Welcome to the Lylia Rose UK money and lifestyle blog. My name is Victoria Sully. I'm a busy mum of two, wife, full-time blogger and online money-maker who’s always trying to make and save more money. I’m passionate about making money online, healthy living and blogging. I’m a mama on a mission to be healthier and wealthier! Please join me on my journey.
Whist many of us are aware that we need to have a yearly MOT check to ensure our cars are legally roadworthy, there are plenty of checks we can do ourselves to ensure our cars stay in top condition. A yearly car service is optional, but highly recommended to flag up any issues and to change filters and fluids. Both the MOT and a service will ensure your car runs optimally, however one thing that we can keep an eye on ourselves to ensure fuel efficiency and prevent breakdowns are the tyres.
It’s always a great idea to learn how to check the tyres ourselves on our cars. This will save us costly garage fees and breakdown costs associated with inadequate tyres. It will also ensure our cars are safe and roadworthy in-between MOT tests and servicing, particularly if you use your car on a daily basis.
Here are some of the ways you can cut costs and maintain your car’s tyres:
Replace worn tyres
If your tyres look worn and tired, then they probably are. Don’t drive with worn-out tyres. It’s not safe, legal or fuel efficient. You have two options for getting new tyres – either online or in-store:
· Order new tyres online
If you need to replace your car tyres then it could be a lot cheaper to source them online. With so many online options and companies competing for your business, you could find a really great deal compared to buying in-store. Plus there’s the availability of online voucher codes and cashback to reduce your purchase even more. You can order tyres online from Elite Direct Rainham Essex Branch and many other online retailers. Just remember to factor in delivery costs when working out the cheapest option for you.
· Haggle in-store
If you are buying in-store then don’t always go for the first price you are offered. Ring around a few tyre garages and ask for a quote for your tyres and fitting (if you need them to be fitted professionally). Share the best price you receive with each garage to see if they can beat it. Many garages will want your business and will be prepared to make a deal so you don’t go elsewhere.
Keep your tyres inflated
It’s really easy to inflate your own tyres at home with a tyre pump that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket. These cost as little as £10-£20 and mean you can do it wherever you are or without leaving home. This will save the cost of driving to a garage or fuel station and paying each time your tyres need more air.
Driving with deflated tyres increases the risk of a burst tyre and increases the risk causing of an accident. If you over inflate them you will have less traction on the road. You should regularly check the tyre pressure is correct as this will improve fuel efficiency by up to 3%.
To find the correct tyre pressure for your car, simply search online for a tyre pressure checker, enter your car registration and see the recommended pressures. The figures may be different for the front and back tyres.
Check the tread
Whilst new tyres might seem costly, it’s going to be a lot cheaper than driving around with tyres under the legal minimum tread depth. The minimum legal depth is 1.6mm, but you’ll want to change once you’re nearing this. In bad weather you’ll want to change your tyres once the tread reaches 3mm to ensure your car is safe in wet conditions.
You can use a 20 pence piece to measure the tread on your car by yourself. Place the 20p into the tread groove of your tyre. If the outer band of the 20p piece is covered then your tread depth is sufficient. However, if you can see the outer band then your tyres may not be legal and need to be checked immediately by a professional.
Learn how to change a tyre
Whilst you want to go to a garage to change the tyre properly and professionally to ensure the wheel alignment and everything else is perfect, it’s still a good idea to be able to change a tyre yourself. If you wake up to a flat tyre then it’s going to cost a pretty penny for a tow truck to take you to a garage. If you are able to learn to change a tyre yourself then you’ll be able to switch the damaged tyre for the spare and get yourself to a garage.
Check for objects
It’s good practice to check your tyres regularly for objects that may be stuck in them. These can cause slow punctures or even worse, a full on puncture whilst driving. It’s important to address any objects you do find by seeking professional help with a tyre specialist.
A good look at your tyres once in a while will show if you have any objects stuck in them. If you find anything, such as a nail, embedded in the tyre then the best advice is to leave it there. It is probably plugging the gap for now and it may be safer for you to leave it there whilst you drive to your nearest tyre centre.
