Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Savings and the 52 week saving challenge

52 week saving challenge; end of year; emergency fund;

This week I have finally unpacked my books and realised just how many money related titles I have gathered over the years. 'Winning with shares', 'Pay yourself first', 'Money - for women'.  I am not a trust fund baby and every penny I have ever spent I have earned, so believe me I spend my earnings wisely, plus I really don't do money stress very well. The emotional, psychological and physical benefits of managing your money are well known. Lets just say I am that person who knows exactly how much money I have in my bank account, and yes that makes me happy.

I recently come across the 52 week saving challenge and that also got me thinking about the importance of saving. With the 52 week challenge you basically save £1.00 the first week, £2.00 the second week £49.00 the 49th week etc, you end up with £1,378 - if you are able to stick to it.  You could also do in reverse - if you wanted to get the tough bit out of the way. I am thinking of roping in generous friends and family and maybe adding birthday spends to the pot. With the new financial year starting next week this is a really simple way of saving some money - that is if you have any left after paying the enormous food and energy bills. Even if you can make it half way through the 52 weeks this seems like a great way of getting into the savings habit and working up a nice little pot.

I reckon you could also move the weeks around too - if you have a bit extra - or have that birthday money / done a car boot / sold some stuff on Ebay - you could put away a weeks savings out of the order. I am thinking the mini challenge, saving in multiples of £0.50 is manageable and still totally worthwhile - you should end up with £689.00 which is enough for a weekend away, or a new camera or a pair of fabulous shoes. I think even a mini-mini challenge £0.10p a week would get a great treat. 

There are lots of printable tick sheets on the world wide web but this one from Natalie aka OneBustWahm is the best I've seen - thanks Natalie.

Now I am no financial expert, but just in-case you are not yet convinced - my top three reasons for saving.
  1. Emergency fund - nothing like a cooker to break down to wish you had savings.
  2. Independence - everyone needs a little pot for unexpected moments and treats.
  3. Saving money - having the cash to make the most of the sales just makes good sense.
I know sound like such a Mum but savings are good. I know how depressing it is when you don't have any money to save and on the flip-side I see how much money people 'waste' i.e could re-direct.  If you are able to save, save, even a little bit is better than not being able to save at all. There are loads of books and great websites - I go to Savvy Woman for getting my head round the financial things I need to figure out. 

The new financial year is here and it's a great time for a setting those financial goals and mine is a mini #52weekchallenge.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

The sunshine has me craving outdoor space

balcony gardening; fire escape gardening; balcony lighting; pinterest; 
The sunshine has left me craving some outdoor space. We have done nothing what so ever to our garden since we moved but we do have a fire escape (one of the things I love about our home). I reckon a fire eacape garden is a project I can manage in a weekend.

Inspiration from Pinterest of course. No room for a sofa, but you get the idea. I definitely want lights, herbs and flowers. Time to gather some cuttings and some pots.


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

In a world of 24 hour connectivity how do we make time for ourselves without feeling guilty?

Everyone I know is too busy. We work, we commute, we shop, we clean, we cook, we take care of other people, we deal with important issues for friends and family and there is very little time for our selves.
I have just this week remembered I need time for me, not more time for decorating or doing chores, but more time to sit in the park, or a coffee shop, or by the river and be by myself  - which I have realised has become a very rare treat.

Tell me, in a world of 24 hour connectivity how do we make time for ourselves without feeling guilty?

Saturday, 1 March 2014

NutriBullet - a review

NutriBullet; raw food; raw food diet;

A few weeks ago when I was full of cold and feeling sorry for myself the small boy made me watch a infomercial for NutriBullet. This child is an advertisers dream! Surprisingly the little extractor looked like it could be a serious contender to my bulky juicier that is of course still in a box because there is nowhere in our kitchen to put it. 

A little investigation and the reviews were good, I wasn't happy with the feedback on customer service from NutriBullet themselves so if we were going to shell out £99.00 it would be with a retailer I could return the product to with no hassle. And buy it we did, from Robert Dyas, that is what credit cards were invented for right? And of course buying on my credit card gave me a bit of extra consumer protection should the whole thing explode all over my kitchen. 

A whole three weeks in and I have been enjoying getting raw feed back into my diet, and boy did I need it.  Unlike a juicer the NutriBullet completely breaks down your food, liquefying and mixing it all together. You cut up the fruit and vegetables, pop them in the beaker with some water, or something stronger, I like soya milk, and blend. The results are super thick smoothies. I am really liking that there is no pulp to clean out but I am still getting used to the extra thickness and texture of the smoothies. 

So far my favorite smoothie is a combination of banana, avocado, Greek yogurt and honey.  I have this nearly every day for breakfast and best of all its not to thick. 

Honestly, you go from chunks to smooth in just a couple of minutes.  There is nothing I don't like about the NutriBullet, I am not sure I need all the extra cups it comes with, they are just taking up space in my cupboard but it is useful to have lids that don't leak. I have taken my juices to work with no problems. 

If you fancy a NutriBullet they are around £99.00 I have added a link in my Strange Fruit Loves Amazon Store too. It's an associate store I have been getting round to setting up for ages.  I don't think I will be funding my retirement via to commission I make, but whatever the store makes will be going towards developing Strange Fruit. As they say, every little helps.