Friday, April 18, 2014

March Earnings

Writing - £243.36

Article Writing - £243.36

Book Sales - £93.16

US Amazon ebooks - £65.29

UK Createspace - £8.21

Amazon sales - £19.66

Other - £62.55

Amazon Item Sales - £21.26

Waterproof Memo Board - £38.89

Hiving Panel - £2.40


Making a Grand Total of £399.07

Investments

I have been thinking more and more about the fact that I do not have a decent retirement fund. I have signed up for a free finance course through edX which has a module on pensions that I hope will help. I am very negative about pensions, I think because I know very little about them and so I am determined to open my mind and learn more. However, I am also determined to find out about many more forms of investments. I have re read Rich Dad, Poor Dad and it has reminded me that I need my money to work for me. By paying in to premium bonds I am leaving my financial future to chance, but there are ways that I could make a bigger return. However, with interest rates so low, return on money still seems pretty tiny, so i want ways to make more. I think I am probably being driven by impatience rather than greed, at least that is what I like to think! I have calculated that I need around a million pounds invested giving me an average of 5% APR to give me and my husband a decent retirement income. As we still have £94,000 to pay off our mortgage and only £50,000 in premium bond sto do it, then we are nowhere near at the moment. I am working on it though!

We are still living fairly frugally but not compromising our happiness as a consequence as that. So we have no need for http://www.entirelypets.com/zymox.html as we have no pets but we have just taken a weeks holiday and really enjoyed the experience. I now feel refreshed and more determined to help my financial goals and so am researching investing in buy to let property, peer to peer investing and helping my husband start his business. It is all very exciting!

One very interesting thing I read was that people make themselves busy on purpose because they are lazy. This could seem very offensive as most people claim they are really busy and there even seems to be a competition between people I know to state how busy they are. However, what the quote meant was that people are making themselves busy doing certain tasks so that they can procrastinate others for example, not having time to go to the gym because they have work to do, when they waste valuable hours watching teh television and looking at Facebook. There is nothing wrong with doing these things but just do not lie to yourself that you do not have the time to be richer or healthier when if you really wanted to make the necessary changes, you would find the time.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

February Earnings

Writing - £173.27

Article Writing - £132.17

Blog Articles - £41.10

Book Sales - £87.67

Canadian Kindle Sales - £1.24

UK Createspace sales - £52.52

Uk Kindle sales - £7.88

UK Printed Amazon Books - £18.16

US Printed Amazon Books - £7.87

Other - £313.09

Quidco - £5.26

Amazon Item Sales - £302.66

Clixsense - £5.17


Making a Grand Total of £574.03

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Learning About Saving

My son often like sthe idea of having various new instruments such as this gibson 355. I always see it as an exercise in saving. I tell him that what he wants, he will have to save up for. This means that he is put off the things that are really expensive and tries to work hard to earn pocket money and to save money that he is given so that he can afford the things that he wants.

Refund - yippee!

Having a new car we send back the tax disc on the old one for a refund. We calculated that we would get £60 if we got it sent back by the end of January. However, we were not able to post it until the 31st january and so assumed it would be downgraded to £50. We were delighted when we received a cheque for £70 this morning. maybe we got the maths wring but for whatever reason, it was a great surprise!

Music Talent

Some people think that having musical talent is a really great skill to have. Some people even associate it with intelligence. This means that they spend lots of money on things like electro voice zlx-12p and other muscicians equipment. It is nice to have a musical hobby and have fun with it if you feel relaxed with it or even a career. However, most musicians make very little money as they do not work all of the time. There are also people who are forced to learn an instrument but do not enjoy it. So make sure that you are being sensible with your aspirations with regards to music.

Online Sales

I am really hoping that this extreme weather that we are having in the UK at the moment will mean that more people will be buying online. it is difficult to get out to the shops when driving conditions are hazardous and people do not relish the idea of walking out in strong winds and pouring rain. It is unlikely that people will avoid supermarket shopping, but they may decide to avoid town centres and shop online instead and this could be good for the sales of items that I have available.

