Bunny on a Budget http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk A Budgeting Blog for UK Mums Thu, 25 May 2017 15:13:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How to Avoid Accruing Long-term Debt http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/how-to-avoid-accruing-long-term-debt/ http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/how-to-avoid-accruing-long-term-debt/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 21:59:09 +0000 http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/?p=486 Whichever way you look, consumer debt represents a major problem in the developed world. Unsecured consumer credit grew at its fastest rate in more than 11 years in the UK during January, for example, while this is a trend that is being replicated in nations such as the U.S. America is also grappling with the [...]

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Avoiding debt How to Avoid Accruing Long term DebtWhichever way you look, consumer debt represents a major problem in the developed world. Unsecured consumer credit grew at its fastest rate in more than 11 years in the UK during January, for example, while this is a trend that is being replicated in nations such as the U.S.

America is also grappling with the cost of tuition, with more than 44 million nationals currently struggling with huge levels of debt that is increasingly difficult to repay.

In this article, we look at the ways in which individuals can avoid the accrual of longer-term debt and contribute towards a more sustainable economy.

1. Understand Your Current Debt Level

If you are serious about reducing debt, you need to start by determining your existing liability.

This can be achieved by accessing your credit report, which include details of all settled and outstanding debts.

Through this report, you can calculate your total debt total, while determining whether you have a positive or a negative credit rating. This will inform your decision surrounding future loans and the type of credit that you pursue, as you look to reduce long-term debt and create positive transactions.

Similarly, reviewing your existing debts also enables you to identify erroneous accounts, which may have been settled or included in error. These can subsequently be removed and help to instantly reduce your liability.

2. Make Regular Repayments

While it would be nice to live in a debt-free world, for most people this now seems simply impractical. From secured loans such as mortgages to unsecured debts, credit is often used to fund certain aspects of our lifestyle.

Issues can occur when you struggle to make regular repayments on time, however, as this can incur charges and increase the interest that exists on your account. So, even when you do resume regular payments, you may find that your debt liability is increased and you’re simply paying off interest rather than the principle sum.

So, remain focused and adhere to a stringent payment plan, adapting your budget where necessary to ensure that you meet your requirements while maintaining a certain standard of life.

3. Embrace Frugality and a Strong Work-ethic

On a final note, it is important to understand instances where opening a line of credit might be permissible. This applies when buying a home or a car, for example, but less costly purchases may be better funded by striving to reduce costs and accumulating savings over time.

By being frugal and reducing the cost of everyday expenditures, for example, it is possible to increase the amount of disposable income that can be committed to savings each month. This negates the need the secure lines of credit in the future, as you have the means to fund larger ticker purchases as and when required.

You can also look to improve your earning potential, either by pursuing a promotion or marketing any skills that you have as a part-time freelancer. This type of determination and work-ethic can build higher levels of wealth over time, which in turn helps you to appreciate the value of money and increase your spending capacity organically over time.

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4 Low Maintenance But Fun Pets For Kids http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/4-low-maintenance-but-fun-pets-for-kids/ http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/4-low-maintenance-but-fun-pets-for-kids/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 21:34:05 +0000 http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/?p=479 Having a pet is something that every child wants, mainly because they are fun to play with and fun to watch too. They give your kids some companionship and a good friend. Pets are fun for adults and for kids as well. They are relaxing, they can be your friend, and they help to teach [...]

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cat 4 Low Maintenance But Fun Pets For KidsHaving a pet is something that every child wants, mainly because they are fun to play with and fun to watch too. They give your kids some companionship and a good friend. Pets are fun for adults and for kids as well. They are relaxing, they can be your friend, and they help to teach responsibility.

The thing with kids is that they usually aren’t the best at keeping commitments, and they certainly don’t know all that much about taking care of another living being. For this reason you will want to get them a pet that is low maintenance, but is still fun too. Here we have 4 great pets for your kids, all of which are low maintenance, but really fun none the less.

1. A Hamster

Now right off the bat, you can replace the word hamster (more on hamsters here) with mouse or rat or other such pet rodent that you deem appropriate. Many children love little rodents because they are so energetic, and watching them run around on that little wheel is definitely a hoot. Hamsters, mice, and other rodents require barely any maintenance, which is definitely a big bonus.

All they really need is a cage, bedding, a toy or two, an exercise wheel, and food dishes. Animals like a hamster only require weekly cage cleanings where you need to change the bedding and clean out their waste. Other than that, a hamster doesn’t really need any attention.

