UK lifestyle and money blog

Victoria Sully Nov 2018 Circle Logo

 

Welcome to the Lylia Rose UK money and lifestyle blog.  I'm Victoria Sully, a busy mum of two, wife, full-time blogger and online money-maker.  I’m passionate about making money online, saving money, self-employment, healthy living and blogging.  I’m on a personal mission to be healthier and wealthier!  Thank you so much for joining me.


 

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Category: Home & Garden

  1. Three ways to transform your garden for cheap

    Posted on

    When we end up moving into a new home, our wallet takes a beating. We may have a lot of plans to renovate the home, but we don't have the funds to match it. And this means that we've got to make cut backs in some places. The garden is one of those that we can think about doing last, mainly because it can cost a lot of money to professionally landscape a garden.

    But there are ways for you to make your garden look nice on a budget, meaning that you can take advantage of the space right now. In this blog post we will explore some cheap DIY garden ideas so you can begin to transform your garden into a more pleasing space.

    3 ways to transform your garden for cheap (1)

    Make the grass look great

    The lawn is the foundation for everything. If you don't have good soil, you can't plant fruits, vegetables, plants or flowers that will make the space more vibrant. It doesn't take much effort or money to fertilise a lawn.   If you begin this right now then you’ll see the benefits come the summer.

    There are so many reasonably priced fertilizers you can pick up, it's a very simple way to make the garden look more inviting, not to mention the numerous other lawn care products that are available to spruce up the space.  To keep it wholesome and environmentally friendly, just remember to choose natural and organic products.  This will protect you, your family, your pets and local wildlife too.

    If the grass is patchy and not looking luscious then grass seed is reasonably cheap and can be sprinkled on the lawn to start it growing in the spring.

    Opt for a thin border and stones/slate

    If money is tight then you might not want a he border that’s going to require a lot of plants and flowers to fill it as well as regular maintenance to look great.  Instead you can skip the border altogether and simply grass right up to the edge of the garden fences, or you can install a thin border that’s cheaper to fill with plants and easier to maintain.

    Simply mark out how wide you wish the border to be and then cut out the excess grass and plant your flowers and plants.  You might even opt for filling the border with stones and adding plant pots with flowers and plants to reduce the cost of plants even more.  You can often pick up bags of stones on multi-buy offers at garden centres or even from outside supermarkets in the warmer months at a fraction of their usual cost.  We managed to get three huge bags of blue slate to fill our driveway border for just £10 last summer!

    Cover it in plants that can spread

    Plants can be expensive, but if you’re trying to stick to a budget then choose to fill flower beds with perennials that can be divided.  It’s possible to save money in your garden and keep your perennials healthy by ‘dividing them’. Maybe this sounds a bit beyond your skill level, but by picking clump-forming perennials, like geraniums, you can spread out the colour throughout the garden. 

    All you need to do is tip the plant out of the pot, separate it into two or three different bits, and plant each part in different areas of the flower beds. In a couple of years’ time, you will have a wonderful display, full of vibrancy and colour. 

    Once these plants begin to form large clumps then you’ll want to divide again to ensure the plants stay super healthy and don’t get overcrowded.  Simply dig them up and separate them, then plant them in different places in the garden to multiply your plants!  Keep doing this each year or two and you’ll be able to fill your garden with a plant you only purchased once!

    Whether you've moved to a new place or you want to transform your garden, it doesn't have to be an expensive endeavour. In fact, renovating your garden by yourself with a few hacks is one of the cheapest things you can do, just as long as you know how to do it right. And if you've moved into a new home, the garden is one of the best places to begin, especially as summer is around the corner!

    By following the three tips above you’ll have a luscious lawn, a pretty border and plants that will spread year on year without having to repurchase.  Good luck!

     

    Read these next:

    5 ways to save time and money in the garden
    Quick summer updates for the home and garden on a budget
    Is it time for you to grow your own vegetable garden?
    7 ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle
    Important Reasons to Choose Organic (other than your personal health)
    How to save money and future proof your garden
    6 easy ways to save money around the house (and be eco-friendly)

    3 ways to transform your garden for cheap

    Collaborative post

    Images from Canva

  2. Save time, space and money with a capsule wardrobe

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    If you’re always short on time, space in your home and money, then choosing to have a capsule wardrobe could solve all of these things! 

    Read on for tips on how I manage my capsule wardrobe, as well as how it will help you spend less and become clutter-free in your wardrobe.

    Being a minimalist

    I’ve shared my story a few times on my blog of how I believe I came to be a minimalist and lover of a capsule wardrobe.  To cut a long story short, I moved house several times in my late teens and early twenties which included renting rooms in shared houses and bedsits. 

    Not only did I not want to lug so many belongings with me for each house move, but I also didn’t have much space at each property.  I didn’t need to buy a lot of furniture and home décor as I only had a bedroom to furnish.

