Friday, March 31, 2006

Blogs of Interest

I have finally added some of my "blogs of interest" to my side bar, I've been meaning to do it for ages...nevermind it's done now.

Just a couple of notes,


All Financial Matters is formally All Things Financial, check JLP's blog out to find out why it had to be changed.

Money Blog Network has recently launched a forum where there are loads of discussions currently being discussed regarding Money, Monetizing your blog and so on, see them here.

My Money Forest has some great interviews with some of the top bloggers and great savers of this era, including Jane from Boston Gals Open Wallet (also featured in my links) ! See them here.

You'll find some business ideas crazier than mine on Nevilles Financial Blog, check out his bottled water experiment here.

So I've finally got some links up. There are loads more great blogs out there and I will be adding those as I find them etc. If you want to be listed drop a comment.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Going shopping, buying morally.

Wednesday night is mine and my girlfriends shopping night. It's also a time when recently I have been morally challenged.

It first occurred to me when I went to pick up the bananas but the ones I usually get weren't there. I immediately looked to my right and there were some identical looking banana's with a different label, they were over 50% more expensive than the ones I usually get. With a closer inspection I realized that they were fair trade banana's (don't know if you get fairtrade or if they are called something else in the US). Now, I was faced with a dilemma, from now on do I buy the cheap banana's where I know third world farmers have been ripped off or do I buy the other more expensive banana's where I know the farmers and third world companies got a fair deal.

So I moved on with my shopping with the thought in my mind "how many of the products that I am buying are ripping people off, how much more expensive would it be to buy morally?"

So that was my challenge last night. We went around the shop pricing up a normal weekly shop, then went around again and priced up the morally correct option.

A few examples of the sort of things I was looking for:
  • Banana's - fairtrade banana's
  • Chocolate - fairtrade chocolate
  • Eggs - freerange eggs
  • Wines + Beer - fairtrade equivalent
The price difference is considerable!

It worked out to be £42.95 for the normal shop, shopping morally cost £64.82, that's a 51% increase! In our normal shop we already bought free range eggs and some fairtrade products.

Now in a modern world where we have become accustomed to these cheap prices will we be able to shop morally, is it right to shop morally or is it ok to buy food where I know the farmer has been ripped off or the chicken has been thrown into a square foot cage where it will spend its life. How do I do my shopping in the future, if I buy morally I will spend £1137.24 more on my shopping a year! Did those people who are now rich care about this sort of things or is it their companies who exploit these sort of things?

What do you think? What do you do? Any thoughts would be great.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

It doesn't take long to ask a question.

You might call me crazy but I am always asking myself questions. I am always challenging myself, if I need a new phone...do I REALLY need a phone or will my old one do? If I do REALLY need a new phone, does it HAVE to be cordless?...etc etc

Because of this I cut out some of the needless expenses that I might otherwise incur. It also makes me search harder for the best deals, cheapest deals and add-ons for free etc. Who better to push me to find the best deal than myself?

So I challenge YOU, next time you are out buying something, getting a new mag subscription or even changing gas supplier, ask yourself, is this the best deal, do I really need that pair of shoes?

Having said this, sometimes your wants and needs aren't so different. It is good to reward yourself or treat yourself once in a while. Sometimes a need is to get something you want.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Win, Win, Win!

Everytime I go online I am faced with people telling me, emails telling me and ads telling me that I can "Win an Xbox 360" or "Win an Ipod Nano". They all promise you free stuff by "shooting the duck", "stomping the spider" or simply "answer this question". I have always looked upon these as being a scam, a swindle or just a plain simple lie to get a click through!

For my partner it is something different, the flashing lights, the big red FREE signs and the statements claiming she could win make her eyes glaze over with excitement. Although I know deep down she knows she more than likely won't win anything, she just want to try it. I have always prevented her, ofcourse!


But, am I right to do so?

What I would like to know is;

Does anybody ever win anything?
Are they just scams to bombard you with spam emails and letters?
Does answering the question differently actually lead to something different?
Are they just a plain lie to get another hit?


So, any answers would be great, I will be conducting my own experiment next week, ofcourse I will publish the results, but I would like to do some background research first, has anyone ever made anything or got anything for it? Did you get bombarded with spam, was it a scam!?

If these ads were indeed true to their word, I am sure I could have made an electronics retail store by now, have I missed out?

Totally random ways I made money!

