September 23, 2016


Read Magazines for Free Thanks to Your Library

Libraries are great. Books galore to borrow for free. You can rent DVDs and CDs at a reasonable price. You can duck in there on a rainy day and read magazines.

Lately though, I've been reading digital magazines online on my iPad at home - FOR FREE - thanks to my local library. Many libraries throughout the country offer this service, thanks to a partnership with Zinio. On my local library website, I can download magazines like Esquire, The EconomistHow It Works, Total Film, Men's Fitness, What Car? and Good Food Magazine.

Check your local library online for more information.

Picture: Michael D Beckwith via Flickr, CC-BY-SA 2.0

September 16, 2016


Earn Money with Receipt Hog

What is Receipt Hog?

If you don't mind letting a few market researchers in on your shopping habits and you fancy earning yourself a little extra cash on the side, you might want to check out Receipt Hog.

What's That All About Then?

Basically, it's an app for your phone which you can use to earn cash by scanning receipts from your shopping. Whenever you scan a receipt you are awarded virtual coins. Once you've collected enough, you can change them for either PayPal credits or Amazon e-gift cards.

Cool, huh?

The information from your receipts is made anonymous and is used to help make market research reports, which are bought by brands. You can get coins when you scan receipts from supermarkets, chemists, off-licences, newsagent's and pound shops.

How Many Coins Can You Earn?

The amount of coins you get depends on how much you spend.
  • <£10 = 5 coins
  • £10-£50 = 10 coins
  • £50-£100 = 15 coins
  • £100+ = 20 coins.

How Many Coins do You Need to Collect to Make Cash?

  • 1500 coins = £5
  • 2850 coins = £10
  • 5300 coins = £20
  • 12000 coins = £50

How can I Get More Coins on Receipt Hog?

Every receipt you scan can also earn you an entry into a monthly sweepstake, where you can win up to 5000 coins. If you have an email address with a Google, Hotmail or Outlook domain, you can choose to receive email surveys which enable you to earn 100 coins for doing short surveys.

Is Receipt Hog Worth It?

Yes, it's worth a look. Don't expect to make big money in a hurry, but you'll get a payout eventually and it only takes a few seconds to scan a receipt, so it's not exactly a major effort.

If you want to give it a go, you can sign up here.

September 09, 2016


Should I Buy in Bulk?

Buying in bulk can be a great way to lower your household expenses. If you can reduce the unit cost of what you want to buy, then it makes sense to do so. You can stock up on large quantities when you do your supermarket shop or buy goods from specialist bulk retailers such as EatBig.

What You Need to Know about Buying in Bulk

  • Buy at a Low Cost Per Unit. That's the most important thing. You need to be sure that you are actually getting something cheaper if you buy it in a larger quantity. Most supermarkets show the cost per unit on the price display. It is easy to see if you're shopping online too. If you are buying food, for example, it will tell you the cost per 100g or kg. Make sure that the price is cheaper if you buy a larger amount before you go ahead and buy in bulk.
  • Don’t Buy Perishable Items. If you buy a lot of something and then end up throwing away, that's money wasted. Although you can get good deals on food if you buy in large quantities, make sure you are going to be able to eat it all before it goes off. Some things can be frozen - meat, for example - but the use-by date of food should always be considered. Checking the date doesn't only apply to food either. Batteries, for example, can only be stored for a number of years.
  • Don't Buy Things You Might Use More Of. If buying more of something than usual will cause you to consume it more than usual, then that's probably a bad thing to buy in bulk. You may get packets of biscuits cheaper if you buy them in large quantities, but then if you have lots of biscuits in the house, you may end up eating more of them.
  • Don’t Buy Things You Haven’t Bought Before. You should only bulk buy things you know you like and are good quality. Having boxes of something that isn't so great is just a waste.
  • Make Sure You Have Enough Space. You can only buy large quantities of something if you have space in your home to store it all. We have space in our garage, some people have a spare room. If you don't have a place to put it, you can't really buy in bulk.
  • Don’t Buy Everything At Once. If are going to buy a lot more of something than you usually do, it's obviously going to cost more. Don't go crazy and buying everything you need in huge quantities because it will just be too expensive. It's better to buy one thing in bulk one month and then something else the next month. Spread out the cost over time.

What is Good to Buy in Bulk?

