Finally we can see signs that lockdown is hopefully over, but if your like me maybe you are worried about your finances and how they might take a hit once things open back up again.
I have been able to save money each month due to the UK being shut down, not going to the pub, cinemas etc. But after June everything opens!
So in this blog post I will be sharing the steps I am taking to prepare myself and my finances for the end of lockdown!
I am already getting my budget ready for the end of lockdown. But for me this starts a little bit earlier in May.
I should (hopefully) be back to work full time in May which means my pay will increase and my expenses will increase such as petrol and food. So I am using the next few weeks to get myself ready.
But how am I doing this? I am planning, planning my weeks to make sure I have the money I need.
I have saved over £100 to cover the cost of new uniform and petrol
I will be increasing my expenses to cover the cost of meal prepping
I am planning for any upcoming expenses such as birthdays
I am doing all the above to make sure my budget is ready.
I am also making sure to budget myself some fun money, my boyfriend and I are living apart so we haven’t had a proper date in 12 months. So yes I will be saving money to have a few drinks and enjoy ourselves.
I will be tracking my spending every day/week so that I have complete control over my spending. That way I will know if I need to increase or decrease my expenses.
I will be tracking my spending through my bank account and using my spending tracker.
Click on this link to get this tracker yourself!
Saving money is paramount to me, so I will be side hustling as much as I can to save money to cover expenses.
Because I am tracking my spending I will have a better understanding of my expenses, which means I will be able to plan how much money I can save.
These are the 3 main things that I am doing to prepare for the end of lockdown and for me this works its simple and manageable.
What about you? How are you preparing for the end of lockdown?
One of my goals for this year is to learn more about investing, it is something that I have wanted to look into for a while but I have been nervous. I am worried that I will loose a lot of money which would put me off.
That was until I found Free Trade. I have been using Free Trade for a while now and I have loved this app, I use the free share referral offer to learn more.
This blog is showing you how I use Free Trade referral offer to learn more about investing, I am not providing any investment advice for you to follow.
!Quick disclaimer! This blog post will include a referral link that will allow myself and the person who uses it receive a free share!
What is Free Trade?
Free Trade is an investment app that allows you to invest in stocks and shares you can use a free general investment account (I use this account) or you can pay for their Investment Plus account. You can also get a stock and shares ISA through the app as well.
They are an award winning app with an amazing customer service team to help you. The app itself is very easy to understand, one of the reasons that I love it!
I find the whole world of investing confusing and this app has made it slightly easier to understand.
Free Shares offer:
I have been using Free Trades referral program since October 2020 and I have loved it! I deposited £2 in October and as of Monday 22nd March 2021 I have £309.21 in my investment portfolio which is amazing!
When someone uses my link we both receive a free share, and I either keep them and let them grow or I sale them and buy more.
For me using this referral program has helped me play around with investing without losing any “real money”. I am slowly learning what stocks to go for and when to keep them and sale them.
I know I still have so much to learn, I am sure someone who is a pro at investing cringes when they see my stocks! But for me I have made a profit and each week I share my link on Instagram and get more free shares.
At some point this year after I have some more money put away in my emergency fund, I would like to start depositing my own money each month to invest and increase my net worth.
If you are interested in Free trade and using their free share referral program follow the link bellow:
Once you have received your free share you can either keep it and let it grow, sale it and withdraw the cash or sale it and buy more shares. The free shares are worth £3 -£200 so in theory you should make a profit on the £2 you deposit! And once your profile is all set up you can share your referral link with family and friends to earn even more money.
So I will be sharing my journey when it comes to investing over on my Instagram so why not join me.
Do you use free trade? Do you like it? Let me know!
We all remember the meme of the little boy shouting at his nanny saying “Bacon is good for me” well I am like that child, but for me I am cradling my budget folder shouting “saving challenges are good for me!”
I love saving challenges! I have become addicted to them over the last few years, every month I take part in some form of saving challenge.
For me they are great way to save little bits along side my main saving goals, they also help me reduce my spending.
But there are so many saving challenges out there so which ones are the best?
Well keep reading as I will be sharing my favourite challenges!
I love this challenge, I found it many years agoand have been doing it ever since.
In 31 days you can save £99.20 (I always round it up to £100) this challenge is perfect for getting you into the habit of saving daily. You can do this challenge in two ways:
Start at day 1, you put away 20p
Day 2 you put away 40p
Day 3 you put away 60p
and so on, you simply go up by 20p per day until on day 31 you put away £6.20!
You can also do this backwards:
Day 1 you put away £6.20
Day 2 you put away £6.00
Day 3 you put away £5.80
and so on, until day 31 is 20p.
Doing it backwards is really handy if you are paid at the end of the month, at the beginning of the month we have more money so starting out with the larger amounts will make this more manageable.
You do not have to complete this tracker with months that only have 31 days in, you can do it all year round like I am. On day 30 simply put away day 30 and day 31.
Money Monday (@lottiebudgets)
This challenge is created by the lovely Lottie from @Lottiebudgets (Please go and check her out) she created not 1 but 3 saving challenges to do on a Monday!
Money Monday Save £450 in 21 weeks
Money Monday Quarterly save £500 in 13 weeks
Mini Money Monday save £200 in 8 weeks
Simply pick which amount you would like to save and every Monday tick off a amount. Lottie has all the trackers you need over on her page so make sure you go and check them out.
For the last few months I have been doing the Mini Money Monday as I am on less pay so for me this is much more manageable and I love it! I do this challenge along side my other saving challenges.
