Tips For Living On A Tight Budget

Living on a tight budget can get tiresome, irritating and plainly hard. However, if you go the right way about it and save up where you can you won’t have to constantly feel deprived. You just have to make sure every pound has its purpose and you priorities expenses that really matter. Whether you have found yourself in this position because of general money problems, an unexpected emergency or you recently lost your job, these tips and tricks will help you make the best of your situation.

Have Clear Priorities

When living on a tight budget you can’t  afford luxuries. You have to focus on meeting your essentials and remaining within your financial limits. Priorities your rent, mortgage payments, electricity/water bills, food and any debts you have to pay off. The key is to separate your needs from your wants. By making sure you are staying on top of your necessities you will feel a lot calmer living on your tight budget.   

Receipt

Create A Strict Budget

Due to the fact you don’t have much space to manoeuvre you have to have a well-thought-out budget plan. Hopefully it will prevent you from any careless and impulsive shopping sprees, which can be highly detrimental while suffering from financial difficulty. Make sure all your expenses are covered before thinking of making any other purchases. Remember to keep tracking your outgoings to ensure you stick to the plan.

There are a lot of methods you can adopt to make your budget, from writing it down on paper to using fintech apps like: YNAB, Acorn or Chip .  

Once you have a well-balanced budget you can see where you can make cuts and perhaps start an emergency fund.

Budget plan

Save On Food

Shop at the right time! The ideal time to go shopping is an hour before closing time, or at 7pm in 24-hour stores. This way you’ll find the most products in the reduced section. Freeze the  items you purchased to prolong their expiration date and be mindful of how long you keep them for.

You can also check out Approved Food website for stock clearance food.

As obvious as it might seem, try not to shop on an empty stomach as you’ll end up buying things you really don’t need. Try to make a grocery list beforehand, which fits with your tight budget. You could even make a meal plan to make sure you will efficiently use all your purchased products.

Try own brand products as these tend to be the cheapest and you might be positively surprised with their good quality.

Don’t forget to set up loyalty cards everywhere you go! You can get some major discounts or even items for free.

Shop in Lidl or Aldi, there you’ll find the best bargains and brilliant deals.

Buy in bulk especially products with a long expiration date.

Don’t waste food! Freeze it or add a new ingredient if you are getting bored.

Before eating out check online if there are any vouchers available or discounts that apply to you. Unfortunately, you will also have to limit the amount of times you will eat out if you want to save money.

Have some space in your garden? Maybe try growing some tomatoes 😉 Then just keep the seeds, replant and you can have a sustainable source of vegetables.

Cook from scratch, potatoes, pasta and veggies are some of the cheapest foods out there. You can save a lot of money eating mostly plant based.

Shopping list

Shop for offers

Research from Santander says, UK households spend an average of £3,329 per year, on their: water, energy, Council tax and broadband bills. You can save significant amounts of money by switching utility providers and shopping around for the best offers out there. Remember to save electricity by turning off the lights or keeping the temperature down. For further information on how to save on energy bills check out this blog post: https://www.piggy-bank.co.uk/blog/tips-tricks/beat-energy-bills/.

When shopping for clothes ask yourself what sort of style you have. If you like to follow the most recent trends, shop in the cheapest fast fashion brands such as Primark and avoid Topshop or River Island unless they have some major sale, but even than be weary. If you have a more classical style, try charity shops or gumtree.

save deals shopping

Entertainment

Instead of going to the cinema, invite your friends for a movie night to your home. As a general rule, if you stay home you will spend less. Celebrate your birthday or New Years by throwing a party at your place rather than going out. There are many fun activities you can engage in not having to leave your house, including playing board games, cooking or doing some at home exercises (save on that gym membership).

We all love going to the cinema, the big screen, the darkness the high power speakers. You don’t just pay to watch a movie, you pay for the whole experience. However, it’s an expensive experience and as such it’s good to look for deals. Most cinemas offer great deals mid week or 2-for-1 deals so visit Odeon Websites frequently not to miss out.

Transport

Rather than buying a car, walk, use a bike or just take the good old-fashioned public transport. If you desperately have to use your car, check out which petrol station has the best prices in your area.

Tube

Emergency Loans

If an emergency occurs you can try to borrow money from a friend, family member or a payday loan company. If it’s a small amount for some unforeseen circumstances a short-term loan will help you without burdening you for many years, being a short time repayment option. However, remember that not being able to repay your debt can get you into serious financial difficulties.  

Following these tips and tricks will help you enjoy life even on a tight budget and decrease your worries about running out of cash or drowning in debt.