How to save money by maintaining your car tyres
Keeping your car tyres in good nick will keep you safe, but it will also save you money. Here’s why:
No costly breakdowns or recovery – Under-inflated tyres can cause blow outs, objects in tyres can cause punctures and too little tread is not safe in bad weather. Driving in any of these circumstances can increase the likelihood of a breakdown which will result in recovery and breakdown expenses.
Better fuel efficiency – Under-inflated tyres increases your fuel consumption!
Invalid insurance – If your tyres are not roadworthy or legal then your insurance policy will be invalid in the event of an accident.
Spot other problems – Uneven wear on tyres can flag other car issues like an issue with the suspension. Noticing these signs could prevent some major repairs or breakdowns in the future.
Avoid fines for illegal tyre tread – There’s a £2500 fine per tyre that is below legal tread depth if caught. That’s £10,000 if all four tyre treads are less than 1.6mm.
Keeping your car tyres roadworthy will ensure your safety and save money at the same time.
One question I see raised time and again about matched betting is whether it affects a mortgage application. In this blog post I am going to explore my own experience of applying for a mortgage whilst being a matched bettor.
Our fixed deal was coming to an end and so we applied for a new mortgage at the end of last year to lock in a great new fixed rate. It was the first time I had applied for a mortgage since starting matched betting two years ago and so I was slightly nervous to whether matched betting affected my credit score and if my mortgage application would be denied.
Will matched betting affect my credit score?
I’d read plenty of online guides saying that matched betting won’t show up on your credit report. Online bookies do a soft search on your credit file, but nothing that a mortgage lender can see. Phew.
Still, I wasn’t 100% sure how true everything I read online was, so I was still really nervous putting through our mortgage application. What if it was all lies?! J
One thing I did know about mortgage applications already, having previously been through the whole process, is that they want copies of around three months’ worth of banks statements. I guess this is so they can see what’s coming in and out. It proves your incoming income and also shows how you manage your money and where your expenditure goes.
Should I stop matched betting if I want a mortgage?
Some people suggest stopping matched betting before applying for a mortgage, but I followed a better idea which was to open a separate bank account. Not only that, but I recommend opening a separate bank account with a different bank, just to be safe!
I have a ‘matched betting’ bank account with a bank separate to where all my main current accounts are for incoming salaries and bills. I kept totally shush about this bank account during the mortgage application and only shared statements of my main current account where all the normal household activity is, as well as my credit cards.
Keep a totally separate matched betting bank account
I’d also not recommend transferring money from your main bank account to your matched betting one. We transfer money to our savings account each month and also both our children’s savings accounts from our main account. The mortgage lender wanted to see statements from all the different accounts that we had been transferring money to for the past three months! Madness! We were never asked this when we first applied for a mortgage around five years ago. I just thought it was super nosey!
Luckily I never transferred any money into my matched betting account or else I would have been rumbled!
Do mortgage lenders even care if you are matched betting?
I’m not sure whether lenders would accept matched betting as an excuse when they see an entire bank account only with transactions to and from online bookies, but I didn’t want to risk it.
And to be honest, they might not even care. It’s not up to them how you spend your own money; rather they are looking to judge whether you are capable of paying back their loan. If they think you have a gambling addiction then I expect this could be a problem, but of course I’m not an expert.
I, myself, simply didn’t want to take any risks of having my mortgage application denied because I’m a matched bettor.
I did panic when our application and all our copied of statements were sent off, that they’d somehow be able to see I had another current account at another bank and they’d demand to see it!
My mortgage application was accepted even though I am a matched bettor
As you can imagine, I was very relieved when I got the call to say everything had been accepted and our new mortgage was going through! Phew!
So, to roundup, here is what I did. I have no idea if the banks really care or whether this helped hide my matched betting from the mortgage lender, but I’d still do it the same way in the future, just in case!
Keep a separate bank account for matched betting
Have that bank account with a different bank
Don’t transfer any money from your main bank account to or from your matched betting account
Don’t mention matched betting or the account when applying for the mortgage
Do not include matched betting earnings as part of your income on your application
Only use matched betting to make a profit and keep records of this (if they had seen the account then I had proof I used it as a money-making venture only)
And finally, what is matched betting?
Matched betting is a way of making a profit from the free bet offers that bookies regularly present. In short, you cover all outcomes in order to extract a profit from the free bet.
