Author Archives: saveinthecity

freebie friday

First of all – apologies for my absence over the past few weeks. Life admin has gone in the way somewhat but I’m back on track and ready to provide you with some fantastic freebies!

LUXE by SheerLuxe

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BURBERRY My Burberry Blush

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LA MER Moisturising Matte Lotion

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GIVENCHY Matissime Velvet Fluid or Compact Foundation

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CHARLES WORTHINGTON samples

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BENEFIT POREfessional Pore Minimising Make-up

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ELEMIS samples

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AVEDA invati trio sample

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STARSKIN masks

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BURT’S BEES Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream

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JOICO sample kit

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BOBBI BROWN Full Cover Concealer

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iGlow Long Lashes Serum

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ESTEE LAUDER Nutritious Micro-Algae

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MONU Skincare samples

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VICHY Slow Age

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CLARINS samples

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QUEEN Eye Make-up Remover

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EMPORIO ARMANI His and Hers

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DR BOTANICALS samples

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GIVENCHY Live Irrésistible Eau de Parfum Délicieuse

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BAREMINERALS SkinLongevity Serum and Eye Duo

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CLINIQUE appointment

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SENSORA Night Cream, Facial Oil and Micellar Water

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THE ECONOMIST print copy

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Hope you all have a wonderful Friday and weekend.

H x

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spend less by eating seasonally

Eating healthily seems to be something that more and more people are setting as a priority in their lives. The only problem is that lots of the ingredients lauded as what we should be eating (aside from being things most of us had never heard of and could barely pronounce until a few years ago – quinoa being a prime example) are so damn expensive! 

My own bookshelves are brimming with recipe books that have the most delicious looking dishes in them, but even the most nutritious food in the world wouldn’t benefit me if I’m constantly being confronted with receipts that make me ill at the sight of them.

There’s a Whole Foods near me which houses all those niggly things that some recipes call for that I can’t seem to find in ‘normal’ supermarkets, but I wouldn’t dream of doing my weekly shop or fresh ingredients there (instead I simply go in and peruse the shelves for anything which looks to be on particularly good offer and take advantage of the tasters that I frequently get offered – the PULSIN Orange Choc Chip Protein Booster was a particular highlight).

One thing I’ve found incredibly useful is to buy seasonal produce.

The fact that the food is, on the whole, locally produced rather than imported and is in more abundant supply naturally lowers its cost.

Advocates of this method of choosing what food to buy include Madeleine Shaw, a nutritional health coach and nutritional therapist whose book ‘A Year of Beautiful Eating’ provides recipes and inspiration for different times of the year based on what ingredients will be at their very best (on a separate note – I’ve been cooking from her books since they first came out and literally everything I’ve made has been absolutely delicious. Her chickpea and lentil dhal is now a staple in my repertoire).

Madeleine notes that the benefits of seasonal eating go beyond the stabilisation of your bank balance. Better flavour; the chance to try new foods; the decreased environmental impact; and the fact that what is being grown will be what your body actually needs are among the reasons why she believes we should cook with and consume what is in season.

If you’re wondering what is currently in season then, never fear, your handy guide is here:june.jpg

As we move through the year I’ll update you as to what’s in season every month, so that you can make easy savings!

H x

freebie friday

Freebies galore this week – plus a few chances to become a product tester:

CAUDALIE Vinoperfect Radiance Serum

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SOAP & GLORY surprise

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CHANEL Les 4 Ombres Eyeshadow

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NEUTROGENA Visibly Renew Hand Cream

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GLAMOUR Beauty Club

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VICHY Aqualia Thermal Serum

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HOLLAND & BARRATT Chewable Vitamin C tablets

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CHARLES WORTHINGTON Ultra Violet Shampoo

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BOBBI BROWN Art Stick Liquid Lip

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AUVA Lip Balm Sun Protection SPF20

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AVENE skin diagnosis and samples

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and; saving the best ’til last:

KRISPY KREME doughnut

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LOTUS Biscoff

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Enjoy!

H x

how to save £1,000 a month

I recently explained to a friend that I was trying to save £1,000 each month and her instant reaction, as I’m sure mine would have been nine months ago, was that I must be earning far more than her to be able to even contemplate putting away this amount on a monthly basis.

However, the truth is that you don’t need to be earning a lot to be able to save a lot. You simply need to be careful with what you do with your income.

In the first steps I referred to the 50/30/20 principle – whereby 20% of your income should be saved. If you’re serious about saving, or building up an ’emergency fund’ that will give you financial freedom and the ability to choose what you actually want to do, you really need to be stashing away more than this though.

