Saturday, 26 October 2013

Motivation for saving money!

I have been looking forward to doing this post for a long time, I'm so excited about this one! Today I am going to MOTIVATE YOU!!! This is specifically about saving money, but I am hoping you can motivate yourself generally with this one. I am going to split this into motivation sections too, watch the links etc and immerse yourself in the motivation! Good luck everyone!

I look at this webcam quite often because I want to get there, and to get there I have to save money, this particular example is times square in New York, but on the website you can go to loads of places all over the world!! And I have been to Paris, its EXTREMELY important to recognise what you have ALREADY achieved!

Times Square NYC

Paris, France

You can't beat a good 80's training montage!! To get better at something (saving) takes practice and time, It doesn't happen overnight. But these montages are inspirational and should help :)

Hearts on fire

Getting strong now!

Motivational Speech

And just for fun:

Muhammed Ali was scared too

Getting yourself out of debt, and/or getting to where you want to be in life, and realising what a challenge is ahead of you is scary, and ITS OK TO BE SCARED!, because its tough! But believe that you can do it! You weren't put on earth to fail! Just think, the fact that you exist means your blood is the same blood as your ancestors who had to struggle through life just so you could exist!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The deal with Coupons

There is a lot of snobbery that can go along with coupons, and more specifically the people who use (or dont!) them. This may be a national thing, it seems in the USA that almost everyone uses them! In the UK however there can be a bit of shame attached to using them.

The reason companies put coupons into general circulation is that they want consumers to try their product at a reduced price to get them to like the product, then the consumer will buy the product again (and hopefully continuously) at full price.

I don't look at it as being "cheap" or even frugal, its about shopping smartly, with your brain instead of going on the pressure of society or even the subliminal messages that shops and companies send to you to make you purchase things a certain way (the way products are laid out in shops, the temperature being altered to promote spending etc). If you use coupons smartly (using them instead of your normal brand of product) they can save you A LOT of money!

The lesson here is spend smartly (as always!) and don't be snobby about it.

Friday, 20 September 2013

The last few days before payday, a post by a Scottish man

Ok, I'm interested, I've talked about the NEED for doing fun things with your money, and including these in your budget. It doesn't have to be much, a trip to the cinema or bowling etc. And there is never a more important time to have fun that the last few days before payday!

Now, being a Scot my idea of fun is watching the 80's night special on channel 4 with a munchy box. For those who don't live in the heart attack capital of the world, a munchy box is a pizza box filled with all the most artery hardening delicious food you can imagine. Depending on the takeaway you could have chips, pizza, donner meat, pakora, bhagis, spiced onions, sauces, free cans of juice etc and all for ridiculously cheap prices!! And being an NHS employee I get 10% discount from my favourite takeaway!

Please note from a health perspective I DO NOT recommend eating unhealthy food, but I do recommend having the occasional good time doing whatever makes you feel good! Even the occasional large outlay of cash can be an ok thing if you are going to get enjoyment out of it! The moral of my story is:

If you try to save EVERY single penny you will only break yourself sooner than you would allowing yourself a couple of treats a month. Budgets are done so that you can save for your future, future outlays of cash, and to spend smart.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Aldi Effect

Today I want to talk about a social trend which has been happening since the "big crash of '08", I call it:

The Aldi Effect

Since the financial crash of 2008, consumers attitudes towards money and shopping have changed, before 2008 the general public (lets say working class) went to supermarkets like Tesco and Asda (Wal-Mart), the middle and upper classes went to Sainsburys and Marks and Spencers. Now EVERYONES purse strings are tighter, and partially thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign by Aldi, there are many more people going to Aldi, which is great!

I think its brilliant that more people are going to budget supermarkets like Aldi, as it allows Aldi to expand their product range, increase the quality of their products (which I personally think is mostly great) and generally improve their stores.

It would of course be a massive generalisation to say that everyone is going to Aldi now, but can you honestly imagine there being commercials for Aldi on television 10 years ago? No. Because 10 years ago it was a very niche supermarket with a loyal but small base of customers. Since the financial crash, they spotted a great opportunity to appeal to families who no longer had the use of credit, or a well paying job, or a job at all!! And to their great credit, they are still a whopping 40% cheaper than the other supermarkets, while everything about their stores has improved!

