Up Your Wealth Wednesday | Emergency Fund: Why I Need One And So Do You

Up Your Wealth Wednesday is a new personal finance series I am bringing over to Futures every Wednesday. I love writing about personal finance – about making money, saving money and everything in between. I hope you enjoy this series. The series was given its name by my fabulous partner in crime, Sarah.

Many personal finance blogs  cover a variety of different topics but one that always crops up is the good old emergency fund – because frankly, you would be silly not to have one.

emergency fund

Yet here I am about to make an admission..my emergency fund has the grand total of nothing in it. You may be asking why, why, why when I’ve literally just said you would be silly not to have one – and yes…it is silly. However you can’t add to a fund when you don’t have the funds to add to it, right?

Why do you need an emergency fund?

An emergency fund is simply that – a fund for emergencies. Whilst we may not have one right now, we have had one in the past and that came in very helpful when our car didn’t pass the MOT and we needed to fork out hundreds of pounds for work. What would you do if you or your partner couldn’t work for a few months or if your car doesn’t pass its MOT and needs a lot of work – or even if one of your appliances such as your freezer breaks and spoils all your food? We all need that buffer and this is precisely why everyone should have one.

So what am I going to do about it?

Well, right now I am focusing heavily on removing debt from our lives. I’m taking on more work than ever before and have even applied for a couple of jobs outside the home to get it paid down a little faster. I also want to *try to* save a minimum of £50 a month into my emergency fund although I know this will be incredibly difficult. Perhaps I may take on an extra job each month where all the funds go straight into the emergency fund or perhaps I will completely blitz the house and sell anything I can that we no longer need – that will add up and I have written about the different ways of making extra income in recent weeks.

What are YOU going to do about it?

It shocked me recently to find out just how few of the people I knew had an emergency fund. Whilst I am not one to talk right now, I am determined to help people get emergency funds for themselves. Whether that is by motivating them to hustle a little harder or sending across work opportunities that are relevant to them, I want to help them help themselves – we all need that little buffer in our life, don’t we?

Do you have an emergency fund?

Up Your Wealth Wednesday | 10 Ideas For Extra Income

Up Your Wealth Wednesday is a new personal finance series I am bringing over to Futures every Wednesday. I love writing about personal finance – about making money, saving money and everything in between. I hope you enjoy this series. The series was given its name by my fabulous partner in crime, Sarah.

We could all do with a bit of extra income every now and again. Here is a list of my 10 ideas for extra income. Some may be a little random but give them a try.

Collecting Roadkill

No, don’t worry! I don’t mean picking up dead animals from the side of the road, I mean picking up any change you may see on the pavement that others have carelessly discarded. Often it is just little pennies and 5p coins but sometimes you can find a lot more! Whilst this won’t be a fantastic money maker, I’ve known people to get up to £60 in a month which would be a very handy amount of extra income, right? You can read more about roadkill here.

Pet Sitting/House Sitting/Baby Sitting

These are perhaps some of the most popular sources of extra income – I personally have done all of the above at various stages in my life! I’ve pet sat for my former boss when he went away, house sat for my friends parents and babysat for my neighbours and friends children. Some personal finance bloggers have even changed these from their side hustles into fully formed businesses too – kudos to Crystal from Budgeting In The Fun Stuff for her pet sitting business!

extra income

Completing Online Surveys

I have been doing this for many years now and whilst these will never bring in the big bucks, it is nice to know that a few big cheques or Paypal payments are winging their way to me every year! I’m about to cash out on Populus again and have a few edging closer to payout!

Selling Your Old Stuff

I think everyone knows about this but so many people don’t actually do it. This is probably the first thing I would tell anyone to do in regards to making some extra income for yourself. I wrote recently about the best places to sell your old stuff and if you want to sell a specialist item, auction houses are worth a try!

Utilising Your Hobby

If you can sew, why not make items and sell them online or at craft fairs? Perhaps even create some sewing patterns and sell those? Utilising your hobby is always a great idea for extra income as you get to make money doing what you love – check out So Sew Easy for inspiration here, they sell sewing patterns for the items they have made! Make sure though that you register with HMRC.

Make Your Garden Earn For You

This is something I am always telling my retired Dad to do – I mentioned in my post yesterday that he grows his own fruit and vegetables and thus he  is always making jams, chutneys, soups and more – and they always taste great! He could make himself some nice extra income if he was to sell his creations – he often gives them away to family, friends and neighbours – all who would happily pay for them! I often come home armed full of piles of fruit and veg or his latest chutney!

Take Part In Market Research

Market research is by no means a regular source of extra income so don’t ever think that it will be but if you can spare some minutes of your time to answer some questions (whether face to face, on the telephone or online), you can earn yourself some nice cash too. You need to make sure you fit the bill for the particular research though.

