Showing posts with label vouchers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vouchers. Show all posts

Monday, 20 August 2012

Where has August gone?

I'm not sure where to even begin...the last time I blogged was exactly a month ago. The break wasn't intentional but I just felt I couldn't continue documenting every tiny thing as I was getting frustrated with things not happening quicker, so I'll try to start at the beginning where I left off what's been happening. 

My new toy :)
First of all I handed my notice in at my last job, and despite the team dropping down from three to one they were prepared to let both myself and my manager walk away. Fine. The worst bit, they hardly even bothered to speak to us before our last days, which coincidentally were just one day apart. Then a few days before he was about to leave they said he could come back. 

Needless to say I wasn't very happy about the situation with the management, but the rest of the teams I had worked with over the last eleven months were lovely.  The people I worked with have a collection whenever someone leaves, and they bought me this Kindle case as well as a £10 amazon voucher so I could get downloading and reading straight away which I thought was pretty nice.

So, prior to handing my notice in myself and some of the other 'grads' spent about six weeks orgainising an office Olympics, which unveiled the bossiness in some. Anyways, at the final event we were all given £75 worth of vouchers to spend as a thank you which I thought was pretty nice. I was going to spend it on new work clothes as mine were looking worse for wear and wanted to look presentable when I started my new job. Then I thought, why not spend it on something I wouldn't buy myself... like a Kindle? 

I voiced my thoughts to the BF, to his horror as he was planning to buy me one as a present with the extra money from his new paycheck. I was never keen on the idea of the Kindle, thinking what's wrong with a good old book. But I didn't expect to love it as much as I do, haha. I find I can hold it one handed so read much quicker and I think its actually more enjoyable to read on. So much so I whizzed through the Hunger Games trilogy in just a few weeks. I read the majority during my week and a half off, and whilst we went to Bournemouth for a long weekend. (I'm now saving the vouchers to use as presents instead). 

Beautiful Bournemouth
The weekend away was part of my birthday present to my BF, along with some Lyle and Scott t-shirts and socks- they had a 50% off sale on their existing sale if that makes sense so I bagged some pretty good bargains there. Secondly, the weekend away was purchased through one of those gift websites, but luckily I have a friend that works there who was willing to give me his 30% discount code. 

One day at work the deal popped into my inbox, £100 for two nights stay in a three star spa hotel with breakfast too, which after the discount came to £70. I also made use of the free tickets for SW trains that they gave me when I bought my season ticket so our travel there and back cost absolutely nothing. It was so nice to get away, have some time together, the rain held off all weekend and we even managed a swim in the heated outdoor pool! 

BT Live- London 2012 

We spent the rest of our week off together cycling about, pottering around and generally enjoying each others company. One day though I did venture into central London to meet an old uni friend. We went to BT Live to watch the Olympics on the big screens. She had just got back from holiday and constantly is at her overdraft limit so we thought it would be a nice, cheap day out. 

I packed a picnic but when we got there we were told that we weren't allowed to bring food or drink in. We sat outside along with all the other people cramming ourselves with food to avoid wasting it before heading through security to watch the games and to see some cheesy boy band and Alexander Burke. Once again, despite threatening to rain the sun came out- yay! 
Practicing my portraits 
Hmm, what else.. ok. So the BF got his first paycheck, and enjoyed his first month as the breadwinner, a feeling I think we both enjoyed. He then got £300 a few days ago for the scrap copper they pulled out the air con units, so this month has doubled his old salary. 

He's so excited, has opened his ISA, put £1000 away so far and has paid me back a chunk of the money he owed me for paying his credit card off earlier in the year. He's going to give me the last £135 on Friday when he gets paid and he'll be debt free :) I had to 'borrow' the money from him this month because I had to pay back my season ticket loan, meaning I had to pay for six months worth of travel all in one paycheck. Needless to say, I havn't been able to put any money into my ISA this month, but will be putting my 'travel' money in whenever I get paid to make it up. 

Sunday afternoon photo session x

I think now he's earning more (for now anyways due to getting paid more to work nights) meaning he can contribute towards our deposit a bit he's getting used to the idea of buying a property and that it might actually happen, and he was even looking online the other day too at a property website whereas before it was always me getting excited and planning. 

Finally it was time to go back to work- I've been at my new place for nine days now and I didn't realise it would be so surreal and hard trying to learn all the new processes, finding out where all our log ins etc are kept on the shared computer drive, even the new journey has thrown me. 

