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April 2017

HOW TO BE SENSIBLE WITH MONEY

Sensible with money

 

It seems like we have advertisements constantly paraded around in front of us nowadays. In fact, with all the advertisements around, we are also given more and more opportunities for instant gratification.

 

Even for the more conservative spenders amongst us, that can be a recipe for disaster. Inflated commercialism along with easier payment options mean that it is easier than ever before to spend more and more money. That can be dangerous and lead us into a place of financial insecurity.

 

 

 

Of course, we should be very safe with our money – it allows us security and means we can do a lot more with our lives. We should save up to achieve our dreams and get more out of our lives. Savings also help us in times of uncertainty, emergency funds allow us to pay the bills if we lose our job, or when wallets and purses need to be tightened.

 

However, that shouldn’t mean we can’t enjoy our lives! Money is key to enjoying our lives. However, with all good things – we need moderation. Moderation is the key to enjoying things in our lives and to ensure we do not overindulge – especially with money. If we overindulge with money, we can have serious problems. The key to enjoying life and our spending power? It is to spend and use money in a sensible manner.

 

How can we start off? Well – we need to realize our budgets. Believe it or not, but we have a budget for everything. The money in our bank account is finite and limited, so that can exist as our budget. We mustn’t spend more than is in that account.

 

It is very easy to do just that if you aren’t careful, signing up to financing plans and subscriptions to eat chunks of money away. You need to realize your expenditure if you are to become sensible with it. If you are financing a purchase through a company like Enness Bridging, make sure that it is affordable and that you can meet all of the payments in the payment plan.   

 

Budgeting is really the only thing necessary when you want to become more sensible with money. However, you’ll need to ensure that you make good decisions with your purchases. Every time you make a motion to buy something it, consider it over and over again. Purchasing things you don’t need isn’t sensible and ensures that you will simply waste money. Of course, this shouldn’t come in front of your enjoyment, but sniffing around for better deals instead of throwing your money away is a good idea.

 

Being sensible with money can lead to a better life and help you do everything you want. It can ensure you have funds available to go on vacation or save up for those big purchases. It can also ensure that your home isn’t chock full of clutter and items you don’t need. Sensibility with money does come from within though – if you won’t be sensible with your cash, who will be?

 

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SIMPLE STEPS TO HELP YOU CLIMB THE CAREER LADDER

career ladder

Climbing the career ladder is easier than you think, if you’re willing to take heed of the advice below.

 

You need to market yourself from the off. When applying for a job, even if it’s at the bottom of your career ladder and is entry level, you have to be what they’re looking for from the first contact. Generally, this first point of contact is the application stage.

 

Even though you’re not selling yourself in person, selling yourself well in an application, covering letter or most importantly your CV is essential. It is the first of you that your prospective employees will see. The application itself needs to completed fully and written perfectly.

 

Your covering letter needs to sell yourself in line with the job description. A good bit of advice when it comes to this is to have the description of the role you are applying for at your side as you write the covering letter. That way you can ensure that you write about areas that they’re demanding from the person they employ.

 

For instance, if in the job description it asks for somebody who is attuned to the latest technologies, then you should write about all your experiences with the latest technologies. And speaking of writing about your experiences, you need to ensure that your CV is perfect.

 

This is the key to you getting the job and not getting it, which is why you should seek assistance from a professional, such as the CV writing service from Purple CV. This way you can be sure that all your information is not only there, but written and laid out in the most marketable way possible.
And once you get the job (which you will stand a better chance of if you take the advice above) you have to get to know your boss. No, this doesn’t mean you have to go out for meals and drinks with them at the weekend (if you don’t want to). It means you should never be scared or intimidated to talk to them.

 

It means you should be as open with them about yourself and your career as possible. Mainly, it means you should make them like you. And there’s no better way to make somebody like you than to just be likeable! Coming into work every morning with a proactive attitude and not being afraid to converse with co-workers will make you seem likeable, even if outside of work you’re not all that likeable.
You also be open to idea of educating yourself fully. Going back to education is a great way to get ahead on your career ladder. Going back to university, college or taking an online training course is a great way for you to garner all the knowledge needed for you to skip a few steps on the career ladder.

 

You should always remember that the best tool a human has is their brain, and you should certainly use yours in this venture.

 

For more tips on how to climb the career ladder, click here. So, what’s stopping you? Go on. Climb that career ladder, now!

 

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FOUR OF THE BEST GIFTS FOR YOUR GARDEN-LOVING FRIEND

Gifts for gardeners

Buying gifts that people love and enjoy is never easy. So many of us fall back on the things like flowers, chocolate and booze. But if you have a friend that has a particular passion, why not buy for that passion? If you have a garden-loving friend, here are the gift ideas that you should consider buying for them. Each of them is unique, interesting and useful to the kind of person who loves plants and making their garden look as great as it possibly can. Read on to learn more about them.

