Thursday, 26 March 2009

How to avoid overspending in Spring

What miserable weather all of a sudden! We all thought Spring had sprung, and now we see Autumn/Winter is back with a vengeance...

Well I guess this puts us slightly back into hibernation mode for a few days which can be a good thing, because I think it's the perfect time to plan your strategy for Spring.

Shops will soon be tempting us all with lovely new Spring clothes, goodies, food, picnic ideas, new futniture and so much more in the lead up to Summer. You may already be thinking of Holidays, gin and tonics, more white wine, lots of meals out and day trips. Or you may be worrying about finances and concerned that the school breaks will cost a fortune. So tiem to sit and plan ahead - is there anywhere money can be saved completely or at least some of it clawed back?

Here are some small ideas:

If school breaks are worrying you - can you see local attractions and events for free? Could you visit the beach rather than a centre of town? Or perhaps a country walk with a pub lunch for a treat rather than a big amusement park?

For kids clothing this summer what about checking out charity shops? Other parents will be discarding kids stuff from last year and no doubt some very good quality items will appear that have been used only a few times. You can also browse for yourself!

If you like your wine, perhaps buy in bulk to save money, or if you like G&T's buy enough to last a while rather than always buying individual tonic botttles.

For picnics, make your own food rather than buying ready made as it;s so much cheaper. Take your own tap water, or if you must buy bottled water at least buy an ethical bottled water or one that supports charity.

If you have friends that love eating meals out, how about using vouchers to get money off? have lots of vouchers weekly for Pizza Express, Wagamama and more - this can save you so much money and everyone will benefit.

What about food? Summertime is a great time to cut back on expensive read meats and enjoy fresh salads, aduki beans, fruit and even chilled soups. Good for the wallet and the diet too! It's harder to bulk cook in warmer months but much better for the diet overall. Remember to buy online so you can see the costs mounting up as you shop. This also avoids going to the supermarket and being tempted by all those instore deals.

Also foodwise, why not sling some basil seeds in some compost in a washed yoghurt pot - in a few days it will start to come up, just keep the soil damp and the pot on a sunny windowsill. You can plant as many as you like, so they flourish throughout Summer months for all those lovely salads.

And finally, how about making your own vanilla extract rather than spending a fortune everytime you need some?
Make your own vanilla extract

This is something I want to try as we do use a fair bit in making desserts and it's so handy to have around. It would make a great present for someone too, in a pretty jar.

I hope these ideas have inspired you in some way & welcome to all the new members - do suggest ideas of what you aim to do so save money this Spring/Summer!

PS: Don't forget 20:30 on Saturday is Earth Hour please join in & switch your lights, tv, computer etc just for one hour! Also on Saturday night the clocks go forward one hour...

Monday, 23 March 2009

Make money by reading e-mails & clicking

I hope you are all well and enjoyed the lovely weather this weekend. My time was spent outdoors enjoying the sunshine and then on Sunday relaxing...

I also spent time researching more ways to beat the credit crunch as well as updating the clicks guide that I send out to people (see 'Cashback' section on the right, the guide is now worth £4.70 per day - drop me a message with your e-mail address if you would like a copy of that guide).

So the site below is yet another new way to increase earnings and could give you an extra £50.00 + per year... there are banner clicks, payments to sign up to sites, bonuses, e-mail clicks and more that pay you a small amount each time.

Here is the link:

Sterling Mails

Sterling Mails is a British 'paid to click / read emails site. This site offers lots of different ways to make small amounts of money and these include:

Paid to Read Emails - you generally receive about ten emails per day.
All you have to do is click on the link provided and then keep the site open for the required amount of time (around 15 secs).
These generally pay 0.025 pence, which doesn't sound much, but they do all add up!

Paid to sign up - Now some of these are really quite lucrative.
These are the chances to be paid for signing up to various websites, and once you paste in your confirmation email text and press submit, you will be rewarded with anything up to £5!

Paid to click - there are a number of sites which you can click on on a daily basis. They are in the Sites section of Sterling's website. You don't have to actually do anything as long as you keep them open for the specified amount of time. You just do one at a time. They will also e-mail you these links.

It then credits your account automatically a few seconds after your window confirms it's been logged.

Referrals - If you can get friends and family interested in the site you can then also earn a percentage of their earnings too. This means that when your referrals get others to sign up, you will also earn from them too.

How do I get paid?
Payments are through PayPal and you only need to earn £3.00 before you can cash out.

According to feedback this does not take very long to reach with the amount of emails that they send for you to click on.