I can't get the tube anymore so have been getting the bus, which has been kind of annoying. The queues are rediculously long in the morning, and there is so much traffic. However, today I managed to walk without getting lost which took me half an hour and is quite a good work out too. I tried walking home, but bumped into someone I used to work with and got all confused and lost my bearings :S. 

Coupled with the fact its been horrendously busy due to about ten different university clearing campaigns going live on the same day I've been pretty tired when I get home, especically as I hardly ever leave on time anymore. But the time flies by, unlike my last job which is always a good thing right?

Ok so I hope I havn't bored you too much, I think I'll be posting more regularly again now I'm hoping to get back into my old routine.  

Saturday, 9 June 2012

I haven't posted in a little while, it seems my creative efforts are being poured into my photography at the moment; as I seem determined to overcome my fear of using the manual settings on my SLR camera. I mean I was given my camera after bugging my Mum & Dad for a proper camera just over a year and a half ago which they bought me as a combined birthday/Christmas present. Its time to move on from the auto function.

I've been researching settings on the net and trying new things; I've posted some of my personal favourites for you to see. Anyways, I've also been getting these horrible migraine type headaches, I'm not sure whether its the weather or related to the contraceptive pill I'm on but whatever it is I've not been feeling myself for the last few weeks.

On the finance front I picked up about ten extra hours of bar work over the jubilee weekend, which always comes in handy and will cover expenses such as Father's day presents etc and my sister's birthday present. I also did a mystery shop in the week, and my Quidco has updated to confirmed, now I just need the payment run to run smoothly and for the money to actually materialise into my bank account.

I also went to another media music quiz, this time we came second taking home with us a bottle of champagne each which will be saved for possibly my Mum & Dad's wedding anniversary. My name was also pulled out of the hat to win a spot prize- I won a three month subscription to premium Spotify (an online music streaming service) worth £30.

Not much else to say; there's another two weekends left before payday; one will be spent bridesmaid shopping with the family and at my sister's birthday BBQ and one will be spent with an old friend in Kingston. I think I should make it through as I have about £140.00 left.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

My 100th blog post

This week has been a pretty hectic week compared to my normal week; firstly on Tuesday, the first of the beautiful weather I was lucky enough to have been given free cinema tickets to see the 'What to expect when you're expecting' film which started at six. I worked from home in the afternoon which was lovley, before cycling to the cinema.

Instead of buying expensive drinks and snacks in the cinema, bumping up the price of our trip, we dipped into Sainsbury's en route to pick up some food. I kept my eyes peeled for deals which included a huge bag of sweet Butterkist popcorn for £1, a huge bag of kettle chips £1 and a meal deal which we split for £3. The film was lighthearted, funny and definitely my cup of tea so I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of the rom-com genre- however it wasn't overly girly and the BF enjoyed it just as much. Once we were home we worked together to re-work the BF's CV ready for his job interview/meeting on Thursday.

Wednesday was another scorcher of a day- and consequently the tubes and trains were all messed up. I finally made it to Putney to meet a friend for dinner at Pizza Express which was nice as we sat outside. She had 2-4-1 Orange deal, but her phone battery died so we had to resort to 25% off using a downloadable voucher on my phone. Even so it came in at just under a tenner which I thought was pretty good- we went for one drink afterwards which was nice. I had budgeted for the evening,which took me up to just under my monthly budget.

Thursday was D-day. The BF was extremely nervous about meeting with his friends boss, and whilst he was in the interview I literally felt sick. The good news is that he got the job!! I was soo happy as it will completely -change our lifestyle and mean we can live like a normal couple pretty much- if there is such a thing as normal? What I mean is that we'll have evenings, weekends, bank holidays, Christmas's, New Years and so on together, which we haven't had in the last four and a half years. It means we won't have to plan literally everything around his work rota, which often gets changed at the last minute without much notice. Finally, besides the extra money it means that when we (hopefully) move into our own home I won't be left on my own.

To celebrate he came to meet me from work, as I was meeting my mum in town too. We all went for lunch then walked over to the South Bank for a drink, then when BF went home me and my mum went over to Green Park to meet my sister as later in the evening we were going to see 'The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe' in Kensington Gardens.  I picked up three tickets for £40 from Last which is pretty much the normal price of one theatre ticket.

