Charity shop haul: my latest bargains

charity shop haul

I felt a bit better yesterday morning so popped out for a bit of charity shopping with my daughter. We got a great charity shop haul! I paid for it later with a migraine and lots of neck pain, but I can’t sit at home all day, every day. (If it’s your first time here, I am off sick at the moment with some kind of disc problem and a trapped nerve. Not fun!)

Both of us want to start a proper reselling business. I have been reselling on eBay in a minor way around my full time job for a number of years. My daughter preferred Mercari and was doing really well, but sadly it didn’t take off in the UK and closed.

You Tube inspiration

I have been watching some UK eBay resellers on You Tube to get advice, hints and tips on what sells well. So far, with a few exceptions, I have only done clothing. I have discovered an English couple who make a good living selling on eBay and Amazon selling all sorts. Check out Nic and Andrea Hills. They are inspirational. It’s not an easy life and they seem to work very hard. However, they are their own bosses and have flexibility about how their day goes.

My eventual aim is to work part time for an employer and run an online business and blog the rest of the time. I am fed up of the 9-5, particularly since I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia last summer. I feel as if work gets the best of my energy and creativity, leaving very little for when I am at home! Being off work, although I am in pain a lot of the time, has made me appreciate the value in having time to myself.

Here is some of my charity shop haul, to give you an idea. We are lucky to have a £1 clearance store run by the local hospice. A lot of our charity shop haul came from them, but we visited a couple of others too.

Adult clothing

charity shop haulA beautiful Phase Eight beaded dress in perfect condition. This was unpriced, so I assumed they would charge at least a fiver. When I got to the till they took just a pound! This was my bargain of the day and if it fitted me I would have kept it! I think I can get £30 for this.

charity shop haulA coast bustier, £1. These sell for £5-10.

charity shop haulA pink Alfred Angelo evening dress for £2.50. I had never heard of this brand, but they seem to go for anything from £5 to £50! I will try it at £15 I think as it’s in excellent condition.

charity shop haulAn absolutely gorgeous Monsoon floaty sequinned skirt for £1.50. Bit screwed up so I will steam it.

charity shop haulTalking of screwed up, a pink Karen Millen dress. It is so ruched you couldn’t iron out the creases, so again I will try it with my steamer. This was more expensive at £5, but Karen Millen can go for silly prices.

charity shop haulA Fat Face dress and a skirt too. These cost £1 each and should sell for a tenner each I reckon.

Other stuff

charity shop haulI don’t usually sell toys, but found a lovely wooden camper van with two figures. They sell for £26 new, so I might get a tenner on it. I only paid £1.

A cute Toyland Noddy soft toy for 50p.

charity shop haulA wicker tray. Andrea on You Tube snaps wicker items up in good condition and says they sell really well. We shall see!

charity shop haulA Monsoon dress for a baby for 50p. It is beautiful, but I don’t think children’s clothes sell for much.

My lodger Katie beat me at the bargain hunting though. She found what she assumed was probably a fake Chanel bag in a charity shop for £3. She had it checked out by a friend who works for Chanel and not only is it genuine, they sell for £750 new! £750 for a handbag!! Who has this kind of money? No one I know.

I will let you know how I get on as an eBay reseller. Had anyone else had any bargains from a charity shop haul? Do you sell on eBay? I would love to hear your hints and tips in the comments. I have a couple of posts about eBay reselling here and here if you are interested!

This post may contain affiliate links.

Making money and saving it too #fivefrugalthings

Making money

As I said in my Monthly Money Wins post the other day, I pretty much sailed through my no spend January.  Despite being at home the whole month, I didn’t resort to surfing the internet buying stuff I didn’t need! Instead of spending it, I have been thinking about making money – and saving it too.

Finally got a water meter

I have been meaning to get a water meter fitted for ages! When we first moved here all three daughters were at home, which meant lots of hot water for baths and showers, at least one load of laundry each day,  more running of the dishwasher, etc. We decided it would be cheaper at that point NOT to have a meter. Now, with only one daughter living here just some of the time (she is at university) and a lodger who spends most of her time at her boyfriend’s, we use much less water.

Making money

I am trying to make the best of being signed off from work by catching up on all of these little jobs I never get round to. Today a nice gent came to check all was well and decide where to put a meter. The engineers will be out next week. He left us with this little water saving pack for the garden.  It contains lavender seeds, a water saving hose nozzle, some swell gel, a water retaining mat and water stick for our pot plants and lots of useful information. As we live in one of the driest parts of the UK, the guide to drought tolerant plants leaflet contains great tips for good plants for our garden.

Making money with eBay reselling

I have decided to get serious about my eBay reselling this year, and make it a proper business. Now is a good time to hit the charity shops as many of them have been inundated with donations before and after Christmas. There are lots of fantastic reductions to be found. Selling on eBay is a good way of making money.

Making money

I focus mainly on clothes as I know what will sell already and have spent about £90 on stock in the past week. However, I have started looking at the many You Tube videos on reselling to learn more about other items to look out for. That is for the future. For now, I am washing, ironing, photographing and listing my clothing purchases. I managed to find two Karen Millen silk dresses, one for £2.99 and the other for just £1. When I looked at what these are selling for I was amazed. At least £30-40, which would be a fantastic profit.

A good start to my efforts toward making money.

Festival time

Making money

At this time of the year, I need something to look forward to. We fancy a festival, but prefer a smaller, more chilled out affair with a few interesting acts, rather than a frantic and very expensive V Festival type experience with huge headliners.

For a few years I have wanted to go to the Green Gathering, so I contacted the organisers to see if they would give us free tickets for a review. They were happy to do this, so watch out for a post on this fantastic looking festival! It looks eccentric and fun!

Part time veganism continues

Regular readers will know that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to eat vegan two days a week. This has been surprisingly easy, as I already eat a lot of vegan dinners. I bought oat milk for my porridge, a nice Tartex mushroom from the health food shop plus hummus for sandwich fillings. Other than those things, I didn’t need to buy anything.

Making money

Being a part time vegan is making us try some different recipes. Eating less meat, fish and dairy is cheaper and healthier I think. I made a yummy aubergine and chick pea tagine and will post the recipe next week. We will be eating that again as it was really tasty.

Free haircut

I was going to book myself in for a cheap haircut at the local hairdressing college. They charge just £7.50 for a cut and blow dry. Then I remembered that a salon in town was advertising a student night and asking for models. I rang them and they charge nothing at all! The down side is that they are super booked up so I will have to wait a couple of weeks. I don’t mind this for a free hair cut.

So, that is the summary of my week of making money and saving it as well. What are your frugal achievements this week? Have you managed to save a few pennies and are you making money with any side hustles?

This week I am linking up with  Cass Emma  and Becky in their Five Frugal Things linky.

