Money Wise Talks 10/2/2022

Do you ever have one of those weeks where the whole week goes by and you have absolutely no clue what you’ve done or if anything has happened?

Well, that’s been my week!

I’ve had the all important two day interview for the promotion at work. Still don’t know how it went. I think most of it went well. I made a couple of errors on my written test 😦 and my mind went completely blank when answering one of the questions but the rest went ok.

Did I give my best?

I think I did, but on reflection I’m thinking I could have done better. Urgh, hate the wait but I should find out next week.

But I want the job. I really really want it. No, I don’t just want it, I need it.

I really can’t go another year or so paying off this debt before I do anything else with my life. It’s so boring!

Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way!

I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel going full pelt and getting nowhere.

I don’t like being a negative Nelly so will try to look at the situation rationally.

I think that I’m feeling so impatient because I have gone from weekly pay to monthly and therefore I have to wait the whole month before making any dent in my plans. That’s the obvious reason anyway. I think I’m also feeling flat because I’m not overpaying on my debt. It’s weird that it makes me feel like this, but if I’m not overpaying on the debt it makes me feel physically sick. It’s like I’m choosing to be in this current position forever.

In January I paid £529.73 to debt. The majority of that is minimum payments apart from a couple of extra payments to the MBNA card.

My side hustles in January came in at £379.22 (£375.22 from courier work and £4 from Vinted). Not bad but did include the extra parcels I delivered in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

February Goals

For February, I decided to have a rest from financial goals and focus on getting more sleep and exercise. I still want to track my no spend days as I’d made a new Owl No Spend Tracker to try out. However, I can confirm that this last week has been shocking!

I did join the council gym though. I know it’s an extra expense but I really need to start going for my health. Since I’ve stopped teaching and working from home, I literally just sit around on my laptop all day. Also, I’m not getting any younger and don’t want to be someone that starts looking after themselves before it’s too late and damage is already done. I managed to get a rolling monthly gym membership so can cancel anytime I like. It’s only 22.99 per month, which is pretty cheap in comparison.

Emergency Fund Update

I have a total of £750 in the Emergency Fund now against a target of £3000, so only £2250 left to go!

Not paying the council tax this month helped me to put a little extra in. I’m hoping I’ll be able to pay a good chunk of cash in there on payday too.

TMWM Energy Experiment

With the huge hikes in energy bills this year, last month I decided to do a little experiment to see if I could reduce my energy consumption and see what that would look like in pounds saved.

Part 1 :-

The first part of the experiment, which ran for 31 days from 4 January 2022 to 4 February 2022 was just to see what my actual usage was for gas and electricity from our normal daily life.

Part 2 :-

The second part of the experiment which runs from 4 February 2022 to 4 March 2022 will be where the heating is reduced, plug sockets are switched off at the wall and not left on standby, lights are always turned on and lots more.

When the experiment is complete I will compare usage of gas and electricity between the two months and see what difference (if any) it makes to my bills. I will do a full post on this because I will include all the amounts and costs I currently pay on my gas and electric – will keep you all informed!

What I Have Spent This Week

£19.76 Gym membership for Feb

£35.11 Morrisons Food

£10.20 Tesco snacks

£1.79 Morrisons – cheese!

£103.00 Vets

£65.00 Petrol

£90.00 Meal, drinks, taxi there and back

Total £315.86

Vet bill was due from the dog having a consultation because she was limping :(. Luckily it was nothing serious but she was given an anti-inflammatory to help. She was also due flea and worming treatment. This was put onto the credit card, as I only had £80.00 in the vets sinking fund. I’ve also got both cats due their boosters, flea and worm so this is going to be an expensive month and will all be going on the credit card.

Anyone else have sinking funds but still not got enough funds to cover things!