Gifts

The year seems to be moving along at a rapid rate. We will soon be near to Mother's Day and then there will be Easter. This means that I am already thinking about ideas for gifts to give to people. At Easter I tend not to do gifts unless I see people who might be likely to give me one. Mother's Day is a different matter where there are two Mother's to keep happy. The gifts are important but also making time to see them and spend time with them. I knwo that my husband woudl just give them something like new qsc rmx 1850hd or flowers as he is not that imaginative but I will nee dto start thinking about what I might do.

Saving Money

Many people do a price comparison once and then think that their insurance, utilities and finances will remain as the cheapest. Companies change though and if you check prices form one month to the next you will find that different companies are the cheapest. Keeping on top of this is difficult, but it is worth checking regularly to see whether it is worth switching. You could end up saving a significant amount of money each year if you continuously change to the cheapest company every year when it is time to renew.

Supporting Local Businesses

There are many campaigns where people try to encourage others to buy local. I can see the benefit in keeping money in the local economy, but whether you buy form a small or large local business you still do this. If you buy from a big company you will be providing jobs for local people and they will be spending their money locally and supporting the economy. It is also wise to understand that these days we have access to items form all over the world, such as this ecc83 at musicians friend. This means that we can get the best possible products at the best prices for us. It is up to companies to move with the time as they will always face international competition these days.

New Car = No Holiday

Well we have had to buy a new car recently as our old one finally needed a massive repair that was just not worth it. We decided that rather than paying the £3,000 repair it would be better to buy a new car. We did spend more than that on a new car, but we felt that t was better value for money. We bought from a dealer, which although more expensive meant that we could have some come back, should there be a problem. We did negotiate the price down a little and feel that the new car will be good with its full service history, good condition, not too old and low mileage. The expense of it means that there will be no spare money for a holiday this year as we will be repaying the money for the car, which we took form the lump sum that we have been saving up towards the mortgage.

Value for Money

Although I consider myself to be frugal, many people do not think that I am. This is because that when I do spend money, I tend to buy quality items that are more expensive. This is because I want them to last and I feel that spending a bit more money will allow this to happen. Many people just keep buying cheap items and having to replace them. I find that it is better to save up for something of a higher quality so that the money is better spent. A quality item can last very much longer and if you add up how much you spend over the years, can be very much cheaper in the long run. This is why it is worth reseraching everything you buy form Pro Tools to clothing to make sure that you get the very best.

Making Extra Money

I do tend to lose patience with people who complain that they have not got enough money but have time to earn some. There are many different earning opportunities online and many ways that anyone can get some extra income. There are many websites that have jobs listed or places where you can sell goods and services that you have available. You may find that you will not get paid as high a rate as you could if you worked a regular job, but you will get the luxury of being able to do it from home and pick and choose which jobs you want to do. It can be a great way to turn a hobby in to an income and enable you to have some extra money coming in, which is always useful.

Making Money From Music

Many people are looking for ways to make money these days. however, with the Internet there are actually many easy ways that you can do this. People write books, self-publish and sell them as ebooks, for example. Other people write software or music. If you have a talent for music then it could be a good idea to record some pieces and see whether you can sell them as MP3's. Many people do this and it could bring in a good bit of money if you find a good niche in the market. It will need to be good quality but you can find the right softwrae in many places such as the good audio recording software at musicians friend. Take a look and see whether you could start making yourself a second income.

Loan Repayments

With the news that interest rates are not to go up for a while it can be tempting to not worry much about your debts. However, while the interest on debts is low, it is an ideal opportunity to start paying back more than you have to, while you can afford it. If you can repay a significant chunk of what you owe before the rates go up, then you will not have to be so worried when they do. It is better to do this than treat yourself as you may regret it when the rates rise and you struggle to meet the repayments.

Mortgage Rates

It has been a relief to many people with mortgages to hear that the interest rates are unlikely to go up for another year. The criteria for deciding whether to raise them has been changed by the Bank of England which means that although unemployment is reaching the threshold level that they said they would use to consider changing rates, they are not going to change it yet. This is good news in one way, that rates will not change but it does not give any guarantee to home owners. Firstly banks can put up variable mortgage rates anyway, even in base rates do not go up. Also a year is not a long time period and even a raise of 0.25% could have a big impact on some borrowers. This is why it is important now to continue to be frugal and try to save money so that you have extra, should rates go up and you find it difficult to manage. So do not book expensive holidays or buy new cars but keep your money safe and if you must have a treat keep it to little things such as a meal out, a few cushions, trumpet stands or some new jeans.