    Once I settled with my husband I then had more space and belongings did at first begin to grow.  They also grew with the arrival of our children who need a lot of things and grow out of things far too quickly!  But having lots of stuff makes my head fuzzy! 

    I’m not one for mess or clutter and even just knowing I have things sat unused in cupboards or attics makes my head feel noisy.  I’m definitely a minimalist by nature and so I’m always minimalizing our belongings so we don’t have too many items and only exactly what we need and use.

    Ben still has a corner in the attic full of mostly junk which drives me quite insane.  I’m sure he keeps it there just to irritate me. Every time I go up to the loft I see if I can find a couple of pieces that I can pass on or recycle.  Believe me; he even has empty boxes up there from old electronics!

    Stay clutter free in your closet with a capsule wardrobe

    Save time, space and money with a capsule wardrobe (1)

    One thing I have now got Ben on-board with is a capsule wardrobe.  I was already doing it for me and the kids and now he’s reduced his clothing collection too.

    I’m forever clearing out the kids’ wardrobes as they outgrow their clothes so quickly.  I only keep a small amount of clothes for them.  Only what they need.

    Related - How to create an autumn capsule children’s wardrobe

    My own wardrobe is now down to around 50 items.  That’s in total, for the whole year.  I have a few items hanging – mostly tops, cardigans and a few dresses.  Then I have a pile of shorts, trousers and leggings.  I wear the trousers in the winter with boots and the summer with flip-flops.  I also have a box of underwear and a box of gym clothes and pyjamas.  I have two coats and a small selection of shoes – wellies, two pairs of winter boots, two pairs of pumps, one pair of flip-flops, smart flats and smart heels.  That’s it.  To be fair I could even get rid of the heels as I never wear them!

    I wear stuff until it needs replacing or totally goes out of shape, not just a few times until I’m bored of it.  This makes me much more careful with my clothing choices when shopping.  It has to be something I will wear numerous times before I’ll consider buying it.

    I’ve still tried to cut my own wardrobe down even more, but I think I’m now at my minimum!  Ben’s clothes take up around half our homemade triple size wardrobe and mine take up around a quarter!

    Save money, only buy what you really need

    My trick is to layer in the winter and reduce layers in the summer.  I pretty much wear the same wardrobe all year round.  Only in the summer I won’t wear my boots or fluffy cardigan.  Otherwise you’ll see me in the same outfits.  In the summer I might wear my trousers with a pair of flip-flops and a vest top.  But in the winter I’ll wear both the trousers and vest top, but I’ll add a t-shirt, cardigan, socks and boots.

    I don’t see the need to buy specific winter and summer clothes when I can make do with what I have.  Most clothes are suitable for all seasons, but it’s a case of layering them up when it’s colder. Even some summer dresses can have a pair of woolly tights or leggings added with a chunky cardigan to make them winter-worthy!

    Having one set of clothes, instead of several sets of seasonal clothes, is definitely a much cheaper option.

    Be intentional when buying clothes

    Save time, space and money with a capsule wardrobe

    My actual wardrobe (a couple of outfits are in the wash)

    This year, 2019, I am doing a zero spend on clothes for the whole year!  I am challenging myself to not buy any clothes for the entire year.  I took a good look at my wardrobe and though it’s looking pretty scarce, I believe I have enough to get me through an entire year, all the seasons and beyond. 

    In recent years I’ve not been a big clothes shopper anyway, but I’d still sometimes splurge on something I spotted at the supermarket or that caught my eye passing a store.  It’s usually these unintentional clothing purchases that end up sat in my wardrobe not getting worn very much!  They are quick impulse buys for a moment of pleasure and I didn’t ever give them much thought.  They were excitable purchases!

    So even though I didn’t do it very much, I was still a sucker for quick impulse buys that I didn’t really need.

    By stopping this altogether I will definitely save money this year.

    I’m also making a promise to be intentional in the future when buying clothes, so I only buy what I set out to buy because I really need it.

    Less choice, more time

    I tend to wear the same clothes most days.  I get stuck on a favourite comfy outfit and I’ll wear it several days in a row.  Life is so much easier and quicker like this!

    In my late teens I had a huge shopping addiction.  I was obsessed with shopping for clothes and had around four rails overflowing with clothes and piles of clothes underneath. 

    I wasn’t always a minimalist!

    It was really ridiculous, but also very overwhelming.

    Getting ready took forever.  There was so much choice every time I needed to get dressed.  I had so many options and so many decisions to make. 

    I must have wasted hours every week just putting outfits on and off whilst I chopped and changed my mind.

    What a waste of time!

    Reducing that choice means you’ll have far more time to do other things.  Sometimes having less options is better!