Just going slightly off topic here, but my daughter and I were in a pet shop at the weekend picking up some bits and she asked to have a rabbit, gerbil or hamster and I said no. Being the animal lover I am, I have always said yes but my mind seemed to work a little differently this time and I started to think about the long term costs of having a pet and not just about how lovely it would be. We spoke about it and discussed food costs, toys, costs to get them looked after if we went away and also vet bills. It was such a grown up conversation, and not just for my daughter, but for both of us! And ultimately, we both decided it was for the best we didn’t have anymore – I mean we do have 1 dog, 2 cats and 2 fish!

Petrol costs of £65.00 but this was for a full tank. I was fed up of going every week so I think this should cover me until I get paid. I think I will change the weekly budget for petrol to monthly just to save time. I hardly use my car now which is great so going monthly should work.

First night out of the year with a girl friend from uni! I was so excited to be out after 7pm and have a catch up. We ate amazing Mexican food and drank lots of passionfruit martini’s and even though it cost an absolute fortune, it was worth it! I was even home for 11:30pm – I’m such a lightweight!

I’m off out again next week with my ‘Gossip Girls’ with dinner and a cinema date. I can’t wait to see them! Although I won’t be spending close to what I spent on Saturday!

You know as I’m writing this blog post, I’m seeing a common theme of spend, spend, spend! I guess this what happens when you stop the focus. I think sometimes it’s needed though, as it can be really restrictive. I mean, I’m still on my journey towards debt freedom but also want the balance of having a life. Hard isn’t it. Especially when you’ve been on the same, boring journey for so long. February and March are usually expensive months for me anyway as I have my mums and daughters birthday and then there’s mothers day. So, I’m going to give myself a break and stop being so hard on myself.

Hope you all have a great week

H

Money Wise Talks 9/12/2021

Following a super hectic and fun weekend, I welcomed the quiet week that followed in The Money Wise Mum household. I can’t believe how organised I am this year and how less stressed I am. I’ve not forgotten to move the elf on the shelf once and all the Christmas shopping is done apart from one gift left to buy. Christmas cards have been brought and will be written and posted this weekend and then I’m done. I have even had time to buy the cats and dog new beds.

In last weeks Money Wise Talks, I mentioned feeling like I’d not brought my daughter much this year, due to the fact that what she’s interested in now is more expensive than previous years. My whole budget for her went on just a couple of gifts instead of the usual lots of less expensive gifts and I was worried that these feelings would make me go out and blow loads of cash – cash I don’t have. Well you’ll be pleased to know I didn’t go out and blow loads of cash to satisfy that emotion – But I did reason with it.

I’m an emotional spender so now I always try and analyse why I want to spend if it’s out of the ordinary and what my motives are before I hit the shops. In relation to how I feel about my daughters gifts, I’m not sure whether all parents feel the same but maybe it’s because I just don’t want my child to grow up! Either that or I’m not quite ready to have the living room not completely covered in a vast amount of multi-coloured presents. Even though they would be less expensive gifts, the room was full. Maybe it’s me holding onto to my daughters childhood that little bit longer. What I do know for sure is they are only young for a small amount of time and every year I feel slightly more desperate to cling on to all tiny details that remind me when she was smaller. A room full of presents on Christmas day being one of them.

So how did I reason with that part of me that wanted to spend, spend, spend?

I spent!

I know what you’re thinking, but don’t worry! I felt like I needed to buy more, not because my daughter needed more and not because I felt I didn’t spend enough but because psychologically I felt I’d not done enough. Although I’m in no way an expert in psychology, my understanding is that most of our decisions are based on emotions and how things make us feel. Spending money, eating and working out or not as the case may be is all down to how we feel. Change how we feel and we can somehow change our path.

After last year I didn’t want to go mad and knew my Christmas budget was almost gone so instead of buying her more presents to make me feel better and that I couldn’t afford, I decided to buy her clothes instead. I was going to buy her some new clothes in January anyway as she has outgrown them so I’ve used the clothes sinking fund, brought them a few weeks early and wrapped them up. Psychologically now I FEEL like I’ve done enough and I’ve not broke the budget.

