Category Archives: Making Extra Money

Such a perfect day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mummies out there! It was a gorgeous spring day here today and I was desperate to get out and do some tidying up and to plant some little shrubs we picked up in B&M last weekend. They are quite good for plants. They don’t have a huge range but what they do have is very reasonably priced. We decided on a hebe and an azalea. At £4 each they were a massive bargain.

Whilst we were out fighting with the weeds, cutting stuff back and mowing the lawn, my daughters were making a delicious roast beef lunch. We were so ready for this after a few hours in the garden. We had it with a £5 bottle of cava from Lidl and strawberries for pudding. They even cleaned it all up. Fantastic! What a lovely bunch of girls.


Mr S found a very pretty Portmerion tea set in the charity shop on Friday for £25. We looked on eBay and found the teapot alone going for £75! This lot has to be sold on as we could make a handy profit. I should start getting up early and perusing the bootsales soon to see what else I can find to sell on. This could be a useful bit of extra income. 

We went to visit Mum and dad yesterday. He is quite frail and tired still but this isn’t surprising as he has undergone a serious bit of surgery. It’s hard to keep him out of his garden on a sunny day but we need to for now. I will try to get round to help in the week.

What could be better than sunshine, fresh air, exercise, home cooked food and family? It was a perfect day to set me up for a busy week. Mother’s Day or not, I hope you had a super Sunday.

Keeping up with the cost of living

I heard on the news today that the cost of living in the uk has risen by 2.3% in the past year. Food itself has gone up by 1%. This is ok if your salary keeps up with it, but I have had a paltry 1% increase this year. Heaven knows how larger families manage.

So, what can you do? How about a side hustle? There are some ideas for making extra money here.

You can save money on your grocery bill with a bit of careful planning and savvy shopping.

Then we have your energy bills. Some ideas that I have tried can be found here. You can also haggle down the cost of your utilities.

Running a car can be a huge expense but it is possible to be frugal here too. This is how I save money on motoring.

Do you spend too much on clothes? You can slash costs if you embrace the idea of buying second hand. I am a happy second-hand Rose.

Days out also don’t have to cost the earth. My tips are here.

This is just a quick compilation of ideas. I hope they help! And don’t forget to check out my frugal recipes.

Back tomorrow hopefully if I have time between work and hospital visits!

Making money and saving it too

I spent the whole evening listing clothes for eBay last night. Quite a boring task but hopefully my efforts will prove fruitful. I currently have 40 odd items for sale 😀.

Dinner was chicken wings marinated in a bottle of Nando’s sauce that appeared from nowhere – I think my darling daughter must have bought it and it was forgotten about in the back of the cupboard. In my opinion chicken wings are very under-rated. There may not be lots of meat on them but what’s there is very flavoursome. Great value too. We had them with a baked sweet potato and some salad for a thrifty dinner. The marinade was nice but it would obviously be cheaper to make it yourself.

It was a gorgeous day here in Essex yesterday. I wish I had known it would be then I would have got the laundry outside before I left for work. I love to see it hanging out there, and it’s so much better than having airers all over the house. Today doesn’t look promising so it is indoors. Roll on spring! 

I refuse to waste money buying and running a dryer. People  are forever asking me why I don’t get one. Firstly, there is no space in the kitchen, secondly even the AAA rated ones cost a lot to run and thirdly not having one is better for the environment. I managed to raise three kids without a dryer so I think I can carry on without one now they are grown up. I swear I am considered rather eccentric to take this stance! 

What about you? Are you a line dryer or do you rely on the tumble dryer?

How to make money on eBay

I have mentioned before that I make extra money selling on eBay – mainly clothing, but anything that comes my way that might make a few pounds as well. In addition to selling our old unwanted stuff, I actively buy in order to sell on. It is quite a bit of work, but can be a nice little earner. Here is what I have learned.

People will pay a lot for secondhand designer items

Certain brand names sell well and, as long as they are in good condition, they can command a very good price. Brands such as Karen Millen, Phase Eight, MonsoonLipsy and Jane Norman all sell well.

Give a good description

You need to provide a detailed description of the item you are selling, but be honest. If there is a small stain on the hem or a pull to the fabric say so and provide photos. This will avoid battles with disgruntled customers if the item isn’t as they were expecting.

