As you may have noticed, over the last few years I’ve become a little bit money obsessed. I’m always on the lookout for new ways to make and save money.
I’m constantly reading other bloggers’ websites and listening to their podcasts and devouring their newsletters in an attempt to learn something new.
Most of the time, my fellow personal finance bloggers share really inspirational words of wisdom that help me to manage my finances better. But now and then I stumble across tricks that I firmly believe are a massive waste of time. Here are just 4 examples: Continue Reading
There’s been a lot of talk lately about F*ck Off Funds, both on Can’t Swing a Cat and elsewhere on the web. While many people may admit to having parents and even grandparents that have been using this foul-mouthed phrase for years, it’s a huge talking point at the moment thanks to Paulette Perlach’s A Story of a F*ck Off Fund.
If you haven’t heard this term before, it’s essentially an emergency fund designed to empower the owner and enable them to escape from unhealthy – and even dangerous – situations such as a toxic work environment or nasty partner. Think of this as your financial escape plan. Your Plan B. Your parachute that allows you to throw yourself out of a plane at 70,000 feet. Continue Reading
From houses and holidays to marriage and babies, twenty-somethings are expected to save for many of life’s great milestones in a short period of time. So when experts recommend we save 12% of our salaries (are you mad?) for a comfortable retirement, the financial burden of ‘adulting’ can understandably seem a little overwhelming. Continue Reading
There’s no doubt about it, being in-between jobs can be a scary time, particularly if you lost your job with little or no warning. In this post, some of the UK’s best money bloggers share their emergency personal finance tips to help you get through a stint of unemployment.
Money saving tips
Slash unnecessary spending
Whether you’ve found yourself out of work suddenly or you’ve seen it coming for a while, start looking for ways to cut back on your expenditure as soon as possible.
The Shrewd Life‘s Lauren Snell says: “Cut back on living for a while, cancel gym memberships, buy cheaper food and save where you can.”
Lesley Negus, aka Thrifty Lesley, is an expert when it comes to cutting back living on a small budget. She recommends taking a really close look at your outgoings to see where changes can be made. She says: “The first thing I would do is work out what I could live on. So add up all the bills and every single expenditure, then put that against what I now had coming in. Now trim it to see what could go, even if only temporarily. That gives your base point of your minimum income. The gap between the two equals the amount you need to bring in from whatever source.”
Sara Williams from Debt Camel adds: “Put your finances on a “war footing” by cancelling every single bit of expenditure that isn’t essential. Charity contributions and magazine subscriptions should go immediately.”
Sara also explains how important it is to stop credit card spending: “If you can’t make existing debt repayments without borrowing, take some debt advice from StepChange.”
Zoe Morrison, who blogs at Eco Thrifty Living is a firm believer that before you spend any money you should ask yourself “what is the least expensive and most eco-friendly option here?”
She adds: “I found that being eco-friendly goes really well with spending less money.”
Need something essential? There’s probably a coupon for that!
Although cutting back on your spending will help, there’s only so far that can get you. You’ll need to make sure that whenever you do need to spend money, you’re getting the products or services for as cheaply as possible.
Emma Mumford, aka The Coupon Queen says: “I lived on coupons heavily when I was ill and couldn’t work. I would get my £60 food shop for about £5 every week. Writing to manufacturers giving them a positive review of your favourite products always works as it’s free market research. They often send higher value coupons through as a thank you.”
Request a payment holiday
Andy Webb, blogger at Be Clever With Your Cash says: “If you’re worried about bills, get in touch with the company to see if there’s any help they can give. You might be able to reduce your energy Direct Debits for a while, or get a payment holiday.”
Lauren Snell agrees: “When my home flooded in 2014 I had a massive meltdown, stressing about finances as I hadn’t long had my mortgage. I called all of my utility providers and explained I needed some help and they were actually really helpful. I got payment holidays on my mortgage with no adverse effect and my bank stopped the interest on my overdraft and credit card for a few months.”
Money making tips
When you’re out of work, you’re likely to spend most of your time job hunting. However, if your savings account is looking rather unhealthy and your finances are stretched, there are thankfully ways to make a little extra cash here and there to keep you going.
Have a clear out
Lauren recommends having a de-clutter and embracing eBay and carboot sales to “keep the pennies coming in.”
Offer your services
Lesley adds: “I would print some leaflets on the computer and take them round the nearby streets. Basic stuff like babysitting, grass cutting, ironing, house cleaning.
“If you have any DIY skills at all, there are a great many elderly people who need help merely because they have grown old and can no longer do the things they used to do i.e putting up shelves, changing a tap washer, heaving bark and top dressing about in the garden to lay it down.
“My husband, who has an open backed truck, is often asked by elderly neighbours to take stuff to our recycling centre half a mile down the road. They usually give him a bottle of wine or something, but you could ask for a small payment instead. Letting agents always have work for handymen.”
Consider temporary work
Lauren says: “Temp for a bit, try out some new job roles without long term commitment. I temped in the past and gained some great work experience without having to do Monday-Friday 9-5.”
Lesley is also a fan of embracing temporary work. She explains: “I was temporarily between jobs aeons ago, I went temping. Not the most exciting job in the world, but it provided a much needed income until I sorted out a job more to my liking.”
Find out which benefits you’re entitled to
Sara says: “You paid your taxes when you were working, now you aren’t. Don’t run your savings down to nothing whilst you are hoping to get a job “in the next few weeks.”
You can learn more about which benefits you’re entitled to through gov.uk.
Finding a new role
Try to make your time off work as productive as possible. As well as looking for a new job, consider learning a new skill or taking up an affordable hobby. Start learning a new language, ask a friend to teach your how to code, or volunteer with a local charity – do anything to keep yourself busy, meet new people and make the most of your time off.
By filling your time off with meaningful activities, you may well impress prospective employers with your ability to be proactive.
Consider getting a helping hand
Whether you turn to a career advisor, your local job centre, or a recruitment consultant, there are plenty of people out there that can help you get back into work. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Remember: Everything happens for a reason
Ashleigh Swan from Ashleigh Money Saver says: “I was made redundant from my job in a pharmacy because business was slow. I started my blog Ashleigh Money Saver to keep myself busy (and out of trouble haha). I then found another job but because Ashleigh Money Saver was doing so well, I gave up my job and now work full time on my blog. You may be worrying now but a year from now you may look back and realise these things happen for a reason.”
A few months ago I was in the paper talking about the benefits of fantastic voucher code websites. But, since I created this blog to help my readers save money, I decided to write a post about the importance of maintaining a sense of self control when using such websites and looking for a great deal.
Voucher codes, coupons, and deals are great tools for anyone on a money-saving mission. If you use them wisely they can save you tons of money. However, something that I think far too many people overlook is the fact that if you’re going to use a coupon or voucher code to purchase something that you don’t need, don’t actually want, or weren’t really thinking of buying anyway, you have not saved money. Instead, you have spent money and the brand has made money. Continue Reading