Thursday, 12 March 2009

Marie's Thrifty Thursdays

Recently (this past week), our car insurance came up for renewal. The quote we were given by our insurance agent was outrageously high. Probably because our car is an older model and a bit of a gas guzzler. Normally, Todd and I, after a bit of grumbling amongst ourselves, would just have paid it. We are those kind of people. We are loyal through and through, and usually like to stick with what we know. This time however, we thought to ourselves . . . no way. There has to be a better deal out there than what we are getting. So Todd went online and shopped around. At he put into the search all the particulars of our car etc. and came up with an insurance company that can give us the same cover for roughly half of what the first company was quoting. Big saving! Ka ching! Ka ching! I'd much rather have the money in my pocket than in theirs! One had to wonder how much more our loyalty was costing us through the years, and how much we could have saved, had we only shopped around a bit more. Lesson learnt!

I had seen advertised on the telly, but had never used them for anything before. They are rather good and on their page you can make price comparisons for lots of big ticket items, such as telly's and cameras, and of course car insurance!

These days it really pays to shop around for most things before you dig your hands into your pockets and buy. I came up with a few online spots that you might find very helpful in your own quest to be thriftier and save some money.

1. This place promised to beat any other UK Chemist's price on prescriptions. If you are a person who needs a lot of prescriptions, this is a God send.

2. You put in the post code of your town and they find you the nearest garage selling the cheapest petrol in your area.

3. Compare the price of any supermarket item or even the cost of your whole trolly here. They calculate the cost of thousands of items at all the major supermarkets in the UK and you then send your order to whichever supermarket you choose to use.

4. This is an online furniture retailer, which cuts out the middle man and offers discounts on a wide range of furniture.

5. Save money on eating out. This site lists current offers at hundreds of eating establishments, including buy one get one free deals.

6. This site offers some 300 days out vouchers in the UK and Ireland. This includes theme parks and major attractions and is worth taking a look at if you are planning a day out with the kiddies.

7. They claim to be able to find you the cheapest deals on home, motor, travel and life insurance. Another part of the site utilities and still again there is a section on both credit card and mortgage offers.

8. This is a government site which offers tips on saving energy.

9. Discount coupons for thousands of stores, including Next, Asda, etc. Some are in store offers and others on-line offers. Worth a quick boo if you are looking to buy something to wear or for your home.

10. Search the phone book online instead of calling one of those expensive directory enquiry lines.

11. This is one anyone can use as it compares the prices of hotels worldwide, finding you the best deal possible on hotel accomodation.

12. Find a place to stay for free at home or abroad. Register at this site for free and request to couch surf at other members homes. Another international site.

13. List the books you own but don't want on this free site and browse through thousands of other members books to find one that you do want to read, and swap.

The internet is full of thousands of sites just like these that can help you to save money on just about anything. It is worth it to do a search and find out just what is available. I know that most of the sites I have mentioned here this morning are applicable mostly to the UK market, but I know there are just as many sites out there for people living in other countries. It's worth the time to search and to "shop around."

Got leftover cooked potatoes? Here is a truly delicious way to prepare them in a delicious way the second time around. In face I often find myself cooking extra potatoes just so I can make this the day after.

*Swiss Potato Casserole*
Serves 4

A thoroughly delicious way to disguise leftover potatoes and one that you would not be ashamed to serve a guest in your home. It tastes and looks wonderful! This recipe is quite easily doubled or tripled. It's a perfect buffet dish.

2 1/2 cups potatoes, cooked, peeled and cubed
3/4 cup ( 6 ounces) sour cream
1/4 cup shredded raw carrot
1 cup of shredded swiss cheese (emmenthaler or gruyere)
1/2 of a small onion, finely minced
1 TBS chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Lightly butter a 7 or 8 inch baking dish. Set aside.

Combine the potatoes, sour cream, 3/4 cup of the cheese, carrot, onion, parsley, salt, dill and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix well together. Transfer to the greased baking dish. Sprinkle with the paprika and remaining 1/4 cup of the cheese.