 

Gardener’s Kneepads

 

Anyone who spends a lot of time pulling up weeds and planting bulbs will know how tough it can be on your knees. That’s why buying kneepads for your garden-loving friend could turn out to be a really good idea. It will instantly show them that you understand their needs and their hobby. And it will make their love of gardening even more enjoyable because they won’t have to hurt their knees every time they need to tend to something in the flowerbed. They can be found pretty easily. Make sure you get kneepads with soft, comfortable padding.

 

A Weathervane

 

Weathervanes are cool little items that can add a little life and character to any garden. They are made from metal, and they’ve been around for centuries. You can find all kinds of designs from websites like Cuckooland.com. There are old rustic designs or modern and unusual designs that you can select. It’s entirely up to you to decide what kind of weathervane is going to be best for your garden-loving friend. When it’s in place, it will instantly make their garden look better, and they’re sure to be happy about that.

 

Image Source

 

 

A Mushroom Growing Kit

 

This is a really unusual gift, but it’s one that often goes down really well with people who love growing new things. Mushrooms are pretty easy to grow, but growing the right ones and making sure that you do it safely is not always so simple. So, if your friend loves gardening but has never tried growing mushrooms yet, then you should buy them a mushroom growing kit. They’ll have a lot of fun growing mushrooms and then cooking with them too. The kits are easy to get hold of, and they’re not too expensive either. You can find out more about them at sites like shop.grocycle.com.

 

A Bonsai Tree

 

Finally, you should think about finding a gift that allows your friend to bring their love of the outdoors indoors. That’s exactly what a bonsai tree does, and it can be a great gift idea for them. They are small, compact trees that you keep in your home. They originate from Japan, where they’re very popular. But you can get your hands on one easily enough. They vary in size, and some people keep them on their porch when they get a little bigger. But the smaller ones can be easily stored on a window sill in the home.

 

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10 WAYS BAKING SODA CAN SAVE YOU MONEY!

How to save money with baking soda

 

 

There are days when no matter how much I scrub sometimes the grease just never shifts.  Enter the wonderful power of Baking Soda.  My gran used it a lot and I have started using it too.  Here is what I’ve used it for…

 

Washing clothes:  Washing powder is just so expensive add to that the fabric softener and whatever else they try and get you to buy – the cost just keeps going up.  Well no more with Baking Soda, put a cup in your next wash and see how clean your clothes look.

 

Dishwasher cleaner:  You know that awful smell when your poor dishwasher needs a clean?  Well baking soda and a drop of vinegar will work wonders.  Your dishwasher will smell lovely and you save money by not having to buy those very expensive dishwasher cleaning aids!

 

Shifts grease:  there are times when the extractor fan has too much grease for hot soapy water to content with, but adding baking soda in to the mix and voila it will cut through grease like a knife through butter!

 

Tea stains: I use a lot of vintage china cups and I hate having to take a scrubbing brush to them but you can bring your best china back to life by coating the cup with baking soda, leave for about 15 minutes then while away gently with a sponge or kitchen roll.  It will now be stain free – hoorah!

 

Toilets:  I don’t like to use bleach in the toilet as often you need to leave it before flushing and the smell is just so pungent.  Well half a cup of baking soda and some white vinegar down the loo, leave for a while and then scrub will give you a clean white bowl.  You could also add in some nice smelling oils too – I’ve been using tea tree oil!

 

Drains:  I really don’t know what it is but our drain keeps clogging up and the leading brands are so expensive.  Well adding baking soda with vinegar does work wonders for unclogging your drain – just remember when you poor it down give it a few minutes and then run the hot water to get it working.

 

Soft towels:  I don’t know about you but I hate, just hate hard towels.  An expensive way of getting soft towels is to rinse them first in vinegar and then baking soda.  Really does work wonders.

 

Trainers:  With two boys there can be a lot of trainers and a lot of cleaning of trainers!  Giving them a wee clean with baking soda and warm water will certainly work wonders.

 

Smelly trainers and shoes:  Again with two teenage boys there are times when I just want to leave the footwear outside!  No more though – sprinkle some baking soda in to the trainers and leave them overnight – no more smell!

 

 

Personal care:  there are many ways to use baking soda for personal care such as brushing your teeth but I prefer using it to help me save money around the home.

 

 

So, there you have it, 10 ways I use baking soda to save money.  Do you use baking soda and if so what do you use it for?

