Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

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


Leave a comment

How to reinvent a second-hand kitchen

Buying a kitchen second-hand may seem unheard of, but it can be a great way to update your home on a budget. So many people think that their only option is a basic store-bought kitchen, but there are alternatives out there – purchasing a designer kitchen second-hand is the future. You can get great quality at a fraction of the original custom-made price. However, when a kitchen has been designed for a different home, how do you personalise it to suit yours? Here are some tips:Paint is Your Best Friend

When you buy a second-hand kitchen, paint becomes your best friend. You can use it to transform the entire room, from the cabinets to the walls. You will be surprised how much painting your cabinets can lift the entire room, making it brighter and much more pleasant.

Change Up the Cabinets

With cabinets making up such an important part of the kitchen, changing them can have a big impact on the design. You could paint them, as we mentioned above, or replace the doors with glass. If you’re feeling brave (and you keep your cupboards tidy!) you could take the doors off completely. Is that too much commitment? Just replace the handles – chrome handles instantly update a kitchen, or you could find quirky vintage ones.Replace the Worktops

Continue reading “How to reinvent a second-hand kitchen” »


Leave a comment

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?” »


Leave a comment

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” »


Leave a comment

Top 3 money-saving tips for teens

As a teenager, saving – and sometimes, making – money can often be a struggle. For many teens who are still in school, employment is out of the question, whilst others who attend sixth form college may not be able to work as much as they would like to, due to revision for exams and a huge amount of coursework. Whilst education should always come before earning money as a teen, admittedly it can be difficult to do things such as socialise with friends or buy yourself new items of clothing when you’re living off pennies for most of the month. That’s why I’ve thought back to my teenage years and have put together my best tips for saving and making money when you’re a teenager. budgeting money saving finance tips for university freshers students_Driving Lessons

If you are sixteen or seventeen, you might be hoping to go in for your driving test soon and get your driving license. But, learning to drive doesn’t come cheap – on top of the hefty cost of actually taking a driving test these days, don’t forget that you’ll also have to pay for lessons, the theory test, and learning materials to help you pass first time. Oh, and the provisional driving license itself! I’m sorry to say that the costs do mount up but if you’re well-trained and fully prepared you’ll pass your test first time and save money on the re-test fees at least! When it comes to practicing for the driving theory test, don’t waste your money on paid CDs and books – there are numerous free practice materials available online, including apps and dedicated websites. You can also save money on your lessons by booking an instructor who offers a student discount if you are still in education. budgeting money saving finance tips for university freshers students_-3Packed Lunches

If you pay for your lunch at school or college, taking in a packed lunch instead can be a much cheaper alternative that can free up a bit of spending money for you in the week. Check with your parents first, and use foods from the family cupboards to make yourself tasty lunchtime meals each day rather than spending a few pounds per day on canteen dishes. This might not seem like a huge saving, but it definitely adds up over time. Let’s say, for example, that you spend £5 each day on your lunch at school or college – by taking in a packed lunch instead, you’ll save £25 a week. And parents should take heed of this tip; they too could save money on their lunch at work by taking a packed lunch too!budgeting money saving finance tips for university freshers students_-2Sell Your Things

If you have any clothes that you have grown out of or items such as old toys, games and gadgets that you never use anymore, selling them is a great way to earn yourself some extra money. Although it’s best to check with your parents first – especially if they bought the item – listing anything that you no longer need on auction sites or other selling sites such as Gumtree can be a great way to earn yourself some extra spending money. Of course, you have to be over 18 years old to be a member of Ebay so perhaps work ‘in collaboration’ with your parents or older siblings and ask them to help you – for a cut of the profits, of course! Remember, though, it’s important to be reliable – nobody wants to buy something online for it to never turn up, or turn up weeks late, so be prepared to go to the post office every Saturday with your parcels. Great examples of things that you could sell online include nearly-new clothes, good condition shoes, unwanted (but brand new!) Christmas and birthday gifts, old gadgets (remove all your documents and photos first), and even textbooks after exam season.

Are you a teenager? How do you manage to have enough spending money to do the things that you want each month? Whether you have a part-time job, ask your parents, or are simply very thrifty, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below so please do get in touch and let me know your own money-saving tips.