Here is a list of some totally radom ways I have made money!
  • Washed cars one weekend. (£55)
  • Given my mates lifts late at night (£45...)
  • Sold a car for someone. (£100)
  • Won a raflle (£20 voucher)
  • Salted a car park every weekday morning last winter (£500)
  • Delivered a car (£25)
  • Witnessed the signing of some documents (£40)

I did these to make a bit of extra cash (and because they were offered to me) which came in very handy!

If anyone has any more random ways they made money it would be great to hear them!

Monday, March 27, 2006

I hate spending money!

I had a really bad weekend in terms of saving this weekend, it just turned out to be one of those weekends. I'm sure you have all had them, where you just seem to be spending all weekend.

It started out with going through all my paper work and finding I had about a hundred sheets to shred...great, putting it through the manual shredder wasn't ideal but I set off doing it anyway. I was going quite well, had a routine going and then the damn thing fell apart in my hand. So the first expense was a new shredder, I decided I would invest in an electric one as I figured it would last longer than another manual one.

The next was a few DIY projects I have been meaning to do for weeks. I needed to seal the bath and sink, put a new door on and fit a loft aerial. All things I have been meaning to do for ages but this weekend I finally pulled my thumb out and did them. So the next expenses were sealant (I had no idea how expensive that was!), a new aerial and wire, the door and several bags of screws, plugs and bolts. I love doing DIY but I hate spending money on the items.. :o/

The final thing was a bill I was expecting but not this weekend. We are changing gas companies so I knew I would be getting a final bill from my existing company fairly soon. Needless to say it was more than I had expected it to be! (I'd just like to mention my luck in changing companies and getting the rate fixed until late 2007 just before the gas prices increase :o)

Oh and finally, there was my inability to go home before the bar closes again on thursday night, and two house parties at the weekend (although they are always cheap).

So overall it was a bit of an expensive weekend and my savings account will be taking the brunt of it. Not to worry, it had to go at some point. I'll just have to be a bit tighter this week!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Hobbies into cash (Part Two)

It was ages ago now that I wrote Hobbies Part One, it's way over due but better late than never.

Make some notes

You've spent all week thinking about your hobbies and which one you want to turn into a little extra cash for the holiday comming up in the summer. You've decided what to do (doesn't matter whether it's cooking, drawing or writing etc, the principles are the same) and want to take the next step. Well firstly you need to ask yourself a few quick questions:
  1. Have you got all the equipment you need?
  2. Is what you are offering of a good enough standard to sell?
  3. Have you got all the products needed?
  4. Have you got somewhere to sell/do the service?
  5. Did you answer NO to any of the above?

If you answered no to any of those questions you need to be asking yourself a few more questions before you start.

  1. How much will everything you need cost initially?
  2. How much will your products costs each time?
  3. How much will it cost for somewhere to sell?
  4. How much will you be charging?
  5. How many customers will you need to break even?

Ofcourse this is just a brief summary, you need to spend a bit of time thinking and making notes about these sort of things. You don't want to buy all your equipment and then work out it is going to take you until after your dream holiday!

Find some customers

You've looked at the facts and you have decided it is going to be worth your while, now you need some customers/clients. I'm not going to go into masses of details in these methods, there will be loads of articles on marketing etc to come throughout my blogging life. Here are a few places you should look into first:
  • Friends and Family - always the first place to look. Will usually always be some people within your network of friends and family that will want your products/services.
  • Friends of friends - Ask your friends and family to spread the word, no better marketing method than viral marketing. Ask them to ask at work.
  • Leaflets - Most people now own a home PC, open up word and get a few leaflets printed out, take them to work, drop them in neighbor's houses.

These methods are all really basic things that you can do to get a few customers. Remember the aim of this is to earn a bit of extra cash. Having said that, if I venture into a new business I will always test the water first by starting this way.

The final part will be going through actually carrying out the service and making sure your customers are happy and come back!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

This will get you thinking.

Ok so I figure that the most of the financial frugal bloggers will have a good head for maths (although I must insist you don't have to be good with numbers to be financially successful). I got this through the email (from my mum of all people) and it got me pondering, eventually I worked it out but I challenge you all to try and work it out and let me know how long it took you.

The person who works it out the fastest will win....a great sense of satisfaction! :o/


3 MEN GO INTO A MOTEL. THE MAN BEHIND THE DESK SAID THE ROOM IS $30

SO EACH MAN PAID $10 AND WENT TO THE ROOM.

