£5 Dinners | Israeli couscous salad

We have started a new series of posts on Instagram called £5 Dinners where we will be sharing some of our favourite budget friendly meals. Follow us @savingscotts to keep updated with the series.
We have also decided to post all the recipes on here and there is now an easy to use tab on the navigation bar just for £5 dinners. So you can find all your favourite, easy to cook, low cost dinners in one place. 




This weeks receive is a Israeli couscous salad.  Israeli couscous was developed to be a low cost staple to feed the people of Israel when times were tough. Though not hugely well know, it is a great carb for dinners and we often substitute it in dishes that call for pasta. It is all pretty inexpensive and can be found in most major supermarkets, usually in the Kosher or World foods aisle (we purchase ours from Tesco). 
Whilst tined olives work great, if you want some extra flavours hit your local market (turkish markets are brilliant for olives) to pick up some delicious olives at bargain prices. Fresh herbs are a great investment, and wilting plants can often be purchased for knock down prices. This dish is so simple and take 10 minutes to make and is a summer favourite in our house.


  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 cup Cherry tomatos
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 cup Mushrooms chopped
  • 1 cup radishes
  • 1/2 cup of Olives
  • handful of fresh basil (optional) 
  • 50g feta cheese
  • 2 cups of Israeli couscous
For the dressing
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper 
  • pinch of dried herbs


  • Add couscous to a saucepan and a dash of oil and cook on low heat for a 3-4 minutes. This is call toasting the couscous it helps bring out the nutty flavour. 
  • Add 2.5 cups of water and a pinch of salt (optional) and allow to cook on a low-medium heat for 10 minutes, continuing to stir intermittently. 
  • Chop all the vegetables, olives, feta, basil and mix together in a salad bowl.
  • To make dressing combine, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, pinch of salt and pepper and a pinch of dried herbs. Add to salad when served
  • When the couscous has absorbed all the water, allow to cool slightly in the sauce pan before adding to salad. 
  • Serve and add dressing.

Our favourite tools for meal planning
We love to keep all the meal plans and recipes we create in one easy to use binder. 
Plus, by keeping the recipes in sheet protecters means we can re-use them time and time again and saves us printing out several copies. *Affiliate link: see disclosure below*

   


£5 Dinners | Spaghetti Bolognese

We have started a new series of posts on Instagram called £5 Dinners where we will be sharing some of our favourite budget friendly meals. Follow us @savingscotts to keep updated with the series.
We have also decided to post all the recipes on here and there is now an easy to use tab on the navigation bar just for £5 dinners. So you can find all your favourite, easy to cook, low cost dinners in one place. 





This weeks receive is the traditional Spaghetti Bolognese. One of the best ways to save money on dishes like this is to buy mince when it is reduced and freeze it ready for when you need it. I can't remember the last time I paid full price for mince meat as its just not worth it. Other areas you can bring the cost down is buy busing value range tomato produces (they are just the same with a different label) and purchasing spaghetti in bulk.  Whilst the basil is optional it does really enhance the flavour and the you can find fresh herbs reduced in stores and all they need is a little TLC to bring them back to their former glory. This dish is easily under £5 (we spent just less than £4).


  • 1 onion- diced
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic - minced
  • dash of oil 
  • 400g mince meat (we used pork/beef mix but any kind will do)
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1/2 carton (approx 250g) of passata
  • 1-2 tbsp of tomato puree
  • 200g mushrooms
  • salt + pepper
  • Basil (optional) - chopped finely 
  • 120g of spaghetti (or your favourite type of pasta)
  • Handful of grated cheese to top



  • Cook onions and garlic in oil until slightly golden.
  • Add mincemeat and cook until 80% browned.
  • Add mushrooms, tinned tomatoes, pasta and tomato puree. Stir for 3-4 minutes until its all throughly mixed together and bring to the boil.
  • Leave to simmer by reducing the heat to low for 20-30 minutes stirring every 5 minutes or so. 
  • Add the salt and pepper to taste (and half the basil at the stage if you want to include it).
  • After simmering for 20-30 minutes, add the spaghetti to a second saucepan full of salted water and boil until cooked as per packet instructions (cooking time will vary depending on whether it is dried or fresh pasta and the type of pasta). 
  • Strain the pasta and divide into four portions to serve, top with pasta sauce, basil and grated cheese. 



