With the current energy crisis, petrol increases and even our food bills on the rise, everyone seems to be feeling the pinch at the moment. This especially goes against the grain with all the bank holidays just around the corner.
Where you might normally be spending those extra days off work out with friends, visiting family etc, this year's budgets might not quite stretch to all the usual activities.
But fear not, I've put together three fun ways to save money this spring but without sacrificing all the fun!
Cutting down on the takeaways is one of the easiest ways to save a bit of money but where is the fun in that? Instead, why not try one of these fakeaway recipes. Granted it might take a little more effort and planning but it will it be kinder on your pocket and your waistline too.
Taking an impressive 25% of the votes in a recent YouGov poll, Chinese is officially Britain's favourite takeaway.
Why not try this classic Chow Mien dish from Good Food. An easy recipe that only requires 10 mins prep and is ready to eat in 20 minutes.
Or if you fancy something a little fierier why not try their Spicy Sichuan-style prawns.
Coming in second, Indian takeaway is a firm favourite in our house.
I love lamb in my curries and this Slow Cooker Lamb Curry from Kitchen Sanctuary looks mouth wateringly good! If you want something a little quicker and classic, why not try their Chicken Tikka Masala - always a crowd pleaser.
Fish & Chips
The classic British institution of a chippy tea came in a solid 3rd place. This recipe from Delicious, gives you everything you need to make the perfect Friday night dinner.
It even includes a yummy tartare sauce to complete the dish!
At Home Cocktail Parties
If you can't afford to head into town, why not invite your friends round for a fun filled night of cocktail making. Here are 3 classic (yet simple) cocktail recipes to please everyone at the party:
45ml lemon vodka
15ml triple sec
30ml cranberry juice
10ml lime juice
Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
To make the garnish: hold a 3cm round piece of orange zest about 10cm above your cosmo and very carefully wave it over a lit match or lighter flame. Bend the outer edge of the zest in towards the flame so that the orange oils are released, then drop the zest into your drink.
25ml sweet vermouth
slice of orange
Pour the gin, vermouth and Campari into a mixing glass or jug with ice. Stir well until the outside of the glass feels cold.
Strain into a tumbler and add 1 large ice sphere or some fresh ice, and garnish with an orange slice, using a blood orange when in season.
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp granulated sugar
small handful mint leaves, plus extra sprig to serve
60ml white rum
soda water, to taste
Muddle the lime juice, sugar and mint leaves in a small jug, crushing the mint as you go – you can use the end of a rolling pin for this. Pour into a tall glass and add a handful of ice.
Pour over the rum, stirring with a long-handled spoon. Top up with soda water, garnish with mint and serve.
Not found one that takes your fancy? These are all taken from Good Food and there’s lots more to choose from.
Zoom Parties are still a thing!
Many of us take advantage of the long weekends to go visit friends and family. With all the rising living costs, this might not be possible for you all at the moment. That doesn't mean you have to miss out. While it's not the same as being there is person, you can still have fun and create some great memories by organising a Zoom call.
Good Housekeeping have some great ideas for fun games to play on your Zoom call.
Top tips for the extra bank holidays
1. Self-care is important! You might be forced to tighten your belt a little more than usual at the moment but that doesn't mean you can't look after yourself and let your hair down. Use some of the tips above (or create your own) to give you some time away from work and the day-to-day stresses. 2. If you're working, this is still for you. If you're a shift worker, it can feel like the rest of the world are enjoying themselves while you’re stuck at work. While you might not be able to join in on the same days, you can still carve out time on your days off to make sure you relax properly too.
What are your plans?
What will you be doing with the extra holidays this year? Here’s hoping the sun makes and appearance and we can enjoy it all from the garden.