Win Cash and Prizes with Lucky Leftovers

Win Cash and Prizes with Lucky Leftovers

If you own an Android smartphone, here’s a great risk-free opportunity to win cash and prizes from it.

Lucky Leftovers is an Android app that takes advantage of your monthly text allowance. Nowadays most people get ‘unlimited’ texts on their mobile contracts, but unless perhaps they are teenagers they may only send a few texts a month. Lucky Leftovers allows you to put this mostly wasted allowance to good use.

Once you are signed up with Lucky Leftovers – which is free – you can enter any of the giveaways listed. You can enter just once or (better) daily. Once you have chosen the contests you want to enter, the app (in conjunction with your phone) will submit entries for you every day, with no other input required from you.

Just to make clear, these are not the type of contest where you are charged a fee per text (which I don’t recommend at all). So long as you have an inclusive monthly or prepaid contract and stay within your allowance, you will not be charged anything for entering these contests.

If you are lucky you will win a prize, but even if not you will get a point for every entry. The points can be converted to Amazon vouchers or cash in your PayPal account once you have earned £5 or more (see What Are Points Worth? below).

The prizes aren’t spectacular, but they aren’t bad either. Here is a screen capture showing some of them…

Lucky Leftovers prizes

Other prizes on offer at the time of writing include Bluetooth speakers, headphones, a trip up the London Shard, two Lion King tickets, a remote-controlled drone, a PlayStation 4, and plain old cash. If you win a prize but don’t want it, you can usually request a cash equivalent.

As you may have noticed, many of the giveaways are also raising money for charities.

What are points worth?

I’ll resist the temptation to say “What do Points Make? Prizes!” (rest in peace, Sir Bruce).

Each point on Lucky Leftovers is worth £0.001p. In other words, 10 points are worth a penny, 100 are 10p, 1000 are £1, and 5000 are £5.00.

£5 is the minimum threshold to request a payment. You might think it will take a long time to accumulate 5000 points, but actually if you submit 5000 prize-draw entries a month, that would give you £5 every month (plus any prizes you win, of course).

That’s not the whole of it, though…

Extra ways to earn points

As mentioned, you get one point for every entry, including automated entries.

There are other ways to earn points as well, though. You can do so by watching short videos (typically promoting games) via the app. You seem to get anywhere between 10 and 30 points per video you watch, so this can boost your total quite quickly.

In addition, you can earn points by purchasing via selected retailers listed on the app (see screen capture below). You get ‘cashback’ on these purchases, which is paid to you in the form of points.

Lucky Leftovers Cashback

Finally, you can get extra points by referring other people or joining via someone else’s referral link. More about this below!

Watch your limits

I said earlier that most people nowadays have an ‘unlimited’ texts allowance, but that doesn’t apply to everyone. If you are on a cheap deal there may be an upper limit every month, and you don’t want to exceed this or you will start being charged extra. You should also to allow for the fact that you may want to send some text messages to friends and relatives yourself, so you need to leave a few in reserve!

Even if you do have an ‘unlimited’ allowance, so-called fair usage restrictions typically apply. A common one is an upper limit of 5000 texts a month. Again, you don’t want to exceed this. Check with your provider if you are unsure what your monthly limits are.

The good news is that Lucky Leftovers allows you to set maximum daily and monthly texting limits on your Settings page. You can start low to test the water if you like, and increase the numbers as you gain confidence. That’s what I did, incidentally.

Will you be spammed?

This is obviously a concern with any app of this nature, but my experience so far has been entirely positive. I have not received a single spam text or phone call as a result of using the app. This has also been the experience of others using the app longer than I have.

Get 500 points through me!

As mentioned earlier, Lucky Leftovers has a referral scheme that lets you earn points by referring others. So here is my referral link. If you click through this and install the app, you will be credited with 500 points (worth 50p), and so will I. That’s a nice little bonus to start you on the way to your first £5!

Good luck if you do decide to join up with Lucky Leftovers. I hope you win lots of points and prizes.

If you have any comments or questions, as always, please do leave them below.




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An Essential Guide to Writing Your Will (Infographic)

An Essential Guide to Writing Your Will (Infographic)

Today I’m bringing you an infographic created by I Will, a firm of solicitors who specialize in will writing.

I thought this summed up very well the importance of making a will and having it done properly, so I wanted to share it with readers of this blog. It’s quite a long graphic, so please take a little time to scroll down it, and I’ll see you at the other end!