I just hope that after the "great recession" is truely over, the Aldi effect stays, because consumers generally are more savvy about their money now, and if they had been 10 years ago, maybe the economy wouldn't be in the mess it is in now.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Count your blessings (Financially and otherwise)

Ok, its a massive cliche, but if you have a job (I realise not everyone reading this will do) then you really have to be thankful, and count your blessings that you have a job, money rolling in (even if the money could be better).

In these times of lets say- "Financial Austerity" or "The second great depression" as I like to call it, you have to count yourself fortunate (I hate the word lucky, it implies no hard work on your part, so I dont use it) if you are in a decent position. Sure you might wish the money was a bit better, or the work a bit easier, or the people you work with a bit more "your type of people" but when you take a step back, the fact that in this day in age, you have a job and money coming in, YOU ARE VERY FORTUNATE.

I once heard a quote which went "Work like there are 500 people waiting to take your job from you" because in all seriousness, right now:

There are more people waiting to take your job from you.

This is a powerful idea, and if you harness that energy then who knows? You could get a step up in your wages, maybe even a promotion! Although everyone knows that there is not a lot of room for promotion right now, but when the economy changes, and things *hopefully* go back to the way they were before, except this time *hopefully* the public will realise that getting yourself into debt, and taking on car loans for that car that "you just had to have, even though the car payments make it so that you are paying an extra £6000 for a vehicle which will be worth £200 by the time you ACTUALLY own it" your hard work will be noticed and you will advance.

If the general public learns anything from "the second great depression" its that snobbery and keeping up with the joneses has no place in a functioning society.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

What are YOU saving for?

Ok, time to spill the beans, what are YOU saving for?? (Comment below readers!)

As I have discussed before, everyone has their own goals, and for most goals you need money to achieve them. Generally speaking the more ambitious the goal, the more moolah you need!

I have spoken about what I am saving for, new windows for my house, a new garage A FREAKIN' DELOREAN! YEAH! And trips all over the world, (Germany is getting ticked off this year!) So I want to know what makes you tick, what makes you get up in the morning and grind IRL to get what you want? Knowing what my readers are trying to achieve will help me write better advice for you!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

What is Skimming??

Well, from a workmate's idea, I just made it up! Read on!
One of my workmates (who is a fellow budgeter) told me about his method of budgeting which I had never heard of before, I don’t think it has a name, so I am going to refer to it as
Basically what he does is check his bank account on a regular basis (perhaps every two days or week) and “skims” the top off the number (for example if he had £22.55 he would skim the £2. 55) and transfers it into his savings account (I LOVE that online banking can allow you to transfer your money between accounts in mere seconds!!) and because you can only withdraw cash from ATMs in increments of £10 (or £5 at some rare bank machines!!) in theory he will never “miss” the money he is skimming off the top! A great effortless way to save money into your savings, by the end of the month you could see potentially massive savings of money, and every little helps!
On that note I will leave you with some advice from my Grandma, which is:
“Squeeze the pennies till the Queen crys for mercy”

Monday, 22 July 2013

Credit cards aren't ALWAYS the Devil!

Another controversial post! Some of you readers may have noticed that I have a tendency to go "against the grain" of accepted financial "wisdom". But its true! Credit cards aren't ALWAYS the devil! (In much the same way that guns aren't necessarily bad either, however they could be used for evil depending on the user)

Recently I made a big ticket purchase, and as some of you may know I save a sum of money each month, and anything after my bills and expenses (Including the sum of money that goes directly into savings!) is ALL MINE TO DO WHATEVER I WANT WITH!! Generally this consists of a few takeaways, maybe going to the cinema or go karting and maybe some DVDs. All relatively inexpensive stuff.

So I put the big ticket purchase on my credit card, which gives me 56 days without incurring ANY INTEREST WHATSOEVER. So that way, I can use any extra money I get from valeting cars, and some of my spare money, to pay off the credit card BEFORE I incur any interest charges, and ON TOP OF THAT INCREDIBLE COOLNESS, I can save the normal amount every month!

