In a dream world we would all win the lottery, spend our days relaxing in the sun in the South of France, without a care in the world, long days spent with permanant smiles on our face and no lines or wrinkles caused from the stresses of the world, we could waltz into stores and buy lovely beautiful quality garments on a whim and be able to put outfit's together in an easy fashion. I could have all the ethical products I wanted and it would be magical, I am sure for at least a while - I am not one of those to not have a purpose in life, so perhaps boredom at some point would set it, but one thing is for sure life would be easier.
However nearly all of us do not live the life of Riley and the reality of life, work, moving home, wanting to travel, becoming parents, running a car or simply wanting to buy the latest on-trend fashion piece can bring compromise in terms of finance. The main thing is to stay on top of things, if you let your finances go out of control, your life will start to unravel, but really as long as your make good decisions this should never happen. So I have put together some tips on how to still have the things you love but without breaking the bank
|Me wearing thrifted Levis top and River Island jeans|
1. Always buy quality over quantity - this may sound strange if your trying to save money but buying cheap clothing from lets say Primark - is simply false economy, it's not going to last and it really is worth going from something more classic and timeless when updating your look as you will be able to wear it year on year.
2. Never disregard charity and thrift stores as you really never know what you could find. I have picked up some amazing pieces in thrift stores from beautiful heritage jackets to Laura Ashley printed dresses, all for a fraction of the price. Plus some charity/thrift stores are aiming more at the High end market, for example the Oxfam Boutique in Cardiff.
|Upscale Oxfam charity shop in Cardiff|
3. Live within your means, you really don't need to prove anything to anyone. If you like to go out on the weekend than you really need to budget during the week. Make food plans, take packed lunches with you to work, watch movies in the house and enjoy free outdoor activities such a stroll in your local park.
4. Buy and Sell on ebay - this is a great way to recycle, it's environmentally sound and it's a great way to get ride of unwanted items while using the money to update your look.
5. Customise and rework what you have. I don't throw many things out, especially clothes as I keep the fabric for future projects. It's a lovely thing making something unique and putting a little twist on current trends while keeping the cost down.
|Restyling and upcycling is green and creative|
These things can apply to a lot of areas of your life. If however you are planning bigger projects such a revamping a room, buying a car, a big holiday you might otherwise miss out on, moving home or investing in a life-long item such as a bag that is simply out of your reach you could talk to your bank and seeing what your options are, it's far better than going into an unarranged overdraft and it can be a far more responsible option.
So what do we know about any of this? In our personal experience both of us were like most young people, spending too much on clothes, going out and in my case travelling all the time (yes I have a major travel bug), but in the years coming up to having our son we knew we had to be responsible and pay off any outstanding credits which we did and now as soon as we find a house to move to we have spoken to our mortgage advisor and are in a good position to move forward.
The Number One tip though I can give anyone is always have a little bit tucked away in case of a rainy day, you never know when an unexpected bill might hit you, for example last month one of my dental crowns fell out and cost a couple of hundred pounds to fix, a big pain, but as we had be saving for a trip to Paris we at least had some money at hand to cover it, even if it meant postponing the trip till next year.