It sounds complicated at first and I started without fully understanding it myself, but I simply followed all the instructions on Profit Accumulator to a T and was amazed I made profit. Over time I figured out how it worked.
Matched betting is a great way to make some extra income on the side in exchange for some of your time. I made around £1500 in the first couple of months as the sign up offers are really profitable. You can then continue to make money with reload offers, but they’re not quite as lucrative. In two years I made over £5000 doing it on the side, sometimes for only half hour a week depending on the availability of offers. Not sure it’s legit? It was featured in The Guardian here.
This is the company I use and recommend if you want to try matched betting:
If you need a job or want to start up a business, but would rather not spend hours commuting to work, then you’ll want to look into flexible contracts and remote jobs instead. Flexible work at home jobs are perfect for parents that want to choose hours to suit so they can also deal with household chores and even look after children at the same time, or at least plan the day around school, nursery, childcare and nap times.
The job market is full of offers, but you should not always fall for the hype or the scams. If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Do your research and make sure the company is legit. There are many businesses that you can start without an investment, and there are companies that hire remote workers, so you don’t have to take unnecessary risks.
Virtual assistant tasks
If you have an admin background, are extremely organised and have experience in using different software, then you might think about getting a job as a virtual assistant. You will need to differentiate yourself in the marketplace which is full of busy mums and semi-retired people, but you will make it if you find a way to stand out. You have to showcase your skills and expertise to get people to trust you. Building up trust and a reputable portfolio in any profession is a great way to land clients. Once you have clients and your work is proven then you can ask for testimonials to share on your website to land even more clients.
Social media management
If you are looking to improve your skills as a blogger or simply help businesses grow, the best route for you to go down is offering social media management services. You will have to gain industry knowledge and become skilled at digital marketing automation, but the value you will provide to your clients will be worth it. Most business owners are too busy getting things done and would rather outsource their social media projects to someone reliable and more knowledgeable than themselves. There are lots of online courses in this area to equip you with the skills you need if you don’t already have them already.
If you have a degree in digital marketing, or you’re always interested in how to engage with people online, then you may wish to become a digital marketing expert to help clients reach their target audience. If you don’t yet have the experience then you can look for available positions on metmarketing.co.uk where you can find out about the industry requirements and training available. You might even find an entry level role that allows you to learn and develop your skills on the job.
Those coming from the administrative and finance background may get more job satisfaction and flexibility working from their home office. As long as you have a decent computer or laptop and a reliable internet connection, you can work as an accountant from your own home. It’s possible to even create projects and collaborate with your clients using cloud technology without ever leaving your home.
You can certainly make money blogging, but it will not happen overnight. You will need to be patient and consistent. There are plenty of ways you can monetise your blog, such as selling your freelance services, adding affiliate links, and selling your own information products. Updates and reader interaction, as well as your social media integration will help you rank your blog higher in search engines and connect you with your target market. There are lots of ways to make money blogging and if you are serious about doing this as a career choice then you simply need to get started and begin working on content creation, building an audience and developing your social media accounts.
Nowadays there are lots of different ways to work from home whether you are employed or self-employed. With some hard work and dedication, the possibilities are endless.
A question I see debated a lot online is ‘should couples get joint bank accounts?’ The idea of combining finances with your other half can be quite a scary thought to some. For my husband and I we decided to share a bank account once we were married, had two children and owned a house together. It just made financial sense. It is traditional for married couples to get joint bank accounts, but many people argue the key to a happy relationship is separate finances.
I’ll be honest with you - we also have separate bank accounts too. So really, my answer is both. The key to our happy marriage is to have both a joint bank account and separate bank accounts too.
I’m totally in favour of a joint bank account for organisation of family finances. Read on to see how we manage our finances as a married couple with children and why I believe financial honesty is important.
It was never about money
When Ben and I got together we were roughly on the same wage. I think Ben made around £1000 more than me per year. I regularly did overtime, so I expect I probably made more because of this. Our relationship never has been and never will be based on income.
That said, I would never have dated someone who was unemployed through choice with no motivation to get a job, but that’s simply because I know we would not share the same interests and future goals. But if Ben had earned half as much as me then it wouldn’t have mattered. I believe he would have felt the same vice-versa. Income wasn’t a deciding factor for either of us when it came to choosing a partner.
