Five Hidden Costs of Christmas

This evening we made a mad dash to buy Daisy a nice dress before her class Christmas party tomorrow. I’ve known about the party for over a week but it suddenly dawned on me this afternoon that a recent growth spurt meant she had nothing suitable to wear. Although I thought I had budgeted pretty well for Christmas it got me thinking about what other hidden costs the festive season can bring.

Here’s a list of five things that might get missed out when planning a Christmas budget.

1. Batteries There’s nothing worse on Christmas morning than hunting through the junk drawer in search of batteries for newly unwrapped toys. I think a lot of us simply forget to add these essentials to our Christmas shopping lists. Stock up while there are offers on or opt for the more budget friendly rechargeable batteries.

2. Stamps If you send Christmas cards or presents by post you are going to need to stock up on stamps. To keep costs down you could look at using one of the cheaper alternatives like My Hermes.

3. Childcare Are you going to need a babysitter over the festive season ? If you have parties or events to attend you might want to think about this when planning your budget.

4. Unexpected Visitors Keeping a little bit of extra money in your present budget might be a good idea in case people decide to visit unexpectedly. Hopefully they will give you enough warning so you can pop to the shops for some extra mince pies and a bottle of wine.

5. Fuel Both visiting and having visitors can mean an increase in fuel costs. You might need to fill up the car more than usual if you have a lot of people to visit. Being at home more and hosting  parties could see a rise in the amount of gas and electricity you use. Budgeting an extra few pounds in the months before should help cover any extra costs.

There are probably lots more little hidden costs, I think the only way to avoid them is to plan ahead. I hope this post has helped you with your Christmas budget.

 

 

Frugal, Financial & Home Goals For July 2016

For the first time since I started posting our goals we didn’t meet a single one of them for June, I’m not going to dwell on it we can’t be perfect all of the time and I’m more motivated than ever to work hard towards getting back on track and smashing our frugal, financial and home goals for July.

Frugal, Financial & Home Goals (1)

The lists for this month are not very long, I thought it would be best to concentrate on just a few goals this month I’m going back to basics starting off slow as I know from experience that small changes everyday really do make all the difference.

Frugal & Financial Goals

  • Line dry as much as possible
  • Meal plan & use up stock
  • Check online earning opportunities every day
  • Free days out
  • Put £100 in Christmas savings account
  • Buy only what we need

Home Goals

  • Keep on top of clutter creep
  • Deep clean kitchen & bathroom
  • Keep up weeding & mowing in the garden

I’m going to add in two personal goals for myself this month, I had an appointment with my diabetic nurse who has advised me to try and lose 2 pounds a month so that’s what I’m aiming for.

  • Lose 2 pounds
  • Read 3 books

I’m feeling very motivated for the month ahead and I’m also feeling positive about meeting all the goals we have set for ourselves.

What are your goals for July ? leave me a comment below I love hearing from you.

Angela xx

How I’m Getting Back To Basics With Frugality

This post is a little bit of a confessional, for the past few months despite trying my hardest I just can’t get fully back on board with frugal lifestyle I’ve even considered changing my social media name from FrugalMrsW to SpendyMrsW so I thought I would tell you how I’m going to turn this around by going back to basics.

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I spent a lot of time over the weekend looking back on past posts and journal entries to see what I was doing this time last year to both save and make money and I’m feeling motivated and determined to achieve the success I’ve had previously although in a much smaller time frame as I only have six months of the year left to do it. There have of course been some really good progress this year we bought, taxed and insured a car with FrugalMrW’s matched betting winnings and we also reduced our fuel bills  but I feel that I’m letting little things slide so it’s time to climb back on that frugal horse and ride towards the sunset once again.

Here’s the plan

Meal Plan

Planning our meals is now more important than ever not only for our finances but for our health I was recently diagnosed as diabetic and have many changes to make. On a Sunday night I will sit check what we have in stock and plan every meal for the week ahead this will also include the sides to go with the meals I’m hoping sticking to a plan will help us to cut unnecessary spending.