A WHILE LATER THE MAN BEHIND THE DESK REALIZED THE ROOM WAS ONLY
$25

SO HE SENT THE BELLBOY TO THE 3 GUYS' ROOM WITH $5.

ON THE WAY THE BELLBOY COULDN'T FIGURE OUT HOW TO SPLIT $5 EVENLY

BETWEEN 3 MEN, SO HE GAVE EACH MAN A $1 AND KEPT THE OTHER $2 FOR

HIMSELF.

THIS MEANT THAT THE 3 MEN EACH PAID $9 FOR THE ROOM, WHICH IS A
TOTAL

OF $27, ADD THE $2 THAT THE BELLBOY KEPT = $29.

WHERE IS THE OTHER DOLLAR?


Good luck!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Evaluating your finances

I evaluate my finances very regurlarly but I want to talk about a simple, quick evaluation I do every year and a half or so.

I do it while I am chilled out, I don't think I would be able to do it if I wasn't relaxing. I simply take a pen and paper and start jotting some notes about the major aspects of my money:


Mortgage roughly: £9000
Petrol: £2880
Car ins: £1000
House bills: £2700
Savings: £6000
Food: £5000

I don't beat my head on the table until I have remembered where every last penny has gone, I just think about my main expenses each month and come up with a rough figure of how much it was over the last couple of years...

When i have done this I start scribbling some really rough broad notes next to it:

Mortgage - What is my interest rate, do I have the best deal, how long left on this, Is buying better than renting, why?
Petrol - Where do I go in my car, where am I buying the petrol......and so on.

I do this to question myself, sometimes over the month to month working of things you don't notice that you could be saving quite a bit in the long run.

I will then start to evaluate the notes:

Mortgage - Current interest rate: 4.75% (2 yr fixed, 8 months left), current best mortage rate 4.9% tracker, rent on similar house would have cost roughly £7600, equity gained on house £12000. etc etc

Just writing these quick fire notes, never taking long to think of them, just writing them down as they come and then finally spending an hour to evaluate my questions must have saved me a fortune. Sometimes small savings are overlooked but if you look at your spendings over a longer period of time you can get a clearer view of your finances and where you are heading.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Blogging, linking and carnivals

I'm new to the whole blogging thing, although I have been online for years and years I never really looked into web logs, even when there were reports on the news about them being the next big thing I just never got around to checking it out.

Thank god I did now because there is a vast of information available at your fingertips. A lot of incredibly talented people wishing to share their wealth of knowledge, for what...well some do it for a living, some for the satisfaction of sharing it, for some it is a way gathering other peoples thoughts on their life decisions...

There is a real sense of community within blogs, I don't look at blogs of every topics obviously but in the ones I do everyone seems to know everyone and everyone is willing to share an opinion with everyone. It is for this reason I started blogging, for the wealth of the knowledge, to pass off some of my ideas, to log some of the stupid ideas that go wrong, to learn from others and ofcourse if there is a chance I will attempt to make money doing it aswell (It would be rude not to, I am a huge believer in making your hobbies into a living).

One of the things I am impressed about is the Carnivals, a whole host of information on the topic you are interested in. Here is one in particular I have been checking out, it is the Carnival of Personal Finance hosted at All Things Financial. I want to link to a couple of carnivals I find interesting each week but there are plenty of blogs out there who post an article about it each week so when I get chance this week I will put another side bar on linking to that weeks carnival.

Finally, reciprocal links are a great way to share visitors throughout blogs. I wanted to establish myself as a regular blogger before I began linking and requesting reciprocal links. I will over the next few weeks link to the blogs I feel appropriate and hopefully I will be lucky enough to be linked back to.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Decorating and DIY a major bind...

...so make it fun by having a decorating party! Fact is within your network of friends you probably know quite a few people who are skilled at various things. So get them round and have them help you!

It sounds cheeky, yeah it does, lets face it....it is cheeky!

First thing, you have to prepare everything before people come. Move all your stuff out of the way where possible, put it in the middle of the room and cover with plastic sheeting. Get all the materials you need (i.e. Wallpaper, paint, rollers...) and get them ready (after all, you are stealing their time, you don't want them to waste it on preparing stuff you can do). You need to keep one room free (unless it's hot then the garden will do, barbecue time) for food and drink, this is what is going to make it fun, make sure you have a mixture of alcoholic and soft drinks. Ok, you're ready for them to come around.

