The Cost Of Driving

I want to share with you an infographic today that looks at the cost of car ownership across the world taking into account new price, used price, popular models and insurance price.  Carfinance247 found that the UK is one of the world’s more expensive countries to be a motorist. The infographic looks at eight different countries. Did you expect these results?

the cost of driving 1 the cost of driving 2the cost of driving 3the cost of driving 4the cost of driving 5the cost of driving 6the cost of driving 8the cost of driving 9the cost of driving 10the cost of driving 11

The results are fascinating to see but I am not surprised to see the US, UK and Germany heading up the top. I didn’t realise Ford Fiesta would be the most commonly sold in the UK – I was totally expecting Ford Focus to be at the top. Were you surprised by any of the results?

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Entering Giveaways – Can They Really Boost Your Income?

Entering Giveaways – A Valid Source Of Income? I’m here today to answer that question.

I’ve been entering competitions here in the UK for a good four or five years now – and I wasn’t adverse to entering them before either, often encouraged by my father and grandmother. Giveaways and competitions are quite a bit different over here rather than the USA as we don’t have to pay tax on prize wins – which is quite lucky when you win something big!

Plenty of people have spoken about giveaways being a valid source with which to boost your income. I’m not so sure. Yes, it can definitely supplement your income. I managed to win £400 worth of saucepans and cookware just before we were moving into this house – that saved us plenty of ££ when we finally moved in. I’ve won an iPad which we had planned on buying anyway – so it is obvious to see that they can supplement your income in this way.

Boosting your income is different. The only way I would say that competitions and giveaways boost your income are if you win cash or you sell your wins. I’m not sure about the US – it seems like it may be deemed okay to sell on wins there – David from Young Adult Money posted about making money from entering giveaways – but here in the UK, it is frowned upon by the ‘comping’ community – there are some people who enter for everything and sell it all, their Ebay pages full of a complete mismatch of new and unsealed items.

Entering Giveaways | Can They Really Boost Your Income? | Discussion | www.keeneonsaving.co.uk

I will admit I have sold the odd thing – a runners up prize that I don’t want or something we’ve had our use of (so sell it second hand) or something we just can’t get on with. I try not to do it too often though and only really enter for what I want or what I know those close to me would appreciate. I rarely find the time to sit there entering giveaways nowadays so I am very selective with what I enter – cash, vouchers, children’s prizes, wedding prizes – these are my main competitions of choice.

What do I think in conclusion?

Whilst cash wins and selling prizes can help you to boost your income, it isn’t a reliable income stream as you cannot ever be sure you will win that prize that you can then sell for £££. You would need to be entering hundreds of competitions a day to have any chance of winning enough cash or winning enough decent items to sell for a decent income.

If you are entering competitions to enrich your day to day life by entering for things you would love but can’t afford nor justify, then great. Competitions and giveaways are a great source for supplementing your income and treating yourself to items you probably couldn’t justify buying. So for those people that say entering giveaways really boost your income – I’d say no, they can’t. They can certainly supplement it and very occasionally boost it with a really good win – but overall, it just isn’t a reliable enough income stream.

Best Places To Find Budgeting Advice

Budgeting advice.. we all get given it, sometimes by people we don’t want to hear it from. But where exactly are the best places to find budgeting advice?

I’ve had my fair share of unwarranted budgeting advice given to me over the years. Normally by people who are budgeting worse than me! Whilst our household hasn’t exactly got a cast iron budget for everything, we do have averages and try to keep to them. There are obvious places like debt planners who help with budgeting but that isn’t what I mean. So where do I go for budgeting advice?

First things first, I would definitely check out the Budget Planner on MoneySavingExpert. I go through phases of using MSE but I have found it can be really helpful in assessing where I am going wrong. Whilst Steve has a fairly certain income every month (if there is any difference, it will be an increase from overtime rather than less money), I am self employed and working from home so my income isn’t concrete, much as I would like it to be. I always make enough to just about cover my share of the bills and then a little bit more but it can often be tight which means pulling tighter on the purse strings wherever possible. The MSE forums are also fantastic – speaking to like minded people and sharing budgeting tips is great!