Sure, they will appreciate it if your kids play with them, which they obviously will, but as far as maintenance goes, there is really not all that much needed. Your kids will love taking the hamster out of its cage, holding it, cuddling it, and watching it run around the home! As far as maintenance goes, it really does not get any easier than with a hamster, mouse, rat, or other pet rodent.

2. A Cat

Another pet that might be a good idea for your kids is a cat. Cats have minds of their own sometimes, which is actually a good thing because it means that they don’t require all that much maintenance or attention. Sure, you might have to bring it to the vet at first to get some immunizations, but other than that, they really don’t require very much effort to keep healthy and happy. All they really need is regular feeding to stay healthy.

If you have an indoor cat, you will need to clean their litter box, but that is not very hard or time consuming. This litter box problem is also eliminated when you have an outdoor cat, something that is recommended. Just keep in mind, while outdoor cats are generally easier to care for because of the lack of a litter box, they won’t be around the home as much to provide your kids with companionship.

However, cats do love to get their exercise, which your kids can provide them with by playing with them. It really does not take much more than a string or a little ball to keep a cat occupied. The fact of the matter is that a cat is cuddly, they like attention, they like to play, and their antics can be really fun for your kids to watch. Besides feeding, a trip or two to the vet, and some regular cleaning, a cat can more or less look after itself.

3. A Small Bird

Bird e1493328563655 4 Low Maintenance But Fun Pets For KidsA small bird like a love bird is another great low maintenance pet idea for your kids. A bird may sound like it would require a lot of effort to take care of, but that is really not the case at all. As long as you have a nice cage, some bedding, and food, there is nothing else that is necessary to keep a small bird healthy and happy. Sure, you might need to take it to the vet when it gets sick, but that is true for every pet that you might bring into your home.

The only maintenance that you really need to think about when it comes to a bird is whether or not you want to clip its wings. A bird with unclipped wings will provide your kids with a lot of fun and entertainment because they can fly around the home. On the other hand, they might defecate around the home or even fly away if given the chance.

This is something you will need to consider. Some people do consider it cruel to clip a bird’s wings, yet another consideration you need to think about. The bottom line is that birds really only need some food and water, plus a good little home to live in. They are fun and fairly easy to care for as well.

4. A Betta Fish

Betta fish really are fantastic creatures, and as far as maintenance goes, when compared to other fish and pets, there is barely any of it. You will need a Betta fish tank, a small filter, some rocks or substrate, a plant or two and even a protein skimmer (this article covers some protein skimmer reviews). Other than that, there is nothing you need to take care of a Betta fish, except of course for the food. Besides feeding the Betta fish and cleaning the tank about once per week, there is no maintenance involved.

child kissing betta tank e1493328486486 4 Low Maintenance But Fun Pets For Kids

It is so simple that your kids can probably do it on their own, and if they can’t, well at least it is not all that much work for you. They are fun little creatures to have because watching them swim around is quite entertaining. Plus, they add a next level of beauty and elegance to any room. There is also the fact that a little Betta fish tank can act as a creative stimulant, while also being a relaxing agent, and even a sleep aid too.

Conclusion

Whatever low maintenance pet that you get for your kids, they will definitely love it. A pet is a great way to teach your kids some responsibility while letting them enjoy a new friend at the same time. Just keep in mind that each pet has its own specific requirements and you will be just fine. You might also like our post on the cheapest family pets.

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Many Brits Worried About Retirement – Infographic http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/many-brits-worried-about-retirement-infographic/ http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/many-brits-worried-about-retirement-infographic/#respond Mon, 10 Apr 2017 13:10:11 +0000 http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/?p=472 As a stay at home and work from home mum, I have to say that saving enough for retirement is a big and genuine concern for me. While I love the freedom that comes along with being able to work from home it does have its drawbacks, and the lack of a company pension is [...]

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work or Retire Many Brits Worried About Retirement   InfographicAs a stay at home and work from home mum, I have to say that saving enough for retirement is a big and genuine concern for me. While I love the freedom that comes along with being able to work from home it does have its drawbacks, and the lack of a company pension is one of them.

I came across some research today which shows that I’m not alone in worrying about my retirement. According to the infographic from a company called Lending Works – which I’ve included below – it appears that a good part of the population are also worried about having enough money during retirement, with around 22% of the British population now wondering whether they are going to be able to retire at all!

