Getting More Bang For Your Buck

Often, the amount of purchases people make where it is just wasting money is incredible. There are so many ways that we can get more bang for our buck that we just seem to be ignoring. Why this is, I guess we’ll never know! It is, of course, more helpful to make the most of the money you have. You most probably will have realised that life isn’t always easy, and money seems to come out of the bank quicker than it goes in. It’s a problem most of us are plagued with, certainly at some time or another anyway, but one that can be avoided by a large amount if we just try and get more bang for our buck. Here’s a few ways that you can do just that…

Getting More Bang For Your Buck title with image of 20 pound notes

Resellers

Resellers are the ones you need to be looking at. You can get something nearly brand new, for next to nothing compared to what you would pay if you went into the store and bought it. Resellers offer pretty much anything, and you can find them almost anywhere. For example, you’ve got resellers of clothes. You don’t even have to pick up your laptop to sort this one, a lot of resellers of clothes have apps that you can use. The clothes you’ll buy might have been worn once or twice, but it’ll be some excellent designer things with the price slashed completely. There’s also resellers of items that aren’t second hand, such as food. You’ll probably need to go online for something like this, or look out for stores such as Costco. You will be absolutely amazed at how much money you can spend here, and how much you’ll be able to get for it.

More In The Long Run

To get more in the long run, you need to be looking at the long term bargains. Let’s talk about cars for example. People usually take out finance to get a brand new car, meaning you’re tied in for years, or buy it outright. So, consider leasing instead. It allows you to switch from car to car every two years, and that way you always have a brand new car! Check out All Car Leasing for more information. If you know you’re a lover of cars, and the newest ones at that, this is going to work out really well for you. So many people go for financing, when that is often actually the more expensive option. At least this way you know you’re going to get a new treat every so often. And that will likely save on maintence costs too, which tend to increase as the car ages.

Cheaper Essentials

Cheaper essentials is something we should all be looking out for. We’re talking about the things you’ll buy on a daily basis, that you probably usually spend hundreds a year on. Again, you’re going to need to go bargain hunting. There are discount stores that will sell essentials such as shampoo and conditioner for next to nothing, whereas mainstream supermarkets will make you pay through the nose in comparison. You can also try your hand at couponing to see how much money you would be able to save!

A pile of £20 notes

What are your top tips for saving money? Tell me in comments!

*This is a collaborative post.

Overcoming The Slippery Slope of Debt

Economically, times have been tough for some time now, and this has resulted in many people falling down the slippery slope of debt because they are in dire need to make money. But even if you have the money in place, it can still be hard to keep your head above water, let alone enjoy the prosperity of financial freedom.

Getting out of debt can feel like an uphill struggle to the point people want to give up. When people are in serious amounts of debt, they often do end up on a downward spiral, falling down the slippery slope of interest and other fees accruing on overdue payments. Indeed, one of the vicious cycles in terms of debt is that people often end up paying more in interest and fees than they are from the actual balance. The challenge is that once you start missing a few payments, your financial position can quickly go downhill, and this is when people lose control of their financial situation.

It’s the same in business, yet there tend to be more options available to manoeuvre. As an example debtor factoring helps business to borrow money and you can always get venture capital to expand your business, or avoid a financially disastrous situation.

It’s understandable that people in debt wish to bury their head in the sand due to the emotional overwhelm they face. But the best starting point, if you’re feeling this way, is to contact the money advice service; an independent organisation that offers free and impartial advice on how to get out of debt.

An image of spreadsheet, calculator and coins in a vice

If you’re feeling the pinch and are trapped in debt, it can often feel completely hopeless – yet, there’s always hope. It’s important to remember that just like how the bodies cells replenish themselves, so does your financial history, as CCJ’s and the like are all wiped away after six years.

Even the social stigma that was once associated with bankruptcy is nowadays much less potent. In part this is due to the number of people having to file for bankruptcy, as well as the entrepreneurial culture we are now living in, which has seen many highly successful business people go bankrupt multiple times only to rise up like a phoenix.

The point is that just because you’re in debt, doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. It can feel like it, when you are backed into a corner and have creditors banging on your door – nobody likes to receive intimidating letters, or be threatened with the prospects of bailiffs. Indeed this is a tremendously stressful experience for anyone to endure; yet there are a number of ways to relieve the pressure.

