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)





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 🙂

2019 Lifestyle Choices not resolutions

After years of making goals and resolutions for the new year, last year I decided that I would stop putting targets on myself and just make changes. If you’ve read any of my blogs over the last 18 months you will have seen my attempts to deal with social anxiety and my diet and exercise. That worked well for me as when I set targets I have a tendency to get close to it, panic and self sabotage leaving me no better off. Making small changes seems to work best.

I finish 2018 thanks to those changes 24lbs lighter than when I started it and with a 3 times a week 30 minute session each time gym workout (and joining a gym was definitely not on my list of things to do at all!) so rather than say I want to lose a certain amount of weight this coming year I just want to continue with the changes I made. And start cooking again. I’ve filled the freezer and so on and made a meal plan for January so off to a good start but if I go off plan a little bit….it’s ok. I don’t need to beat myself up about it, just start again. That’s probably the only sensible thing I ever picked up from 20 years of yo-yo WW/Slimming World diets.

I have 14 months left on my debt plan. This makes me so happy going into the new year; the idea that when I write the 2020 version of this blog it will shortly be over. Except I’m hoping it will actually have gone. I’ve been reading up on side hustles and all the ways to make extra money. I’m going to write a separate blog about this as there’s a lot to say but why wait until the new year? I’ve spent the last 3 days setting things up and am already in profit by about £15. I need £600 to end the debts in 2019 rather than 2020 so I’m feeling very motivated by my choices.

I want to be greener and use less plastic. Again I’ve been doing some research and in 2018 I already started making small changes to reduce my plastic usage. I had no idea about palm oil and the damage it causes until the recent Iceland banned Christmas advert but now I do and so am trying to make food choices that doesn’t contain this. 2019 I want to continue making those changes and improve even further.

Lastly I am going to do more crafting. I do actually have small targets here. I want, by the end of the year to have produced a cushion cover which would mean getting the sewing machine out of the shed and actually learning to use it and also to crochet something. I started to learn a few years ago but using a book and it didn’t work for me so I am going to look at other teaching methods (probably YouTube or a woman at work will teach me). I joined the craft club this year and it’s opened my eyes to so many crafts so I want to just continue learning new things and see what catches my interest to take further.

So no new year new me just a continuation of what I think has been some positive changes in 2018 and in doing so will hopefully make me the well rounded happy individual I aim to be.

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?


Christmas Shopping on a Budget

I was chatting in a money management group the other day about spending habits and someone mentioned that they had recently finished paying off their debts and found that they kept the positive changes they had made during their time of financial hardship and it made me think about Christmas and how much my habits have changed since I started my debt repayment plan in 2015.

Before 2015 I would spend, spend, spend. I always left my Christmas shopping until the last minute and probably every year would either end up with another loan or put the shopping on my credit cards. Shopping was always based on a form of social pressure; to get the biggest, most expensive presents no matter whether they were fit for purpose. Nearly always people just ended up with whatever gift sets were in the shopping mall I happened to be in. Not very thoughtful gifts and no wonder I ended up in debt (one of the reasons).

I think now I am a much more thoughtful gift buyer even if I don’t gift very often. Being in debt and on a budget makes you recognise just who you should be spending your limited finances on. Firstly I cut my Christmas list down to those who were most important to me and of those remaining I made an agreement with siblings that I would only buy for their children (I have 11 nephews and nieces so still a lot!). Over the last few years that has been reduced again with siblings to a family gift so the 11 has gone to 4.

Another thing I have learnt is to shop over 12 months. I don’t set out to buy something each month and put it away but I do take advantage of year round sales or small, small business owner shops or craft fairs. I found that doing this has made me a more conscious shopper not just with the amount of money being spent but actually matching a gift to a person. As an example pre-2015 as mentioned I would blanket buy gift sets at over-inflated prices that whilst nice, you could change the name on the gift card and no one would be any wiser. Post-2015 people will get gift or a gift bag of small items that I’ve chosen when I’ve seen something that fits them perfectly. There is one present I have this year for my best friend. It’s small, cost me next to nothing but fits her perfectly and is something I know she enjoys very much. And probably 1/20th of what I had paid out in the past yet I believe she will get more lasting enjoyment (I’m being careful about what I say as she reads the blog J )

It’s not all positive. I did find when I started this some people took exception to not receiving a present any more no matter how much I explained my circumstances and while I believe that you don’t buy to receive it did amuse me the amount of people who would say ‘well if you’re not buying me one, I’m not buying you anything either’ but said in an incredibly grumpy way that suggests all they cared for was the gift and not anything else. But also funnily enough, they also turned out to be people that didn’t stick around as friends when they learnt that being good and sticking to a budget meant cutting back on lots of things. You certainly learn who are real friends and who are social friends when you have difficulties.

However this is all their problem and not mine. The majority of people accepted my decisions and are grateful for even a small gift. My dad always talks about it is the simple act of gifting and not the size of the gift and he’s right but when the world is bombarded with advertisements and social pressure at this time of year it’s hard not to fall for it.

I have one more restricted Christmas buying year (2019) and then from 2020 I have no budgeting anymore or rather not as strict as it is now. I am hoping that what the guy in the group said about keeping the good habits learnt is true and that while I may have a few more pounds to spend I won’t be silly with it and will stay a more thoughtful gift buyer.

Budgeting Success

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll know I have debt issues and am trying to work out the best way to budget for myself.  I have a debt repayment plan and my household bills and food budget is always covered but I rarely make it from one month to the next without having to borrow  or swap money around.

I tried keeping all my spare cash in a tub and just taking as i needed it – didn’t work.

I tried dividing into weeks and only using a weekly allowance – didn’t work.

So this month I tried in days. I had so much per day and that had to cover treats like a cafe drink plus the usual bread and milk. Anything left at the end of the day went in the tub. If needed I could use the tub money and mostly I did. It went on food.

And yesterday at the end of the month I had £1 left over. One whole pound. If you’ve never had money problems you may not understand how proud I am of that little pound. I’d had 2 birthdays (mine and my sons) I’d had a week off work and a trip to NOrth Yorkshire. I even went to the cinema. And I never had to borrow. I didn’t have to juggle money at the end of the month.

I made conscious decisions every day. On my week off I rounded the money into the whole week with the thought that I’d need more on the day trip but less whilst at home. The rest of the time I asked myself constantly if I needed to spend. That £1 is now in a savings tin. I have one of those where the only way to open it is with a can opener.

It stops me taking cash out and overspending. This is what I used to do when I had depressive days and how I ended up in trouble. I tried it last year with just loose change and the result was £90 saved in 2017. However because I was still struggling with the budgeting it didn’t last long. I intend to leave as long as possible this time and either use it for Xmas gifts or if I can avoid that save for something nice.

I can’t say it’s a perfect plan as it’s only been one month. I’m going to try it again and see what successes I can achieve in July