Month: April 2018

Extremely Frugal?  Would you go THIS far?

Extremely Frugal? Would you go THIS far?

Frugal living seems to be a bit of a natural state for me.  When left alone I will gravitate towards frugal living.  I love anything that saves me money and double points if it is environmentally-friendly too.

 

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small amount of money at no additional cost to you.

 

Over the last few years I (not so much Mr. Pennies) have made a few choices that could be called extreme frugal living.  Most people I know would never even consider some these choices.  But wow! I think I love them all.  I have more money and am closer to my zero-waste dream.

 

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Are you extremely frugal? Or are you looking for ways to slash your budget and make your debt free dreams a reality? Well with these four eco-friendly ideas in your life you could save a lot of money.

 

So here are my extreme frugal living top 4:

Cloth nappies

I’ll start tame.  Cloth nappies are almost mainstream now.  I can go to most baby or toddler groups and find at least one other parent there who is either using them or has tried them.  But for every one I find there are probably 10 others who have given me odd looks.

 

Well the joke is on them.  As frugal living tips go this one is easy peasy.  You can buy cloth nappies on the high street now and they pretty much work like normal nappies.  The only difference being that rather than chuck them in the bin to spend an eternity attempting to decompose in landfill, you stick them in the washing machine.

 

“What about poo?”  is a phrase I get a lot.  Well you’ve got a couple of choices: 1) if you can, shake it down the toilet, or 2) if it’s runny, just chuck it straight in the wash.  Occasionally we get a few “lingerers” but we just remove and rinse again.  And when it is your own kids , it doesn’t actually seem quite as bad.  Well I don’t think so anyway.

 

We use Bambino Miosolos (found here on Amazon).  They come in the cutest patterns and you can get them from lots of High Street retailers, such as Aldi, Boots, Asda etc.

 

No poo

Confession: I didn’t use shampoo or conditioner for a whole year!  No I didn’t stop washing my hair completely but I did stop buying specific products for it.  And my hair loved it!  It was clean, bouncy, shiny and just magical.  And I saved so much money.

 

Rather than using shampoo, I switched to something called the “no poo” option.  Instead I washed my hair with various things including bicarbonate of soda and apple cider vinegar (ACV).  Both of these products were already in my cupboard.  If I ran out of either of them I would just use something else that I did have.  Like coffee or beer or fruity tea.

 

Alongside the benefits that I noticed to my hair and my bank balance, I also had far less waste.  There was no longer a collection of different plastic bottles in my tiny bathroom bin.  No poo is pretty low waste.  If you buy the basics you need in bulk they will last you ages.  This is because you can only wash your hair every four days (longer is the goal) and you use so little of them anyway.

 

Alas, two kids and a job meant that I didn’t keep this one going forever.  It was more time-consuming than a more traditional hair washing schedule so it had to go.  But I do now use shampoo bars rather than normal shampoo.  Shampoo bars are the perfect half-way house.  They last a longer time, contain fair less nasties, come in less packaging and do just as good a job as the stuff you buy in the supermarket.

 

Are you extremely frugal? Or are you looking for ways to slash your budget and make your debt free dreams a reality? Well with these four eco-friendly ideas in your life you could save a lot of money.

Reusable menstrual products

After using cloth nappies on my eldest I got a bit jealous of that cushion-y softness.  Plus I learnt that nappies are just awful for the environment and feminine hygiene products (horrible phrase) are just as bad.  It was my turn to do my bit.

 

There exist washable sanitary towels.  And crocheted tampons.  And menstrual cups.  All of these products will save you money eventually.  Like cloth nappies they involve a higher initial cost but them long term savings.  I was able to save even more money by making my own pads.

 

I’ve not had many periods (2 in total I think) since I feel pregnant with my eldest nearly 4 years ago.  But the few times I’ve used my cup or my towels they’ve been excellent.  They do everything you want them to do and are super comfortable.

 

I even went a step further and used reusable maternity pads and didn’t need to buy a single disposable pad.  I now have a lovely collection of night time pads to use when Aunt Flo decides to show up again.  Much nicer than those crunchy old things rustling all night.

 

There’s a blog post all about this brewing in my mind, so sign up to get notifications for when that manifests.  But for now I will say that you have three basic choices; pads, cups and tampons.  Pads are used like your normal disposables and normally have a popper to hold them in place.  You keep them in cold water until you are ready to wash and then chuck them in with the rest of your laundry.  Cups are used internally and take a bit of practice.  (This is the one I’ve got: Diva Cup)  They will need sterilising before use and then emptying and rinsing up to every 12 hours.  I’ve less experience with tampons but from what I hear they are inserted in the standard way and then stored and washed like pads after use.

 

This was a daunting step to take but I love them.  There are loads of great designs and every time I use them I feel like I am claiming my period back from the corporations and the patriarchy.  #feministthroughandthrough

 

Family cloth

Also known as reusable toilet roll!  Yeah we went that far! Well I did and the kids.  For me this was the ultimate.  I’d done cloth nappies and I’d done reusable menstrual products.  The big hurdle was just poo.

