January Hustle review

I’ve ended my first month of side hustles and I have to say I’ve really enjoyed the little bits and pieces I’ve dipped into which have earned me £135. Of that there are some sites where I still need to earn more to reach a download limit so I haven’t accessed all of it. Then being January and a long month I’ve had to dip into the rest to pay for the dentists and some other unexpected costs but in the end today I paid off £40 towards a high interest loan I have bringing me that little bit closer to clearing it. This is the priority in my debt clearance as everything else at least has a definite end date or a lower interest rate.

I’m really pleased with what I’ve managed to do. It’s been simple and for the most part hasn’t taken up much time. I’ve listed the websites below for anyone that wants to try some of these and also the 101 side hustles blog page that I found my inspiration.


https://www.shoppixapp.com/ (Referral code: BTVSEXDV)



https://www.swagbucks.com (Referral code: https://www.swagbucks.com/lp-savings-button?cmp=695&cxid=swagbuttonref&rb=49425651&extRefCmp=1&extRb=49425651)

https://www.shopmium.com/uk (Referral: d2x5r)





Readly app

As well as the side hustles and trying to clear debts my other goal is to maximise what I get when I do spend money. One of the things I discovered while on the various hustle sites was an app called Readly. There’s currently a trial at the minute for £1 for the first month then it’s £8 a month. There are hundreds of magazines that you can then read and it’s updated whenever the new ones are released. At first I thought that £8 was a lot to spend on an app however my TV listings magazine is £10.60 per 4 weeks and you can view that on the app. So instant saving of £2.60. Basically everything I read after that is free. This includes monthly music, film, crafts and hobbies magazines that are often quite expensive and I even found some of the one off special edition magazines in there which can sometimes cost £10 themselves.

So I’m going to keep it. I spend a lot of time on trains and while I usually have a book or my kindle it’s an alternative if I don’t feel like heavy reading and just want something to flick through. The only downside I’ve found is I can’t read them on my laptop – it has to be some kind of phone or tablet (including the kindle fire which I have). I like the craft magazines and it’s hard to read a knitting pattern for example when it’s on a tiny phone. Overall though I think it’s worth the money for what I can have access to.

I’ve started putting the £2.60 into my ISA per month. It won’t make me rich but it’s another £2.60 that I wasn’t using that will go towards my end goals.


Saturday Gratitude

I’ve been talking and hearing a lot about gratitude lately. My son’s depression has flared up and we’ve been using it as a mood booster. At the same time my close friend is trying to keep a daily list. I am planning to do these weekly on a Friday but got a bit distracted yesterday so one day late:

  • Meals with friends: I used to be part of a circle that met monthly to go for a meal and a catch up. 9 years ago we were all working in the same office and part of it is to keep the connections going despite many of us now working in different offices and in some cases for new companies. I had so many issues last year for me this stopped happening. My anxiety was just too high for casual socialising. I actually thought the last meal I attended was late summer but when we looked at it, it was actually May! I don’t feel guilty about it though. That way lies more anxiety madness. It happened, I’m back and was welcomed back with no issues at all. It’s easy to forget how much I enjoyed this little get together.
  • Hustles: I’m grateful to the sites I read a few months back that list the many ways to make a little extra money. I’ve a few hustle blogs to do in the next week but I’ve made over £100 since Boxing Day which is amazing when I haven’t touched the big money earners. It’s £100+ that will be deducted from my debts and £100 closer to being debt free. As I mentioned in a previous blog I wish I’d known about these things years ago it would have saved a lot of negative mental health issues. It’s also totally changed my thinking about money too. I’m no longer in that negative mindset and constantly thinking I can’t.
  • Other friends: My closest friend text me on Tuesday to see if I fancied a coffee before work. We had about 45 minutes before I had to go to my job but it was nice to have that little bit of relaxation and chat before I had to tackle some major issues in the office.
  • The gym: Never thought I’d say that! But while I’ve been going completely off the rails with food the gym at least has kept me in a healthy mindset and gives me not only me time but the mindfulness practise. It’s just me, some exercise machines and whatever the PT has on the music playlist which this week has been 2000’s pop music. I’ve been happily singing along to Britney and Busted this week, again not normally something I thought I’d ever say.
  • Which leads me to the last thing and the work’s craft club and more mindfulness. This week we did some mandala colouring in. It’s like being 5 again. I took 2 people who don’t normally join in with the craft club and we had an hour away from our day jobs to sit, chat and colour and de-stress. An offshoot of this as my Tuesday coffee friend saw my pictures and went out and bought some crayons and books. I love being able to share fun stuff 🙂


Loyalty cards – #minimilism #declutter

The Marie Kondo TV show on Netflix has got lots of people looking at their homes and seeing where they can declutter and craeting lots of chatter. I’ve been a follower of her methods for a few years now (there are various blog posts if you fancy a scoll through) and I’ll be good for a while and then end up with more clutter.

