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Planning a spring clean or declutter this month? We can help

One way to declutter is to have a car boot sale

As part of our New Year’s Resolutions campaign we hosted a #dumpyourjunk decluttering Twitter chat with founder of ‘Zero Waste Week’ Rachelle Strauss (known to many as Mrs Green).

What was originally planned as a half hour Q&A turned into an inspirational, hour-long Twitter party with many other declutterers joining in.

The tips that came out of it were fantastic and left everyone wanting more… so watch this space for news of #dumpyourjunk Part 2. (Follow @MSE_Forum and @myzerowaste for updates.)

In the meantime, have a read of some of the great tips below that came out of the Q&A and click through to the #dumpyourjunk hashtag to see the full conversations.

Q: @MSE_Forum: What’s your top decluttering tip?

  • @myzerowaste: "Swishing [swapping clothes] is fab if family don’t want to swap – add friends, nibbles and wine!”
  • @coachykim: "My top decluttering tip is… getting rid of things I haven’t used or worn for a year."
  • @CantSwingACat: "Also, carboot sales are one of my faves for ridding old clothes, though you’ll probably just get £1 or £2."

Q: @MSE_Forum: Do you sell stuff when you’re decluttering or give it to charity?

  • @CantSwingACat: "Probably mostly sell as I need the money. But I buy from charity shops & tell myself that’s how I’m doing my bit."
  • @RaisingWildOnes: "Yep, until we’ve paid off debts, then the junk will be donated :p"
  • @DRnaturegirl: "Everything! Give away, freecycle, eBay, local ads, recycling banks and charity."
  • @Mehubbyandkids: "My dining room has five boxes in to go to the charity shop. Been there nearly two weeks now."

Q: @MSE_Forum: What can I do with half-used toiletries?

  • @RaisingWildOnes: "Give them to kids to play with in the bath & get clean at the same time. Or just use them all up if you like them!"
  • @coachykim: "Check them first for expiry dates, and liquids for separation or bad smells. Any of the above, chuckout!"
  • @TotsAdventures: "I use half-used conditioner to make my kids paint."

Q: @MSE_Forum: What are your top tips for waste-free make-up removal?

  • @Cottage_R: "I use an oil based liquid makeup remover – only needs a towel so no waste! Bottle can be recycled!"
  • @Mehubbyandkids: "Crochet little make up remover pads. They can be washed and reused instead of cotton wool that needs to be thrown."
  • @CantSwingACat: "Stick a box of half-used toiletries in your bathroom, ban yourself from buying more until you’ve used them up."
  • @myzerowaste: "Tips for waste free make up removal here."

Q: @MSE_Forum: When it comes to decluttering, are you a flylady or a slow burner?

  • @myzerowaste: "HaHa! A procrastinator, unfortunately! But then a whirlwind who burns out *sigh*."
  • @makeandmendyear: "I go in fits and starts! I did the #minsgame last year – one item on day 1, two on day 2 etc, up to 30, and that was great."
  • @KarenCannard: "A slow burner, most definitely. Surprised husband hasn’t tripped over anything yet."

For more ways to make cash from your clutter, check out our How to sell on eBay and Boost your income guides and join our Old Style MoneySaving the Best Upcycling and Re-use Tips forum threads to talk it over with other declutterers.

Do you have any of your own tips on how best to declutter and have a spring clean? Please let us know your thoughts in the discussion below or on the forum.

My New Year’s resolutions – why my decluttering resolution includes cyber security


Don't let hackers get their hands on your personal details

While many people are giving up smoking, getting fitter, clearing their debts, etc,  my New Year’s resolution is to try to be better organised and declutter.

One resolution I don’t think we hear much about though is doing more to make sure we’re safe online. It shouldn’t be overlooked as it’s hugely important. Use a weak password or forget antivirus and you could find yourself in a whole heap of financial pickle, not to mention face a huge time-wasting hassle.

If you’ve been given a tablet or laptop for Christmas or grabbed a bargain in the January Sales, making sure it’s fully protected should be a priority.

Our 30 Ways to Stop Scams guide should get you up to date on the latest scams doing the rounds. As it can be a long month, if you’re short on cash at the moment, at the least get free anti-virus sorted.

