Tag: advice

Top seven webpages for beginner allotmenteers

Top seven webpages for beginner allotmenteers

As you may have read previously, I’ve just been allocated an allotment about a 15-minute drive away from our new home. I’m over the moon with this, as I haven’t had my own space to garden for several years now. I’m itching to get designing, […]

Focus on the positive

Focus on the positive

It’s the thirtieth day of November 2017, which means this is the final entry of my 30 by 30 posts. I’d like to finish off by pulling together everything I’ve discussed into one summative sentence. Here goes. Focus on the positive. Mind blown? Focus on […]

Start saving sooner

Start saving sooner

Most of my 30 by 30 posts have concentrated on spiritual growth and wellbeing. As we come to the end of November, I’d like to shift focus onto more material considerations. I want to underline a tenet I wish I’d realised when I was younger: start saving sooner.

My parents always drummed into me the idea of saving money as soon as earning it. Part of the problem was, I came to earning later in life than some. What’s more, when I did, I wanted my independence and the finer things in life. Barely any money went spare at the end of each month.

When I started work at the Northern General Hospital, I acknowledged the importance of saving money seriously. Once I got into the swing of things, it became pretty enjoyable. Savings never seem to mount up fast enough, but it’s pleasing to watch your stash increasing bit by bit. Plus, while interest rates may be low (for now), they still play a part in boosting your savings. The principle of compound interest truly is a marvel.

It’s also immensely satisfying to know you possess a safety net in case of emergency, or the beginnings of a fund for your future.

How to get into saving?

I feel it’s pretty easy:

  1. Research and set up a savings account. Keep it totally separate from a current account to limit the likelihood of spending any of it easily. Heck, make it a 120-day notice account if needed. Money Saving Expert is a great place to do your research
  2. Shift money into your savings account as soon as your wage comes into your current account. Some people suggest automating things through setting up a direct debit. I never did. However, do make sure you save before you spend! Deduct your savings from your income; pretend it doesn’t exist.

 

How much to save each month?

This will depend completely on your monthly income, which could also vary each time.

There are a number of approaches. One that gets passed around is to save 20% of your income each month, no matter what. I’ve never done this.

Secondly, you could wait until the money in your current account surpasses £1000 in total. At that point, skim off the excess. So, say after your second payslip you end up with £1670 – move £670 into your savings account.

Lastly, if your budgeting is on point, you could move a set figure over each month. I got into the habit of knowing I could move £500 a month into my savings and get by on the remainder comfortably. Additionally, later in the month, if things are looking good, you can move a bit more over (I sometimes pushed an extra £200 across just before the next pay day).

Remember this: the sooner you start to save, the more swiftly your savings will grow. The bigger they will eventually end up. Jackpot!

Avoiding bitchiness

Avoiding bitchiness

Today’s 30 by 30 post is akin to the article I wrote on being forthright instead of complaining. This post is focusing on avoiding bitchiness. Much like having a good moan, being bitchy is a habit we can all very quickly fall into. Occasionally it […]

Friendships change

Friendships change

By the age of 30, no doubt you’ll have experienced disagreements with friends. You’ll more than likely have lost contact with several, either passively or aggressively. It’s something which used to upset me deeply. Now I’ve realised it’s natural. Friendships change. Back and forth We […]

Don’t complain be forthright

Don’t complain be forthright

I’m afraid to say that I can complain. I’m capable of moaning a lot. It’s safe to say many of us fall into this trap. How about not complaining. Instead, be forthright.

This uncomplicated shift in mentality moves us from negativity to positivity. We drop the pessimism and change to optimism. We’re focusing on action rather than inertia.

The fact is that complaining can feel great. It can vent steam. There’s nothing worse than penting emotions up inside – they’ll escape somehow. If that’s the route you’d usually go down, then go for it: complain away.

Much more effective though is putting your foot down and making a stand.

Complaining might seem like it’s getting us somewhere, but we’re not actually moving. We’re dwelling on what’s gone wrong.

When we’re forthright, we’re not allowing someone to walk all over us. We’re rectifying the situation, solving the problem.

When I ordered a KitchenAid mixer a few years ago, things went wrong instantly. I ordered from a reputable company – John Lewis. They sent the item to me via a company I’d never have associated them with – Hermes. You may have seen the articles about them. They include parcels thrown onto house roofs because the deliverers couldn’t be bothered to knock. Needless to say, the straightforward process went downhill after clicking “pay”.

My first mixer went missing after I spent all day waiting in. Hermes’ tracker said they’d knocked with no answer. It was never re-attempted. I ordered a second mixer, sent by Hermes again, and the same thing happened. On the third attempt I was forthright and demanded a different delivery company. John Lewis posted it via DPD, whose online tracker is fantastic and who delivered the mixer on time.

I followed this up with a complaint letter asking for some sort of compensation for my wasted time (as well as my parents’ who sat around for the second delivery). I received a brilliant response, was reimbursed and will stick with John Lewis despite this experience.

The thing I learnt the most: be forthright and take action accordingly. It might have been a complaint letter, but it vented my frustration productively.

Forget the rules of romance

Forget the rules of romance

February may be a while away yet – we have Christmas to revel in still – but here’s a thought on relationships for you. I think we need to forget the rules of romance. You know the rules I mean. “Treat ‘em mean to keep […]

Be grateful every day

Be grateful every day

It’s Thanksgiving Day in the USA today. What a fantastic idea for a national holiday. A day that embraces the concept of showing gratitude for everything you possess and all the help received. Then again, every moment is a new opportunity to show gratitude. We […]

Take a chance

Take a chance

Our confidence generally grows with age. I’ve always remembered my sister once telling me that from the age of 30, you tend to stop caring so much what others think. The greatness of this is that it becomes easier to take a chance.

I’d strongly encourage anyone just to seize the moment and take a chance on whatever you really want to do. This can be in the world of work, relationships, adventure… It is relevant to any facet of life. Don’t hold back; you don’t know what you could be missing out on.

I can give several examples from my own life so far:

  • After leaving teaching, I applied for administrative jobs at the Northern General Hospital. The Vascular department invited me to the interview and test stage to be a typist. I wasn’t taken on by them, but without taking the chance and doing my best, my details wouldn’t have been passed on to the Renal department
  • While in the Renal department, typing for nine months, I received the chance to interview for a higher banded role. Had I not given it a go, I wouldn’t have been offered the position which I stuck with for just under three years
  • Matt and I went to the inaugural RHS Chatsworth Flower Show in July 2017. I spotted a garden designer I’d emailed several years back at his show garden. I took the chance to speak with him. Without doing this, I’d never have been invited to shadow him and work at Bestall & Co
  • Speaking of Matt: had I not given relationships another go and signed up to an online dating app, I’d never have had the opportunity to chat with Matt. We’d never have gone on dates one, two or three. I wouldn’t be in a strong relationship right now, enjoying lazy evenings in, day trips out, and holidays abroad

I hope I have the opportunity to take a chance many more times in life. I really hope you all take some chances too!

Considerate and kind

Considerate and kind

Some people are naturally more considerate and kind than others. That doesn’t mean we can’t all develop these characteristics however. We become how we act. Why focus on these two attributes, at the age of thirty? Simple. In my eyes, consideration and kindness are the […]