 

I kept a pile of cloth wipes (we used these ones from Cheeky Wipes) next to the toilet along with a box to keep the dirty ones in.  After I’d done my business I would wet a cloth and wipe and chuck it in the bucket.  When it came to washing time I would just chuck them in with the cloth nappies.

 

Now the pros of this are that it wasn’t costing me anything.  Zero cost!  I already had the wipes but I could easily have used cut up bits of old t-shirt or towel instead.  Second benefit was that I was feeling much…erm…fresher.  The use of water made me feel cleaner and there were no leftover toilet paper tails as I like to call them.  And lastly they are great for the environment.  Even recycled toilet paper needs cleaning and bleaching and goodness knows what else.  These just needed a wash.

 

If I’m being honest the reason I’m using the past tense here is because I stopped using them.  I don’t really have good reason why.  I think I stopped because I didn’t have good storage systems.  Mr Pennies would whinge that everything looked messy and in the end he wore me down.  That said I’m currently plotting the return of family cloth.  I just need some pretty baskets to store them in.

 

How far have you gone?

Would you try these ideas?  Or have you gone even further in your attempts to save money or the planet?  Send me a message or comment below.

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Are you extremely frugal? Or are you looking for ways to slash your budget and make your debt free dreams a reality? Well with these four eco-friendly ideas in your life you could save a lot of money..

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Eco-friendly living, Saving Money, 0 comments
Must have parenting hacks to save money (and be awesome parents)

Must have parenting hacks to save money (and be awesome parents)

Mr. Pennies and I have two little kids.  They are the motivation behind all we do but we refuse to let them be expensive.  Children have very basics need when you look at it.  They need food, drink, clothes, a wash occasionally and cuddles.  Therefore we choose cheap parenting.

 

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small amount of money at no additional cost to you.

 

When we found out that we were going to have a new member of our family we did what most new parents do and bought all the stuff.  We had entered a completely new world and we were vulnerable to the marketing and advertising.  Over the first few weeks of her life we realised that nearly all of what we had bought was pointless.  With a few simple (yet possibly controversial) parenting choices we were able to save ourselves hundreds if not thousands.

 

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This is what we did:

Having a baby? Use these cheap parenting hacks to save money and be an awesome parent. A few parenting techniques that won't break the budget and will help you raise healthy children. #parenting #money #budget #lookingafteryourpennies

Cosleeping

Our kids sleep in our bed.  Technically my husband sleeps in my eldest’s bed but when she was little she slept in our bed with us.  We bought cots and cribs and decorated a lovely nursery for her sleep in but she barely touched them.  She didn’t sleep in the nursery once.  Yes you might worry about the safety of this but there are ways to reduce the risk, see here.

 

Now you can either just chuck your kids in your own bed or you can buy a crib that attaches to the side of your bed.  We used the Chicco Next2me cosleeper and found it great.  It folds up nice and small so we can take it on trips away.  It straps easily to the side of the bed.  And it keeps baby nice and safe on their own sleeping surface.  It is definitely a solid purchase.  You can even pick them up secondhand for a good price.  Or if you are not happy with that you can sell it when you are done and make some of your money back.

 

(There are guidelines for safely cosleeping with your baby.  You can find them here.)

 

Cloth nappies and wipes

Ok!  These can get expensive but only if you are addicted to the patterns.  (That’s kind of a confession there!)  However there are some significant savings to be made.  A set of 30 cloth nappies could cost you around £200-250.  Cloth wipes another £25.  And then a little bit to wash them every couple of days.  But that’s it for you nappy expenditure.  I bought a set of cloth nappies when pregnant with number 1 child.  I am still using most of those nappies now for my youngest.  This means that I have had two children using the same 30 or so nappies.  And it has saved loads.  AND they are great for the environment.

 

Baby led weaning

We feed our daughters scraps from our plate.  Well not the eldest one any more.  And not technically scraps.  Baby led weaning means giving your children proper food as soon as they are old enough to have food (6 months ish).  We have never bought purees, child specific food or any of the associated paraphernalia.  They have a plate and a cup and they eat exactly what we eat.

Yes!  Quite a lot of food ends up on the floor.  And yes it does break my heart to see this.  If you’ve got a dog then you get to feed the dog as well as your kids.  Yay!  If the food is retrievable it will go back on their plates.  That bit of floor gets cleaned as often and as thoroughly as the table so I don’t worry too much.  But aside from the mess, it is easy and cheap.

Breastfeeding

Now I get that some people can’t breastfeed or don’t want to breastfeed.  That is not a discussion for this post or this blog but it is definitely worth considering from a financial perspective.  Breastfeeding is free.  It requires no additional equipment and is available on tap.  When that is compared to formula where the costs will build up, then there are some savings to be had by whipping out a boob.  And I am aware that I am making the choice to breastfeed seem like choosing between Coke Zero or Diet Coke.  For many people it can be hard work and you might need to buy extra equipment like nipple shields or breast pumps.  You might even decide to pay out for a lactation consultant to help you get everything started.  My own journey was hard initially but now it is so easy AND free.

