Category Archives: Personal Finance

Money Making Madness Linky #3

Money Making Madness Linky #3

Welcome to our second Money Making Madness Linky #3, a fortnightly round up of some fantastic money making blog posts written by bloggers from all over the world. We are now onto linky number three and we have seen some amazing posts. I am learning so many new ways to make money.

Open to all bloggers, we look forward to seeing what you have posted recently, and how you have made extra money. We invite you to add your post to the linky.



Yours hosts

money making madness linky #1

The Money Making Madness linky is the brain child of personal finance bloggers; Charlotte Burns from Lotty Earns, Emma Bradley from Mum’s Savvy Savings, Emma Drew from EmmaDrew.Info and Lynn from Mrs Mummy Penny.

We are really excited about inviting you to join in with this linky.

Why take part?

Taking part in the Money Making Madness fortnightly linky will help you to not only find awesome bloggers and read great blog posts, but it will help to bring more traffic to your own blog posts and it might help you make some extra money! Give it a try, we would love for you to join in. We would love for you to take part regularly, every two weeks.



The rules

We are really excited that you want to join in, but we do have some rules for taking part in the Money Making Madness linky.

  1. Your blog post must have been published within the past 365 days.
  2. It must related to money making in some way – income reports, a new money making method you have found or something similar.
  3. You must include a link back to all of your hosts within the blog post you are linking up – you will find the HTML below.
  4. You may link a maximum of three blog posts per linky.
  5. Please visit other bloggers participating in the linky – if you would like to leave a comment then that’s great too. We would ask that you visit a minimum of 3 different blog posts within the linky.

Or copy and paste:

I’m taking part in the Money Making Madness Linky hosted by Charlotte Burns from Lotty Earns, Emma Bradley from Mum’s Savvy Savings, Emma Drew from EmmaDrew.Info and Lynn from Mrs Mummy Penny.

Just click on the link widget below and add your link.






healthy wealth

Healthy Wealth, Body & Mind – What comes first?

Healthy Wealth, Body & Mind

I have been musing over my new strapline these past few weeks, healthy wealth, body and mind. Everything it stands for is what I love and I have literally thousands of ideas for content and collaborations.

I met my mastermind friend Anita for a soda water and lime (see the healthy option) this week and we were discussing the concept of wealth, body and mind. If you can get all three of those factors to a good place then you are set up for happiness. But what do you need first?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

I have studied Maslow many times in my life. He established a key psychology concept of the hierarchy of needs. It starts with basic needs such as food, water and shelter at the base of the pyramid. Reaching self-actualisation at the top of the pyramid. The dizzy heights of life being at peace, balanced and actualised.

What comes first in the hierarchy, wealth, body or mind? Having enough money to maintain your life is low down the hierarchy. We all know that money doesn’t buy you happiness but it does make life comfortable and gives you choices.

The uncontrollable feeling of being in debt

Many of us have experienced this feeling. The spiralling down feeling of being out of control. The £10k becomes £15k as the interest stacks up and your expenses exceed your income. In desperation, you might take out a loan, but the only loan you can get is a nasty payday loan with 200% interest charges per year. These feelings are so destructive to both your mental health and physical health.

Ignoring money problems will only prolong the effects on your mental and physical health. So now is the time to face facts. Be brave and write it all down. How much debt have you got on credit cards, store cards, loans, oney owed to friends. Think of everything (except mortgage, lets keep that separate for the moment) Add it all up and face the reality of your situation. Once you know how much there is, be that 10k, 20k or 30k you can start to plan on how to deal with that debt.

Every method of dealing with debt is different dependant on your personal circumstances and it isn’t going to go away. It is money that is not yours so it needs to be repaid. Read advice from people like me who are going through it (£15k), or Ricky at Skint dad who has been through it (40k) or Sara, a CAB advisor for a wealth of sound debt advice.

Speak to Debt Charities

You can speak to charities like StepChange for debt solutions, National Debtline for phone advice and everything to to do with the courts eg CCJs, Citizens Advice for help with priority debts (rent/mortgage arrears, council tax etc) and also benefits. Also there is CAP who do home visits, often to very vulnerable people, and Business Debtline for people who are self employed.