Thanks again to I Will Solicitors (not an affiliate link) for permission to use their graphic. There are some valuable tips in it, not least the advice to use a properly qualified solicitor. In the last few years I have had a couple of experiences when failing to do this has caused problems..

One actually concerned the will of my late partner. We had created mirror wills some years before, using a well-known postal will-writing service. At their suggestion we named the will-writing company as joint executors, as their representative said this meant they would be able to step in and help if required.

Sadly my partner passed away and I then discovered that having the company as a named executor meant I couldn’t have the local solicitor I wanted handle the estate on my behalf. It took several months (and a lot of hassle I could really have done without) to get them to renounce their interest in the will so that my preferred legal firm could take over.

Another instance concerned a family member who passed away earlier this year. I don’t want to go into detail about this, for obvious reasons, but he had used a family friend who ran a will-writing service to create his will. The will was poorly drafted and did not make clear exactly how the estate should be divided up. The result was a bitter dispute between two of the main beneficiaries, which ended with an outcome that was probably far from what he had intended.

So my top tips with wills would be (a) make sure you have one, (b) have it drawn up by a qualified solicitor, and (c) give careful thought to whom you name as executor. For other advice, please refer to the infographic above!

If you have any comments or questions, as ever, please do post them below.




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How to Save Money on Days Out With Your Grandchildren

How to Save Money on Days Out With Your Grandchildren

Today I’m delighted to bring you a guest post from my UK money blogging colleague Fiona Hawkes.

Fiona’s post covers a subject I am sure many readers of this blog will be able to relate to – how to have a great day out with the grandchildren without spending a fortune.

Over to Fiona, then…


 

There are currently around 14 million grandparents in the UK and more and more of them are taking on the role of childminder for their grandchildren, as growing costs mean that more families need both parents to work to make ends meet.

One in three over-fifties in the UK are grandparents and they help families cut the costs of more formal childcare arrangements – especially during the long six-week summer holidays.

But some grandparents may find that the continual extra mouths to feed and days of entertaining the little darlings are having an impact on their own finances. While the older generation of course love their children and grandchildren and want to help out however they can, it shouldn’t come at the expense of their own financial health.

While this generation of grandparents may be the ones who know how to be thrifty and make do and mend, they may not be quite so savvy when it comes to saving money online, for example.

I realise most grandparents may already have plenty of thrifty ideas for days out – picnics in the park, feeding the ducks, museums, etc – so in this post I am going to discuss ways to save money on the more expensive days out, e.g. to theme parks and attractions.

While they may not be the sort of thing you want to (or could afford to!) do every day, I do think children and adults alike look forward to days out doing something fun and different, such as country farms, zoos and trips to the cinema.

Saving on Trips To Adventure Parks, Zoos and Farms

Down here in Somerset there are several local attractions that we usually try and make a visit to during the summer holidays. These include Crealy Adventure Park, Woodlands, Longleat Safari Park and Bristol Zoo. I know there are similar parks dotted all over the country and there are bound to be similar ones near you. Wherever you are based, though, there is bound to be one thing in common – entry is not cheap.

Here are my tips for saving on adventurous days out with your grandchildren.

  • Book online. Most places offer discounts of between 10% and 20% if you pre-book tickets up to 48 hours in advance.
  • Check out sites like Groupon and Living Social for discounted tickets and cheaper entry special events. Bristol Zoo, for example, has special evening events throughout the year.
  • Some places offer a ‘return in the next 7 days for free’ – plan in advance to ensure you are able to take up this offer and get two days out for the price of one.
  • Most pubs, shopping centres, etc, have leaflets offering discount vouchers – look out for these and pick a few up when you see them.
  • Use OAP discounts and Family tickets wherever you can.
  • Annual membership could save hundreds if you live close to a popular attraction and plan to go there often. If you’ve already bought tickets for that day they will often be deducted from the cost of an annual pass.
  • Look out for free open days – I recently attended one that offered free tractor rides and animal petting at a local farm.

Saving on Trips to The Cinema

Trips to the cinema can soon start adding up – tickets alone can be as much as £10 each (I’m looking at you, Odeon!) and that’s before adding in drinks, sweets and popcorn!

