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  1. With rental and property prices changing constantly; it can be difficult to find the right place to run your business, especially if you’re already a busy mum. Due to uncertain times, many people are choosing to save themselves the cost of renting, or paying another mortgage, and running their businesses from home, whether it’s their full-time job, or an exciting side hustle.

    By keeping your company within your property, you’ll save commuting costs, and won’t have to pay additional bills on a space that doesn’t belong to you.  There are even some bills you can class as a business expense when you work from home.  I’ve been self-employed for six years this month and currently have an office at the end of the children’s playroom.  Ben has just set up a home business and has a workshop at the bottom of the garden!  

    There are, however, some things you should consider before taking the plunge, and turning the place where you live, into an office, workshop, or studio.

    Setting up a successful business space from your home

     My walking desk/office set up at the end of the children's playroom!

    All you need

    You’ll need to scope out your house, garden, or land (you lucky thing), for the suitability of running your company, and it will depend on what your business is. Office-based work is probably the most straightforward, as a room or area within your home can easily be converted into an office space, using a desk and appropriate shelving. To separate your home life from your work; you might want to consider setting up your business in the garden by using, or building, a dedicated room to work inside. By keeping your work removed from family life; you’ll be able to concentrate professionally at the job in hand, throughout your time “at work”. 

    This is definitely something that would be great for me as currently my office is a third of the playroom!  I thought it was a great idea at first so I could be near the children when they are playing, but it’s actually impossible most of the time to get work completed if they are here as they can see me and want my attention.  A separate area, if you have the space, is definitely recommended.

    For companies that manufacture goods; you’ll need to think about the scale of your operation and how much you’ll be producing. Any machinery will have to have ample room to be used correctly, and you’ll need adequate storage for your items. It’s worth investing in all the tools needed, both physical and digital, so that you’ll have all you need from the get-go. 

    Even if you’re a maker, like Ben my husband is, the importance of organised admin and digital marketing cannot be undervalued. Yes, he needs a workshop to make, but he still needs a space and tools to be able to promote his wares digitally as this is how he can get a sale in this day and age.  And, of course, there is admin to deal with, whether that is emails, uploading listings or documenting income and expenditure.  He still needs a space to be able to work digitally too.  Make sure you scope out the best template management or social media platform system to make things easier for running your business; find what suits you and your business so that you can begin to thrive.

    Separation is key

    When you run your own business, it can often consume every part of your life, especially when you’re working on it from your home.  There is always something to be doing with regards to your business, new ideas popping into your head constantly, emails to respond to and work to be getting on with.  The problem is you work at home and you could therefore always be working and thinking of work!

    Therefore, it’s crucial that you’re able to switch off and enjoy your family life after the working day is finished. Having a separate space to work on your property is the best way to switch off, as you can lock up and leave everything in there, away from the house. If you have a work environment inside the home; try to remove as much as possible from the rest of family life, by locking doors and turning off any phones and computers.

    If, like me, your work space really is in the middle of family life (who thought a playroom-office was a good idea again?!), then you need to try to set clear boundaries between work and life.  I admit, I still struggle to do this on busy days, especially as I like to stay on top of my work and get things done promptly, but I do try to have working hours that I stick to.  I usually work when the kids are at school and then again when they are in bed.  I also take weekends off, most of the time.  When I work every day I feel all consumed by my business and don’t give my children the quality time they need, so by taking the weekends of I can at least give them my full attention for two days of the week without my head stuck in a laptop. 

    It can definitely be a struggle to take time off when you’re setting up a business and it demands all your attention and time, but it’s best to set some clear rules about when work time is and when your own life time is!

    A quiet space

    You’ll also want to be able to drown out (most) of the noise when you’re working on something important or during unusual hours, such as when the kids and husband are home. This factor will again stress the importance of separation, so make sure it’s a focus when you’re designing the space.  If I do have to work when my children are home then it’s quite impossible if they are being noisy and I need to concentrate, especially as they are usually in the same room as me.  A separate room where I can shut the door would be ideal – so do consider this if you are setting up your own workspace.  

    Ben’s workspace is great as it is at the bottom of the garden, away from our home and noisy family life.  I’m sure he can much better separate work and life compared to my setup.  Of course, mine is lovely and peaceful in the day when the children are at school and nursery, and Ben is at work!

    For more on the importance of switching off from your business, take a look online for some inspiration and tips or check out my running a home based business blog posts or my work-life balance blog.