Houses

How To Find Your Perfect First Home

This is one of your biggest if not the biggest purchase in your life, so you really want to get it right. Therefore, it is essential that you think about this long term. You will have to come head-to-head with additional costs, property research, squeezing information out of the seller and much more. Keep reading this blog to find out all our tips for first-time home buyers.

Research

Keep your eyes peeled because a great opportunity to purchase your perfect property might occur in places you never imagined it to. Gone are the days where you could only find your new home on a picture put up in an estates agent office window. Now there are plenty of websites that have property for sale. The most popular sites are:

They allow you to compare properties, living expenses and home descriptions as well as including local information and street maps. You can even set alerts if you have a specific location and property requirements and the app will inform you when an opportunity appears. To further improve your research, take time looking through property magazines or newspapers to see what sort of homes are available, and for how much so you can get a good understanding of the general market values.

All this being said, estate agents aren’t dead, so don’t cross them out from your research stage. You can subscribe to their email lists and specify what you are looking for to hear as soon as possible if your perfect property is on the market. Having a conversation with an estate agent can also provide you with valuable information about the chances you have of finding what you want with regards to your budget and other factors.

Research

Visualise

It’s good to visualise your perfect property. Ask yourself what exactly it is you are looking for, a semi-detached house, a flat? How many rooms do you want? How many bathrooms? Will you want a parking space, double glazed windows, or outside space etc.?  You could divide your criteria into essentials and preferences.

It’s easy to repaint the colours of the walls but you can’t do much to change the total floor space in a flat. Think how feasible it would be to get rid of any displeasing features. They make the property less attractive on the day but it might be just a temporary issue. Try to strike compromises otherwise you’ll have a hard time finding your property.

Do The Math

You will have to do some serious calculations to figure out how much getting your home will cost you. We’re talking here about the mortgage fees, valuation and legal fees, stamp duty, moving costs, home repairs and furniture costs.

We strongly recommend you don’t take the maximum amount you are allowed to borrow.  Your mortgage is going to be your biggest monthly expenditure, so make sure you don’t overstretch yourself.  Calculate all of your other outgoings and ensure you allow a buffer for unexpected bills and additional saving.  Once you know how much you can comfortably afford, you can then work out your mortgage repayments and how much you can realistically borrow. It’s a good idea to have this in place before you really go house hunting. Try this mortgage calculator to see the reality of the repayments. It’s best not to look at properties above your budget as this will only result in disappointment and set unrealistic expectations.

To give you a rough guide of the prices visit Rightmove, which provides a map with average prices.

House

Neighbourhood

Make sure you like the area around your property. Consider things like:

  • your neighbours
  • traffic
  • safety
  • physical location

Visit the area at different times and see if you like the local pubs, the level of noise, playgrounds for your children among other things. Another thing to find out is the building plans for the area, you don’t want that lovely coastal view to be replaced with an apartment block.

Think about what you value in an area before buying the property, is it near your work place, schools, the hospital? Do you want it to be in a location with nearby pubs or entertainment?

Neighbourhood

Climate Safety

Watch out for flood risks or subsidence in your potential property area.  Flood risk has a significant impact on insurance premiums, a property’s value and your quality of life if you’re unlucky enough to be hit by water damage. Avoiding property purchases in flood zones can save you a lot of stress.

Flooding

Ask Questions

Before even putting down the deposit ask as many questions as possible. Some of them should relate to:

  • your potential competition for the property
  • installation reports
  • information on lease
  • renovation details
  • what’s included in the sale
  • parking places
  • council tax band

Certain rival estate agents will overly criticise a property, especially when they previously had it on their books and failed to sell it, which means their comment has to be taken with a pinch of salt. Sometimes you can contact previous owners, who no longer have a vested interest in talking it up – this can be particularly informative if you suspect there might be problems with the property. It is also a good idea to take an experienced home buyer with you for support and advice and if you have any doubt about the condition of a property, always ensure you get a full structural survey carried out.

Flat

Take Pictures

Photos are a great reference point especially when you are looking at multiple properties. They will help you spot things you might have missed previously. Really think about the space you’ll need. After a few years you might need more than you are initially looking for and it’s good to be prepared for this change.

If you are planning to renovate or make a few improvements to the property, plan where you could build into and how easy is it will be to manipulate the property layout and maximise space not only for longevity but to add value as well.

Flat

Viewing Checklist

Make sure you check the property for all these aspects:

  • mould and dampness
  • cracks and other imperfections on the walls and ceiling
  • open a few windows to see if they work well
  • count power points
  • turn taps on and off and flush the toilet to inspect the plumbing
  • check the heating by switching the radiator on and having a look at the boiler
  • ensure door locks work well
  • check the rugs and carpets

checklist

Resale

Think about the ease of resale when you come to sell the property in the future. If you aren’t happy with the property, or if you outgrow the property and want to upgrade, after all you’re not planning on living there for ever. Make a list of all the potential problems future buyers might have with the property and evaluate carefully before you decide to buy.

