5 Money Saving Tips For Halloween Costumes

Halloween is just around the corner. This is a day when the veil between our world and the supernatural realm is at its thinnest. Ghouls, goblins and horrific creatures of the night are waiting to haunt your soul and wreak havoc upon the living.

With that terrifying prospect in mind, there are some people who claim that dressing up keeps these spirits at bay and will save you from the horror of this wicked holiday. So here at Bright On A Budget we scrolled through the past for friends, families and even our own Facebook pages to find the best cost effective, yet surprisingly entertaining costumes.

So bring on the embarrassment, and remember you don’t have to fork out a fortune to look your best in Halloween fancy dress.


Go the route of the masked man and woman – whether a superhero, villain or the Eyes Wide Shut motif, a good mask isn’t always expensive:


Paint Me Like One of Your French Girls

Keep it simple, it’s amazing what you can do with a cheap set of face paints:


Dress to Impress

Dust off your old suit or snazzy dress and stay classy without spending a penny:


You can leave Your Hat On

A hat goes a long way on Halloween, so visit your local charity shop or check the back of your wardrobe:


Skillz That Killz

Be creative. If you’re a dab hand at sewing or arts & crafts then use this to your advantage to create something ‘spook-tacular’:


Have an amazing Halloween everyone and please send us your costume ideas and pictures. You can comment below too and share your money saving tips for Halloween.


5 DIY Valentines gift ideas

It’s the one time of the year when you can be unashamedly, sickeningly, grotesquely soppy. Of course it’s undeniable that Valentine’s day is basically just a Hallmark holiday where the bastards that be, get rich off of our stupidity.10947295_10152696308797759_8669640155649305150_n

However, what if you take away the ott expenditure, get creative and use it as an opportunity to show your significant other (or indeed your bff) how much you care?

Nick and I have a long-standing tradition of making each other things for any given occasion. He’s set himself the rather steep challenge, after several years together, of giving me a list of 50 things he loves about me, adding another 50 with each Vday that passes. We’re now on 150 and the reasons are becoming slightly tenuous – “I love the way you draw your eyebrows on each morning.”

If, like us, you’re strapped for cash and looking for some Vday inspiration, here are five of my favourite DIY gifts:

  1. Filofax love cards

Simply chose something you love/an inside joke for each letter and you’ve got yourself a thoughtful gift for the £7-10 it costs to buy the filofax. If you want to be even more creative, spruce up that baby and really go to town.

  1. 12 pre-planned date ideas

These can range from picnics on the beach in summer to a cinema trip on a cold, winter night. The idea is to make sure you spend some quality time alone together at least once a month, so stick to the date and the plan a,nd make the most of a bita shmoozing.


  1. Homemade hot chocolate jar

Nothing says ‘I love you’ like some grated chocolate in a jar. My personal favourite is grated Terry’s chocolate orange with a few larger chunks for good measure. Fill a mason jar, top with some marshmallows, attach a heart-felt note and hey presto, you got yourself a very respectable wee gifty.

  1. Romantic boozey treats

Cover your significant other’s favourite tipple in a personalised label. Easy peasy and a little bit sleezy.

  1. Valentines day poppers


This is a great idea and a little nod to this fab blog At the Picket Fence where I stole the idea from (thanks laides!) Check out their DIY tutorial and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Image by WilB

8 DIY Secret Santa ideas (for under £10)

Deck the halls with a shed load of cash….it’s Christmas time!

Last year, before I entered the road to super human splendour and stuff, I got myself into quite the sticky wicket with a credit card and a big ole heart full of Christmas-giving cheer. This year, I’ve decided to be more sensible and, in my bid to save money and give my loved ones a more personal gift, have actually discovered some pretty cool DIY gift ideas. Here are my top picks:

1. Postcard collage

You will need: A4 canvas, collection of postcards, glue

What to do: This can be done using any number of postcards. I made mine with penguin classic book sleeves but also have a pretty idea for another using 1940s postcards from around Europe. Amazon have a wide selection and most packages come with between 50 and 100 cards for around the £10 mark, making one unique piece of art for less than a fiver. For more information about how I did it, check out our blog post – create a work of art for £1.14.


2. Personalised cookery scrap book

You will need: A large, plain papered book from a cheap stationary shop – perhaps even the pound shop, although it needs to be quite thick to be effective; print offs of the giftee’s favourite things, scissors, varnish or assotate, glue.

What to do: Stick the images onto the front and back cover in any way you wish. You can customise with the person’s name on the front in different material. Varnish over the top to give it a glossy, more professional feel, but make sure the varnish isn’t too thick, as it could make the ink run. Alternatively, you can cover it in a large piece of sticky assotate.

Start the book off with cut outs of some delicious recipes and maybe even tie a small wooden spoon to the book with ribbon.