 

 

Earn more money: 13 side hustle ideas that aren’t run of the mill!

earn more money

I first published this post at the beginning of last year. However, at a time of year when many of us are feeling the squeeze I thought it was worth revisiting. If you are on a no spend January as I am, it is good to have some things to do that don’t involve spending! Here are some ideas to earn more money.

Earn more money with these side hustle ideas

There are bound to be times when, for one reason or another, you need to boost your income. Perhaps you are paying off debts or saving towards a particular goal. We have had to be creative at times to earn more money and make sure we stay on track financially.

I have taught yoga, sold stuff on eBay, flogged makeup door to door and even appeared in the newspaper to earn more money. We also make good use of our spare room, taking in lodgers and language students.

Here are my ideas to boost the coffers and earn more money.

Language Students

If you have a spare room, even if this is only some of the time, have a look to see if you have a language college nearby. If you do, the chances are that they will need host families. I have worked with our local college for many years now. We take in students from all over the world, usually for a week or two at a time. However, it is possible to host for up to a year.

My advice is to set ground rules from the start. It is your house, not a hotel. With the youngsters particularly, I always make it clear what time I expect them to be home in the evening, when their meals will be ready and that they are to text me if they are going to be late.

Under the Government’s Rent a Room Scheme, you can earn up to £7500 per annum. If you cross this threshold you will need to complete a tax return. My full post on how to earn money hosting language students is here.

Take in a lodger

We also take in lodgers much of the time. The advantage here is that they can sort their own meals, do their own laundry and clean their own bedrooms. It is also a more dependable form of income.

You need to be pretty easy going I think. Whilst your lodger is living with you and paying rent, it is their home too, so you can’t constantly hog the TV remote and need to be prepared to share the kitchen and bathroom.

Taking a lodger also comes under the Rent a Room scheme rules.

Teaching

If you have a particular skill, you could try teaching it to others. As I mentioned, I have taught yoga on and off for many years, both for the local adult community college and in leisure centres.

You used to be able to teach pretty much anything from sewing and cookery to woodwork and photography without a qualification. However, the adult colleges are increasingly insisting on a teaching diploma. It’s worth asking what their requirements are. For very specialised leisure courses and workshops it may still be enough just to be a subject expert.

If you have a degree in something like a language, maths or English you could do home tutoring. I know some teachers who are now out of the profession but still do this. If you have a grammar school locally, there is usually good demand for 11+ coaching. Be creative. If you are a great guitarist or pianist,  you might also be able to teach one to one in your own home.

You can register with an agency such as First Tutors. If you plan to teach children you should apply for a DBS check.

I have a friend who is a native French speaker who used to earn more money running small after school clubs in French. My kids loved that! She just asked around in the playground and had a lot of interest.

Competitions

I have a work colleague who hasn’t paid for a holiday in years. He usually wins at least a couple of breaks every year, as well as household goods, days out, tickets to events and all sorts of other goodies.

Competitions are his hobby. For fun, he sits for a couple of hours each evening and enters as many as take his fancy. He recommends that you set up an email account just for comping. Otherwise, you will start to get overwhelmed with junk mail.

He uses Loquax and MSE to find his competitions. You will also find more to enter and advice at Super Lucky Di.
Obviously cash prizes are the only ones that will directly give you money in the bank, but they will certainly save you some and you could sell some of your unwanted prizes.

Matched betting can earn more money

Having heard stories of people winning thousands with matched betting, I did attempt it. However, I just couldn’t get my head round it and didn’t have the patience required.

However, I have come across other bloggers who are so good at it they regularly bring in an extra couple of thousand pounds each month. If you want to try it, I recommend looking at Katy Kicker for information on how to get started.

Online Surveys

A lot is promised by survey sites but can you really earn decent money? Skint Dad reckons you can, although he admits that surveys can be time consuming. He suggests that if you sign up to multiple sites and do a few each day you could earn as much as £200 extra each month. His guide is here.

I don’t have time to do that many but I do pop onto Prolific from time to time as they seem one of the best payers. I got fed up with answering loads of questions before being screened out on some of the others.

Mystery shopping

When my kids were still at school I signed up to do some mystery shopping. I had to go to a café in a department store and order a particular meal in one case, then had to enquire about opening a new bank account for another.

What I really wanted were some fabulous three course meals with wine or a stay on a hotel, but it wasn’t to be!

Emma Drew reckons you can make some decent money and have some fun experiences as a mystery shopper. She published a blog post called Everything you need to know about mystery shopping in the UK, which also lists some of her favourite mystery shopping companies.

Rent your driveway

If you live near a town or city centre, you could find your garage or driveway is easy to rent out to commuters. I have a colleague who does just this. She uses her car to get to work so her driveway is empty all day – or rather it isn’t as a lady in an office nearby pays her to park there. She undercuts the local car park!

As with everything, there are several websites where you can list your parking space if you do an internet search, or ask businesses near to where you live to pass the message to their employees.

Selling online

Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of eBay. I buy and sell on there. You can easily make a few pounds clearing out your house or garage and selling your things on. You can also use Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace.

As well as those having a declutter, there is a growing army of entrepreneurs making a living out of reselling on eBay. They source items cheaply via auctions, boot sales, charity shops, etc and then sell them on at a profit.

I do this from time to time, focusing mainly on clothing. I have a couple of guides here and here.

Feature in the press

earn more money

Would you believe it, the press aren’t only interested in stories from celebrities! They are frequently looking for ordinary people to write about and will often pay you as well. You could submit your story to publications like Take a Break, although they tend to focus on the tragic or the sensational.

If you prefer something more run of the mill, I recently discovered a Facebook group called Feature Me, run my Daily Mail journalists. Every day they make requests for people (mainly women) to take part in stories. They usually pay £100-200 upon publication.

I recently did this and they came to my house to give me a makeover and take photos. That was fun!

Work as an extra

This isn’t going to make your fortune, but if you like the limelight you could meet some interesting people and see your face on TV or film. There is an interesting article here about how to get started.

Love animals?

Francesca Mason of From Pennies to Pounds makes money dog boarding at home. She gets paid to look after cute dogs whilst their owners are away. If I was at home more, I would definitely go for this (although I’m not sure the cats would approve)!

It may not work if you already have a dog, however.

There is no reason you couldn’t offer this service for other creatures too. Francesca uses an organisation called Tailster. You can sign up for pet boarding, dog or cat day care and dog walking as well.

Help at the local elections

Your local council regularly recruits polling clerks for elections. I worked as one during the last general election  to earn more money. It was hard work and a long day, but very interesting. I plan to do it again  for any more local elections. I worked a 12 hour day, so it’s not for the faint-hearted.

