This week for Finance Friday I’m talking about Emergency Funds. Each week I’ll receive at least 1 or 2 queries on Emergency Funds – what they are and why we need them.
Simply put, an Emergency Fund is money that you have saved to help you cover the unplanned. It can help you with anything from the car needing a new part to an unexpected loss of income.
The savvy finance folks will typically recommend that your Emergency Fund should have 3 to 6 months Living Expenses. But it’s important to remember that they are describing a fully funded Emergency Fund when they say this. As usual, I can only tell you what I’ve done from my experience so here is what I did…
When I made my plan to start attacking my debt, I first saved €1000 to my Emergency Fund. For me, this meant that I felt confident enough to start throwing what I could to my debt, knowing I had money there to fall back on should I need it. It also meant that I would have no need to use my credit card and further increase that debt figure. It was my secure lifeline.
Now that I am debt free, I have increased this to 3 month’s living expenses. I figure that if I were to lose my job, it would probably take at least 6 weeks to find a similar job, and a further 6 week contingency to find ‘a’ job. At this time, I feel my job is secure, but if I felt that changing I would increase to 5 or 6 months expenses. Remember this is Living Expenses and not full Salary.
The important thing to remember with Emergency Funds is to keep the money separate from your current account and away from temptation. It’s also important to remember that if you need to use funds from this account; that you need to replenish them from upcoming income. Of course it goes without saying that if you can’t manage €3000, aim for €1000; if you can’t manage €1000, aim for €500.
I’ve included an image I made a long time ago when I talked about Emergency Funds – but the message remains the same.
Let me know if you have any questions on Emergency Funds!
This week for Thursday Throwbacks we are looking at the pinnacle of every secondary school student’s final year – The Debs!
The Irish Debs was such a major night for us all – for many of us, it was our first big formal event without our parents. We were dressed to the nines, having a few drinks and a nice meal with school friends we hadn’t seen since the Leaving Cert exams.
👗Who will I ask….Will he ask me….
👗Will anyone else have my dress…
👗What way will I do my hair…
👗Pre-Drinks and awkward photos with the family, and sometimes the neighbours…
👗Trying to gather everyone at the school for the group photo…
👗Toss-up between the luxury limo or the craic on the bus…
👗Who had too many Bacardi Breezers before the meal was even served…
👗Did they come together…
👗Wearing the tux jacket for the trip home…
👗Who’s staying up for breakfast…
👗Sharing the bus ride home with “adults” going to work…
👗Going to get the photos developed after a few hours’ sleep…
This week for Wellbeing Wednesday, I have been more than inspired to talk about Fitness. This week C from @financially_fit_and_healthy shared a post about her non-scale victories. For those not following along (yet!), C is walking her way to health and bringing us all along on the journey!
In this post, she talked about things like more energy, sleeping better and one of my personal faves; less snoring! It was the post I needed to see…and then as if by magic yesterday she shared a post saying ‘My hope is that someone sees my page and decides not to give up.’ Well C, I see it and I’m IN!
I have never been a gym bunny – more akin to a gym sloth! But over the years I’ve maintained a moderate level of fitness – mostly through walking and eating carefully. But in the last few years all I have been doing is going through phases of being fit & healthy – it comes in spurts and goes just as quick.
I’ve tried all the fad diets, spent a nice bit of money on them too – along with gym membership etc. But now I feel like I’m ready to take on my fitness and diet in the same manner as I’ve tackled my money management.
I’ll track my walking, active hours and water intake. I’ll plan healthy meals and make better snack choices. I’ll explore free activities like skipping and at home classes. I’ll check in regularly with weight, measurements and my health. I’ll focus on my end goal to keep me motivated.
Just like paying off debt, I’ll have to understand that changes won’t happen overnight. But I feel I’m now in a place where I can give this a great go.
I’ll share some bits & pieces on here as I go. So thank you C – there may be a large ocean between us, but you have somehow managed to tap into my brain and get me motivated to address this once and for all!!
This week on Choose-Day Tuesday we are talking about Own Brand products.
I was chatting to someone recently and I was saying that almost 90% of what we buy in the supermarket is own brand. I think I’m so absorbed in this amazing Irish Debt Free Community, because the reaction was not what I expected! It was less ‘wow go you’ and more ‘should we set up a gofund me page for you’
Coffee, teabags, pasta, passata, mayo, ketchup, crisps, jellies, rice, crackers, milk, toilet roll, washing powder, washing up liquid….the list goes on – we have made so many switches to own brand products and saved a small fortune along the way. I switch to own brand where it makes sense – we need to like it and there needs to be a saving.
This week for Monday Meals we’ll take a look at a quick and easy Paella recipe. I love Paella as you can use it a great way to throw in extra veg, leftover meat or fish and you can feed a large group for very few ingredients. I have in the past followed some very expensive recipes, but this one is just as tasty and you don’t need to buy expensive saffron!
Ingredients (adjust quantities depending on how many will be eating)
– Chicken – Chorizo – Prawns (if you like, most times I do without) – Paella Rice – Onion – Red Pepper – Frozen Peas – Passata – Sugar – Chicken Stock – Paprika
You can use leftover chicken for this too – just pop in before you add the stock.
Also, if you can’t find Paella rice, Arborio is a good substitute that may be more easily available.
1. Fry your cubed Chicken & Chorizo 2. Add your chopped Onion to the pan and sauté 3. Then add your chopped Red Pepper 4. Add in a nice handful of Frozen Peas 5. Add your Rice 6. Add Passata, along with a small bit of Sugar 7. Cover with Chicken Stock 8. Add Paprika – I use both smoked and normal 9. Give it all a nice stir and then let it bubble away 10. Try to resist stirring too often 11. When the liquid has evaporated, and your rice is al dente, you’re good to go!
