How to avoid coffee and energy drinks forever

As somebody who drinks neither fizzy drinks, energy drinks, tea or coffee, I thought that it would be as good a time as ever to share my go-to energy source and teach you all how to avoid coffee and energy drinks forever and save money! It’s a win-win!

Being a student can often involve 9am lectures, people complaining of hangovers and seeing Red Bulls or Starbucks coffees everywhere. As we get older, we just seem to get worse; having a coffee to wake us up, keep our energy going and as a social activity.

What’s my secret?

I don’t know why, but with age, the smell of fresh coffee actually disgusts me more and more. As for fizzy drinks, I find them overpriced and I only like them when they’re flat anyway (is that weird?). Because of this, it’s easy to find myself at times feeling tired in the middle of the day or needing a burst of energy. How do I do this? With…..

How to avoid coffee and energy drinks forever

Fizz sticks!

What are they? How do you use them?

These are absolutely amazing! Rather than getting a load of caffeine, fat from milk and a large sugar intake, this allows you to get all your energy as well as contributing to your vitamin B and pantothenic acid intake and helping your metabolism. It does so through the antioxidants and natural ingredients. Using them is so simple: all you do is add 1 stick to 400 ml of water and stir. Yup, that’s it. 

How can they save me money?

As I’m not a coffee drinker myself, I didn’t want to assume that people spend more on coffee than they actually do, so I did as what would be expected from a 21st century gal and I tweeted it. Here are the results. Do they shock you?

*Bare in mind, that this doesn’t include the price of every coffee you make at home, this is only what people spend on the go. *

So, down to the gritty stuff.

According to the research from Buddy Loans in December 2015, we spend around £730 million a year on coffee alone! Think of all those instagram picture we see with Costa cups and so forth. The way to help the environment and save money is through fizz sticks.

For example….

  • You wake up and have a coffee at home. Total = £1.85 (according to LifeHacker).
  • The average Costa product is between £2-£3 (average £2.50). Total = £4.35
  • Let’s say you’re only a moderate coffee drinker and have a coffee at lunch and dinner only. Total = £8.05

Put this in a monthly and yearly context….

  • Monthly = £225.40
  • Yearly = £2704.80!!!!!!

This example can similarly be used with fizzy drinks. The average cost of a 500ml bottle is about £1.50, if you have about two bottles a day or combine it with coffee- you get the gist.

How to avoid coffee and energy drinks forever

In the case of fizz sticks….

  • Each individual fizz stick comes out as £1.02 (if at discount price). Take this in the morning.
  • If you’re feeling extra fatigued, you could have two max. Total = £2.04
  • Monthly = £28.56
  • Yearly = £342.72!!!!

That’s an incredible saving of £236.08!!

If you want to have a healthier substitute to these drinks, consume more water, help save the environment and save money, then give these a go! Comments are open to any questions and do get in contact for the discount.

The Frugal Frenchie x

*Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post, however this post does contain affiliate links

5 top tips for Black Friday

Black Friday! The day of sales! Or is it? Sometimes companies up their prices just before Black Friday so that they can put it down to the original price on the day and people think it’s a bargain! Don’t get caught out by it, if you know how, it can save you a lot of money, so here are 5 top tips for Black Friday.

The Frugal Frenchie x

Set a budget

  • By doing this, there’s no chance of you overspending or getting carried away by good deals. Buy what you need or what can be useful and think carefully before parting from your cash!

Wait until Black Friday for your “must-have” purchases

  • If you look through your inbox, you might see emails from companies about promotions or exclusive deals… what they’ll also do, is send you emails to remind you of items that are still in your checkout or shopping bag. If you keep items in there for a while, companies will often send you a discount code to encourage you to finish the purchase

Plan for the future

  • As is the case with Boxing Day Sales, January Sales or Cyber Monday, if you find something that you know others will like for future gifts, be it for a wedding, baptism, birthday etc. stock up while it’s at a discount!

