Up Your Wealth Wednesday | Things I Don’t Mind Spending My Money On

money

What do you like to spend your money on? For this Up Your Wealth Wednesday post, I thought it would be a good post to talk about the things that me and Steve don’t mind spending our hard earned cash on. There will also be another post very soon discussing the things we do really mind forking out for.

money

  • A holiday every couple of years – Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean an all out extravagant holiday, just a few days away from home whether we are staying in the UK or going abroad, usually a UK break. Working from home means I often get cabin fever and sometimes just need a little break.
  • A car – Whilst it doesn’t have to be the newest car on the market (ours is a 2007 reg), Steve needs a car to get to work so this is a necessity. We need to spend that money on the car for him to earn money!
  • TV – I don’t go out, I rarely drink, I rarely even go shopping except for groceries. My only real expense is my TV package, internet connection and our phones. Most people downgrade to the smallest package possible when budgeting but we have always managed to negotiate amazing deals with our TV providers when we threaten to downgrade or leave. Being at home all the time with Jack and with a partner who works strange shifts means I often work at nights when Steve is doing night shifts and Jack is asleep. This can often mean that I may get bored throughout the day and thus TV is my time to chill out and relax.
  • House Maintenance Outsourcing – Whilst we do privately rent, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t costs involved with the upkeep of the house. With Steve working weird hours (and working almost constantly in the summer!) and my lack of gardening skills whatsoever, we don’t mind hiring our family friend to help us out every couple of months and keep us to the terms of our rental agreement. He keeps our garden looking ship-shape and we are happy. Other things that need doing we do ourselves or call in someone from the letting agents.
  • Wedding – This may be shocking but when it eventually happens I will keep costs as minimal as possible BUT I will be budgeting for those things we really want
    Finally and some may not agree but..
  • Skincare – I don’t fork out a lot on make up when there are some fantastic affordable brands out there, but I will splurge a little on good quality skincare if I need to. I do have a few budget skincare staples but my skin does tend to favour brands like Origins and if they are working, I’m not going to begrudge a few extra pounds here or there.

My list is probably a lot different to yours. What would be on yours – what don’t you mind spending money on?

Up Your Wealth Wednesday | Five Ways To Get Your Grocery Spends Down

If you are anything like me, you can probably be a nightmare when it comes to going grocery shopping – especially if you have a fiance who is just as bad plus a four year old in tow. I do try my hardest to keep to a budget when it comes to food shopping but we have all been there in that moment when you are reaching the final aisles in the supermarket, your child is getting irritable and you just want to treat yourself – fancy cheeses, bag upon bag of sweets, a cheap bottle of wine – things you don’t really need and it all adds up.

Whilst I do quite like shopping in the supermarket (for the first 10 minutes, anyway), I have found I stick to my budget much better if I do my shop online. The temptation to buy as much isn’t there and whilst you do see some fantastic deals online, it is easier to say no to those things that you don’t necessarily need to buy.

grocery

Never go food shopping when hungry. I broke my own rule a few Christmases ago – Steve had beenon nights and literally picked us up as soon as he got home at 7am, leaving no time for me to have breakfast after making sure Jack was fed and watered for the day. This definitely wreaked havoc when it came to picking up items for the trolley and I found myself with lots I didn’t need – and a tummy full of McDonalds from across the road too!

Check out the reduced aisle. This is a bone of contention with plenty of people – they think that because something is reduced, then the quality is diminished. This is not the case! Yes, most reduced items have same day dates on them or the next days date – but this doesn’t mean that they are rubbish! I love popping up to my local Co-Op where my Mum works and grabbing the reduced stuff – my freezer is always full of meat and other stuff which were going out of date but I simply stuck them in the freezer for when I needed them. Emma also does some fab reduced haul videos on her Youtube channel!

Stock up your store cupboard gradually. Bear with me here – all too often, you will find a recipe that you want to try out – only to find you don’t have this spice or that flour. This used to happen to us a lot. More and more frequently, recipe books mention these store cupboard essentials and you have none of them! We have finally got to a point where we have most of the things we need – but we still add a couple of things to every food shop – you will barely notice the difference and once your cupboard is full, no more going out and spending loads to make that one cake you have seen that you just need to try!

Shop on your own or do it online. This is a biggie for me as I hate food shopping with Jack in tow. All too often things find their way into the basket or trolley because a little someone has put them in there and then we have the inevitable tantrum when I say he can’t have it. It is so much easier to do it by myself or by clicking a few things on a computer.