The Long Winter....

Some people that I know seem to get really depressed in the winter. They do not like the dark days, cold weather and lack of sunshine. I think that it is a real shame because they should not be focussing on the negatives. if things are that bad, they would always go on holiday to a warm place or move to a different country. I think that without the winters we would not appreciate the summers and the interesting weather that we have in the UK is something that gives us all something to talk about. Personally I prefer the winter as I find it easier to warm myself up than I do to cool myself down when it is overly hot and humid. But we only have a few weeks a year of weather that is too hot so I am prepared to put up with that to enjoy the interesting seasons that we get.

Inspiring Olympics

I find it sad that some people are just not interested in the Olympics. The fact that the UK won its 10th gold medal ever in Winter Olympics is huge and our only ever medal on snow a while ago again is massive. It is fantastic to watch these people at the top of their game, performing their best after lots of hard work. For me it inspires me in lots of ways. It makes me want to get fitter and healthier, it makes me want to perform better and makes me think about the rewards that you can get if you work hard. Not everyone can be the best in the world, but if you try your hardest, then you should have the satisfaction of knowing that you are doing your best. This can apply to anything whether it is sports, work, being a Mother or even playing exceptional woodwind instruments. If we put a lot in to life, we get a lot out and it is so much more rewarding and you will be so much happier.

Flooding!

I feel quite lucky considering what is going on in the rest of the country. I am stressed about the rain dripping through my roof (I have a roofer who has said he will fix it once it is dry) and at least it only happens when the wind blows in certain directions so is not continuous. I live between a canal and river and both look higher than they did back in 2007 when flooding was bad across the country. The street I live in has not flooded since the houses were built but was the flood plain for the river and flooded ever year before hand. We have to just hope that everything was calculated properly with regards to water levels when the houses were built and that things will be okay. It has been a stressful time lately as it is and worrying about floods is not good on top of everything else.

Happy Valentines day!

It is a bit late but Happy Valentines Day to everyone. I hope that you managed to be frugal this year. I heard about many people who treated their partners to a candle lit bath or a special meal. I always refuse to allow my husband to buy me flowers at any time of the year, as I think they are not good value for money, but even more so on Valentines day when they are much more expensive. It seems like Valentines is another day that more companies are grasping on to in the hope that people will spend more money. However a simple home made card could be enough if you want to celebrate. Personally I have always thought it was about secret admirers and that if you were in a relationship you would celebrate your wedding anniversary, not share a day with lots of other couples that is not specifically special to you. If you want to give a gift it makes sens eto do something that will last like this person who told me they found a gemstone ring for their lover. Something that will last rather than flowers that will die, cards that will get thrown away or chocolates that will make you fat.

Friday, January 31, 2014

January Earnings

Writing - £503.67

Article Writing - £476.67

Blog Articles - £27.00

Book Sales - £100.51

Createspace UK Books - £15.77

Createspace Europe Sales - £6.62

Createspace US Sales - £8.84

Canada Kindle books - £6.26

UK Kindle Books - £14.57

Amazon Book Sales - £5.61

Smashwords - £42.84

Other - £66.01

Link Renewal - £40.00

Quidco - £3.62

Brand Institute Survey - £3.00

Waterproof Memo Board (Amazon) - £19.39


Making a Grand Total of £670.19

Monday, January 27, 2014

Gifts for men!

I always seem to be harping on about getting suitable gifts for men, but i just find it so hard! I am sute many of them woudl be happy with a horizontal boring mill from here in their sitting room but I do have to consider both the cost and their family in my choices! food and wine gifts are often something that I fall back on. Toiletries are rather personal and can be hard to choose and clothing must be in the right size. Asking for ideas can be good, but i often get some high tech answer and end up buying some cables which seem to cost the earth! I guess it just shows how different men and women really are!

Are Interest rates Going Up?