With this in mind, I wanted to share the infographic to highlight the extent of the problem, in the hope that it might cause others to take seriously the need to save for retirement too.

Retirement Inforgaphic Many Brits Worried About Retirement   Infographic

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Making Countryside Walks Fun for All the Family http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/making-countryside-walks-fun-for-all-the-family/ http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/making-countryside-walks-fun-for-all-the-family/#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 01:35:46 +0000 http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/?p=467 Trying to get the whole family out into the countryside for a stroll, never mind a hike, may be harder than you may think. Not only do we have to wait around for a dry day, but it’s also no fun if you feel like you’re dragging your kids out kicking and screaming. Yes, as parents, [...]

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Making Countryside Walks Fun for All the Family e1490143799699 Making Countryside Walks Fun for All the FamilyTrying to get the whole family out into the countryside for a stroll, never mind a hike, may be harder than you may think. Not only do we have to wait around for a dry day, but it’s also no fun if you feel like you’re dragging your kids out kicking and screaming. Yes, as parents, we are completely aware of how fun a walk in the countryside can be, but to a lot of children it just sounds as boring as cleaning their bedroom!

With this in mind, here are a few fun ideas that could change your child’s opinion of walking in the countryside for the better.

Go old-school

The first idea that we’re going to mention is probably the simplest idea too. Just taking a notepad and pencil for each child can open up a whole range of fun things that they can do while they’re on the walk. For example, they could be drawing their own little map of the walk as they go along. This will help them to pay attention to what is around them, but they will also have a little souvenir of the walk that they will be proud of and which they can show to their family and friends.

Crayons are also a great thing to take. Children love taking the wrapper off of crayons and using the wide part to see the patterns that all of the different textures make, such as the bark on a tree, stone walls and leaves.

Depending on how much your children like art, they could also sketch the scenery when you sit down for a picnic. There is so much that they could do with just a simple notepad, pencil and, of course, a crayon.

Adventure pack

The second idea is to pack an adventure backpack for your children. Now, this can be adapted to whatever you (the parent) is happy with and I say this because as a mum to two young boys, I know perfectly well how crazy and wild some of their ideas can be! However, giving my boys a back pack each full of all sorts of different things that they can use to explore the countryside is also a good way to keep them focused and less likely to race ahead to the edge of a cliff!

Some of the things that you might want to pack are:

  • Map
  • Compass
  • Magnifying glass
  • Plastic tubs for all the little bits they want to bring home
  • Snack and a drink
  • Tape measure
  • Some kid’s nature books
  • Notepad and pen
  • First aid kit

With all of these items providing a different way to enjoy the countryside, I am sure that they will be entertained for quite some time.

The secret weapon

If you’re still not sure what to take, then there is a little secret weapon that I like which has already done all of the homework for you on how to keep children (and parents) entertained on a walk through the countryside. It is a book – or a little box with little books inside of it – called ‘Making Tracks‘.

There are about 4 different books to choose from in this series that cover four different areas being The Lake District, The Peak District, The Yorkshire Dales and The North Yorkshire Moors.

We bought the one for walks in the Yorkshire Dales as it’s the area we visit the most. In this particular book there are 10 different walks to choose from, each with their own little booklet that you can take with you on your walk. The booklets are filled with wonderful illustrations of different parts of the walk which are aimed at children and highlight things to look out for in the area. There are also fun and educational little ideas of things to do on the walk, such as looking out for all the different creatures that you will find around the oak trees, and also teaching them about special landmarks in the area, the history behind them and where you will find them. They are actually so interesting that the whole family will enjoy using the booklets as you go along the walk.

You can pick one up for about £11.99 online, which I think is pretty reasonable as you get around 10 walks in each pack.

So, with the nicer weather just around the corner (I hope) why not plan ahead and try out one or more of these ideas to make walking in the countryside something that the whole family can look forward to.

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Fun Family Garden Ideas on a Budget http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/fun-family-garden-ideas-on-a-budget/ http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/fun-family-garden-ideas-on-a-budget/#comments Fri, 10 Mar 2017 17:07:31 +0000 http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/?p=459 It’s quite hard to believe that spring is on the way, isn’t it? We’re nearly out of those dark and wet winter months! So, it’s time to stop ignoring your outdoor space and figure out what fun things you can do to make the most of the better weather we have ahead. The first thing [...]