Fiver Friday is a simple as that, you put £5 away each Friday. This is perfect to help you save up for someones birthday or even a pot just for yourself.
If you do this challenge all year round you can save £265, so this a great challenge to help you save for Christmas or weekends away.
I have been doing this challenge for a few weeks and I used my money to buy mothers day presents so it is well worth it!
I love this challenge! You save for 365 days! I first discovered this challenge on the one and only Skint Dad website.
You simply save up your pennies following his tracker and you can save over £600 in 1 year!
Having an extra £650 at the end of the year is a massive help and you can start this challenge at any point in the year, just make sure you do it for 12 months.
52 Week Challenges
There are so many year long challenges out there, which means you have to put money away each week and they are brilliant.
You can save £10,000 in 52 weeks, take a look at the images below to find some 52 challenges that could work for you!
I can’t recommend saving challenges enough, to help you get into the mindset of saving money each day, week or month.
What are your favourite saving challenges? Let me know!
And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to keep up to date with my journey and the daily budgeting tips I share!!
Do you have a lot of unwanted clothes or items in your home? Are you saving for something special or paying off debt? Then why not start selling your stuff on eBay!
I have been selling on eBay for years but I would say the last 12 months have been the best for me. I have sold more clothes on there then any where else and it’s easy to do.. if you know what you are doing.
If you are thinking of selling on eBay for the first time or are after some tips then keep reading as I share some tips and ticks that I have learned along the way.
What can I sale?
You can pretty much sale anything on eBay! I mainly sale clothes, kids toys, electronics and household items. Check out good house keeping website which shows you all the different items you can sale on eBay.
I sell a lot of clothes and they sale well.
How much shall I sell it for?
Research the item your selling, especially if it’s branded. Type into eBay the brand and item your selling and find out what has sold recently. That way you can find out a price.
Brand new items will always sell for more and 2nd hand for less. But depending on the condition you can make decent money.
If you have bought items to sell for profit then it’s very important you research your item to find out the correct price.
Not only can you under price your item you can also overprice it and that means it is less likely to sell.
For me, clothes sized UK 14 and over sale really well especially jeans and tops.
Auction or buy it now?
On eBay you can sell your items in two different styles.
Auction, where buyers will bid on your item or buy it now where you set a price and people can buy it straight away.
For me, low priced items sell better on auction especially if they gain a lot of interest. And branded items do well on buy it now.
Again do your research, find out how your item has sold before on eBay and this will help you decide.
I sale a lot of my 2nd hand clothes through auction, sometimes they can sale for £1 and other times a lot more. I put a shirt on a starting bid of 99p last week and the final auction was over £10 because it generated a lot of intrest.
What do I write in the description?
Your description of the item your selling is very important. It can be the difference between your item selling and not selling. It needs to be full of all the details of the item your selling.
When I sale clothes I try to include as many measurements as I can, leg length, sleeve length etc as you do find people will ask questions. I also include brand names as this is very important.
You also need to include details about the condition and any damage. Any marks on the item you need to mention!
I once sold an item that had the smallest stain and it got sent back and I had to issue a refund. So I now take the time to check the items and write anything I see.
So take the time to write a detailed description of the item your selling.
How do I work out the postage?
Sending an item on eBay means you need to send the item yourself. It’s important to find out the cost of your postage as you can either overcharge or undercharge on it.
I send all my ebay items through Royal Mail and for me they are the best.
All you need to use this service is weigh your items in packaging and fill out the easy form on their site. I also use this service to determine how much I need to charge.
You can either post your items into your local postbox or drop it off to your local post office. Either way it works really well.
If you are selling items that require a tracking service you can still weigh and print the label off at home but you do need to take it to your post office to get the tracking number.
Another great feature of this service is you can get your parcels collected for 72p! We had a lot of Christmas presents to send off and our local post office was closed so we used this. For us it worked really well.
You can also use the “print postage label” option on ebay!
What should I send my items in?
If you are sending clothes I use some grey large letter bags that I buy off Amazon. (Check out this link) I find these to be the best ones they are durable.
They are also good for cuddly toys, games and books. If you are selling toys or big items then you do need boxes you can get these from your local supermarkets for free!
You will also need some good quality cello tape and packing tape to make sure your packaging stay together.
How do I take the best pictures?
It’s not only the description of the item that is going to help you sell it, it’s also the pictures. You need to make sure that your pictures are clear and have good lighting.
Take a picture of your item against a plain background (I use my bedroom door or living room wall). We all remember the lady who made headline news years ago for taking a picture of a item for ebay, next to a mirror which showed she had no clothes on!
So make sure you are only taking pictures of your item and nothing else!
Don’t take a picture of your item screwed up on a bed or even worse the floor!
I use my Iphone to take my pictures and for me they work well.
When you take pictures of your items you want to include:
Front and back image of item (especially if its clothes)
Picture of any labels
Picture of zips/ buttons
Picture of any damage/marks
I find the more images you have the better my items sale for!
What should my title say?
The title of the item you are selling should include key words such as:
Style (knee length dress, flared skirt etc)
Occasion (Summer, winter, party, prom etc)
You have 80 characters so make sure you use them. But, you don’t need to put words like pretty or beautiful as people don’t search this.
Instead of having Pretty, nice dress size 12 as a title I would change this too Karen Millen Coral Knee Length Brand New Dress Size UK 12 (this is one of my items I am currently selling)
I have included the brand, style, condition and size of the dress.
