Sunday, 18 November 2012

10 tips for saving money

Although Britain is slowly emerging out of a recession, it is no excuse to start over spending (although I do..). As a student, being able to save money is crucial for me. However, this past month I've had to buy birthday presents for four of my best friends 18th's plus the cost of going out to celebrate their 18th's has not been too kind to my purse. But as of now, I am going to start doing some hardcore saving, making the most of what I've got and not overspending.

1. Get a piggy bank or money pouch - collect your coppers!
- Go back to your childhood and get a piggy bank. At the end of each day, by just putting whatever left over change you have in a piggy bank can result in quite a substantial annual saving. For example, if you were to bring back home an average of 36p in change every day for a year that would result in a saving of £131.40. This is actually quite a lot, put into perspective you could buy a 16GB iPod nano by the end of the year with no hassle. Even if it's just coppers, any saving is better than none. Don't open it until after a year or two, so you can have a lovely little surprise and treat yourself!

2. Start saving a specific amount each month
- Put aside a certain amount of money each month from your wages, even as little as 10%. Whether it be in a money box or in an online savings account where you can gain monthly interest, it will help you to stop over spending if it's tucked away and you can't get to it.

3. Have a monthly spending limit
- This is something that I think takes a lot of determination and strength if you're like me and are addicted to shopping.. But it is a vital part of saving your money. By limiting yourself to the amount of money you can spend in a week or month, it will help you to become more organised and allocate your cash wisely.

4. Organise your purse/wallet
PURSE | RIVER ISLAND | £17 ( similar - 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 )
- A little bit of organisation can go a long way. By clearing out the junk and rubbish out of your purse and making sure cards are set out in a useful layout, can give you a clear view of what you have to spend/use. Working on the tills in a high street store, I have seen that it is very common for people to be looking for and not being able to find their points card or discount vouchers, simply because their purse is so cluttered hence they are losing out. Also if your purse is messy you are often less aware if something was to go missing or if you've spend too much money.

5. Make the most out of loyalty cards/discount cards
- Organisation brings me onto the next point. Even though it may not sometimes seem like it, loyalty cards can be a great help rather than a hindrance. This is as long as you don't just spend spend spend when you don't need to, just in order to get the "free drink". If you, for example, know that every Wednesday you go to Cafe Nero for a business meeting, then why not get a loyalty card? Because they do "get your 10th coffee free", in a year you'd be getting 5 free coffees making a saving of £15 perhaps, which is small but once again better than saving nothing. Or if you know you buy a lot of beauty products, try to buy it all from the same place, such as Boots or Superdrug, where they have a points card and you get points for each £1 you spend. If you're a student in full time education, you can apply for an NUS extra card which allows you to have student discount in shops at a cost of only £12 for a year, in the long run you make hefty savings and cover the cost of the card in no time.

6. Start online banking & check your accounts regularly
- Pretty self explanatory. Online banking can help you keep on top of your spending; by enabling you to easily check much money you have on your card/in your account. Most banks have mobile apps making it easy to safely check your balance on the go and your recent card activity as well. Keep the receipts that you get from purchases and refunds so you can make sure they match up to your bank statements.

7. Make a finance spreadsheet
- This has been my life saver. I may go into the ins and outs of how I put together my finance spreadsheet in another blog post. Although mine's pretty basic and I put it together about a year ago using the IT skills I acquired in year 9, it's hard to explain how to do it... This is just a template of what the first week of December 2012 could look like for someone. It's all about recording your income and your expenditures and ALWAYS making sure that your expenditure is substantially less than your income.

7. Avoid browsing online shopping websites just because you're "bored"
- It speaks for itself really. I for one, do this all the time. If I have nothing better to do you will no doubt find me going through every website on my "shopping" bookmark folder and buying literally whatever, even if I wasn't specifically looking for it. The problem here is that I never go on looking for something specific and therefore I could literally end up buying anything and everything.

8. Don't buy things for the sake of it
- This ties in nicely with the last point. Always buy what you need, sometimes buy what you want but never just buy for buying sake. Sometimes, humans have the tendency to buy things just because it's there or we haven't bought anything in a while. This is a bad idea, there's no point and half the time we end up hating it/never wearing it anyway.

9. Turn a spending negative into a positive
- A tip that I feel is beneficial in many ways. I'll use myself as an example. I have an incredibly sweet tooth, I love sweets and in a week I could easily spend up to £5 on sweets, which amounts to £260 a year. Obviously eating too many sugary foods is bad for your teeth and your body, therefore if I cut down my spending on sweets to £1 a week and was to put the remaining £4 a week into a sweet savings jar, I could consequently have a saving of £208 in a year that I could then spend on a gym membership perhaps. This could work with lots of things, such as smoking or junk food consumption.

10. Have an ultimate goal to save for
- The final point is one of the most important. I feel if you have something worth saving for it makes you more determined to continue to save and save even more. Whether it is your first car, a new laptop or a holiday, having something exciting to save for makes it all worthwhile.

I hope at least one of these tips can be helpful to you!

Friday, 2 November 2012

REVIEW: w7 africa bronzing powder

with flash and without flash
W7 'Africa' Bronzing Powder with Brush Applicator // £2.95

- I bought this bronzer on a whim. I'd never heard of the brand before and never seen the product either, but it was such a bargain I thought even if it is rubbish I'm only losing out on like £3 so it's no bother. Now that the product has arrived I've done a bit of research as to where you can actually buy W7 makeup products and it only seems to be online at the moment - I bought mine off
- I was initially really attracted to the packaging and design, I'm a sucker for pretty looking things and this is definitely that. If you couldn't already tell, the design of the bronzer is based on the spots on African big cats (ie: cheetahs, leopards etc). It is compiled of 3 different colours, almost like two tones of bronzing powder and a blush. It comes with a handy mini brush applicator which fits perfectly into the box, so that's one less thing you have to keep in your makeup bag! If you sweep the powder across your cheeks in a diagonal stroke towards your ears, you get like a highlight on the apples of your cheeks, followed by a pale pink blush and then a darker contour underneath in the hollows of your cheeks. It's like 3 in 1 and anything that can make my chubby cheeks look the slightest bit thin is great in my books!
- The only negative I have with this product is that I find it slightly too shimmery, but that might just be me as I have naturally oily skin anyway so anything too shimmery on my skin just accentuates it. 
- Overall, I would highly recommend trying this bronzer, for its prize especially I actually think it's perfect. 

For my very first product that I have reviewed, I shall give it a 5 out of 5 and now I'm off to watch Skyfall with my mumma.

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