Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Tips for having your dream Wedding on a budget

Please don't be misled by the title, if your dream is to get married in a castle and you have a £5000 budget then be prepared to compromise or to carry on saving! This post is more suitable for people like myself that had dreams of a big wedding, a pretty small budget and the ability to compromise!

Pinterest is your best friend
Be prepared to lose your evenings and weekends. On the run up to our wedding almost all of my free time was spent making things. I made my bouquet, I made the boutineers, I made signs for the reception and even though I was stressed out I still enjoyed the whole process.
If you're less creative then try enlisting friends to help you out with things like centrepieces and invitations, just promise that you will repay the favour and help them out with your own skills and expertise.

Buy an off the rack dress
Either in a specific off the rack wedding dress shop or depending on your personality it can be a vintage dress, high street dress or even a hand made dress from a seamstress.
My dress was a very reasonably priced off the rack dress, I then had alterations done professionally and when I picked the dress up it fitted my body perfectly!
If you are buying off the rack I definitely recommend having alterations done. For a small fee your dress will be adapted to your exact figure.
If you're like me and your body fluctuates a lot, have your alterations done about a month before so you don't have to worry about your dress being too tight/loose on the big day!

Do your own hair or makeup
I trust my makeup skills but not my hair styling skills, so I booked a hairdresser appointment for the morning of my wedding but saved money by doing my own makeup.
If you decide on doing either then make sure to have several practises, photograph yourself, wear it for the day and properly put it to the test.
If you're less skilled with makeup but still plan on doing your own on the big day then I recommend visiting makeup counters for a quick lesson and also to invest in great makeup products that will look amazing all day long. For both hair and makeup the obvious tip is to watch a lot of YouTube videos, there are vast amounts of videos of step by step bridal looks that are so informative and there is something for every style and personality.

Shop around for everything!
Don't just panic buy the first thing that you see. Make a habit of shopping around, checking online and asking friends for advice when it comes to making purchases.
Even if you end up saving a small amount per item, it all adds up in the end.

Invest in an event planner
This is something that not many people even consider but for me it made a huge difference. We planned our wedding in seven months, which absolutely flew by!
Venues were booked up, caterers weren't replying to me, I was in full panic mode.
Once we had our wedding planner on board everything fell in to place. Within our first meeting she had found us multiple venue options and we went from thinking we were never going to find a reception venue, to being completely spoiled for choice!
You are paying for their imagination, remember they do this for a living. They know every trick, every secret venue, they have relationships with all of the local caterers and photographers. Hiring an event planner will elevate so much stress and ultimately save you a lot of money on things that you and me could never even dream of.
You tell them your budget and they plan your wedding within that budget!
I was helped by Helen from Opulence Wedding and Event planning.

Go to wedding fayres
Not only is this really fun to do and great for helping you get ideas for your big day, but vendors will give you amazing deals.
If you book things on the day, or later on using a flyer that they provide then you can save massive amounts. Another bonus is meeting the vendors face to face, immediately checking availability and being able to build a relationship. 

Don't be extra
... but don't compromise on what is important to you. For example we wanted the wedding car and video but we didn't get a band or an expensive evening venue. You need to choose what is the most important thing for you and cut out things that don't mean as much.

Be true to yourself
This doesn't necessarily have anything to do with money and budgeting but I think it's the most important thing for me to say.
Remember that it is your wedding, a reflection of yours and your significant others personalities and relationship.
In the run up to my wedding my mental health was destroyed and I let people talk me in to things that didn't reflect my wants. It's your day, don't let people walk all over you, sway you and try to guilt trip you.
Your happiness always comes first!

Thank you for reading and good luck with your wedding planning fun. Being married to your significant other is the best feeling in the world!


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

10 Tips for saving money in your 20's

In this post I'm not necessarily referring to saving £5 a month, I'm going to show you some ways we've managed to free up hundreds of pounds a month extra that we are throwing towards our debt. Whether you're paying off debt, starting your retirement or saving for something big, these tips will help you on your way.

Use what you have
This can be tins of food that are stuck in the back of the kitchen cupboard, a dress that you've forgotten about that still has the tags on or a bottle of shampoo that you never finished. Before you go out and buy something I want you to really think about if it's necessary or if you can use something that you already own!

Learn to differentiate a want from a need
I want a coffee machine, but I certainly don't need one. No matter if it's a big expense or a small one, if you can't justify it then don't buy it. Be honest with yourself and only buy the things that you actually need. But make sure that you're getting the best deals on the things that you do need.

Don't be a slave to fast fashion
This will always be a struggle for me. If you're also obsessed with shopping and getting the latest 'it' dress, jeans or shoes I want you to think about some clothes that you bought a few months ago. I guarantee you that there will be clothes that you were in love with at the time but now you don't even think about wearing them.
This is fast fashion, we are told and shown what to wear but as soon as we've spent our money on the item there's suddenly something else that's newer and better!
I recommend stopping this completely and setting yourself either a modest monthly clothing budget or a seasonal budget. From now on, each season I'm going to buy a few key pieces and not allow myself to buy any clothes spontaneously!

Cut down on salon trips
I haven't paid for a haircut in over a year! I've had some really ugly stages since growing out my buzz cut, but I've also had some cute stages and most of the time I could style it to hide how unsymmetrical it was. I'm not suggesting that you never cut or dye your hair again, just be smart about it and choose a haircut that doesn't need regular expensive trips to the salon. Remember this is only temporary while you save, save, save! 

Get on a budget
If you're going to follow any of these tips make sure this is one of them! Making a budget, tracking every outgoing and seeing all of your money on paper is so beneficial. It's motivating and it will take the stress out of paying your bills.
I'm going to write a full post on how my husband and I do our budgeting but for now I'll link some that inspire us...
Dave Ramsey budget
Frugal Fanatic - these printables are amazing!