Having a good title will help your items be seen and sale.
When should I sale my items?
Every 2 weeks (usually) ebay runs a £1 Max seller fees offer on a weekend. This means when you sale your item you will only pay a maximum fee off £1! This is great for high priced items!
But, I would recommend starting your listings on a weekend and end on a Sunday night. This works really well for auctions. All my auction listings end on a Sunday night at 7pm, this seems to be when people do most of their online shopping.
It also means that you get paid the same time every week (if your buyers pay on time)
What fees do I need to pay?
Unfortunately, using ebay to sell your items you do have to pay seller fees.
When you sale your item, ebay will take 10% of the final transaction value (this includes postage). So if you sale a item for £20 you will pay £2.
But like I mentioned before if you list your items during ebays max £1 seller fees you wont be charged much. If you sale an item for £100 that you listed during this weekend you will only pay £1 instead of £10! So it is well worth keeping an eye out for this.
Ebay have recently changed their payments for sellers. You can decide how and when you get paid. I have changed mine to be paid every Tuesday into my bank account rather then paypal.
(I haven’t used this method for very long so if I have to pay any more fees I will share it on my Instagram)
You can still receive your money through PayPal but you do have to pay fees which are 2.9% of payment received plus 30% transaction fees. (For more info click here)
So you do need to take this into account when you sale your items!
I hope that this post has helped you understand a bit more about selling on ebay!
Don’t forget to give me a follow on my Instagram so you can keep up to date with my journey!
If you are anything like me you love shopping the online sales, especially when you get emails every week telling you about the ‘70% off sale and free delivery when you spend £30!’ You add an item here and there and before you know it you have spent over £100 on clothes.
But when you are on a budget this is not ideal and can cause some people to get themselves into even more debt and over spend.
I was that person, I would shop the boxing day and January sales to find the best bargain! In December 2019, I spent £250 on boxing day I bought clothes that I didn’t need and I never wore them.
For me, last year was the final straw when I had to pay off my credit card bill of over £200 that I wasted on clothes.
So keep reading as I share 3, yes only 3 really easy tips to help you stop impulse buying online.
Unsubscribe from emails
Ever heard of the saying out of sight out of mind? Well this couldn’t be more true for emails. Think about how many emails you get each week from different online stores, they are always there in your face tempting you to buy. I used to get hundreds of emails each week showcasing online brands sales and discounts and nine times out of ten I would buy from there.
So the first thing I did was unsubscribe from these companies, it took a while to do (I had so many subscriptions) but it was worth it. I do not receive any emails from online stores which means it doesn’t tempt me each day. I never know what stores have what sales unless I search for them myself.
This will make a massive difference to you and your bank balance.
Ever sat in front of the telly on an evening browsing through your phone and looking at shopping apps on your phone? How easy is it to add clothes to your basket and pay for it in seconds. It is only after that you realise how much money you have spent.
Most clothing brands have an app that makes it even easier to buy clothes, they can send you notifications throughout the day which again reminds you of their offers.
So the easiest thing to do is delete them from your phone. Last month I deleted…..
Pretty Little Thing
Nearly every day I was flicking through these apps and making small purchases which were going on my credit card and causing me to get into even more debt!
Now they are gone I don’t think about it.
Wait 24 hours before buying
This tip has helped me so much! It is as simple as leave the items in your basket for at least 24 hours before buying. This will give you time to really think about this purchase. Most of the time you will forget about the items and not worry about them.
If that’s the case I put the money I would have spent into my saving account or write it down. Then at the end of the month I can see how much money I have saved!
What do you think of my tips? Do you do the same or something different? Let me know in the comments.
Don’t forget to give me a follow over on my Instagram @budgetwithme1 to keep up to date with my journey
On my Instagram I have been asked many times to share my top tips on how to start a budget.
Having a budget that works is so crucial to paying of debt or increasing savings. But it is always so difficult knowing where to start.
So if you are unsure then keep reading this post as I share what I have done to start my budget. As always I am not trained in anything to do with finances these steps are what I have done to pay off debt and increase my savings.
Step 1: Write down your goals
The best place to start is writing down your goals. Are you paying of debt, increasing your savings? Whatever your main focus is write that down.
But you have to be realistic, the best way to achieve your goals is to make them manageable.
My goal for 2020 was to save £10,000, this was my main goal, but within this goal I broke it down. For example:
I need to save £770 per payday(13 paydays)
I need to save £5,000 in the first 6 months of the year
This is how I broke down my goal and it really helped. When I reached £5,000 in savings I felt a huge sense of achievement and this gave me motivation to reach my next milestone £10,000.
Step 2: Work out your monthly bills
Now you have a goal in mind and you have planned how you are going to do this it’s time to work out your monthly bills.
Take a look at your bank account and write down all the bills you have and what days they are due for payment.
Here are mine as an example:
Car Tax: £13.12 Due 2nd each month
Phone Bill: £23.99 Due 14th each month
Canva: £10.99 Due 20th each month
Rent: £150 Due 20th each month
Netflix: £8.99 Due 27th each month
Having all your bills written down and the due dates will help you have more control over the money leaving your account.
I like knowing when the money is leaving my account, that way if there is an issue with payments I can investigate it easier as I know how much I owe and when it is due.
Step 3: Remove unused subscriptions
Do you have any entertainment subscriptions that you don’t use any more? If so now is the time to get rid of them. Before I started my first budget back in 2018 I removed many subscriptions that I hadn’t used.