     

    Related blog posts

    5 tried and tested ways to make money as a UK stay at home mum
    How to deal with overwhelm as a work at home parent
    Tips to stay healthy if you work from home
    How to manage your time effectively when working from home
    Managing life as a full time working parent

    Setting up a successful business space from your home

  2. Camping trips are a great way to relax, get some exercise and recharge your batteries with some time away from the hustle and bustle of civilisation.

    The problem many people have with camping is the setup cost involved when it comes to all the equipment needed. From food and shelter to all the other bits and pieces that can make spending time in the great outdoors a bit easier.

    There definitely is a lot of cool and hi-tech camping equipment out there that can make your trip a little more luxurious, but for us camping is something that is supposed to be a cheaper alternative to a hotel stay and allows us to visit places on more of a budget.

    Thankfully it is possible to enjoy a camping trip without breaking the bank.  Here are some of the ways you can save money when you go camping.

    How to save money when you go camping

    Photo by Patrick Hendry 

    Feeding yourself

    Feeding yourself on a campsite can be difficult as your options are limited. Instead of travelling with lots of cooking equipment and ingredients think about specially made camping meals.

    There’s lots of different providers but companies like Summit to Eat provide a number of different options, including some which are suitable for vegans.

    These options can save money and effort allowing you to enjoy your trip and some of the meal options available are incredibly tasty and quick to make, meaning they are perfect for fuelling your trip and giving you more free time to relax and enjoy yourself.

    Last time we went camping we managed to buy a camping stove in the sale and took cheap tins of beans with us!

    Shelter

    One of your biggest outgoings when you’re going camping is a tent. Bringing your own tent is often cheaper than renting accommodation, such as a glamping pod. However, it might be worth looking at this option if there’s a lot of you going camping, as a group of friends and you can split the cost between you to have a less stressful weekend with less set-up involved.

    If you do need to bring a tent keep in mind that they can be incredibly expensive so its worth asking around friends and family to see if anyone has a tent you could potentially borrow first.  Alternatively look online for a second hand version.

    This can save you a fortune. Another good idea is if you can borrow a tent ask the person you are borrowing it from to show you how to put it up and take it down properly.

    Not only will this help you avoid struggling to put a tent up on a campsite, but it can also help you avoid damaging the tent and having to replace it anyway.

    Essential equipment

    With camping, there’s a temptation to buy every gadget, space saving tool and handy piece of equipment there is to make spending some time outdoors as relatively easy as possible.

    This can pile a lot of unnecessary cost onto your trip. You should avoid this by planning carefully, work out exactly what you need and where you can trim away any excessive purchases.

    For example, you might not need to buy a whole new wardrobe for camping. Or there might be utensils, can openers, etc that you can bring from home. This can save you on having to buy new items for your trip and drastically reduce the cost of getting ready to go camping.

    Think about the following things to help you finalise your inventory for your trip:

    • How long you’re going for – if you’re going away for a weekend its more likely that you can travel light and need to buy or prepare less equipment for your trip.
    • What amenities your campsite has – some campsites provide kitchen areas, towels, etc. This can mean you again have less to bring with you as some equipment is tied into the cost of your campsite.
    • What your itinerary for the trip is – you might have the opportunity to eat out on various days meaning you have to buy less in terms of cooking equipment.

    Planning your trip can in more detail can help you to work out what you need to budget for in terms of activities, but also helps you create a comprehensive list of what you need to buy and what you can avoid.

    Taking the time to do this can help you define a budget for your trip, help you be properly prepared for your camping and ensure that you have everything you need to enjoy yourself and have a stress-free camping adventure.

     

    Related blog posts

    Ways to save money while on holiday

    Where to get affordable family travel insurance for a pre-existing medical condition

    7 free things to do with kids at Center Parcs Longleat

    9 Free Things to do in Gloucestershire (with kids)

    How to save money on family holidays and day trips

    Ways you may be wasting money without even realising it

    A list of 50 free and cheap things to do in the summer holidays with kids

    Save money on UK family days out with Kids Pass and sign up for just £1

     

    How to save money when you go camping

  3. Last night I watched the documentary Plastic Planet on FMTV.  It was a real eye-opener!  It’s incredible to think that plastic was only first invented in 1907 and in just over 100 years it has become a huge part of our lives and society, even something we would now struggle to live without.  Of course I’m sure we could probably live without it, but it’s not like we could just cut it out and stop using anything with plastic.  New materials or natural materials would need to replace plastic.  Simply look around your house and even your car to see just how much we rely on plastic!