A similar site that could be of use is The Money Shed. Again, I go through phases of using it but there are some really helpful people over there!

Another place I find useful for budgeting advice is Pinterest. It sounds crazy but you can find plenty of pins on the site leading to great articles about budgeting and moneysaving. I even have a dedicated board set up so I can pin all these helpful articles to read at a later date.

Best Places To Find Budgeting Advice | Information On Where You Can Educate Yourself Budget-Wise | www.keeneonsaving.co.uk

Another odd place that I find amazing budgeting advice is on various Facebook groups. Two such groups that I love for budgeting tips in regards to every aspect of life are FMFOAB Budget Matters and Frugal Homemaking & Living. I don’t necessarily check in every single day but I will read any posts that pop up on my newsfeed – and I’ve taken some amazing advice on board from these pages.

My Nan also offers me some budgeting advice – things she did in the 50’s, 60’s etc that worked for her. Of course some things aren’t going to be relevant to life today but she has given me food for thought over the years.

Finally, my last place to gather budgeting advice would be personal finance and money saving blogs. There are so many out there, all who offer a unique aspect on budgeting. I often find information on these blogs that I would never have thought to have taken on board. I’ve then tried them and had success with them. Find a few blogs that you love and subscribe to them – they will be very handy in the long run.

Where do you go for budgeting advice?

Linking up with Sarah Titus

What Can I Do With My Old Books?

Old books. We all have them. We sometimes want to get rid of them. But what can we do with them?

I have more than enough books to contend with and a very embarrassing to-be-read pile. But I also have those books I know and love and will keep forever. But what about those books that you’ve read once or twice but no longer need in your life? Those books that are just taking up valuable space. Here are my top suggestions:

Donate them

There are plenty of places to donate your old books. Charity shops, local events (we have a little coffee morning ‘Pop-In’ in my village where you can give your old stuff – I’ve bought many an old book here!).

Sell them

There are plenty of places you can sell your old books – but you may not get much for them. Car boot sales, Facebook selling pages, Ebay and book specific websites such as WeBuyBooks are the best places, although you may only get pennies.

What Can I Do With My Old Books | Tips | www.keeneonsaving.co.uk

Get them valued

You never know, you could be hiding a rare first edition in there. Obviously this would require checking through the books first but should you come across a rare first edition of a book, you could be quids in.

Give them away

If your family and friends are anything like mine, then they will always love and appreciate books that are new to them. Half of my collection have been given to me over the years by my family and friends and I guess that most of theirs have been too. That way you can always borrow one back if you decide you really want to read it again.

Make art

I actually don’t agree with this one at all as I hate people even writing in books and defacing them let alone this. But people make these wonderful pieces of artwork out of old, unwanted books. Much as I appreciate the beauty, it is something I could never do to my old books.

 

What do you do with any books you no longer want?

Making Money Blogging | Can It Be Done?

Plenty of people think that making money blogging is impossible or somehow taboo. However, given half the chance they would probably give it a go too.

Making Money Blogging | It Can Be Done & How To Do It | www.keeneonsaving.co.uk

That being said, plenty of people come into blogging thinking they will be making mega bucks straight away and that simply isn’t the case. You need a variety of different things to even start to see that money roll in and it can be a hard slog to get there.

Your Own Domain

This isn’t exactly a necessity but it definitely helps and you definitely get taken more seriously. Either buy a domain via Blogger or use self hosted WordPress. WordPress.com itself has some strict rules about monetisation whereas self hosted WordPress (like this blog here) give a lot more freedom. You can simply use Blogger without buying a domain but if you are contacted about your Domain Authority, you wouldn’t be able to give a genuine result as the results would be impacted by the Blogger score itself. My Blogger blog with its own domain has a DA of around 38 whereas someone I know on a Blogger blog with the blogspot.co.uk URL found they had 70+ and were celebrating, thinking it would get them lots of work. But it isn’t a true score as Blogger itself is the domain, not your blog and the high score will take from that.

You May Need To Spend Money To Make Money

Following on from buying your own domain, you may need to spend a little in the short term to benefit you in the long term. Making money blogging can be a long and arduous task so it is essential to make sure you have all the best tools to hand.

Put The Time In

Focus on creating content and making your site look the part, If you want to be making money blogging, you need to look the part and so does your blog. Make sure it looks professional, has great quality content and has your contact details readily available. Research the best tools you will need for blogging and sign up to social media as these will be instrumental to driving traffic to your blog. This will take time but it is so worth it.

Content Is King

This phrase does get bandied around quite a lot but it couldn’t be more true. If you are serious about making money blogging, you need to have quality content that people want to keep coming back to. The odd post every couple of months, a badly written post with little to no research or plagiarised posts are never going to earn you any money. You need to put the hard work in and make sure that you have something for people to come back for.

Traffic Is The Key

Plenty of ways of monetisation rely on your traffic. Adsense, affiliate links etc. These all need decent traffic and people clicking through on them to actually make you an income. If you have 10 people checking out your site once and not coming back due to no quality content, you can’t seriously expect them to want to click on your ads or affiliate links – they have no incentive to.

Advertorials

Once your content is on point and you have a decent amount of traffic, you may find people contacting you about sponsored posts and banner advertisements. These are definitely one of the better ways in regards to making money blogging and can earn you quite a bit of money. Banner advertising generally advertises a company in your sidebar for a set amount of time whereas sponsored posts are blog posts featuring a specific brand. Some readers can get funny about sponsored posts – plenty of people write them like reviews but if you can make them snappy and interesting, often people won’t mind. Becky at Blogging On The Side wrote a great post about how to write sponsored posts that aren’t reviews. I am currently contacted directly by PRs or SEOs or I use Izea.

Adsense/Affiliates

I touched briefly on them in a previous point but once you’ve got a steady flow of traffic, now add these in. Hopefully you will start to see a steady income grow from these. Make sure your Adsense adverts are placed where visitors can see them but where they aren’t too imposing that they will annoy your readers. Make sure your settings are set so relevant ads come up.

With affiliates, only include ones relevant to your content. If I was writing a post about balancing blogging as a work from home mum, I may link to the Blogging on the Side eBook. If writing about products on Amazon or Ebay, I would use my affiliate codes for those.

It can be fairly easy to make money blogging if you are prepared to put the time and effort in. If you follow the tips above, you could be well on your way. I still don’t earn a full time income from blogging – few do – but I top it up with freelance work. Some people do amazingly though. Check out income reports from A Pinch Of Yum and Blogging On The Side.


Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com
 

The List

My Positive Money Experiences

 

All too often I see personal finance blogs talking about the negative side of money but today I wanted to talk to you about the various positive money experiences I have had in the past. I’ve now been working and earning my own money for ten years (since the age of 16) and I have held various jobs in this time with varying pay packets and have made various financial decisions in the past too – some which people understand and some which others don’t. Here are my positive money experiences from the last ten years..

  • Getting my first job – Whilst I wasn’t always happy there once I had been working there for a few years, my first job was perfect when I first started. Earning my own money and not having to rely on the odd bit of babysitting here, pocket money there..it was great..and I loved it!
  • Getting my second job – No matter what people say about bar work, this job was probably my favourite job apart from the role I hold now. I got paid for working there but I also got tips, free food from the kitchen, a roof over my head on the late shift, drinks bought for me by the customers and I made plenty of new friends. With the two of these jobs I could pay my expenses with ease and still be able to enjoy myself.
  • Leaving my first job – People still don’t understand this but I was unhappy in this role and it meant I could pick up extra hours at the pub. With the two I was often working 7 days a week and sometimes 2 shifts a day – I have no idea how many hours I was working and I was tired and disheartened with the role. I got to leave to go a job I enjoyed much more and still earn pretty much the same amount of money.
  • Moving out – Moving out with Steve certainly led me to grow up as it meant I had so much more responsibility. This is something I am grateful for as I have now lived with Steve for over six years and I have friends who are only just moving out with no clue as to what their own place costs to run. Moving out as young as I did is certainly a positive money experience for me.
  • Getting our car on finance – This is probably one of my better financial decisions as we have already reaped the rewards in the year and a half since we did so. Choosing car finance for our newest car made the most sense to us. We had a car before which was going to cost too much to repair. However Steve needed a car for work and had to borrow his mum’s tiny little Peugeot for a while until we could sort our car out and get a new one. We desperately needed a car otherwise Steve couldn’t get to work – which would mean his wage wouldn’t be coming in. After Steve did some research, car finance seemed like the best option. We managed to get financed on a really good sized family car with plenty of room and it has been used every day since. It is something we will definitely be considering again in the future should we need another car and this is definitely one of our positive money experiences from the seven years we have been together.
  • Taken the plunge – After redundancy reared its head as an option for me in 2013 and armed with the knowledge that the only shift patterns available were those that weren’t of any use to me, I finally took the plunge and started freelance writing. I had already been blogging for two years and after a couple of months off, I felt refreshed and ready to start my new role, something I am still doing today and loving.
  • Hustling harder – Perhaps my most recent positive money experience and something I am keen to keep going. With me putting in more effort in both my freelance work and blogging and even working on my passive income and side hustles, I have seen my income rise and debts fall. If this year continues like this, it is going to be a good one.

What positive money experiences have you had over the years? Let me know in the comments below.

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Getting Started With Investing | Do I Need A Wealth Manager?

Something I read a lot about on personal finance blogs is investing and the bloggers investment levels. Now I am not going to lie – I have no clue where to start with investing. I wouldn’t know where to start! I’ve heard about wealth managers – they help you with investing and you can find one tailored to you (I’ve been looking on the UK Wealth Manager directory to find which manager would be most suitable for me) and can be a very useful resource if you have little time or little clue what you are doing.

We’ve been considering investing for quite some time but never really knew who to invest with, where to invest and when would be the right time to invest. I’ve been researching investments for a while now and I will admit that it makes no sense to me at all which is why I would probably need a wealth manager – someone I could rely on to take the hassle and stress out of the situation for me. I tick most of the boxes for why someone would use one – I have little time to spend on them and I don’t know what I am doing plus I want to actively start thinking towards my retirement which is when investing can come in really handy.

What is a wealth manager? A wealth manager is someone who helps individuals manage their finances more effectively, advising them on how to invest and structure their wealth properly. Depending on the type of firm, they may also provide other services geared towards increasing your financial well-being.

Like most research I complete, I used Google to gain information on investments and upon hearing about wealth managers, I also did a google search for find wealth manager UK. Apparently 87% of people do need a wealth manager to handle their investments and finances for them so I don’t feel too bad about that! I would rather feel secure in the knowledge that I have someone knowledgeable looking after my finances than try to do it myself and making a right mess of it.

The Find A Wealth Manager website really does take all the hassle out of it for you. Whether you want a global, local or boutique wealth manager, have a specific account size in mind or whether you want a specific service – they offer 

When I have read about wealth managers in the past, I have seen a lot about fees and things like that. Not this site. It is independently owned and not tied to any wealth managers. It is a free service for investors and the managers themselves remunerate the site for the leads the site generates for them – no cost is passed to the investors at all. Investors only pay the wealth manager their fee, no money is paid for investors use of the website. Whilst the wealth managers are charged (in two parts – an annual fee for membership to the website and and introducer’s which is a portion of the fee that you as investors pay to the manager for the services they have provided. This is subject to different factors that ensure all managers pay the same fee.) Added to this that the wealth manager will never inflate their fee to incur the cost they pay to the site and this seems to be a very good deal for everyone – investors are only paying the wealth managers, the wealth managers pay a portion of their fee to the finding service and the website enables investors and the managers to find each other.

With so many different ways of investing and so many things to consider, a wealth manager is definitely something I am considering alongside this. With my lack of knowledge of the investments market and armed with the information available on the website, I would be able to find someone who not only suits my financial needs but my personal needs too – I would need someone to help me every step of the way and I can ensure I can find a manager to suit my needs on the site.

By the end of this year, I hope to have made some steps towards sorting out my finances and getting started with investing. When the time comes, I will certainly be using this website to help me find someone who is perfect for me. I am not getting any younger and I am really starting to feel the need to start thinking about my future, especially my retirement. Whilst I may still be under thirty right now, it is never too early to get a head start on things such as this and I want to be sure I am sorted in later life. Investing is just one of the steps I am going to be taking to ensure this and a wealth manager is definitely something that I will be bearing in mind.

The website seems to be a fantastic resource for all the people who are curious in investing, regardless of their budget and personal needs. With a great array of wealth managers to choose from, I will definitely be stopping by the site when I am fully ready to start my investment journey. I hope to document this on the blog so I hope you will join me for this journey as it proceeds.

Have you ever considered investing? Would you use a wealth manager?

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Diagnosing Your Debt

We all know about debt and what can be considered good and what is considered bad – but do any of us really know how to diagnose our debt properly?

Payplan recently released some statistics alongside the launch of their Diagnose Your Debt tool and the results were very interesting to say the least. Payplan have spent over 20 years helping people with their debts and offering free comprehensive guidance to those who need it. Their research shows that debt continues to be a problem for a significant portion of the UK and Payplan want to help make people aware of the situation they are in.

The data revealed that:

  • The UK’s average debt was £16,753
  • The average age of people seeking debt help is 43
  • There was a 50/50% split between male and female referrals

Essex was revealed as the county with the highest average debt in the UK. According to the data, 1,212 people from the area used the PayPlan service throughout 2015 with their average debt coming to £18,508. London was revealed as the section with the highest number of referrals in 2015, the total coming to 2,783. At the launch, Money Advice Consultant Jane Clack, from PayPlan commented Although these results show that the UK still has a problem with debt, more and more people are taking the brave and important step of facing up to the issue and seeking professional help.”

debt

The Diagnose Your Debt calculator is an easy to use tool which helps establish your relationship with debt and what steps you need to take. Confronting a debt problem can be a tricky step and Payplan are there to make the journey a little easier for you. I’ve mentioned before that I have had problems with debt at times in my life, here on this very blog, and I am actually going to take some advice from them myself for the remaining debt I have. It is a big step to take, I know this – but it is something I need to do as freelance work isn’t always booming and sometimes months are a little lean.

I think the tool is very useful – it has a number of simple yes or no questions so you don’t have to go into too much detail about your debt at the time, you can just find out where you stand and what steps you need to take. Whether you have a small amount of debt or a large amount of debt, this tool would be handy for anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of their finances.

If you or someone you love is struggling with debt, please do take a look at this tool – it will be tough to take that first step but you really won’t regret it. It is time to get back to living your life, rather than worrying.

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Useful Options For First Time Buyers

As you know, we rent our house but we often keep an eye out for properties to buy in our area. We would be first time buyers and we are always considering the options available to us. There are so many different options out there for first time buyers nowadays and I thought I would tell you a little more about them and how they can help you and me.

Shared Ownership

Shared ownership is a form of low cost ownership which enables first time buyers to combine buying with renting. There are both Government backed and privately operated schemes available and can be available through housing associations.

A friend of mine actually has shared ownership of her flat and it was definitely the best option for her as she couldn’t get a deposit together that would cover the whole mortgage. This way she managed to part own her flat and had to find a smaller deposit.

Rent To Buy

The rent to buy scheme is something I have known about for a while. It is designed to make for a simpler transition from renting to buying through subsidised rent. With Rent to Buy, you rent a newly built home at approximately 20% below the market rate for up to five years – the time period varies due to each property. During this five years you have the option to buy and once the five years are up, you either have to buy or leave.

Shared ownership definitely speaks out to me and I’ve been finding out more about it via Gentoo, a UK social enterprise who work to improve the Art of Living as they offer some of these options.

These are just a couple of the options available to first time buyers and they are definitely something to consider if you are looking to buy a property in the near future.

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Shopping Smarter | Avoid Those Special Offers When Doing Your Food Shop

When it comes to your food shop, how much do you spend on a regular basis? Do you take advantage of the special offers? When buying those special offers, do you find that you sometimes end up spending money that you don’t really need to?

The Money Advice Service have recently done some research into people’s food shopping habits and how special offers when they are doing the food shop affects their food budget. Shockingly, on average special offers make us spend £1,300 more a year! Whether those special offers are BOGOF’s or multi buys, we are often encouraged by the supermarkets to spend 21% more than we originally intended to! On average, shoppers are parting with an extra £11.14 on average per shop because of the special offers – crazy, isn’t it? With the average person now going to the supermarket more than twice a week, they could be forking out an additional £1,274 over the course of a year!

I know myself and my partner often get enticed by the special offers, especially now we are both actively trying to lose weight. It makes sense in our heads to get those products when they are on BOGOF as we are going to need them again shortly but then I have often found myself putting 4-6 in my trolley instead of the 1 I originally intended to, just because they’re on an offer. The way supermarkets phrase things can really confuse us as shoppers – sometimes a singular item is a better deal but because we see the words special offer and similar, we automatically think that will be the better deal and don’t even consider checking the singular item instead.

food shop

Another way to see your food shop bill creeping up is going shopping on an empty stomach. We no longer do this as otherwise we get tempted to throw all manners of stuff in that we don’t need but just fancy because we’re hungry. This isn’t any good for our wallet or our diet so we avoid this now – but others still do it often. With this, women are more likely to choose confectionery or baked goods whereas the men are more likely to pick up meat, alcohol or ready meals. Shopping with children or being susceptible to items at the till are also other surefire ways of seeing your bill slowly creep up.

What are the best ways to avoid this?

Preparation is the best way to guard against overspending. Those who always make a shopping list are three times less likely to overspend than those who don’t, spending close to £200 less on groceries over the year.  When it comes to checking prices, look at the price per unit or compare the prices of similar weight products to make sure you are getting value for money. More than 10p of every £1 we spend goes on food, so being savvy with spending in this area will really be noticed.

These are things we have started to do and have found it is making a huge difference – our food bill has decreased dramatically after taking a few simple steps to avoid it. We try to go food shopping when Jack is at school or online, having eaten before and taking a list – and we both encourage the other to step away from the special offers.

John Penberthy-Smith, Customer Director for the Money Advice Service comments: “The problem is that quite often we see a special offer at the supermarket and we don’t want to miss out – so we throw it into our trolley without really thinking about whether it is a good deal or whether we actually need it.  

“Often deals can be difficult to understand and compare with other prices. Then there’s waste – even if the offers are cheaper, bigger packets or 50% extra are not always good value for money if we end up chucking most of it away. 

“The best thing to do if you want to save cash is to write a shopping list and try to stick to it. You can also try shopping when you’ve just eaten and you’re not tired. Just remember, buying own brands and being savvy when it comes to tempting ‘offers’ will save you money in the long run.”

For more money saving tips to help you shop smarter visit the Money Advice Service website. What tips do you have for shopping smarter?

In collaboration with the Money Advice Service