Are We A Take, Take, Take Society?

A nice picture of Amsterdam to take away the seriousness of my article.

There is a lot of News about income today. It is a very controversial topic that I have often found myself tiptoeing around. People are being bombarded with assertions about tax cuts, average earnings and shortfalls in household incomes. It is an interesting issue which can be very polarising but the basics are straight forward.

This article is about challenging the popular belief that:

“Society Owes Us”

I try to be optimistic and so will aim to represent my thoughts on this in a positive way. I have read articles and heard conversations recently where people have asserted that society owes us money.

Generally when people say this, it feels as though the speakers want everything on a plate and free. I regularly hear things like:

‘Benefits should be raised.’

‘We don’t get enough financial support.’

‘We are taxed way too much.’

‘If we go to work we lose some of our benefits. Let’s stay at home.’

OK I am paraphrasing but these are the general ideas that seem to be floating around.

I spoke to some university students about how they afford their studies and they have talked about loans and funding but rarely do I hear, ‘I work a part time job.’ In fact I have outright asked why students don’t work and they say they prefer to enjoy their spare time. Fair enough. Maybe.

Perhaps society has moved away from ‘Work Hard, Reap the Rewards’ but I really liked that work ethic.

Am I right to express my concern?

Hard to tell. I like people being comfortable and living their lives to the full. I also like fairness and equality. More than anything, I believe that hard work is important and fulfilling and should be something to aspire to.

So governments can’t win. If they raise taxes they can fund the NHS, education, environmental improvements and so on. If they cut taxes, they seem to have their fingers on the pulse but end up borrowing and causing the whole country to suffer. For me a tax cut would be great! However, is it going to lead to cuts in other services? Probably. Luxembourg has higher taxes than the UK but wonderful national provision for health, business and transport (free buses and trains). Their average wages are higher too.

When I was young…

I suppose it is just my personal experience but I welcomed my mum for teaching me the value of hard work. I had a chart on the fridge and every time I did a job (wash the car, hoover the stairs etc) I got 20p. These all added up to make my pocket money.

As soon as I was 13 I got a paper round and enjoyed earning money by delivering Sunday newspapers and weekly ones later as well. At 16 I started earning by working in the supermarket on Friday evenings, Saturdays and eventually Sundays too (until then shops were not allowed to open Sundays so when the Sunday trading laws came out I soaked up the double time wage).

Throughout my A-Levels I worked extra hours in the shop as much as I could and during the holidays. At Uni this carried on and I loved knowing that I was paying my own way. Nobody helped me. Where has that drive to work and earn and give something to society gone?

I also volunteered for charity roughly ten hours a week. But I am not showing off. Many of my friends and colleagues did as well. We paid our way and never expected any freebies. Heck- we even paid tax on our hard earned wages.

So anyway…

I suppose my point is this…

Yes people have disabilities which prevent them from working and health issues that make it more difficult. They should be fully supported by the system. But let’s face it there are thousands of people who choose not to work. They decided they are better off taking money from the state. I know this is true and research suggests it is widespread.

Recent data suggests over one million job vacancies in the UK. One million! Yet there are people out there who could be making a difference by filling these positions.

Where is my positivity?

I believe if we adopt a more GIVE than TAKE attitude to society we will prosper and our country will feel better. Work promotes health, mental wellbeing, feeling needed, accomplishment, wealth, happiness and achievement.

I feel like opening the floodgates now… What do you think about the subject?

How To Get Your Finances Under Control

Sponsored Post – All of the opinions and experiences in this post are my own.

Ten years ago my finances were a real mess. Without a doubt I was struggling, thanks to some poor decisions on my part. I had overspent on credit cards, mainly on holidays I couldn’t afford at the time, and paying it all back was creating massive difficulties for me. I learned my lesson the hard way and now seem to have everything sorted when it comes to finance – largely down to working hard and finding out how to fix my problems.

Are you finding that bills and charges are driving you into debt?

Appreciating the value of money is important.

Here are my thoughts on where to begin when trying to deal with debts and get your finances back under control:

1) Make a start – no excuses.

It is no use putting off till tomorrow what you could be doing today. I know it is depressing to be in the midst of financial trouble – believe me – but the sooner you start dealing with them, the better. My mum always takes notice of Martin Lewis for money saving tips and I have got used to watching his programme and checking his website. I wish I had someone like him to listen to or some online resources to call upon when I found myself drowning in debt.

However, Martin Lewis wasn’t widely known ten years ago, so I had to use my own resourcefulness to begin solving my debt problems. For me, it began with getting all of my statements and adding up the overall amount that I owed. Then I found the credit cards with the highest interest rates and wrote to them explaining my predicament. They helped me build a payment plan and even agreed to freeze my interest for a while as well. Reaching out really helped me a lot.

2) Use your common sense (easier said than done).

Again, it sounds obvious, but doing some research is vital when looking into ways of reducing a debt and improving a credit score. These days there is a wonderful site which lays out the various options you have available. Click here to discover some practical steps that you can take in order to consolidate your debts. This site is easy to use and full of answers to questions you possibly haven’t even thought of yet.