In my first month of budgeting I removed over £100 worth of bills which was a huge help.
My rule is, if I haven’t used it in a month then it needs to go. In November I stopped paying for Spotify premium as I hadn’t used it for months. I now use Youtube and listen to radio stations for music.
In this post I have written in detail about 4 different budgeting methods. The budgeting method that I use is the zero based budget. This means that at the end of the month I am left with £0 in my bank account.
This method is great for someone like me who wants to reign in their spending and increase their savings.
So do some research to find the best method for you.
Step 7: Do a trial month
You are nearly ready to do your budget for “real”, so now it’s time to do a trail month. This is a great way to see if your budget method and expenses work.
Whenever I change my budget I always do a trial month, that way I can have a clear understanding of my spending and debt payoff.
During your trail month, track all your spending and outgoings. This will give you a clear indication if you need to change anything about your budget.
That’s why I would over budget, if you normally spend £400 a month on food shopping up it to £450 for a buffer. Don’t go from spending hundreds of pounds to spending £50 a week on food. The whole point of a budget is to have control over your spending, not leaving you and your family hungry.
You can learn, set yourself targets. If you spent £500 on food one month why not reduce it to £450 the next month? That way you are still reducing your spending without effecting your home life too much.
Step 8: Review
Once you complete your trail month you need to review what you have done so far. Take some time going over your spending and figure out what is going wrong.
I always ask myself these questions when I review my budget:
What went well?
What didn’t go well?
What can I do better?
How am I going to change this?
To me this is the best way to review. For me I was spending a lot of money on meal deals for work. On average I was spending £8 per day on unhealthy food and snacks. Once I realised this is where I was going wrong I started meal prepping which has saved me lots of money.
Step 8: Create your budget
And your ready to start your budget for real!
By now you should have a clear understanding of your bills, expenses and savings. So you are ready to go!
Remember you will make mistakes, you will over spend some months but that’s okay. As long as you learn from your mistakes you will smash your budget!
I hope that this post has helped you have a better understanding of budgets and how to make it successful.
Make sure you check out my previous posts as I am always sharing the tips and tricks I have learned along my journey! 🙂
Since starting my financial journey I have learned a lot of tips and tricks that I would like to share. And one of those tips is how to improve my credit score. Now, i’m no Martin Lewis but I do know what has worked for me.
I never realised how important it was to have a good credit score especially when looking to buy your own home but now I do. And I have worked hard over the last few years to improve mine as much as possible.
If you are interested in learning how I improved my credit score then keep reading as I share the 4 things I have done to improve mine!
!Quick disclaimer: I am not trained in Finance coaching or credit scores, this what I have done to improve my credit score and research I have found!
Paying off my debt
This may seem like an obvious starting point but unfortunately, paying off debt can effect your credit score.
According to Experian (click on the link if you would like to read the whole report)if you pay off your debt in installments this can effect your score, and if you pay off a low balance before a bigger balance can also effect your score.
“For some people, paying off a loan might increase their scores or have no effect at all. It all depends on your overall credit profile and the type of credit score you’re checking.”
I only had £4,000 worth of debt and I was paying this off in installments over 5 years, this meant that my credit score dropped by a lot! So I saved up and made a big payment to clear it and my credit score went up.
On Instagram I have seen people paying off thousands of pounds worth of debt and their credit score drops.
If you have a lot of debt always start off by paying off the lowest balance. Yes this will effect your credit score but it is always better starting with the smallest as this will be more manageable.
Be patient when paying off debt, it takes time and your credit score will move around but it is worth it in the end!
Get a credit card and spend on it
I know, I know, I just spent all that time paying off debt and now I am getting a credit card which could get me into more debt.
But hear me out, improving your credit score isn’t all about paying off debt its also about showing the banks you are able to borrow credit.
As I had a small amount of debt, I was showing the banks that I am not able to borrow credit which doesn’t look good for buying a home.
So in November 2019 I took out a credit card and started spending on there. I took this advice from Martin Lewis’s Money saving expert site. On there he explains that having a credit card and using it to spend a small amount on there and paying the balance off in FULL on the due date will improve your credit score.
Every month since then I spend between £50 -£100 and pay it off in full and my credit score has improved. I buy petrol and occasionally online purchases.
A quick disclaimer, if you are someone who has credit card debt then this might not be for you. But as someone who only uses this for small amounts each month I am able to control my spending.
Never go into my overdraft
Since being on a budget I have never gone into my overdraft, I always make sure I have complete control over what money leaves my bank account.
I do have an overdraft arranged with my bank account but I have never used it. Just because it is there doesn’t mean I will use it. As according to Experian an overdraft will count as debt on your credit score.
“An arranged overdraft is unlikely to have a major impact on your credit score as long as you don’t go beyond your overdraft limit or have payments refused. In fact, if you use your overdraft sensibly and regularly pay it off it could improve your credit rating.” (Link to this website)
And having a a current account with the same bank for a umber of years can also improve your score.
Pay my bills on time
Before I started my budgeting journey I used to miss my due dates on my bills. I forgot to pay my car insurance and car tax which left me in bad credit.
I now have a lot more control on my bills and when they are due.
When starting your budget make sure you know when your bills are due, that way you wont go into your overdraft, which in turn effects your credit score.
I hope this post has been helpful and you can find some ways in which you can improve your score.
Don’t forget to check out my Instagram for all the latest updates on my journey.
Over this weekend I am sharing my favourite survey apps as I get so many questions about if these apps are actually worth it.