Even though I have gone slightly over budget, it’s not by £900! Like last year!

I think as well, as long as I’m always improving I don’t mind. I know for next year’s Christmas budget I will increase the monthly amount by a little more so hopefully next year I won’t go over budget at all.

For December I am doing another plan to pay off £850.20 worth of debt.

This is going to be broken down into five payments of:

  • £113.00
  • £368.08 (Extra) Hermes pay
  • £25.00
  • £290.75
  • £53.37 (Extra)

So far, I have paid off £113.00 and £368.08, so three payments left to go. If I can keep paying off £850 a month I should have the debt cleared in a little over 12 months. But thinking about that and another long year of paying off debt gets me down, so I think it’s best just to focus on it month by month. Especially as I had expected to be debt free by December 2021 😦

What did I spend this week?

£9.00 Train to works Christmas party

£6.95 Drinks at work Christmas party

£35.00 Food at Christmas party

£3.48 WH Smith

£0.15 Tesco

£12.20 Morrisoons

£0.87 Parking

£10.47 Macdonalds

£24.00 Car parking

£100 Train for two to London

£100 Drinks and food in London

This week has been so spendy! But also super fun!

A total of £302.12 was spent this week.

The work party and London trip were all put on my credit card. Not ideal but I don’t go out very often. Its also made me aware that I need to consider adding in entertainment to my Christmas budget as this is something I’d not planned for before.

On Thursday, I hopped onto a train to where my work is based (I work from home) and we all met up for a Christmas meal and drinks. The three-course meal finished me off, so I couldn’t manage my passionfruit martini. Loved seeing my work colleagues though, even more as I don’t work in the office.

Managed to have the passionfruit martini at the UKMB event

Then on Friday, I took the afternoon off and dragging a friend with me, we headed off to London for a networking event where I was able to meet lots of other money bloggers. We drank the drinks, ate the bar snacks and talked all night. Well mostly all night – until we had to get the last train back anyway. It was great meeting new, like minded people. Next time, I will definitely be getting a hotel so I can stay out gossiping for longer!

Have a great week

H

Money Wise Talks 4/11/2021

This week saw the end of October and the start of a new month – November! I love this time of the month – the start. A chance to reflect on the past month and make some more goals!

My October goals were:

  • Track Expenses
  • Get 7 hours sleep a night
  • Finish reading two books
  • Write 4 blog posts
  • Pay £500 to the Emergency Fund

I like to stick to around 4/5 goals a month that cover a variety of things; finance, health and things I like to do. A focus on body, mind and soul … oh and finances!

My goals for November are:

  • Use the Daily Spend Tracker everyday
  • 18 No Spend Days
  • Finish another two books
  • Write 8 blog posts

I keep trying to track my expenses but it never seems to end well. I just find it a right pain to list every individual item. I see people doing it and can see the value of doing it but it’s just not for me.

I’m trying something new this month – a daily spend tracker which is going very well so far!

Basically, with the daily spend tracker I’m writing down each day what I spend. I’m not going into the detail of what I spend my money on (yet) but just the total. I am also tracking my no spend days and hope for 18 no spend days in November which will be the most I’ve done this year if I can do it 😊.

Another thing I’m not great at is having a decent amount of sleep. I find if I give myself 8 hours sleep (which is probably what I need) I don’t get as much done that I want. I guess I’m my own worse enemy but this is something again I need to focus on. I am going to try to go to bed for 10pm at least once a week first and then build up from that. This is not a goal this month but is in the back of my mind and Tuesday I went to bed at 10pm so I did it this week.

I’ve always been an avid reader and love getting lost in books. My main focus this year has been to increase my finance/passive income/investing knowledge. Since working in banking a lot has changed so I feel it’s important to keep my knowledge up to date.