You can progress to being a presiding officer, which pays a bit better. Rates of pay seem to vary between councils, so approach yours for more information. Now is a good time as many will have parish and council elections coming up in the summer.

Don’t forget your tax obligations

When you earn more money you are, of course, obliged to pay more tax. Keep good records and receipts and be prepared to complete a tax return. Go to Gov.UK for more information on self assessment.

What are your ideas to earn more money?

Making money and spending it too

My feet haven’t touched the ground over the last few days. I am catching up after being away last week, both at home and at work. This is the only issue I have with holidays, but I’m not really complaining!

Guest posts

Because I knew I was going to be busy, I asked a couple of blogger friends to write some guest posts for me. I hope you have had the chance to read Ruth’s one about becoming a freelance writer here, and Tuppenny Fireplace’s one about making money from your hobbies here.

I love the idea of earning extra doing something you really enjoy. I have done a little freelance writing myself and these two articles have inspired me to find more opportunities to do so.

I turned my yoga hobby into a job at one point by training to be a yoga teacher. Never regretted it! Yoga keeps me sane and cheerful.

More writing

I also wrote a guest post for Joleisa.com before I went away, about saving money in the garden. As ours is so large, this is a subject close to my heart. I could easily spend a fortune out there. You can check it out here.

Mercari

I told my daughter I had started listing things on Mercari as an alternative to eBay. She immediately decide to give it a go and has made £250 in just a couple of weeks! Amazing!

I think Mercari works best for younger women, going for good high street brands like Top Shop, New Look, etc plus online ones such as Boohoo and ASOS. I will learn from her success as I haven’t sold much at all.

If you want to try Mercari you can use my referral code to get £2 to spend: XATXYQ.

Spending money

We have splashed out this week and finally admitted the dishwasher needs replacing. Whilst I was there I got a new microwave too. I used AO again, as I was impressed with their excellent customer service when I got our new washing machine recently.

Why do large appliances always decide to die at the same time?

Never mind. I also received a freebie for review this week – an air fryer! I am excited to try it as I have heard good things.

I hope you are having a good week so far too.

6 Tips to Make Extra Money as a Freelance Writer

This is a guest post from Ruth at Ruth Makes Money. She has some fantastic ideas about how you can use your writing talents to make extra money as a freelance writer.

6 Tips to Make Extra Money as a Freelance Writer

During my eight years of working from home, I’ve tried my hand at plenty of different income streams. From reselling vintage clothes on eBay, to matched betting, to creating and selling my own online courses, all of these things have supported my commitment to never going back to the 9-5.

Freelance writing is where I started though, and it has a special place in my heart. It’s what allowed me to replace my corporate income within a few months of self-employment. Almost a decade later, it’s something that I still love and something that earns me a great chunk of money each month. Now I am here to tell you how you can make money as a freelance writer.

If you’ve ever considered freelance writing yourself, online research might have put you off the idea completely. Maybe you have heard that there’s too much competition. You might be worried about your lack of relevant qualifications or experience. You might believe that you could perhaps earn a few quid here and there, but not a generous and sustainable income.

I can tell you that you absolutely can make extra money as a freelance writer, even if you only have limited time available to commit. Here are six of my top tips for getting started, and increasing your earning potential…

Avoid being a Jack of All Trades by choosing your niche

When many people first think about how to make extra money as a freelance writer, they assume that if they’re willing to write about anything and everything, they’ve got a better chance of landing work. In reality though, the opposite is true. If you end up looking like a generalist, you won’t be giving anyone a really compelling reason to work with you.

Make life easier for yourself straight out the gate by committing to a niche. Maybe you want to write about pets, personal finance, or beauty. There are hundreds of options, but the key is choosing something and sticking with it. Ideally, you’ll find a middle ground between a topic that you’re madly passionate about, and something that you already have a great knowledge of.

Create a portfolio to show off your writing style

Anyone can say that they’re a great writer and can create killer content for business owners. Your clients will want to see proof though, and get a taste for the kind of pieces that you can create, and this is why you need to put together a small portfolio.

Don’t panic if you’ve never had a writing client before, because there are plenty of ways around this, and you can realistically pull something together within just a few days. I’ve even created a guide to creating an awesome portfolio if you have zero professional experience. This is absolutely key to attracting the best (and highest paying) clients, so don’t skip this step!

Find clients where they’re already searching for you

There are dozens and dozens of ways to find clients. When you’re getting started, I firmly believe in choosing the path of least resistance. The good news here is that there are tons of freelance writing job boards out there where people are looking for writers just like you. They already know they need your skills. The fact that they’re advertising the project means that they’re ready to make a decision and get started. All you need to do is show them why you’re the person for the job by sending across a pitch.

I will mention here that freelance writing job boards sometimes get a bit of criticism. Yes, there are lots of low-paid opportunities out there that you’ll want to avoid. But during my first year as a freelancer, these spaces were my sole source of work. I managed to find plenty of clients who were happy to pay decent rates.

Don’t work for free if you want to make extra money as a freelance writer

Okay, so this one is the source of much debate amongst freelance writers. Should you ever work for free, to get a foot on the ladder and build up your portfolio? My view is that no, you shouldn’t. Mainly because it’s completely unnecessary, but also because you want to get paid for this, right?

When you see so-called opportunities that offer you ‘exposure’, or claim that they ‘may lead to paid work in the future’, avoid them like the plague. If you’ve created a portfolio of your work and you’re committed to the pitching process, you absolutely can find paying clients. This is the case even if you’re completely new.

Make a daily commitment to pitching

When you’re using a freelance job board site, the biggest struggle is landing your first gig. You won’t have any feed back from previous clients on your profile, and you won’t have worked your way up the search algorithm by being active on the platform. So yes, it’s a challenge and you’ll have to put in the legwork.

The best advice that I can possibly give here is to make sure that you’re pitching daily. Even if you can only dedicate half an hour. To a certain extent, pitching is a numbers game and you just have to get your applications out there. As well, make sure that you’re following up around seven days later with any potential clients who haven’t got back to you. Most freelancers don’t do this, so it’ll definitely give you an edge!

Treat your side hustle like a business

If you want your freelancing side hustle to become a generous and sustainable income stream, then you need to treat it like a business from day one. Otherwise, you end up dipping your toes in the water and never really gaining any momentum.

This means setting a schedule and sticking to it. It means pitching daily and delivering a professional service to your clients. It means pitching with confidence. Eventually, it means cultivating an online presence as a writer and investing some of your profits back into your own development and your business.

Some of these things you’ll work out along the way, and you don’t have to do everything at once. Treating your freelance work like it’s a business – before you’ve even bagged that first client – is going to play a big part in putting you on the fast track to great earnings and success.

