A Simple Step-by-Step Guide on How To Start Saving.

In my recently monthly intentions (which is linked here) I talked about wanting to create a savings plan for the New Year because while I’m not saving for anything in particular, I do want to have some money behind me in case an emergency pops up. So today’s post is about how I plan to start thinking about my savings plan.

Before we start, it’s important to know that everyone’s situation will be different; the questions that I ask appeal to everyone though so you can still use these questions to give your own answers and see how I’m planning on working everything out.

Decide what you want to save for.

Your obvious starting point right here. If you’re reading this saying to yourself, “I should really save” but you have absolutely no idea why you need to or if you only think it would be a good idea but don’t actually want to, simply don’t. If you don’t want to, just don’t. For those of that do want to save, this is your why. Why do you want to have that spare cash? Is it for a holiday? Is it for a particular purchase? A special occasion perhaps? Mine is an emergency basis. I don’t want to be caught out with just my income in my bank account, so it’s smart to have some money behind you at least, in case anything were to happen.

(My spider diagram isn’t completely organised but it’s a great way to get your ideas out quickly if you prefer something that isn’t in list form.)
Know what your direct debit (or essential) bills are.

For many people, they will know what their direct debit or essential bills are. They’re the ones that come out every month around the same time and you know they’re going to be the same price every month. Mine are my rent, my pet insurance, my TV, my internet, my electric and my phone bill. In terms of heating for example, I have oil so I can’t top up my gas every month on a card, I have to buy it in one big batch which can a big price every few months. It’s the same with food shopping; it really varies so that’s why tip number four will be very important here.

20171205_200141.jpg

If you want to save a particular amount.

Once you know what needs to go out each month roughly, have an estimate of how much you would like to save. This really depends on so many factors but because we haven’t looked at ALL purchases, this is just an estimate so I wouldn’t put too much thought into this yet. You also have to think, are you looking at the saving in a monthly term or a yearly? You’ll see it come together faster in a monthly term but with a yearly, if you can’t save one month, you can always move something about and save double the next month.

Keep a closer look at your purchases for the next month.

For those of you that don’t keep an eye on your spending, this will be a real eye opener. I’m not really strict but I wouldn’t just shop and not think about how much something is, and I feel like a lot of people are in that same category. In order to keep track of what you’re spending, you need to write everything down. Yes, even that coffee you bought at lunchtime and even that box of tampons. Absolutely everything and it’s important to do that because you can see what you are buying first hand. It doesn’t take long to do; you can either use your notes app on your phone or you can quickly write it down in a notebook. I tend to write the price too because it makes it much easier to add up at the end of the month. I’m personally not doing this particular process until January because November and December are such expensive months that it doesn’t reflect my true spending habits.

See if there is anything you can eliminate.

Maybe you’ve noticed you buy more coffees than you first thought? Maybe you didn’t realise how many times you were buying lunch during the week rather than meal prepping at home? There could be so many little habits that you pick up on that you didn’t realise that you done. I find it easier to write those habits down again in one list on their own, you can see them a lot clearer that way.

20171205_091210-01.jpeg

We’ll take this as an example; I’ve listed my other debit debit bills which include my gym membership, Spotify, Netflix and my Book and a Brew subscription. Out of four of those, only three were important to me so a few months ago, I stopped my subscription for the book service. This meant I was saving myself £13 a month and while this isn’t what I’ve described above, it’s a good starting point before you go through every single purchase for the month. You can really pin-point first hand what you can potentially eliminate.

Plan out treats for yourself.

Treat Yo’ Self. (If you watch Parks and Recreation, you’ll know how boss Retta and Tom are). You have to treat yourself once and a while, and not all treats are free and that’s perfectly fine. You can still go for your monthly eyebrow appointment, you can still go for that monthly lunch date with your best friend. You have to work out what is important to you to take care of yourself so whether that’s your monthly subscription to Netflix or your Saturday morning cup of tea with your current book in your favourite coffee shop.

Take into consideration any special occasions.

Birthdays and anniversaries are occasions that you can’t avoid and you will have to take into consideration. They will come quite frequently throughout the year so it might be better to budget for these each month too.

Re-examine how much you would like to save.