 

Babywearing

Don’t buy a pram!  We bought a pram and it was a lovely pram, but I just don’t like prams.  When you go shopping you have walk out of your way just to get to the lift.  They take up so much space in car, in your house, in cafes, in shops.  Yeah you can put all your bags and whatever on them but they restrict you.  I dislike that.

 

Wear your children instead.  Now I have a sizeable collection of different wraps, slings and carriers.  That’s a personal choice (not the best one financially!).  You need one, maybe two carriers and that is it.  You can get good wraps that will last you through until your child is pre-school age for less than £50.  Compare that to the price of that fancy pram you’ve been looking at and it speaks for itself.  A good place to start would be with a
stretchy wrap.  They have a great resale value too.

Not only do you save by not buying a pram, you also don’t need to buy to buy all the pram related stuff.  We didn’t need pram suits, those cosy toes things or even blankets really.  We would just put them in a normally amount of layers for the weather and then they’d snuggle in to us.  When it rained I’d just zip my raincoat over the top of them or they’d be nice and dry under my umbrella.  No tiny raincoats needed.

Having a baby? It doesn't need to break your budget. A few parenting choices can save you big cash!

Have fewer toys

This one I’m not very good at.  I have a weakness for beautiful wooden toys but there is money to be saved here.  There is now a good amount of research that says children benefit from having fewer toys.  And I believe it.  Children need to be bored to be creative.  Fewer toys means that children have to use the toys they do have in different ways.  Too many are overwhelming and they don’t learn how to play with them properly.  Therefore I recommend buying a few, well-chosen toys that can be used in a variety of ways and keep the rest of your money for other things.

Cheap parenting hacks that mean starting a family need not break your budget. Plus you'll still be an awesome parent.

 

Is cheap parenting for you?

Some of these things may not be right for you.  Research them.  Find out what you can and make an informed decision.  An excellent place to start would be: The Attachment Parenting Book. We have made these choices because we felt they were right for our family and the money that we saved was a bonus.

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Having a baby? Use these cheap parenting hacks to save money and be an awesome parent. A few parenting techniques that won't break the budget and will help you raise healthy children. #parenting #money #budget #lookingafteryourpennies

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Eco-friendly living, Saving Money, 0 comments
7+ Awesome Side Hustles for Teachers to help you Retire Early

7+ Awesome Side Hustles for Teachers to help you Retire Early

Teaching is a tough job.  We haven’t had a decent pay rise in ages, government cuts are draining resources and exam pressure is pushing us to the limit.  I know this because I teach.  I also know that I can’t teach until I’m 68, so I am constantly looking ways to use my teaching skills to generate additional income and retire early.

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small amount of money at no additional cost to you.

Many teachers I know are making money outside of the classroom.  There are very few teachers I know that teach and only teach which is surprising given the amount of time that the job actually takes up.

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This is a list of all the side hustles I know that are great for teachers.

  • Face-to-face tutoring

This is an age old classic.  As a maths teacher this is one I find that I get almost headhunted for.  My own students have asked if I will tutor them (obviously say no to these ones).  But a lot of my colleges both past and present have done some tutoring work.

 

Tutoring pays a good rate.  Depending on the age/level of the child and your experience you can make an excellent hourly rate and it usually comes with repeat business.  I once did some tutoring for a family where I tutored their two children back to back and they provided an excellent array of snacks.  Great way to spend my Saturday morning while my husband was at work.

 

The downside to this type of tutoring is that you usually have to travel to them.  And it eats into your free time.  When you are working Monday to Friday (and your tutees are usually at school too) then the only time that you can fit in a session is either in the evenings and the weekends.  Not always ideal!

 

  • Online tutoring

This is a recent discovery for me.  Compared to face-to-face tutoring this is a dream.  Yes your take home pay might be less than tutoring face-to-face but so are your overheads.  No driving to someone else’s house.  No printing out worksheets because you can just send them over.  No real scope for doing fancy activities because, well, it is online.

 

There are lots of students about there that might require online tutoring for different reasons.  Perhaps they are travelling.  They might be home educated.  Or perhaps school refusers.  Or maybe finding a tutor in your subject area is hard so you might not live in the same county/country.  All of these reasons mean that you might get a bit more flexibility as to when you can tutor.  The holidays might be better for them.  Or first thing in the morning or late at night after you’ve put your kids to bed.  Or even the middle of the day.

 

All you need is a computer with a decent internet connection, a webcam, a microphone/headset and a subject/area of expertise that someone is willing to pay for.  I have had great success using the website Tutorhub.com.  Sign up yourself and see if you get any interest.

  • Exam marking

Another classic.  As exam season comes round many of my colleagues start busying the,selves with exam marking.  This is where exam boards recruit you to do marking of SATs/GCSE/A-level papers amongst others.

 

Now this isn’t a way to make a consistent income, as in a certain amount each month.  But you can make good money at certain points in the year.  And there are probably more exams going on throughout the year than you think.

