Meal Planning: Family Days

Meal Planning: Family Days

The weeks just fly past don’t they?  I feel like I have only just finished the last of these posts and here we are again.  Anyway I really enjoyed writing last week’s post so I am looking forward to writing my meal planning post for this week.

 

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small amount of money at no additional cost to you.

 

A review of last week

Generally everything went to plan.  All the food got eaten so that was good.  We did decide to have a BBQ one day because the weather was just lovely and neither of us wanted to go indoors to cook.  This meant that we did go out and buy extra food for the occasion.  We had to do a couple of meal switches around because I was planning on my parents being here for dinner on Saturday but this changed to Sunday, so I swapped those meals over so I had enough to cater for everyone.  The husband was a little disappointed about this because he was hoping to eat most of a giant lasagne.  Unlucky!

 

The week ahead

Although normality has not resumed (still summer holidays and still no nursery), things have settled down in the way of visitors and events.  In addition to this my husband is off work for four out of the next seven days so we get lots of time together.  This also allows for some slightly more fancy meals as with another pair of eyes on the kids we can spend a bit longer cooking.

This week’s meals

 

Breakfast

We are going to be cycling through our usuals again this week.  My children will mostly eat cereals, toast, fruit and yoghurt with a milk drink.  My husband has granola and yoghurt, and I: oats and yoghurt.  As a treat we may have pancakes or eggy bread when Daddy is off work.

 

Lunch

Bagels

Tuna sandwiches

Chicken salad

Jacket potatoes with cheese

Leftover pasta bake

Parsnip soup

Toasties

 

Dinner

BBQ

Pizza & chips

Pork belly & mash

Mediterranean vegetable pasta

Roast chicken & new potatoes

Steak & ale pie

Pork meatballs & spaghetti

 

This week’s spend

This week’s groceries spend was another cheap one, but this was made cheaper by finding some lovely yellow ticket items (reduced) when I had to pop into Tesco on Saturday for milk (my parents drink A LOT of tea).  Also I am finding that the hot weather is reducing my need for food.  I’d much rather have an ice cold drink than a big meal so that is a saving too!

 

Plans for next week

Again another typical week next week.  I might spend some time this week looking at different meals and branching out.  It all takes that bit longer when you have to adapt recipes to make them gluten and lactose free and low FODMAP.  Worth it though!

 

How does your meal planning change depending on what is going on?  If you are just cooking for you do you go for easy meals or go gourmet?

Katykicker

This post is part of the Meal Planning Linky produced by Katykicker and The Organised Life Project.

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

 

With lots of family days ahead, meal planning needs a different kid of thinking about this week. Take a look at what we are eating this week. #mealplanning #frugalliving #familylife #lookingafteryourpennies

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Meal Planning, Saving Money, 0 comments
Frugal Friday Five – Summer Holidays Start – 3rd August 2018

Frugal Friday Five – Summer Holidays Start – 3rd August 2018

As it is the summer holidays and I’ve got a bit of extra time on my hands, I thought I’d go full out this week and do my first ever Frugal Friday Five post. Although this is not my most frugal week ever (think: buying new garden furniture and an impromptu BBQ) there have still been some penny pinching moments that are worthy of recognition.

 

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small amount of money at no additional cost to you.

 

As a family we are generally very frugal and have been for a long time so when it comes to thinking of specific things to note in this post, I struggled a bit.  However the five below are the ones that sprung to mind first.

 

Family bike rides are the only way to travel

Now both our children are big enough to go in bike seats we (Hubbie and I) have been able to head out on our bikes again. This week we wanted to go to our local garden centre and look at the garden furniture. Instead of all piling in the car we hopped on our bikes and made an event of it. The kids loved it, we got some exercise and we didn’t have to use the car.

 

Packing a picnic

As I have a lovely(!) selection of dietary requirements I’m quite used to packing a picnic whenever we head off on family adventures. Today, however, it was a bit of a mad rush to get out of the door to go fruit picking with some friends. The temptation was certainly there to make the decision to go the farm cafe but I chose to make some cheese twists at the last minute. Although this added to the last minute panic I did enjoy packing up our U Konserve tins and Klean Kanteen bottles. No waste from us, thank you!

 

Sorting out the house

Owing to the summer holidays, I’m trying to use my time to sort out the house and garden a bit too. We’ve got some decorating that needs doing but with all this beautiful weather we’ve been spending much more time outside so the garden has become the priority. I removed some flower pots from our patio the other day and, to my dismay, they had left behind marks. I really wanted to give the patio a clean. Therefore I asked around to see if anyone had a pressure washer we could borrow to save us buying or hiring one. Luckily a good friend has let us borrow his so I have been working on the patio this week. The bonus to this is that lawn is getting a good watering too.

 

Selling old stuff

Four weeks ago I returned to work after my maternity leave ended. I’m moving into a new classroom in September so spent some time collecting up my old resources and equipment ready for the new school year. On my travels I found a load of books that I had purchased for my various undergraduate and postgraduate studies, and concluded that I definitely did not need these anymore. At the end of term I brought them home and last night I put them all on eBay. Here’s hoping that someone wants them.

 

A tip from a friend

My blogging buddy Andrew at Capital Matters wrote a post this week called 3 Account Combo. In it, he talked about a current account from Nationwide that pays out a 5% interest rate. I love stuff like this because it is free money to me. I signed up at once and I’m quite excited to get everything set up and start generating some passive income.  Things like this all help towards our mortgage free goals and eventual financial independence.

 

What have you done?

You’ve heard from me but I’d love to take further inspiration from you.  Let me know what you’ve been up to.  Or, like me, you can link up with CassEmma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five Frugal things I’ve done this week’ linky.

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Here is my first look at my Frugal Friday Five.  I discuss five things I have done this week to save money. #frugalfriday #moneysaving #debtfree #lookingafteryourpennies

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Saving Money, 0 comments
Side Hustling #2 – Capital Creations at Bricklink

Side Hustling #2 – Capital Creations at Bricklink

In the second part of my series Side Hustling we hear from Andrew, a fellow blogger and money nerd. Andrew has found a great way to turn a hobby into income.  Read on to find out more.

