My new job opportunity

A few months ago, not even a year ago, I started my job as a customer service representative at Primark. Now, I am writing this post, because a new job opportunity has arisen, which I have decided to grab with both hands, despite being happy where I was.

Today, the 29th April, was my first shift as the new official HR assistant of my local Primark branch! I’ve had two shifts of training so far, however, today was the first day I was alone and running the HR office, scary times!

My new job opportunity

In my local store, there is only one person in HR: me. It’s a big change from busy, sociable customer services, where I would talk to my colleagues and serve sometimes 100 people on a busy shift. Now, I’m alone and in an office, sorting through paperwork, checking costing, counsellings and filing, to name a few.

The job offer was very unexpected. In fact, there wasn’t even an official vacancy when I was proposed the job. It came as a result of a supervisor interview a few weeks before. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that position, but they did seem to get the impression that I had qualities needed in HR so they thought it’d be worth asking.

My new job opportunity

I was unsure whether to take it at first. My contract is now 14 hours instead of 8 (but baring in mind I’m a full-time university student that did seem daunting), I’m alone in an office most of the time, I have a lot more responsibilities, I still have to wear a uniform and I don’t get paid more. Considering I couldn’t be happier with customer services, I was sure I was going to refuse.

Asking around though, everybody seemed super enthusiastic about it, which actually quite surprised me. I didn’t think it was anything exciting, in fact, I considered it a worse deal than customer services knowing how much we had to work, however people were telling me that to be working in HR at the age of 20, sounds really good.

My new job opportunity

I did decide to go in the end, because I’m hoping that it’ll teach me new skills and open up the door to bigger opportunities in the future. At first, I didn’t see how it’d benefit me, but it’s a bit like revision when you’re young. You don’t do it for the short-term benefits, but you do it because you’ll need good grades to go into higher education and get a better job etc.

So, here’s to an exciting new time and hopefully the key to unlocking a better future! Have you ever been in a similar situation, unsure of what to do? How did you make your decision? Let me know in the comments!

The Frugal Frenchie

Advice with Annelies: catfish

This series will answer people’s questions or worries, either that have been asked to me or I wanted to give my opinion on. Of course, these are just suggestion, and if the problem is severe, you should seek professional help or advice. This addition’s topic of Advice with Annelies: catfish.

I’ve experienced two catfishes now. I am slowly losing faith in the male kind. I just can’t take it anymore, far too many f**kboys, mind games and catfishers for me”

Sounds like you’ve received the bad end of the stick in regards to men, which, admittedly sucks.

Advice with Annelies: catfish Having personally binged the series “Catfish” many times, I realise how bad it can leave the victim feeling so I hope that after having discovered those two bastards, you can grow and successfully move on with your life. They’re not worth your time or thoughts! I hope that the following advice is useful for you.

“I am slowly losing faith in the male kind.”

Don’t let this be the case! This is a very very small proportion of the available single men out there, so don’t let this leave a sour taste in your mouth. There are many things you can do from here, one being maybe avoid dating apps for a while, just allow you to “detox” a little and go back to it after with a fresh mindset.

If it does start affecting you mentally or your self-esteem, don’t hesitate to talk to someone about it or rant to people close to you to get it out of your system. Remember that the people who have to pretend to be someone else, probably aren’t too confident or fond of themselves either, so don’t let this impact your perspective or opinion of men in general. They’re not all bad, and you will find somebody out there for you!

Advice with Annelies: catfish

“Far too many f**kboys, mind games and catfishers for me”

Another thing you could do is try and find a new way to meet guys. Perhaps joining an association or club somewhere where you could meet somebody with similar interests? Or maybe taking a risk and trusting your friend’s judgement to set up a blind date for you?

In terms of the catfishers, a good way of finding out whether somebody is catfishing you is to ask to do a video chat. If they continually make up excuses then you’re right to have suspicions. Having spoken with you, something you did very cleverly, which I would recommend to others, is to do a reverse image search, which is where you take an image that the person supposedly took of themselves, and see if it comes up with any matches elsewhere on google.

I really hope that your future experiences online are more positive and that you don’t ever get catfished again, you deserve better. Do keep in touch!

The Frugal Frenchie

Owning and giving a moment

This year, I’ve found it particularly difficult to find an anniversary gift that can be meaningful but also something original that’s not DIY orientated (because I am seriously unartistic). I found that owning and giving a moment fits the criteria perfectly, so I thought I’d share it with you today!

Owning and giving a moment

Own a Moment provides a gift that is so unique, that nobody can ever own the same: the gift of time itself. They allow you to purchase your own moment in time which will be registered in Official Time Registry, isn’t that just amazing?

Own a Moment pride themselves in creating unique gifts, to the point that once you have purchased your moment in time, it will no longer be available to purchase so it’ll be yours forever! Try finding that somewhere else! It’s also a great gift that can be used for any occasion: a time of birth, a wedding, an anniversary, a special event… anything!

