How To Save Money in 2022

Money is something that we all work very hard to earn and hate to see go down the drain. For me, money is something I have had to learn to manage and over the years it hasn’t always been easy. Although this is not a saving money blog, I want to make sure I cover issues that are bothering most of us right now. We all need to keep an eye on our wallets as the cost of living rises.

Fifteen years ago I got hooked on an online casino game and racked up a massive credit card bill. For a long time I paid the price by working through my holidays and cutting back on everything until I got my finances in order.

These days I am a lot more organised when it comes to personal finance. Though I definitely do not claim to be an expert (Far from it!) I would like to share my findings and ask for your ideas in the comments. As the energy crisis hits and the cost of living is set to rise, we all need to find ways to get cover our costs.

Cutting Corners (Saving money by keeping a close eye)

Now it can be very hard to keep track of income and outgoings so I would suggest finding a way that suits you.

When I discovered that one of my direct debits had gone wrong and I was being overcharged by a utility provider every month, I made a drastic decision. Instead of having direct debits I cancelled every single one and asked for a monthly bill instead. Then on pay day I could glance over each bill and pay them individually.

Keeping a close eye on my outgoings like this made me feel more in control and enabled me to spot mistakes in billing, which I would otherwise never have noticed. Even my mortgage is paid like this and I can choose to overpay it if I feel as though I am having a flush month.

Saving money is hard

Have you ever seen a bit of money in the bank and then been itching to spend it frivolously? I have. It is one of the main reasons why saving money is so difficult. I used to put my extra cash in bank ISAs but every time I opened my banking app I could see that money staring at me, willing me to use it on something unnecessary.

Currently money doesn’t make much interest in savings accounts anyway, so it may be worth exploring other ways to store it. I have used an app called ‘Moneybox’ (a product I like but am not sponsored by) which has proven to be a safe place to keep my money and many of my friends have started to use it as well.

Moneybox allows you to store your money in a savings account which has a slightly higher interest rate than most banks and locks in your cash for either 45 or 90 days. In other words I have to think weeks ahead about taking money out and cannot just pull it out and spend it on a whim.

Saving money or investing?

While mentioning Moneybox I have to also say that you can buy and sell shares there easily, too. There are so many options, including allowing the app to invest your money for you, spread across low, medium or high risk investments. Personally I have grown comfortable investing but I feel as though this topic is too complex to include here in any great detail, so watch out for a future mention of this.

Another such form of investment is cryptocurrency which I have also started to use and profit from. It would be interesting to find out how many of you have already begun to use this trendy but volatile method of investing money. Again, I haven’t been using it long enough to speak with confidence about it, but I am keen to know how others are finding it. One of my friends made £1000 in a day but I can see how the same amount can be lost at the drop of a hat.

Stop paying for things that you don’t need

Chocolate is my weakness. I would save more money if it wasn’t for chocolate.

When you sign up to new services, you often forget about them or stop using them, whilst still paying for them monthly. Recently I looked closely at my bank statement and realised I was paying two lots of home insurance as I had searched for a cheaper provider and not bothered cancelling a previous one. I know that is a crazy example but these things happen.

I also noticed that I was paying for a membership of a group that I no longer have an interest in or time for. It is really easy to keep adding payments and signing up for apps and services without then remembering to get rid of them. One online newspaper that I was using had increased its cost by £4 a month without me knowing, and of course I hadn’t even read the thing for ages.

Put money to one side

My nan always said to me, ‘If you earn a bit more one month, spend half and keep half.’ I do this now. When I find that my income has gone up slightly or my costs are down in a particular month (such as February when council tax is not paid) I take half of that additional money and spoil myself with something I want. This can be a theatre ticket, a new book or even just some chocolate. Meanwhile, I pop the other half into my current favourite savings place.

In the past, when I didn’t trust myself with that money, I used to transfer it to my mum and ask her to give it back to me in summer when I most needed it or it could help me find a holiday. These days I am more settled and can exercise self control, so that extra cash will nearly always go straight into Moneybox or into a separate bank account that I keep without a card. Having no card for it means that I don’t think about using it and it can sit safely in a medium interest account.

Saving money is important

After being incredibly bad with money during my University years and early twenties, I have learned the importance of money saving the hard way. Hopefully, some of the thoughts I shared might resonate with you as you read this. I look forward to reading your comments about any money saving tips that you may have. My short list is not all encompassing but I tried to talk about the key things that have helped me.

Thank you for reading my blog post. Another recent post I wrote about money is Boost Your income – Side hustle suggestions which is where I discussed passive income and ideas for working additional jobs. If you enjoy my content, please consider following my blog and look out for new posts about books, entertainment and life hacks.