Remember that certain “negative” aspects of the property might only be an opportunity for you. For example many people won’t want to live next to a school because of the noise levels, but if you’re not home during these hours this will not affect you and it will lower the price of the property. This might suit you but not others, and you have to account for that if you are planning to sell your home.

Property for sale

 

Estate Agents

Beware of certain unethical methods estate agents might use, these include:

  • testing the market with hyper-inflated prices to see if it will sell
  • hide important drawbacks coming with the property
  • are overly optimistic about building plans
  • aren’t fully honest about the area

Researching Estate Agents

Choosing an estate agent is an important process as well as a tricky one. Some will offer you low fees or give an impressively high property value, but these can be warning signs. Pick an agent who is experienced in selling the sort of property you are looking for and don’t settle on just one. You can use comparison websites such as Which?  Also, speak to friends, family members and neighbours to see if they can recommend an estate agent. Make sure you know in detail their commission rates or fixed fees.   

Remember no one can tell you with full confidence what will happen to house prices. Just like with the stock market, property is an asset  with an unpredictable value, but what is guaranteed is it’s a great investment. There are however multiple sources that suggest waiting for after Brexit to purchase your new home.  

Keys

Take your time looking for your new home, don’t rush into anything, make sure you do your homework and stay true to your budget and requirements. The right property will be out there.

Money Management

Taking the time to manage your money better can really pay off. It can help you stay on top of your bills and save £1,000s each year. You can use these extra savings to pay off any debts you might have, put them towards your pension, or spend them on your next car or holiday. Read on for money management tips, including how to set up a budget, sticking to it and how to save.

Over half of UK households keep a regular budget. Most say it gives them peace of mind about how much they are spending, and makes them feel better about life in general. Manage your money better with Budget planner tool.

UK small businesses admit to struggling with financial management

Almost one in three (30%) of the 1,000 business directors polled admitted finances were one of their major business concerns, while 29% of those with a turnover of £10m or more said the issue troubled even them.


UK small businesses admit to struggling with financial management
Microphone

The Brit Awards 2019

Here’s the full list of the 2019 nominees. Read till the end to find out the favourites!

British Artist Video

  • Anne-Marie – ‘2002’
  • Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa – ‘One Kiss’
  • Clean Bandit feat. Demi Lovato – ‘Solo’
  • Dua Lipa – ‘IDGAF’
  • Jax Jones feat. Ina Wroldsen – ‘Breathe’
  • Jonas Blue feat. Jack & Jack – ‘Rise’
  • Liam Payne & Rita Ora – ‘For You’ (Fifty Shades Freed)
  • Little Mix feat. Nicki Minaj – ‘Woman Like Me’
  • Rita Ora – ‘Let You Love Me’
  • Rudimental feat. Jess Glynne, Macklemore, Dan Caplen – ‘These Days’

British Breakthrough Act

  • Ella Mai
  • IDLES
  • Jorja Smith
  • Mabel
  • Tom Walker

British Male Solo Artist

  • Aphex Twin
  • Craig David
  • George Ezra
  • Giggs
  • Sam Smith

British Female Solo Artist

  • Anne-Marie
  • Florence + The Machine
  • Jess Glynne
  • Jorja Smith
  • Lily Allen

British Group

  • The 1975
  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Gorillaz
  • Little Mix
  • Years & Years

MasterCard British Album of the Year

  • The 1975 – ‘A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships’
  • Anne-Marie – ‘Speak Your Mind’
  • Florence + The Machine – ‘High As Hope’
  • George Ezra – ‘Staying At Tamara’s’
  • Jorja Smith – ‘Lost & Found’

British Single

  • Anne-Marie – ‘2002’
  • Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa – ‘One Kiss’
  • Clean Bandit feat. Demi Lovato – ‘Solo’
  • Dua Lipa – ‘IDGAF’
  • George Ezra – ‘Shotgun’
  • Jess Glynne – ‘I’ll Be There’
  • Ramz – ‘Barking’
  • Rudimental feat. Jess Glynne, Macklemore, Dan Caplen – ‘These Days’
  • Sigala & Paloma Faith – ‘Lullaby’
  • Tom Walker – ‘Leave A Light On’

International Male Solo Artist

  • Drake
  • Eminem
  • Kamasi Washington
  • Shawn Mendes
  • Travis Scott

International Female Solo Artist

  • Ariana Grande
  • Camila Cabello
  • Cardi B
  • Christine and the Queens
  • Janelle Monáe

International Group

  • Brockhampton
  • The Carters
  • First Aid Kit
  • Nile Rodgers & Chic
  • Twenty One Pilots

Critics’ Choice

  • Lewis Capaldi
  • Mahalia
  • Sam Fender

So far the leading nominees are Anne-Marie and Dua Lipa!

