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Frugal Living Lifestyle – 11 Habits of Frugal People

Have you ever wondered what makes frugal people tick? What is it about their brains that are just hardwired differently from the rest of us? And do you want to see what you can do to be as frugal as they are?

But what I think is even better than having these Holy Grail of answers from frugal people themselves is that there is no one answer that is right. Some things work, some don’t.

But the biggest thing that separates those highly frugal people from the rest of us is that they keep trying. They keep moving.

Here are some frugal habits that have the power to save you thousands if you commit to sticking to them. Implement one or two habits at a time until you’ve mastered them all! You’ll be amazed at how much money you can save.

 

 

What is a Frugal Living Lifestyle?

Frugal living is a way to get more for your money and making it go further by spending wisely and buying only the things you need. Frugal people are always finding ways to save more money and avoid waste by using what they already have. It’s about smart money management.

So, what kinds of things do frugal people do that makes them frugal?

 

Set out a plan and then live the plan

It is crucial that you have a plan for your money. Some people (like myself) would call this a budget. Because a budget at its most basic is simply a spending plan.

You need to know where all your money goes! But before you even look at where it is going. You need to have a plan about where you want it to go.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What are your financial priorities?
  • What are your goals?
  • What is important to you?

Once you have answered those questions, look at what you are spending money on and if that aligns with your money plan? If not, you need to make some changes.

Second point, once you have the plan you need to make sure that you are then doing the second half and living it! So, tracking your expenses, checking in weekly, consider making the switch to a cash budget, whatever you need to do to stay on top of your money– just do it!

Plus, hopefully, there will be something in here you can take and use to supercharge your frugal life!

Related posts:

Read my post on how to set SMART achievable goals below!

 

 

Plan your purchases and pay in cash

Stop impulse shopping all of your money away.

Think about the things that you need ahead of time.

Talk about all of your large purchases with your spouse.  Decide together what is a large purchase for your family.

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For us, it’s £100 or more. Whenever we’re going to make a big purchase, we think about it and shop around for as long as possible (at least a month). We save money by waiting for a good price.

Sometimes it turns out that we don’t actually need that big thing that we were shopping for. And then we save a lot!

When you do decide to make a large purchase, make sure you can afford it — and that means paying for it in cash. Never go into debt to buy stuff you don’t need. It’s just not worth it.

 

 

Keep track of prices of items

It’s important to familiarise yourself with the prices of the items you purchase on a regular basis.

By doing this you will know whether an item is on sale or not, or how good the sale is.

How would you know what the usual price is?

Grocery prices can vary by location, so your best option is to keep track of the prices yourself.

Keep a little note book on you, jot the prices down of the items that you regularly purchase. This way you will soon memorise the prices.

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Click on the links above to find out more about saving money through these sites

Also, take a picture on your phone of any items for sale, so you can compare when you get home.

You might feel a little silly doing this at first, but you will soon see the benefit in doing so, when you see the savings you make.

Of course, if you’re actually buying the item, you can save the receipt to record the price.

After a period of time, the prices will soon stick in you mind and you will know what’s a good deal and what’s not from the top of your head.

 

Utilise vouchers and deals

Honey is a great website for finding vouchers from thousands of retailers online.

I have saved money when making purchases on clothes through Honey on several occasions.

Also, Latest Deals is great website for bargains and deals.

While saving money you also earn points though the above sites, which can them be redeemed into a giftcard of your choice.

These sites are no brainer!

Want to find out more about these two sites? here is my posts for Honey and Latest Deals.

Related info:

Cashback sites are a great way to save money online, you can earn cash back on your purchase you were going to make anyway.

 

 

Simplify your food

One of the highest impact frugal habits is to cut down on your food costs.

Try tracking your expenses for a little while and you’ll probably find that you are throwing away a ton of money on take-out and convenience food. And even though it probably tastes good and makes your day a little bit easier, when you see the huge effect it has on your finances it clearly isn’t worth it.

The easiest way to save money on food is to make your own as often as possible. This does not mean you need to be an expert chef. Just learn one meal at a time.

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A great way to be intentional about your food costs is to meal plan. I struggled with meal planning for a while, so I came up with a meal planning alternative that works just as well.

For maximum savings, make sure that you set a grocery budget and actually stick to it!

If you have leftover food and you’re struggling to think of a meal you can make from it, then Supercooks is a website that helps you re-create recipes from leftovers.

Just list out the ingredients and let SuperCooks tell you what to cook! Never again will you have to stare at those leftovers in the fridge and wonder what to do with it.

Related posts:

Read my post of cutting back your expenses below!

Read my post on how to save money with groceries below!

 

 

Buy in bulk

Bulk shopping isn’t just for big families.

We shop at Costco and stock up when we can. There’s a lot there that can benefit anyone or any size family.

We buy all sorts from there when we visit and it lasts us a long time. We buy our eggs, frozen veggies, meats (that we can freeze), spices, and olive oil from Costco.

Costco is also great for paper goods like paper towels, toilet paper, and tissues.

Bulk buying is great for saving money in the long run.

Here are some products with a long shelf life:

Disposables/Cleaning:

  • Toilet Rolls
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Toilet bleach
  • Laundry detergents
  • Garbage liners, dishwashing liquid
  • Hand wash
  • Diapers, wipes and milk powder
  • Sanitary towels
  • Shampoo, body wash, moisturisers
  • Over the counter pain killers also have a long expiry
  • Batteries – can come in handy

Groceries:

  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Dried Lentils
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Salt/Sugar
  • Cereal, peanut butter, jam
  • oil
  • Frozen food of your choice – vegetables, berries
  • Canned food – baked beans, tuna, soup, carrot/peas
  • Plain/Self Raising flour

Buy these items in bulk when there is a price drop and watch the pennies you save mount up.

 

 

Fix it, instead of throwing away

People in general, seem too quick to throw things away, I use to be the same.

Instead of being one of those people, try to fix or refurbish what you can.

YouTube is a great place for videos that show you how to fix and refurbish just about anything.

One person’s rubbish is another’s treasure. Just because something is old, broken or worn out, that doesn’t mean it’s at the end of its life.

Give it some TLC, work some magic and give it some more life if possible.

You never know, you might find yourself a new hobby you enjoy!

 

Used goods

Before purchasing something new, always browse for used items beforehand.

There is some great stuff out there, and there are more sources than ever online. You can find quality used stuff of just about anything on the internet

Ebay and Facebook Marketplace are just a couple of those available, that are great resources.

You can also buy used items on Amazon. When you’re looking at an item, check below the main price for it to say “new & used from”. Click that link and it will send you to the listing of the used versions of that item.

There are many ways to buy good used goods, when you think beyond only buying brand new.

 

Just say no

Don’t be afraid to say no to your friends and family when they invite you to an expensive activity. It’s a smart idea to talk to your friends about money and your goals. When you’re invited to do something that it out of your price range – or simply a waste of money – just say no. Offer an affordable alternative. If your friends really want to spend time with you, they’ll be happy to be with you without spending so much. And if they just really want to do that expensive thing, let them do it without you.

 

Create an emergency Fund

Frugal people are already on top of their finances, so it makes sense they’d have an emergency fund.

It doesn’t matter how much money you make, what’s important is to save 3-6 months’ worth of expenses in case of an emergency and you can’t work.

 

Never stop looking for Frugal ways to save money

Our last frugal habit is to keep looking for new money saving methods.

The first step is to know exactly where your money is going. Know exactly what your current costs are. Then, be constantly looking for new ways to lower your expenses.

Ask yourself how you can do things better. Talk about it with your spouse regularly.

 

Frugal Living Lifestyle – Final thought

Money is a tool. Learning to live well on less positions you in a place of power over your life and finances. Don’t be afraid to make changes to your life.

Maybe sign up for a few money saving apps. Check Google for possible coupons before you hit, ‘Buy’. Or maybe it’s finally making a spending plan for your money.

Wherever you start, the most important part is that you start!

I’d love to hear from you, if you’ve got any super frugal tips, I’d love to hear them.