The best thing you can do, is to take the bull by the horns and seek some advice. There are a plethora of options from IVAs, debt reduction and debt consolidation programs, where you can get one loan that covers all existing debt and then just make one monthly manageable payment. If you own your home, you could even remortgage your property to consolidate the debt you have accrued, and pay it off, in a similar way.

In summary, you always have options, the trick is to take control of your money situation – rather than letting the situation control you!

*This is a collaborative post.

Are You Wasting Money In The Worst Areas?

Do you have trouble with money? It’s possible that you struggle to save because your money is actually draining away in wasteful areas. There are lots of areas in life where you might be spending a lot more than you actually need to. Cut the cost, and you will find you have a lot more money to play with at the end of each month. Let’s start by thinking about purchases that you should never have made in the first place…

Are You Wasting Money In The Worst Areas? title with image of piles of coins

Straight Out The Box

Financial experts will tell you that you should never purchase a car brand new on the market. The reason for this is simply the depreciation. When you buy a car, it will immediately start to drop in value. There is literally no way that you can make money off a car that is purchased brand new when it comes time to sell. Unless of course, you decide to purchase a classic. However, even then, you will need to be careful how much you drive the vehicle and what you use it for. You see? Even purchasing a classic vehicle, something that should always balloon in value, isn’t guaranteed to lead to an ROI. The obvious answer then is to purchase a car second hand. While this can be risky, it does mean that you won’t be losing as much money when it does inevitably start to drop in price Instead of losing half the value of the car, that value will already be gone when you make the purchase. There are other benefits too. You’ll be able to afford a nicer car, and that car will be cheaper to insure. Gocompare.com can show you how expensive it is to insure a Merc and one that is second hand will always be a lot cheaper.

An image of an expensive new car

The Package Deal

Are you booking a holiday this year? You might have heard that booking a package holiday is cheaper. Unfortunately, it isn’t. If you use a package holiday, you’ll be buying your holiday from an agent. They will search through the indexes and systems to find the right holiday for you including hotels, flights, add-ons and anything else that you might have asked them about. They’ll then bunch all these items together. But on top of that, you’ll need to pay for their services. Agents will typically add money to the cost of your flight to cover their service. As such, instead, it’s far better to use sites like Lastminute.com to find your own. Right now, it’s possible that your holidays are costing you a fortune, but they really don’t have to.

A group of people on the beach on holiday

Throwing It Away

How much do you spend on shopping every week? Fifty, a hundred or more? If you’re spending a lot on food, you at least want to make sure that you’re getting the greatest use out of it possible. But most people don’t because leftovers get binned. Instead, you should be saving these, freezing what you can. With the right planning, you can have whole meals frozen ready to feed your family another day of the week. You’ll be amazed how much money this will save you overall.

Spaghetti bolognaise. Dinners can be prepared from frozen leftovers

We hope you find this advice useful when you’re looking for ways to cut back the waste in your life. Do you have other suggestions? Leave a comment!

*This is a collaborative post.

How To Set Yourself Achievable Goals

Whether you’re looking to implement big change in your life, or just looking to make small steps towards being a better version of yourself, setting goals is paramount. However, there’s a difference between setting achievable goals and giving yourself unattainable targets. Ambition is an enviable trait – and ensuring your hard work leads to accomplishments is the reason behind goal setting. So, how do you create achievable goals for yourself, and ensure you see them through to their conclusion?

How To Set Yourself Achievable Goals title with faded tape measures image

Set targets to reach your goal
It doesn’t make a difference whether you’re chasing one or numerous goals – getting started will always be the most difficult part. It can be a daunting proposition, looking at the goals you’ve written down and wondering how you’re going to achieve them. For this reason, it’s recommended that you split your goals into further micro-goals, or targets. This way, you can start small and build on those early successes. Once you get started, you’ll soon find that the psychological benefit of completing each of these smaller targets toward your goals drives further determination.

Create detailed and specific targets to meet your goals
It’s important to clearly understand what you need to do. The more information you can include, the easier it will be to follow. A specific target gives you more focus. One commonly used example of this is if you’re planning to save money. Rather than ‘save £2,000’, incorporate more detail to keep your eyes on the goal: ‘save £2,000 for home renovations’. Then set the specific targets: ‘save £600 for new hardwood flooring, £1000 for new kitchen units, and £400 for re-painting the whole house’. The added detail and smaller target totals make it more achievable, whilst keeping you focused on why you’re saving.

