Swagbucks – May Swago Pie Fest is Here! How to Get a 300 SB Bonus.

Swagbucks is holding their Swago promotion on Monday, 22nd May! It’s just like bingo, but in this case you’re filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online.

If you’re thinking of trying Swagbucks, this is a great chance to learn all about how the site works and earn bonus points while doing it. The best part is that the points you get can be used to get free gift cards to places like Amazon, or PayPal cash!

Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points – if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 300 SB bonus! Click here to sign up and get started! If you sign up through my link and earn 300 SB before 1st June, you’ll get a bonus 300 SB!

The Truth About Mr Money Mustache and Other US Financial Independence Blogs

Continuing in my series examining the real truth of US financial independence blogs, today we’re going to scrutinise ‘Mr Money Mustache’. This one is a real eye-opener and I encourage you to stick with the numbers and ask yourself whether you’d really trust this guy’s advice.

The short version is this guy must be at least a millionaire, if not a multi-millionaire. Hardly surprising then that he retired by 30, chooses not to work and can play around all day doing whatever the hell he wants. What shocked me more is he spends in 1 year the average starting salary of a nurse or teacher, here in the UK and states this is less than 10% of his annual income. Therefore, he’s easily bringing home in excess of £200,000, presumably in interest from a considerably larger sum he has invested – like millions of pounds!!! Hence my question, would you really take financial advice from this guy? Anyone can be frugal, I don’t knock that as a lifestyle choice. But it’s easy to be frugal when you have so much money in the bank that you don’t need to bother insuring your house because you have enough money to cover it, probably 10x over and some!

I don’t know anyone earning £100,000, I don’t actually know anyone making more than about £35,000 per year. I’d rather take financial independence advice from someone who’s living in the real world, who’s working a real job and making their way. I hope that’s what I’m doing here. So let’s look at his expenses in more detail and in English:

  • Property taxes – £1,456.35
  • Groceries – £4,595.76
  • Wine/ Beer – £246.75
  • Eating Out – £388.87
  • Medical – £8354.23
  • Car and other transport – £376.66
  • Home Renovations – £1303.72
  • Gym – £115.30
  • Clothing – £478.02
  • Sports Equipment – £75.33
  • Random shopping (presumably household items) – £768.70
  • Books, Games & DVDs – £294.41
  • Other – £324.49
  • Travel – £1794.91
  • Donations – £1,537.87
  • TOTAL £22,111.37
  • Spending £1842.61 per month!

I find it really peculiar that this guy does not have to pay for water, gas, electricity, sewerage or any kind of insurance. Of course he doesn’t have a mortgage or rent, like normal people do because he’s a millionaire. He doesn’t seem to pay for telephone, internet, doesn’t have life insurance, or a pension. He doesn’t even seem to get his hair cut. Maybe millionaires do not have to pay for these other things either?

I really hope this helps you not to compare yourself to people like this, it’s not reality for 99.9% of the population of the world. His monthly expenses may not be wild, in-fact they’re only £500 more than we pay to keep our household running and we are pretty darn frugal. The difference is whereas he’s only spending 10% of his income, most of the rest of us are probably spending 90% of our income trying to pay for the basics of life. I’d consider anyone able to save 25-50% of their monthly pay, to be doing pretty well.

So, over to you- does this change your perception f some of these US bloggers claiming financial independence in their 30s?

Things that have gone this week – 9

This week has ended up being a bit of a blur and I turned another year older. But, I am still getting rid of things!

Things I sold:

  1. A black 1950s style, net petticoat which never actually suited any of my dresses as it was too short and too full.
  2. Two vintage floral tea dresses (1 pictured), but they were the same style – too tight on me.
  3. Another pair of shoes! (Hangs head in shame!) This time a pair of vintage style Clarks T-Bar shoes.

This week I sold 4 items on eBay and I took a small bag to charity, containing a book, a dress and a board game. All of the items sold were purchased second hand for a few pounds and I ended up turning a nice little profit on these. But must try harder not to buy more! The petticoat was picked up for £4, brand new with tags and sold for £20 – still with tags on. The dresses cost £6 each and sold for £20 together. The shoes were picked up for £3, barely worn and sold for £10.

Stay tuned for hopefully another post next week!

Stop Paying For Data You Don’t Need!

iPhone

One of the ways I keep my mobile phone bill as small as possible is by physically turning off my data. Thanks to GiffGaff I’m already paying a minimal amount, but by physically turning my data off unless I specifically need to use it, I can stick to a £5 Goodybag each and every month. It only takes seconds and it saves me between £2.50 to £5 every, single month. That’s £30-£60 a year kept in my pocket. This is the perfect example of minimalism in practice – only using what you need and keeping things really, really simple.