If you’ve got a passion for writing and you’d love to earn some extra money on a part-time basis, freelance writing could be perfect for you. Have you thought about giving it a go? And what’s stopping you from getting out there and finding your first clients?  With a bit of hard work, you can make extra money as a freelance writer!

Ruth is a freelance writer and blogs at RuthMakesMoney.com about genuine ways to make money online, including freelancing, eBay selling, and matched betting.

Ten top tips for hosting foreign students

Hosting foreign students in our home has kept us going during some lean times. It hasn’t just been helpful to our finances though. Hosting foreign students has proved fascinating and hugely rewarding in other ways.

We have been hosting foreign students on and  off for almost eight years. During that time we have met great people from all over the world. Japan, Slovakia, Angola, Sweden, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland and Macedonia, to name just a few. It is so interesting to have a glimpse into the lives of these young people.

They tend to be confident and sensible young people on the whole. However, you can’t take this for granted. Many are very young and inexperienced. They need a bit of guidance. If you are thinking about hosting foreign students, here are my top tips to make their visit a pleasant experience all round.

Some stay for a week or two, but you can take students for up to a year. Most of ours have been with us for short trips. The longest was here for six months.

hosting foreign students

Top tips when hosting foreign students

1. Set clear house rules

It is sensible to set clear house rules from the beginning. If your student’s grasp of the language is limited, give them a written list. They can translate it at their leisure!

Let them know whether smoking is acceptable and where they can do it. We are a non-smoking household. However, I keep a pot of sand outside the back door and allow them to smoke in the garden.

Make sure time meals are clear and ask them to ring or text to let you know if they are running late. I have found this is particularly important to set a breakfast time. Teenagers often don’t want to get up, particularly at the weekends! I learned this the hard way. We had one girl who was with us for several months. On weekends she would stay in bed all day if we let her. She once got up at 4 pm and wanted breakfast, when I was slaving over a Sunday roast!

2. Be firm on the rules around going out

The organisations responsible for hosting foreign students always have rules on how late students can stay out if they are under 18. If they are under 16 they need to have their parents’ written consent to go out unaccompanied in the evenings. If they are between 16 and 18 they usually have to be in by 10.30 in the week and 11.30 at the weekend.

Crack down immediately if your student stays out later than this. I had one 16 year old who rolled home at 3 am and a 17 year old who came in at midnight. This was on a Monday night and she proceeded to vomit in the bathroom for the next hour. We weren’t impressed and made it clear this was not acceptable. You also need to advise your host organisation if faced with this type of behaviour.

If over 18, you can still insist they are back by a certain time. Your house, your rules, and if you are lying awake worrying about them it doesn’t make for a pleasant experience. I usually say something like ‘We lock up at 11.30, so you need to be in by then’, certainly during the week.

3. Food

I have learned the hard way that it is best to be conservative in the food you offer. I plan the first few meals around pasta or a fairly plain meat dish such as chicken to see how adventurous they are. We assumed that our French students would all eat anything as they come from a country renowned for its gastronomy. However, we found this is not the case. A teenager is a teenager it seems, wherever they come from.

Saying that, you don’t want to feed them junk all week and you are expected to provide nourishing food. Once you have had a chance to speak to them about their likes and dislikes you can plan your other meals. You also need to provide a pudding. I generally go for fruit, yogurt or ice cream, with cake or crumble at the weekend when I have time to bake.

We have had several older students (some have been in their late twenties and early thirties) insist on making us a meal. We had a lovely Japanese curry created by Tae and a memorable ratatouille made by Stephan!

Part of their learning journey is to spend time conversing with the family. Meal times are the perfect opportunity for this, so make sure you all eat together.

I have made mistakes, and once inadvertently put wine in a casserole for a Muslim student! Having carefully avoided pork I completely forgot most Muslims do not drink!

Make sure you understand which meals you are expected to provide. One group I work with requires all meals, including a packed lunch each day, whilst another expects the student so purchase their own lunch at the school.

Packed lunches

If you are expected to proved a packed lunch for your student, make sure it is a decent one. Generally, we offer two filled rolls (one cheese and one ham), a piece of cake or cereal bar, some fruit, crisps and a bottle of water. I might substitute a sausage roll or pizza for the sandwiches, but check that they like these first. Even if I am not obliged to, I always see them off at the end of their stay with plenty of food and drink for their journey.

4. Provide local information

Depending on how old your student is and how much free time they have, it is sometimes worth picking up some tourist leaflets for them. Generally, though, what they need is a map of your town with important places marked on it. Include your house, the study centre and any other places they need to know about.

If they are expected to travel by bus, we research the numbers for them and help them buy their ticket on the bus on the first day. We ask the bus driver to tell them when they need to get off. You might like to do the journey with them on day one, again depending on their age. I also print out pictures of the study centre and any landmarks on the bus route so they know to ring the bell when they see them and get off.

One of the study centres we use when hosting foreign students is just a 15 minute walk from our house. If students are happy to walk we take them the evening before so that they are confident about where they need to go.

I write down our address to keep with them in case they have difficulties or get lost and make sure we exchange mobile numbers. They also get a front door key to let themselves in and out.

5. Be kind

Often, students are quite nervous when they arrive so try to help and reassure them as much as possible. Unbelievably, there was an occasion I heard about when a host’s boyfriend was so unfriendly towards a 17 year old student that she contacted the group leader and requested to be moved. We would have taken her in but didn’t have space.

Respect cultural differences. You will be advised in advance about obvious things, like religion (Muslim and Jewish students obviously don’t eat pork), but sometimes you discover as you go along. We found that our Angolan student was a deeply religious Catholic. As she was staying several months we made a point of taking her to church a couple of times so that she could get to know people. A kind lady then offered to collect her every Sunday morning and they became great friends.

Include your guests in your life and daily activities. At weekends, we sometimes drive them to the seaside, take them for meals with friends and family or go into town shopping. This is best if your student is under 18 as you cannot leave them alone in the house for extended periods.

6. Keep them safe

Remember that if they are under 18 you are ‘in loco parentis’ and responsible for their safety and well-being. Ensure you have the emergency number for the organisers with you at all times and liaise with the organisers if you have any difficulties. Some organisations insist on a DBS check, but a surprising number don’t.

You decide how much you are going to drive them around. I tend not to take or collect them from classes. It is part of their experience to get themselves about. However, one group often goes to bowling one evening and I usually offer to collect younger students so that they don’t have to find their way home at 9pm, certainly the first week.

7. Keep their comfort in mind

Remember, even though you are treating them as members of your family during their stay, your students are paying guests. They expect a clean and tidy home, a comfortable room and a proper bed with fresh bed linen. As they will be doing homework whilst they are staying, they will also need a desk, a chair and a lamp in their room.