    Right now I’m typing on a laptop with plastic casing and walking on a treadmill that is made out of plastic.  I have a plastic pen and calculator next to me.  The blinds and voile on my window are made from plastic.  No doubt the photo frames on my wall have a plastic coating and my iPhone has a plastic case.  The list goes on.  That is simply the items within arm’s reach of me that I can see are made with plastic.  In the documentary I mentioned above there are a few families who empty their homes of plastic – they bring everything made from plastic outside and realise just how much they have.  Unless your clothes are made from natural fibres, then they are plastic too!  It’s everywhere.

    Whilst we certainly have come to depend on plastic and suddenly stopping it’s production in its entirety isn’t possible in this day and age, there are some measures we can begin to take to stop it’s damaging effects on the environment.  One of these is to reduce the amount of single use plastics that we are using and throwing away.  I believe the onus is largely on the manufacturers and people in power to seek environmentally friendly alternatives and I hope they are doing so, but we can take a stand as individuals by reducing the amount of single plastic we buy and use.

    While we all know it's a great way to reduce waste, cutting back on plastic isn't just something that we can do for the environment.  The act of cutting back on plastic benefits us in so many different ways, even personally.  Here’s how:

    How cutting back on plastic benefits your life and saves you money

    Photo by Jonathan Chng 

    It benefits our diet

    What comes in plastic containers? Convenience food. To cut back on these convenience food that come with so much plastic packaging, such as packets of crisps, microwave meals, bottles of pop and so on, we will see an upshot in the amount of healthy food we can cook at home instead.

    Water bottles are a very good example, because we believe that we're taking the healthier option, which naturally, we are. But if we buy a bottle of water every single day, it's not doing the planet any favours at all with all that one-use plastic waste. So instead of this, we could purchase a water container, like a Reefdog water bottle and just refill that with water. Water becomes one of those things that we can forget to drink an adequate amount of, and so, with a large water bottle, not only are you cutting down on your plastic, you are getting closer to your recommended amount of water every day.  There are even apps available that tell you where you can fill up your water for free, with registered businesses happy for you to do so.

    Plus, as we move on to the next point, just think of all the money you’ll save on all those bottles of water!

    It saves us more money

    As we cut down on the abundance of plastic, this means we have to develop ways to be more self-sufficient, especially when it comes to the foods we carry around with us. As our shopping excursions are reduced, we'll see the benefit in our savings. Because when you think about bringing your own lunch into work or cutting down on takeaways which can use a huge amount of plastic packaging, we're going to save so much more money that we can invest it into other more positive aspects of our lives.

    When we see such a significant amount of savings by cutting down on that daily shop bought lunch, it adds up quickly. And even that morning coffee on the way into the office can be easily substituted for a reusable coffee cup, where we can make our own coffee at home, which will save even more money!  You could buy a whole tub of coffee for the price of just one cup from a shop!  Nowadays, because life is so expensive, it is these little costs that add up over the weeks, months, and years.

    It can kick our social conscience into gear

    If you've got friends that are constantly going on protests, and fighting the good fight, but you have no idea why, something as little as reducing our plastic consumption can infiltrate into other areas of our lives. When we think about cutting down on plastic, we then begin to think about our paper consumption, our carbon footprint, how the food choices we make affect others and so on.

    Maybe you can't picture yourself as some sort of eco-warrior, but if we all get a better idea of how we are impacting the planet individually we can begin to care for things that wouldn't have factored in our lives before. While there are more people now going vegan for the purposes of cutting down on their carbon footprints, as well as other reasons, this is only one piece of the puzzle.

    If you want to take a more active approach to look after the world you live in, you've got to begin with the small things. If you know people who seem like they couldn't care less, then getting them to think about their own plastic consumption, as well as other lifestyle habits, might make all the difference. Blue Planet 2 was, for many people, a catalyst to truly cut down on their plastic consumption, because they finally saw how it impacts our oceans. So if we all get a better understanding of how our plastic use impacts other creatures in the world, it becomes a positive force for change.

    We are stuck with certain habits in life, and it can take a while to undo them. Using a huge amount of plastic is one of those things that, thankfully, many shops are now hot on minimising. But we can't just rely on food suppliers to minimise the amount of plastic so we benefit- we've got to take the initiative. And luckily, it begins with the simpler things. But if you have people in your life that have no idea why they should even bother minimising their plastic, highlight the fact that it's going to benefit them.  If they do eat fish then tell them that due to plastic pollution in the oceans, even the fish they eat are now poisoned with plastic which in turn poisons them!  The problem is much bigger than just unsightly litter.  And if we communicate this to the people who don't care, and make it about themselves, this is setting the wheels in motion.

