Friday, 22 May 2015

June budgeting cheat sheet || Expenses to budget for

Summer is in full swing and June is right around the corner and not is the time to be making June's monthly budget.  There are several big celebrations that go on during June. On top of all your usual expences here are a few extra's to remember this month:

1. Graduation. For many university graduation is right around the corner. Things to think about if you are graduating is gown and cap, as well as ceremony tickets. Know a soon to be graduate? Be sure to budget for a gift (check out my gift guide).

2. Prom. For many schools in the UK prom follows the completion of all of the summer exams and thus generally falls in June. Things to consider are dress/suit, ticket price and transportation. For my prom in 2011 my Mum and I went dress shopping but we were both horrified at the idea of spending £300 on a dress I would only wear for an evening. In the end we found a gorgeous (and designer dress) on eBay that had only been worn once for less than £40. 

3. Father Day (21st June). Whether you decide to make your dad breakfast in bed with a homemade gift or take him out to dinner to his favourite restaurant. Be sure to factor in this day's costs into your budget. A good way to treat your dad without breaking the bank is to go out at lunchtime when meals are often on a cheaper menu. I am all for saving money, couponing etc. but it is important to remember during celebrations such as fathers day why we are celebrating and not to forget the real reason why we bought Dad his favourite chocolates

4.  Vacation money. If you are travelling abroad this summer start setting aside money for spending whilst on holiday and keep an eye on exchange rates to help you determine when to convert your money. Condsier using moneysavingexperts site to keep an eye on when to buy.

5. Gardening. During the summer months is a good time to put a little extra into this fund. Consider planting a vegetable patch to help with your self-sufficiency or get some fresh herb pots as an inexpensive way to jazz up your food. I have noticed some supermarkets selling herbs in pots for as little as 5p because they are starting to look a bit 'sad' but with a bit of TLC they are as good as new.  

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Wedding Wednesday || Picking a photographer

Recently Chris and I have been working on picking out our photographer and have found it to be the trickiest part of planning thus far. We have learned quite a few things through this process and are going to share a few of our tips today. 
royalty free image
Top 5 things to look for in a package :

- How long does the photographer work for? Is that long enough for your day? Do you want them there from you getting ready to the first dance or would you rather just the ceremony? Does your church allow photographs during the ceremony?
- Does the package include any travel costs for the photographer? Sometimes if they are travelling a long distance for the wedding they will charge an extra fuel fee this is important to take into account. It is one of the reasons why it is often advantageous to choose a photographer local to the wedding.
-What kind of prints are included. How many albums of how many pages. Are parents albums included or an extra. Do you get unlimited digital copies? This is at the end of the day the stuff that you keep and it is worth ensuring your get te most for your money. Something we were really looking door was lots of digital copies as we are going to get a digital photo frame to display them.
- Engagement photo shoot. It is worth considering if this is something you want to do as it is a good opportunity to get to know you photographer and if you are like Chris and I it will help you get over being camera shy. When looking for wedding packages we looked to find a photographer who included a engagement shoot in their wedding package. 
- meet the photographer. It is really important that you don't clash personalities and they they are willing to work to achieve your vision. Either arrange to meet up or chat via Skye it is preferable that you do this before signing any contact.
- Cost. Within your wedding budget photography and videography should amount to around 10% of your budget (be are to use the free printable to help you keep track of your wedding spending). For us photography was one of the main priories and something we felt it was important to invest in and as if lasts well beyond the day. Know your price point as this is key when picking photographers. But equally don't be afraid to haggle or amend pre-set packages to reflect your needs and price range. This is especially possible during off season weddings as photographers are in less of a demand and as such are more willing to compromise.

What is your top tip for picking out a photographer?

Friday, 15 May 2015

10 things I've bought that saved me money

Inspired by BudgetGirl's video tag I decided to embark upon the "Things I've bought that saved me money" tag.

