Hi everybody and welcome to Episode Five of Mrs MummyPenny Talks Cost of Living with Much More with Less. This week, we are talking about one of my passions in the finance world because it’s positive – making money.
So, lots and lots of ways to make money that are easy and quick.
Yes. This podcast series is kindly sponsored by our friends at PensionBee, I am just going to hand over to myself talking about that wonderful podcast.
So we get it, pensions can be complicated, but PensionBee’s on a mission to make them simple with its podcast. So, whether you’re just starting on your savings journey, nearing retirement, or somewhere in between the Pensions Confident podcast can help you to get the best out of your pension. I joined them for Episode Five to discuss the cost-of-living crisis, why it’s happening, and when it will all be over. You can find this and other episodes of the Pension Confident podcast on all major podcast platforms, which are available to listen to today. So, making money. I have to do a full disclaimer here I have tried and tested every one of these things we are going to talk about, I’m sure you’ve done the same. I don’t talk about anything on Mrs MummyPenny unless I’ve tried it, or I’m a customer of them. So, my pension money is all with PensionBee, for example. And I know that some of your money is – not all of your money. I just think that if I’m going to be talking about a brand, I’ve got to experience it myself. So, I put my money where my mouth is. The same goes for making money.
Absolutely. These are tried and tested ways. So, biggest saving least effort? if you’ve got any suggestions from the making money point of view?
Absolutely. So, my tried and tested suggestions, and I know this makes money quickly – tech. Search through your house, search through the kids’ drawers for old phones or tablets., even laptops. You’d be surprised how much these things are worth. I looked up an iPhone the other day, and it was maybe eight-year-old iPhone, and it was worth 60 quid. So. If you’ve got a few of them, it can add up. What I just will say to be wary of with tech is that there so many websites out there where you can trade in your old tech.
To the extent that there is actually comparison websites comparing where you can get the best prices.
In fact, one of my friends has just set up a company doing it – Mozillion. Everybody does it. All the mobile phone companies do it. There’s one that’s named after a bird that steals diamonds – you know that one? I’m not going to mention their name, because I tried and tested it. They said that three of my items were worth 80 quid- when I sent it off to them and they checked it, it came back as £35.
That’s quite a difference.
So be careful people. I’m generally really good at recycling my devices. I’ve got a Samsung S21. I traded in whatever the device was before an S21 – I think it was an S13? I should know that because of my mobile phone expertise, but I managed to get 200 quid off my new phone. There’s often an upfront charge, but I managed to get 200 quid off that upfront charge because I traded in my old phone. Trade-ins are good ways to make money and it’s cash into your bank account.
It has to be better than just having your tech devices sitting in a drawer. And also, let’s face it, it’s better for the environment if people are either refurbishing and reselling the devices or mining them for parts. One thing I would say, is quick and easy reselling tech is using some of the companies that will say upfront how much they expect to give you. If you do have the latest model quite often you can get more if you sell it individually on eBay, but that will be more hassle. You’ll have to take your own photos and it might be a bidding process, maybe postage, all that kind of thing. With most of these, if you have particularly rare items or particularly recent ones, you may get more going for eBay. But quite often if you’re using specialist sites, for example, to raise money from selling books, it is much simpler to use one of the specialists than go to eBay.
Moving on to books – I have tried and tested this. I try and test everything. Should I mention the name of the company?
It’s We Buy Books. Again, no affiliation. They’re trying to work with me, but they won’t pay me enough money! I did a show on ITV Tonight a couple of months ago, at the beginning of the summer holidays. I was on there helping Malcolm to make money from his old stuff at home. We went through about 10 of Malcolm’s books, and we made about a fiver. The thing is, if you’ve got 100 old books, it really adds up. What you do is you get the app, scan, it comes up with a value, place it nicely into a box, print out the label, and they come and collect the box,
You may need to get up to a certain value of books that you’re selling. Sometimes I have found myself going around the house – can I find an extra book that’s worth it to get over the minimum amount? But the real advantage from selling heavy things like books is that these sites pay for the postage. So, you’re not getting gouged on that. I have when selling a large heavy book on Amazon Marketplace actually lost money, because they would only let me charge a certain amount in postage.
Amazon Marketplace? I’ve never sold anything there.
I did it for art books, and some of them were okay. But, as I say, once I discovered the really heavy ones, I stopped doing that!
You touched on eBay, so let’s talk about clothes. So, I know a really great place to sell clothes from talking to lots and lots of people. My friend, Debs, who helps me choose dresses, she sells a lot of stuff on Vinted and buys a lot of stuff from Vinted. If she ever needs spare cash each month, or if she’s got items that she feels she hasn’t worn. Martin Lewis always says if you haven’t used it for a year, then you should sell it.