 


Leave a comment

Stash your cash in 2016 by maximising your finances with Ofgem

Want to maximise your finances this year and keep hold of as much cash as possible? I do too. You probably know that I’m a rather thrifty lady and that I’d make any changes to my lifestyle in order to live better for less. But thankfully, this option doesn’t require any big changes, no hardship and not going without. It just allows you to hold on to more of your hard-earned pay packet at the end of the month. Read on to find out how I made some easy changes that could save me up to £200 this year…back to school new term autumn blog project-2Let me set the scene: 2016 is the year of saving for me. Okay, I try to save as much as I can every year – and I don’t just mean saving money in my ISA. I also mean minimising the amount I spend on all the little things that add up throughout the year. Just shopping around online, buying secondhand and picking up the end-of-line items in the supermarket can all add up to a rather large stash of cash by the end of the year. Even though I’ve been frugal all of my life (being a student for 7 years, I had to be careful!) this year counts more than ever because I’m saving with purpose. I’m buying a house this year!budgeting money saving finance tips for university freshers students_-2At least, that’s the plan. I expect that you’ll see me blogging about my new front door before the year is out (as long as I can find somewhere lovely that I want to live, that is!). But I need a big deposit and I need to keep putting the pennies into my piggy bank to save for that. Actually, it’s not so much that I need a big deposit, but more like I want to have a big deposit so that 1) I can afford a house that might be out of budget otherwise, or so that 2) the loan-to-value will be lower and my mortgage rate will be better, or so that 3) I own more of the house to begin with and am paying less each month on the mortgage.budgeting money saving finance tips for university freshers students_ Continue reading “Stash your cash in 2016 by maximising your finances with Ofgem” »


4 Comments

My top tips for Christmas budgeting & saving

In our house the countdown to Christmas has begun. Not only am I super-excited that my favourite time of year is less than 10 weeks away, but I’m preparing myself in a thrifty sense too. We all know that the cost of Christmas can soon add up so this month I’ve started buying gifts to spread the cost. Plus, I’ve treated myself to some festive craft kits to help me and my family get into the festive spirit in the run up to December – well, you can never have too many handmade baubles can you?! Decorations aside, today I want to share with you some ideas for saving money this festive season and hopefully help with your financial planning too..!xmas christmas budget festive finances_-2

It may seem a little soon to be thinking about plans for Christmas;  after all, we’ve not even got Halloween or Bonfire Night out of the way yet! But planning ahead is a sure-fire way to make certain that you don’t overspend this Christmas. It allows you to save over the coming weeks, spread the cost and prevent costly impulse shopping at the last minute. With the average family spending £820 on Christmas (statistic from an interesting infographic by Alexander & Co accountants in Manchester) that can be a big hit on your bank account all at once so here are some ways to save a little cash this year while still enjoying the run-up to the big day.xmas christmas budget festive finances_-3

Continue reading “My top tips for Christmas budgeting & saving” »


3 Comments

My plans for saving money around the house

Your home can be the source of some of your biggest outgoings, but that can also make it a great place to make some big savings. As part of my new year’s resolutions I wanted to start keeping an eye on my budget and save as much money as possible so I’ve been doing lots of research over the past couple of months into ways that I can reduce our monthly bills. I’ve come up with all sorts of ideas and whether its energy bills, the weekly food shop, or any other household expenditure, following the tips below can help you learn how to save money around the house.

Spending Diary challenge for 2014-1

Eat better for less

You’re always going to spend money on food, but by shopping more sensibly I’ve managed to cut down my expenses without cutting out flavour. Making a weekly meal plan allows me to buy in bulk and make multiple meals from similar sets of ingredients – such as spaghetti bolognese, cottage pie and chilli con carne – reducing my shopping bill and food waste. Planning ahead can also help you avoid unnecessary purchases, like those 3 for 2 deals you really don’t need – I’ve got a cupboard full of things I bought a year ago thinking I was getting a deal, oops! Continue reading “My plans for saving money around the house” »


2 Comments

My use-up challenge ~ making mineral make-up

Earlier this month I challenged myself to use-up all the odds and ends of cosmetics and skincare products that I have on my dressing table rather than spending more money that I don’t have on the current ‘essential’ products. When I buy moisturiser, I know full well that I already have pots and tubes of the same kinda thing at home, but I just can’t stop myself from thinking that ‘this will be the one product to change my life’ and reaching for my purse. I wrote all about it in my use-up challenge blog post and here’s a little update on how I’m getting on.