Please comment below.

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Save Money board for for later!

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goal-setting

Importance of Goal Setting – Simple Guide to Achieve Success!

Do you ever wish your life was different? Have you found yourself wishing you were more organised, physically fit, better with money, or further along in your career, or want to start a new career?

I know I have.

Do you want to know the secret to improving yourself? It lies within the art of setting goals!

Let’s talk successful goal setting!

If your goals mean enough for you to set them, then you must really want to achieve them! Everything you dream and want to achieve begins with setting a goal.

I used to be brilliant at setting goals and failing miserably.  It’s not a great feeling and I used to beat myself up about this, A LOT!

If you want to learn some successful goal setting tips, and how to set achievable goals, just keep reading!

 

 

Set SMART goals

Your goals can be achieved by making sure they are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Let’s say you want to start paying off your £2000 credit card debt. Don’t just tell yourself that you ‘want to become debt-free.’

Set a goal of paying £250 extra a month toward your debt to have it paid off in 6 months.

It is both specific and measurable, because you know exactly how much to pay. It’ll be clear whether or not you hit your goal each month.

You know it’s attainable and realistic if you cut back on eating out and unnecessary shopping. And it’s time-bound with that 6-month goal in mind.

Top tip:

Struggling with debt? Want advice with what method are available to tackle debt? See my post below:

Want advice on how to pay off your debt? See my simple guide with ten tips below:

 

 

Make different choices for a different outcome

Nothing in your life will change unless you start making different choices. By taking new action toward your goals, you will begin to see how your life can improve.

Setting goals without being willing to act differently is meaningless.

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You have to do the work. Having goals is the easy part. Accepting the sacrifices to make them happen is where the challenge lies.

Always remember that you are in control of your own actions, and likewise, your own life.

 

Write down your goals

Research has shown that writing down your goals has a huge impact on the likelihood that you’ll actually achieve them.

Not to get too scientific, but the act of writing down your dreams and goals involves both sides of your brain. It’s a step beyond just thinking about your goals.

This sends a strong message to your brain that you mean business.

Writing your goals down can help you make sure they’re S.M.A.R.T., and not just some random shot in the dark.

I really like this procrastinators Planner to help with goal setting and planning. It’ll help you build the habits that will support your goals.

 

Break them down into steps

Now that you have your goal in writing, jot down the steps it’ll take to make it happen.

For example, if you want to start cooking at home more to save money, Step 1 could be to research meal planning.

Breaking your goal down into simple, actionable steps takes the guesswork and intimidation out of it.

Don’t be a procrastinator, these small stages seem far more doable that some broad, scary goal.

Remember that icky old adage, ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.’ It just makes sense.

 

Keep track of your progress

Be sure to monitor your progress throughout. The small wins of accomplishing each step toward your goal are a great motivation to propel you forward.

Remember how you wrote down your goal, and all the steps involved?

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Check them off, cross them out, or write the date you mastered each one as you go.

This frequent reminder is just what you need to stay on track. You can even treat yourself to small rewards as you go. A little incentive goes a long way!

 

Know your why

Your goals become more powerful the second you attach a significant meaning to them. Your “why” is the reason you want to accomplish a goal.

Anyone can set a goal to lose weight, pay off debt or make more money, but what does that change mean for you in your life? If you can take a step back from the actual goal and think about how your life will be impacted by this action, you’ll be able create more powerful goals.

For example:

Your Goal: I want to pay off my student loan debt.
Better Goal: I want to pay off my student loan debt because:

  1. I will have more disposable income.
  2. I can save more for retirement.
  3. I can be a better role model for my daughter.
  4. I can focus on investing and creating a better financial portfolio.

Having a goal is great, but understanding why you want to accomplish that goal is even better. If you can pinpoint a few good reasons or great side effects of accomplishing this goal, then these reasons will help you continue to commit to the goal when times get rough.

 

Speak as if it’s already done

Your brain, while incredibly complex, is also pretty easy to trick. That’s why we do vision boards annually and look at them daily – the more your brain sees something, the more it believes it’s already done. The same thing goes for what you say.

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Changing your goals from something you will do in the future to something you’re currently doing not tells your brain that you are committed to doing this NOW – it’s not something you’re putting off to a later date.

For example:

Your Goal: I’m going to work out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays after work.
Better goal: I work out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday after work.

 

Don’t get distracted

Maybe you’re the type of person who starts a variety of new things, but often lacks the follow-through necessary to complete them. Don’t worry, I’m right there with you.

For those of us with ‘shiny object syndrome,’ it is so important to stay focused on the goals we set. One way is to concentrate on one goal at a time.

You’re not going to reinvent yourself instantly.

If you wish you could lose weight, pay off debt, get a new job, and rescue 3 dogs all at once, you’re probably just going to get frustrated and do nothing.

Pick one goal and make some major headway on it before adding another.

 

Focus on what you will do, not what you won’t do

There’s something about restricting ourselves that just makes us a human’s rebel.

That’s one of the problems with diets. If you start thinking that you’ll start a diet on Monday, I bet you’ll spend the weekend feasting on all the foods you’re going to miss.

The key is to stop thinking about what you won’t be able to do when you’re trying to reach your goal. Don’t think of it in terms of restriction at all!

Take positive action and research some healthy, tasty recipes. Write down your meal plan for the week and grocery shop for those ingredients.

Look toward your goal with enthusiasm, instead of dread.

 

Have patience

When asked whether she was being patient, someone I knew once said, “No, I never cared for it.”

While I thought that was hilarious, I understood her sentiment completely.

If patience isn’t your superpower either, the endurance it can take to reach a goal can be challenging.

But I promise that reaching that goal is worth the wait!

Big goals take time, and expecting immediate results can be the downfall of successful goal setting.

Top tip:

See my post below for slowing down to avoid a hectic life:

 

 

Share your goals with people

Telling people about your new goals makes them seem more real. It’s beneficial in two ways.

Having the support of a friend or relative in your corner is incredibly helpful and motivating. It also serves to hold you accountable.

Just be sure to tell people who will be supportive, not naggy. You want to keep the entire process positive!

 

Recruit a friend

Now that you’ve told some people about your new goal, maybe they’ll feel inspired and want to join you.

Nothing makes working toward a goal more enjoyable than doing it with someone you like.

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If your goal is to run a 5k, a training buddy can help you stay motivated and build excitement.

If you want to stop ordering takeout every night, you and a friend could have a freezer cooking session.

Or you could help each other declutter your basements and have a two-family garage sale.

Strengthening a friendship or starting a new one can be the perfect added benefit to achieving your goal.

 

Importance of goal setting – Final thought

Make sure your goals don’t get stale! Ideally, you should make time every day to take some action toward them.

Make time is the operative phrase here. We must make time for what is important to us.

You may have to scale back on the less important things that steal your time in order to achieve your goals.

Don’t fall victim to your own excuse that you ‘don’t have time.’ You can’t afford to waste time being less than your best.

“Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”      -Earl Nightingale

I hope you enjoyed these tips for how to set goals and achieve them. Cheers to the new, goal-crushing you!

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Lifestyle board for later!

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save-electricity

How to Cut Your Electricity Bill – Simple Guide & 10 Tips!

Are you looking for ways to reduce your electricity bill and save money? If you struggling to find an alternative cheaper plan with an electricity consumer, there are actions you can implement to cut costs.

For the majority of people, a combination of lower electricity costs and smart electricity usage leads to lower bill overall.

Electricity bills sometimes turn out to be higher than they should be, causing frustration and the inevitable need to control energy consumption to keep the finances in check.

Fortunately, there are some ways that can help you save at least a few pounds/dollars on your monthly utility bills:

In this short guide I will tell you some tips that will help you save money on your bill.

 

 

Turn off electric devices that are not in use

You’ve probably heard this one a few times, but that doesn’t make it less true or helpful. Your television, computer and stereo can be enormous energy vampires when not in use. That little light that stays lit means that these items are still consuming power.

By using a shared power extension lead, for example, it’s easy to turn your television, Android box, Echo Dot and other equipment off with a click of the switch.

