Cohabiting the thrifty way

When my boyfriend and I moved into our flat, we were slightly astounded by how much we needed to buy on a really small budget. We were told our flat would be furnished and in part, that was true. But we didn’t have things like bookshelves, extra chairs etc. We didn’t have the money, after paying for our deposit for any decent furniture so I decided to chance my luck and see if there was anything I can do, even as a temporary fix.

 

First of all, I tried local charity shops. As exemplified by a blogger I love here, searching through charity and second-hand shops can be very beneficial and can even result in quirky bargains! I actually found, though, that an interesting and ultimately, helpful place for me was Freecycle. On Freecycle I got a reclining Ikea chair, a table and chairs set, 2 leather, purple bucket seats and er, oddly, my cats.

 

What I found really interesting was, once I stopped being quite as skint and could actually afford to shop elsewhere, I still tried to remain as thrifty as I had been in the early days. I found that sites like Etsy had so many stores within them with unique, upcycled goods, homemade furniture and independent artwork that, when combined can make for at the very least… an interesting home.

 

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Other things I did included…

Split food shopping

Food shopping was a tricky one for my boyfriend and I for quite a while but, eventually, we realised which places were better for certain things. We also made an effort to not go to supermarkets constantly and have utilised our local fruit and veg shop as well as our butchers as much as possible. It sometimes costs a bit more but the payoff is locally sourced, fresh food and well, it’s worth the extra food pennies.

 Utilise points cards 

Boots, Tesco, Superdrug… everywhere does points cards. They are free and can only be beneficial to you. I store up all my Boots points throughout the year and usually have around £50-60 around Christmas time to spend on presents. I also like to visit my family in Liverpool and Tesco vouchers can be exchanged for Megabus tickets. And doubled. So for every £10 you have in points, Tesco doubles towards Megabus travel. Last time, I got a return to Preston for 50p when it should have been £20. I had £10 that I put towards vouchers and all I paid for was my booking fee… not bad for a weekend away!

I have a Cineworld Unlimited card too which comes with all kinds of benefits and discounts including 20% off Nandos.

 

 

 

Introducing: Noxious

For lovers of quirky, kitsch, trashy, otherworldly jewellery, there is Noxious.

Noxious Shop

 

Noxious has a range of Jewellery from £1.50-£18. From chokers to semi-precious stones, owner Carrie Wylie has compiled a jewellery store for those who like to stand out from the crowd. Combined with Carrie’s blog, Noxious is an excellent store for those that want to escape from current twee trends and are looking to support smaller stores that make a difference.

The great thing about Carrie is that she is a small business lover. She supports lesser-known brands and, due to being obsessed with fashion, spends most of her free time seeking out new brands and stores to explore and promote. In this sense, she’s not only a great shop owner but somebody very worth keeping an eye.

Noxious only started this week but I’m excited for the future!

Amazon vs. Hachette – are they really holding publishers hostage?

The Amazon-Hachette debate is raging on and much like Bruce Springsteen’s thoughts on Luis Suarez or David Bowie’s thoughts on independence, I’m not overly concerned about what huge, best-selling authors have to say about the importance of supporting small publishers. I say this because regardless, they’ll do well in sales. It doesn’t affect them. The same way Luis Suarez’s gnashers don’t affect Bruce Springsteen and New York City dwelling David Bowie will not feel the effects of a Yes vote. Authors who have backed Hachette include J.K Rowling, John Green, James Patterson (who is now granting £250,000 to independent bookshops) and Malcolm Gladwell. All of these are and have been best selling authors. They have sold millions upon millions of books, have become household names and are at no risk of ever struggling to make a living through writing. So why are we following their words? As far as I know (the tax-dodging debacle aside for now…) Amazon sell great books at very affordable prices, they have Kindle offers which tend to have a lot of popular, contemporary books and it gives self-publishers a huge platform. So, where’s the problem? John Green has said:

“… Most good books are NOT created solely by one person: Editors and publishers play a tremendously important role not just in the distribution of books, but in the creation of them. Without my editor, there would be no great perhaps in Looking for Alaska, no Augustus Waters in The Fault in Our Stars, and no Agloe, New York in Paper Towns. Without copyeditors and proofreaders, my books would be riddled with factual and grammatical errors that would pull you out of the story and give you a less immersive reading experience. This is true not only for traditional/legacy publishing but also for self-published books. Authors are not islands.”

This is for the most part, true. Authors in the past have struggled to get by without a team of publishers but given that the Kindle market is now so enormous, they may be becoming obsolete. This is a scary thought for those who cherish the publishing industry in the same respect that small bookshops closing down is a daunting thought for those who cherish the integrity and overall feel of independent bookshops. In  the publishing industry right now, there’s not enough consistency. Number 2 in the Kindle chart right now is Sleep Tight by Rachel Abbott. Where is it in the official book charts? Well, you tell me. It’s certainly not in the top 40.

I caught up with Ben Hatch who is one of Amazon’s best success stories in terms of Kindle sales to briefly discuss this situation and to get his thoughts on why the publishing world is in such disarray. benhatch(1) As a lesser-known author, how do you feel about indie bookshops in comparison to Amazon?

[Mid-list writers] all love indie bookshops and want them to flourish but Amazon gives authors another chance. If you’re not a celeb, a crime writer or a big seller, where are you going to make a living?

How profitable are Kindle sales for authors?

I know authors who make a living solely on Amazon. I’ve sold more than 100,000 ebooks.

Then why don’t bookshops promote you?

Publishers pay to be in promotions and they only pay when it’s cast-iron they’ll sell buckets. They don’t take chances whereas Amazon decide what’s in their promotions and have picked my book and don’t ask for money.

What would you say is one of the underlying reasons for the decline in bookshops supporting smaller authors?

The trouble is bookshops went bananas for celeb memoirs and cookery books and forgot about mid-list writers who’ve found a home on Amazon.

 

Amazon and Hachette both have said they see no ending to this debate for a while and with everything taken into account, it’s easy to see why. There is an argument on both sides and even corporate giants like Amazon still promote and help independent authors so who exactly is in the wrong? Is publishing dead? Did Amazon kill it?

What do you think?