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How To Save Money: Six Tips To Help Your Bank Balance

Tips for Saving Money

So Christmas and New Year have left cobwebs in our wallets. Have you noticed yourself getting overly excited about finding a euro coin in you jeans pocket? Do ESB and Internet bills send shivers down your spine? Do you fear the end of the month when the landlord comes knocking? Never fear! Using my years of experience being poor, I have come up with a few pointers on how to save money so that your bank balance can start its road to recovery!

Step One: Bargain Websites/Facebbok Pages

So your landlord is coming in two weeks and your 50 euro short on rent, what do you do? Well I bet you have a load of old clothes/unwanted Christmas presents that you were planning on letting hibernate at the back of your wardrobe. Solution: Sell them! The internet is full of bargain websites and facebook pages where people can sell their unwanted items. Not only will you get some money but it will also help you clear out your unwanted stuff. Make sure it is a safe website though and you trust the person you are selling to. If you live in Galway I recommend the ‘Galway Official Online Jumble Sale’ facebook page. Link below!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/395947353779969/?ref=ts&fref=ts

Step Two: Smart Shopping

So the weekly food shop is leaving you strapped for cash. It might be time to rethink the way you buy your food. Start shopping in cheaper stores such as Aldi or Lidl, especially for your fresh fruit and veg. Buy off brand products that taste the same but cost much less. (I got off brand Bran Flakes for three euro cheaper yesterday!) Also look out for reduced sections in supermarkets. Many will be selling food that is close to their sell by date a lot cheaper than usual. It is a great way to bag a bargain!

Step Three: Buy Less, Cook More!

We are all tempted to go out for lunch every day when we are at work or college, but at the end of the day, it lands up costing us a small fortune. It is a lot cheaper to cook for yourself and bring meals with you than to spend up to ten euros a day on lunch. Make large dishes like Cottage Pie or Lasagne that you can split into portions and freeze. Most work places and colleges will have microwaves that you can use for free to heat them up. If not you can always prepare a salad or sandwich the night before to take with you. If you are too tired to cook when you get home most evenings, then prepare meals you can freeze at the weekend so you can just pop your dinner in the microwave or oven when you get home. 

Step Four: Stop Spending!

At the end of the day it is very simple: you will save money if you don’t spend it. If you have trouble with this there are a few ways to break the habit. First of all don’t take too much cash with you when you are in town with friends. Set yourself a limit and only carry that amount with you. If you are tempted by the ATM, know which ones will give you ten euro notes so you can avoid withdrawing large amounts. Also get into the mind set of saving your two euro coins. Have a piggy bank (preferably one that you cant get into without breaking it) and put all the two euro coins you come by into it. You will be surprised how much money you will gather from this simple trick! 

Step Five: Bring The Party To You!

Going out drinking and partying can be fun, but if it is done too much your money wont be around for long. Start inviting friends over for movie/game nights instead. If you still want to party then party at home! Alcohol will be a lot cheaper if you are splitting a bottle with a friend instead of paying around 5 euro per drink in a club. Watch out for the noise level though as you don’t want to annoy sleeping room mates or neighbors!

Step Six: Get The Electric Bill Down.

Electric bills can be the scariest thing to come through the letter box, so getting it as low as possible is a must. Here are a few things you can do to save electricity! If you only need hot water for a few dishes then boil the kettle instead of turning on the immersion. Take out the plugs and switch off the sockets you aren’t using. Make sure electrical items aren’t left on standby. Turn off the TV if no one is watching it. Dry your clothes on a clothes horse/washing line instead of tumble drying them. Don’t leave the immersion on for hours! Only leave it on for the amount of time it takes to heat the water you need. Don’t have the heating on when no one is in the house. Make sure you have energy saving light bulbs. If your immersion tank isn’t insulated than ask your landlord to insulate it for you. It will keep the heat in the tank for longer. 

So those are my handy tips on how to save money this year. I hope they help you save some money so you can treat yourself every now and then! I had a few more but I might save them for a future blog post. If you have any money saving ideas then let me know. I’d love to hear them!

 

So long for now!

-Vifa

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Why I Don’t Call Myself A Feminist

 

 

 

Feminism has been a touchy subject for a very long time so I want to make it very clear that these are my own views and opinions. I know people will probably disagree with a lot of what I have to say, and to those people I say; I understand. Everyone has a right to voice their own opinion, including me. So before you start writing your response to this I want you to remember a few things. 1.) My opinion has been formed through my own personal life experiences. 2.) I am not saying I am right, or that you are wrong. I am simply sharing my thoughts on the matter. 3.) The people I am talking about make up a very small percentage of people who call themselves feminists. I am in no way blaming all of them for the points I make. 4.) I don’t mind you disagreeing, in fact I encourage it. As long as you are polite and respectful of others then I will listen to you. Maybe you might even help me see things in a new light.