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If you’re worried about updates to your smart TV or Android box, you can alternatively enable power saving mode when they’re not being used. Go into the settings and change the default to the shortest time before sleep mode takes over to reap the biggest cost savings with these items.

 

Buy Energy Efficient Rating Appliances

When you see an Energy Efficient Rating on an appliance, it’s not just a gimmick to make you think you’ll save money on electricity, you actually will.

These appliances use less electricity than non-labelled appliances.

Since appliances account for about 20 percent of an average household’s electricity usage, choosing equipment that saves power can really add up to a massive effort to conserve electricity without your having to do anything else.

Energy saving appliance such as washing machines and dishwashers are also designed to help save water, giving you even bigger benefits over the long term.

Sust-it.net and Energy.gov (for US) have a helpful appliance and electronics calculator to estimate how much energy specific devices use.

Top tip:

Want to save money in other ways? See my post on cutting back grocery spending:

 

 

Call your local utility for an energy audit

You may think that you’re already doing so much to conserve electricity that there’s nothing left to do, but you’re wrong. There’s always something that can be improved since no home is 100 percent efficient.

An energy audit is a great way to have a professional look your home over and find even more ways that you can save money on electricity.

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By utilising thermal cameras and other specialized equipment, they can determine where your home is leaking air or lacks sufficient insulation and give suggestions for improvement.

Energy audits are a very affordable way to save money on electricity and many local utilities provide this service for little cost.

 

Turn off Unnecessary Lights:

This might sound like a pretty obvious way to save money on electricity bill but this is exactly where most of us fail. We roam around in the house doing our daily jobs but we simply fail to recognise how easy it is to leave the room without switching off the lights and fans.

We leave things on standby mode thinking that it won’t consume energy but it really does. Make it a habit to switch the lights off while leaving the room and make it sure not to leave appliances like microwave and TV sets on standby mode after using them.

 

 

Regular maintenance and servicing of home appliances

I never bothered to get my home appliances serviced on a regular basis until I realised that the outdated and unmaintained appliances were eating up a hell lot of energy.

Old appliances usually eat up more energy than the newer ones which makes it important to replace them after some years.

Regular maintenance and servicing of home appliances might cost you a few extra pounds/dollars but it will go a long way in saving you even more money.

 

Save Money on bills by adjusting your thermostat

A programmable thermostat can save you tons of money on electricity over the long run. If you don’t have one you really should consider upgrading because this is a good long-term investment.

Programmable thermostats are great because you can set your thermostat and not worry if you forgot to turn the heat off before you left the house for work.

I’m a big fan of adjusting your thermostat when you aren’t home to help save on electricity. By adjusting your thermostat just a couple of degrees up or down you will notice a big difference in your power bill.

Top tip:

Have trouble with your finances? Want help setting goals? See my post for setting SMART financial goals:

 

 

Take advantage of smart meters

Many electricity providers are moving to smart meters, a tool that not only makes it easier for them to take readings but helps you save money also. The regular reports that smart meters create, based on your overall electricity use, can help you figure out what appliances or habits are spiking usage during costly times of the day or increasing your electricity usage overall.

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Many electricity providers now offer electricity usage reports to their customers based on their smart meter data.

 

Switch light bulbs

LED bulbs and CFL use way less energy than the old Incandescent bulbs for the same requirement of light. Replacing your regular tube lights and bulbs with LED and CFL can save you some money without really affecting the lighting quality.

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Charge devices in your car

To save more on your electric bill, you want to use less electricity. One easy way to do this is to charge your devices in the car instead of in the house.

Car chargers are inexpensive and it’ll make up its cost in savings.

If your car allows you to plug in USB cords, you can charge other devices in the car too.

I’ve charged multiple devices in the car. Most devices come with a USB charger and can be charged in the car. If you’re unsure about it, I recommend doing a quick Google search “device name, charge in the car”.

Top tip:

Struggling with debt? Want advice with what method are available to tackle debt? See my post below:

 

 

Put Up A Clothesline 

The dryer of your washing machine uses a lot of electricity and is also too harsh on the clothes. The more economical way to solve this issue is to put up a clothesline and hang drying your clothes.

This will not only save you a few pounds/dollars in electricity bill, but exposing clothes to sunlight also keeps them germ-free.

 

How to cut your electricity bill – Final thought

I hope that you found these tips for saving money on electricity to be helpful. By everyone doing their part to reduce energy waste we can make our world a better place.

There you have it some of my top tips for saving money on electricity. Do you have any creative ways to save money on electricity you think would be helpful to other?

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Save Money board for for later!

Save-electricity



How to Cut Back on Monthly Expenses – 10 Tips & Simple Guide to Save Money!

We all like the finer things in life, so talking about cutting down expenses is a conversation no one wants to have.

We don’t want to be discussing cutting back financially, because it feels like you’re failing with money.

But that’s not the case.

If you’re struggling with money, the wisest move you can make is a plan to cut down everyday expenses.

If you don’t, then your situation will never improve and you will never lift the burden of struggling financially.

Unless you fall into some major luck by winning the lottery, or you’re left a big sum of money by a relative, your financial situation will worsen without doing so. If you’re relying on that happening, you will most likely be waiting forever.

In order to avoid financial ruin, there is nothing wrong with making financial cutbacks where possible.

You might not even be struggling financially, perhaps you’re just fed up of not be able to save enough money to move house or a make big purchase you’ve always wanted, or you’re just fed up of living from payday to payday.

I believe there is always a way to save money.

Here is a simple guide on how you can cut back your expenses and save a lot of money in the process.

 

 

Determine your financial goals

Most people want to reduce their monthly expenses because they want to save and accomplish more with their money. Knowing your goals can help you align your budget around achieving them.

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The best part is your goals can be anything you want. Perhaps you want to pay off credit card debt, save money to purchase a car, or build an emergency fund. The more specific you can get, the easier it will be to break down your goals into manageable steps.

Ask yourself – what do I want my finances to look like a year from now? But starting today, you’ll begin planting the seeds for a successful financial future.

Top tip:

Want help setting goals? See my post for setting SMART financial goals:

Want help with what method would be best for you for tackling debt? See my post below:

 

 

Eat at home as much as possible

Eating out is a nice treat for every now and again, but when you get into the habit of dining out because you can’t be bother to cook, it becomes and expense game.

After a long day a work, when you’re tired, it’s just the easier option. I’ve done it before, we’ve all done it at one point of time. The thought of cooking after a stressful day is a chore, but there are ways around this.

Batch cooking food is a great way to give yourself a break from the kitchen. For example, you could cook a batch of meals at the weekend and then freeze them. Each day you will then have a meal prepared without having to cook from scratch.

I do this with my workout meals for the week, it saves me a lot of time.

For a family of four, just by eating out a few times a month, you are talking about a few hundred pounds/dollars per month, if not more.

Top tip:

Supercooks is a website that helps you re-create recipes from leftovers.

Just list out the ingredients and let SuperCooks tell you what to cook! Never again will you have to stare at those leftovers in the fridge and wonder what to do with it.

 

 

Sky/cable

This year we decided to cut or Sky/cable, by doing this we are saving £50 per month.

I thought getting rid of this would be brutal, and I would miss it, but that’s not the case at all.

Most of the time the TV was just on as background noise, we only actually sit down and watch TV for about two hours daily in the week, and a bit longer at weekends.

You can cut back your package to save money, or get rid of it all together and use a subscription service such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. I have both of these; they are excellent value for money.

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You might find this work out to be much cheaper for you.

There is always new TV shows and movies being added and the back catalogue on just these pair are huge. You will always discover something new to watch!

These are just two available, there is also Hulu, Disney+ and much more if you search online.

You are never tied in to a subscription service such as these, they can be cancelled at anytime you like.

 

Gym membership

I have been guilty of this, having a gym membership I never used.

The money would be coming out my bank account every month, while I’m trying to convince myself I would start to use it.

You need to get rid of it – ASAP

If you haven’t been using it regularly and consistently for months on end you are not going to do it now.

