Burning A Hole In Your Pocket?

Do you ever feel as though money is literally burning a hole in your pocket? What goes in your bank only ever seems to go out on the things you don’t see. We’re talking about bills, fuel for your car, food etc. But it shouldn’t be this way. We should be able to enjoy the money we have without having to stress about whether we’ll be able to get by the rest of the month without living on a tin of beans. Money has a way of getting us down, especially if we feel as though we don’t have much. So here’s a few ways you can let it bring you back up, and you can actually enjoy the money you have.

Shop Right

Are you a self confessed serial shopper? Or, are you someone who think they’re sensible with their money, but there is a questionable amount of food transactions in your bank account at the end of the month? Bottom line is, we tend to spend more money than we actually have because we’re just tempted by the things that we don’t have. To shop right, you need to get your bargain hunting glasses on. Use things such as these amazing John Lewis vouchers, along with other vouchers that you might be able to find on the internet. If you look to save whilst you spend, you’re going to be so much happier than actually having to cut the spending out all together. For things such as your food shop, have a look and see if online shopping is the way forward. A lot of stores offer discounts for the first time you order online, which could actually save you a lot of money!

pina messina

Save Right

Nobody can save right. Well, most people can’t, the rest of us spend our time putting money into another bank account, then taking it back out a week later because we’ve spent way more than we thought we would. It’s a vicious cycle that keeps repeating until the savings account is empty, and pointless. Try and be strict with yourself. You could even use one of the jars that needs breaking into to actually get to the money. Just something that you know you’re not going to be able to get to until the time is right. Having a motive to save makes it a lot easier. So it could be planning a holiday, moving house, getting a new car etc.

Live Right

People aren’t living right at the minute. There’s those that seem to stay in 24/7, and those that are out blowing their money every single weekend. Neither of these are right, and as we age it’s important to learn what the balance is. To live right you should only be living the lifestyle that you can afford. So it could be that you have a little treat night out once a month with your friends or family, or you go out for a little day trip every weekend to get out of the house. To be out and about doing things, you don’t actually need as much money as you would think!


On-The-Job Skills That Can Become Full-Time Careers

It’s easy to think that the route to learning essential skills for employment is simple. You go through formal education, you select an area you want to specialize in, and then you focus on developing specific abilities and skills related to your chosen career niche. When you have reached a certain level of aptitude in this regard, you enter into the workplace, and put those skills to use.

While the process of acquiring employment-related skills can be this linear, the learning process rarely stops when you enter employment. Many people find that their skillset increases the longer they are in the job, and sometimes in rather surprising ways. In terms of your future career options, learning to maximize on the additional, vocational skills you have learned can be key to delivering the working life that you want to achieve.

Below is a comprehensive look at some of the skills you may have learned while on the job, and which may be essential to helping to decide your further advancement in life. No matter your chosen job or niche, you are more than likely to have picked up at least a few of the following additions to your repertoire…

Organizational skills

When you have been working in any job for a period of time, it is inevitable that you will have picked up a few organizational skills. Whether it’s the management of the entire calendar for your workplace or having control over a specific project, these skills can be used to enhance your resumé and improve your job prospects in the future.

How to make the most of organization skills: If you have found that you are particularly adept at management and organization, then retraining by taking an online project management Masters could give you a wide range of future career options. If you want to remain in the same role, then utilize your organizational skills as a discussion point in your next performance review— you could request more responsibilities, or the opportunity to be involved in larger-scale organizational projects.

Olu Eletu

Diplomatic skills

No matter your chosen career, the need to establish good diplomatic skills is something most people will pick up over the course of their working life. Whether it’s helping to control disagreements in the office or assisting customers to help solve any problems they are experiencing, diplomacy skills are vitally important to the modern workplace.

How to make the most of diplomatic skills: If you find you have a natural ability for helping people build bridges and move on from issues, then you may want to consider retraining— working as a negotiator or in dispute management may be a natural fit for your abilities. If you’d prefer to stay in the same career, be vocal about your achievements and your ability to work with people to solve issues or calm customers down. Diplomacy is definitely a quality that is well-appreciated at management level, so you may want to consider tailoring your resumé to reflect your abilities and apply for more senior positions.