In this post I will be discussing the survey app Qmee and my honest review.
Check out my previous post where I wrote a review all about the app Attapoll.
What is Qmee?
Much like Attapoll, Qmee is an app that you can earn money for answering companies questions. However this app has something special, not only can you earn money by answering surveys you can also earn cash back.
You can also download their extension which tracks what you search online and you can earn some extra cash. I earned 8p the other day for searching “flared jeans” so it is well worth downloading on your laptop or PC.
You can also earn cash back and find some deals online through their website!
I have had this app for 1 year and I have earned £172, I could have earned more if I paid more attention to the notifcatons they send you.
The fact that cash out is only 1p and its in your PayPal within seconds makes it one of the quickest apps to earn money. You can increase the value of your surveys by staying active and keeping your ‘oinqs’ lit up.
I try and keep them active all day and it increases the money you earn per survey. And staying active on a survey app increases your eligibility.
The survey lengths can vary from 1 minute to 20 minutes and sometimes you can earn over £1 for a 5 minute survey which is well worth doing.
As I have said before you can also earn cash back and money off.
Like I said before sadly you do get kicked out of surveys, if you do not answer the questions correctly or are not what the companies are looking for. So getting kicked out can be frustrating, I find on the weekend that the surveys are slower and you are more like to be removed. But the rest of the time it isnt too bad.
Qmee are very good in rewarding you (occasionally), if you are removed from a survey. They usually pay you a small percentage as an apology and always report any problems you have as that stops it from happening all the time.
How much money can you make from this app?
On average I can cash out over £1 per day and for a survey app this is a lot of money. Like I have said before they are better during the week and if you stay active for longer the more surveys you get accepted for.
As cash out is only 1p yes that’s right 1p you can cash out easily and quickly so for me this app is a winner.
Is it safe?
Qmee has many good reviews with a 8.3 star rating on Trust pilot and in terms of personal data I have never had any trouble with this app in terms of my personal data.
Final review: Is it worth it?
Yes! This app is definitely worth downloading not only can you earn money by answering surveys you can earn cashback and find money off vouchers. The surveys are quick and easy to answer!
They also have a great referral scheme, you can create an account using my link and we will both receive 50p when you complete your first surveys. And once your account is set up you can share your link with others and earn more money. (if you use my link thank you so much!)
This past year has been tough for everyone and if there is one thing I have learned from 2020 is how important it is to have an emergency fund!
You never know when an emergency can arise, whether it’s your car or home repairs it can cost a lot of money which you don’t have spare.
2 years ago I was in a car accident, I was fine but my car wasn’t! The repairs on my car cost over £1,000 and I did not have this money saved. Which meant I had to put this on my credit card which left me in debt.
Since then I have learned my lesson and I now have an emergency fund, it isn’t fully funded but I am in a better position than I was 2 years ago.
Unfortunately, no matter how much you prepare you can never avoid emergencies and having an emergency fund is one of the best ways you can avoid using your savings or even getting yourself into more debt.
What is an Emergency Fund?
An emergency fund is money that you set aside for emergencies, this money isn’t used to buy yourself clothes etc it’s for emergencies only!
This fund shouldn’t be used as a long term saving pot, but rather one that you treat as a safety net, so don’t be tempted to dip into it.
During the pandemic my emergency fund has helped so much, I had to get my car repaired a few months ago and having this money available allowed me to pay it off without having to use any of my savings.
I get so many questions about if I think this fund is worth it and the simple answer is yes! When you are starting out on your budget it will help you so much so I can’t recommend this enough.
How much do I need in an emergency fund?
According to www.bbc.co.uk from their report in March 2016, it is recommended that you have between one and two weeks take home pay as buffer. This is roughly £400-£800. However an emergency fund should allow between 6-9 months of expenses which is roughly £1,000 a month. (See quote bellow)
“It recommends keeping between one week’s and two weeks’ take-home pay as the buffer. Translated to the UK, this would mean saving between roughly £400 and £800. An emergency fund should allow for between six and nine months of expense, it adds. If these were to come to £1,000 a month, that’s between £6,000 and £9,000.”
At the moment I aim for £1,000 to cover repairs and expenses on my car. I live at home so I am in a lucky position and I do not need to that much money. However, next year my boyfriend and I are planning on buying a house.
So we are going to start building up our emergency fund in January when we work out how much on average our expenses are going to be.
I would recommend starting small, with a few months’ worth of expenses before you build up to 1 years’ worth.
Where should I keep my emergency Fund? Cash or savings account?
It is entirely up to you! But your emergency fund needs to be easily accessible. Don’t leave it in an account that you can’t access.
My emergency fund is in a savings account in my bank account, I am able to withdraw the money within seconds and use it.
However, you will need to have some self-control and not use it for just anything.
For me this fund is at the bottom of my homepage on my online banking, it’s easy to access but it is not something I can see all the time.
When should I use my Emergency Fund?
The only time you should remove money from this fund is for emergencies, not to pay for clothes, holidays or nights out.
It’s used for home repairs, car repairs and paying bills if you lose your job or some of your income.
It is difficult to decide what an emergency is, but the way I view it, if it’s something that you need in order to survive or get to work then use this fund. But this doesn’t include buying shoes, clothes and makeup.
But don’t be afraid to use it if you need it!
How Do I Save For My Emergency Fund?
The most important thing is to create a plan to decide where you want to start. You need to determine how many months you want to be covered.