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Fun Family Garden Ideas on a Budget e1489161752558 Fun Family Garden Ideas on a BudgetIt’s quite hard to believe that spring is on the way, isn’t it? We’re nearly out of those dark and wet winter months! So, it’s time to stop ignoring your outdoor space and figure out what fun things you can do to make the most of the better weather we have ahead.

The first thing that I would like to mention is that it really doesn’t matter how much outdoor space you have, it could be a small balcony or a few acres, it really doesn’t matter. There are plenty of projects that you can do as a family to create a fun and enjoyable outdoor space.

Give nature a home

Why not get the kids involved in taking care of your local wildlife?

There are a few different things that you could do to give nature a home in your garden that hardly costs anything and that doesn’t take up a lot of space.

One of the ways that you can give nature a home in your garden is by making a bug hotel! This can look however you want it to and you can be as creative as you like, all you need to do is make sure that there are plenty of different nooks and crannies for insects to make their home in.

If you have a good sized area that you want to dedicate to bugs and bees, then why not source some local tree stumps and logs and create a fun bug hotel where you can also plant flowers and shrubs in amongst the tree stump that will attract the insects.

Bug Hotel Fun Family Garden Ideas on a Budget

If you don’t have enough space to do that, then you could either make or buy a cute little bee and bug hotel that you can hang on a wall, fence or tree trunk? If you don’t fancy making your own and are thinking of buying one, then you don’t have to worry about them being expensive as you can pick one up online for as little as £7.00 and they come in all sorts of wonderful designs and colours that will create a lovely feature in your garden.

Give nature a food source

Another way that you can look after your local wildlife is by providing them with a food source. You can check what type of food source would be helpful in your area by looking on websites such as www.rspb.org.uk. Not only does this charity look out for the welfare of birds but they are hugely helpful in showing you how to look after all of your other local wildlife too, insects included.

One way to provide a good and beautiful food source is by planting a variety of flowers. They don’t have to be expensive, even a bag of mixed flower seeds such as the popular ‘cornfield annual seed mixes’ will create a wonderful variety of colours and scents that both you, your children and the pollinating insects will enjoy. You can buy a packet of seeds from your local garden centre or online for a small amount of money and don’t worry if you don’t have a large area of grass that you can turn into a beautiful meadow, a good sized flower pot will do a great job too!

Take care of your birds

Another great way to turn your garden into a fun and exciting place for children is by trying to attract your local birds into it. Again, the RSPB can help you to learn which birds are in your area and what type of food they need.

Depending on how much floor space you have (and whether it would be at risk of having a football booted at it) you may choose to buy a bird table. This is again something that has many options, you could grab a bargain and buy one second hand, you could treat yourself to a new one, or you could even make your own. I was amazed to find that brand new ones can be found for less than £12 including delivery on eBay.

 Fun Family Garden Ideas on a BudgetIf this option wouldn’t suit your family or outdoor area, then why not have a look at some hanging bird feeders instead. They also come in many different shapes, sizes and prices. So, do a bit of research and see what would be the most suitable feeder for your local birds.

It’s also a nice idea to give a bird a home where they could spend the night and even raise some chicks. This can be completely adapted to what type of bird house you like and also how much you would like to spend. So, why not head down to your local garden centre or pet shop and see what they have in store. If you would rather buy one in the comfort of your own home then why not check out the huge range available online? You could pick one up for as little as 99 pence! Personally I love all of the quirky ones in the design of a red post box or a cute little cottage.

Cheap family fun and memories!

So, there we go, a few fun ideas on how to make your garden a fun and exciting place this spring that the whole family can enjoy. The great thing is that you don’t have to spend a lot to make it a beautiful and interesting garden, and you also don’t need to own a few acres to make it special, just be creative and have fun.

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Is Buying Own Brand Products Always a Smart Way to Save? http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/is-buying-own-brand-products-always-a-smart-way-to-save/ http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/is-buying-own-brand-products-always-a-smart-way-to-save/#comments Thu, 02 Mar 2017 16:35:34 +0000 http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/?p=451 I get a lot of pleasure from saving money. It doesn’t matter if it’s saving money on buying clothes for the kids or buying toys when they’re on sale and stashing them away, or even just saving money on our day to day household items, I just love that feeling of satisfaction that I get [...]