 

Related posts:

Side Hustling #1 – The Happy Book Club

7+ Awesome Side Hustles for Teachers to Help You Retire Early

 

Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Andrew Young and primarily I write a personal finance blog called Capital Matters. My aim with the blog is to share some of my money saving tips and encourage long term investing. Blogging was probably something I should have started ages ago. I’ve always loved writing and I’ve been told I’m pretty good at it too. Who’d have known I’d go from writing stories about a sentient lamp when I was 8 years old to writing a personal finance blog. I’m going to get those Lamp stories published one day, I swear. I’ve always wanted to run my own business. Despite the problems that naturally arise from being a business owner, I think the freedom and satisfaction you can get from it more than cover the downsides. Aside from business, I’d probably consider myself a film nerd, an Apple fanatic and I probably drink far too much tea.

 

What’s your side hustle?

My side hustle is Lego selling through the website Bricklink. Bricklink is a great community of Lego buyers and sellers who are really enthusiastic about the plastic brick. I sell both used and new Lego through my online store, Capital Creations. Whilst I buy some discounted sets to resell, I primarily make money by parting-out. Basically that means buying a set and selling all the parts/minifigures separately for more money overall. A lot of buyers on Bricklink build their own creations and are on the lookout for individual parts. Bricklink is a great resource for this. Especially if you’re looking for a rare part or large quantities of one part.

 

What was your motivation for starting?

It was a combination of factors. First and foremost I saw an opportunity to generate income. The Lego product was a good fit for me because I’ve always been enthusiastic about the product. I don’t remember my first set specifically but I have vivid memories of building with Lego throughout my childhood. The interest wained over the years until I spotted the race green Lego Mini in a store a few years ago. It reinvigorated my enthusiasm pretty much instantly. There was also one very specific event which pushed me to open the store. I was clearing out a lot of my old stuff and I came across some of my Lego minifigures. I knew that some old minifigures were now worth hundreds so I priced them on Bricklink. It turned out I had the ultra-rare Lego Boba Fett minifig with printed arms and legs. It was released as part of the Star Wars Cloud City Set from 2003. The set didn’t sell very well at the time but if you had one now it would be worth thousands. That discovery pushed me over the edge. I decided to open the store but ironically I never sold the Boba Fett. I couldn’t part ways with it.

 

How much time do you put into it?

It really depends on if I’m in a buying or selling phase. Setting up the store and organising new stock is the biggest time consumer. I couldn’t honestly tell you how many hours I put in at the start. If I’m in a buying phase, I have to spend time organising the parts. I’d say it takes me a couple of hours to organise a medium-sized lego set. But I quickly learned that buying multiple small sets is better than buying one large set. It’s easier to sort and you can easily build depth of stock. You will end up with multiples of each part which is great on Bricklink. If I’m in a selling phase, the time spent is dependent on the number of orders I receive. If I get an order I can usually pick, pack and post the Lego within a few hours.

 

And what sort of money are you making?

I’m making a small amount of income at the moment but I’ve started receiving a few big orders which is motivating. I aim to provide really unbeatable customer service so that has definitely contributed to a growth in sales. A growing quantity of stock also helps. I currently have over 8000 parts for sale.

 

What’s been the highlight so far?

The highlight has probably been the global selling. Whilst I mostly sell to UK-based buyers, I’ve sent Lego to the likes of Belgium, Germany and China.

 

How about the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge was getting over the hurdle of initial stock-building. When the stock take is low, it’s naturally difficult to generate sales. Plus, on Bricklink, reviews are really important. When you haven’t sold anything, you don’t really have any legs to stand on to convince a potential buyer other than a competitive price. But when I got that first sale, it was exciting and motivating. It still is. If you’re a good seller, the Bricklink market rewards you for that. There continues to be challenges of course. But staying organised and maintaining good customer service really reduces those problems to near nil.

 

What would you say to someone considering a similar route?

If you want a part-time side hustle that doesn’t require a lot of stockroom space, Bricklink is a great one to try. Of course, it’s easier to do well with Bricklink if you’re actually interested in Lego. I’d always suggest selling something you are interested in yourself. Like any new venture, mindset is really key for keeping yourself motivated, especially at the start. The marketplace is huge but competition is high. Be a really good seller. Go above and beyond for your customers and you will be rewarded. Just remember that this is not a passive income project. It does require ongoing work.

 

What does the future hold for this venture?

My aim is to continue to grow my Lego store inventory and maintain good customer service to drive more sales. Naturally, I will keep an eye on the state of the Lego reselling industry. Whilst I think this product and Lego reselling is a venture that will continue to generate income for a long time, it is always a good idea to stay informed.

 

And where can we find you?

Twitter: @andrewyoung0811

Personal Finance Website: https://www.capitalmatters.co.uk

Bricklink Store: Capital Creations

 

Are you feeling inspired yet?

I hope so!  This is an excellent example of a young man seeing an opportunity and taking it.  Andrew is taking an interest and turning it into cash.  He is seeing his business grow and extend across the world.  Thank you for sharing, Andrew!

 

Got more questions?  Comment below!

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

In the second part of my Side Hustling series, we hear from Andrew who uses a website called Bricklink to make money. Have a read and get inspired. #sidehustling #sidehustle #money #lookingafteryourpennies

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Side Hustling, 0 comments
Meal Planning: An Introduction

Meal Planning: An Introduction

I love meal planning!  It is something I started doing at the start of this year when I realised that our grocery spending was out of control and so was our food waste.  I had started doing a regular week shop online through Tesco just before my youngest was born.  But every week I was realising that I was ordering the same stuff and the same quantities of stuff without regard to what was being consumed and what was left.

 

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small amount of money at no additional cost to you.

 

Not only were we wasting food and money but we were completely stuck in the “Spaghetti Bolognese and Pesto Pasta” food rut.  We were flip-flopping between these two meals with some other extravagances like steak thrown in to break the monotony.  With the smallest member of our family about to start her journey into solid food we began meal planning in January 2018.

 

A dietary shake up

In April/May I had a minor (I made it far worse than it was) health scare and decided to take back control of my health.  I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease in November 2013 and have been lactose intolerant even longer, possibly 13 years or more.  However, I was having recurring bowel problems and, long story, short there’s nothing really wrong with me, but I do have IBS.  A doctor I have never met before told me over the phone to try a low FODMAP diet (don’t ask me what it stands for) and I did.  To say that it changed my life might be an overstatement, but it is up there with having as drastic an effect as when I removed gluten from my diet.

 

Meal planning implications

So here is a list of food that I now don’t eat:

Gluten (wheat, barley, rye)

Lactose (dairy products)

Garlic

Onion

Honey

Apples

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Peas, beans and lentils

Plums

Prunes

Peaches

Pears

Apricots

Most nuts

And there’s probably more.  Now try and think of meals that contain none of these things.  It is quite difficult.  Naturally, this had implications on our meal planning and variety dropped significantly in the first couple of weeks.  Gradually we are adapting recipes and introducing new ideas which brings me hope that I might be able to eat some of my favourite foods again.