1. Annual bus pass. At £365 a year rather than over £4 a day this has definitely saved me a lot this past academic year. 

2. Water bottle and travel squash. I take these to uni everyday and it saves me so much as I don't end up buying drinks on campus. All I've gotta do is find a water source and add the squash and voila the perfect refreshing drink

3.  Slow cooker. Chris and I received this as a gift for our engagement (so not technically a purchase). There are so many recipes I can make with my slow cooker, and they are perfect for my busy schedule. It means that if there is a meal all ready for me when I get home 

4. NUS card. This is a student saver card that gets you student discount at so many stores and restaurants. It is only £12 a year but I have definitely saved more than that from the card. My tastecard also falls under this category (though I have never actually bought one, having won them in competitions). Tastecard's get you 2for1 in many restaurants.

5. My DIY 'savvy cents' wallet. I found a super cute French Connections purse at TK Maxx about 2 years ago and recently started using it again as it has so many compartments making it easy for me to use a cash only system. This has helped me save money by not using my card and also sticking more stringently to the budget.

6. Hair scissors. I have been cutting my own hair for the past three years and this has saved me so much money. I find that with curly hair it doesn't need to be super perfect. 

7. Tupperware. I recently invested in some better quality Tupperware and love using it. I am keen on cooking in bulk and freezing. I also like to purchase items in clearance aisle and freeze them. In addition, I've been striving to take lunches with me to uni much more (as the canteen is expensive). 

8. Falling under a similar category my drinks flask (thermos flask). I bought a super cute Kate Spade one on eBay before starting college and love it. In the winter I will take soup into uni for lunch, or hot chocolate. 

9. 'Bag for life' I have a couple of the 10/50p bags that I reuse, this saves me money when shopping at the shops on campus which charges for every bag that I use. This is not only great for my budget but also for the planet. Plus when it wears out take it to the supermarket and they will change it for free hence the bag for life. 

10. Staples better binder. I bought 5 during my high school years and they are still going strong and I intend to use them for the whole of law school (as I've only got one year left). I also use one for my household binder. This has saved me money as lower quality binders I have used in the past have 'died' really quickly and meant more cost for buying replacements.

Be sure to check out the other videos on this tag

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Free printable || Vacation budget sheet

I use spreadsheets a lot and have found it very helpful whilst planning my summer vacation to be able to keep track of my expences and other information all in one place. That is why I am uploading the spreadsheet I have been using onto google docs for my readers to be able to access.   

What other printables would you like to see on the blog

Monday, 11 May 2015

Money monday || Working out on a budget


Summer is looming and so its time to get into shape ( I know recently I have put on way too much, I'm gonna blame finals for that). Gym memberships can be super expensive and often underused and thus it is somewhere many of use can cut down in our budget. This raises the question of how to work out whilst on a budget?

1. Outdoor gyms. Many parks are now building free outdoor gyms, these are perfect during the summer and provide many of the same equipment found at a gym.Search your local governments pages for locations of outdoor gyms. I know where I am many of the country parks have recently built them. 

2. Work out videos- I love to find work out videos on youtube and even better they are free ( I love ToneItUp and Blogilates). But you can also pick up work out DVD's in charity shops for next to nothing. This way you can have several rotating so you don't get too bored

3. Swimming. Look to see if there are any special offers for frequent visitors. The local pools in Brighton offer £1 swims for students and monthly and weekly savers, making swimming one of the cheapest ways to work out.

4. Local Authority gyms. If you are really desperate for a gym then consider joining a local authority gym, these are much cheaper than private gyms and often offer many of the same facilities. YMCA gyms are also a great alternative that is affordable. Consider whether I may be cost effective to pay per visit rather than having a rolling contract which you may not use all the time. 

5. Cycling and walking. Chris and I love to go to walks living in the Sussex countryside. At the end of the day it is a free and fun.With the weather getting better and better it is the perfect time to rediscover the walks and cycling paths you area has to offer. I like to use apps to track how far I have gone when walking and cycling. The National Trust has a great site for finding fun walks for all ages.

6. Free fitness apps. There are so many out there it is hard to know which are best. I love and have used runkeeper for several years now, this app allows your to track your speed and distnace whilst running (and will notify you by you headphones whilst running if you want). Being able to post my acheivements and track progress is somthing I find really motivating.  I also love spark people, this allows you to track both your fitness, nutrition and weight. I will often use it to track maps if I have been on a walk and not taken my phone with me. 

How do you work out whilst keeping to a budget?