5 Common Money Mistakes.

Everyone would like to save a little here and there. But some common decisions can result in you spending more money than you intended, over and over again.

1.- Using cards too much.

Cards are a very convenient way of buying things. Too convenient, if you ask me. When we use cards we’re less able to keep track of what we’ve bought. We don’t have a certain number of notes and coins to keep track of. And we’re more likely to splurge when we carry more in our accounts than we do in our pockets.

Try and leave the house always with the money you need and only bring the card out for big purchases or if you see something genuinely too cheap to pass up, that just happened not to be on your list, like a reduced price lamb’s leg.

2.- Virtual over real money.

In a similar vein, we have a hard time conceptualizing real over virtual money. We often accidentally think in terms of our net worth rather than our spending money. We think we have £400 of eBay stock on sale, so we have £400. We think our paycheck is £2000, so we have at least £24000 this year.

Any money that isn’t right now in your bank account or home is not real. That paycheck you’re getting doesn’t exist. If it’s delayed or your company goes bankrupt you might not have it for a very long time. Think in terms of what you have right now, not what you could have.

3.- Physical over virtual media.

On the other hand, we place too much value on physically possessing something. Even when that thing is not really something you hold in person. Everything from films and music to cards and guides, we like to have the thing in our hand rather than on our screen.

But most of these things can’t be used without putting them into some sort of a device anyway, degrade over time and are often more costly. Get your media cheaply, digitally and make it go much further.

4.- Not negotiating.

More a problem that Brits and some Americans suffer than anyone else, but: we just don’t negotiate! We pay fixed price for everything every time and then bemoan it when we find it half price online two days later.

A bit of a haggle is good for the soul and most things can be haggled down, especially in small stores and online shopping. Just asking for a discount via email can result in coupons and reimbursements, so don’t be scared to ask for a little off, especially on big purchases.

5.- Fallacy of sunk costs.

It’s all too easy to fall for this one. We’ve already spent so much on this renovation project, making this dress or planting the garden that we “may as well” throw another pile of money at it and try and fix it. And then we end up spending more money on our cheap way out than we would have spent buying the items anyway.

If something just isn’t working, you’ve spent twice as much on it as you would have spent on the alternative and it looks like it will still cost more, cut the costs and buy the alternative.

And those are my top five common money mistakes that we all make and that can cost us a lot over the year.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

What money mistakes do you fall for? What traps do you take pride in avoiding?

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How To… mend socks.

Mending socks was a common practice until recently. Simply, the tools for mending and the few minute spent working were costing far less than a new pair of socks, especially in the days when you had to knit new socks yourself.

Now it’s very cheap to replace socks, but I find that certain skills shouldn’t die just because they aren’t needed every day. Maybe your son chews his way through so many football socks that you’re starting to spend a small fortune on them. Maybe you have a pair of favourite socks you want to keep forever. Maybe you just want to stretch another few days or weeks of life out of a pair. However it is, learning to mend socks can prove valuable one day.

1: Ball.

To properly mend a sock you will need a ball to use to replicate the stretching cause by a foot. For adults, tennis balls and boules balls work well, for children baseballs and marble eggs and for young children pingpong and bouncing balls. You want to drop the ball to the heel of the sock or where the ball of the foot rests whenever you are mending an area near these spots.

2: Stitches.

When there is just a small tear or hole in a sock, try stitching it. Pick a fine wool in the sock’s colour, get a wide-eyed needle and turn the sock inside out. Carefully stitch the two sides together without leaving much of a hem, as you don’t want the sock to be itchy. Then turn the sock around to make sure the stitching is solid.

3: Darning.

When some layers of sock, usually at the heel and ball of the foot, have worn clear through you will need to darn them. When darning always put the weight of your ball very near or right in the spot you are mending. Get a fine wool in the sock’s colour and a wide-eyed needle. You want the sock the right way round Place the ball and make your first safety stitch, so the wool doesn’t loosen. Then sew some bars across the hole. After that, either vertically weave another row of bars between the horizontal ones or weave some bars diagonally both ways between the horizontal ones.

If you want to match the texture of the sock, observe this video:

4: Patches.

Finally, when someone routinely wears out a certain spot of their socks, you mat want to consider putting patches in them. A felt patch inside the area or a tarp or canvas patch outside it will reinforce it, hide unsightly wear and make the sock last much longer.

And that is how to mend socks.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

What clothing items do you always try and mend? What ones do you wish you knew how to mend?

9 Insanely Cheap Online Shops!

Everyone loves a good bargain. And I for one am happy to use charity shops, reduced-price sections of supermarkets, value high-street retailers and farmer’s markets to try and get everything at an awesome price.

But what about the savvy online shopper? And what about items you can’t find in your home town? I’m sure you’ve already got your own go-to websites or stores for certain things but, just in case, I’m sharing nine incredibly cheap online shops with you!

1: Hidden Fashion.

Hidden Fashion - 9 Insanely Cheap Online Stores

Hidden Fashion is a UK clothes store that sells all sorts of fashionable, current clothing for men, women and children. They do deliver worldwide, but expect to be charged by the kilo, which could add up outside of Europe!