 

The food budget

The monthly food budget is £350.  This breakdowns into £80 a week with a bit left for anything I forget.  This includes things like toiletries, personal products and cleaning supplies.  It does not cover takeaways and eating out as these are budgeted for separately.  When shopping, my aim is to come in under £80, but sometimes it does not go to plan.  When this happens I will try to make sure that the next week costs a bit less.  There always seems to be one week when we run out of all the things that I usually buy in bulk such as rice and peanut butter so have to pay out for these all at once.  Therefore I make it a priority to spread the cost of these items over the following week’s budget.

 

Where to shop

I shop at Tesco.  I am aware that this is not the cheapest place to shop and it is on my agenda to review this and try to shop elsewhere.  With many dietary restrictions it is hard to shop for new products as you need to spend time checking the ingredients to ensure they are safe to eat.  Hence laziness creeps in and I find myself returning to Tesco where I know what I can and can’t eat at a quick glance.

 

I do however always order my food shop online.  This has proven itself to be a great way to keep spending in check.  The reasons for this are:

  • I can keep a check on my total spend as I go. Seeing the price of your shopping go up allows to you to plan future choices accordingly.  If I think that I have spent a bit too much I will edit my shopping to contain cheaper alternatives.
  • I can compare food by price per quantity. Supermarkets are designed to make you spend more money.  They have various offers that are intended to make you buy more stuff.  I don’t need this in my life so I shop online and ensure that I get the cheapest price for the amount of food I am buying.  Sometimes this means that I end up buying more of something than I need.  If this is the case I make plans to freeze/store it and use it the following week.
  • I am not swayed by emotions, hunger or my children. I avoid shops at all costs.  Temptation is everywhere and if I’m tired or hungry I am so easily persuaded to part with my beloved cash.  My children suffer from this even more than me.  My eldest will want something just because she has seen it.  Shopping online avoids some of that temptation and I can control when I do it.  Timing this carefully means that I pick a time when I am happy and well-fed.

 

The week ahead

We have a slightly unusual week this week.  It is the summer holidays so that means that I’m off work and my eldest has no nursery.  It does mean that my husband has upped his hours so is working full time this week.  On top of that we have my parents coming to stay Saturday night so they will need to be catered for too.  The reason for their visit is that they are babysitting the kids whilst I participate in my first running race.  Therefore I’m planning celebratory bacon sandwiches afterwards.

 

Normality continues in the form of our chips night on a Friday where we have “something and chips”.  This just gives us a bit of a break from cooking and we can just shove everything in the oven and hope for the best.  I also cook a whole chicken once a week.  We eat most of this as a roast midweek but I aim to spread it out over a couple of meals.  This week I will be using the leftover chicken to make chicken fried rice and will make stock to use in the parsnip soup.

 

This week’s meals

Meal planning for 31st July-6th August

Breakfast

We all have different wants when it comes to breakfast.  My children will mostly eat cereals, toast, fruit and yoghurt with a milk drink.  My husband has granola and yoghurt, and I: oats and yoghurt.  As a treat we may have pancakes or eggy bread when Daddy is off work.

 

Lunch

Jacket potatoes with beans and cheese

Cheese and tomato pasta bake (leftovers)

Parsnip soup

Tuna sandwiches

Ham and cheese pinwheels  (swap for gluten free pastry)

Bacon Sandwiches

Pesto pasta

 

Dinner

Cheese and tomato pasta bake

Roast chicken

Chicken fried rice

Ham, egg and chips

Lasagne

Satay Chicken Skewers (an adaptation on this)

Spaghetti Bolognese

 

This week’s spend

A couple of weeks ago the food bill was high so the last two weeks I’ve made sure that I come in well under budget.  This week I spent £67.49 which was all food aside from a tube of toothpaste which cost 50p.

This week's groceries spend is £67.49

 

Plans for next week

Things should be a bit more “normal” next week as we have no visitors or extraordinary plans.  However, I think that some bulk-bought items are running low so these may have to be purchased next week.  But there is no reason why we shouldn’t come in under £80 again.

 

How do you plan your meals?  Do you just buy what you fancy or do you think in advance?

Katykicker

This post is part of the Meal Planning Linky produced by Katykicker and The Organised Life Project.

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

The first in my series of meal planning articles where I discuss the challenges including coeliac disease and other dietary restrictions and staying under budget. #budget #glutenfree #lactosefree #lowfodmap #debtfree #lookingafteryourpennies

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Meal Planning, Saving Money, 2 comments
16 Essentials For An Eco-Friendly Kitchen

16 Essentials For An Eco-Friendly Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home.  There are some rooms in my house that go virtually untouched from day to day, but no other room gets quite as much use as my kitchen.  We eat in it, play in it, organise in it, talk in it, socialise in it, cook in it and store all manner of things in it.  Therefore, it makes sense to turn your kitchen from normal kitchen to eco-friendly kitchen first.

 

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small amount of money at no additional cost to you.

 

For us the journey to becoming environmentally conscious was both sudden and gradual.  One day (not long after my first child was born) I realised that I needed to do more to protect the planet and to create a healthy world for my children to grow up in.  However, making the change remains an ongoing process where I slowly learn new things and make informed and intelligent switches.

 

It may seem like an impossible or unachievable task when you first start the process to transforming your home, and life, to one with a reduced impact on the planet.  Hence it is important to remember the following:

  1. Any change you make has a positive effect. You might be just a tiny drop in the ocean, but you are joining a movement of people all making similar changes.  When many people chose to make a difference that’s when the big change occurs.
  2. Change first those things that will have least impact on your life. For example we made the switch to more gentle cleaning products early on in our journey.  For us this had virtually no impact on our day-to-day lives as we had no idea what was in the products we were using before so these products just slotted right into their place.  Once you have made these minor tweaks you will want to make more and will be willing to make more dramatic changes.
  3. Do not allow the opinions of others to deter you from your goal. You know you are doing the right thing so don’t let someone who frowns when you tell them the changes you’ve made derail your plans for an eco-friendly life.  Instead, persist and you will act as an educator, showing them environmentally conscious adjustments do not need to change your whole life.
  4. Talk to people about the changes you are making. When you make the switch to a more sustainable products there’s little harm in sharing this with your friends and family.  It could be that they were unaware that such products existed.  Knowing that there are simple swaps out there could be just the thing that is needed to encourage others to do the same.

