balancing your social life and your financial goals

Your finances and social life can often clash. You want to be a good friend, but you also want to meet your financial goals. Sometimes our family and friends may have the best intentions, but they can come in the way of our financial goals. Staying in and keeping your pennies safe may seem tempting, but sometimes it’s just not realistic.

You can meet your financial goals, and have fun. No need to become a social recluse! So, if you find yourself always feeling tempted to spend more, or pressured to part with your money around certain people, then what can you do to stick to your financial goals?

Balancing your social life and your financial goals

Know what your goals are

Make a mental note of what your savings goals are. Better yet, write your goals down and how they will benefit you when they’re reached. It’s easier to stick to your goals if you have a precise number in your head.

Remember why you’ve set these goals

It’s always good to remind yourself why you’re saving. Keep a reminder somewhere; set a reminder on your phone, or have a note or photo hanging in plain sight. It’ll help you keep your goals in you mind and encourage you to stick to them.

Set firm boundaries

If someone’s always trying to persuade you to go out and part with your money, let them know that you’re on a financial fast and you’re not spending money. Be firm about your goals, if someone can’t respect your wishes then they might not be the best person to be around anyway.

Suggest to do something free instead

If your money gets eaten up, try to find a cheaper alternative instead; if you like your takeaways why not buy takeaway ready meals from the supermarket or create your own ‘fakeaway’ at home.

Are you on O2? Take advantage of the freebies on 02 Priority, like free coffees, and use these times to catch up with friends. Even better, invite them round for a good old cuppa and a natter.

Set an amount for monthly leisure activities

Give yourself an allowance! Saving money doesn’t have to be boring, allow yourself a set amount for fun every month, and decide which of your plans are worth spending money on. Balance really is the key here, you don’t need to stop doing everything you love.

Start mystery shopping

With mystery shopping, you can save money and get paid. MarketForce is a great site for mystery shopping, there’s assignments for pubs, restaurants, shops and more.

Start comping

There’s no guarantees with comping, but there’s the potential to win anything. Set your sites on winning days or meals out and do what you love at little or no expense to you.

Make money online

You can commit to making some extra money online specifically to put aside for your social life. There’s any number of ways to do this. Sell your unwanted items, do surveys, usertesting, sell a skill and more.

There is really something for everyone. You can balance your social life and your financial goals.


I’d love to know how you balance your social life and your financial goals! Let me know below.

11 simple ways to accelerate your swagbucks earnings
With any online money-making adventure, you want to make the most amount of money in the least amount of time. So I will now tell you my own 11 simple ways to accelerate your Swagbucks earnings

Complete your daily goal

You have two daily goals. The first when reached counts towards your winning streak, which gives you a bonus of up to 300SB a month. You’ll also get any daily bonuses added on top of this. So makes sense to reach them every day.

Use their search engine

A great way to make a bundle of Swagbucks, is using their search engine. Make sure to Space out your searches to once in the morning and once in the evening for the best results. It’s very unlikely that you’ll get two search wins  close together. You’ll learn by trial and error which searches get the best results for you.

Lately I only aim for the one search a day, and usually make around 8SB per search. I have made 50SB in the past.
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Download the Swagbucks video apps

One easy way to earn Swagbucks is to download their video apps and watch the videos.

Each app has a different earning amount, between 10 and 36 SB daily, with bonuses available if you keep watching. Look out for the shortest videos and favourite them by swiping right over the video, you can then watch it on a loop in your favourites! Reddit has a good list of the shortest videos.

Check Facebook for codes

Most days Swagbucks will list a code that is redeemable for a couple of SB. Codes are usually active for an hour. Most days the code is available about 8PM GMT, but sometimes it’s in the early afternoon. It’s a matter of checking the Facebook page regularly, those codes add up fast, but they don’t last for long :(

Twitter games

Keep an eye on the Swagbucks Twitter feed, where you can find the occasional game and code.

Pick the best surveys

Look through all the available surveys before starting, to find the one with the shortest completion time and the highest Swagbucks.

The easiest are called ‘daily surveys’ and are often the most fun (in my opinion) to complete.