Take some good pics

A decent photo really does speak louder than a thousand words. People cannot try items on or feel the fabric so will be reassured to see several good shots from various angles. If you are going to sell clothes on a regular basis it is worth investing in a hanging dummy. I bought mine from eBay for around £8 (some examples are here. Dress them as they do in the window displays in the shops. Make dresses ‘fit’ with a few pins and add some jewellery.

Grab attention with the heading

Your title is also important. Think about what key words people might use to search for particular items. Make sure they are spelt correctly too! Include the brand, colour, style, size and if it is new, say so. I bought a Karen Millen dress from eBay for £4.50 – it didn’t sell because the photo was dreadful and the heading was ‘Lovely Dress’. Nobody was able to identify it as a gorgeous designer dress so mine was the only bid. I later sold it on for £25.

Research prices

It is worth looking at how much similar items sell for to try to establish a good price for whatever you are selling. If you’re not in a hurry you will get more for an item if you sell it at a fixed price – I tend to do this with higher end designer clothing. If you want to sell it quickly go for an auction,  I tend to choose this option for items that are worth less than a tenner. Sometimes the prices you get still take you by surprise!

Set reasonable postage prices

Don’t be greedy with postage – customers aren’t stupid and will be put off bidding if you are charging £10 P&P for an object that will only cost £3 to send. I usually weigh the item and check the Royal Mail price finder to get guidance on costs, then add a little extra for packaging. For heavier or bulky items it is worth checking out Collect Plus as it is often cheaper. I would recommend sending using recorded delivery if the item is expensive. Even if you send by standard post, always get proof of postage in case the parcel goes missing, as you can refund your customer and get a refund from the Royal Mail to keep everyone happy.

Pack well

Take a bit of time to pack items carefully. Make sure you use lots of bubble wrap and a decent box if you are posting anything breakable. When selling women’s clothing I wrap it in coloured tissue paper and pop it in a matching plastic envelope. Again, I buy these from eBay as I have found this to be the cheapest place for packaging materials.

Include a little message thanking the customer for their purchase. Ask them to leave you positive feedback if they are happy with the item or to contact you before leaving negative feedback if not so that you can try to resolve any issues. If you are selling regularly, it is worth getting business cards printed with this message. I got mine quite cheaply from VistaPrint, but there are lots of companies offering good deals on these.

The power of feedback

If a customer is not happy with the item for any reason, don’t argue. If you want to make money selling you need good feedback and it’s not worth risking that by quibbling over a return. In addition, if you buy on eBay be sure to leave reasonable feedback for the seller. I would never leave bad feedback unless the seller was obnoxious or unreasonable in some way and I hope buyers are the same (they aren’t always, but I have only had one customer leave me bad feedback – completely unfairly!).

Good timing

If you are selling by auction think about your timing and schedule your posts to end at peak periods. For example, it is better to time your auction to end on a Sunday at 8pm when people have time to browse rather than on a Monday at 10 am when they are all at work! eBay has a scheduling feature for this purpose.

Sell overseas

Don’t be afraid to sell abroad. I have seen so many adverts stating that sellers will only post within the UK. Why? If you are going to the Post Office anyway it is no more complicated to post abroad. You can use the Royal Mail Price Finder for this too!

Buying to sell on

I felt a bit like Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses when I first started doing this, but I soon got over my discomfort when I realised that eBay could seriously help my budget. It is only what antique and collectible dealers have been doing for ever – buying and selling and taking a cut where they can!

Whilst you are feeling your way selling on eBay, I recommend you don’t spend too much on buying stock. Boot sales are brilliant places to find bargain items to sell on. You often see brand new items with the tags still on for just a few pounds. I got a gorgeous new Monsoon dress in pristine condition with the tags in place for £1!! I would have happily paid five or even ten pounds for it. I later sold it on for £30.

As mentioned previously, I have purchased items cheaply on eBay itself because I knew I could present them better and sell them on for more. This can be a risk; if you are buying from sellers who aren’t savvy enough to do a good presentation they may also be vague about the condition of the item. I bought a dress for £6, another Karen Millen number, which was absolutely filthy when it arrived. Dry cleaning is expensive so I risked the fabric on a delicate wash and it came up as good as new, but it might just as easily have ended up in the charity bag.

Charity shops often know the value of high end brand names so aren’t always good places to find good stuff to sell on. Occasionally you will find some great stock though. I went into a hospice shop and they were selling all their dresses off for £4 each. I filled up three carrier bags! I know that some people feel uncomfortable making a profit from charity shops, but I don’t. I buy so much from them I think I support their causes, and sometimes they need to move their stock on to make room for the next lot.