 

Now I am not expecting you to run out and spend a load of money to save the planet.  If I did that I would be a terrible personal finance blogger.  What I am encouraging you to do is look for solutions that exist in your home and your lives already.  Or if one does not exist then there are plenty of DIY projects on Pinterest that will teach you how to make many of these products.  Crafting and DIY projects are wonderful because the sense of achievement in huge and you get to fill your home with many unique items.

 

Naturally you may find that there are some items that you need to source from outside your home.  That’s OK!  But remember to try all the usual tricks from finding a bargain.  You can check out my post on saving money when you shop here.

 

Wondering where to start on your journey to becoming more environmentally conscious? Well I recommend the kitchen. Check out these 16 essentials for an eco-friendly kitchen. #ecoliving #zerowaste #moneysaving #lookingafteryourpennies

Anyway, here are the top switches we have made in our kitchen on our eco-friendly journey:

  1. Food bin

This one, surprising, was one of the later additions to our kitchen and a bit of a splurge.  Where we live, the council provide us with a small food waste bin for outside and a smaller caddy for indoors.  But it is ugly!  For a long time I refused to have it in the house because I did not know where to put it or what to do with it.  Plus it was not particularly good for locking in any odours.  One day I realised that it was only vanity that was standing in the way of including this feature in our kitchen, so I spent some money and bought a lovely brushed steal one.  It looks great and has a special feature that traps all the smells.  Check out some options for your home here.

  1. Reusable wipes

We love love love these!  We have integrated reusable wipes across our home and family so it makes absolute sense for them to be a big part of our kitchen.  They were first introduced when we started introducing our eldest to solid food.  The mess was unbelievable so we had a stash of wipes of hand to clean everything up.  We soon came to see that we could use these for many different purposes and they have now replaced napkins, kitchen rolls and cleaning cloths in our kitchen.  Here are the ones we use.

  1. Storage pots

Food waste is a terrible thing.  My husband particularly hates it.  But buying food in bulk or cooking in batches is a necessary for someone who is trying to keep the costs down.  This is why we have a lot of storage pots.  We use them for freezing food or packing up lunches.  My favourites are these by U Konserve.  I use them for putting the kids snacks in and for keeping leftovers in the fridge.  Many people might decide that foil or cling film might work instead but this is literally creating waste.

  1. Jars

Jars are great!  I save jars from various foods like mayonnaise and peanut butter and then transform them into various useful items.  Jars are perfect for storing food that you have bought in bulk that comes packaging free.  One example is that in our house we store our loose leaf tea in jars.  This means that we do not need any packaging for transporting the tea home and it stays fresh for ages.  I’ve also used recycled jars for lunchbox ideas, for growing plants in and for freezing.  A good stash of jars is a wonderful thing!

  1. Bees wax wraps

Oh these are amazing!  I made my own bees wax wraps and used fabrics that I love so I want to use these all the time.  We love wrapping up homemade cakes or biscuits in these when we take them round to friends houses.  They are a great replacement for foil and cling film and can be used to cover bowls and dishes or for directly wrapping food.  They can only be washed using cold water though so it is not advised to use them for meat products.

  1. Eco-egg

We swapped laundry detergent for an Eco egg.  This simple product will go in the washing machine with your dirty laundry and produces the same results as washing powder or laundry detergent.  It contains none of the nasty chemicals, is much kinder for your skin and you get so many washes out of it that it will save you money.  This one is one of those very simple swaps that you can make a start with.  Click here to check out prices of Eco egg on Amazon.

  1. Silicone cupcake molds

The kids and I love baking!  We regularly use up “less-than-best” fruit by making buns or muffins, or want a tasty treat to take on a picnic or day out.  One day I realised that I was cooking my cakes in a paper case that got almost instantly thrown away.  It is so wasteful!  The solution to this was reusable cupcake mold.  Now once we have eaten the cakes we wash up the molds and put them back in the cupboard for next time.  What is even better is that they come in beautiful colours that make our cakes look fab!

  1. Herb garden

This one may be less obvious to see the impact on the environment but trust me it is there.  When you buy dried herbs the come, once again, in some sort of packaging.  They have also been processed and transported from farm to factory to shop and all of this harms our beautiful planet.  A simple selection of pots by your back door or along your kitchen windowsill with your favourite herbs growing in them can prevent all of that.  Plus bringing plants into your home will cheer you up and make your house look great.  Just remember to give them a bit of water every now and then.

  1. Vinegar and bicarbonate of soda

These are the only products you need to clean your entire home.  You don’t need 500 bottle of various products lurking under your kitchen sink.  Most of them will just be variations on that same thing.  There are many tutorials on the internet about how to use vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to clean your home.  Trust me you will not see any difference in the level of cleanliness in your home.

  1. Ice lolly makers

It’s been a hot summer so far and keeping my kids happy and hydrated has required near enough my full attention for the last two months.  At the start of the heatwave I was buying Tesco’s version of Mini Milks but disliked the amount of sugar and whatever else that might be hiding in these.  On top of this I was throwing away plastic wrappers and lolly sticks.  That’s when I found the silicone lolly molds.  (Have a look at them here.)  I now fill these with juices or homemade smoothies and sometimes even just water for my youngest.  When they are done, I give them a clean, refill and pop them back in the freezer.  They’re so easy!

  1. Water bottle

If you haven’t got a reusable water bottle then you might be the only person without one.  This is the first step most people take on their eco-friendly journey and it is such a simple one.  Not only do you stop yourself from buying single use plastic bottles but you save yourself money AND it encourages you to drink more water too.  I got a Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottle for Mothers’ Day this year and I love it.  You can check out prices on Amazon here.

  1. Lunchbox

When you were a kid you probably had a lunchbox with some character on it that you loved at the time.  Some member of your family might make your lunch and you’d pack it in your lunchbox and take it to school with you.  Why did you stop doing that?  Buying lunch every day is expensive and it generates an extraordinary amount of waste.  Think!  That’s a sandwich wrapper, a crisp packet/yoghurt pot and a drinks bottle that you are throwing away every day.

  1. Reusable straws

There has been a big crackdown on plastic straws in the last year or so.  Many companies have now stopped automatically providing straws with their drinks.  This is an excellent step forward, but I actually do quite enjoy sipping icy cold drinks through a straw.  For this indulgence, I treated myself to four stainless steel straws.  I love them!  They look amazing and I do not feel any guilt about using them, because I wash them up and shove them in the drawer.  If I know we are going out for a meal and I might want a straw with my drink, I take these with me.  They are so easy to rinse off when I get home.