  • Baby Nappies & Wipes. Best to buy nappies when your child has just moved into a new size. Take into account when they are going to move up a size, so you don't buy too much.
  • Toilet Paper. You’re always going to need it and it's not going to go bad.
  • Dishwasher detergent. You always measure about a certain amount with each load of clothes so you won't overuse it.
  • Toothpaste. Easy to store and again you tend to use the same amount each time.
  • Dry Rice and Pasta. Lasts for a long time.
  • Oatmeal. Good for making healthy breakfasts.
  • Shampoo. Keep a big one in the cupboard and refill small bottles to avoid overuse.
  • Light bulbs. You’re always going to need to replace them eventually.

Where Can You Buy in Bulk?

Online retailer EatBig offer free UK delivery on all orders over £40. They stock a range of items including coffee, tea, rice, pasta, pet food and cleaning products. To find out more, check out their website.

Picture: Paul Townsend via Flickr, CC-BY-SA 2.0

January 15, 2016


How To Use Credit Cards To Make Money

The idea that you can use credit cards to make money may seem a little odd. Aren't credit cards dangerous things? Aren't credit cards the reason why many people find themselves deep in debt.

Well, yes it's true. Credit cards can be very dangerous. If you fail to pay your credit card bills, there is always a very possible danger that you will find yourself seriously deep into debt. Lives can be ruined by crippling credit card excess.

However, if you are super careful and always pay off the full balance of your credit card each month, your little plastic friends can actually end up making you money.

Delay Spending and Earn Interest on Your Cash

When you use a credit card to buy something, you can borrow the money without having to pay any interest for a certain length of time. If you choose to use your credit card to buy things that you would have already bought anyway, you can put the money you would have spent in a high-interest savings account.

When you later, pay off the credit card bill, you will have earned some interest from your money. To make sure that you get the most interest, you should time any larger transactions so that they are at the start of your credit card statement and you won't have to pay for them for a while.

Get Cash back on Credit Cards

Many credit cards offer cash back as an incentive. How it works is simple: every time you buy something with your card, you get some money back from that purchase.

You can get about 0.5%-1% cash back, although sometimes you can find introductory deals at a higher rate. The cash that you get is usually paid annually.

You must pay off your credit card bill in full month to make the most of cash back. If you don't, any gains you make will be cancelled out by interest.

Apply for Credit Cards and get Free Things

Credit card companies want your business so badly, that they will often offer free things to new customers. Things they use to entice new customers include flights and gift vouchers.

Some of these offers require you to make a purchase. Some don't. If you do have to spend something to get the free gift, make you sure you buy something you were going to buy anyway and try to spend as little as possible.

You should also be carefully about how frequently you apply for credit cards:
  • Don't Apply for Too Many Cards at Once. Applying for lots of credit cards in a short space in a time an have a negative impact on your credit rating. If you are going to apply for multiple cards, space out your applications.
  • Cancel Old, Unused Cards. Make sure you contact the credit card company to cancel any credit cards that you are not going to use an more. Having too many credit card accounts open can be bad for your credit rating.

Tips on Using Credit Cards to Make Money

  • Make sure that prompt payment means no interest. Always make sure that you choose credit cards that you don't start charging interest from the moment of purchase. Be sure to pick cards which mean that, if you pay the full balance every month, you won't have to pay any interest.
  • Use a credit card with no annual fee. You are trying to make money here. You don't want to be paying out extra. Sometimes it is still possible to make money if you are paying an annual fee, but only if the money you can earn is more than the annual fee.
  • Budget carefully and stick to your budget. Remember you need to be able to pay back the full balance on your credit card every month, so you need to be sure that you have enough money to do that. Make a household budget. Work out how much money you have coming in each month and then make a list of all your outgoings. The things you use your credit card should be things you would have used anyway. Those expenses should be included in your budget and you should not make sure that you do not go over budget.
  • Keep a record of your expenses. To ensure that you keep to budget, note down every purchase you make with your credit card. Maybe keep a little notebook with you, which you can use to jot to the amount. There are also apps available for this. Although you haven't actually spent for these purchases in reality, you should still consider the money spent.

Be Careful With Your Credit Card Use

Remember, it is always important to be very careful when using credit cards. You can make money with credits, but only if you make sure that pay off your balance in full every month. This way, you can avoid debt and stand a chance of enjoying some financial benefits.
If you stay organized, budget carefully and always pay your credit card bills fully every time, it really is possible for you to use credit cards to make money.

Picture: Sean MacEntee via Flickr, CC-BY-SA 2.0