Writing skills

It’s likely that you write more in your line of work than you think. Sending emails, preparing reports, communicating messages to other staff members— it can all begin to add up into an impressive command of the English language. Being able to write well in a business context is a fairly uncommon skill, so if you have received praise for your ability to do this in the past, it’s worth wondering if this is something you may be able to capitalize on in future.

How to make the most of writing skills: While there are qualifications you can take to enhance your writing skills, these are far from necessary. Instead, you could look to make the most of your prior experience, working freelance alongside your day job. If you are writing material as part of your current work, then it’s fair to assume that other companies need writers to do produce the same text for them, so there’s no harm in reaching out and “blind pitching” your services— your experience in your normal job should help you to attract clients. Alternatively, you could look to retrain; most writers tend to specialize, so you could look into formal business writing full time, copywriting if you have a flair for sales, or even editorial-style writing if you want to share your opinion.

IT skills

There are precious few jobs that don’t, in some way, involve using a computer. If you have had to get to grips with customized software or have had to learn about the ins and outs of cloud computing as part of your job, you will be pleased to learn that these skills are incredibly useful in the modern marketplace. You don’t have to be a tech maven to use your newfound IT skills to improve your career prospects in future.

How to make the most of IT skills: If you have discovered a passion for IT, then retraining could be a wonderful choice. IT is generally an under-subscribed industry; there are more jobs than there are qualified employees, and the industry is generally considered to be well-paid. Alternatively, you could harness your IT experience to potential freelance or switch to working as a digital nomad— if you’re comfortable with technology, there’s no need for you to be restrained by an office environment. We’re at a point in history where remote working is becoming more common and accepted, and being able to rely on your own IT nous and skills is an essential requirement if you want to leave the office environment behind.

In conclusion

By making the most of the additional, work-based skills you have picked up over the years, your opportunity for career advancement could increase almost exponentially. Whether you consider a complete career change as you have discovered an aptitude for a particular skill, or you just want to enhance your prospects in your chosen field, knowing how to capitalize on these added skills is a key tool to help you advance your professional life in future.


How To Boost Your Credit Rating

This is a sponsored post.

I am not going to lie – my credit rating is currently quite shocking. I’d always prided myself on having an awesome credit score – I was always the one out of the couple with good credit but as the years have gone by and we’ve had unexpected expenses and things happen, my credit rating has taken a right battering.

This obviously isn’t great considering we want to get a mortgage in the not too distant future. Getting a mortgage will already be fairly difficult due to the fact I am self employed – at least I will have three years of books made up by the time we eventually apply for one and hopefully Steve will be in full time work at a local school alongside his studies to become a teacher.

Noticing how bad my rating is, I’ve been looking into some ways to boost it and get it back to fighting fit. Do you know of any ways to boost your credit rating?

Register on the electoral roll

If you want to get credit in the future, your name needs to be on there otherwise it can prove incredibly difficult.

Check It Regularly

This may sound incredibly silly but checking your rating regularly is very important. Whilst it is a little unlikely, sometimes things appear on our reports that are wrong and if you aren’t checking your rating often enough, it could be a while before you notice them and get them removed. These mistakes can have a big impact on your score.

Pay on time – and avoid defaults and CCJ’s.

Paying on time is vital – and whilst it can sometimes be inevitable that a bill gets missed, try to get back on track before you end up with a default or a CCJ on your file.

Consider a credit building credit card

Something most people consider when they have a poor history is getting a credit builder credit card from a provider such as Vanquis. Something to remember is that the interest on these will be slightly higher than other cards but these are great for building up your credit as long as you remember to pay on time.

Reduce your debt

Finally and perhaps the most obvious – reduce your debt. By cutting down on your debt, your credit score will increase. Find innovative ways of cutting down on your debt – take on more hours or do overtime at work, sell off anything items in the house you no longer need, do some side hustles to bring in some more money and apply every penny to your debt. Make a budget and stick to it, throwing every single extra penny at debt. Meal plan – this is something we have started to do again and one such item on the menu is this Instant Pot Pork Chops I found on Recipes From A Pantry.

Try and pay much more than the minimum payments each month and your balance will soon be going down and your credit rating up. One thing to remember though is to not pay everything off in one go – I recently found out that if you pay everything off in one go and have no credit at all, it can have a negative effect on your credit score for a while afterwards before rising again. We plan to reduce all our debts down to a certain amount each eventually and to then pay the minimum payment on each (of about £5) until they are paid off – so they all get paid off at different times. We will then keep one card for emergencies – maybe get it turned into a joint card.