 

Elf x

 

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DON’T LOSE MONEY DUE TO YOUR BLOG

blogging tips

A lot of people start a blog in the hope of raising some additional cash. After all, once you raise your profile, it can lead to advertising on your blog. Also, you might get companies asking for sponsored blog posts which is also an extra way to earn some money. However, while we might set up a blog to raise some money, it’s easy for it to do the opposite if you are not careful. In fact, here are some ways you can ensure your blog doesn’t end up losing you money.

 

Pexels

 

Be careful to ensure you use copyright free photos

It’s common to use pictures on your blog. After all, it gives it a more visually appealing look and can give a break from the writing. However, while it’s always good to add pictures, you need to ensure the images that you are using are copyright free. Otherwise, you could end up sued if you use them without the owner’s permission.

 

In fact, as it says on https://www.theguardian.com/law/, US blogger Perez Hilton ended up in a £1.6 million lawsuit after using photos on his blog that weren’t his. And unless you fancy losing money down to your blog, you don’t want to follow his lead. Therefore, only use copyright free photos which you can search for online.

 

In fact, there are a lot of free image sites which will ensure you have great quality pictures without breaking the law. And to be extra safe, always credit the site where you took the photo. That way, you can never end up in trouble with the original photographer. And remember the same goes for any wording or quotes you take from other sources. Always link back to the original site to ensure you don’t get in trouble!

 

flickr

Don’t write defamatory claims about people

Of course, a blog is all about writing your opinion on things. But you need to be careful about what you are saying about people. After all, once it’s down in writing, it can be hard to take it back. And if the person in question sees the claims on your blog, they could end up getting you in trouble via the defamation law. After all, even if the comments are true, if you have managed to damage their reputation, they could still sue you.

 

In fact, if you do get into trouble with your blog, you will need to find a lawyer to help you with defamation claims. In fact, you can look online on the asb-law.com website and other similar sites for assistance. But to avoid this occurring, make sure you are careful about what you are writing about!

 

 Image from Pexels

 

Always answer any bad complaints

It’s easy to ignore any bad complaints which might appear on your blog or on your social media account for the site. But if you do ignore them, it could jeopardise your chances of securing advertising for your blog.

 

And not only this but you might lose people who are currently advertising. After all, they won’t want to be associated with bad press. Therefore, even if you pre-schedule your posts, constantly check your accounts for bad feedback. And respond quickly to ensure there is no further comeback!

 

And remember to always be honest and open if it’s an endorsed post to stay within the law.

 

Elf x

 

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COMPOUND INTEREST

Compound interest

Guest Post by Retired Broker.  Follow him here and read George’s Blog here.

 

Cash savings are dire; there are no two ways about it. Once inflation is taken into account, the buying power of almost all the accounts currently available will be less than when you started. So is there any point in using them? Well, probably!

 

The fact of the matter is that a home for spare cash, no matter how modest, will always be required. So how do you make the best of this not so great situation?

 

There are a couple of ways to approach it which require a little effort and some patience. The first thing to grasp is the magical powers of “Compound Interest”.  Compound Interest is where your savings accrue interest, and then that interest will also accrue interest and over time the rate of growth gets faster.

 

It’s a slow process, but worthwhile, especially if you have long term goals. A little while ago I posted a blog about how much is spent over a year by buying a take away coffee every day for work, here’s the link  http://theretiredbroker.com/coffee-mugs.

 

You might need something stronger when you read it! For the purpose of a compound interest illustration, let’s assume that you are going to give up one coffee a week and put that money away in a regular savings account.

 

That’s £2.55 a week or £11 a month (yes I know it works out at £11.05, but I’ve rounded it down ok?) A quick look at some comparison sites will see that a few regular savings accounts will pay 2% or more, so for the purpose of this exercise we’ll use 2%.

 

The table below shows how much £11 a month will grow at 2% over different numbers of years.

 

 

1 yr £133.22
3 yrs £407.77
5yrs £693.52
10yrs £1459.92
15yrs £2306.84
20yrs £3242.77

 

While fully understanding that interest rates will change and that inflation will erode the actual buying power of the money, the point here is that it is money that you would otherwise not set aside. Even a modest amount such as £11 a month may be really useful in all those years time.

 

If you look at the 20 year period, the actual amount paid in amounts to £2640, so that is an actual growth of £600. Could be ideal if you have a young family and want to set something away for university, car or travel.

 

The other advantage of regular savings is that you can adjust what you save as time goes on or add any spare windfall you may get. This brings me to the second advantage, which does require a tiny bit of effort. A lot of these regular savings accounts offer a rate of interest for a set period only, usually a year.

 

After this the rate will either tumble or collapse. If you don’t stay on top of it, your savings will stagnate. So you need to remember that Cash Rates Are Portable. That’s right remember interest rates are C.R.A.P. So you need to treat them like your annual home or car insurance and review them every year.

 

Once you have come to the end of a good interest rate, shop around’ find another good rate and transfer your savings over to the new account and continue with the monthly saving, you may just be glad you did!