So if you check the terms of your credit card, then you CAN make it work FOR you rather than against you!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The truth about budgets

This is a post I have been putting off for a VERY long time, because it acknowledges something that I don't (and I don't think anyone) wants to think about too hard, but here goes:
I set aside money in my budget for doing FUN THINGS

There, I said it/typed it. The painful truth is that because I am a human I NEED to do fun things, and give myself  "a break" at least once in a while. For me this could be anything from buying a takeaway (takeout for my american readers) to buying a comic book or going to the cinema (Just went to see man of steel, its AWESOME!) but the point is, If I didn't do these small relatively cheap things, then I would pretty much wind up in a lunatic asylum, "all work and no play make onemanmade a very crazy boy!"

When I first started budgeting I took it wayyyyy too seriously, I took literally every penny that I had spare after paying my mandatory outgoings, and put it into my savings account, about halfway through the month I had to take the "extra" (after saving a decent amount) out and just spent it all on stuff I didn't even need, just because I had to relieve the tension and the pressure of saving so much and not giving myself any slack to play with.

So my advice to you readers is, use your budget to pay your mandatory outgoings and savings, but try to set a little aside (it could be £20 a month just to let yourself buy a takeaway/takeout and a dvd or magazine) just so you don't go nuts!

P.S The reason I don't like thinking about the fact that I need to have fun with money sometimes is that I know that it puts me a little further away than I potentially could be to my goals, but it does mean I will be a happier person when I do reach my goals, and appreciate them more because I haven't had to give up my life to achieve them.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Am I "Lucky" to have a good job?

A couple of years ago a "friend" of mine (who is still unemployed btw) told me that I was "Lucky" to have got a job when I did. At the time I got my current job, (after working for 6 months in an office for £50 a week doing 40+ hours a day of high stress steel and fixings ordering, as well as cleaning and whatever else I was asked to do)  my peers were at university, studying things like "Media studies" and "party planning" and taking out crazy amounts of student loans. He said that it was so much harder to get a job now that the recession has taken a firm hold.

This REALLY annoyed me, should I be considered lucky because I have a good permanant job that allows me to work overtime and has good working conditions?

My personal view on it is that I worked VERY hard in my first job, then transfered my acquired skills to my current job (which I have held for 7 years) gaining a permanant contract after a successful interview merely 6 months into my working there. I worked hard, and continue to work hard to achieve my goals both inside and outside of work. I work overtime in the evenings and at weekends I valet (american readers read wash) cars for money to reach my goals faster.

I realise that the current financial climate makes it extremely difficult to get a job, but when I got my current job in 2007 it wasn't exactly easy! I had to go for many interviews, and try for all types of job, I just wanted to be working and earning money! I guess at the time my "friend" would have been having a much easier time doing a waste of time course at College to avoid working, and to party and have a good time. I have done without a lot in my life so I could get to where I want to be. Do I consider my fortunate position now luck? HELL NO I made my own luck, and I don't see why anyone else couldn't do the same. Im fortunate yes, but I made my own fortunes, my own opportunitys and my own "luck" (I don't believe in luck as such) through hard work and doing without things which my peers took for granted and are now paying the price for, whereas I have no debt. They all laughed at me 8 years ago, but I bet the majority of them wish they had done the same as me now.

What do you think? Does luck come into it?

Monday, 3 June 2013

An expensive drink which paid for itself! Competitions/Comping/Freebies

I don't know about you guys, but I LOVE competitions and freebies! (Only if they are free to enter though, but more on this in a bit) The above picture is of a cheque that I received because I bought a small bottle of tropicana orange juice which was £1.30 which is MADNESS but when I got to the till I decided because I like the juice I would treat myself with it. Tropicana are currently doing a promotion whereby the give a code on the labels of their bottles and you enter it online to POTENTIALLY win £5. And I was one of the lucky ones! 

I love competitions and freebies because generally they don't cost much (if anything) to enter and you could win some pretty amazing stuff! I currently use as you can enter the television competitions online FOR FREE rather than paying for it by using your phone. Also coca cola have codes on their cans and bottles which you can enter online at collect your points and buy things with the points or enter to win prizes! So far I have had a pair of headphones and a tshirt from coca cola. I drink cola anyways so its a win win situation!

What competitions do you enter?