Keep the house warm and provide extra blankets if the weather is chilly, especially for students from warmer climes. our Angolan student was frozen for the first month, even though it was July when she arrived! I had to encourage her to buy some extra jumpers and a warm coat.

Although group organisers often encourage students to join in with clearing up or laying the table as part of being ‘one of the family’, they don’t have to. They shouldn’t be expected to do any housework or child-minding.

You will be obliged to do their laundry at least once a week, to clean their room and give them clean bedding and towels.

8. Remember why they are here

Remember that first and foremost they are here to learn the language. You may think this is a great opportunity to practice your German or French, but resist the urge. They are here to immerse themselves in the English language, not help you with your learning. Speak slowly and clearly. We have resorted to Google translate from time to time but generally try to explain without.

9. Prepare in advance

Liaise with the organisers and read everything they send to you so that you are prepared for your guest. Make sure you are aware in advance of any dietary requirements and that you are happy to provide the food required. I always say that I am happy to do vegetarian or gluten free meals, but have never had to.

Don’t plan any events during your guest’s stay that they cannot attend with you if necessary. Be prepared to join in too. One of our organisations has a family barbecue, which is always fun. Another invites host families for a picnic in the park. Don’t just see hosting foreign students as a way to make extra money. It can be a fun and rewarding experience in its own right.

10. How to get started hosting foreign students

We are lucky to have an English Study Centre here. Obviously not every town will have one. Do some research on the internet to see which organisations teach English as a Foreign Language as they may require host families.

My current student came to me from LEC. They employ local organisers around the UK who recruit families. Other organisations are:

Homestay. You can sign up on the website.

EF Host Families

Host UK place international university students with host families.

Kaplan International, a huge organisation offering English courses worldwide.

There are many other organisations if you do your research. What is your experience of hosting foreign students?

For more ideas on how to earn extra money you might like my post 13 ideas for side hustles that aren’t run of the mill.

This post may contain affiliate links.

 

Earn more money: 13 side hustle ideas that aren’t run of the mill!

earn more moneyThere are bound to be times when, for one reason or another, you need to boost your income. Perhaps you are paying off debts or saving towards a particular goal. We have had to be creative at times to earn more money and make sure we stay on track financially.

I have taught yoga, sold stuff on eBay, flogged makeup door to door and even appeared in the newspaper to earn more money. We also make good use of our spare room, taking in lodgers and language students.

Here are my ideas to boost the coffers and earn more money.

Language Students

If you have a spare room, even if this is only some of the time, have a look to see if you have a language college nearby. If you do, the chances are that they will need host families. I have worked with our local college for many years now. We take in students from all over the world, usually for a week or two at a time. However, it is possible to host for up to a year.

My advice is to set ground rules from the start. It is your house, not a hotel. With the youngsters particularly, I always make it clear what time I expect them to be home in the evening, when their meals will be ready and that they are to text me if they are going to be late.

Under the Government’s Rent a Room Scheme, you can earn up to £7500 per annum. If you cross this threshold you will need to complete a tax return.

Take in a lodger

We also take in lodgers much of the time. The advantage here is that they can sort their own meals, do their own laundry and clean their own bedrooms. It is also a more dependable form of income.

You need to be pretty easy going I think. Whilst your lodger is living with you and paying rent, it is their home too, so you can’t constantly hog the TV remote and need to be prepared to share the kitchen and bathroom.

Taking a lodger also comes under the Rent a Room scheme rules.

Teaching

If you have a particular skill, you could try teaching it to others. As I mentioned, I have taught yoga on and off for many years, both for the local adult community college and in leisure centres.

You used to be able to teach pretty much anything from sewing and cookery to woodwork and photography without a qualification. However, the adult colleges are increasingly insisting on a teaching diploma. It’s worth asking what their requirements are. For very specialised leisure courses and workshops it may still be enough just to be a subject expert.

If you have a degree in something like a language, maths or English you could do home tutoring. I know some teachers who are now out of the profession but still do this. If you have a grammar school locally, there is usually good demand for 11+ coaching. Be creative. If you are a great guitarist or pianist,  you might also be able to teach one to one in your own home.

You can register with an agency such as First Tutors. If you plan to teach children you should apply for a DBS check.

I have a friend who is a native French speaker who used to earn more money running small after school clubs in French. My kids loved that! She just asked around in the playground and had a lot of interest.

Competitions

I have a work colleague who hasn’t paid for a holiday in years. He usually wins at least a couple of breaks every year, as well as household goods, days out, tickets to events and all sorts of other goodies.

Competitions are his hobby. For fun, he sits for a couple of hours each evening and enters as many as take his fancy. He recommends that you set up an email account just for comping. Otherwise, you will start to get overwhelmed with junk mail.

He uses Loquax and MSE to find his competitions. You will also find more to enter and advice at Super Lucky Di.
Obviously cash prizes are the only ones that will directly give you money in the bank, but they will certainly save you some and you could sell some of your unwanted prizes.

Matched betting can earn more money

Having heard stories of people winning thousands with matched betting, I did attempt it. However, I just couldn’t get my head round it and didn’t have the patience required.

However, I have come across other bloggers who are so good at it they regularly bring in an extra couple of thousand pounds each month. If you want to try it, I recommend looking at Katy Kicker for information on how to get started.

Online Surveys

A lot is promised by survey sites but can you really earn decent money? Skint Dad reckons you can, although he admits that surveys can be time consuming. He suggests that if you sign up to multiple sites and do a few each day you could earn as much as £200 extra each month. His guide is here.

I don’t have time to do that many but I do pop onto Prolific from time to time as they seem one of the best payers. I got fed up with answering loads of questions before being screened out on some of the others.

Mystery shopping

When my kids were still at school I signed up to do some mystery shopping. I had to go to a café in a department store and order a particular meal in one case, then had to enquire about opening a new bank account for another.

What I really wanted were some fabulous three course meals with wine or a stay on a hotel, but it wasn’t to be!

Emma Drew reckons you can make some decent money and have some fun experiences as a mystery shopper. She published a blog post called Everything you need to know about mystery shopping in the UK, which also lists some of her favourite mystery shopping companies.

Rent your driveway

If you live near a town or city centre, you could find your garage or driveway is easy to rent out to commuters. I have a colleague who does just this. She uses her car to get to work so her driveway is empty all day – or rather it isn’t as a lady in an office nearby pays her to park there. She undercuts the local car park!

As with everything, there are several websites where you can list your parking space if you do an internet search, or ask businesses near to where you live to pass the message to their employees.

Selling online

Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of eBay. I buy and sell on there. You can easily make a few pounds clearing out your house or garage and selling your things on. You can also use Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace.

As well as those having a declutter, there is a growing army of entrepreneurs making a living out of reselling on eBay. They source items cheaply via auctions, boot sales, charity shops, etc and then sell them on at a profit.