  • If you’ve used Compare the Market in the last year and opted in then you should be entitled to 2 for 1 cinema tickets at participating cinemas on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You can download the app, apply the code when booking online or print it out to show at the cinema. If you haven’t used Compare the Market before buy inexpensive travel insurance once and get 2 for 1 tickets for a year. Valid for two people. Don’t forget to check this is cheaper than a family ticket. Plus, this offer can be used when you don’t have the grandchildren too!
  • During the school holidays and most Saturdays and Sundays many cinemas have cheap kids’ movies being screened. These films tend to be older ones that have been around a while but tickets are much cheaper and usually the same price for adults and children. Showings are usually in the morning, around 10am, and will be called something like ‘Kids AM’ or ‘Kids Club’.
  • Take you own (well hidden) drinks and snacks. Wilko’s is our favorite for pick ‘n’ mix and Poundland is great for 2 for £1 bottles of fizzy drink and £1 bags of chocolates.

Saving on Eating out in the Holidays

Eating out in the holidays with grandchildren can be tricky. Places like McDonald’s offer a quick fix but aren’t really what can be considered a ‘nice’ dining experience. Go to somewhere ‘family friendly’ like Harvester and the cost soon starts to creep up. Try these tips for saving on eating out with grandchildren.

  • Loads of places offer ‘Kids eat free’ or ‘Kids eat for £1’ during the holidays. Find a list online and plan your days around where it’s cheap (but nice!) to eat.
  • Tastecard offers 2 for 1 meals at lots of chain restaurants including Prezzo, Zizzi and Ask as well as many local eateries too. If you can’t save on the kids’ meals at least you can save on the grown ups! Tastecard is around £30 for a year but we usually make that back after two meals out. [Note from Nick: You can get the similar Gourmet Society discount card for just £3.99 if you get an NUS Extra card, as described in this recent post.]
  • Wherever you plan to eat, always check for vouchers online before you go or download a vouchers app such as vouchercloud.
  • With older children and teens who have a big appetite, something like Pizza Hut’s Pizza buffet is a great choice as they can eat as much as they like for one set price. It can also be great for fussy eaters as if they don’t like something they can choose something different without it costing any more money.

I hope you find these tips helpful in planning some cheaper days out with your grandchildren!Fiona Hawkes

Byline: Fiona Hawkes (pictured, right) is a personal finance blogger who loves saving money almost as much as she loves spending it. She saves hard to be able to live better, afford a few small luxuries and see a bit more of the world. Fiona blogs at www.savvyinsomerset.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


 

Many thanks to Fiona for an enjoyable and thought-provoking article. Do you have any additional tips to share for having a great day out with the grandchildren (or children) without it breaking the bank? If so, please do post them below!




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Active 10 - A Free Fitness App to Get You Walking!

Active 10 – A Free Fitness App to Get You Walking!

According to a recent story in The Telegraph, Britain is in the middle of a laziness epidemic. This applies especially to over-40s, with four in ten failing to manage even one 10 minute brisk walk a month.

The effect of all this inactivity can be devastating. It is estimated that physical inactivity directly contributes to one in six deaths in the UK. On the other hand, Public Health England (PHE) say that one brisk walk a day is enough to cut the risk of early death by as much as 15 per cent. It can also prevent or delay the onset of disability, and further reduce the risk of serious health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia and some cancers.

To encourage middle-aged and older people to get more active, PHE has launched a free smartphone app called Active 10. As the name suggests, this aims to encourage adults to do at least 10 minutes’ brisk walk every day.

The app is available for both Apple and Android phones, and is quick and easy to install. Using sensors in your phone, the app measures when you’ve reached a target speed (about 3 miles an hour) and when you keep that going for 10 minutes.

The app allows for the fact that you might have to stop at traffic lights or for some other reason, so you can slow down for up to 2 minutes of any 10 minute period and this will still count as an Active 10.

You can set your own targets, maybe starting with just one Active 10 a day and going up to two or more as you build your fitness. You can also do longer walks – Active 20, say – for even greater health benefits.

Active 10 is aimed at those in the 40 to 60 age group, but in my view many people over 60 could benefit equally (or even more) by using it. I like the fact that 10 minutes a day isn’t too daunting to start off with, even for couch potatoes like me, but can still bring you considerable health benefits.

I am already enjoying using the app and there is a surprising amount of satisfaction in achieving your daily goals and seeing them recorded on the app.