A desk with planners, notebooks and organisers

Give yourself a timeframe
Further adding to the emphasis on detail, giving your goals a specific timeframe is an important factor in motivation and accomplishing targets. They also encourage action. Take, for example, a ‘flash sale’ email from your favourite brand, telling you that you can get an unmissable offer if you buy within the next 24 hours. The likelihood is that most of us have been persuaded by this before, and this is because the time-bound offer triggers a psychological reaction. Setting yourself timeframes for your goals works in a similar way. If you know you’ve only got a certain amount of days to achieve, you’ll be spurred on to put in the work. If your target is open-ended, it can easily fall to the bottom of the pile.

Put them down on paper
Having your targets written down provides you with something to refer back to. If you’re lacking in motivation, look back at your goals and remember why you set them in the first place. Seeing them in black and white makes the goals feel real, and helps to keep you focused one step at a time. Keeping them at the front of your mind allows you to focus on the bigger picture.

Lost sight of your goal and missed your targets? Don’t beat yourself up, or let it slip back further. Remind yourself of your next targets and review/ amend them if they feel too unrealistic. Focus on achieving the targets one at a time with your eye on the end goal you’ve set yourself and get back on track. Without these constant reminders it’s easy to let goals slip, which is a definite no-no. Start with a simple list, then edit and grow as required.

Make your goals realistic
Arguably the most important aspect of setting yourself goals: make them realistic. If your goal isn’t attainable, why set it in the first place? It’s a slippery slope when you become over-ambitious. Confidence is crucial, there’s no doubting that, but if you aim too high you risk knocking this confidence and subsequently giving up. Simply put, it can do more harm than good. Start off small and, once you have more experience, you can aim bigger and better. Many people set end-goals and put too much focus on getting there. It’s easy to forget that the journey is where you learn and develop. Whether it’s professionally or as a person, never take your journey for granted. Celebrate each target reached!

Weight lifting

Measure Your Progress
This is an obvious one, but it’s easy to forget if you’ve got multiple goals to track at once. Measuring your progress is important for many reasons. It helps keep you motivated – if you’ve lost weight for example, you’re more likely to feel confident on your progress and continue to work hard. If you’ve not hit targets, you know you need to put in more work in order to achieve your goal within the set timeframe. There are hundreds of tracking templates for almost anything, all you have to do is a quick Google search. Keep track of how you’re performing, and adjust your plan to make sure you accomplish what you need to.

Take accountability
There’s nobody else you can blame for your failures (or your successes) other than yourself. You’re responsible for whether your goals are accomplished or not. Others may be responsible for minor setbacks, but your overall success is down to you. Hold yourself accountable and work hard to achieve your goals!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Children Are Our Future: Setting Them Up For Success

As parents, our number one goal in life is to raise happy and healthy children with a bright future. We want to know that we’re doing everything we can to do what’s best for them, and once you have a child this little person is suddenly the most important thing in your life, you value it above your own. But knowing what we need to do to make sure we’re setting our children up for success can be a struggle, after all, no one knows what the future holds. However with that being said, there are a few things we can do that will always benefit our kids in later years, regardless of the direction they go in. Here are some ideas…

Children Are Our Future: Setting Them Up For Success title with black and white image of child sat on adult's knee in a living room reading a book.

Teach Them The Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle

We’re in the midst of an obesity epidemic. The leading cause of death in the third world is heart disease, which for the most part is preventable with a healthy lifestyle. Therefore teaching our children about the importance of health and setting a good example for healthy habits is crucial. Keep processed food, sweets and junk out of the house as much as possible, and try to avoid using them as treats or rewards, as this teaches children a bad mindset towards these things.

Cook healthy and delicious meals at home- include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and other fresh raw nutricious ingredients. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration for family friendly meals, and if you’re pushed for time you could try batch cooking at weekends. That way you have access to lots of frozen, healthy meals you cooked yourself and are far less likely to buy something convenient yet unhealthy and expensive. Also, numerous studies have shown that families that eat together raise happier and more balanced children, who tend to be slimmer and healthier. So if you currently feed the children and adults in your house separately it’s worth making a change.

