Review: Free finance course for students

Through my old money blog, I have made friends with other money bloggers and learnt so much through them. Recently, my friend Araminta from “Financially Mint,” has put her financial knowledge into a super helpful, FREE, 6-day course. As it has an emphasis on helping and teaching students, I thought it would be a great idea (for my benefit too) to try it out and give you a review!

The Frugal Frenchie

Day One: Planning

In day one of this email course, you’re encouraged to create a plan and set goals for yourself. Emails across the next few days will guide you and give you ideas on how you can reach those goals!Review: Free finance course for students

Day Two: Lower Spending and Budgeting

To get you started, one of the most commonly used words in finance – budgeting- is covered. Why is it important? What can it tell you? Araminta also shows you, through pictures and instructions, how you can keep track of your expenses, savings, debt, income and how to set a budget.

A big emphasis is placed on cutting down your unnecessary spending, and if not possible, Araminta has you covered with a guide to student discounts as well as a long list of available ones out there!

Day Three: Increasing your Income

I love how this course is catered to students. It’s always annoying when people assume you can just get a full-time job or something of a higher wage, we’re students! It’s not always possible!

Catering to this, day three of the course gives you several options for side hustles that you can manage alongside your studies, as well as a clear guide to helping you get started on each one. They’re super easy and really well explained- so don’t worry if it’s all new to you.Review: Free finance course for students

Day Four: Pay Off Debt

As I personally have no debt, bar student fees (I didn’t take out a maintenance loan), day four was really interesting for me. I learnt about interest and how potential payments could be made in future, and how to get your head around it. There were also some helpful tools attached to the email such you can try calculating a future payment plan for yourself.

Day Five: The Savings

You’ll see that throughout the first few days, there will be a continuous mention of “15% in your savings account.” This is explained in more detailed at the beginning of the budgeting email, so make sure you go back to it and understand that before day five!

In this email, there are heaps of good ideas on what to do with your savings. This includes investing ideas (with case study examples), with some relevant articles and resources and then explaining what a “FU Fund” is and why it’s beneficial to have one.Review: Free finance course for students

Day Six: Financial Education and Resources

The last day of the course is helping you to continue to grow your financial education. There is a free resource pack available through “Financially Mint,” as well as a list of other places you might grow your knowledge from.  Once you start budgeting more seriously than just on pen and paper, this email has you covered with some great recommendations for budgeting apps that you can try and have a whizz at.

Overall, as you can imagine, I found this course extremely interesting and above all, very helpful. If you’ve never really thought about your finances or don’t know where to start, it’s ever so helpful having tonnes of information in 6 clear, consecutive emails.

If you’d like to join the course, simply click here and let me know what you thought afterwards!

Ways that anyone can save money

Throughout the year, there might be a number of reasons why someone might find themselves a little tight on cash. This could be due to an unexpected bill, less working hours, more costly demands… you name it! We’ve all been there, and we’ll all be there at some point, so I thought it’d be useful to share some ways that anyone can save money.

The Frugal Frenchie x

Ways that anyone can save money

  • Stop bad habits
    • Like smoking or binge drinking
  • Check what discounts you’re entitled to
    • Student discount?
    • NHS discount?
    • Tastecard
  • Try have a no-spend week at least once a month
  • Do a money saving challenge
  • Consider alternatives to your current product
    • Look at price per kg/l
    • Are own brand products just as good?
  • Reuse, reduce, recycle
    • If jeans have rips, turn them to shorts?
    • Reduce waste by turning potato peelings into crisps?
    • Loads of possibilities here!
  • Use your utilities at night
    • Having a shower or running the dishwasher at night, can save you money
    • Check with your providers though
  • Get cashback on any online purchases
  • Buy things second hand
  • Sell unwanted items
    • There are so many apps to do this on like:
      • Depop
      • Schpock
  • Buy in the reduced section
  • Buy clothes out of season
  • Gift cards
    • Buy them on Zeek for profit
    • Earn them through surveys
  • Buy railway cards or bus cards for discounts

This is just a quick list but there are loads more ideas possible! Do comment your favourite ones; let me know what works for you!

Earn money by achieving your weight goals

There are lots of ways to motivate yourself to lose weight: for your health, to get into that dream dress, for better self-confidence… A  motivation we don’t often experience for losing weight is a money incentive. In fact, we often spend more trying to lose weight! That’s why today, I’ve decided to tell you of a way you can earn money achieving your weight goals!

Earn money achieving your weight goals

Cue DietBet. The concept is simple; bet on your yourself to lose X amount of weight in Y amount of time or else you lose your money. It’s such a genius way to get everyone motivated!

Once you register, you can choose between two plans: being a “kickstarter” or a “transformer.” For being a kickstarter, you have to lose around 4% of your weight in 4 weeks and for a transformer, 10% of your weight in 6 months. Then all you have to do is place your bet (normally around the 20-30$ mark), submit your starting weight and then get started! You can track your progress throughout too to help keep up your mojo.

