2014: A Time For Change

Hello everyone!

Long time no see! It has been a bit busy at home recently – Jack’s birthday was this past Wednesday, Christmas is obviously coming up and I had a vast number of articles to write in the past few weeks which left little time for blogging on either blog.

2014, however, is a time for change. I plan to dedicate more time to updating BOTH blogs – whilst I post regularly on Futures, I am not showing the same level of commitment to Keene On Saving – which really annoys me. I know I only have myself to blame and this is why there will be a different state of affairs come next year.

My plan for next year is to work around Steve’s schedule as much as I can. I shall be sorting out my home office within the first few weeks of January (the computer is currently in the bedroom which is no problem if I can use the laptop – however I prefer using the PC). I will be getting everything on track so will be sticking to a schedule centred around Steve’s shifts. The long and the short of it is that I will spend a day taking pictures and preparing for posts on both KOS and Futures and then another day writing posts for the week.

This will leave 5 days – 4 for my freelance work and 1 for chilling out. Obviously, I plan to get as much done when Steve is at work as possible so I can spend more than one day with him but that is the general jist for now. I am also going to be putting down Jack’s name for nursery for a couple of days in the next few months. Whilst we can’t really afford it right now, I am sure by tightening our belts even more and looking into what help we can get that we could manage. This would likely bring some positivity to my working life as well – I tend to work when Jack is busy napping or at night but this isn’t always possible if he is playing up. This also means I get barely anything done during the day as he gets my full attention. Being in nursery for a few hours a week will certainly increase productivity and hopefully bring more money in too!

This is quite a rambly post and for that, I apologise. But I am looking to make some changes next year and these are just some of them. Check back soon for the financial changes I plan to make to ensure 2014 is a much better year than 2013.

Treating Yourself On A Budget

It’s hard to believe but we’re already in December;  that time of the year that we all either love or loathe. Regardless of how we feel  about it, we all tend to end up having to be quite tight with our budgets once Christmas comes knocking but I want to give you a few ideas that will let you still treat yourself, even when the money isn’t flowing.

A lot of these things will be obvious but at a time, such a Christmas, we often forget about treating ourselves; in the rush of present buying, present wrapping, card writing, decorating, food shopping and plenty more as well, we forget that sometimes we need to just step back and have a bit of time for ourselves, or spend a little money on ourselves just to get that ‘feel good’ factor. Thankfully there are Plenty of ways to do that without having to cut back on your present buying or having less tinsel on your tree.

Firstly Shopping Trips – Now not everyone enjoys shopping but if you do you know how dangerous it can be when you’re low on funds. That said it doesn’t have to mean that you can’t shop at all, you just need to be shopping savvy. Shops like Poundland, Wilkinsons and Primark may have bad reputations but they’re absolute treasure troves if you’re wanting to treat yourself without breaking the bank – Pop in to Poundland for a nice scented candle, some chocolate and even a dvd, maybe a trip to Primark for some nice new fluffy slippers and suddenly you’ve got a much nicer evening and the joy of retail therapy all for £5.50!

And what about Date Night? Never, ever, forget about Orange Wednedays – If you’re not on Orange then find a friend who is and ask them to send you their code if they’re not using it. The cinema is So expensive but if you Really want to see a film then getting it BOGOF is going to make a massive difference. Also check out voucher sites as they often have vouchers for restaurants, similarly if you collect Tesco Clubcard points you can get some fantastic vouchers to go towards a nice meal out.

If you’re normally someone who likes to go on nights out to see your friends then maybe you can consider a Luxe Night In instead. Why’s it Luxe? Well you’re going to spend a little more than you would, normally, on a night in but it’s still going to be Much less than you would on a night out. If everyone brings a drink, a dvd, a bag of pop corn or sweets and a bottle of nail polish then you can have a great night in. The host can cook some cheap oven cooked pizzas and garlic bread (which everyone can chip in for and which can be surprisingly nice if you get them from the fresh rather than frozen section, and Still very cheap) and then you can all swap and use someone else’s nail polish to mix things up, maybe bring some face masks as well and you can have a pamper session, watch some different films as everyone’s brought something different and eat some tasty food all for a Very small amount.

In a more general sense never forget 3 for 2 offers, if you’re a beauty junkie, like me, then Boots and Superdrugs’ offers are just fantastic and that’s not to mention reward points too – I can have a whole shopping trip just on reward points if I’ve saved up a bit! And don’t forget to use sites like Topcashback, you can earn plenty throughout the year and then when the more frugal months hit you’ve got some money saved so you can still look after yourself whilst buying lovely things for everyone else!

As well as money saving sites there are also streaming sites such as Netflix and Love Film, if you’re a movie buff then maybe, instead of buying dvds, you can subscribe to one of these services and still enjoy your favourite films without breaking the bank.

There’s so many ideas once you put your mind to it – I think the most important thing to remember is that, even during the festive period when you’re trying so hard to please everyone else, it’s ok to take some time out or spend a little bit of your budget on yourself!

 This is a guest post by Laura from Petit Moi Big World.

Things I Am Reluctant To Spend On

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about things I don’t mind spending money on. There were a few things there that were joint things between me and Steve and I also wrote down a list of things I do mind spending on.

As well as not having posted for a while due to a backlog of work to catch up on, I also seem to have binned the aforementioned list. Hopefully I can remember some of the things on there!

  • Food & Drink – Obviously I need food and drink to survive. However, if there is a saving to be made then I will make that saving. I can often be found weighing up the pros and cons of an offer in the supermarket aisle. If I don’t have to spend full price on something, I won’t – whether they are on promotion or I have a free coupon.
  • Beauty products  – Unlike my skincare, I try not to spend too much money on makeup and bodycare. I will, of course, have the occasional splurge but I am reluctant to spend out unless it is something I really want. I have never paid full price for a MAC lipstick yet have a few in my collection – I have bought these from blog sales or won them in giveaways.
  • Clothes – A decent coat, pair of jeans, pair of shoes and a bra are the exceptions. However, I don’t see the point of paying out loads on a dress you will only wear once! The most expensive dress in my wardrobe was £39 and I have got plenty of wear out of it in the short time I have had it. If you give me the choice of one designer t shirt or 5 high street t shirts for the same price, you will find me scouring the rails at my local shopping mall. I understand that you pay for quality but I’d rather be able to do what I want in my cheap tees than constantly worry about ruining that £100 shirt with the slightest slip.
  • Travel Costs – Train and bus prices are extortionate nowadays and I dread having to fork out for either if I need to go somewhere. I don’t drive so if Steve isn’t around, I have to get either of these to my destination. The amount of profit these companies must turn over is massive!

There are plenty more things that I am reluctant to spend on including many entertainment items such as books and DVD’s too (unless I get a good price!).

What do you hate spending money on?