Valentine's day

Very Wallet Friendly Valentine’s

Are you looking forward to Valentine’s Day, but you’re worried about funds? You don’t have to compromise romance for money! This blog post will give you plenty of ideas on how to spend your Valentine’s Day in the sweetest way possible and not over-spend.

Home Rendez-vous

You can start by spoiling your partner with a breakfast in bed! To make it extra fancy, add a rose on the tray. Find out your partners favourites and treat them to those.

Dinner at home can be just as romantic as in an expensive restaurant. Surprise your partner and prepare something special for that day, including a lot of aphrodisiac foods like chocolate and strawberries, however, maybe stay way from oysters 😉

Breakfast to bed

You can even cook a meal together to spend some more quality time. Chances are you will both be glad to save a couple quid in the current climate so who can complain? Then just light some candles and open a bottle of wine. Celebrate an amazing V-Day with no worries about your budget.

If neither of you feel like cooking, we have a solution! Tesco and Waitrose are here to help. A Valentine’s dinner for two including a starter, a main, 2 sides, dessert and wine/fizz will only cost you £20 at Waitrose and 3 microwavable dishes for £20 at Sainsbury’s.  You can also cut the cost of chocolates by visiting the Thorntons website. There are also some humorous gifts you can get from Hotel Chocolat., if you want to make the occasion a little light hearted. Now just stock up on wine/fizz from Tesco Finest for around £8.50 a bottle.

Dinner

Flowers

Flowers can be expensive but compared to other Valentine gifts they can make the most impact for the lowest price. You can get the Paradise bouquet for only £15.99 deviled with chocolates from eflorist. A lovely way to treat your partner on this special day is flower decorations. You could create a tail of rose petals leading your loved one to further surprises like stuffed toys or other gifts. Alternatively create a heart shape with the flowers. It’s so simple, so inexpensive but it will make both you and your significant other feel very special.

rose petals

Handmade gifts

You want to spoil your Valentine’s date with some gifts, but lack the funds? Try a DIY project or vamp up a in-expensive item from a charity shop. Avoid buying cheap items from shops like Poundland, it’s going to make a better impression if you spend some time creating something by yourself. This way your other half will get a unique gift which will have much more meaning than mass produced gifts, even if they are more pricey. Some of our favourites are: picture scrapbooks, baked goodies in handmade boxes, paper flowers and scented soaps.

Hand-made giftYou could even organise a drinks and crafts night where you can both have some fun trying out new DIY projects. These could include: painting, sewing, ceramics, your only limitation is your imagination. For extra points, make it heart shaped!

Cards

Hobbycaft has card making sets which you can purchase if you want your card to have a more personal touch. Paperchase also has some great offers for Valentine’s with objects that could complete your decorations including balloons and confetti. Handmade presents with love are one of the best valentine’s day gifts.

Hike

This is a perfect way to celebrate V-Day for a sporty and active couple and it doesn’t have to cost you anything! Pick a spot with a lot of beautiful views which you can admire together. If the weather permits it, you could even have a picnic once you get to your destination.

Hike

Treasure Hunt

This Valentine’s Day idea is for the adventurous ones out there and it will take some preparations, however the outcome is movie like. Your aim is to create a treasure hunt where your loved one has to follow clues and solve riddles to finally get to the designated destination where you have prepared a surprise.

What you’ll need:

  • Cards
  • Envelops
  • Sellotape
  • Task ideas
  • Riddles
  • Final destination/ surprise

All you have to do is write a few clues or tasks they have to perform in order to get to the final destination. Lots of fun is guaranteed and an unforgettable experience. A+ for effort and barely any impact on the wallet.

Couple

Spa Night At Home

Giving your loved one a massage doesn’t sound like a bad idea, especially if it doesn’t cost you any money and you get to see the smile on their face. We guarantee it’ll be a cheap valentine’s day for you.

Spa

Free Events

Look for free events in your area or even plan a day trip close by attend some free activities. You could go for a stroll in the park, on the beach, visit museums or craft stores. Here are some examples of free events you might want to check out:

It isn’t the epitome of  romance to be thinking of your bank balance when you are celebrating Valentine’s Day with your loved one, but lets be practical! It’s very likely that your partner wouldn’t want you to over-spend during this occasion, so there’s no shame in keeping it low-cost. Hopefully our V-Day ideas showed you that low-cost doesn’t necessary mean low-key or low-effort and they definitely won’t break the bank!  