Exercise is also very important, kids are naturally energetic so it shouldn’t be difficult for them to get in the hour of moderate to vigorous activity they need a day. The trick is to make it fun, avoid it feeling like a chore. You could go on family hikes or bike rides together at the weekend. Or take them swimming, trampolining or to a class they enjoy, such as dance or martial arts. Even hire a bouncy castle or buy a large trampoline for your back garden and they’re sure to have hours of fun activity with very little input needed from you. Getting into these healthy habits and seeing exercise as something that’s fun and enjoyable is something that will most definitely set them up for future success.

Think About Finances

Starting out as a young adult can be difficult. It’s more of a struggle to get onto the property market now than it ever was- and it’s set to get worse. By planning for your child’s future, you can give them an advantage once they’re older. Some money towards a mortgage deposit could help them onto the property ladder which might have otherwise been impossible for them. You could either put money into a savings account, or make a smart investment such as buying some property. A studio apartment or small flat wouldn’t be too expensive, you could then put away the money you earn from it each month into savings for your child. When they’re older, they could even live in it while they get established with their career or attend a local college or university. This would save on fees for halls or renting a student house, but still give them the independence they will be craving at that age.

Keep Them Curious

Children are naturally curious about the world, and keeping this magic alive is what will give them a great capacity to learn and do well in their education. Take them to galleries and museums, go on woodland walks with fun worksheets from Pinterest where you tick off the things you see. Take them rock pool fishing and teach them about the creatures they catch, go to the farm or zoo and tell them all about the animals. Learning doesn’t have to happen in a classroom or with books, keeping kids curious and giving them a thirst for knowledge is a fantastic way to set them up later in life. With a passion to learn they’re more likely to do well in future, and a good education paves the way for gaining the skills they need to later on enjoy satisfying career that they love.

Read to your kids often, sing songs, make up stories together. Do puzzles, teach them how to bake or sew. It’s all new, fun and exciting for kids and you help them to develop passions and hobbies that can help them meet new friends and develop their skills.

Photo of a happy laughing family having a water fight with buckets of water

Encourage Them To Be Empathetic

Empathy, being able to see things from another person’s perspective and feel genuine emotions towards them seems like the most human thing in the world. However this is not a trait we are born with, those who grow up without learning how to empathise don’t show it later on, their brains do not develop in the same way. Being empathetic, sensitive and able to understand the emotions of others helps people to develop meaningful friendships and later on relationships- it helps them to become a good person.

Encourage empathy by praising empathetic behaviour, avoiding anger and encouraging kids to talk about their feelings. Being able to label your own feelings as a child is very useful, as when others speak about how they feel the child is able to understand what it means and feels like.

One option for teaching kids empathy is to take them volunteering. Feeding the homeless, helping out at a children’s hospital, volunteering at an animal shelter or at a care home can all allow them to experience different emotions of others, and learn how it feels good to help. Growing up in touch with their emotions as well as being able to perceive others will allow them to create meaningful and lasting bonds with others.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Make Your Christmas More Creative

It’s easy to let Christmas take over your house, mind and wallet. Maybe it even instills a feeling of dread and an expectation that you’ll start the new year on the back foot in a bank overdraft. But there are many ways to upgrade your Christmas that don’t revolve around presents and decorations. Fun, personal and thoughtful touches will win every time! Here are some ideas to get those creative juices flowing, so that you can make some changes this year that’ll be more creative, fun, and also save you money – without compromising on time with loved ones.

A picture of Christmas accessories on a blue background with the title written in white.

Get crafty

If you’ve got a skill or talent that could be used to make a gift instead of buying one, this would add a personal touch and could save money (depending on the skill). If you’re a keen cook, why not offer to make a dish for Christmas dinner rather than buying everyone a gift? Perhaps you’d rather make a delicious dessert for everyone to share – it’ll be really appreciated, will help out the host and is something you can all share. If you’re more into sewing or painting, you may prefer to make small handmade gifts instead – just remember to give yourself enough time to complete them in the busy time leading up to Christmas.

Save money

Take advantage of cheaper options and make sure you shop around. If you have a particular gift in mind, see if you can get hold of it second hand – sites like eBay may have the same item either brand new or used – in many cases you might find one that’s been opened but never used, or still comes in the original box. Why spend more for no reason? Shopping around more could save you a lot of money! Just don’t forget that you may need to arrange your own courier which you’ll need to factor into your budget.