With clothes, if you’re not wearing the stuff in your wardrobe or it doesn’t fit you anymore, then stick it on Vinted. Great for vintage stuff, hence it’s called Vinted. My nephew got an amazing deal, got a pair of Clarks brogues. They were five quid, and he wore them to a wedding. They were beautiful. He was so chuffed with himself. My nephew, can I just point out is 39. Not five.
So, any tips on how to get the best prices? Things like decent photography? Making sure you get in terms that people are actually going to search for, like the size and the brand.
Absolutely. Your title is the most important thing, like with blog posts, you need to get your keywords into the title. Let’s say I’m selling a pair of flip-flops. Yes, I am wearing flip-flops. I would say they are navy and sky blue, wetsuit material, Weird Fish flip-flops in a size seven. I’d be very specific about brand, size, and material in the title because you’ve got quite a lot of characters.
That’s how the search terms work on the sites. Same for eBay. They all use the same algorithm; Amazon, eBay, Vinted, Gumtree – they all use that same model. Take really good pictures, take lots of them, and do a really good description. This is why it takes a bit of time. It does take time. They’ve all got great apps, but you need to write a good description and you need to say very clearly, “i#It’s got a thread hanging out” and you need to be honest and take a picture of the thread.
‘Fess up to any issues. Because if people know that you’re being honest about it, they’re more likely to trust you and pay a reasonable price.
I have not sold anything on eBay for a couple of years because I had a bad experience with it. I sold some Ted Baker trousers – they were £100 trousers. They had some pulls. I stated they had pulls, but the buyer said, “there’s too many pulls”. I think on eBay, and I know a lot of people who find this, I think you get buyers who’re trying to do you over. In the case of an unresolved issue, eBay nearly always sides with the buyer not the seller.
In terms of other places to sell, Facebook Marketplace. What do you use that for? Facebook local selling pages?
I set up Knebworth Items for Sale about eight years ago. I’ve got about 6000 members and I actually use it to peddle my book. I have written a book – The Money Guide to Transform Your Life – just to put in a little plug there! I occasionally use it to peddle my own way because I own the group. But it’s great for big items, furniture, toys, bundles of clothes. So, if there’s a lot of supermarket clothes I always sell them in a bundle. Children’s clothes by age are good as bundles.
I have bought from Facebook Marketplace. It’s a little bit less annoying. So, Knebworth Items For Sale, because I manage it, I accept and reject members. I’ve got the question ‘where do you live’? I only accept people who live in Knebworth or Stevenage and the surrounding villages. So, when people apply who live in Cambridge, or London, I don’t accept them.
To me, one of the big advantages of Facebook Marketplace is that you don’t have to worry about postage because you get people actually coming to pick it up. And that’s partly why it’s great for larger items.
I set it up because of the community element. I literally wrote when I set it up, that I just want this to be a marketplace where we can reasonably, trade things at low prices with people we generally know. It’s a small village.
Aside from selling stuff that you already own what are other ways to make money?
A really great thing I love is mystery shopping. I think we both love mystery shopping.
I particularly loved it in the summer holidays. I pick up on the ones where you can bring your kids basically. So, we’ve got things like a trampoline park, laser tag, bowling, and a dessert cafe. You don’t get paid that much for doing the mystery shopping, which is going and filling in a huge, long questionnaire all about customer service and cleanliness and so on. But they will usually reimburse the entry costs and quite often food and drink. So, an outing, say trampolining, that might have been a special treat in the holidays – by doing it as mystery shopping somebody else pays.
I’ve done that for bowling. They quite liked me during the bowling. I’ve done that one three times now at Hollywood Bowl. You get your food – another bonus – children are fed. It’s not the best quality food, let’s be honest, but the kids love it, so I was happy. I use a company called Proinsight. Another disclaimer, because of football I know the guy that owns the company, his son plays football with my son. But I really like Proinsight. I’ll pop a link in for them where you can set up as a shopper.
I basically had nine months of free membership at a very popular gym that’s very expensive. Just think of the most expensive gym in the country. Me and the kids got free membership for nine months, which was amazing over the summer holidays. We went swimming, we played tennis, we play badminton. They couldn’t go to the gym because they’re too little, but it was great. You do have to fill in a very long questionnaire after each visit. But I only had to visit once a month and I was getting like 200 quid worth of gym membership. It was great. I loved it. And part of it was food. I always took the meal because it’s nice food at that gym.
Spa days – I’ve had free spa days. Where can you go wrong with a free spa day? You just have to fill in this long questionnaire at the end. You have to be prepared to do it properly. Don’t mess it up, don’t come up short. You just need to do it properly because they grade you. Do you know what your grading is?
I can’t remember what the terminology, but I think it’s good because I have really tried it!