This month I read a Property Investing book called ‘Building Your Dream Life’ by Bronwen Vearncombe which gave a great insight into property investing as a beginner. I enjoyed seeing the numbers from the property deals they’d done but I’m definitely not ready to use other people’s money to invest. It sounds like a great concept but I am nowhere near comfortable for that yet. I also like to read thrillers and found a great one from the library called Friend Request by Laura Marshall. It’s definitely worth a read if you like a good thriller.

My new books for November are ‘Big Money Little Effort’ by Mark Shipman and 5 Day Weekend by Nik Halik.

I’ve been smashing the blog posts out as you know and am really enjoying it. Subscribers and views are increasing so I must be doing something right! I have given myself a secret (well up until now lol) little goal of 52 posts by the end of year. This will reflect a blog a week which from next year I want to do as a minimum. This year I haven’t done as many as I wanted as I was still teaching so my head wasn’t really in it. It is now though and like I said I am loving it!

Paying £500 to the emergency fund didn’t happen with the car repairs but I will slowly start to build this up again. I already have about £1000 in my Help to Save account that although is instant access and I can use it for emergencies, I choose not to so I can be eligible for the massive 50% bonus that will be paid in a few years. If you haven’t seen these accounts offered by the UK government, you can check them out here.

What Have I Spent This Week?

£12.00 on drinks when I met up with my new work colleagues last Friday. They are all so lovely and I’m really enjoying my job. It’s a world away from my last job and that’s fine by me!

£27.01 spent on groceries this week with a few cracking yellow ticket items. £0.28 for a loaf of bread usually £1.10, £0.20 for a 6 pack of rolls usually £0.79 and £0.33 for a 4 pack of blueberry muffins usually £1.29 – BARGAIN!

£30.00 spent on petrol

£10.99 on a Macdonalds

£50 Spooktacular event planned. This money came out of sinking funds

I have been on fire with my budget and spending this week. I do wonder whether I always do so well as the start of the month though when motivation is high – anyone else?

At the end of October, I decided to have a jig around with my budget and made a few big changes after a long discussion with me, myself and I. I’ve been thinking about the side hustle turned second job I do as a courier and the fact that the reason I started doing that second job was to pay off debt. And in the last few months I haven’t being using the money for that at all, as it’s just been used for the normal expenses.

Well, I decided enough was enough.

I’m not going to lie but that job wears me out so much. I’m pretty useless after a round as it’s such a manual job. So, after much though about doing a job that wipes me out pretty much every week, I have decided to make sure I do it for the purpose intended and all the money I earn from it now will ONLY be put towards to debt as an overpayment.

It has meant that I have had to cut down on what I put into sinking funds but I feel really good about this choice I’ve made.

Along with this decision I also did a zero-based budget and included all the rest of my income and expenses which has allowed me to see exactly what I can pay to debt this month if I don’t mess up. I’ve put it out there on this blog and the world of Instagram to keep me accountable. The figure I want to pay towards debt this month is £830.20.

This is going to be made up of five payments:

£180  –  This one has been paid today 😊

£25

£289.53

£282.30

£53.37

If I can keep this going, I will be debt free in no time … £15,820.54 to gooooooooo!

Finally, this week I have made a couple more goal trackers free to download, a house goal one and a savings goal one.

I love making these (must be the teacher in me lol) but would love to know what you think, please let me know in the comments below.

Have a great week

H

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalise a purchase. I will only recommend products I have used, which I feel will benefit you. Thank you for the support.

Money Wise Talks 21/10/2021

Life this week has been a rollercoaster!

From car costs to rekindling a very old love for exercise, I’ve had it all.

Last Thursday my lovely car decided to die again. I’ve had it for ten years and it owes me nothing, but it has cost me some serious money in repairs this year – £1484.58 to be exact!

With my limited knowledge on cars, I thought the clutch had gone. I asked Ford garage for a quote as my usual garage was super busy and the quote came back as £850. I laughed so hard, but only to stop the tears.

I ended up taking it to a garage my mum uses and was super pleased that 1 – it wasn’t the clutch, but a wire had snapped to the hand break and  2) it was going to be £269.68.

