In association with HotUKDeals

God I love Christmas.

I harp on about it, but I really do love it. Mainly I love the shopping and the twinkly lights which yes, I know, is totally NOT what Christmas is about, but YOLO, as I’m sure the three wise men would have said if they’d have thought about it.

What I’m not so keen on is the ‘spending vast amounts of money’ aspect, so I do like to make savings where I can. I’m one of those really annoying people who will buy presents in April if I see something on special offer, (although if it makes you feel better, I will then put said present away ‘somewhere safe’ and forget about it until January.)

I am also, thanks to the bargain hunting skills of an ex-boyfriend, well trained in the art of sniffing out an online deal. HotUKDeals was in fact one of his absolute favourites and he’d browse it regularly, in a kind of excited/guilty way, like other people might look at the profiles of exes on Facebook.

He knew what he was doing though as HotUKDeals is a great way to save cash, whether you’re buying gifts for Christmas or looking for things for around the house and garden, as I am ABOUT TO PROVE…

DUM DUM DUM!

HotUKDeals set me a shopping challenge – exactly how much could I save by exploring the special offers listed on their site?

Let’s see shall we?

The deals on HotUKDeals are pretty easy to navigate. You can either go to the main deals page and see what’s hot, or you can use the drop down menu to explore deals by department or by retailer. Members use the temperature gauge to vote on deals so other users know that the hotter the deal, the stronger the offer.

HotUKDeals

Deals could be anything, from someone having spotted cheese slices at half price in Morrisons to £100 off a mattress. Literally anything, so it’s always fun to see what new offers have been listed.

Now, my mission primarily was Christmas presents, but then browsing through the main deals page I came across this kettle, which I thought would look very nice in my kitchen, and which was reduced from £80. When you find an offer you like the look of you just click on it to find out more and then get linked through to the retailer where you can either buy directly or find out more. View Post

‘THE AVERAGE FAMILY SPEND £2,831 ON CHRISTMAS!’

‘FAMILIES ACCUMULATE £1,298 OF DEBT OVER CHRISTMAS!’

These are the kind of jolly headlines you can look forward to over the next eight weeks – it’s so festive isn’t it? Just what you need to get you into a Christmassy mood. I mean seriously, you’d need a pint or two of mulled wine after reading things like that. (My excuse.)

The truth is though that YOU are not an average family. You are just you, and you don’t need to spend £2,831 or accumulate £1,298 of debt to make all of your Christmas dreams come true.

Christmas chocolates

My Christmas dreams. In a box. In chocolate form.

How much do you spend on Christmas?

So how much DO you spend? Do you think about it beforehand and set yourself a budget, or do you wing it and worry about it later? Aspire Money have put together a handy tool that you might like to have a play with – a Christmas Budget Planner.

The Aspire Money Budget Planner asks you to consider all of your Christmas costs, including those you might not think to factor in, like advent calendars, travel to visit friends and family, and Christmas stockings. (I’m not sure why it includes this though, as obviously Father Christmas takes care of those.) View Post

Today I have another guest post from the lovely Jon at The Money Shed. Every so often Jon likes to share handy information/mildly mock me, and today he has an excellent cheap web-hosting deal for you. Have a read!

cheap web hosting for a blog

Have you ever read Jo’s blog on here and thought ‘I’d like to give blogging a go!’

Maybe you’ve read one of her many angry posts about signs outside coffee shops or some other middle class problem you can totally relate to and thought you could do an even better job!

Blogging is a fantastic platform to not only connect with other people but also one you can earn a HUGE amount of money from in the long term.

Usually to earn that money though companies who want to place content on your site will want you to be what is called self hosted. That means that you are in full control of the blog you are running and aren’t just hosting it on a 3rd party website such as Blogger or Blogspot.

A lot of people hold off on running a self hosted blog because they worry about the cost involved but trust me, you can worry no more as I can show you how you can host your blog(s) for only £2.99 a month (although it’s actually less but more about that in a bit) with the amazing UK hosting company Kloudhost. View Post

As hard as we try to spend cautiously and save carefully, sometimes we’re hit by an emergency that leaves us needing to get money quickly. It could be a car breakdown, a vet bill, a boiler explosion – whatever it is, we suddenly find it’s a week until pay day and we have a cat with a leg in plaster/car exhaust on the road/no hot water. (Delete as appropriate.*)

A couple of years ago for example I came home to find a huge puddle of water on the kitchen floor. I looked around suspiciously. No taps were on and the ceiling was intact. I opened the freezer. Things were suspiciously warm and NOT icy.

ways to get money quickly

Now although I did spend the winter of 1997 living without a fridge and keeping single pints of milk in the garden overnight, this was the summer. Plus I’m not 19 and living in poverty any more so you know, I did quite want a fridge that worked. Fortunately I had a little bit of money set aside, but not everyone is so lucky. If you find yourself needing money for an emergency purchase, I’ve put together a few ideas for ways to get money quickly.

Please note: these are simply suggestions, not financial advice, and my ideas are meant to be for anyone who needs to get money quickly for one-off emergency purchases, not day to day spending or treats. If you are struggling to meet everyday expenditure, like food or bills, then speak to a debt advisor. You can call the Money Advice Line on 0800 138 7777 or try a debt charity like Step Change. View Post

Post in association with Tesco Bank

money saving hacks

 

A little while ago Tesco Bank asked me to put together some of my best budgeting hacks for their website. I came up with 10 really simple ways to save money – I was quite proud of myself. You can read them here, so please do go and have a look.

In the process of writing that piece though, I realised that I’m a bit of a natural in the old money saving department. Perhaps that first class economics degree really is good for something?? I thought I’d put together a few more ideas for you here.

Have a read and let me know if you have tried any of these and if they’ve made a difference to your household finances. I’d love to hear about any other tips you have too! View Post

Fancy £20 off your next holiday? I’ve got a Booking.com discount code for you today, so you can claim £20 back from your next stay AND earn every time a new friend books accommodation! 

AdvertisementBooking.com discount code

I love staying in hotels.

One of my favourite things about the whole experience is the hotel breakfast. When would you ever make yourself a fruit salad for breakfast, drink juice from ridiculously small glasses and poach yourself some smoked haddock? You just wouldn’t.

I did once miss a hotel breakfast. I was staying for a night in Manchester with Fiance and we’d had a bit of a late night and overslept. When I woke up, checked the time, and realised we had slept through breakfast I was GUTTED. I mean properly, irrationally gutted. I had this awful sinking feeling and just wanted to turn back time – to do anything to make it NOT TRUE.

As you can see, it still haunts me. I probably need to get over it.

booking.com discount code

My normal hotel breakfast

I tend to book my accommodation through comparison sites like Booking.com, where they search for the best deals for you in whatever location you want, give you reviews and ratings, and generally make the whole process a lot more straightforward. Not like the good old days when you had to get out a Yellow Pages and take pot luck. How did we COPE WITH LIFE before we had to ability to see star ratings from strangers??

What’s super cool about Booking.com is that you can now get money off with my discount code. View Post