money and business news I have found interesting today


It is around about this time of year I start thinking about what I am going to buy people for Christmas.  Most people I know start buying their Christmas presents even earlier than this, but I prefer to leave it till about now, the September/October time of year as they seem to be the two months of the year when I seem to have a little bit more money, than any other time.  So it's a good time to start writing down a few ideas for what to buy people.  And I do love a good list. 

This year has been a very hard year for retail businesses because of Coronavirus.   I know most cities and towns in the UK are starting to try really hard to get customers back into high street shops to protect the future of the 'physical stores', as opposed to shopping online.    These are a few things I have found out that really interested me...

Consumer Spending Increased By 0.2%  

It doesn't sound a lot I know, but it's much better than a minus.   They do say it is mostly made up by the amount people are spending in supermarkets, but it is still a good thing.   I think even the smallest of increases is a great achievement.

Clothing Spending Rose By 0.3%

Again, doesn't sound a great deal, but it is still a plus.   I have noticed myself when I have a walk around my city of Lincoln, that certain shops are getting busier than others.  Primark is a good first example, which figures because they are the cheapest on the high street still.   New Look in my opinion seemed to be doing ok when I nipped in early last week, and House Of Fraser seemed to be picking up with customers also.    So things do certainly seem to be looking up and moving in the right direction.


I have also read in the news that Britain has also signed a new trade deal with Japan.   That's quite interesting considering the dreaded Brexit is still looming.   Not that I am complaining.    When we first started Brexit I remember that House Of Fraser where I work was owned by the Chinese, and as soon as they heard we were pulling out of the EU they put us up for sale which at the time was a massive blow, and it nearly saw me out of a job.   I will admit I don't know as much about Japan as I do about China, but I am still very intrigued as to what effects this will have on our economy too.

Stock Market

Although I don't do it very often, I occasionally have a little look at the stock markets.   I just go on Yahoo Finance for this because Yahoo is my home page and it is the quickest way to get to them. I thought I would just take a little look purely for my own interest, and I have found out that one of my favourite all time brands, Ted Baker (TED.L) is on +0.74%   It might not sound a lot, and looking at the rest of the retailers in the market list Ted Baker definitely don't turn over as much money as some companies, but it's still a plus.   I am quite happy about that.

There is some slightly negative news however, and that is according to This Is Money, on their news page there is a little article on there stating that retail landlords can soon start to call in all the unpaid rent they are owed from lockdown.  It says the Trade Body UK Hospitality has asked the government to 'extend the rent relief until the end of March 2021.   That is certainly going to be a big blow for businesses if they can't get an extension.


John Lewis Are Not Paying Out Staff Bonuses

Oh dear.   John Lewis and Partners have been one of the best leading retail companies for staff incentives over the years, and in fact they have been paying out their bonuses over 50 years, since 1953.  Sadly not for much longer though.   There won't be many incentives to start a career in retail at all soon if the country's not careful.

Let's face it we all prefer like the good news really, and it is always much nicer to end on a more positive note.   Here are a few positive piece of news I have so far discovered today:

- One in five Brits launched their own Business during lockdown

I didn't think that was such a bad idea myself.   Not that I've started my own business.   I did start this blog though, so that is something I guess.   It gave me something to focus on anyway.   I do think having your own business might be the way forward pretty soon.  That's just my opinion.

- Insurance Claims to be paid out

This article is very interesting despite being a little short.   The bottom line is basically the FCA took eight insurers to court after they refused to pay out insurance claims to small businesses following the devastating effects of Covid 19 on the economy.   It says the lawsuit was equally divided between the claimants and the insurers, but in the end swayed in favour of the claiming small businesses, which I am really pleased about.   I am definitely all for supporting small, and particularly local businesses right now.   So this is really good news.   It will also hopefully help with the unpaid rent situation too.

And finally -

-Next seals deal to save Victoria's Secret from closure.

Like a lot of businesses, Victoria's Secret went into administration following Covid-19.   Now it seems that Next have stepped in and taken them over saving hundreds of jobs in the process.   Really happy about that.  Did not particularly want to see another High Street store closing so this is very good.  Next is one of my favourite places to shop recently anyway, they do have some lovely stuff, and I did get some vouchers for my Birthday to spend there recently too.  I bought a jacket and top.   In store and not online, of course.   Next always have some amazing things in their stores, and not just the clothes, because yes, their clothes are really great quality, but I also really love their Homewares department especially for gifts.   They always have lovely things.   Now they are potentially going to have some nice lingerie in their stores too.   I reckon that will be quite good for them as Next haven't really done all that much in the way of lingerie before.   Add on sales are always good for any business.