First of all, I have managed to stop myself spending on make-up and skincare, despite a couple of shopping trips to my favourite high street pharmacies. While my little sister & my friends bought a couple of bits here and there, I simply sampled the make up on the back of my hand and made of note of what I would like to add to my birthday list instead of making the purchase. I accidentally picked up a Revlon nail polish in the pound store, but that’s just one quid spent after maybe 15 pounds were saved, so I feel pretty smug about that and I think I deserved that treat. What am I saying? This is exactly how I manage to convince myself that I need to buy make-up all the time in the first place. I need to give myself a stern talking-to and not buy the polish next time.

cassiefairys beauty and hair product purchases during my use-up challenge nail polish and 3 minute miracle

One other purchase was the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle, my absolute favourite hair-care product, that I have nearly run out of and it was on special offer. I know that if I hadn’t bought it this week, I would have finished my current bottle next week and it’d be back up to full price by then. Anyway, the challenge isn’t about going without, it’s about using up what I already have before I buy a new product. Another poor excuse, but technically I’m saving money…

Anyway, the positive thing that I’ve dont this week is sort out my mineral make-up. I was getting pretty low on my normal foundation and I knew that I had lots of odds-and-ends of mineral make-up powders in my ‘face’ make-up bag (yes, I have three – eyes, lips and face).  So I got them all out and set about mixing up my own mineral foundation.

cassiefairy use up make up challenge mix your own perfect match mineral foundation

I had two nearly-finished pots of my usual base colour, so I combined the two in a bigger pot and added the end of a pot of my ‘warm’ summer foundation. To make the colour a little lighter I mixed in some of the mineral concealer powder and some finishing powder. I also had a few sachets of mineral powder samples, so I added them too. A quick shake with the lid on was all that was needed to thoroughly mix all the shades of foundation together and I ended up with a colour that was perfect for me. A whole tub of it! Plus I cleared out all these pots from my make-up bag and now I’ve got a go-to foundation that I can use-up during this challenge. I would have usually just gone out and bought a new off-the-peg mineral foundation but now I’ve got a ‘custom-blended’ foundation without spending anything. This feels as good as shopping for it anyway!

So not only has this saved me money but it has saved me space in my make up drawer too! I’ve been looking for ways to organise my remaining make up better so that I can actually see what I’ve already got and what needs to be added to my collection and I came across this blog post about the different ways that other bloggers have solved the problem of having too much make up! This includes dividers, jars, vases, boxes and even magnets! There are some great ideas, so check it out for inspiration 🙂

I think I might carry on mixing my own mineral foundation in the future, because it’s difficult to find a shade that matches my pale skin perfectly. However, if anyone knows of a mineral make-up brand that does good ivory/porcelain/cream shades, let me know and I’ll give it a try once my use-up challenge is over! Tweet me @Cassiefairy and let me know what you’re using up!

Related beauty articles


1 Comment

Use it up & be inspired ~ A couple of blog challenges to join in with…

Let’s start with the real reason why I’m setting myself this challenge: I need to save money between now and Christmas (yes, I’ve peeped into the piggy-bank and there’s not enough in there to buy Christmas cards, let alone anything else!) and the best way to do this is to stop spending. That’s easy to say, but not so easy to do, especially when you’re a closet beauty-fanatic who can’t help lusting over new make-up products and beauty-buys. I go into the high street pharmacy stores (and online too!) every week to see what’s new, and although I spend ages testing out the products and working out the best deals, I try very hard not to buy anything because inevitably I’m holding the new must-have liquid eyeliner in my hand and I know that I’ve already got at least 3 black liquid eyeliners at home that I don’t even use much. But it doesn’t stop me from wanting it and being so certain that this will be the product to change my life.

So to put an end to this loitering-around-Superdrug, I’m going to set myself a challenge to use up the products that I already have and stop buying the next miracle cream etc. I’ll save money AND I’ll make room in my make up drawers. And when it gets to Christmas, maybe my friends and family will treat me to some beauty gifts. So from now on the products that I desperately want will be added to my “Things I NEED!” Pinterest wish list so that I can swoon over them from time to time, and maybe splurge a little when it gets to January. Plus, I might have gone off the idea of the latest wonder-product by the time I’m in 2014, and I’m sure something better will have been launched to take its place.

So these are some of the bits I’m aiming to finish up during my “use up” challenge and we’ll see what else I can polish off over the coming months too:

cassiefairy use up challenge beauty products

And the second challenge is a reminder about my Inspiration Challenge for September – please make something -ANYTHING – on the theme of “bears” and you will be entered into the prize draw to win this lovely sewing kit from Abakhan Fabrics. I’m not judging your makes, it’s just for fun to get inspired to do something creative this month – check out the blog posts here and join in by sending photos of your projects to Cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk!

Inspiration challenge for september 2013 antique bears win sewing kit from abakhan

Will you join me in either of my challenges? What products do you have lurking at the back of your cupboards that you would like to use up? What can you make around the theme of bears?? Let me know what you think by leaving me a comment below or tweeting me @Cassiefairy. Speak to you soon x

More Inspiration Challenge articles:

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close