Dancing with the birthday girl

Friday was payday at last; I hit my monthly budget target and now my personal savings total has hit £10,638, while we have £500 in our joint savings. The BF has almost £900 but he needs to use some of this to learn to drive as he'll be driving a company van in the future due to his new job. So all in all things are heading in the right direction. I spent most of the day at a Google event (hello free breakfast, snacks and lunch) and got to spend time in their gorgeous offices.

Then finally, yesterday I spent the morning doing the weekly housework and in the afternoon me and the BF set off with a little picnic to the local park, armed with my SLR camera. And one of my favourite shots is the one at the top of the page. In  the evening we went to a friends 21st birthday party-m I didn't feel too good because of the sunshine so stuck to the diet coke.

Today I think I'll spend the day relaxing before the working week begins again. Hopefully this one will be a little calmer.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Another week, another update....

I've got a bit of an obsession with cat paint atm lol!
I think this has been the longest amount of time I haven't blogged for to date. The reason? hmmm... no real reason really, things seem to be ticking along fairly smoothly, no disasters to report etc. I did end up picking up another four hour, last minute bar shift on Tuesday evening, so come Wednesday eve I was feeling pretty sleepy.

Then on Thursday I went out after work for a colleagues leaving do in town; I made sure I stuck to the happy hour glasses of wine which were £2.70 with 50% off, topped up with soda to make them last longer, as well as to dilute them down. Because we had reserved a couple of tables the bar gave us a couple of platters of free finger food, bottles of champagne and about 20 shots. Luckily I was well positioned when the freebies arrived, so enjoyed a couple of glasses of Prosecco for free as everyone else seemed to turn their noses up at it, some food and three free shots (I'm pretty sure they were mini glasses of bitter lemon lol!) before heading home.

Friday lunchtime we went out for lunch to a new American restaurant called 'Meat Liquor' which is located behind Oxford Street. The food was delicious, and I could see why the burgers have been getting rave reviews all over the internet. The bill set me back £16 which meant  it took up the majority of my weekend budget, but I was paid for the Saturday bar shift so squeezed it in without going over budget. I also put all three meals on my credit card and the others are transferring me the money to get more use out of my credit card to try to push up my credit score. Friday evening I was so sleepy from my huge lunch and kind of late night the night before me and the BF just dozed on the sofa in front of the TV.

Saturday I had to buy my Dad a present for his birthday; I couldn't find anything and decided to give him the vouchers I won through work instead which can be used at Halfords, Homebase and HMV amongst others. My Dad's quite practical (think that's where I get it from) and was very pleased when he opened his card and found these nestled inside. Saturday night, after watching Britain's got talent I cycled to the pub for a few drinks, spent about a fiver sipping slowly lol, and this also included the price of my cab fare home too.

Sunday we decided to rearrange and sort out our room, all junk was thrown out, stuff we won't need has been put away in the loft and all our paper work has been filed neatly into labelled plastic wallets.

Then yesterday we visited my family and went out for dinner for my Dad's birthday. We went to the harvester, and managed to wrangle a free round of drinks for six- and four of them were re-fillable too! The bar man completely messed up the change he gave my dad, and ended up giving him all his money back in a different form. Mum & Dad covered the bill, so will probably have them up and cook something nice as a thanks in the next few weeks or so.

I've got £16 of disposable income to last the week, then I should get paid about £25.00 for my bar shift last week. I'm out for a few drinks Saturday, so this should easily cover this leaving me with about £40. I'm also expecting one of my Quidco payments of £13, so should be able to scrape through the next two weekends and make it to payday.

I think there's another happiness revolution due, but I'm a bit stumped for ideas as to what to include.... 

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Payday update

That time of the month came again, payday. This time it meant I have just about exceeded my 10k mini target which feels pretty good, even though there's still a way to go. I'll wait for the £250 to go out of my account at the beginning of the month (into my 5% fixed payment saving account) and for this month's credit card payment to come out (£70, only £45 if my own personal spending) before transferring the £350 into my general ISA.

Our refund also came through from British Gas, £245! I've shifted the money almost straight away into our joint account every day saver, which is almost at £500 so as not to spend it. I'm not sure what this will be used for, either to book a holiday late in the year, flights in the summer to the BF's beachy home town, or as part of our stamp duty payment. Either way, its nice to know its there as last year our joint account was running on empty due to more expensive accommodation costs and we had to buy all our new furniture.