 

It is also a great way to to familiarise yourself with the examinations.  Those teachers that do exam marking have “behind-the-scenes” knowledge of what the examiners are looking for and they are able to implement this into their teaching.

 

Even though it can be quite time consuming, it does have the added advantage of flexibility.  Many teachers fit this in around their usual working day.  If you are a secondary school teacher you will find that exam marking coincides with exam classes leaving so you might have some gained time (if you are lucky).

Teachers retire early. Side hustles to help you achieve your financial goals.

 

  • Selling resources

I rarely make resources for my classes.  I tweak and modify old resources but I am almost never making a resource from scratch.  Maybe I am lucky in this sense because, as a subject, the maths curriculum does not endure many radical changes.  But it is also because there are hundreds of other teachers out their making resources too.

 

TES (The Times Educational Supplement) has had a section on their website for years where you can find resources.  More recently they have added the option to sell your resources.  This means that you can upload your resources and people will pay you to use them.  Teachers Pay Teachers is another site that offers a similar service.

 

Be warned however that people aren’t going to pay you for five quick starter questions that you’ve shoved on to a PowerPoint.  To make money you need a product that is worth selling.  But if you are putting lots of time and effort into these resources for your own students then who is saying that they won’t be good enough for some other teacher too?  Pinterest can help you here.  There are lots of great tips for creating saleable resources.

 

  • Teaching English online

DaDaABC is one website where you can work online teaching English to students in China.  They pay you by the hour and provide you with training and lesson plans.  You can earn £20 per hour doing this and typically it’s a 15 hours a week gig.  You can start straight away by applying on their website.

 

The hours can be a little restrictive as they mostly have lessons early afternoon.  (This is when it is the afternoon in Shanghai.)  But if you are part time or get a free afternoon then it is something you could consider.

 

Multiple incomes streams for Teachers | Reach financial Independence
  • Being a host family

There are many companies around the UK that offer study camps for students who want to improve their English.  Therefore if you have a spare room in your house this could be the side hustle for you.

 

Being a host family requires you to have a young person, whose first language is not English, stay with you for a period of time.  You will get paid for this and I have seen hosting jobs pay between £100-£150 per week per student.  You normally have to provide meals and packed lunches and some entertainment at weekends.  It may be more suitable if you have similarly aged children already so you can just slot them into your family for a bit.

 

Naturally you will have to complete an application process and the necessary checks, which makes this a home from home for teachers.  The added bonus is that you and your family might learn a bit of a new language and make some friends from other countries.  It’s not all one sided.

 

  • Holiday activity leader

Companies like those looking for host families are also looking for activity leaders to work during the holidays.  Therefore if you’re inclined to get a bit bored over the breaks (I’m funny, right?) then this could be for you.  You can work with a different team of people on things that you wouldn’t normally work on.

 

And there are lots of places that offer these kind of services too from museums to universities.  Therefore start asking around and keeping your eyes peeled for any word of these sorts of jobs.  Anything you learn or any connections you make can be taken back into the classroom to support your main teaching practice.  Double winner!

 

  • Turn your hobby into money

Maybe you don’t want to spend your free time doing something teacher-y.  Why not turn your hobby into money?  If you like arts and crafts you could try opening an Etsy shop to sell your wares?  Or make video tutorials on Youtube?

 

If you are a musician you could offer lessons (OK, this one is still a bit teacher-y).  Or perhaps you have a degree in a non-education field that means you have lots of knowledge about something that you haven’t used in a while.  Could you use those skills in some way?  Start an online business perhaps?

 

There’s a side hustle for everyone

We should all be striving for multiple income streams.  Over reliance of any one of them means that we put ourselves at risk.  As teachers there are many ways that we can use our knowledge and skills to make money.  We are creative and assertive by nature so it’s time we used that to help ourselves.  All that additional money can be invested and added to the retirement fund.  Bigger the fund; closer you get to being able to retire early.

 

How have you turned your skills in a money-making side hustle?

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Making Money, 0 comments
Your money or the environment?  You can save both!

Your money or the environment? You can save both!

Your money or the planet? Save both!

7 easy ways to save money and the planet

I remember the moment that I decided that this personal finance blog would have an eco-friendly twist.  I had popped to the shops to get eggs and some other things for impromptu cake making session.  I’d dragged my whole family with me for the exercise.

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small amount of money at no additional cost to you.

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Anyway I’d picked up most of the bits we needed and then realised that I hadn’t picked up the eggs.  I left my husband with the kids looking at crisps or chocolate probably and “nipped” to get eggs.  I only had about three choices: cheap, mid-range and fancy.  The fancy ones were in a standard cardboard egg box and were free range but were also expensive so they were immediately eliminated from my choices.  The mid-range ones were about 14p per egg.  These were again in a cardboard box and free range.  They ticked my personal boxes for being able to recycle the packaging and being kinda nice to animals.  The cheap ones were 12p per egg.  Not even that much cheaper really but came in a plastic box and from caged hens.  That was my dilemma!

