How I save for a mortgage

I’m 25, I still live at home with my parents but soon that will be changing. I’m about to buy a house!! I can’t even begin to tell you just how excited I am.

When I was 19 I moved away from home for 3 years and went to university. I found moving back home when I finished my degree difficult as I had suddenly lost all the freedom that I had become so used to having.

For me, I’ve never wanted to rent as it’s just chucking money away with no end result. I’ve always wanted to stay at home and save to be able to afford a deposit for a house. I know this isn’t possible for everyone, but I’m in a very fortunate situation where I’ve been able to live at home whilst working full time and my parents charge me very minimal rent money. This has made saving much easier.

I live in the South West where house prices are very high. The city I live in is extremely expensive compared to other areas of the country. For a 2 bedroom house you’d be looking at around £190,000 – £210,000 and for a three bedroom house you’re looking at around £210,000 – £280,000 which is crazy compared to other areas of the country.

How much do I save each month? 

I opened a Help to Buy ISA account almost 2 years ago. The highest amount you can pay into this account each month is £200.00. I have a standing order set up for the day after I get paid to automatically transfer the maximum amount of £200.00 across to the account. I find having a standing order set up really useful as it means I have no excuse to ‘forget’ to transfer the money over. If you want more information on Help to Buy ISA’s you can visit the Direct Gov page which will help.

I also have an additional savings account which runs alongside my bank account. I can easily log into my online bank account and transfer money from my current account to my savings account. It varies each month how much I transfer across, but I always set myself a minimum of £400.00. This means between the ISA and the savings account I’m saving at least £600.00 a month. Although most months I probably save around £800.00 in total.

Extra ways to save 

I did a post a while back on ways that I save money but in addition to this, there are a few other ways that I try and be sensible to make saving for a mortgage slightly easier. One of the main things is using loyalty/club cards for various shops. I have a Boots advantage card that is a life saver. Nearly all of my makeup and toiletries come from Boots and by building up points throughout the year I am able to use them at Christmas to make buying presents more affordable. When I reach November/December I usually have about £60.00 built up on my card which I can put towards presents. You can do similar things with other places; I personally don’t do food shops each week as I obviously live at home with my parents, but I know my mum does a similar thing with her Sainsburys Nectar Card. She builds the points up throughout the year and she uses them to do the Christmas food shop. By the time Christmas comes around she usually has about £180.00’s worth of Nectar points to spend.

Saving for a mortgage is never going to be easy. If you’re serious about it and want to get it done ASAP I would say that it’s do-able within about 18 months but you have to make sacrifices. Gone are the days where you can go out every weekend and spend £80.00 in one go. You’ll have to cut back on those girly shopping trips that you used to do a few times a month and spend a load of money.

But the main thing to remember is that you can still do enjoyable things and save at the same time. Shaun and I still enjoy meals out together, we’ve still been on holidays, we go to the cinema and go bowling. We just make sure we aren’t doing these things 3 times a week and we make sure we’re both regularly putting money into a savings account.

I hope this was helpful to anyone else out there that are also trying to save for a house!

Charlotte xx

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November 2016, I jetted off to Abu Dhabi for a week in the sun with Shaun. I’m not going to lie, I was very nervous about going. It was a completely new culture to anything I’ve ever experienced and I always find travelling to new places very daunting. Shaun had been before so I trusted his judgement and jumped on a plane. I thought I would write a post about my experience because it was honestly incredible and I cannot recommend it enough!

Where we stayed 

We stayed at the Yas Island Rotana, it was perfect. We had a lovely room, it was clean and spacious. The pool area was so relaxing and the food was also really good. The staff were some of the friendliest people I’ve ever come across and they couldn’t do enough for us. The hotel was ideally located within close distance to places such as Yas Mall, Yas Water World, Ferrari World, Yas Marina Circuit and Yas Beach.

One thing I wanted to touch on was food at the hotel. I’m really fussy with food, so was concerned that I wouldn’t find anything to eat as the culture is so different to what I’m used to. How wrong was I? … Chicken burgers, chips, pizzas, steaks … you name it, they served it! They did, of course, serve local cuisine as well, but I could always find something to eat.

What we got up to in Abu Dhabi 

Our hotel was connected to Yas beach, this meant we were given a free pass to the beach. It was about a 10-minute walk from our hotel which was ideal. It was honestly one of the coolest beaches I’ve ever seen. There was a swimming on the sand! Cool right?! Members of staff were walking around with iPads taking food and drink orders which they delivered to your sun bed. There was also a stage with live music, people jet skiing and plenty of sun loungers for relaxing.

