I’m Always Looking For A Good Bargain

If there is anything you should know about me it is that I love a good bargain. Whether that be by taking advantage of deals online or visiting charity shops and picking up as new pieces for pence, I can always be found looking for some sort of good deal.

As it comes up to Christmas, I am looking for bargains even more. We have just had Jack’s birthday, we’ve got Christmas in just over two weeks and then Olivia’s birthday is in early January. It can get very expensive so anything that helps keep the costs down is fine by me.

But there’s also another side to this – there is always some fantastic sales in the last few months of the year and the early months of the next – Black Friday sales, Boxing Day sales, January sales. In these, there is always such a wide variety of items that can be bought for a much lower price than normal.

Jonathan Brinkhorst

I’ve been utilising the LatestDeals website recently to help me to find bargains most suited to my needs. I’ve mentioned that we have been looking at new houses recently and are planning on moving. We’ve also got a number of appliances that could do with a refresh – we’ve had our washing machine, fridge and microwave for donkeys years now so to find some cheap microwaves would be very handy. Mine has started making a weird sound when microwaving stuff so I don’t think it is too long before it gives up the ghost. I’ve found a few models that I’m considering but ultimately it all depends on what property we end up moving to and kitchen space – after all, microwaves aren’t one size fits all!

I’ve also managed to pick some great deals on toys for Jack’s birthday and Christmas presents – he is very much into certain things at the moment like Paw Patrol, Scooby Doo and Ghostbusters but those toys and other paraphernalia don’t come cheap. However I have managed to get some fantastic deals on some of the items which has freed up my budget a little to buy some more stuff for stocking fillers.

I’ve also picked up some items for Olivia – although she is obviously not getting too much for Christmas or her birthday as she is only tiny and it is not like she will remember it! She has a walker, some books and some extra little bits but nothing too big.

Have you found any decent bargains recently? Did you pick up anything from the Black Friday sales and will you be logging on this Boxing Day to grab some good bargains?

Collaboration

 

 

Saving For A Deposit | How Are We Doing?

This is a sponsored post

We’ve been saving for a home deposit for quite some time now. Unfortunately this is taking us a bit longer than it would probably take others as we live in a very expensive area – so if we want to get a mortgage, we need to save an extremely substantial deposit. This does also mean that we have been looking further afield to see if we can find properties elsewhere that suit our needs and don’t require such a large budget!

I’ve been trying out this handy My First Home Calculator tool from MyVoucherCodes (why not give it a try yourself below?).

 

 

The tool talks about your outgoings and where you can actually save money on them. I gave the tool a try and found out that if I cut back a little on my non essential outgoings, I could have an extra £2000+ per year to put towards my deposit. When you put it like that, it seems crazy not to cut back, doesn’t it?

But how exactly am I saving money for our deposit? Steve is putting a little money aside from his pay packet each month but that isn’t as easy for me as I’m self employed. I never quite know how much money I will make but I try to put a percentage away for tax purposes, some kept in my account for bills and then move amounts over to my savings as and when. I also have a bank account which has a ‘Save The Change’ feature which enables me to save money to my savings account without even thinking about it.

Another thing I do is I always check for voucher codes and My Voucher Codes really is a great resource for this. They feature so many different brands! I always check the site before purchasing online as I am bound to save some pennies by finding a voucher code – and then I can move the amount I’ve saved straight into the deposit fund. Have you been checking out the site for voucher codes? If not, why not? You are bound to find the brand you are looking for on there!

Lastly I am still doing my online surveys and market research chats – these may not be consistent but the odd £10 payment for cashing out on a survey site still boosts the deposit fund a little and the £50 cheque I get from one of the survey sites every couple of months is a substantial boost. I also am decluttering as I go and selling anything that we no longer need – I am being brutal. It goes, it sells and the money gets added to the house account.

Steve and I have been together eight years now and living together for seven yet we are still going to be first time buyers. It is important for us to save a decent deposit to get us our perfect house for us to raise our family. I can’t wait to finally get there.

 

Saving For Special Occasions

There is so much pressure on us nowadays to pay out for big events and special occasions. I must admit that we don’t participate in all the events in a year as it would just be too much but we do celebrate a few and have our own special ways of saving for them.

Swift Money are currently in the process of creating an infographic talking about how we spend money on these occasions and how much pressure is on us to buy at these times. Let’s take a look at the facts and figures around gift purchasing and how we finance these gifts. People may even consider taking on loans such as these https://swiftmoney.com/payday-loans-for-bad-credit.php – is this something you have ever considered?

52% of women ‘always’ or ‘occasionally’ save money for gifts, whereas 63% of men will ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ save. I would definitely agree with this – I am much more likely to save for Jack and Olivia’s birthday and Christmas presents whereas Steve just uses that month’s paycheck if there is anything left. 68% of people said there are societal pressures to buy for more calendar events than they would like to – this is very true also but in our situation, we have decided that we will only buy for the most important people on the most important occasions otherwise we end up spending out far too much and leaving ourselves short in other areas.

When it comes to Christmas gift giving, food and drink is the most popular gift given (38%) with wearables such as clothes, jewellery and perfume following close behind with 28% and gadgets also at the same percentage. I generally buy food and drink items, wearables or gadgets so this figure definitely seems correct to me. So when it comes to Christmas, what do we do?

