Saturday, 15 September 2012

Ways I have been Saving Money in 2012

This is not a sponsored post. I just can't believe others aren't doing some of this stuff.

There are three things I've been doing this year to reduce what I spend on things. None of these have caused a change in my spending habits - they've just let me shop as I normally would while not paying as much. But it does rely on my being, by preference, an online shopper. Sure, I occasionally have a blow out at Festival of Quilts or in a shop but generally I buy online. So let us begin.

Quidco

I keep telling people about this and they don't believe me or think it's a scam. But look at this image of my dashboard and where it says it has paid me £211.81. That's since January.
myquidco
That's money I either got back as a percentage of what I spent or that I was given by companies for trying their service for a week or even by standing outside a high street shop and pressing a button on a phone app.  This is how it works:
quidco
If I want to buy something online - a pair of shoes from Clarks for example - I first go to Quidco. I log in and type Clarks into their search. They tell me I get 5.5% cashback on whatever I spend at Clarks and I click their link to visit the site. I shop on Clarks website as usual and in a week or two I get 5.5% back. I bought a pair of shoes on their recently which were £49. I had a 10% off voucher from elsewhere so that made them £44.10. I get cashback of £2.43 from Quidco. So I've got my £49 shoes for £41.67. It's not a massive saving but it's better than nothing. Another example - I was out of contract on my phone. I found a deal I wanted. I checked it on quidco before buying. On quidco I get the same deal but with £60 cashback. You can see I just got paid the money from Tesco phone shop on my last payout. £60 for doing what I was going to do anyway. Nuts right? Same on holidays. Expedia will give you back about 10%. And I've never been spammed or anything like that.

I'll be honest - if you click this sickly green banner below and sign up I'll get £2.50 the first time they pay you £5. But then you'll have saved a fiver on what you were going to buy anyway. It is seriously money for nothing.

i love Quidco Green

My Survey

This is one of those sites that pays you for filling out surveys online. 
mysurvey
They tend to be about toilet paper or music or other such wonderful things and are very boring but you earn points for each one you complete and what do points mean? Paypal money or amazon vouchers or a ton of other things. You can see from the image that I've got a stack of surveys they've decided I fit the profile for. Each will take between 10 and 30 mins to complete online and earn me between 20 and 150 points. I've only got 46 points there at the moment because I just cashed in 540 of them for a £5 amazon voucher. I think in the six months or so I've been a member I've earnt about £30 of vouchers and I only do the surveys while I'm waiting for something else to happen. Like running a bath or in a boring phone conference. 

There is a referral service where I get 100 points if someone I refers signs up so if you are interested email me and I'll send you an invite. 

Groupon

This last one can be deadly - I'd suggest opting out of receiving their newsletters once you've signed up and only using the website tactically. 
groupon
Personally I only use this for haircuts. Otherwise it's just too easy to spend money on rubbish. If you need something you know Groupon tends to offer (haircuts, waxing, massages, steak dinners, exercise equipment, teeth whitening) stalk the website for a week. Look at not only your area but places near your area. Deals can come and go in 24 hours so set a reminder on your phone to visit once a day to see if any relevant deals have come up. Since I became aware of Groupon I haven't paid full price for a haircut. Of course those who know me will know that someone with Cousin It hair doesn't need to visit a salon very often but when I do, I get a bargain. And people - groupon is on Quidco so for every groupon you buy you get 5% cashback. Double discounts. Nice. 

There is also a referral service for this where I get £6 if you buy a groupon but I would suggest you sign up to Quidco instead and get your own cashback for buying a groupon so you go ahead and start benefiting straight off. However if you'd rather not email me and I'll gladly get the £6!
Man Made - Money

Now I do believe I am due for a haircut AND at £19 with 5% cashback it will only cost me £18.05 and at London prices that is one sweet deal. 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Fairly Fairisle

In a recent post, the one with the testicles in, I shared the chart I was using for a fairisle and said it was melodic to be swapping between the two colours. Well screw that. The music died. Trying to do fairisle in about eleventy three shades of blue green when the evenings are getting darker turned out to suck so I changed it to swapping the main colour but keeping the contrast as light grey.
Fairisle Knitting Swatch 2
This is definitely going to be one of those ones where you see the pattern best from a distance. It may also become cat blanket in about 5 years time when I finally give up but I'm going to hang on with it for a while longer and see how it develops.

