Thursday, 30 June 2011

Budgeting your way out of debt

Families might find themselves in debt for all sorts of reasons - especially when there's a new addition to the family! While it is a very good idea to have savings ready to cope with unexpected costs, some people may still need to borrow to meet them.

Some debts aren't a problem, but if a substantial part of your net income is going on debt, you may well have an issue. A bit of clever budgeting could - in time - set you (debt) free. Budgeting is also a good way to avoid getting into debt in the first place.

Work out your priorities

In terms of debt, any secured debt (against your property) is your biggest priority - a mortgage, or any loan secured against your home.

Any unsecured debt is less important than your priority debt - things like a credit card, unsecured loan or store card. That doesn't mean you should ignore these debts, but it does mean it's more important to make sure you're covering your secured debts.

Fuel bills, Council Tax, water rates, travel-to-work costs (including the running and upkeep of a car and car insurance) are also very important.

Finally insurance policies such as life insurance, contents insurance, those that would protect you if you lost your job, etc. are very important - but it's always a good idea to check you are getting the best deal for your premium, because you might be able to save money.

Once you have worked out what you have to pay every month, look out for any warning signs - if your costs are almost as big as your income, for example. In that case, you could benefit from some financial advice.

Begin budgeting

If you're not so confident in your budgeting skills - or simply don't have the time - but would still like the peace of mind you get when you know your bills are covered, a good solution could be a budgeting bank account. A 'jam jar' account can put your bill money into a safe place where you can't accidentally spend it.

This can help ensure the essentials are taken care of and give you a clearer idea of how much money you really have available to spend.

Or you could do a budget plan yourself, possibly using online budget planners like the one you'll find here. People generally work them out in monthly amounts - but don't forget the impact of quarterly bills, annual bills and annual expenses such as birthdays and holidays. Convert these to monthly amounts to make sure you're setting enough aside for them.

When there's a new addition to the family, there's a lot of expense to consider and you may feel under pressure to buy everything to suit the lifestyle you want your little one to have. Ultimately, the amount of money you really have available to spend should be your guide, not what you would like to have.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Needing Tax Advice for your Blog Post?

I hope my live post from Saturday's CyberLab session at Cybermummy below has not confused you too much.  I am now pleased to announce that you can now go and get the full story from Knees up Mother Brown aka Dawnie Brown who has now posted a full post detailing all her notes.  Thanks Dawnie this is a very clear and succint advice that I have received to date on Tax.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Cybermummy11 - live blog update - Keeping Your Blog Legal

Well I'm here at Cybermummy11 and the buzz is just fantastic Mummies everywhere and a few Daddies too!

I am updating post just to make sure it now makes sense and the spelling is all correct.
So am sitting in the Keeping your Blog Legal Session here goes: ........
Do you accept freebies, do reviews or write about people?
Are you unsure about libel and copyright? Does HRMC know about your blogging swag?
These are blogging issues you can't afford to ignore.

Don't be too concerned you are ok!

Top Ten Tips

1) Be Nice (engage filter) - think about what you are saying about individuals and brands - if a bit unsure - place in draft box. so if something that damages reputation.  eeek remember twitter and lawyers can find you so THINK! although the USA has free speech the UK is not there yet.

2) Don't Steal [attribution isn't enough] - Don't take content, Don't take pictures/photos off other sites.  Take your own photos!   Legislation is there to protect you You have a monopoly right over anything you have written. If your content is taken contact them maybe kindly ask them to link to your Blog, Website. and ask them  report to google, the ISP.

3) Obey the rules - [and know that there will be some] Contract Law - you have more than likely signed contracts, terms and conditions for sites like twitter, facebook, etc

4) Free speech and free beer Competitions is a form of gambling if you asking for payment to enter YOUR competition IT IS GAMBLING and classed as an ILLEGAL LOTTERY.  Pulling names out of a hat is ok though.

5) Look after your friends - [and those that aren't. you're responsible for them] -  People talk, if you are going to Branded events - maybe confidential work you are responsible for the comments on your blog.  You are the Editor of your blog, you can either edit comments or block them or take the comments down.

6) BE YOU - [it suits you]  being someone else can cause problems.  don't be beaten down by the brand.  Office of unfair trading if you are asked to do a review I will say it is a review.  Information is on Britmums and blogging with integrity.