Finally, cut out the non-essentials. The non-essentials are different for everyone – some would say tobacco, some would say wine, some would say the two packs of chocolate biscuits you may buy each week – but obviously everyone has their vice so no one person can be the judge of any others choice. However, whilst Steve still has his tobacco and I have my chocolate and he has our fizzy drinks (I’ve completely cut down), we have cut down on biscuits, sweets, ready meals and certain condiments as we really don’t need them! Living to a budget needn’t be hard so why make it hard for yourself!

Have you got any tips for keeping grocery spends down?

Up Your Wealth Wednesday |Five Top Tips When Budgeting For A Baby

five top tips when budgeting for a baby

Now don’t get your hopes high yet…I haven’t got any news that I wish to share with you! However, we do eventually plan on trying again (after my miscarriage in December) and I have been thinking about all the things you need to consider when budgeting for a baby. Jack is now 4 so it has been quite a while since I’ve had to invest in all the stuff. Here are my five top tips when budgeting for a baby.

People say that you hardly notice the cost of your second child and I can quite believe that statement is true, especially if they are the same gender as your first-born – but what if they’re not? Sure, they can live in plain white babygro’s and bodysuits for a little while but eventually some parents will end up splashing out on more gender specific clothes.

five top tips when budgeting for a baby

Here are my baby budgeting tips:

Start buying things when pregnant. Obviously you start buying the big stuff before the baby comes along like the cot, stroller, carseat etc but then the little stuff is often forgotten about in the process. Make sure to stock up on nappies, wipes/cotton wool balls, nappy sacks and bathing products for your child long before they are born – you won’t have time to rush out and grab them when they are here!. Whether you plan to breast feed or formula feed, make sure to invest in a breast pump, formula and bottles just in case so you are prepared for any eventuality.

Buy second-hand where possible. There are obviously some items that you shouldn’t buy secondhand (car seat, cot mattress) but why not take advantage of that bundle of baby clothes you saw selling for next to nothing on your local Facebook selling page or Ebay? As long as they are in fairly good condition, who is to know they aren’t brand new? Times are hard especially financially so we have to make savings where we can. A quick wash in the washing machine and they will be as good as new.

Take advantage of the stuff people give you. This counts for companies and friends/family alike. Plenty of companies will send you some freebies if you sign up to their mother and baby mailing lists – I made sure to join everyone when I was pregnant with Jack. Also, make sure to join all the major baby clubs – Boots, Sainsburys, Tesco, Asda- as you will get extra points or coupons. You may find that people you know will give you some stuff they no longer need – I had a few people give us black bags crammed full of baby clothes  (and I mean crammed full)– some were brand new! – plus we were given some nursery furniture too! We were incredibly lucky!

Enter competitions. It may sound silly but I entered loads when I was pregnant – especially when I was on maternity leave and had more time on my hands because I was so bored– and I won loads of things for Jack that he enjoyed in the first few months of his life. I would definitely do the same should I have another child – you’ve got to be in it to win it, after all!

Try to put a certain amount away each week. If you put £5 away each week whilst pregnant, you should be covered for that time when its two days before pay day and the nappies haven’t quite lasted due to the constant nappy explosions or you need some new laundry liquid to wash the clothes stained by the aforementioned nappy explosions. It happens to us all so having that buffer there would be really handy.

Have you got any tips on budgeting for a baby?

 

Up Your Wealth Wednesday | How To Use PeoplePerHour To Its Full Potential

PeoplePerHour

When I first started out on my freelance journey a couple of years ago, I was told about a site called PeoplePerHour – a website where people could list either the jobs they needed doing where people could send proposals for the job or they could list the jobs that they could do for people (called Hourlies) and be hired that way. Having spoken to a few people recently about PeoplePerHour, it seems they are confused about how to apply for jobs and how to create hourlies for people to purchase. I am hoping this guide helps. If you want to sign up to the site and try your hand at some odd freelance jobs, you can sign up here.

PeoplePerHour

I have always had a steady stream of work since signing up a couple of years ago and was recently asked how to use PeoplePerHour to its full potential. Firstly,  you need to sign up and complete your profile 100% with your qualities and achievements – plus add some items to your portfolio if you can. If you can get some endorsements, even better! Once this is done and you are happy with it, you can start searching for jobs or posting Hourlies for people to buy.