Get what you can done before 4 or 5pm and finish up with having a big party admiring your work.

Trust me, you will find it is a great laugh, your mates won't mind at all especially if you are laying on a big meal or a BBQ and a shed load of booze.

This is a great way to get your stuff done quickly, just be prepared to help your mates out when they need a hand.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

UK Housing market to keep rising?

"The housing market still picking up"

"House prices gathering pace"

Are just a couple of quotes I have read over the recent weeks. It is true, despite the majority of experts claiming that the housing market was going to slow right down this year and maybe even drop slightly. Despite recent surveys showing house prices on the increase experts are still cautious to say they will continue to rise, understandibly so, the house prices have never risen for so long without taking a dip.

Personally, I believe they will continue to rise steadily, true the market has slowed way down but it is as strong as ever. As a whole prices in the UK will only rise 2 or 3 percent, but if you find an area with a lot of potential then they could rise anything up to 25%.

A few things you need to look out for to find a rising area:

-Lots of houses up for sale and plenty of sold boards.
-Lots of estate agents (look for towns with lots of estate agents)
-New shopping centres, sports centres developments in town.
-Modern appartments being built/converted.

Obviously don't rely on those pointers but if you see a town with all of the above then you need to get some research done. Get on the mailing lists of the estate agents so that you can get an idea of what is becomming available on the market in that area.

I personally will be making this years investments into the housing market and I would suggest if you are loooking to invest in something that you do some research into the current UK market.

Please note: Don't go buying a house from this article, please make sure you do lots of research and remember, I am not an advisor, just another person like you trying to make ends meat.

Friday, March 17, 2006

They need to close bars earlier!

Why is it that I have an inability to go home before every pub/bar/club in town has closed. It doesn't matter where it is, I simply cannot leave before it closes. Which, I must say is a real dampener on my finances.

It was a leaving do for a mate who is leaving to cut grass in wimbledon. Seeing as though it was a weekday the thought process was as follows...

I'll go into town with my friends and have a few alcohol free drinks then I'll have a pint of larger later on to keep me going, I'll take my car to prevent me from temptation.


I arrived, had one drink and got a taste of the atmosphere...that was it...the car, no problem. I was back home in 5 minutes, on a bus in 7 and back in the bar with a pint in my hand in 10....great, so much for a cheap night!

But it wasn't so much the drinking or the car that was a problem, it was the total inability to stop. We went from bar to bar and finally to the club and thats where we stayed...no really...that's where we stayed until the not so early hours of the morning.

Note to self: Leave your cards at home next time...ATM's are evil!

Having said that it was a top night and I had a great time...sometimes blowing a few (or a bit more than a few) unexpected quid is worth it.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

How much house can $300 000 buy where you live

JLP of All Things Financial recently posted that he was looking at buying a house in Houston for roughly $300 000 and was interested about the difference in house price for a similar house in a different area. It is a topic that interests me greatly as I am looking to get into property investment.

Jim from Blueprint then commented about how it would be interesting to see what sort of house you could buy for $300 000 in other peoples areas (great idea):

"While I doubt he intended for something like this to go viral, I think it’s a fun comparative game along the lines of Cap’s What’s In Your Wallet..."

So, here is mine. I live in the UK in the north, but thats not very interesting so I am going to post about London. This is one property that I found for £170 000 which is roughly what $300 000 converts to.
Don't get excited, it's not the whole building...it's a one bedroom flat but apparently quite "spacious"...

Now compare it to the houses that Jim and JLP found...ouch.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Stop throwing money away on cars!

I see it so much, people spending stupid amounts on massive cars that they use as a status symbol. I even recall someone buying an expensive car just because he didn't want his neighbor to have a better car than him.

Well get over yourself, I'm not talking about rich people who can afford to throw money away on 6 different cars but about the people who haven't quite made it yet. Let's face it, we would all love to drive a nice fancy car around, but it just isn't financially viable until you can afford to do it without financing it!

Cars depreciate in value rapidly, they lose £1000 as soon as you take it off the forecourt. Not only this but if you have it on finance then you are also losing money there.

It is just abit of advice to those people who buy these huge cars that cost them hundreds a week on petrol and then only pay the minimum payments on their credit card. It's not about not getting them if you want them, it is about when you get them, be patient and you will be better off for it.