Needs vs Wants

I’ve fallen into really bad habits lately, the spending bug has bitten me and although it’s not high priced items I’m buying the little purchases are all adding up. FrugalMrW and I have a set amount of fun money each month but we have both been guilty of going over this amount we are both aware of this and are taking steps to prevent this by questioning our needs verses our wants.

Free Entertainment

Despite the fact that we have a good amount of vouchers stashed away for free days out we have been choosing to spend our weekends shopping instead and this definitely needs to stop. I’m going to spend lots of time looking for fun and free events that we can all enjoy and when we do have a day out we are going to take plenty of food and drinks with us so no need to spend whilst we are there.

Check Daily

As you know I work from home so finding lots of different sources of income is really important for me, I have all the tools, knowledge and skills but they are no good if I’m not checking daily for opportunities. I get a little time in throughout the day to work and I spend most evenings working too but have found myself forgetting to check some of the websites I should be checking so I’m going to create a bookmark of all the sites I need to visit daily as well as setting up some google alerts.

I’m hoping that following the steps above throughout July will help me to get back on track and I’m going to revisit this list at the end of the month and see what else I can start doing to move us towards our goals rather than further away like we to have done just lately.

I know this is a wordy post but I hope it’s helped some of you who are perhaps feeling the same as me, thank you if you made it to the end. If you are feeling like me or if you have any more suggestions for me please leave me a comment below as I love hearing from you.

Angela xx

Money Monday – How Being Disorganised Can Cost You Money

Being disorganised isn’t just about your house being a little untidy, forgetting a birthday or missing a dentist appointment, being disorganised can cost you money as well. In this weeks Money Monday post I’m going to share with you some ways being disorganised has cost our household money and the tips we’ve implemented to stop it happening again.

how being disorganised can cost you money

  • Buying Duplicates

This can apply to so many areas of your life from buying groceries, tools, clothes or toiletries if you don’t know what you own then you will waste money buying duplicates. I’ve lost count of the times we have ended up with 3 bottles of sauce or 6 shower gels all because I didn’t check my stock before making a shopping list. I have even bought a whole new wardrobe of Summer clothes for Daisy before finding a box full of things from the previous year that I had stored away for her to grow into.

Nowadays I combat this by simply checking what we have before I go shopping for anything, it really is that simple by taking a few minutes to check you can save yourself a ton of money.

  • Check That Balance

Have you ever gone to check your bank balance and noticed that you haven’t got as much money in there as you thought you had ? being disorganised with your finances can cost you so much money, you need to know how much your household bills actually are and also check that you are not paying for anything extra you didn’t know about like a long forgotten subscription or that you’ve been charged twice for something.

I recommend you give yourself a financial check up every 6 months at least, keep a spreadsheet of your outgoings and cancel anything you are no longer using, also check your bank statement regularly for an discrepancies. You might also want to keep a spending diary if your outgoings have gotten a little disorganised so you can see where your money is going.

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  • Missing Deadlines

I profess to be a pretty organised person but I don’t want to embarrass myself by admitting how many times I have missed a deadline and it has ended up costing me money, signing up to free trials and offers is great but when you forget the deadline for cancelling and end up paying for an extra month of the product or service then it really defeats the object. I have also missed deadlines on earning opportunities when I haven’t checked what date they had to be completed by.

Nowadays if I take out a free trial I work out the date I need to cancel it by and write it down in my diary (bullet journal)  where I know I will see it in plenty of time.

To stop me missing deadlines for earning ops I keep a separate journal where I note down the date something has to be completed by, I’m also really careful now not to take too much on so I can easily meet those deadlines.

I hope this has been helpful for some of you, by taking simple preventative steps and making little changes you really can save yourself some unnecessary spending.

Have you ever wasted money through being disorganised ? leave me a comment below I love hearing from you.

Angela xx

Make Money Online With Prolific Academic

I thought I would share with you one of the ways that I earn some extra money online, I love being able to stay at home while the little ones are small but I still want to contribute financially so I’m always looking for opportunities that allow me to that.

