Drinking a LOT of tea and coffee in my new Cath Kidston mug, bought on New Years Eve to aid me through my Dryathalon.
Thinking about cutting my hair...
Pampering. Jade bought me this for Christmas and it's working miracles.
Wondering why we don't do this more often... a couple of Sunday's ago, we got Ruby in the car and drove to the woods. We walked for a couple of hours, aimlessly, and then drove home for lunch. It was lovely, and Ruby was so well behaved. It made us want our own pup even more.
Wearing my new black on black Vans and regretting not getting some sooner.
Struggling to get back into a work routine. These dark mornings are killer, and unintentionally working late most nights is taking it's toll.
Listening to a lot of old Fall Out Boy songs, and remembering my teenage years.
Finishing our scrapbook, FINALLY.
Taking selfies in an AA recovery van. Owen's car broke down on the way to Cardiff... we had quite an adventure and arrived 6 hours after leaving home (it should only have taken 2 hours on a bad day)
Seeing Slipknot... bet you weren't expecting that one! I used to listen to them a lot when I was younger, so when they put tickets out for a Cardiff show, a group of us decided we'd go. And I have no shame in saying that they were one of the best bands I've seen live, in my 10 years of gigging and I've seen a lot.
Since our priorities changed from traveling to saving for a mortgage, I have been thinking about the ways I spend money and the changes I can make to help us on our journey. Here's just a few things we have set in motion to help us get our savings account off the ground - maybe they can help you too!
Old fashioned money box
On 1st January, we made a decision to save every pound coin which we get in change. At the end of each day if there's a £1 coin in my purse or Ash's wallet it goes into our money box, which is one you can't get money out of until its full. And then you have to smash it! I haven't been keeping exact track of what's in there, but I think we're already at about £30. I can't wait to see how much is in there when it's full!
Cash back websites
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have read the other day that since joining Quidco just a little over a year ago, I have earned £96 from cash back. It's so simple. Whenever buying anything online, I hop over to Quidco.com first, search the name of the website (mostly ASOS...), and then visit it through Quidco. Tracking is set through browser cookies, and once the transaction is complete you get an email to say what you've earnt. Each retailer sets their own cash back amount, from 1% up to 15%! It also prompts you to use any live discount codes which may be on the website too, ensuring the best deal all the time. I think the most I got was £25 from First Choice when I booked our holiday to Greece. But all the other purchases soon add up!
Looking after the pennies
Whenever I log into my online banking, I transfer the penny amount from my current account into savings. At this very moment, there's an uneven pound amount of 51p. So, into savings it goes. This has meant that an extra £6 has gone into savings over the past two weeks. Not a HUGE amount, but something which will also add up. I don't miss it from my current account, and it makes my savings look nicer.
Spend with cash, not card
It's so easy to tap in 4 digits on a card machine and spend away your future. But it definitely registers more in your mind when you hand over the 'real deal.' After pay day, I withdraw in cash the amount of money I'd be happy spending throughout the month on extras - generally spent at the pub, food/toiletries shopping at the supermarket or any other unplanned spends. And once it's gone, it's gone. This way, I'm always mindful of what I can afford before the next pay day. And an extra bonus - I get pound coins back to put in my savings jar!
Reduce monthly bills
I've finally cancelled my gym membership. I liked the idea of it more than I actually liked being there, so now I save £32 a month by using YouTube for my workouts.
When my iPhone contract comes up for renewal this year, I am going to get a SIM-only deal and keep my 5C handset. It's more than good enough for what I need it for, and I won't be stuck in another 2 year contract.
Being thrifty with car insurance has paid off too.. when I got my new car back in November, it was cheaper by around £5 a month to add my Mum to the insurance than it was for her to not be on there. All of these monthly savings make a huge difference to the amount I can afford to put into savings, and in turn, will help our account grow.
Well - I hope these tips may have inspired a couple of you. If you have any other tips on saving, please do share!
This January, I am taking part in Cancer Research UK's Dryathalon. Here are the rules...
Sounds easy? You're right; it is easy. When your house isn't full of leftover booze from Christmas! I have always loved a drink, and I probably always will. (Don't forget about my Liquor Love posts!) But, I have taken this pledge of no booze for 31 days because I hate cancer. I hate what it does to people. How it wears them down to the core and snatches them away. How a life can change just by hearing the C word.
I felt weak last night - my final evening off work before the January Blues really hit. The fire was roaring. I was in my PJs, tummy full after a lovely roast dinner. Ash put on the DVD he bought me for Christmas, The Fault in Our Stars. And then I remembered why I wasn't going to sneak a cheeky Budweiser. Because cancer is everywhere. It affects so many people, directly or indirectly.
Cancer took my Grandad's life 8 years ago tomorrow. Cancer took my Mum's best friends life from her last Spring, leaving her husband and young children behind. Cancer took my next door neighbour in December. Cancer attacked my colleague in Autumn - she is sick from the chemo, but fighting. Cancer attacked a family friend in Summer - she is waiting for radiotherapy, but fighting. Cancer attacked my boss 3 years ago; but she is in remission.
I will put down my phone more often. I will read more. I will be a better Slimming World member. I will reach my target. I will spend less and save more. I will raise money for charity. I will work hard, every day. I will do something different with my hair. I will stop hoarding rubbish. I will sing more (and loud). I will be a good friend. I will help those around me. I will make time for me. I will drink less, but eat well. I will cook more. I will be tidier. I will look after my skin and my hair. I will dust. I will make the tea. I will be positive. I will learn. I will grow.