This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

£5 dinners | Gnocchi 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. So you can find all your favourite, easy to cook, low cost dinners in one place. 
Save money on your food shop using approved discount gift cards with Zeek. 



This week's recipe is a Gnocchi bake. If you've never heard of Gnocchi before its a pasta/potato dumplings. In that sense this dish is essentially a pasta bake, but the Gnocchi give it a different flavour. This dish is so quick to make the prep is about 5 minutes then 30 minutes, making it a perfect back to school dinner. We purchased all the ingredients from Tesco apart from the peppers which were part of the wonky veg box and in total it cost little over £3 for a serving of 4.








  • 400g fresh Gnocchi 
  • 2 small Orange peppers (capsicums) diced
  • 400g tinned cherry tomatoes
  • 125g mozzarella
  • 3 tablespoons Passata (optional) 
  • pinch of Salt
  • pinch of Pepper
  • pinch ofItalian Herbs
  • Combine gnocchi, diced pepper and cherry tomatoes in a pyrex dish. Ensuring that the sauce covers all the gnocchi (you may wish to add a bit of pasata if your a bit short on sauce). 
  • Top with mozzarella, salt, pepper, and Italian herbs and cover with foil.
  • Cook in an over at 180 degrees (Celsius) for 30/40 minutes (until the gnocchi is all cooked through and a soft consistency, not hard or gritty)


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. 

   





August Online Income Report


I've been toying with the idea for a while with sharing our online income, and we have finally decided to jump the gun and give it a go. We hope that we can inspire others to make good use of side hustles and online income sources.

Publishing our online income also keeps us accountable to the goals that we set each month. It will also hopefully serve as a progress record in future months, when we can look back and see what progress we have made, as whilst we are making reasonable money online we have huge room for growth and improvement.

At the end of this month I left my full time job at an independent financial advisers firm in London, though it was reasonable money, I was not enjoying the job like I had expected to and will now be pursing my masters in law at the London School of Economics and Political Science. This is a huge change on our financial situation (as we are once again back to us both being students, plus the costs of masters tuition etc.) . Our goal over this next academic year is to dip into our savings as little as possible. In light of our new situation we have been trying to save as much of our paycheques as possible and this months online earnings have gone solely into savings in preparation for the academic year.



  • August's income goal £430
  • August's actual income £506

  • Matched betting
    • Goal £400 
    • Achieved - £413 (in 3 weeks of the month) 
    • As you can see matched betting is by far our biggest online income source.  Having now officially left my full time work to pursue my masters, I am looking to make matched betting my main income source. This months earning reflected, a week off at the start of August (when I was on vacation with the family) and the fact I am typically out of the house 12-13 hrs a day on weekdays. With this in mind, I am hoping to get really intense with my matched betting in September as during the first few weeks I am at home all day but with starting class Im not quite sure what my workload will be like at the end of the month. 
    • Matched betting works by cashing in on the free bets many bookmakers offer. You do this in a risk free way by both betting for and against a situation (i.e. betting that West Ham will win and on an exchange site like Betfair betting that they won't win, therefore, balancing out both sides). I wrote an article earlier this month on how to make money with matched betting using Profit accumulator. I have only made one mistake (and it cost be about £1.50) so far and fingers crossed for no more. 
    • If you are interested in matched betting or maybe your still a bit on the fence check out this article on how you can earn £40-£60 (risk free) as a free trial and see if matched betting is for you. 
    • September goal - £650 

  • Ebay/Gumtree
    • Goal £20
    • Actual- £83
      • Sold a cross trainer (that we got for free) for £40 on gum tree. 
      • Sold some old clothes on eBay for £43
        • We are looking to move in the next year (and despite only living in our flat for 18 months we have accumulated far too much 'stuff' I am looking over the next few months to steadily clear it all out. I am also trying to keep an eye out on gumtree for free or very low cost items that I can sell on (like we did with the cross trainer). 
        • September's goal - £100

  • Swagbucks
    • Goal- £10 
    • Actual- £10
      • I just do a surveys here and there as well as using the Swagbucks search browser 
    • Everything was a bit hectic this month and I definitely could have spend more time in this area, I was really hoping to surpass this goal but I definitely neglected this area a bit to much.
    • September's Goal - £20


We also set ourselves some goals for the blog for August and we are going to include these in monthly income reports as well. With the aim to keep ourselves accountable to our goals but also to remember that growth of the blog is key to the development of online income sources. We are slowly but surely integrating affiliate linking and ads networks (we had previously been earning through google adsense but there have been huge issues with them since getting the new domain, which hopefully I'll get fixed soon)
We will also mention what specific strategies we have been invoking on each of the platforms and the success of those strategies for us. We would love for you to share with us what strategies you have found to be the most successful on the social media platforms.