They seem to work with high street surplus, so the quality goes up and down depending on the season and where they got it from, sort of like 99p stores, if you’re familiar with them. There is a lot of variety and the sorting tool makes it easy to find whatever you want.

Their clothes are some of the cheapest I’ve seen around, at £5 or less for everything. I wouldn’t use it for anything fancy as you may not get the best quality, but for one-off items and everyday wear I would definitely recommend it. Delivery costs for the UK start at £2.99, so really you’re paying £4-8 per item, but when you can get leggings or shoes for £1, it’s probably worth it.

2: Nut Site.

NutSite - 9 Insanely Cheap Online Stores

Another thing that can get expensive in stores are seeds, nuts and grains. It seems the little packets come with a surcharge that makes them crazily expensive, but at the same time nobody buys them in large enough quantities to drop the price.

Nut Site is a US based wholesaler for nuts, seeds, candy, you name it. Pretty much everything in bulk. Which means that as long as you’re happy to deal with 10kg of peanuts, you can save a good few dollars compared to in-store prices.

As far as I can see, they don’t offer free delivery. But if you try and make a purchase from them, please tell me what delivery options they have and how reasonable the pricing is!

3: Buy Whole Foods Online.

Buy Wholefoods Online - 9 Insanely Cheap Online Stores

And if you’re from the UK, definitely try out this site. It’s basically the same deal as Nut Site, except I actually have personal experience shopping there and they’re great.

They have a wide variety of nuts, seeds, legumes and grains, as well as organic foods and specialist products, all at next-to wholesale prices. They offer free delivery on UK orders over £30 and deliver to various European countries, with free deliver on orders over £100.

The delivery service is fast and trackable and the quality of the foods is excellent, especially when you can buy crushed nuts and seeds to cut your costs.

4: A’Gaci.

A'Gaci - 9 Insanely Cheap Online Stores

A’Gaci is a US-based store that sells reasonable quality womens’ clothing. They have some high street stores, but if you’re not near any of them, you may not know about their clothing.

The lines are fashionable and, whilst the prices aren’t exactly dead cheap, you can get top-end quality for mid-range prices. Shopping online with them is apparently very easy and the delivery costs are reasonable even for small purchases. Though, be warned, they only deliver to mainland USA, that is, excluding Hawaii and Alaska.

5: 5.99 Fashion.

5.99 Fashion - 9 Insanely Cheap Online Stores

For a middle ground, try out 5.99 Fashion. Every item besides the sale is $5.99! They have a good range of surplus clothing that is often trendy and comfortable. And the sale area lowers the prices even further, down to $0.99!

They also stand out as a clothing store that not only offers womens’, mens’ and kids’ clothes, but also plus-sized clothing (up to 4XL and 18 tops and size 24 bottoms, as of writing this) which is all at the same reasonable price, often present in the sale area and just as cute, fashionable and suitable as the regular sizes. They also offer free returns and exchanges, to make any less flattering purchases that little bit less embarrassing and expensive.

6: Everything £5.

Everything 5 Pounds - 9 Insanely Cheap Online Stores

For a similar, UK-based store, check out Everything £5, where, you guessed it, everything besides sale items will be exactly £5! Again, there are some delivery costs, so it all depends on the weight, but even a few pairs of boots, which would be quite heavy, come up at flat delivery, so you’d probably have to be buying a crate to make delivery expensive.

And it’s another site with reasonable plus sized clothing at the same price as regular sizes, in fashionable cuts and up to 4XL, or UK size 44. So if you’re a British plus sized woman, this store will offer you the same benefits as 5.99. The only difference is that their policy on refunds doesn’t seem quite so kind!

7: Tesco clearance.

Tesco Clearance - 9 Insanely Cheap Online Stores

Another thing worth checking out is the clearance sections of supermarkets and general stores. Not the reduced aisles, the clearance on their online stores! You can snap up some straight-out-the-warehouse bargains alongside your grocery shop by checking out Tesco’s online clearance section!

8: Walmart clearance.

Walmart Clearance - 9 Insanely Cheap Online Stores

And if you’re from the USA, have no fear: Walmart also has its own online clearance section for you to peruse a couple of times a week.

9: Argos clearance.

Argos Clearance - 9 Insanely Cheap Online Stores

And for all sorts of random things, have a look at Argos’ clearance sections. After all, if you’re shopping at Argos anyway, it’s no trouble to sneak a peek at the clearance!

And those are nine online stores where you can get all sorts of awesome stuff cheaply and save your family money on clothes, household goods and expensive groceries.

Where do you like to shop online? Have any hidden bargain stores you’re just dying to share? Please mention any! And feel free to share your experience shopping at any of the above stores. All input appreciated. 🙂

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

10 Ways To Get Cheap And Cute Clothes.

Regardless of how we want to dress, we all want to dress nicely. And dressing nicely can easily become expensive. On the other hand, all my clothing, including shoes, suit clothes and a fur coat, cost me around £100, at my closest estimate. I recently overhauled some of my wardrobe thanks to Hearthie’s expert advice and got seven new tops and a pair of shoes for £7. And I feel pretty cute in all of it, to be honest.