There’s actually a funny money story about our second date. Ben invited me to his house for a romantic meal one night after work. We worked at the same company so we left my car at work and took his. He needed to pick up some ingredients on the way home. I went in to the supermarket with him and rather embarrassingly, for him, his card was declined at the checkout! I found it quite comical and offered to pay for the ingredients. It turned out he had maxed out his overdraft!
I think from this experience we both knew we weren’t with each other for money!
Deciding to open a joint bank account
Despite Ben’s date disaster in the first couple of weeks we were together, our relationship thrived and we ended up married with two children and bought a home together, all in the first four years of our relationship! Things progressed very quickly and even though we had separate bank accounts until we got married, we have always been very open and honest about our financial situations and earnings to make money decisions together. There was no other way for our relationship to work so well.
Before we were married and had children we had separate bank accounts and we never really considered having a joint account. It was strange really as we always shared all our money anyway. We always discussed finances and if Ben ran out and needed money then I’d give him some and likewise he would for me. We were always shifting money between our accounts and having to ask each other how much money we had, which bills had gone out and so on to see where we were financially all the time.
We never had money left at the end of the month and honestly, it was a bit of a shambles. Ben had all the bills going out of his account and I had no clue how much any of them were. I constantly had to ask.
Once we bought our house together and had two children, we decided to write a will. It was at this point it was suggested to have a joint bank account to make everything easier if one of us died. I can’t remember the exact details, but if Ben had died and all the bills were going out of his account, then it would have been slightly complicated for me to get access to the account. A type of hassle you really don’t need if your husband dies.
This planted the seed and we decided it was probably a good idea to open a joint bank account for all our wages to go into and all of our bills out of. Combining all our finances suddenly seemed to make sense. If it didn’t work out then we’d revert back to separate accounts, or even just keep one main joint account for bills and separate the rest.
How we’ve benefitted from a joint bank account
Luckily, the joint account has been a success! It’s been around three or four years since we opened a joint account and it makes our lives so much easier. Well, it makes Ben’s life so much easier!
I don’t think Ben was ever particularly good at the budgeting, nor did he enjoy it. In fact I don’t think he budgeted at all. He was happy for me to just take over the money side of things and create a monthly budget.
It was easiest for Ben to add me to his account as all the direct debits for the house were already set up here, so I was added as a joint account holder to his existing bank account. I was able to see how much all of our bills were and see where we were spending. I created a spreadsheet for our incomings and outgoings to see exactly what we had left at the end of each month.
Now I manage all the finances, but Ben obviously can still access them too and has his own card. I update our spreadsheet as bills go out and we put a lump sum into our joint savings each month. Before sharing an account we had no savings at all. Ben would never keep an eye on our incomings or outgoings - we’d just constantly spend at the supermarket willy-nilly without ever knowing how much money we ever had. Like I said, it was previously a shambles.
Now we have a joint account we can both see what is coming in and what is going out. We can hold each other accountable and we don’t spend money unnecessarily. It’s enabling us to build some savings and be more careful with our money. We previously shared our money anyway, so a joint account makes our finances a lot easier to manage.
Having separate spending money
At first we never had separate spending money as we were doing up our home. We still are doing up our home, but in those first couple of years every spare penny we had went on the house. This meant we had no spending money really, but as time went on and we started spending less on the house Ben said he wanted spending money.
He wanted to be able to buy himself something for lunch at work if he so desired, or grab himself some clothes or tools without having to ask all the time. This was totally fair enough and even though I felt a bit guilty of having spending money for ourselves at first, and not just the family as a whole, I decided it was a good idea.
After paying the bills, budgeting for fuel and food, and putting a chunk into our savings, we decided the rest would be split three ways as spending money for the family, Ben and me. Our own spending money is ours to do what we want with – we can spend it, save it, whatever we like with no judgement on each other for what it’s spent on. It’s our own personal allowance!
It might sound silly as most adults have their own money and do with it what they wish, which we did pre-kids and pre-house, but our money responsibilities changed once we had these things. Now we have some money to spend on ourselves again each month there is a slight feeling of guilt, but also it’s so exciting on payday, like how a child feels getting their pocket money!