Having been completely motivated by Canna Sass of SugarMamma.TV to take control of my finances (her blog and YouTube channel are well worth a look if only to lust after her wardrobe, but she’s also a certified financial adviser), I read about what she called the ‘$1,000 Project’.

The $1,000 Project is a challenge Canna set for herself (and her readers) whereby she put money she saved, manifested and made into a savings account that was separate from her usual accounts. Once the balance on the account reached $1,000 she then invested it in long term passive income sources (i.e. ways of making money without you having to do anything…and doesn’t that sound amazing – more about this on the blog soon). Canna originally did this with the intention of buying a designer handbag with the money made from these investments but has since donated it to charity – what an inspiration!

My ultimate aim was to do just as Canna was doing and to invest the money I had saved and created myself above and beyond my salary – but to give myself some security (given the prospect that no investment is certain to provide a life-changing return) I wanted to build up my emergency fund first.

Now 1,000 Australian Dollars equates around £580 but, given my desire to achieve the financial independence I needed, I wanted to set my goals high so that I could do it as quickly as possible. £1,000 seems like a huge amount to save every month and, I’ll be honest, sometimes this wasn’t achievable but it was a nice round number to aim towards. You can set whatever goal you like, but I would say that having a large figure to aim for really does help imprint in your mind how stringent you need to be.

Although I wanted to save this amount every month, I didn’t want to compromise on the lifestyle I had already established for myself. Going out for dinner or a glass (*bottle) of wine with my friends is what keeps me sane, exercise and eating well is incredibly important to me, and I have expensive taste in clothes, shoes, handbags, jewellery, cushions, candles…you get the idea.

I therefore set about trying to find ways of doing and having what I wanted for as little as possible, or even for free! I was amazed to find that there are so many opportunities to do so. Most of these are well-documented (such as switching energy supplier or foregoing your morning coffee-shop coffee) but I wanted to share three ideas with you that you may not already have thought of.

1. Supermarket savings

Yellow stickered goods have filled my fridge for the best part of seven months. But these are not just any yellow stickered goods. These are Marks & Spencer yellow stickered goods. See what I did there?

Joking aside, finding out when your local supermarket makes reductions is an excellent way of saving money. I’m strangely proud of the number of delicious salads I’ve picked up for under a pound, the quarter-price salmon fillets I’ve delved at the bottom of the shop freezer for and the treat Indian takeaways for two that I’ve bought when they’ve been reduced to £1.49 instead of hitting Deliveroo (notice I try to go for the healthy stuff – my sister on the other hand has, on two occasions, come home with enormous cakes that have been reduced from £10 to 99p – one Galaxy one and one in the shape of a pug that said that it served 18. We ate it between the two of us within 26 hours…oops).

2. Forget gym fees

Moving on from gorging on cake to keeping fit…I haven’t paid for the gym since my change in circumstances nine months ago. I had previously been paying £25.99 a month at PureGym (which was actually a great deal for 24 hour access and all classes included, including a spin class with Katie Stones that was so good I used to drag myself out of bed at 05:45 for it) but, when reassessing my finances, couldn’t justify the fees the gyms around my new corner of London commanded.

I started looking online for different ways I could exercise for free and found that there are so many ways of doing so beyond simply going for a run or doing squats whilst brushing one’s teeth. Come back soon for a blog post dedicated to ‘frugal fitness’.

3. Become a mystery diner/shopper and product tester

I used to sit at my desk every lunchtime with a homemade salad or leftovers from the previous evening’s dinner which, as thrifty as this was, meant that I didn’t get out of the office all day and was frequently asked work-related questions or to complete tasks despite it supposedly being my lunch break.

It’s now become a running joke amongst my colleagues that I spend most of my lunchtimes reviewing different restaurants in the area around my office.

The premise behind mystery dining is that you go to a restaurant, write a review on things like the service you received, the cleanliness of the restaurant and the taste of the food and then you get reimbursed afterwards.

Not only have I been able to eat an awful lot of food for free as a result (so much so that I have, on occasions, been able to go two weeks without doing a food shop!), but I’ve found it’s an excellent way of getting some fresh air during my lunch break. Some mystery dines have also been in some fantastic restaurants and I’ve been able to treat some of my nearest and dearest to some fabulous meals as a result.

Mystery shopping works in much the same way but obviously you are buying products, as opposed to food, which you can keep afterwards.

I’ve also signed up to be a product tester through a number of different websites. Not only do you get to keep the product you’ve been sent to try but it’s a great way of finding new things that you may want to buy again without having to splurge on it first. I’ve actually been sent the best shampoo I’ve ever tried through one of these schemes (worth £28) which I would never have wanted to buy without knowing it lived up to the hype for myself.