So you can probably earn roughly a nice extra per year plus any wins from bonuses and plus any referrals.

That could end up paying for some Christmas drinks & nibbles!

The link to sign up is here:

Sterling Mails

Drop me a line with any questions or come and say hello on the MSE Clicking thread...

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Make it count - Earth Hour 2009 - Join in!

Hi everyone and a special welcome to any new followers. This here blog is intended for money-saver extraordinaires - the ones that want every nook and cranny explored!

This week my aim is a bit more general - WWF are again doing Earth Hour this year. It's a simple thing but could be so powerful across the globe. From New York, to London, Sydney and many more - everyone that can take part hopefully will. Many landmarks will turn off their lights too.

Basically, you would agree to simply not use any electricity for one hour on 28th March 2009 at 20:30 in the evening.

Please join up and register to comit do switching off for one hour:

We did it last year and we had lots of fun, just nice to enjoy the quiet really and go back to candles and feel peaceful.

I am also getting my employer to do it, as well as mentioning it to friends and family, plus anyone else who will listen such as you lovely folk and any MSER's that aren't aware...

Not only is it green it's moneysaving so I am hoping we will all do it on the 28th!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Healthy body, healthy mind - simplify and breathe!

Sorry it’s been a while, wow there’s been so much on and I have lots to tell you about.

The main focuses for me lately have been family, with a family member that has needed lots of support, health as you will see below and also in my aims of having a simpler life, some learning.

The main areas are:

Well,one of the things I have done is cut my gym membership 4 months ago. This used to cost £30 a month, so I have saved £120 there. I did however buy a cross trainer which I am getting better at using and that cost £30, so technically I have now saved £90.

Could you cut back on the gym and exercise more cheaply? Or find a new gym that costs less? Get an exercise buddy that would run with you? If you are an early riser – can you jog before work? Or maybe it suits you better after work. Spring is coming now so the days are starting to get lighter, my mind is already so much happer.

Ok so that is that for what I have been doing for my ‘outside’ health mainly.

Then for my ‘inside’ health, I signed up to Graze that I kept hearing about and have already been waxing lyrical about this to anyone who will listen... With just a few clicks online, Graze have been posting ultra-healthy fresh snacks to my desk (You could also get it at home so you avoid temptation there too).
My snack boxes arrive twice a week and it means no more chocolate, crisps etc, instead they send me ready to eat fresh seasonal cut fruit, nuts, seeds, japanese crackers and loads more. It is a pretty big (each box will actually last me 2 days) and gives me 3 of my 5 a day (I did 'Design your own' but you can let them choose for you). So for £2.99 x 2 per week I know it will actually last me 4 days or so and I am less tempted by unhealthy food. I now get several of my 5 a day automatically... costing just over £1 a day, which I was already spending on bad stuff anyway!

If you need a helping hand getting healthier just go to enter the code JK4M7TC to get your first box for just £1.

I know not everyone will want to do this, but for me I know it will work far better than my so-called attempts at cutting back on bad snacks and buying fruit etc. Invariably I was eating a banana twice a week and that just wasn’t cutting it!

So this bit may not make sense, but, in my aim of simplifying my diet / health routine, I was also aware that my mind is also cluttered, I admit to being a bit of a worrier, plus I almost absorb other people’s moods whether positive or negative. So for a long time I have been trying to work out a way to also simplify my mind if that makes sense.

So I then learnt of a book called A New Earth: Create a Better Life which is massively recommended by Oprah and has sold 6 million copies. I was wary at first but figured I’d see some reviews – well, I went on Amazon and sure enough lots of high praise. I then bought in town for £5 as I couldn’t wait for Amazon to post it out….
It ranks 107 on the entire Amazon seller list, which is pretty impressive on it’s own. Anyway I am reading through that now, with the free podcasts on which accompany each chapter, and wow is all I can say. It starts out quite philosophical but after chapter 1 definitely resonates with me. I feel calmer and definitely that no book I have read explained things in this way. At times like now such as the credit crunch, we are all feeling more negative and looking for a calmer life, it may be that you’d enjoy the book too. In fact. I’d love some comments from anyone who has read it as maybe we could have a discussion group on here?

He also has a book called The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment which ranks #91 on their listings and will definately be my next read.

Plus in addition to this I have now had 3 NSD days for the month, so only 17 days to go to reach my goal of 20 No Spend Days which is great.

I hope you have all had a good week and it’d be great to hear any comments you have – a special welcome to anyone new who has joined the blog, I hope you find articles of interest in the archives and would love to hear from you on any of the threads!