pensionbee

My Pension Mess has been Fixed thanks to PensionBee.

My Pension Mess has been fixed thanks to PensionBee

Back in September 2016 I published an honest story about my pensions mess, you can read it here. My pension is something that I always brushed under the carpet. I (rather mistakenly) didn’t pay in to my scheme during my twenties and started contributing to my company pension when I was 32. The consequence being that I missed the golden years of my youth contributions when I had no outgoings relating to children (read that as expensive outgoings!). Who knows how much money I missed out on putting into my pension. Especially when you consider the impact of the time value of money (money invested 15 years ago, is worth a lot more now ).

However, I cannot change the past, but I can impact the present and set myself up for the future. So, I made the decision to unlock my frozen pensions by transferring them over to PensionBee. I wanted to give myself some freedom to make choices and prepare for retirement.

I kicked off the process by starting the transfer on 24th November 2016. Two pension pots from my previous companies EE and Threshers (FQR Ltd) were to be transferred. Simple you would think.

Before I put any transfers into place I firstly gave each pension company a call to check my balance and to check the fees I was paying each year. Also, the returns they had been giving me on average each year. I then had something to compare to PensionBee.

The PensionBee Tracker plan fee of 0.5% was cheaper than one fund (0.6%,) and a tiny bit more than the other fund (0.46%) and the returns which are by no means guaranteed, looked good.

pensionbee

However, the most important part for me was that my frozen schemes would be unlocked and I would now be able to pay into my pension scheme when I chose.

To kick off the process I very simply added my existing pension company names, account numbers, address, previous address, name and maiden name. The information was whizzed over to the BeeKeepers who then did all the chasing and organising for me. I received friendly and simple email communication throughout the transfer process.

Let’s start the clock

My details were provided to PensionBee on 24th November. I received an email on 29th November telling me that my smaller Threshers/FQR pension pot was ready to be transferred! But my bigger EE pension pot required paper forms to be signed by me – or delays could ensue. I just needed to e-sign a letter saying that Pensionbee could act on my behalf, and this was organised very securely on 29th November.

On 22nd/23rd December I received an email to say my pension funds of around 11k had been transferred from my simpler Legal & General, FQR policy. I could now see my balance in my PensionBee dashboard!

pensionbee

But there were delays to my EE transfer as the provider was dragging their heels and required an actual pen to paper signature.

Forms were posted to me for my EE pension that I just needed to sign and return in the pre-paid envelope. It was Christmas and New year and I sat on them for two weeks. PensionBee sent me a chaser email on 5th January which prompted me to remember, sign and return them. On 6th Feb I received an email from BeeKeeper Jack to say that my EE pension of 31k was in the process of being transferred. I got my completion email on 10th Feb.

From initiation to final transfer completion took 78 days! Even without my two-week delay of sitting on forms it would still have been 64 days! This is no fault of PensionBee – rather the established pension companies who drag their heels with the transfer of funds. To improve things PensionBee are campaigning and lobbying the government to enforce a ten-day switch guarantee. After all, why shouldn’t switching pension providers be just as simple as switching your bank account? You can support the PensionBee campaign for a ten-day transfer by sending a letter to your MP here.

I was comforted by the regular emails from the PensionBee team who kept me well informed and who chased me when I forgot to sign and return the forms to them! But I still do not understand why it should take so long to transfer my money to a pensions company of my choice! You can support the PensionBee campaign for a ten-day transfer by sending a letter to your MP here.

The present

I can check how much is in my pension pot every day (if I want) and see how it changes over time. I am planning to start up a monthly direct debit into my pension pot before the end of 2017.

This potentially scary and painful decision was made simple by PensionBee who did all the work for me.

The future

I can use the calculator on the PensionBee website to see what my fund would be worth to me when I retire. This is the very scary part. If I wanted to retire at 65, invested nothing more into my pot, and just let it grow naturally with the fund, it would be worth £4,680 per year. This is just £390 per month. This is not good, really not good.

pensionbee

I need to act to make this income higher and this is the next part of my financial plan. I want to plan effectively for the future with my pension, savings, equity and investments. I have an appointment planned with a financial planner very soon, which I will of course write about on Mrs Mummypenny. It feels so good to be in control of our finances and our future.

Also on the to-do list is to follow this same process for my hubby, who has two potentially small pension pots from a very long time ago.

Please be aware that any form of investment can go up and down and you may want to consider advice from a qualified IFA. Just make sure they are recommended by a trusted friend and check their investment levels as some will only work with clients with an investment level of at least £150k. This post was written in collaboration with PensionBee.

