Showing posts with label budget. Show all posts
Showing posts with label budget. Show all posts

13 November 2018

How To Cut Down On Your Car Budget

Whether it is needed your daily commute, ferrying the children around to various schools and activities or just for day to day life, a car has become a necessity to 21st century living.  

It does not matter if you live in the suburbs or in the city, a car is a convenience that wins over public transport every time in terms of convenience and speed to destination.  My journey to work for example takes 10 minutes by car, 30 by bus.

I am currently getting back into the car market after a long spell of public transport and I cannot wait to get behind the wheel again.  That said, I am conscious of the costs that come with buying, maintaining and fueling a car so I have been looking around for some tips to help bring down the costs.

Buy Used

If you are looking to be economical and don't want a car that costs the earth, the best thing to do is buy a used car.  I am in the process of looking at second hand cars in Brighton to find a car at an affordable price.

With buying second car, your choices also open up much more and you are more likely to be able to afford a model that you could not afford new, but a version just a few years older that you will love just as much.

Find a Reliable Garage

Whilst in the process of looking for a car, I am also getting advice and tips from friends and family in my locality for a great and reliable garage.  Maintaining your car, making sure that it is serviced regularly and properly (without it having to cost the earth) is one way to keep costs down.

You want to find somewhere that has been recommended by at least three other regular users and look out for comments on pricing etc.

Save on Fuel

Aside from insurance and maintenance, one regular expense for your vehicle is petrol.  There are many ways that you can save money in this area just by following a few of the below tips:

  • Slow down - did you know that accordingly to AA research, dropping just 10 miles an hour on speed on the motorway can save you up to 25% in the cost of your fuel?
  • Reduce the weight - do you need all the stuff in the boot of your car?  Do actually use that luggage rack on top?  If the answer is no, get rid of it.
  • Be economical with the air conditioning.
  • Keep an eye on your tyre pressure.
  • Drive a manual car - automatic vehicles reportedly use 10 - 15% more fuel than a manual car.

Cut Down on Unnecessary Trips

How many times have you nipped to the shops, the supermarket or local town to buy something, only to return home and remember something that you forgot to buy?  I do it all the time.

To save making unnecessary journeys, pin a simple shopping list on your fridge and keep adding to it.  When you have 5-10 items on the list, go shopping and TAKE THE LIST WITH YOU!

How do you save money on your car budget?

*Collaborative piece

26 April 2017

Hair Care on a Budget

I have done so many things to my hair over the years.  I have been a blonde, a brunette and a redhead.  I have had very short hair, very long hair and everything in between.  I am lucky in that I can have my hair straight or curly, but the thing about all these different hairstyles and hair colours is that it can do damage to your hair.

I have had colour in my hair since I was around 15 and straightening irons have been a major part of my life for years.  Although my hair is very thick, it can be coarse and in summer for reasons that I do not understand, my hair falls out everywhere.  Good job I have a lot of it!

Here are some of the styles I have had over the past couple of years.

Hair care is so important.  There is a misconception that you have to spend a fortune on your hair products in order to maintain healthy hair, but it simply isn't true.  The important thing is to spend wisely and in the right places.

For shampoo and conditioner, I go to the pound shop.  Now I have always (stupidly) turned my nose up at things from the pound shop, but the truth is, you can get some great products for, surprising haha, a pound.

You still get your named brands, the only difference is that they buy them in when the expiry date is running out.  With things like shampoo and conditioner that you replace every month, that is not an issue.  At the moment I am using coconut oil shampoo and conditioner which is giving my hair a wonderful shine.

For heat protection and styling I use more expensive products, but they are still under £10:

I use the TIGI Catwalk Sleep heat spray to maintain healthy hair when I use my irons which I got from Cloud Nine.  This one is infused with lychee and honeysuckle which prevents moisture loss which is important for my coarse hair.

I also use the TIGI Bed Head Joyride Texturising Powder  This is a primer which you put on prior to using your irons.  It adds texture and grip which makes styling so much easier.

Finally, rather than using an expensive hair mask every month, I buy a thick moisture infusing conditioner, again from the pound shop.  I wet my hair and then apply a ton of it on my hair and then comb through,  I then put a wrap over my hair and sleep in the conditioner overnight.  After washing out the following morning, my hair feels wonderful!

What hair tips do you have on a budget?

20 December 2016

Tips for Saving in 2017

We all have many New Year's resolutions that we hope will lead to a better life, but so often those goals fall to the wayside only to pop back up for another failed attempt again and again. 

Things like "Dry January" is the obvious one but let's face it: savingmore money has to be a close second. If you have health and wealth you're in pretty great shape, but the problem is that often too many people try to make huge, sudden, and massive changes and it proves to be just too much. 

So what types of small, easy, and basic tips can help to make sure you actually make your financial goals in 2017 instead of having to make the same resolutions for 2018?

#1: Plan Your Savings Goal

Without a plan, you have no chance. If you don't know how much you want to save in a year, you're not going to make that number. If that's the only number you have, you can't break down what you need as monthly and weekly goals. Choose a reasonable goal, give yourself a little bit of leeway (but not too much - like planning out 48 or 50 weeks instead of the full 52), and set up a spending and savings plan that can help you reach that.

Self discipline is much easier when you have a clear path and plan to follow.

#2: Get Rid Of Temptation

You can't be tempted if the temptation isn't there. One of the best ways to save is to have part of your check sent to an account in another bank, one which you cut up the debit card for or don't set up online banking - meaning it would take a lot of extra effort to go and raid your savings. The harder it is to do, the less likely you are to do it.

#3: Track Expenses For One Month

Two months is a little better, but one month is generally enough. This is tracking, not budgeting (though that is also a good idea). You want to see where every single penny of the money you're spending is going so you can make a realistic accounting of what your actual expenses are.