Home Contents insurance

Did you know...

...many people don't realise that their contents insurance doesn't just cover you in the event of some low-life breaking in and stealing your stuff. It covers you for many day to day accidents such as spilt wine on the carpet, a tear in your sofa or your TV blowing up.

A friend of mine made a claim the other week because he tore his sofa with some keys, they didn't replace the whole sofa but they put the exact same material on and it looked like new again.

One piece of advice, don't take out the insurance that the shop offers you. Get it home, ring your contents insurance company and ask them to do additional insurance on that item if you feel it needs added protection, you will save a lot of money. Also, read through your contents insurance papers and check to see if you do infact need insurance on things like sofas, you might already be insured!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Start making money online

Google, MSN, MySpace, Yahoo, Amazon, Play.com are just a few of the largest names I can think of online. Each of these companies making a massive amount of money and most of them were set up by individuals or a group of individuals who couldn't have dreamed of the success they now have. I don't know about you but this gives me a massive amount of inspiration!

It is a healthy time for online businesses, more people going online everyday, profits rising each year, people beginning to trust the internet again and more and more businesses are entering this market everyday.

For those of you who are still bringing up the whole dot-com crash thingy majiggy, drop-it! The only reason it crashed is because investors became over zealous worrying about missing the boom and it didn't boom as fast as people thought. It is a solid market which is increasing at a steady pace.

Now don't get me wrong, it's not going to be easy to make money online and it certainly won't be "set up a website and tomorrow morning wake up to have a six figure sum in your bank". I am merely saying for those of you who want to get into the online world of business, take your time, get a good idea, put a lot of work into it and you never know, it might just be the next big thing.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Another ridiculous idea!

Ok, so from time to time I have these stupid ideas that can only make you a few quid a week. I am the sort of person who is willing to get my hands dirty and get out there and try these ideas.

The snow was thick yesterday and it rained overnight and froze up, it was pretty much a death trap just crossing the road, ofcourse it is typical that the salters miss my street!

Anyway, to the point, I went out and de-iced both my car and my girlfriends car, it took me about 10 minutes to do both, I used a little de-icer spray my girlfriend had left in her car but none on mine. As I was doing it, I looked up my street and each of the cars needed de-icing, I couldn't stop thinking that most these people would love to have their car de-iced. I nearly slipped about 5 times just walking around the cars which just made me more certain that people would be willing to fork out a couple of quid on icy days.

I can imagine people not wanting to get up and do this for tons of reasons, including it being dangerous if you are not agile on your feet, it being cold and quite painful scraping thick ice. The thing that annoys me the most is it slows you down when you are running late.

I think I am going to put my idea to test, I will just do it on my street as I don't want to have to get up at 2am just to finish all the cars. I will post a leaflet through each of the houses, if some people return it to my house, great! If not, I have lost nothing. I will keep you posted...In the mean time any ideas on what you think would be a fair price, let me know.

If I wasn't the one to do this kind of thing I am sure I would probably say yes if someone asked me!

Asking yourself the right questions?


I think it is important to ask yourself questions all the time about your finances (about other things too but that would be wandering off the topic).

Next time you are going through your finances you need to be asking yourself these sort of questions:

- Do I have to spend this much on dinner at work, could I take food to work?
-Do I really need Sky TV, especially now with freeview?
-If I do need sky, do I need all the channels?
-Did I really need that new TV?
-What did I do with the old TV?
-Am I getting the best deal for my mortgage?
-Is renting saving or losing me money?

I believe the best way to make money is to save money you don't need to spend. Above are just a few suggestions of the sort of questions I ask myself regularly. There are many many more but it is important for you to come up with your own questions, once you start asking questions, they will begin to flow freely!

Using quotes for motivation

"Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment."
--Barry LePatner

This quote is just one of many posted on Neville's Financial Blog, I have never thought of using quotes to motivate myself. A lot of those quotes a very motivational.

I am a strong believer in experience and making mistakes along the way in business, it is just one of those things that will happen in business and personal finance. Whenever I do make a mistake I might get down about it, I think that is natural, but I always come out stronger and as soon as I realize I made the mistake I start asking myself why it happened and what I could have done.