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Budgets ARE sexy, my side hustle post

Tomorrow my fellow (and far more experienced!) Financial blogger J$ money of is going to post a topic about my personal "side hustle" car cleaning, I wrote the piece for him after emailing him asking a question about "The long game" and he gave me some great advice, because I was really stumped on that one! We got to talking and the subject of side hustling came up, and I explained to him that I valet (or clean cars as it is known in the USA) cars for money. I am SUPER excited that he is going to post something I wrote on his blog (please check his blog out, it is absolutely brilliant!!!!) and I cant wait till tomorrow to see it! I consider it an absolute privilege. Check it out for the full guide on cleaning cars for money written by yours truly over at

Picking up money and coins from the ground, squeeze the pennies till the Queen (or abe lincoln) crys for mercy!

Whew... Ok this is going to be a controversial topic for many of my readers, so I will do my best to rationalise it, though before we go any further I am well aware that this will not be everyone's cup of tea, but I just had to blog about it!

I pick up coins and money from the ground (and vending machine coin slots too) and I save them in a jar. There. I said it. Let the judging commence!

I do have some rules about it though,
1-If I find any paper money I would instantly report it to whichever shop or shopping mall I was in. Or the police If I found it outwith these places.
2- If the money is near a charity collection tin or homeless person I would either ignore it, or give it to them.

The biggest find I have ever had was £10, and it was at my work, I spoke to the main receptionist who said to hang onto it till the end of the day and if she didnt have anyone claim it then it was mine. Which I did :) Mostly though I find pennies and small denomination coins, sometimes even foreign coins :) I have a special tin for my foreign coins so that if I ever visit that place then I have some loose change :)

I sometimes check vending machine coin return slots too, there is one particular vending machine which basically always has money left in the coin return slot, anything between ten pence and thirty pence usually!

Picking up coins from the ground when Im out shopping or walking helps with my budget, in all honesty its a bit of a game to me, I like the idea that I can go out for a walk and potentially return slightly richer! Im sure that some of you reading this may think this is silly, or at worst that I am scum for doing it. But here are my reasons:

1- Its fun to pick up coins, adding them to your coin jar makes you reach your goals a little quicker, and if you are the kind of person who saves small amounts on items you buy using coupons or vouchers, then why not pick up some loose change?

2- It makes an ordinary walk a little more exciting, you get a little thrill when you find a coin

3- On our high streets in Britain there are a lot of coins dropped on the ground and their "Owners" havent bothered to pick them up, this is a RECESSION, losing coins by letting them go down drains is effectively taking money out of circulation, which is bad for the economy. I dont know about you, but I would like to see a return to the days when you could walk out of your job on a friday and start a new one on the monday!

4- This point is sort of adding to my previous point, but I personally see the value in small coins, whereas other people seem to throw them on the street for being small denomination. 100 pennies makes a pound, 50 two pences make a pound, ten ten pences make a pound etc, no wonder this country is in so much debt! Noone appreciates the value of money anymore!

I would be interested to hear your thoughts folks, do you pick up coins? Or if not, why not?

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

How to start again from nothing (financially and otherwise)

Starting again from nothing is something that we all have to do at some point. Sometimes its after a big purchase (such as a house or a car) and sometimes its after a breakup, or emergency in your life which you have to spend money on. It will probably leave you feeling raw, dejected and hurt.

So what can you do? Here are some steps which will help:

1- Assess your situation honestly, if you havent already, do a budget of your incomings and outgoings (more information earlier in the blog on this)

2- Figure out what you DO have, such as family, friends, cars, houses, anything, even the clothes on your back if thats all you have, or nothing! Be thankful for what you do have, you can be virtually guarranteed there are others worse off out there!

3- Dont be too proud to shop for clothes from charity shops, or to eat budget food. Often people who are rich do this! (How do you think they got rich??) Also if someone offers you help then you could do worse than let a friend help you. Just make sure you pay them back when times get better :)

4- Learn to appreciate the simple things in life, finding coins on the ground for example, or taking a nice long walk.

5- Forgive yourself for allowing yourself to be in this position, theres no shame to it, the quicker you stop feeling sorry for yourself the quicker you can be back on the road to financial freedom!

6- Keep your budget in order, and feel good when you are reaching small goals you set yourself, first ten pounds/dollars etc, each small step is 1 more step along the road!

