Tips on Saving Money

I like to think I’m pretty good at saving. During my undergrad I was putting money aside to travel to Brazil a few times, and I was still saving a decent amount annually. This has really helped for this year, now I’m only studying and not working, and living off family help rather than a student loan. (Touch wood) but I have avoided entering my overdraft 100%, so to me an overdraft is not a safety net to use freely, but one as a last resort.

Currently I am cutting back so I can comfortably afford a trip to Portugal in April, and a music festival in July (Y Not in Derbyshire!). Here are ways I am managing my limited funds so I can afford to fun things that will leave me with great memories.

Budget Spreadsheet

Using Excel to plan a monthly budget, figuring out each thing will cost (food, rent, entertainment etc) and sticking to it (!!) is a life saver when needing to know how much I can save a month.

Buy only clothes you REALLY want/need

This has been easier since living in Spain because when I buy clothes I have to be aware I have to pack them in a single suitcase to take back to the U.K, but even before I would resist buying on impulse, instead leaving it for a week or so and if I still wanted the item I’d buy it.

Learn to say no

It can be too tempting to say yes to every invite – even when you know you can’t afford it. People will understand if you don’t have the funds, and before committing yourself be honest that you need to work out your budget to see if you can afford it. If you say no to little things or things you’re not too enthusiastic about, that way you can afford the more fun things.

Cheap food

UK supermarkets are great for offering “basics”, which are cheaper versions of your everyday purchases, and are really no different from more expensive brands. It might even help to limit meat/fish purchasing when cooking at home – it’s cheaper and healthier. Learn to make delicious foods from scratch, rather than ready made meals. And cook in bulk to either freeze meals or enjoy throughout the week.

Enjoy time at home with friends

Instead of eating out, all share the ingredients cost to cook at home. Usually this is well received as who doesn’t like to save money whilst socialising. And friends won’t judge you for turning up in comfy clothes and zero make up.

Advertisements

Tarragona

DSC_0543

Another weekend, another beach day! I swear I do my studying during the week, so I have the weekend to enjoy myself and the increasingly brilliant weather here in Catalonia.

DSC_0544

This past weekend we travelled 1 1/2 hours by train to Tarragona (about 16/17 euros return from Barcelona). Trains are not very frequent compared to Sitges so plan your travel ahead.

DSC_0551

The town itself isn’t much of a tourist attraction – which has both good and bad points. It was nice to experience a Spanish town that you could tell was authentically Spanish though!

DSC_0556

We sunbathed and ate and caught a train home that was so busy we had to sit on the floor. If my student life now means sunbathing at the weekend – I can’t complain!

DSC_0569

Sitges

DSC_0525

Now the weather is much improving in already sunny Spain, friends and myself decided to take a day trip to the nearby town of Sitges, only a 30 minute train journey from Barcelona, less than 10 euros return.

DSC_0529

Sitges is incredibly popular for carnival, possibly due to the fact it is a great place for LGBT pride and fun. We didn’t go for carnival but I have been told it is better than Barcelona.

DSC_0531

We went so we could enjoy the beach and start tanning for the summer. Compared to my friends I was practically a ghost (damn Celtic genes), so more is definitely needed.

DSC_0532

We also enjoyed sushi and Spanish seafood, and gelato!

DSC_0533

I’m going to miss my Spanish life – British beaches are fun and fish and chips are great, but soft sand and sparking blue sea is just too nice!

DSC_0537

Brussels, Green politics and the EU

dsc_0472

I am a part of the 2017 Green Party UK’s 30 under 30 scheme, and first on the agenda was a three day trip to Brussels to visit the European Greens headquarters and meet our Green MEPs at the European Parliament.

dsc_0476dsc_0477

Before the official business we walked around to see the churches, museums, cathedral and all the other beautiful architecture to get a feel of the city. I was surprised to see many art exhibitions advertised – Brussels was not a city I would imagine to be arty but it was (including some great graffiti art)

dsc_0478dsc_0480

We also tried the waffles, chocolate, fries and beer because obviously. All delicious.

dsc_0483dsc_0509

It was hugely enlightening to listen to Green politicians and others to understand more about the work they do within the EU. It was also sad to know that the UK would soon no longer be a part of it, and also interesting to learn about how the EU could really benefit from Brexit, and not the UK. Irony is beautiful.

dsc_0514dsc_0520

It was great to meet new people with similar views and ideology. I have not always been Green, although I have voted for them before in the past. I am open about how I switch between Greens and Labour, depending on ideology, because it is difficult to find a political part that truly shares your beliefs. However the Greens are amazingly vocal about equality and diversity, and this scheme is unique in encouraging young people to become more politically involved.  They want a better future for everyone, can’t disagree with that.

To learn more about the Green Party UK, visit their site!