And the truth is, cheap cute clothes didn’t stop when your older sister had her last growth spurt and have to give you that perfect, tags-new dress for free. There are still loads of ways of getting adorable clothes at low prices.

The first five are for the unadventurous, those with little time or those wary about germs and bacteria.

1: Charity Shops.

This is where I get most of my clothes. The reasons being that it’s quick and easy to nip in whilst you’re about town, you can browse a wide variety of clothes and usually try them on first, it’s going towards a good cause and they’re cheap.

Some people are concerned about hygiene, but, as someone who volunteers at one and has been round the back of many others: they have this thing called a “steamer”. It’s like a cross between an iron and a hoover which they use to clean and iron all clothes. The steam is so hot that light exposure could easily scar you. Anything obviously soiled or that smells when we steam it is thrown into the rag pile. So yes, they’re clean!

Example.

2: Vouchers.

An easy way to get brand new clothes at discount or even insanely cheap prices is to use vouchers. It’s up to you how far you go. You could go for 10% off, or work out which vouches you can use in conjunction and whether you can use them with any other discounts or during a sale.

There is also a surprising number of vouchers available online, so if you’re short of them, try searching for the store and “voucher” or “coupon” online. You’re bound to turn out some reasonable results.

Example.

3: eBay.

If you want brand new clothes and are short of vouchers or reasonably-priced stores, you can always turn to eBay for your every clothing need. With a simple search function, easy categories and clear pricing, you’re bound to find what you want, brand new, at the lowest price available.

Example.

4: Wholesale and Clearance.

You can do this in stores and warehouse sales, but it’s far more convenient to do it online. If you are happy to sell on any surplus, some stockists do sell-offs of orders that weren’t collected, oversupply or just small wholesale jobs for the odd customer.

The other option is clearance, either from a warehouse or a regular store. The clothes may be out of season, not selling or just the last in the batch, but you can find some amazingly good deals on trendy, seasonal and brand new clothes when you work out where to look for them.

Example.

5: Presents.

This one is fairly simple. Over the year or over the months leading up to your birthday or Christmas, compose a list of items you would rather not spend money on and drop hints or directly give it to your relatives when the celebration is getting near. That way anyone who wasn’t sure what to get you can contribute to your wardrobe. Another way is simply saying that when you get gifts, you love to get shoes, scarves or something trendy for the season and see what they surprise you with!

The next five ways of getting good clothes on the cheap are for the more adventurous and crafty. They may be messy, hard work or a little more questionable.

6: Swap Shops.

These are gaining popularity, but sometimes viewed with caution. Basically, you show up with clothes, get a sticker for every item you donate and then put the stickers on any item you see that you want. There is always the risk that there will be nothing you like, rarely will be dressing rooms and can become a mess. But, if you’re trying to completely change your wardrobe, it may be the best way!

Example.

You can also go for the online experience, which is cleaner and easier.

Example.

7: Volunteer.

I’d recommend volunteering at charity shops, clothes banks or rag merchants. Often anything that doesn’t sell is available to staff at discount rates. You can also buy assorted items sent for the rag heap at rag prices, which are usually a few pence a kilo, making a shirt only 20 or 50p. If anything is damaged you will have to bear that in mind, but often the only thing wrong is that nobody bought it on time, or someone put it into a rag bag rather than donate it to charity.

Example.

8: Updo.

Regardless of where you got them, you can also improve, mend or freshen old clothes to make them look better, turning something free or very cheap into something you would have paid good money for.

You can take plain t-shirts and add some sparkle to them, turn trousers into shorts or skirts, mend holes and tears and basically turning something drab or broken into something wearable.

Example:

Stripy fabric cut into a skull-shaped patch, tartan fabric, beads, silver thread and cross stitch. Shorts from cutoff jeans and tartan fabric.

Plain top decorated with stripy fabric cut into a skull-shaped patch, tartan fabric, beads, silver thread and cross stitch.
Shorts from cutoff jeans and tartan fabric.

9: Freebies.

This one is where most people will draw the line. Basically because, unlike charity shop items, new clothes or hand-me-downs, you don’t really know if something free is clean, hygienic or in good condition.

Generally, if you can check it first you will see any serious problems and if you wash it when home it’s fine. Try finding things on freebie websites and learn when, where and from whom to buy. Just as you’d be happy with a pillow from a neighbour, but not one left outside a university dorm, there are places and people to accept freebies from.

Example.

10: D.I.Y.

And the final option is to just make whatever you want. There are thousands of awesome patterns and tutorials out there, teaching you how to do everything from crochet to making a ballgown. So hone your crafty skills, because you’ll soon get bitten by the crafty bug and not know when to stop!

Examples:

So those are the top ten ways of getting the clothes you want at the price you want. Beauty was never so affordable!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

What is your top thrifty shop? Where do you go when you want something cheap and cute? All hints, tips and ideas welcome. 🙂