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Is Buying Own Brand Products Always a Smart Way to Save e1488472186920 Is Buying Own Brand Products Always a Smart Way to Save?I get a lot of pleasure from saving money. It doesn’t matter if it’s saving money on buying clothes for the kids or buying toys when they’re on sale and stashing them away, or even just saving money on our day to day household items, I just love that feeling of satisfaction that I get when I know that I have got what I wanted or needed for less!

One of the best ways to save money is by swapping some of our usual branded products for supermarkets own brand items during our weekly food shop. However, is swapping from brands to own branded items always a smart way to save money, or are there some items where it works out better to spend that bit more for a brand?

Here we will look at two popular household items that I have tested to see whether swapping to a supermarket own brand really does save you money.

Washing Detergent

In our home I do at least 2 loads of clothes washing per day. That adds up to around 14 washes per week!

As you can see, this is an area where saving some money really would add up. So, I decided to swap my usual Persil non-bio washing detergent for a cheaper brand. I chose to try out Aldi’s Almat non-bio washing detergent. I was feeling really positive about the huge savings I could enjoy if I permanently swapped my usual Persil (full price) 40 washes for £8.00, for Almats 42 washes for £3.50. That could be a saving of around £4.50 roughly every 3 weeks, which would possibly be a huge saving of around £77 per year!

However, it didn’t work out quite like I had hoped. As I was using the cheaper washing detergent, I noticed that a lot of the marks that my usual detergent would get out were still there. Now, forgive me if I’m wrong, but having to re-wash items that didn’t come out clean enough after the first wash kind of ruins the whole point of swapping to a cheaper detergent. It means that I’m not only having to use up the detergent quicker than usual, but I am also increasing my energy bills by having to use the washing machine again.

I know this may not be a problem that all people come across. I mean, I do have two young, super active boys that love to get messy. If this is not a problem for you, then I would definitely recommend carrying on saving money with a cheaper detergent. For me, however, I feel happy to pay the extra money for Persil because I know that it does the job.

Saying that, if anyone has found a cheaper washing detergent that can withstand the mess of two young boys, then please let me know! I am always happy to try again to save some money.

Washing up Liquid

Once again this is an item that gets used several times a day in our house (if only we had a dishwasher!) and yes, you’ve guessed it, I use Fairy.

The reason that I love Fairy washing up liquid is because it does a brilliant job and lasts forever. I’m sure that we have all seen their tv adverts, showing us how many extra washes you get out of a bottle of Fairy than you do out of other, cheaper brands. Well, it’s true. I have tried supermarkets own brand washing up liquids but they just couldn’t compare to Fairy. Not only does it save a lot of elbow grease by cutting through grease and burnt bits easily, but you also only need a small amount, which means that the bottle will go a lot further.

When I need to replace my Fairy liquid I try to get a bottle of 500 ml for £1. If it isn’t on offer, though, then in my local supermarket it would cost around £1.30. Their own brand washing up liquid would cost me about 50 pence for the same amount. So, in theory, this would save me up to 70 pence per bottle, which I usually replace about once a month. So this would add up to a potential saving of £8.40 per year.

However, as I said earlier, the cheaper brands definitely don’t last as long as a bottle of Fairy, which means that I would have to replace the bottle much more often. I also don’t enjoy washing up, so using a washing up liquid that shortens the amount of time that I have to spend scrubbing away at the pots and pans is a winner for me.

So, there we have it, two household products where I personally don’t feel that swapping to a supermarket own brand is really worth it.

What has been your experience of swapping to own brand products?

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Time is running out to register your PPI claims! http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/time-is-running-out-to-register-your-ppi-claims/ http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/time-is-running-out-to-register-your-ppi-claims/#respond Thu, 02 Mar 2017 12:00:55 +0000 http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/?p=454 A few years ago, my husband and I benefited from a nice little windfall in the form a refund on a PPI policy which had been mis-sold to us on a loan a few years earlier. We received the payout because of a PPI policy that had been mis-sold to us with a loan. At [...]

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Ticking Clock e1488400109763 Time is running out to register your PPI claims!A few years ago, my husband and I benefited from a nice little windfall in the form a refund on a PPI policy which had been mis-sold to us on a loan a few years earlier.

We received the payout because of a PPI policy that had been mis-sold to us with a loan. At the time we took out the loan, both myself and my husband were a lot less financially savvy and like most people, we didn’t really have a clue about what PPI was and the scandal that was going to unfold just a few years down the line! So, when the lady at the bank who was arranging the loan told us that we ‘had’ to take out the PPI policy along with the loan or we probably wouldn’t be given it (due to my husband being self-employed), well, it’s safe to say that we caved in just a matter of seconds and agreed to take the PPI too.