7) Tell the ,the whole truth , and nothing but the truth - [unless you're writing fiction] - you do not have to have a disclaimer, but readers and bloggers, brands need to have an understanding of this.  If you have a problem to the review, it is good etiquette to make your PR sponsor away of what you are going to write. but if they ask you to take it down - you do not have to take it down.  As long as it's true.  If negative feedback left about the review or brand you should leave it on so that people can see it is real. 

Remember this is not your diary it is available for the whole wide world to see

8) remember you are publishing not journalling.

9) Don't be bullied to take down content [or if your don't have anything nice to say, run it past them first! - self explanatory!

10) You're dealing with people who know what contracts are. You should too.

Catch up more with Gayle, as she is a blogger and solicitor specialising in internet law at Wragge & Co LLP. @bumblings


Dawn Brown

Dawn was very informative and had lots of advice to give - I think I caught most of it!

Basically she explained that. If you are getting a payment from your blog - it is taxable - you have to decide if it is a hobby or a business. if looking at it as a profit - should declare as self assessment - as a sole trader.
You will need to register as self employed and fill in your self-assessment form which is linked to the amount tax you will have to pay if you earn over a certain amount. 

Remember your tax credits maybe affected.
If you are reviewing items for reviews - you are technically receiving a gift - if you are not selling them on.

Income - remember to deduct your fees -these could include your domain reg, hosting fees, attending cybermummy!, broadband costs, hardware - laptops.

For more information contact

Both talks were very informative and both will be blogging on their posts for more information. I recommend going to their sites to get more information as I am only liable for what I write!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

So yes I am a Cybermummy Virgin

and proud to say so and nervous, and excited, and apprehensive, and ooooo so many feelings!  Even though this is my second attempt of getting to Cybermummy this year.  As posted earlier I got my dates muddled up and nearly arrived at The Brewery two weeks early! It is my first time.
So I have decided to post a few of my thoughts before I leave, as I am also going to try and do a live blog on the day for the Cyber-Lab - "making your blog legal".  So please come back and read all about it as Cybermummy is in full swing.

I had to make the decision to either go with my head or one of my passions *photography* and whilst the whole day I will be lapping up the atmosphere, I thought I would also like to get a little bit of advice too.

My To Do list is growing thanks to the 12 things you need to bring to Cybermummy in last weeks newsletter on The BritMums Blog.

I've been ummm and rrrr'ing over business cards - and I loved the Moo Cards and would love to get some - but I am going to try something a little different.  I still haven't decided what yet but my creative streak usually appears under pressure and when you meet me - you will not forget you met Mummyrella! 

I am also making sure that I make time to pamper myself and have booked a mini pedicure thanks to Joanne at Canoe.

And I'm so looking forward meeting you all and trying to catch up with Metal Mummy, Motivating Mum Uk, Mymumdom, Sticky Fingers, HelloitsGemma's blog, to name but a few. 

I will also reflect on those of you that are unable to attend, and look forward to giving you a snippet of what went on the day.

Friday, 10 June 2011

What a Silly Billy I am - or What the Earlist Cybermummy11 delegate I was!

Part of the title follows the last update on my Facebook account - What a Silly Billy I am "What a Stupid Mare I am" should be the Title or "I am SO F'ING EMBARRASSED" should be the title really.

Last night Thursday I was very pleased with myself for once I was almost packed, last things to do were to print off My Ticket and my Hotel Ticket - where am I going you ask me?  Well Cybermummy11 of course. 

So first things first updated my facebook page to let the WHOLE WORLD know I am ready, when my dear friend [whom I'm to meet for the first time at Cybermummy11] points out "Your organised - its not for another TWO WEEKS!!!!!!"

OMG what the "F'ing" embarrassed am I?

What's wrong with me - I'm usually so organised but not this bloody organised. I announced it to the world via Facebook and feeling rather expossed.

Now I have a bit of a fretful sleep thinking got to get up early to try and cancel hotel bookings - much better to do in the morning as have until Noon to cancel - but Wait I have a Job interview at 11 am, yes no problem this can be achieved by 11.  2 hours later still trying to cancel online, the kids have 10 mins to get ready for nursery, I'm still not dressed and I start to break out into a sweat.

I ring the grandparents to tell them my predicament and to ask if we still come but are they able to have the kids in two weeks as well. My mother is very calming and just laughs down the phone, but starts to also help by looking online for numbers and my Dad gives his advice and help across the room too.

I then put a call out to Facebook for Help resorts in my bestest Cybermummy 11 friend coming to the rescue and finding the TRAVELODGE phone number - panic mode set in and can't concentrate.  Disaster again phone line won't work, Website won't except my passed - CRAP what next?