With the rate of unemployment in the UK suddenly dropping to 7.1% then there are rumours that the interest rates will soon go up as it was said that the 7% mark would be the time that they would be moved up. However, it could just be panic for no reason as this has now been said not to be the only factor and it has been announced that the economy has a long way to go until recovery starts.

People with savings are desperate to get a better return on their money and those with mortgages do not want to see rates rising at all. However, when rates do go up, it is likely that it will be a slow process with rates only going up a little at a time. It is not as if they will suddenly go up by 5% and cause savers to delight and home owners to despair. however, a raise of .5% will double the current rate and so this could double interest on tracker mortgages and it may even double interest on savings accounts, although it usually takes a long time before these change.

It is therefore wise to be cautious if you have a mortgage but do no start celebrating too soon if you have savings.

Ukulele Playing

Since not playing the guitar so often my son seems to have gone back to the ukulele. He knows quite a number of cords, all self-taught and enjoys playing it more than his guitar. I think that this is because it is smaller and so much easier for his little hands to make the cords and also hold the weight of the instrument. He plays some great tunes on it, all composed by him and it is a pleasure to see him having so much fun with it. I have therefore been looking at the exceptional tenor ukulele at Musicians Friend and wondering whether it is worth considering getting him one for his borthday as his is rather chipped as he has had it since he was so young.

Its a Long Month

There are many people that seem to be struggling this month as it still is not pay day. It always seems very odd to me that most people get paid early in December. This allows them to have their money in time to buy Christmas gifts. However, it means that they then have a long period between Christmas and January pay day. It would make more sense to me to pay January's early or not pay any early at all. I think that paying people early means that they spend money on gifts but do not leave what they need to cover the five or six week period until the next pay day. I think it just causes more problems than it solves.

Saving Money on Music related gifts

Even though there has been news that we are starting to come out of the recession, many people are still struggling for money. This means that whatever we are buying, we tend to still be searching for bargains, if we can get them. Now that the sales are coming to an end then we need to look elsewhere to get good prices. It is always wise to look around for the best prices anyway. You can save on martin retro at guitar center but you may also find that you can find bagain prices on music gifts at all sorts of places. You could look on auction websites, general websites, in general stores as well as specialist stores. It is always wise to compare the price before you buy so that you make sure that you are getting the best possible deal.

Lots of Work!

January has proved to be very fruitful for me. I seem to have been very busy with lots of work to keep me going. Although the money does not seem to be flowing in so much, it is great to be busy. Some of the work has been new books and that is why I have not yet seen the money coming in for those, but I have already made sales of my latest book, which is great. I am half way through another new one as well but have too much work in to finish it, which I think is good. I have had an interesting mix of things to write about, cars, finance, Candy Crush, terms and conditions, weight loss, women's fitness and much more. At least the variety makes it more entertaining.

Electric Guitar

My brother-in-law has recentlybought himself a Sibelius 7 electric guitar and was showing it to my son when we visited. I was not impressed by the fact that my son may have then asked for one. Luckily he did not. It is unbelievable that someone who is a responsible grown-up would consider having one, just to mess around on when he has direct neighbours and young children. It just does not seem to go together. I could not allow my son to have one as we have a terraced house with paper thin walls so I was very relieved. Surely if you buy one of these you need a sound proofed room or very understanding neighbours!

Stuck in my Ways

I cam to realise at the weekend that I am every much as stuck in my ways as the older generations seem to be. We often criticise older people for not being moved on ideas because they are old and stuck in their ways. I have begun to realise that I am exactly the same in that I am not so open minded as I used to be. I have formed opinions on many issues and it takes a lot of evidence to change it. I guess coming from a science background (all be it social science) I like to see research papers backing up points of view and then I will be more willing to change my mind. I also refuse to get a smart phone (despite having a tablet) and will not buy the children a games console. I pity them as I get older and it gets worse and worse!