To start off, try a little exercise yourself. Write everything down. This can be on a bit of paper or on a computer. It might be easier to use a spreadsheet. I can send you a brilliant one to help you out. That will add everything up for you. You need to work out your regular consistent income and your expenses and costs. You will need to think of everything from the biggies like mortgage payments and bills down to birthday pressies, holidays, takeaways, haircuts. My spreadsheet lists everything and using my expenses with numbers as an example. Also include your current debt repayments.

Your income less your expenses will give you your monthly position, hopefully it’s a positive number. But there so much more to be done. Think about every line now, what can you cancel, where can you save, where can you make more money. You need to make that bottom number of income less expenses as big as possible. This will mean you can increase your debt repayments.

If this all sounds too much, don’t despair because the charities I mentioned can help you out with this.

Financial Freedom

Once you have gotten rid of debt, or are in that amazing position to not have any debt you can look forward to the future and focus on financial planning. I love this part of my blog where I simplify all sorts of personal finance subjects like pensions, investments, savings, wills, insurance, equity, bonds, funds. The list goes on and on. These are the kind of subject areas that I write about now and more coming.

Healthy wealth

Once you are in control of your wealth your mind will be in a much better place. Think of the weight that will be lifted. There is so much to be said for a healthy mindset. Here are a few things I have tried out and use as tools to keep my mind healthy. I am by no means perfect but I feel balanced and happy most of the time.

west cornwall

  • Writing – I love how the act of writing gets the thoughts out of my head onto a screen or a notebook.
  • Talking it out – a problem shared is a problem halved. It really does help. Choose a positive person who will listen.
  • Crying it out, I love a good cry.
  • Exercise – Walking, running, yoga, cycling, whatever it may be it’s so good for the mind
  • Meditation – Guided meditation is so powerful and often generates the most amazing balance and ideas from the heart.
  • Hypnotherapy – I have done this and it has 100% helped me with the mind side of weight loss. Also focus and balance.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy CBT – I have done this a few times, it’s given me coping tools and helped me to understand deep routed mind issues concerning grief, control, love.
  • Counselling – a lighter version of therapy talking to someone you don’t know.
  • Mentoring – More used in the business world but a mentor will also help with your mental health by giving advice, business coping strategies.
  • Courses – I have done many courses in my life, many paid for by previous companies I have worked for. Women’s development, leadership skills, negotiation skills, PR from the hear that I am doing right now. All have given me invaluable life skills and helped with the mind

Healthy Body

Once you have your wealth and mind sorted it’s a great time to move onto the body. And try to sort that out before it’s too late. We only have one life, so make the damn most of it. My parents didn’t get that chance.

Another list of things I do, have tried and how they have helped me outonline exercise classes

  • Hypnotherapy – A huge help with the emotional eating problems I have had my whole life.
  • Nutritional Advice – Coupled with the hypnotherapy this has worked so well. June 2015, I was 14 stone, by June 2016 I was just under 11 stone. I have maintained that for 1 year. I ate clean for two months and managed to deal with my issues with alcohol being used as a coping mechanism.
  • Personal Training – A newer experiment which I am loving. I have been working with Kane Allardyce of No-Bull Fitness since mid-May every week. I am the fittest, leanest and healthiest that I have ever been. My running pace is at its best and I can lift weight like you wouldn’t believe (am up to 50kg dead lift).
  • Yoga – Yoga has been my exercise of choice for the past 5 years, taught by Helena Bingham also my nutritional advisor. I also use the free classes from Psyche Truth on YouTube.
  • Yoga retreat – One of my manifestations/wish list things is an Ibiza yoga retreat. In the meantime, I am going on a three-day retreat to Devon again with Helena in early September. I cannot wait.
  • Running – I run around once a week. Its normally a 7/8ish km run where I can burn a good few calories and clear my mind.