 

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5 FREE & LOCAL THINGS TO DO DURING SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

free things to do with kids

Easter holidays are upon us once more and as a parent it can be difficult to keep kids occupied during this time.  It can be even more difficult if you are trying to cut down or your budget doesn’t stretch to things that would be more expensive.  There are plenty of things you can do which is either cheap or better still free!  What’s not to like about getting the kids out of the house and doing things for free?

 

 

GOING TO THE MUSEUM

Find out the times of your local museum, a great day out for the whole family and it’s cultural too!  Take a peek at Museums Association and click on your local area which are free to enter.  If you’re in Belfast the Ulster Museum in Botanic Gardens is a must, you can wander round all day and then take in Botanic Gardens – that will certainly keep the kids occupied.

 

 

ARTS & CRAFTS AT HOME

Crafting can keep kids occupied for ages and it doesn’t have to cost a lot.  Keep old toilet paper tubes, newspapers or cereal boxes and let your kids get creative – the possibilities are endless as to what they could make.

 

 

BAKING

I know it can be messy but allow your kids freedom in the kitchen (with supervision of course!) to make buns or make pizzas.  Kids just love cooking and seeing the result at the end makes them so happy and they are also learning a great life skill in cooking.

 

 

NOTHING BORING ABOUT BOARD GAMES

I just love retro / vintage board games. Visit your local charity shop and see what you can buy or better still ask family and friends what board games they have lurking at the back of a cupboard. I remember playing Monopoly with the kids and it took hours but it was great fun for everyone especially since the weather was awful!

 

 

FREE TOURS OF GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS

Another great free activity is to see what Government buildings are open and offer free tours.  For those in Belfast, you can take a free tour of Belfast City Hall led by experienced guides.  It’s a great way to find out about your local history and keep the kids occupied too!

 

So what are you up to this Easter?

 

Elf x

 

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5 EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY NOW

How to start saving

Saving money is something that most of us want to do but practicing it can be a whole different thing, especially when you have kids, a mortgage, and household bills that seem to keep rising.  But I promise you, you can save money each and every day with a little dedication – some people call it a thrifty life but call it what you will if you can save money on things you spend everyday then you can keep that money for something you really want!

 

Below I’ve listed some great ways you can start saving money today…

 

GIVE REUSED A GO

Once upon a time it was called second hand but these days it’s chic to go reused!  If you need to buy furniture, bikes, curtains, even clothes try the likes of eBay or your local Gumtree where you could save yourself a few pounds.  I always have a look on my local Gumtree as the quality is great and the price is just right for my budget.

 

 

GET IT FREE IF YOU CAN!

I absolutely love Freegle, just google it to find your local Freegle group.  People want to save items going to landfill so they offer them for free on these groups.  I’ve given away a few items and received a few through this means so why not give it a try? Also, remember to use your local library if you want to read the latest books, there are also Councils who offer free kids books to read and when you are finished you return them – go have a wee look to see what you can get for free.

 

 

HAGGLE WITH YOUR CURRENT PROVIDERS

A great way to save money is to phone up your current utility, phone or cable providers and ask them for a discount.  I have saved hundreds this way and all it takes is the cost of a phone call.  Be friendly and just explain you are trying to save money.  Good luck!

 

 

VISIT CHARITY SHOPS

I love charity shops, why not visit some of your local ones and see what you can find?  I often get some bargains in terms of clothes for myself with some items only costly £1!  Many people visit charity shops now with some even calling themselves vintage!

 

 

BUY SEASONAL ITEMS AFTER THE EVENT

I do this all the time to save hundreds especially after Easter and Christmas.  Shop in the January sales for Christmas wrapping paper and cards and maybe get some gifts with 70% off.  Go Easter egg hunting after Easter to get huge discounts on all types of chocolate and stock up if you’re kids like a treat.  You can also try this after Mother’s Day or Father’s Day too.

 

Happy Money Saving.

 

Elf x

 

THINGS YOU CAN DO OR SELL TO MAKE EXTRA CASH

HOW TO EARN CASHBACK FROM SHOPPING ONLINE

MAKING EASY MONEY WITH SURVEY SITES

EARN EXTRA MONEY FROM CLICKWORKER

WANT TO MAKE MONEY WITH YOUR OLD RECEIPTS?  READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE.

WANT TO EARN GIFT VOUCHERS?  READ MY REVIEW OF SWAGBUCKS.  

INTERESTED IN KNOWING WHAT A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT DOES AND HOW YOU CAN MAKE MONEY?  READ MORE HERE.  

WANT TO GET PAID FOR COMPLETING SURVEYS?  READ MY POST ABOUT PROLIFIC ACADEMIC HERE.

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