Travelling with Revolut

When you’re a regular, or even a non-regular traveller, there’s nothing more annoying than either having to get all your travel money exchanged into cash, or risking foreign transaction charges on most of your cards if you have to use them while you’re away, and even if you have a card that doesn’t charge, there’s that nagging worry about losing or having cards stolen while abroad, and if this sounds familiar to you, you need a Revolut card.

Revolut is, in fact, a mobile app, and the only way you can get a card is through the app itself. Essentially, its a pre-paid credit card: you simply link a debit or credit card to the app and use that to top it up by whatever amount you need, and if the card doesn’t have enough on it, the transaction will simply fail, so you’ve always got the added security of knowing that if there’s nothing there, nothing can be spent.

But what makes Revolut different to any other pre-paid card is what makes it ideal for travelling – you can exchange money right there on the app, and get the best rates as it uses the central bank exchange rates, rather than those that retailers use to make money out of your holiday money needs. For example, as I’m writing this, Post Office are currently offering 1.2961 on USD, whereas Revolut has 1.3401! Once you’ve topped up your card with cash, you can hit the exchange button, select your desired currency and watch what the exchange rate is doing as it updates every few seconds, so you can wait until it goes up a few 0.01s to get a little bit more for your money, and once your money has been converted to whatever currency you want, that means you’re using the correct currency for the country you’re in, so no foreign transaction charges! Plus, any leftover currency can be converted back just as easily as you switched it in the first place, so you don’t have to worry about selling your money back to a bureau de change or hiding it away until your next trip.

Another great thing about the app is that it notifies you as soon as you’ve made a payment, so you can see what you’ve spent straight away, with a clear description of where you spent it and don’t have to guess from ‘pending transactions’ where your money has gone. Its also got nifty features like being able to split your bill with another Revolut user, and also a selection of other things on offer, so its a really handy thing to have!

Apart from the cost of the card, which is £5 plus £3 delivery, Revolut is completely free (unless you choose to go Premium), so compared to so many other credit cards that have annual fees etc, its a steal, but don’t just take my word for it, download the app for free for all the information!

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Little Ways to Make Your Money Go Further

I can’t be the only person who cringes a little bit each time I check my bank statement, especially when I’m waiting for payday to come, am I right? And even if you don’t spend the last week of each month living off beans on toast, I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t wish they could make their money go a little bit further, or who doesn’t search for the infamously difficult concept of getting something for nothing.

Well d’you know what? Its not impossible. I’m a religious saver, and I love finding tricks and loopholes that mean I can save a little bit here and there, and because I’m not much of a secret keeper, here are some of the ways I do it!

Cashback sites

If you’re shopping online, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be using a cashback site – its essentially free money back on your spend! I’m a Top Cashback person myself, but there are other sites out there, and all you have to do is go to the site, find your retailer and follow their link through to the retailers website, then shop as normal. Job done.

The best thing about Top Cashback is that you have the option to withdraw your cashback in loads of different ways. You can either take a normal payout by BACS or Paypal, or you can opt for gift cards for retailers and restaurants such as Primark, Costa, Debenhams and many more, and when you get your payout this way, you get a bonus percentage of your earnings, so you get more on your gift card than your cashback balance – win!


Zeek is a site that I’ve only recently discovered, but its concept is pretty brilliant. You know when you get a gift card for somewhere you don’t shop, and you don’t know what to do with it? Well, you can sell it here – you won’t get the full value of the gift card, but its better than nothing, and the best deal is actually when you BUY gift cards here. Percentage savings vary depending on the retailer, but you can search for your favourite retailers and buy the gift cards that other people have sold, and you’ll pay less than the value – eg a £20 gift card for £18, and that’s £2 that you’ve got for nothing right there!

PS. The best deal right now is combining Top Cashback and Zeek – you can get your cashback payout as Zeek credit with a 15% bonus – so £20 cashback would actually get you £23 Zeek credit, and then you could use that credit to get a gift card worth more say £25, for example, and you’ve got £5 more to spend at your chosen retailer!

Penny savings

Do you ever stop and think about where the little penny amounts go when you buy something that’s not a round pound value? Those copper coins in the bottom of your handbag all add up. If you bank with Lloyds, as I do, you have an option called ‘Save the Pennies’, where each transaction you make gets rounded up to the next £ figure, and the pennies get automatically transferred into a savings account, and it’ll surprise you how the numbers tick up and you won’t notice!