Owning and giving a moment Owning and giving a moment

Personally, the most important time for me was the 25th April 2014. This was the day that my boyfriend and I started dating, and as of yesterday, marks our 4 years together! Unfortunately, I have no idea how to up my gift next year, but when I discovered Own a Moment on Instagram I couldn’t pass on the idea!

It arrived super quickly, way before I had the opportunity to give it to him (long distance problems), but it didn’t stop me sharing it with you on insta stories because I was just so happy with how it turned out! In this, I showed you the certificate you also receive from the Official Time Registry which explains that you own the moment as well as receiving a digit download that you can print off yourself.

Owning and giving a moment

As you can see, I also decided to get it framed, because the worst thing with gifts (thinking back to my last Christmas presents) is when they come unframed and you have to go through the hassle of finding one that fits your room etc. Luckily, Own a Moment can provide the frames for you, in a simple white frame, a silver metal frame, an antique oak frame or a dark walnut frame, lush!

The final two touches that I love, are of course that you can add your own message and name, but that you can also add a photo too. Martin, the mastermind behind these gifts, also sends you an email following your order, to check you are happy with your photo positioning/ size, which I think it so professional and thoughtful. I personally ended up changing my mind, so I am so thankful for his help!

*Disclosure: this post is in collaboration with Own a Moment

Top 5 money lessons to know before graduating

We don’t learn about money in university, or in younger education at that. It’s sad but it’s true – no one teaches us how to pay taxes, how to budget and what a mortgage is. And yet, money is essential! No matter what career you get into, you’ll be earning a salary and using money to buy food, transport, etc.

So if the schools won’t teach us, we need to teach ourselves. Based on the several months I’ve been working and researching with Financially Mint, here are the top 5 money lessons you need to know before graduating.

Top 5 money lessons to know before graduating

1. Money is just a tool

My life changed when I realised I didn’t have to spend my entire life working for money at a job I didn’t like just to pay the bills and have a roof over my head.

Money is your tool to live how you want. You are the one who chooses what to do with it. If you want to use it to travel the world, that’s on you. If you want to use it on going out every weekend, that’s also on you. It’s about making priorities and deciding what you really want. Once you understand that, you realise that money is just a tool to achieve your goals and dreams; what you really need is willpower and a desire to do better.

And the key to making sure you use your money correctly is financial education – what we’re not taught in schools. Learning how to invest, how to start a side-hustle, how to save money. These are things we need to learn by ourselves, and the more we study them the better we get at it. So get started in college!

2. Invest, invest, invest

The key to growing your wealth: investing.

Investing is stowing away your money somewhere safe and watching it grow. It’s starting off with £500 and seeing it grow to £100,000 over 20 years. It’s what lets people retire early and always have cash for emergencies.

If you don’t want to start investing in college (check my how to get started in uni post), I recommend at least learning the basics and preparing for investing once you graduate. Invest into low fee index funds and put away some money every month. Watch your money grow into something useable for the future: a car, a house, retirement, etc.

Investing is one of the pillars of financial education, so I recommend every student to get started as soon as possible.

Top 5 money lessons to know before graduating

3. Control is key

Control means knowing where your money is and what it’s doing at all times. It means not having a heart attack every time you open your bank account (it happens) and it means knowing where to put your money once you get your paycheck.

This starts with a nice and simple budget. In my 6 day course, that The Frugal Frenchie has reviewed, we go back to the basics of budgeting: allocating your money to the right expenses and making sure you reach your ambitions/goals.

Being in control of your money outflows and inflows before graduating will make your entry into the workforce so much easier. You won’t have a pressure to get a job immediately (Emergency fund to the rescue!), you’ll know what kind of salary you’re looking for and you’ll know exactly where to put your money every month.

4. Don’t be in debt

Debt can good and can be bad. But when it’s bad, it’s pretty bad. The bad debt: credit card debt and payday loans. As a student, you hopefully will have very little debt (student loans are a separate case), and you really want to keep it that way. Credit card debt accumulates and will get more expensive every time – pay off all your debt and make sure you know what you’re doing if you take on any more debt.

Student loans are another story altogether. In fact, they’re so different that some people prefer calling your student loan debt a contribution, simply because the situation is so particular. Before graduating, take a look at your student loans and decide whether you want to pay them off. This post on Should I pay off my student loans? will give you an idea of how to make a decision and plan appropriately. And as always, do your research.  

Top 5 money lessons to know before graduating

5. Pay yourself first

The best part of the budget: yourself.

This means allocating a certain percentage of your income to yourself, to your goals. And you can start this in college: the minute you get your paycheck/loan/money each month, allocate 15% to your goals, to your emergency fund, to your debts. That 15% is what will get you out of the rat race, out of living from paycheck to paycheck.

If you start paying yourself first in college you will actually be prepared for adult life (shock horror). You’ll be way more flexible and really be able to pick the job you want – because you’ll have an emergency fund, you’ll be debt free and will have the motivation to keep working on your goals.