  1. Drinks cup

A bit like the water bottle this is one of the early steps that many people take.  Buying a reusuable cup for hot drinks is a sensible choice.  It stops all those single use cups from going in the bin.  You save money because places like Starbucks will give you money off if you bring your own cup.  AND you get to choose a cup that looks awesome.  I personally am more of a tea drinker so I found a lovely glass and bamboo travel mug with a diffuser and some very good friends of mine bought it for me for my birthday.  Unfortunately I think the one I have is no longer in production but you can have a look here to get some ideas.

  1. Tea and coffee making facilities

Do not get one of those pod machines!  That is too much waste!  We have one but we haven’t used it in a long time.  It is expensive and all those little pods just end up knocking about on the planet forever.  However a good set of tea and coffee making facilities is a great way to help the environment.  As I’ve just said I love tea, particularly loose leaf tea.  Near to where I live we have a brilliant tea specialist shop (luckily I have a couple to choose from here) and I am able to take my own jar in and they will supply me my tea without any packaging.  They do coffee too!

 

If coffee is your thing then there are some great machines out there for making coffee at home.  Plus there are some great online tutorials too.  Making your coffee at home is a top money saving move but it also prevents any temptation from those coffee shops and the potential waste that goes with it.

  1. Fabric sandwich bags

These are one of my favourite things in my kitchen.  Washable sandwich bags.  If you are someone who makes their lunch and takes it to work every day then great.  If you are parent who bulk buys snack foods and takes those out with you then great.  But if you are putting these things into plastic bags that you then throw away then you need these.  They come in different patterns and sizes and styles.  There will be a design to suit your need.

 

A good starting point

This is by no means all the items you need for an eco-friendly kitchen.  These are just some of the ones I have found and love.  My advice is every time to throw something away to try and think of way not to have to do that again.  Once you adopt this mindset you will gradually find that eco-friendly living becomes a fun game.

 

What items have you introduced to make your home more eco-friendly?

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Wondering where to start on your journey to becoming more environmentally conscious? Well I recommend the kitchen. Check out these 16 essentials for an eco-friendly kitchen. #ecoliving #zerowaste #moneysaving #lookingafteryourpennies

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Eco-friendly living, 2 comments
Christmas is coming!  Is your budget ready?

Christmas is coming! Is your budget ready?

The Sun is shining, my front lawn has dried to a crisp, and we’ve just had the Summer Solstice so I am asking you this question: “are you financially prepared for Christmas?”  Yes I’m being serious!

 

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small amount of money at no additional cost to you.

 

The big day is less than six months away and with only five pay days (or less) to go it is important to start making plans.  Christmas is a big financial event and for many people it is a time when they find themselves going into debt or even further into to debt.  For the sake of one day!  That happens every year!

 

Luckily there are some steps you can take now to soften the blow and stop December from becoming overly stressful and overly expensive.

 

  1. Work out the total cost of Christmas

Your first step is work out exactly what Christmas is going to cost.  This means the whole of Christmas!  Not just the presents but everything.  The whole event is actually a constant leeching of money but that’s no excuse.  We just need to be ready.  Here is my list of all potential expenditures over the Christmas period:

  • Presents-obviously! But make sure you include things like presents for school teachers, tips for the paper boy (if people still do that), gifts for kids’ friends.
  • If you are the sort of person that likes sending cards then factor this in.  Yeah they might only be a few quid but you need to budget for it.
  • Gift wrapping. I always forget about this one.  But it is expensive.  By the time you’ve considered boxes, bags, name tags, ribbons and bows you’ll have spent a fair bit of money.
  • Food and drink. If you are hosting Christmas this year then the likelihood is that you’ll be spending a good amount of money on food.  Whether it is those tins of sweets or to secure the turkey from the local supplier, none of it is cheap.
  • Advent calendars. I made the decision when my eldest was born not to do chocolate advent calendars and instead bought her 24 tiny gifts to unwrap.  It’s lovely but every year I forget and end up panic buying stuff late November.  Not this year though!
  • Christmas party. Does your work have a Christmas party?  What about your partner’s work?  All of these things are part of the parcel of Christmas.
  • Whether you are spending the Christmas break somewhere hot and sunny or if you are visiting relatives, there could well be unusual travel costs involved over the festive period.
  • I love seeing my girls in Christmas clothes.  I’m a sucker for a snowman tutu or a Father Christmas hat.  I also like to treat myself to a new outfit for the work Christmas party.

 

To help you work out how much you spend on each of these it might be worth taking a look at your accounts from last year.  How much did you really spend on the kids’ presents (not what you thought you were going to spend)?  What about your food shopping?

 

Write those numbers down.  Be honest at this point.  If they are big numbers and they scare you, that’s OK.  Time for the next step.

 

Whether you are trying to live frugally or aiming to get debt free, Christmas can prove quite a challenge! That's why I recommend thinking about it now and making a savings plan. Putting Christmas into your budget earlier will take the stress out later. Take a look at how to get your budget ready! #Christmas #budget #debtfree #savings #lookingafteryourpennies
  1. Reduce those costs

It is not wise to under budget.  If you expect Christmas is going to cost the same as last year then you need to be ready and have that money  waiting.  However, if you are feeling like you cannot afford that level of expenditure then there are a few things you can do.

 

  1. Aim to spend less. This one seems a bit obvious but let me explain.  If you spent £60 on your mum last year then why not aim to spend £50-55 this year.  It is unlikely that she will notice the drop in value (plus she’s your mum so she will love you anyway) and if you can do this for everyone then you could reduce your Christmas bill by 10% straightaway.
  2. Be on the hunt for bargains now! The best time to get good deals is not at Christmas.  The further away from Christmas you are the more likely you are to find a good deal.  For example I reckon Christmas cards are pretty cheap right now.  Also if you know what you want to get someone you can do some thorough research and you’ve got time to wait until it drops to a price you are willing to pay.
  3. Get your craft on. Making stuff rather than buying is cheaper, but it is time-consuming.  Luckily, because we are starting early, we’ve got time.  You can look for scraps of fabric in charity shops or sales.  Or you can stock up on card and paper.  And you can practise those cute poses you want you kids to pull for your family Christmas card.  I’ll write another post soon about with frugal Christmas crafts.  Don’t worry!
  4. Stock up on bargain vouchers and coupons. Zeek is a website that allows you to buy gift vouchers at less than face value.  Use the link above for extra money off your first purchase.)  Therefore you could start buying Tesco gift cards now with the view to use them on your food shop in December.  Another option is to save up your rewards points and use these for your Christmas shopping.  I love a Tesco clubcard voucher!