You can also do this with your copper coins – as a family we have a mug that small change goes into, and every few months we empty out the coins, divvy up equal shares and go on a day trip to Swanage where we spend it in the penny arcade. Sure, we spend it, but we get a day out and have some fun doing it!

Shop for rewards

Call me crazy, but I rarely shop in places where I don’t get something back. My purse is stuff with loyalty cards and rewards cards and boy do I use them – Tesco Clubcard when I fill up with petrol, Nectar card on the food shop, and I have almost £20 worth of points on my Boots card. I mean, if you’re gonna be buying anyway, you might as well earn something that will get you something back later on!

Do you have any tricks for stretching your cash?

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Time Is Money

Its an age-old saying. Sure, its got some pretty cliche connotations now, but cheese aside its 100% true. I mean, would you sit 9-5 in an office if you weren’t getting paid for it? You probably wouldn’t, right?

Well, its the same for small businesses. You see, creatives don’t like working all day and not getting paid for it – the only difference is, we’re doing something that’s maybe a little less traditional. Graphic designers, hand-makers of all different and wonderful things, cake decorators, bloggers – you name it, there are people trying to make money from all kinds of ventures, but the one thing they have in common is that time goes into everything. Hell, I’d love to know of a way of making money that doesn’t take a second of my time.

I LOVE my Etsy store. I love designing and making things and I love the fact that there are people out there that are actually prepared to buy the things I make. I say ‘prepared to buy’ for a very particular reason. You see, day in, day out, I get messages from people asking me about custom designs, or they’ve seen me wearing something on Instagram and want to know how much it would cost to order it from me, and you’d think that I would love getting these messages, right? Sure, I get a little buzz from someone loving my stuff, but I just know that that is the last message I’ll receive from them, because as soon as I let them know the price, they’re gone.

You know, 9 times out of 10, I actually respond to these messages with a price that is lower than I should charge, just on the off-chance that they might go for it. Spoiler alert, they rarely do, even though I’ve already dropped the price. Why do I do it? Well because while its not the best business sense, I hate asking people for money. Worse than that, business sense-wise, it leads me to under-value my time – I mean, there is a skirt for sale on my Etsy store right now where the fabric itself actually costs me more than the price I have the skirt for sale at! I make a loss on that straight away, and then I spend 1-2 hours making said skirt from said fabric.

I blame what I refer to as ‘Primark prices’, even though its the high street in general. You can buy a dress in New Look for £10, so when you see a skirt on Etsy for £30 you feel like its priced a little steep, right? Well ignoring whatever the fabric costs the maker, when you combine the amount of time it takes to design the skirt, cut the fabric, sew it all together, hem it, fit a zip/button/elastic/whatever, you’re maybe looking at a couple of hours of work. So lets put some random numbers to that – say supplies cost £10 and designing and making took 2 hours – and you don’t want to pay more than £20 for it cos ‘that’s what you’d pay on the high street’, well that’s your non-direct way of saying that you think its ok for that maker to get paid circa £5/hour. That sound like a decent wage to you?

You see, I don’t think it does, yet I’ve been under-pricing my creations so as not to seem too steep. Well, I’m done with that. If people don’t want to value my time, then that’s fine, but I’m going to. My time is worth money, and so is everyone else’s.

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Car Insurance Renewal Myths Busted

I think we can all agree that there is nothing exciting or interesting about car insurance, right? Its a legal requirement, and considered by most to be a hassle or a chore, and what’s worse is that a number of people feel like they have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to it, which can really cause problems further down the line.

So while this might not be the most exciting topic to be blogging about, I thought I’d share some advice and information from my experience of working in the car insurance industry. I’m not sharing any industry secrets or naming/shaming any particular companies, I’m just hoping to clear up some of the myths or beliefs, and hopefully help a few people out! Here goes..

I’ve had another claim free year, why has my insurance gone up?

Its a common belief that every year you go without making a claim earns you a drop in your renewal price, and while this may often be the case, there are a number of factors that could mean you see an increase. This year especially, there have been a number of changes in industry factors that have been totally out of the companies control, namely the increase in Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) and changes in legislation on personal injury compensation, both of which have hit car insurance hard.