Use this to trim the fat and make small changes for big savings.  I tried this earlier this year and found to my shock just how much I was spending on my morning coffee.

#4: Set Up A Budget

This is generally best done after tracking expenses for a bit so you're not underestimating expenses or overestimating your resolve. There are plenty of resources for creating and sticking to a budget so take advantage of them!

#5: Take Advantage Of Small Adjustments

Using coupons for the first time, buying stuff during sales, or even making small adjustments like "the cheapest soda" versus "brand X at full price" are all little changes that can make life altering differences when all the savings are added up over the long term.

#6: Use Technology To Your Advantage

This could mean finding great deals online that are better than what you can get in person. This could also mean activating rewards programs for a credit card (although not using one at all is better if you can manage that) or there are even high quality saving apps that can be set up to make saving money relatively painless and much easier than using good old fashioned resolve, there are also a lot of money saving apps, aswell as finding freebie and free sample sites.

#7: Reward Your Momentum

You know what makes willpower much easier? The occasional reward. If you track your momentum so you can actually see yourself gaining on your goals then you are going to be encouraged and keep going with that. Don't completely starve yourself of fun. There's no reason for it, and that is often counter productive. Check on your progress every so often, make corrections or increases as you see fit and give yourself some small little celebration for making a goal.

Whether that is an ice cream during summer, one meal at your favourite bar, or something else entirely, you have plenty of options.

Follow these 7 tips and you will be far more likely to reach your savings goals!

*Collaboration Post

6 December 2016

Planning for Christmas

When it comes to planning for Christmas, I like to be ahead of the game and start my organising by the end of October.  I usually start putting money away for presents in September.

Whilst this may sound a very long time to be planning for Christmas, believe me, the alternative of buying everything last minute is not something you want to experience.

I have only done this once.  A few years ago I spent the last three days before Christmas buying all of my gifts and Christmas cards.  It was hell.  A twenty person queue in the card shop, daggers at dawn with the person who wants the same gift as you with only one left on the shelf; your bank balance telling you that you cannot afford to buy all of the gifts that you want.

I swore that the next year I would be ultra organised and I have been sticking to my plan ever since.

So what are my top tips for planning for Christmas?

"Have a Budget"

First things, first, before you even start to save up to buy gifts for people, plan your budget.  Decide how much you are going to spend on someone and stick to it.  Work out how long you will need to save for and add another £20.00 to it, for that one person you always forget to buy for.

"Print Your Recipes"

If you are going to be the one cooking on Christmas Day, why not print out some recipes ahead of time so you can start planning your food shopping.  This link for the BBC Good Food is brilliant.

"Be Savvy"

Once I have my budget in place, I tend to start looking a couple of months ahead for ideas of what I want to buy and for whom.  I create a document on my laptop with links to potential presents and check the sites regularly for any sales or discounts that appear.  For toys, electricals and beauty I tend to wait until Black Friday to get a potential bargain.  

"Post Early"

Did you know that accordingly to a recent study done by Datalabel, almost £750,000.00 worth of cards go missing every year?  In the study, found here, 15% of the respondents had had cards go missing that they had sent out.  So always label as clearly as you can and ideally, factor in postage costs into your budget so that you can sent parcels by Special Delivery to give you some insurance if anything does go missing.

"It Ain't All About the Money"

You can always tell when someone puts real thought into a gift.  It is the thought that matters, not the price tag.  A last minute "that will do" gift screams lack of thought a mile away.  Like buying bath oil for someone who you know doesn't have a bath (me).  

If you have a very small budget, how about making some Christmas cookies or making something that is personable to both you and the person receiving the gift?  The best present I have ever received is a homemade photo album filled with photographs of myself and my dad who died when I was young.  I will always cherish it.

How do you plan for Christmas?

*This is a collaborative post 

26 March 2012

I Don’t Need a Nanny

So once again the budget rears it’s ugly head. 

There is usually something on there which will incense parts or most of the population.  Am fortunate enough that usually, the effects of the budget do not affect me too much. 

I travel on the bus, don’t have children and the hike up in price on alcohol and cigarettes is expected.  Not this time however.

I am aware that as a smoker, whilst not a minority, I am definately in the category of “You should know better” or “Well there go, quit then”.  The smoking ban in pubs, restaurants etc didn’t bother me.  I don’t have a problem in not smoking around non smokers.  It’s common courtesy.

37p a packet extra on cigarettes though?  That has taken the biscuit for me.  George Osborne’s defence of the hike up in price is.
"Smoking remains the biggest cause of preventable illness and premature death in the UK.  There is clear evidence that increasing the cost of tobacco encourages smokers to quit and discourages young people from taking it up."
Am sorry, but that is complete and utter rubbish.  Whilst, yes of course, smoking related illnesses are preventable, for the Government to use this as a justification for raising the tax on cigarettes is ridiculous.
Smokers pay taxes, just like everyone else.  Part of that taxation goes towards the NHS.  We also pay a very high price on tax on cigarettes.  The Government get millions upon millions of pounds from smokers.  Yes of course a lot of that can be offset against smoking diseases.  But certainly not all of it.
I will not be dictated to by the Government into choosing what I can and can’t do.  Last time I checked everyone in this country still had the freedom of choice.
The Government don’t really want people to stop.  It will lose them money.  However jumping on the health bandwagon is just a useful tool in order to hike the sales tax up.   All it will do is encourage people to buy cigarettes from the black market.
In one way, I would have still be shocked and horrified that the Government had added such a large addition to the sales tax if they had simply said, it’s one way of boosting funds, getting us out of the recession.  But to hide behind the health issue, well that just adds fury to the flame.