It is also possible to get some superb bargains at the end of the sales in regular stores and sell them on at profit. Mr S’s sister does this regularly. She has a great eye for the styles that will still be in demand when they are no longer available in store, and has found that sometimes people are prepared to pay more than the original retail price.

I know others that have found objects on Freecycle and sold them on. This is where I draw the line. It goes against the whole ethos of giving something for free to stop it going to landfill in my view and means the sites can be awash with greedy dealers.

So, that is my experience of selling on eBay in a nutshell, which I hope you will find helpful. I am sure I still have much to learn, so please feel free to add your helpful hints and tips!

 

Disclosure: This site earns revenue using Skimlinks. More information here.

Ten ways I have made extra money

I always have at least one scheme on the go to make a little extra money. I like my job but it just doesn’t pay me enough! I would rather put some effort into this than waste my energy worrying about not having enough to pay the bills.

These are what I am doing now or have done in the past to make ends meet:

Taken in a lodger

Hosted foreign students from the local language school

Run yoga classes 

Bought from boot sales or charity shops and resold on eBay

Babysat

Worked behind the bar at the local pub

Sold my old books online

Attended weekend events such as shows and exhibitions for work

Sold Avon makeup door to door

Hosted Body Shop parties

The key is to commit enough time but not so much you are permanently exhausted. If you can turn a hobby into a way of making money that is ideal. I did this with my yoga classes. Bar work can be fun if it is somewhere you would go anyway. Hard work though! I hated the sales parties – I’m not a natural sales woman. If you are, I think they can be worthwhile. Avon was a hard slog round the houses with a toddler in a buggy. I think I spent more than I earned!

If you have a spare room this is the best way to make a substantial regular income. The language students were great – we met so many interesting people from all over the world. They are a tie, however, as you have to be around to feed and entertain them. 

A lodger is ideal and this is what I am focussing on, along with selling a few designer dresses on eBay. If you fancy it, there is loads of guidance on how much you can earn before paying tax on renting your spare room here if you are in the UK.

There are loads of ways to make a little extra if you are willing to have a go. What works for you?

Give yourself a pay rise!

My daughter is struggling a bit with money at the moment. She spent too much at Christmas, like many of us. She has been talking about getting a second job to give herself a bit of extra cash. I have suggested that if she changed some of her regular spending habits she would be able to cope on her salary. In fact, it would be like getting a pay rise and she wouldn’t necessarily need a second job!

She probably won’t take all of my advice, but if she just does some of this she will have more money in her purse.

No1: for so many reasons as well as financial -give up smoking!! A pack of 20 cigarettes costs around £9.60!! She smokes three packs a week. Saving: £1500 pa.

No2: start taking in a packed lunch. She spends about £5 a day, five days a week. She could make her own for about a pound a day. Saving : £1200 pa.

No 3: stick to a weekly food budget. Write a shopping list and a meal plan. She currently spends about £50 a week. I think she can save at least £10 on this. Saving: £520 pa.

No4: stop buying makeup. She has so much so she needs to buy nothing until it is all used. I’m guessing she spends at least £10 a month on this but possibly a lot more! A conservative estimate of savings: £520 pa.

I’m not going to suggest buying no new clothes as she doesn’t buy many and they are often second hand. I’m also not going to suggest she stops going to the pub at the weekend. She only goes once a week and she is 25! A girl needs to have some fun.

But if she did all of the above she would have an extra £3740 a year. That’s another £70 odd a week in her pocket, which is probably more than she would earn taking on a second job.

Many of us could rethink our spending habits and give ourselves a pay rise. What about you?

How much debt??!!

I heard on the news that the average UK household has around £13,000 of debts, not including their mortgages. The idea of being that much in debt frankly terrifies me. I occasionally put the odd small thing on a credit card, transfer it to a 0% interest card straight away, then pay it off as soon as possible. I’m talking three or four hundred here though, not thousands! 

I suppose this didn’t really surprise me that much though. I do wonder, if you are on an average kind of salary with average expenses, how do you pay that amount off? I guess you start being frugal and reining it in at some point or you go under. I would worry how I would cope if interest rates went up, or if I became ill and my income dropped. I will never get into that much debt!

