre! It is more than possible to have a beautiful garden on the tiniest of budgets with a bit of hard work and creativity.  Here are my tips for budget gardening.


Budget gardening tips

Grow from cuttings and seeds

Cuttings can be from your own or friends’ gardens. Seeds are usually cheap and occasionally free if you attend garden shows.



Share plants and seeds

We have made the mistake of sowing too many of the same type of plant in the past. Before you buy any seeds, check what your green-fingered friends and family members are sowing first. Maybe you can do a swap?



Collect seeds

I always collect the seed heads from lovely cottage garden plants such as foxgloves and hollyhocks in particular. I store them in an old envelope to use the following spring.

Buy second-hand furniture and refurbish

This is a fundamental budget gardening tip. Garden furniture can cost a fortune! However, it is perfectly possible to pick up good quality furniture second-hand or even free. We bought our greenhouse on eBay and our wooden table and chairs from the charity shop. Our best bargain, though, was a completely free bench left outside by a neighbour. We walked it down the road, Mr S repaired the slats of the seated section, we rubbed it down and painted it a lovely green colour. It gets lots of compliments!


Make your own compost

It is pretty easy to make your own compost for free using lawn and hedge clippings, for example, as well as raw scraps, eggshells and tea bags from your kitchen. There is plenty of advice on how to do this on-line. It is miraculously powerful stuff! Also, look out for free manure to add to the heap or to use as a mulch, but make sure it is well rotted if you plan to do that.

Make leaf mould

We have a lot of trees around us and a kind of wind tunnel effect that sees all of their leaves blowing into our front garden come Autumn time! We take advantage of this and make leaf mould to use as a soil conditioner and mulch. Again, there is lots of advice on how to do this online.


Sow grass seed rather than buy turf

We decided to get rid of one of our flower beds and turn it back to grass. I was surprised at how expensive turf was in comparison to grass seed. OK, you don’t get instant results, but it looked pretty good and blended in a month or two later.

Make your own fertilizer

Stinging nettles make excellent plant food. All you have to do is soak them in water. This powerful brew absolutely stinks though, so be warned. This clip from Gardener’s World shows you the technique with comfrey (it is exactly the same). This is hard core budget gardening!

Any container can become a planter

As long as you make some drainage holes in the bottom, you don’t need to spend lots of money on fancy containers to grow your flowers and plants in.  Old car tyres, teapots, buckets…I have even used an old toilet to make a bit of a feature!


Shop at the discount stores, not just the garden centre

Stores as diverse as Aldi, B&M, Home Bargains and Lidl have great deals on plants, compost and tools. It is worth keeping an eye. They tend to be much cheaper than garden centre prices, but you need to get them soon after they arrive as they aren’t looked after as well.

Check out the reduced section in the garden centre

I have bought tons of stuff from the discounted sections in the past. A perennial plant or shrub that is looking a bit sorry for itself can be coaxed back to full health and last for many years.

Look for plants and tools at the boot sale

Boot sales are increasingly good places to find great value plants. You can often find decent second-hand garden tools as well.

Make do and mend

Mr Shoestring is generally reluctant to throw anything away! This can be a pain as I am a minimalist at heart, but it does mean he repairs rather than throws away and has a part for most occasions when something needs a repair.  He repaired a small hole in a plastic watering can with bath sealant and welded a spare piece of metal to the bottom of a rusty wheelbarrow. Both are still in use years later!

Sow wildflower seeds

Obviously, if you sow wildflowers the birds and bees will love you for it. However, a wild approach also saves money. A small wild flower patch in your garden will cost very little to create initially and then self-seed forever.



You can read one of my blog posts on wildlife friendly gardening and its benefits here.

Think of your garden as an outdoor gym

Digging, lugging heavy pots and compost bags about, pruning and weeding are really good exercise. Who needs to pay for a gym membership? If you have children, they will likely be happy for your company and will either join in or run off to play. Small children love to plant seeds and see them grow, so this is a cheap form of family entertainment.