    Smaller wardrobe, more space

    You can now even buy some space-saving and beautifully designed single wardrobes which are perfect for keeping your capsule wardrobes on track.  I love the MADE white single wardrobes I found here at Lionshome, but there are even cheaper options too.  Or like us, you can make your own wardrobe.  They are plenty large enough for all the clothes you really need and if you can’t fit your clothes in, then you’ve got too many!

    Not only is a smaller wardrobe a cheaper option than a full size version, but think of the bedroom space you will free up!  Large bulky wardrobes can impose on so much of the available space in a bedroom, especially if space is at a premium, so a single slim wardrobe is a much neater solution.

    We originally had a regular size wardrobe each and I remember having to persuade Ben that we’d be fine with one triple wardrobe between us instead.  I wanted to create more space in our bedroom and this reduced our wardrobe space by around 25%. 

    Ben was convinced and built us a lovely triple sized wardrobe from old pallet wood which he refurbished.  Now I think we could have gone even smaller and saved more space in our bedroom!

    Not only have we saved space with a smaller wardrobe to what we originally had, but we have also got rid of a couple of chests of drawers which used to house clothes.  Now we just have the wardrobe and need nothing else.

    How to save time, money and space with a capsule wardrobe

    Having a capsule wardrobe really does suit my lifestyle and make clothing a lot more organised and affordable.  I’d definitely recommend it if you are overwhelmed with the amount of clothing you own and want a simpler life.

    To finish, here’s a quick look at how a capsule wardrobe is beneficial:

    • Save time – less time shopping for clothes you don’t need, less time choosing outfits, less time spent laundering, ironing and organising clothes
    • Save money – Buying less clothes will save money.  Needing less storage for the clothes will save money on furniture.
    • Save space – the less clothes you have, the less storage space you need for them.  Reclaim space in your bedroom by choosing a single wardrobe. 
    • Stay organised – clothes washing becomes easier as there is less variety of clothes.  Wardrobes stay organised and spacious as there are less clothes in them.  Find clothes easier.  Less clothes means less clutter and makes it easier to keep wardrobes neat and tidy.

     

    Related content

    Why every woman should create a capsule wardrobe

    Keep your clothing costs down with subtle fashion

    How my bedroom décor describes my personality

    Save time, space and money with a capsule wardrobe

  3. Does matched betting affect mortgage application?

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    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. 

    Does matched betting affect mortgage application_ (1)

    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.

    make money online matched betting profit accumulator

    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:

    make money online matched betting profit accumulator

     

    Read more about matched betting here:
    One Year Review: How I earn up to £50 per hour matched betting from home 
    I’ve made £300 tax free cash from home in 2 weeks and you can too!
    £753.62 Matched Betting Profit Month One (and silly mistakes)
    Not sure about matched betting?  Make £40ish now to see if it’s for you!
    Matched Betting Profit 2 Months: £1341.81
    Matched betting profit after 3 months: £1706.81

    Click here for all my matched betting blog posts

    Save time and money with Look After My Bills

    Does matched betting affect mortgage application_

     

  4. The cheapest ways to get Netflix UK

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    Almost one year ago I wrote a blog post about how we managed to save £315 per year on our TV and broadband in the space of five minutes.  One of the ways was by cancelling our TV licence that was costing us £147 per year.  We barely watched live TV anymore and never used BBC iPlayer.  We decided we could do without normal TV and any BBC catch up services and save ourselves this money each year, especially as we had already signed up to Netflix and couldn’t justify the cost of both.  So, Netflix won and we have been very happily working our way through their offerings for just over a year now.

    I love reading Netflix hacks online to get more out of my subscription and today I’m going to share with you the ways you can get Netflix cheaper, as well as a clever way to access the US Netflix library. 

    The cheapest ways to get Netflix UKImage

    Try Netflix for free

    First things first, your first 30 days with Netflix are free by signing up for a trial directly through their main website.  There’s no commitment and you can cancel whenever you like.  Even if you don’t think you’ll want Netflix, you might as well try it out for free to see.  Straight away you’ll save money as you won’t need to pay anything for the first month.

    Share a subscription

    The best way to reduce your Netflix subscription fees once you’ve signed up is to share the subscription between 2-4 people.  Currently the most expensive package is £9.99, so you can split this between four people, share the login details and be able to watch on one screen each. 

    Choose the cheapest package

    If it’s just you watching and you have no one else to share the subscription with, then simply choose the cheapest basic package to keep costs down.  At only £5.99 per month that’s just 20p per day to be able to watch thousands of films and shows on one device.  I’ve seen rumours online that suggest Netflix might be introducing a cheaper mobile-only plan, but until then choose the basic package to keep costs down.

    Use a VPN to access US Netflix

    It’s possible to unblock Netflix with a VPN so you can watch all the shows that are available in the US library too.  There are almost twice as many shows in the US Netflix library, so you can almost double your content. 