The best place to start is with one month, write down all your essential bills and expenses. Once you have this figure you can decide how much you’re going to save each month.
If you have lost your job or have your income reduced then you may have to make scarifies and remove your favourite entertainment subscriptions to pay for your essential bills and expenses.
Essential bills and expenses:
Heating, Water, electric
Insurance (Life, home etc)
Groceries (toiletries etc)
There are many more but this is just a brief reminder.
One thing to remember is that you need to build this fund up quickly, so it may be worth slowing down other savings goals whilst you build this up.
Always set up and instant bank transfer and include it your monthly budget. For my fund I put £100 away each month for me this is enough but I know when we move I will need to up this.
So What Are You Waiting For?
Imagine what it will feel like having a fully funded emergency fund! It is a great feeling, when an emergency arises you will have the money their ready without effecting your savings or putting you in more debt.
I would recommend starting this fund before you starting paying off lots of debt and savings. This fund will give you a peace of mind!
Start small and build up, once you have a month saved work up to a few months and so on.
Have you got an emergency fund? If not what are you waiting for!
When you go shopping what do you do with your receipts? Do you throw them away or even tell the cashier not to bother with a receipt? Well I was the same up until 1 year ago, when I learned that you can earn money from your receipts.
All you need to do is take a picture of your receipt and you can earn money! So keep reading and I will share how I use the newest receipt app Storewards.
What is STOREWARDS?
Storewards is the newest app that allows you to turn your receipts into money. It has replaced receipt hog but is so much better! You earn money by uploading pictures of your supermarket or high street store receipts to the app.
You can also share your referral code and earn 1,000 coins per friend that signs up, they are also working on adding some surveys to the app which again can earn you coins.
You can upload more then one receipt a day which is handy if you visit a lot of shops when you do your shopping.
You can also upload up to 35 receipts per week and they must be from the UK.
Once you have reached a certain number of coins you can redeem your coins for a gift card!
Can I take pictures of receipts from any store?
On the app there is a FAQ’s section which tells you which tickets or receipts are not permitted such as:
Credit card slips
Hand written receipts
There are many more so please make sure you check out their app for more details.
You also need to make sure that you take pictures of your receipts within 14 days of your purchase and the receipt needs to readable.
How to take pictures of your receipts?
When you take pictures of your receipts there are certain pieces of information that needs to be visiable such as:
Store name (Address and phone number if available)
Barcodes (if any)
The product and price
How much can I earn from STOREWARDS?
Not only can you earn coins from your receipts there are also other ways as well:
Snap receipts – 600 coins for every receipt
Invite friends – 1,000 fro every invited friend that signs up and submits a valid receipt, your friend will also earn bonus coins
Come back every day – Get daily bonuses every day- you get a larger bonus every day until the 5th day
Achieve levels – Your levels go up the more receipts you snap – each time you reach a new level you will get a coin bonus.
If you are interested in signing up then use my referral code weik2 to receive some bonus coins!
They have just recently announced the option to send if online receipts using the email provided on the app. Make sure you read the instructions as there are a list of stores that they accept!
What rewards can I earn?
You can choose how you cash out, you can recieve an amazon gift card or cash into your paypal:
20000 coins = £2 Amazon gift voucher
50000 coins = £5 Amazon gift voucher
9500 coins = £10 Amazon gift voucher
22000 coins = £2 cash via payapl
55000 coins = £5 cash out via paypal
100000 coins = £10 cash out via paypal
I have had this app for 1 month and I have already earned £6 in Amazon gift vouchers and I am very close to cashing out another £2.
I love this app, it is so easy to upload my receipts and I receive my coins within 1 day of uploading.
So what are you waiting for? Download this app and earn yourselves some extra pennies!
There are many different types of budgets out there, for all types of people and situations.
But what budgeting method is the best one for you?
When I first started my budgeting journey I had no idea what a budget was much less what type of budget was right for me. Since being on a budget I have tried two budgeting methods, Cash envelopes and a zero based budget.
But I was also interested to find out what other methods are out there and which ones are the most popular.
So if your new to budgeting or want a change but not sure what budget to go for then keep reading as I have done some research and found 3 of the most popular budget methods. I will be sharing the basics of the method, who it will work best for and what could go wrong. So keep reading.
The Balance Money Formula (50-20-30)
The balance money formula is most commonly known as the 50-20-30 budget and is very popular.
This method uses percentages to determine how this budget works. The idea is to spend 50% of your total income on your needs, 20% on savings, and 30% on wants.
But what is a need? 50%
A need is something that you need in order to survive such as mortgage, utilities, clothing, groceries, gas and much more. Basically anything that you cannot live without!
But this doesn’t mean that you can treat yourself every now and then.
What about savings? 20%
Your savings consist of any saving goals you have such as an emergency fund, debt repayment and even retirement goals.
It is a similar concept to what Dave Ramsey advocates with having a small emergency fund and concentrating on paying off your debt. (Keep an eye on my blog posts as I have a post coming soon all about Dave Ramsey’s baby steps)
What is a want? 30%
Your wants are exactly that, it is something that you want. You can live without it but you want it.
This includes TV subscriptions, clothing, technology, entertainment and anything else that you would like.
Is this budget for you?
This budget is designed to make budgeting more fun and easier to understand. Some budgeting methods have many different categories and this one only has 3.
So this budget is perfect for anyone who is starting out and finds budgeting confusing as it is very simple to follow.
What could go wrong with this budget?
Overspending has been described as the most common problem with this budget.
