Tuesday, 30 October 2018

HOME & LIFESTYLE | FIRST TIME BUYERS DEPOSIT SAVING TIPS

It's no secret that getting onto the property ladder isn't easy; there are so many barriers and even though there are government schemes to put property within reach (Help to Buy, Shared Equity etc.) they still require you to save a substantial amount of money for a deposit. You'll be expected to cough up at least 5% of the property value and this can seem really daunting and unachievable but it doesn't have to be. There are lots of things you can do now to put yourself in a better position when it comes to buying your first house.


Have an idea of your budget - decide what is realistic for you in terms of a house price, there are plenty of mortgage calculators online which will work out how much banks are likely to agree to lending you so you'll be able to get a rough figure as to the houses that are in reach. Don't forget that Help to Buy and Shared Equity schemes are also there to help so definitely look into those as part of the process. 

Keep an eye on your credit score - ultimately your credit score will be one of the main things that banks look at when deciding whether to offer you a mortgage so this needs to be as strong as possible. Don't forget that having no credit at all can be as bad as having too much credit; banks want to know whether you're capable of managing your finances and paying back what you owe and not having any credit previously means it's very hard for them to do that. Understanding your credit score is key to improving it so if it isn't where it needs to be make sure you find out why and take steps to rectify it. 

Declutter your life - selling the stuff you don't need can be a great way of giving yourself a tidy sum of cash; I've sold all sorts on eBay and local Facebook selling sites and it's important to remember that your trash really could be someone else's treasure; the beauty of Facebook is that there's no selling fees so anything larger or potentially worth more try selling it on there before you go to sites that'll charge you a commission. Shpock, Gumtree and Depop are other sites specifically for selling second hand things so go have a look at those too and see what sells well on each.

Do some online surveys - some online survey sites can be quite stingy with 'rewards' offered and often screen you out a couple of questions in but my personal favourites are YouGov and Prolific Academic - neither of these screen you out a couple of questions in because they only allow you to complete surveys that are relevant to you/them. You can cash out at £50 with YouGov and Prolific Academic allows you to cash out at as little as £20 without paying a fee and you accumulate money pretty quickly. This money doesn't look a lot initially but it soon adds up and to be honest a lot of the surveys are quite interesting to do so I'd highly recommend them for a bit of extra cash. 

Don't forget to let HMRC know of any additional income, Emma Drew's guide on this is fab for newbies.

Save before you spend - when it comes to physically saving money obviously only save what you can afford to but make sure you save at the beginning of the month rather than at the end. In other words put an amount into your savings on payday rather than waiting to see what's left over and just saving that. That way you're guaranteed to save an amount every month. 

Clear up your spends - basically see what you can do without. When I started saving I got rid of my Spotify subscription, cancelled my gym membership (when I could... be careful of contractual agreements that you may have signed) and stopped spending money on lunches at work. It's amazing how much all this adds up to and you might be surprised how many direct debits leave your account and you have no idea why you're still letting them take money from you! 

If you're looking for more saving tips and inspiration Pinterest is the place to be, as well as Emma Drew's blog - she has some amazing tips and tricks on how to save plenty of cash to do the things you want including buying a house!

*post written in collaboration with Credit Fix. 

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Monday, 22 October 2018

LIFESTYLE | SUNDAY CHILLS

Sunday is traditionally when we spend the entire day dreading what awaits us at work on Monday but I've been determined to change that mindset by making it a day that I actually enjoy right up until I go to bed.

Get out and about
Sometimes on a Sunday you literally do just want to stay in the house all day and chill out but I think it's the staying in all day that sometimes breeds that feeling of dread because you end up feeling a bit bored and naturally your thoughts turn to the next thing on your agenda eg. work. For that reason I like to try and get out for a short walk if it's not raining - I actually prefer walking in autumn/winter weather because you can layer up accordingly and actually enjoy the walk without sweating as if you've done a full on workout.

Catch up on cleaning
I know some of you will read that and think 'cleaning' and 'chilling' do not go in the same sentence but I can honestly say that I genuinely love cleaning. No I've not travelled back to the 1950's, I don't believe my place is in the kitchen but I do believe that there's nothing more therapeutic than hoovering your living room carpet, stepping back to admire the hoover lines and spraying them with 1001 Winter Berry Carpet Freshener. Ok so I may have lost it slightly but on a serious note since it exploded on Instagram I've absolutely fallen in love with cleaning and I really do clean for enjoyment rather than it being a chore.

Fill in a bullet journal
I've spoke about bullet journalling as a way to give yourself a bit of me time; you can find hundreds of ideas on Pinterest and I find it really quite a cathartic thing to do and I highly recommend it as a way to kind of 'offload' the week.

Have a bath
A bath is how I end every Sunday because I find it so relaxing; I have a specific little routine that I go through and I find that it really relaxes me ready for bed. I was kindly sent a pamper pack from Sanctuary Bathrooms so I wanted to share what my Sunday night pamper consists of...


  • I always light an aromatherapy candle, whether it's Wax Lyrical Lavender and Chamomile or Neom De-Stress 
  • Use use a luxury bath product like a Lush bath bomb
  • Apply a face mask just before getting into the bath and leave it to work it's magic as you relax
  • Use a nice hair treatment - I have blonde hair so I use the Lee Stafford Bleach Blondes toning shampoo which just takes out the brassy tones but a deep conditioning treatment would also be nice
  • I take the opportunity to exfoliate and shave because I find this much easier in a bath than a shower.
What do you with your Sunday? Share your pictures with me on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #GiveYourselfSomeSanctuary 


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