So what has put me off calling myself a feminist? Well my main answer to that is: I don’t really like what the idea of feminism has become. A few years ago I definitely would have described myself as a feminist. I wanted men and women to be treated equally in all countries of the world, in schools, in the work place and just generally in life. However the modern idea of feminism doesn’t seem to mean equality, it now seems to mean that women should have more rights than men, and that women can be looked down on for not doing the things that they were previously frowned upon for doing.

What exactly am I talking about? Well I’ll try to give you a few examples. For the longest time, women have been fighting for equality in the workplace.  Basically the idea that an equally qualified man and women would be paid the same amount of money for doing the same job and both be treated respectfully. To me that is what feminism wanted. However, now some work places are required to take on a certain amount of female staff (and a certain amount of staff of different nationalities but that’s a topic for another time). Now to me that is unfair. If a woman and a man go for the same job but maybe the man is more qualified than the woman or just generally more suited to it, then surely the man should get the job? Why should the man be refused for something he would be better at just because a company had to fill a quota? Yes the quota may be there to stop employers from being sexist when choosing employees, however consider this: if an entire company is filled with male workers because they were all more qualified than any of the women that applied then surely that is fair? The same goes for if a company was full if of female workers. If they were all more qualified and suited the job more than all of the male applicants then that should be fair.

 

That isn’t the only thing I find unfair in the modern workplace. These days women get maternity leave for obvious reasons. Now that is something I completely understand, and think that women completely deserve. However some businesses give next to no paternity leave for fathers. I find this wrong as both mothers and fathers deserve time to bond with their child. Now I understand that women’s bodies take time to heal after the experience of giving birth, especially if there are complications. However some places will give the same amount of maternity leave to a mother who used a surrogate or adopted. Again, I think this is fine as its more about the bonding experience and finding a routine. However what if two gay men used a surrogate or adopted a child? Don’t they both deserve the chance to bond with their child and find their own routine? Doesn’t any father whether their partner is male or female?

So in my opinion the workplace is not yet perfect for women OR men. I will admit though that it has come a long way, and is definitely taking steps in the right direction.

 

The other point I mentioned was the way some feminists look down on women who do things that was once expected of them. One of the things that really gets to me are women who are looked down on for wanting to be housewives/stay at home mothers. Yes, it is a stereotypical job, but it is a job that some women still want to do. I may work now but in the future when I have kids of my own, I would like to be a stay at home mother until my youngest child is in school. Childcare costs a lot these days and personally I would like to raise my children myself and not send them off to at a crèche. I have nothing against these types of places, I think they are wonderful things, it is just not something I personally want to do. I don’t look down on mothers who work, sometimes they just don’t have the option of staying at home as they may have to work to support their family. I don’t in any way feel that they are abandoning their children by choosing to work. I don’t judge them for making that choice so why should some people get to judge me for the choice I want to make. I want to look after my children myself, I want to cook for my family and I want to do the housework. It doesn’t mean I’ll be locked in the kitchen all day, it doesn’t mean I can only identify myself as a mother and a wife, and it isn’t being forced upon me so what is the problem? Men who do so can be seen as “gay” or “unmanly” and now women are being looked down upon for doing it. There doesn’t seem to be a winner.

 

Now I know people have very strong views on the following topic so I will try my best to make you understand what I’m trying to say. Writing about this topic scares me to death so please read it carefully and don’t jump to conclusions. If you don’t understand what my views are please ask me before ranting that I am pro-female rape.

 

A big thing that feminists have been fired up about is the idea that if you dress too provocatively, then you deserve to be raped, because you were asking for it. Now before I continue this point I want to say NO-ONE DESERVES TO BE RAPED. It is a horrible experience that can traumatize you for life, and anyone who is guilty of it can rot in hell. However I will say this, girls who dress provocatively are not asking for it, but they are not helping themselves either. Everyone has the right to dress how they want but it is a known fact that the less you wear the more of a target you are. Some people will assume that you are a slut and that you are easy to get into bed. Someone might start buying you drinks until you are so drunk that you don’t know what’s happening. I’m not saying that a girl in a cardigan wont have this happen to her, but girls in more provocative clothes are more likely to be targeted by these horrible people. I think that this is what the majority of people are trying to say, but some feminists will say, that people who think this are telling women they can’t wear what they want, and that they are asking to get raped. Again, this is not what I’m saying. If women want to dress in revealing clothes then go right ahead, but be aware of the dangers of doing so.

 

While on the subject of rape, I want to address something that I think angers me the most about a small percentage of feminists. That is, the idea that men can’t be raped or, don’t go through as bad of an experience as women when they are raped. To me, this is absolutely ridiculous. Rape happens and it is awful no matter what gender you are. At the end of the day you are being sexually violated and that is the same for both genders. A male will feel just as violated, scared and vulnerable as any female that has this horrible thing happen to them.