7- Realise that you will get there one day, and learn from the mistakes you made to get into this position in the first place.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

A story from my childhood, my earliest memory of saving

My earliest memory of saving was when I was roughly 7 or 8 years old. My parents took me and my sister to a shopping complex in Heathfield in Ayr, this was big news to us! We were from a very small village and didnt go outside of that area very often, so this was exciting to a 7 year old and a 5 year old. Anyway, one of the shops we went to was poundstretcher, a british budget shop. At the time I thought the place was incredible, it seemed to have everything! But whenever we went there, my sister and I always went straight to the toys aisle, and on this particular trip I saw a big box with a toy robot in it, it was about 14 inches tall, and was red and silver, very mechanical looking, with futuristic lights and sounds advertised on the box (it didnt come supplied with batteries) I saw it and I knew I had to have it! I asked my dad if I could have it, but I was told "No, but if you really want it, then you can save your pocket money and buy it for yourself"

To add a bit of backstory here (which I did not know at the time, but found out later) my parents were not all that well off. They were paying a mortgage and had two kids, my dad worked very very hard as a cemetery keeper, and my mum worked a couple of hours a day in a shop. But they never once let me and my sister think that we werent well off, we were provided for excellently with clothes when we needed them, and we were well fed and had toys which we loved, we had an extremely happy childhood, our mum and dad loved us very much (and still do) My mum and dad have long since paid off their mortgage, my dad was promoted about 15 years ago, and my mum works a few more hours, but they have saved hard and done without for themselves to get where they are, and I am extremely proud of them.

So as you can imagine, the price tag of £8.00 was a quite a lot by their standards, Im sure my dad would have liked to buy me the toy, and buy my sister one of roughly the same value too as they always kept us equal, but my dad didn't want to spoil us, or make us think that we should get a toy just because we wanted one, he wanted to give us an idea of how money works, which I am sure is an issue for every parent. I must point out that I didnt complain or beg for it, or make a fuss in the shop, I simply accepted that what my dad said went.

My pocket money was 50pence a week at that time, but I was very determined to get the robot toy, it seemed so cool that I simply had to! So I saved my 50 pence a week, not buying any comics or sweets, I even did odd jobs for my gran and family to earn a little more, and eventually I had the £8.00 together in coins. I waited till the next time we went to poundstretcher, and I took my money, I can remember lifting the robot off the shelf and taking it to the cashier with my dad, I felt so proud of myself! I got it home, put some batteries my dad had in it, and started to play with it when I very quickly realised....

It was a crap toy, im sorry to say that dear readers, but it was. I was very dissapointed (while still being proud that I had saved hard for it by myself) the lights were dull and the sound was crackly, there was virtually no articulation at the joints of the robot, so I couldn't make it fight with my action man or move it in anyway but roll it along the floor on the wheels on the bottom of its feet.

I learned two valuable lessons there, which have served me well since I was 7, and I will pass them onto you.

1- You can save for anything as long as you take enough time, and try your hardest to save for it. This goes for achieving goals too, try your hardest!

2- Be careful what you buy, research every purchase before you make it, and spend wisely!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

grinding in real life

My best friend recently moved country to be with his girlfriend, and also to get employment. He started off as a cleaner in a big supermarket chain, and has worked his way up to staff member in a VERY short space of time due to his work ethic. (Was spotted by the management) He is taking on overtime and doing very well, and also he helps out in his father-in-law's sign-making business (He trained as a graphic designer but has been unable to get work in Scotland even though he finished his course at college with honours and was awarded the student of the year award.) Naturally I am very very proud of him and his achievements, as are his family and his girlfriend. He is extremely hard working and this is starting to pay off for him, these days hard workers are difficult to come by! Hopefully the work experience will enable him to get a job in graphic design, as most places want someone who is experienced working with them.

But to the crux of the matter, my friend plays online games such as World of warcraft and Cabal, (I play cabal too) and to get anywhere in these kind of games one has to grind.

Definition: "to perform a repetitive task in a role playing game in order to increase one's character's stature."
"Informal To devote oneself to study or work"

My best friend and I use this phrase that we use in terms of online gaming, and in terms of real life work. The same principles of dedication, and hard usually repetitive work build ones wealth and character apply. For example my friend works overtime at his job and helps out in a signmaking business (sort of like a freelance graphic designer) to make ends meet and to make his budget work out, and save as much money as he can.