We also visited Yas Water World and Ferrari World. We bought a 2-day pass and did 1 day in each park which worked out nicely. I’m not into cars at all but still had so much fun at Ferrari World. It’s essentially an indoor theme park with various rides and shows. Even if you’re like me and not into cars, I still 100% recommend visiting. Yas Water World was also really cool … Now I’ll be honest, it’s not as good as Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, but it was still very impressive haha.

During our evenings in Abu Dhabi, we tended to head to Yas Mall. It is HUGE! I have never seen so many shops in my entire life. You could spend days walking around it. There was also a cheesecake factory, so I was all over that for my dinner and dessert 😀

Day trip to Dubai 

During our visit, we hired a private driver to take us to Dubai. This probably sounds really fancy. The reality is, it was cheaper than paying for a taxi both ways! It took just over an hour to get there by car. The main reason for our visit here was to go up the Burj Khalifa tower. It’s 555 meters high and the views were insane. We also watched the fountains outside of the Khalifa tower which was magical. They play music and the fountains go in time to the music. It’s difficult to explain just have incredible and breathtaking it was but if you ever get the chance to go it’s so worth it.

If you’re looking for somewhere new to go, I’d definitely recommend Abu Dhabi!

Charlotte xx

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Here's what I've learnt from 4 months of blogging

I launched Charlotte Shares on May 15th; the day after my 25th birthday! So I’ve now been blogging for pretty much 4 months. I’ve wanting to start a blog for years, but I was always too scared I would be judged. When I turned 25 I sat and thought to myself, “I’m an adult – why do I care if people judge me?” If they want to judge me, then they can quite honestly just f*ck off!

So here I am 4 months later and Charlotte Shares is still going strong. I’ve posted regularly since my launch and am actually really proud of myself and what I’ve achieved. My blog is by no means successful or big … I don’t get hundreds of views a day. In fact the most views I’ve ever achieved in a day is 70 **I fangirled at this slightly haha**. To most people this is rubbish, but we all have to start somewhere.

During the past 4 months I’ve learnt a lot and thought I would share this with you.

1 – Being organised is really really hard! 

I’m actually a really organised person in my day to day life, but trying to maintain my usual life and organise my blog is hard. I always think to myself ‘I’ll write a blog post tonight’; but then I get home and life gets in the way and it doesn’t happen. I see some people totally stressing over this … Personally I’m not going to have a meltdown over it, but I will openly admit I hugely fail at having lots of posts scheduled and ready to go live.

2 – Scheduling tweets is really important 

On a Sunday night I’ll sit down and schedule all of my tweets for the week to promote my posts. I use Tweetdeck and it honestly makes my life so much easier. I keep a word document with all of my blog posts in categories where I write a title, have the link to the post and have the relevant hash tags. This means all I need to do is copy and paste into Tweetdeck and select when I want to schedule it for. It’s so simple and saves me so much time during the day.

3 – Pinterest is confusing as hell!

I’ve been doing a lot of research into Pinterest and how you can use it to help with blog traffic. I’m still a bit baffled by the whole thing to be honest. I’ve upgraded my Pinterest account to a business one, I’ve slowly started joining Pinterest groups (trying to find ones to join is a mare), and I’ve also started making posts with hidden Pinterest images in … Fancy right?! … Well it is for me haha. The link to my Pinterest is here and I’ll always follow back 🙂

4 – The community is awesome

I have to say the blogging community is awesome. I’ve built up a nice little group of lovely people who always respond to my tweets and comment on my blog posts. A big shout out to Hayley and Brooke who have been so kind and welcoming to me from the start.

Their links are here: BrookeHayley

I find it so interesting and exciting to be able to talk to like minded people and be able to share our interests and passions.

5 – Time is a big problem 

Having a full time job, making cards to sell to family and friends, writing blog posts, taking photos, scheduling tweets, promoting content, interacting with others and trying to maintain a social life is a massive challenge. I’m trying to come up with ways to make the most out of my time, if anyone has any tips please leave them below!

It’s been a pretty incredible 4 months and I feel like I’ve learnt a lot and had a lot of fun along the way. I’m always thinking of ways that I can expand Charlotte Shares and I’m excited to see what the future holds for my little space on the internet.

