It feels weird typing that title, in part due to the fact someone liked my blog enough to warrant an invite to an event (!!!!!) but also because it’s still a little surreal that I plucked up enough courage to go to an event by myself, without knowing or having previously spoken to a single person also attending. WHAT.
The event itself was by Giffgaff, in honour of their new money saving Gameplan service. If you’ve read my blog, followed me on social media, or been my pal for any length of time you’ll be aware how big a topic money is in my life – which is why I decided to pluck up the courage and say yes to the event, despite my fears of having a Cady from Mean Girls moment and eating my lunch in the toilets by myself. (spoiler: that did not happen).
I’m always looking for ways to save money – and in places I’ve been successful; I no longer buy coffee out and about, I don’t wander round the shops making impulse buys anymore, and I use my bullet journal to keep a log of everything I spend.
But like everything in life, nobody is perfect and there’s always going to be things I can improve on. I like my home comforts – I’ll crank up the heating, I can always convince myself I deserve to splurge £5 on my lunch instead of grabbing a tin of soup from Aldi once I get the thought in my head, and I’ll happily spend £20 on a takeaway when I’d think the same amount expensive if it was a top.
Photo by Elousia
So what is Giffgaff Gameplan?
It’s a new service & community which Giffgaff have created for Millenials to help us manage money better, most importantly all in one place. Think being able to access your credit report, compare credit cards, track savings goals and switch utility bills on one website/app, without having to remember several passwords and hop between websites searching for the best deals.
There’s also a ton of articles about being smarter with money, including this one about reducing bills that was particularly useful considering I’ve just moved into a new apartment, this one about saving money on food, and these 6 tips for a healthier bank account.
GiffGaff Plan Smart
The GiffGaff Plan Smart event was held at The Principal hotel in Manchester, a gorgeous hotel which I’d passed several times from train windows and drunken walks between The Font bar and Factory at 18. It was only when I went inside for the event that I realised just how beautiful it is.
I arrived at the event alone, feeling very nervous, excited and a bit scared nobody would talk to me… not to worry, I was quickly greeted by Alice & Jennie, the organisers of the event who were SO welcoming. After some initial mingling (read: standing on the edge of a circle of people until they felt forced to talk to me), we were split into groups for some workshops.
Here are a few things I learnt at the event:
1. Vegan food can be REALLY great
Forgive me for the ignorance, I just really really really love cheese. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked anything vegan before, and anything veggie I’ve cooked has always got a bit ‘samey’ and boring part way through. Turns out that’s probably due to my cooking, because the vegan Moroccan Sweet Potato, Spinach, Chickpea & Apricot parcels with couscous which Duncan from Herb & Spice made in his live cookery demonstration was insane. After we watched Duncan cook the entire meal from scratch in around 15 minutes, we were given a full portion each, plus the recipe card to take home with us. I’ve added it to next week’s menu and can’t wait to see if mine turns out as well as the one on the day.
2. I can knit!
Mum, if you’re reading, I hope you’re proud! I did some knitting! Okay, I doubt I’m going to start a side hustle selling cute baby cardigans any time soon, but I did some finger knitting and it didn’t turn out disastrously wrong. Hannah from Tea & Crafting got us to choose two different colours of material which we were taught to knit on our fingers with. It was so relaxing, and I left the event with a cool headband that would be perfect for a festival or on holiday.
3. It really wasn’t as scary as I thought it’d be
I was so nervous about the event beforehand, which of course I didn’t need to be. I met a ton of new people who were all so welcoming and friendly, I learnt how to cook an amazing meal, how to make a piece of jewellery, and although I didn’t take part in the clothes swap I was really surprised at how nice the clothes were – maybe I’ll suggest it to my friends when I next have a sort out!
I went to the event knowing absolutely nothing about Giffgaff Gameplan, and left feeling genuinely excited about the service. I have big plans for the next year including saving for and going on a holiday, finally opening an ISA/saving towards a mortgage, and learning to be better with money so I can prioritise spending time with my pals instead of frittering away my cash on smaller, insignificant purchases, so the new Giffgaff Gameplan really couldn’t have come at a better time.
Photo by Elousia