Christmas Planning (already)

I know what you’re thinking.. it’s only just been Halloween (and not even Thanksgiving yet if you’re in America) but yes, my Christmas planning is well under way in the middle of November! (I actually casually started late October to be precise but we’ll not mention that)

I have always been the unorganised one when it comes to Christmas- last minute present buying, forgetting someone, you name it I have probably done it. However, I have decided that this is the year to change all of that!

With this being our first ‘proper’ Christmas in our house (we had the house last year but hadn’t fully moved in) it’s only right to start as you mean to go on and so below is how I’m planning on doing Christmas right for the first time and how you can too!

  • Start a spreadsheet- I used to chuckle when I heard that people create spreadsheets for Christmas, but honestly it’s my best friend at the moment! I’ve created one for budgeting (it may be Christmas but I never like to spend over my means) where I’ve wrote everyones name and filled in presents I have bought them, including how much it cost. This is SO useful so I don’t forget what I have already bought and know exactly what I have spent.
  • I am researching a lot online right now so I can plan what to buy and where is the best place to buy it from. I have a young niece and nephew and so looking for clothes and toys for them can be quite daunting. Therefore instead of wandering aimlessly around shopping centres (and buying things I don’t need) I have been searching online so I know exactly what to aim for when I do go to the shops
  • Buy cards/wrapping paper now!! We’ve all been there when it’s two weeks before Christmas and you need to get every family member a card (even you’re twice removed cousin on your dad’s side you have never spoken to) but it seems everyone else in the country is in the same boat as there’s queues out of the door! Therefore buy your cards now to avoid the hour long queues and endless fights!
  • Talk about what you’re doing Christmas day. With so many family members to see, Christmas is all about compromise and understanding. We have planned exactly what we are doing on Christmas day, and our families are aware as well. This saves stress on the lead up to Christmas for everyone involved. It is also a positive so that people can plan exactly what food they need to buy and don’t overspend!

Christmas is truly the most magical time of the year so the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the build up! Be present with those around you and enjoy the precious time you all spend together. If everything else goes wrong then just eat lots of food!

House Number 3 x

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Work Work Work…

“Enjoy your childhood, you won’t ever get it back” was stated unbelievable amounts when I was younger. Obviously back then, I was oblivious to the adult world, and only saw the good- deciding my own bedtime, driving and doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Therefore, on more than one occasion I wished more than anything to be a grown up. Little did I know about the ‘harder’ side of being an adult- working, no summers off and a whole lot of responsibilities…

I started work when I was 16. I was still in college and just worked weekends. It was in a well known bakery shop in the UK and so majority of the time I was up at 4 on a Saturday and Sunday. There were big forfeits that I had to make, such as not going to parties due to the early starts. This was obviously a wake up call to the adult working world, but I am so glad I did it. I have had three jobs since and I must admit this was the hardest and taught me so much. It was the first time I had dealt with customers, money, work colleagues and managers and set me up for where I am now!

I remember at the time I would save all my money and only spend it on birthdays/Christmas for other people. It was a massive achievement for me to be able to buy my own presents for my family and friends and it gave me great pride to use my hard earned money on them.

I then moved on to an apprenticeship working in an office. This was obviously a totally different environment and again taught me a lot. This environment was a lot more ‘professional’ and I had to work and deal with a lot more people than the previous job. At the time I was extremely shy and an anxious person so to have my own department to run it was a big stepping stone, personally and career wise. I enjoyed the job and the people so much but I was on apprentice wage and there was no scope for me so I had to move on. This point is when me and my boyfriend started to properly save for a house.

The next job was only for 6 months. I absolutely hated it and the confident person I had become in my previous job literally vanished with 2 months of being there. It was basically a call centre but for health claims. It was horrendous- targets to meet and adhere to, customers shouting at you because you couldn’t let them have certain health care etc etc. I suffered so much mentally here and so got out as quickly as possible, I did manage to save quite a bit though within the six months towards the house

That then moves us onto my current job. It’s working within an office as a Customer Care Representative. It’s totally not what I thought I’d end up doing but I love it so much! It’s a small family run business which I love and all my work colleagues are so lovely to work with. I have developed so much since working there and honestly never been happier. I was only 3 months into the job when we applied for our first mortgage, but I knew I was going to be staying there for a while so had all the confidence of job security for repayments.

Who knows what will happen in the future, but for now I am very happy. My job allows me to develop my skills and knowledge as well as give me a loving home to go back to.

You spend a lot of your time at work and so if you aren’t happy it’ll have such an impact on your life. Do something that makes you happy, even if it means taking a leap

House Number 3 x

Self Care

Sometimes life makes it hard to put yourself first, we’ve all always got somewhere to be or something to do and no plans to just relax. Since moving into our house, this feeling has been very much heightened – there’s always washing that needs sorting, or pots that need washing or even food that needs buying. Along with both of us working full time it can sometimes become very intense.

That is why we have focused a lot recently on giving ourselves time out from house stuff, both with each other as well as away from each other. We both had rough times with mental health growing up and so we would never want to push ourselves to that again, just from simply not taking care of the most important things- ourselves.