Have a look at the quotes on NevBlog, I am sure you will find them interesting.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Writing lists helps you on your way

I am reluctant to post this simply because you will find similar posts all over the web and in particular on PF blogs. However, I am a believer in writing lists and setting goals and I remember when I first tried writing lists I scribbled down some goals but never in any detail and it wasn't particularly effective. This is how I write my goals now:

GOAL: Make £200 in two weekends

Steps to achieve this goal:

1st weekend:
-Sell my unworn jeans oneBayy – time: 10 minutes to list, 10 minutes to post, expect £25
-Give my brother and his mates a lift into town and pick them up at 2am. – time: 20 minutes there and back twice, expect £10
-Update my Dads friends business website – time: 1 hour, expect £50


2nd weekend:
-Take mate to pick up new car - time: 2 hours, expect: tank of petrol (cost half a tank, save: £18)
-Design and print and post 500 leaflets to surrounding houses for newsagents over round advertising their new post office section – time: 5 hours, expect £120


I used to just write the goal, but there is often lots of little steps you need to take to complete the main task, the result is a more efficient goal being achieved.

One thing I will say about my lists is I never write a days schedule, I often chop and change going through tasks, it keeps me on the ball. If I get bored or am on one task too long I start to work less effectively. Not only this but in a day you will often have to pick up tasks here and there and it would be an arse to re-arrange your day because of this.

I know it's been repeated tons of times but I hope in some way this might help someone who was doing as IIdid when i first started writing lists.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Are you saving too much?

There is a bit of a buzz flying around quite a few finance blogs at the moment. I just wanted to give my 2 shillings.

The question: Are you saving too much?

My Answer: I don't think you can!

If you are happy with what you are saving, healthy and having a good time then you are not saving too much. If you are saving so much it is making you miserable because you go home don't put the heating on and have a paper 2 years old to read then perhaps you could evaluate your situation a little.

People are saying that people are saving so much they aren't having a good time, I would just say to those people, you don't have to spend a fortune to have a good time! If you can't think of anything, give me a shout and I will let you know how!

Online Shopping - Advantages

I'm not talking about buying your designer suit or your dogs collar online. I'm talking about your weekly/bi-weekly or monthly shopping (however often you choose to do it).

Dust off your keyboard (your arrow, space and return keys will be fine, the kids games often require these) and log yourself online. Take your shopping list (which I might add, you MUST have written, if you don't then you will buy things you don't need) and log onto one of the supermarkets websites, I use Tesco but there are plenty out there. Take your list, tap it into the the product search, add to cart....Next item, no messing.

You will find you save a fortune on impulse buying those chocolate cakes on buy one get one free, those batteries at half price (of which will only fit one product and it is only sold in a corner shop in Japan) and that hair colouring just in case you see a grey hair. The savings will far out weigh the charge for delivery (if there is one).

You can even save the shopping list so next time all you have to do is press re-order and you have got it sorted.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Utilize your PC!

/So many people have a PC for one or two reasons, more than likely it is for a few of the following:

  • Kids to play games
  • Type up an official letter once every six months
  • Kids to do homework
  • To prove a word is a word in scrabble once a year
  • Kids to play games, kids to play games, kids to play games...

Well you need to utilize your PC and make it start working for you, after all it probably cost you an arm and a leg to get.

I'm not going to go into mass detail about any of the following things as I would be blogging until midnight tonight and I have to get up early tomorrow.

-Car insurance, how many times will we just get out another years insurance with the same company without questioning the price. Well don't, run some quotes on the finance websites, even better, nowadays you can just use one or two websites which will search them for you, try these confused.com and moneysupermarket.com. Don't forget to go back to your normal insurer and tell them you have a cheaper quote, they will more often than not match it!

-House Insurance, same as above...too many of us take out home and contents insurance with the bank who gave us our mortgage.

-Online Banking, it is so much easier to check your bank statements online. You can look at them whenever you want not just once a month. You can transfer money into your savings, transfer out and transfer money directly to peoples bank accounts.

-Mortages/loans, how many times have you heard this "Are you getting the best out of your mortgage?", how many times did you just ignore it! Well don't at very least get some online quotes (try moneysupermarket.com again).

-Booking Holidays, I always find the best deals online and more often than not you can cut out the middleman, be sure to check how much your travel insurance is online too!

-Job Hunting, I reakon about 95% of all job vacancies now go online, what is great is you don't have to buy 53 different papers and magazines to view all the jobs (then you will probably glance past the best one). Do a quick google search for job websites. A couple of well known ones are monster.co.uk and fish4.co.uk. Not looking for a job? You will when you find the exact same job for twice the money.