I’m 76%. Which is very annoying because I feel I should be better than 76%, if I write for a living,
I think mystery shopping is great for treats and luxuries. Choosing the right things, meaning you don’t need to spend the money. But if you just need some cold hard cash in hand, you’re not going to earn that much.
Bank mystery shopping! I did a mystery shop where I had to go into a bank and take out some home insurance. I had to carry a camera, so I was like a spy. There was a follow a little bit of a script not properly, but I had to apply for this home insurance. Was paid 50 quid. Because it was all recorded on the camera, I didn’t have to fill out a form. I’ve also done one where I had to apply for a savings account, which was a little bit more involved, and I got paid 100 quid.
I should say mystery shopping does vary according to the company, according to where you live in the country, you may need equipment like the video recorder.
No, they sent me that. That wasn’t Proinsight though for that one. It was different company.
I was just thinking about other ways of making cash. We’ve talked a lot about selling stuff, but if you’ve got things you don’t necessarily want to sell, sometimes you can make money by renting.
This is a new thing I’ve only just learned about. I can rent out my driveway, I can rent out my lawnmower. Oh, no, I don’t have a lawnmower. I’ve got AstroTurf which is really bad for the environment.
But if you had power tools or photographic equipment, or speakers, or a hedge trimmer.
Yes. Although I’m thinking about companies like Fat Llama that allow you to rent stuff to your neighbours. Also, if you’ve got space, so Just Park is one of the companies where you can rent out your driveway or your parking space if you’re not using it. You can even rent out your garage for storage space.
Airbnb, if you want to have people to stay. Certainly, when I had a two-bedroom flat I used to have a flatmate to help cover the cost of the mortgage. One of the great advantages of that is if you’re letting a furnished room in your own house, up to £7,500 a year is tax-free.
Just on rental income?
Yes, rent room allowance. If so if you have a flatmate, a lodger, somebody who only comes during the week, maybe a foreign student during holidays, all of that can go towards the rental room allowance.
Can we just talk about tax for the moment? With all this extra stuff you could do to earn money, the moment you earn over £1,000 a year you need to be telling HMRC.
Yes. But you can earn £1,000 a year as a trading allowance. And then £1,000 a year from property. So that might be renting your driveway, or a spare room, or Airbnb. So, in fact, that’s £2,000 providing it’s coming in from different directions.
And then £7,500 rental room allowance?
Yes. Even after that, you might have to tell HMRC after you go beyond those allowances, but you can set the £1,000 allowance against your takings, so you’ll only pay tax on the difference. If the £1000 is bigger than your costs quite often it makes sense to use that £1,000 allowance.
We’ve talked about renting. Let’s talk about side hustles.
Talk to me about side hustles What are your good side hustles?
Is that a side hustle? That’s your main job!
Not anymore, but it was!
This is any extra way that you can make money. Maybe you’re brilliant at cleaning? Ironing? Gardening? Dog walking? Sewing? Babysitting? Maybe you are brilliant at DIY?
My friend Eve, she’s just done a course on DIY. She knows how to put up a shelf.
All these things that you can do, if you have the time.
Seriously, though, I started Mrs MummyPenny in 2013. when I had a full-time job at EE. Mrs MummyPenny was literally a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account. I set it all up in June 2013. It’s nearly my 10-year anniversary – I’m going to have a party! Yeah. It was just a hobby whilst I worked. Then in 2015, I took redundancy from EE. I’d been doing it as a side hustle for two years by then and I’d sort of ingratiated myself a little bit into the community. I realised I can make money from this.
So, a side hustle, if you’re super lucky can turn into your job. Like SuperLucky Di. SuperLucky Di makes money out of competitions. She literally makes 1000s of pounds a year and she spent an hour a day entering competitions. She makes a lot of money and is brilliant at it. Her website SuperLucky Di gives you all the tips about competitions. She’s such a lovely person. Anything that you love doing is nice to set it up as a side hustle. Dog walking though. Oh my gosh, how much do the dog walkers earn? I reckon they earn a lot of money.
It’s something that is reasonably easy to set up online. You might need to set your prices reasonably low right at the beginning until you’ve got some decent reviews. Then see if you can bring them up.
I’m going to shout out my friend Sophie, who set up Lightning Spots. I went to school with Sophie. She was my best friend when we were teenagers. I’m going to put a link to her business. She has set up a business where she’s bought this machine that can put names, designs, and logos on everything. Remember, I sent you that Mrs MummyPenny bauble.
Yes, for Christmas!
