Money is tight for many parents at the moment, and the Internet can be a great way to find the best discounts, special offers and money-saving deals. If you're looking to reduce your family's spending in 2012, then head over to Frugal Family, a blog dedicated to one family's experience of saving money every day.
Frugal Family is the work of Cass, a busy mum of two based in Redcar, near Middlesborough. Cass started blogging three years ago, when she wanted to give up work to spend more time with her two young children.
"I was working full-time and was desperate to go part-time but we just couldn't afford it," explains Cass. "So we started looking very carefully at every possible way we could find to save money, and reduce the bills."
Cass began writing about her experiences on a blog, hoping that other people would benefit from her experiences.
"You name a money-saving idea, I've tried it," she laughs. "I always loved reading about people's recommendations on forums, and I thought a blog would be a great way to share my own tips."
Frugal Family regularly advises readers on how to save money on everything from energy bills to household insurance, alongside tips on crafts, affordable family days out and recipes.
Topics Cass has covered include saving money by using packed lunches for your family and using meal planning to reduce your shopping bills, along with tips on how to spend less at the supermarket.
Each week, Cass publishes a weekly meal plan, which is one of the blog's most popular features. "Meal planning has reduced our food spending by £20 a week, because it means I don't need to go to the supermarket for top up shops during the week," she says. "I also publish one recipe each week of something we make, and that's been very popular with readers."
Alongside the money-saving tips, Frugal Family is also a record of Cass and her family life, and it's this that makes the blog especially precious, says Cass.
"I love having that record of our family, it's something I already look at with my daughter, and we talk about the things we've done together."
It's this personal element that makes blogging so fulfilling, says Cass, rather than just writing a website. "I absolutely love getting comments, although I'd write the blog even if nobody was reading – which they weren't for the first year or so," she says.
www.notonthehighstreet.com: I don't shop often for me, all my money seems to go on the kids, but when I do, I spend hours browsing here.
www.ebay.co.uk: Great for buying things for children. I buy a lot of clothes here because the kids grow so fast, I don't want to spend too much on things they won't wear for long. It saves me a fortune! I often look on expensive interior shops for inspiration then use eBay to recreate the look, on a budget
www.autocorrectfail.org: A recent discovery, but it makes me smile every time I look at it.
www.hotukdeals.com: A fantastic place to discover bargains, and share the bargains you've found. I've had some fantastic opportunities, and if I come across a good deal, I share it with my followers on Twitter.
www.moneysavingexpert.com: A site I've used for years, and is full of ideas to save money. Martin Lewis always has some new advice and tips on saving money round the home.
utterlyscrummy.blogspot.com: Brilliant for recipe ideas and inspiration, and I also check out the Foodies100