As they say at the end of the Active 10 homepage, stop scrolling and start strolling 😀

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How to Get an NUS Extra Card Even if You're Not a Student

How to Get an NUS Extra Card Even If You’re Not a Student

I saw a great blog post by my fellow money blogger Andy Webb this week that I wanted to share with my own readers.

Andy runs a popular blog called Be Clever With Your Cash. In his latest blog post he reveals a way anyone can quite legitimately get their hands on an NUS Extra card, whether or not they are a student. As far as I know there are no age limits either.

Once you have your NUS Extra card – which if you use the method Andy describes will cost you £13.50 – you will qualify for student discounts on a huge range of products and services. Some of the best discounts mentioned by Andy include:

Apple student discount – If you’re going to buy an iMac, iPad or Macbook then having an NUS card means you can get the Education Discount. It’s worth up to 10% off, and if you buy in August and September Andy says you can usually get some free Beats headphones thrown in.

Spotify student discount – Spotify Premium normally costs £9.99. Students can get it for just £5 a month. Apple Music has a similar deal.

Cinema student discounts – Most cinemas will have a discount for students, but Andy says the best is Odeon, which offers an extra 25% off student prices Monday to Thursday.

Amazon Prime student discount – Students get six-months free with Amazon Prime, then pay just £39 a year for three years. That’s an amazing deal and makes paying £13.50 for an NUS card well worth doing on its own.

STA Travel student flights – Andy says he and his partner have used their ISICs (which now come as standard on one-year NUS cards) to get huge discounts on flights. “This year though I’ve noticed a few additional restrictions. Virgin and British Airways have added an age limit of around 30 or 32 years old. I don’t know about other airlines, but it’s ruled me out! However if you can get these, the savings can be massive.”

The full method is described in Andy’s blog post, which I urge you to click through and read. But briefly it involves signing up for a distance learning course with an NUS-approved institution such as Shaw Academy. The latter offers a wide range of inexpensive courses on subjects ranging from Photo Shop to financial trading. But if you don’t want to pay anything at all, you can cancel before their 30 days’ free-trial period is up. You will still be able to apply for an NUS Extra card, costing £12 a year plus £1.50 post and packing.

A further benefit is that as an NUS member you can get a Gourmet Society card for just £3.99 a year (a considerable discount on the normal price). If you enjoy dining out at restaurants, you could save a lot of money using this card (up to 50% on food and drinks), even if you do get the odd snarky comment about being a bit old to be a student (just tell them you believe in life-long learning!).

Thank you to Andy for a valuable and eye-opening post. If you have any comments or questions about this, as always, please do post them below.

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Matched Betting: Get a Risk-Free Bet or Guaranteed Profit with Football Index

Matched Betting: Get a Risk-Free Bet or Guaranteed Profit with Football Index

I’ve talked about matched betting a few times on this blog. To recap, it’s a way of making risk-free (and tax-free) cash by taking advantage of bookmaker special offers and promotions.

Matched betting is perfectly legal and (done properly) it’s not gambling. You can read my introduction to matched betting here, and why I believe it is such a great money-making sideline for over-sixties in particular here.

Today I want to talk about a method you can use to make either a guaranteed profit of around £33, or have a risk-free bet that could potentially return £500 or more in profit. I haven’t seen this method being discussed on matched betting sites generally.

The website you need to use to take advantage of this opportunity is Football Index (not an affiliate link). This is effectively a stock market for footballers. Traders can buy and sell ‘futures’ in top players. The value of these goes up and down according to how the players perform, and as with any stock market traders aim to buy low and sell high to make a profit. Dividends are also paid to the holders of futures in the best-performing footballers and those generating the most media buzz.

I don’t intend to go into detail about trading on Football Index, though, as that is basically gambling. In this post instead I want to highlight a matched-betting-type opportunity to make a guaranteed profit or have a risk-free bet with the potential to generate a much bigger return.

There is no need for any football knowledge or trading expertise to profit from this opportunity. It simply involves taking advantage of the £73.50 cashback offer from the Top Cashback website and (under certain circumstances) the £500 risk-free trading offer from Football Index. The latter stipulates that if you lose money in your first 7 days of trading, you can claim back your losses in full. The only ‘catch’ to this is that if you claim a refund under the 7-day guarantee, you will no longer be eligible for the cashback.



Joining Via Top Cashback

The first step in this method is to sign up as a new member of Football Index using Top Cashback.