I also took out the Experian 30 day free trial to check my credit score to see if it had been affected by my lack of student loan repayments, and its in the good category with a score of 898 our of 1000. It seems that because I have very recently applied for credit I have been marked down, and because I'm not really using much of the credit it seems to be going against me a little- crazy right? Anyways, I'm aiming to improve my score by only using my credit card where ever possible rather than the money in my own personal account, or in our joint account. We need to improve the BF's credit score, I'm guessing that due to his lack of organisational skills and late credit card payments etc it wont be as high as mine so I think he may even start using the dreaded credit card for small amounts, now that he has set up a direct debit for the full amount to be paid off every month.

Finally, this month financially looks OK (all being well with the job- we've gone very quiet which is never good!). I've got a five hour bar shift on Saturday, which I'll get paid for seven hours. This covers money to renew our rental contract (£80 for them to file the contract- ridiculous!) as well as the last what I owe my housemate for last years TV licence with a little to spare. I also have those vouchers to pay for my dad's birthday present.

My clothes need a bit of a lift (again?!) so this lunch time I hot footed it down Oxford street to H&M as I had a £5 off voucher that expires on Sunday. I picked up a replacement pair of skinny blue jeans (two pairs of mine will be going in the bin) and a white t-shirt top as all my white tops have been relegated to 'house clothes' ie. a hop, skip and a jump from becoming pyjamas. I thought the jeans were £20, but scanned through the till at £9.99 so in total I spent £13. I've allowed myself around £30ish for new clothes this month, and I kind of need some new ballet pumps as the sole in mine is starting to go.

I think that's all the news on the financial front; the wintry weather is making it easier to resist the temptation to spend, you can't step foot outside the door without being drenched!

Onwards and upwards.... until next time x

Sunday, 22 April 2012

The beauty of the humble voucher

These were taken Sunday morning waiting for the parentals to arrive x

So the music quiz came and went, I enjoyed a good night with good food, drink and company and as a bonus our team won so we took home a bottle of champagne to share, a vintage radio and £25.00's worth of 'Love to shop' vouchers each. Not bad for an evenings work, and Radio Works (the media hosting) are thinking of holding a quiz ever month too. I'm thinking of using £20 of vouchers to pay for a present for my Dad's birthday which is at the beginning of May, and save £5 to put towards something for my sister's birthday present which is in June.

Thursday I was off work so enjoyed a bit of a lazy day as it was raining for most of the day. In the evening I went to see a free screening of the teen thriller 'Elfie Hopkins' which was pretty scary, and some parts I was hiding behind my coat. The film was ok watching, but I wouldn't have bothered paying the £10.00 for a ticket to watch it.
Literally, sunshine through the window...

Then afterwards myself and my housemate did a food shop at Asda; I allowed myself one basket only and managed to squeeze a weekly shop in, which came to £30- it's definatley the way forward. I've had a quick meal pre-plan and I reckon it will be enough food to see us through until next Thursday evening.

Then Friday evening, I was meant to be going out for dinner with a friend but she ended up in A&E so after a fleeting visit to make sure she was ok while she was waiting I went to the pub for something to eat and a few drinks. I had set aside £20.00 for the eve, but only spent £16.00 including my food so had £4.00 left over.

Then saturday I went to have my hair cut, I had allowed myself £35.00 from  the money I picked up the week before working at the pub and it came in at £32.00, so I have a whole £7.00 to last until payday in two days time, then I'll have hit my £10k mini target.

Today my family came up as my sister had one of those photo shoot make over things in Richmond so I went with her while my Mum and Dad visited Ham House. The shoot was pretty cringy and I was glad it wasn't me the photographer was prodding about and telling me to look sexy. I was also dreading the viewing, which the M&D came in for as I have experienced the aggressive selling techniques these places employ before as they to try and get you to buy their photos.

Needless to say it came, the photographer was really trying to sell his images, saying how lovley the shots were etc, then the prices came and my Dad nearly fainted- £85.00 for one A4 image or £400+ for about five- what a rip off!

They declined the images you had to pay for, selected their one favourite which was free and we were hurried out the studio as the photographer slammed the keyboard on the 'don't save' icon after they wouldn't part with their cash, and I for one don't blame them! Above is a few pics I took of the shoot behind the scenes.

Has anyone else had one of these shoots and been completely taken aback by the ridiculous prices??!