In association with HotUKDeals

God I love Christmas.

I harp on about it, but I really do love it. Mainly I love the shopping and the twinkly lights which yes, I know, is totally NOT what Christmas is about, but YOLO, as I’m sure the three wise men would have said if they’d have thought about it.

What I’m not so keen on is the ‘spending vast amounts of money’ aspect, so I do like to make savings where I can. I’m one of those really annoying people who will buy presents in April if I see something on special offer, (although if it makes you feel better, I will then put said present away ‘somewhere safe’ and forget about it until January.)

I am also, thanks to the bargain hunting skills of an ex-boyfriend, well trained in the art of sniffing out an online deal. HotUKDeals was in fact one of his absolute favourites and he’d browse it regularly, in a kind of excited/guilty way, like other people might look at the profiles of exes on Facebook.

He knew what he was doing though as HotUKDeals is a great way to save cash, whether you’re buying gifts for Christmas or looking for things for around the house and garden, as I am ABOUT TO PROVE…

DUM DUM DUM!

HotUKDeals set me a shopping challenge – exactly how much could I save by exploring the special offers listed on their site?

Let’s see shall we?

The deals on HotUKDeals are pretty easy to navigate. You can either go to the main deals page and see what’s hot, or you can use the drop down menu to explore deals by department or by retailer. Members use the temperature gauge to vote on deals so other users know that the hotter the deal, the stronger the offer.

HotUKDeals

Deals could be anything, from someone having spotted cheese slices at half price in Morrisons to £100 off a mattress. Literally anything, so it’s always fun to see what new offers have been listed.

Now, my mission primarily was Christmas presents, but then browsing through the main deals page I came across this kettle, which I thought would look very nice in my kitchen, and which was reduced from £80. When you find an offer you like the look of you just click on it to find out more and then get linked through to the retailer where you can either buy directly or find out more. View Post

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‘THE AVERAGE FAMILY SPEND £2,831 ON CHRISTMAS!’

‘FAMILIES ACCUMULATE £1,298 OF DEBT OVER CHRISTMAS!’

These are the kind of jolly headlines you can look forward to over the next eight weeks – it’s so festive isn’t it? Just what you need to get you into a Christmassy mood. I mean seriously, you’d need a pint or two of mulled wine after reading things like that. (My excuse.)

The truth is though that YOU are not an average family. You are just you, and you don’t need to spend £2,831 or accumulate £1,298 of debt to make all of your Christmas dreams come true.

Christmas chocolates

My Christmas dreams. In a box. In chocolate form.

How much do you spend on Christmas?

So how much DO you spend? Do you think about it beforehand and set yourself a budget, or do you wing it and worry about it later? Aspire Money have put together a handy tool that you might like to have a play with – a Christmas Budget Planner.

The Aspire Money Budget Planner asks you to consider all of your Christmas costs, including those you might not think to factor in, like advent calendars, travel to visit friends and family, and Christmas stockings. (I’m not sure why it includes this though, as obviously Father Christmas takes care of those.) View Post

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Today I have another guest post from the lovely Jon at The Money Shed. Every so often Jon likes to share handy information/mildly mock me, and today he has an excellent cheap web-hosting deal for you. Have a read!

cheap web hosting for a blog

Have you ever read Jo’s blog on here and thought ‘I’d like to give blogging a go!’

Maybe you’ve read one of her many angry posts about signs outside coffee shops or some other middle class problem you can totally relate to and thought you could do an even better job!

Blogging is a fantastic platform to not only connect with other people but also one you can earn a HUGE amount of money from in the long term.

Usually to earn that money though companies who want to place content on your site will want you to be what is called self hosted. That means that you are in full control of the blog you are running and aren’t just hosting it on a 3rd party website such as Blogger or Blogspot.

A lot of people hold off on running a self hosted blog because they worry about the cost involved but trust me, you can worry no more as I can show you how you can host your blog(s) for only £2.99 a month (although it’s actually less but more about that in a bit) with the amazing UK hosting company Kloudhost. View Post

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As hard as we try to spend cautiously and save carefully, sometimes we’re hit by an emergency that leaves us needing to get money quickly. It could be a car breakdown, a vet bill, a boiler explosion – whatever it is, we suddenly find it’s a week until pay day and we have a cat with a leg in plaster/car exhaust on the road/no hot water. (Delete as appropriate.*)

A couple of years ago for example I came home to find a huge puddle of water on the kitchen floor. I looked around suspiciously. No taps were on and the ceiling was intact. I opened the freezer. Things were suspiciously warm and NOT icy.

ways to get money quickly

Now although I did spend the winter of 1997 living without a fridge and keeping single pints of milk in the garden overnight, this was the summer. Plus I’m not 19 and living in poverty any more so you know, I did quite want a fridge that worked. Fortunately I had a little bit of money set aside, but not everyone is so lucky. If you find yourself needing money for an emergency purchase, I’ve put together a few ideas for ways to get money quickly.