 

female empowerment

Female Empowerment in your life and career




Female Empowerment in your life and career

Yesterday I was invited to breakfast event hosted by Lansons PR firm on The Female Empowerment Strategy.

It was a day that started with tears and confusion. I woke to the news of the Manchester bombing. I sat and watched the news from 6am until the children awoke just watching and crying. Those families who were yet to know what had happened to their children. Innocent young lives taken by evil. As the boys got up transformers went on and I got ready to go to London , choosing the brightest dress and lipstick I own.

At 7am all three boys had got up, I gave them a tight hug and explained what had happened the night before, that was a hard discussion that a mum shouldn’t have to have with her young boys. They accepted it, I can’t say they understood, but I told them they were safe and mummy and daddy were safe and that we loved them very much.

Female Empowerment Event

The day was fuelled with emotion. I met Emma and Lotty, fellow personal finance influencers, at the event and we grabbed a coffee and some fruit (croissants!) and took our seats.

The speakers were Michèle Dix CBE, Managing Director of Crossrail 2, Jo Gibbons, Head of Health Industries Marketing PwC and Claire Parsons Co-Founder of Lansons and chair of the event. Threee incredibly successful ad powerful women.




Michele Dix spoke first and wow, I was bowled over by this woman. She was confident yet gracious. You wouldn’t want to cross her but you would love for her to be your mentor. She talked about the power of sideways and backwards steps. The decision she has made to work part-time her entire post children career, yes, she is the managing director of Crossrail!

No-one gives you power, you just take it – Michèle Dix

Jo Gibbons used to work in politics and was advisor to Tony Blair, um yes, the actual prime minister who I voted into power in 1997, me aged 20, first time of voting. She is a powerhouse who has had the most amazing career, she recounted trips to Afghanistan and middle eastern extreme sexism. She discussed women in sport that she champions.

Never compare yourself to others – Jo Gibbons

Claire Parsons is the co-founder of Lansons, a PR agency whom I work with closely from an influencer marketing perspective. A large firm that looks after the PR relationship for around 60-70 financial institutions. Claire runs a firm that is 75% female, enough said.

Question time

Question time followed the keynotes from each of the speaker. The questions and discussions were rather corporate career lead, how to manage sexism and gender bias. We discussed choices, and making the choice that is right for you. We talked about the importance of looking out for others, mentor those on the way up. But what we didn’t mention was the destructive female, the alpha male.




The last question of the day came from me. How do you behave when you are faced with a senior female who bullies you, rips you apart in the public arena? I experienced this in my last corporate role where I was a senior commercial manager at EE. A woman who forced me to make a choice between my family and my work. I obviously chose my family and negotiated redundancy from the firm after a relocation. She made me cry, she broke me for around four months and when there was no fight left I quit. Fight or flight? I chose to fly. The gift of redundancy (arranged by my male boss) funded the start-up of Mrs Mummypenny, now a flourishing company which means I will never have to return to the corporate world.

Several people approached me at the end of the event, a therapist with 2 teenage daughters, Rachel from Lansons and Michèle Dix to say thank you for that question and bringing up the issue.

Collaborate, do not compete

Please support the women around you. Collaborate and do not compete. Help those younger shining stars on the way up be that in the corporate world or the self-employed world. Make time to mentor others and enrich their lives with your knowledge and experience. This is the greatest female empowerment in the world.

Who are your female role models? I would love to know the women you look up to, are influenced by and who you talk to for advice.



leetchi

Investing in a Successful Small Business to help it Grow with Leetchi

Investing in a Successful Small Business to help it Grow with Leetchi

Mrs Mummypenny has reached the point where it is too big for one person, me, with just the 168 hours per week to manage.

I, of course need sleep, take away 56 hours. I need to see my family and cook dinners, go to football games, do school runs. Take away another 49 hours per week. I need to exercise, 7 hours per week. Leaving me with 56 hours to week to run a flourishing and successful business.

Oh yes, don’t forget hubby is also launching his own business and needs help from me setting up the marketing and PR elements. Argggg.

So now is the time to 1) take on an assistant 2) think about outsourcing more stuff 3) think about investment.

Taking on help

I have written a to do list of everything I need to do to run Mrs Mummypenny. I have then split that list into what I can give to an assistant. Said assistant has been found, an immediate feeling of calm enveloped me and could breathe for at least 24 hours after we agreed to go ahead!

What else can I outsource?

Cleaning

I need to hire a cleaner. I cannot be wasting precious time cleaning our house. And I need our house to be clean and tidy so I have a clear and tidy mind. I need the clutter gone, I need space. Decluttering is in full progress, I have alot for sale on my Knebworth Items for sale Facebook group. I need to find a cleaner. Next Step – add to do list.