Write out shopping lists
As well as writing out your monthly budget, it's important to write out your weekly shopping list and modify it as you go. Each week we will write down our usual list of food and then we'll rummage through our fridge, freezer and cupboards to make sure we're not buying anything we already have. Before we were tracking our money we would go food shopping several nights a week without a clear plan. We've gone from spending £70 a week to £20 - £30, it's a huge difference!
We shop primarily at Aldi now and we'll go to Asda for the special buys on tins of beans and their frozen vegan stuff. Going once a week with a list that we stick to has made life so much easier and it's become a challenge to spend as little as possible! Any money we save on food we put towards paying off debt, that's enough motivation for me to put back the tub of vegan ice cream!

Stop smoking and cut down on drinking
These are pretty obvious. When I became gazelle intense with sorting out our finances I stopped smoking. It sucks and I crave it most days but knowing that we have around £50 extra a month makes it a lot easier!
Same goes for drinking, be smart and frugal. Either don't drink at all or choose cheaper options on the occasions that you do.

Charity shops
For any necessary spends that come up through the month, consider going to charity shops or shopping on Gumtree. For clothes try going to charity shops in wealthy areas, so much of the stuff will be brand new with the tags still on! For furniture and home stuff I'll either use Gumtree or charity shops in poorer areas and try upcycling to save money.
After moving in to our house and ripping out the ugly 70's gas fire, I was checking Gumtree once a week to try and find a bargain. We ended up finding our beautiful marble effect mantel for absolutely free!! That saved us around £300.

Think for a week before buying
This one is self explanatory, don't spontaneously buy things. Think about it either over night or for a week, whatever works best for you! This will just give you time to know that you need what you're buying rather than just buying something in the moment.

Get extra income
Sell things, get a side job, work overtime.
Do whatever it takes to make more than your usual pay check. Just work like crazy, remember what I said earlier, this is only temporary and it's worth it to achieve your goals!

Thank you for reading and let me know if you have any other tips!

Instagram @wolvesandflames


Friday, 14 July 2017

Debt free by 30? I want to be weird...

When my husband and I got married we were completely overwhelmed by how generous our friends and family had been. We sat and opened what seemed like an endless mountain of cards filled with money and gift cards.

The plan was to put a nice chunk of the money in to savings, but money matters don't always go to plan. We were living in our building site of a home and unanticipated expenses began to pop up one after the other. Suddenly this money that was supposed to help us start our married life feeling financially secure, had almost completely disappeared!

A few months passed and we were back in to our usual routine of living from pay check to pay check. Barely tracking our spending and experiencing the stress and dread of paying the bills. I've had enough.

So, half way through June I wrote a proper budget for the very first time. I've been watching Dave Ramsey podcasts since last year, so I had previously tried writing out a budget but they were vague and our intensity would always fizzle out as the month went on. This time something had changed, I was completely sick of the cycle we were in and willing to do anything to turn it around.
Living on a budget means that we get to see every penny we earn and tell it what to do. It honestly feels as though we've had a pay raise and I wish we had started sooner!

So, with our newly found motivation we are currently in a "no spend month" meaning that other than our assigned outgoings of bills, mortgage and food shopping, we won't be spending any other money...
I'm actually writing this on a brand new laptop that I picked up today. Sadly my nine year old laptop died last month and I was going to wait for my birthday to get a replacement, but I realised how much of a necessity it is for work so we managed to use the remainder of our wedding gift cards and squeeze it in to the budget!

I will not let any unexpected costs throw us off our mission and we are well in to baby step 2 now and going strong!
I'm going to make this a regular topic on the blog and go in to a lot more detail so I can be held accountable and stay on track.

Here is the Dave Ramsey baby steps for any one who isn't familiar...

Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps Explained | she makes cents

Thanks for reading, I'll be able to post a lot more now since my laptop isn't a pensioner!

Instagram @wolvesandflames


Sunday, 28 May 2017

Growing out a buzzcut... One year update

I've now officially been growing my hair out for a whole year! I thought I'd take a few photo's to show how much it's grown and just to talk about it more. For the first few months I was cutting it monthly to keep the mullet at bay, but I cut it for the last time in August and ever since then I've just been trying to power through and strategically style it so the mullet isn't too obvious. For these photo's I decided to just leave it natural and unstyled so that you can properly see the length though.

There's been so many times that I've just wanted to cut it all off, but luckily I haven't gave in to the temptation! It definitely helps having pictures of long hair inspo to keep you motivated (I have Monami Frost and her beautiful long hair to thank).
There is a big possibility that I'll have a pixie cut again but for now I'm looking forward to growing my hair long and enjoying having my natural colour for the first time in a long time! For now hair pieces will have to be my new best friend!

Here's a bonus pic of Sabbath being cute as a thank you for reading this post!

Instagram @wolvesandflames


Thursday, 4 May 2017

2003 flash back OOTD

*Quietly ignores the 7 month blog hiatus*
The weather is warming up and I have finally emerged from the cocoon in which I have spent the winter hibernating. 

Here are some photo's of me wishing I was Jenny from the block.
I searched all over the internet trying to find some Vegan platform trainers with no success. A few days later I found these amazing Fila's in Schuh and fell in love! I've been wearing them constantly and I haven't managed to ruin them yet...

As you can see I have long hair, thank you Peaches and Cream. I've managed to grow mine to shoulder length and I'm powering through rather than getting regular hair cuts, which probably isn't for the best but I'm too cheap and lazy to go the hairdressers.

Vest - Topshop
Jeans - Had them forever
Choker - Daisy street
Shoes - Fila

I promise I'll be posting more content, thank you for looking!

Instagram @wolvesandflames

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