I have now got to the point where I start saving money from around halfway through the year – I save a little bit into my savings account from each invoice that comes in, I save my rewards on all my supermarket loyalty cards so I can spend them during the festive season and I also try to save all Amazon gift codes so I can have a big splurge on presents at the end of November for Jack’s birthday and the kids Christmas presents. I also enter competitions to try and win the things that the kids and Steve want but I may not necessarily afford. Yes, I may not always win but I always end up with a nice bounty of prizes to give to the children, Steve and our parents alongside the things I have bought.

Aside from a few chocolate eggs for the kids at Easter, the only other events we spend out on except for birthdays is Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. It is said that 40% of people buy flowers for Father’s/Mother’s Day and whilst we definitely buy our mums flowers for Mother’s Day, I cannot say we have ever bought flowers for our dads – opting more for sports stuff, clothes or the odd bottle of whisky. Whilst we save for the kids birthdays and Christmas presents, we generally tend to pay out for other presents such as Easter eggs and Father’s and Mother’s Day presents out of our paychecks.

How do you save for special occasions? Do you have a particular routine each year to save up for the big events?

In colloration

Saving More, Spending Less | Update 2

Since my last update, I haven’t got much further but I thought I’d update on you how I have been doing since the update.

SAVING MORE

Save The Change is working well for me – I’m managing to save quite a bit simply by having this set up. I am also saving 25% of any income into my bank account for tax – I’m being extra cautious and making sure I have more than enough money to pay any tax that’s due.

SPENDING LESS

I am still partial to the coffee shop but the takeaways are pretty much non existent since we properly got back on Slimming World. However, buying more ingredients to cook from scratch has proved to be a little bit expensive but hey, at least we are being healthy!

WORKING MORE

I am working even more. I seem to be picking up clients left, right and centre and I am loving it. Whether it is blog work, freelance writing, proofreading or virtual assistant services, I am constantly busy and I love ot/

HUSTLING, HUSTLING, HUSTLING

I am still checking my daily lotteries (my favourites are Free Lucky Lottery, NumberPlateLotto (which I have won on before and been paid THE SAME DAY),Free Postcode Lottery, Lucky Phone and DOB Lotto.

I’m still completing online surveys – I’ve recently scaled down the sites I use but I still use Populus Live, New Vista Live, Panelbase, Opinion Outpost, OpinionBar, Pinecone Research, Prolific Academic and YouGov – I’ve had two cheques from Populus already this year! Some of these offer an email referral scheme so if you’re interested in signing up to Panelbase or OpinionBar under me, just let me know! I’ve managed to cash out over £150 this year so far – all going towards debt.

Swagbucks has taken over my life again – you can sign up here – I’ve made almost £100 since getting back into it. I’ve also been selling our unwanted items. I’ve been selling tons on Shpock and Facebook groups too – determined to declutter my house whilst earning some cash at the same time!

If you are in a similar position, how are you doing?

Saving More, Spending Less | An Update

I recently wrote a post entitled Saving More, Spending Less | Our Plan To Be Debt Free ASAPI thought it was about time to give you an update two months on.

I mentioned I had five debts to pay: my friend, a large utility bill from when we had our water leak, tax credit overpayment and two credit cards. Well, since I wrote that post I managed to get sent another large water bill but I am glad to say both that and the utility bill are completely gone. I have almost finished paying my friend and have been making some headway with the tax credits and credit cards.

So how have I been doing this?

Saving More

I mentioned I would be saving more through three ways: skimming my bank account, using the Chip app and reducing my outgoings. I recently opened a new savings account with Lloyds and set up Save The Change to skim my current account with them. I actually deleted my Chip account this morning as I no longer had a need for it and disconnected all my information – Save The Change now does it all for me. I also managed to reduce my outgoings by cancelling any payments for things that I rarely or no longer used.

Spending Less

I must admit this has been quite hard and I am still partial to the odd coffee shop trip or takeaway but gone are my magazine subscriptions and subscriptions to anything else I don’t use regularly enough. No point wasting money on things I am not using!

Working More

I am so proud to say that this really seems to be working for me. I have a few long term freelance clients and few long term blog clients but am always happy to take on more work if it fits in my schedule. I’ve also branched out into Virtual Assisting; helping bloggers when they really need an extra pair of hands because they are so busy or away on holiday. I still need to do some work on my work website and get promoting the blogger outreach side of what I have to offer but I’m doing well and once bills are paid, debts are going down, down, down!

Hustling, Hustling, Hustling

Finally..how am I getting on with my side hustles? I’m still checking my daily lotteries (my favourites are Free Lucky Lottery, NumberPlateLotto (which I have won on before and been paid THE SAME DAY), The Selfie Lottery, Free Postcode Lottery, Lucky Phone and DOB Lotto. I’m still completing online surveys – I’ve recently scaled down the sites I use but I still use Populus Live, New Vista Live, Panelbase, Opinion Outpost, OpinionBar, Pinecone Research, Prolific Academic and YouGov. Some of these offer an email referral scheme so if you’re interested in signing up to Panelbase or OpinionBar under me, just let me know! I’ve managed to cash out over £150 this year so far – all going towards debt.

Swagbucks has taken over my life again – you can sign up here – I’ve made almost £100 since getting back into it. I’ve also been selling our unwanted items. Facebook and GumTree seem to have gone a bit quiet so I’m now going to try eBay once again. They say the average person has around £4k of stuff in their house that they could sell so I’m definitely going to try and get some of my old stuff shifted.

I’m feeling so positive about the year ahead and I know I can do this -wish me luck!

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