Accounts and Book-keeping

My assistant is going to do my expense/receipts recordings, my invoicing and chasing of my invoices. And reconcile my bank accounts and show me a summary each month of what jobs I agreed, how much cash I received and how much expenses I paid out. Phew

I employed an accountant as soon as I incorporated. He has just completed my year 1 accounts, which were submitted last week. He is worth his weight in accountancy fees, let me tell you. Christian Elmes is a superstar accountant.

Invest in scheduling tools to help manage my social media.

I use Hootsuite for Twitter. And I am considering Tailwind and Board booster for Pinterest. Another thing that my assistant can help with. See how reliant I am on this assistant!

What I am not going to Outsource

Writing

Mrs Mummypenny is me, my view, my writing, my style. I can’t outsource it to others to write for me. Particularly when it comes to campaigns where I am employed specifically for my writing style, straight talking and genuine views.

Instagram and Facebook

My Instagram and Facebook posts. I only do 1 a day on each platform and they are personal to me. I want to carry on doing these. I love Instagram and often say to brands if you want to get to know me then browse through my Instagram feed.

Investment Options

In order to grow and grow as fast as my five-year plan says I need investment. Investment can come in many forms, here is what I am thinking about or in the process of discussing.

Retained Earnings

Obviously the first place for an investment pot. I have some retained earning but not much. Really not enough!

Investment from a mentor/angel investor

I am talking to a few people about potential loans or equity (not made up my mind here, particularly when it comes to control). These people would also act as official advisors. They have a copy of the progress after two years and my plans for the next three years. I have pulled together a plan of how much money I would need, what I would spend it on and how much return I and they would get for that investment.

Just to point out I spent 16 years working for EE, Tesco, HSBC doing this job for big companies. I am a qualified commercial accountant (ACMA), so I know what I am talking about when it comes to making money out of a business.

Loans from bank/friend

I have a couple of friends who might consider investing in me for no interest charges, but cannot offer the business/mentor advice I need. I could also get a loan from my bank or start up loans company for around 6% interest.

Grants

There are grants available for small business growth, I am definitely considering this free money!

Donation based crowdfunding platform

There are companies such as GoFundme or Leetchi, a new entrant to the market. The Leetchi.com platform can be used to get the project off the ground, based on purely donations not an investment. You set a fund-raising target and they provide the platform for donations to be made. Leetchi’s fees are much smaller than the bigger player in this market as they are new to the scene and are trying to do something different.

leetchi money pot

You can set a target of any amount and when you are happy with the amount you can transfer it to your bank account. If the transfer amount is less than £,2000 there is 4% fee, if it’s more than £2,000 there is a 2.9% fee. The target limit is £20,000. This is much more competitive than Crowdfunder for example at 6%.

The tool can also be used for charitable donations, fund raising events and even friends birthday gifts. Both Charlotte Burns and Emma Bradley have written about Leetchi focusing on these ways of using Leetchi as a platform. Click on their names to read their posts.

I am hosting a charity event on 16th June 2017, if you live near to Knebworth why not pop along, details are here. A stationery party with money raised going to Grief Encounter. This platform would also be perfect for donations to be made to the charity from people who can’t make it to the event.

This is a collaborative post with Leetchi

5 frugal things post 30

5 Frugal Things Post 30 – TV, mystery shopping and financial planning




5 Frugal Things post 30 – TV, mystery shopping and financial planning

Wow what a week!! For those regular readers and followers on Instagram you will have seen boozy awards nights out, hangovers, cocktails, TV appearances, spa reviews. What I didn’t show you was my meetings with a financial planner, mystery shopping experiments, writing lots, drinking lots of detox tea! Here are my 5 frugal things post 30 highlights.

Mystery Shopping can be too much hassle

I rather thoughtlessly agreed to do a mystery shop for a bread product on Wednesday and Thursday. All I had to do was build and shelf unit thing and fill it with 50p loaves. It sounded easy and was fairly well paid. The company called me and asked if I would do Letchworth, St Albans, Shefford and Welwyn Garden City. I agreed as it was going to pay me £60. I thought it cant be more than 2 hour work.

I was wrong. The shelf unit was a nightmare to put together, each shop didn’t want the stand, they wanted to display the promotion there own way. The shops took ages to get to. My hangover on Wednesday did not help. The app was a challenge to complete.

It ended up taking me four hours to do all four shops. Am sorry but my time is precious and that wasn’t good earnings for the use of my time. I will not be doing it again.