(If you’re adding Prawns, I add them a few minutes before serving)
*Pic is from my last Paella in Spain…just to bring some sunny joy!
Enjoy this and let me know if you try it! What do you like in a Paella? Have you any tips?
This week for Finance Friday we’re going to chat about Sinking Funds. These are simply a method of saving the money you need for once-off, annual or irregular spending events. To be honest, I’ve always just referred to these as Saving Pots/Funds, but it’s a good idea to use the term Sinking Funds so you can differentiate them from other big saving funds such as House Deposit or Emergency Fund.
The idea with Sinking Funds is that you assess what you need to save for and work out the total amount needed. You can use multiple accounts or something like Revolut vaults for each Sinking Fund or you can save in one account and track the amounts separately. I use Revolut vaults for mine.
When it comes to actually saving the amounts, you can choose to pay a regular amount to each, each month, ensuring you have the money available as you need it. Or you can choose to fill up each Sinking Fund over a specified number of months. How you choose to manage your funds is up to you – don’t let anyone that isn’t living your exact life tell you there’s a right or a wrong way! There are pros and cons to each way, just a matter of assessing which would work best for you.
The Sinking Funds I currently have are:
🚗 Car (Insurance, Service, Tax, NCT)
🏠 House (Household items, Insurance, Bins)
🌞 Holidays (Remember them?!)
🎄 Christmas (Gifts, Food, Decorations)
🎈 Birthdays (Gifts)
🎁 Occasions (Nights out, gifts)
⚕ Medical (Lenses, Prescriptions)
📱 Phone (For the day my phone gives up on me!)
Do you have Sinking Funds? Or do you need to know anything more about them?
Today’s Thursday Throwback we’re looking at 90’s Teen Magazines!! Back in the day, we had no Internet or social media to find out what our favourite celebs were up to. We bought our favourite magazines to catch up on the latest from Robbie Williams or to learn how to catch the eye of that boy from down the road!!!
It’s no wonder at all where all my pocket money went – I had to find the best posters for my wall and the best stickers for my pencil case! Have a trip down memory lane and enjoy these covers from…
Live and Kicking
Let me know which was your favourite! Or have I missed one that you used to love?
For today’s Wellbeing Wednesday, I’m talking about walking. Walking is free, accessible and healthy for body and mind. And free! Did I mention that?!
We are so lucky in Ireland – we have the most beautiful places to walk. Places we can feel safe and where we can immerse ourself in nature.
Today I walked to the top of a mountain and to the bottom of a cave. I breathed the freshest of air. There was no pandemic, no social media, no work and zero hustle or bustle.
Of course you don’t have to climb a mountain every day! But 30 minutes walk, at your own pace, every day can make the world of difference to your health, your mood and your mind. Plus…did I mention it’s free?!
I sometimes find it hard to find the motivation, especially on the colder days. I remind myself how good I’ll feel when its done and I find if I’m tracking my steps, I’m more inclined to head on out. What do you do to motivate yourself to head out for a walk?
For this week’s Choose-Day Tuesday I’m looking back to the time I saved €624 a year by switching my mobile phone plan!
Like so many of us I used to be in a cycle of taking out long contracts with providers so I could get the latest and greatest phone. Last year I was counting down the days until I could finally get out of contract and bid a fond farewell to Vodafone and an even fonder farewell to paying €60 a month!
I did my research on the best plan for my area and, lo and behold, it was the cheapest plan too!
I went with 48.ie – at the time it was €7.99 a month for 100GB and Unlimited Calls & Texts. It is now €10.99 a month. They operate off the Three network, and offer all sorts of nice things like sharing data with friends or gifting a month’s plan to a pal.
I signed up on their site, the SIM arrived within a few days – in a compostable pack 👌 They offer 1GB free without you having to pay a penny – to check out the 4G coverage and check it all works.
My number ported really quickly and the service is great. I haven’t had one issue with it and the coverage is superb. They also offer a great referral scheme – link is in my bio if you’re looking to switch; we each get a month free!
I’m absolutely delighted with my switch – annoyed that I’ve paid so much money to Vodafone over the years, with a regrettable reluctance to change. My new yearly bill will be €96 – for a better plan too! Have you changed phone plans and saved a fortune too? Let me know!
This week on Monday Meals I’m going to share a recipe for a delicious Sweet and Sour. I made this for dinner lastnight so its fresh in my mind!
You can use prawns, chicken or even pork for this dish. I just love it with breaded chicken balls from my local butchers. I always serve with long grain rice. Chips on the side if we’re feeling hungry!
Sweet & Sour Sauce 🍗🍤Cook your choice of meat or protein separately and add it to the sauce at the end 🥕🫑Add in any veg you want to use up – I love it with onions, baby corns and water chestnuts but sometimes use carrots, broccoli, sugar snaps – whatever I have and want to use.
Ingredients: -1 carton of Passata -2 Garlic Cloves, minced -1 Red Chili, chopped finely -2tbsp White Rice Vinegar -1 can 7up Free -Splash of Orange Miwadi -1 tbsp Soy Sauce -1 tsp of Ginger -1 tsp Thai 7 Spice (or Chinese 5 spice or even Spice Bag seasoning)
Method: 1. Fry your veg for a few minutes and then remove from the heat 2. Now use the pan to make your sauce! 3. Add in all of the ingredients and let simmer for about 15 minutes 4. If you feel your sauce needs to be thicker, add a teaspoon of Cornflour mixed with a little warm water 5. Add in your meat/protein and your veg. 6. Serve with rice. Enjoy!