According to This Is Money, Brits waste a collective £25billion a month each year on subscriptions they don’t use or want, and a massive 12% of that is on gym memberships alone!

That’s a whole lot of money!

If you don’t use your gym membership, look at alternative ways of exercise instead. I have invested in resistant bands and an exercise bike. I prefer this way, and there are plenty of workout tutorials on YouTube to follow.

If your finances are tight, then this one has to go!

 

Branded food/drinks

People love brands names, but in my opinion, the majority of the time, you are paying just for the name!

I have ditched name products and shop at Aldi and sometimes Lidl majority of time. There are alternative items of food/drink, are just as good if not better in some cases.

The money you save week in week out is massive!

The Same goes with clothes, I use to buy brand and designer all the time. Not anymore, there are cheaper alternatives out there, such as Boohoo, Primark and ASOS where you can look smart for cheaper.

As long as I look good and feel comfortable in my clothes and shoes, that’s all that matters to me, not what branded name I’m wearing.

Top tip:

See my post on cutting back grocery spending:

 

 

Resist impulse purchases

Have you ever walked into a shop to get something small, such as shampoo and you ended up leaving with a bunch of items that weren’t on your shopping list?

Don’t feel bad if you said yes. It’s called impulse spending and marketers are really good at encouraging consumers to make impulse purchases. This is an unplanned decision to buy a product (or service) right before the purchase is made.

Nearly 78.2% of Brits have succumbed to the temptation to impulse online shopping, according to a recent survey. While it might seem like an impulse buy here and there is harmless, it can sabotage your goals such as paying off debt, building your emergency fund, or saving for a large purchase.

Top tip:

Want to know more information on how to complete a no spend month and save a huge chunk of money? See the below post:

 

 

Vouchers/coupons

Take advantage of coupons/vouchers to save money.

Honey is a great website for finding vouchers from thousands of retailers online. I have saved money when making purchases on clothes through Honey on several occasions.

Also, Latest Deals is great website for bargains and deals.

While saving money you also earn points though the above sites, which can them be redeemed into a giftcard of your choice.

These sites are no brainer!

Want to find out more about these two sites? here is my posts for Honey and Latest Deals.

 

 

Cashback shopping sites

I use cashback shopping sites such as TopCashback or Quidco for my online purchases. Cashback sites are a way for you to save money every time you shop online at one of its partner retailers using a link from the cashback website.

A percentage of the purchase is returned to you as a cash back rebate when you complete your purchase. Cashback shopping sites offer cash back at thousands of stores and they are free to use.

cashback

I use both TopCashback and Quidco to shop online and like them both. I usually check to see which of the cashback sites will give me more money back on my purchase and then shop through that cashback site for my specific purchase.

Rakuten is a great cash back site for those over in the US. In addition, you’ll find thousands of coupons and promo codes from Rakuten. Every quarter Rakuten mails you a cheque or PayPal payment with the cash back you received from shopping online through them.

 

Cancel subscription services that you don’t use

No matter how closely you pay attention to your monthly bills, I’m sure if you take another look, you’d find at least one subscription that you’re not using. You may even discover a late fee you’ve forgotten about!

I recently went through all my monthly subscriptions and memberships and noticed there was a few I didn’t need anymore. Now the only monthly subscription I pay for is Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime.

 

Lower your mobile phone bill/cancel your landline

How much are you paying per month for your phone bill?

If you can’t afford to pay for a phone in full, it’s too much. There are cheaper alternative plans out there, or consider getting on a family plan with your close family or friends. That way you’re saving money as a team.

And call your provider to see if there’s any way you can reduce your monthly plan. There’s no harm in asking. The worst that can happen is if they say “no”.

But what if the answer is “YES”?

 

How to cut back on monthly expenses – Final thought

Whilst these items individually may not seem like they can make big changes to your monthly budget, making small changes can, in fact, help you to save a few hundred extra dollars each month.

Those extra pounds/dollars can really help you make a dent in your debts.

Don’t be discouraged by having to cut back on expenses.

It’s better to look at your long-term goals and use that as your motivation to keep pushing forward to your financial freedom.

One thing I have realised is that you should never turn your nose up at small savings because eventually, they do add up to make a considerable difference.

Let me know what tips you have for cutting down on expenses!

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Save Money board for for later!

SAVE-MONEY



SLOW-DOWN

How to Slow Down and Enjoy Life – Tips to Calm Down Your Hectic Life!

Fair too often we are caught up in the busy schedule of life and wonder “where did the day go?”, or “hasn’t that week flown by”, or “the summer will be soon over”. This happens because you’re so busy in life just doing that you forget how to be.

At some point or the other, all of us have inevitably found ourselves wanting to just leave it all and go far away from all the rush, from all the noise and just be in peace with our own self.

There is too much rushing, too much achieving in this overly fast paced world. If you find yourself in such a position then it is actually reminding you that you need to slow things down and go slow with life. Step outside the rush.

Learning how to slow down in life is a challenge by itself, especially for those who seem to work non-stop, or those who feel guilty for taking a break as they think “I could be doing this, or doing that”.

But living in the fast lane comes at a price, that price is you’re missing out on your life. The time you spending planning, working, doing, rushing and all the other things that lead to hectic life, takes away living in the moment and experiencing what it truly feels like to be alive.

This is so profound, yet what is it to be alive?  Although I cannot concretely answer that question for you, through my personal experience I have found that people feel the most alive when they are truly experiencing the present moment.  Those times when you are able to slow down and pay attention.

 

 

Is your mindset keeping you from living life in the present moment?

Your mindset may hold certain beliefs that keep you stuck in the fast lane. These could come from personal experience, habits, things you’ve learned growing up or the pressure of society.

Take a step back and a moment to reflect on your mindset and your beliefs on why you shouldn’t be slowing down from a fast-paced life.

What do these beliefs mean to you?

Here are some examples of beliefs you may have about slowing down:

  • If I take a break or slow down, I’m lazy
  • Things won’t get done.
  • I could be doing something else in the time I’m taking a break
  • I need to be doing more to be more successful than Joe Bloggs next door, and the only way I can do that is by working harder- even if it stresses me out.

The ironic thing is that you will actually be more productive and efficient if you take breaks and pay attention to what you are doing in the moment. This is because living in the present moment increases your focus.

937579-Nhat-Hanh-Quote-The-present-moment-is-the-only-moment-available-to

When you work yourself into the ground without no break, and constantly move from task to task, you are not fully living in the present moment and therefore are not fully engaged. As a result, you are living your life in auto-pilot mode.

This can result in two things happening:

  • You are not fully focused; therefore, you’re not putting the best work into things. This is because you are just thinking about moving onto the next task.
  • You are burning yourself out by never taking breaks or slowing down.

 

How can you live in the present moment?

While you’re rushing about from task to task, somebody else is living in the present moment and time is moving much slower for them. It is the same number of seconds ticking by, the same minutes and hours pass by, but it is your perception of those moments that is different.

Your perception is your reality, therefore if you find that you seem to be rushing through life then the answer lies in changing your perception.  Some of that may originate in identifying and changing your anxious thoughts.

moment-of-happiness

Additionally, you can practice Mindfulness by being aware of your senses (touch, sight, hearing, taste, and smell) in the present moment.  This is one of the most effective ways to truly bring you into experiencing this moment fully.

Try it now and pay attention to what is around you.  Notice how you feel.

Top tip:

Read my post on how Mindfulness changed my life around!

 

 

Tips to help you slow down in life:

 Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness meditation or practicing mindful awareness regularly can make it easier to slow down life.  By observing your thoughts non-judgmentally, you can increase your awareness when you are rushing around for no particular reason.  This can help you to approach your life and certain situations with presence and focus, instead of just rushing through them to get to the next thing.

 

Minimise Distractions

Distractions such as a smartphone or television can make it harder for you to focus on the present moment and take you down a black hole in your mind without you even realising it.  Leave your phone in your car or put it on “do not disturb” to prevent distractions so you can be fully present and appreciate the things and people in front of you.