Common sense would also lead you to stop spending on credit cards. For me, this was something I had no control over as I had maxed them all out. It is easy to do. My friends were going on holidays and I wanted to join them, but didn’t have time to save up, so I whacked the vacations on my credit card until it was full. Then, stupidly, I got another one if I received an email offering me a new card. Of course, credit cards are always on the lookout for debtors to add to their lists.

What I am saying is that I needed someone to give me a reality check. We’ve all been there. My advice to anyone stuck in debt is to tell someone immediately and then stop spending and research your options.

3) Cut back on spending straight away

That is easy for me to say, right? For me, it meant saying no to holidays for a couple of years. It also meant going through my outgoings and getting rid of things that weren’t essential. Even today, I sit down once a year and work out what Media apps and services I am paying for (streaming services and online magazines). Often you forget just how many subscriptions you have. At the same time, memberships can sneakily increase in price.

Recently I cancelled a few subscriptions and one of them asked me why I was leaving. It was a newspaper app and I was pleasantly surprised when they offered to reduce their charge to one pound a month for a whole year. As I said before, getting in touch with companies is often a good way to negotiate a deal and form an understanding. This example was a small example of how one action reduced my subscription from £6.99 to £1 just a month. Maybe you could do that with some of your bills too.

Summary

If you are struggling with debt right now, please do not face it alone. Reach out to someone you trust and consider the suggestions I made in this post. When I got into debt, I spoke to my mum and she got me started on facing up to the situation and find out just how I could resolve it.

Hopefully you found this article helpful. It is a set of thoughts based on my own experience and I am in no way a professional but I have managed to get my own finances back on track and now have enough savings to deal with any unforeseen emergencies and to finance a few upcoming holidays.

How To Boost Your Income – 5 More Ideas

Finances are at the top of most people’s agendas at the moment as energy prices rise and a war in Eastern Europe makes some products less available. It feels like we should be celebrating as Covid takes a back seat for a while, but suddenly our pockets are being emptied faster than we can fill them.

After my recent post about Side Hustle Suggestions, I was interested to read more about this subject and can see that so many people are in the same boat as me, trying to make ends meet. A lot of my friends ask me how to keep astride of finances and my simple answer always has to be ‘work harder and save like mad’. Passive incomes are great but they take time to build up. In the short term, the only real fix is to take on extra work.

So let me share with you five more possible ways to make a little extra income to help pay those horrible bills. I have tried to suggest work which anyone can access. Let me know what you think of my suggestions in the comments below.

5 More Side Hustles

1) Flexible deliveries

It is a fairly obvious fact that most people rely on deliveries these days. From all kinds of household products to fast food, we are becoming more used to using delivery firms to meet our daily needs. Many of these companies pay a fair wage to deliver at anti-social times, such as in the evening.

Some companies are keen to promote flexible working and will pay a little extra for delivery drivers who work at night. For example, Uber Eats, Just Eat and Deliveroo will enable you to earn a bit extra when you feel you have the time and energy. Some firms allow their customers to give tips too, which is a brilliant bonus.

2) Offer a room on Air BNB

Make a room available for short stay tenants. Having a room available for a guest can be a nice little revenue generator. You can choose when is a good time to make the room available and there are always people looking for somewhere to affordably stay. Every guest will provide a boost and you can withdraw your offer at any time or for an extended period.

3) Do paid surveys

Some people make a good income from completing paid surveys. You just need to look around online for websites that provide surveys that you can be compensated for.

I often use ‘Slicethepie.com’ which has loads of opportunities but it can take a while to build up enough funds to withdraw. If you have half an hour spare each day, you can soon become efficient at it and build up your trust rating, so as to earn more per survey.

I enjoy the bonus surveys that they offer and often make 20 cents for a quick music survey. This usually entails listening to one minute of a track and rating it, as well as writing a paragraph about it. It probably takes me three minutes max.

4) Sell products online

There are so many apps available which enable you to trade in old ‘stuff’ lying around your house. I use eBay to get rid of things I no longer want and always find it easy to use, with postage prices added to each item so you never lose out when going through the selling process.

You can take this one step further by making craft items which can then be sold either on eBay or directly through your own website or on Facebook marketplace. I do find that eBay has a quick turnover though, so you must make sure you get products posted out quickly, or customers complain and ask for part refunds.

5) Make an audio recording

I recently discovered the Amazon ACX service where you can sell your vocals to writers and publishers looking for people to read their audiobooks aloud. All you need to do is leave samples of your voice work and apply to be the reader for any books that take your fancy.

There are two ways to make money from this. Either you request a flat fee for the audio or wait for a share of the commission. I believe you can also ask for a smaller upfront payment and a share of commission as well.

Summary

I hope that you found some of my suggestions useful. Not everybody has time to go out and deliver goods but there should be an idea for everyone amongst my five fresh side hustle ideas. You can find even more useful ideas in this article about Making money while you sleep.

Personally, I have done so many different jobs over the years and have learned that you just have to do whatever is needed to keep the money flowing. Right now I am building up my blog, selling items on eBay and doing surveys.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article about boosting your income by taking on extra work. If you enjoyed this post, please consider following my blog for future similar content.