Still expensive, but not as ridiculous as £850.

Unfortunately, the car was out of action all weekend and I didn’t get it back till Tuesday, so I was unable to do my courier work on Sunday. I felt awful letting them down but had no other car to use. And I missed earning the money. I really love that little job.

Bad news followed unfortunately, the light on the kettle broke (still boils though) and then the official letter I’d been dreading came through the post ‘unable to collect payments’ for the child maintenance I usually receive. I’m not sure when this payment will start again, so that’s me down £200 a month, right in time for Christmas. Thank goodness for the Christmas sinking fund.

So those are all the downs, let me tell you all the highs.

Being forced to walk the school run, there and back whilst I had my car in the garage made me realise and miss my love for exercise I had years ago. Wrapped up warm with the cold hitting our faces every morning and clocking up over 10,000 steps a day is exactly what I need.

They say getting out into nature is a way to destress, improve your health and mind and I’d definitely agree.

We all loved it!

Including the dog!

No deliveries completed on Sunday. I did however get stuck into finishing the decorating in the kitchen. Monies tight whilst on the debt pay off journey but I wanted to freshen up the inside of the house so decided to paint everywhere white – starting with the kitchen.

No ‘cutting in’ for me!

Everywhere will look so fresh and clean and as I have lots of colourful furniture and décor, I’m hoping it won’t look cold and clinical.

Cost for supplies: £88.90 for ceiling and wall paint, brushes and white satin wood for the radiators, doors and skirting boards.

I paid in to the ‘Clothes’ sinking jar this week with £30 and used it to buy uniform my daughter needed. I want to be more organised so brought it before the half term starts instead of at the end when everything is usually sold out. I’m definitely going to do this again. I’ve also started to buy uniform in bits instead of all at the same time and replace items as they wear out. I can use the money from the clothes sinking jar each month instead of having to save it up. £31.50 spent

Three items listed and sold this week on Vinted. Two pairs of girls’ winter ankle boots and my old lab coat. Total available in my Vinted account to take out £9.00. I think I am just going to allow this to increase until I get to £78.37 and when I reach this, I can transfer it to the MBNA credit card and colour in a line on my debt pay off tracker. I’ve still got lots to upload onto Vinted so watch this space! If you wanted to check out some of the clothes I sell, here is the link

We went to see the ‘umpkins’!

That’s my amazing photography right there lol! I quite like the word ‘umpkins’ though, think that’s a keeper!

I say ‘see’ instead of ‘pick’ as we didn’t actually pick any from the farm this year. At a cost of £4.00 a pumpkin, we didn’t have it in our budget to buy the pumpkin as well as pay £7.50 to play on the play area the farm has. So being mindful of our £10 a week fun budget, I brought a pumpkin from Morrisons for £1.00 and instead just paid for the play on the park. I still wanted my daughter to have the experience of the pumpkin patch though and we had a fantastic afternoon. £7.50 spent.

As I had no car to put petrol this week, I did spend slightly more on food at £34.89, but only £4.89 over the food budget. I used the rest of cash to grab some snacks and treat my daughter to a magazine and some football cards. Still stayed within the overall weekly budget of £50 (£30 food, £20 petrol).

Finally, after a long wait I have reduced my debt total down to

£16,000.54!

This is only from the usual minimum payments going out as I haven’t been able to overpay since starting my new job in September and getting used to being paid weekly again. I am trying to overpay but it’s like two steps forward and ten back with car repairs, missing courier shifts, no holiday pay, and the ongoing saga of no child maintenance. It’s all causing havoc with my finances.

I have a plan though. I have decided to remove the child maintenance payments from my budget, so I never expect them in again. If they come in great, but if they don’t it’s not going to mess me up. And I’m going to continue to leave my debits cards out of my phone case. Such a simple, yet effective thing to do and has really cut my impulse spending in the week.

If anyone is looking at cutting costs, I would definitely recommend this.