  • Pinterest
    • Goal-500 followers
    • Actual- 520 
      • Our strategy has not really changed much from last month (or our post of increasing Pinterest strategy). I am sticking quick strictly to getting all the weeks pins scheduled on a Monday, allowing for meaningful time on Pinterest during the rest of the week. 
    • September's Goal- 750 followers
  • Twitter
    • Goal - 800 followers
    • Actual- 890 followers
      • This month we cleared out who we are following (as it used to be my personal twitter account). We also started following lots more people in our niche. We have been participating in the UK Money Bloggers weekly chat and found this a great way to engage with other similar writers. 
    • September's Goal 1,000 followers
  • Instagram
    • Goal - 100
    • Actual- 
      • This month we started a new intsagram series #£5dinners where each week we will post a recipe to both Instagram and the blog that is healthy, tasty, and budget friendly. All the recipes are designed to feed 4+ for £5 or less. Prior to this series we had let instagram dwindle and rarely posted. I have also updated the account to make it much less of a personal account.  We are currently considering whether or not to start making videos to go along with the recipes, so let us know in the comments if that is something you would like. 
    • September's Goal- 250 followers


Looking forward to more long term goals

  • We would like to see my matched betting earnings average £700-800 each month and remain fairly consistent. Whilst it is perfectly possible to earn more than this I would like to focus my efforts into other areas. 
  • Continue with the growth of SavingScotts and respective social media with a view to develop a youtube element (especially for recipe articles). Tied in with this we would like to see growth in affiliate and ads earning, in a years time we would like to be averaging £500 p/m in this area. 

Do you like this income report? Would you like to see more of them in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments – we would love to hear from you.


______________________________________________________




    If you are new to our blog, we are all about finding new ways for students and millennials to make and save money. Here are some of our favourite sites and products to help you out:
    • Start a blog. Blogging is our side-hustle just over a year ago we didn't think I would bring us any income . You can create your own blog here with my easy-to-use tutorial. You can start your blog for as low as $3.49 per month plus you get a free domain if you sign-up through my tutorial.
    • Save money with gift cards Whether its for buying clothes, your weekly shop or dining out use Zeek to buy discounted gift cards to get more bang for your buck. 
    • Use Swagbucks for your online searches. Swagbucks is a passive way to earn gift cards. Over the course of a year you could earn $500.  Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded “points called SB” for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough Swagbucks, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. Receive $5 for signing up today.
    • Try matched betting. Matched betting is a great way to may easy money online. Despite the name it is not gambling and could see you earn £500-£1000 a month for only a couple of hours work a day see here and here. For your free trial head to profit accumulator or join the Facebook 'getting started' group.  
    • Sign up for a cashback site like Quidco. where you can earn CASH BACK for just spending like how you normally would online. The service is free too! Plus, when you sign up through my link, you also receive a free £10 bonus!

    *This post contains affiliate links, all opinions are our own*

    Wonky veg box review

    A while ago ASDA announced that they were introducing wonky veg boxes into their stores. My local was a listed store but despite checking regularly none were being stocked. When doing our shop this week we discovered that they actually had some in the store now so we though we would give it a go and let you guys know our thoughts on the box.



    The concept is about encouraging people to buy 'imperfect food' that would otherwise go to waste. In a waste not, want not fashion. A bit like a broken biscuit tin there is no preset combination of veg in a box, but there is a label to say what the box contains on the outside so it is not a surprise.

    I would always rather have fresh food thats 'ugly' than pretty frozen veg so we love the concept of a veg box on a budget. Plus because it is veg that would have otherwise gone to waste it is sold at a reduced price, the box was only £3.50 but have about £8 worth of vegetables in it. Being able to source low cost food is a great way to keep costs down so if like us your trying to stick to a budget wonky veg can help you with that.

    Ours contained the following

    • aubergine
    • salad onions
    • onions (white)
    • orange peppers
    • carrots
    • cabbage
    • lettuce 
    • potatoes 
    Check out the video below to see what the box contained and our thoughts on the concept.



    Overall we are really happy with the box and think it is good value for money. My biggest gripe is that the lettuce was in a plastic bag as other than that it is pretty eco friendly packaging. The blemishes on the vegetables were all very minor (I would hardly consider blemishes) and the unusual shapes weren't that different. The carrots were probably the most 'deformed' but as most of the time we would be chopping them up, you wouldn't notice, plus I'm planning on using them in a soup anyway. 


    What do you think of the idea of a wonky veg box, is it something you would buy?

    £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. 

    Save money on your food shop using approved discount gift cards with Zeek. 



    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 £45 in 30 minutes with Matched Betting

    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.

    We also have a FB support group to help you meet other students earning money through matched betting and allow you to support and discuss each other.

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

    ______________________________________________________


      If you are new to our blog, we are all about finding new ways for students and millennials to make and save money. Here are some of our favourite sites and products to help you out:
      • Start a blog. Blogging is our side-hustle just over a year ago we didn't think I would bring us any income . You can create your own blog here with my easy-to-use tutorial. You can start your blog for as low as $3.49 per month plus you get a free domain if you sign-up through my tutorial.
      • Save money with gift cards Whether its for buying clothes, your weekly shop or dining out use Zeek to buy discounted gift cards to get more bang for your buck. 
      • Use Swagbucks for your online searches. Swagbucks is a passive way to earn gift cards. Over the course of a year you could earn $500.  Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded “points called SB” for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough Swagbucks, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. Receive $5 for signing up today.
      • Try matched betting. Matched betting is a great way to may easy money online. Despite the name it is not gambling and could see you earn £500-£1000 a month for only a couple of hours work a day see here and here. For your free trial head to profit accumulator or join the Facebook 'getting started' group.  
      • Sign up for a cashback site like Quidco. where you can earn CASH BACK for just spending like how you normally would online. The service is free too! Plus, when you sign up through my link, you also receive a free £10 bonus!
      *This post contains affiliate links, all opinions are our own*

      £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*

         


      *I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, I will receive a referral commission. Your support in purchasing through these links enables me to keep Saving Scotts running and empower more people to take control of their finances. Thank you!*

      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?