 

Give Yourself Reminders

Little reminders can be helpful so that you remember to slow down and pay attention.  Whether it is a phone wallpaper, a sign on your desk, or a decal on your mirror… visual reminders to slow down can get you out of your head and into the present.

 

Go for a walk and look around at nature.

Head out for a walk and make yourself take notice at everything around you – the sounds; trees; flowers; etc.  Connect again with the world around you and allow yourself to walk gently – not racing around.

 

Take Breaks

Taking breaks at home, work, or school can help you stop anxious thinking or stop feeling stressed.  Taking a break can help you to refocus and reflect.

Some helpful things to do on a break are taking a walk, taking deep breaths, or eating mindfully.  These are examples of breaks that bring you fully into your present moment experience, and out of the stress of overthinking and rushing.

 

Enjoy the little things:

Getting to enjoy life more is one of the perks of living a slow life.

First, you need to learn to notice what is happening around you. Notice the breeze, the flowers, the clouds. Notice the smell of things.

 

How to slow down and enjoy life – Final thought

If you can cultivate present moment awareness, then you can learn how to slow down and appreciate life.  Appreciation comes from actually paying attention to yourself, your body, your environment, and the people around you- not rushing from one thing to the next.

So, the next time you find yourself caught in a frenzy of stress, overwhelm, and frustration, ask yourself:

“How can I choose to slow down today?”

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Lifestyle board for later!

Slow Down Your Life (1)



save-money

How to Save Money on Online Shopping – 8 Tried and Tested Tips!

 If you’re someone like me, online shopping makes life so much easier. I don’t like busy places and being around crowds, so I shop online as much as I can.

I find shopping online is cheaper most of the time, and I especially love to use this method in the build up to the Christmas period. This is because I don’t have to leave my house, I can shop in my comfy clothes and I can avoid the crowds, particularly during during the Black Friday sales.

I almost always find just as good of deals, if not better, while online rather than going to the store.

Most of us shop online at least part of the time. Make sure you’re getting the best deal by following these 8 tips.

 

 

Cashback shopping sites

I use cashback shopping sites such as TopCashback or Quidco for my online purchases. Cashback sites are a way for you to save money every time you shop online at one of its partner retailers using a link from the cashback website.

A percentage of the purchase is returned to you as a cash back rebate when you complete your purchase. Cashback shopping sites offer cash back at thousands of stores and they are free to use.

cashback

I use both TopCashback and Quidco to shop online and like them both. I usually check to see which of the cashback sites will give me more money back on my purchase and then shop through that cashback site for my specific purchase.

Rakuten is a great cash back site for those over in the US. In addition, you’ll find thousands of coupons and promo codes from Rakuten. Every quarter Rakuten mails you a cheque or PayPal payment with the cash back you received from shopping online through them.

 

 

Rewards sites

Save money by shopping online using rewards sites such as and Swagbuck or PrizeRebel. With these type of sites you can earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards. Rewards sites also offer multiple ways to earn money or rewards by doing tasks such as searching the web, filling out surveys, watching videos, playing games, shopping, printing out coupons or completing a variety of other activities.

Once you accrue enough points you can redeem them for an eGift card for various popular retailers, or a PayPal deposit.

Top tip:

Read my post on how to save money with groceries below!

 

 

Deals and promo sites

Deal sites help you find promo codes, deals and coupons so you can save more on your purchases. One deal site that I often use is Honey. I have saved a fair bit of cash when using the Honey extension while shopping online.

Honey have people working constantly to keep promo codes and discounts current. And on Honey you’ll find unique discount codes for popular retailers such as Boohoo, River Island, Pretty Little Thing and Topshop.

shopping-Online-for-Clothes

Other deals sites that are popular include Latest Deals (UK only). On this site you will find deals, coupons, promotions and competitions for thousands of online retailers!

And another site that regularly have great deals are Groupon. This site offer different deals each day on activities, travel, goods and services in a city for discounted prices ranging from 40 percent to 90 percent off, but the deals are only offered for 24-72 hours. This is a great way to try out a new business, purchase an activity for a date night or find activities for the family that are less expensive.

Top tip:

Read my post on how to live a frugal life and save money below!

 

 

Deals on Amazon

If you shop on Amazon regularly, you’ll want to check out the Amazon Warehouse Deals where you will find discounts on open-box and pre-owned products such as computers and accessories, televisions, cell phones, power tools, grocery, toys, games, kitchen and dining and so much more.

And keep an eye on Amazon’s deals page, which features hour-long lightning sales and price-reduced items from around the site.

Many products have the option to choose Subscribe & Save on Amazon, which will save you up to 15% and includes free shipping. After your products are delivered to you, you can cancel Subscribe & Save anytime or skip an order.

Another way to save money on shipping is to sign up for Amazon Prime. With Amazon Prime, you get free, next day shipping, as well as exclusive access to movies, TV shows, ad-free music, Kindle books, original audio series and unlimited photo storage. You can try out Amazon Prime for free by signing up for the 30-day Prime free trial here. Right after your free trial is up you can cancel it.

 

Price Drop Alerts

Keep items on your wish list in your online shopping carts because some companies, such as Amazon, will send you an email alert or notification in your account when a price drops on an item that is in your online shopping cart or on your wish list.

While shopping online, as you see items you want, place the item in your online shopping cart and stay logged in. If the price drops, you will get notified. Not all retailers use price drop alerts, but it is quickly catching on with retailers.

ExcitedOnlineShopper

If you shop online a lot and don’t want to pay full price for items, Shoptagr is a free service that notifies you in real time when the price of an item drops, right down to your preferred size and colour.  You simply browse online and save products you like to your wish and watch list on Shoptagr.

Then you will be automatically notified when the items you selected go on sale, are about to sell out or if they come back in stock again. And if it’s the holiday season or if your birthday is coming up, Shoptagr has a feature where you can create and share lists with friends and family to make sure you receive the gifts you want.

Top tip:

Read my post on how to complete a no spend month and save money below!

 

 

Compare Prices Before You Purchase

Shopping online makes it super easy to compare prices from store to store. You can have several tabs up from many different websites.

There are also a few online tools that can help you compare prices. 

You can also Google a specific product that you’re looking for see prices from several retailers right next to each other. Google aims to show you the lowest prices too, so that is helpful.

CamelCamelCamel is a price tracker for all of the products on Amazon. It will help you see how the prices of those products have changed over time, so you can decide if the sale price is actually a good deal.

This can help you even if you’re not buying from Amazon. Amazon sells pretty much every product under the sun, so you can look up the product that you’re wanting to buy on CamelCamelCamel to see what the price history of that item has been on Amazon and then compare the price history to the sale price you’re seeing for that item on any store’s website.

 

Sign up for Emails from Retailers

For those stores you love to shop at regularly, sign up for emails from those retailers. Not only will they send you a 10-20% off discount code for signing up for their emails, but they will regularly send you promo codes and discounts to your inbox.

 

Save Money on Shipping

You may find an item on sale, but it may cost a lot to ship it to you. If the item you purchase isn’t shipped free to your house, see if you can ship it to the store and then pick it up there. Many stores have these options to get free shipping to the store. I do this often to save money on shipping and will pick up my purchased items while running other errands.

 

How to Save Money on Online Shopping – Final thought

These are only a handful of ways to save money when shopping online. By putting these 8 tips into practice, you can save money online.

The key to saving money while you’re shopping is in not buying anything extra just because it’s on sale. Stick to your spending plan. As you’re shopping online for the things that you do need, use these tips to save money.

Remember to compare prices, get cash back, earn though rewards sites, use a coupon through sites such as Honey, and consider signing up for Amazon Prime if you don’t have it already.

This simple guide has helped me save money, what tips do you have to save money when shopping online?

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Save Money board for for later!

Save Money Online



Debt Snowball vs Debt Avalanche – Which is Best For Eliminating Debt?

After years of constantly paying out massive chunks of my money on a debt that never seemed to go down, I made the smart decision to focus on reducing my mountain of financial mess to live a happier life.