 

I was stood looking at these choices for a long time.  Occasionally the money saving part of me would win over and I’d pick up the cheap one.  Only to be instantly disgusted at myself, put them back and then pick up the other ones.  I’d then dither about whether I could call myself a personal finance nerd if I didn’t go for the cheapest ones.  Those would go back too and I’d scratch my head a bit longer.

 

Eventually my husband rescued me and chose some eggs on my behalf.  I can’t remember which ones he picked up but I remember the cakes we made and they were lovely.  Anyway I realised that sometimes there are times when we have to decide what is more important to us.  For me this battle between looking after my pennies and saving the environment is a common one.  That’s why I have created this list.  Here are 7 ways to save money and the planet:

 

  1. Turn down the thermostat

More broadly this can be called “use less energy”.  Turning down your thermostat buy just 1◦C will save you approximately £40 a year.  Or you could get yourself a Nest Learning Thermostat and let that figure it our for you.  We haven’t got one of these yet, but it is definitely on my wishlist.  It learns when you need the thermostat up and when you cope with it down and does it for you automatically.  If you don’t trust yourself to do control the temperature of your house, grab one of these.  It will do it for you.

 

There are other ways to save energy.  For example, you could make sure that your house is well insulated, particularly your loft.  Some councils offer grants to help you pay for this, so it may be worth doing your research.  You could also use your tumble dryer less and stick your clothes on an airer or on a washing line.  Line dried clothes are awesome!  They smell fresh and the sun will bleach away the stains too.

  1. Buy a water bottle

Ok.  Yes.  This might cost you money to begin with.  If you object to spending the money, then you can put it on your birthday/Christmas wish list.  However, if you are the sort of person who is prone to buying drinks when out and about then this is a must.

 

I rarely used to leave the house with any sort of drink.  Only if I was going on a hike or to a party would the thought of taking drink cross my mind.  If therefore I was going shopping and I got thirsty I would just buy myself something when out.  This could have been water or some sort of fizzy drink.  Most of these cost somewhere between 50p and £2 each.  And most of them come in a plastic bottle.  And I normally just threw this straight in the bin when I was done.  None of this is good for your bank balance or good for the environment.

 

The solution is easy – invest in a water bottle.  I say invest because you should get one that you love.  One that you want to use all the time and show your friends.  This way you will be more inclined to use it and remember to take it with you.  Before you know it, you’ll stop buying drinks when you are out.

  1. Buy a travel coffee cup

Like most people I love a hot beverage in the morning.  And throughout the day if I’m honest.  Now I’ve never been much of one to stop off at a coffee shop on the way to work but I know exactly how expensive they are.  I also know that they love making you that drink in a plastic lined paper cup that will go in bin as soon as you are done.

 

Now you have two choices with this one.  Go for the full money-saving option and make yourself a coffee at home.  Use your fancy coffee machine and take a drink with you.  Or you can take your mug into Starbucks and other places and get them to put your drink in your cup.  Some of these places will give you money off your drink for doing this.

  1. Walk instead

A bit too obvious?  How many times have you jumped in your car to drive that short distance to the shop?  I know I’ve done it.  I still do it far too often now.  There are alternatives though.

 

We are currently a single car family, and this has forced us to be a bit more creative with our methods of travel.  When my husband has the car, I have taken to walking places or getting the bus.  Some of these places are a reasonable distance away.  Occasionally we end up walking as an activity all in itself and we have fun stopping and looking at things we find on the way or the kids will have a little snooze and I can pretend to have some “me time”.

 

Walking, cycling, taking the bus.  All of these are better for the environment and you’ll probably find that all of them save you money too.

 

  1. Fix things

A little while back our oven died.  After having a little cry about the sausages that were lukewarm in oven and no longer safe for consumption, I started planning what to do next.  A new oven would have been a big and unwanted expenditure for us.  But what else could we do?

 

The answer is YouTube.  If your stuff breaks there will be someone on YouTube that can show you how to fix it.  Our oven turned out to just need a new element.  We watched a video and fixed it ourselves.  We ended up only spending a few pounds and our oven didn’t end up unnecessarily in landfill.  (There are some things that you shouldn’t try to fix on your own unless you are a pro.  Be sensible!)

 

  1. Get reusable stuff

I am slowly replacing everything I own with reusable versions.  Each time I come to buy some consumable item I have a little research and instead buy the reusable version instead.  There are some truly fantastic products out there.  I, for one, cannot shut up about my silicone cupcake moulds.  They were a couple of pounds on Amazon and I use them so much.  You may have to replace items slowly but in the end you will find that you are throwing away less and spending less.  Plus you don’t ever run out of these things.  They are always there.

 

Here is a short list of things that you might want to consider switching to reusables for: kitchen rollrechargeable batteries for kids toys, razors, nappiesfood wrap and toilet roll.  A more complete list will appear soon.

 

  1. Repurpose your stuff

Sometimes stuff does break or wear out and you can’t use it for it’s original purpose any more.  But, that does not mean it cannot be used as something else.  When our frying pans and sauce pans got to the point where they were no longer any good for cooking on.  We replaced them, BUT we gave the old ones to our daughter and she now uses them in her mud kitchen.

