It was not my intention to be writing this quick and easy chickpea burgers recipe. Had I not been in a panic this weekend with the realisation that I was off to a barbeque on Saturday and had forgotten I needed a vegan option, this recipe would not exist.
If this last year has taught me anything, it’s that although money shouldn’t matter, it does. I used to struggle with money a lot, and although I am over most obstacles that I have had to face and am now financially stable, there will always be something that will turn up unexpectedly.
The last two years have been a rollercoaster for my career and my ability to stay financially stable, but last year I hit a low. Unemployment hit me hard and I had to stretch out every penny I could to get by. Though I am much better for it now, there is so much about money that I have taken on board so that if anything knocks me sideways again, I will be ready to deal with it and I will remain financially stable.
Is it too late to become financially stable?
At 24, I already feel keeping myself financially stable is something I should have prepared for years ago. I wish so much that I had been educated about money in high school. Though as a teenager I would have probably been uninterested, I would have left feeling with more knowledge on how to get by.
This is all I knew: In order to live, you need to get a job and earn money. There may have been a few small things surrounding this, that was the gist of it. I also thought that going to university was my best choice for getting a good career. I now know better, but this lack of information has led me down an emotional road that I wish I didn’t have to go through. Regardless, I don’t believe it is too late. I just think I have a bit of catching up to do.
The struggle isn’t the problem. I believe we need to struggle somewhat to fully appreciate the things we have in life. Pain makes you stronger, but there is a difference between working hard and surviving just fine and swimming against a tide. This week I want to talk about ways to keep yourself financially stable now as well as what you can be doing to be prepared for the future.
How can I become Financially Stable?
I can’t fix your problems, I’m not a qualified expert, but I can tell you the things I have done in the last year that have helped me get my life back on track and give myself a healthier mindset on staying financially stable in the future.
1. Divide your finances
I have recently come to learn that being with one bank hasn’t always been my best choice in life. Though I have two accounts under the same bank, it’s too easy for me to transfer my savings back into my graduate account and spend it. I needed to split my money in order to stay financially stable.
I now have four bank accounts for different purposes. I am still with my current bank, but I have also joined Monzo and Starling. My current bank is where my paycheck goes in and my bills go out and my eSavings account has a small amount deposited into it every month for a rainy day.
I plan to transfer a budgeted amount from my graduate to my Monzo account each month to be used for shopping, dining out, and other activities. This means I’m still enjoying life, but I’m not allowed to go overboard. Once that money is gone, that’s it.
Starling is a special account. I have always wanted to travel, but saving for it has always been a struggle. With a Starling debit card, you can spend abroad for free, and the app allows you to create “goals” for your money to be stored until you reach the desired amount. I’m almost halfway through my Italy goal, where Larry and I will be heading later this year.
2. Have minimal money months to stay financially stable
If you haven’t read my articles around Money Free MarchMoney Free March, I suggest you do if you want to give it a go. Though I have a set spending budget each month, that number will change depending on what I can afford. To make it easier, I’m continuing to have months that are quite similar Money Free March.
3. Learn to say no
Something I have carried with me since Money Free March is the importance of saying no. There are some things in life that are not as important as it is to remain financially stable. I used to have this naive approach to money. I would think to myself “Oh, well I have been paid this much money this month, therefore I deserve to buy this handbag”.
This really isn’t the case. Though it’s not wrong for you to treat yourself once in a while, it is also very easy for this “treat” to become a bad habit. If you want to stay financially stable, you need to keep asking yourself if you really need whatever it is that you are tempted to buy.
4. Start Investing to be financially stable in the future
“Wait a minute Lacey, aren’t we supposed to be saving money here?”
Keeping yourself financially stable is about saving where you can, yes, but a saving and making an investment are not exactly two worlds apart. I want to go into further detail about this at some point, but I think it is extremely important to get thinking about your pension.