Make Money Online

Prolific Academic has to be my most favourite website for earning extra pennies it’s a survey site with a difference, you won’t find boring mind numbing surveys here these one’s are fun, challenging and very rewarding to complete.

Anyone can sign up to Prolific Academic, you can use an academic email address or sign in with your Facebook account.

Researchers post studies and you choose which ones you want to take part in, your account will only show the one’s you are eligible for so no frustrating screen out’s.

The studies are well paid and the payment threshold is only £5 which you can withdraw into your into your Paypal account, there is a small Paypal fee but you can avoid this by waiting until you have £20 or over to cash out.

I have requested payment twice since I joined last year the process is simple and my payment has arrived in my Paypal account within a couple of days.

If you do sign up I suggest checking the site a few times a day as the studies have a limit on the number of participants they are looking for so they disappear really quickly.

Sign up to Prolific Academic  today and start earning yourself some extra money.

 

If you do sign up come back and let me know what you think, I love hearing from you.

Angela xx

*This post contains an affiliate link*

 

 

 

 

An Adventure In Matched Betting By FrugalMrW

Hello FrugalMrW here, I am the other half of the expedition party wandering through the opportunity filled dales of Websterland.

Over the last few years FrugalMrsW and I have been trying to find ways of making a little extra cash, at first it was just to pay for little extras and the odd present here or there to help with the big Christmas bills that come every year, but as time passed FrugalMrsW discovered more and more effective ways of making those extra pennies, and with a lot of research and trial and error those pennies have turned into extra pounds.

At first I wasn’t really involved in making the extra money as I work full-time and overtime at the weekends when I can, but as FrugalMrsW discovered more and more ways of making money it became evident that there were opportunities we were missing out on because she doesn’t drive, but I do.

I started to dip in to the mobile earning apps such as Yoobic and Field Agent which are basically mystery shopping apps for your smart phone, the problem I found with this is that doing the tasks were taking away from the already sparse time I get at home with my family, So we decided to try to find something that I could do at home, and after some deliberation and reading the fantastic guides on The Money Shed and From Aldi To Harrods I decided to give Matched Betting a try.

Now let me clarify a few things before I go any further. I don’t gamble, in fact I have never even been into a bookmakers in my life and I couldn’t tell you how to calculate odds, and frankly I found the idea of matched betting completely bizarre and I didn’t understand how you could make money from it but… with a little help from a website that I will mention a little later things became a little more clear as to how it works.

Matched betting is hard to explain without going into great detail with examples and odds and many other things that lead to confusion. so I will try to explain using the example of a coin toss.

Heads or tails

What could be simpler that a coin toss right? heads or tails, 50/50 odds.

With matched betting you put a bet on both results, so you are guaranteed to win right? the answer to that is “sort of”

Bet 1 : heads. stake = £1. Win = £2

Bet 2 : Tails. Stake = £1 win = £2.

So in total you have bet £2, but you can only win £2 anyway so you are just breaking even right?

The profit in matched betting comes from taking advantage of sign up offers and reload offers that almost all online bookies give to new and existing customers. Such as “Bet £10 and get a £10 free bet”. the trick is you don’t make any profit until you use that free bet.

so lets look at this analogy again.

Bet 1 : heads. Stake = £10 (Free Bet). Win = £20

Bet 2 : Tails. Stake = £10 (Your Own Money). Win = £20

This time you have only staked £10 of your own money and the return is £20 so at the end you are in profit!

Now in reality it isn’t 100% of the free bet you make in profit, its more like 60 – 80% so between £6 and £8, but a profit is still a profit.

Now I could go further into explaining it and get mired in examples and explanations but it would get confusing and frankly there are better places to go for details of how it works than this post, which is where Profit Accumulator comes in.

For a monthly fee Profit Accumalator provide you with much more in-depth explanations, step by step videos, an odds calculator and odds matcher to help you find suitable sports events to place your matched bets on. They also give you a comprehensive list of sign up offers and reload offers that are constantly updated, so it is possible to keep going and keep making profit! They also give you your first month trial membership for free and enough offers to make about £40, and a money back guarantee.