I do this from time to time, focussing mainly on clothing. I have a couple of guides here and here.

Feature in the press

earn more moneyWould you believe it, the press aren’t only interested in stories from celebrities! They are frequently looking for ordinary people to write about and will often pay you as well. You could submit your story to publications like Take a Break, although they tend to focus on the tragic or the sensational.

If you prefer something more run of the mill, I recently discovered a Facebook group called Feature Me, run my Daily Mail journalists. Every day they make requests for people (mainly women) to take part in stories. They usually pay £100-200 upon publication.

I recently did this and they came to my house to give me a makeover and take photos. That was fun, although they have yet to use the piece so I am still waiting to get paid.
Go on a game show

Work as an extra

This isn’t going to make your fortune, but if you like the limelight you could meet some interesting people and see your face on TV or film. There is an interesting article here about how to get started.

Love animals?

Francesca Mason of From Pennies to Pounds makes money dog boarding at home. She gets paid to look after cute dogs whilst their owners are away. If I was at home more, I would definitely go for this (although I’m not sure the cats would approve)!

It may not work if you already have a dog, however.

There is no reason you couldn’t offer this service for other creatures too. Francesca uses an organisation called Tailster. You can sign up for pet boarding, dog or cat day care and dog walking as well.

Help at the local elections

Your local council regularly recruits polling clerks for elections. I worked as one during the general election last year to earn more money. It was hard work and a long day, but very interesting. I plan to do it again in May for the local elections. I worked a 12 hour day, so it’s not for the faint hearted.

You can progress to being a presiding officer, which pays a bit better. Rates of pay seem to vary between councils, so approach yours for more information. Now is a good time as many will have parish and council elections coming up in the summer.

Don’t forget your tax obligations

When you earn more money you are, of course, obliged to pay more tax. Keep good records and receipts and be prepared to complete a tax return. Go to Gov.UK for more information on self assessment.

What are your ideas to earn more money?

I am taking part in the Monday Money linky with Lynn from Mrs Mummy PennyFaith from Much More With Less and Emma from EmmaDrew.Info

Just another savvy Sunday

Last week went past in a flash. I didn’t have time for much at all, let alone spending any money. My no spend January continues to go well! This morning I have been considering the frugal things I have done for this savvy Sunday round up. So what have we achieved this week?

Hunkering down

savvy SundayThe weather has been so grim and cold, with more freezing weather forecast. I hate it! We have been wearing lots of layers. It can feel very chilly in the mornings at home, but by the time I have rushed around like a lunatic to get to work I start to heat up. So, the layers come off!

The wood burner has come into its own this winter. It is so cosy; we absolutely love it. As the lodger has been away we haven’t been heating the house as much. Instead we have snuggled in front of the fire. I have a couple of throws on the chair too if it feels really cold.

I have been pulling the curtains as soon as I can to help keep the heat in. This really works. It should all save money on our heating bills. This savvy Sunday will be mainly spent keeping warm!

Being a model for the day (and making extra cash)

Savvy Sunday One of the more unusual ways I have found to make extra cash it to get featured in the newspapers. Journalists are frequently on the look out for interviewees for stories and will pay you if you are chosen. I saw a request on a Facebook group I belong to looking for women who have suddenly developed allergies in later life. There is apparently some evidence to suggest that the menopause may be responsible. I blame hormones for pretty much anything so I applied.

I did a half hour interview in my lunch break with a very nice journalist from the Daily Mail. Yesterday morning she sent a make up artist and a photographer round for a photoshoot. It was really quite exciting. I felt like a celebrity!

Mike the photographer was telling me about all of the famous people he had photographed. Helen Mirren, David Attenborough, FW Declerk and, the highlight of his career, me!

The fee for this will go straight into my contingency fund. If you read my post from the other day you will know that increasing this is one of our goals for 2018.

A super low grocery spend

I have spent hardly anything this week on groceries, just a small shop in Aldi last week of about £23. A replenishment of the stocks is needed, but I will wait until Monday. I want to see if there are any bargains on Approved Food first and maybe stock up on things like casserole sauces, pasta, rice, etc. They are ridiculously cheap, just because they are near or past their best before date. Everything is all still safe to eat! (This is my refer a friend code, so if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a credit to spend.)

I had a quick look earlier and they had three cans of Ambrosia custard for 99p. Mr S loves this! Be careful if you are watching your weight though as you have to wade through lots of tempting chocolate and snacks to find the basic groceries. New customers currently get free delivery on orders over £55.

Selling on eBay

I was surprised to find that have I sold quite a few of my listed items this week. I thought people would be too broke, but it seems they still have an eye for a bargain.

Although it is quite hard work to list a lot of things on eBay, it is handy extra money. If you are interested in trying to sell on eBay I have this guide. I also recently published a post on how to find bargains on eBay for those of you not on a no spend month!

As promised, this extra cash has also gone into the contingency fund.

Selling on Ziffit

Regular readers will know that I have been having a good declutter and have cleared out a load of our books and DVDs. I started to get prices for some of them on Ziffit yesterday and will make this a proper savvy Sunday by finishing them. I think I will make about £50!

It is very easy to use Ziffit, although the items do need to be in good condition. Some items were rejected, so I will donate those to the charity shop.

I am happy with the way my month is going. We are spending very little, saving on our household bills and managing to make a little extra money as well. So that is my savvy Sunday. How is yours?

 

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, it won’t cost you any extra an I will make a small commission. Thanks!

 

 

 

How to find a bargain on eBay

find a bargain on ebayI recently discovered a handy little eBay app called Bidkit It is a great tool if you want to find a bargain on eBay, especially if you buy to resell. You can search under the following headings:

Spelling mistakes

This is the most useful one, as far as I am concerned. The number of people who cannot spell! If you have a particular designer or brand that you like you will probably search using the correct spelling. With Bidkit you can find almost correct spellings.

For example, a search for ‘Karen Millen’ bought a whole load of listings spelled ‘Karen Mullen’, a ‘Kaern Millen’ and a ‘Karen Milen’. None of these had any bids on them.

Local collection only listings

This is handy for larger items that you want to purchase locally. To be honest, you can do the same thing using the advanced search facility on eBay, but it is still useful to have it on the app.

Daily deals

I probably wouldn’t use this one to find a bargain on eBay. If you have an eBay account you will receive the daily deals via email already. I am not sure how these are chosen by eBay, but I am rarely drawn to anything.

Zero bids

This is helpful if you want less competition. You could even keep an eye where there have been no bids and make a cheeky offer after the auction has ended. It is possible to sort so you can see those ending soonest as well.

Unwanted gifts

There are likely to be a lot of unwanted gifts just after Christmas. It is not the best time to sell because there will be a flood, but this makes it a great time to buy.