-Advertising, likely hood is you are involved in a non profit organization, whether it be a local sports club or a charity, they more than likely hold regular events to raise cash. You probably need to advertise these events. Make some leaflets to advertise them and give them out, throw some posters up in local shops. Get the event listed on a local events website. Email your local newspaper with the events details.

-Research, Looking to buy a holiday home, an investment house, check out the area's and see how much other houses are selling for on the same street all online.

-Online Auctions, Got a load of crap in the garage you have been meaning to sell for ages. Spend a couple of minutes putting them up on eBay or another auction site. Alternately start buying on eBay, you can get just about anything you can think of from eBay and you can usually get them still packaged.

All of these things can save you money I am sure, you could probably recoup the cost of the computer over the course of a year. I am sure there are tons more things you can use your computer for, any suggestions most welcome!

Likely hood is if you are reading this then this isn't for you, print it and give to thepeople who need it! Everyone knows someone like this, tell them they can't set off nuclear weapons if they press the wrong button!

Great blogging site.

I am new to the blogging scene as you will tell with the amount of posts. Well I came accross this great blog which is about how to earn money from blogging, he is clearly very effective at it and he has some great tips etc. If you are trying to make money out of a blog it is a must read.

http://www.problogger.net/

Monday, March 06, 2006

Marketing

It doesn't matter how big or how small, all businesses do marketing of some kind, more often than not spending a crap load of money on it. So does that mean a small or start-up business can't market their company? No, not at all. Here's a few pieces of advice for cheap (or free) marketing:

  • First thing you need to do is be willing to research and learn some new stuff. When in a small business you can't afford not to, you have to do everything from marketing to cleaning your office (or house) toilet.
  • Friends and family, they should be your first target, you know them well and they are a great target. Tell them about your business, what you do and ask them if they know anyone who might be interested. I guarantee that you will find some business like this.
  • Leaflets, most people have a personal PC at home and a printer, you don't have to know a great deal to make a leaflet, open up a word processor and get some prices down on them. only use black ink to cut down on costs and get yourself 500 sheets of coloured paper. Print 4 on a page and you've got 2000 leaflets to drop off around local areas, give to local shops, friends and neighboors.
  • Online, if your business has a website (If it hasn't, get one!) then search engine rankings can help bring in a healthy stream of business. If it is a unique service or product you are selling then even better! There are hundreds of websites out there to help you boost your rankings, with a little research and trial and error, you could have a first page ranking.
  • Contact people directly! Get a yellow pages out, look for businesses that might be interested in your services, ring them, write to them, send them an email. Give them a "money off" voucher in their letter.

Just a few ideas to help you get under way, you don't need a lot of money to generate a healthy amount of business if you are willing to put in the graft and hard work. I will go into deeper detail into each of these methods soon.

Home Improvements

I am very keen on the whole housing development thing. I am currently doing a lot of research about it as I want to get into property development as soon as I can. I found this little article on the money section of the msn website. Check it out:

Five best and worst home improvements for adding value

Friday, March 03, 2006

It's not just the ideas

I will give away tons of ideas while blogging on this site (although i will probably withhold the ones I will venture into until established), some good, some bad and some down right awful.

But it's not all about the ideas, it's about those who act on the ideas, those who actually put 12, 14 or 16 hour days in getting it set up and working.

Remember, a good idea is only good if you are willing to do something about it!

Sometimes an ok idea can turn into a great idea when you put the work in.

It's Snowing!


It's the first time in ages that it has snowed heavily and stuck. It's a great sight sight to see, I love the snow. However, with snow comes opportunities to make a some hard earned cash!

It's one that will take work, there is no easy way of making money in the snow but here's a few ideas for those of you who are willing to brave the cold and earn some extra cash.



Clearing Drive ways, if you have a driveway yourself this is the best place to start. Begin by shovelling the snow to one side (great if you wanna build snowmen after aswell, even better to hide behind in a snowball fight), then sprinkle some salt down to make sure it stays clear.

Once you have done your own driveway go knock on a few doors of the friendly neighboors and ask them if they want their driveway cleared, make them look at how well yours is done and explain you will put some salt down and clear all the pathway to their door for free.