If you are earning above £5,876 a year, you will be part of auto-enrolment. If you aren’t already aware, this is essentially a minimum contribution to be paid into your pension by you and your employer every month, but it’s a good idea to be saving on top of this as well. There are some options available for you to remain financially stable during retirement, and I believe that it is never too soon to take this into consideration.
5. Think about other investments
At some point in your life, you will probably want to buy a house. In order to get that house, you will need a deposit. You may not be in the position to be saving a lot at the minute, but a little can go a long way. It’s a good idea to ask around for the best saving options available.
The way I see it is this: If you can afford a Netflix subscription, you can afford to pay £5 a month for a help to buy ISA. This goes back to thinking about what you can do without. If you want to be as prepared as possible, and with interest rates currently being a big concern for investors, then perhaps it’s time to rethink your current investments if you want to be financially stable in the future.
Have your say
Do you have any advice for staying financially stable? Whether we like it or not, money matters, and being in a bad financial situation can be terrible for your mental and physical health. I really hope some of you found this useful. As mentioned, I’m no expert, but these are based on my own learning curves and choices that I have made over the years that have had an impact on how I handle my finances.
Disclaimer: Any outbound links are not affiliated with this site or an endorsement.
If you know me, you will know that I’m a fairly confident person. When it comes to my womanhood, however, I know there was a time where I embraced it much more than I do now.
In the last couple of years I have noticed that while I try to get a grip on my job, my plans for the future, and my life in general, the idea of being sensible began to cast a shadow over my womanhood. Though I have always been encouraging towards other women with what they wish to do with their lives and their bodies, I was unknowingly beginning to cover myself up.
What I want for my womanhood
I have always been surrounded by a wonderful group of friends who share the same values as me when it comes to womanhood. Your body is your own, no one can or should tell you what you can or cannot do with it, no one can decide whether your sexual actions are taboo or otherwise, and you should do whatever you like as long as you’re never intentionally hurting anyone in the process (we also have to remember that people are only human and make mistakes so it would be foolish to shame someone for hurting another unintentionally). So why do I not apply this to my own womanhood?
Don’t get me wrong, if you don’t WANT to do something sexually, there is no reason to argue otherwise, that is your personal stance on your own womanhood. If you want to wear clothes that cover you head to toe, then that’s perfectly okay. If you don’t want to talk to friends about your sex life, that’s okay too. For me, however, I’m one of those people who wish to wear more “risque” clothes and has honest conversations about what goes on in the bedroom, but sometimes I find myself being blocked by my conscience, and I find it to be a knock to my womanhood.
You can’t judge a book by its cover
Though you may have seen photos and other posts on my social media accounts that suggest I’m extremely confident with my womanhood, knowing me on a more personal level would perhaps suggest that I tend to put up a shield without intending to do so. I’ll put an outfit on that I think looks fabulous, then in an hour, I’m in a public place, worrying about the fact that I look “too slutty” or that I appear to be trying too hard.
I will say, however, that pole is something where I don’t even have to think about my womanhood. When in training, I don’t see myself as either being too sexual or too prudish, my body is simply mine and I’m working hard to be proud of it. But despite having a sanctuary where my womanhood doesn’t feel sheltered, I want to bring that out of the studio and into my everyday life.
Baby steps to rediscover my womanhood
So what changes have I chosen to make? Many of you may have heard of Katherine Elizabeth if you are based in Manchester. Though she is a dear friend of mine, she is also an incredible photographer with a knack for making anyone feel comfortable in front of the camera. As part of the plan to rediscover my womanhood, we came up with the idea of a simple photo shoot to help rebuild my confidence.
If I were to go to any other photographer, I fear we would have been there for hours trying to get the right selection of images. We had too many to choose from by the time we were done, and we were surprised that the shooting time took as little as it did. We managed to narrow down the images to a selection of around thirty. I had to ask her to surprise me with the final few as I was so overwhelmed with how happy I was with the photos!