Affiliate Your Websites

This is something I have been doing for a little while now and I am wondering why I didn’t take it so seriously before. If you have a website, affiliate it. There is bound to be an affiliate scheme suitable for you. My main earner personally has to be the Amazon affiliate scheme but I am also an affiliate for a few other things too – such as the fab books by Becky and Paula – – you can find out more about their books here. (affiliate link)

Sell Your Space

If you own your own home and have a spare room or an empty driveway going spare, you most certainly  aren’t utilising available avenues for extra income. Renting out a room to a lodger or a car parking space to a needy soul helps both of you out – one gets the space, the other gets a nice bit of money for doing their good deed. Just make sure to check people before giving them space in your home.

Use Cashback Websites

This is yet another that I can’t believe some people forget to do – especially when making big purchases. There are so many cashback websites around now that it is hard to choose which one to opt from – I have most success with TopCashback (referral link) but there are others available too.

Please do remember to register with HMRC for self employment if taking on some of these ideas. Whilst selling your old stuff and receiving cashback on your purchases isn’t taxable, the others are and you don’t want a hefty fine for not following the law!

Do you have any ideas for extra income? What do you do?

Up Your Wealth Wednesday | Five Things I’ve Done To Make Extra Money

Up Your Wealth Wednesday is a new personal finance series I am bringing over to Futures every Wednesday. I love writing about personal finance – about making money, saving money and everything in between. I hope you enjoy this series. The series was given its name by my fabulous partner in crime, Sarah.

I thought I would share five things I’ve done to make extra money over the past few years. I’ve tried a few side hustles in my time and found some really worked and others didn’t. What would be on your list?

five things I’ve done to make extra money

1. Online Surveys

This is probably one thing that most personal finance bloggers advise against. Online surveys can see you spending a lot of time for little reward. However these were great for when I was bored and on maternity leave – I could spend all day doing them and making some extra cash. Now that my time is a little more limited, I have cut down online surveys to certain websites that take a shorter amount of time for a better reward. Want a list of my favourites? Let me know!

2. Bar Work

I had never really considered bar work until I found out one of my friends was buying our local pub. I was looking for extra money and to get out of menial shop job where I was treated like rubbish and he was looking for staff. I was on a gap year when I started but I never went to university in the end – I had no interest in my course anymore and I much preferred making my money through these jobs and doing some freelance writing on the side. I finally stopped working there in October 2010 after almost three years but I did do the odd shift there until 2014 when it sadly closed down.

3. Babysitting

This is one that I haven’t done for quite some time (10+ years probably!) but it did bring in a lot of cash when I was doing it. I only ever really babysat for my neighbours children but I was paid handsomely for the privilege -I could watch what I wanted on the TV, eat what I wanted from the kitchen and if any problems arose, I could call them (or grab my parents from next door if needed). I never stepped out of line though – I barely ate from the kitchen or anything like that even though they had given me permission to do so – as I wanted to keep the job. I used to get £40+ per babysitting shift which isn’t far off what my (qualified childcare professional) friends were earning. I know this isn’t necessarily the going rate but I certainly enjoyed working for that rate!

4. Leaflet delivering

I have only done this a couple of times as it can be quite tiring and was a one-off idea by my former boss, however it was good money (when I finally got it!). The pub I had just started work in had just been taken over by my friend and he wanted to promote that it was under new ownership so had some leaflets printed up which I then delivered with some help from my friends (who I paid from my cut). Unfortunately, my friend left it up to someone else to pay me and I ended up having to go to my friend anyway to get the money I was owed.

5. Proofreading

I now include this as part of my freelance services but once upon a time I used to help friends and family proofread their work and CVs. I never charged them for it but they would often give me a little something which definitely helped when cash-strapped. They now come to me and hire me which is great!

What things have you done to make extra money?

Up Your Wealth Wednesday | Best Places To Sell Your Old Stuff

Up Your Wealth Wednesday is a new personal finance series I am bringing over to Futures every Wednesday. I love writing about personal finance – about making money, saving money and everything in between. I hope you enjoy this series. The series was given its name by my fabulous partner in crime, Sarah.

We all like to have that little bit of extra money in our pockets and many of us sell our old stuff when money is a little tight or when we are in desperate need of a declutter. But where exactly are the best places to sell your old stuff?

I have used a variety of places over the years – both online and in real life but I have finally found my favourite few. Of course, these all have their pros and cons but here is my own personal rundown of the best places to sell your old stuff .

Facebook Selling Pages

I don’t know about you but I have a whole plethora of selling pages for my local area. I live in a tiny village surrounded by a number of fairly big towns and cities – and I am in close proximity to them all, meaning I can take advantage of the selling pages. We even have one in our village for parents which is fab – you don’t just have to sell kids things on it but whilst you wouldn’t think that a small villages page would be that popular, I actually have quite a bit of success.

I also used to use a big page for the city my village is next to but because my cousin and I run a smaller page for the city, we were banned by an admin on a power trip and blocked too. I used to do well on there – but ah well, plenty of other pages!

After some luck and some success, I have a new rule. Only list a few things at a time (up to 20 so bumping the posts up the page takes a matter of seconds, not hours) and add something else once something has been sold. I have managed to make quite a bit via these pages.