If you’re an MSE Forum user, as with any form of social media, always use the latest version of your internet browser and make sure your password is strong enough, difficult enough it can’t be guessed and change it regularly.

We’ve been working with the Home Office’s CyberStreetwise campaign for over a year now to highlight online security issues that people can sometimes forget. We held a Twitter Q&A using the #becyberstreetwise hashtag just before Christmas to do just that and the team is answering questions on our forum too: New Year’s Resolutions: Stay Safe online, Stay Cyberstreetwise.

Read the questions below and click through to the #becyberstreetwise hashtag to see the full Q&A.

Q: @MSE_Forum: How important is it to protect your home wi-fi?

A: @cyberstreetwise: It’s extremely important, take a look at our tips on how to secure your wi-fi.

Q: @MSE_Forum: Is it OK to download apps from individual websites?

A: @cyberstreetwise: We would recommend only downloading from the official app store for your device, if not sure of validity, don’t download!

Q: @MSE_Forum: Is all public wi-fi encrypted?

A: @cyberstreetwise: Not all public wi-fi is encrypted, take a look at our advice on wireless networks here.

Q: @MSE_Forum: How often should you update your software to stay safe?

A: @cyberstreetwise: Always download & install software updates immediately when they appear. Remember to also check for updates manually.

Do you have any tips on how to stay safe online? Please let us know your thoughts in the discussion below or in the forum.

Living without Sky – we did it!


Could you live without some of your favourite channels?

Back in 2012 I did a TV viewing audit and decided we weren’t watching Sky channels enough for it to be worth paying for them.

We’d had Sky TV for a few years and had considered cancelling before we decided to move house, but we were offered free installation with a new dish and a discounted package in our new home on a new 12-month contract, so we took it up.

We figured we could cancel at the end of the new contract and we’d still have the dish if we ever chose to go back to Sky.

We let things slip though and ended up paying full price for channels we hardly watched after the discounted package ended (bad MoneySaver, see our Cancellation Heroes guide for tips on avoiding this).

However, after a year of paying more than we wanted to for Sky, we decided to get a Freesat box for about £200.

We could have gone on to Freeview and not paid anything, but Freesat had a couple of extra channels that made up for some of the Sky channels we’d be losing. It had NHK World, an English-speaking news channel from Japan (my husband’s Japanese), and while we thought we’d really miss National Geographic, we later found we could watch Air Crash Investigation on Channel 5, so we were happy bunnies.

For more than two years we have been entirely happy with the channels we can watch on Freesat. There are plenty of kids’ channels to keep the children entertained when they watch TV, plus we top these up with the odd Blinkbox rental and DVDs, many of which we already own and which can be watched over and over again for free.

I’d like to add that we do also do a lot of activities that don’t involve watching TV, such as going out and getting fresh air!

We broke even in roughly a year compared to when we were with Sky and saved around £250 in the 18 months after that even factoring in the cost of the DVDs and rentals.

If you’re not quite ready to give Sky up, see our Haggle with Sky, AA and more guide for tips on how to get the cheapest price.

Have you given up Sky, or even TV completely? Did it work for you and have you calculated how much you’ve saved? Tell us on the forum or below.

Having a DIY fireworks display for New Year’s Eve? Here’s how to do it safely

Having a DIY fireworks display for New Year's? Here's how to do it safely

Fire is a risk with fireworks but there are plenty of ways to avoid it

If you’re planning a New Year’s Eve party with fireworks and sparklers, it’s important you are safety-conscious as well as MoneySaving.

For Bonfire Night 2014 we ran a Fire Safety Twitter Q&A with the Manchester Fire and Rescue Service using the #bonfirenight hashtag. One key point made by the fire team was that shoppers should make sure they buy legal fireworks that have been produced to British Standards.

They provided this video showing the dangers posed by illegal fireworks.

Read the questions and answers below before you start your New Year’s Eve party to make sure you’re as safe as houses.

Q: @MSE_Forum: If you’ve bought fireworks but realised they don’t have the ‘safe’ marks what should you do?

A: @manchesterfire: Return them to the shop where you bought them or call your local fire service and ask them to dispose of them for you.

Q: @MSE_Forum: What safety precautions should you take if you’re having your own fireworks party?

A: @manchesterfire: Prepare for the party in advance and in daylight. On the night you will need a torch, a bucket of water, eye protection and gloves.