DietBet will never share your weight with anybody else as long as you’ve turned that feature on in your profile so make sure to check that! Furthermore, they take what they do very seriously and make sure that there is no cheating. They’ll do this by asking you to submit two photographs and to include a word that they will provide- an idea similar to captcha on websites.

NOTE: this app is a great way to keep you motivated but make sure you stick with it! If you don’t, your bet will be placed in the prize pot for others to win. If you’re absolutely mastering your weight loss journey, however, and manage your goal, you will get a share of the prize pot! Ie. you’ll not only make your money back but also make a profit!

Let me know if you sign up and how you get on!

The Frugal Frenchie x

Get your dream wedding dress for less

I’d like to think I’m quite a frugal person, but there are some things that I’d just have no clue about unless I did some research first. Buying houses, budgeting for kids, and weddings for example. As a result, I thought I would ask my good friend Fiona over at SavvyinSomerset to give us her tips on how to buy your dream wedding dress for less.

The Frugal Frenchie x

Whether you’ve been dreaming of your big day since you were little or are brand new to the world of weddings, there’s one thing every girl needs to get right on her big day: The Dress. In this post I’m going to outline my top tips for getting your dream dress for less. Whether your budget is £100 or £1000 there is always something you can do save a little bit of cash without missing out on your dream wedding look.

Buy Second Hand

If you’ve fallen in love with a designer dress but can’t afford the designer price tag than buying second hand may be worth considering. Remember wedding dresses are often only worn for a few hours – some people even change into a less glamorous (but more comfortable) dress for the evening – so the dress could well be in a like a new condition. They also tend to go for way below the original asking price around 75% off (except for certain designs which hold their value really well such as the recent Disney collection from Alfred Angelo).

It’s always wise to have an appointment at a bridal store to try on some dresses so you get an idea of what shape and style you like –  often people have their heart set on a certain style of dress only to discover it doesn’t actually suit them. If you find a dress you love at a boutique but can’t justify the price, this may be the time to start looking online to see if it’s available second hand.

There are loads of places online to find second-hand wedding dresses the most popular being eBay and Pre-Loved. These are great if you are searching for a particular dress by a specific designer – the downside is that you may not be able to try the dress on, so are taking a bit of a gamble. Also, the condition can vary – if unsure ask for lots of pictures, someone who is genuine should be happy to oblige. 

Local Facebook selling groups are also a great place to look for second-hand dresses – my town has a group dedicated to just wedding buying and selling. The upside of this that is that you should be able to see and possibly try the dress on before purchasing as the person selling is likely to be local to you.

Many charity shops have a Wedding dress section. Oxfam actually has some stores that only sell wedding dresses and nothing else. If you don’t have too specific style in mind and don’t rummaging through some more retro styles this could be a great way to find your dream dress for much, much less money. And of course, whatever you end up spending will be going to a good cause too – it’s win-win.

 Try Wed 2 B

Wed 2 B is the largest bridal retailer in the UK with a whopping 23 stores – all of which are open 7 days a week. While the set up is much less formal than a traditional bridal boutique (where you are usually the only bride trying on dresses) this is offset by the fact ALL dresses are £599 or under. All dresses are also ‘off the peg’ which means you can take the dress home with you on the day, so no waiting around for it to be made.

However, this could also mean you feel extra pressure to buy the dress there and then as you might not be able to find again another day. Make sure you are 100% sure before you buy. Also, don’t forget to factor in the cost of alterations – wedding dresses – especially strapless ones! – need to fit perfectly so even if a dress is your size it may still need adjustments.

 Find a Sample Sale

The way most bridal boutiques work is that they have ‘sample’ dresses that brides try on. When a bride finds a dress she loves her measurements are sent off to the designer and the dress is made to order. This whole process takes around six months and then the dress may still need further alterations once it arrives back to the shop.

As new designs are released each year bridal stores will update their collections and sell off the ‘sample’ of dresses they no longer plan to stock. This means you could get a designer dress for a much smaller price. The dresses are new but will have been tried on, although probably only for a few minutes at a time. They usually only come in one size so again alterations are likely to be required. These dresses are usually considered off the peg and you will be able to them home with you the same day.

Have a dress Tailor Made

Having a dress tailor made by a dress maker or seamstress could work out considerably cheaper than buying a dress from a bridal boutique. This could be a great option if you’re looking for something less traditional – maybe something a bit more colourful or a different style to what would be considered the norm. 

It also means if there is a dress you love the look of but would like to change sightly – such as adding sleeves or straps it’s much easier to do this from scratch than adding to a dress that has already been made. 

Should you buy from China via eBay?

Ah. The elephant in the room. Should you buy a cheap copy of a designer dress for around £100 from China?