For this reason, Ben opened his own bank account. At first we were both having cash, but Ben often buys tools and DIY bits and pieces online, so he wanted to be able to pay by card. Of course he could use our card, but he is terrible at tracking how much he is spending when making lots of little purchases and would have no idea how much money he had left. It’s been easier to just pay ourselves an allowance each month that is separate from the joint bank account.
So as well as having a joint bank account, we now have separate bank accounts too for our own individual spending money from what is left over after all bills, savings and family expenses each month.
What’s mine is yours
For our finances to work how they do, we have to see each other as equal. We share our money regardless of how much the other one earns. At the moment we earn a similar wage again so it isn’t a big deal. I do wonder if that will ever change if one of us earns a lot more, but I like to think it wouldn’t. I’m sure if my wage doubled then I’d still be happy to share this equally between us all.
Obviously we haven’t always earned the same. We did in the beginning and now we are close again. But having had two children my financial family contributions dropped drastically at times.
We had our first child only 16 months after our relationship started, so quite quickly we had to deal with me being on maternity leave and then making the decision for me not to return to work. Instead I worked a part time job whilst trying to start my own business at home.
Even though Ben was earning a lot more than me at this point, we still always shared all our money. I never felt like this was unfair as I provided full time care for our baby whilst Ben worked. I then worked in the evenings as much as possible. We saw it as an equal partnership.
I also worked hard to start my own business and over the next couple of years I ended up working two more part time jobs to supplement our income when needed, especially after having our second child.
Giving up my job meant I lost a lot of benefits such as a workplace pension, pay rises and climbing up the career ladder. Of course I could have kept that job, but we’d have been more financially worse off than me getting a part-time minimum wage job, due to full-time childcare costs. It made more sense for me to quit my full-time job and be a stay-at-home mum to our daughter in the daytimes and work an evening job outside of my husband’s work hours. This meant we avoided childcare costs and actually got to retain all the money I was earning.
Now we have a three year old and a six year old and I’m self-employed which gives me the flexibility to work around nursery, pre-school, school hours and school holidays. I make a commitment to the family doing this and so if Ben earns slightly more than me then that’s his commitment to the family. We are still in an equal partnership.
I have finally started to save money for a pension for myself now I’m in my thirties and this is the first pension savings I’ve ever had. I’ve definitely missed out on a few years of starting to build a pension in an employed role and so Ben is much better off than me pension-wise as he has a workplace pension. I’ve also taken a big step back on the career ladder and would have to start from scratch if I needed to enter the employed workforce again. (Please note, there are lots of different types of pensions and it’s important to know that the value of your pension can go down as well as up and you may get back less than has been paid in. Do always check the terms and conditions for any pensions you are signing up for.)
For all these reasons we see ourselves as equal when it comes to finances. We will share our bank accounts with each other, our pensions, savings and our debts.
Honesty is the best policy
I’ve read online articles before that claim some people keep a secret bank account from their partner and some women even have a runaway fund! Personally I find that a little bit crazy. As far as I’m aware my husband and I have no secret bank accounts from each other, well at least I don’t. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t either as we are very open about our money with all our wages going into the shared bank account on payday.
I read an article in the Daily Mail once and the writer said ‘few marriages would survive if both parties were completely honest about finance.’ I totally disagree. I think it’s important to be honest about money in a marriage and that it’s something you both need to be on the same page with.
Of course everyone will spend money on some things that the other wouldn’t. Ben would never spend money on beauty treatments, the same as I wouldn’t think of spending mine on tools. But for the bigger picture I think for a relationship to be successful then you need to share roughly the same spending and saving goals or it will never work.
I once read a quote along the lines of the key to a happy marriage is being in agreement of how to spend your time and money. I believe that’s so true as otherwise you will always clash with one another.
Luckily as you can probably tell from this entire blog post, we are transparent with each other and open about all aspects of money. I would have thought it to be the other way around to how the above writer feels– that a marriage would not survive unless both parties were honest about finances.
If you’re going to have a runaway fund then fine, though I’d call it something else! But if I had one then my husband would know about it. I wouldn’t need a secret fund that I didn’t tell him about. If someone wants savings for their own security in the future then I’d think that was sensible and it wouldn’t need to be concealed.
What about financial separation?