Easy, cheap and wonderful.

(Image to follow, don’t want to spoil any surprises).

3. Book frame

This is so beautiful, I think I’ll have to make one for myself.

Full details here.

DIY book frame

4. Grow your own chilli sauce

You will need: A packet of chilli seeds with some dried chilli, a pack of mustard seeds and a pack of celery seeds, a box or package, a print-out of chill-sauce recipe, some card.

What to do: Combine all seeds in the box or packet. Type up the recipe for chilli sauce, make it look a bit snazzy and print it onto cardboard.

Vola, your DIY make-your-own chilli sauce is ready at a fraction of the price. Perfect for the dare-devil office lad (or lady).

5. Damson vodka with personalised glass

This one take a bit of prep, as it needs to be prepared now in order to be ready by Christmas, but is so easy and can provide a gift for the whole (adult) family.

You will need: 1 litre of vodka, 500 grams of sugar, 1 kg damsons.

For the full recipe, visit here.

For the personalised glass, you will need: Glass paints and either a lead pen or a permanent marker. A tumbler or, for a much cheaper option, a tea light holder or shot glass, which you can turn into a teeny  sipper.

6. Instagram coasters

You will need: Piece of cork, glue, instagram cut-outs, card varnish or assotate.

What to do: Cut the cork into circles and cut the images and card the same size to match. Glue the card to the cork and the image to the card. Finish with varnish or assotate cut to size.

DIY instagram coaster

7. His & her letters

You will need: 1 qty of plain flour, ½ qty table salt, ½ qty of cold tap water (it works by one measure to half measures so you can dictate how much you think you will need).

What to do: Make yourself some salt dough following our nifty recipe and then use it to fashion whatever you please. Doing letters is quite an easy option and rather trendy at the moment. This could also be a great wedding present for those thrift seekers amongst.

Once the letters have baked and cooled, get creative with paints or fabric to really jazz them up.

8. Personalised champagne glass

You will need: Glass paints and either a lead pen or a permanent marker. A champagne glass or whatever objet d’art you decide.

Get jazzy…go wild!

This couldn’t be easier but makes a beautiful, personalised gift that can be used all year round. There are some more ideas on Pinterest.

For an even cheaper alternative, paint glass jars and put tea lights inside them.

DIY personalised champagne glass

We’d love to see how you get on so send us your pics via instagram or Twitter, or leave them in the comment section below.

Happy creative Christmas!

Images by look whatmelissamade & Don O’Brien

Create a work of art for £2.20

I am very excited about this art project, mainly because it looks fantastic but was so ridiculously easy and cheap.

What you will need:

  • Penguin classics book jackets postcards – £10.49 for 100, I got mine from Amazon
  • I used 12 postcards for each canvas – £1.20 (ish) – and have so many left over for exciting projects to come (my other half is thrilled)
  • Glue gun (I already had one. If you’re going to buy one, it’ll add more to the cost now but is well worth the investment)
  •  A4 sized canvas – £1 from the pound store (I made two so my costs were doubled)

Step one:

Lay out all the postcards and have a jolly old time deciding which are your faves. I chose mine based on colour combinations and the funkiness of the art work rather than how much I actually like the books.

Step two:

Stick them onto the canvas. I chose to do mine portrait because the postcards are all portrait but if you choose another style of postcard, landscape would work too.

Finished. It is literally that easy. Hazzaaaaa. Amazing. Hooray!


What do you think? Are you bowled over by wonderment? Or maybe you have some even better ideas. Leave us a comment in the section below.

Image by Michelle Tribe

DIY super hero lamp shade

Giddy alert – this lamp project is freaking excellent.

What you will need:

  • Glue gun with lots of sticks, those things run out quickly – £15
  • Old fashioned, stand alone lamp (can use a table lamp) – £15
  • Fabric (I got mine from ebay for £15 per metre) – £30
  • Ribbon to finish off – £5
  • Scissors
  • Patience
  • Preferably a team mate

Total: £65 for your one-of-a-kind, statement piece.

I found me this beeeeautiful 1930s stand-alone lamp in an antiques warehouse in Suffolk. It cost an amazing £15 and was a looker all by itself. Quick tip: Don’t look for antiques in Brighton, they will always be exponentially more expensive.


But I wanted to jazz it up some. So I bought some vintage marvel comic material and black and white Betty Boop material off ebay.

Step one:

Remove the fringe (carefully as you will need this later) and the existing material. Cut out one panel of the material to use as a template.


Step two:

Using the template, cut out as many panels as you need. Ensure you leave about two centimetres the whole way round so you can then tuck the material under the frame later (it’s better to have the panels too big than too small, as we unfortunately learned the hard way).

