The perfect DIY Valentine’s Day with Mr Lender

Love is in the air

So it’s that special time of year again, where everyone can show their partner just how much they care and spoil them rotten. What to do? Where to go? What to buy? These are a few of the questions that I’m sure we all get caught up thinking about so Mr Lender is here to help.

 DIY Decorations

Recycle Christmas decs for a little Valentine's sparkle.

Recycle Christmas decs for a little Valentine’s sparkle

What can be easier and more personal than staying at home and spending the evening together? That’s right, not much can compare so why not go that extra mile and put your own stamp on making the evening just that bit more special with a few of our ideas.

Dig out your Christmas lights and decorate your room, cut out some hearts from red card and paper and hang them from the ceiling with some string. If you can’t get hold of red paper, try using an old newspaper for a little vintage touch. The noticeable effort won’t go down unnoticed!

Fun and Games

Candy based treasure hunts add an extra injection of fun.

Candy based treasure hunts add an extra injection of fun.

Bring out the child in you with a treasure hunt! Write down all the things you love about your partner on separate pieces of paper, hide them in different places around the house. You can even use little heart shaped sweets as clues from one to the other!

Who needs flowers?!

Growing a plant together makes Valentine's go beyond one day.

Growing a plant together makes Valentine’s go beyond one day.

We see them everywhere and all women love them but we all know that they can be pricey. Instead why not buy some seeds, soil and a plant pot to give to your partner?

It doesn’t sound so romantic at first, but when you tell your partner that you’re going to plant it together and watch it grow just like the love you share…well who wouldn’t appreciate that?!

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Mr Lender’s DIY winter beauty tips

We hear it every year in all the magazines. Young or old, Winter is harsh on your skin, it gets battered about by the weather, and we’re probably all guilty of just slathering lots of make up on, or not really changing up our routine from the Summer months.

Now we all know that skincare can be very expensive, so here at Mr Lender, we are revealing our favourite tips to help you cut down on spends but still look great (and more importantly, have great winter skin and hair).

DIY lip scrub

Winter can be really harsh on your skin, but none more so than your lips. Keep yours puckering soft, with our very basic recipe, that just means a tiny raid of your kitchen cupboard and a little bit of legwork.

Mix a little bit of brown sugar, with a tiny bit of honey, some olive oil and either some cocoa powder or ground cinnamon. Once applied let it sink in for a couple of minutes.
If kept in an airtight kilner jar, it will keep for a couple of weeks, and should be guaranteed to give you soft Spring ready lips!

soft smooth lips

Get buffed up for Spring with Mr Lender’s tips

Give it a try.

Plumping lip gloss

Whilst we’re on the subject of lips, instead of shelling out for one of those pricy lip plumping lip glosses, all you need to do is add a few drops of peppermint oil to the gloss you already own! EASY.

Homemade facemask

Avocados and honey both have great softening elements to them. Combining the two, (use a very very ripe avocado if you can), and leaving on your face to soften that battered winter complexion will leave your face feeling revitalised. Once rinsed, finish off with your regular moisturiser.

Scent-sational bargain haircare

Lavender oil

Lavender oil is great for hair, skin and wellbeing.

Adding a few drops of lavender oil to your regular shampoo will not only help lift the scent of your hair, it can also create shine. A tiny bottle will go a really long way. We would also recommend adding a few drops to your pillow, to help aide your beauty sleep.

SO there’s our first round up, let us know what you think. Do you have any DIY beauty tips?

Let us know in the comments.

7 ways to make January the most money friendly yet!

Happy 2014 to you all, from everyone at Mr Lender.

It’s a new year, we’re all making resolutions, and January is probably the toughest month of all, (not just on our wallets, but our health and minds probably need a kickstart too).

Don't let money troubles get you down.

Don’t let money troubles get you down.

Don’t despair! Check out our quick guide to cutting back and saving big in January.

Set yourself a target.

holiday money saving.

This could be a holiday, or a new gadget, but focus on the amount you want to save and give yourself a strict deadline. Then stick to it.

Switch energy providers.

Cheaper energy bills.

Switching energy providers can give you considerable savings

How many bills can come out in one month?! We’ve talked about this before, and right now is the best time to negotiate discounts and offers from alternative providers. Check out our previous blog here for more info. Weigh up monthly direct debit payments v quarterly, balance out what you can truly afford.

Use our budget planner.

We gave you a monthly budget planner a while back, so put it to good use. If you’re using your own, ensure you’re honest and input every small detail, (yes even that fancy coffee you just treated yourself to).

Needs vs wants.

The dress in sales which you think is a bargain, which is the wrong size, and that you’ll never really wear…do you really NEED it? Focus on the wants/needs/must haves. Write more lists if you have to. Remember your goal.