Go back to your estimate and after taking into consideration what you can cut, what you would like to keep, those special occasions and the bills that you have to keep, how does your estimate look? Can you increase it or do you have to decrease it slightly?

How are you going to put it into place?

I wouldn’t suggest an old fashioned money box for this particular task; I personally would feel a lot safer putting it into a savings account and with online banking, this couldn’t be simplier. With some banks, you can even set it up to take a particular amount out of your account on a certain date so if you think you won’t even up transferring it, this might be the perfect option for you.

Decide when you’re going to start.

Normally I’m all for starting right away but when we’re talking about money, it’s always easier to start when you’ve just been paid because you have clear mind to go into saving mode with. Of course, you can start right away or even start the process at the beginning of the month, but I know I just feel more comfortable when I get paid.

These are quite simple steps so it won’t be for everyone but for some people (including myself) it can be hard to save money. Whether that’s not having a large expendable income or maybe not realising how much they’re truly spending. If this helps just one person, then I’ll be a happy woman. I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you think it could help others, please feel free to share it too ❤

Advertisements

SS: Sunday Saves (#76)

sunday-saves

Good morning on another edition of my Sunday Saves! If you don’t know what my Sunday Saves are, each week I choose three blog posts that I’ve read throughout the week that I think those reading the blog should read too. Today I’ll be discussing regrettable spending habits, ethical fashion and growing your own confidence.

1) The Financial Diet (7 Regrettable Habits From My 20s That Stopped Me Saving Money)

I came across the Financial Diet on YouTube quite recently and I have been loving their videos, but I only started reading their blog over the last week or so. The post I’ll be talking about is habits that the author Samantha took part in during her 20’s that prevented her from saving money, and with my last monthly intentions post talking about a savings plan (That post is linked here!) I was interested to see if I am taking part in the same habits. The biggest one I can relate to on Samantha’s list (to a certain extent) would be not looking at my spending habits. I do try to at the start of the month but I seem to fall behind. Another thing I liked about Samantha’s post was that it wasn’t the same thing we’ve heard one hundred times. We know we shouldn’t buy a coffee (or a tea in my case) every day, we know we need to not buy lunch out all the time; I’m glad she came at it from a completely different angle. It was very refreshing.

2) Tolly Dolly Posh (The Answers To Your Many Questions | Survey Response)

I have been thinking a lot about ethical fashion lately and it’s something I want to dive into and discover for myself. In saying that, I’ve been one of H&M’s best customers lately because of my wardrobe overhaul I’m hoping to have soon (I also mentioned it in my new monthly intentions, linked above!) so while I’ve been thinking about it, I haven’t been putting it into practice, I’ll hold my hands up to that. If you’ve ever had questions about ethical fashion, Tolmeia’s post is the one to read. She’s squeezed in some key questions and answers about it while explaining it in a way that everyone can understand.

3) Mode Lily (Project Me Time: How To Grow Your Confidence)

Something I should bring up about Lily’s post, just like Samantha’s, is that Lily isn’t telling us what we’ve heard before. Her post is about growing your confidence; she’s not telling us “just to be yourself”; to a certain extent she is but she is helping enhance with her six tips. Her point about writing a list about what you love about yourself sounds like quite the challenge for me because I tend to dislike more than liking things about myself. That’s a comfort zone pusher right here! She also talks about giving yourself that extra push and incorporating everything with gratitude (something which I am passionate about too). It’s a really nice post and I recommend it very highly.

That’s all for this week’s choices; remember to click on their links and give their posts a little read too. Thank you so much for taking time out of your week to read this and have a great rest of your day!

Why I Don’t Drink Alcohol.

Beerr..jpg

I made the decision not to drink when I was around sixteen. I had half a glass of Peach Schnapps when I was about fourteen and a sip of champagne at my formal when I was sixteen. That’s the height of my drinking, honestly. Ever since I was sixteen, I’ve always been asked why I don’t drink and I really don’t mind being asked; if people are genuinely interested, then I’m happy to answer. I don’t know many other twenty five year olds that don’t drink so I think that’s why when most people see someone not drinking when everyone else is, they can be taken aback.