Seeing things clearly
I don’t remember the last time I looked at a photo of myself and thought “Wow, I am hot!” It’s just not the norm to think that way, we’re supposedly not allowed to fully embrace our womanhood. We are told that we should love ourselves more, but the second we start to embrace how we look, our sexiness, our “duck faces” and “smizes”, we are suddenly vain and full of ourselves.
Since the photo shoot, I have felt more confident in my womanhood. I won’t say that I am where I aim to be just yet, but it’s a start and a big one at that. I’m taking more selfies, being more adventurous with my makeup and wardrobe choices, and caring less about what others may think.
What do you want for your womanhood?
As I said, this is journey is my own. I can’t determine what your idea of womanhood is, nor anyone else’s, but if you feel that something is missing then I encourage you to look for it. It’s not up to the rest of the world to decide what we do with our bodies or our life, so it’s important to look in the mirror from time to time and tell yourself that you are amazing, wonderful, spectacular and that no one else can determine otherwise.
However you view your womanhood, it is always going to be yours and it’s up to you to own it!
Though I have said it a so many times in these last few weeks, I am beyond grateful to Katherine Elizabeth for taking the time to do this shoot with me and put a reminder in my brain to love my womanhood for what it is and how I want to carry it with me. You may see some changes in my social media now, but I don’t think my journey to loving my womanhood is complete just yet.
Do you ever find yourself struggling to embrace your womanhood? I would love to know your thoughts.
Disclaimer: Any outbound links are not affiliated with this site or an endorsement.
This weekend I have been very busy, but I found a super easy meal prep for my lunches this week. Jambalaya! I’ve never made jambalaya before, let alone a vegan version, but I needed something quick and easy, and I had a recipe card from some supermarket and thought I’d see if I could do it. I haven’t followed the recipe completely, I’ve made a cheeky cheat version with similar ingredients, but it came out so good!
This is almost a week later than planned… Oops!
Many of you have been asking me how Money Free March went. I wanted to write halfway through the month, but a lot has been going on and I feel like I have barely stopped! I didn’t have much time to sit down and calculate my savings, but I can happily say that I saw a significant impact by the end of Money Free March.
There were a lot of obstacles during Money Free March
I will be honest. I tried to be as prepared as possible during Money Free March, but there were so many unexpected obstacles that interrupted my plans. As a blogger, I go to a number of events, but there were many where we were expected to eat, only to find that there were mostly a few nibbles that wouldn’t fill a person.
Too many times did I have to buy food afterward to avoid feeling queasy on the bus home. I was sensible, however, and opted for what was cheaper, though I will admit that didn’t always mean healthy.
My habits dropped dramatically
In the first week of Money Free March, all I wanted to do was spend. I felt the need to keep myself indoors as much as I could at the weekend to avoid nipping to Primark for this that and the other. I also had two moments of weakness where I felt the need to buy a coffee on my way to work and I caved. However, two coffees in a month as opposed to my usual… thousand? Definitely an improvement.
The only times I really left the house was if I had plans with people or if I were going away for the weekend. When Money Free March was over, I had a new mindset on shopping. I can now stop and ask myself if I truly need it, and if not then I can walk away without thinking I’m lost without it.
I’m glad I put money aside for certain activities
I don’t know about you, but I’m the kind of person who can’t do nothing. Money Free March came with a lot of prearrangements, and I’m so glad they were, or I would have gone insane. I’m also glad that I put a budget together in order to do these activities. Keeping within budget meant that I wouldn’t go overboard, but I could still enjoy myself.
I don’t think that saving money means you should stay in all the time until you have reached your goal. I also spent days at my friend’s house, sharing a bottle of wine and simply relaxing. I didn’t get as crafty as I had planned, but that’s due to having a busier schedule than expected.
Money Free March certainly paid off
As mentioned, I didn’t get time to calculate as I went on, but I can happily say that there wasn’t a day where I felt worried about how much was in my bank and the only times I checked my balance was to see if any necessary payments had gone through.
By the end of the Money Free March, I had enough saved to finally purchase a new laptop, something I have been needing for two years. I even have some left over, but I have moved it into a savings account for a rainy day.