Please note: these are simply suggestions, not financial advice, and my ideas are meant to be for anyone who needs to get money quickly for one-off emergency purchases, not day to day spending or treats. If you are struggling to meet everyday expenditure, like food or bills, then speak to a debt advisor. You can call the Money Advice Line on 0800 138 7777 or try a debt charity like Step Change. View Post

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Post in association with Tesco Bank

money saving hacks

 

A little while ago Tesco Bank asked me to put together some of my best budgeting hacks for their website. I came up with 10 really simple ways to save money – I was quite proud of myself. You can read them here, so please do go and have a look.

In the process of writing that piece though, I realised that I’m a bit of a natural in the old money saving department. Perhaps that first class economics degree really is good for something?? I thought I’d put together a few more ideas for you here.

Have a read and let me know if you have tried any of these and if they’ve made a difference to your household finances. I’d love to hear about any other tips you have too! View Post

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Unfortunately this offer expired on November 30th 2019. Sorry about that!

AdvertisementBooking.com discount code

I love staying in hotels.

One of my favourite things about the whole experience is the hotel breakfast. When would you ever make yourself a fruit salad for breakfast, drink juice from ridiculously small glasses and poach yourself some smoked haddock? You just wouldn’t.

I did once miss a hotel breakfast. I was staying for a night in Manchester with Fiance and we’d had a bit of a late night and overslept. When I woke up, checked the time, and realised we had slept through breakfast I was GUTTED. I mean properly, irrationally gutted. I had this awful sinking feeling and just wanted to turn back time – to do anything to make it NOT TRUE.

As you can see, it still haunts me. I probably need to get over it.

booking.com discount code

My normal hotel breakfast

I tend to book my accommodation through comparison sites like Booking.com, where they search for the best deals for you in whatever location you want, give you reviews and ratings, and generally make the whole process a lot more straightforward. Not like the good old days when you had to get out a Yellow Pages and take pot luck. How did we COPE WITH LIFE before we had to ability to see star ratings from strangers??

What’s super cool about Booking.com is that you can now get money off with my discount code. View Post

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Looking for easy ways to make money online? Here are some tips for you from Jon at the Money Shed. He’s just given the site a big revamp so he’s been hounding me to let him tell people about it.

ways to make money online

As a modern tech savvy bloke who frequents all things social media I am forever seeing posts and tweets about how little money people have. There seems to be a template to these bits of communication. It starts with a boohoo statement (It’s SO unfair! Why can’t I have such and such a thing?!) and then seems to descend into a rant about how life has generally given them the short straw because they can’t even buy whatever fancy makeup / car / item of clothing / holiday that they want!

I see this sort of stuff ALL DAY, EVERYDAY and it drives me MAD!

DON’T THEY NOT REALISE THE MONEY THEY CRAVE IS LITERALLY RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM??

Well as the owner of The Money Shed which is the UK’s largest community website dedicated to earning money from home online I KNOW I can get these people earning around £1000 a month easily from their laptops at home without any trouble! (If you are in any doubt then take a look at the previous interview I have done with Jo on this site here and you will see the the AMAZING testimonials from users of my blog and forum)    View Post

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Fancy making a bit of spare cash? I’ve got Jon from The Money Shed again, going on about his latest thing ;-)

There are quite a few offerwall sites around these days that all differ in how they work and the amount they pay out. One that has caught quite an uptake over on The Money Shed is GBonus. The site has been around in the rest of Europe for a great number of years and has recently launched in the UK with quite a bang!

Offerwalls often get a bit of a bad rep however the way I see it is that in our day to day digital lives we hand over information all the time. It doesn’t matter if we are entering a competition or signing up to a newsletter a lot of us are quite happy to hand over our details and at least if you use a website like GBonus then you are getting paid for handing over their details.

Once piece of advice I will give you if you want to earn money from this offerwall or any other one is to make sure you use a spare mobile number if possible. Frequently you can untick the ‘please make contact with me’ box and companies (even big ones) will just ignore it and contact you anyway!

The site is like a lot of other paywall websites out there which require you to login to work your way down a list offers which pay you for signing up to various free trials or handing over some of your personal details.

LET’S GET THE EXCITING PART OUT OF THE WAY FIRST!!

