Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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Saving money this winter – tips for home, wardrobe & cooking

If you are living on a tight budget, each season brings its own challenges and I think that winter might be one of the most difficult. During this season one of the biggest issues homeowners face is finding the money to pay for higher-than-usual power bills. We all know that it’s likely that we’ll be using more fuel and power in the winter; it’s cold, so we have to put the heating on. In addition, the fact that the days are shorter and we usually end up spending more time at home means higher electric bills too. We tend to have the lights and electronics, like the TV, on more. Fortunately, there are ways to keep the bills down, so that you don’t get a massive shock when the gas or electric bill arrives in three months time and here’s what I’ve come up with…Insulate, insulate, insulate

And I’m not just talking about in your loft. It’s draughts that zaps the heat from your home at this time of year but you can stop them today. Getting draught excluders for your doors is a really easy and cheap way to stop heat leakage. Make your own using just a towel and a fold of fabric – here’s my DIY draught excluder project  (I used an old fleece blanket to fill mine) so have a go at making one for yourself and stop that draught now! While it’s not a great idea to not open your windows at all in the winter (the stale air and condensation is a breeding ground for mould, ick!) there will be windows in some rooms that aren’t usually opened anyway. These windows can be insulated using a thin film of plastic that is specifically made to block out any draughts. These kits are widely available and extremely easy to install. In the summer you can remove the film and  you can go back to opening and closing your windows as normal.Knitted layers

Usually if you wear a jumper and a pair of cosy slippers around the house, you can get away with turning your heating down by several degrees. Doing so can save you a lot of money and on average you will save 2% for every degree lower you go. I know it’s kind of the norm to be able to just wear a t- indoors, but I think you should dress as if you’re going outside. In winter you’d usually wear more than just the one layer to go outside and if you wear the same indoors too you’ll definitely be able to turn down the heating. Knitting scarves and big chunky blankets for everyone is a fun winter project, which will soon pay for itself in the extra warmth you’ll all enjoy. Crocheted throws are great for snuggling up under while you watch a movie or play video games when the weather’s bad outside.Slow cooking Continue reading “Saving money this winter – tips for home, wardrobe & cooking” »


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Hands up – Who is a fan of the Great British Bake Off?

Unlike other TV competitions like Strictly Come Dancing and The Great British Sewing Bee, which I have followed from the very first episode, I was a bit late to the GBBO party. Yes, I admit it. I only started watching Bake Off three seasons ago. And that’s quite late in the day really. In 2013 I had no idea who Paul Hollywood was, and only had a passing knowledge of the queen of the kitchen Mary Berry. I hadn’t heard of a technical challenge and my only knowledge of the contestants was that one of them once took something out of the fridge. And that’s just because I heard it reported on the radio. I’m ashamed to say that I was not a Bake Off fan. But in summer 2014 that all changed because I went to Blogstock.Step by step recipe for GBBO schichttorte-9There I met lots of lovely bloggers and over the course of a (rather giddy, popcorn-filled, coffee-fuelled) weekend, we got to chatting about what projects we were each working on. My new friends told me about #GBBO. No, not the bake off itself, but the Great Blogger Bake Off. It was a weekly challenge to recreate the recipes from the ‘actual’ Bake Off in our own kitchens, and you KNOW how much I love a blog challenge! Having still not watched a single episode, I actually had to tweet my blogging pals to find out what the theme was that particular week so that I could get started. It was biscuit week, and chocolate chip cookies was the first recipe I baked to take part in the Great Blogger Bake Off.
Apple StrudelIt was so much fun, I loved being part of the Blogger Bake Off community and it was good to have a focus to my recipe articles for the summer. After that first attempt, I simply had to watch GBBO every Wednesday in order to find out what the theme was, and I diligently cooked along with the contestants every single week. I made an apple strudel for European week, I baked a blackberry tart with home-picked blackberries for pastry week, a giant donut for advanced dough week and apple crumble two-ways for pudding week.Apple Crumble Two WaysI even attempted the most famous technical challenge of all; the schichttorte. I completely surprised myself as this recipe turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever made in my kitchen. It probably helped that I was following the instructions to the letter, whereas I usually mess around with recipes to make them my own. Layer by layer my schichttorte took shape, and an hour of careful cooking later I had something that looked almost exactly like the one on the Great British Bake Off. Even though it turns out that I don’t like the flavour of schichttorte (it’s just like pancakes but without the lemon and sugar!) at least I found out that I CAN make it, woo!Step by step recipe for GBBO schichttorte-5

Continue reading “Hands up – Who is a fan of the Great British Bake Off?” »


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How to save money on ALL your bills today

Some people call it ‘tight’, other’s say I’m being ‘stingy’, and some would even nickname me Scrooge. But I say; why wouldn’t you want to keep hold of as much of your money as possible? Okay, okay, let’s call it what it is: I’m a money-grabbing scrimper. And I’m proud of it. Because I know all the tricks of the trade that can help me save money on everything.

Now, I’m not talking about cutting costs when buying gifts, going out on a date, treating your family to a lovely day out etc. No – these are the very reasons why I want to save money: to spend it on what really matters. I want to have spare cash to buy tickets to see my favourite comedian on tour, or to find a fabulous money-no-object birthday gift for my nephews and nieces. But how can this be done when all your earnings leave your bank account by direct-debit every month? By cutting the cost of your monthly bills, that’s how! And I’m going to tell you how to do it right now…budgeting money saving finance tips for university freshers students_-2Be loyal.

As an existing customer, a brand won’t want to lose you. You make up part of their regular annual income so they don’t want you to wander off and join up with a new provider, taking any profit away with you. Therefore, you may be able to haggle for a better deal than a new customer. This is certainly the case with mobile phone, TV and broadband providers. Look at it this way; you already have their technology in your home (be it a Sky box, hub or phone) so it doesn’t cost the brand anything more to keep you, therefore why wouldn’t they give you a discount? New customers get free connections, free hardware, free software etc and all you’re asking for is a smaller bill. Wait until the end of your contract and get on the phone to your service provider. Tell them you want to leave and you’ll get put straight through to someone who has the power to bargain with you. I found a list of helpful haggling phrases in this #ChallengeYourBills article online, such as “I’ve calculated my monthly budget, it’s £X a month maximum. I have nothing more” so pick a phrase, a price and stick to your guns. And be ready to leave if necessary…budgeting money saving finance tips for university freshers students_

Don’t be loyal. Continue reading “How to save money on ALL your bills today” »

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