The last resort .... Drive the 10 mins "luckily" to my nearest Travelodge - when spurred by losing money we do MAD things!  So I get to nearest Travelodge after dropping kids off at Nursery - Poppydog is also in car too as have taken so long trying to log on to TRAVELODGE website that her walk will have to be done when and if this gets sorted!!!!

Sue at TRAVELODGE was very helpful although she was unable to cancel my booking she calmly dialled the Travelodge number and passed me the phone - after 10 mins of hanging on to listen to crackly music I got through "Cancel your booking? why certainly yes that 's all done for you - anything else I can help you with today"  - Um no other than I feel so small and embarrassed - I'm sure I will laugh about this in two weeks time - or will I be known forever as the most earliest arriving delegate to Cybermummy for ever.

So we are still travelling down to London for the weekend and having a nice few days with Nanna & Grandpa altogether double bonus!

The interview I got to - but decided it was not for me but hey that's another post.

*This is not a sponsored post*

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Every Day a Child is Born to help us on our Journey

Children bring so much innocence to life, their thoughts, their imagination, their actions and their dreams.

And so I wanted to share their thoughts and dreams in a few photos that I have taken recently.

This was the morning after the first night DS had ever been sick with us.  He had woken up terrified at midnight and asked to go to Grandpa's bed [where Grandpa sleeps when visiting] and cuddle wiv mummy and poppydog, I awoke in the morning to find two happy snuggly sleeping beauties.

This is a picture in front of St Albans Abby [you can just see it poking through the trees] a place of fond memories for me, we met a dear friend and his family for lunch, whom I hadn't seen for 19 years - I feel bloody old! as it could have been yesterday.
I particularly like the clouds - took this and another below for my Mum she like me appreciates clouds.

One afternoon after Nursery School ...... they were watching cbeebies and I came back to no talking just steady deep and peaceful breathing and dreaming.

At our Lady's Chapel during our 50th Flower Festival. 
Daughter had got the blue monkey from the Bric-a-brac stall, he was carried around for 24 hours and then abandoned I worry about her attachment trying to not make an issue of it but something to keep an eye on.
Of course Poppydog comes to Church too.

The most beautiful flower arrangements we have ever seen everyone loved the flamingo.

"Look Mummy here is my flying bird" - amazing creativity.

My Final Photo - for my Mum

It was taken with my mobile from the field at the back of our house.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

When I was at work I seemed to have more time!!!

Since April I have found myself to be a statistic as well as having the new title of "Job Seeker" my time seems to be less structured however much more busier then ever How I ask myself?

What has happened to the days I was going to have playing with the kids all day, running in fields of grass, flowers and long walks with Poppydog???

and then I have just visited the National Statistics website and read the following:
"The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (the claimant count) increased by 12,400 between March and April 2011 to reach 1.47 million. The number of women claimants increased by 9,300 to reach 474,400, the highest figure since October 1996. "
I know this is a bit out of context but it is still a very high figure and for me it's not been an easy journey. 

Yes I have always wanted to be a mum; and my children I would not trade for the world. However I have worked for over 16 years and like everything in life - it's not until it's gone that you realise how much you either enjoyed, loved, loathed or despised it. 

For me work was a place I could meet liked minded people, enjoy the challenge, the pride, the fulfillment of helping others.  I would get a buzz when things were busy and demanding, and now I find myself staying up later, getting up later and plodding on no buzz, just the same feeling every day and asking myself what did I do today again?

Some of you may say - well get applying for jobs then, get off your bottom! and my answer to you would be I AM! I wouldn't have believed it if someone else had told me that I would be filling out applications one of two, three, four a day, either on-line or handwritten. I nearly had forgotten how to write! What to leave out, what to add, changing references, experiences, relevant information for different positions.

Another thing - Agencies seem to have well changed since the last time I used them in 1993! In 1993 I walked into a Temp Agency and the following week I had a job which led to 9 years with an organisation.  I have now been signed up with 3 Agencies since mid April and I have had one interview, for which I was "over qualified"  and it is not from trying - I pester them at least once, twice a week - yes I should be doing everyday!

I have also learnt from Agencies that my typing skills are in the top quartile of 66 words per minute with 99% accuracy - does this mean I am over qualified for Temping Jobs as well!!!  

I am hoping that going to Cybermummy 11 this Friday will give me some inspiration in taking this blog page further, looking into being my own boss maybe - and telling myself that I just need to take that leap of faith.