And so some self care tips that I have found to really help me recharge and appreciate what I’ve got;

– Find a hobby. Whatever it may be. For me it’s writing (hence starting this blog), reading, photography and generally being creative. My other half loves playing video games or watching YouTube and so these are things that we let each other enjoy away from each other

– Exercise. We recently joined a gym together and go 3 times a week with each other. Exercise really helps lift your mood and when you start seeing results (even the smallest) you understand the importance of self care.

– Socialise. A lot of our money is spent on our house, yet we make sure we still have enough to go out and enjoy the company of others. Being surrounded by friends and family is so important and good for the soul. It doesn’t always need to be expensive… long gone are the days of going out every night and wasting money

– Be organised. By being organised and getting jobs done it will make you feel a lot better instead of letting jobs pile up making you stressed. Communicate with each other about jobs that you like/don’t mind doing and ones that you don’t like so you can work together

Owning a house is always going to be stressful, but taking steps to put yourself first at times is what will make the whole experience much more enjoyable

House Number 3 x

 

Things You Learn After Moving In…

Moving into your first property is such a huge step in anybodies life. You go from having your parents constantly around, paying bills and expenses as well as tidying up after your messy self- to having to run a house hold yourself.

When we first moved in I admit that it was difficult to adapt. As we never had the responsibility before we didn’t actually release how tiring keeping everything together can be, and how much there is to do.

We quickly had to learn how to do a lot of things for ourselves, even basic things that we never thought about when we lived with our parents. For example, changing the towels over in the bathroom more than once a week or tidying away birthday cards or checking all lights were off at night. All sound easy tasks right? Yeah they are, but they are tasks that you would never think about doing when living at home with your parents

As well as all the little tasks of keeping the house tidy and functional, there’s also the real adult jobs. Ringing companies for their services such as gas and electric- who were we to know what a good price was?! Or ring builders when something goes wrong and you need it fixing. It’s so hard to know whether you are being ripped off or not, and honestly a lot of people see a young couple who own a house and try their luck!

Another thing that we have learnt is that owning a house is expensive and time consuming! Sure we have time to ourselves and we make sure we still go and do things away from the house but there’s always something that needs doing when you get back.

Even though we have learnt all the above since moving in, and sometimes it is hard, we have learnt that living together is actually the best thing ever. The tasks, expense and time a house tasks is so worthwhile to call it our home together

House Number 3 x

5 Top Saving Tips!

As everyone is aware, buying a house is never going to be cheap. From the actual purchase and buying furniture to the bills and renovations- its going to be one expensive ride. Therefore it’s always useful to plan your exact budget to ensure you can afford absolutely everything that may be thrown at you along the way

With ourselves only being quite young we knew that a lot of people would think we were crazy to even say the words ‘we think we may be ready to own a house’ let alone actually go through with it! Yet here we are nearly a year down the line, having made one of the best decisions of our lives at such a young age

Buying our house obviously didn’t happen overnight and with us being together for 3 years before we even thought about buying helped a lot as we knew our finances as well as spending habits. We actually started ‘casually’ saving quite early on in the relationship as we knew we wanted to lived together eventually which helped massively as we technically saved from 18 to 22

So having been through it, here are our top tips for saving to buy a house!

1) Know exactly what you want to spend, how much it will all cost and how long it will take. By working the figures out it becomes so much easier to abide to instead of just saving for the sake of it. We agreed to save £200 a month each, and then put whatever was left at the end of the month into the pot as well. We spent money on ourselves and each other throughout a month but we didn’t go crazy with it as we knew what our long term goal was. Therefore there was no designer handbags or flashy cars- the benefits of buying a house far outweigh material items

2) This links into the above but you both need to be on the same page and save equally. There is no point in one of you doing your best to save your money and going without treating yourself whilst the other person splashes the cash on themselves and has no interest in saving. This will only cause the saving process to be longer, as well as causing friction between the both of you as well

3) Where ever possible DO NOT RENT! We know so many people that get too excited about moving out and living together that they jump and rent, that now cannot get out of the cycle. Of course we wanted to live together before we actually did but we both knew we wanted to own a house we can call ours. Therefore we lived between our parents homes for 4 years before moving out. Obviously we were very lucky that our parents allowed us to live there (and we did pay them money each month) but it was challenging at times to say the least

4) Do you really need that takeaway? Do you really need that overpriced coffee? Do you really need another mug with a picture of a cat on? Its incredible the amount of money that is spent on things that we don’t really need. Of course we still need to treat ourselves but a lot of money can be saved and put to better use if you thought about your spending habits

5) Clear as much debt as possible before moving out. Before we bought the house we didn’t have any debt which helped massively in the saving process as well as it not effecting us now with having bills to pay. I would definitely recommend clearing the debt before even starting to save for the house just so you don’t have it lingering over your shoulders constantly. Buying and living in a house is stressful and costs a lot of money so you do not want any added money problems hanging over you as well

And there you have our best tips for saving! Remember to plan ahead, work out the figures and be consistent with the process and you will be well on your way!

If you have any questions or thoughts please feel free to message!

House Number 3 x