A positive Mystery Shopping Experience

With the negative comes the positive. I was desperate for some relaxation/me time and I got this on Thursday. I do some work for another mystery shopping company who sent me visit to a spa day including a treatment. It meant I got a day in a local spa, including a treatment and got paid. All I had to do was record me setting up the appointment and write a report about my experience. Not really a challenge for me as I am used to reviewing things on my website.

I dropped the boys at school on Thursday, drove straight to the spa. I was in the jaccuzzi by 10am. I swam 1000 metres, I went for a steam and a sauna. I had a healthy lunch (so did spend £10 on that) and then a facial. I lay on a heated bed for 1 whole hour and read a book (okay the book was how much money do you need for the rest of your life!) and I switched off mobile data on my phone.

Financial Planning

On Wednesday whilst croaky and hungover (hope he didn’t notice) I had a skype call with a rather amazing man called Pete Matthew. I discovered him when Damien Fahy of Money to the Masses fame interviewed him on his One Giant Leap podcast. This man is inspirational, he knows his money stuff, can explain it simply, is funny and get this lives in Penzance (where I am from!). I had to connect to this guy. I tweeted him to say I enjoyed the podcast and the dialogue began.

Pete is a financial planner who is one of the partners at Jackson’s in Penzance. I remember them when I was growing up as this scary suited people business that only helped out rich people. Sorry Pete, I was a teenager! It certainly wasn’t a place that my parents would use, particularly my dad who went and died without a will. Turns out they are a financial planning firm, that help you to plan your financial future, and by the grand age of 30-40 many of us have amassed enough equity/pension funds/savings etc to warrant help from a financial planner.




I am looking into our financial future at the moment, I have sorted out my pensions mess which I wrote about. But there was lots of things I am still confused about, what do I do about our equity, what about investments, what about a will (we don’t have a will..shock horror, reference the comment about my dad). I arranged an hour’s skype with Pete and talked about everything.

It was an incredible conversation (and Free!) where he put my mind at rest, dispelled some of my beliefs, corrected some assumptions. And told me I HAD TO GET A WILL SORTED. I have an appointment booked to sort that out now. So much content coming on all this stuff as I investigate and get things arranged. He also said focus on repayment of the debt we owe, work hard on the 2 businesses we own and to come back in 18 months time. He is good!

Called Sky and saved money!

I called sky on Monday to see if they could reduce our £75 a month bill. This is fibre broadband (I need this to do my job!), landline, sky sports and HD package and movies. They told me I was on a good deal 50% off TV stuff so all that could be done was remove things. I got sky movies removed which saved £9 per month.

I told all this to hubby, who told me to just cancel sky sports!!! A result that I really wasn’t expecting, he is into this money saving as well! We can go down to the standard entertainment package and save oodles of money. We have Amazon Prime anyways to access films so that will have to do for the children.

Co-op Orange Sticker shopping

Did I say Wednesday was a terrible hangover day. I got home at 2:30 am after the headline money awards. I was up at 6 am as hubby needed a lift to work at 7am…ergggghhhh. I managed to survive until school pick up time. I paid Co-op a little visit and got myself dirty burgers, dorito’s and dips for dinner for me and the boys. I know its not healthy and it didn’t make me feel better afterwards. But it did make me feel better for the 5 minutes whilst I was eating it. I managed to pick up pizza, lettuce and bread as orange stick reduced prices;-)

I hope you had a wonderful money saving week, share your best bargains.

I am linking up with CassEmma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five Fabulously Frugal things I have done this week linky.



excessive packaging

Excessive Packaging on Regular Grocery products

Excessive Packaging

Have you ever bought a huge box of washing powder on promotion thinking “Wow, I have got a bargain here”, but when you get home and open it up the box isn’t full of the product? Do you feel hard done by?

And what about the environmental impact? That huge box of fairy washing power is using much more packaging than necessary, takes up more room in the lorries for transportation. And we the customer, end up PAYING MORE than we should from the extra packaging and transportation costs?

It really aggravates me. I recently filmed my findings with ITV’s Good Morning Britain on the subject. 4 hours of decluttering and cleaning ensued before the arrival of the filming team!

I love to share deals with my website and social media followers to save them the lots of money. After all, it’s the aim of my website to save and make you money! But I do struggle with the environmental aspects of products, particularly from the supermarket. I always like to buy loose products rather than packaged, as no 1, I know they are cheaper (have you ever compared 5 bananas loose to 5 bananas in a packet?) and no 2 what a waste of plastic and cardboard.

Despite my efforts our recycling bin is always full to bursting point by collection time every two weeks.