Do you have any tips for increasing your credit score? I’d love to hear them!

Why I Am Glad HMRCTalk Is Around

This is a collaborative post.

I set myself up as a sole trader back in January 2014 and boy, it wasn’t easy. If I was to do it now, I think it would be relatively easy to set up but back then, I really did struggle. I visited the website, I called them on the phone and came out none the wiser, if I am being perfectly honest.

I’d started working freelance so knew I had to set myself up and went online to see how to do it. We all know that the site can be super glitchy at times and this time was no different. Once I managed to get in, I was very confused by it all and needed someone ‘real’ to talk to so I gave them a call.

Now we all know that ringing HMRC can also be a tiring experience, ending up on hold for hours on end. I managed to be on hold for over an hour before getting through to someone and even then, don’t feel like I knew any more than I did before.

I hate ringing them up, whether it be for sole trader stuff, tax credits or something else. It takes ages to get through to someone and even when you do, you can guarantee that they will say different to someone else who works there. I’ve lost count of the number of people I know who’ve been told two or three different things by different members of staff there.

This is why I am glad HMRCTalk are around. People like me need it broken down in more simpler terms – laid down bare,exactly it is. They provide helpful articles to inform people about policy changes and things to do with self assessment and benefits and they also provide hard to reach HMRC contact numbers so you don’t end up on hold for hours before getting cut off before speaking to someone. We all know how frustrating that can be.

I am not great at talking to people on the phone and with people telling you different things, you never quite know which one you should listen to. I find it especially hard as a blogger and a freelance writer – it is almost like HMRC hasn’t quite caught up to the fact that it can be a career yet and they don’t quite know what to do with it. With so many people asking as the blogging world continues to grow, hopefully we will have some more clear guidelines soon.

Until then, I will be relying on HMRCTalk to help me when I don’t quite understand. If people are prepared to take the time to understand everything and write it for us readers in a more comprehensible way then I am all for it. Did you know about this fantastic resource? Will you be using it when you need a better understanding of things like this? I know I’ll be bookmarking it for future use – I need all the help I can get!


4 Simple Ways to Save Money on Your Monthly Expenses

With the cost of day to day living ever increasing, it can be hard to finance every little thing. With that in mind, here are some simple tips and tricks for you to cut back on your monthly expenses and potentially saving yourself a fortune, keeping your money where you want it (the back pocket!)

The Phone Bill

Whilst we see our mobile phones as a necessity, the monthly bill can decrease dramatically, depending on what model of phone you have and the network provider you’re with. Although it may seem tempting to purchase the latest smartphone, there is a vast range of products available that have everything you need (unlimited data, unlimited calls, etc.) at a much lower cost. However, if you must get the latest phone, make sure to shop around before you purchase, as providers can offer various deals, which could help you out in the long run.

Gas & Electricity

You can cut down on your energy bills significantly by just having a look online to see whether you have the best deal. Simply changing providers can give you a little more cash each month. However, if you have the best deal and still want to lower your outgoings, turning down your thermostat could cut your heating bills by up to 10%. If you don’t already have one, installing a thermostat could save you up to $70 a year. If you are still struggling with the cheapest bill you can find, perhaps look at using a budget calculator to calculate what you may be spending unnecessary money on.

Supermarket Saving

Depending on where you do your grocery shop, the cost can vary significantly. Many believe that if a product costs more, the quality must be better, however, this is not the case. Supermarkets use phrases and language to hypnotize and entice shoppers into buying their products. Food is typically categorized into premium (words like ‘extra special’), branded (products such as Kellogg’s, Reese’s), own brand (the supermarkets’ own version) and value (with names like ‘basic’, indicating it is a low-cost item). The next time you visit a supermarket, try switching to some branded products for a cheaper alternative. You may not even notice much of a difference, but you’ll definitely notice the difference in cost. There are many other tips to help you spend less when food shopping.

The Work Commute

Lastly, if you have access to public transport, you could end up saving quite a lot of money as opposed to using your car. For example, if you were to factor in the cost of petrol, parking, and general maintenance, it may just be easier to take the bus or train to work. Also, if you live within a reasonable distance, you could save money by doing the commute on foot. That way, not only are you spending no money at all but you’re also getting a little bit of exercise.

Many little changes can make a big difference to your monthly budget, try a few next month and see how the cents add up in no time.