Step three:

Pin the panel to the top and bottom of the frame to hold it in place. Heat the glue gun and begin sticking the panels to the frame, one at a time. You will need to go very slowly, glueing straight onto the frame and sticking as you go along to ensure the glue doesn’t dry before you’ve managed to get the material on. Quick tip: Pat the material to make it stick, don’t pinch it or it will become puckered and uneven. Leave the top and bottom sections until you have done everything else.


Step four:

Fold the top sections over. We did this by sticking the middle of each section first and then folding the edges to make it as closely fit to the shape of the frame as possible.

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Step five:

Run your ribbon from the top of the seam down, making sure to place it exactly where the two pieces of fabric meet, while keeping it as straight as possible.

unnamed (1)

Step six:

Fold the fabric under at the bottom in a similar way as you did at the top. Stick the ribbon underneath.

Step seven:

Glue the original fringe back along the bottom (this is best accomplished with two people.


Step eight:

Stand back and admire your transformed lamp of wonder.



Brighton: a hub of innovation

Behind many of Brighton’s most alluring quirks, trends and movements is an entrepreneurial spirit.

We have our own, much loved, brand of coffee; are home to nationally renowned street food vendors from around the world. Here you can find universes fashioned from chocolate. Brighton is also the birth place of The Body Shop, a legacy that now spans the globe and has affected hundreds of thousands of lives through campaigns and social initiatives. Our community of movers and makers forms an integral part of our story.

There are now 4.6 million Brits who are self-employed and we can see many of them living and working in Brighton. The co-working spaces around the city are booming in popularity and, particularly for those working within the digital industries, it seems Brighton is the perfect city to find support and encouragement to help fuel the decision to go freelance.

For any beautiful readers who are debating whether this may be the best move for you, I have been working with a team of creatives over at Crunch to put together this short documentary about freelancing and how to make the leap from full-time employment. I hope you find it useful.

What to do when it’s raining

Welcome to the Great British Autumn where no conversation is complete without a jolly good natter about the weather.

Don’t be sad about it though, it’s all par for the course. Instead get creative, stay indoors. Say fooey to you, you predictable bastard. Cuddle up warm and enjoy the time to reflect. Reflection can become quite boring though, after the fifth consecutive weekend in a row. So why not have a little fun.

A quick Google on rainy day activities revealed a sad thing. Apparently rainy day fun is reserved only for little ones. Er no…no that’s not fair at all. So I decided to add a little va va voom to the PG rated rainy day.

1. Plan for the zombie apocalypse

If, like me, you’re hoping for aliens over zombies, you may need to change tack slightly, but the premise is the same.

What better opportunity to map out your strategy than when there’s absolutely nothing else to do? Of course this plan may change over time, and that’s ok too. But here are a few nifty areas to help guide you:

  •  Decide whether you’re going to be a fleer, fighter or sacrificial lamb – this will form your next move
  • Choose your weapon. Don’t be greedy now and mythical creatures don’t count. No mega dragon fire ball blazer, you’ve got to take this business seriously
  • Where is the best place to get to? You may not have access to communication. Where would zombies hate? It could be something mental like the little chef off the A1, somewhere in the arse end of no where that no one ever goes to out of choice
  • Who will be your army of slayers? Choose wisely or your decision may come back to bite you.

Now put your plan in a top secret location and wait for the signal.

images (2)

2. Build a fort

This is one of the funnest and most brilliant things to do, ever. All you need are a fews chairs, some sheets and lots of cushions. There are not very many things more comforting than the sound of rain pounding down on the roof, apart from sitting inside a home-made fort listening to the sound of rain pounding down on the roof.

It’s like camping without the wild wee. It’s quite great. If you want to spice it up, pretend you’re having a sexy picnic with your significant other (or whoever you choose to do that sort of business with) and romanticise the bajeesus out of that fort.


3. Have a board game and cheese marathon

Literally, what can be better than playing Articulate, or Cluedo, or Frustration, while eating an array of cheeses and drinking red wine?

4. Dance party

No rainy day is complete without a dance party. If you’re on your own, even better. No one appreciates those shapes like you do.

If you can bare the effort, take mattresses off the beds and make a bouncy castle to host your groove. This may actually be even funner than cheese and board games. Man, it feels good to flail.

5. Get crafty

This is why it is absolutely imperative that you keep a box of craft materials in your house at all times. Painting is obviously one option. Others include making whole worlds out of salt dough, cutting up glow sticks, putting them in empty jam jars and shaking up with glitter (so you can pretend you are on another planet??!!!), face painting, plasticine…oh the opportunities are endless. I have built up a very jolly box of arts and craft supplies over the years, ensuring I never spend more than £1.50 on any single item. There is never an excuse to be bored again!

glitter jar Do you have any top tips? Leave your suggestions in the comments and help keep Brighton busy during this rainy season.