While I continue to ponder the charm square swap (4 votes in favour) there is a "Scrap Vomit" Swap taking place on Swap-Bot. You send 3 people a bag of 49 x 2.5" squares. So that's 147 x 2.5" squares I need to cut. Thank god for my rotary cutter and quilting ruler. Anyone can join so click on that link to find out more.

Meanwhile....uptown...

Source: imgfave.com via Alex on Pinterest

Source: tumblr.com via Alex on Pinterest

La, la ,la...

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Any Interest in a Charm Square Swap?

I have been searching all over for a Charm Square Swap and I can't find one. I've been umming and ahhing about whether to run one and then I came across this post...

...which basically decided it for me. But I'm still not sure how much interest there would be. Hence the poll at the bottom of this post.

A charm square is basically a square of fabric. That's it. For swaps they are usually 5" square but other sizes can be used. Swaps can have a theme (i.e. reds or i-spy) and usually have a few rules (like only using new, unwashed fabric from a named designer).

Everyone in the swap cuts their fabric into the required number of charm squares then sends them to the host with a stamped addressed envelope. After the deadline the host shares out the squares between the swappers and sends them back to them in the envelopes they provided. The only cost is for the fabric and the postage.

You can get 24 five inch squares out of half a metre of fabric which for a designer brand is usually about £10-14 a metre so I reckon you could do the whole thing in the UK for about £10.
Random Mini Charm Pack

So what do people think? Would you be interested in joining a charm square swap?


While you ponder I wanted to share this cunning way to get four half square triangle patches out of two charm squares. There are some nice examples of quilts you can make from them on Flickr. 
Half square triangle exchange!
A New Project
QS.BOM.April Block
Wall Hanging for Grandma
Ooooooo, sooooo many....


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Blog Hopping

I've been searching for charm square swaps recently and can't seem to find any in the UK. Do UK quilters not swap or am I just looking in the wrong places? While looking though I came across Sew We Quilt which hosts blog hops. I'd missed signing up for Dot on Dots (you know how I love those polka dots) but have been visiting all the blogs taking part this week. You can see them all here and see the blogs involved on the Sew We Quilt website.

I was in time to sign up for the U'R Priceless Blog Hop though.
I enjoyed the few I've made since doing a course last year and am looking forward to doing a few more for xmas presents.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Huge Woolly Testicles

Little bit of urban wildlife for you today. I went to Mudchute Farm which is all of about 10 mins walk from my flat and right by the DLR station I've been using for 18 months. First visit since I moved here, naturally.
Urban Park in Mudchute
Walking down the paths it's easy to forget you're in London. The Farm is tucked away, separated from the main park. It's pretty big with lots of animals. It being 28 degrees they were all fairly droopy.
Hot Llama Alpaca
It was hot enough to want to stretch out with them but there were all these signs about not snogging them and so on for hygiene reasons so I held off.
Gloucester Old Spot Pig
This was probably the third largest pig there. The biggest was a big pig. About 7 feet stretched out on the floor with it's head away from me. As I contemplated it, it farted.
Mirth
Then I saw the largest pair of woolly testicles I've ever seen. Here they are.
Male Sheep
Nice horns.

Just when things were getting weird I saw a chicken with a saddle.
Chicken
Now of course you can't have a race with just one so sure enough her gal pal had one too. The male was enormous.
Rooster
I didn't see any tiny riding hats so I guess there was no race today. Well it is Sunday. Everyone's relaxing on a sunday.
Goat

The return back to real life had an element of Narnia about it. The gateway between two realities.
Exit from Mudchute Farm

As it has been so hot this weekend it seemed only right to cast on a fairisle steeked cardigan in shetland wool. I have accumulated a fair old stash of Jamieson's from various projects and from buying a ball which turned out to be not quite the right shade about 20 times. So I've chosen a conventional all over pattern from Alice Starmore's "Charts for Colour Knitting" and divided it up into blocks of rows.
001
I'll change between all the colours I've got fairly randomly depending on my mood. I've done about 2 inches but it will take longer to work out whether it is working. I do love fairisle though. It feels quite melodic, swapping between the two colours as you progress smoothly round and round. It's all good.


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