5 top tips for Black Friday

Walk into stores and only spend cash

  • With the invention of online banking and online shopping, it’s sooo easy to spend more than you expect or plan to. If you’re rubbish at sticking to a budget, then why not physically visit stores and only bring cash with you? That way it’s impossible to go over as your purse will then be empty. I personally use this method and I find it super helpful

Compare, compare, compare

  • To avoid thinking you’re getting a bargain when in fact it’s just the retail price, compare the same or similar items on different websites. If you’re looking for a new phone for example, Carphone Warehouse, might offer a different price than EE, who has an equally good phone on offer. I’m sure you’ll be surprised at your findings!

So, everyone, that’s it! I hope you find some great bargains and if you do, let me know about them before! I’ll be posting some deals on my social media during the day too, so give me a follow there so you don’t miss out.

What does positive body image actually mean?

Society nowadays encourages us to embrace our bodies and to commit to activities that boost our self-esteem and encourage self-care. Nevertheless, we all have those days where we experience a negative body image and feel down about ourselves. What does positive body image actually mean? Despite what you may think, it’s not actually the opposite of negative body image. Let me explain….

What does positive body image actually mean?

In psychology, we would define positive body image as:

  • Appreciation for your body and the functions that it performs
  • Accept and admire the majority of their body, including parts not in line with society’s ideals
  • Feel beautiful/handsome, comfortable, confident and happy with their body
  • They can be viewed as having an “outer glow”
  • Emphasise body assets rather than dwell on imperfections
  • They can interpret incoming information in a body-protective manner
    • Ie. they will internalise positive information and reframe or reject negative information received
  • Favourable opinions of the body
  • Respecting your body by attending to its needs and engaging in healthy behaviours
    • E.g. if you’re hungry you’ll eat and not threat over “I’ve eaten too much today I might gain weight”
  • This links to protecting  the body by rejecting unrealistic ideal body images portrayed in the media

If it’s still not very clear, here’s what positive body image isn’t:

  • Being highly satisfied with all aspects of appearance, people can still hate a certain part of their body they’ve just learnt not to emphasise that area and have learnt to counteract it with what they find positive about their bodies
  • It is most certainly not expressed as narcissism or vanity
  • Positive body image isn’t foolproof against all body image-related threats. People might still feel a bit down after seeing a very thin model in a magazine, however, they can overcome it and focus on the positives
  • It’s not linked to disengagement from self-care, sometimes, people may have a positive body image because they engage so much in self-care
    • E.g. regularly moisturising etc.
  • Another important thing to note is that positive image isn’t aided by frequent appearance-related compliments from others, confident and appreciation for one’s body has to come from oneself.

What does positive body image actually mean?

It could be said that positive body image is more body acceptance than anything. It’s really the start to loving yourself and who you are. There are other benefits though, which can only encourage us to seek positive body image even more:

  • Less depression
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Fewer unhealthy dieting behaviours
  • Lower drive for muscularity
  • Greater intentions to protect yourself from UV exposure and damage
    • This might seem like an odd one, but in many places, the ideal is also to look slightly more tanned than is our natural tone. Some people go as far as to say that people who are too pale naturally look ill, which definitely doesn’t help the situation!
    • As a result, those with a negative body image might spend time in sun beds, applying darker foundation or even spending unhealthy amounts of time in the sun, whereas those who have a positive body image won’t do such thing as they’ll want to protect their skin from damage over appealing to the ideal

It’s easier said than done to achieve a positive body image, so if you struggle severely with a negative body image, there’s help you can seek (links I’ll leave below), however, if it’s just a matter of feeling self-conscious and loving yourself a bit more, here are some tips you can try to help increase just that!

  • Engage a little more in a technique called “Protective filtering.” This is where the body is interpreted in a self-protective manner,  so you learn to filter out negative information that’s potentially harmful to your body image.
  • This mentality is slightly linked to the next technique which is called “Media Literacy,” where you critically evaluate the media’s depiction of appearance ideals and try not to internalise the ideal but instead to ignore or reject it. I’ve written out some actual examples that participants came up with in an experiment, just so you get the gist.

– “The advertisements have clearly been digitally altered.”

– “The women in the adverts had hair and make-up done by professionals.”