So, what did I learn by the end of Money Free March?
Saving money is hard, but it’s certainly not impossible. The biggest thing you need to change is your view on what you really need to buy. I also think that to constantly remind yourself of what your savings can or will go towards, then you’re more likely to stick to the plan.
What advice would I give for saving money?
So here’s a breakdown of things to consider
- Think of what you have planned for the month – put a budget together
- Avoid hitting the shops at all costs, and uninstall any shopping apps on your phone
- Have an emergency cash stash for any unexpected bills – you never know what could happen
- Make time for meal prep – don’t forget to include snacks for potential emergencies
I would love to know if you tried Money Free March, or perhaps you’re going to try Money Free May instead?
I dedicate this blog post to everyone who started off their fitness year strong before coming to a crashing halt. You hit the gym hard, drank every smoothie you found on Pinterest, “cleansed” your body from all the naughty snacks you devoured at Christmas and New Year… Then nothing.
Hey, you’re only human! In most cases, it’s not actually because you simple HATE exercise, it normally comes down to what you personally enjoy. You need something to get you pumped up, something that you’re more likely to do consistently because it’s just that fun. You need something that doesn’t make you feel rubbish when you find yourself struggling to keep up. Maybe try Zumba?
If you guys follow me on Twitter, you know how much I love Zumba. That wonderful, dance-tastic fitness craze that came into our world in the early noughties which blasts out tracks by Pitbull, Shakira and much more. Though I know many people who are mad about the latest Kim K butt blaster, I’m more about leaving the studio with legs like jelly and a smile on my face than wondering whether my body is looking amazing yet (not saying I never have those moments, as I said, we’re only human).
There are so many reasons I love Zumba, but here are just a few.
You can never do Zumba wrong
No one is judging you
Zumba doesn’t feel like a workout
The People are Amazing
There is a Zumba class for everyone
It’s more than your average cardio
Being frugal is easy when you enjoy one pot wonders. Larry and I are big fans of our slow cooker, and tend to make most dinners that way. Though we both tend to follow recipes, I’m also rather drawn towards making it up as I go along, and this recipe is one of them.
I didn’t think I would be writing another blog post about GiffGaff, but I’m really glad to be doing so. Last weekend I joined them at the Principle in Manchester for a day of all things frugal, followed by an in depth break down of their new Game plan service. Though I learned a fair bit from them before, this taught me more about my own finances and improving my credit score. I decided that it would be a good idea to use this information and take on the challenge of Money Free March, but I will go into more detail on that later.
The day was filled with activities based around being thrifty, from a cooking workshop to finger knitting, it put so many ideas in my head of ways I could be saving money. I already have a natural knack for cooking, but I have so much inspiration for getting crafty this month in order to leave more money in my pocket!
I really did enjoy the finger knitting. We all made what was either worn as headbands or necklaces, and of course I opted for pink. It gave me a great idea for my old bath towels that are falling apart, so I’m gonna have a fair few days of crafting planned.
So I went away from the event with a bit of a plan in place. I wanted to see if I could spend as little as possible throughout March. I first of all decided to sign up with GiffGaff Game Plan to check my credit score, which is apparently not doing to great. Money Free March is going to be my starting point to get some money put aside before I start building up my credit history. I also figured that by doing this in March and giving you guys feedback throughout, it will help any of you who are considering doing this yourselves, perhaps a Money Free May.
If I want to do Money Free March properly, I need to establish some rules. Though I have had a fair bit of experience with surviving days with next to no money, I don’t want to make my month so difficult I can’t enjoy myself. So here’s what I’m working with.
The first thing to address is that before I decided to start Monday Free March, I agreed to do a few things this month that involved spending, so I have purposely put a budget aside for those things in February so it doesn’t affect my plan. I’m still going to spend less than I originally wanted, but at least I won’t have to cancel.
Keep it healthy
My blog is based on healthy living, so it wouldn’t be right to buy any food simply because it’s cheap. If anything, this challenge should encourage me to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.