 

  1. Work out the difference and budget

Once you’ve thought about all the ways you are going to reduce your costs you need to budget for the rest.  At the time of writing this there are five (end of the month) paydays left before Christmas.  Don’t worry this is easy maths!  Take that big number and divide it by five.  Or however many paydays you have left until Christmas.  That’s how much you need to put aside EACH month.

 

OR you can do what I like doing and start my Christmas shopping early.  I buy a few bits each month and deduct this from what I should be saving.  Anything that I don’t spend I put aside ready to spend in the future.  This is probably the most practical way to approach your Christmas shopping as it will allow you the opportunity to get the best deals.  Waiting until late November/early December leads to overspending and stress.

 

Now if the amount you’ve got to save each month scares you a bit then firstly revisit the ways to reduce the cost section above.  If you’ve cut it down to the last penny then you need to look at other areas of your life.  Luckily I’ve got a few posts already written about this.  Check these out:

Things You Buy Every Week That I Don’t

10 Things You Can Do To Save Money This Month And Every Month

Extremely Frugal? Would You Go THIS Far?

 

To summarise:

  • Work out the total cost of Christmas
  • Reduce those costs
  • Work out the difference and budget

 

And as a final point don’t forget to use a cashback site like Quidco for all those online Christmas purchases.  Sign up here and get an extra £10.  Put some of your cash back in your pocket and maybe you’ll have enough for a little treat in January.

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Whether you are trying to live frugally or aiming to get debt free, Christmas can prove quite a challenge! That's why I recommend thinking about it now and making a savings plan. Putting Christmas into your budget earlier will take the stress out later. Take a look at how to get your budget ready! #Christmas #budget #debtfree #savings #lookingafteryourpennies

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Saving Money, 0 comments
Want More Money?  Then Talk About It!

Want More Money? Then Talk About It!

When it comes to money many of us are a closed book.  We either make vague statements, change the subject or suggest that things are actually better or worse than they are.  However, we are quite happy to show off our new TV, new car or new phone but won’t disclose the contents of our latest paycheck.  So why don’t we talk about money?

 

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small amount of money at no additional cost to you.

 

Society wants us to believe that wanting money is a bad thing.  If you want money you are greedy, selfish and obsessed.  Therefore, we naturally shy away from disclosing our financial successes for fear of people believing that it is all we care about.  Alternatively, we may worry that our own success stories may make others feel bad.  As though your success may diminish their successes or even emphasise their shortcomings.

 

Even worse is when we suffer a financial setback or make a mistake.  Failing to discuss this with someone or seek help can mean that we assume the burden ourselves.  Maybe we will never find a way to fix it.  You might get lucky and figure it out yourself.  What if you don’t?

Related posts:

This Is Why You Are Poor

Things You Buy Every Week That I Don’t

 

Is managing such an important part of our lives privately the best way to ensure that it goes well?  When drawing parallels with other areas of our lives such as health and fitness, you can see that many people make huge weight losses when they join Slimming World.  Or are more likely to attend a gym class if they go with a friend.  Support and discussion can make a significant difference when it comes to meeting our goals.  The same is true of our finances.

 

Humans are sociable creatures. We like to talk. But not about money! It is time to change that. Discuss your finances and watch your bank balance grow! #moneymaking #money #finance #lookingafteryourpennies

How would this work with money?

I am a believer in being honest about your money.  You don’t have to tell everybody but at least tell someone.  The best person to start with is your partner.  Make sure that you are aware of each other’s finances and discuss your financial goals.  Make short term plans.  Medium term plans. Long term plans.  And review them regularly.  My husband and I talk about money everyday.  We tell each other what we have coming in, what is going out, what we would like to spend it on, whether we need to adjust our savings goals and where we can cut costs.  Every day!

 

Once you are having that conversation with your partner, you can branch out and talk to a friend.  I have a couple of good friends who help motivate me with money.  We share our successes and failures regularly.  We know each others goals and we question our decisions.  External eyes on your finances can find new ways to save and make money.  It can be easy to overlook that TV subscription as a necessity but when someone who doesn’t have it looks at it, they will question your view on this.

 

Celebrate your successes

Sharing your financial wins with your friends means that there are more people to help you celebrate.  A few more people saying “well done” will help keep you motivated.  You’ll want to meet your next goal and these friends will help you get there.

 

And you’ll support them too.  They may reach their goals before you meet yours.  But don’t get jealous!  Learn from them!  When someone loses weight, the first question most people ask is “how did you do it?”  Do the same with money!  If they saved £500 last month, ask “how did you do it?”  They may have an excellent idea that will help you do the same.  Knowledge is power!

 

Talking about money outside of your “circle”

Personally I talk about money all the time.  But that is because I like it.  However, there is a lot to be gained from doing so.  I enjoy sharing tips and ideas on money making ventures or the best bank accounts or debt free strategies.  If people are listening then perhaps you are helping them.  Even if you just make them question whether there is a different way.  Or maybe they will share their own bit of advice and you’ll walk away with something else to try out.  If you aren’t talking about it then you’ll never know.

 

Humans are sociable creatures. We like to talk. But not about money! It is time to change that. Discuss your finances and watch your bank balance grow! #moneymaking #money #finance #lookingafteryourpennies

Managing money isn’t easy

Money isn’t taught in schools much.  As a high school maths teacher, I can say this fairly confidently.  But everybody has money at some point in our lives and we all get a choice about what to do with it.  As with all aspects of our lives, there are good and bad choices, but without information we cannot make an informed choice.  Talking about it is the answer.

 

Recommended reading:

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

I Will Teach You to be Rich by Ramit Sethi

 

Make it your challenge to talk about money.  Buddy up with a friend and commit to being honest.  If that still sounds scary, talk to me!  I’ll talk right back at you about my finances too.

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Humans are sociable creatures. We like to talk. But not about money! It is time to change that. Discuss your finances and watch your bank balance grow! #moneymaking #money #finance #lookingafteryourpennies

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Making Money, 0 comments
How To Get £100 Worth Of Sports Clothes For (Close To) Nothing

How To Get £100 Worth Of Sports Clothes For (Close To) Nothing

When one of our cars broke down a couple of months back, Mr Pennies and I decided to see how long we could last without it.  We had another car so we weren’t desperate for it, but getting to work and taking the kids out at the same time required a bit of creativity.  That’s when my husband dusted off his bike and started cycling.