For the ‘cost’ of writing a review, I would absolutely recommend this as a way of saving money.

I hope these ideas are of interest. I’ll be writing about each of them in more detail in the future but if you have any questions, or would like me to focus on anything in particular in these posts, please do get in touch.

Do you have at ideas as to how you can save money? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

H x

 

 

freebie friday

This week’s instalment contains some absolute crackers:

CLINIQUE Plump + Shine Liquid Lip Plumping Gloss

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THE BODY SHOP Drops of Youth Concentrate and Liquid Peel

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MURAD Facial and skin consultation

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GIVENCHY Matissime Velvet foundation

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AUVA Youth Booster

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SIMPLY ARGAN Argan Oil, Argan Night Oil and Arbre d’or Perfume

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CLINIQUE Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer

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DORCO Eve 6 razor

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LA MER Soft Fluid foundation

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AERIS 2 Minute Miracle Gel

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SISLEY Black Rose skin care collection

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and finally; not quite a freebie but you can get the NAILS INC Festival Fever collection for £11.95 (incl. VAT) rather than £104.00 by using the promotional code FESTIVALNAILS. What a bargain!

H x

to buy or not to buy (and hire instead)

Last year I was invited to a ball which required me to wear a full length (formal) dress.

I do not own any full length dresses.

There are a few reasons for this:

  1. I am not the tallest girl in the world. Anything described as ‘full length’ will therefore eventually be covered in four inches of mud even if I stick high heels on (and, amazingly, even if I’m nowhere near mud).
  2. Due to the aforesaid height issue, and my ridiculous clumsiness, I will trip over anything which falls below my shins. I feel as though Jennifer Lawrence and I are kindred spirits in this sense.
  3. I have expensive taste and, if I were to buy a long dress, would want one that: fits like it had been made for me; goes perfectly with my favourite shoes (you’ll hear about those at some point); and would be so pretty that everyone who had seen it would comment on it for the next decade. Such a dress probably doesn’t exist in any event; and if it did, I wouldn’t be prepared to get the money needed to purchase it by selling an organ just to wear it for one night.

In short; my feeling was that there was absolutely no point in spending money on something which I would only ever wear once, would probably ruin and would leave me without the liver needed to clear my body of the alcohol I would drink whilst wearing it.

Instead, I hired a dress.

It was beautiful.

This Alice by Temperley dress retails for £420. I hired it – complete with delivery, pick up, dry cleaning and insurance – for not much more than a tenth of that cost from Chic by Choice (thanks to a first purchase offer).

I received so many compliments, felt great all evening (even whilst walking in the pouring rain with a semi-broken umbrella due to gale-force winds) and didn’t even have to worry about cleaning it afterwards! A winning combination.

If you’ve never contemplated hiring a dress before I would absolutely recommend it; particularly if you’re going to an event that requires you to wear something you probably won’t wear again, if you’re the sort of person that prefers not to be seen in the same outfit twice or if you just fancy wearing something pretty damn special. 

Saving money isn’t always about not spending money. Although never paying for anything would obviously enable your bank balance to grow very quickly it’s completely unrealistic not buy anything at all. Whilst I wouldn’t advocate hiring dresses on a regular basis we all get invited to special events that we want to look and feel great for. What I am suggesting is that, rather than potentially waste a large sum on a gorgeous dress that you may only wear once or twice, hiring an absolutely fabulous dress (possibly much more so than the one you could have bought instead) is a great alternative.

There are a huge range of designer dresses available in different sizes which are suitable for a variety of body types and occasions. You simply select the dates you want the dress for, find the dress and some websites even allow you to select an additional size (for free) to give you piece of mind that at least one will fit!

There are several online companies offering dresses for hire, including: Chic by Choice; Girl Meets Dress; Dream Wardrobe; My Celebrity Dress; Hire the Catwalk and The Frock Project. Each have slightly different services that they offer which are worth having a look at (special offers come up all the time too) but I just wanted to give you the chance to swoon over some of the stunning dresses you could get the chance to wear. The only problem is being able to choose between them!

 

 

H x

freebie friday

Any attempt to curb your spending will obviously be easier if you can get things you would usually buy for a discounted price. However, getting and doing things for free is even better!

Each week I’ll be curating, and providing some links to, the best deals, voucher codes and free samples that you can get your hands on.

This week’s offering:

ESTEE LAUDER lip effect service

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ELEMIS bath oil

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ST TROPEZ gradual tan

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FITKIT shower gel

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AVEDA purifying scalp experience

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JORDANS granola

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ESTEE LAUDER foundation and primer

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H x