I take a slightly different approach, but use the same principles of dedicating myself completely to the task at hand of making as much money as I possibly can to support my household and family. (Please note that neither my friend or I engage in a "hustlers" definition of grinding which basically involves stealing or other illegal activities.) I have a decent 9-5 job with a permanant contract (Im a clerical officer) which in these days of recession is worth its weight in gold. I also get a decent amount of overtime, which I use to up my wages, its monotonous and time consuming, but pays at "time and a half". On top of this I sell unwanted items on gumtree(which is free to use), sometimes If I spot a classic video game at a car-boot sale, I will buy it cheaply and sell it on at a profit. I also Valet cars at the weekend. This is a hobby of mine which I have turned into an earner when I have time to do it. I also "check in" at shops using a mobile app called "quidco" which pays small amounts (5-25p) for standing in a shop and checking in on your mobile. If you are visiting a city or town it can actually be quite profitable! Its money for using your mobile and walking around, not hard, but monotonous and somewhat time consuming. I also make youtube videos and write this blog, and adsense pays me to allow adverts on my videos and blogs. I budget hard and dont spend money where I dont have to generally, although I allow myself a few small "treats" every month, I like having a takeaway meal which is fairly cheap, because you will only get miserable very quickly if you dont give yourself a couple of treats every month! This is grinding, making ends meet, and trying to save more money and spend less. Often difficult, time consuming and monotonous, but good for character building and making money honestly. If you can turn a hobby such as cleaning cars or an interest in classic video games for example, into money making opportunities then so much the better.


Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Goals- My thoughts on them

Goals-My thoughts on them
I like to think goals are part of a person’s make-up, a physical or spiritual part of them. I have had many goals in my life, and have achieved some of them, replaced them with new goals, or changed my mind about certain goals and forgotten about them because they were probably dumb thoughts of a teenager (being a travelling guitar player in Britain at 15 years old?? Ok, it may happen for some people, but as I got older I changed my mind) The point is, goals are very personal. Some of my achieved goals have been:
Find the love of my life, (my fiancé) J
Buy a house with a garage, driveway, 3 bedrooms and a back garden
Buy and restore a classic car (My purple panda parade)
Go on a holiday with my best buddy (Egypt in 2009)
Make money from Youtube ($63.00 so far!)
And a few other things which are a bit personal ;) Some of my goals I have still to achieve are:
Go to Austrailia (I had originally planned to emigrate to Austrailia, or at least spend a long time there working etc, but meeting the love of my life changed that )
Marry my fiancé (wedding is booked for August 2014)
Go to Florida USA (Hoping to do this for our honeymoon)
Go to New York City USA in winter
Go to Austria and Germany
Get a new (bigger) garage
Get new house windows
Have kids
Some of my achieved and on the list goals don’t require money to do, but you will notice that the vast majority of them do.
If I was to buy/do everything I want to do starting tomorrow, I would need somewhere in the region of £25000. If I managed to save £500 every month (which I am attempting to do) without spending any, which is very difficult, I would be able to do this in about 4 and a half years. But unfortunetly life doesn’t always work like that, sometimes you have to play the long game, and bide your time. This is very difficult to do, but recently I was talking with J Money who runs blog, (Its amazing, check it out!) and his advice on the question of the long game was basically to break all my goals up into chunks, and celebrate at markers along the way! It doesn’t have to be an expensive celebration, just maybe bake some cakes and have a little party, or go to the cinema or something, but breaking up the goals and celebrating markers along the way definitely will help things! So I wanted to pass that info along! But how do you guys “Play the long game”?

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

How to claim work uniform laundry tax rebate FOR FREE DON'T PAY ANY COMPANY TO DO THIS FOR YOU!!!!

I wanted to post about something which has been REALLY bugging me recently. A couple of years ago I heard about claiming back tax for laundering your work uniform, which I did (and I will tell you how to) and now there is this whole GLUT of companies offering to get you the refund and taking up to 30% of the amount rebated!!! This is so WRONG its frightening!!! Why pay a company to do this for you? These companies are preying on people who are not informed enough about this, because not enough clear information is on the internet about it. I am going to remedy that RIGHT NOW FOR FREE.

Ok, the following has to apply to you.