On top of this, insurance rates are calculated based on a whole tonne of information and statistics, so while you might have another year of driving with no accidents, things like your car being another year older, or if there’s been an increase in the number of accidents or claims in your postal region, are all things that are factored in during the underwriting process.

What about my no claims discount?

No claims discount (NCD) can of course reduce the cost of your insurance substantially, and within your first few years of earning NCD, you should be seeing a general reduction in your insurance quotes, but the further up the years you get, the discount percentage increases by smaller increments, until you eventually hit your insurance companies maximum, which in most cases is 9+ years. At this point, while you may feel like your insurance should be dropping every year – which is may do! – you’re already benefiting from the highest discount you can get, so you may find a bit of a plateau.

My insurance company will give me a discount if I tell them I’m going to cancel

Sure, a lot of insurance companies will be able to offer you a discount if you express unhappiness at your renewal price, but I urge you to think about the amount of discount they give. If they can knock £100 off the price the moment you question the price, why is it they can do that without second thought? You may find you’re only offered £10-15 off, and while this may seem a little stingy, what it actually suggests is that you were sent out a pretty accurate price in the first place, rather than an over-inflated price designed to make you feel like a winner when they half the cost.

I shouldn’t have to shop around to get the best price

One of the biggest reasons that people see their insurance prices go up and up and up is because they allow their insurance company to renew the policy time and time again without comparing the market. Most insurance companies do have a preferred customer, be that based on age or any other factors, and while you may think that you’re being a lovely loyal customer staying year after year, it is possible that you can get a much better deal elsewhere. This has actually become such an epidemic that the insurance regulator has mandated that insurance companies must now put a statement on their renewal quotes encouraging their customers to shop around, so don’t be insulted if you notice this!

On the back of this, insurance companies can vary massively in how they assess your details, so one company can quote you £300 while another quotes you £600 for exactly the same cover!

Do I really need to review my insurance every year?

YES. I urge you to check through all of your documents every year, as well as being sure to update your insurance company to any changes throughout the year. Even small changes, such as a different job, becoming a homeowner, going from living at home to living with a partner or getting married; these are all factored into the calculation of your insurance premium, and its so easy to forget about informing your insurance of these changes, but they can make a difference!

What should I do if I’m uncertain about anything on my policy?

If you ever have any questions about your car insurance, the first thing you should do is speak to YOUR insurance company. While friends and family may be keen to give you advice, if they’re insured with a different company, there could be a big difference in what their insurance covers to what yours does, so bear this in mind when seeking a second opinion.

I’m sorry to bombard you with quite a lot of information, but I really hope that I’ve been able to help a few people out with this post! If you have found this helpful, please let me know as I’d love to know if you’d be interested in seeing more posts like this!

This post is primarily based on facts, but any of opinions stated in this post are my own personal views and do not reflect the views or opinions of any insurance companies.
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5 Thing I Don’t Spend Money On

I’m always money-conscious. I check my online banking at least twice a day and my credit card statements almost as frequently. I check every transaction coming in and going out, and while this may seem anal to some, its what makes me great at keeping a budget.

Being good with money is something that I take pride it; its how I can afford to live my life the way I want to, and how I can save while still enjoying myself, and there are a few things that hardly ever appear on those regularly checked bank statements, which probably help me save a lot.


I’m not tee-total, but I rarely drink anymore. I’m not a night-out person, and on the rare occasion that I do go out, I’m such a lightweight that it doesn’t cost much anyway. It amazes me that some of the guys I work with drop £50-100 in a single night and I’ve never even spent a fraction of that.


On occasion, normally at airports, I’ll treat myself to a magazine or two, but I can’t find a reason to justify £3-5 on something that I’ll probably skim read once, and maybe pick up one more time, before it gets dumped in the recycling bin.


The perks of being a non-coffee drinker is that I don’t spend any money on a getting a caffeine fix. Also Starbucks hot chocolate is yuck..

Train tickets

Unless they’re a good price, whenever I need to get to London I walk straight past the train station and get on a coach instead. UK train prices are ridiculous, especially when it costs almost £40 to get to London when I can do it for £10 on a coach that takes about the same amount of time.


