> The Beesley Buzz: You're in Luck - My top tip for saving money!

You're in Luck - My top tip for saving money!

For the past year or so, we have been following Larger Family Life and love hearing all about their adventures. We have been so encouraged by their experience of home-educating that it has on many occasions given us the confidence and boost we needed to carry on. We love hearing about their lovely family and we enjoyed seeing them featured as one of the families on 16 Kids and Counting earlier in the year. It was so exciting as it almost felt like we got to 'meet' the family behind the website that we had been enjoying reading for so long.

As well as blogging about family life, life with a larger family and home-educating, they always seem to have some fabulous tips about budgeting and saving money. As a result of the popularity of these budgeting posts, they have recently launched a new website, www.pinching-pennies.com where lots of top tips can be found on how to save money, spend wisely and get your budget to stretch that bit further.

To celebrate the launch of Pinching-Pennies, they have invited bloggers to write a post about money with their top tips on budgeting or saving money for example (with a chance to win an amazon voucher).

Whilst I could write about how we encourage the kids to save money, or how we make do and mend with certain items of clothing, or how we shop around for the best bargains or buy certain items in bulk to save time and money, I have decided to write about the topic that has become a bit of a hobby for me and has saved us by far the most over the past year or so.

It is how we received a years supply of baby wipes when Trinity was just a few weeks old...

It is how I got my dream changing bag for the first time in my life (which I would never have treated myself to)...

And that iPad in the photo - we got that too (as well as another iPad for my son and 2 iPad mini's which made great gifts!). Again, an iPad is something that would normally be something that we would not splash out on ourselves.

It is how my 8 year old son got a new bed that he desperately needed (as well as a trip to LEGOLAND and had his story published!!!) ...

and how my baby girl got a brand new stroller to ride around in...

It is how my shopping bill last week went from over £200 to less than £40...

It is how we had two lovely breaks away last year in Bluestone and then in Cornwall...

and how we have a holiday abroad due this year (but haven't yet decided exactly where)...

and the total cost of all this has been £0!

In case you thought that was a typo, that does indeed say ZERO. All of that did not cost us a single penny. Time and effort, yes, but no actual cost.

All of these were competition wins. A lot of them were creative competitions where the chances of winning seem to be higher simply because a bit of effort is required so fewer people enter. But with a bit of thought and effort put into a photo entry, a caption competition, a tie-breaker, a video entry, or a story competition and you can have some great results!

When I had to give up work to home-school the boys because of J's difficulties at school, I felt really bad that I was no longer able to contribute to the family income. That's when I gradually found that the more competitions I entered and the more effort I put in, the more I was able to contribute to the family by winning little treats and items that we needed. Thereby proving to be a real help to the family budget.

It is not just me either, the kids love to get involved too. Whenever we find a colouring competition, a poetry competition or a story competition for children, then we will spend some of our home-school time making a project out of it and then the kids will work on an entry combining the knowledge they have learnt about the topic.

For example, the story writing competition that J won, was the culmination of many months of work looking at writing from different view points, using adjectives, using alliteration, metaphors and similies and finding alternatives to the word 'said'. He then took himself up to his bedroom with a clipboard and paper one afternoon and came back downstairs having written an amazing story!

We enter a combination of both creative comps and random draw competitions and one of the iPad mini's, the stroller and the baby wipes were just random draw competitions. Lots of blogs host competitions (including Larger Family Life) and that can be a great place to start.

Like anything in life, it is important to keep a balance and not become too caught up in it (I learnt the hard way after spending far too many hours entering competitions every night last year that it was taking its toll on me and my family), and remember to enjoy it! Also don't be disheartened if you don't seem to have much luck to start with. One of my friends desperately tried to win something, anything, with no success but then after 6 months, her very first ever win was an iPad mini.

One of my favourite types of competition to enter is actually a blogger competition like this very post that I am writing, because even if I don't win, I get the satisfaction of writing a blog post and always enjoy taking part.

You can follow Pinching-Pennies on Twitter here, and Pinching-Pennies is on facebook here.

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