Last but not least, my little blog is ONE on Saturday. I can’t believe I have been documenting my journey on this blog for year and although I will do a special blog on Saturday, I want to thank every one of you, especially my followers for all your likes and comments.

Have a great week

H

Top Tips for Match Betting

This year I got my head stuck into match betting and have been carefully working my way through all the sign up offers on Profit Accumulators website. What I love the most is the step-by-step videos and instructions telling me exactly what I need to do. You can’t go wrong really, well unless you did what I did and backed something twice without laying it … I only lost £20 but it’s so important to check, check and double check what you are doing and always make sure you back AND lay the same thing.

I don’t want to scare you off match betting. The reason why I lost that money was because of my error, it’s not because it’s too hard. If you don’t read the information correctly, like I didn’t, there is a risk you can lose money. I have been doing this every day for just over a week and I have managed to make nearly £300 with the help of my trusty checklist.

Before I put any bets on now, so I don’t make the same mistake again, I check my tips to make sure I have done everything right. In fact I have found it so helpful, I thought I’d share it 🙂

My Top Tips

  1. Use decimal odds. If you can’t see how to change them on the site, use Google (Good old Google always saves the day)!
  2. Check, check and double check the minimum odds you need for you qualifying bet
  3. Do the qualifying bet first and the free bets once the qualifying bets have settled (completed) and are available
  4. Use the Oddsmatching software from Profit Accumulator
  5. Make sure you back and lay the same EXACT thing – check exact names, time of race/game and what your backing – win/draw/exact goals/horse name
  6. The back and lay odds need to be as close together as possible for you to maximise your profits. The higher the rating, the better the match.
  7. If the odds at the bookies/exchange site are showing different to the ones on Oddsmatcher, change them on oddsmatcher
    so you have up to date figures to work with
  8. When using the free bets, use higher odds as this will get you more profit. However, the higher the odds, the more money you will have to put in your account as a liability.
  9. Always do the back bet first and then the lay bet
  10. On a free bet, you don’t add anything in the stake button, but you do need to make sure you use your free bet
  11. Do not bet on Tennis matches!! This was my mistake, and neither opponent won so therefore both my back and lay bet lost
  12. Make sure your lay bet hasn’t been put down as a back bet in error. This is also one of my mistakes as I thought all exchanges were lay bets only – silly me!! I am not sure of other exchange sites but on Smarkets a lay bet is shown as SELL in blue, whereas a back bet is shown as BUY in green.
  13. I place my bets on the same day as the game or the race. This means I can check weather and see if any horses have been withdrawn. It also means I can get my profits quicker.
  14. If I need to do a qualifying bet, I try and do it in the morning for a game/race at lunch time and then when it has finished, I can hopefully put the free bet on the evening games/races. Not all bookies give free bets straight away, but most have once the qualifying bet has settled.
  15. I try and put as many bets on as I can in a day – the most I did was 13! I was doing it for 6 hours through out the day but made £70 odd in total.
  16. At the moment, I stick to football and horse racing but I avoid horse racing when it’s bad weather
  17. Keep a notebook of all your bets. I list the date and time of the race/game, bet amount, odds for back and lay, what bookies and exchange I have used, whether it’s a qualifying, free or reload bet. I also keep track of profit made and where all my money is, what amounts are with each bookie and exchange and any amounts I have withdrawn and am waiting for them to credit.
  18. I use a separate bank account and debit card for all my match betting transactions. I transferred over £500 and see that money as my match betting money. When I balance my accounts every day/few days I know anything over £500 is my profit.

If you are looking at getting into match betting as a side hustle, don’t forget to head over to my blog post ‘How to Get Your Head Around Match Betting’ to help you get started.

Good Luck!!