Charlotte xx

 

Here's what I've learnt from 4 months of blogging

 

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10 things I'm good at!

Have you ever noticed how we’re always really hard on ourselves? I’m terrible for it, I always think I’m not good enough, I’m forever comparing myself to others and always feel like what I achieve isn’t enough.

Throughout school, university etc; you get told what is bad but never get praised for what’s good. And it’s the same in my job … I’ll get told I’ve done something wrong but NEVER get praised when I do something really well.

I strive for success, I always have done and always will do. I love challenging myself and I like to be good at what I do.

Maybe instead of slating ourselves all the time, we should sit and look at what we’re good at. 

We’re all unique and individual, we have our own talents and this is something we should celebrate.

Here are 10 things I’m good at:

1 – I’m super organised 

Some would say I’m over-organised but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If I say I’m going to meet someone at 7pm, I’ll be there at 6.50pm … Yeah I’m one of those people, but at least I’m reliable.

2 – I’m good at making cards 

I love designing handmade greetings cards, I sell them to family and friends and they all love what I create. I love experimenting with different techniques and just being really creative.

3 – I’m good at using Photoshop 

I studied Graphic Design at university and spent most of my days messing around with things on Photoshop. I remember the first time I ever used it and I was SO confused. But now I know what I’m doing, I’m actually good at it.

4 – I’m good at baking cakes

My Grandad taught me how to bake. We used to spend hours when I was a child making cakes. Over the years I’ve definitely perfected my baking skills and people love it when I bake a cake for an occasion.

5 – I’m a good friend 

This may seem like a strange thing to say, but I’m a damn good friend. I’ve always been someone with a small, close group of friends and thats the way I like it. I’m reliable, caring, look out for others and never go behind anyones back. My friends can come to me at any time of day and I’ll always be there for them.

6 – I’m good at planning a Disney World trip 

This is where my organisation skills come in super handy!! I went to Disney World this year with my family and did nearly all of the planning myself. And the trip was fab!! Everything ran smoothly and I even secured every Fastpass that we wanted!

7 – I’m good with technology 

When something goes wrong I WILL solve the problem. Whether that be a technical glitch with my website, a problem with Photoshop or a mobile that won’t work as it should do. I will sit for hours to make something work if I have to. Whenever anything technical breaks, my family always come to me for help and I nearly always solve the problem.

8 – I’m good at cooking

Lasagne, chilli con carne, spag bol .. you name it… I make it all from scratch and I love doing it. You won’t find me using a jar of spaghetti Bolognese sauce – I’ll make it myself.

9 – I’m good at saving money 

Since starting work full time once I graduated, I’ve saved a lot of money. I don’t like wasting my money on rubbish. I buy what I need, and the rest of my money is being saved to buy a house … which is happening very soon! Eeeek!! 🙂

10 – I’m good at my job

I work for an insurance company, it’s pretty damn boring but I’m bloody good at my job. We have a lot of processes to follow, I know them inside out and always do well in the work I produce. I give good customer services, am always polite and do my job correctly. I don’t cut corners and make mistakes like some of the people I work with do.

I would really love if more people would celebrate the things they’re good at. It would be really cool to see other people write posts like this so we can all see the things we’re good at. If you make a post like this link it below as I’d love to read it. 

Charlotte xx

 

10 things I'm good at!

 

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It’s that time of year again. You finally reach the weekend and have a couple of days with no work and it rains all day! It’s so easy to just slob around in your PJ’s and not do anything all day because the weather is rubbish. I’ve done this many times myself. But I always feel so much better about myself if I can get to Sunday evening and say I’ve actually done something productive with my weekend.

These are some of the things that I like to do on a rainy day to keep me entertained: 

1 – Do some baking

2 – Meal prep for the week

3 – Sort out my wardrobe and get rid of all the clothes I no longer wear

4 – Tidy the house

5 – Bulk write blog posts

6 – Take lots of photos for blog posts

7 – Read a book

8 – Pamper session

9 – Go bowling

10 – Do the food shop for the week

11 – Go to the cinema

12 – Complete the ‘list’ of boring chores

13 – Watch a film

14 – Make a scrap book with holiday photos / memories

15 – Go to a cafe for tea and cake

16 – Play a boardgame

17 – Go swimming

18 – Get crafty and make something

19 – Invite some friends over

20 – Find a new show on Netflix

How do you spend your rainy days?! 

Charlotte xx

 

 

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