I wrote about cashback sites a while ago in this blog post. Essentially, once you are signed up with one of these sites, if you click through to a merchant via a link on the site, you receive cashback for any purchases you make with the merchant in question.

Top Cashback are currently paying the the highest rates for Football Index. If you sign up via Top Cashback, then deposit £10 and wager £9 (minimum), TCB will give you £31.50 cashback (yes, that’s more than you paid, I know). And if you deposit at least £40 and wager at least £39, you will get a whacking £73.50 in cashback. I therefore highly recommend the latter option if you can afford it.

Here is a link to the sign up page for Football Index on Top Cashback. And yes, it’s an affiliate link, so if you are new to TCB and join up with them I will get a small (£7.50) commission. That is actually a lot less than I could make if I used affiliate links to Football Index directly, but then the method described in this post wouldn’t work. You have to join Football Index via the link on Top Cashback to get the cashback offer.

Before you deposit any money at Football Index, you have a choice to make. I’ll talk about the two main options now.

The Guaranteed Profit Option

If you want to make a guaranteed £33.50 profit (at least), deposit £40 at Football Index and wager at least £39. It doesn’t matter whom you buy futures in, so if you aren’t knowledgeable about football just pick any players you’ve heard about or like the sound of!

This means you will qualify for the £73.50 cashback. You can check that your purchase has tracked on the Top Cashback website, and if it hasn’t raise a query with them. According to stats on the TCB site over 99% of all purchases for Football Index do track correctly, though. You will have to wait about 5 weeks for the £73.50 to be credited to your TCB account, from which you can then withdraw it.

Meanwhile, keep an eye on how the price of your ‘portfolio’ of players (or single player) is changing. In the worst possible case (which is highly improbable) you may lose your entire £40. In this case, DON’T claim under the Football Index 7 day money-back guarantee. If you do, it will invalidate your cashback claim. Even if you have to write off your £40, when you take into account your £73.50 cashback you will be £33.50 in profit overall.

Far more likely is that you will be in profit at Football Index or showing a small loss. In that case you can simply sell your futures and withdraw your money, and add this to the minimum £33.50 profit mentioned above.

Alternatively, you might choose to let your investment run. At this point you will be gambling rather than matched betting. But in the worst possible case – if all your futures become worthless – you will still be £33.50 in profit, while potentially you could double your money or more if their value rises.



The Risk-Free Bet Option

This is the other way you can play this offer. Join Football Index through Top Cashback as before, then deposit the full £500 and wager it. In this case you are looking to make a large, quick profit, or else claim under the Football Index 7-day guarantee and get any losses refunded. A risk-free bet, in other words.

You could either put the entire £500 on one player, or spread the money across a number. The former approach has the potential for the biggest returns, but could also lead to the biggest losses. That won’t matter if you take advantage of the refund offer, of course.

Then watch how your investments perform as before. If the value of your portfolio goes up, you are quids in. Not only will you have the £73.50 cashback from TCB to look forward to, you will have your profits from Football Index to take as well. Good call!

If you are down by over £73.50, then before the seven days are up contact Football Index and ask to claim under their 7-day guarantee. You will need to liquidate your portfolio and Football Index will then top this back up to your original £500, which you can withdraw. You won’t then qualify for the TCB cashback, so you will simply break even.

If your losses with Football Index are less than £73.50, you have a decision to make. You could still claim under the 7-day guarantee as before and accept the break-even. However, you might prefer not to claim, in order to remain eligible for the £73.50 cashback. In this case you could liquidate your portfolio and withdraw the remaining money, taking a small loss there, but enjoying an overall profit once you receive your cashback.

You could even choose to stay invested for longer to see if the value of your portfolio rises. At this point you will be gambling, though, and potentially could lose more than you put in (even allowing for the cashback) – so think carefully before taking this course.

Good luck, and I hope you make lots of money from the Football Index opportunity. If you have any queries or comments, as always, please do post them below.

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How to choose your next mobile phone

How to Choose Your Next Mobile Phone!

As a home-based worker of a certain age, I must admit I was slow to see the benefit of mobile phones, but wouldn’t be without mine now. I have a mid-range Samsung J5 smartphone and use it all the time at home and when I’m out.

And, of course, for older people generally, having a phone with you is a reassurance in case of accident or emergency, and lets you stay in touch with family and friends wherever you are.