Since you are only budgeting for 3 categories it can be quite easy to spend a little too much on food for example and forget that you are low on fuel.
This best thing to stop this from happening is to have some wiggle room in each of your budgets. That way the money can be freely moved from your “wants” money to your “needs” if you overspend.
Cash – only budget (Cash envelopes)
This method is exactly as it sounds, it is cash based!
It is also known as the cash envelope system, where by you only use cash. This method of budgeting has been around for a long time. I remember my grandmother doing this method with her money many years ago. She would have an envelope for food, gas, electric, petrol and savings.
With this method you have a few categories, and then you withdraw the cash out from your bank account. The categories you have depend on your lifestyle, but they mainly include Food, transport, fun, holidays and so many more.
For example if you have a food budget of £400 for a month you will withdraw this from your bank account and keep it in an envelope.
Is this budget for you?
This budget has been described as working best for people who struggle with overspending. As once the cash is gone, it’s gone.
This method also encourages you to leave debit cards and credit cards at home and only use cash.
You can use credit cards if you so wish but it has to be in an emergency and not for every day spending. Using credit cards is completely dependant on your situation, if you are paying off credit card debt then perhaps this isn’t the best idea to use them.
It also allows you to save for all the fun things in life.
What could go wrong with this budget?
Well for one thing you need to make sure that you don’t carry a lot of money with you and not bringing all your cash envelopes with you as this is a risk.
To look after your money there are many envelopes holders online, check out amazon for affordable holders.
It’s also very easy to get confused as it is cash so I would recommend keeping receipts in with your envelopes to keep track. Perhaps even creating a spending tracker.
Zero- based budget:
The zero based budget is the method that I have used for the last two years and it has worked so well for me.
Zero- based budgeting is where the money you have in income matches exactly what is going out of your account. Essentially every penny you earn is being used.
But, this doesn’t mean that you are spending all of your money, it also refers to the money you put away for savings as this is “leaving your account”
When it comes to savings, on pay day you are paying your saving accounts. I pay “myself” (savings) before I spend the rest.
Basically some of your money is going to pay your household bills and the rest you are either paying off debt or maximise savings.
This method is very useful if you are following Dave Ramsey Baby steps, as his steps are all about maximising savings and paying off debt.
With this method, if you were to save and spend exactly what was in each of your budgeted categories, you wouldn’t be positive or negative. You would literally be at £0.
Is this the budget for you?
This budget has been described as the ultimate budget for people who want to be completely in control of their money, like myself.
It allows you to micromanage your money in a good way, as you get to decide in advance where every penny gets spent.
You typically wouldn’t spend any money unless it’s planned for.
This budget is also good for people like saving for many things at once, such as sinking funds. I have found this budget is great for helping me save all year round for birthdays, Christmas and holidays.
What could go wrong with this budget?
With every budget there are things that can go wrong.
Zero-based budgeting can be quite time-consuming due to how much planning and tracking is involved.
Ideally you need to have something that records every transaction so you do not go over budget. For me I use a banking app called Monzo which tracks all my spending and its much easier then writing it out every day.
As I live at home I do not have many bills so for me this budget is very managble as I do not have many outgoings. But if you are someone who has a lot of outgoings then this budget can be a bit too much.
I have also noticed that in this budget there isn’t much room for mistakes as your ending balance is £0 so if you are new to budgeting then perhaps try one of the other methods until you have a better understanding.
I hope this post has giving you an insight into the many budget methods are out there and what ones could work for you.
There are many more budgets out there so please research the best one for you. And it is okay to make mistakes when it comes to budgeting, you need to make mistakes in order to progress.
You can also do your own budget where you incorporate many components of other budgets and make it your own, I know this works for so many people.
Let me know in the comments what is the best budgeting method!
In this blog post I will be sharing 5 of my favourite saving challenges 4 of which I have done or I am still completing.
There are so many saving challenges out there that you can do to save money.
Saving challenges are a great way to start your savings journey. If you are new to saving or paying of huge amounts of debt but want to have some savings then hopefully at least one of these challenges will help you get started.
! Quick disclaimer I did not create any of these challenges I have credited where I found the challenges and creators!
The 1p challenge is a great place to start. In 365 days you can save £667.95!
You save 1p for every day you do this challenge for example day 1 you put away 1p, day 2 you put away 2p and so on for 365 days.
I found this tracker online which shows you how much to put away each day.
Above is the tracker that I use, this tracker is great for adding amounts weekly, it is from The Skint Dad Blog please check out his page to download all his trackers.
I started this challenge last year when I was new to savings and I love it, I have nearly £400 saved and I don’t miss this money. The only downside to this challenge is that it takes 1 year to reach your goal. But if you are paying off debt this is a great place to start.
A lot of people do this challenge to save for holidays and Christmas.
I love this challenge! I am doing this challenge at the moment I love it.
This one doesn’t take as long as the 1p challenge, in just 31 days you can save £99.20!
It’s the same principle as the 1p challenge every day you put 20p away. So day 1 you put away 20p, day 2 you put away 40p and so on.
This is a picture I found online however I have made my own version as I started this challenge on 19th May 2020.
I have over £20 saved already. I will continue this challenge for the rest of the year. I should have over £600 saved by the end of the year which I will save for the fees of moving next year.
Lottiebudgets Money Monday
This challenge comes from Instagram and from a lovely lady’s page called @lottiebudgets. This challenge is by far my favourite and I am on my second run of this challenge.