I want to add, match betting is meant to be a fun way to make a little extra money. If you start actually betting and risking your money then please stop. I wouldn’t want for match betting to become a trigger for you if you have an addictive personality or gambling problems in the past. It can be addictive but make sure you are always match betting and not actual gambling where there is a risk of losing your money. Stay safe x

Affiliate Disclosure
I am an affiliate for Profit Accumulator so if you were to click on the links and sign up for the monthly subscription, I will receive an affiliate commission, at no extra cost to you! I will only recommend services and products used by me personally and which I consider will be of benefit to my readers.

How to Get the Most Money from selling your Clutter

Since lock down and trends like minimalism and gorgeous clutter free pictures of perfect homes on Pinterest, people are now more than ever getting stuck in with the decluttering, sorting and selling of their preloved items. Millions of items are being sold every day world-wide and its become a bargain hunters paradise.

I will admit to becoming one of these ‘Sorters of Stuff’ and have become a little obsessed with clearing, sorting and selling. I have loved raising some much-needed cash towards my debt free journey and have been happy that my preloved items have found a new home. Unexpectedly, I have felt a weight lifted every time something is sold and leaves my home which encourages me even more. Not only that but I have started to feel free and much happier with less clutter in my life.

Decluttering and selling preloved items isn’t a new trend, it has been around for years but social media platforms and places like Facebook Marketplace have enabled people to reach far and wide in the attempt to sell their unused items. Previously, if people didn’t drive they were limited to buying unused items online from places like FB Marketplace as they wouldn’t be able to collect, but collection is not the only one way you can get your items now as postage is an option. Thank goodness other delivery companies are competing with Royal Mail and offering cheaper postage.

The market is being saturated with new sellers, so it’s important now more than ever to make sure your items look their best, are listed at the right price and are listed at the right time. I have made more money in selling preloved items in the last month than any of my other side hustles so it’s important to get it right. You can see how much I have made over on my Instagram page. And to help you, I have made a handy list of TEN key things to do to maximise your selling success!

1) Clean your items

If they are dirty or need washing make sure you clean them first. This will give you the chance of inspecting the item to make sure there’s no damage and can help you to get the maximum price. I know I would be put off from seeing a dirty item.

2) Take photos of the items in the daylight but post at night

This is so important because natural light will show your item in its best light and could maximise the price you get. Even bright lights like spotlights will not do your item justice. Make sure you put your item up for sale around 6pm and no later than 10pm in the week as this is when most people are at home chilling with their phones out scrolling. At weekends, you could also post in the day from 11am. Include pictures of instructions, leads and anything else that goes with the item.

3) Take clear photos

Make sure your photo is in focus, its clear, crop out the background and take the picture in a room which is tidy so not to distract the viewer away from your item.

4) Bulk sell or sell individually?

Decide whether you will get more money from selling your items as a bulk lot or as an individual sale. If I have items that I do not think will sell on their own or are out of season, I pair them up with other things and sell them as a total price. I lay all items out on the bed so you can see them all and then take the picture whilst standing above the bed so it’s a downward shot. This way you can see all the items clearly. I also list every single item so buyers know exactly what they are going to get.

For items I know will sell on their own or items that are in season, I hang them individually so you can see them more clearly. It takes more time to do but you can get a better price.

5) Brands

If it’s a branded item like Next or Adidas make sure you say so in the Title and in the Description. People like branded items and will pay more for them so don’t forget to mention it!

6) Damaged Item

You must mention if an item is damaged and be prepared to knock a little off the price. People will still buy damaged so don’t be put off from listing it. I find if items are worn especially kids clothes I still list them but make sure I put worn and put them a little cheaper. For kids clothes, they aren’t in them longer than a few months anyway so what’s the point in paying top price?

7) Title and Description

List the size, colour and a short description of the item in the title and then in the description list the same again but add the items condition, collection postcode and whether you would be happy to post.

8) Collection and post

Put you would be happy for the item to be collected or posted. When I started to offer to post the item, I had a lot more interest and sold more things. Most buyers always ask how much more an item will be, so weigh the item and give them a price. I always give them a Royal Mail and Hermes price and ask them whether they want to pay for First or Second Class. If I am posting an item, I always ask for the buyer to pay using PayPal first before I post. Also, ask for them to pay through PayPal under ‘Friends and Family’ as it saves you being charged by PayPal for using their service.