Nowadays the mobile phone market is hugely competitive and you can choose from a vast range of handsets and tariffs. But I’ll start with a word about the most basic choice of all…

Smartphones vs Dumbphones

The first decision you have to make is between a simple mobile phone that just does voice and texts (sometimes called a dumbphone) and a smartphone that allows you to receive emails, browse the internet, and much more.

If all you want is a phone for staying in touch with family and/or emergency use, a dumbphone may be sufficient. They do have the advantage of very long battery life, and they are obviously cheaper.

On the other hand, if you want to be able to receive emails, Facebook updates, WhatsApp messages and more, only a smartphone will do. And only a smartphone will let you look up recipes, watch online video, check bus and train timetables, read maps and weather forecasts, buy things on Amazon and other online stores, and much more.

There is, of course, no objection to having a cheap dumbphone (e.g. in the car in case you break down) and a smartphone as well for all the extra features it can offer.

Choosing Your Phone

If you want a smartphone especially there are many considerations to take into account, including brand, operating system, screen size, memory, camera, SIM (network card), cost, contract length, and so on.

All very well if you’re a mobile phone fanatic, but what if you’re an ordinary individual who simply wants to get the right phone for their needs without paying over the odds for it?

If that sounds like you, a new website called mobilephonechecker is well worth a look. It’s been set up by the same person who made the tools on the well-known Moneysaving Expert website, which is a good recommendation in itself. The site is free to use, and can save you an awful lot of time, hassle and  – most importantly! – money.

Mobilephonechecker has a simple, uncluttered design (see below) and is very easy to use. As you will see, the main menu runs across the top of the screen.

mobilephone

The main sections are as follows:

Contracts – This lets you compare contract deals (handset and SIM) from a wide range of providers. If you’re starting from scratch – and you want a smartphone with all the features they offer – this is a great place to start.

Build Your Own – On this page you can specify exactly what handset and SIM you want and compare quotes from a range of providers. This is brilliant if you know exactly what phone and network services you require.

PAYG Sims – Pay As You Go SIM cards are a very popular option among occasional mobile phone users in particular. If you have a handset already and just want a PAYG SIM card to go in it, this is the page to look.

PAYG Phones – And if you want a Pay As You Go phone, here’s the place to find one. I was amazed by how cheap some of these models were. If you’re not bothered about looking cool and trendy, you can find a basic PAYG phone here for under a tenner.

SIM Only – If you already have a smartphone and just need a SIM card for it, this page shows you the options. You can search here for a deal that includes the right mix of calls, data and texts for your needs. Contracts range from a month to a year and over.

SIM Free – Here you can compare handsets that are sold unlocked with no SIM card, so you can use a PAYG SIM or SIM-only deal, as you prefer. Hundreds of handsets are listed here, costing from £10 upwards.

Other Tools – This section has links to special offers on phones, e.g. Amazon Warehouse deals, which are well worth checking out. There is also a free text reminder service, which you can set to notify you when your current contract is close to expiring. There is a page listing refurbished phones and also one you can use to find out about upgrades if you are with EE, O2 or Vodafone (for other networks, you’ll need to use their own website or contact their customer services team directly).

Guides – Finally, in this section you can read articles about a variety of mobile-phone related matters, including cashback deals, network coverage, number porting, what is 4G, and so on.

If you need a new mobile or are reaching the end of your current contract, it’s important to spend some time assessing your options carefully. This way you can ensure that whatever you get meets your personal requirements and doesn’t cost a penny more than it has to. In my view, the Mobilephonechecker website is an invaluable resource for doing this.

As always, if you have any comments or questions about this post, please do leave them below,.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for which I am receiving a fee. I am not employed by mobilephonechecker and have no other financial interest in the site.

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Some Unusual ways to Profit from Your Garden

Some Unusual Ways to Profit From Your Garden

Some older folk have a modest income but are lucky enough to have a decent-sized garden (and yes, that includes me).

If that applies to you too, there are a few ways you could profit from your garden, either directly or indirectly. One possibility would be to rent all or part of it as an allotment.

There is a big demand for allotments in many areas, a situation which has been exacerbated by councils selling off land to developers. Of course, that then creates demand from people who would otherwise have to wait years for a plot to come up.

You won’t make a fortune this way. On average, council allotments in Britain cost around £30 a year, so you won’t be able to charge much more than that. Nevertheless, if you can divide your garden into three or four plots, that would be £90 a year or more for no effort. What’s more, your garden will be tended on your behalf, and you’re quite likely to be offered produce your tenants can’t consume themselves.