Examining 10 Family Favourites

I examined ten of our favourite branded grocery products to see how much wasted packaging there was. Some examples were just silly, the brands need to stop doing this! I looked at Fairy washing powder, Quavers, Nivea men’s deodorant, chocolate buttons, frozen peas, frozen vegetables chips, cheese strings, pepperami, mini rolls and hot chocolate.

I even had a measuring tape to investigate the level of waste in the packaging. The worst culprits were the washing powder, the chocolate buttons and the mini rolls. The washing powder boxes were huge, they were bumper ‘special offer’ 4kg boxes. The type of boxes you will always find on the power aisle of your super market. I opened it up and was shocked to see that 1/3rd of the box was empty! Rather deceiving of the brand there.

wasteful packaging

The chocolate buttons were an interesting one, we looked at bumper grab bag packets which were basically full of air and only ¼ full of chocolate. With the mini rolls, there was a stark difference when you took the rolls out of the packaging as to how small they were compared the cardboard tray after removing two layers of packaging!

The deodorant was a funny one, it was the screw up type. I turned the packaging to pop up the deodorant to see how much product was in there, around half of the packaging was deodorant the rest was packaging, I popped up the deodorant and dropped and smashed on my spotless kitchen work top.

Check me out on Good Morning Britain

I appeared on Good Morning Britain on 19th May 2017 (Thank you to Nicolette for introducing me as an expert). I popped it onto YouTube with commentary from my 4 year old Jack who hadnt yet seen it!! Its good!!

Tell me about products that annoy you with ridiculous amount of packaging? What do you do to avoid buying products with so much packaging?

 

This article is my view and my view only.

goHenry

goHenry and how it can help your children to manage their money

goHenry and financial education

I am very open with my children about money. They know how much things cost, they understand when times are a bit tight with money and they know when we have money to spend on nice things like holidays. They know that mummy and daddy are working hard to earn as much as possible, saving cash to repay some money we owe. They also know the value of things, they know how much the mortgage costs and how much work its takes to pay for the mortgage. I really think we as a nation of parents should be open and discuss these things with our children.

Let us have our children growing up knowing that money must be earned which then pays for the house, the food, the after-school clubs, the football boots. I don’t want them thinking they can have whatever they ask for and there is unlimited pot of money. Because there isn’t.

Consequentially, I am supportive of any tools that will help the boys to understand the value of money. The goHenry pre-payment card was mentioned to me last year. There was a Facebook debate on Mrs Mummypenny about amount of pocket money, yes or no to pocket money, is it dependant on chores. I turned it into a post here. A couple of people mentioned the Go-Henry card.

What is goHenry?

It is a pre-payment card that is suitable for children of Josh’s age and over. Josh is 7 and he is quite comfortable with money and the value of things. Judge your own child and their acceptance of the value of money. According to Cambridge university children form their money habits and beliefs from the age of 7 so it is a good age to start.

You set up a parent account where a balance of money sits, then add your children’s accounts. I set up one for Dylan and one for Josh and set up a weekly transfer of £5 per week into their accounts. The pre-payment cards can be used at the cash machine to withdraw cash, used in shops via chip and pin to pay for things.

You can transfer in a one-off chunk of money and drip feed in weekly pocket money. And you can set up other people, family members to transfer money in as well.

The website and the app are simple to use and track your children’s spending and if you do have any queries the customer service team are friendly and helpful. I was struggling to get any cash out at the cash machine and couldn’t work out the pin number, I called goHenry and everything was resolved within 5 minutes.

What I like

  • The control that it gives you over pocket money and money given to your children. In the past, the boy’s grandparents transfer money to the boys by using my bank account and the money ends up lost in my account.
  • The boys love having their own pre-payment card and feel really grown up. They chose a football designed card, a nice feature.
  • The website and app are both easy to use and understand.
  • From a financial education point of view, it’s such a fabulous concept. Just the act of using a card to pay for football boots or sports clothes (as we have done) is such an important concept for the boys to learn. Mummy I have £50 on my gohenry card, and I want to buy a fidget spinner for £15. Okay Josh if that’s what you want. Do you have enough money? And how much will you have left?
  • It’s a great mathematical educational tool to help with the value of products and basic addition and subtraction. Perfect for thinking about money building up, saving for the future or the consequences of spending all your money.

What I don’t like

  • The customisable cards are £5 each. That felt like a big cost for a bit of plastic and I assumed it would be free, until £10 was taken off my balance.
  • The monthly fees are £2.50 per card, so it would cost me £5 each month. As a person used to free business banking I don’t like this charge.
  • There is no interest payable on credit balances. I understand that my current account also pays me no interest though!
  • There was some initial confusion with the boys calling it a credit card. This term is so commonly used, so I found myself correcting them a lot. I want them growing up understanding that credit card is money you are borrowing from someone else that has to be paid back.