PeoplePerHour

This is a screenshot of my home page. Ignore the Cert4 notice – this was just telling me how close I was to achieving it when I took the screenshot and I am now Cert5 – your cert levels increase with each job you complete. The dashboard is fairly simple to understand with options to either buy or sell jobs at the top plus sections for notifications, messages and your profile. All pending jobs and previous job activity are shown in the middle – as you can see, I was currently in the middle of two jobs when I screenshot my dashboard.

PeoplePerHour

Once you click on the Sell Services section, you have a few different options to choose from. Promoting yourself can be done in a variety of ways – via email, social networks or via a widget embedded on your blog. People can endorse you in the topics you are skilled in and you can do the same for them. Let’s just click on ‘Post an Hourlie‘ for now.

PeoplePerHour

Posting an Hourlie couldn’t be any easier – just write what it is you are willing to do and how much you charge; how long the job will take you and if possible, upload some of your relevant portfolio to really pull people in – if they can see your work and they like it, you have more chance of getting the job.

PeoplePerHour

If you want to search the job listings themselves to see if anything takes your fancy, simply click on the Jobs option in the Sell Jobs drop down menu. You can view all the different jobs available or whittle them down by category. I generally whittle them down to the writing category to save myself going through a lot of jobs that I am not qualified for or do not take my interest – I may also check out the social media and extraordinary categories sometimes. I do take a look at all the listing occasionally as you never know what you may find– I have had a few quick jobs from there before which I could possibly have missed and one has become a long term client off the back of it.

What if you’ve found a job you would like to apply for? Then you need to send a proposal.

PeoplePerHour

At the bottom of each job, there is the option to send a new proposal. Remember you only have a select amount of proposals per month unless you want to purchase more so choose wisely. Write about what you can offer the buyer – really sell yourself and your relevant skills. If it is a job to write blog posts and you have written a blog for a couple of years, include that with the link and your specialities. If you ran social media for a couple of months at university, write that down. If you don’t list all the skills and experience you have, how will the seller ever know?

You can also set your rate for the job. PeoplePerHour always make sure to keep a deposit in your Escrow – they generally work out a ballpark figure from whatever figure you propose but I usually choose to ask for a deposit of the whole amount to know that both I and the buyer are covered by PPH. You do get a lot of awful jobs on there where people expect you to essentially work for nothing – I tend to avoid these but there is no harm in applying with your normal rate. I have done on a few jobs now and been successful as they thought me the best person for the job.

There is also the clarification board where potential sellers can ask questions of the buyers. Buyers can sometimes be vague in their listings so if you are unsure about something, ask them! I’ve asked on low budget jobs if there is any flexibility and a few come back and are flexible enough to afford your rate. Once all queries have been resolved, send over your proposal! You can view my profile here

If this post goes down well I am considering writing another, talking you through what to do once you have been accepted for a job. Do you have any questions about PeoplePerHour that I can help you with?

Roadkill – A Savings Step Too Far?

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.

Now when you saw the word roadkill, I bet your heart skipped a beat and you thought..is she really talking about that type of roadkill?

Well rest easy because I’m not – I am talking about the ‘roadkill’ we see almost every day – those unwanted pennies discarded onto the floor as if they are worthless. I mentioned this in a recent Up Your Wealth Wednesday post.

roadkill

I am still not entirely sure where it got its name, I think the term perhaps originated on the Moneysavingexpert.com forums, however I took part in some ‘roadkill’ challenges on there when I was a more active member and it was amazing to see what amounts of discarded money people were bringing home. Some of them weren’t just picking up money but receipts and coupons (known as wombling) as well – anything to make the pennies stretch a little further!

I wasn’t very lucky in my efforts – I think I managed about £1.50 roughly for each month that I attempted the challenge. However, some people were much much luckier, often scooping up between £20-£60 in discarded change each month! I happen to live in a very savvy area where everyone watches their pennies and their pounds very carefully. Jack is always finding pennies though and taking them home for his money box!

You do need to have eyes like a hawk at times – they can sometimes be almost hidden from view – but places where you are likely to find some include outside shops and at bus stops, those places where money can easily be dropped. I am never going to make an income from picking up someone elses dropped loose change but I have recently turned it into a fun game with Jack – he puts anything we find into one of his moneyboxes (he has a few for different things) and once it is full we will take it to the bank and get it put into his account – after all, it will do much better in there than it will sitting on the ground!

What do you think? Is this a savings step too far? I do it with Jack as and when we see something, we don’t actively go out searching like some people do although if we lived in a less savvy area, the thought would be tempting. Would you be tempted to try this to add a few pennies to the pot?