Take charge of Christmas games

Games are a big part of Christmas for many and a great way to bond with family. If games aren’t part of your Christmas day usually, why not give yourself the title of Games Coordinator, do some research and find a few easy games that’ll get you all working together and passing the time so you’ve got something to keep your mind busy when waiting for your food! 

If you’re already a lover of games, why not find a few new ones to try – perhaps you’ve got that one person that never wants to play and they need something else to get them motivated. If there’s a certain game that divides family members, try to find one that includes everyone and that appeals to their interests. Ask friends which games they play at Christmas time and steal any good recommendations!

New board games can be expensive so it’ll pay to shop around – a good tip is to look in charity shops or borrow from others. There are also so many games that only need a pen and paper or a pack of cards so you don’t need to spend a fortune!

Hopefully these tips give you some inspiration for cutting the cost of your Christmas this year and add a little sprinkle of creativity whilst saving you money!

*This is a collaborative post.

Home Education on a Shoestring 

This post discusses how you can save money on home educating and still provide plenty of home ed opportunities. It is a common misconception that home educating is expensive and unaffordable to most. However, many home educators successfully home educate on a tight budget and there are lots of ways to make home educating affordable. The truth is, home education can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. Plus with the money you would spend on uniform, trips and lunch money, school is not necessarily a cheaper option either!

It is a common misconception that home educating is expensive and unaffordable to many. However, there are actually various ways to cut the costs, and many home educators successfully home educate on a tight budget. Here are my top tips…

Trips and Activities

Join your local home ed facebook group

In many areas, home educators organise trips and activities together as a community, in order to access cheaper group entry charges or school rates. This often also includes educational workshops that wouldn’t otherwise be available to individuals.

Look out for discounts/ offers to local attractions

Find your local community magazine, join an online group that shares local information or sign up to attraction newsletters direct; whichever way suits you personally to stay up-to-date with the latest offers and discounts for local attractions. Some places also do free open days etc… that it is worth taking advantage of too. If you make a point of seeking them out, you’ll be amazed at how much you can actually save!

Research free places to visit

Following on from the previous point, there are lots of free places to visit, and events throughout the year, that offer great educational opportunities. From museums to sporting events, there is plenty to choose from without getting your wallet out.

home education, homeschooling, home ed, freedom to learn, budget, finance, money saving, educational resources

Form a co-op, or arrange your own groups/ activities

If you can find a free (or cheap) venue, many home educators lead groups and activities themselves, or with other members of the local community. You can play on each others’ strengths and expertise, plus pool together resources, which can be far more cost effective than paying for classes etc…

Resources at Home

Find freebies

There are lots of free good quality resources on the internet. Also check out freecycle for useful items that someone else no longer needs. Occasionally there is even old equipment from local schools up for grabs, if you know the right people!

Borrow

You can also borrow and swap with other home educators, which makes far more sense than investing in something that is only needed for a short term topic or limited age- range for example. And of course, there are libraries too!

Buy secondhand

There are dedicated home ed selling groups on facebook to find cheap secondhand resources. Charity shops are another place to hunt for bargains; there are some great finds to be had.

Sell the resources you no longer use

Obviously, as well as buying secondhand, it is also useful to sell your resources on if you no longer use them! Or hand them down to someone else who needs them, in a pay it forward type philosophy.

Make the most of subscription discounts

Some educational apps and websites charge an annual subscription fee. However, many offer a discount for home educators so be sure to find out before you sign up.

home education, homeschooling, home ed, freedom to learn, budget, finance, money saving, educational resources
Twinkl is great for educational resources

What About Income Though?

It is true that the loss of earnings can be a challenge. It is all very well finding ways to save money on the cost of home educating, but it doesn’t help if you don’t have any money coming in to begin with! (Note: Home educators are not entitled to any additional extra benefits simply because they home educate, and there is no funding specifically for home educators).

However, many home educators do also work. Firstly, it is important to remember that home education does not need to observe school hours and term times so there is flexibility as to how and when a full time education is provided. Secondly, there are various jobs that you can do flexibly working from home, or ways you can juggle home educating with working outside of the home. Here are some ideas…

Home Working

Just a few examples of jobs people do at home while home educating are; tutoring, childminding, workshops/ classes, blogging, making and selling crafts (e.g. etsy store) or other small businesses.