Our favourite tools for meal planning
We love to keep all the meal plans and recipes we create in one easy to use binder. 
Plus, by keeping the recipes in sheet protecters means we can re-use them time and time again and saves us printing out several copies. *Affiliate link: see disclosure below*

   

Make £40+ per hour with matched betting (risk free)

You may have heard of matched betting before. Its not a new concept, but it is increasing in popularity recently. If like me you might have been sceptical, and as someone who is strongly against gambling I wasn't sure if matched betting would be for me ethically. However, this month we decided to take the plunge and try out matched betting and we are loving it and the results we have been getting ever since.  I will also share with you how you could make £40-£60 today, risk free, as a one off even if you don't want to get into matched betting as a side hustle.


*This post contains affiliate links: see disclosure below*

Matched betting takes advantage of free betting offers given by bookies. You place a qualifying back bet on a bookie and a lay bet on an exchange with the aim to make as small a loss as possible (usually a couple of quid).  From there you will make a second back bet with the 'free bets' credited to your bookie account and lay the same bet in the exchange. It is this bet where the money is made and you can typically earn 80% (average) of the free bet value. This all means that there is not risk involved in matched betting, and in that sense it's not really gambling.

As matched betting is considered gambling by the law it is not liable for income tax which makes it hugely advantageous (who likes paying tax and national insurance after all). Though because of this remember it won't be considered income for assessment purposes (ie a mortgage) which can be disadvantageous, so whilst it is a great income stream it would not be super brilliant to have it as a a households only source of income.

I had heard great things about Profit Accumulators video guides for beginners as they are clear and simple to understand. They have two beginner offers that available without subscription. The first one  with Coral I made a profit of £22 Whist on Betfred I made a profit of £21. All in less than an afternoon.

Armed with my new found confidence, I wanted to see if there were any other websites out there with similar facilities (ie an odd matching calculator). I used Save the student for an offer but felt disappointed with their calculator only showing a limited number of odds matches and no function to filter for higher or lower and still felt I needed the super clear instruction of Profit Accumulator. With this in mind, and the fact that I knew I could make the monthly subscription back in less than a single offer I signed up for profit accumulator to access their huge list of offers and resources. Since then I haven't looked back and have continued to work methodically through the offers shown allowing me to make some great money for the amount of time I'm putting in.


This is the real clincher in all side hustles? Is it worth it for the time invested? Well I have to say matched betting most certainly is. I made £43 off the free offers available on profit accumulator having spend about half an hour in total (including watching the videos). Thats seems like a a pretty good hourly rate to me.  So even if you never sign up for the advanced offers here is your chance to earn an quick £40-60.

However, if you choose to use matched betting as a income source it can be quite lucrative. If you put in 1-2 hours a day you would expect to earn £1000+ a month (tax free). I work full time (13 hour days) and have still managed to make money with matched betting as once you get into the process it becomes a lot simpler (not that it ever takes much time), when working I probably spend 2hrs a week at the moment and we are still finding it to be a great income source and able to earn £400-500 a month. I love the flexibility it offers and will certainly be 'upping the hours' I put in when I start my masters program as a means of supplementing our income. The flexibility matched betting offers makes it great not only as a full time side hustle but for those with busy lives either working, looking after the kids or studying. It really can fit into any schedule.

We will be sharing with you exactly how much we eared this month on matched betting in the August online income report (so stay tuned) but right now we are on track to surpass our goal of £400 this month. Considering that this we are quite new to it all and we have been fitting it in around full time work its a brilliant side hustle and one we could highly recommend.

Have you tried matched betting? Got an great stories share them in the comments below? 

£5 Dinners | Tuna Pasta Bake


We have started a new series of posts on Instagram called £5 Dinners where we will be sharing some of our favourite budget friendly meals. Follow us @savingscotts to keep updated with the series.
We have also decided to post all the recipes on here and there is now an easy to use tab on the navigation bar just for £5 dinners.


Todays dinner is Tuna Pasta Bake, this is a family favourite and such an quick and easy dish to make that even Chris can cook it :) If you are looking to stretch it further serve with garlic bread and mixed veg.  To make the pasta bake is £3.10 (we purchased the ingredients from Tesco), served with frozen veg and garlic bread it came to a grand total of £4.42.

- 1 tin of canned tuna
- 2 can of condensed mushroom soup
- 300g of mushrooms diced
- 1 onion diced
- 1 clove of garlic min, (optional)
- 300g of penne
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- A handful of grated cheese of your choice to top ( we used cheddar).