When I had some couselling last summer we discussed my spending habits and debt with the intention of exploring addictive personalities and using money to fill a ‘gap’ in a persons life. I definitely get addicted to things and very easily. Having alcoholics and drug addicts in the family (sadly all deceased) makes me very conscious (possibly too much) about excess drinking so I’ve never fallen into those traps. Instead when my depression takes hold I usually find something to obsess over and spend. It fills that ‘gap’ but only for a short while and then I end up with an excess of junk that I don’t use.

It’s not only monetary items though. I started reading the free books through netgalley or on Amazon Kindle and if I total it I’ve close to 1500 books unread. I’ve got far too many bookmarks, post it notes, stationary items and so on. The other year I got on top of the clothes addiction and now have a capsule wardrobe and that works for me.
So now to clear some of the unwanted stuff. I found in a drawer a pile of loyalty cards an inch high. I don;t use them but when shops started using these I developed one of my obsessions and must have one for so many shops that I just don’t go in any more. As you can see from the pictures attached I spent today tidying them out and cutting them up. It’s a great feeling. There’s no need for them, I haven’t gone into that pile in over 6 months. So now I have a core capsule of loyalty cards of shops I’m actually loyal to and that feels so much better. Slowly I am making in roads into my clutter and filling that ‘gap’ in more healthier ways

Savings Plans and No Spend 2019

In my goals for 2019 post (2019 Lifestyle Choices not resolutions ) I mentioned this year is all about the side hustle and ways to make and save money. I’ve done a massive amount of research over the last 2 weeks and will be continuing to look up these side hustles but thought as I go along I’ll share this journey and hopefully there will be something that will inspire or help others.

Social media can be a pretty bleak place but I spent some time deleting massive amounts of unused Facebook groups and pages and joined ones that will be of benefit to my needs. These include savings pages, minimalism ones and a No Spend 2019 one. No Spend will mean different things to different people as I’ve found in the group. Some people are simply cutting down on spends and others are practically going to live off the land. I’m a bit in the middle. There are things I want to keep like a meal out once a month but there are times where I know I am wasting money. So my changes will revolve around cutting these out for now. I’ll review it each month and see where other changes can be made if necessary.

I’ve also joined several savings groups and found quite a few fun challenges. I’ll add some links at the bottom of the blog. There’s the penny challenge where you put in 1p on day 1, 2p on day 2, 3p on day 3 and so on for 365 days.

There’s the shaded challenge which I am doing. In here you have a sheet with various amounts on it including £10 in 5p and up to £400 in £20 notes. You simply shade in a circle every time you put a 5p, 10p and so on into the tub. If you complete it all you end up with about £1300 in the tin. Seeing as the majority of my cash will be going towards clearing all debts this year I don’t aim to complete but rather accept that whatever is in the tin in December is a nice bonus for Christmas.

Another one is the £1 in coke bottle (on the Facebook group the UK people are using Oasis bottles as the opening is wider) – you simply fill the bottle with £1 coins.

Lastly after seeing an advert on TV I have opened a Moneybox account. This is an investment ISA but with some twists. For a start it’s an app rather than a traditional bank. Secondly you can amend the amount you want to put into the account as often as you like. There’s the option to put away a weekly amount from a minimum of £2 p/w. Then the bit I really liked is the option to round up your spends and input that difference to the account. It links to your bank account (I’m very security conscious and they have lots of measures in place to protect you with this) and lists all the amounts that you can round up. So for example I’ve spent £1.99 – then it will ask if I want to put the penny into the account. You can accept or dismiss each one. It’s very easy to get excited and accept everything so be careful. I’ve given myself the option to round up anything 20p or less as it still adds up quite quickly. It takes the money each week and you also have the option to go in and clear the weekly balance before it’s taken if you are worried you’ve overdone it (or you can reduce/increase the amount). I’m loving this app as despite being constantly skint I feel like I’m in control of actually saving something however small.

