Posts tagged ‘money’

May 23, 2010

making a home {mix and match chairs}

When decorating a home one of the more costly pieces that we must invest in and one which will have a big influence on the overall look of the main living space is a set of dining table and chairs.  Matching dining table and chairs can be extremely expensive and the cheaper sets tend to look tacky and damage easily.

As an alternative to spending a small fortune on a brand new set I love the idea of mix and match chairs – they look great, add a bit a character and work out much cheaper.  All you need is a bit of imagination, some hard work and… voila.

Check out this dining room that I spotted on A Punch of Colour Blog:

You can easily get a similar look:

Firstly hunt down some old and battered chairs on sites such as Ebay or  I found this set for £5.50 on Ebay:

…and has a huge range of old chairs to offer:

Secondly, hire a sander.  You can do this online at sites such as where you can hire a multipurpose sander for £38 for an entire week:

Thirdly, find the right colour wood paint for you and get painting:

This Crown, non-drip satin paint is only £5.48 from Homebase.

Obviously you cannot just throw a load of different colours and chairs together and hope that they work.

Here are a few top tips on how to avoid making your dining room look like your local thrift store:

*Use just one colour to tie together various styles of chair

Photo courtesy of A mad tea party with Alis
Photo courtesy of Apartment therapy

* Stick to one group of colours or pick 3 colours and repeat them around the table.

Photo courtesy of A mad tea party with Alis

*If you have a set of chairs and a couple of odd ones, put the odd ones at the ends of the table:

Photo courtesy of A mad tea party with Alis

*Use matching cushions:

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Anne Designs

*And finally, make sure the chairs are all roughly the same size:

Happy mix and matching!

May 20, 2010

great gifts {doorganizer}

If you have a birthday coming up or one of your friends is moving into a new house and you would like to get them something but don´t want to spend too much, this is a great little gift:

The DOORGANIZER this is one of those things that you don´t realise you can´t live without until you discover it!

I am always leaving myself little piles of thing that I must not forget and then end up forgetting because they are not in my path as I storm towards the door late for work!

You can get this great little gift for £9.95 from Pelican Pear

May 17, 2010

money stuff {most fuel efficient cars}

The time has come to buy a new car and like the majority of you Twenty Somethingers my main concern is money.  With a long daily commute I need the most fuel-efficient car I can get that is reliable and safe on the motorway.  Over the last couple of years car manufacturers have started to produce some incredibly efficient and eco-friendly cars so I have done a bit of research into which of these cars is the MOST fuel-efficient.  When considering the costs of a car there are 4 main things we should consider.

(1) Obviously the cost of the car.

This part I have left up to you guys.

(2) Fuel consumption.

This is measured in Miles per Gallon MPG – the more, the better.  I have put this table together for you of some of the most fuel-efficient small cars taking into account the combined Urban and Extra-Urban consumption (i.e. a mix of motorway and city driving).  I have left out the smart car and any other city cars as I would not want to be whizzing up the motorway in that everyday.

Click on the table for an enlarged view.

(3) Tax Band.

The tax band is calculated according to the amount of CO2 emission the car produces.

The lower the tax band (A being the lowest) the less you have to pay.

For any cars registered before April 2010 these are the rates you will have to pay

For new cars registered after April 2010 these are the new rates that you will have to pay:

Tables taken for the Direct Gov website

(4) Cost of Insurance

This obviously depends on the person but as a rule of thumb: the more powerful the engine the most expensive the insurance.

Happy car hunting!

All the information provided is correct to our knowledge.  We do not take responsibility for any discrepancies.
May 17, 2010

fun stuff {A brighter Monday}

To brighten up your Monday I though I would share with you one of the great images from Moonpig – a fantastic website that has saved me the embarrassment of late birthday card arrival on numerous occasions.

This is pretty much how my Monday will go!

May 11, 2010

making a home {independent sustainability}

It isn´t until something happens to jeopardise the status quo that we realise how dependent we are on certain things.  Until our electricity goes out on a stormy night we forget how dependant we are on it to cook, keep warm and even do our homework.  Until our car breaks-down we forget how vital it is to our daily routine.  Until the ash cloud threw the whole air industry into chaos – and had reverberating effects on the tourist industry, the import and export industry, even the postal system – we had forgotten how dependant the running of the world economy is on air transportation.

In an insightful 2-part series journalist Heydon Prowse explores our reliance on technology and our therefore diminishing ability to do things for ourselves.  This is provoking a growing dependance on big companies and the state for example, when the government banned all flights from taking-off during the ash cloud we were powerless, we simply could not go anywhere.

The two individuals in this video would have no problem if we experience another fuel strike or a freak storm blows the entire National Grid!  Personally I think they could have picked examples that are more accessible to the general British public to prove that all of us can make changes to our lives to make us less dependant on the big-bods  but you get the idea!

This is the first in the two-part series.

For the second video check out the Guardian Environment section tomorrow.

May 5, 2010

politics {The General Election}

So tomorrow is the big day – and for many of you younger Twentysomethings this may be your first opportunity to vote!

So – who are you going to vote for and why?