We had a few hours in the garden yesterday as it was so mild. It really needed it. We have been really neglectful due to lack of time. We found a whole load of leeks that we had forgotten about so pulled the lot up. They were quite small as they hadn’t been thinned out enough but are usable. I feel a big pan of leek and potato soup coming on! It was nice to get out and dig. We did that instead of going for a walk but I’m sure it burned off a few calories.

We have finally found a lodger. She is moving in next weekend and only wants Monday to Friday, which suits us fine. That will boost the bank account a bit. Hopefully I can focus on saving money rather than getting into debt!

Spending less and saving more in 2017

We have had a lovely day and dinner at my sister’s and we are now home and chilling. It’s nice to have a bit of quiet time to relax. 

I have been having a think about the upcoming lean January I need to have. I am absolutely determined to save more money next year than I managed in 2016. I am planning to do this in two ways:

Spending less

This is tricky as I already live a frugal lifestyle. But I am sure I can save here and there. I need to question every single purchase. Do I really need this? Can I do without it? Can I get it more cheaply?

I had two holidays in 2016, it was lovely! But it cleared out my savings. This year it is Mr S’s BIG birthday. I won’t say which, I will leave you to guess. So we will have a holiday to celebrate as that is the thing he loves to do, but just the one. 

I can spend less on groceries. I already shop in the discount supermarkets (Aldi or Lidl) but I will do more yellow sticker hunting. Tell me please, what is the best time to visit the supermarkets to find the really serious discounts? 

I need to cook more. Lack of time has made me start using more jars and more expensive short cuts. I need to find some energy and enthusiasm and do some batch cooking.

I will get control of my ad hoc spending. I have noticed that I have started buying the tempting but expensive 80p chocolate bars or bags of crisps from the machine rather than keeping a few cheaper snacks in my drawer at work. I also fall into the trap of popping to Asda or somewhere for my Lacrofree milk and cat food, but  while I am in there picking up wine, snacks, a fancy salad for work, etc. I need to go in with my blinkers in and only buy what I intended!

I will clean my own car. It only takes half an hour but I am tempted from time to time to take it to the Polish car washers. They do a great job but at £10 when it could be free.

I rarely buy new clothes, I dye my own hair and buy only basic toiletries. So nothing to save there. I am mean with the heating and fanatical about turning off lights so no savings there either. We hardly ever go out to the pub or for a meal, so not much I can cut back on.

I will do a review of all my outgoings to check to see if I can get anything such as utilities  more cheaply or cut things out all together. 

Earning more

This year I need to bring more money in. I went for a promotion but didn’t hear before Christmas so don’t think I was successful. However, there will be other chances so I will sign up to some job alerts so I don’t miss the opportunities. 

I am hoping to get a lodger. This is proving tougher than I thought but hopefully I will get some more interest in the new year. In the meantime I will keep taking the language students as I have for the past few years.

I intend to up my eBay sales . This has made me a bit extra in the past year or two – £50-£100 sometimes a month. It takes quite a bit of time but it all helps. This will go straight to savings. 

What are your top tips for making more money and spending less?

This and that

DD3 is fond of Heinz tomato soup. She prefers this to my home made (cheek!). However it is expensive I think. I tried the Lidl version this week and it is pretty good, I am having it for lunch. 39p! Bargain. Let’s hope she enjoys it.

I really don’t read enough these days. I rarely seem to have time to get involved in a meaty novel so usually read non-fiction. However, I do love Kate Atkinson books and have read them all. I was pleased to find her latest, A God in Ruins, in our Children in Need book sale last week. I hope it is good. 

Still no luck with finding a tenant for the room. I have dropped the price a bit to try to tempt a few more people round. I suppose it’s not the best time of year to move. I have also put it on Room Buddies as well as Spare Room. I hope I find someone or it will be back to the language students.  I might even put a card up in my local Co-op.

Fingers crossed I find someone soon!

A cheap lunch

Rushing about today. Already been into town to collect my new glasses (varifocals – struggling with them right now!), get my hair cut and buy a few more Christmas presents. I will save the rest for Black Friday next week.

I am having a cheap and easy lunch of sardines on toast. I love this. It’s old fashioned I know but healthy and 29p a tin from Lidl. I am trying to eat more oily fish and this is a good way to do so. Now I am having a quick clean through as I have another possible lodger coming to look at the room later. Then we are having a family dinner and off with Mr S and all three of my girls to see the new JK Rowling movie. More tomorrow!