A Financial Journey

A Financial Journey

A Financial Journey

Understanding Money

Making Money

I strongly believe that everybody can make some money, and if they’re already working, more money. The average Brit spends nearly 2 hours a day on social media. If you deduct the inevitable time people...

Property Investing

There is a real split between those who advocate holding property as part of your portfolio (Rich Dad Poor Dad, many FIRE community members for example), and those who don’t (Pete Mathew, JL Collins). There...

Stock Market Investing

Funds A fund is just a collection of shares. They are much less volatile than owning shares in individual companies, and you don’t have to pay the buying/selling costs as you do when trading shares....

Home

Investing, making and saving money, the impacts of money/lack of. Basically all things money related!

By way of an introduction, I’m a forty-something Yorkshireman, with a day job and a side hustle. Neither of which really achieves what I need them to do.

I wouldn’t say I’m a particularly frugal person, and I certainly hope not to be thought of as tight fisted.

I do believe in spending the least possible on boring stuff so we can spend on exciting stuff.

I save at least £1000 per year by switching utilities, phones, insurance and bank accounts, looking for deals, and using cashback wherever possible. That’s a far better hourly rate than I can achieve in any day job. And anyone can do it. Anybody with internet access can make and save money with a little effort and no risk. It amazes me that so many people prefer to plead poverty instead.

I have for some time been interested in personal finance, and have dabbled on and off with share dealing. I recently discovered the joys of podcasts, and found it was a great way to use my lengthy commute to learn more about the subject.

I’m also fascinated by the impact that money, and lack of, has on people. I’ve never been wealthy by UK standards, but I have had a net worth of -£££s, and not that long ago. I like to know ho to do things myself. When I had to leave a job due to a bullying manager, I did a Masters degree in employment law, so if I ever get in that situation again I’ll know more than them.

In this case I decided (better late than never!), to educate myself in the ways of the wealthy, to protect myself. I would encourage anyone to do the same.

We all make mistakes, it’s how we learn from them which counts.

I therefore decided to write it down as a way of summarising and clarifying my thoughts, and share them with anybody who may be interested. Some of the sources of information contradict each other. I believe that you need to take on board all the information you can, and make your own decisions.

I therefore decided to write it down as a way of summarising and clarifying my thoughts, and share them with anybody who may be interested.

My plan is to list and discuss the books I am reading, anything I pick up from podcasts, and anything else I stumble across. I’ll update the site as and when I find useful information.

In short, I will write about:

  • Investing (stock market and other types)
  • Property investing
  • Earning money
  • Saving money
  • Managing money
  • Biases
  • The effects of having/not having money
  • Anything else money related which catches my eye.

I also aim to present it in a user-friendly way.

I would like to open this site up for others to document and discuss their journeys and financial histories.

I will be adding blog posts as and when anything occurs to me, and using that to add to the information available on the site.

Does money make you happy? At last, definitive proof.

My favourite email bulletin is the Visual Capitalist infographics. These brilliantly represent current data and trends in a format even I can understand. However, this...
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Fame and Fortune

I've been reading these fascinating interviews on the Telegraph website's Fame and Fortune column (free subscription - bonus!). These articles ask a set of money-related...
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Ooops…

I like to think that I'm pretty well in control my finances. I have my bills down to pretty much the lowest feasible (currently £8/month...
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2020 – that was the year that was

Festive 2020 greeting card background with a fiery date formed by sparklers over black with copy space for a holiday message Well, what is there...
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First Direct’s Money Wellness Index

First Direct have published their second Wellness Index, brought forward to assess the impact of Covid-19 on people financial wellness. Written by neuroscientist and clinical...
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Books on finance and investing

I’ve read a fair few books recently, on personal finance, investing, and property, and will give my thoughts on these books here. I present them in no particular order.

As you can see, I’ve been busy!

Making Money

I strongly believe that everybody can make some money, and if they’re already working, more money.

The average Brit spends nearly 2 hours a day on social media. If you deduct the inevitable time people spend on social media while at work, that’s still likely to be well over 1 working day per week. If you can use a computer and have access to the internet, then you do have the opportunity to earn money. It may not be as much as you would like, but isn’t it better than nothing?!

Below I’ve listed a few ideas. Some I’ve tried, some I haven’t.

Investing in yourself

Your biggest asset is your ability to earn money. Invest in yourself by building your skills and qualifications. You can learn pretty much anything online now, often for free. Organisations like The Skills Network offer many fully funded courses, as do Corsera and Udemy.

Cashback

This is a no-brainer. If you’re ordering online anyway, go via Topcachback (usually the best payer) or Quidco. To date I’ve had £1245 from Topcashback, £1000 from Quidco and £450 from Kidstart (this is slightly different, as the money can only go into a child’s account). Family can also connect their accounts. Good cashback if you shop at John Lewis.

That’s £1000 for the sake of a few clicks.

Surveys

An easy way to earn a few quid is online surveys. There’s a fair few companies, however they vary considerably in terms of number of questionnaires, payout, and the ‘screen out’ rate (which can be frustratingly high. Say hello Valued Opinions!). I’ve used (and still use) the ones below. I’ve skipped the ones I no longer use, most of which aren’t worth the effort.

Populus LiveYouGov

Stock Photography

I’ve been providing stock photography for around 10 years, with varying degrees of luck.

There are essentially two type of stock; micro stock and traditional stock. Traditional stock sells based on the size and usage of the photo. This can be a couple of quid for online use, or £50 or so for a magazine cover or similar. Microstock uses royalty free image licensing. This means that customers have accounts allowing a certain amount of downloads, and they can use a photo they download as many times and in any way they choose. Commission can be as little as 20p. Not surprisingly photographers were never keen on this method!

With royalty free, you need a model release form for any identifiable people in the photo, and property releases for any trademark protected property, buildings, cars etc. This is rather unlikely, so you are really limited in what you can shoot.

I believe that Alamy is still the largest traditional stock site. Shutterstock seems one of the biggest microstock site, often seen in program/film credits. iStock is also large, though now part of Getty. I’ve sold hundreds of photos through iStock, and a couple of dozen through Alamy, making about the same from each.

It’s difficult to stand out; when I started using Alamy it had 8 million images for sale. It now has over 180 million. It is possible to sell though; think concepts rather than items.

Shots need to be be technically competent – focused, high-resolution, accurate colours etc, but the key is to shoot themes which are currently in vogue. At the moment that seems to include multi-generational and multi-ethnic families, so if you have access to a photographic one, get some forms signed and get shooting!

Shutterstock.comAlamy.com

I have recently released an ebook explaining the various ways you can make money from your photos.

Gigging

People per Hour / Fiverr / Taskrabbit

Be part of the ‘gig economy’ These sites connect freelancers with buyers. I’ve used PPH and Fiverr for various web-related tasks, including SEO, link building, logo design, and fixing the security certificate of my site after I managed to break it. Overnight. for £12.

I haven’t tried Taskrabbit, but it’s a more local for more physical tasks. They’ve recently partnered with Ikea for flat pack building. Other tasks on there include TV installation, man-with-van, and cleaning. Looks pretty handy for 1-off jobs. If you’re handy with an Allen key, have access to a van, or are a dab-hand with a duster there are certainly ways to earn a few quid here.

BeMyEye

This a simple to use location-based app, which offers tasks within a set radius. These are usually going in to a shop, checking for certain displays, and photographing them. The money isn’t bad if you don’t have to travel too far. Some tasks need you to interact with staff, but many don’t.

Bank Switching

A fairly simple way to make some money is to switch your bank. Despite pathetically low savings rates banks do still want our business, so why not take advantage? I have 3 accounts. One I’ve had for 20 odd years. The other 2 I switch every year. This year I’ve made £250, and my partner £50 as a referral fee. This took about an hour’s work, and probably the same to sort out any resulting issues. That’s £125/hr. I’ll keep doing it until I run out of options (most offers exclude recent customers).

You need to pay in an amount each money, usually £500-£1000/month. However it doesn’t need to be a different lump of cash. You can pay your salary into one account and automatically transfer enough into the other account. You can pay it back over if you want, depending on which is your preferred account for day to day use.