Now I do not encourage gambling, it’s a mugs game, but this isn’t actually gambling in the strictest sense, as the only way to lose money is by making a mistake when placing bets on events. If you are careful and follow the instructions and video guides it quickly becomes clear and your understanding of how matched betting works grows quickly.

Starting up.

To start matched betting you do need a betting fund, I started with £105 and in 4 weeks I have more than doubled the money. I have to say that the more money you put in at the start the quicker you make money, but that is not absolutely necessary, you can start with as little as £60 but it does take longer to build up the money and the profit.

The thing with this is, you can make money, but if you take money out too early you will restrict the amount of money you will make, if you want to use matched betting as a regular source of income you need to build your betting fund to a substantial amount, to then generate profit at a greater rate.

Currently I am making profits of about £20 per offer, but as you build your betting fund you can increase those profits into the £100’s by making use of larger free bet offers, such as bet £400 and receive a £200 free bet, which then you can probably take away over £100 in profit, but you need the betting fund to cover it.

The Numbers.

When I first set out on this little experiment I was a little intimidated by the numbers, in fact on the first bets I ever placed I was in a cold sweat, hoping that I had done everything right and had not made a mistake and frittered away £25 on bets, but the video guides on Profit Accumulator had been easy to understand and very well explained, I made a £6 profit!

To make the big profits you need to have the money available in your betting fund, the amounts we are talking about are not insignificant, probably around £3000 in funds to make a good income monthly.

Now I know what your thinking, as I thought the same, it sounds insane to have £3000 specifically used for matched betting, if you are trying to make hundreds in profit, combined on each bet you may be betting and laying £800 in total, but when then bets settle you are taking £900 away.

As I mentioned before I started this adventure with £105 of our own money and I have already more than doubled it in 4 weeks, to get to the £3000 stage may take me another few months but even if I do get to that stage with it, and decide I have had enough, I still have the £3000 I will have made to take away.

Risk free and Tax free

The compelling thing about this way of making money is that it is risk free and the income generated from “gambling” is not subject to UK income tax.

Try it yourself.

If you’ve read this far, maybe you are thinking of trying it yourself. If so I would recommend taking a look at Profit Accumulator and making your own mind up.

I will be back at some point in the future with an update on my adventure!

FrugalMrW

*Disclaimer : This post contains affiliate links

How To Stay Frugally Motivated

Reaching any goal takes a lot of hard work and staying motivated every day can seem difficult, some days living a frugal and money saving lifestyle is easy and other days it’s really hard. Sometimes you want to throw the towel in and spend spend spend, you don’t want to cook anything you want a takeaway, you want that shiny new piece of technology, that expensive pair of boots, you feel trapped, frustrated and very fed up.

I think that the word “Frugal” still carries a lot of stigma with it, some people think that being frugal means a boring existence of self deprivation but to me it means looking for an alternative way for my family to live the lifestyle we want whilst living on a budget and spending less money.

I thought I would share with you a few things I do to keep motivated when I’m feeling like this.

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Let Others Inspire You

There’s nothing to pull you out of a frugal funk quicker than reading how other people are living a frugal lifestyle, look to others for inspiration and motivation. People are sharing their ideas with you to help you on your journey so take those ideas and adapt them to fit into your life.

You can read this post and this post to find out which frugal and money saving bloggers are my favourites.

Make a List

Write a list of all the reasons why you want to be frugal, what are you saving money for?  what are you financial goals?  where do you want to be in 5 years time? when you have made the list put it somewhere you can see it every day ,even a small step is a step in the right direction.

Minimise Temptation

If you are tempted by all those great sales or special offers that land in your inbox daily then unsubscribe from them all, unfollow them on Facebook and Twitter as well the less temptation you come up against to spend the more you will stick to your money saving goals.