 

Old fabrics are another great thing to save, particularly if you are a bit crafty.  I’ve recycled old clothes into new clothes, dusters, patched up other clothes with them and even made birthday cards with them.  Pinterest will provide you with a long list of uses for those old fabrics.

 

Eco-friendly and money-savvy

A few ideas to get you started.  There will still be those “egg” moments but at least you can sleep a bit easier knowing that you can achieve your money goals without compromising your morals.

 

Ask yourself: what else can I do that both saves money and the planet?

 

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Eco-friendly living, Saving Money, 0 comments
10 things you can do to save money this month and every month

10 things you can do to save money this month and every month

Many of us are looking for ways to cut down our monthly costs and widen the gap between the comings in and the goings out.  I absolutely love it!  I get a real kick out of shaving a few pence (or pounds) off that bill each month or even ditching one completely.  And with good reason.  The lower my month costs are the less reliant I am on my salary.

 

Now I’ve got a good job!  Not the best, but most certainly not the worst.  I get paid good money but I absolutely hate the idea of needing my job.  I’d much prefer a situation where I am genuinely working for pleasure.  Cutting my monthly costs is part of that dream!

 

Here’s my top 10 ways to do that:

  1. Switch and save – Utilities

Everyone has bills.  Phone bills, electricity bills, water bills.  Some of them we might decide that we don’t need and others we have really got to keep.  Those that we have to keep, or even those that we want to keep, we really should not be overpaying for.  If you’ve sat and laughed at the Compare the Meerkat ads or had the “Go Compare” song stuck in your head for days but have never actually bothered looking at either site, then more fool you.  These websites, amongst others, can save you serious money each month.  Have a look at each of your utility bills (electricity, gas, phone/internet) and check to see if you are still in the initial contract period.  If not, it is time to save money.

 

Find a comparison website.  I’d recommend Quidco (read my beginners’ guide here)because then you might be able to get some cashback too.  Fill in the details it asks for and see if they can find you a cheaper deal.  I bet for most of you they will.  And what is even better is that it will be super easy to switch.  You just stick your details in and press the button that says switch or something along those lines.  That’s likely to be it.  No drafting letters to your old supplier to tell them you are leaving.  Saving money right there.

Quick and easy ways to reduce monthly bills and save money.

 

  1. Switch and Save – Insurance

You can do the same thing for all your insurances too.  Car insurance, house insurance, buildings and contents, life insurance.  Find a comparison site, shove in your details and save some money.  I do this every year and save a couple of quid here and there.  Don’t forget the potential cashback too.

 

However, for these you are likely to need to let your previous insurer know that you are leaving them.  Otherwise they will just keep on insuring you and you will be doubled up.  Not only will this mean you are paying double, but it could get messy if you need to make a claim.  A quick phone call will normally do the trick.

 

  1. Pay annually

An even better thing to do if you can afford it and it is available, is to pay for the whole year in one go.  This will always be cheaper than the monthly payments and it means you are all covered for the next year without too much hassle.  If you can’t afford to that you could get a 0% credit card, pay for it on that and then set up a direct debit to have it paid off in the year.  (I hesitate to mention this as an option.  Using credit cards can be a slippery slope and having them requires excellent self-control.  If you can do that then great, if not avoid this and just go for the standard monthly payment option.)

 

  1. Meal planning

This one is pure gold! Food makes up such a huge part of our monthly outgoings.  It was one area that I assumed that I couldn’t save any money on because, you know, I need food!  But then I kept reading about meal planning and realised that not meal planning actually leads to lots of waste.  I hate waste!  I particularly hate wasted food!

 

Think about it!  How do you know what you need to buy if you don’t know what you already have and what you are going to want to eat?  You don’t buy other things this way.  Like “I need a new kitchen, but I’ve not really thought about it so I’ll just take a load of cupboards and some worktop.  That’ll do!”  Or “I’ve got an event coming up and I need a new outfit.  Dunno what the event is though so I better get a whole new wardrobe.”  That’s how you end up with stuff you don’t need.  Or it’s how you don’t get stuff you do need.  Then you end up popping to Tesco Express at 9pm for bread and end up coming back with a large bag of Minstrels, Kettle Chips and reduced-price pork chops and cursing because you forgot the bread.

 

Meal planning means you get exactly the food you want.  You throw less away and you avoid those expensive top-up shops.  I’ll be writing about this in more detail soon.

 

  1. Learn to drive more efficiently

If you own a car then you will know how expensive they are to run.  And fuel is a huge part of that.  Now this is not saying that you are a bad driver, but there are ways to drive your car that will reduce the amount of fuel you use.  For example if you treat every set of traffic lights as the start of race then you could probably save a bit of money here.  And you’ll be doing the environment a favour too.

 

Also plan ahead for your next fuel stop.  Don’t let the light come on before you start thinking about where to fill up.  Some petrol stations are most definitely cheaper than others and filling up there every time will save you loads.  Rather than filling up at a service station because you got caught out (again).