  • You wear a recognisable uniform that shows you've got a certain job, like a branded T-shirt or police uniform. Also, we've heard reports that even plain clothes, without a logo, that you only wear for work may count - it's worth a try.
  • Your employer requires you to wear it while you're working.
  • You have to pay to clean, repair or replace it yourself. However, you can't claim if your employer washes your kit, provides facilities to do so (even if you don't use them) or pays you for doing this maintenance.
  • You paid income tax in the year you are claiming for.
That's you? Good, time to get some money back AND have your tax code changed so that you pay less tax every year! Here is the template letter and the all important address which for some reason seems to be hidden from everyone on the internet. Copy and paste this into your word processor and post it away, and in a few weeks once HMRC have processed it you will pay a different tax code on your wages and will be recompensed either through your wages or by cheque for the amount, but this will ONLY DATE BACK THE LAST 6 YEARS.


HM Revenue & Customs
Pay As You Earn
PO Box 1970
L75 1WX

Dear HMRC,

RE: Washing Expenses
I work for -EMPLOYERS NAME- and have been employed there since -START DATE- . I am required to wash my work uniform which bears the company logo, it is given to me by employer and they do not have any washing facilities on site. I would not wear my uniform outside of work because it has my employers logo on it.

I would like to claim this expense from the above date. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Yours Faithfully


There FINALLY on the internet EVERYTHING you need to claim this back FOR FREE KEEPING 100% of your compensation is finally out there!!

Have fun!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Do you pick up coins or money on the ground?

Ok, this is going to be a "marmite" post, you are either going to love the idea of this, or HATE it, its that derisive a topic, here goes!
Almost every day I find money of some sort on my daily travels, I don't even do it on purpose anymore! But my eyes just seem to find the coins (And in some very rare cases notes!) wherever they are on the pavements/ground etc. I once found a ten pound note as well in a business in Ayr, I reported that I had it, they took my details and said that If noone claimed it by the end of the day then I could keep it! Any more than that though and I would hand it in to the police. Everyone has a different level of tolerance for finding money, from a moral standpoint. To be honest most people don't pick up coins or money from the street anyways, they think its "dirty". Which is 100% TRUE. But only because the money in current circulation has been handled so many times, by so many different people, and kept in hiding places by many different people, so its as dirty as the rest of the money in circulation by my way of thinking. So far THIS YEAR I have found somewhere in the region of £25, in these hard financial times, thats got to be a welcome bonus in 4 months!! Simply from picking up coins in the streets!

So my question to you budgetlifers, is do you pick up coins/notes from the ground/streets/sidewalks? And what is the reason for yes or no answer?? Looking forward to hearing from you budgetlifers!

My next post will be about ways to make money on the side, (not from your day job)

Thursday, 28 February 2013

MARCH 2013 YOURBUDGETORYOURLIFE How To Improve Your Credit Score

Welcome to the second month of my financial blog, I’ve decided to do it monthly as this fits in better to the way I budget, and to the way my wages are paid, I know some people are paid weekly, and you can still apply my blog to that, but mine are monthly, plus it means you only do 12 budgets in a year rather than 52! So that’s got to be better!J Saving time as well as money, and not getting confused with too many numbers!

This month I’m going to be talking about (among other things) improving your credit score. Your credit score is what companies look at to see if you are “an acceptable risk” (in the financial sense) or not. Here is a quick rundown of how to improve it.

1- Take out a credit card, but only use it for small amounts about once or twice a month. AND PAY IT OFF IN FULL WITHIN THE WEEK. DO NOT LET IT ACCUMULATE! Look for a credit card which does not charge interest for a certain period after purchases. RBS for example is 56 days before an interest charge is incurred. When you do this it goes on your credit score and it shows lenders that you are an acceptable risk as you pay money back when it is lent to you.

2- Have an overdraft facility on your bank account (if your bank account charges you for simply having one then change your bank account) and DONT USE IT. It goes on your credit score and shows lenders that you can be trusted with money lending facilities.

3- Shop around for a mobile phone contract, and get it as cheaply as possible for your specific needs, and then pay the amount owed without fail every month, its that simple. Even if it’s a sim only contract, it shows lenders that you can be trusted with paying a specific amount every month.

4- Use debit card instead of cash at least occasionally, this is for two reasons, 1 it shows lenders that you can be trusted to use money from your account without taking out a physical amount in cash, it shows you are savvy about your money. The second reason this is good is that if you lift £10 then the physical cash is with you, and it is easily spent, or put into a jar for months, till it gets put back into your current account. Why not skip the middle man and keep the change in your current account? It helps more than you would think!