There are two methods that financial experts recommend for destroying your non-mortgage debt: The Debt Avalanche Method and the Debt Snowball Method.

This post explains the difference between the two strategies so that you can decide which one is right for you.

I’m also going to share which method I’m using and why that method is best for me.

 

 

My story with debt

Up until 2018 I was constantly in debt, living month by month scraping by. It’s not a nice position to find yourself in, but there are ways to get yourself out of debt.

It will definitely be a difficult task to pay off debt with low income, but if you’re determined, it can be done.

To pay off any debt you are going to need to DECIDE and COMMIT to the process. Following these two principles is so important, you will not succeed if you don’t.

debt-1

I believe you can pay off your debt. With determination, persistence and commitment, it can be done.

I started the Debt Snowball method back in 2018, but I will be talking you through both methods and what they have to offer.

Now let’s break down the two strategies.

Top tip

See my post for setting financial goals:

 

 

The Debt Snowball Method

With the Debt Snowball Method, debts are paid off in order of lowest balance.

Order your debts from lowest balance to highest balance, disregarding minimum payment amounts and interest rates. Pay the minimum amount on all debts.

Pay as much as you can, in addition to the minimum payment, on the debt with the lowest balance. The extra money you plan to apply to debt each month is called your “debt snowball.”

Once it is paid off, apply that minimum payment + your debt snowball to your next lowest balance.

The-7-Big-Lies-People-in-Debt-Tell-Themselves.-Are-You-Guilty__Horizontal

Your debt snowball will grow larger and larger as you continue adding the previous minimum payment to the next debt.

For this example, let’s say you have £100 extra to pay on debt every month:

Department Store Credit Card = £1,200; 23% interest rate; £55 minimum

Auto Loan = £7,000; 9% interest rate; £190 minimum

Student Loan = £20,000; 6% interest rate; £240 minimum

Travel Rewards Credit Card = £400; 18% interest rate; £30 minimum

Debt Snowball: £100

After ordering these debts from lowest balance to highest balance, you would focus on paying off the Travel Rewards Credit Card first, applying your £100 snowball each month.

Once that is paid off, you will move to the Department Store Credit Card. Your debt snowball at this time will be £130 (£100 initial snowball + £30 Travel Rewards Credit Card minimum payment).

Each month, you will pay £185 on the Department Store Credit Card (£130 snowball + £55 minimum payment).

Once that is paid you, you’ll target the Auto Loan (£185 snowball + £190 minimum payment). Lastly, you’ll tackle the Student Loan (£375 snowball + £240 minimum payment).

In this example, you would be paying £615 towards your Student Loan each month, an extra £375!

 

My opinion on the Debt Snowball Method

It really depends on your circumstances, but this is definitely a great debt strategy for someone who is feeling overwhelmed by debt.

If you have many debts with varying balances this method could help you to focus on one debt at a time.

I think the biggest benefit of The Snowball Method is that it can be very encouraging to see each small debt disappear.

Eliminating a debt feels incredible and it is likely to motivate you to continue paying off the rest of your debts.

You’ll probably pay a little more (or maybe a lot more depending on your circumstances) in interest in the long run. That’s something that needs to be weighed against the motivation benefit of this method.

 

The Debt Avalanche Method

With the Debt Avalanche Method, debts are paid off in order of highest interest rate.

First, order your debts from highest interest rate to lowest interest rate. If possible, pay more than the minimum payment on your debt with the highest interest rate. Pay the minimum amount on everything else.

businessman-workig-using-calculator-with-laptop-desk_34152-1467Once the highest interest rate debt is paid off, move to the debt with the second highest interest rate. Add your previous debt payment + any extra money to increase the amount paid on the next debt, and so on.

For example:

Department Store Credit Card = £1,200; 23% interest rate; £55 minimum

Auto Loan = £7,000; 9% interest rate; £190 minimum

Student Loan = £20,000; 6% interest rate; £240 minimum

Travel Rewards Credit Card = £400; 18% interest rate; £30 minimum

You would pay these debts off in order of highest interest rate. Therefore, you would focus on paying off the Department Store Credit Card first.

Once that is paid off, you will apply its minimum payment to the Travel Rewards Credit Card each month (£55 + £30 = £85/month).

Next, you’ll pay off the Auto Loan (£55 + £30 + £190 = £275/month). Lastly, you’ll tackle the Student Loan.

By that time, you’ll have at least £515 to pay on it each month (an extra £275)!!

 

My opinion on the Debt Avalanche Method

The Debt Avalanche allows you to pay off your debt faster. This is because your debts will accumulate less interest over time.

You will pay less in interest if you use The Debt Avalanche because your higher interest rate debts will be eliminated first.

In my opinion, a prerequisite for choosing The Debt Avalanche Method is to already be extremely motivated to pay off your debt.

You won’t get the exciting boost that comes with eliminating small debts along the way. However, if that isn’t something you need because you are already motivated, The Debt Avalanche could be right for you.

 

My advice for any debt strategy

Whichever debt payoff method you’ve decided is best for you, the important thing is to focus your extra payments (all payments beyond minimum payments) on just one debt at a time.

Paying a little extra on each loan isn’t going to help you very much. You’ll lower each debt a tiny bit more each time, but you’re not going to get to a point where you’ve completely paid off a debt.

debt2

The common goal of both the Snowball and Avalanche Methods is to eliminate one of your debts as quickly as possible.

In doing so, you free up funds to forcefully apply to another debt. This keeps you motivated and it’s the most effective way to eliminate your debt.

Top tip

See my post for setting financial goals:

 

 

Which debt payoff method is right for you?

The Snowball Method might be right for you if you…

  • want to be motivated to continue paying off your debts or you want the encouragement that comes from successfully paying off a debt
  • have several debts of varying sizes
  • don’t have any debts that have a super high interest rate (3-4x your other interest rates)

The Debt Avalanche Method might be right for you if you…

  • are already super motivated to pay off your debts
  • only have a few (2-4) debts
  • have one debt with a much higher interest rate (3-4x) your other debts
  • simply hate one debt more than the rest

 

What method am I using?

I decided on the Snowball Debt Method. This is because at the time I had minimum finances coming in, therefore I would have struggled to make a dent on the bigger debts.

I have paid a big chunk of debt off, but still have a small amount (compared to my original debt) to pay off before being financially free.

 

Debt Snowball vs Debt Avalanche – Final thought

Personal finance is personal. Don’t worry about which method works for your friend or your parents. The most important thing is that you don’t give up.

You know which plan will keep you engaged! Maybe saving thousands of pounds/dollars in interest is motivating enough for you to stick to the Debt Avalanche method.

Eliminating your debt isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. What’s right for someone else might not be right for me. And what’s right for me might not be right for you. You need to take a close look at your own debts.

Or perhaps you’re just starting out on this journey and need a few early victories to get the momentum going.

Just be honest with yourself, and you will be successful!

Are you using one of these debt methods? What are the most significant challenges you’ve faced in your journey to become debt free?

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Debt board for for later!



Finances

How to Organise Your Finances – Easy to Follow Guide!

We all know we have to “be financially responsible,” but what does that even mean?  Of course, we want to have complete and total control over our finances, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.

There are so many moving parts to having a healthy financial system, and it’s far easier to ignore the mess.  The problem with this is that we end up scrambling to clean up the inevitable financial problems that come along, instead of being prepared with the tools to minimise their effects on our lives.

You’re about to learn how to easily organise your finances at home, and keep up a healthy relationship with your money this year.

We’re going over five action steps to wrangle the mess and get you on the path to managing your money the right way.

Organising your finances is going to reduce clutter, reduce the number of times you have to think about it, and reduce your stress most of all.

If you’re not where you want to be financially or if you’re feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, or confused about how to manage your money, there is likely one thing holding you back: organisation.

Organising your financial impact can have a huge impact on everything your money touches. It will save you time, frustration and money! In this post I’m going to organise your finances.

 

 

 How to organise your finances

Organisation is vital to your financial success. It’s actually the one thing that will have the biggest impact on correcting your financial mistakes and setting yourself up for a successful future.