Q: @MSE_Forum: Where should you keep fireworks when you’re not using them?

A: @manchesterfire: Keep fireworks in a closed metal box when not being used.

Q: @MSE_Forum: Are sparklers safe?

A: @manchesterfire: Yes as long as you light them one at a time and wear gloves. Never give sparklers to a child under the age of five.

Q: @MSE_Forum: How old do you have to be to have fireworks in a public place?

A: @manchesterfire: It’s illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess fireworks in a public place.

Q: @MSE_Forum: What time do the fireworks have to stop?

A: @manchesterfire: It’s illegal to let fireworks off between 11pm and 7am except on Bonfire Night (midnight),Diwali, New Year and Chinese New Year.

Q: @MSE_Forum: What’s the best way to dispose of fireworks safely? A: @manchesterfire: Contact your local fire service. If you’re in Greater Manchester you can call us and we’ll pick them up.

Are you having a fireworks party for New Year? Discuss this blog and more on the forum.

Comping – it’s great fun and a possible income booster

I admit it, I'm a secret, but lapsed, comper

I admit it, I'm a secret, but lapsed, comper

I admit it, I’m a secret, but lapsed, comper. Admittedly work and kids mean I’ve not comped (entered competitions) much lately but I encourage my kids to have a go when we see a free one and I’d encourage anyone else to join in too.

First and foremost it’s huge fun. On Mothers’ Day this year my kids entered two competitions; one a Muppets treasure hunt at Cineworld, and the other a hoola hoop challenge in Bella Italia. My eldest girl won both, getting two cinema tickets for any film and a muppets DVD from Cineworld, and a £25 voucher for the restaurant.

We haven’t used the Bella Italia voucher yet so that’ll be a treat for sometime soon as it expires this month.

If that isn’t enough inspiration, we also have a fantastic community of compers on our Competitions Time forum board. I love reading all their supportive comments and, especially, the I Won, I Won, I Won board where people flag up their wins and thank the forum members who posted the competition in the first place. 

The community there even gives a shout out if prize winners haven’t yet claimed, so if you’re a comper it’s well worth bookmarking.

So if this has encouraged you to start comping, have a read of our 40 Comping Tips guide and consider joining the forum to become part of the comping community.

And while you’re there, Homebase is giving our forum members 10 real Christmas trees. You’ve got until 10am on 10 December to enter and all you need to do to is say "Merry Christmas" on the forum.

If you’re comping to boost your income, don’t miss our Boost your Income guide too for other ways to earn.

Are you a life long comper or are you a newbie planning on giving it a try? Please let us know your opinions in the discussion below or in the forum.

Make do and mend – I’ve turned into my mother!

Three years on and my daughter's clothes are still going strong

Three years on and my daughter's uniform is still going strong

I’m sure we all remember our mums saying "you’ll grow into it" when we were kids. I never thought I’d end up the same. Yet here I am, three years after my eldest daughter started school, hoping she doesn’t have a growth spurt in the next three months.

In my eldest daughter’s first year at school – reception class for the uninitiated – I bought her a jumper and a cardigan with the school logo on. It was in a size that was quite a bit bigger than she needed as I’d hoped it would last for a while and I wouldn’t have to shell out on buying a new set.

At her school it isn’t compulsory to buy school uniform with the logo on, although it’s nice to have two smart ones for special occasions like school trips and school photos, so she also has cardigans from Aldi and M&S too.

But I definitely over-estimated the sizes. I thought I’d be buying new uniform after a year or so. Yet almost three years later she’s coming to the end of Year 2 and her clothes are still going strong.

Granted, they’re a little faded and the cuffs are a bit frayed. But while I should get the sewing kit out, for now I’m just turning the cuffs back.

She moves up to junior school in September where the uniform is blue – at infant school it’s red – so I need to order a new uniform now so it arrives in time for the start of the new school year in September.

Someone asked me if I’d sew up the old red uniform and pass it onto my younger daughter who starts school for the first time in September. It’s tempting, and I’m going to reuse the plain cardigans for her, but I’ve decided it’s only fair she gets a couple of new items with the school logo on just as her older sister did.

Now I just need to guesstimate what sizes to order for both of them that’ll last at least another year or two! If you’re a parent, grandparent or guardian, what do you do to make your kid’s uniform and clothes go further? Tell us below or in the forum.