Grow your own to reduce your grocery budget

We are far from self-sufficient, but we save a lot of money each summer growing some of our own food. We have courgettes, tomatoes, runner beans, spinach, chillies, cucumbers, pumpkins, black and redcurrants, apples and plums this year. Sometimes we grow more, depending on our free time. We store a lot in the freezer too.

Keep yogurt pots for seedlings

Or any little pots you have! You don’t have to busy special plant pots and will accumulate them anyway. If you make little holes in the bottom for drainage, an ice cream container will make a good seed tray too.

Cut up plastic containers to make plant labels

Similarly, you don’t need to buy special plant tags. Invest in a permanent marker pen and cut up any old plastic container to use instead.

Avoid the hose pipe

Collect rainwater, especially if you are on a meter. Local councils often have very cheap deals on water butts to dot around your garden. You can also use grey water – the water from your bath and washing up – to water your plants.

Read more about our frugal garden and my budget gardening tips here.





Making money online can be hard, but the reason affiliate ad networks are the best way of doing it is their staying power. Having been around since the days of MySpace and dial-up, affiliate ad networks work because they are the result of lessons marketers and publishers have learnt from years of bad advertising.

So how does it work? And why should you trust Adsterra to help you monetize your website or blog?


Internet Advertising in the Past

If you blogged in the early, early days of the internet — or if you read blogs back then — you may well remember how things used to work. Spammy, dodgy-looking, irrelevant adverts would appear on decent websites. For bloggers, this was because there was no easy way of contacting advertisers. For advertisers, this was because there was no easy way of finding decent websites.

Google was still in its infancy and internet data was at a minimum. The resulting free-for-all was almost enough to put a whole generation of internet users off advertising altogether.

Affiliate Ad Networks Act as a Middleman

Affiliate ad networks connect advertisers with bloggers so that advertisers and bloggers don’t have to spend countless hours trying to find each other. For example, let’s say that your advertiser who wants to place a banner advert about your new tennis racket on a website. You could email blogger after blogger and website after website to see whether they’d be willing to host your banner advert, but that takes time and time costs money.

What’s more, even if you manage to find a blogger or a website who will agree to host your ad, there’s no way of guaranteeing that their audience will be the sort of audience you want to target. The only way to find that out would be to spend yet more time researching.

For bloggers and website owners, connecting with advertisers also takes time. Who do you contact? How can you trust their ads are safe, high-quality, or relevant to your audience? How do you know they will pay on time?

By creating a network of website owners and advertisers, Adsterra plays matchmaker and best fits high-quality adverts with the high-quality websites they’d work best on. For advertisers, this means they can guarantee advertising targeted at their ideal audience.

For bloggers, this means you can get paid without the unnecessary legwork. The Adsterra ad network will guarantee a steady stream of high-quality, safe, relevant adverts for your website. All you need to do is register with Adsterra, place the code on your website and start earning money. This means you can spend more time actually writing blogs — which is always the best use of a blogger’s time!


Adsterra Has Worked with Businesses and Bloggers All Over the World

Because of Adsterra’s simple approach to advertising, bloggers and advertisers the world over have monetized and advertised with it. The reason people continue to use it is the way in which it’s evolved as a result of all this work.

A perfect example of this is how Adsterra pays its bloggers and website owners. Whereas most affiliate ad networks offer little to no choice on how they pay their publishers, Adsterra is happy to pay you through PayPal, Bitcoin, Wire Transfer, Paxum, Payza, WebMoney, or ePayments. This is important in an era when Bitcoin is more valuable than ever.

By listening to bloggers and advertisers for years, the best affiliate ad networks are able to find a balance which best suits everyone. Advertisers get to advertise on good websites, readers get to read blogs for free and bloggers get paid for hosting decent adverts. For any blogger, Adsterra’s affiliate ad network is the best way to make money while you do what you do best.