Tuesday, 29 March 2016

MY 5 EASY TIPS FOR SAVING MONEY


Saving money was always been something I was never able to do. But after saving money to buy Tom's Christmas present last year I realised that it's really not as scary or as hard as what I thought it was.

Now that Tom and I are both saving for our own house, I've realised exactly where I've been going wrong all these years. Saving money really shouldn't be hard work and to be honest, I'm finding it really enjoyable at the moment. I like watching our savings increase, it's like we're just getting closer and closer to owning our own home.

I wanted to share 5 really easy tips that I've been using since we started saving. When I say really easy, I mean really easy!

1. create a plan
Set a target and create a spreadsheet, plan out exactly how much you'll be putting away each month or week. Make sure you keep in mind the months in which events such as Birthdays and holidays are in, you don't want to be saving loads of money in the month's you've got to spend more money than usual.

For example, we're going to Barcelona at the end of May. So in April and May we won't be putting as much into our savings as what we usually would because we want to have money to do nice things in Barcelona.

We've said that by the end of 2017 we want to have enough money saved for a deposit, so we've got a rough target of how much we want to have saved by then and ensured that in the month's we won't be doing anything (no birthdays or holidays), we're putting a little bit more away.

2. Be realistic
Don't put 90% of your wages away into savings if you know that you can't live off just 10%. I know that I can't. I've made a spreadsheet which has all of my expenses on so that I can see exactly how much all of my bills add up to. I then don't just add the remaining money into my savings account because then I wouldn't have money for food or social activities.

Don't save too much. If you're putting away 90% of your wages, then you'll only dip into it. Whether that be £50 here for a food shop, £10 there for a taxi home. You'll end up dipping in to it too much here and there and you'll be left with no savings. This is where I was going wrong for so long. I would put a large amount away at the beginning of the month with the intention of saving it. Come the middle of the month I would need to dip into it for a food shop, or money to get the bus and by the end of the month because I had dipped into my savings too much, I was left with zero savings.

I want to be able to enjoy myself whilst saving. If our friends ask us to go out for dinner I want to be able to go out for dinner. So I make sure that even when I've put some money away, I still have money available to do nice things should they come up. If at the end of the month I haven't really gone out as much as I thought I would and I have money left over, brilliant! I'll just put that in the savings and look, I've saved extra and didn't spend the month being a miserable anti-social butterfly.

3. Keep yourself motivated
Don't loose that motivation to save. If you have something in mind that you want to save for, for example a bag, then keep looking at that bag! If you're saving for a holiday, keep looking at that holiday destination, plan where you're going to visit, get excited! It'll make putting that money aside so much more easier!

I keep looking at properties for sale online and I've downloaded well known apps to keep me motivated. I'm not looking for "our home" but I'm looking at what sort of things are on offer for our budget. I've also been watching people's moving vlogs on youtube, knowing that one day if we keep up the good work, that'll be us.

It sounds so cliché but it's working.

4. Out of sight, out of mind
Open up a savings account and don't keep looking at it. It can be so easy to think "Oh I've got £600 in the savings account, it wont make that much difference if I just take out £20". It will make a difference, so don't do it!! Again, something else I'm still learning to do.

I'm just not looking at it. When I open up by banking app, I don't even swipe across to look at the savings account, I only ever look at my current account.

I would recommend not checking it when transferring money into it each month. Imagine how much of a nice surprise it'll be when putting money into it for 3/4 months and then you check it and you'll realise "Woah I've saved £1000 already!!" Well done you.

5. Do you really need that?
Yep, this one is easier said than done. Everyone knows that I love make up and skincare. I've really had to be good with my spending. But if you're looking at something, ask yourself if you really need it.

I was on Asos the other day and my basket came to £95. I had 2 sets of underwear, 1 piece of nightwear and a set of knickers. £95!!! I asked myself if I really needed 2 sets of underwear? No, I didn't even need 1. So I removed them both and just purchased the nightwear and the set of knickers. I saved myself £50 by doing that!

I did the same with mascara, I had ran out of my Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara which is £23. I toyed with the idea of buying another one but I didn't need the Bobbi Brown one, I just needed mascara. So instead of spending £23 I spent £9.99 on a Max Factor one. I saved £13.01 - Well done me.

Just ask yourself if you really need it? Can you buy a dupe for it? Is it cheaper online? Have you looked to see if it's on offer somewhere else?

I know that these tips are obvious but these are all of the things that I was going wrong on for so many years. Saving doesn't have to be hard, it's actually pretty fun.
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Monday, 28 March 2016

A LITTLE UPDATE


It's been such a long time since I've sat at my laptop and been inspired to write a blog post. I don't really know why that is. Blogging is such a huge passion of mine, I absolutely love it. I wrote a blog post a few months back about finding love again with my blog, and I spoke about how I've grown up a lot since I started writing Tea An Toast and how I want my blog to grow up with me. Being totally honest, that's something I'm struggling to achieve at the moment. Does anyone else feel the same? If so, how do you overcome it?

2016 has started off brilliantly for me. I've got a new job at work, I'm now a team leader. Tom and I are saving for our own house. I'm feeling so much more confident and comfortable within myself. I'm working out regularly and I'm really motivated to work on my strength at the minute. I've got a holiday booked with friends, we're going to Barcelona. I'm just feeling really good about everything around me, which is a feeling I'm not used to at all! There is absolutely no drama in my life. Again, something I'm not used to at all - but I'm flipping loving it!

I'm turning 25 in April. A fraction of me feels like I should have achieved a lot more than what I have by this age, but because I'm just so happy and at peace with myself at the moment that right now is the best point in my life so far.

Let's hope things carry on being so great eh!
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Sunday, 24 January 2016

THE BREWHOUSE & KITCHEN | SUTTON COLDFIELD

The other day as Tom and I drove into Sutton Coldfield to have a wonder around the shops and grab some lunch. As we were driving in we drove past The Brewhouse & Kitchen and I said to Tom how we needed to try this cool place soon. A week or so later and I get an email from them inviting us to come along for their launch event, cool huh?

It's really beautiful inside, very cosy and welcoming. After a cold walk from the car we obviously headed straight for the seats that were by the log fire.

As soon as you walk in you're surrounded and inspired by local and independent brewing, they even have their own micro brewery where they make their own beers and then name them after local surroundings and events.

We were given a free drink of our choice, I went for a cider (which I cannot remember the name of) and Tom went for the 004 Oaks, which he liked. As the evening went on they brought out samples of food which were accompanied by beers which compliments each dish. We had samples of fish goujons, onion rings, jerk chicken (best jerk chicken I've ever had) and brownies. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of beer but I must say, I was really enjoying the samples along with the food, they all went really well together.

The staff seemed to know their stuff, so if you do go don't be afraid to ask questions.The food on the menu was your classic 'beer' food, nothing adventurous but did sound delicious, reasonably priced as well. We were talking to a couple who had visited before and they said the portions were big so well worth the money.

Tom and I immediately said that we need to come back with or friends and try out the food. I'd highly recommend checking The Brewhouse & Kitchen out if you're around the Birmingham area.


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