Music Concerns

Everyone was ecstatic when my son showed an interest in playing the guitar and started having a few lessons. However, that interest seems to have waned and it worries me a bit. Not because my son may not be musical or good at the guitar, I think he has his whole life to learn an instrument if he wishes to, but because he has moved away from a new interest so quickly. I hope that he does not choose a new instrument and I end up buying him an accordian, accordion straps, new music books etc to find that he flings it aside so quickly. I worry, not so much about the cost of all of the instruments, accessories and books, but because it may indicate that he will do that with interests all of is life. This is what his father has done, spent around a year being almost obsessed by something and then losing interest and moving on to something else. I feel this is a waste of time as there is not time to build up a good enough knowledge to make use of the skills but you still have a lot of books and items that are then hanging around no longer being used.

Business Ideas

There are some people that seem to be capable of coming up with ideas for business all of the time. However, often they are not good at implementing those ideas. It makes me wonder whether there are people out there, who are good at coming up with an idea, implementing it and doing well from it or whether or the top business people either use other peoples ideas of employ people to implement their ideas. It is rather a mystery to me! I guess the reason that I am thinking this is because my husband is an ideas person and I am not but I can implement ideas. I have a business which has grown out of other peoples suggestions and customer demand, unyet he has lots of ideas but no business. It is a shame in a way that he is not capable of getting those ideas out there and making money form them, but I have not got the time myself to implement all of them.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Finding things to Sell

As a member of the school PTA we are always thinking of ways to fund raise. This can sometimes help me in thinking of ways to make money personally. One recent idea that school had was to make tea towels to sell with pictures on that the children have done. This is something that businesses often do to promote themselves. they might make stickers or pens, for example, to give away at exhibitions. My business is not something I promote at exhibitions but i did wonder whether something like mugs would be better. I found this advert - buypromosonline.com logo mugs here and wondered whether this might be a good idea. It could be something I could give away as a gift or put a really funky design on and try to sell them to my customers. I still need to think it through a bit more though.

Making Extra Money in Your Spare Time

We all need to relax when we are not at work. if we do not then we can end up getting extremely stressed and not able to work at all. however, there are many people who find time to make money in their spare time. If it can be made from doing something that you really enjoy then it will feel more like a hobby. You may even be able to make money out of a hobby you already have.

There are people that feel that it is bad that I am always thinking of ways to make money. however, I feel that it is important to have a good income so that I can do things that I enjoy. I would not be able to have holidays, pay off my mortgage earlier, plan a good retirement or enjoy life as much if I did not have so much money. We live in a society where money is necessary and so why not try to find ways of having more. They might say that money doesn't buy happiness and I do try to make the most of everything, whether it costs money or not, but it certainly makes life less stressful if there is not the worry of money all of the time.

The Cost of Pets!

I bet I am not the first or the last parent to be asked my their children if they can have a pet. I think that most people think that the main problems with pets is the time that they take to care for. There is the cleaning up after them, feeding and exercising and the larger the animal, the more work there is. However, for me it is very much about the cost as well. Many people do not think about how much it costs to have a pet. You not only have to buy their food but there is the expensive vet bills or insurance and then all of the accessories. you may not think that collars and leads cost that much but there are all the toys and beds and cages. It can all add up over the life of an animal and then you may be pestered into getting more and more. I would stick to a firm 'no' right form the beginning!

Flexible Working

Chatting to other people about my job, as I was yesterday, really allows me to appreciate what I do. I may not be paid as highly as most people (below the minimum wage) but I do get to choose my customers, work the hours I wish and most importantly be around for the children whenever they need me. There are people who still think that I should get a proper job and that I spend too much time working at home when the children are there when I should be with them. However, I am always in the same room as them, I there for them if they need me and when we do play together it is a really special and fun occasion.

New Year Expenses

Well, new year seems to be a time of new expenses at the moment for us! We have some plumbing jobs that need doing such as two broken loos, a new stop tap and under sink piping to be redone. We have had rain leaking in the chimney and so need to get that fixed. Our water bill came in at double the normal amount and it has been put down to a leak which needs to be traced and fixed, but will hopefully not cost us anything. We had to renewal house and contents insurance but living next to a river meant that I could only get two quotes and one was over £2000. Luckily I was about to renew with my current insurer for £195. It is a good job that I have been stashing a bit of money away since before Christmas. I did do it to pay for Christmas but we didn't spend as much as we thought. I also like to keep some by for emergencies as you never know when you will need a new coolant pump, white good or any repairs. Hopefully we will not need to pay out anything else though!

