Rent-a-box problems

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“I wish we could do that”

This has become something I say far too much.
I, like many people, am a private renting tenant.
Straight out of University, circumstances meant that I needed to find a place to live as soon as I moved out of halls.
Magnolia walls, electric oven and poor sound insulation between apartments has pretty much become my day-to-day life.

I sound pretty negative about this because well, in honesty I am falling out of love with my little apartment. My landlord is great and I am paying a cheaper price for my apartment than some of my neighbours (furnished too). I have been here three years now and the fun of being a grown up has truly dissipated. I want my own place.
This all started with the fact that we had to have magnolia walls.
It’s fine I said, we can deal with that, colourful accessories will do. So I went ahead and put down some colourful rugs and new curtains, a matching throw for the couch and the place slowly grew more purple and cosy and the days went on.

I can hear the neighbour above walking like she’s got flipping concrete shoes on! 


Another problem with being in apartments… I told my landlord and he wrote to the caretakers of our building, they were to pass my complaints on to the landlord of the apartment above.

Finally, it might feel like home.

Many moans later and nothing’s really got better, apparently I need to prove it’s affecting my life to Environmental Health before anyone can forcibly get this landlord to put down some soundproof underlay for upstairs’ floor/my ceiling. My landlord has apologised to me several times assuring me he’s doing what he can.

It’s ok, I said I’ll just have to keep saving up money, there’s nowhere better that I can afford anyway right now.

Boy, was I right! I have several friends in the same position as me… all boxed up in apartments we can just about afford dealing with crappy soundproofing and the true freedom to be comfortable in your own home. If we even have noise complaints now ringing the police doesn’t do much, they ask us to let the local council know. Not sure how that’s going to help me at 2am… Luckily I’ve not had too much of that.
Anyway, I digress, what I’m saying is I’ve been working every single day since I moved into this place 3 years ago, and day by day I have compromised on what is acceptable. I’ve got a better paying job now than when I first moved in and I still live frugally and just about afford to keep myself in my tiny rent-a-box. Mr. M. my partner, moved in back in April just to help keep my head above water. We wanted to live together, but I didn’t really want it to be here. We wanted a house, somewhere we could settle down. Somewhere safe for kids.
We have both been saving and we both have fairly decent jobs yet we cannot find anywhere else to live that is remotely better than where we are now. Not even rent wise let alone the insane notion of trying to buy anywhere. What are you supposed to do?

You used to be able to have a stable home on just one adult working and one at home with the kids! It was do-able.

I’ve heard this so much from older generations, my relatives have even stated how much they feel sorry for us trying to get a home. I remember my Dad working full time and my Mom had a small part time job and they owned their own home and we went on holidays. It wasn’t easy, but it could be done. My Mom hates my apartment, but less so when I showed her the alternatives.
We have been told we are looking at potentially raising £8-20,000 before we can even realistically look at mortgages. It’s a heartbreaking figure when we look at what we’ve got left at the end of the month after bills. We can’t cut our costs much more. We shop at Lidl, got rid of our TV license, pay everything on meters, walk as much as possible, never use the heaters and cook at home as much as we can. We allow ourselves one treat at the weekends, an example might be a bit of cake or buying lunch out every now and then. It’s not a lot.

Both me and Mr. M. are at the point now where we both feel bitter and resentful when it comes to housing. We’re both looking for ways to make and save more money but really the job-market and economy just isn’t going our way.
The only thing I can honestly say gets my mind away from negativity like that is to see people in worse situations.

We might not have all we want, but we do get by. 

We tell ourselves that we are grateful that we have food and a roof over our heads, but you can’t completely get rid of the little voice that says you should be doing better.
We keep looking at schemes, deals, and other things that pop up to do with housing but nothing really works unless you can put away something from your pay at the end of the month. I hope the housing situation changes soon, or perhaps our salaries! We may end up having to move from this area … and we’re not the only ones, but we will get there.

If you’re reading this and you’re worried about housing I urge you to do a bit of research and check out the following websites:

www.moneysavingexpert.com – some great tips and tricks to get your finances in order. They also have a great forum for additional advice and support.

www.shelter.org.uk – are a housing charity that provides free advice and guidance about your rights for housing.

www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/ – another place to get advice on housing.

and finally, I would say ask around and check out your local services and community, you never know what you could be missing out on.

Weddings, weddings, weddings!

‘Tis the season to be married!bonnie-carole

Everywhere I look on social media over the last few months I’ve seen weddings and Pinterest boards full of wedding preparations!

One of my friends has graciously asked me to be one of her bridesmaids. Yay! Right?
I think…

Let me say right here, I’m honoured she asked me.
This woman is indeed a good friend and honestly I hope her wedding is everything she dreams of but…

*gulp*

I am freaking out.

Are bridesmaids allowed to freak out?

In the movies you see the bride and groom going through their stresses and last minute crises of the wedding and it’s their groomsmen and bridesmaids that rally round in support. I have absolutely no problem in helping out where I can to make my friend’s day fantastic…but there are a couple things I feel I’m selfishly worrying over, I just can’t help it!

1. The Bridesmaid’s dresses

Now I am aware that I am 1 of 3 bridesmaids for this wedding. My worry is that we are all different shapes and sizes and I can be honest enough to tell you that I am not one of those lucky women who can throw on anything and pull it off. I am 5 foot 1 and let’s say bigger than a size 8-10. Plus I have tattoos. I know my friend would never say anything, but using my own intuition and formal decency, it’s pretty obvious my dragon and tiger back tattoo are not suitable for her wedding theme. I would normally dress formal for a wedding and think nothing of it, except there’s a pressure to get it spot on here, I’m going to be in this woman’s pictures forever.

2. The costs

Again, I stated I feel selfish, but I am torn between wanting to be that awesome “Let’s go to a spa, it’s on us” kind of friend and the reality of “My bank account is going to weep, can I just pay for what I had?”. My type of work means income varies on my workloads and hours and I’m not always going to have spare. I don’t feel there’s ever a way to unashamedly say “I just can’t afford it”.

3. My own wedding views

I am trying very hard to be supportive, but I have never wanted to lie or mislead my friends. I am engaged myself, but I’ve never been the girl who planned her wedding day in detail with friends at school. In fact my friends used to call me a grump for not joining in with it all! I have always been a little bit dismayed with so called “traditions” for weddings. I don’t think I’ll want to wear a white dress and I don’t think it’s important to get my father’s permission and so on… but I understand couples who want these things. My friend is quite a traditional bride-to-be and I feel I’m not the best person advising her because of my own views on marriage.

I hope if my friend is reading she understands that all these worries are indeed in my own head. She has never placed any pressure to conform or be anything other than myself… So where does this come from? Why do we place so much pressure on pleasing other people? I was calm before, helping out and talking about all the wedding stuff my friend had going on, right until she asked me to be a bridesmaid. I believe there is definitely something in that title that people either embrace or secretly fear. I always thought I’d embrace the responsibility and inclusion to the fun of it all but actually I’m overthinking it completely.

We’ve got just over 12 months until my friend’s big day and I’m hoping it will be enough time for me to turn down my own selfish worries and tune in to her excitement.
In my heart deep down I know it will all be fine, so why can’t I shut off the annoying little worrying voices in my head?
Does anybody else feel overwhelmed as a bridesmaid? If you have any tips or thoughts please let me know. I’d love to hear your stories and some confirmation that I’m not alone here!