In my opinion, the likelihood is that you will disappointed, especially if you’ve been to a boutique and tried on dresses there. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some amazing dresses that come from China and the brides have been very happy. I have also seen some complete horror stories. I guess it depends whether you want to risk your money and how much £100 means to you.

If it goes well you’ve saved yourself a fortune – if it goes badly you’ve lost £100. Remember that items coming from China could well be subject to customs charges and these will need to be paid before HMRC will let you have your items.

Also, don’t be fooled by UK sellers selling lots of dresses at a similar price and specification to Chinese ones – they are simply buying in bulk from China and selling on so it will be the same quality but you may just get your dress a bit faster.

Consider wearing a Bridesmaids Dress

If you’re having a simple wedding or don’t want a big, over-fussy dress it might be worth considering buying a bridesmaids dress instead of a wedding dress. Even some of the most expensive bridesmaids’ dresses are still much cheaper than actual wedding dresses. If you want to hunt out a super bargain, try hitting the department store sales in July and August. This is also a great idea if you don’t plan to wear white or are looking for something a bit less traditional.

I hope these tips help you to find your perfect dress for less – however, there are still a few hidden costs you may want to factor in;

  • If planning to buy a dress online don’t forget to factor in the cost of shipping and possibly dry cleaning in-case the dress isn’t quite in the conditional you would like it to be.

  • Some (not all) Bridal boutiques will charge for an appointment to try on dresses – this will then be deducted from the cost if you end up buying a dress

  • The Bridal boutique I used charged for a dress cover, storage of my dress, insurance and steaming before I collected it. It was around £40 and I thought it was worth it but it’s another cost to be aware of.

  • As mentioned above – be aware of customs charges if ordering a dress from China.

  • Don’t forget to factor in the cost of dress accessories such as hoops and petticoats and a good bra!

Looking to save more your wedding? Check out my post on 5 things that won’t actually save you any cash! 

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Diary post: our 5 euro trip to Madame Tussauds

On the 17th July, the day before we were due to leave for the UK and start our summer holiday, we decided to take a very impulsive trip to Amsterdam. Once there we went to go see Madame Tussauds and here’s what I thought of it.

Normally, Madame Tussauds is around 25 euros per person, but luckily, with vouchers, I managed to get it down to 5 euros for two people, including tax! How?

Well, as you may know, if you follow my blog, I started Maastricht University in August 2016 to study psychology. A compulsory part of this course was to do a minimum of 20 hours of research participation to help year 3 students or PhD students. Unfortunately, we weren’t paid, but we did receive some vouchers called VVV vouchers. Upon looking at what they could be spent on, I was extremely disappointed. They were mostly sports shops or cafes or other establishments where I would definitely not be spending my money at.

That is, of course, when I saw that we could spend them at Madame Tussauds….

As my first visit in a Madame Tussauds I was very impressed by the quality of the wax figures and the sheer resemblance of them. I loved how everything was displayed and the general layout of the museum. We met some of the greatest music artists of the decade and then went back in time to some of the greatest artists of this century!

I was disappointed at a few things, however, but I shan’t dwell on these as I did get to visit for almost free. The first thing I noted was there actually weren’t that many figures. There was a little hall at the beginning where ET, Freddie Mercury and Angelina Jolie were displayed because they were clearly anomalies. It’s odd to think about Jolie being an anomaly, but going through the museum, I soon realised why: there were no actresses or any actors!

The sections were very limited which was probably why the museum was so sparse and had so much room for décor and details. In the sport section, there were only three footballers (one of whom I had never heard of), there was one tennis player (Nadal), a gymnast I never heard of and another figure that was so insignificant to me I can’t remember them. I was surprised that they didn’t even have Kim Clijsters, who, although is Belgian, I thought would have more significance to them than Nadal.

The music section was a lot more impressive. Again, they didn’t have very many figures but that whole floor was so well presented that I forgave them very quickly! There were old vinyl’s covering the walls, music blaring out, and coincidentally, very relevantly, Ariana Grande on a big stage surrounded by fake smoke and in a stunning dress. She was the “centre piece.”

There were also big names like Adele, Taylor Swift and Michael Jackson. There were also some Dutch DJs/radio presenters but of course, they need to put some of their own culture in too!

The other floors did surprise me in terms of what they had chosen: they had a tonne of marvel characters (which my boyfriend loved), an artist section and an “inspiration section.” Although this was just spread out across the space of a mundane house’s hallway, I had so much respect for them for including these figures. They made Anne Frank, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, Ghandi, Dhali Lama and Nelson Mandela!

Overall, for 5 euros of entertainment, it was good little trip and it was great fun being vain next to all these celebrities. I was expecting a little more, and I don’t think I would go again paying full price, but I really appreciate the experience and the opportunity to visit one of these famous Madame Tussaud museums.

Have you ever been to a Madame Tussauds or the one in Amsterdam particularly? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!

The Frugal Frenchie x