Unless you’ve got that glorious ‘first box free’ followed by the desperate rush to cancel the card payment after the free trial is up, I pay for Netflix and that’s it. No Graze boxes, no beauty subscriptions or any of the other monthly direct debits that clog up your account.

They might seem like little things, but I think I probably save a fair amount of cash without spending money on these, and they’re all things that I quite happily live without, so all the better for my bank balance!

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My Money Saving Methods

I don’t know about anyone else, but money-conscious 24/7, and at this time of year, everyone feels the pressures of Christmas costs.

October-December is always a pricey time of year for me; half my family have birthdays in October and November, before even thinking about Christmas, but this year especially, with our Disney trip in January and saving for that a high priority, I’ve had to spread the cost, and save as much as I can, wherever I can, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of it, so today I’m going to share some of my money saving methods!


• Set saving targets, and stick to them.

Each month when I get paid, I put a fixed amount into my savings accounts. I have three: an ISA, which is for my future; money goes in and doesn’t come out until I need something like a mortgage deposit, and two flexible savings accounts: one for my business savings – again, money goes in and stays there – and my holiday savings, which is for just that, but also if I desperately need money, that’s where I take it from. I don’t even look at how much I get paid each month until my savings have been deducted.

• Look at earning cashback

There are loads of ways you can earn cashback these days, from choosing certain bank accounts and credit cards, to changing your shopping habits just ever so slightly. I use TopCashback, through which I earn a little bit back by shopping online as I always do, just going through their website first. After a certain amount of time, I can withdraw this money, either directly transferring it into my bank account, or turning it into vouchers for my favourite retailers. Lloyds bank also have spending rewards, where you can earn cashback just by paying using your Lloyds credit or debit card. Bearing in mind I haven’t made any big purchases (buying insurance and paying household bills through these sites can earn you loads!), I’m really impressed with what I’ve earnt just in the last few months!

• Make the most of loyalty schemes

That soft-spot you’ve got for a Costa? Yep, you can get something back from that! Your weekly food shop at Tesco could pay for a meal out, or even a day out! Buying all your Christmas presents from the Boots with their irresistible 3 for 2 offer? You could get a little extra something for yourself with the earnings from that! I have a purse full of loyalty cards, and I’m always sure to check up on how their doing for points, and what those points can get me in return; if I go to the cinema once a month, after a few months that’s a free ticket, and a happy bank account.

• Shop off-season

More often than not, the unworn items in my wardrobe are just that because I bought them in the after-season sale and now I have to wait until next year to wear them. I’m talking jumpers in July and bikinis in October; I currently have a Christmas top that I’ve bought in May that I’m just dying to finally bring out in a few weeks! It means I don’t feel guilty every time an ASOS order arrives!

My mum does this too: after Christmas she buys the Lindt chocolate bears once their cheap, and gives them to us for Easter instead of Lindt bunnies..

• Spend to save

Totally counter intuitive, I know, but sometimes paying a little extra for some things will save you in the long run. Paying £79 a year for Amazon Prime might seem steep, but that’s a whole year of movie and music streaming, as well as free next day delivery on an enormous range of items, and if you add up what you might be paying for delivery on those items, and another entertainment services, in the long run you are saving. For me, the discovery of ASOS Premier was a game-changer; £9.95 for a year of free next day delivery, plus exclusive discounts and early access to sales? I’ve already saved more than £20 in the 4 months I’ve had it!

• Re-evaluate where your money is going

Double check that you’re getting the best deals on things like your mobile phone contract, insurance, or utilities. Its so easy to become comfortable with it automatically disappearing from your bank account, but if you dig a little, you might find there are better options out there for you.

• Spread the cost

At this time of year especially, starting shopping early is key. I tend to buy things as I see them (I bought my sister’s birthday present in June this year, for her birthday in November) and start looking as early as September/October. I can then drive everyone I know mad when they start their Christmas shopping in late November-early December and I’m already done!

• Empty your coins

Carrying coins around with you can encourage bad habits because you don’t see spending them as significant as breaking a note, so you’ll buy those crisps from the vending machine, or splurge on an overpriced sandwich instead of eating the lunch you packed (packing lunches for work is also saving me a bomb!), so emptying your purse every day or week will save you more than you may realise.

Well, they work for me! What are your favourite saving hacks?