Father’s Day Competition

TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR THE ‘Father’s Day Competition!’ (‘the Competition’)

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Pig Year

It’s The Year Of The Pig, Find Out Your Fortune

Were you born in 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983 or 1995? This means your Chinese zodiac sign is the Pig and 2019 is your year! Keep reading to find out all you need to know about your fortune,  what brings you good and bad luck according to your zodiac animal as well as how to celebrate the New Lunar Year.

Chinese New Year Celebrations

Since its foundation over 3,800 years ago, Chinese New Year also known as the spring festival has grown in importance and popularity in China as well as across the globe. It’s a grand celebration that starts on the first day of the lunar calendar (this year it’s on the 5th of January). 

Food

The “Reunion Dinner” which is the New Year’s Eve feast known as (年夜饭- Nián yèfàn) is one of the most important traditions in celebrating the new year. It originates from the myth of the monster Nian which terrorized villages and forced people to hide in their homes preparing elaborate meals to appease the gods and their ancestors. Therefore, a lot of pride and care goes into preparing the food for these festivities. Here are some of the most common items you’ll find on the table:

Spring rolls

Spring rolls

Dumplings

Dumplings

Noodles

Noodles

Steamed Fish and Meat

Chinese food

Activities

Chinese New Year activities can be divided into two sections: the private and the public.

Private

Private celebrations include: putting up new year decorations, family feasting, firecrackers and fireworks, exchanging gifts and red envelopes. These envelopes usually contain money and are the symbol of good luck.

Public

In the public domain you can experience: street parades and performances, including the dragon and lion dance. There are plenty of little stores set up during this period that offer traditional foods and beverages. It’s a public holiday including many lanterns and lucky colours decorating the streets.

Lion Dance

Outfits

New year, new clothes! The festival is a time of change and new beginnings and it’s a Chinese tradition to remove the old and embrace the new.  Furthermore, new clothes can protect you from evil spirits and bring you good fortune.

The good news is you can wear anything you like, there are no special requirements. However, if you want to wear something more stereotypical opt-in for a Qing dynasty outfit, like a Tang suit or a Qipao.

Chinese outfit Pig’s Personality

If you were born in the year of the pig as you animal sign, you are most likely a diligent, compassionate, and generous person. Your strong points are: great concentration, helpfulness and independence. However people with this zodiac sign are less likely to suspect trickery and are easily fooled.

Generally speaking pigs are realistic, calm people who enjoy entertainment. Despite being a little materialistic they work hard for what they purchase and they don’t have tendencies to over-spend.

Chinese pig

Lucky

Things that bring pigs luck:

  • Colours: yellow, gray, brown
  • Numbers: 2,5,8
  • Flowers: hydragea, daisy
  • Mineral: agate

Unlucky

Unlucky things for pigs:

  • Colours: red, blue green
  • Numbers: 1,7,9
  • Directions: southeast
  • Months: 4th, 9th, 12th (Chinese lunar months)

Lunar year

Professions For Pigs

Charity work as well as fundraising is the perfect profession for a pig who is calm, seeks harmony and compromise. People born on this year are gentle, patient and understanding, that’s why they make great teachers and coaches. However, 2019 isn’t the optimal year to be changing carers if you’re a pig.

Pigs will have a small setback in their professional life this year. Everything will improve once you gain motion. For entrepreneurs, it’s a good year to develop their businesses. The last months of 2019 are the best time for pigs to achieve their goals.

If you were born in the year of the pig, you will experience a good financial year. Pigs will do well in their investments and can expect some great rewards.

Romance

2019 is a lucky year for male pigs in their relationships. Female pigs on the other hand will find it harder to find a suitable partner and should not be surprised if they experience a lack of progress in that department.  The best matches for pigs are: Goat, Tiger, Rabbit. These zodiac signs are the most compatible with pigs as they can easily form a deep connection and appreciate the pig’s qualities. For pigs who are already in a relationship it is important to focus on communicating their desires to their partners.

This year will be perfect to find out what you are looking for in a partner if you are a pig. The lack of drama in the relationship this year will give you the opportunity to focus on your friends and making new connections.

New Year

The year of one’s zodiac sign is their 本命年 (ben ming nian). It is a special year for their sign with both ups and downs. If you were born in the year of the pig you will have the opportunity to consult some reoccurring problems this year and perhaps finally find a solution. In order to bring as much good luck as possible to your year, it’s a good idea to attend happy events such as weddings or family gatherings.