Exciting Writing Work!

I have managed to pick up a writing assignment doing articles about Candy Crush Saga. This is a game that I play to relax in between writing and so it is great fun being able to write about it. I have an excuse for playing the game now as I need to do research for my work and I get paid for it too! It certainly makes a change from writing about cars, flash computer games and women's health which is mainly what I have been doing lately. I am that these assignments, together with another new customer, will help to bulk up my earnings for January.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Electric Guitar Concerns

I do often worry that my son might decide to progress form his acoustic guitar to an electric one. Many people have said that this is a good idea as he will be able to wear headphones and so I will not be able to hear it. My initial worry is that he will not always want to wear headphones and so there will be some noise and we live in a terraced house. Another concern is that wearing headphones could lead to him having hearing problems especially if he wants to experiment with things like the ibanez tube screamer at Musicians Friend and does not take precautions with regards to sound levels. He has actually stopped playing his acoustic guitar lately and so perhaps the novelty has worn off a bit anyway. i guess I will just have to wait and see.

New Business

My husband is always coming up with business ideas and has a dream of running a successful business. It is not easy though, knowing which idea to pick, to make things a success. I do have a theory that there are some people who are so good at business that they could probably make a success of almost anything. It does feel almost as if the business skills are more important that the actual ideas. I think that marketing is probably the key thing and this is something that always seems to be a very expensive skill to pay for but not an easy one to learn. However, it does also seem that there are different techniques depending on the item that you are trying to sell. For example there are some people selling online books or courses for a huge amount of money and selling lots of copies. However, the writer has spend years building up a fantastic reputation and also giving away a lot of free samples to prove their worth first. There is certainly something to learn form that.

Learning music

There is evidence that learning music can help to improve the brain. I know many children who are encouraged to do it for this reason, including my nieces for whom I am considering buying the essential elements 2000 book to help them. However, I feel that music should be about fun and should not be forced just in case it improves the brain. I do wonder whether it takes a good brain to be able to be a musician and perhaps the music does not enhance it but it is already enhanced. I still feel that all learning should be fun and that music should be seen as a relaxing fun hobby rather than an important study area that should be taken very seriously.

Raising Money

I am involved with the PTA at the children's school and we are always looking for new ways to raise money. Something that has interested me is the fact that we raised a lot more money this Christmas both through new events and changing existing ones. I have been analysing this in light of my business and seeing whether I can take away any ideas.

Firstly, we had an extra fund raising event and it made sense that made some money. however, it could have taken away form the money raised in the other events but it did not. This just highlighted to me that if I keep writing new material then I will appeal to more buyers and should be able to make more money. The events we always run also made more money this year. With people worse off then this was an interesting situation. We did advertise slightly differently, but we seemed to have less people attending the one event but it made more money. We did have some new ideas and that could have been the reason. It seems that perhaps having new ideas of ways to raise money could be successful, it is just a matter of being able to be inventive enough to do this. There must be other ways around that I could make money for my business too, but I just need to find them.

Cheap Guitar Accessories

I really did not expect that I would have to buy very many things when my son got his guitar. he wanted a case, a strap, a book, a cappo and a plectrum to start with. I thought that this would be it. But since then he has had a slide and a book or cords and now he is looking for an efficient way of tuning it. There are free apps he can use on his tablet but these are not always that easy and so he has been looking at the exceptional acoustic guitar tuner keys at musicians friend. These could be a more portable solution or a means of tuning should the tablet not be available or there being no power etc. We will have to see whether he gets one though as it is a long way until his birthday!

Lots of Work!

I came back to work after the Christmas break raring to go! I finished a book and started work on another while doing little bits of work for other people. I also applied for a few jobs on Digital Point Forums and picked up a new customer and I wrote some sets of articles which I put up for sale. One set sold and I picked up a new customer that way. Therefore I am working most of the time at the moment, either paid jobs for new customers or on blocks of articles to offer for sale in the hope that I will be able to increase my earnings as things had been rather quiet. It will be interesting to see how it all shapes up.