Every Monday tick of a box with different amounts of money you have saved.
There are two versions of this challenge:
Money Monday Save £450 in 21 weeks I have already done this challenge once and I am on week 3 of round 2!
LottieBudgets Money Monday Quarterly Challenge
Money Monday Quarterly Challenge Save £500 in 13 weeks. I haven’t done this challenge but I would like to do this challenge at the end of the year.
Head over to @lottiebudgets instagram page to download her money Monday trackers and please give her a follow her page is full of saving motivation!
Doing this challenge makes Monday my new favourite day of the week.
Metro.co.uk Fiver savings challenge
I found this fiver savings challenge on the website Metro.co.uk and it looks amazing. Each week you put some money away, the amount you put away will increase by £5 each week for 52 weeks and at the end you should have saved £6,890 which is an huge amount of money!
Week 1 you put away £5, week 2 you put away £10 and so on.
I haven’t done this challenge but it’s one I’m going to consider for next year. Check out the tracker below, download it to your phone and get started.
I hope these challenges will give you some inspiration to start saving. They are fun, easy to do and will increase your savings.
Make sure to follow my twitter and Instagram account for updates on my savings journey and the tips and tricks I have learned along the way.
Talking about money can be difficult for anyone but talking to your partner can be so difficult.
Many people are scared to talk about their debt or lack of savings with their partner out of fear or shame.
I was the same, I was so worried telling my partner about my finances, my lack of savings and my total debt. We were discussing about the possibility of us living together and I did not want him to think any less of me. But once I take that step it was a weight off my mind, we are now so honest with each other about money.
So I will be sharing how to talk to your partner in detail about your finances.
Make time for “the talk”
It is so easy to say we are busy so we don’t have time to have ” the chat”. But not talking about your finances early on can cause problems in the long run.
Now, I don’t mean on your first date getting your bank statements out and telling all, but once the relationship starts to get serious and talks of the future happen this is the best time.
According to Business Insider talking about money early on is crucial and can make or break a relationship.
Don’t do what I did and lie about your finances or hide the real truth. Be completely honest, own it! This is the first step in owning up to your past mistakes and moving forward.
Not only will it help you are your partner grow as a couple, it will help you on your journey as well. The moment I told my boyfriend about my finances, I felt relief, that I was finally admitting I needed to change.
Create a money goal together
Once we had a conversation about our finances, we then decided to work together. We have worked together for the last 3 years to increase our savings.
We motivate each other, every month we keep each other in check and work together.
Creating a joint goal has made this financial journey slightly easier, as I have someone to talk to, someone who is going through the same thing.
So why not create a goal together? Work towards the same goal and motivate each other.
Don’t let money take over your relationship
Money is the most common cause of rows in relationships but do not let it take over your life.
I love talking about fiances but my boyfriend and I do not let it take over our relationship. We check in with each other once a month and that is it. Doing it this way has allowed us to not be consumed by money.
I hope this post has given you some tips to discuss money with your partner.
I used to hate meal planning, I thought it was pointless and a waste of time.
Oh boy how wrong was I! Meal planning and meal prepping has saved me so much money especially when I am working.
On average I could spend up to £10 a day on meals and snacks for work, this includes buying takeaway coffees.
But when I started my budget I realised that this was something I needed to change in order to save extra cash each month. So I began meal planning to help me and I haven’t looked back!
So keep reading as I share how to meal plan to save you some cash!
1. Do a stock take what you already have
Before you even think about meal prepping and planning, make sure you do a bit of planning before hand.
Imagine you work in a shop, before the staff go and buy more stock they look at what they already have.
So you should do the same with your own “stock”
Before you go shopping and buy lots of food, make a note of what you already have in your freezers, fridge and cupboards.
I would start by planning meals around what you already have that way you are not wasting the food you already have and your saving money by not buying double of what you need.
If you have lots of pasta then you know that you can create pasta meals instead of buying more.
Use what you got before you head to the shop!
2. How many meals are you going to create?
Due to me living at home I only need to prep my meals for work, so on average I cook 6- 8 meals a week and this include lunches and dinner.
If you are cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner then that takes a lot of planning preparing.
You also need to think about how many people you are cooking for, I am lucky and I only need to cook for myself so not many meals. If you are cooking for the whole family you will need to think about your budget when planning and preparing these meals.
3. Do you have the room?
When you meal prep you do need to make sure you have the space! How far in advance will you be preparing your food?
You will need fridge and freezer space as you don’t want to waste the food that you have prepared, so before you undertake meal prepping make sure you have the room.
We usually eat up the food we have left in the fridge and freezer before I meal prep so I can store the food correctly.
4. Do you have enough containers?
This may seem like a silly question but do you have enough containers for all the food? When I first started meal prepping I didn’t have enough which meant that I was unable to store the food correctly.
It is also important that they are the same size to control your portion sizes and the amount of food you cook.
You don’t need to buy expensive containers either, if you have some left over from your takeaways then use them.
5. Do you have the time?
Meal prepping can take a while so do you have the time. I usually spend 2 hours before my working week preparing my meals.
This gives me enough time to prepare, cook and store the food once it is all cooled down.
You will need to budget for meal prepping and planning. The whole point of planning and prepping is to save yourself money in the long run. But your first shopping bill might be higher.
When I first started meal pepping my first food shop was a lot of money because I doubled up on items especially meat and veg that can be frozen.
So make sure you budget carefully!
Do you meal plan and meal prep? What is your favourite meal?