So, for season four of Mrs MummyPenny Talks, I basically interviewed 13 People for the 13 different chapters of my book, The Money Guide to Transform Your Life. That’s another side hustle, write a book and sell it. So, she made these baubles with Mrs MummyPenny on them that she’d made with her machine. She’s now set up a business where she does water bottles with names on, she does tote bags, T-shirts. She’s just set it up as a side hustle. It cost her money for the machine. And obviously, it’s her time to make all these things. She’s not making loads, but it’s beautiful. I love it. I’m thinking of selling some merch for Mrs MummyPenny. Sophie is going to make it for me. I’m going process it all via the shop on my website, and then I’m going to send her the orders. She’s going to process it and post it and we’re going to split the money. I just need to think of the three things, so if anybody’s got any ideas of the three things that I could sell, then send them in.
So, we have talked about lots of ways to make money.
Are you not going to do any merch for Much More With Less?
I’m a frugal blogger. I’m encouraging people not to spend money and I’m also slightly unconvinced how many people will want a t-shirt with my face on it. So, you know
I would. You know you can get swimming costumes with your face on.
Is that the Scummy Mummies that you’ve seen wearing their catsuits? I have feeling that A, the world is not ready for a catsuit with my face on it and B, the world really is not ready for me wearing a catsuit with my face on it. However, other things to avoid, apart from catsuits? I think you’ve been burned a few times with ways of making money that doesn’t work so well.
So many times. Okay, questionnaires – don’t bother Really low paying. You got to invest an hour of your time to make 50p in Amazon vouchers.
Low paying? That’s not sounding tempting.
You know what, if you sat there watching telly and you’re going to scroll through some questionnaires for two hours and you make a quiz, that’s your call. I’m not up for that. But some people are, so that’s fine. I’m not going to recommend any questionnaire sites. I had a writer for lockdown review some questionnaire sites. her summary was they’re a waste of time. So that’s one to avoid. I’m going to touch very quickly on matched betting. I’m going to put a link to an article I’ve written in the show notes because I’m very against it. I tried it. I made £2K. Then I got addicted to gambling and I lost the two grand.
You have to be very good at maths.
I am good at maths. But I have a bit of an addictive personality and it introduced me to the shiny world of gambling and free bets. Match betting is basically where you make a profit out of the free bets that the gambling companies offer you. Why do gambling companies let match betting happen? Because a proportion of people get addicted to gambling.
I think that’s the issue. Although match betting does work remarkably well for some people, the risks, if it goes wrong, can be huge. For vulnerable people that really get sucked into gambling, the levels of debt they can run up are just enormous. And that’s certainly personally why I steer well clear.
MLM is multi-level marketing. Another one that I’m not a fan of. I’ve had loads of Utility Warehouse people reach out to me in the last month since I’ve been on Good Morning Britain funnily enough. A friend said ‘Oh, congratulations on your Good Morning Britain appearance, I’d just like to talk to you about Utility Warehouse’. Another friend ‘Oh, I’m really sorry that your guinea pigs died. I’d like to talk to you about Utility Warehouse’. They target people on Facebook.
I think the issue is multi-level marketing can sound so good, and there are all kinds of different multi-level marketing companies around.
Should we name some?
I’m not sure we necessarily need to. I think fundamentally anything that is based on trying to flog products to your friends and make a margin, and then encourage them to flog products to everybody they know is a tricky area. You’re trying to get people to buy overpriced stuff, so that the commission can flow up. For anybody thinking of doing it, what I would say is to get into it really carefully, and really keep track of how much you have spent on your stock, relative to how much you actually managed to sell.
They’re not called pyramid schemes. But if I’m the person that sets it up, and I employ some people to sell stuff, and then those people employ people to sell stuff; me at the top, I’m getting a cut of the people I employed, then I’m getting a cut of the people they employed and so on. So, if you’re at the top of the pyramid,, you’re going to be making a fortune. And you’re incentivised for getting people to work for you and to build up a team.
So, however dire things are. Unfortunately, multi-level marketing may not be the route to riches.
And they love to prey on single mums. The other thing to say is if it feels too good to be true, it normally is. Listen to your gut. So in summary, do you want to summarise?
Well, I think we’ve talked about many different ways to make money: selling your stuff, renting your staff, and monetising whatever skills you might have. I think we’ve also highlighted some ones that are tried, tested, and best avoided.
So, thank you ever so much for listening to or watching Episode Five on making money in collaboration with our friends at PensionBee. The next episode we’ve got is Episode Six, where I’m going to share my story about debt. Actually, Faith helped me get out of debt, so it’s going be a good one. I’m @MrsMummyPennyUK on Instagram and Twitter. Google me to find my website.
My site is www.muchmorewithless.co.uk. And you can also find me on Instagram and Twitter at @muchmore_less.
And don’t forget to give PensionBee or follow @pensionbee. Thank you ever so much for listening. Bye bye
Find the previous episode on Essential bills here