Skip low paying surveys and videos

I make it a rule to skip the low paying things unless it’s a slow day and I’m finding it hard to reach my daily goal. Your time is worth more than some of these offers. For example, some of the Peanut Labs surveys are quite low paying, so I will only attempt them if they’re under 10 minutes to complete.

Download apps

AppFly is quite well-paying, and good for slow survey days like Sunday. You get 45SB for downloading an app, which is quite a sweet deal for the short time it takes you to download. Find links for this and others on the homepage, or in the offer pages.

Check out the offers

This is the section I generally just skim through, while I look for apps and videos, but there’s some seriously great offers waiting to be discovered. If you know you’re planning on buying something, check to see if there’s any cashback offers for that item. You never know, and you could make back a tidy profit.

Complete tasks

There are Crowdflower tasks available to complete. Once you get used to them, you can complete them quite quickly, and potentially make a bundle of Swagbucks.

Refer your friends

Refer your friends and you get 10% of what your friends earnings for life. On that sweet note, if you want to sign up with my referral link I’d be happy as a clam!

Do you have any tips or tricks to accelerate your Swagbucks earnings? Let me know below!

ebay
When selling online, profit is key. Rising eBay and PayPal charges and unexpected post and packing charges can really eat in to your earnings.

Here are my 5 tips to maximize your eBay profits:

List at the right time

Schedule your items to end when people are likely to be home, this way more people will be able to see the listing and bid. I usually like my items to finish after 7.30PM, when most people would have finished their evening meal and picked up their gadgets.

Take advantage of free listing weekends. A few times a year eBay offers free listing for the weekend, meaning you can avoid any of the fees associated with listing an item. Keep an eye on the announcements page as they usually only give a couple of days notice.

Make your listing POP!

Be as descriptive as possible to satisfy potential buyers.

Enter loads of keywords in the title. Don’t worry if it looks weird. More keywords, means there’s more chance of people finding your listing. So instead of listing “size 12 top” try “Size 12 White Top from River Island. Patterned.”

Make the description work for you. Add anything unique or defective that may be of interest to someone looking to buy your item.

Take good photos

On an eBay listing your first 12 photos are free. Take full advantage of this with attractive photos that make your item appealing. You don’t need a fancy camera, your phone will do.

Make use of natural light, position the item well, and keep the photo free from distractions. Appealing photos can make all the difference to your final sale price by getting people to stop and look at your listing.

Weigh your items

Avoid any surprise out-of-pocket costs by weighing your items to determine the correct postage required. It is so easy to misjudge the weight or size of the item which can lead to you paying extra for the correct posting.

Weigh your item before you choose your shipping options, a cheap set of kitchen scales would do the trick.

Be smart with packaging

If you’re selling a lot of items, why not invest in a box of jiffy bags? Buying in bulk now can save you a great expense in the long run.

Why not hoard jiffy bags and bubble wrap when you receive them through the post? Store them and reuse them later. I never pay for bubble wrap as I always seem to have some stored away.

So there we have it, my 5 tips to maximize your eBay profits. Following these tips can maximize your eBay earnings time and time again.

What are your eBay tips?

Free and cheap things to do at Disney World

Step away from the bustle of the crowds and enjoy the economical delights that Disney World has to offer. It is possible to keep all the family entertained for free, let me show you my favourite free and cheap things to do at Disney World:

disney movie

Watch an outdoor movie. For a memorable experience, watch an outdoor movie at one of the Disney hotels. Relax under the stars with your favorite films. Here’s a great in-depth schedule for all the hotels.

Find Hidden Mickeys. Hidden Mickeys are Mickey Mouse shapes that have been ‘hidden’ in designs throughout the Walt Disney World resort. They can take many forms, and can be found anywhere! Make a game of who can find the most.

Club Cool. For a refreshing drink (or ten) visit Club Cool in Epcot and try international fizzy drinks for free!

Become a Wilderness Explorer. Take after Russell from Up and become a Wilderness Explorer. In Animal Kingdom kids can complete up to 30 challenges and collect badges, in this fun and educational game.