Money Making Madness Linky #2

Money Making Madness Linky #2

Welcome to our second Money Making Madness Linky #2, a fortnightly round up of some fantastic money making blog posts written by bloggers from all over the world. Our last linky was such a success, we are keen to continue with them and grow them into a huge amount of money making content for our readers. We want to read all of your money making blog posts so that we can be inspired and we can all help others – do you have an online income report, have you de-cluttered and sold your items on eBay or have you written a fantastic guide for making money online? Maybe you have an different way of making money, dog walking, DJing on the radio or knitting that you are keen to share with the world anything that earns you extra pennies, pounds or thousands!

Open to all bloggers, we look forward to seeing what you have posted recently, and how you have made extra money. We invite you to add your post to the linky.

Yours hosts

money making madness linky #1

The Money Making Madness linky is the brain child of personal finance bloggers; Charlotte Burns from Lotty Earns, Emma Bradley from Mum’s Savvy Savings, Emma Drew from EmmaDrew.Info and Lynn from Mrs Mummy Penny.

We are really excited about inviting you to join in with this linky.

Why take part?

Taking part in the Money Making Madness fortnightly linky will help you to not only find awesome bloggers and read great blog posts, but it will help to bring more traffic to your own blog posts. Give it a try, we would love for you to join in. We would love for you to take part regularly, every two weeks.

The rules

We are really excited that you want to join in, but we do have some rules for taking part in the Money Making Madness linky.

  1. Your blog post must have been published within the past 365 days.
  2. It must related to money making in some way – income reports, a new money making method you have found or something similar.
  3. You must include a link back to all of your hosts within the blog post you are linking up – you will find the HTML below.
  4. You may link a maximum of three blog posts per linky.
  5. Please visit other bloggers participating in the linky – if you would like to leave a comment then that’s great too. We would ask that you visit a minimum of 3 different blog posts within the linky.

Or copy and paste:

I’m taking part in the Money Making Madness Linky hosted by Charlotte Burns from Lotty Earns, Emma Bradley from Mum’s Savvy Savings, Emma Drew from EmmaDrew.Info and Lynn from Mrs Mummy Penny.

Just click on the link widget below and add your link.


save for your child's future

Saving for your child’s future – Junior ISA’s, savings & bonds

Saving for your child’s future

Even when times are tough I put money aside for the boys.  As the years progress things are getting more and more expensive, things like university, car insurance or buying a first house. Any nest egg we can provide for them will be a great help when they reach a certain age. They current have a Junior ISA each and regular easy access savings accounts.

children are growing up

Equilibrium has pulled together a fabulous guide to help young families plan better for the future, here are some things that you might want to consider.

 We all want our children to be financially secure when they grow up. Luckily, there are things that parents can do today that can make a real difference tomorrow. From choosing a suitable savings vehicle to starting a pension early, there are plenty of ways to get the ball rolling.

Not only does saving for your child give them a great start to their adult life, it also teaches them important lessons about money, especially the rewards of saving. By putting money away for your children from an early age, you are setting a great example and hopefully laying the groundwork for a lifetime of sensible saving.

Junior ISAs

There are lots of savings vehicles to choose from, it’s just a case of picking the one best suited to you and your child. A Junior ISA (JISA) is a particularly popular option. They are available for children who live in the UK and are under the age of 18 and are, effectively, tax-free, long-term savings accounts for children. They are very useful for building up a substantial pot over long periods, such as throughout your son or daughter’s childhood. For the 2017 to 2018 tax year, the savings limit for JISAs is £4,128.

You have the choice of two types of Junior ISA, a cash JISA and a stocks and shares JISA:

  • A cash Junior ISA is a tax efficient savings vehicle, which allows your child to receive tax free interest on the cash saved. The interest rates and returns will vary depending on the institution offering the cash JISA.
  • A stocks and shares Junior ISA aims to provide a tax efficient investment with the potential for capital growth in the medium to long term. The cash within the JISA can be invested into a wide variety of funds, with no tax paid on any dividends or capital growth received. Funds invested within a Stocks and Shares JISA are at risk, as there is the possibility that the value of the funds could go down as well as up, meaning that you may not get back the amount invested.

Children’s savings accounts

Children’s savings accounts offer a popular alternative to Junior ISAs and are seen by many as a great way of getting children into good savings habits. A child can, for example, begin managing their own account once they turn seven. A parent can set up an account with a bank or building society on behalf of their child, and certain providers will encourage this by offering gifts. These gifts are often geared to encouraging a child to save; for example, a money box can show the benefits of putting a little aside every so often.