If your finances are kind of messy right now, cleaning them up can sound like a really hard, scary thing.

I used to be a complete financial mess.

Actually, mess is probably too gentle a word. Disaster is more like it.

I was spending way more money than I made, mostly on stuff I didn’t know that I didn’t need. I was completely irresponsible when it came to things that weren’t fun, like paying my bills on time. And I was too terrified of my debt to even think about it.

I thought my problem was that I didn’t make enough money.

I was wrong.

Finances

My real problem was that I wasn’t looking at the big picture. In fact, looking at the big picture wasn’t even an option because my finances were so unorganised, I didn’t have a big picture to look at.

It was when I finally got myself organised that everything changed for me.

And you know what? A few years later, I’m pretty damn good with my money. I have things like a savings account, a retirement plan, and have destroyed massive chunk of my debt.

You know what else? It wasn’t painful. In fact, once I adjusted to a different way of doing things, I kind of liked it.

So, if looking at those numbers and getting your finances organised is something that scares your pants off, I totally get it.

But truthfully, it’s not as hard as you think it will be. And the benefits are totally worth it!

 

How can organising my finances help you?

Organising your finances will allow you to reach your full potential.

And on the flip side, being unorganised will block you from having all the information so you won’t even be able to know what your full potential is!

 

Organisation will help you reach your financial goals

It will be harder to set goals and when you do, they’ll be more like vague things you want in the future instead of clear, pinpointed goals based on actual information.

Knowing exactly where you stand financially and exactly where you’re headed will make it easy to set goals in stages that lead you to reaching your big goals over time.

Set-goals

When your finances are unorganised, you might not even know that you’re missing out on ways that could be doing better. You might think you’re doing just fine.

But organising your finances will show you your weak spots and where you need to focus.

In taking the time to get organised, you will probably find that with a few tweaks you could be doing WAY better at managing your money.

Top tip

See my post for setting financial goals:

 

 

How do I organise my finances?

It is so much simpler than it sounds!

Here are 5 steps that helped me!

 

Always look at the bigger picture

First, you need to take a step back from the day-to-day and look at the big picture of your finances.  How much money do you have? How much do you owe? What is your net worth?

If you’re afraid to crunch these numbers because you don’t want to see the big picture of the financial mess you made, I get it.

I felt the exact same way.

But you’ve got to do this step if you ever want to fix it. And you’ll probably be surprised to find out that it’s not actually as bad as you think.

 

Create a monthly budget

This is so important. You cannot just make one budget and use it again month after month. Income fluctuates. Expenses fluctuate.

A budget that is specific to the month ahead is essential.

Determine how much money is going to come in that month.

Then allocate each of those pounds/dollars to a certain purpose. Pay your essential bills and then filter the rest toward debt or some form of savings.

Top tip

See my post for setting financial goals:

 

 

Get on the automatic payments train

Why have to waste time and brain power pulling out your wallet, check book and computer several times a month, when you can set it and forget it?

Putting your bills and savings on autopilot is the easiest way to guarantee you won’t miss a payment and incur late fees.

Finances

In this day and age, where nearly everything can be automated, it’s silly not to have at least your fixed bills paid automatically.  I’m talking about rent/mortgage, utilities, phone, insurance, your baseline bills that 100% need to be paid.

Most bank accounts have the option to schedule bill payments online automatically. If your bank doesn’t, the companies you are paying will most likely give you that option.  You’ll be able to schedule the auto-pays online or by phone.

Don’t forget to “auto-pay yourself” first, and automatically transfer some cash into your savings account!

 

Always pay yourself first

Lots of people think that “pay yourself first” only applies to business owners.  I actually thought this too!

Here’s what “pay yourself first” really means: The second each payment to you clears in your account, you automatically take out a percentage to SAVE.  That’s it!  You are giving 5-15% of your take-home pay to YOU, right off the top, before paying anything else.

Why do this? You’re telling yourself that YOU MATTER.  You, and your future, matter to you.  They matter more than whatever dumb thing you were probably going to buy with that relatively small amount of money.

The easiest way to do this is to set up an automatic transfer into a savings account.

Finances

If you are totally new to saving, start with 3% or 5%, and increase that amount after a few weeks, once you feel like you can save a little more.

Right now, it may not be as easy to save, I know it isn’t for me. But, every little bit counts.

Make sure to go through your credit card and bank statements, and cancel or suspend any unneeded subscriptions or memberships. That will help put more money into the pot.

 

Create a financial improvement plan

Now it’s time to make some important decisions:

How are you going to save?

How are you going to cut back?

Where do you want to be this time next year?

What about in 5 years?

Ask yourself the hard questions. It will be worth it in the long run.

And unfortunately, it’s not a one-time thing. Instead, it’s something that you have to work on continually.

I can tell you though that this process is hardest in the beginning and it gets much easier with time.

 

How to organise your finances – Final thought

It’s important to have some level of organisation in all areas of your life, and finances are no exception.  Once you get the hang of it, you’ll see that all it takes is a little maintenance only 12 times a year, to keep your money working for you.

I hope you stick with your new Financial Organisation action plan.  Having a financially responsible home doesn’t have to be hard.  I’m rooting for you!

It’s time to improve your financial life and organise your finances.

Start by looking at the big picture, create a monthly budget and make a financial improvement plan.

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How To Do a No Spend Month – Simple Guide to Save Money!

Everyone loves a challenge. Especially one that involves not spending money, right?

Not really? but what if the challenge could save you a lot of money? Then, of course, you would be interested!

Don’t let the name no spend month scare you because it can be so beneficial to your finances.

A no spend month is a smart, efficient way to recover from overspending, to knock out debt quickly, or to give yourself a boost toward your savings goal.

I know the idea of doing anything for a whole month sounds really challenging. Especially something like not spending money for a whole month. But trust me, it is not as impossible as it sounds.

Here’s what this no spend challenge means, and what it doesn’t mean.

 

 

What is a no spend month and what are the benefits?

A no spend month is just what it sounds like. It’s a month that you try not to spend any unnecessary money to help you save as much money as possible.

This is a great way to help jump-start a savings goal or if you are paying down some debt. In both these situations, any little money you can find to put toward your goal is super beneficial.

No spending challenges are also great all year round.

Or maybe you just realise that you need to reset your spending habits because it’s been out of control lately.

Either way a no spend month can be really helpful for any and all your financial goals and you should strive to at least do one-month long challenge a year where you don’t spend any money.

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As great as a no spend month can be for your money, it honestly isn’t that fun or easy.

In fact, the first time I did a no spending month I failed miserably at it. It seemed so easy to do but that was definitely not the case.

Since then I have been able to not only successfully complete the challenge but thrive from doing a no spending month challenge.

I figured out how to easily make a no spend challenge a walk in the park for me and my family.

It’s even become a sort of standard to not spend if it’s not necessary.

Here are the proven steps you can take to do a no spend month-long challenge and be successful!

 

The rules

You’ve probably heard of a spending freeze, which is where you don’t spend any money at all for a set amount of time.

A no spend challenge is actually a different thing.

For a no spend challenge you can still buy some things – if you absolutely need them.

You have to feed your family, so you can buy groceries.

You need to be able to drive your car to work or school, so you can put petrol etc in the car.

Of course, you need to keep paying your bills too.

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The point is that during a no spend challenge you don’t buy anything you don’t need.

You don’t need a new outfit, or concert tickets, or take-out food. Those are clear no’s.

There may be a few questionable decisions throughout the challenge. Does your child really need a haircut this month? Can you hold off on certain purchases? In those situations, it’ll be up to you to decide.

But basically, you are only buying essentials.

So, a no spend month is simply when you keep the challenge going for the whole month long.

 

How to make it work

I’ll be honest. There were a few times that I tried a no spend month and failed.

But I’ve learned from my mistakes.

I want you to benefit from my experience so you can be successful with your no spend month.

Here are some tips to rock your no spend month.

 

Set a goal

You have to know what you’re working for.