Working While Home Educating

Parents often share responsibility for home educating with each other, other family members or friends. Some use a childminder for part of the week, then focus on home education outside of those hours. Others take advantage of educational groups or childcare schemes that they can send their child to whilst they work. It is also possible to find evening or weekend work too. Bottom line is, there are various options available, much like you would choose at pre-school age.

Do you have any tips on how to finance home education? Or how to home educate on a budget? I would love to hear them!

The Pocket Money Debate: How Much, How Often and What For? 

We have recently been discussing pocket money and debating whether it should be earned or given? If it is to be earned, what should it be for? And how much is reasonable?

Personally, I feel that the concept of earning money is important. It helps to promote independence and a good work ethic. But I struggle on what it should be given for because I feel it has the potential to also encourage an expectation to be paid for things that I feel should be done for other reasons. 

After all, we should all help to keep our home clean and tidy because it is a shared space; we all live here, so we each have a responsibility toward it. And we should behave with kindness, respect and consideration toward others simply because it’s the right thing to do. It is intrinsic – at least I certainly feel it should be – is it not? What about for educational activities then? But does that then make them a chore, rather than doing it out of interest and curiosity and for the simple love of learning? I feel this way about sticker charts and the like, so surely money is no different. 

But, at the same time, I do also firmly believe that our main goal in life should be to find our passion. In an ideal world, people can do what they truly love and make money from it, but it doesn’t really feel like work or a ‘job’ because they would choose to do it anyway. In my eyes, that is the dream to aim for! So does paying pocket money for things the child would do anyway actually reinforce this mindset and therefore is a good thing?

pocket money, goHenry, parenting, finance, money, savings, life skills, independence, responsibility, general life, earning money, chores, Living Life Our Way

The fact is, I don’t actually have any answers! I think the best approach is probably different for each child, and family, depending on their priorities and personal set of values. And I also suspect the answer chances at different points throughout childhood too.

We have played around with a few different ideas over time, with varying levels of success, and certain pitfalls after a while too! One choice we are happy about though is setting up a goHenry account so she could have her own card and also be able to shop online with her own money. I think this is really good for independence and teaching essential life skills. You can set up a goHenry account online quickly and easily, and it gives options to write tasks and/ or transfer a set weekly amount so is quite versatile. We have found this works well for us! If you sign up through the referral links in this post, you get free custom goHenry card worth £4.99 plus 1-month free

I also asked some fellow bloggers on their opinions of pocket money and here are some of the responses I received:

Two Hearts One Roof ~ OK my little one is too young for pocket money, but I will be doing the same as my parents did for me. I had £5 a week in my money box and £5 in my savings towards holiday spending money, or if I really wanted to save for something big. Then I could earn extra doing chores or helping out my parents, neighbours or grandparents. I spent a lot of sunday mornings ironing as I could do that in front of the TV and I didn’t mind. Mum would price a whole basket depending on how difficult it would be and how many items. Our dude will have the same system when he is old enough. Plus any money from grandparents or for birthdays/ xmas – half goes in savings and half to keep on hand. We already do that and he is 1; half is in savings and half for something now.

Whimsical Mumblings ~ My little ones (2&3) have a ‘kindness’ reward chart and get a star everytime they do something kind. When the chart fills up I give them a pound or two to put in their piggy banks.

My Boys Club ~ We started our boys off in 50p for washing the car or making their beds each week etc. We pay for all their activities, clothes etc but trying to teach them the value of money from a young age.

Dark Tea ~ We started giving our daughter pocket money when she was 7 (she’s almost 9). She gets £2 and has to save half of it. She occasionally earns more by doing chores above the normal such as mopping floors and helping in the garden.

Champagne and Petals ~ We don’t really do a weekly pocket money. My 8 year old gets money for doing little jobs around the house. Feeding the cat, making his bed, opening his curtains. Or helping in the garden and washing the cars. No more than £5 a week. However as he gets older and is wanting to spend money on things then I’m sure it will increase, as will the jobs he has to do to earn the money.