Children’s bonds

Another option is children’s bonds. While the child owns the bonds, it is only their parent or guardian who can buy them, and it is they who hold the bonds until the child reaches 16. Bonds represent a long-term, tax-free investment and allow parents to have more certainty over the return their child will receive. However, they may not be suitable if your child wants control over their money, nor if they want early access to it, and with this being an investment you might not receive back the amount you invested originally.

save for your child's future

Starting a pension

It may seem odd to be thinking about starting a pension at such an early age; however, doing so can be a good way to build up a substantial savings pot for much later life. While this might not appeal to everyone, it is certainly not unheard of and is sometimes a preferred option among parents who do not want their children to have access to their money at the age of 18. It might therefore be suited to those with an eye on a long-term approach to financial planning. Whilst capital will be at risk, this can be mitigated by the length of the investment, as the earliest a child can access their pension is 55, meaning that volatility or loss in the short term will have less of an impact.

Whatever savings vehicle you choose, be sure to do the necessary research beforehand. While some options may work for one family, they may not be suitable for another. Just remember that whatever you begin to put away now, no matter how little, can make a big difference further down the line.

Equilibrium’s Guide to Wealth Management for Young People is aimed at people aged 25 to 40 who are looking to plan their finances now to help their family in the future.

This is a collaborative post.

Money Making Madness Linky #1

Money Making Madness Linky #1

Welcome to our Money Making Madness Linky, a fortnightly round up of some fantastic money making blog posts written by bloggers from all over the world. We want to read all of your money making blog posts so that we can be inspired and we can all help others – do you have an online income report, have you de-cluttered and sold your items on eBay or have you written a fantastic guide for making money online? Maybe you have an alternative way of making money that you are keen to share with the world from up-cycling furniture to making hair bows to making cards anything that earns you extra pennies, pounds or thousands!

Open to all bloggers, we look forward to seeing what you have posted recently, and how you have made extra money. We invite you to add your post to the linky.

Yours hosts

money making madness linky #1

The Money Making Madness linky is the brain child of personal finance bloggers; Charlotte Burns from Lotty Earns, Emma Bradley from Mum’s Savvy Savings, Emma Drew from EmmaDrew.Info and Lynn from Mrs Mummy Penny.

We are really excited about inviting you to join in with this linky.

Why take part?

Taking part in the Money Making Madness fortnightly linky will help you to not only find awesome bloggers and read great blog posts, but it will help to bring more traffic to your own blog posts. Give it a try, we would love for you to join in. We would love for you to take part regularly, every two weeks.

The rules

We are really excited that you want to join in, but we do have some rules for taking part in the Money Making Madness linky.

  1. Your blog post must have been published within the past 365 days.
  2. It must related to money making in some way – income reports, a new money making method you have found or something similar.
  3. You must include a link back to all of your hosts within the blog post you are linking up – you will find the HTML below.
  4. You may link a maximum of three blog posts per linky.
  5. Please visit other bloggers participating in the linky – if you would like to leave a comment then that’s great too. We would ask that you visit a minimum of 3 different blog posts within the linky.

Or copy and paste:

I’m taking part in the Money Making Madness Linky hosted by Charlotte Burns from Lotty Earns, Emma Bradley from Mum’s Savvy Savings, Emma Drew from EmmaDrew.Info and Lynn from Mrs Mummy Penny.

Just click on the link widget below and add your link.


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.

 

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 a few platforms available out there, including Leetchi.com, the new entrant to the UK market. This crowdfunding website can be used to get your project off the ground, based on purely donations not an investment. How does it work? You create your crowdfunding page, the so called online money pot, personalise it and invite people to help you raise money online! Leetchi.com’s fees are much smaller than the bigger players in this market as they have developed their own payment solution (MANGOPAY), making sure that more money goes to the actual projects and causes.

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. As you see this is much more competitive than Crowdfunder at 6%, GoFundMe at 7.9% or JustGiving at 5%.

