• Style

Weekly Update #11 Living My Best Life on a Budget

Such a gripping title this week right?

Budgeting may not be fun but my life has been consumed by financials this week. I initially thought that working out my survival budget and financial forecast was going to be hell, I’m a creative not a number cruncher, but it was actually pretty enlightening and I feel much more in control of my tiny budget.

Emma Inks Blogger Queen Elizabeth Park

I’m actually pretty good with money, I never spend more than I can pay back, but after having a well paid job for the past 6 years I became a little frivolous and haven’t quite reined my budget in to meet my “struggling artist” income.

I used to shop often, I travelled, and I ate my way round London’s veggie food scene, but I’ve had to change up my lifestyle over the last 6 months with the adulting mega-combo move of becoming a business owner and homeowner all at once.

Despite the stresses, I’ve learned a lot about but myself under my new strict money regime.


Emma Inks Blogger Stratford

Emma Inks Blogger  Drinking Coffee in Stratford

Counting pennies is not my idea of fun at all, it has helped me work out what my main priorities are.

First up are things I need to survive, like the mortgage, bills, and food but that’s boring so when working out my finances the next bit was where I really concentrated my efforts.

How was I still going to be able to do the things I love?

Finding enjoyment in so many aspects of life it was hard to work out what to cut out. Travel, makeup, fashion, art, and my social life all bring me a lot of happiness but now I also have my business, so it was a no brainer that I had to make art my number one investment.

Having to work out what my priorities are doesn’t mean I have had to cut out all the things I love completely, it’s just become a bit more of a balancing act.

Style is not about spending

Emma Inks in Stratford London

Being a blogger there is pressure to splash that cash in order to create content, but as one of my personal style icons Iris Apfel said “No amount of money can buy you style. It’s just instinctive.”

Seasonal trends have never been my thing and though I love perusing the high street and following fashion week to get inspiration I have my own distinct look. So I’m putting that natural instinct for style to good use.

Since packing in my 9-5 I can no longer buy what I want when I want it, but that doesn’t mean a full blown spending ban, I’m just being a little more considered. I’m buying high quality pieces that will last, which may be pricey but I’d rather invest in staples that stand the test of time.

I have also rediscovered my love for vintage and charity shops where I’ve picked up some great unique pieces.

Emma Inks Blog Close Up Sunglasses

In this post I’m wearing a Harley Davidson jacket from Ebay, Rag and Bone top thrifted from Beacon’s Closet in Brooklyn, jeans from The Kooples outlet, and Nike trainers from menswear site Scotts – proving style doesn’t have to be pricey, with a little research.

Not being able to spend has also made me delve back into my own wardrobe and I’ve found the fun in being creative with clothing again. Fashion will still be a feature on Emma Inks but expect more focus on styling and second hand.

Buying beauty I actually need

Emma Inks Queen Elizabeth Park

Emma Inks Coffee

Makeup has always been my achilles heel, there are so many products to try and neverending new launches that catch my eye but I now need to show some restraint when it comes to my beauty budget.

Again, for me it’s about investment when it comes to beauty. That doesn’t always mean expensive makeup with cruelty free brands like Makeup Revolution, Sleek, and The Ordinary smashing super affordable, high quality products.

Despite the high street upping its game when it comes to makeup; there are a few high end brands that will always be in my collection, however, new financially savvy me probably doesn’t need everything that Urban Decay, Kat Von D, Fenty, Illamasqua, and Too Faced bring out.

The same applies to skin care, it’s about scaling down the quantity rather than the quality of the beauty I’m buying.

Traveling Smarter

Emma Inks London Olympic Park

Travel seems like a major luxury to some people, but it is really something I could not live without it, it’s my joy, my therapy, and my education all rolled into one.

I’m no stranger to budget travel so this one isn’t a struggle for me. Pablo and I have had the privilege of doing some absolutely epic trips over the last few years, like India, two road trips around America, various visits to New York, scattered with getaways all over Europe. It all sounds very decadent but we do each trip on as tight a budget as possible so we can squeeze in the maximum amount of travel into a year.

Unless I sell a phenomenal amount of my designs over the next few months we are going to have to rein how many trips we have this year, but that doesn’t mean cutting back entirely. It just requires a little more planning to get the best deals possible and to find budget friendly, local spots which is totally achievable.

A smaller budget also means that trips won’t last as long so instead of cruising round the USA for 4 weeks, holidays will more likely be 4 nights somewhere in Europe, which will be a different kind of adventure.

Social life doesn’t have to spendy


An element of my lifestyle that does need to be reduced is my social life. I would love to continue fuelling my brunch, coffee and craft beer habit, but the days of eating out 6 – 10 times a week are over.

Instead of casually going out wherever and whenever I want I’m being more conscience about where I choose to spend my money, which has turned eating out into way more of a treat.

Being more mindful of my social life hasn’t meant seeing less people, it just means doing different things. Grabbing a coffee instead of a cocktail for example, or going for a walk and visiting each others houses instead of heading to a restaurant. My new look social life has actually been a really nice change of pace and has allowed me to have a proper catch up with pals instead of rushing round London.

Budgeting Isn’t All Bad

Emma Inks Spring Style

The idea of budgeting seemed terrifying at first, but actually seeing the numbers in front of me has made me feel on top of things. Having some idea of what is going on with my money means that I can deal with any potential problems head-on instead of letting it spiral out of control. It has also helped me to focus my spending on what I really care about giving each purchase added value.

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