Joined Instagram

I have been on Facebook for years, but I kind of put my foot down and said no that’s too addictive as it is, I’m not joining other social medias. So no Twitter, no Instagram.

Then a few months ago, my sister-in-law was telling me how great this cleaning woman was on Instagram, so I joined. Followed a few cleaning sites. Didn’t really like anything they were doing, so never looked again.

Then a few weeks ago, the same sister-in-law told me about this really inspiring woman losing weight and was amazing to watch. So I started Instagram up again, unfollowed any of the people I wasn’t interested in. And followed the inspirational woman (Trisha’s Transformation in case you’re interested) – and yes she is amazing. Every single time I opened Instagram and saw her posts, she motivated me to exercise, or just stay on plan. She has lost so much weight and still has loads to go, but she is working so hard and is so bloody positive and motivated. She is inspiring.

So I decided that that was what my Instagram would be about, people or pages that I’m interested in and make me feel good and inspire me. I followed a few positive law of attraction type pages, and some planner hashtags, and a few other recommended weight loss journeys that people found great or had recipes.

Then I assessed how I felt about each of the pages that I had followed, and when they were in my feed. And so I unfollowed quite a few. For weight inspiration/motivation/ideas I’m left with Trisha’s Transformation, Joe Wicks Bodycoach and Karl Henry PT. I love the law of attraction quotes (although I did unfollow a few who seemed to take a negative slant towards other people). I still have two housecleaning type pages, that I’ve actually followed for years, through their blogs originally and using their print outs. Then last night I found some motivating money management pages, so I’m working out which ones I like enough to keep. Its not that the pages aren’t great, it’s more that it is not relevant to me, or motivating for me.

I am loving the fact that when I open Instagram I am given a boost of love, motivation and inspiration.

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Survey Sites?

Does anyone do any of the survey sites to earn vouchers or money? I think depending on your country you can possibly make a nice amount from them.

Here not so much I don’t think. Still there are rewards available. I love getting vouchers, and I love filling in surveys and earning vouchers. But some of the rewards for the amount of time you put into filling in the survey just is not worth it.

I like the surveys where the reward is clear. Like it tells you that it is for X amount of money. As opposed to for points. It seems like when its for points, the amount of points you need to earn any amount of a voucher is huge. You need thousands and thousands of points to recieve a 5 or 10 voucher – but each survey is 20mins and you get 250 points. So it works out to being hours and hours of your time, for maybe a fiver.

Of course the ones that are actually worth doing are for real rewards are snapped up pretty quickly. And I’m not usually one of the ones snapping them up, as I tend not to do anything quickly lol. So in a year I don’t tend to get huge amount of rewards, but the few vouchers or rewards I get are nice, even if they’re a rare treat!

Packages Arriving!

The excitement! All my orders from over the weekend and earlier this week are starting to arrive. Its very exciting! I have to wait for a quiet time, when I can be sure that I won’t be surprised by a little person appearing beside me, to open them up.

Just a note to remember when ordering online – make sure to double check the measurements! One of the “big” Christmas presents arrived, and the box is tiny compared to what I was picturing. It is not the end of the world, because really it is about the contents inside – but just when you picture it standing under the tree, its not what I was hoping for. Particularly as it is for my eldest, and all her bits are teeny tiny sizewise but expensive lol.

Bargain Hunter

So my husband always says if I think I’m getting a good deal, I have to buy. And he’s right. But I don’t just believe I’m getting a good deal because the shop says it, I always check around. If its food, I’ll double check the Tesco and Supervalu websites. Depending on what else it is, I’ll check Amazon, Argos and then more specific shops depending on what catagory its in (you know – toys, technology, clothes, etc) – to make sure I really am getting a good deal. I hate wasting money! I always have loads of items in my Amazon basket, waiting to buy (until payday, or until closer to when they’re needed etc) – and so I see the prices go up and down. And if I know they had been cheaper, then I won’t buy them until they go back down in price!

But as I said about hating wasting money, that also goes for quality. I hate wasting money on poor quality things. I feel if you’re going to spend the money, you should make sure to get the best item possible for your money. Its like the story of the pair of boots; the poor man can only afford to buy a pair of boots that last one year and they start leaking before the year is up, and they cost 20e… the rich man buys a pair of boots that last 10yrs and don’t leak, but they cost 50e and the poor man can’t afford that out of his salary. In the 10yrs the rich man only had to buy the one pair at 50e whereas the poor man has to buy 10 pairs of boots at 20e a pair costing a total of 200euro (so 150e more than the rich man) and he still had wet feet.

