Time for something a little different on the blog. In the current economy, sorting your finances has never been more important. A lot of this is prioritisation, you could eat out for lunch every weekday but you could also be saving that money to go towards something you want more. This could be a deposit for a house or a holiday (for more delicious food!). And let’s not forgot saving for a rainy day when life does throw you a curve ball and you find yourself suddenly needing to pay off a large sum.
I was invited to the giffgaff gameplan event to see how they can assist with this. The day involved delicious food from The Principal Hotel in Manchester as well as thrifty ways of living!
The Principal Hotel is located opposite Oxford Road train station and a stone’s throw from the Palace Theatre. The entrance is grand with Victorian architectural features and the staff are exceptionally friendly. The building was built for the Refuge Assurance Company, a life insurance and pensions company, in 1891 by famous architect Alfred Waterhouse. It was then extended to include the clock tower by his son, Paul Waterhouse, in 1910. The Waterhouse family have contributed to many famous buildings in the UK including the main hall in London’s Natural History Museum, Cambridge’s Gonville and Caius College, The University of Manchester’s Whitworth Hall, Manchester Museum and Manchester’s Town Hall. In fact, located near the last one is a Wetherspoons that is named the Waterhouse.
The hotel also houses a bar and restaurant called The Refuge by Volta, or simply The Refuge. There was a large variety of different foods to cater to everyone’s tastes. Each plate was clearly marked with allergens and whether it was vegetarian or vegan-friendly. The salads were especially fresh and the battered items were crisp. The only disappointing thing I had was the chocolate mousse, which had a goopy consistency that didn’t please the palate. Having said this, I would definitely be back for an actual restaurant visit!
Giffgaff’s new tool, their gameplan, was created to assist you with your finances. As part of this, you can sign up easily and check your credit report for free! What are the benefits of doing this? It allows you to check your financial state as you can see everything in one report. This includes your credit card accounts, how much is in them and can be used to see if there has been any fraudulent activity. Several organisations also use it to check your credit score to see whether they think you are worth working with. This includes processes as simple as getting a mobile phone contract or getting a mortgage.
Giffgaff are currently working with a community of volunteers to refine their services and the following are upcoming:
- a goal hub to help keep track of your spending
- smart switching so you can see all your utility bills in one place and switch to better ones
- smart budgeting to help find ways to budget
Still confused by all of this? Giffgaff gameplan has a lot of information about the details and you can even ask on their forum about specific circumstances. It can be daunting, but the bottom line is that help is at hand and not all credit cards are bad.
Tea and Crafting
Tea and Crafting are based in London’s Covent Garden and run all sorts of crafty workshops from cake decorating, calligraphy and knitting. They do individual tuition as well as catering to large groups, so children and stag/hen groups are also welcome. I wish there was one all-purpose crafty space like this in Manchester! (If there is, let me know!) I know that Hey Little Cupcake run cake decorating classes at least.
Hannah was there to show people one way of reusing old clothes. Finger knitting! We spent some time learning how to weave the fabric with our fingers. The end product can be worn as a bohemian style necklace or a headband. The weaving worked best when using materials which had a slight stretch to it, so any jersey materials or any fabric with elastane.
Herb & Spice
Herb & Spice are an outside caterer based in Manchester and their menu is wide and varied. They also offer a complete event management service and have worked with some big names including Marks & Spencer’s and Travel Lodge.
Duncan was present on the day to teach us how to cook a simple and easy vegan dish: filled filo baskets and couscous. The ingredients used aren’t expensive either. There was helpful advice that you can easily make your vegetable stock from the bits you tend to chuck when preparing your vegetables. Meal planning is definitely something that helps with budgeting in the long run as you are not buying food in excess. It has the added benefit of reducing food waste, which is something I try to do after my interview with the Too Good to Go app.
Overall I found the event informative and fun!
What are your helpful tips to save money? Do you have any budget-friendly recipes?
Leave your comments below!
*I was invited to this event by giffgaff and did not have to pay for my food or any of the experiences. Opinions are my own.