I always get told “If you control how much you drink, you’ll not lose control” or the best one yet, “You don’t lose control, you know what you’re doing all the time.” Both wrong in my opinion, I believe that once alcohol enters your system, you’re not in control like you were before. Yes, of course there is science behind it all but I still wouldn’t let my boyfriend drive after one drink. Call me overly cautious and yes, he would still be under the limit, but if you’re choosing to drive, don’t drink. That’s why I offer to drive, I really don’t mind it; I actually like driving so it’s never a problem for me.

I don’t know whether this is because of the zero drinking or because of the type of person I am but I would rather come home after a long week of work, stick on the TV and have a big cup of tea rather than go out on a night out. Going out is a lot of effort, and don’t get me wrong, I go out sometimes and it’s nice but I couldn’t do it every week or every fortnight; once a month might even be pushing it. I find when I used to go out (when I was just with friends) I would hit the 11:30pm mark and I wouldn’t be able to have a decent conversation so that was always my cue that it was almost home time. Having someone repeat themselves over and over again or someone just talking absolute nonsense in your ear is something that I personally can’t listen to until the early hours of the morning in a very noisy night club (unless it’s my boyfriend and he’s just adorable when he tells me stories when he’s been drinking).

Alcohol.

Money is also a huge factor. So on an average night out, I used to spend more money on taxis getting home than my drinks. I drink water and pure orange, that’s it! Oh, and let’s be realistic here, if it was even a little sociable acceptable, I would ask for a tea but I think that might be a step too far, don’t you? I don’t drink fizzy drinks or sparkling water, it’s just water and pure orange. So normally the water is free and the dearest I’ve paid for an orange is around £3 (I only bought one that night after that price!). Alcohol is not cheap! So why not go out, still have a good time without the massive cost and buy myself something else that I might be able to get more use out of?

Now I don’t think I’m a perfect person because I don’t drink. The last thing I want to do is come across like someone who thinks “Oh look at me, I don’t drink so I’m automatically better than you” because I really have never thought like that. I’m not any better or any  worse because I choose not to drink it.

I hope this post gave you an insight into someone who doesn’t drink. I have no problem with people who drink by the way! If you drink, cool. If you don’t, cool. I have zero problem with it. What I do have a problem with is when people don’t understand and don’t actually listen. No, I don’t want “one drink”, I’ve said no, what’s so hard about that? Thankfully over the past few years, my teenage years and now in my mid twenties, I haven’t had too many of those experiences. It just seems that it seems to be such a foreign concept to some people and it’s all about understanding at the end of the day.

(Images from pexels.com)

Let’s Talk About… Summer Goals

Summer Goals

I’m a goal setter. I love New Year’s Resolutions, I constantly like to push myself to be better so I wanted to create some Summer Goals for myself to try and achieve at least by the end of the Summer. It’s always a good motivator for me and I believe everyone needs to have a few goals in their life to keep moving forward and to continuously grow.

1. Get my diaries organised.

Coming up soon in another blog post, I’ll go more in-depth on my diaries, but I have two Filofaxes and I want to organise them both before the end of the Summer. I got really into them before months ago then fell off the wagon again, and that was all because I missed a few days and I didn’t like that they felt blank, so I gave up. I’ve bought two new calender diaries for them for this academic year (even though I’m no longer an academic) so maybe once I’m a few months in, I’ll go through them on my blog and tell you how I organise and decorate them.

2. Update, organise and structure my blog more.

This one is quite a big one for me. This is the first time that I have been consistent with writing blog posts and writing about things that I want to write about and for me, that’s something to be proud of. I’m not that happy with the way my blog looks (as I have written about previously), I’m not too fond of the layout and would like to brighten it up and make it look more professional (even though this is just a hobby for me!). So over the Summer, I would like to organise it more; have more pages and categories, sort those categories out and  have a blog that I can be really really proud of.

3. Incorporate  meditation into my daily routine.

After seeing a lot of people I follow via blogs talking about the Calm app, I downloaded it myself and I’ve found it to be one of the best mediation apps. I can’t seem to find the right balance at the minute but I hope once it comes to using it every day, I’ll find the right time and the right place to use it and really see a difference.