Yes, I admit it. I have solar panel envy

My solar panels don't qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive

My solar panels don't qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive

As someone quite excited about all things renewable energy, when I found out just over three years ago that my new home came complete with solar panels on top, I was over the moon. They’d combine my passion for MoneySaving with my love of saving energy. But the relationship’s turned a little sour…

When you buy a new-build, housebuilders have to meet strict environmental guidelines (see My New-build Tips and Tricks blog post). They can do that in various ways, such as by providing solar panels, heat pumps, wood burners, insulation and even, at the time I bought, by including “cycle space” in your garage.

So, among other measures, all properties on the housing development I moved to came with solar panels on top (great). Yet there are two different types of panels.

“What’s wrong with that?”, you might ask. I should be pleased with my solar thermal panels. After all, both types save money. Well, yes, they do, but as solar thermal panels generate less energy, the savings are smaller.

See the table below and our Solar Panels guide for the savings.

What do they do? Rough yearly energy saving before incentive (£s) Additional Government incentive scheme Scheme launched Typical est yearly scheme payment (£s) Scheme payback period
Photo-voltaic (PV) panels Generate electricity £125* Feed-in tariff (FIT) April 2010 £630* 20 years (was 25)
Solar thermal panels Heat your water £60* Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) April 2014 (announced July 2009) Not yet known 7 years
*Source: Energy Saving Trust

The icing on the cake

As you can see from the table, photo-voltaic (PV) panels are eligible for the Government’s feed-in tariff scheme, which means they get paid, usually by their energy supplier, for the energy produced, even if they use it themselves. PV owners on my new-build estate have been receiving this for the last few years.

An equivalent of the feed-in-tariff has been planned for solar thermal panels for some time. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) finally launched the Renewable Heat Incentive for domestic properties April.

Thud (that’s the sound of me falling down to earth with a bump)

But new-build homes (other than self-builds) aren’t eligible for the scheme.

I wanted the house anyway, so it wouldn’t have made a difference to my decision to buy it.

Yet if I were a house buyer who’d heard of the Renewable Heat Incentive when it was first announced, and decided to buy a new-build home with solar thermal panels as a result, I think I’d be more than just a bit gutted right now.

DECC says that to be eligible for the scheme, you (or a previous owner of the heating system) need to have made some kind of financial contribution to installing the panels.

Why I think it’s ambiguous

But as far as I’m concerned, as a new-build owner I have made a financial contribution towards the cost – that cost was incorporated into my home’s sale price, which I’m paying a mortgage on. The mortgage, and therefore the heating system, hasn’t been paid off yet.

I’m not the jealous type, but…

OK, I am. I find the fact new-build homes with PV panels are eligible for feed-in tariffs, yet ones with solar thermal panels aren’t eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive, very curious. I freely admit to coveting my neighbours’ PV panels!

I’d love to hear if you’re in the same position. Let me know on the forum thread or via Facebook below.

Dream of being debt-free? You’re invited to our #dfwbloggers party…

Join our help-clear-your-debts 'party' every Friday

Join our help-clear-your-debts 'party' every Friday

Inspired by our huge, fantastic community of Debt-Free Wannabes, we hold a motivational, help-clear-your-debts "party" every Friday evening from 8.30pm on our forum Twitter account – @MSE_Forum.

It’s all about MoneySaving the fun and supportive way. We talk about tips and ideas on how to pay off your debts, share success stories, celebrate when someone’s cleared their debts (let us know!) and discuss anything else that keeps you motivated. It’s not about telling the world how much you owe (unless you want to, of course).  

Past conversations include slow cooker bargains, Saturday night "fakeaways" (home-made Chinese, curries and more for under a fiver), and even games you can play with dice for free and educational kids’ entertainment!

It’ll be great to talk to you – the more the merrier.  Of course, it’s all free, so it’s a very cheap Friday night in while saving money too!

Why should I do it?

If that hasn’t motivated you already, read our fabulously inspiring Debt-Free Roll of Honour. We started it several years ago, and it’s become the holy grail of MoneySaving – where our fantastic forumites come to shout out loud and proud when they’ve finally cleared their debt.

We’d love to see you join it!

