Wednesday, 29 March 2017

More Money? No Problem!

Everybody loves having money & nice things. Don't we all love a new product to try out or something for free every now and then. So I've decided to put together a post of easy ways to save money & get a few freebies along the way...

1. Get paid for your feedback...ValuedOpinion Surveys, Google Opinion Rewards & Crowdology
Being paid to fill out surveys. How much easier can it get. I know regularly we see YouTubers advertising Opinion Outpost which gets annoying but honestly these things do exist. I use ValuedOpinions & Crowdology website where you answer surveys on anything from travel to food to products and you are rewarded for each one you complete. When you make a certain amount you can start redeeming rewards; vouchers from Topshop, Boots, Amazon, John Lewis etc.. or on Crowdology you can cash out to Paypal for as little as £4. The more you participate the more surveys they'll send. 
Google Opinion Rewards in the same way rewards you when you answer surveys which take less than a minute and gives you credit on your Google Play Account.

2. Open a savings account....& do it right!
I feel like saving money is a skill, a skill I have become very good at. Ever since I was in uni I learnt how to save & have been quite successful. I have nothing to save for but you never know when you might need some spare cash.
Tip 1: Open a savings account , especially in uni instead of getting a student account. You don't NEED an overdraft. Unless money is really that scarce but even then the bank is not the place to get money from unless it's your own.
Tip 2: Pay yourself first. I read this line in the 'Rich Dad Poor Dad' book and it's so true. When I got my student loan or now my wages I pay what I'm saving into my savings account before I deduct bills. I usually half my income (if possible) and then budget from what I have left.
Tip 3: DO NOT get a savings card. Nowadays most banks have apps so you can view & transfer money to your savings account without having to go into a bank. A savings card may only entice you to draw money out and use it when you don't need to.

3. Get free/cheap cinema/theatre/show tickets...ShowFilmFirst
This site is great for film lovers or people who like to be spontaneous and try new things. ShowFilmFirst is basically a site that gives members free tickets or special offers to see movies,shows, events sometimes before they've been released. It's mainly for the film makers/ show creators to get a bit of feedback beforehand and you get to enjoy it without having to spend a penny...apart from on the snacks you'll be diving into. I used this site to go and see the Nelson Mandela movie 'Long Walk To Freedom' & Mary J Blige/Maxwell concert. Membership is free, they usually send a pin to your email that you enter on the site to get your tickets. Locations vary.

4. Sign up to freebie sites
There are tons of freebie sites online, not all you can trust, but the ones you can offer great samples. Free makeup, food & perfume samples etc. The ones I normally follow are MagicFreebies, LatestFreeStuff & WowFreeStuff. I'm the biggest fan of freebies so these sites are my fav!

5. Buy (and sell) on eBay & Depop!!
Last but not least....the plug! eBay or eBae even. I swear this site is soooo underrated. I get so much from here; La Girl Pro Concealers, Chokers, Phone/Camera accessories, Rings, name it I've bought it from there probably. You can save so much money checking eBay before you go online or instore on the high street. Depop is just as good for second hand or brand new buys but also is great for selling things really easily, think of Instagram meeting eBay. Super easy & a great way to make money on the side. Check out my Depop page: tiaao19

That leaves more money for you to spend on fun things & experiences. How about that!

“A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned”
Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Solo City breaks in Paris: Photo Diary

Picture of Hotel Carina Tour Eiffel

Picture of Hotel Carina Tour Eiffel

They say 'Time waits for no one' & that sure is true. I learnt a long time ago that waiting on people to do things with, sometimes means you'll miss out on a lot of experiences. I think as people we have to learn to enjoy our own company before we can fully embrace the presence of others around us.

In my last post here, I talked about "Getting out the way of yourself" and doing things outside your comfort zone. So what better way to kick start the year than travelling to Paris...alone! A lot of people questioned me on this but where is the rulebook that I have to explore the world with someone by my side at all times. I did this for the experience of something different & to be honest just because one of my goals was to travel somewhere alone. I haven't travelled outside the UK in a very long time , so it was a big deal for me & as I said 'Time waits for no one'. So I took the jump & went for it. I chose to stay at Hotel Carina Tour Eiffel in the Beaugrenelle/Charles Michel area. The hotel was only 3 stars but a lovely place nonetheless with welcoming, friendly staff, a comfy bed & a bathroom with the most amazing lighting! Situated on a quiet side road, a short walk from the Eiffel Tower, it really made my stay very comforting.

Picture of Eiffel Tower View, Paris
Picture of Eiffel Tower View, Paris

My first day was spent visiting the Eiffel Tower, typical touristy stuff. Thankfully this was only down the road from me so I was able to walk and explore a little on my journey. It was so cold! London was actually mild compared to how cold it was in Paris that day. Nonetheless I braved waiting ages to go up the Eiffel Tower (all 3 floors) and it was worth every minute. The views of Paris from the top were incredible & I could see every other monument. By the time I got up there it was very dark but being the city of lights, I could see the whole city lit up including the wheel at Place de la Concorde & Arc de Triomphe. Such a great view of a beautiful city. 

Picture of Arc de Triomphe, Paris

It was so weird to be a tourist for once. To every international person who has struggled with English here, I feel your pain now. My French was so poor that the only words I could mutter correctly were "Bonjour" and "Merci". I do wish I would have learnt more before going. Seeing the monuments that I hear people talk about so much; Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower etc.. really gave me a sense of fulfilment, to see things you've only seen in pictures in reality is exciting but it made me want to explore the world more. The world is such an incredible thing, how can I possibly go through life without seeing what it has to offer.

The boots I had chosen to wear on my second day, turned out to not be for walking so I decided to reside my shopping trip on Champ Elysees in Vapianos for a much loved pizza, which had the most amazing plant wall that I had to snap before I left. Honestly the small greenhouse in Vapianos Oxford Circus is minor compared to that.

I spent the last couple of days around the Concorde area. A walking tour showed me more landmark places such as The Love Lock Bridge, The Louvre, Notre Dame etc.. it also brought me to Rue de Rivoli where I was able to visit Colette, a store I had heard a lot about. That place is so cool, if I ever decided to move to Paris, that is where I would want to work for sure! I love how chic the French make everything look, even right down to their Stone Island boutique, that looked like it would have a nice feature at fashion week.

Picture of Place de la Concorde ParisPicture of Palais Garnier, Paris
Picture of Rue de Rivoli, Paris

As strange as it was for me to be in another country & city on my own, Paris is so intriguing and calm that I did not feel out of place or bored. The people are very kind & it's so easy to get around especially by walking or the Metro, I highly recommend anyone to go there for a solo trip if you are considering one. I hope this year brings me many more great experiences outside my comfort zone, I really want to invest in experiences this year. I took this trip not only to have some me time but to get back into taking photos & I'm pretty sure my motivation is back.

"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow"