Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Our Finances Suck Part 8 - 7 Ways Teens Can Make Money


If your teenagers are anything like mine they start to become a bit expensive with outings, cars, further education etc.. yet there isn't always the time or means for them to get a part time job outside of the home to fund these things themselves.  This post is aimed at Miss 16 who has been chosen as part of a student exchange program to go to Japan later this year!

So today I have asked Kylie Travers for some help in putting together a list of ways that teens can make some money.

Kylie is the author or 365 Ways To Make Money, an award winning blogger, international speaker and CEO of Occasio Enterprises a social media marketing, strategy and training company.

Here is Kylie's list of 7 ways teenagers can make money....

As a teen, I was very keen to make money. In fact, when I was 13 I worked out a list of ways I could make money because I wanted to buy a house. My dad wouldn’t let me, but it didn’t stop me from looking for ways to make money then and now I have the sort of mind that can see ways to make money everywhere.

As a teen, there are many ways you can make money from the usual ones you have probably heard of through to things that only this generation have been able to do.

1.) The usual suspects
Things like baby sitting, lawn mowing, cleaning, cleaning ovens or wheelie bins, gardening, garage sales, dog walking, pet sitting, tutoring, ironing, a catalogue or newspaper run or even washing cars for friends and family.
These are all the sort of things your parents probably did to make extra money and they can all still be done today.

2.) Social media
Teens can make money by reviewing things on social media, creating a blog to monetise or creating a significant following on Instagram, twitter, Facebook, Snapchat or whichever platform you relate to the most. Once you have established a following there are many ways you can advertise on it such as paid reviews, sponsored mentions, attending events and sponsorship packages.

3.) Work part time
That’s right, get a regular job. You might think fast food or retail is beneath you, but in reality, they teach you a variety of skills, there is the opportunity for extra training and the experience of working in a hard and fast environment is great for life in general.

4.) Make stuff to sell
A good example of this is my 6 year old nephew. He creates key chains he sells on Etsy and it hasn’t taken him long to save for an iPad. You can make digital things people can print such as invitations or motivational sayings, create jewellery or anything that you have an interest in creating can be sold either online or at markets.

5.) fiverr.com
Fiverr is a website you can offer to do anything for $5. Create a graphic, do a shout out on social media, write an article. Whatever it is you are happy to exchange your time for to earn $5, can be done on fiverr.

6.) Mystery Shopping
Mystery shopping sounds easy, but there is a little involved. You sign up to a company then apply for jobs as they come out. If you get accepted you go do the shop, come home and do a survey then get reimbursed. It can take a couple of hours and sometimes it might only be a free pizza you get, other times it can be a few hundred or even free flights.

7.) Market research
Market research usually involves trying a product and giving your opinion or doing an interview via Skype about your opinion on something or going in with a group of people to discuss a topic or new product or an experience you have had so they can use your answers to create campaigns or get funding for something the company is working on.
It is usually 1 - 3 hours and pay varies but is usually quite worth it. It is not a regular income

Sit down, look at what you are interested in doing, have a search online to see what you can do in your area and think about what will work for you. There is a lot of opportunity out there to make money. What have you tried?

I really want to thank Kylie for taking the time to contribute to my blog and my financial series.  

I have bought and read Kylie's book and can honestly say that it contains some great ideas for making money....I highly recommend it.  You can purchase it via Amazon simply by clicking on the 'shop now' button below or just the image.

You can also follow Kylie on Facebook or on her blog....I strongly recommend that you pop over and follow her....she is a wealth of great financial information and more.

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Our Finances Suck Part 7 - Christmas Club Accounts

sponsored post

Did you know that it is only 6 months til Christmas...what the heck!!

When your finances totally suck it can be really hard to start putting away money for Christmas or even to start buying gifts during the year.

My solution for the past 10 years or so has been to have a Christmas Club Account .....seriously this has been a life saver for me!   I have $50 per fortnight taken directly from our wages and put into the Christmas account,  by November each year when you can draw the money out, I have approximately  $1,300 to spend on Christmas presents and food.

Because the money comes straight out of our wages I don't miss it on a fortnightly basis and if I tried to put the money away each fortnight myself I am sure that it would end up disappearing when the hot water system sprung a leak or the washing machine died...this way it's locked away safe and sound until Christmas is close. 

I truly love Christmas time and certainly don't need the stress of not being able to buy gifts for the girls so the Christmas Club Account is perfect for me....maybe it's something that could work for you too.

I have my account with Queenslanders Credit Union because that's who we had our mortgage with at the time and even though we've changed mortgage providers since then I've stayed with them for the Christmas Club account because it works perfectly for me and I've never had a problem with getting my money, usually within 24 hours of emailing them my withdrawal request the money hits my everyday banking accounts and I can hit the shops!  

You can read about the Quuenslanders account here or you can google others...there are plenty around so you should be able to find one that suits you.

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT

Do you have a Christmas Club Account already or do you think you could find it advantageous to use one in the future?

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Finlee and Me Product Review #2

Do you know what totally does my head in?

Miss 10 fossicking through cupboards and shelves EVERY. SINGLE. AFTERNOON looking for a pen or pencil with which to do her homework.....seriously where is the pen/pencil that she used yesterday or the million dollars worth of stationery that I purchased at the beginning of the year??  Argh it does my head in!!!

In addition to that there is Miss 6 constantly wanting me to find the scissors that she lost yesterday and Miss 14 needing glue, Miss 16 in need of paperclips and Miss 17 always hunting for bulldog clips........it's surprising that I haven't been committed to some sort of institution with padded walls!!!!

But thanks to Angela over at Finlee and Me my problems have been solved!!

I got my hands on this wonderful Craft Turntable to review and promptly turned it into a bit of a homework caddy.....

Filled it with pens, pencils, textas, paper clips, bulldog clips, glue stick, sharpener, rubber, ruler, tape and scissors......that's gotta have us covered hasn't it!!!

So now each afternoon I pop the Craft Turntable (aka homework caddy!!) onto the table and the girls sit down and get stuck into their homework.  It works perfectly placed in the middle of the table since it can be rotated around so the girls can get what they need....on top of that the removable buckets make it easy for one person to take say the coloured pencils bucket if they are colouring in for the long haul.

When they are finished their homework the Craft Turntable returns to the vault under lock and key because we all know how stationery items can grow legs and disappear!!

You can buy your very own Craft Turntable here for only $31.95.....a small price to pay for one's sanity!!  

And whilst I am in love with the red you can also get them in blue or pink. Maybe you should grab one for the kids and one for your own personal craft supplies....I mean how good would this be loaded with thread, bobbins, unpickers, fabric scissors.....imagine it.... organised craft supplies.!!

While you're over at Finlee and Me make sure you take a look at their other fantastic items like the Wooden Noughts and Crosses and Make a Match Memory Game that I reviewed here.

And be sure to follow Finlee and Me on facebook and instagram too so you don't miss a thing!

Make sure you keep an eye out for next months product review!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Our Finances Suck Part 6 - Payment Arrangements

Generally I try to make fortnightly payments towards my utility bills, school fees etc.. to avoid the shock of having the bill arrive and the full amount needing to be paid! Unfortunately at the moment this is not an option for me so currently I feel like I am drowning in bills and expenses (even more than usual!!).

So here's my advice on how to deal with situations like this....

Collect all of your bills together, figure out how much you can afford to pay towards each bill per week or fortnight and then get on the phone......eeek scary I know....but it's gotta be done.

I used to hate ringing companies to ask for payment extensions or payment arrangements ......like really, really hate it to the point of making myself feels sick about calling!!  

But now when things are really bad I figure that I've got no other choice...it's just gotta be done!  If it helps write down on a piece of paper what you are going to say so you can refer to it during the phone call.  

Check the back of your bills, nearly all of them will have a number to call for assistance with your payments.  Simply tell them that you are having a hard time financially at the moment, you are not able to pay the bill in full and you would like to make weekly or fortnightly payments of the amount that you previously decided that you can afford. 

Most of the time this will not be a problem at all but you must be aware that you are now locked into the payment arrangement  and you must make sure that you make all payments on time or else the payment arrangement will be broken and you will be required to pay the outstanding amount in full.  Also be prepared that some companies might be a bit more strict with what they want you to pay each payment and so you might have to offer to pay a little more than first planned..... 

To date I haven't had any nasty experiences with calling companies and arranging payment extensions or payment plans and it's much better to call and make a payment arrangement with these companies than it is to receive a letter from the collections agency who will be much less flexible and will want payment in full by a particular date or else legal action will ensue.

Believe me you really do not want things to escalate to the point of collection agencies and beyond.  Speaking from experience we ended up in a really bad financial situation years ago, had to move house, constant phone calls for payment of money we owed......in the end notice of our moving must have gone astray to one financial institution  and hubby's credit card at the time got forgotten......seriously we were basically paying money to those who called the most!  The bank never got in touch with us and the first we realized was a letter from the collection agency.  We paid in full within the time frame they gave us and we moved on.  A few years later we went to borrow some of the equity in our mortgage, just $5,000.....and guess what...we were denied the loan...all because of this black mark on his credit rating and this was the first that we knew of it.  That black mark stays there for 6 years....we still have 5 months to go before the six years is up.

So take my word for it, you do not want to get to that stage!  Call anyone that you can, make payment arrangements and stick to them.

You will probably find that your school will be willing to enter into payment arrangements for fees and often after school activities can be paid by installments too if you speak to them about your situation.

Just paying small amounts each week or fortnight will ease some of the pressure on your finances and eventually you should be able to get back on track!

Here's a useful link if you need some more information about making payment arrangements for your bills or if you have trouble in trying to do so....  just click here

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT

Are you like me, a big baby when it comes to having to call people and make payment arrangements etc...??

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

10 on 10 Photography Circle - June

This month Miss 15 turned the big '16' !!  Since she is draining our finances dry with an exchange trip to Japan later in the year a birthday party was out of the question.  Instead she went out to dinner with a few of her friends over the weekend.

Possibly suffering sunstroke from a day at the soccer fields watching Miss 10 play in a gala day I decided that 48 hours was more than enough time to make an anime themed birthday cake to sneak up to the restaurant for Miss 16's birthday!  Awesome idea yeah??

Well maybe an awesome idea if you are an experienced cake maker.....shit idea if you are not lol !!!

Don't worry guys I've totally got this!  Well kinda maybe!

Thursday afternoon....
spend copious amounts of money at the cake supplies shop.

Thursday night.....
have massive fail in the cake baking department....as in MASSIVE FAIL!!

Friday morning.....
buy new set of chocolate mud cake ingredients and attempt to make cake again! Eventually overcook mud cake but by now don't give a shit!!

Friday night......
read instructions re decorating a cake with fondant.  Oh crap apparently you have to make ganache so fondant will stick to cake.  Google how to make ganache. Can't be that hard right!

Even later Friday night....
realize that ganache has to cool before you can proceed to use it...bugger!

Really late Friday night...
cover cake with ganache....ending up with a lumpy surface that you don't give a damn about!!

Ridiculously late Friday night......
try to turn a rock hard lump of fondant into a lovely cake decoration !! Eventually realize that when it said to make sure you had a smooth surface with your ganache that it was actually important!  Attempt to keep going without repairing ganache by making a thick fondant face and hair to cover the boo boos!!  Attempt to draw on anime face and eventually realize that you should give up and go to bed!    

Go to bed hoping that the cake fixing fairy comes during the night!

Early Saturday morning.....
wake up and realise that cake fixing fairy was a no show!  So google how to make fondant flowers and cover blemishes on cake with flowers....lots of flowers

Saturday afternoon.....
pray that all of the flowers stuck on will withstand the car trip to the restaurant.  Sneak cake in, explain that it's my daughters birthday and ask them to surprise her with the cake after their meals.

Go home and hope to never see cake again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Make sure you keep following this great photography cirlce by popping over to see Jenny's photos here...  There are a lot of great blogs to visit in the circle!!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Our Finances Suck Part 5 - Meal Plan and Save Money!

This week I am thrilled to have Victoria from Boiled Eggs and Soldiers sharing some great advice on meal planning and in turn saving money.......I've got to admit that I don't meal plan as much as I should..... 

I’m delighted to be over here today as part of Veronica’s money saving series and want to have a chat about meal planning. Don’t glaze over just yet!! Everyone knows that it’s a good idea and has good intentions to do it but do we often think about the real benefits of it apart from making us feel very virtuous and organised?

I started meal planning when my eldest was about 2 and she started eating what we were having (well, at least a variation of it anyway).  I also had a newborn at home so time or lack thereof was an issue.  That was 6 years ago and I’ve been meal planning ever since.  Here’s my take on the benefits of meal planning besides always having an answer to the question “What’s for dinner tonight?”

1.  Saves Time and Reduces Stress

We often think that planning a week of meals is time consuming so put it off, but spending 20 -30 minutes once a week will actually save you far more time in the long run.  (Once you have a bank of meals plans you can recycle them so you don’t even need to spend the time making a plan if you don’t want to).

By having a meal plan no longer will you stare into the fridge hoping for some magical meal to appear and it also stops the need run to the shops for a last minute ingredients too.   By planning your meals in advance you can make your shopping list and only get the things that you need that week.  This makes your time at the shops much more efficient I think, you aren’t wandering aimlessly around the aisles hoping that dinner will pop into your trolley and there is less chance that you will reach out for those impulse buys as well.  It also means that usually you only have to shop once a week if you are lucky (except for perishables like fish).  All that can save you a great deal of time.

Meal planning also cuts down on time for the cooking process.  If you need to defrost something you know to take it out in the morning so that it’s ready for that night.  If you know that you are busy before dinner time you can make part or all of the meal in advance so that all you have to do it cook it or heat it up when you get home.  This time of year is great for using a slow cooker that you can put on in the morning and dinner is ready for when you get home.

 2.   Saves Money

If you have planned your meals you can see across the week where you can use the same ingredients, where you can make extra to have leftovers made into another meal.

For example we had friends over for an early dinner on Sunday night and I did pulled pork tacos with coleslaw as an easy meal that everyone ranging from age 4 to 50 enjoyed.  I bought an extra  large piece of pork for the purpose of having leftovers.  I made a pulled pork shepherds pie the next night for a quick & easy Monday night dinner.  If you don’t want pork 2 nights in a row it can be frozen and used at a later date but for the extra $2 the bigger piece of pork cost me I got a whole other meal out of it.  The leftovers could also be used for lunches the next day as a pulled pork wrap in the lunch box would go down a treat!

Planning your meals in advance also saves you money through enabling you to buy in bulk especially for things like pasta, tinned tomatoes, grains etc.  You can also take advantage of the often cheaper produce that is in season or on special and plan future meals around it.

Because you know what you are having for dinner each night you will be less tempted to use the convenient but more expensive “take away” fall back. If you are only buying what you need for the meals that you have planned then you won’t end up buying things that you are not sure if or how you are going to use so you will reduce food wastage therefore reducing wasting money too!

 3.  Helps you make healthier choices

Elite athletes plan their meals meticulously so why not you too?  Ok, so maybe you are not a Stephanie Rice or Sally Pearson but busy, active, growing families can also benefit from healthy meal choices.  Mapping out your meals over the course of a week can help you make sure you are getting variety and nutritionally balanced meals.  Work out how many times a week you want fish, chicken, red meat, grains etc and making sure you are getting lots of fruit and vegetables so you know you are “eating your greens”. Factoring that into your meal planning means that you can easily see what your intake is and make any adjustments that may be necessary for example if you are having toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and then pasta for dinner you may want to switch out one or two of those meals for something with more protein and vegetables instead.

I do a weekly meal plan on Boiled Eggs and Soldiers

 4.  Can involve the whole family

If you have a plan and a shopping list then the actual shopping is not dependant on one person so the load can be shared (if practical & possible).  It also means that for those asking “what’s for dinner tonight”? you can point them to the plan and say there you go.

Getting the family involved in meal planning means that they can choose meals that they like and may (no promises here) even be more likely to try new things if they have been part of the planning or preparation of it.

5.  Bulk Buying and Batch Cooking

When you are doing your shopping list you can buy in bulk and then make large batches of meals that can be frozen.  Bolognaise sauce, stews, curries, meatballs etc are great for this or muffins and cakes – make two and freeze one.  This way you always have something that you can pull out of the freezer for those busy days and if things are a bit tough in the budget some weeks to have something that has already been prepared can help you out there too.

I tend to stick to the meal plan Monday to Friday but we are a bit more flexible on weekends to allow for spontaneity and changes of mind! 

There are many apps that can help you meal plan or some gorgeous stationary out there. Kidspot have a great post listing out a lot of apps that you can link recipes to shopping lists etc.

Also a lot of websites including mine offer meal plan suggestions and there are also some great websites that many foodies link up their favourite recipes too. Shameless self-promotion here but I co-host “Your Weekly Feed” which is where I get a lot of my meal ideas from.

To help get you started here is a printable shopping list for you....just click on the image below and print!

So while meal planning may seem like a bit of a task it does have some real benefits as well as helping take the pain out of the mundane!

Thanks so much for having me here today.  Happy planning!

A huge thank you to Vicki for joining us in the 'Our Finances Suck' series and sharing some great meal planning advice.  Be sure to check out Vicki's blog over at Boiled Eggs and Soldiers it is truly one you need to have on your reading list!

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT

Are you a meal planner....do you think it saves you both time and money?

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Our Finances Suck Part 4 - Save Water Save Money

In the past few weeks with this series we have made our budget here, implemented it here and come up with some ideas for quick cash here.

Now it's time to look at ways to save money.....and today we are privileged to have the lovely Bec from The Plumbette joining us with some great advice on how to save money by saving water around your home......

"The cost of living seems to be a common concern to all of us when we hear about price increases to rates, electricity and water.

We received our water bill this week from Urban Utilities and I was surprised to read that our water usage had decreased last quarter. I had to think about why our usage had decreased despite having an extra person in the house. Our girls have started to share 1 bath at night as opposed to two and we haven’t had the need to water the garden when the heavens have been taking care of that for us.

Wisely managing water is a smart way to save money on your water expenses. A small drip on a basin tap and a few extra full flushes on a toilet can add extra dollars to the water bill.

As a plumber, I’m always asked for ways to save money around the home and it’s quite simple. If you save water, you can save money.

I’ve put together some tips which you may already know, and hopefully some others that you can add to what you currently do.

  1.  Install a rain water tank and get the water to be connected to your toilet, laundry and  outdoor hose taps.
  2.   Install dual flush toilet suites.
  3.   Install taps that have a water flow of 7 litres of water per second or less. All new taps in Australia are set to this standard. If you want to reduce the flow on your existing taps, install water saving aerators to the spouts. Check out my post on the OneTouchTap here which can potentially save you water and money.  
  4. Take shorter showers with a standard shower head. Yes, you heard me, don’t get a water saving shower head.(if you do have one of these horrific shower heads, you can take the water restrictor out)  Water saving shower heads  give pathetic pressure which means you stand under the shower for longer getting the soap suds out of your hair. If you’re bald, they may be of use to you. But if you have thick, long hair like me, water saving shower heads are a pain in the neck. Reduce your shower time with a normal shower head to 3 minutes instead of 4 or if you are really keen, turn off the water when you wash and then turn on to rinse.
  5.  Catch cold water from the shower in a bucket and use this to water plants.
  6.  Use a cup of water when brushing your teeth. I know I tend to turn the tap off and on to moisten the toothbrush and get rid of the toothpaste, but half filling a cup will save the few liters of water that go down the drain.
  7.  Use a dishwasher and only put it on when the dishwasher is full.
  8. Stop using the garbage grinder and put food scraps in the compost (the ones that can) or in the bin. You need to run water down the grinder when it’s in use, so you can save water by not switching it on.
  9. Same with your washing machine, only wash full loads of washing.   
  10. Drink full cups of water. I am prone to having a glass of water, leaving it in the house and then coming back to a stale drink. I then pour the water down the drain!!  A great way to keep water from going stale is to drink it from a water bottle that gets kept in the fridge OR using the stale water for plants or filling a bath or boiled for veggies that night for dinner.
  11.  Bath the kids (and a parent) together. Filling a bath and washing 2 or 3 bodies saves much more water than showering 3 individual bodies.
  12.  Restrict water play for kids in summer to a couple of days a week.
  13.  Check all your hose taps outside and ensure they don’t drip when turned off or when in use attached to a hose. Hose taps can be easily replaced if they drip or their washers can be changed.
  14. Wash car with tank water or the bucket of water saved from the shower.
  15.  If your water bowl for your dog needs changing, chuck the water on the garden rather than down the drain
  16. Water plants late in the afternoon or early in the morning to avoid evaporation

Depending on where you live, the costs of water and sewerage to your property will vary. The cost component of water usage is often very little on the water bill, but every litre saved is another dollar saved and when multiplied over a year or a couple of years, it could potentially be a lot of money."

A huge thank you to Bec for joining us in the 'Our Finances Suck' series and sharing with us some invaluable advice on saving water.  Be sure to check out Bec's blog over at The Plumbette it is truly a wonderful blog to have on your reading list!

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT

               Can you suggest any other ways of saving water around the home?