What are the positives? Quick and easy sales, no selling or Paypal fees, restricted to local area so no postage fees.

What are the negatives? Be prepared for people to not turn up (and not let you know or come up with a totally unbelievable story – believe me, its happened to me!). People try to get items for the lowest they possibly can so list with a price slightly higher than what you want.

best places to sell your old stuff

Ebay

I’ve only just started putting things on Ebay again but I tend to use these for higher value items or larger items (collection only). Over the years I have made quite a bit on the website – especially as the app makes listing items so easy. I’ve only ever received one piece of negative feedback in my entire time of being on the site (from someone who took 3 weeks to pay because they were apparently abroad and they took umbrage to the fact I relisted after such a long time) and it can be a good place to sell your old stuff if you have the things that people are looking for. I am even considering selling my old, smelly shoes!

What are the positives? Items can go for quite a lot of money.

What are the negatives? Ebay often side with the buyer even if the buyer is in the wrong – this leaves you out of pocket and without the item too as Ebay allows them to keep it.

Gumtree

Whilst this isn’t my favourite by any means, this has been handy in getting rid of some of the bigger items in my house when I am in serious need of a declutter. I don’t use it that regularly at all but it has definitely been instrumental in selling some of the larger items at decent prices – always handy if people aren’t biting on local Facebook pages or Ebay.

What are the positives? Larger items sell very well.

What are the negatives? Be wary of what information  you give out on Gumtree as there are a lot of strange people about.

Local car boot sales/ table top sales

Finally, local car boot sales or table top sales are great for selling your old stuff – only if you are hoping to declutter though. Don’t expect to make a fortune from these places. From experience as both a seller and a buyer (who loves a bargain and will not hesitate to haggle!), people don’t want to pay much at these sales. Expect to sell things for less than you may necessarily want. My friend sold at car boot sales most weekends in the run up to her wedding and sold items much lower than she really wanted to – but every penny counted towards her wedding and they needed the space so she sold them for the lower price!

What are the positives? You can get rid of many items and have an empty car boot on the way home. If your main aim is to declutter, then great!

What are the negatives? Be prepared to sell things for much less than you may actually want – this is why car boots and table tops are much better for when you simply need to declutter and not make a huge amount of money. You may find yourself with a car boot full going home if you aren’t prepared to come to an agreement on price with the hagglers.

These are just a few of the ways I sell my old stuff and have had varied success from. These are definitely the best places for me – Depop, Vinted, Shpock and other websites just haven’t had the same success for me. What do you find are the best places to sell your old stuff?

How Important Is Good Credit?

How important is good credit? It is VITAL.

Like most people, myself and Steve have made some bad financial decisions in the past. I try not to regret things but one of my biggest regrets is not saving more money. Sure I had fun when I was 18/19, working two jobs and barely having time to myself (which, when I did, was spent with friends at the pub spending my wages!) but if I had saved even a fraction of it I would have been set up for quite a while.

When we moved into our first rented accommodation I had perfect credit and Steve’s, well Steve’s was rubbish. Moving out isn’t that easy though and I soon found my credit score decreasing as I got used to this whole new way of life – I had many more bills coming out than I had before and it took a while to adjust to ensuring everything was paid for on time. With Steve’s credit being poor, I ended up taking out phone contracts for me and him and we worked on getting him a good credit score too. We finally achieved it but as you all know, we suffered some financial problems which started back at the tail end of 2013 with me losing my job. I did take voluntary redundancy but I pretty much had no choice – they wanted me to spend £5 on travel four times a week to earn about £25 a day… they wanted me to do silly shifts and by the time I had paid for travel, I would have had barely anything left for bills. I had started to earn a little money from my blog and freelance work so decided to jump ship full time. We had a small amount in savings to tide me over bills wise whilst I got the word out that I was going to be working from home full time.

Unfortunately Steve’s job was quite far away so he spent a lot in fuel travelling and we were struggling to make ends meet …when the car gave up the ghost. We borrowed Steve’s mums car for quite some time! In order to build up our credit scores, we both got credit rebuilder credit cards which were originally going to just be used for Steve’s petrol money and the food shop each month then paid off on payday – life gets in the way and we soon saw the balances creeping up. Why am I telling you this? Because people don’t talk about money enough. We are working hard to ensure we get back to having good credit as it is so important for so many aspects of life. I’m currently looking for a part time job that I can do alongside my freelance work and Jack being at nursery – this will obviously be so much easier when Jack is at school full time in September. I have applied for a local job though to save on travel costs. I also have my little side hustles too – as well as blog and freelance income, I do online surveys and stuff like that – more income means more being paid back = getting back to a good credit score.

Stoneacre have created this fabulous infographic to talk more about why good credit is so important:

good credit

I am making so much more of an effort to be more responsible with my money now. I am almost 26 years old with a child, I need to get my act in gear. Steve is almost 29 and if we ever want to own a house, we need to get that good credit back. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I do wish I had saved more money and perhaps utilised my good credit back then when I could.

Are you making any steps to improve your credit score?

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