On an iPhone, like mine – you simply need to go into settings and turn mobile data off. This stops your phone eating your data allowance if you’ve gone out of WiFi range. How many times has that happened to you when you’ve been watching a video or something else data heavy? Do you have any easy money-saving, minimalist tips like this?

I got rid of 15 pairs of shoes!

I don’t feel proud about that title, let me tell you. But I have continued my serious declutter. I am certain that I still own more than 15 further pairs of shoes and that number also needs to decrease. However, this is a MASSIVE step forwards for me and it’s truly been enlightening – look at all these shoes I had and there was absolutely no way I could use them all. Let’s just say that these 15 pairs that have gone are the ones that have had the least use, or even that I no longer wore at all. I don’t have pictures of them all, as I only started saving my images recently. Here is just a fraction:

I calculate that I have put £157.45 (gross figure) back in my pocket. Considering that only 2 of the pairs I had owned from brand new (and both of those were bought at around 70% off), I calculate that I am in profit despite my careless ownership. None of the other pairs cost more than £10 second-hand and most a lot less! However, that is not an excuse for me to go and buy more!

It might be optimistic, but I hope that I can one day get down to around 6 pairs of shoes. I’m envisaging:

  1. Knee high boots
  2. Ankle boots
  3. Trainers
  4. Sandals
  5. Work shoes
  6. Smart shoes

And really that would be more than enough! But I will admit that I have a slight weakness for shoes, probably more than anything else. Still, I can try.

Things that have gone this week – 8

Wow, just when I think I’m going to slow down with the declutter, it picks up again! As usual, I got carried away and forgot to photograph everything that went. Never-mind, that’s not important- it’s more important that these things are no longer part of my life and space. I sold 5 items of clothing on eBay and then I gave away lots of things (see list below). I have now almost hit £1,500 of items sold (totalling 109 items to date!)

Rather than sending our used carpet to landfill, we were lucky enough to find someone who wanted it via the Freecycle network. I would also have tried allotment owners and pet shelters, before landfilling it. We acquired horrible terracotta orange carpets in all our bedrooms when we moved in. It was a vile colour (in my opinion) and stained in places. However for someone, it proved better than having no flooring at all and I’m glad that it could be re-used. In turn, we re-used the beige carpet we removed from our lounge diner to carpet 2 of the 3 bedrooms, with a bit left over incase we ever want to do the porch or small toilet.

We also sent our used stamps to help a charity. It really is amazing what can be re-used. I found some leaf grabbers in the garage, that I’d picked up at a car boot for £1 a few years ago. Now we live in a house without trees, so it was time for someone else to use them. I was finally ready to admit that I was not going to teach myself anymore guitar than I had done 5 years ago and I let it go to someone else wanting to learn, via Freecycle. I freecycled  2 pairs of tights that were huge on me, to someone wanting to make a fancy dress outfit! I found an old picture that hadn’t been up on the walls for about 5 years which I freecycled. Finally, I also sent a free gift that came with my watch to someone who could use and enjoy it, after it had been stuffed down the side of a cupboard for a couple of years.

  1. Bustier
  2. Coast Party Dress
  3. Laura Ashley Gypsy Skirt
  4. Frock & Frill Beaded Top
  5. White Stuff Reversible Skirt
  6. Roll of carpet taken up from office
  7. Roll of carpet taken up from bedroom (Both rolls of carpet went to someone in need of carpet, via Freecycle)
  8. Leaf grabbers (Given away on Freecycle)
  9. A5 envelope of used stamps (Given away via Freecycle to help a charity)
  10. Free gift of 4 nail varnishes that came with a watch I bought a couple of years ago (given away on Freecycle)
  11. 2 pairs of black tights that were meant to be one size, but came up to my armpits!!! (Went to a man for a fancy dress costume!)
  12. Guitar & music book (Freecycled)
  13. Puffin picture (Freecycled)

Who knows what next week will hold? Why don’t you join me for Week 9 of my decluttering adventures.

Things That Have Gone This Week – 7

 

This week has seen another 6 items of clothing leave my possession and I gave away a large roll of carpet on Freecycle! All of the above items were purchased second hand and I profited on every single one, as I paid reasonable prices for them. Overall, these items netted me £101.65 before postage.

I think my clear out is slowing down now, as it has worked and I have less items to sell or giveaway. However, I remain hopeful of selling 1 or 2 more items next week.

  1. Halterneck Polka Dot Vintage Style Dress
  2. Fat Face navy blue summer dress
  3. Phase Eight Heart Print Top
  4. Phase Eight Geometric Print Dress
  5. Mistral Leaf Print Dress
  6. Vintage black lace robe