Again, this starts with the mighty budget. At the time of calculating your budget from your income, the first thing you do is allocate that 15% to ‘Savings’. And then the rest is for your expenses! No need to worry about saving up more.

Understanding these 5 lessons on money will get you prepared for the world after graduation. Heck, it’ll even get you excited – you understand that you don’t have to be stuck at a job you just tolerate, you can achieve that flexibility to help you find the job that works best for. It all starts with being in control and financially educated.

My future plans

Several conversations with my younger colleagues at Primark, who felt stuck and unsure about their futures, made me realise how fortunate I am to know what career I’d like to pursue. I can appreciate this isn’t the case for everyone, so I thought I would share my future plans with you. Who knows, they might give you some ideas!

I thought I’d start with a little educational background. So for GCSEs, I was very much language orientated, taking Dutch and French early, and also completing Spanish and German GCSE at the normal time in year 11. I also had a big passion for history and apparently, was very good at religious studies!

At that point I believe, I was keen on pursuing a career in law. At the time, being in a grammar school, where the “norm” was wanting to be a doctor or lawyer, it was clear where that influence came from. Unfortunately, in my school, psychology was not an option at GCSE level, so I never gave it two thoughts, as I had no idea what it entailed etc.

My future plans

When A-level came around, I had restricted my choices to psychology, French and German, alongside an EPQ. I had dropped my lawyer idea, as I realised it didn’t suit my personality or passions, but psychology was what I wanted to pursue at university. The two languages were just something to fit my strengths I guess!

Fast forward two years, and I’m now only about 14 months away from graduating. I know what I want to do as a career now, but I’m unsure what to do after I graduate. The benefits of having a BSc in Psychology is that it opens a countless number of doors; some go into advertising, health, education, clinical… even work with the police force! Although I have a passion for many areas of psychology, I think my past work experiences and my personal qualities would suit working with children.

My future plans

Of course, the first thought then is educational psychology. However, I wanted to make more of an impact on children’s lives than an education psychologist role would allow me to do. I thus decided that a teacher would be the perfect role for me. Teach multiple children at once, always be kept busy, learn day by day and keep my days varies (plus, have you seen the length of the holidays???).

Here’s my debate, however. After graduation, I’m not sure whether to do a master’s degree, just in case I decide a teacher isn’t for me and want to keep my options open, or should I go straight away into a teacher conversion degree so I can start working a.s.a.p? I think a masters would be helpful to have, however, I don’t see myself disliking being a teacher or getting bored of it. Would it end up being a “waste” of money and not particularly beneficial to my future or employability chances or would it do the opposite?

My future plans

That’s what I’m currently debating, but I hope something will happen between that time that makes the decision easier for me. In the meantime, I better start deciding what to write my dissertation on!

What would you like to do in the future? Or is what you’re doing now in line with what you wanted to do when you were younger? Let me know in the comments!

The Frugal Frenchie

Advice with Annelies: loneliness

This series will answer people’s questions or worries, either that have been asked to me or I wanted to give my opinion on. Of course, these are just suggestion, and if the problem is severe, you should seek professional help or advice. Here’s the first Advice with Annelies: loneliness.

“I am 28 years old. I feel very alone and lonely most of the time. What should I do to overcome this? I don’t have friends or close relatives and am home 24/7.”

Of course, everyone’s situation is different, but to some extent, I understand how you feel. Last year, I studied a year abroad, away from family, and although I spoke to people at uni, I didn’t have anybody that I would see outside of it. I stayed at home whenever I wasn’t at uni, and only leave the house for grocery shopping.

In retrospect (because isn’t that a joyous thing) I think there are a few things I would change, which hopefully could help you.

Advice with Annelies: loneliness

“Am home 24/7.”

I really went wrong here. When in a situation of loneliness, you have to go out. It’s what keeps you sane. I realise when not at university, sometimes it can be harder to meet people and have an incentive to go out but have a look at what’s around you.

It’s important to get out of the house, even when there’s no particular motive to do so. A change in routine and scenery, is, to be blunt, good for your sanity. Having fresh air, taking a walk… it all helps relax your mind, put things into perspective, for some, it even acts as a form of meditation!

“I don’t have friends”

If you have a particular interest, look up on Facebook, or through the local library, whether there’s an association or club for it: if you like reading, see if there’s a Book Club… that kind of thing! Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is a great way to make connections as you’re guaranteed to have a common interest and a conversation starter!

Furthermore, if you work or are in education, make sure to attend as many events or trips as you can. If there’s a work do, make sure you attend, and you could use the excuse to speak to new people by asking if they’re going etc.

Advice with Annelies: loneliness

“I don’t have… close relatives”

Thankfully, we live in a world where it’s possible to keep in contact with people across long distances. If they have access to a phone or computer, you can skype them or just ring them and hear their voices.

If worst comes to the worst, you’ll just have to wait impatiently for the next letter to arrive, but it can make them feel all that more precious!

I wish you all the best!

The Frugal Frenchie