– “The women aren’t a true representation of women in society.”

– “The women look the way they do as it’s their job.”

– “The women might not necessarily be healthy or happy.”

  • Another thing you can do is to engage with people who have positive body image and who don’t engage in fat talk
    • By doing this, you can avoid making comparisons between peers and there’s no “reference point” established for your group-weight-norm.
  • Unconditional acceptance of any defects you might have or areas you don’t like

What does positive body image actually mean?

Remember, your size, shape, look, hairstyle… none of that defines you. Let your personality and behaviour be the things to stand out at people and let that be what you put the emphasis on when you go out. Avoid opening the makeup bag but instead, open the door to people discovering your true self.

The Frugal Frenchie x

 

Links for help (including interesting articles to read on different treatments):

 

References:

  • Tylka and Wood Barcalow, 2015 :

What is and what isn’t positive body image? Conceptual foundations and construct definition

  • Wood-Barcalow, Tylka and Augustus-Horvath, 2010 :

Positive body image characteristics and a holistic model for young-adult women

  • Gillen, 2015 :

Associations between positive body image and indicators of men’s and women’s mental and physical health

  • Andrew, Tiggemann, Clark, 2015:

The protective role of body appreciation against media-induced body dissatisfaction

  • Mirror exposure:

Delinksy et al. (2006) Mirror Exposure for Body Image                                                    Disturbance

  • Cognitive dissonance:

Stice et al. (2001) Randomised trial of cognitive                                                                    dissonance  programme

  • Acceptance and Commitment:

Pearson et al. (2012) ACT intervention for                                                                              body image and ED (eating behaviour)                                                                                      attitudes

15 new hobby ideas

The importance of self-care is really being emphasised in today’s society. I absolutely love it and couldn’t encourage it more. We are so often occupied by tasks or social media, that we often don’t take enough time out to just relax and breathe a little. For this reason, I thought I’d put together 15 new hobby ideas for you to try and to give a break from everyday life!

  1. Embroidery

Take a look at this gorgeous piece by Lauren for example. How stunning is this?! You can also see what else she’s embroidered on her Etsy (as well as some other cute art pieces).

15 new hobby ideas

  1. Sew
  2. Knit
  3. Crochet
  4. Write some poetry

With the increased awareness of mental health issues and an increasing number of people speaking out about their experiences, I couldn’t forget to mention Charlene‘s new poetry book: Melancholy Mind. It’s filled with her original poems all about her experiences as well as sections about coping and recovery too.

15 new hobby ideas

(Photo credit goes to Adam)

Poetry can help express your emotions and help you cope with the struggles of life in general, so why not give poetry a go as your new hobby?

  1. Write a story
  2. Start a blog
  3. Gardening
  4. Start a side hustle
  5. Start a collage/scrapbook

An artist that I’m currently loving at the moment is Jemma over at dorkfaceblog. She has an incredible Etsy store filled with prints, paintings and collages as well as sharing her more private artwork on her Instagram. This has to be one of my favourite pieces!15 new hobby ideas

Scrapbooking or collaging is also a great way of reminiscing or preserving memories which can also be a good boost for mental health. Try and forget the negatives and focus on the good times.

  1. Start a diary
  2. DIY project
  3. Redecorate
  4. Start a new sport
  5. Paint

Another artist I am loving (and have actually bought two prints from for later Christmas presents), is Tarnya. She has a really unique style turning our beloved Disney characters (and others) into beautiful, watercolour prints. I personally bought the Marie print and the Monster’s Inc ones and can’t wait to frame them!

15 new hobby ideas

Painting can be so therapeutic, even if it’s just playing with colours and mixing shades. Turn off social media, light a candle, and get those paint brushes out!

What were your favourite hobby ideas? Do you do any of these already? Let me know! xx

The Frugal Frenchie x

5 Must-Read Money Books for Millennials

Today, the lovely lady behind Boost My Budget has given us her favourite money books for millennials. They are all designed to help inform us about money, investing and giving us useful money tips! Take a look and I hope you find them useful!

The Frugal Frenchie x

 Most of us aren’t taught about money in school. But why not?