So I look for the best quality possible, at the best prices!

In some ways it is quite stressful, because I’m constantly double checking I’m getting the best prices, and reading reviews for quality. But I do enjoy getting good deals, and very rarely do we buy anything that turns out to being pure crap.

My most recent research was for an art set for my 12yr old daughter for a Christmas present. She wants to try different styles of painting, so has asked for a paint/art set. The problem is that it could just end up being thrown into the corner and barely used, so I don’t want to spend a huge amount of money on it. But then if you get really crap quality paints, they won’t be fun to use and when she uses them they won’t give her the proper try out of them she wants.

I started on Amazon looking at sets and reviews and brands, and there was a lot of hit and miss comments on a few differnt products, so I wanted to get more information. I grew up in an arty family, so Kennedys Art Shop in Dublin was my go-to from my memory for art supplies so went on to their website, and also another art shop Evans that I’d been brought to with a friend a few years back. On these sites I was able to get a bit more of an idea of what was out there (loads and loads of options!) but nothing that jumped out at me for my daughter. Then I had a look on Hobbycraft, and again they had a few “mixed media art sets” – some looked very cheap, but there was one with great reviews and while it wasn’t what I had been looking at originally (a full paint set with only acrylics, oils and watercolours) it also had colouring pencils and it all folded out of a box which was something my daughter mentioned, and with more things in it, there is more liklihood of being used. The reviews on this item really swung it for me, and it means that if she does like one of the types of painting over others, then we can get more specific supplies in the future for her, but this covers what she is looking for.

So you can see how much research goes into each purchase, so it’s not just me jumping at a good price. I do try my best to make smart purchases, but love when I get the good purchases at the best price!

Next research project is baking stuff, also for the 12yr old… she wants to add to her cupcake decorating skills and equipment! I have nozzle head sizes going around in my head lol!

3’s

People always say things come in 3’s – and I’m hoping we’ve had our three for a while!

My car was in with the mechanic last week – and needed a lot of work. And then my hubbie’s jeep broke down on his way home, and when he got in the door I was trying to get the oven to work (and couldn’t) – so needed a new oven, and parts for his jeep, as well as all the work that had to be done on our car.

So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that that’s the end of break-down’s for our household for a while 🙂

How do you budget your money

Like all of us I’d say, we have had times over the years that we are flat broke, and times that we have a bit extra money, but no matter what we have coming in – we’ve always made it work.

The way I have always worked it is that we have a “bills account”. All the household bills (like rent, electricity, gas, phones, etc) are set up by direct debit to go out of this account, and each week we put a set amount in. I have worked out the annual cost of all our bills, and divided it by 52 weeks and each week we put that into the bills account. It means that in the summer time we have a bit of money built up in the account because the heating costs are down, but it balances out again once the winter comes in. We don’t use this account for other costs like food or other expenses.

In the past few years I met with money and budgeting advice people, and they gave me a format to look at all expenses for the year – from car taxes, back to school costs, Christmas, birthdays, health, optical and dentist, right down to hair cuts, makeup, clothes and even lotto tickets and car parking costs. No expense is too small to take note of. It is a lot of work, but it is amazing to see it adding up. These extra costs are added up, and again broken down to a weekly amount, and this amount is put into a different account – like a post office or credit union, one that cannot be accessed by card easily! When these costs come up, you can go and take out the necessary allocated money.

What is great about this system is that the money accumulates quickly in the first few weeks, so you might only be putting aside €15 per week for your car tax – but because you’re putting in a higher amount to cover all of the annual costs, after a few weeks you will have the cost of the car tax, and can tax the car, knowing that you have it balanced out over the year.

And then there is food money, a certain predetermined amount which is taken out in cash.

Now, we haven’t been in a position in recent years to have savings, but if you have excess money left over after the necessities are accounted for, then you would be able to set your savings accounts separately too.

I love our system, because it really takes away the stress of managing money. There is very rarely a shock cost that I can’t cover, although this year I didn’t have enough allocated to car repairs!! It does take a bit of time to set up and work out EVERY SINGLE annual cost, and of course you might miss a few. I’ve a folder in my notes section on my phone for expenses I missed (like a football registration cost!) so that I can update it going forward.

What do you think? Do you guys have any budgeting tips?