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Money: 5 Ways to Save Yourself a Small Fortune

By Money / Finances, ThinkingNo Comments

Image Copyright © Sye Watts/Antony Simpson, 2014.

We could all do with saving a little money here and there. Here are five great ways to save yourself a small fortune:

5. Buy less coffee.
We all like a Starbucks or a Costa. If you’re a regular customer at a coffee shop, try to reduce your visits. One less cup equals a few pounds of savings. These savings will quickly add up over the month.

I have a need for coffee, especially first thing in the morning. If you’re like me, consider investing in a thermal flask and making time during your morning routine to fill it with coffee before you leave the house.

4. Take lunch to work, rather than buying it.
You can easily spend a fiver a day on lunch at work. For a fraction of the price you can buy the ingredients at the supermarket, then make and take your own lunch to work.

To make it easy on myself, every Sunday evening, I make the lunches for the entire work week and pop them in the fridge. Each morning before I leave for work I pop my lunch into my bag.

3. Give up smoking and/or alcohol.
The average cost of a packet of cigarettes is £8.74. The average cost of a litre of vodka is £15. Cutting these vices out, or even just cutting down will save you a load of money.

2. When buying something, ask yourself: Do I really need this?
We are all guilty of impulse purchases. We are all guilty of buying things to make ourselves feel better when we are having a bad day. By asking yourself: Do I really need this? Every time you’re about to buy something, it will reduce the amount of impulse purchases you make. How much money you save by asking yourself this, depends on what you pick up to buy.

But asking myself this question has saved me literally thousands of pounds. It’s stopped me buying high-priced items that I didn’t really need, such as: new cars, new mobile phones and new computers.

1. Shop around for everything.
Shop around for everything and by this I mean everything. Every area of expenditure: household bills, insurances, travel, food, clothes, credit, gifts, etc.

The difference in prices can be phenomenal. You can literally save hundreds or thousands of pounds per year by shopping around for the best deals.

How else can you save yourself a small fortune? If you’ve got ideas, please leave a comment below.

Blog soon,


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My India Adventure (Part 3) – Shopping in Delhi

By Adventures, Friends & Family, Happiness & Joy, Love & Relationships, Money / Finances, Shopping, TravelNo Comments

My spending money in Rupees.

If you enjoy shopping for clothes as I do, Delhi is the perfect place to visit with an empty suitcase. As Indian’s like their clothes.

I exchanged my money at the airport (see photo left). ₹500 (five hundred Rupee) is currently worth about £5 (five British Pounds).

My first shopping trip was on my first full day in Delhi. Robert, Michael, Neha, Neha’s sisters and brothers-in-law and I went shopping for an wedding outfit. Robert choose an attractive gold colour, Michael choose a grey and gold colour combination and I choose a fabulous purple colour.

Below is a photo of our wedding outfits, see my last blog post for photos of us in our outfits:


Wedding outfit shopping.

Then we headed to an outdoor market where we bought some wedding shoes. These shoes were more about style than comfort and I named them The shoes of DEATH after they shredded my feet.

Prior to travelling to Delhi, I had been talking to a lovely guy named Eddie. I needed to buy Neha’s parents a thank you gift and was in need of a guide and shopping buddy. So I hired Eddie and a taxi for the day. Eddie was gorgeous, patient, kind and caring. We quickly connected and became more than friends. During my stay in Delhi I visited at least five Malls, two Bazaars and four outdoor market places.

On my first shopping trip with Eddie (there were a few) we went to Benetton where I bought a fleeced hoodie, a smart shirt, two plain t-shirts and two t-shirts with designs all for £55. On another occasion Eddie took me to an outdoor market and I got two pairs of smart work shoes for £8. I bought two real leather belts for £1.90. Delhi could be cheap or expensive depending on where you shopped and who you shopped with.

Eddie helped me buy some small gifts for close family and some of my friends. Believe it or not is where most of my money went – on other people. When Indian’s see foreigners they triple their prices. So having Eddie who spoke Hindi helped barter the prices down. I am extremely grateful to him for his language skills, superb company and for soo much more ;).

My favourite place to shop was Connaught Place. It had a good mix of shops, a Bazaar and an outdoor market place. Plus, it has plenty of places to buy good coffee. However most importantly for me, it was where Eddie and I created some amazing memories.

After much searching, Eddie and I found the perfect gift for Neha’s parents (to thank them for taking such good care of me). We found this lovely stylish mirror in the shape of the sun, which was the perfect gift for them.

Wherever you shop in Delhi there’s plenty of roadside stalls selling drinks and ice cream. There’s copious Tuk Tuk bikes and auto Rickshaws that you can use to get around. Or there’s always the Delhi Metro. The Delhi Metro is cheaper than Tuk Tuk bikes or auto Rickshaws and is quite an experience.