I don’t use Twitter, it sounds fiddly

It’s not at all – here’s how you do it:

  • Read the past tweets to see the discussions we’ve had. They’ve been really inspiring, especially when people who have cleared their debts told us their stories.
  • Then if you’d like to join in on Friday, log into Twitter at 8.30pm and click the #dfwbloggers link above.
  • To reply to @MSE_Forum and other Debt-free Wannabes on Twitter, just type what you want to say, remembering to include the #dfwbloggers hashtag in your tweet.
  • As Twitter limits you to 140 characters you may need to write more than one tweet, but that’s fine!

Do I need to be an MSE Forum user?

No, not at all.

We’d love you to join the forum so you can create your own Debt-Free Diary and join in with other Debt-Free Wannabe Challenges, to save even more money and pay your debts off more quickly. But it’s not essential.

It’s called #dfwbloggers, do I have to be a blogger?

Nope, it’s just the name we gave it. All you need to be is somebody trying to clear their debts. If you do have a debt-free or MoneySaving blog, or a Debt-Free Diary on our forum, we’d love to see it – but it’s not essential.

Will you be joining in with our Debt Free Wannabe Twitter party on Friday? Please let us know your opinions in the discussion below or in the forum.

Saving money on kids’ parties? It’s child’s play…

I've gleaned some great party tips from our and others' kids' birthday parties

I've gleaned some great party tips from our and others' kids' birthday parties

In my relatively short time as a parent, I’ve gleaned some great party tips from our and others’ kids’ birthday parties. As’s about sharing MoneySaving ideas to help as many people as possible, I thought I’d tell you mine.

So here are my top tips for cutting costs, but to still have a great time:

1. Share parties

My three-year-old is having her first birthday party in December, and it’s a joint one with another friend. Getting together with other kids’ parents if their children were born around the same time as yours is an obvious way to save costs.

Why pay out for a hall or another venue for just one child when several can share it and the parents can split the cost? My daughter once went to a joint party for seven children! They shared a massive cake and entertainment, and it was great fun for all. It meant the children with birthdays were able to have a party their parents may not otherwise have been able to afford.

2. Have a party in your home or garden

This is likely to be the cheapest option if you’re only inviting a few kids. Although on the flipside, beware – it could turn out pretty expensive if your TV gets broken or blackcurrant squash is spilled on your cream carpet!

3. Use a community or school hall

As well as having a three-year-old, I’ve also got a six-year-old and so we’ve been to a lot of parties in community or village halls. If you’re happy to do all the running around, providing food and cleaning up afterwards, halls with kitchens are great. 

We hear a lot about communities dying out because their facilities aren’t being used, so I think this is the perfect way to keep them alive and village facilities funded.

Some ingenious parents I know hired our school’s hall on a weekday afternoon straight after school. The kids simply went from school to the party. As well as being cheap to hire (£30-ish), it saved other parents from having to make supper on a school night, and of course it helped raise funds for the school.

4. Book the party before their birthday

This may sound obvious, but strategic booking can help cut costs, even if it’s just a few pounds. My daughter’s party, for example, is at a soft play centre a few days before her actual fourth birthday. This is because the centre allows one adult in free for each child of three or under, which means I can get in for free rather than paying £2.50 if she was four.

Planning in advance also means you can properly budget for the day.

5. Use Costco for cakes

If you’re a member of wholesaler Costco and are planning a big party, you may save buying a huge cake from there, rather than heading to your local supermarket to buy a couple of cakes.

The party for seven children I’ve already mentioned had a cake from Costco. If you haven’t seen one of these before, these aren’t your ordinary-sized cakes you see in supermarkets. They’re massive, enough to feed about 30 children (depending on how hungry and big they are, of course!)

6. Want to book an entertainer? Word of mouth goes a long way

If you’re getting an entertainer, you don’t want to spend your hard-earned cash on someone you’ve not seen before or may not be any good. So ask other parents who they rated and then try and get the best deal you can.

We’ve seen one magician/ventriloquist so many times now I know his routine off by heart. But the kids think he’s great.

7. Party bags – just a few little bits will go a long way

The pressure of providing great party bags can be high. But there’s no need to spend a fortune. If it’s a young kids’ party, you won’t need much, just a few small goodies like bubble mixture, little notepads, boxes of raisins or small sweets in a small plastic party bag – pound shops and supermarket value ranges are great for these.