 

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small amount of money at no additional cost to you.

 

Three months later and he is now cycling to work every day and loving it.  I however started to get a bit jealous of his improving fitness and more streamlined physique and decided it was time to stop the excuses and get outside.  I am now running three to five times a week.  We are like one of those super cute fitness freak couples.  Or not!

 

Our new lust for exercise is possibly not as cheap as we originally thought it would be.  My husband decided that his bike needed new tyres and that new pedals would make him more efficient.  I realised that cheap trainers just weren’t going to cut it if I wanted to run regularly, so we had to pay out for these things.  The super frugal person in me was not happy though!  She knew that I could do better than this and she was right.  I could!

Related posts:

The Ultimate Beginners’ Guide to Quidco

Extremely Frugal? Would you go THIS far?

 

Today a package arrived containing £100 worth of sports clothes and I paid 70p for all of it.  That’s it!  Less than a quid for 9 items of sports clothes delivered to my house.  Now this isn’t some crazy scam nor did I enter a competition nor was it a gift.  And yes they are all brand new!  You can do this too.  These are the steps to take:

 

  • Sign up for Quidco.

You can use this link here and you’ll get a £10 bonus if you do.  I have been using Quidco for years now and it is ingrained in me to go to Quidco before I purchase anything.  If you have not used Quidco before then you can see my “how to guide” here.

 

I had been accumulating cashback through Quidco and I had £80.26 in my account.  This took me a couple of months to generate by habitually ensuring that all purchases are done through this site.  I make most money by changing energy and insurance providers.  Get creative.  Utilise this website to the full.  You’ll soon see the cashback start building up.

 

Loving shopping does not have to mean spending money. Learn how I (and you can too) used cashback sites to get free fitness wear. #shopping #frugalliving #sport #debtfree #lookingafteryourpennies
  • Withdraw to Zeek

When you choose to withdraw your money from Quidco you have several options.  You can have the money sent straight to your bank account or PayPal.  But this is not the best value option.  If you choose to withdraw your money as voucher you can get various bonuses.  I choose to withdraw mine as Zeek vouchers.  This earns me an additional 15% bonus, which took my total withdrawal amount to £92.30.

 

If you haven’t heard of Zeek then let me explain.  Zeek is a platform for buying and selling gift cards.  They buy them off some people then selling them on at less than face value.  This means that you can get a £25 gift card for less than £25.  That’s a saving right there.

 

Sign up for Zeek here and get an extra £5 bonus!

 

  • Voucher code

Once I had withdrawn to Zeek I found the shop, through their website, that I wanted to buy from.  In this case I wanted to use Sports Direct.  One of the reasons for using this retailer is that their gift cards were offered at a good price with 4% off.  This mean that I was able to buy a £100 gift card for £96.  But I only had £92.30 and I didn’t want to pay nearly £4.

 

I did a quick Google search and saw that there was a voucher code to get £3 off any gift cards for sports shops.  I entered that into Zeek and voila!  My £100 gift card was now only going to cost me 70p.

 

Loving shopping does not have to mean spending money. Learn how I (and you can too) used cashback sites to get free fitness wear. #shopping #frugalliving #sport #debtfree #lookingafteryourpennies
  • SHOP

All that was left was to shop!  I chose a few bits for my husband as per his requests and several bits for me.  Everything I bought was reduced so you could claim that I saved even more money but I don’t subscribe to the “savings” that retailers offer.  (That’s another blog post there!) But all totalled up I “spent” £99.96 including delivery.  For 9 items of sports clothes!

 

Shopping doesn’t have to cost you money

I am a big fan of the guilt-free shop!  I really enjoy buying things and having new stuff that I love, but I hate spending my money.  Therefore I am always keen to find ways to make my money go further.  Quidco and Zeek are some of the best ways to do this.  So sign up to both now.

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Loving shopping does not have to mean spending money. Learn how I (and you can too) used cashback sites to get free fitness wear. #shopping #frugalliving #sport #debtfree #lookingafteryourpennies

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Making Money, 0 comments
Side Hustling #1 – The Happy Book Club

Side Hustling #1 – The Happy Book Club

Here it is!  The first in my new series: Side Hustling.  This series will bring you interviews with people who have started a side hustle and will look at their motivations, successes and challenges.  My hope is that you will find these stories inspirational and encouraging.  Side hustles require time, effort and sometimes money but what you get from them can be so rewarding.

 

In this first edition we hear from Matthew, a good friend and (day-job) colleague of mine.  I’ll let him explain what he does.  But I personally think it’s marvellous!

 

Related posts:

7+ Awesome Side Hustles for Teachers

How I Made £900+ in less than 11 weeks (and not from blogging)

 

Tell us a little about yourself.

My wife and I are both teachers and, having had a baby, we fell in love with picture books. We realised that we could combine our love of books, our education background, and the gap in the ever-growing market of subscription services, to create a new, special book club. I always like to be doing something new or challenging so setting up a business seemed to complement my personality very well.

What’s your side hustle?

The Happy Book Club sends out themed book packages every month for children aged 0-7. All packages are hand-wrapped, come with activity suggestions, a charity donation and, depending on the package, you get a gift/craft as well! It’s more than just a book club!

What was your motivation for starting?

Just trying something new, I guess. Teaching can be very relentless and consuming. I think I wanted something else to focus on professionally, really.

How much time do you put into it?

Well I still work full time. So not as much as I would like. But when the little one’s asleep, I’ll bust out some more work, whether it be updating the website, getting in touch with promoters, sorting out book packages etc. There is always something to do. As one marketing expert said to me: ‘You need a lot of time or a lot of money to make a business work well’. As I don’t have a lot of money, I’ll just have to be patient!

And what sort of money are you making?

We’ve just started breaking even. Indeed if money is your only motivation then you might need to be patient. We’ve been doing this for about 20 months now and the business is now growing organically. It was quite some time before we started knowing with confidence that this was worth our time!

What’s been the highlight so far?

The feedback has been absolutely amazing. As we’re taking our time (because we don’t have much spare!) we want to make sure our business model and our product are perfect. Last year we were awarded the gold award for The Best Subscription Gift by Mumii and we’ve also featured in Green Parent Magazine, Glamour and lots of other blogging sites. But generally, the best highlight is the pride we’ve felt as our business has grown.

How about the biggest challenge?