If the answer is along the lines of “I don´t know” or “I´m not really bothered” or “it´s too confusing for me” or “they´re all the same” – then we beg you to please reconsider, do a bit of research and make the use of your right to vote tomorrow.

Millions of people have fought so hard for centuries for the right to vote and today´s young people are just throwing it back in their faces.  We Twentysomethings are the future and it is up to us to vote for the candidate we believe is the right person to lead us.

To help you clarify things a bit the BBC have created an excellent Guide where you will find a summary table of each of the main party´s plans for Constitutional Reform:

Where They Stand: Guide to party election policies

For more information and a more detailed manifesto of each of the parties, click on the link to their website:

The Conservative Party:  David Cameron

The Labour Party:  Gordon Brown

The Liberal Democrats:  Nick Clegg

May 1, 2010

money stuff {ISAs}

As a student the only thing I looked for in a bank account was the biggest interest free overdraft!  Well those days are gone and its time to start thinking about savings.  Ideally I would like to buy a house as soon as possible and with the economy still uncertain it is almost impossible to get a mortgage without anything less than a 10% deposit so it´s time to start saving.  If you are new to saving, websites such as moneysupermarket and moneysavingexpert offer great advice and answer all your questions and doubts.  Although don´t just blindly pick the top bank that the websites suggest as I have my suspicions about how reliable their lists are – especially seeing as both websites recommend totally different banks!

I suggest you use these websites to get your head around what you need to look for in an ISA and then do your own searching.  Have a checklist close to hand about all things that need to be considered and apply them to each bank until you find the one most suitable for you.  I have done just that:

The basics:

*An ISA is a saving account that allows you to save up to £10,200 a year tax-free.

*Cash savings are limited to £5,100 but the rest can be made up of stocks and shares (Alternatively you can save the entire £10,200 in stocks and shares or £3000 in a cash ISA and £7000 in stocks and shares etc).

*For cash ISAs there are 3 different types of accounts(1) fixed rate (2) notice (3) easy access.

*(1) Fixed rate means that you are tied to an account for a certain amount of time and you cannot withdraw your money without penalties and losing your interest.  These generally offer better interest rates.

*(3) Easy access normally offers flexible interest rates but allows you to take your money out whenever you need without being subjected to penalties (although each account varies so you must check the Ts&Cs).

*Many accounts offer an introductory bonus of about 1%.  This may come to an end after a year so make sure you remember to transfer your money to a different ISA offering a better interest rate.

*The amount required to open an account varies according to the bank.  It can be as little as £1.

*Some accounts allow you to pay money in regularly whereas others only allow you to pay in 1 lump sum.

*The tax year runs from 6th April – 5th April the following year.

*You can transfer cash ISAs into equity/bond ISAs but not the other way round.

* As long as the bank is FSCS (UK) regulated up to £50,000 of your savings are guaranteed if the bank goes bankrupt.

Check list:

√ What is the interest rate?

√ Is this interest rate applicable to the amount of money I have? (For example some accounts offer an interest rate of 3.20% however this is only applicable to savings of more than £9000.  If you have less than £9000 the interest rate may be significantly lower)

√ Is this fixed or variable?

√ If it is variable: how much above the base rate does it guarantee? (The base rate is set by the Bank of England)

√ If it is fixed: how long must I have the account?

√ Is the interest paid at the end of each year or each month?

√ Can I freely withdraw money or will I be subjected to penalties?

√ Can I pay money in regularly or does it only allow 1 lump payment?

√ How much do I need to start the account?

√ Does the account allow transfers in from other ISAs?

√ Does the account allow transfers out at the end of the year without penalties?

√ How can I access the account? (i.e. branch/phone/post/internet).

√ Is the banks FSCS regulated?

Right – time to get saving!

Please note all information given is not set-in stone.  Make sure you are ISA savvy by doing your own research!

April 30, 2010

My POA (Plan Of Action)

Having travelled, done uni, travelled a bit more, done some volunteering and lived abroad for a while I have finally landed myself a great job in Bristol and I am extremely excited about all that is to come in the next few years!

Bristol is a great city for twentysomethingers (or young professionals) and at about 40 minutes from my family home it feels like the ideal place for me to finally settle down and focus on making a life for myself.  Over the last 6 years I have lived the life of a nomad, never staying more than a few months in the same place and constantly missing something or someone.  I have had some fantastic experiences but now I feel like I´ve finally reached that twentysomething stage in life when I actually want to settle and make a home for myself.

It´s not going to be easy – mortgage rates are at a high, unemployment is at a high and public moral is at a low… but I am positive and I am sure that through hard work, persistence and a bit of inspiration it can be done.

I haven´t thought far ahead – my main aim at the moment is to SAVE; I will live with my parents for as long as I can bear, save as much as I can and go from there.

My first bit of research will be about the best saving accounts and as I find information and advice I will share (keep checking money stuff for any updates).

My other plan is to start collecting furniture, crockery, accessories and other bits and bobs for my home.  This is the bit I am MOST excited about!  I love interior design and my imagination is already running wild but I AM a novice so I am going to learn as I go along and will also share all my progress in the making a home category.

Right… here goes!