Made a resolution? Stick to it!

Stop smoking save money.

Stop smoking for your health AND your wallet.

Are you a smoker? Use the NHS calculator to find out how much you can save.

Quitting your 20 a day habit will save you £223 a month. Let that sink in.

That’s a fast way to save some precious cash, and your loved ones will definitely be grateful.
Like a quick pint after work? Spreading 20 of them over a week amounts to over £4000 per year. That’s a HUGE amount of potential savings.
In fact the smoking/drinking savings alone amount to a monthly average of £566 – so have a think, and cut down if necessary.

Spring clean with help from Ebay!

Ebay logo.

Auction off unused stuff in your house to help make money go further

Receive a new phone for Christmas? Create a seller account and place the older one on ebay. How about those clothes you haven’t worn for a year? Place them on Ebay. DVDs, books and records with low starting bids will also sell. Extend your selling circle from UK only to worldwide and you’ll be astounded at how many extra sales you can make.

Not sure how to use Ebay? Ebay themselves have some great pointers!

Health and Fitness

Healthy living

Healthy wallets and healthy living for 2014.

Some of you have probably vowed to eat healthy and exercise more in 2014.

Gym memberships can be costly, especially when you sign up in the new year on a whim, and give up in February – and then you’re tied to a costly 12 month contract. Have you tried trawling voucher code sites for free day passes or even checking to see if you have low cost options in your area? The Gym  for example, offers PAYG options, and they don’t compromise on quality of the gym equipment.
If a gym still seems like too much hard work, check out Park Run, it’s a free service each Saturday, where you get to meet like minded runners, and get fit at the same time. Highly recommend!

Additionally, save cash on food by taking your lunch into work, learn how to batch cook and trawl Google for budget recipes. There is so much you can do! If you’re planning a dinner party, get friends to cook a dish each. It is also a myth that healthy food is more expensive. Just know where to shop, and shop smart. Have a recipe that calls for 1 carrot – why buy a bag of 12?!

At Mr Lender, we will never encourage you to borrow from us, unless it is absolutely essential, so budget wisely in January and stay within your means.

Mr Lender’s advice for living on a budget – #3

Watching your cash flow month can help you towards those saving goals.

Watching your cash flow month can help you towards those saving goals.

We all know that one of the biggest sources of our outgoings is food/drink and ultimately, food/drink wastage.

According to Love Food, Hate Waste, as a nation, we waste around 7 million tonnes of food and drink per year.

Love Food, Hate Waste claim that ‘…wasting this food costs the average household £470 a year, rising to £700 for a family with children, the equivalent of around £60 a month…’

Here are some of our tips for helping you to cut down on your costs when it comes to food.

Research recipes online.

Some of our favourite websites have entire sections dedicated to cooking on a budget. We recommend doing some research on google and bookmarking them.

Batch Cooking.

Cooking one pot recipes from scratch and then freezing them, will mean that you save money by cooking something new every single day. Plan in advance what you want to cook, and stick to that plan: if you cook enough batch meals, you won’t run into the danger of too much repetition either.

Fresh bread.

Baking fresh bread can save you money and tastes great.

Get Baking!

Baking your bread or treats like cakes and biscuits not only saves money but will ensure that you can keep a watchful eye on everything that goes into your food. Get your family involved and cook together too!

Get inventive with your recipes too! We’d love to hear some of your money saving advice when it comes to food!

Check out part 2 of our series here…

Check out part one of our series here…

Mr Lender’s advice for living on a budget – #2

Now that we have started to calculate our outgoings, how do we start learning to live on a budget?

In this week’s Mr Lender’s Guide to Budget Living, we’re looking at household bills and how you can achieve optimal savings across most of them.

This week: Household bills.

home insurance

It’s worth shopping around for the best home insurance prices

Obviously, those items such as rent or council tax will be fixed each month, but it’s wise to start breaking down those other areas which can offer a potential discount simply by switching accounts. The main areas in ours are:

  • Utility Bills
  • Insurance Providers
  • TV and Broadband

All three of these categories have the availability to help you save.

Internet research can be very time consuming, and these days most of us don’t have a lot of time to spare. Aggregate and comparison websites will do your homework and research for you and bring you the best possible deals on the market. (More often than not, using one of these websites will mean you are privy to exclusive offers, not found when you go direct to a vendor).

One aggregate website claims a saving of up to £240 on utility bills, and considering the recent rise in pries from certain outlets, we believe a serious rethink might be the smartest way forward.

Once you have all your savings and switches in place, you will probably start noticing a sizeable difference within the first few months.

Check out part 1 in our budget living series here…