If you’re not bothered about making money directly but would be willing to let someone grow crops on your land in exchange for a share of the produce (and maybe doing a few chores), the non-profit Lend and Tend organization may be able to help you. They put people with land in touch with others who might like to grow fruit and vegetables on it. They don’t allow landowners to charge fees, but plenty of other arrangements are possible. Here’s what they say on their site:

Got space to spare? Can’t garden? Find out who can!

Is your garden going to waste? 1000s of people are on waiting lists for an allotment and many people live in flats without a garden who are keen to garden. So, if your garden is looking unloved and you’ve no time or can’t garden,  let someone else love it instead.

Share your garden so a Tender can grow some produce, you may end up with an abundance of edibles where weeds are currently thriving. Share your skills with a keen garden Tender and teach them how to get your garden blooming again. Share the burden of garden work with a Tender so they can benefit from enjoying a garden too. Lend and Tend, make gardening friends.

It sounds a great idea and you can register as a would-be garden lender (or tender) via the website. There is no charge for using the service, but as they have some operating costs, the organization does say that donations are appreciated. If money is tight, however, they are happy to accept help publicizing the service as well!




Another possibility if you live in an area attractive to tourists – or near festival sites, racecourses, and so on – is offering your garden as a campsite.

Campinmygarden.com claims to be the world’s first website advertising private gardens as “micro-campsites”. They operate world-wide. You can advertise your garden for free on the site, including pictures and a description. You can also set a fee of your choice. Around £10 a night is typical, though if you can offer additional services (e.g. bed and breakfast) you could charge more.

The website has various interactive features, including a link allowing would-be campers to ask landowners any questions they may have. There is also an eBay-style reviews and ratings system.

Here’s an example listing for ‘Vic’s Place’ in Camborne, Cornwall:

We live between Camborne and Helston in a peaceful rural location. Our camping area is rustic and basic, in a lovely secluded setting which has a magnetic, soothing quality! A standard camper van can access our place but the gates are not wide so best check the width if you plan to come in a van.

Well behaved dogs and children are welcome. There are several water sources on the property so families with younger children must take extreme care. We only accept parties of four or fewer, in the interests of peace.

Just up the road there is a natural spring from which you can get water (or we will supply tap water) and there is a shared composting toilet available. A delightful stream runs by the camping ground. There is a fire pit and you are welcome to collect kindling and small amounts of wood from around and about.

The nearest pub is a mile and a half away by road or a twenty-five minute walk across fields. There is a small shop selling basic supplies in the same location.

Hope to see you soon!

For more information visit Campinmygarden.com

More Ideas

A few other possibilities include…

  • Sell produce from your garden (you may need a permit from your local council for this).
  • Offer your garden as a venue for weddings and photo shoots (see also my earlier post about making money offering your home as a TV /movie location).
  • Host an open garden event (the National Garden Scheme can help with this) or even open your garden to the public.
  • Offer your garden as a venue for parties (to avoid hassle, stick to alcohol-free children’s parties).
  • Hire out your garden to local art groups.

There are still more ideas in this article on the Money Magpie website.

If you know any other good ways to profit from your garden, please do share them below.

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Vote for your favourite UK Money Blog

Vote for Your Favourite UK Money Blog!

In this post a few weeks ago I revealed that Pounds and Sense had been nominated in the ‘Best Money Making Blog’ category of the 2017 SHOMO awards.

The SHOMO awards (it stands for Show Me the Money Bloggers) are given out every year to UK-based independent money bloggers. The main sponsor is the cashback site Quidco.

There are various categories, from Best Frugal Food Blog to Best Personal Finance Blog. Pounds and Sense has been nominated in the Best Money Making Blog category.

Pounds & Sense is also eligible for the People’s Choice Award, which any blog reader can vote for. If you enjoy reading Pounds and Sense, therefore, I warmly invite you to vote for it for this award.

Voting is open from now until the end of August 2017. All you have to do is visit this page of the UK Money Bloggers website and vote for Pounds and Sense from the drop-down list of blogs provided.

But whether you do or not, I highly recommend that you visit this page of the UK Money Bloggers website where all this year’s nominees are listed. There are some amazing blogs and other resources here, including many UK finance blogs I follow myself.