Where will the money you’re saving go?

This is absolutely essential for your success.

SetGoals

Set a very specific goal for the money you save.

Then, keep it top of mind.

Write it everywhere.

Put a post-it on the bathroom mirror or the refrigerator (or both!).

Most importantly, put a reminder in your wallet. Look at it before you whip out your money. It may make you rethink your purchase.

Top tip

See my post for setting financial goals:

 

 

Don’t do it alone

Get your family involved.

Set that specific goal as a family. Talk about your goal together and get excited about it.

If your children are old enough to understand the concept of not buying things (4 or 5, maybe even 3), talk about the goal regularly and make sure they know that you’ll need their help.

Then, when you’re in a store and they ask you for a lollipop or a toy, remind them that you’re not buying anything you don’t need right now because you want to reach your exciting goal.

Make sure your spouse is sticking to the challenge too. Talk about it together and keep each other accountable.

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Another great idea that’s worked really well for me is to do your no spend month alongside a friend.

Find a frugal friend who would also like to save money this month. Make sure this is someone you’re comfortable talking about money with.

When you’re tempted to spend, message your friend and ask them if you really need that thing you want to buy. You can even send them a picture.

And make sure to celebrate your successes together when you stick to your goal.

Saving money is so much more fun when you’re not doing it alone.

Top tip

See my beginners guide to Frugal living:

 

 

Avoid temptation

Be smart about the choices you make during this time.

Don’t go to a major store to walk around. Avoid the shopping, unless if for essentials. Do not window shop.

Don’t log into Amazon to look something up.

It’s so much easier to stay on track when you put yourself in a position to succeed.

 

Track your savings

Make sure you keep track of your progress throughout the month.

When you defeat temptation, track it. Write down the item you decided not to buy and how much you saved by not buying it.

When you find a way not to buy something you usually do, track that too.

You want to make sure you know exactly how much you saved at the end of the month.

 

How to do no spend month – are you up for it?

You’re going to feel amazing when you stick to your no spend month challenge and reach your goal. All you have to do is make sure you don’t buy anything you don’t need. Can you do that for one month? I absolutely believe that you can!

Set a solid, specific goal before you start. Get your family involved and excited. Partner with a friend who can keep you accountable. Stay away from the places that tempt you. And track your progress so you know exactly how much you saved when you’re done.

Get ready to save big!

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No-Spend-month



Why is Mindfulness Important? – Read How Mindfulness Changed My Life!

Why is Mindfulness important?  In this post I will explain what Mindfulness is, give a brief description on how implementing the practice has helped me turn my life around, and how it can help you.

In August 2020 I had the worst week for a very long time. I was taken to hospital twice and felt like my world was crashing down around me. After seeing a mental health specialist, they told me I had PTSD which began at the start of the lockdown in March 2020.

The PTSD began because I didn’t get to see my children for seven weeks at the beginning of the lockdown.

It brought back all the feelings I had buried from a time in my life that I thought I had put behind me.

In my mind, I was living that awful time again.

It took me five months to crack in the end, and in August I lost it big time.

The Mental Health team wanted to put me back on medication, so I discharged myself and decided to help myself.

Now that I knew what was wrong with me, I truly believed I could help myself.

I was adamant to not go down the medication route again, as I had only been off them for several months.

After having help throughout that week In August from an old friend who is a qualified Psychotherapeutic Counsellor and Hypnotherapist, he pointed me in the direction of some videos on Mindfulness that changed my life.

 

 

 My journey to Mindfulness

I will always appreciate the NHS for saving my life, but if I listened to the Mental Health Team on that day in August when I relapsed, I would be back on medication, recycling the same old patterns that got me into such a mess before.

Before turning my life around, I was on multiple medications for severe anxiety and depression, and was unable to sleep. I would often go six/seven days straight without sleep. That’s when the heavy drinking started.

Sleeping tablets wouldn’t work, and in order to get much needed sleep, I would drink alcohol and down two/three sleeping tablets to knock myself out.

Once you get into this routine, it’s a slippery slope that snowballs fast.

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I would often go two or three weeks without drinking, and when I couldn’t sleep, I would resort back to old patterns of alcohol and sleeping tablets.

I couldn’t sleep because my mind would be overloading me with illusions none stop. It would be thinking of bad situations that hadn’t happened, or I would beat myself up mentally about past events.

These were complete illusions of mind, that can be calmed down through Mindfulness.

If I knew what I did now, I wouldn’t have gone through all that mental torture over those five years, which eventually caught up with me, and resulted in me nearly losing my life.

Top tip:

Some great Youtube channels that I use for mindfulness videos, are the following:

 

 

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a modern concept that describes the adoption of a new mindset, which can be measurably alter one’s outlook and mood, and is used as an empowering tool in the self-management of anxiety and stress.

Here is a summary of the concept:

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To gain an understanding of what Mindfulness is, it is good idea first to explain what it is not. Unlike other forms of treatment for anxiety and stress, such as taking medication, it is not a quick fix and takes time and application to achieve permanent results.

However, if the guidance, mindset and exercises and applied and reinforced on a daily basis, the result becomes a feature of your life and therefore does, over time, create permanent change.

 

 

A deeper understanding of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a mental state that is achievement by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feeling, thoughts and bodily sensations – used as a therapeutic technique.

Hence, Mindfulness is the practice of being aware in every possible moment, while keeping a non-judgement outlook and, at the same time, observing your own bodily and emotional responses.

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To do this, you should begin to the ‘self’ and any reactions to situations and others in a dispassionate way. In other words, not be a slave to our own thoughts and the emotions that they generate, but to step back and access before the usual reaction takes place.

Mindfulness is about taking a holistic approach to the self, i.e. mind, body and spirit. So, to practice Mindfulness fully, it is important to look at oneself as a spiritual being. Being of the new outlook, practices such as meditation and Yoga can also be utilised to being calm and peace to the mind and body, while employing a more detached and philosophical and spiritual outlook.

 

How Mindfulness has helped me

After I discharged myself from hospital, it took me a few days to regroup. I then started a course in Mindfulness, began reading a book and watching videos on YouTube all related to the subject.

Within a few weeks I could really notice the difference when putting Mindfulness into practice. The more I focused and stayed in the present moment, the more peaceful my mind had become.

The difference this time, the illusions of the mind wasn’t taking me over. The more I starved the mind of attention, the more it calmed down.

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Every time a bad memory would appear or I would feel anger, anxiety or stress, I would observe it in my mind and then resort back to the present moment.

The more you stay in the now, the more conscious you become, you quickly start to take control over your mind.

The key to Mindfulness is to be persistent and consistent. It’s a practice that needs to put to work day in day out.

I touched on being mindful in the past, but since August 2020 I have been consistently using Mindfulness every day.

Being mindful, combined with meditation is a powerful tool that will transform your life if used correctly.

It has made a massive difference in my life already.

Top tip:

The below channels on YouTube are great for guided meditations;

Create channels for meditation music:

If you want to learn about meditation, the follow channel is excellent:

If you’re interested in learning more in-depth about meditation, then the below books are excellent:

 

 

Why is Mindfulness Important? – Final thought

I believe mindfulness should at least be taught in the last year of school. Kids leave school thinking if I get this qualification, or this job it will make me happy. It doesn’t, and it’s taken me to nearly 40 to realise this, and I’m sure many people will go through their whole lives without knowing.

Happiness begins with you and from within. You can’t be truly happy if your mind controls you with bad thoughts and made up stories that will never happen, these are illusions of the mind.

Learning to live in the present moment is the best self-development tool you could possibly obtain from life, everything else will fall into place once you get the inside right.

I have touched on mindfulness and similar practices in the past, but never taken it seriously. In just four months it has changed my life.

72% of GP’s think it be helpful for people with mental health issues to learn mindfulness, but anti-depressants etc are dished out like smarties.

I’ve only been doing this consistently for a short time and the change in my mindset is night and day.

If you’re struggling mentally, look into what I’m saying. There is so much information out there.

Any questions then please leave them below.

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