You can search for unwanted gifts directly on eBay, but it will only find these where ‘unwanted gift’ is in the heading. Bidkit finds this within the text too. Very useful to find a bargain on eBay.

Night-time auctions

It is always worth looking out for auctions that end at an odd time. Being able to locate items that will end in the middle of the night is very useful. I am not suggesting you sit up and put your bid on at 3 am, though. You can use Auction Sniper to get your bid in before you go to bed!

Unwanted prizes

I was surprised at how many of these there were. Why enter the competition if you don’t want the prize?

Like new

Useful if you want to find a bargain on eBay that is only lightly used.

The other categories that I doubt I would use are New Buy it Now items, Penny auctions and Expensive items. I might look at the latter if I want to see how the other half live!

If you enjoyed reading this post you might also like How to Make Money Selling on eBay and How to Present Clothes on eBay.

 

This is a sponsored post. However, all views expressed are my own honest opinions.

Make money from your spare room – a guide

Can you make money from your spare room? A picture of a house with a pound sign next to it.How can you make money from your spare room? There are plenty of options and you don’t need a lodger all of the time. Renting out a room in your house is a great way to earn some extra income.

We have made good use of our spare room since my daughters started to leave home.  We have got to know some lovely people and our experiences have been almost 100% positive.

1. Taking in language students

It might be that you want to make money from your spare room but can’t, or don’t want to, share with someone full time. This was our position initially. One daughter was at university but came home during the holidays so needed her room back some of the time.

We have a large language college where we live. Students come to learn English and stay anything from a week to a whole year. They are often looking for host families. You provide a room, breakfast and dinner during the week with lunch as well at the weekend. This is usually a packed lunch as they often go off on organised excursions.

You also clean the room and do the student’s laundry. I never found any of this to be a problem as it was only what I was doing anyway.

Socialising

You are expected to sit together at the table for dinner to give the students the opportunity to practice their English skills. We had some hilarious conversations at times and were only saved by the use of Google Translate!

We have had students from all over the world – including Japan, France, Italy, Spain, Angola, Slovakia and Macedonia and have enjoyed learning about their lives.

As well as the college  I discovered a couple of other organisations locally that bring in school parties from Europe. They also need host families. The students are younger, of course , which feels like more of a responsibility. It generally involves driving them to their learning base for the first few days whilst they find their feet and get to grips with the bus system.

You can expect to be paid between £120-140 per week as a host family.

Pros: you get to know lots of interesting folk from around the world and forge some lasting friendships. Cons: the students tend to be under 20 and can cause some worry. We had one 17 year old who didn’t come home until midnight on her first day with us, spent much of the night throwing up and then missed college the next day! They are supposed to be in by 10.30 so this was a little awkward, but we made it clear there was to be no reoccurrence. You need to be firm from the start.

The best way to find organisations seeking host families locally is to do an internet search.

2. Airbnb

It is possible to make money from your spare room through AirBnb. We have never done this but we have used several now between us. Me and Mr S stayed in one in Wales which was basic but extremely cheap. My daughter and her friends have rented several whole houses and flats between them for weekend breaks. She and her boyfriend also stayed with a lady near their flat whilst it was having some work done. We have all found it a generally positive experience.

But what about welcoming guests in? I would be nervous about allowing complete strangers have access to my whole house, but would consider doing the odd bed and breakfast weekend. Nikki Ramskill from the Female Money Doctor did it several times and she says ‘I had no issues with anyone as I vetted them all before I agreed to let them stay. I turned down a few people because I didn’t trust them. New profiles, unverified, are ones I avoided. I tried to put in couples and women. I didn’t allow pets or children and there was a strict no smoking policy. You can set up a deposit limit which is taken in the case of a problem. The interface is really easy to use. The calendar is fully controlled by me, and I also blocked out weekends I didn’t want people staying, like Christmas and new year.’

Potential issues

Although problems are rare, Sara from Debt Camel has come across someone who let his flat out for a long weekend but  came back on Sunday evening to find the ‘guests’ were still there and had changed the locks! She recommends you check the terms of your tenancy or mortgage, your insurance policy and that you aren’t breaking any planning laws with the local council. She says you should consider that there is a risk of theft or of having your place wrecked, albeit very small, if you rent your property as a whole.

You can find information about how to become an Airbnb host here.

3. Renting longer term

Once two of my three daughters had moved out more permanently we decided to take a longer term approach and take in a lodger. We were a bit anxious. What if we didn’t get on or they tried to move the boyfriend in? What if they were really messy or noisy?

Set clear parameters

In the end we decided that we would set clear parameters for prospective lodgers and if they weren’t happy they could look elsewhere. We only accept females as we all feel most comfortable with this. It is a single room so no, they cannot bring their boyfriends home every weekend. They are welcome to have friends round and have had the odd girlfriend staying over with no issues.

They have their own cupboard in the kitchen and cook for themselves but do need to tidy up afterwards, the same as we do. They are responsible for keeping their bedroom clean but I do the rest of the house.

Our own space

We are lucky in that we have another small room downstairs that we have made into the lodger’s sitting room, so there is no fighting over the remote. Whilst I like having chats in the kitchen I don’t want to sit with them every night – I like my own space. It might be worth getting a TV set up in the lodger’s room if you feel the same.

In city areas there is also the possibility of renting your room on a Monday to Friday only basis, so you get the house to yourself at the weekend.

We found our lodgers through www.spareroom.com. I tried a couple of other sites but didn’t get much of a response.  It was worth taking a paid ad for a couple of weeks as the number of contacts I received increased dramatically.

I purchased a lodger agreement through spareroom.com for just £7.50. It is worth doing this, as a formal agreement protects you both. Because you are renting out a room in your own home it is much easier to get rid of your lodger if things don’t work out.

Get a deposit

Always ask for a damage deposit and a month’s rent in advance. It is worth getting references too, but our last two lodgers had never rented before so they weren’t available. They aren’t easy to verify either!

I personally think you need to trust your gut when interviewing prospective lodgers . Our first one is now my eldest daughter’s best friend – they hit it off from the moment they met. Our current one is absolutely lovely and starting to feel like another member of the family already!

Paying tax on your earnings

The UK goverment’s rent a room scheme means that you can earn up to £7,500 each year tax free. There is a lot of guidance on this here and here.

You will need to check with your mortgage provider that they have no objections to you renting a room. It is also very important to make sure your household insurance allows for this.

4. Supported lodgings

A slightly different way of making money via your spare room is to ask your local social services department if the run a supported lodgings scheme. This is a whole new ball game. It isn’t just a way to make money from your spare room, it is more of a career choice.

What is supported lodgings?

A supported lodgings scheme is where you provide not just a room but family support for a young person leaving care. You need to be a caring family and willing to overcome some frustrations and difficulties to help a vulnerable young person move on with their life.