- Combine all the ingredients in a pyrex dish and top with cheese.
- Cover in foil and place in a pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes (until pasta is soft and fully cooked) at 200 degrees celsius.
- This dish is suitable for freezing. Allow to cool after cooking and place in an airtight container. Cook from frozen (covering the top with foil) for 20 minutes at 180-200 degrees celsius.


Stay tuned for more delicious budget friendly receipts as part of our #£5Dinner series. 

Our favourite tools for meal planning
We love to keep all the meal plans and recipes we create in one easy to use binder. 
Plus, by keeping the recipes in sheet protecters means we can re-use them time and time again and saves us printing out several copies. *Affiliate link: see disclosure below*

   

Why we choose to live on one income (and how you can too)

Are you making the switch to live on one income? Maybe you are a stay at home parent, or one spouse is still in college there are many reasons why it might be a necessity. Living off one income does not have to just be for those who find it essential it can also be a great way to get intense with your savings plans. Today we will share with you our tips for living on a single income and why we choose to live on a single income.


Why we live of one income?
When I started work we figured that my starting salary was enough to cover our essentials plus our budgeted luxuries.
With our goal to get intense with our savings for our future home we knew that we needed to be setting aside as much as possible each month into savings. But it can be so easy to see lots of money in the checking account and spend, especially if we thought in terms of our joint salaries our surplus was quite a bit.
To get us out of this mentality we live as if my income is our only income, this is what we live off, this is what we budget from and any excess goes into savings (just like any normal budgeting situation). We then assign all of Chris income into the various savings pots we invest into which currently includes our Help to Buy ISAs, stocks and shares ISA and my Self Invested Pension Plan.

Whilst Chris is still studying being able to live off my income only means that there is less stress on him to work during busy periods when exams occur. It also means that the variability in his hours and any overtime he picks up during holiday is just bonus savings and not something we have to rely on.

However, being able to live solely of one income is no easy feat for us. Im in my first graduate job and Chris is working during his degree, so we are not super high earners. We also live in one of the most expensive cities in the UK so there are number of things we do to ensure that this is an achievable situation.

How you can live on one income too

1. Reduce essential expenses
There are somethings you just can't avoid to pay for rent, food, utilities. But you do have some control. We live in the less affluent area of Brighton to make our money go further and are considering a move further along the coast next year in order to reduce the cost of rent. Keeping your usage of electric, gas and water low helps reduce the cost of utilities. Whilst meal planning and cooking frugally helps keep the food bill down.

2. Ensure income covers essential expenses as a minimum.
Having assessed and reduced your essential expenses you now have a clear picture of the minimum amount you need coming in each month from the income you are going to live off. You may at this point find that the income is just not enough.
There are two ways to change a budget, spend less or earn more and you may find that you have to do more. Consider asking for a raise, could you take on more hours, maybe now is the time to change jobs, could you do some training at work to become more qualified? Look at the different ways you could increase your income.

3. Reduce unnecessary expenses
Bynreviewing all your monthly payments to see if there are any subscriptions your could drop. subscriptions can easily slip through the next but being ruthless with them and really think about what you want to keep. All the time remembering that these are wants boy needs so they are the area in budget to cut. Some big costs include TV (discover how you can watch for free).

4. Comparison shop
Looking to see if you have you got any monthly subscriptions or annual purchases that you could switch or move down to a less expensive package. Whilst this can be more challenging to do for essentials (I.e rent) this is easier for non essentials it can make a huge difference and you army really having to cut back.
Don't forget to look at the details of packages you pay for are you using all the elements, could you cut down if so see if you could drop down to a less expensive package. If you are not sure how much you are using, for example on a phone plan don't be afraid to call up your current provider and get a breakdown of your current usage, arm yourself with this information when making comparisons between packages offered.

6. Keep a constant track of your finances
Being intentional with how you spend your money comes from knowing how it is being spent. We are currently loving using tiller spreadsheets to track our finances and have the daily email alerts set up to really keep any eye on our spending.  The spreadsheets link automatically to your bank and track all transactions. From there you can categorise the transactions, making you conscious of your spending habits. At the end of the month we like to print out the spreadsheet and review how it compares to our budget goals.

7. Live debt free
If we were not debt free living off one income would be so much harder if not impossible as we would need to be putting all our income towards becoming debt free. Being debt free is the key foundation to be able to successful in living on a single or low income. But if you are in debt don't stress you too can become debt free and gain control of your finances. To start on your journey check out our 5 steps to becoming debt free.

Do you live on a single income? How do you make it work for your family?