Leetchi.com platform can also be used for personal crowdfunding and good cause fundraising. You can fund anything and everything, from sorting out group gifts (for birthdays, leaving do, weddings etc), to supporting non profit organisations and individuals in need.

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

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.

debt confession update 1

My Debt confession update 1 – My Progress




My Debt confession update 1 – My Progress

I wrote about my debt confession on April 24th 2017. The reaction has been amazing. It has been read more than 1000 times on my website, a shorter version was then published on the Huffington Post. This has been one of my writing goals for the past 4 years to be published on there, it’s a genuine stamp on my writing ability and skills. Beyond happy.

Over the past nearly 3 weeks I have been working hard to re-budget, go through my finances and work on a plan to remedy this situation. Here is what I have done.

My Budget

I have a fab budget spreadsheet that includes everything we could possibly spend money on. It includes not just monthly spends but also annual/less regular events with a monthly portion. For example, weddings this year, holiday, birthday presents, other people’s birthdays, dentist, haircut. Everything has been included. This give a much more realistic amount that must be covered every month. I will repeat my offer as I always do, if you want a copy of this new and improved budget template please email me at lynn@mrsmummypenny.co.uk and I will send you copy.

My budget has been checked over with a fine toothcomb by my wonderful writer and journalist friend Faith Archer who blogs at Much More With Less. She has given me lots of extra ideas to generate cash and save money.




I have had a good look at our expenses and have cut lots out. I have ended our childcare contract, a tough decision as our childminder is also one of my best friends but £100 a month for one after school childcare care for three children was too much.

Our dishwasher insurance (I had to take it out as dishwasher broke last year, engineer and new parts were free if I took out 1 year £14 per month insurance, method to my madness) finishes at end of May, £14 saved per month.

I made a complaint about my Barclays business banking excessive chargesand it turns out I was on the wrong tariff. Charges refunded plus an inconvenience amount given to me £80 refund and £12 savings per month

40th Birthday party broken zip dress returned to John Lewis, £130 refund.

The mortgage has been renegotiated and from June we move to a new lower rate, saving us £100 per month in interest part of the repayment mortgage.

In total I have already stripped out £226 from our monthly expense, £2,712 per year!! This is huge amount.

Still to consider

  • Call Sky and see what costs can be stripped out of the (arrrgggg) £75 per month we pay for broadband, TV, landline. Yes, we have sky sports and no we are not going to cancel it as hubby might divorce me.
  • Apply for a Santander Light Account to benefit from cashback on my hoursehold direct debits
  • Consider an American Express cashback credit card to use rather than my Tesco Clubcard credit card. The cashback beats the Clubcard vouchers value by far. It gets paid off in full every month and is used for regular spends, petrol, food etc.
  • We are going to sell our car, a 5-year-old Smax worth £9,000. We are going to lease a hybrid Auris (probably) to half our petrol costs and save the environment. We are currently negotiating this deal.

Make some money

  • We have decluttered under the stairs and the garage and have listed various items on Facebook Items for sale (I own the Knebworth one!) and eBay. We have around 100 items to sell.
  • I have a few specialist items, such as George Michael genuine signed picture, Christian Dior large bowling bag to be sold. I am considering the best way to sell these. I sent an email to the Posh Pawn man from TV!!
  • Mrs Mummypenny has gone boom, and the projects are campaigns are rolling in every day. The payment for these is delayed of course as I must complete the work, invoice and wait for payment but it’s all being lined up.

Repayments on what we owe

You will recall I had £15,500 that we owe. £2,500 on cards with interest being charged. £5,500 on an interest free card with 18 left on this offer and then £7,500 on another 0% card with 43 months’ interest free period (a new one).

The plan is cover the minimum repayments on all the cards of £300. Then any money I earn more than £1500 each month can be put into the cards with interest charges first.




I have already paid off £350 from the nasty interest cards. And then I have paid off another £200 from the 0% cards. £550 knocked off in month 1 is impressive!!

Timings and Goals

I am keen to pay off at least £5,000 of what we owe by the end of 2017. This includes the nasty interest charging cards first and then the £5,500 card with the 18 months remaining of 0%.

What are your thoughts? How are you doing with your repayments, what are you goals and how are you going to smash them?