Pack The PJs ~ My two get £5 each, weekly, paid direct to their GoHenry cards. All we ask in return is for them to take some responsibility of their stuff and their rooms. We have stopped it in the past when they’ve been a bit disrespectful of their belongings (or each other). It works well – it also means they have on average £50 to spend if we go out. When they spend their own money you notice that they stop and ask themselves if they really need it before committing!

Family Travel With Ellie ~ I have recently started a Go Henry account for my 10 year old son. He gets £2.50 per week and the gets an extra £2 if he cleans out the rabbits and and extra £2 if he mows the lawn/ cleans the car or similar. It’s a great adaptable account , he gets a debit card with it which gives him a sense of responsibility and independence.

Neon Rainbow Blog ~ We also use Go Henry for our 11 year old, he gets a card which is contactless and an app to track his chores. I get an app too which I can load ‘tasks’ onto so each time he ticks off a task, the money goes from my parent account to his Go Henry account. He does things like tidying his bedroom, hoovering, dishwasher, plus we give him perks for things like homework, SATs results, good manners, selfless deeds.

Hello Cuppies ~ My son is 12 and he gets £35 a month and it transfers straight to his bank account which he then has to manage himself. It does come with conditions though; no discredits from school, no missed homework and all chores done. I think we’re quite generous but this does have to pay for quite a lot of little luxuries which do add up.

Frugal Family ~ My teenager gets £50 a month which she uses to buy anything that I consider non-essential. My son gets £5 a week as he’s younger and doesn’t go out as much with his friends yet. I don’t pay them for doing jobs around the house as I think that should be an automatic thing, seeing as they make more than their fair share of mess. But I do link pocket money to behaviour, so if they suddenly refused to do their jobs or had a bad attitude then they wouldn’t be paid.

* goHenry is an affilliate link which means I generate a small revenue from referrals. All thoughts and opinions about goHenry are my own. Thank you for the support. 

How To Tackle Cash Flow Issues

We have all been there; despite doing your best to stay on top of the finances, somehow the money doesn’t quite stretch to your next pay check. Maybe an unexpected expense has cropped up that really cannot wait until the end of the month. Or an unpaid invoice messes up your carefully planned budget. Or perhaps it is simply that an error has occured somewhere along the line. Whatever the reason, realising you have a cash flow problem can be very stressful. Here are some top tips on how to tackle it… 

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Nip Issues in the Bud 

First of all, start trying to address the issue as soon as you realise that your money won’t stretch. If you see a shortfall coming and react immediately, you will have more options and less of a problem than if you bury your head in the sand and wait for the inevitable. 

Immediately cut back on any unnecessary spending – and evaluate what you actually consider to be necessary to ensure it truly is absolutely essential. Even small budget cuts to groceries shopping for example, or walking whenever possible to save petrol money, could help to narrow that gap significantly. 

Also check you don’t have any non-essential direct debits coming out and cancel any you don’t actually need to pay; for example, subscriptions. Although do be aware of minimum notice periods for any cancellations, or potential charges as per contracts, when doing this – you don’t want to find yourself in a different type of financial difficulty instead!

Raise Some Cash – Fast

Next up, try to raise the shortfall money. There are several ways to potentially do this, depending on how fast you need to raise the cash how much you need. Here are some suggestions:

  • Have a clear-out. Sell any secondhand items in good condition that you no longer actually use or need. While sites such as ebay are the obvious first choice for many people, I have personally found that it is actually often quicker and easier to sell on local selling sites via facebook, if your area has one. 
  • Get some extra temporary work. I know this can be a very tough task, and it depends on how much time you have, but it is sometimes possible! Take on extra shifts at work, or enquire about overtime. If this is not an option, you could try temp agencies or online sites like fiverr. Or look into casual work, such as at local bars. You could also just generally ask around to find out if anyone needs an extra pair of (paid) hands for one-off jobs; you never know, you might be asking at just the right time for someone to offer an ideal opportunity! (Note: Make sure you disclose paid work of course!) 
  • Exchange gift cards for cash. Do you have any gift cards that you haven’t yet spent? Assuming you can’t spend them on essentials, try selling them on local selling groups, or sites such as Zeek.