To be honest, I’ve never really thought about what would happen if the relationship breaks down with regards to our joint bank accounts, but I would automatically assume that everything would be divided equally. We’ve never discussed it, so hopefully it’s a sign it won’t happen, but obviously we are realistic too and know things don’t last forever. I’d like to think we’d be amicable and sort things out fairly.
We have a joints savings account and if we were to ever split up then it would be divided 50-50. I have no worries about that.
As for the joint current bank account we can easily move direct debits around, cancel them and arrange for our wages to be paid into our own separate accounts instead. We always make sure we stay in credit on our joint account, so there’s no issue of having an overdraft to pay back. We own a home and have equity, so if we ever did have debt on joint accounts then we’d have a way of paying it back.
In conclusion I think a joint bank account is a great way to stay on top of family finances and to hold each other accountable for frivolous spending. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t also have your own bank accounts too. Ultimately it’s up to each couple to work out what makes financial sense for their own situation, but I believe transparency and honesty about money will make a happy relationship no matter whether you choose shared or separate bank accounts.
2019 is whizzing by already. It’s half term next week, yet I feel like the children have only just returned to school after the Christmas holidays! We’re almost half way through February which means the day of love is almost upon us. If you’re feeling withdrawal symptoms from Christmas then this is the perfect excuse for another burst of gift shopping and present giving.
In this blog post I will share some last minute Valentine’s Day gift ideas to suit all budgets and (hopefully) don’t have long delivery times. So whether you’re totally broke, on a shoestring or you have cash to splash, here are some ideas for all of you.
So you’re broke as a joke and have precisely zero pounds to spend. No worries. Not everything has to cost a pretty penny. Be inventive and come up with your own unique gift. It could be your very own at-home spa evening. Treat your other half to a candle lit bath followed by a massage.
Create your own set of ‘IOU’ Valentine’s coupons that can be redeemed for special treats or tasks. These could be naughty, luxurious or even housework or chores they detest doing!
If you’re great at baking and you’ve already got the ingredients in your store cupboards, then bake them a cake, some delicious brownies or whatever you are great at whipping up.
All these things can be prepared in no time at all, well a bit of time for the baking, so no need to panic if you’ve left things until the last minute.
Money is tight, but you’ve got a bit of disposable cash to buy a gift, so what do you choose?
If you’re traditional romantics then flowers and chocolates for her are always a winner. For him, he’ll probably just want the chocolates!
To make it more personal then skip the generic flowers and choccies and instead buy them a bunch of their favourite snacks and treats. Buy a gift bag and fill it with their favourite goodies.
A romantic meal for two at home or their favourite takeaway on the night is easy to organise and surprise them with.
These things can be purchased from most local shops and supermarkets right up until the day. It’s a last minute Valentine’s Day gift idea winner!
A bit more budget
So you’ve got a reasonable amount of cash to spend, but you’ve got no time left to traipse around the shops to search for the perfect gift. You’ve left it too late and time is no longer on your side. Never fear as you can still get something they love either online or from a store near you!
Whilst gift vouchers may seem like a cop out, they are perfect in this situation and can be found at most major supermarket stores, even your local Co-ops! Who doesn’t love receiving free money to choose exactly what they want?
A subscription is also the perfect last minute gift idea, as well as being the gift that keeps on giving. There are so many subscriptions to choose from such as a flower subscription, snack boxes, beauty boxes or their favourite magazine.
Plenty of cash to splash
If cash isn’t an issue and you’re looking to splurge, then the world of gifts really is your oyster. For the person who has everything then how about a DNA testing kit? This is a unique gift that could reveal details of their ancestry or more specific tests can be purchased such as DNA health or fitness tests if they’re passionate about keeping fit and healthy and want to maximise their goals.
A spa day or weekend spa break is always a winner. Who doesn’t love a guilt-free opportunity to relax, kick back and be pampered for a while, away from the hectic-ness of our busy lives?
If they get enough relaxing or can’t sit still for more than two minutes, then an experience day could be the one. From racing supercars around a track to skydiving or a helicopter ride, there’s an experience out there to suit all tastes and levels of adrenaline.
All these things can be purchased online and given as a voucher. Some DNA kit websites offer vouchers too so they can pick which test they want to do, or you can choose for them.
There we have it. A few last minute Valentine’s Day gifts to suit whatever budget you may have that don't require weeks of planning or ordering in advance!
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