5- Take out a small loan NO NOT WITH A PAYDAY LENDER, ARE YOU NUTS?? Its 1792% APR!! I mean with your bank or building society, again, check the small print and terms, and pay it back very very quickly indeed! Avoiding incurring any interest charges if you can.

A good credit score is ESSENTIAL for making a “large purchase” such as a house or a car (I don’t agree with taking loans out on cars, buy second-hand people! But that’s a different story for a different day, and not everyone can) because let’s face it, no one is going to lend a large sum of money to someone they can’t trust financially! Do this for a short while and soon (it is possible because I did it using these exact methods) you will have a credit score of 999 the best you can get! This opens A LOT of doors for you, mortgages are suddenly attainable, and in these economic times, that is something that is VERY desirable, both for yourself, and for the lenders! My other advice where these things are concerned are READ THE SMALL PRINT, TAKE YOUR TIME!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Your budget or your life 1

Welcome to your budget or your life! In this blog I am going to be posting about how to make and maintain a budget, and also helpful guides and tips on:

*saving for a deposit for a mortgage/car/anything
*pitfalls in finance
*how to build up your credit score
*information on different types of bank accounts
*paid surveys

and much more to come over the life of this blog!

First of all here is a link to a standard budget in ODF format (sorry I dont have excel, but you can convert easily or use open office which is free like I do if your excel wont open it)

In this template on the far left hand side you have some examples of expenses you could have. Change any of these to anything that suits your own personal circumstances. Enter the totals into the second column. I work my budget monthly, but you can do it weekly to the same effect, and when you save your spreadsheet file always save the week or the month as the file name. E

The third column is for your incomes, enter as many as you wish here (for example if you have two or more jobs, or sell on ebay/gumtree etc)

The fourth column is for your isa total, If you dont have one (yet) obviously leave it blank, but I will cover ISAs more in the upcoming blogs.

The fifth column is for Savings Jar 1, this could be where you save a certain denomination of coin (such as pound coins or dollars if you are american)

The sixth column is for savings Jar 2, this could be where you save just any denomination of coin or notes.

The seventh column is for your wallet or purse, the money you carry on your person

the eight column is for the emergency fund, this is REALLY important. I would say try to get about £200 or $300 dollars saved here for emergencys, AND ONLY USE IT IN EMERGENCYS. I will speak about this more in the future as its pretty important.

Once you have entered values in all these columns the totals and totals left over (or negative) will display in the lower cells. This tells you how you are actually doing financially and theres no guesswork or "rounding up" involved. I HATE ROUNDING UP. This is for the fact that people seem to think that to budget you should round up values. I think being honest with yourself financially is the very best way to start. 

Ok, so you have your totals and you are seeing (perhaps for the first time) exactly where your money is going and how much you REALLY have. Now you try to get a better deal on every bill you possibly can.


Energy and broadband

line rental

Make cut backs, BE HONEST, and be brutal if you have to, this is your financial future we are talking about here and noone can do the legwork for you unfortunetly. Here are my 10 golden tips:

1- Cut back on buying branded goods (heinz, walkers etc) and try the supermarket or budget version, buying the aldi version usually cuts back about 60% of spending, and the stuff they sell is actually great quality

2- Walk places where you can rather than taking the car or public transport you will get fitter and  walking makes you feel good by releasing endorphins in your brain.

3- Turn off lights when you leave a room, there should only be one lightbulb on in your house when its dark, and thats for the room that you are in.

4- Dont buy DVDs, take out a free trial for lovefilm and then cancel it before the 30 day limit is up

5- Watch films online, there are actually a lot of films on youtube now, such as rocky 2

6- Dont let food you buy go to waste or out of date, make meal plans and use all the food before it goes out of date, make a soup, all you need to make soup is a stock cube and any selection of diced vegetables and meats. You can freeze it too and eat it later.

7- If you have a job can you do overtime? Its a good way to make money and get in your managers good books!

8- Can you sell anything that you dont ever use? Many people on ebay or gumtree will pay good money for that playstation you have had sitting for years

9- If you have a television subscription cancel it, freeview is really good now! Its like sky without all the crap shows

10- If you make videos on youtube, see if you are eligable to monetize your videos, its a great way to make money!

More next time on Your budget or your life, I will be blogging weekly every saturday.

If there are any questions or comments, please post here or email me on