Chances are you use money every single day. Money – or lack of it – can affect our comfort, stress levels and daily life like nothing else. I’d argue it’s the most important thing you can spend time learning about!

Luckily, there are loads of great books out there that can help you out. Whether you want to learn about budgeting or investing, living with less or earning more, there’s a book that can answer all your questions.

Here’s my pick of five great books to start you off on the right foot.

Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together by Erin Lowry

If you only read one book about money, make it this. Erin blogs about money over at Broke Millennial, and she’s recently released her first book by the same name.

This one book covers absolutely everything you wanted to know about money but didn’t know who to ask. From personal finance basics such as understanding credit scores and student loans to trickier issues such as awkward money conversations with your partner or asking your boss for a pay rise – it’s all here.

You can read this book cover to cover or keep it as a kind of reference guide to dip in and out of. Also, this book is funny and easy to read. It feels like having an honest chat with a particularly savvy friend.

Millionaire Teacher:The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School by Andrew Hallam 

Andrew Hallam became a millionaire in his 30s while earning a very normal salary as a teacher. In this book, he explains how you can make your first million too! And no, you don’t have to score a record contract or invent a groundbreaking new tech product. Andrew’s method is based on living simply, saving and investing – a method accessible to anyone, at any age and on any salary.

I often hear people from our age group wondering what’s the point in saving when we don’t seem to earn enough. If that’s you, this book will prove you wrong. Not only will it change your money mindset and explain exactly why you should want to save and invest, it gives you a step-by- step road map to follow.

Hint: Andrew’s recommended form of investing is nothing to do with yelling down the phone at your stock broker like you see in films. It’s called “passive investing” and it takes just an hour of your time… per year.

Even if you’ve never considered investing before, you’ll be itching to open your first account before you even finish this book!

I Will Teach You to Be Rich: No guilt, no excuses – just a 6-week programme by Ramit Sethi

With a title like that, how can you resist! I Will Teach You to Be Rich is a six-week plan to get your financial act together. If you follow the easy steps in each chapter, you’ll go from knowing zero about money to having the best possible bank accounts and credit cards, a plan to pay off debt, a super simple budget, and automated savings and investment accounts.

The best thing is, the plan is designed for lazy people. This book will teach you how to set it and forget it so you can get on with living life, without juggling piles of bills and receipts each month. I Will Teach You to Be Rich is aimed mostly at young professionals with a bit of disposable income – but anyone who reads this book will learn something to improve their finances. It also comes with loads of extras, such as downloadable spreadsheets, scripts for tricky phone calls to the bank, and links to online tools.

There’s a UK edition and a US edition, so make sure you pick up the one that’s most relevant to you.

5 Must-Read Money Books for Millennials

Your Money or Your Life  by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

This is a personal finance classic that will completely change the way you think about money.

Your Money or Your Life came out around 20 years ago but it still feels really fresh and modern to me. It encourages a lifestyle based on simple, frugal living, anti-consumerism and mindfulness. It teaches you to see money in terms of your time and energy and helps you work out your real priorities in life.

This is the book that kicked off a whole movement based on retirement. Yes, there are people who retire early – seriously early, like in their 30s – and it’s possible for you, too! Your Money or Your Life is a must for anyone who feels like money worries rule their life, and wants to embrace a different way of living.

The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich  by Timothy Ferriss

Ok, this isn’t strictly a ‘money book’, but I had to include it because a) it’s brilliant, and b), it will totally change the way you relate to working life – which is basically all about money anyway.

The 4-Hour Work Week will change the way you think about careers, entrepreneurship, and what you’re doing with your life. This is an awesome book for millennials staring down the road of 40+ long years before retirement. It will fire you up and arm you with practical suggestions on how to live a different life.

There are loads of fantastic tips on time management and productivity which will serve you well whether you’re a student, employee or wannabe entrepreneur. It even gives you a step-by- step guide on how to start your own side business.

What do you think of my selection? Do you have any other favourite money books? I’d love to hear your suggestions, let me know in the comments below! Alternatively, you can tweet me at @BoostMyBudget

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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