 

I could keep writing this blog for days but I think I’ll stick with the few examples I have given. I think women who fight for equality are amazing people, and that the female gender has a lot to thank them for. However the idea of feminism is slowly being tarnished for me by a small group of so-called “feminists” that are ruining it for everyone. At the end of the day these people are taking it too far and making the idea of feminism laughable amongst men and women. So that is why I no longer refer to myself as a feminist. I suppose if I had to put a label on it I would call myself an equalist because that is what I want, equality. I think it is something the whole world should keep fighting for and strive to achieve.

 

 

 

 

 

-Vifa

 

P.S   This may be badly written as I found it difficult to get my point across with some of the topics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Little Piece About Love

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Love has alway interested me. It’s a powerful thing that can both fulfill us and destroy us, make us laugh and make us cry, make us content with the small things that we have, and make us do crazy things we never usually would have considered. Plutarch thought that love was a madness that overcame us in a fleeting moment that would ruin our lives, Shakespeare made us think that love could conquer anything, and Catullus thought that a life without love is not worth living. All these different views on love have been expressed throughout history with poetry, plays, novels, music, movies, television and art. Humanity has used any medium within its reach to show its opinions on love and didn’t really care if people agreed with them or not. Though people nowadays say the world is in a terrible place, full of hate and violence and greed the world has still held on to love. Even those who fill their life with hate cannot escape love, even if all they think they love is their hate.

By studying English for most of my life I have come across many views on love, and though I find some of them completely unfathomable, I admit that love is one of the most powerful and meaningful things a person can ever experience. However many of the ways we come to learn about romantic love can make our understanding of it blurred, making it easily confused with gratitude, attraction and idolisation. One thing I don’t believe in is “love at first sight” in a romantic sense. I believe that when a mother or father holds their child for the first time that they can love that child undoubtedly from that moment onwards, but as for romantic love I believe that love must grow over time.

People can say that they love someone two weeks into a relationship but may not actually mean it for another two years. I understand that some people wear their heart on their sleeve, I wouldn’t say I’m far from being one of those people, but I think that true, meaningful love, can take a year or even more to truly mature. Now people may think of me as a hypocrite as my boyfriend and I said the “L” world within a few weeks of our romantic relationship, however this is my example of the exception to the rule: “Friendships before Relationships”.

A good number of people will find love from their friendships. Sometimes a friendship that started off innocent will slowly grow into something more, sometimes friendships are made because of the initial attractions people have between each other, and sometimes one of the people in the friendship will develop romantic feelings for the other, but it takes a while for the feelings to be reciprocated. However it happens, I find that a friendship can turn into love surprisingly easily with the right people. The thing about love is that more often than not you will never see it coming, but to me that is one of the best parts about it.

So by now you probably think I’m a huge romantic who spends her day reading Romeo and Juliet non stop with a box of tissues and a bar of dairy milk. Well, I’ll take the chocolate but Romeo and Juliet, in my opinion, is a terrible love story. It brings me to the point of “Young Love” also known as “Puppy Love”.

What most people don’t realise when reading “the most romantic love story ever told” is that Juliet is under the age of thirteen when the story is told, her father even admitting that she is too young for love and marriage (and that was saying something in those times). The idea that the couple were so in love that they literally could not live without each other, and died because of it is a little ridiculous. Now I know most thirteen year old girls think that their relationships are totes gona last 4eva xx but realistically they will probably be over in a year tops. I’m not saying that young teenagers can’t feel love for someone romantically, but 9/10 times its going to be “Puppy Love”. The thing is that even if you love someone at that age, neither of you will be the same in ten years time. You are at that stage in life where you personality and interests change every ten minutes and by the time you reach 25, you most likely will have matured into a very different version of yourself.

However, I think that young love is a wonderful thing. It prepares you for the real deal and helps you realise a lot of things about yourself and what you want. It is an important experience to have but don’t be like Juliet and kill yourself over it. Trust me, you will laugh at your young relationships when you are older and wonder what the hell you were thinking, crying over that boy or girl for two weeks.

I believe that everyone will find that special someone whether they find it at 19, 29 or 59, but before you do, you should appreciate the other kinds of love you have around you. Whether its the love you get from your family, your friends, your dog, the kind stranger that ran after you when you dropped your purse on the street, or the waitress that always gives you extra cream in your coffee. Cherish it, and remember that though the world is full of poverty, war and greed, love is everywhere. Though it can sometimes cause us pain and we wish it was never there, it is still out there and I doubt it will ever leave us.

-Vifa

Inspired by Formosus, the logical romantic.