Thursday, 29 January 2015

Viva


All you need's a strong heart and a nerve of steel.

Taken with iPhone 5C and edited with VSCOcam.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Lately I've Been

Drinking a LOT of tea and coffee in my new Cath Kidston mug, bought on New Years Eve to aid me through my Dryathalon.
Thinking about cutting my hair...
Pampering. Jade bought me this for Christmas and it's working miracles.
Wondering why we don't do this more often... a couple of Sunday's ago, we got Ruby in the car and drove to the woods. We walked for a couple of hours, aimlessly, and then drove home for lunch. It was lovely, and Ruby was so well behaved. It made us want our own pup even more.
Wearing my new black on black Vans and regretting not getting some sooner.
Struggling to get back into a work routine. These dark mornings are killer, and unintentionally working late most nights is taking it's toll. 
Listening to a lot of old Fall Out Boy songs, and remembering my teenage years.
Finishing our scrapbook, FINALLY.
Taking selfies in an AA recovery van. Owen's car broke down on the way to Cardiff... we had quite an adventure and arrived 6 hours after leaving home (it should only have taken 2 hours on a bad day)
Seeing Slipknot... bet you weren't expecting that one! I used to listen to them a lot when I was younger, so when they put tickets out for a Cardiff show, a group of us decided we'd go. And I have no shame in saying that they were one of the best bands I've seen live, in my 10 years of gigging and I've seen a lot.


Monday, 19 January 2015

Getting Into The Habit Of Saving

Since our priorities changed from traveling to saving for a mortgage, I have been thinking about the ways I spend money and the changes I can make to help us on our journey. Here's just a few things we have set in motion to help us get our savings account off the ground - maybe they can help you too!

Old fashioned money box
On 1st January, we made a decision to save every pound coin which we get in change. At the end of each day if there's a £1 coin in my purse or Ash's wallet it goes into our money box, which is one you can't get money out of until its full. And then you have to smash it! I haven't been keeping exact track of what's in there, but I think we're already at about £30. I can't wait to see how much is in there when it's full!

Cash back websites
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have read the other day that since joining Quidco just a little over a year ago, I have earned £96 from cash back. It's so simple. Whenever buying anything online, I hop over to Quidco.com first, search the name of the website (mostly ASOS...), and then visit it through Quidco. Tracking is set through browser cookies, and once the transaction is complete you get an email to say what you've earnt.  Each retailer sets their own cash back amount, from 1% up to 15%! It also prompts you to use any live discount codes which may be on the website too, ensuring the best deal all the time. I think the most I got was £25 from First Choice when I booked our holiday to Greece. But all the other purchases soon add up!

Looking after the pennies
Whenever I log into my online banking, I transfer the penny amount from my current account into savings. At this very moment, there's an uneven pound amount of 51p. So, into savings it goes. This has meant that an extra £6 has gone into savings over the past two weeks. Not a HUGE amount, but something which will also add up. I don't miss it from my current account, and it makes my savings look nicer.

Spend with cash, not card
It's so easy to tap in 4 digits on a card machine and spend away your future. But it definitely registers more in your mind when you hand over the 'real deal.' After pay day, I withdraw in cash the amount of money I'd be happy spending throughout the month on extras - generally spent at the pub, food/toiletries shopping at the supermarket or any other unplanned spends. And once it's gone, it's gone. This way, I'm always mindful of what I can afford before the next pay day. And an extra bonus - I get pound coins back to put in my savings jar!

Reduce monthly bills
I've finally cancelled my gym membership. I liked the idea of it more than I actually liked being there, so now I save £32 a month by using YouTube for my workouts.
When my iPhone contract comes up for renewal this year, I am going to get a SIM-only deal and keep my 5C handset. It's more than good enough for what I need it for, and I won't be stuck in another 2 year contract.
Being thrifty with car insurance has paid off too.. when I got my new car back in November, it was cheaper by around £5 a month to add my Mum to the insurance than it was for her to not be on there. All of these monthly savings make a huge difference to the amount I can afford to put into savings, and in turn, will help our account grow.

Well - I hope these tips may have inspired a couple of you. If you have any other tips on saving, please do share!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

I left my heart


I didn't think that I could latch onto somewhere I spent such little time, but I fell for the City by the Bay. I fell hard.

Photo taken with iPhone 5C and edited using VSCOcam.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Girl Meets Mortgage

Image from pinterest

January is the time for reflection - where was I this time last year? Where do I want to be this time next year? It's sort of daunting. 2014 was a year for travel, but now our priorities have shifted, and we are saving every penny against a mortgage deposit. We both work full time, and our jobs play a larger part in our life than we realise. I spend more time in the office with my colleagues than I do at home with my family, and that's sort of scary. I'm lucky that I like my job. Sure, there are times when I log onto a job site in the hope that the grass might be greener somewhere else, but in reality, I am in a fabulous position in my career and I know that I am in good hands.

But as two twenty-somethings trying to save £20,000 in as short as amount of time as possible, our personal lives are changing. No more spur of the moment takeaways, or meals out, or cinema trips, (or shopping trips!) I have unsubscribed from tens of email lists to try to reduce temptation. Whenever I do buy anything, it will be on sale or using a discount code or coupons. I collect cashback from Quidco for everything possible. I stash away every spare £1 coin into a terracotta money jar. I am turning into a thriftier version of myself, and I sort of like it. These days I get more of a thrill from seeing a healthy balance in my bank account than I do from seeing the DPD driver pull up with my next ASOS delivery...

And so, I am asking for your help. How did you do it? Did you save ruthlessly for a short amount of time and get into your own place as soon as possible? Did your flog your entire wardrobe contents on eBay? Did you save as and when you could, whilst still travelling and having a social life? We are trying to find a balance, and I am intrigued to know your stories. Please leave me a comment, lets start a conversation!

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