So that’s my savings and spends so far. I was talking to my mum on New Years Day about everything I’d found out and how I finally feel in control despite being in debt. I really wish I knew 4 years ago about half the things I found out about in the last few weeks as I think it would have helped reduce my debt quicker but also had a much more positive impact on my metal health.

365 Day 1p Saving Challenge Savings For Holidays Or Just A Rainy Day Pot


Worry over nothing

One of the side effects of depression and anxiety (at least for me) is the paranoia that if I start telling people something negative and on occasion positive, they will judge me so I have a tendency not to say anything. I’m always promising friends I will tell them stuff and then don’t but it has got to the point where I don’t always share the good either especially to my mum.

I’ve spent the last week setting up my side hustles (I will write that part 2 on this but am mostly saving it until the end of January so I can write a good comparison of everything) and decided I was going to tell my mum my plans. Mostly because I wanted the coffee shop receipt for my 2 receipt apps. I explained the apps to her and then all the other hustles including the ones I’m in 2 minds about.

Watching her facial expressions she was both concentrating and at some points laughing. Why laughing I asked. Because she said I’ve not seen you this fired up and positive in such a long time. It’s wonderful to see.

Well…..wasn’t expecting that!

Then she asked me to write down the websites and apps because my sister-in-law (who I rarely see) is always looking at how to maximise her money and would probably enjoy some of the things I’d talked about.

Then! as she doesn’t live in the near vicinity to me she offered to post her receipts to me weekly for the apps to help maximise what I’m trying to achieve. Such a small thing to her will reap big dividends to me.

(And while I’m sharing good practise my friend has also downloaded one of the receipt apps too. Links at the end)

I think though, the moral of the story is whilst I feel that all I have talked about for a long time is how bad things have been I really should start sharing the love and the joy because it brings people up and sometimes they get to share in it, sometimes pass it on and sometimes just feel good because they are taking enjoyment in your happiness. I worried that talking about money (no matter that it was about positives) would be a negative to others and I was completely wrong so I need to remember this and start sharing more.

Receipt Apps

There may be more of these about but the 2 apps I have been using are Receipt Hog and Shoppix. Basically you upload your receipt which is exchanged for coins or tokens and then after building the number of these up you can exchange them for cash. Receipt Hog pay less in coins but will take any receipt as they look at the whole household whilst Shoppix don’t accept 2 receipts from the same shop dated the same day but they pay more in coins and will they add up quicker.

If you know of any others share the love and post in the comments 🙂

Every Day I’m (Side) Hustling

I’ve been having a look around the various money saving websites and especially in regards to ways to make a few extra pounds. It seems a common thing to side hustle and I kinda wish I’d looked earlier but better late than never. I’ve got a list of the ways I can do this ready for 2019 but why wait?

I still have to get my head around the Profit Accumulator site but that’s a job for this weekend but whilst messing around I found £1.29 on an old betting website. My son takes part in a free bet syndicate through work and Sky sports so I copied his win/loss/draw onto the bet site (his was also based on goals which I ignored) with a 20p on each one. Not a lot of money but then small amounts means more responsible betting. I finished the day £2 in profit plus my money back.

Then I had a look through a cashback site. I do my shopping online anyway each payday and buy for the month splitting across 2 retailers. I got myself 50p cashback from one of them. On the other I lost the cashback as I had other vouchers I could use. However those vouchers were a total of £9.50 in savings off my bill so much better off anyway.

Then we had our usual Boxing Day (a UK bank holiday) pizza – going through the cashback site again to order I made another 1% cashback – 13p.

So in total my side hustling & small time betting today earned me £12.13. Helped by having the vouchers but every little bit helps. I’ve spent the last few years trying to use a cash only system whilst my debt repayment is in place but while that has drastically helped my budgeting I may have been selling myself short a bit and losing out. I need to think cleverer; can it be bought online and if so can I get cashback on it?

I have 14 months left on my repayment plan. If I can hustle £600 over the course of the year it reduces the plan by 2 months and I could be free of it by 2019 Christmas. If not then I know I will have given it my best shot and be pleased with myself regardless.

I’ll write a part 2 when I’ve got all my side hustles lined up and ready to go. What side hustles do you use?