Overall I really love the concept and what it stands for as a financial education tool. I can see it being an essential tool when the boys are at secondary school where they will have money for lunch/getting the bus or train. It’s a great tool for times when your child is being independent.

Dylan 9, is off to Germany at the beginning of June on football tour with his Cambridge United Academy Football team, no parents allowed. He is to take 30 Euros for spending money and he will take his goHenry card to use in the airport and to spend his 30 Euros. The card works in the EU.

There is a free trial goHenry offer available so you can try it out for 30 days. If it’s not right for you then you can walk away. I will get a small referral fee if you did decide to sign up.

huge tech giveaway

A Huge Tech Giveaway – 2 Tablets and accessories




A Huge Tech Giveaway

I love a competition and normally try to find them with great prizes a few times a week. I am currently after a holiday..a nice week somewhere warm with the family. I am focussed on it!! So far this year I have won personal training vouchers, stationery and wine, okay not quite the holiday but there is still time! Here is a chance for to win a huge tech giveaway, not one but two kindles and a bundle of accessories as well.

A whole host of amazing bloggers have teamed up to offer you the chance to win a great prize (something we couldn‘t do individually), but who are this group of amazing people; well check them out:

Mother Distracted | The Rare Welsh Bit | Renovation Bay-Bee | Pretty Big Butterflies | Probably Busy | Mums Wine HQ | Tantrums to Smiles | Cats and Contours | Hubby Helps | Really Missing Sleep | Bump and Beyond | The Reluctant Traveller | The Diary of a Jewellery Lover | Mum Dad Plus 4 | Ickle Pickles Life and Travels | Helerina Blogs




Melanie’s Fab Finds | We Made This Life | Precious Little Worlds | Sparkles at Midnight | Spanish Mummy | Our Bucket List Lives | Boxes and Swatches | Testing Time Blog | Ladies Pass It On | EmmaDrew.info | Being Tilly’s Mummy | Mrs MummyPenny | Me, My Life and the Tardis | Tilly’s Travelling Telegram | Lotty Earns | Just Average Jen


Beautiful Things | Hex Mum Plus 1 | Life in a Break Down | UK Bloggers

Joining forces together has meant we can bring you the chance to win not only a Fire HD 8 Tablet (8gb) but a Fire Kids Edition Tablet (in pink or blue) alongside some accessories (think screen protector and a case for the Fire HD 8). Now that’s going to make for one lucky winner!

So how can you be in with a chance of winning? Well all you need to do is let us know:

What do you have planned for this summer? Anything exciting?




The only mandatory entry is to answer the above question, all following entries are optional. However, we would, of course, love it if you could give the bloggers behind this huge tech giveaway some support. Full terms and conditions can be found in the below link to the competition.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




federation of small business

The Federation of Small Business – Benefits of joining




The Federation of Small Business – Benefits of joining

I joined the Federation of Small Business (FSB) a year ago. An accountant friend and I were chatting whilst sat in the doctor’s surgery and she recommended this as a brilliant thing to join to help with all advice and admin you must do as a small business owner. It’s a necessary evil, it must be done and you can’t afford in the early days to outsource it.

I met up with Charlie from the FSB who had me sold at free business banking (I was paying at least £6 per month with Barclays) and the free legal advice (I have needed advice on partnership agreements and documents, trademarks and employment law in the past year, all included in membership). There is plenty more included in the membership which I will list at the end of post, but I wanted to share with you an incredible event hubby and I attended a few weeks back.

Hubby is starting a new business

Setting the scene, hubby is starting up his own bathroom showroom business. It’s been dream for around 6 years!! Now he is going for it, with a bit of help from me on the accounting and marketing sides of the business, my expert areas. It has also prompted a series of small business posts on how to save money, and what you need to get set up in what order, as there is a fair bit.

We attended a local small business fair, this wasn’t small businesses like us, it was companies who can support small businesses. I didn’t know what to expect and had never been to one before so thought why not give it and try and see what it was all about.




The fair was hosted in a huge warehouse in Huntingdon, Wood Green animal shelter. We walked in and saw hundreds of stands, this looked good.

We had Jack with us as it was a non-school day, imagine his joy when he saw sweets on every table, and drinks, and toys and he could help himself to.

We wandered from stall to stall, seeing what grabbed our attention. It was perfectly aimed at people running small business. There were banks, legal, insurance, mobile phone companies, accountancy, car leasing, stationery providers, sign makers, you name it, it was there.