It always really nice to end on some positive news, and I think it's so important to keep the High Street alive and kicking wherever and whenever we can.   It is also always good to be kept in the loop on how the High Street and the Economy are faring in these times.   We must continue to Save The High Street!

Thanks for reading.



great ways to earn a little extra money on the side


One of my favorite past times is exploring the internet looking for more ways on how to make extra cash when I need it.    This is a task I set myself every day, even if it is only for five minutes.  Sometimes that's all it takes, and you can be amazed with what you can find.    

Some of these ways of making money I have already tried, and a fair few of which I still continue to do today.   That doesn't mean to say the ones I don't continue to do aren't any good, and it doesn't always mean the ones I do do are ALWAYS very good either.   All of these apps and sites are 'quite' good in terms of what you can earn, however, the downside usually is 'how long it takes' for the money to come through.   Each one has a different waiting time.   So far I have only found that there has only been one of these apps that pay out instantly, and that is Qmee.   The other good thing about Qmee is that you can withdraw any amount at any time with it.   Usually I wait till I have a £1, but sometimes I have withdrawn earlier, and the money goes straight into your Paypal account.   This is why Qmee is so popular.   I have already written a little about Qmee in my post if you want to check it out.  All of these apps are free.


Qmee is my first of great ways to earn a little extra cash.   Be sure to give it a little time and attention when doing the surveys, but it can be fun and you can earn a few extra pounds here and there.  I know that that might not sound much to most, but you will be amazed at how quickly it builds up.   In my opinion it is also one of the most consistent apps that I am using so far.


Okay this is an interesting one, but it does work.   I have been using this app for about a month now and so far I have won (because you win, you don't earn) about a fiver.   I am hoping I would earn a bit more if I used the app a little more often, so that is a theory that I am intending to test out fairly soon.   The way this App lets itself down is the in fact the Sweepstakes, which is the type of App that it is.   The way I have won however is on the free little mini games that pop up every now and then whilst you are playing the slots, which is where I have earned a few quid every so often.   That is paid into Paypal so it is well worth it if you do win.   As I am currently testing out several different apps at the moment I haven't spent as much time on it as I could do, but that can change.


This is another survey app which I am impressed to say always has surveys on it every time I look.  Whether I get accepted for those surveys can be another matter, which is why Qmee is still my number one survey app and not this one.   A lot of the time you don't get accepted, and even though you can build up points to get Paypal cash the same as Qmee, in my opinion it can take just a little while longer.  Always worth a little go every now and then, but not the most fun apps I have used.


Mistplay is one app that is fun to play on, as this is a Gaming app.   So you download games through Mistplay and you gain points to put towards gift vouchers or pre-paid cards, but not Paypal.    This is not one of those ones you get free Paypal money unfortunately which initially did put me off.   However I have given it a go and I can be happy to announce that I did get enough points for a Starbucks gift card so I was happy knowing that it does indeed work.


This is a really good site if you enjoy writing reviews as this pays out for reviews you do on new music that you have listened to.   So far I have done two reviews and have been paid exactly 88p.   I know that doesn't seem a lot but as this is only the first day I have been on this site, I think it's not too bad as a beginner.  I guess like a lot of thing you have to give it time and give it a little bit of commitment.  But if you like listening music, surely it can be a bit of fun to write about it, and get paid for it too.


Strangely I have been looking for something like this for a while.   FOAP is an app where you can upload any photos you have taken to the app and then people can rate them.  To make money from the app you can do four things:

1) Join a FOAP Mission.  It means you have to post photos on specific things and you get entered into a prize draw to win between $100 and $500.   Also people can randomly purchase your image for around $10 on it's own if it's something they are looking for.   Any earnings you get at any time are split 50/50 with FOAP that is the only downside, especially if you only make $10.  But it is still a nice little earner.

2) You can join a Premium FOAP Mission too.   Again similar approach, they generally have to be something specific that FOAP as requested, and the winnings are still split 50/50 but the difference is the prize money is bigger, up to $500.  That's much better I think.

3) Pretty basic one this is, just upload a few photos and see if someone spots them and buys them on the FOAP marketplace.   Again any money made is split 50/50 but you could still turn it into a nice little earner.  For example a photo you have uploaded is bought for $20 means you get $10.  I think it sounds pretty fair.

4) You can actually create your own albums and add photos from other users to them.  If any of these photos are purchased by another user you get $0.25.  A great idea is to follow a few other users on the site also.   It means getting your work spotted sooner.