9) Post it quickly

Post the item as quickly as you can, same day or next day if sold at night and message the buyer with a screen shot of the tracking number or reference number so they can track the item.

10) Feedback

After your amazing service, ask for feedback! Why not?! Especially for FB marketplace and Ebay where everyone can see what type of seller you are. It will stop anyone being put off from doing business with you if they see you have great feedback from previous customers.

I’m going to be honest with you and tell you that this whole process takes time, practice and patience but as the sales start rolling in you will know how worth it will be.

Let me know if there is anything on this list I may have forgotten and HAPPY SELLING!

What to do when the Debt Avalanche or Debt Snowball methods don’t work for you?

In all the finance blogs I have read, I have never seen anyone address what to do if neither the ‘Debt Snowball’ or ‘Debt Avalanche’ methods work, which was the case for me last year. I had been following the debt snowball method for a couple of years and was making good progress, I was in tune with my finances and knew what was going out and when, and I could, at the time afford all my minimum payments. But I knew my financial situation was going to change in September 2020 with a huge drop in income leaving me in a financial position where I wouldn’t be able to cover the monthly minimum payments on my debts. Six months leading up to this financial change (March 2020) I knew I had to do something completely different.

I listed all my debts, but this time in order of the highest minimum payment to the smallest. This is what my outstanding debt looked like at April 2020.

 Minimum Payment £Balance Outstanding @ April 2020 £
NatWest Loan3824,369.55
Barclaycard Credit Card320.8412,160.16
Tesco Credit Card1105,533.02
MBNA Credit Card1047,233.58

As you can see, although the NatWest Loan had the smallest balance, it was the highest monthly payment. And in total, I had £916.84 going out every month as a MINIMUM. Shocking really and looking back I will never know how I covered it. I always did though. I never missed a payment once, ever.

I did need a new plan so over the next six months from April 2020 to September 2020 I paid as much as I could off the loan and then the Barclaycard. The loan didn’t allow me to make overpayments, so I created a bare bones budget, meal planned every week and saved everything I could in an account until I had enough to pay if off in full. I was able to do this by May 2020 and paid the loan off in full. This then freed up the payment I was making on the loan of £382, thus reducing my total minimum payments on all debt to £534.84.

The next one to attack was Barclaycard and to reduce the minimum payment of £320.84. Again, with a bare bones budget, meals planned, money saved, and de-cluttered items sold, the minimum payment came down to £225.48 by September 2020. When I received my reduced income in September 2020, I only had to find £418.93 for my total debt minimum payments which was a lot more manageable than the original £916.84.

As I write this, March 2021, I am currently still paying off Barclaycard. The minimum monthly payment is £160.47, and the balance is £4113.14. My total debt payments are now £343.37 and I have now switched back to the Debt Snowball method where I am trying to attack Barclaycard with a vengeance!

 Minimum Payment £Balance Outstanding @ March 2021 £Interest Rate %
Barclaycard160.244113.1420
Tesco Credit Card104.005246.9420
MBNA Credit Card79.137798.110

Barclaycard is still the highest monthly payment, as well as one of the highest charging interest accounts and I have completed balance transfers where I can between the three accounts, and this is what I have left to pay. The credit card with the highest balance is at 0 % but that will change at the end of this year. However, I am confident to have Barclaycard paid off so I can tackle the other credit cards before interest is charged again.

I think the moral of my story is this, it’s important to try all the different methods out there if you think they will work for you but be open to doing your own thing if your circumstances change. It’s important to regularly review the methods you’re using and if you anticipate a change in your finances, make sure you leave enough time to adjust your way of working so you don’t come unstuck. Ultimately, if I had not done what I did then I would have been unable to pay the minimum payments and would have had missed payments and possibly CCJ’s on my credit file for several years.