Nights in and Free Days Out
As mentioned, I want to get crafty for Money Free March, so instead of going out for dinner or drinks, I’ll be hosting a few nights in. A lot of this will revolve around crafting and cooking, but I will also host a few movie nights as well. On top of this, I have compiled a list of free days out so Larry and I can go on dates, or I can simply head out with friends.
The one thing I will still be paying for is Zumba, because after all, it’s only £1 a week. I’m going to hold off on paying for pole classes, but I’ll continue to train with my friends for free. I will also be trying out YouTube channels and break down my favourites for you guys to try.
So I’ll be cooking in bulk, but I already have food that I have stored in the freezer. Though I could have made a plan to eat everything before starting this challenge, I realised that’s a lot of food to get through. Instead I’ll take note of freezer food days.
Limit the Food Shop
Finally, the way I shop will be different. I am refusing to buy any more food until the kitchen is pretty much empty. I have more than enough for a few weeks, but it always seems difficult to put something together when you’re getting towards the end. I’m just gonna have to take that challenge if I want to save as much as I can.
Keep a diary
Hallways through Money Free March, I will be posting an update on how I have done with keeping my spends to an absolute minimum, and what I’ve been getting up to to keep myself away from any financial temptation.
I hope you’re all excited to see how well I do. If you’re trying Money Free March as well, let me know how you get on!
There are three key points in my blog tagline; happy, healthy and kinda broke. It’s not just something I say to look quirky and interesting. This blog focuses on living a happy and healthier lifestyle without breaking the bank, so when GiffGaff invited me to to Leeds to take part in their MoneyFit Challenge, there was no way I was going to say no!
The aim of the event was to encourage young adults to start using a healthy approach to their finances. GiffGaff are launching a new money service to help you get on the right track with your spending, keep an eye on your credit score and bills all in one place. Everything you need to monitor will be there on your phone, broken down and easy to understand. I have spent the past five years struggling to gain control over my financial situation. It wobbles up and down throughout the year, but after talking with some of the GiffGaff team, I felt like this is a great way to keep everything together so I don’t lose track of where I am with my payments and savings.
So, as the service is to help you get financially fit, it wouldn’t be right to have fitness related activities in celebration. Myself and many other northern bloggers met with the company at FireHouse Fitness where we took part in some fun, motivating, and body pushing activities!
Fresh berries on ice.
My team were first up in the exercise round. The aim was to run on a treadmill for twenty minutes straight, while burning as many calories as we could. The more we burned, the more money we would earn (up to 200kcal). The highest amount of money we could take home was £40. I burned 168kcal, putting me in third behind two other bloggers, and giving me a total of £33.
Believe it or not, I was the only one who cooled down afterwards. The girls told me how much they regretted it the next day!
After that we moved onto smoothies! The team was split in half, pink or green. Well, you’d think I would be on the pink team, but everyone wanted that, so I offered myself to the green team and made a spinach based energy booster, with apples, cucumber, lemon and a little bit of carrot. It was surprisingly nice!
Our smoothie gurus showing us what they’re made of
Finally we talked to the GiffGaff team about their new service. One of the girls on my team was actually already with GiffGaff, and gave us a personal perspective of the service. It’s now something I am looking into for my own financial situation, and I encourage you to do the same if you’re in the same money boat as me.
The GiffGaff team were so friendly and informative!
Though money isn’t the most important thing in the world, it’s a good idea to do what you can to keep yourself stable and in control financially. with GiffGaff, you have everything in one place, reducing financial stress, and giving you more freedom to focus on other things in life that are important to you!
Collecting my earnings at the end of the event!
I had an amazing day, met wonderful people and I would like to thank GiffGaff and Firehouse Fitness for such a wonderful opportunity.
This is actually a recipe which I ended up changing almost completely from Simply Nigella. Hers was a butternut squash and halloumi burger, but I don’t really like butternut squash. Anyway, this is my own spin!