Bake, uncovered for 25 to 35 minutes, or until lightly browned and bubbly. Serve hot or warm.


  1. Brilliant! I always feel really wicked and disloyal changing suppliers of whatever because someone else does it cheaper but it's true, you do get taken for a ride by some of the 'big boys' like BT, British Gas and umpteen insurance companies.

    Some of them, when you do change, send you letters implying that when you come to your senses they will be glad to have you back. I bet they will!

    Home contents insurance is a minefield but you can usually find it at a fraction of what you're paying. We got it down from £43 to £12!!!! That was the first one we changed and the roof didn't fall in.

    Next to go was BT, which was REALLY hard after 30-odd years but it's easy once you start. My niece swaps and changes all the time and her house is still standing.

    This posting is going to be very useful to lots of people.

    Have a great day and don't work any harder than you have to.
    love, Angie, xx

  2. Well done Todd and you ,and thankyou for the list ,Im going to make a note of some of these ,starting with the book swap one hee hee Jan xx

  3. Thrifty Thursday is back--LOVE it, Marie! An so many great links...I'm amazed all the information you've compiled here. So glad you got a better deal on your car insurance! We could use a new car, but Old Bessie is still running, so we'll wait and see...but thankfully she's not too bad a gas-guzzler. I love the comfort of this potato dish today. It's snowing again here today, so a little extra comfort cheers. :o) Happy Day, sweet friend. LOVE YA ((HUGS)

  4. It is true about the insurance I did the same a couple of years ago and found almost 50% savings. The potato recipe makes me want to cook extra potatoes next time so I can do this casserole dish. It does sound good and with a touch of dill it should be really tasty.

    'On Ya'-ma

  5. Oh Marie - I can hardly believe it's Thursday again already! Thank you for this super looking recipe - I can't wait to try it out. I am sure I will be like you, and be cooking extra "spuds" so I can make this!

    I am looking forward to trying some of those money saving sites too (as will Mark) - especially looking forward to getting onto that book-swapping one.

  6. Thanks for the list Marie....I changed my car insurer this year as well....I usually seem to do it every 2-3 years, but i only changed it last year but the renewal was so high I had another look round.....saved £200+.

    Money saving expert is a good site....he's the guy on GMTV, and I've been using read it swap it for a couple of years now! I'm off to look for pet insurance now!

  7. I must run .... I have to get my hair cut and she only had an early apt. Just wanted to say hi to you before I run out the door.

    I love potato dishes and will try this. Potatoes may be a thrifty dish but this one looks fit for a king. We both enjoyed your pot pie we had for dinner last night. Yummy stuff.

    Must run and tame this mop on my head. Have a good eve. Love, Lura

  8. Wish you lived in the US. I'm a big time bargain shopper.

    Yummy looking potatoes!!!!!

  9. Isn't it amazing what a simple phone call can accomplish. They say if you don't ask you'll never know. :)

  10. Oh my, Marie, this recipe looks wonderful...that is coming from a true Idahoan who raised on potatoes!!! Each and everyway prepared I thought! We are headed up that way this weekend.

    That Crate and Barrel is 2600 miles away...where two sons are going to school! Salt Lake City doesn't have one...yet. But they have a wonderful catalog site.

    Good luck with insurance decisions:-)

    Enjoy a joyful day!

  11. Great websites Marie, you're helping lots of people save money here! I love this casserole, I love finding new ways to make side dishes!

  12. Hello again.
    Happy Fri. morn to you.
    we just got home from the temple... it is late and I'm really tired so I'm not going to catch your Fri. morn. post. I will read it when I get up tomorrow.

    I hope you had a good day. You must be smiling over saving all that money on your car insurance. I hope that all went well with seminary and YW tonight.

    I am sending love. Lura

  13. That looks good. I like the dill and paprika in it.


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