Change Your Electric Habit’s To Save You Money

There are simple things that you can do on your debt free journey at home to save money on your monthly bill. By turning off your lights, it could help you to save a considerable amount of energy and money, especially if you are using energy efficient  bulbs. Energy efficient bulbs can help you to save you up-to £100 per year therefore makes economic sense as they are built to last. It can also help to reduce carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases. It costs nothing to switch off lights and will become habit if done on a consistent basis.

Light control such as motion or time detectors are also a great way to reduce energy consumption. This has the bonus of you not having to manually keep checking every room.

Using as much natural lighting as possible should be used to limit the amount of energy consumption. Using lampshades with white linen conserving energy as it is great for reflects more light. Not only is natural light good for saving money, it can also help to make people happier, healthier and productive. Natural light can also help to prevent depression by reducing stress levels.

Ensure that you use a fridge and freezer that is the right size for you and your family and stay clear of ice makers and water dispensers as these products only increase energy use. Having a full fridge and freezer will help to conserve energy, as well as defrosting the freezer on a regular basis. An iced-up freezer uses more energy. Try not to overload clothes in the dryer and use dishwashers on full load rather than a half-empty load. Use a pressure cooker to cook when you can and if using a cooker ensure that you cook in batch to conserve energy and time.

When you are not using a computer monitor. Unplug any chargers when not in use and use rechargeable batteries when you can. Lowering the thermostat and setting an automatic timer so that water and heater are heated in certain times will help save  money.

Making these little changes to your everyday living will not only  help you to cut down on your bills, but also helps you to live more efficiently and will impact your well-being in a positive way.



Don’t Let The Dates Fool You

Whilst there are many families struggling to eat, there are hundreds of thousands of tonnes of food wasted each year by the food industry and individuals within the UK. A lot of wastage is the result of surplus food in the food supply chain involving farms, processing and manufacturing, wholesale and distribution as well as retail. The movement right now about saving the environment is phenomenal however there is a lot more that needs to be done. The rise of veganism demonstrates how individuals around the world are taking a stance to decrease the impact of food production on the environment. Aside from vegans, there are also conscious consumers who are also fighting the cause.

There are a number of things that us as individuals can do to help protect the environment as well as effectively budgeting to protect our pockets. We must understand the importance of best before dates and use by dates. Best before dates are about the quality of the food product. The food may not taste as good as the before the best before date, but it is generally is still safe to eat. You should, however, not eat any food past its use by date as these will not be safe to eat.

A lot of food is thrown away for the simple fact that it has reached its best before date. This is a big injustice to the millions of people around the world who are in food poverty. If stored correctly, foods such as crackers, pasta, canned food, biscuits, bread, white rice, salsa, eggs, hummus and yogurt are still safe to eat food past its best before date. Some can be safely eaten up-to 4 weeks past its expiry date. There are some foods however that need to be approached with caution when eating past best before dates. These foods are ones that have a lot of pathogens such as fresh meat, cheese and deli meats. Although it may look and smell okay to eat, they may not be safe to eat.

If you are on a budget and trying to clear those debts, it is counterproductive to throw away food. You are throwing money in the bin. Buying food that you need in a sensible quantity is one way to ensure that you do not unnecessarily waste food. Check if food can be frozen on the day of purchase to avoid wastage. It can help to saving the environment as well as your wallet.



Combing Through My Expenditure

Enough was enough. Time to take a stance and get my life in order. A good point to start is getting all me bank statements for the last few months to track exactly what my money was being spent on. I also gathered my latest three months credit card statements for the four accounts I held. I was astonished so see the recklessness of my expenditure. I was living a Ferrari lifestyle on a Honda paycheck. There were multiple transactions on the same day, £5 spend here, a £5 spent there. Huge daily amounts were being spent on food during my lunch breaks at work at various food outlet.s I would often meet up for lunch with friends on my break and frequent the local coffee shops that I simply could not afford but nevertheless agreed to it anyway, dealing with the balance when the statement arrived through the post. I would also stick it on my debit card not caring that I was creeping further and further into my mountain of an overdraft.

Working within walking proximity of the shopping mall did not help my finances at all as I would often find myself wondering around the shops trying to cram an hour in of trying on clothes that I did not nor had no business buying considering my dire finances. What. Was. I. Going. To. Do???

Equipping myself with a pen, notebook and highlighter, I added up all my credit card balances which amounted to approximately £13,000. I also highlighted every non-essential expenditure on my bank statement, calculated the figures and wrote down a somewhat budget plan of how I would start towards my smart spending.  I signed up to Credit Karma which is quite a useful tool in checking your credit history, where I was able to double check the balances of all my credit cards as well as check my credit score. To my surprise my credit score was not that awful however it did not need to be improved if I was to obtain credit in the future or apply for another mortgage. I was paying a ridiculous amount of monthly interest on my cards which meant that although I was meeting the minimum monthly payments, most of it was going straight towards the high interest and not to the actual debt itself. There was no way on earth I was going to continue with sticking to the minimum payments as it would take me up-to at least 27 years to clear one of the balances which stood at just under £3,000. I went online to see what 0% balance transfer card I could get and then transferred the balances at different times which enabled me to now concentrate all my payments to clearing the debt with 0 interest. I just needed to determine what method to use to blitz the debt and set a date as to when I would be debt free. I could now start to see the light to financial freedom.


Figuring Out Debt

Wow, this blog has been a long time coming. My name is Cassey and I am a 35-year-old mother of one living in London, working the 9-5 grind. I have started this blog to highlight my journey to becoming debt free and to help anyone one else who is going through the same journey, just started or thinking about taking their first active steps to finally freeing themselves from the invisible suffocating chains.

When I attended school there was no concept of financial planning taught. There were no lessons on how to budget money, about the dangers of credit cards and interest rates. APR…what? AER…what? Credit score what? Savings…what? Default…what? I could go on. The first experience I really had with knowing the importance of a good credit rating was when I applied for my very first mortgage at the age of 32 years old. The dread kicked in with the possibility that I would not be able to put one foot onto the property ladder due to my potential disastrous credit rating. I say disastrous however I had no idea what my credit status even was or how to check it. My first financial knockback when was my mortgage request was turned down by my bank, one which I have been a loyal customer of since I was about 13 years old. Now the mortgage was not a large amount, however the bank clerk wrongly presumed that I had used my credit card to pay my rent on a few occasions. I felt frustrated, angry, helpless and let down. Lucky for me, I applied to another well-known bank who immediately accepted me for a mortgage, and I was able to purchase my first home. Over the years though I have spent thousands of pounds on my credit card. Why not? It was just a piece of plastic after all and was not as if it was ‘real’ money right. I put my shopping, clothes, car insurance, petrol etc on my credit card promising myself that I would pay the balance back in full each month. Instead I just stuck to the minimum payments which could easily have been paid off however I am still paying the balance years later.

This is where my debt free journey begins. I have drastically reduced my debt within the last few months by reigning in my adult self and taking responsibility. I hope that you will join me on this journey towards becoming debt free and also hope that it will encourage you to do the same.