THE MONEY SHED HAS NEGOTIATED TO GIVE YOU ALL £2.50 FOR FREE WHEN YOU SIGN UP WITH THE CODE MONEYSHED250 View Post

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how to choose broadband

I’ve recently learnt a new skill. I’ve learnt how to cast things from my phone to the TV via AppleTV.

#firstworldskills

I was pretty pleased with myself because I’ve noticed in the last couple of years that something weird has started to happen to me. Perfectly simple things like remote controls have started to scare me. I’ve essentially lost the ability to switch on the television in someone else’s house. I see all the buttons, but I can’t figure out which one to press. I can see why older people end up staying with the insurance company for 40 years even though it costs twice as much – the prospect of having to figure out exactly what cover you need and what forms you have to fill in is sometimes just a bit much.

If this sounds like you then I’m here to help you. I’m focusing on broadband today, and if you find it useful then let me know and I can always write some other guides for things like utilities, insurance, how to make a sandwich etc. This post has been written in partnership with the wireless broadband provider called Relish, whose model I think is ace. That’s why I mention them a lot. Even if Relish isn’t in your area yet though, I’ve made the information useful regardless. I’m looking forward to them rolling out their service across London and then nationwide soon. You can also compare broadband deals at https://usave.co.uk/broadband/.

This post was actually really useful for me to write, as I’ve never been quite sure about what things like ‘download speed’ mean. Belle is always complaining about the broadband strength in her bedroom, and occasionally I bandy the words ‘signal booster’ around to try and appease her, but I don’t actually know what they mean. Luke from Caelum Communications says “setting up or changing your broadband shouldn’t be a long and tiresome process.”

If you’re worried that you’re paying too much for your broadband, or want a new provider but aren’t sure what to look for, then read on Macduff*… View Post

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I’ve got a guest post today from the master of all things money saving and making – Jon from The Money Shed. It sounds like a very cool app so well worth a look I’d say.

Pouch voucher app

Shopping online can be a hell of a drag sometimes. You find the item you want and usually the first thing that pops into your head is ‘Can I find this cheaper elsewhere?’ or ‘Can I find a discount code for this retailer anywhere?’

LUCKILY FOR YOU THE LATTER IS NOW A THING OF THE PAST.

YOU NO LONGER NEED TO GO SEARCH FOR VOUCHER OR PROMO CODES!

Pouch is an amazing new browser plugin that brings the voucher codes LIVE AND DIRECT to your web browser while you are shopping. So if there is an active voucher code out there then you will get presented with it straight away without a need to endlessly Google for an active one. View Post

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I like to think that as a parent I have passed on a wealth of knowledge and experience, setting my children up to thrive as adults, make sound choices etc etc.

In reality it’s likely that the only thing they will remember is my rule of ‘second crappest’.

(Probably because of the catchy title.)

The rule of second crappest is a simple yet effective one. Whenever you are looking to make a purchase or choice of some kind you simply go for the second crappest. In Tesco looking for baked beans? You don’t want to buy the super cheap ones where they can’t even be bothered to use coloured labels, but there’s no need to splash out on Heinz unless it’s your birthday or something, so instead you plump for the Tesco own brand. Second crappest.

Although I’ve always done it, it became a proper thing when Bee started shopping on her own. She would text me from the shops:

‘Which pasta should I buy?’ she’d ask.

‘I don’t know, whichever you want!’ I’d reply. (Patiently.)

‘But there are so many!’

‘Just get the second crappest.’

‘Okay.’

And there it is. View Post

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Today I’m reviewing Leetchi, an online money collection website. It’s dead handy – well worth a read.

On more than one occasion during my working life I’ve found myself in that awkward situation known as the ‘present collection’.

It goes something like this:

An envelope and a card are working their way around the office. It’s a collection for someone in accounts that you’ve only met a couple of times. You want to contribute but when you look in your purse you realise you only have seven pence or a ten pound note. Obviously you’re not putting the note in – you barely know the woman and besides, no one hears the note go in, so you won’t get the kudos.

So, do you:

A) Just pretend to put cash in and rattle the envelope a bit to make a noise

B) Put in the seven pence to be seen to be adding something and hope that no one sees the actual coins

C) Just casually sign the card and pass it on

Of course there is the option to say that you don’t have any cash on you and add some later, but how feasible is that? Normally in this sort of situation the envelope has just appeared on your desk and no one really knows where it came from or where it’s going to end up. It just sorts of travels mysteriously from desk to desk until suddenly Janice has a new baby bouncer to take on maternity leave. No one really understands how.

A new online tool – Leetchi.com – just made this awkward money collection thing a whole lot easier.  View Post

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