I really love the concept of FOAP, and this evening I have spent a bit of time exploring it in more detail, checking out other people's work, their profiles and photo portfolios.   I am finding it a really interesting app, and as I personally do enjoy looking at different types of photography anyway, I feel this app is right up my street.  I even have the opportunity to earn a little cash from it too, who knows.   It's just really nice to try out something a little different that could potentially make a few pennies for me.   how cool is that?!

Like I said, finding new ways of earning money by searching the web or trying out new Apps seems to be a new favorite past-time of mine.   I do enjoy it, and it's really lovely to eventually find a new way of earning a bit extra cash, particularly if that new way turns out to be something fun and becomes something you really start to enjoy doing.

Thanks for reading.

Sarah x

best ideas to budget your money during your birthday month


I always tend to find the month of August a really long one.   August, and January being the second longest month in the year.  I feel like this has been a really good thing for me to explore this avenue, as I have this month not long celebrated my 37th Birthday.    Not quite sure if everyone feels the same way about this, but does anyone else find that your spending increases quite a bit during your Birthday month?  

Why is that?

Here's what I think.   Most people for their Birthday's nowadays generally seem to get money, or more accurately, gift vouchers.   Buying a gift for someone, particularly if they are no longer a child, is getting increasingly difficult.    I mean, that Butterfly Face Painting Kit I got when I was ten was great...but now..not so much.   I am finding I have to really think about what I am going to get people, specifically my two best friends who just happen to share my Birthday month with me.   To be truthful, I was lucky this year because I found a couple of really nice gifts for my two best friends, I bought them the same things, from Amazon (see link below) and I spent round about £25 on the gifts for the two of them, which I didn't think was too bad.  But everyone knows how easy it can be to keep spending, even if you don't mean to.  That is why it is such a good idea to set yourself a separate budget for your weekly/monthly spending money, so basically the money you have left over after you have paid for all your bills, and paid out for all your food and petrol.  

The True Friend Tatty Teddy mug is so cute, I just love anything in the Tatty Teddy range, they always do lovely gifts.   I am the type of person who would use the box as well, for storing jewellery or something. They cost £8.00.   The elephant candles as well are so unbelievably cute and actually quite detailed, and smelled really lovely.   For £4.88 I thought they were an absolute bargain.  I was well chuffed with both of these.

So anyhoo, here are a few ideas to keep track of your pennies during your Birthday month.

Have a rough idea in your head of what your budget could be.   So for example, you don't want to spend say more that £100.    Always a good thing to have the round ball park figure in your head as a starting point.

Compile a list of things that you know you need to buy, want to buy, or do, and do them in that order, so you know what your spending goals are.  A good thing would be to carry it round with you for the month when you are out and about then you can refer to it whenever you want.   Just remember to do the 'need to buy' part of the list first.   You don't want to run out of money buying the things you want then leave nothing to be able to spend on your best friend for their Birthday.

Keep a note of what you spend each day for the entire month.   Use a notebook to write down what you have bought, what you have spent, and what you have left.   Remember to keep it separate from your usual banking book if you already do that too.   You can always add it in later or at the end of the month.

Download yourself a spending app on your phone, if you haven't done already.  I have the Money Manager Expense & Budget app on my smartphone and I am finding it's working pretty well for me so far.

Turn to Pinterest for inspiration.  Pinterest is so huge at the moment, you will probably be having ideas coming out of your ears after looking on there for an hour.

Don't defer from your list.   I know that can be easily said than done, but you could at least try.

What is also a really good idea is to have your bank send you an alert when you start to get close to overdraft.   I know you might think, oh I'll never that happen, but you will be surprised at how easily it can be done if you do happen to lose track of your spending.  I know because I have done it myself on more than one occasion in the past.

Another thing that is such a good idea to consider, is using places like Boots, or Accessorize or even Tescos and there is actually quite a few others out there too.  Because you get points when you shop there and if do think ahead, you could save some of your money off vouchers you get to knock a few pounds off your bill.   You can get some really nice gift ideas in these places for people and if you have saved up enough points, you can save a bit of money on them too.   I do have to also mention one of my personal favourite shops at the moment which is The Range.   I absolutely love The Range and they have some amazing, really tasteful gifts in there all the time, and they are not too badly priced either.  I love looking round The Range.  I don't really need an excuse to shop there really!

If in doubt, I have found that you cannot go too wrong with finding a few bargains on Amazon.  Always check the Daily Deals section first because you might just find exactly what you are looking for there.  And just a final little tip, use your 'Sort By Price' feature on there too.  Even if you don't manage to find what you want, you can just use it to at least give you a few ideas ;)

Thank you for reading x

Sarah x