Friday, 25 October 2013

5 Really Stingy Money Saving Tips

The recession is on, the cost of living is high and the student loan is disappearing fast. There are two options: suffer and keep your pride or penny-pinch like never before.
There's no shame in being thrifty, embrace it (or tell yourself you're embracing it and repress your shame). To really get your money's worth keep the next five tips in mind.

1) When you're eating out you're often given packets of sugar, condiments or even cute mini pots of jam. If you don't use them, don't leave them on the plate for the waitress to clean away. They can't re-use them for hygiene reasons so they'll end up in the bin. Do the planet, and yourself, a favour by popping them in your handbag. 
2) When it's time to renew your phone contract talk to customer services and light-heartedly ask for a discount. There's a good chance they'll give you one, even if you have a small bill. I got £1 off my monthly £10.50 phone contract after being with T-Mobile for only a year!
3) If you have a bad experience with a company, or just some general feedback, tell them! Big businesses value customers' opinions. You'll help them improve their product/service and there's a good chance they'll reward you for it. I've been given cash compensation, vouchers and refunds; all for telling companies what I think (even if it's not very nice!). Also, don't be afraid to give positive feedback!
4) Shop in discount stores. Shameful? Yes. But big brands at little prices are a deal you can't afford to pass up.
5) Favourite coffee on a half price deal? Don't buy one, buy many! Seriously, non-perishables are great to stock up on because they last ages and if you're skint one week you'll always have something in.
Careful buying reduced stock if it's near the end of its sell-by-date. It might be a great deal, but are you really going to eat three tubs of Philadelphia in five days? If you throw food out it's money wasted no matter how little you spent on it.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Bridget Jones Diary: A Modern Classic?

With Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy being released this month I've been digging out my dog-eared copy of the book where it all began. I first read Bridget Jones's Diary when I was 12 (ashamedly young, I know, blame my mother for her loose bookcase supervision) and to this day I proudly profess it to be my favourite book.
Of course, some look down on Bridget and think of her the ultimate chic lit; an example of how the modern era has melted women's brains. To these people I say read the bloody book.
Because you can't judge a book by its cover, or its representation by Renee Zellweger. Some may say the obsessive calorie counting is trivial but during the Kate Moss era that BJD was released in emphasis was (and still is) placed on weight and skinniness making Bridget a product of her time and an example of how society can drive women into mental turmoil over trivial numbers. 
Bridget's choice between two men, the sexy fuckwit Daniel Cleaver or nice and dependable Mark Darcy, highlights how sexual attitudes in the nineties had changed. No longer were women simply looking to get married and have babies. Now women had the choice to 'play the field'. Casual sex wasn't new by any means but it makes a point about modern relationships and whether happiness lies with excitement or dependability. 
Parental relationships are also tackled. Bridget is faced with being a (thirty-something) child of divorce and has to come to terms with the fact that her parents are no longer 'mummy and daddy'. They are real people who have problems, which can be hard for all of us to accept at any stage in our lives.
Then there's the drinking, the swearing, the Christmas jumpers, the smug marrieds, the big knickers, the mini-breaks and, of course, the blue soup.
Bridget is not every woman, she's not even close. But a lot of us can see some part of ourselves in Bridget (I too have a love affair with alcohol units) and life would be a lot duller without Bridget counting her cigarettes and worrying about lesbians with 'legs up to here' making moves on her boyfriend.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

5 Beauty Essentials under £1!

Freshers' Fortnight is now over and the glory of the student loan has surely taken a hit (either from drinking or shopping) so it might be time to tighten those purse strings, unless you want to end up eating baked beans for a month straight.

1) Lemon and sugar. To make a hand scrub put sugar inside half a squeezed lemon. The acid in the lemon cleans and the sugar exfoliates your skin. You can also run it over any areas where fake tan has become streaked.
2) Mascara dry and clumpy? Close the lid tight and let it sit in a glass of hot water for a few minutes to give it a new lease of life.
3) Vaseline. What can't it do? Use the tinted one as an everyday lip colour. Use the clear one as a base for eye-shadow. Put it on your lashes to make them look longer. Use on patches of dry skin to moisturise. Use nightly for soft, kissable lips. Mix it with perfume to create an easy to transport scent (yes, really!). If your new handbag has a stiff zip whack some Vaseline on there, zip up and down a few times and away you go (also useful for tight dresses, but turn it inside out first in case you get any on the fabric).
4) The humble soap bar. Forget fancy cleansers, a good bar of gentle, creamy Dove (or whichever you prefer) is all you need. The most important aspect of the beauty regime is the regime, expensive cleansers weren't an option 50 years ago but people's faces didn't fall off. Cleanse and moisturise regularly and you should get the results you want.
5) Why spend £25+ on a professional facial or buy a cheap (but loaded with chemicals) DIY one when you can make your own face mask for literally pennies? There's one for every skin type and, best of all, you're completely  in control.

A bit of Astral face cream is all you need