De-icing the cars, it's a real bind running out of your house 10 minutes late then having to de-ice your car for another ten minutes. If you are motivated enough to get up bright and early drop some leaflets through the doors requesting if they want their car de-icing write the dates, times, house no. and car details and ask them to post it to your house. Remember to time your de-icing so you have enough time to do everyones cars. Drop a bill through their door at end of week.

Salting Car Parks, if you live near a couple of business car parks, they don't want any court cases from employees slipping in the snow and ice. They need a salter! Get out there, with your bucket of salt and a spade.

Personally I won't be venturing into the snow clearing business seing as though none of my neighboors have drives and most of them don't get up before 11 am and have an afternoon nap at 2pm!

Good luck to all those venturing into the cold, I may do myself for more fun reasons though. Let me know how you get on and if you come up with any more ideas.

Need a little extra next month...

...Then start saving!

The first thing you should do if you need a little extra cash is work out what you don't need! The best way to make a little extra cash is to save it. Here's a few ideas:


  • Cancel the gymn membership if you don't attend enough for it to save you money.
  • Don't go out 3 nights a week, get everyone around to your house one night, tell everyone to bring a bottle (saves on babysitter aswell).
  • Write everything down that you NEED, write everything that you want, try to cut out one or two things that you want.
  • Put your change into a change pot and don't touch it. I mean change (that's all colours) not just a few 2p's.
  • Share lifts with friends and family.

Don't cut everything fun out, you need to find the right balance, keep doing the fun things just try and find a cheaper way to do it! Please feel free to share your ideas, always looking for new ideas!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Starting a home business, big risk...or is it?

Many people consider leaving their job to start a home based business as a risk. In most cases they are probably right but here are a few things to consider.
  • Are you the sole earner in your family?
  • How much expendable income do you have each month?
  • Do you own a car, is it the only car in the household?
  • Is the cars sole use to get you to and from work?
  • If yes to the above, how much is your insurance and maintenance costs?
  • How much do you spend getting to work? (i.e. petrol, bus fair, taxi fair)
  • How much do you spend at the work canteen or going to the cafe over the road, not today or tomorrow but how much did you spend over the last 6 months? Eat at home and you could spend less than a tenth of that.
  • How much do you spend on social events at work? (e.g. lottery pool becuase you feel you have to, birthdays, pub lunch each friday)
  • Are you overspending on bills?
  • How much do you spend on babysitters for the kids, which you wouldn't need if you weren't at work?

Ofcourse always remember the additional costs of setting up business at home but many people forget to work out what they will save.

Hobbies (Part One)

The best place to start

Whether you want a little extra cash for that special persons birthday, a holiday or just for a night on the town the best place to start is with a hobby. Everyone has a hobby, not everyone does the regurlarly but everyone has something they are interested in.


The hardest part: The concept

Many people have thought about trying to earn a bit of extra cash with their hobby but didn't know where to start. Well the first thing you have to do is decide how your hobby can make money. Whether you have a nack for cutting hair or whether you enjoy watching amateur sport there is a way to turn your hobby into money.

A few examples:
  • Cutting Hair - cut hair for friends, family and friends of friends.
  • Web Design - speak to friends and family and local small businesses, you are bound to get plenty of interest if you offer the right price.
  • Amateur Sports - Every area has local newspapers, usually more than one. Sports coverage for local newspapers are often written by the coaches or not at all. Speak to your local newspaper and try to work out a deal for each match report you write for them. Speak to the local clubs aswell.
  • cooking/baking - Start a cooking class, bake cakes and sell at market,local cafe or bakery, cook for the elderly, business person sick of fast food or local sports team (on match days).

The hardest part is comming up with an idea of how your hobby can make money. Quite often the answer is starring you in the face. Most hobbies already exist as businesses, take a walk around your town centre and look at the local shops. Do a quick google search of your hobby, usually the businesses offering your hobby will come first.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Making Money

There are so many people out there who think to themselves "I could do with a little extra cash right now", well who doesn't.

I'll be sharing some of my ideas (although not all) and encouraging you to create your own ideas. There are a million and one ways to make a little extra cash that have never even been thought of, find one and you could get yourself an extra 10 quid a month, maybe 10 quid a week, maybe even make a full time career from it.

I am in particular interested in making money with no risk and no (or very little) capital. I have bills I have to pay, I am not going to risk losing anything.

I'll not just be posting my inspiration, crazy ideas i will point you in the right direction of other peoples ideas and will try to encourage you to get your own ideas, after all they are usually the best ones and usually something you have a passion about.