Legal Advice

The first stand that grabbed my attention were the ones giving away the best freebies (I never change, I love a freebie, even a pen). I stopped at a legal firm and got chatting to one the women who worked in employment law, not for me, but her colleague was a property lawyer so we had a great chat about hubby’s potential new business premises and the type of things we could negotiate in the contract. He also told us if your business premises have a rateable value of less than £15k the rates are free! This man could potentially have saved us ALOT if money. #grateful.

Car/Van Leasing

We chatted to the car leasing guys from Toyota and spoke about selling our current car for a cash flow boost and leasing a new car for the family and then a van for hubby. We are now in discussions about buying a hybrid, and Jack got a heart sponge and some stress squeeze hats (happy days).

Business Lending & Grants

I found a man who was an expert in business lending and grants and had a great chat about what funding we could both get, me 18 months in and hubby as a start-up. I also spoke to Barclays and NatWest about lending, NatWest seemed very keen for our business.

Business Insurance

We popped over to the FSB stand and met the guys in charge of the fair. Hubby will be joining the FSB for his new company. I ended up chatting to a legal expert who handily also knew about insurance. It’s a grey area subject for bloggers, should we have it or not. The conclusion was yes, I should have public liability insurance. If I am going to meetings in client’s offices I need to insure myself if I was to cause any accidents when there. Professional indemnity was probably not a requirement as what I write about is my view and my view only. Hubby also need public liability for a retail shop.



I was astounded at the amount of free advice we got at the event, as well as about 10 pens, toys, sweets and keyrings;-)

Benefits of Joining the Federation of Small Business

I highly recommend joining the FSB if you are a small business. Charlie Smith is the man who can help you to decide if its right for you. A quick highlight of some of the benefits

  • Free business banking with Co-op
  • Discounted insurance broker
  • Discounted contract hire on vehicles
  • Free legal advice and template documents
  • Free cover if you have a tax investigation
  • Free crisis PR
  • Free financial planning advice (I have used this for business planning)
  • Free health & safety advice
  • The list goes on and on.

The cost and how to join

There is an annual membership fee, which is  £172.50 for the first year and then £142.40 for year 2 onwards. Here is a link to get more information and to sign up online or feel free to call Charlie Smith on 07801 333480.

Disclosure – I will receive a small referral fee if you join up through this link.



boost your income online

7 Unusual Ways to Boost Your Income Online

7 Unusual Ways to Boost Your Income Online

We’d all love to have a little bit of extra cash spare to enjoy the little luxuries in life. Maybe you are saving for a holiday or that dream car you have always had your eye on. So when that weekly or monthly salary isnt enough hy not look into making money online? I have written abut some more usual ways of making money online like matched betting , mystery shopping or questionnaires, but here are a few more unusual ways of making extra cash online.

Writing articles Online

If you have always fancied yourself as a bit of a Hemingway, but never actually got around to putting your skills to good use, you could earn money by writing articles online. Companies like Textbroker and Greatcontent allow you to write a sample article to be rated, and then once you have this rating you can pick up articles within that rating from a list online.

Get paid for pictures

Not only can you get paid for providing text content to companies and individuals, but you can also sell pictures. Have you ever been on holiday and caught an amazing snapshot? Or what about just at home, maybe you have taken a brilliant snap shot of one of the pets? These can all help you make money online.

Websites like Fotolia help you to sell your pictures online. All you need to do is upload them, and you get a royalty fee every time it is downloaded. I have taken so many cool pictures that I could this for! Like this one

 

 

Online trading

Companies like CMC markets make online trading easy and accessible to the general public. IT used to be the case that only people with a lot of know how were able to get their head around trading online, but it is now so simple to do even Joe public can do it.

You do not need to be a technical fund analyst to dip your toes into the online trading market. A lot of companies even offer the facility to set buy and sell prices that trigger automatically, if you can’t be glued to your phone all day at work. Depositing and withdrawing funds is also an incredibly straight forward process on online trading platforms, with most accepting credit/debit cards with many options including Forex and stocks.

Rent out space

The internet has made communication so much easier, that it is no wonder that people are taking advantage of this to rent out space. You can either use a broker website like AirBnB, or go privately by putting an ad on a local news board.

If you haven’t got a spare room, fear not. You can still rent out parking spaces, or even your garden to campers. If you live near a big city, or a landmark, there could be hundreds to be made for renting out a space you wouldn’t otherwise use.