And if all else fails… 

If you have tried and failed to resolve the issue using the advice above, and anything else you might have thought of, then you may feel that it is time to consider borrowing. One possibility might be to ask friends or family, whereas for others this may not be an option, or you might simply prefer not to go down this route. A payday loan, using a credit card if you have one, or extending your overdraft are other options to explore. If the cash flow crisis is due to an unexpected item replacement, buying it on finance may be another option. It is important to compare fees and rates if you do borrow, in order to find the solution that is right for you. And remember to pay the money back as quickly as possible, and most definitely on time, so that you don’t fall further into debt. 

Last But Not Least

Once you have resolved the cash flow issue, try to reflect on what went wrong and take stock of your financial situation. Consider if and how you could try to avoid a cash flow problem happening again in the future. Review your budget and make sure you stick to it. Start a savings account if at all possible; try to put 10% of earnings into it if you can. The more prepared you are for any financial scenario, the less likely you are to get caught out again next time something crops up! (I do realise this is often easier said than done of course!)

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.


The Growing Your Money Guide

One of the things I’m always very conscious of as a parent is our family’s finances. These are challenging times for the UK, and there seems to be growing conjecture that times are about to get even tougher. Whilst I try not to worry too much about the wider economic issues that are largely beyond our control, it is important to me to try to keep our own finances under control.

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If at all possible, there are two simple things you can do to help secure, and safeguard, your family’s financial future. The first is to put aside as much as you can each month. Then, as a second step, it makes sense to ensure that these savings are working as hard as they can. In terms of the latter, it’s easier said than done given that interest rates have absolutely plummeted over the last decade. Nevertheless, there are still some ways in which you can get a bit more bang for your buck.

Best interest deals on savings

The Santander 123 account used to be a real winner with an interest rate of 3%, coupled with some cashback offers on bills. Unfortunately, this rate was cut in half at the end of last year, although 1.5% is still one of the better deals out there. Bear in mind though that this has a £20,000 limit, and there is a monthly fee of £5.

Further afield, Bank of Scotland’s Vantage account offers 3% interest on accounts with £3,000-£5,000 in them, while Tesco offers 3% interest on the first £3,000 savings. Effectively you can take advantage of this for savings up to £6,000, since you can open two accounts per person with Tesco. However, perhaps the stand out option is the Nationwide Flex account, whereby you earn a more impressive 5%, but only on a fixed amount of £2,500 for 12 months (be warned; it then drops down to 1% thereafter).

Another smart way to earn good interest is to use a Help-to-Buy ISA. This is an account for which prospective first-time homebuyers are eligible, and has a built-in 25% bonus scheme on contributions. Aside from the bonus, interest rates are also more competitive than most, with Barclays paying 2.27% for example.

Switching bank accounts

It may seem like a pain, but switching bank accounts is actually easier than you think. Thanks to legislation passed in 2012, the onus falls on the new bank to make all the necessary arrangements like switching direct debits etc… All that’s left for you to do is follow a few easy steps, and it should all be done within seven working days. 

And the good news is that there are some very good deals on offer to those willing to switch account providers. For example, you can earn £100+ from the likes of Co-op or First Direct. Halifax’s £75 is nothing to be sneezed at either. TSB offer a package deal too, whereby you can earn £10 a month by switching to the Classic Plus account, with 3% interest on top of that on the first £1,500 you put in.

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Peer-to-peer lending

There is another option to growing your money, which, it must be pointed out, is not quite the same as savings accounts. Peer-to-peer lending offers returns of up to 5% to those willing to lend their money directly to consumers in need of a loan, via an online platform. It sounds risky, and it must be kept in mind that there is no cover offered on these loans by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, as there is with ordinary bank accounts.

However, platforms do go a long way to safeguarding the funds of lenders. Borrowers are strictly vetted for creditworthiness, so you aren’t lending to just anyone. They also set aside provision funds to cover any arrears and defaults on repayments. And some have even gone the extra mile by setting up an insurance to supplement this; one which pays out for typical borrower default reasons like accident, illness, unemployment; along with darker forces like fraud and cybercrime. It therefore isn’t risk free, but historically returns have been stable from FCA-regulated platforms. So if you are willing to look slightly further up the risk spectrum, it could be a good solution for you.

However you decide to go about things though, what’s important is to be open to, and aware of, all of the various options available out there. That way you can make the most educated decision possible on the best choice for you, in order to make your family’s savings go that much further.

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.