Compare Feelings 

When I start to feel fed up with being frugal I compare that feeling with how it feels to be in debt, to have no family car or a regular family holiday, to constantly worry about if you have enough money to cover all the bills, to dread pay day instead of looking forward to it, the feelings of wanting to spend and the unfairness of not being able to pale in comparison.

I hope this post has given you some ideas for when you are feeling unmotivated, do you have any other ideas to help with staying motivated ? I would love to hear from you leave me a comment below.

Angela xx

 

 

 

How We Paid For Christmas In July

I know some of you will be rolling your eyes in despair and shouting at the screen that it’s too early to be mentioning Christmas but stick with me as the links to the sites I use for earning online could be valuable to you.

My husband and I have six children between us and one grandchild so you can imagine the cost at Christmas can’t you, we’re not huge spenders we don’t go crazy but of course we do like to treat them all.

The only way we can afford the cost of Christmas is to start preparing early, being organised and earning a little extra money, this means we can pick up bargains throughout the year to spread the cost.

With all of my husband’s wages going towards bills and debt repayment there’s little room to save for Christmas so a few years ago I started doing surveys and saving up the vouchers that I redeemed to put towards gifts, but this year I’ve managed to go one step further and pay for the whole of Christmas early.

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Back in May this year I discovered a fantastic site called The Money Shed , you can read my blog post about it,  because of that forum, it’s wonderful members and brilliant owner I have been able to earn enough to pay for Christmas and I’ve even been able to sort some birthday gifts out too !

I must point out that as with anything in life, you have to put in the time and work hard to see good results but even if you have only got a couple of hours spare a day you can still earn a nice little sum.

Here’s a few of the ways that I’ve been earning to get you started, there are so many more sites I could list but this blog post would be way too long so I’ve picked the ones I earn the most from.

Prolific Academic  is my absolute favourite survey site, the surveys are interesting, high paid and you an cash out at just £5 (although if you cash out at £20 you avoid the PayPal fees).

MintVine is another favourite, I’ve cashed out $10 three times since I joined up in June, fun surveys and some even lead to product testing and focus group opportunities.

GlobalTestMarket pays out at £30 but the surveys are highly paid so it’s easy to reach this amount at least once a month if you fit their demographics.

i-say pays out in vouchers, the surveys are interesting and often lead to products to test.

Valued Opinions pays in vouchers, the surveys usually pay anything from 50p-£2 and you can cash out at £10.50.

SwagBucks you can earn in lots different ways with this company, I usually stick to the surveys, you can redeem gift vouchers or Paypal.

I’ve also been using apps like Field Agent, Task 360 and Yoobic , they pay you for completing tasks like mystery shopping and auditing.

We’ve been selling our unwanted items through local selling pages on Facebook, Gumtree and PreLoved, great excuse for a declutter !

I really hope this post can help you earn a little extra money, if you have any questions please leave me a comment and please do check out The Money Shed for loads more brilliant ideas.

Disclaimer: This post contains referral links.

 

 

 

The Money Shed

I’m somewhat reluctant to write this post as part of me wants to hide this absolute gem of a website away and keep it all for myself but the owner Jon and his fantastic site The Money Shed  deserve to be shouted about.

If you are looking to work from home and make some extra money online then this is the site for you, you won’t find any dodgy ‘fill a million envelopes for a quid’ type work, only real genuine earning opportunities, and like minded people sharing their experiences, advice and ideas about earning online.

I could absolutely kick myself for not finding this site sooner, I always thought I was pretty clued up on survey sites, I even managed to pay for most of last Christmas between surveys and competition wins but I could have paid for Christmas twice over and kept our car going if I had signed up for all the opportunities I’ve found in one week alone on The Money Shed !

The forum itself is a friendly place and not intimidating at all, I’m looking forward to getting more involved in the online earning community, the owner is really friendly too and the site is an absolute credit to him.

I’m feeling very excited and motivated about online earning, now I just need to find the spare hours in the day to keep up !

Why not pop across to The Money Shed and have a look around, if you like what you see sign up and start your online earning journey.

                                                                     Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Angela x