By providing a safe and nurturing home, you can be instrumental in helping the young person become more confident. Some young people will have experienced a lot of trauma and upheaval. They may need help with finding better ways to manage their behaviour.

You receive full training and support to do this job. Your earnings vary depending on the needs of the young person you take in. This is the most difficult of the options to make some income from a spare room by far, but will suit some people I am sure.

Have you found ways to make money from your spare room? It could be a great asset to up your income!

How to find the best boot sale bargains

I had a mixed experience looking for boot sale bargains yesterday. We went to two. The first was rubbish. Hardly any stalls and those that were there were mostly traders, selling old tools and out of date food.

Boot sale bargains

Boot sale bargains

 

We moved on quickly to the next, another small Saturday one. We often find boot sale bargains here and today was no exception. It is possible to buy really decent stuff at a Saturday or mid week boot sale, but Sundays or bank holidays are best. They tend to be much bigger, with more buyers and sellers.

I am trying my best to make a bit of extra money this month and my best chance is by selling on eBay. So I needed more stock. But how do you find the best boot sale bargains?

Find the real boot salers

I tend to look out for the real boot salers rather than the traders; those who have had a good clear out and just want rid. This is where you will find the best boot sale bargains! These tend to fall into two camps. The super keenies who arrive with the dealers at 6 am and those who turn up at 8 or after looking a bit confused and dishevelled.

You can tell the real boot salers straight away. They will be selling a true mix of goods rather than specialising in one thing, as the traders tend to.

Get there early

I do not join the greedy dealers who try to root through people’s bags as they are setting up. This is just rude! However, it pays to try to arrive early. You can get a good look at the early risers things and by the time you get through those the stragglers have set up too.

Identify the right kind of seller

Because my interest is mostly in ladies’ clothing I tend to watch out for younger female sellers. They often buy stuff they never wear and get bored with clothes quickly so I can get brand new or barely worn items from them. However, husband’s selling their wives things are good too. They can be clueless on price and often sell everything cheaply for the same amount, even if is is designer with the tags still on!

If I find a genuine person having a good clearout of their clothes it’s not unusual for me to spend a lot of time and money in one place.  Yesterday I spotted a lady with a stall full of great Marks and Spencer’s clothes, many still with tags. I bought 6 things for £20. The total value from the shop would have been £180 plus! I will get these listed and on eBay as soon as I can.

You will soon find the type of person to watch out for if you are interested in, say, children’s stuff or computer games.

Cheap household items

The traders stalls are worth a look for some items. You can find some well priced healthy plants, for example. Toiletries, cleaning products, bin liners, etc are also good value. Fruit and veg can also be worth a look, but with so much fresh produce in the garden now I didn’t bother.

Are you on the look out for boot sale bargains either for yourself or to resell at a profit? What are your best buys and your tips for finding them?

What is Facebook Marketplace and is it the new eBay?  

Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace: what do you fancy?

Regular readers will know that I am a fan of eBay for buying and selling.  It is great for making money from your old clutter, reselling  and finding bargains. But what of the new Facebook Marketplace? Could it be a serious rival for eBay?

What are the benefits?

I have only recently discovered Facebook as a way to buy and sell. At first glance it seems to have some advantages over eBay. There are no selling or PayPal fees for a start. These can make quite a dent in your profits!

So many people use Facebook now, the potential audience is huge. As awareness of Marketplace increases so do the number of potential buyers and sellers.

You can search very locally, making it a good place to sell items you would like collected. However, you can expand your search to find items from further afield.

At a glance, setting my distance as 30 miles away from my house, I can see a bed for sale, a collection of toy cars, a mirror, wardrobes, jewellery,   Handbags and clothes. It reminds me a little of Gumtree.

Better than Freecycle?

Facebook Marketplace seems a good place to get rid of stuff for free. I found my local Freecycle group such a faff and a bit over controlled. The admins were too keen to refuse your adverts and it all took quite a long time. Your inbox then got deluged with emails!

eBay is no good for finding free items because of the aforementioned fees. I have already given away a large cross trainer that none of my family and friends were interested in, saving it from landfill.

Classified ads

The classified ads section on Facebook is great. You can rent a room or mobile home out,  do a house swap or sell your flat! You can advertise for a cleaner or offer your services as one.

What are the disadvantages of Facebook Marketplace?

eBay offers its users  a huge global marketplace, with potential buyers and retailers from every part of the earth. This can’t be said for Facebook.  It is still relatively small scale and seems to be better at a local level. However, who knows how it will progress in the future?

Facebook isn’t policed in the same way as eBay. If you have a difficult transaction on eBay they will always jump in to protect you financially and get your money back. You also have the opportunity to rate poor buyers and sellers to warn against them or provide reassurance.

If you purchased something on Facebook and it stopped working a week later it’s not clear what your rights would be or how you would go about claiming your money.

Payment is mostly cash on delivery and sellers seem less inclined to mail items. Because eBay is such a huge global organisation it is the other way round. However, this does mean the price you offer is the price you pay with no over inflated postage charges.

So, is Facebook Marketplace the new eBay? Not yet, but I will certainly be using it alongside to get rid of bulky items like furniture. And I will take a browse through what is on offer from time to time.

What are your views? Have you tried Facebook Marketplace yet?

It shouldn’t happen to a polling clerk 

Working as a polling clerk

polling clerkWow! What a fascinating election result! I am interested again.  I wonder what will happen next? But I won’t go on about politics in this blog. Might save that for Twitter 😀. Working as a polling clerk was an eye opener. I was stunned at how politically ignorant some people are. Several people looked at their ballot paper quizzically and asked why they couldn’t see Corbin, May or whoever. We had to explain that they were voting for their local MP and that if they won the seat it would be a plus score for the political party that they preferred.

Some seemed to think it was a local election, even though we only had one of those back in May.  One lady had a rant at us about everything that was wrong with the government and we had to explain that we weren’t political candidates, just clerical staff. She said ‘Well, you’re lucky I voted at all’ and flounced off, leaving is to ponder this great favour.

I was very pleased to see so many young people in, often voting for the first time. This election appears to have really caught their attention and increased their interest in politics.

I lost my voice….

I didn’t realise how much talking I would need to do. The polling station was very busy and I had to repeatedly explain the process as the voters came and went. My voice is shot to peices today! I am keeping my head down and being quiet at work today (for a change!). It was a long day, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope we don’t have another snap election any time soon. It if we do I will be happy to volunteer!

Short and sweet today as I am dog tired from my polling clerk efforts. I have lots to do at the weekend too  – eBay listings, cleaning, sorting a meal plan and food shopping, plus a little gardening. Whoever wins a General Election, life goes on….