Eddie introduced me to the Metro and we used it together on about six journeys while I was in Delhi. The Metro in Delhi has been so popular that it is currently being extended. By 2020 they want 50% of people travelling on the Metro, which in the sky, and 50% of people using the roads. This will ease the current road congestion problem Delhi has, along with reducing air pollution. The Metro is exactly like the London Underground, just above ground rather than under it.

The first two Metro carriages of every Metro line are reserved for women, along with woman only seats in the other carriages. Getting on and off the Metro was a bit of a challenge at times, with a little fast-paced pushing and feet shuffling required.

I got plenty of stirs on the Metro because of my white skin. They were stirs of curiosity because most people hadn’t ever seen someone with white skin. After a while it did leave me feeling a bit awkward and unsure of how to respond. I wasn’t sure whether to stir back, smile or do a little dance. Luckily for the the other Metro users it was too cramped to allow me to do a little dance. On most journeys Eddie and I held-hands and no one stirred because of this or seemed to even notice it.

Whether you’re shopping or using the Metro there are many security check points. Where civilians in official, security, looking uniforms will ask you to walk through a metal detector and put your bags through an x-ray scanner. They then frisk you with a hand-held metal detector.

Eddie is gorgeous and looks so young. I want to reassure you that he is in fact twenty-two years old and I am twenty-nine years old. He is funny, kind, caring, intelligent and multi-talented. He has already had much success and many achievements. He seems to do well at anything he takes his hand to, which is no doubt due to lots of hard work and determination. I know that I’m a very lucky man. Here are some photos of the gorgeous Eddie and me:


Eddie and I outside one of the many Malls we visited.


Eddie & I on a Tuk Tuk Bike.

Can you recognise the brands photographed below?


Starbucks Coffee :D.


Me with a scary looking Ronald McDonald statue outside of a vegetarian McDonalds Restaurant.

Yep – Starbucks and McDonalds.

I was pleased to be able to get a decent coffee from Starbucks, but the prices where the same as in the UK making it an expensive luxury in India. Costa Coffee was much more reasonably priced. Coffee’s from both shops tasted the same as they would in the UK.

Other recognisable brands in Delhi, India included: Pizza Hut, Dominos, KFC, Burger King, Vans, Levis, Van Heusen, Nike, adidas and Marks & Spencer’s.

On the departure from London Heathrow my suitcase weighed 11KGS. On the way back home it weighed 20KGS, which just gives you an idea of how much I bought during my time in Delhi. And it didn’t cost me a fortune.

In next part blog post in the series titled My India Adventure (Part 4) – Delicious Food, I will be talking food. It will be coming soon, so don’t forget to check back for updates.

Write soon,


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Thinking About Homelessness

By ThinkingNo Comments

This time of year when it’s dark and cold makes me feel for people who are homeless. Who’d want to spend a single night sleeping outside in this weather?

No matter the cause of someone’s homelessness; it can be a vicious cycle. A person needs an address to get a bank account, so that state benefits can be paid to them. They often need to be in receipt of benefits to get support in accessing housing and so that housing agencies can contact them. Of course there are ways around this, but people who are homeless people often don’t know how the system works.

People who are homeless also tend to have complex issues (such as substance misuse, relationship breakdowns, bereavements, etc.) that they are trying to deal with at the same time.

So I recently made two donations to The Albert Kennedy Trust and Shelter. The donations were small, but something is better than nothing. Here is some information about the work the charities do and a link for donations:

Albert Kennedy Trust Logo The Albert Kennedy Trust supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans homeless young people in crisis. They have offices in London, Manchester and Newcastle.
Donate to The Albert Kennedy Trust
Shelter Logo Shelter helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness – and they campaign to prevent it in the first place.
Donate to Shelter

A friend and I were talking recently about what we do when we see a person who is homeless on the street begging. I said that I don’t usually give money as I don’t carry it, but if I’ve got the time, I offer to buy them a hot drink.

My friend said that he collects McDonalds hot drink loyalty cards stickers and saves completed loyalty cards to give to the person who is homeless and on the street begging. I thought this was a great idea and will be doing it as well.

Anyone can become homelessness, it just needs a certain set of circumstances to happen a person. This means that it can happen to you, a member of your family or one of your friends. I once read somewhere that we are only ever two paydays away from being homeless. Considering this, perhaps it’s worth making a small sacrifice (like that cup of coffee from Starbucks/Costa you buy) and using the money to make a donation to one of the charities above? I’ll let you decide.

Foodbank Image Throughout the year, I’ve also donated items of food to a FoodBank run by The Trussell Trust. The UK is one of the richest countries in the world, yet in the last few years the numbers of people who need to use FoodBanks has dramatically increased. This is worrying and is symptomatic of some of the poorest people being forced to make some very difficult choices.

I’d like to share a thought with you: It seems to me that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. I don’t write this to be depressive, simply to express a thought that many people are thinking.

Here’s another thought: This is not the kind of society I want to live in. Food, water and housing are all basic things that everyone should have access to.

So the question becomes: How do we go about changing our society for the better?
Any ideas or opinions, please comment below.

Take care,


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