4. Take part in a Park Run.

I’ve heard of Park Runs for a while but I’ve never taken part in one so what a perfect time to start! I’ve recently got a good solid morning routine down which includes a very early morning start (There will of course be a blog post about this soon, it’s something I really want to talk about!) and I think adding in a nice early Saturday morning run would be great! It’s also a sense of community and because it’s timed, you can have a competition with yourself every week. I’m not planning on running it at first, I plan to walk and jog for the first few goes but if I catch the bug for it, I would love then to build up my time and my speed. My boyfriend and I have already registered so we just need to take part now!

5. Take more control of my spending.

We’re all guilty of buying a nail polish here and there or an extra treat for dessert when you go home, but they do all add up at the end of the month when you ask yourself why you only have a small amount left in the bank? I’m planning on moving in with my boyfriend soon so that will include me paying half of his rent, and splitting food and electric bills for example (Although I do like to think I do add to that) so I want to get all that sorted out first then once I see how much I have left, then I can have the occasional treat.

I do plan on having a little Summer Goals with my boyfriend, so once the Summer is over, I’ll maybe share what my goals were from that list, and if I achieved them.

 

♥ My 2016 New Year’s Resolutions ♥

Say what you will about New Year’s Resolutions, I can see it from both sides, but I think they’re so much fun and it has a little planning element to it, so I love it!

1) Go outside every day!
There’s some days where I don’t leave the house at all. I work a full time job so Saturday is normally my relaxing day and I don’t leave the house but I think even going for a fifteen minute walk would benefit me. Obviously if I’m really sick or if the weather looks like it could really blow me away, I won’t be stepping outside, but I want to make more of an effort to go outside for a little while on days where I’d be in the house all day.

2) Advance further in yoga.
As you’ll see from my 2015 Reflections (which will be linked here soon!), I came on leaps and bounds in yoga. It’s almost my yoga birthday and I don’t know what I would do without it now. I want to challenge myself even further in yoga though, and I’d love to be able to get up a little earlier in the morning to do some before work. Or even skip a Saturday lie in every once in a week, and have a good long session.

3) Save more money!
I started to save for a holiday to Canada then I started to dip into the fund around September, and it’s basically back down to it’s original amount. I have a few places I want to travel to this year as well as Canada hopefully in 2017, so I need to keep saving. I just need to figure out a reasonable amount every month that won’t make me feel like I have nothing left after rent, bills and other expenses.

4) Write every day in my One Line A Day book.
I bought myself a Q&A One-A-Day book two years ago and I missed out so much of it and I’m really annoyed with myself that I can’t go back to it seeing all the blank spaces. This is why it’s extra important that I keep this up (I don’t want blank spaces in this too!). If you haven’t seen it before, here’s a photograph from my Instagram.

5) Read more books!
So this feels quite similar to a resolution I had a few years ago, I think it was for 12 books and I didn’t succeed. I was going to set myself a goal of twelve books this year but I know if I just set myself “more” rather than a number, I might not be so hard on myself. I sometimes find it hard to read (I get very sleepy very fast) but I’m going to make a conscience effort this year.

6) Knit more!
Again, this is quite similar to the books. I don’t want to set myself on a number but I knit two (almost three) things last year so I want to pass that number with flying colours this year. I also want to try and advance myself a little too, maybe try something more difficult than the knit and purl stitch.

7) Keep up with my blog!
This was my resolution last year and I failed about 90% of it. I think if I blog what I’m passionate about then I’ll keep myself interested but it got to the point where I was just posting beauty favourites and I got really bored. This year will change that, I know it.

8) Learn a new language.
I disappoint myself knowing that I studied French for five years, including two years for GCSE but if you were to ask me to speak French, I would know the very very basics. I want to expand my language culture; I also plan on going to at least one new country this year so I want to learn their language, so even if I can learn the basics and build from that, I’d love that.

9) Spend more time with my boyfriend.
Okay, the ultimate cheesy one! We haven’t been together very long but we have so much planned to do together including starting Game of Thrones together, cook new meals, visiting new places. 2016 is just going to be such an exciting year and I can’t wait to share it with someone who is so wonderful. (Want me to hand anyone the sick bucket?)