 

explore the hotels

Explore the hotels. With numerous themed hotels, there is always something new and exciting just waiting to be discovered. Pop over to Animal Kingdom Lodge and look out for giraffes. Head over to the Polynesian and feel the sand between your toes. Go to Art of Animation and take your photo in front of the beautifully detailed courtyards. Why not try the resort’s signature food while you’re there?

Collect character autographs. For the price of an autograph book and a pen, you can have yourself hours of fun. Go on a mission to get certain character’s autographs!

monorail

Ride the monorail. Without spending a penny you can get a bird’s-eye view of the Magic Kingdom and the surrounding luxury resorts. Also a great way to take the weight off your feet and relax in some air-conditioning for a while.

Go to the Boardwalk. Delight in old-fashioned boardwalk entertainment. The quarter-mile long boardwalk features numerous shops, dining experiences, nightclubs and many more.

pin trading

Go pin trading. For a few dollars you can buy a Disney pin, and have a holiday’s worth of excitement. Pin Trading is a popular hobby for many, you can trade pins with other guests and with cast members. I like to have one pin that I will trade for the entire stay, this way it’s exciting to find out what you’ll finish up with.

Collect pressed pennies. Pressed penny machines are all over Walt Disney World, making them the perfect frugal collectable souvenir.

friendship boats

Ride the FriendShip Boats – Take a leisurely cruise up-river for absolutely free. If you’re lucky you will have a talkative captain who will act as a tour guide.

These are some of the many free and cheap things available for you at Disney World. The above list includes things I have experienced and enjoyed; the photos are my personal photos from my September 2014 trip.

Are you planning to try any of these freebies? Have you tried them already? Let me know in the comments!

Goal setting for success

Do you find it hard to focus on your ambition? Goal setting could be for you.

Being able to know exactly what your goals are and when you’ve achieved them is powerful. Setting goals can make you more focused, organised, and motivated. Goal setting for success can make your ambition attainable. Learn how now:

SMART GOALS

How then should goals be successfully made? The answer lies in SMART goals. Smart goals are (as you have probably heard!):

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Attainable
  • R – Relevant
  • T – Time-bound

Set Specific Goals

Write down your goals. What is it you want to achieve? Have a concrete target to make your goals real.

Set Measurable Goals

Use specific measurements to know when you’ve achieved your goals.

Set Attainable Goals

Goals need to be achievable. Make your goals realistic and attainable.

Set Relevant Goals

Align your goals with your values. Relevant goals take you in the direction you wish to go.

Set Time-Bound Goals

Set some time-constraints on your goals. As you get closer to the finish date you will be able to anticipate the celebration of your success.

Breaking down Goals

Break your goals down into smaller goals. For example, say your long-term goal is to learn how to drive: a mid-term goal could be to book driving lessons, while a short-term goal could be to put money aside for lessons.

By breaking your goals down you can make the larger goal more attainable, every short-term goal achieved is a step towards achieving your long-term goal.

Recording your goals

To better understand your goals start with good old-fashioned pen and paper to get your ideas down. Scribble away making mind-maps, lists, the odd doodle, and then you could be left with a clear goal.

Why not try creating Pinterest boards to remind you of your goals. A cork-board also does the trick! A quick look at the board and you will be reminded of why you set your goals and refocus. You can also use goal-setting apps, such as: Strides, Balanced, and Coach.me.

Write, draw, record your goals. Leave it somewhere accessible so you can be easily reminded of your goals if you go astray. Find what works for you!

THE SCIENCY BIT

Research from Harvard Business School suggests that the act of setting goals can be dangerous and should come with a ‘doctor’s prescription’ to ensure correct dosage. According to Harvard Business School our goals should be achievable and our methods ethical and risk-free. Don’t set your goals so high that you can never successfully reach them, this is detrimental not only to our perception of ourselves but to our future behaviour.

In setting your goals take care to you avoid being narrowly focused and ignoring outside information. You may need to alter your goals slightly to align with whatever’s happening in your life, but that’s OK! Flexibility is the name of the game.

What are your tips for goals setting?