What had happened at the bank that day was a classic case of PPI claims mis-selling! Not only was the PPI policy not really suitable for my husband because he was self-employed – pretty ironic given what the bank employee had said that was why we ‘had’ to have it – but it was also a complete lie that we wouldn’t have got the loan if we hadn’t taken out the insurance, as we found out later that the loan and the insurance were completely unconnected.

So, when we heard on the radio years later that this kind of mis-selling had been happening on a systematic scale and that people were able to reclaim the money they had been scammed out of, we didn’t waste any time in putting in a claim and we were very happy to receive a payout of not hundreds but thousands of pounds!

To be honest, I’m quite surprised that people are still able to reclaim mis-sold PPI today but I recently found out that the Financial Conduct Authority – who are a body who oversee the financial services industry – have recently announced a potential deadline for when PPI claims must be made. The deadline is going to be around the Summer of 2019. So, if you want to get a windfall like me and my husband did then now is the time to find out if you’ve ever had PPI or not, before you miss the boat.

Our PPI money came in really handy when we got it as we were renovating our first home at the time and the money we got helped give our renovation a boost that it so desperately needed. Hopefully you won’t have to spend your PPI money on something as boring as that and you can put it towards something fun like a free family holiday instead. Or, if you’re feeling really sensible, then you could even put it into a savings account for use towards a deposit for a home or perhaps put it towards your pension pot! I think I’d find it tough to resist a free holiday myself. icon smile Time is running out to register your PPI claims!

Anyway, I hope this post helps you to reclaim your mis-sold PPI before it’s too late and that you enjoy spending or saving it however you feel is right.

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How Much Should You Spend On A Special Dress? http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/how-much-should-you-spend-on-a-special-dress/ http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/how-much-should-you-spend-on-a-special-dress/#comments Fri, 24 Feb 2017 23:28:22 +0000 http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/?p=448 I don’t think that many people would argue with the fact that sometimes it’s nice to put away the ironing or the Play-doh, put a special dress on and go somewhere fancy. However, even though this is something that most women love to do (even if it is just once or twice a year!), would [...]

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How Much Would You Spend On A Special Dress  e1487976017694 How Much Should You Spend On A Special Dress?I don’t think that many people would argue with the fact that sometimes it’s nice to put away the ironing or the Play-doh, put a special dress on and go somewhere fancy. However, even though this is something that most women love to do (even if it is just once or twice a year!), would the thought of rummaging through your boring old wardrobe fill you with dread? And then there’s the prospect of buying a new dress, does it all seem like too much stress and expense to bother with?

If you feel this way then perhaps you should ask yourself the question, how much do I really have to spend to buy that special dress? Do I really need to blow the family’s budget just to get that designer dress that I really want? Or, can a compromise be found, so that I can still feel special whilst sticking to some kind of budget?

My hunt for the perfect dress

Well, I found myself in this situation recently. We have a few special occasions planned for 2017 and after looking through my wardrobe, I quickly realised that I didn’t own a dress that was appropriate for the occasions. So, I decided to do one of my favourite things and make a cup of coffee, curl up on the sofa and check out my favourite websites to see what dresses they had in and more importantly, how much they cost!

Of course, there were lots and lots of dresses to look at and to be honest, I was starting to feel a bit overwhelmed with just how long it would take me to scour the internet to browse every dress available. I was seeing lots of lovely dresses, but none of them jumped out at me screaming that they were the perfect dress. I decided to change tactic and instead of looking at only the brands that I know are within my budget, I thought it could be worth having a look at some of the more expensive brands, just to see if there were any sales on, of course. icon wink How Much Should You Spend On A Special Dress?

Now, I am not really a designer label kind of person. I don’t really think that I can justify spending a huge amount of money for something that I could pick up for at least half the price, especially when we’re a family of four. I don’t even want to think about how much it would cost to clothe us all if we were a label mad family!

This being said, I couldn’t get out of my head a dress that I had fallen in love with once in a Karen Millen store. It must have been about 10 years ago and even though the dress was in the sale, we were in the middle of renovating a house, so every penny mattered and this meant that spending £80 on a dress just wasn’t a reasonable thing to do. I think that was one of the most annoying moments of being an adult and owning my own home, every time I wanted to get something I couldn’t help but be aware of how many things we needed for the house. Boring!