 

  1. Ditch stuff you aren’t using

Got a gym membership, but haven’t been in months/years?  Still getting one audiobook a month even though you only choose really long books and have about 6 months worth of listening?  Or maybe you are paying for Netflix but you’ve got a husband, two kids, a job and a blog and therefore no free time to binge watch anything these days?  Ditch those subscriptions!  Or at least threaten to.  Some of these companies will offer you a month free or half price for a couple of months.  Therefore even if you don’t want to get rid of it, it’s worth pretending that you do.

 

  1. Go SIM only

Yeah I know that Apple bring out a new iPhone every other Tuesday.  It does not mean that you have to get it.  Dare I say it but, it is just a phone.  A couple of years ago, when I reached the end of my contract, I realised that my phone was actually OK.  What I did then was decided to keep it and went on a 30 day rolling SIM only contract.  It more than halved my monthly payment.  And I still have option to upgrade at any time.

 

  1. Get a water meter

If you’ve 8 teenage kids and are still paying water rates then you probably want to ignore this one.  If however there’s you and one small child or you are very good at keeping the amount of water you use to a minimum, then a water meter might be the way forward.  Most people now have a water meter so there is a good chance that you are already on one, but if you are unsure then it might be worth checking.  Many water suppliers will offer you some sort of trial period so you can give it a go and see if it reduces your bill.  If it doesn’t you can switch back!

 

  1. Sack off the landline phone

When we changed our internet supplier we got given a new landline phone number.  It was at that point that I just decided to get rid of it.  My husband and I have both got mobiles and the only people who ever rang us on it were our mums.  Plus every now and then I would accidentally ring my mum back or something and incur a charge.  If you have cable (internet/TV) then you might be able to get rid of your landline completely and avoid the line rental charge.  Win!

 

  1. Start making gift cards

This one may seem a little out-of-place in this list but I threw it in to get you thinking.  I don’t know about you but in my social circle there is at least one birthday a month.  If you’ve got kids and they’ve got friends then it can get a bit ridiculous.  I started making gift cards and I am saving myself up to £2-3 a time.  All you need is some blank greeting cards & envelopes, some art and craft supplies and a Pinterest account.  I’m not really artistic but the cards I’ve made have looked pretty good.  And perhaps this might inspire you to think of other ways to save on gift giving.  Or you can just wait for my blog post on that.

 

These things might only save you a couple of quid per month.  But let’s say that you did everything on this list and saved £2 for each one.  That’s £20 a month.  Times 12 gives you a saving of £240 this year!!  Over 30 years that’s £7,200.  And that’s assuming you don’t find further ways to reduce your costs in that time.

 

Now it’s your turn.  Go take a look at those monthly costs and see if you can reduce or eliminate them.  Let me know in the comments how much you have managed to save each month.

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small amount of money at no additional cost to you.

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Saving Money, 0 comments
The Ultimate Beginners’ Guide to Quidco to Save Money NOW

The Ultimate Beginners’ Guide to Quidco to Save Money NOW

If you’re not already using Quidco, you should be!

This beginners’ guide will show you how to use Quidco and make money. There’s not one person reading this who couldn’t make a few pound from it so read on.

  1. What is this Quidco?

Quidco is a cashback website. The places you are buying from pay Quidco to encourage you to spend your money with them rather than their competitors. Quidco take this money and pass (at least of some of) it on to you.

  1. What does this actually mean for me?

You can get some money back for the shopping you do, both online and in store. Essentially this is a bit of your money back in your pocket.

  1. How do I sign up?

Follow this link.  (Signing up through this link will give you an extra £10 cashback!) Create an account.  You will need to enter a few details including bank details. Don’t worry about this. They are NOT going to take money from you. They are going to give you the money.

  1. Free account or premium account?

Technically you have to pay for neither. The premium account will take your first £5 of cashback a year but in return you get your money a bit quicker so I think it’s worth it. If your nervous though go for the free one and you can always upgrade later.

  1. How do I start making money?

Using the search feature on Quidco.

Next time you want to buy something online, GO TO QUIDCO FIRST. Search for the retailer you were going buy from. For example, let’s say you are about to buy a new laptop from Currys PC World. Type that in. They’ll pop up and show you what sort of percentage you can expect to get back. There will also be a link saying “Get Cashback.” Click that link and it will take you to the Currys PC World website and you finish your purchase like normal. At some point in the next couple of days you’ll have some tracked cashback showing on your Quidco account.

The “Get Cashback” button under the retailer screen on Quidco.

  1. When do I get the money though?

Now that varies depending on what you are buying and who you are buying it from. Most retailers will “track” your cashback fairly quickly (usually within 72 hours). However actually getting the money takes a bit longer.

I’ve had cashback confirmed (ready for me to withdraw) in anything from 1 day to 7 months, so don’t go getting excited straight away. But by the time it shows up I’ve usually forgotten about it so it makes a pleasant surprise.

A word of caution!

Getting cashback is NOT guaranteed! Quidco do their best but state that receiving cashback through them is not a certainty. Therefore it is prudent not to make decision based on the cashback you might received.

Do your research to find the item/service you want at the best price FIRST, then go to Quidco to see if you can make further savings.

