Friday, 28 August 2009

Extra Revenue Streams – Why We Should All Have Some

This month our spending was higher than normal, but yet less than this time last year. Why? We decided to be one of the millions that decided to take a Staycation, ie: not go abroad this year and stay instead in the UK.

This saved us around £800 compared to a beach holiday in Europe, so it may set a trend for years to come! We still had great food, relaxing atmosphere and lovely adventures, so it seems that the ‘extra’ £800 for say Greece, would then seem to account for the ‘sunshine’ element, which is quite a lot really. I am impressed we stuck to it and will definitely try another staycation for those kinds of savings. Needless to say, the staycation means more money has remained in our savings accounts, which is very unusual at this time of year!

In August after we returned from Staycation, I still diligently logged all my spending at and am pleased to say I am on target to reach the end of the month with my £100 ATM money (see articles in the ‘Money Saving’ section of the right hand menu for some inspiration on this small but effective money saving technique). In September I will try to reduce this to say £90 and see how I get on. It means I should have some ‘extra’ in the bank account at the end of September to transfer to savings.

Apart from that, I am focusing on Extra Revenue Streams. This means that apart from my normal income, I try to find other ways to bring in cash. One of the main ways is through Cashback Sites (see righthand menu). In August I received around £21, and this all goes into savings. To me this is free money, so I either spend or invest it, to make sure it doesn’t disappear on silly things that I struggle to remember later on.

We should all try to have these as it helps you have some extra cash, in case your main income changes or stops altogether.

For another Extra Revenue stream, I am also learning about Google Adwords, which are now on this Blog. I hope you don’t mind but even if you only click one link that is of interest on the Google ads, this helps me out immensely and shows readers are enjoying what I write and what appears on the blog.

Amazon is another stream, which in August earned me £6.80 for some books I sold, this has also gone into savings.

Even if you can only add small amounts, set yourself up a spreadsheet that inspires you – log every extra bit of money you can earn there and make sure it gets saved, or at least spent on something that can bring you future savings (say special offers on food, maybe some hair clippers, or special offers on clothing you know are worthwhile).

Your comments would be so welcome on sharing what ways you create extra revenue for yourself – how can we all do more and motivate eachother?

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Changing Hobbies for Changing Times

There was once a time when I would spend all my time in the shops on weekends, desperate to fill my bags and bring home rewards for a hard working week. I would really feel disappointed to return empty handed. I would feel bored at home and literally feel that if I was at home, I was missing out on something.

The same thing went for holidays or breaks, I would plan them ahead and look forward to my time off as a reward for hard work. Nothing wrong with this at all, if we can afford it and if we have no other bigger aims in mind for the cash.

These days though, I see that the last 3 years have changed how I see things. I was fortunate enough to find before the credit crunch hit, and so had around 18 months of 'practice' saving money and building an emergency savings fund before I actually saw the financial storm roll in and crash upon our shores.

Instead of expensive shopping and holidays I have now started to enjoy these more credit crunch friendly hobbies:

- Making homemade beauty items (saves a fortune, sometimes goes wrong but still saves so much and is more natural for my skin).
- Scouring charity shops for clothing and vintage plates etc - it also gives me inspiration for items we might like in our future home.
- Reading (I get out library books, which saves a fortune on books and is greener too)
- Visiting places in England instead of holidays abroad, or if we do go abroad, we spend as little as we can
- Making homemade cleaning products, not only cheaper but greener too
- If we go out for dinner we try to use a voucher like 241
- Never paying full price for a movie (get a free Orange SIM card on Google and then go to the cinema on Wednesday with a friend to get a free ticket).
- Scrapbooking (well, gluing onto paper!) ideas for our future home
- Growing tomatoes, basil, coriander and parsley (will try garlic this Autumn)
- Laughing at marketing on adverts which claims you 'need' an item to feel great, young, sexy, successful etc etc
- Homecooked meals - I cook in batches and then freeze to save time in the week when we are more tired. I really enjoy cooking when I get into the mindset - radio on, focused, relaxed, just need to make it happen more!
- Games and times together with my husband - planning ahead, getting to talk properly and feel connected is completely free and enables us to feel we're not just working the 9-5 grind all the time.
- Plan ahead - To avoid buying things new, I am following what Amy Daczyn from 'Tightwad Gazette' suggested - think ahead of items you might need. It hasn't happened fully yet but I am working on it, thinking now of items I might need in Autumn/Winter and keeping an eye out for them.

I do find it hard not to just sit and watch TV when I get in thoguh, so I am learning to be more productive with my time, like I have a list of things I 'Need' to do, but I also want to create a list of things I 'Want' to do. These can replace the need for shopping or over indulging, so that when I do want something special, it won't feel like I have been greedy!

How do you avoid spending money these days - have you replaced certain hobbies with others? Have you learned new skills? Are your family and friends supportive and encouraging? If we can all exchange ideas I am sure we can learn alot!