    Buy discounted Netflix gift cards

    Check out online discounted gift card websites and marketplaces such as eBay to buy other people’s unwanted Netflix gift cards.  When you add a gift card to your Netflix account they will use your available gift card balance first, before taking any payments from your bank account.  You can also save a search on eBay for Netflix gift cards so you don’t miss out.  Just after Christmas is a great time to check if people are listing unwanted vouchers they got as a present.

    Ask for Netflix gift vouchers as gifts

    As well as searching for discounted Netflix gift cards, you can also ask friends and family for Netflix gift cards for your own Christmas and birthday presents.   It’s much better to get something you can use and want for you birthday, plus this will save you some money too as you’ll not have to pay your subscription fees yourself for a couple of months or so.

    Download your fave shows to watch offline

    If you love to watch shows whilst travelling, using your mobile phone, then this can get quite costly using mobile data or having to pay for WiFi in certain places.  Instead, download your favourite shows to watch offline.  Simply store them on your device and watch them without any internet connection wherever you are!

     

    Netflix can be a surprisingly cheap way to watch all your favourite shows!

     

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    The cheapest ways to get Netflix UK (1)

  5. Save time and money with Look After My Bills

    Posted on

    Do you remember to compare energy suppliers every year to get the best deal?  If yes, then bravo - you are making sure you save the most money every year.  If not, then you could be spending hundreds more than you need to! 

    But even if you do check every year, isn’t it time-consuming?  Wouldn’t it be so much easier if someone did it for you each year to save you the time and hassle?

    The unfortunate fact is that most people don’t bother to switch energy suppliers for cheaper deals.  Most people are paying way more than they need to. 

    In 2018 only 18% of people switched their energy and around 57% of people are on an expensive standard variable tariff. 

    Look After My Bills take the hassle out of switching energy suppliers

    Save time and money with Look After My Bills (1)

    Let me introduce you to Look After My Bills.  LAMB is the new alternative to energy comparison websites.  They take the hassle out of comparing and switching energy suppliers by doing it all for you – every single year.  They're an auto-switching service that will switch you to the best deal.  Isn’t that amazing?

    The company was launched as the two founders were frustrated by big companies taking advantage of everyday people with high energy prices.  Being a loyal customer in the energy world sadly doesn’t pay.  Staying faithful to an energy supplier, especially the big six, means you’re often put on an expensive tariff as they know you’ll often not bother to compare the market and change suppliers.  It’s cheeky isn’t it?

    You may have already heard of LAMB as they were on Dragons’ Den where they scored a record investment and even had offers from every Dragon.  If it’s good enough for all of the Dragons, then it’s good enough for me!

    Super speedy sign up

    Look after my bills dragons den two minute sign up easy energy auto switch

    I’ve just signed up myself and the process was so straightforward.  It states it’s a two minute sign up and it really is.  Well, the longest part was me trying to locate my annual kWh per fuel on my existing statement.  It was right there in front of me and I couldn’t see it for love nor money! 

    Make sure you’ve got that information handy so you can get an accurate comparison and you’re off.  The sign up could even take less than two minutes if you’re a whizz on the keyboard.

    I entered a few details such as my annual usage, my current supplier and tariff, name, address and also that I’d only like renewable energy.

    Save money for free

    Save time and money with Look After My Bills (2)

    Now they’ll compare my tariff every single year for me at no cost.  They’ll simply take a commission from the energy supplier if I choose to switch. 

    The best bit is they’ll check each year.  There’s no need for me to remember as they’ll remind me, as well as do a comparison for me.

    If LAMB find an energy supplier that is £50 or more cheaper then they’ll begin the process to auto switch my energy supplier.

    Do LAMB switch me automatically?

    Here’s what they said to me when I asked if the customer has any say in the switch decision:

    “We email customers when we are about to compare the market, then once we find a deal we switch automatically (this is so the deal doesn't vanish) then we email all the details over and you have 14 days to review/cancel. 

    We only switch you when there is at least a £50 saving.  On average people save £251 and some people have even saved £400.

    We only work with suppliers who meet our customer service standards and we keep the service free for customers by getting a flat rate payment from the suppliers. We're completely impartial and we're working with all the suppliers that we want to!”

    It’s a no brainer

    I can’t find any reason why you wouldn’t want to sign up to Look After My Bills.  They’ll do the comparison for you every year and let you know if they find a deal that’ll save you at least £50 a year.  You then have 14 days to review the new supplier and tariff and can choose to cancel the switch if it’s not right for you. 

     

    Click here to save money on your energy bills: www.lookaftermybills.com

     

    More ways to save money:
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    Live in Yorkshire? Sell your home for free!
    The cheapest ways to get Netflix UK

    Save time and money with Look After My Bills