Anyway, I decided to check out the Karen Millen website to see if they had any good offers on and to my relief, they were in the middle of a great sale!

If you are familiar with Karen Millen then I know that you will understand just how amazing some of her dresses are! So, it came as no surprise to me that I came across a perfect dress. The only problem was that the dress that I really, really liked, that they had in my size was £100. Even though this is a good price for a Karen Millen dress, it was still out of my budget. I wasn’t going to give up that easily, so I decided to see if any other department stores that stock Karen Millen had any offers on. I went on the John Lewis website and was thrilled to see that they also had a great sale on. I ended up finding an amazing dress on there and I was totally over the moon! The best thing about it was the huge saving. The dress should have been £199 but in the sale, it was £75!

In all honesty, I do still think that £75 is quite a lot of money to spend on a dress, and personally I wouldn’t have wanted to spend that amount of money on a dress if I was shopping in my usual high street shops. The first reason for this is that I love a bargain, so a dress at that price on the high street would usually be full price. The second reason is that I don’t think that the quality of the dresses from your standard shop is worth that amount of money.

So, once I realised that there was only one of this particular Karen Millen dress left in my size, I just knew that I had to buy it.

Was it worth the money?

I can honestly say that, to me at least, the dress is definitely worth the money. The quality of the fabric and the fit is so much better than any other dress I have ever bought. It is definitely a special dress that will be worn for years and years for all those special occasions.

However, would I be happy to spend £199 for the dress? The simple answer to that, is, no. I may feel happy spending that little bit more for a special dress because I know that it will last for years and will hopefully keep looking just as wonderful. However, £199 is way out of my budget and I would always feel a little bit guilty that I was wearing a dress that just completely blew our budget out of the water.

But finding this amazing dress at such an amazing price just goes to show that you don’t have to completely sacrifice having that extra special dress. Just do a bit of shopping around and if you need to be, be patient. Don’t rush into spending a huge amount of money. Instead, shop smart and shop in the sales!

Have you ever splashed out on a special dress and was it worth the extra money?

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What Are the Cheapest Family Pets? http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/what-are-the-cheapest-family-pets/ http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/what-are-the-cheapest-family-pets/#comments Fri, 17 Feb 2017 14:57:02 +0000 http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/?p=442 We all love our pets, and most of us consider them as part of the family. Whether we have a dog who loves us unconditionally or a cat who cuddles us on its own terms, we think of them as positive additions to the home, often making the home feel more complete. Interestingly, money saving [...]

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pets What Are the Cheapest Family Pets?We all love our pets, and most of us consider them as part of the family. Whether we have a dog who loves us unconditionally or a cat who cuddles us on its own terms, we think of them as positive additions to the home, often making the home feel more complete.

Interestingly, money saving experts Voucherbox conducted a recent survey on how much our pets are costing us and discovered some astonishing facts including that 51% of UK households have a pet! The survey revealed the lifetime cost of each typical pet, showing some surprising results, such as that dogs cost us on average £15,382 and a cat costs £10,395. When you take into consideration purchase costs, vet fees, kennels and food, the costs mount up to shocking figures. However, most of us would not decide against a pet just because of the cost involved. 

16568072007 0b40b69507 What Are the Cheapest Family Pets?Best friends” (Public Domain) by Lottie’s pets & stuff

Are You Thinking of Getting a Dog?

If you’re thinking of getting a dog, then perhaps it’s important to be aware of the long-term cost. As we’ve just seen, dogs are one of the most expensive pets to have and there may be added costs you haven’t thought about. Take into consideration a few important factors, such as how often you are out of the home (do you need to pay a dog walker?) and how often you go away on holiday (will you need to use kennels?), and then the practicalities such as the size of your home and garden. All of these points should be contemplated because getting a pet which is not suitable for the household or the family, will only result in you needing to re-home it.

6059012398 2a6561207e What Are the Cheapest Family Pets?                 “Goldfish” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by AJC1

What Are the Cheapest Pets?