It’s quite easy to motivate yourself initially when you have what you think is a great idea. And also quite easy when customers start returning and people start recommending your product. But the bit in between was very challenging. Motivating yourself to persist when you’ve put in a lot of work and when you have very few customers takes a fair bit of soul-searching!

What would you say to someone considering a similar route?

We grew our business from nothing. From building a website, building relationships with publishers, marketing, packaging… everything. Doing it this way, you build up the product you know about and care about. I would recommend that if you’re starting a business, you do everything yourself first.

What does the future hold for this venture?

Who knows?! I’ll have a bit more time next year to invest into it, which I’m looking forward to.

And where can we find you?

Our website is www.happybookclub.com and we’re on all the social media pages. If you want to buy a package, quote HAPPYCHARLOTTE for 10% off your order!

 

Are you feeling inspired yet?

You should be.  The Happy Book Club is an example of two people getting out there and making good things happen.  They are challenging themselves and are rewarded by learning new things and seeing their dream become a reality.  I wish them all the best in the future!  Thank you, Matthew!

Got more questions?  Comment below!

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Thinking of setting up your own subscription box service? Then hear from these guys who started their own business as their side hustle. Find out how you could use your skills, knowledge and time to turn your idea into a money making venture. #subscriptionbox #money #sidehustle #lookingafteryourpennies

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Side Hustling, 0 comments
Tidying-Up Your Finances: How An Unlikely Book Can Change Your Relationship With Money

Tidying-Up Your Finances: How An Unlikely Book Can Change Your Relationship With Money

I might have a mild obsession with books that promise to be life changing.  I believe every one of them.  I get sucked in.  I do all the things they tell me, then convince other people that they need to read them too.  I’m always slightly disappointed when other people don’t experience the same earth-shattering revelations that I do. They should!

 

Learn how I used the Konmari method to organise and tidy up my finances. This book will get your organizing your home, your work and your budget to achieve a more joyful life. #konmari #tidyingup #budget #finances #lookingafteryourpennies

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small amount of money at no additional cost to you.

 

When I reflect on some of these books, I realise that not all them were maybe sensible.  With many of them I did not need my life changed in that way.  It was actually fine already.  Most of these sorts of books are not even good.  Some of them are short, poorly-written and with little substance.

 

One book is different though.  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo did actually change my life.  Well at least it changed how I view things (and I mean all things) in my life.

 

What is it about then?

At its absolute core it is a book about how to tidy up your house.  The author Marie Kondo talks you through her programme to tidy your home.  There are several elements to the process and a series of activities to complete.  The end result is a tidy house that never needs tidying again.  Great eh?

Learn how I used the Konmari method to organise and tidy up my finances. This book will get your organizing your home, your work and your budget to achieve a more joyful life. #konmari #tidyingup #budget #finances #lookingafteryourpennies

How is this actually achieved?

The book breaks down the mammoth task of organising your home into categories.  You start with clothes and work your way through to sentimental items.  Unlike other tidying up books this one recommends that you work in categories rather than rooms, so this means gathering up all the cushions from your entire house and then deciding which to keep and which to let go.  And you do that with everything!

 

Learn how I used the Konmari method to organise and tidy up my finances. This book will get your organizing your home, your work and your budget to achieve a more joyful life. #konmari #tidyingup #budget #finances #lookingafteryourpennies

How did this change your life?

Despite being a practical guide to tidying up, it is underpinned by the idea of keeping only the things that “spark joy.”  And that phrase is the most powerful part of this book.  Stop now and just look around you.  Do the things around you make you happy?  Do you love all of them?  If not, why have you got them?

 

When you start to analyse your possessions like this you realise that you will not settle for second best.  It is not OK to accept a life surrounded by stuff that you don’t love.  There is always a version of that stuff that you would like more.  There’s a version that you would love!

This sounds like it could get expensive.  Does it?

No!  For one, when you declutter your home I recommend selling as much of it as you can.  It might not “spark joy” for you but that doesn’t mean that it won’t for someone else.  I made hundreds of pounds when I Konmari’ed (that’s what its called) our house.  I sold clothes, furniture, toys, books, all sorts.  I then used this money to fund replacements for anything that I felt I needed but was not sparking joy.

 

Once you get going with the process, you will find the Konmari spreads into all areas of your life.  You look not just at physical things but at everything.  For example I Konmari’ed my email inbox.  I was getting emails from every company I’d ever bought something from and those emails annoyed me.  I got rid of them.  I unsubscribed.  Now I don’t have to look at them any more.  I did the same for my finances.  And saved loads!

Learn how I used the Konmari method to organise and tidy up my finances. This book will get your organizing your home, your work and your budget to achieve a more joyful life. #konmari #tidyingup #budget #finances #lookingafteryourpennies

How do you Konmari your finances?

Well, I looked at everything that I was spending.  I looked at the variable costs, all the little treats I was buying myself or the impulse purchases and decided whether spending that money on those things brought me joy.  I decided that at the time they brought me a small amount of happiness, but afterwards those purchases just made me sad.  Either I regretted buying that item or I had already consumed or used it and retrospectively I’d rather have had the money instead.

 

When I look at my fixed costs it was a bit more difficult.  Paying my water bill for one, does not spark any joy at all.  But I realised that I could get some joy from trying to reduce it.  Therefore I worked hard to try and bring this cost down and found that achieving that goal was where the joy could be found.

 

With other fixed costs I found that there were ways that I could get rid of them.  Subscriptions were an easy one to review.  I looked at our entertainment subscriptions and considered each one and the amount of joy it brought to our family.  There were some that we had been holding on to but weren’t using so I cancelled them.  The money brings me joy in new ways.

 

If every time you go to spend money you ask yourself “does this spark joy?” you’ll find that you’ll be very reluctant to let that money go.  You’ll actively look for ways to make your money go further so that you can keep some of it and still have the things in your life that make you happy.  But surprisingly, I found that I just wanted less stuff.  More stuff does not equal happiness.

 

Not just a tidying up book then?

Well that’s not true.  But it is not just about tidying-up STUFF.  It’s about evaluating your life, deciding what is worthy and only letting those things in your life.  When you do this throughout your life, you’ll find that there’s a lot more joy sparking moments.

 

Get your copy of the book here, and see what you can achieve.

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Learn how I used the Konmari method to organise and tidy up my finances. This book will get your organizing your home, your work and your budget to achieve a more joyful life. #konmari #tidyingup #budget #finances #lookingafteryourpennies

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Saving Money, 0 comments
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