It’s also worth buying the party bags before you decide what to put in them, so you know how much you can fit in – otherwise you may end up buying more than you need – plus remember you’ll need room for a piece of birthday cake.

More top tips

For more top tips on cutting costs on anything from birthday parties, to Christmas and anniversaries, see our Special Occasions forum board (it’s currently renamed the Christmas board).

If you’re a parent with party tips to share, you can do so in our Great Cheap Kids’ Party Hunt forum thread. I particularly like the idea of asking to visit your local fire station. The kids have fun and get an important lesson on fire safety.

There are also lots of tricks to pare down costs and ideas for free days out in our 50+ Family MoneySaving and Baby Checklist guides, as well as in our Days Out Deals and Free Museums and Galleries guides.

Do you have an ideas for cutting the cost of children’s parties? Please share your thoughts in the discussion below, or in the forum.

How I buy posh nosh for less

'I wait for half price salmon offers'

'I wait for half price salmon offers'

I’ve been feeding my kids salmon since they were babies.

Now that bombshell’s been dropped, before you click away thinking you’ve got the wrong website, remember isn’t simply about being thrifty or frugal (of course, there’s the good old Old Style MoneySaving Board for that).

The site’s ethos is about cutting bills without cutting back (see Martin’s blogs We don’t hate banks – busting this and other myths and Things people assume I think but I don’t).

Like most parents, I want to give my kids the best possible start in life. I reckon the Omega 3 in oily fish does a good a job in the brain power stakes. 

Being half-Japanese, the kids also love sushi and other standard Japanese foods which people in the UK may consider "posh". So the challenge is to find it here, but for less.

So how do I get it?

Ordinary supermarkets

I wait for half-price salmon offers, then stock up. They usually have fairly long use-by dates, so they keep well in the fridge.

Of course, the reduced section scrum at 3pm on a Sunday can be great for cut-price fresh fish. I try to check tuna steaks are a nice deep shiny red, though, after my other half turned his nose up at my efforts in the past.

We make sticky rice in our rice cooker at home. For this you need short grain rice, which can work out quite pricey in Asian supermarkets.  Buy ordinary pudding rice, from the desserts aisle in Tesco or Sainsbury’s. It’s around 90p-£1 for a 500g packet, roughly half the cost.

Discount supermarkets

Some Japanese food, such as sushi, is made with caviar. In the UK at least, that’s about as posh as you can get and is hugely expensive. I don’t like it, but my husband goes mad for it. So when we found you could get it cheap in Aldi, he was in his element.  

Use the local Asian supermarket

We try to stock up at our nearest every couple of months. The one we go to sells large freezer packs of the more unusual fish you can’t get in ordinary supermarkets.

Plus, while prawns, squid and scallops are available in ordinary supermarkets, they tend to be much smaller – so they shrink to almost nothing when you cook them. Asian supermarkets are also great for larger packs of tofu (needed for miso soup), which cost roughly the same as the small packs you get in ordinary supermarkets.

Try before you buy at Costco

I think meat and fish at Costco are pretty good quality for the price. If you’re unsure, I’ve noticed weekends, when it’s busier, tend to be good for free sampling.

When I go, I keep my eyes peeled and I try before I buy. You need to keep an open mind, know what you want and don’t fall for the patter.  I’ve rarely bought coffee, tea or cakes after sampling them, but I once tried scallops that were double the size you’d get elsewhere. They were really tasty and cost only slightly more, and I’ve bought them a few times since.

Amazon sells food

I’ve been aware of it for a while and have checked out the prices. So far I’ve not found any ingredients I need on sale for less there, but its prices can go up and down depending on demand. So I keep my eye on it and will pounce if I spot a bargain I need.

Grow your own

Spring onions are a staple of many Asian diets, yet they’re so easy to grow. They grow upwards out of the ground and quite close together so they don’t need much soil – mine are just in a longish trough, with a little compost in. 

I’ve also grown Swiss chard and fennel, which make great Jamie Oliver-style "posh nosh" sauces (see Digging deep and saving money too). Plus Swiss chard is like rhubarb, it keeps growing back each year – a great MoneySaver if ever I heard one.

Have you spotted a cheap source of posh nosh? Let us know on the forum, or below.