The cheapest pets seem to be the animals who do not have a long lifespan: 

  • Hamster: Costing on average £473 for a typical lifespan of 3 years, hamsters are small and cuddly, yet independent and self-sufficient. So long as they have food and water and a clean cage, then they are easy to look after.
  • Goldfish: With an average lifespan of 7 years, goldfish cost on average £877. Their tanks can be an attractive part of the furniture, adding some atmosphere and entertainment for the family. They are self-reliant and only require feeding and occasional cleaning.
  • Guinea Pig: Costing an average of £,2126 for a typical lifespan of 6 years, guinea pigs are sweet and friendly pets to own. So long as their cage is clean and they have water and food, they are independent, although they do like to cuddle up.
  • Rabbit: The average lifespan of a rabbit is 10 years so the overall cost increases to £7,368. However, these are great pets for kids and even if they can look after themselves, they love to play and cuddle.
  • Budgie: Costing £1,190 for an average lifespan of 7 years, budgies are one of the cheapest family pets because their food is inexpensive. They are probably not the most affectionate pet, but still add a cheerful and entertaining note to the house!

3185547901 f983b9e7b2 What Are the Cheapest Family Pets?Guinea Pig” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Christopher Schirner

If you are considering getting a pet, then it is important to think about the cost involved. The ongoing costs of vet fees, insurance and food all add up, so considering a pet for your family that will not cost a fortune in the long run may be a good idea.

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How To Shop on the Cheap For Your Awkwardly Sized Man http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/how-to-shop-on-the-cheap-for-your-awkwardly-sized-man/ http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/how-to-shop-on-the-cheap-for-your-awkwardly-sized-man/#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2017 14:24:10 +0000 http://bunnyonabudget.co.uk/?p=440 Shopping for your man may be as simple and stress free as shopping for your kids, you have full confidence that all of the shops will stock their size and there is always a wide variety of styles and prices to choose from that you can pretty much guarantee finding just what you need within [...]

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manshopping How To Shop on the Cheap For Your Awkwardly Sized ManShopping for your man may be as simple and stress free as shopping for your kids, you have full confidence that all of the shops will stock their size and there is always a wide variety of styles and prices to choose from that you can pretty much guarantee finding just what you need within your budget. Now, as good as this may be for the averaged sized man, what about shopping for a man that is bigger than your average? Are there still bargains to be had or does everything have to be extra expensive just because they aren’t common sizes?

Clothes

Well, as my husband is 6”5, I know from experience that finding clothes to fit aren’t that easy to come by. Usually, it is just the simple fact that clothes aren’t made with the length that he needs, everything we try are usually just too short, t-shirts, long sleeved shirts and trousers all come up short by at least 2 inches. So, to try and solve this problem, we have even tried buying sizes that are a couple of sizes too big, just to see if they will give him the extra length. However, this really doesn’t work, because even if they do have a good length, the clothes are just so big that the fit looks all wrong!

So, if shopping for clothes in the average high street shop wasn’t going to work, what would? Thankfully, we live in a time when men that are bigger or taller than your average sized man are starting to be catered for. For instance, there is a shop that completely looks after the clothing needs for the bigger or taller man, Jacamo (you may have seen their adverts with Freddie Flintoff on T.V). The first time that me and my husband went into one of these shops we were so happy to see stylish, trendy clothes that actually had the length that he needed. The prices were pretty great too. We were going out for a meal that weekend for our friends anniversary and so we were hoping to find a smart, casual outfit for the occasion. It was probably the easiest shopping trip we had been on for a long time! We bought two pairs of jeans for just £35 and they had a great range of men’s shirts to choose from too, so needless to say, we were sorted.

Shoes

Now being tall does sometimes have it’s perks when it comes to shopping, believe it or not. As my husband is 6”5 it comes as no surprise that he has pretty big feet, his shoe size is a 12 which is usually the biggest that most shops stock. However, the great thing about having an odd shoe size is that when the sales are on, the odd shoe sizes are usually the only ones left.

We took full advantage of this when my husband needed a new pair of smart shoes to go with his suit. It was near the end of the summer sale period and so we headed over to our local Next store to see what they had, and what did we find, but a sale table full of size 12 men’s shoes. He ended up buying a pair for just £12 instead of £50. This happened again just the other week when he needed a pair of sandals for a fancy dress party, he ended up buying a pair of brown leather sandals (that he’ll be able to wear in the summer too) for just £7 in Matalan when it was just the last few items of the sale stock left.

So, even though your local supermarket and maybe most of the shops on the high street may not stock clothes to fit your awkwardly sized man, it is definitely a lot easier nowadays to find affordable but trendy clothes for the bigger or taller man. Gone are the days when there was nothing but Grandad style catalogues to shop from, and the best bit is that there are still bargains to be had!

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