Well that’s it really! If you check Quidco every time you shop you’ll quick be putting those pennies back in your pocket.

So go sign up here. (To make sure you get that extra £10!!)

And if you are ready to take Quidco-ing to the next level, check out my upcoming post on Advanced Quidco.

How much cashback have you made?

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small amount of money at no additional cost to you.

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Making Money, Saving Money, 0 comments
How I made £900+ in less than 11 weeks (and not from blogging)

How I made £900+ in less than 11 weeks (and not from blogging)

Who doesn’t love a bit of extra money?  I am all about multiple streams of income these days.  I started 2018 determined to fully get to grips with my family’s financial situation and I think I made a good start.  Without leaving my house (mostly) I have managed to make an extra £900 in the last 11 weeks and this is how.

 

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small amount of money at no additional cost to you.

 

Online Tutoring – £691.88

As a maths teacher I have a service to sell.  People like their kids to be good at maths therefore they are happy to pay people like me to help them.  I started the year by advertising my services on TutorHub and very quickly got interest from two families.  I am now tutoring these students multiple times a week after I have put my own kids to bed.

 

Now I know you are going to say “well that’s all great, but I’m not a maths teacher!”  I hear you and say you don’t have to be. People want tutors for all sorts of things and there are plenty of platforms out there to offer those services. Everything from supporting someone with their master degree to photography, art or playing the guitar has the potential to make you money.  And honestly it’s a cracking gig! I get to sit in my pyjama bottoms (I’m all business from the waist up), sip tea and impart wisdom! Oh and I make some extra money!

Face-to-face tutoring – £45

Much like above but you normally have to do some travelling to get there which eats into your cash.  Or, like me, you can convince them to come to you and look after your kids whilst you do it. Obviously I offered a discount, I’m not completely cheeky.

 

Website testing – £28.41

Ok so I made $40 but at the time of writing that converts to £28.41.  After doing a bit of research I found UserTesting.com. Basically this site is used by companies to get feedback on their websites and they pay you for that feedback.  Most of the tests last about 10-15 minutes and you get $10 a time. Even better is that the money shows up automatically in your PayPal account exactly a week later. I’ve done four of these so far and they’ve all been rather fun.  I sit on my computer and chat about what I can see and what I am doing and try to complete the tasks they’ve given me. Annoyingly you get sent a lot of tests to do but I found that I rarely qualified for them. This put me off a bit, but I still check every now and then because £28 is not to be sniffed at.

Selling stuff – £76.80

This is a classic tip that you see on blogs time and time again but there’s a reason for that.  It’s a good’un. Not only does it make you money but recycling and reusing your products is a great thing to do.  About a year ago I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo. And it is not a lie, it is life-changing but that’s another blog post.  Since then I regularly get these urges to sell my stuff. I sit in my living room and go “what can I flog in ‘ere?” If I can’t find anything I go to the kitchen and start opening cupboards.  Most of the money I made here was from selling stuff my kids no longer need. It brings me much joy to know that that stuff will be used by another family and I can have the money to buy the things my kids need now.

 

How I utilised side hustles to generate multiple income streams whilst working from home.

Quidco – £4.66

Not a huge pay out from Quidco (follow this link to sign up and get an extra £10 cashback) so far this year.  I’m waiting for some big ones to pay out soon. But I’ve got over £150 of tracked Quidco waiting for me and I add more to it ever couple of weeks.  If you’ve not yet got started with Quidco, check out my beginners’ guide here.

 

Voucher from Sky – £50

My internet and phone bill was due for switching and saving, so I did my research and decided to go for Sky.  They were offering a good service at a low price AND I got a £50 voucher. Now I’d have been sold before the voucher so I was more than happy to accept.  Plus I did it through Quidco so should be getting some cashback too. Cheers Sky! Look out for my future post on how to save money each month by switching and saving.

 

Job spotter – £20.44

This is the one I had to leave my house for, but I hardly went out of my way to earn it.  The Job Spotter app is run by the employment agency Indeed. They basically pay you money for taking photos of job adverts in shop windows.  Therefore I earned this money (well Amazon vouchers) by shopping with my phone out. Easy!

 

Amazon voucher from Aviva – £10

This was more my husband’s than mine really but I ended up organising it so it is my victory.  We got a letter in the post saying that if my husband switched to online mailing for his life insurance then we would get a £10 voucher.  I didn’t need telling twice! After he said he wasn’t going to do I did it for him and a week later the voucher arrived. I love things like this.  Money for next to no effort. Keep your eyes peeled for things like this as it can be easy to discard such things as spam when actually it is legitimate.  

 

TOTAL – £902.19

 

There you go!  Now this doesn’t include the money I’ve made from a couple of other things, which I am only just getting started with.  I’ll write about those another day. AND it doesn’t include any savings I’ve made. Again that is for different post.  But it does go to show you how a little creativity can go a long way. So dig deep and have a think!

 

What can you do over the next three months to make some extra money?

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

Posted by Charlotte Jessop in Making Money, 0 comments