The winners of the SHOMO awards will be announced at the Show Me the Money Bloggers 3 Conference in London on 23 September 2017. For more information about the conference, and booking information (for UK finance bloggers only), please click here.

Finally, I should like to express my gratitude to the unknown person or persons who nominated Pounds and Sense for an award..

As ever, if you have any comments or queries about this post, please do leave them below.

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How to Publish Your Own E-book on Kindle

How to Publish Your Own E-Book on Kindle

In this recent post I looked at the pros and cons of writing a book, perhaps in fulfilment of a long-cherished ambition.

I said then that while writing a book has many attractions, it can be a major project, and there is no guarantee you will find a traditional print publisher. Even if you do, unless you are very lucky and/or talented, you are highly unlikely to make a fortune.

An intriguing alternative, though, is to publish an e-book. Perhaps surprisingly, this can be a lot more straightforward. The huge popularity of Amazon’s Kindle device (and rival ebook readers such as the Kobo and the Nook) means that more e-books are sold nowadays than traditional ones. And Amazon has made it easy for anyone to publish and sell their own e-book by means of Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP for short).

Publishing a Kindle e-book is a simple process. Essentially, all you have to do is create your book in Microsoft Word or a similar application, save it in HTML (web) format, and upload it to Amazon via the KDP website.

Unlike traditional books, Kindle e-books can as short as a few thousand words, so there’s no need to create an epic. You can write fiction or nonfiction as you choose. A little time spent browsing the Kindle Store should give you plenty of ideas!

Once your Kindle e-book is published, anyone will be able to order it from Amazon. You can set your own price, and you will then receive a royalty of up to 70 percent on sales. That compares well with the 10 percent typically paid to traditionally published authors.



Some Top Tips

A few quick tips for new Kindle authors include:

  1. Keep the formatting as simple as possible. Complex layouts are unlikely to survive conversion to ebook format.
  2. Create an eye-catching description of your book for the Kindle Store. You’re allowed to use up to 4,000 characters, so make the most of it. Check out the sales pages of some Kindle bestsellers for inspiration.
  3. Price your title between £1.99 and £9.99 – this will ensure you qualify to receive Amazon’s highest (70 percent) royalty rate. Books priced outside this range receive only the standard 35 percent royalty.
  4. Make sure the first few pages of your e-book hook the reader. People can see the first 10 percent of your book free in the store. If the opening pages don’t grab them, they will soon move on to something else.
  5. Create an attractive cover image for your ebook. This can make a big difference in converting visitors to your sales page to buyers. You can use the KDP free cover-maker tool, or try Fiverr.com, where there are people offering to create ebook covers for just $5 (about £3.80).
  6. Spread the word about your e-book on any social networks you belong to, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and so on. It can also help to create a blog, website or dedicated Facebook page for your e-book, and mention it on any forums you belong to (though do this sensitively, to avoid accusations of spamming).
  7. Aim to get a few reviews of your e-book up as soon as possible. Consider giving away free or discounted copies via social networks, forums, your blog (if you have one), and so forth. Not everyone will end up leaving a review even if you ask them to, but hopefully some will.

Amazon has plenty more advice for would-be Kindle e-book authors on the KDP website. And for anyone wanting an in-depth introduction to Kindle publishing, I highly recommend Geoff Shaw‘s comprehensive Kindling course (that’s a link to my review of Kindling on my Entrepreneur Writer blog).

Or, if you would like a lower-cost alternative, I also recommend Self Publishing on Amazon 2017, a Kindle e-book by Dr Andy Williams that I have been reading recently. This covers both Kindle e-book publishing and DIY print publishing using Amazon’s Createspace platform. It costs only a few pounds and provides in-depth advice from someone who is a highly successful Kindle author himself (mainly of non-fiction e-books).

And yes – thank you for asking – I do have a few Kindle e-books of my own published. In particular, you may like to check out my guide to plotting for fiction writers and my humorous, illustrated science-fiction novella The Festival on Lyris Five. If you buy and enjoy either of these, a review is always much appreciated 🙂

Final Thoughts

If you are very lucky (and/or talented) your Kindle e-book could become an Amazon bestseller and maybe even propel you into the growing ranks of Kindle millionaires.

But even if not, you will have the satisfaction of being a published author in the world’s favourite online bookstore. And you will have royalties from sales coming into your bank account every month, potentially for many years to come.

If you have any comments or questions about Kindle publishing, as ever, please do post them below.

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