What Having Covid Is Like

As this is my first time having Covid, I wanted to document it so that people can have an understanding of how having covid feels. Clearly many people have experienced it in lots of different ways and I do not represent everyone but this is my personal reflection on the last few days.

How did I know I had Covid?

That sounds like a weird thing to say but it happens to be the case that lateral flow tests are less readily available than before. My work requires me to test every Wednesday and Sunday and I still had a set of the free tests left last week.

Despite testing negative on Wednesday, I woke up at 4am on Friday with a feeling of razor blades in my throat. As the morning progressed, I realised that this agonising sore throat was not defeated by paracetamol and my head began to ache. So I took another test and discovered a clear red line outlining my positive status.

Was I vaccinated?

I had my vaccines in April and June, followed by a booster jab in December. When having these vaccines I didn’t really suffer apart from a headache the first time and the same having the booster.

Can having Covid affect your sleep?

Whilst having Covid has been a lot less extreme than it would no doubt have been if I hadn’t had a vaccine, it has still been quite painful. The one thing that has really upset me is my sleep routine being disrupted. From the moment I woke with that scratchy throat, my sleep pattern has been completely overhauled.

The combination of muscle aches, blocked (and often runny) nose, sore throat and a weird cough has made it incredibly difficult to sleep soundly. I wonder if any of you have had the same or similar experience. For me, the lack of sleep has been by far the worst aspect of suffering from covid.

Is having covid like a cold?

Well for me there are some similarities. The runny nose for instance and bouts of sneezing. However, the sore throat that I have had for the past five days has been constant and hard to numb. Similarly, my cough has been quite harsh, causing my intercostal muscles to ache from the force involved in each dramatic cough.

Another thing I have noticed is that when I move about for a while, as I breathe faster my breaths are fairly shallow. It is like there is a tight rubber band around the very top of my lungs and when I need to inhale deeply it won’t let me.

Which day of having covid is the worst?

That is a tricky one and right now I still have all of the symptoms but I can say that the sore throat has finally eased a bit. On reflection the worst of the symptoms didn’t start until the third day of the infection. When the cough set in, I became extremely tired and achy. Even today, I fell asleep unexpectedly while in the middle of writing this post.

Having Covid has changed me.

I admit I was worried about Covid initially but lately I had begun to relax about it and assumed for a fully vaccinated person it would be just like a mild cold. I was so wrong! It has definitely knocked the wind out of my sails. Having Covid feels like a really annoying flu which makes you sleepless and uncomfortable and sweaty.

Please consider having the Covid vaccination if you haven’t already. For more detailed information about Covid please refer to the UK Covid guidance website. Thank you for reading about my experience of what it really feels like to have Covid.

Where Can You Get Story Ideas From?

I have been thinking a lot about where ideas for great stories often come from. When we are at school, we are taught that a good story begins with a detailed setting and an interesting main character. In my experience, this is not a bad place to start. Almost every story I have ever written has emerged from a particular setting. The main character has usually developed soon afterwards.

Many of you will know that I began by writing short stories and I am a massive fan of short fiction. One of my favourite locations for a short story is somewhere snowy. Here is a short clip of a snowy setting that made me want to write a story about getting stuck in a snowdrift.

https://youtube.com/shorts/LL2m-X–wMc?feature=share

For me, a story nearly always starts with a certain location. I like to know where my characters are going to be based before I conjure up problems for them to deal with. As a writer, if you are suffering from writer’s block, perhaps explore some pictures of a variety of places before trying to imagine a storyline. Often the location will spark a story gem which can grow and satisfy.

Some settings I have enjoyed using are:

1) The seaside. A trip to Hunstanton gave me inspiration for a tale about a woman returning to the beach where her husband perished.

Hunstanton

2) The Swiss Alps. My holiday there made me think about what Christmas might be like there and set the scene for a story of a reporter sent to Switzerland to interview a guy claiming to be Jesus.

Switzerland

3) A Yorkshire town. A weekend away to Skipton started me thinking about a sleepy Yorkshire town where a corrupt mayor might hold the keys to more than just the town hall.

Yorkshire

4) One deserted Fenland house. Driving past an old house with shattered windows made me wonder who might have lived there. It inspired my upcoming YA novel about two teenagers being watched by a mysterious land owner.

5) A patisserie. A quaint French patisserie got me imagining two people meeting through a glass bakery counter. One was feverishly cleaning the glass while the other looked fondly at not only the baked goods but also the woman behind the counter. Their eyes met then they were transfixed.

The French Patisserie

Summary

For me, my best ideas come from travelling and it is no surprise that holidays have fuelled my stories. My lack of holidays during the pandemic has slowed down my creative writing but I am looking forward to some travelling across Europe in summer. My advice to any writer would be write about somewhere you know OR a place that you want to get to know well.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. For another post about writing stories, check out How To Write Short Stories. Please consider following my blog for future similar articles.