Sell your skills

Do you have a random skill? Can you draw like an artist or sing like an angel? Well, there is a website called Fiverr that let’s you sell any talent you have for £5. Skills on Fiverr range from the fairy normal to the weirdly wonderful, but if there is something you can do better than anyone else, it’s worth seeing if someone out there will pay you for it.

 

Review some music

Generational tastes can contrast a lot when it comes to music, so this may not be the one for you if you think all of the stuff in the charts currently is ‘just noise’. But if you do feel that you have a keen ear for a tune, Slicethepie will pay you for your thoughts on songs.

Most up and coming bands and singers rely on first impressions, so it is no wonder they are happy to pay people for their honest critique.

Refer someone/Switch bank accounts

A lot of companies, especially job websites, like to give cash bonuses to people who make referrals. Even if you are not actively using the website at the moment, most of them have free sign up, so you can sign up and refer someone. This goes the same for paid survey sites, and is usually a bigger earner than the survey’s themselves. This how many bloggers make money with referral fees for sign-ups!

You can also stand to make within the region of £100 by switching bank accounts. Gone are the days when this used to be a lengthy process, and most switches can now be taken care of online.

Do you know any other unusual ways of making money?

5 frugal things post 29

5 Frugal Things post 29 – Self care, coaching and clarity





5 Frugal Things post 29 – Self care, coaching and clarity

It’s been a real week of contrasts this week. I have been ridiculously busy to breaking point, but then I got clarity. I had a hypnotherapy coaching session where we worked on focus and balance. This helped me realise that I wasn’t looking after my body and mind through sleep, food and water. This has already taken a huge step forward. The night after my coaching I got 9 hours sleep and the day after my coaching I had the most focussed day ever. I actually did most of the things on my to do list! I have also continued with my May theme of money saving in many ways.

    • I finally called Barclays about my business bank account fees. A complaint was made and investigated in one day, I got all the fees refunded as I had been put on the wrong tariff and £50 for the inconvenience. I am going to shift my business banking over to either co-op or metro bank I think. I have heard that Metro bank are very good and co-op is free banking through my federation of small business membership.
    • I have set myself a beauty and skincare challenge. Check out this YouTube video. I have sooooo much makeup and skin care products. I’m not going to buy another product for the rest of 2017. The only problem is that I have no moisturiser, so I need to source some that is free. I am working on that one.

    • Yesterday I had a good look around Superdrug. It’s not a shop I normally go to so was pleasantly surprised by the fab offers and variety of stock. I did look at the make-up (I had to!) but didn’t buy anything. My grey hair is an issue and just 6 weeks after having my colour done my roots are showing through. I got root touch up for £7 for 2 packets. This saves me money at the hairdressers as I don’t need my hair done so often. I also got 2 dental floss packets for £1.50 when one packet was £1.48! And I also got some bootea detox tea for half price at £9.99. Instead of booking in for a colonic which costs £40. Really pleased with my purchases.

Check out the bargains I found today in Superdrug. I don’t normally shop there..but was rather pleasantly surprised by the offers. And oh my gosh the make up..but I’m not allowed make up of skincare until 2018..see my post from a couple of days ago😂😂 So I’ve heard lots about bootea teatox. So I’m giving it a try. Half price £9.99. 2 for £7 hairdye to touch up my roots. Meaning fewer trips to hairdressers sorry @stacey35xx 😚😚 Dental floss. 1 for £1.48 or 2 for £1.50 😂😂 And I got myself a health & beauty card for points. Lovely. . . . . . . . #superdrug #healthyliving #detox #moneysaving #frugal #moneysavingtips #healthandbeauty #hairdye #roottouchup #dentalfloss #bargains #offers #deals #beautydeals #teatox #cleanse #cleaneating #bootea #welwyngardencity #hertfordshire #lifestyleblogger

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  • I am in the process of opening a Santander 123 account. I can keep my First Direct account but move the direct debits over to the 123 account and get cashback. A great little way of making maybe £100 a year.
  • I have lost 3 stone in weight and my rings keep falling off, in fact my engagement ring pinged off in the park. I spent a traumatic 5 minutes with a random dad searching for the ring. He found it thankfully, #grateful. Goldsmiths were so helpful yesterday in Welwyn Garden City. My wedding and engagement rings need to go down by 2 ½ sizes. Previous quotes have been £200, but Goldsmiths will do it for £110. And I can use my Tesco clubcard vouchers to pay. Happy days.

I wrote my first debt confession update yesterday and revealed that I have paid off £550 to date. In 3 weeks that is really good! I have saved money and made money in all sorts of ways. I am feeling positive and focussed.

I am linking up with CassEmma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five Fabulously Frugal things I have done this week linky.