     

    What to read next

    7 ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle
    3 Important Reasons to Choose Organic (other than your personal health)
    13 eco-friendly ways to start saving money in the kitchen
    Get 100% renewable energy with Bulb and save lots of money (over £250)
    Plastic is not fantastic – the dirty secret of where our recycling really goes

     

    How cutting back on plastic benefits your life and saves you money

  4. Get ready for a blog post stuffed full of resources to help you make money online, from smart phone apps and from home!

    Welcome to my monthly income report where I share how much money I have managed to make from home.  This income is from freelance blog writing, various side hustles online, apps for mystery shopping, website testing, matched betting, online selling and I also include any cashback earned.  To read an in-depth reason behind sharing my income reports start with the blog post why I publish income reports and click here to discover the top 3 ways I made money from home in 2017.

    Here goes, from smallest to largest...

    My November 2018 blogger and online earnings income breakdown

    blogger Blog and Home Income Report NOVEMBER 2018 (2)

    Please note - the below are my totals before any deductions, so my total turnover for the month, not including any expenses.  My yearly business expenses last year were about £4000 and so far they look the same this year too.  I also save £500 per month to cover my tax, national insurance, student loan and pension.  So my total monthly business expenses and tax, etc savings are around £830.  So deduct this from the overall figure at the end of this blog post for an idea of my take-home pay.

    From smallest to largest:

     

    Shopmium cashback £2.50

    This is a new entry in my income reports as I have only just signed up to this app.  I'm a bit late to the party I know!  It's a fab cashback app with offers on lots of branded items in the main UK supermarkets.

    Simply sign up by clicking my referral link here  and enter my referral code 46e3t – there is sometimes a freebie in the app if you do this…  at the time of typing it’s a free Nutella jar for you!

    Read my review here: How to save money at the supermarket with Shopmium

     

    Curve cashback £5

    Get FREE MONEY from Curve!

    Curve is an app and also a Mastercard debit card with which you can use any of your bank cards or credit cards to pay for a purchase, but you only have to carry around the Curve card.  You use the app to control which card you pay with.  You also get 1% cashback for the first three months on three retailers from their selection (including supermarkets), so it’s worth paying for everything in your 3 chosen stores for at least three months using the Curve card to take advantage of this.  It costs you nothing as Curve is just like a third party, so you still pay for the purchases using your own bank card at no cost to you.

    Plus, the best bit, you and me both get £5 cashback if you sign up with my code: FL2KH at https://dw92j.app.goo.gl/ZV9a

    It costs nothing to sign up to their free service and you’ll get £5 for free for using my code and the 1% cash back for three months at no extra cost to you.  It’s basically free money!  Plus, you'll get your own referral code so if you sign all your friends and family up then you'll get £5 for each referral too (and they get £5 too!).

     

    Top Cashback £8.73

    We’ve now had over £800 from Top Cashback, as a household, since signing up in April 2016.  You’re crazy if you’re not doing it.  It's money back on things you were going to buy anyway.  Learn how to earn cashback on things you already buy and be amazed with how much extra cash you have back in your pocket!   

    Read my latest blog post about it here: Over £800 cashback in 2 years with Top Cashback

     

    Shoppix £10

    Another new entry on my income reports from Shoppix!  This is a smart phone app that gives you tokens in exchange for receipts and when you reach a threshold you can exchange these tokens for cash or vouchers!  I cashed out £10 to my PayPal.

    If you enter 52YFMN8U when you download the Shoppix app, we can both get 200 tokens when you snap a valid receipt and complete the profile survey!

    Read more here: Make money at home from receipts with Receipt Hog and Shoppix

     

    Blogger Blog and Home Income Report NOVEMBER 2018

     

    WhatUsersDo £20

    I do website testing at WhatUsersDo and it’s so easy!  I get paid £5 per test and some of them are only a question or two. 

    Read my blog post easily make money from home by testing websites and sign up yourself!

     

    Online scarf sales £35.10

    This is the total sales from my online scarf boutique where I sell a few printed scarves.  There are a few left with 20% off currently and they make great Christmas gifts!

     

    Matched betting £36.96

    My quietest matched betting month ever, but I am now restricted from the offers for most of the good bookies!  My strategy was just to ride out making money from this for as long as possible and it is coming to an end after almost two years.  Some people only do the sign up offers which took me around six weeks to complete and I made £1500 from just those offers.  Some people use various strategies to pretend to be a real customer and do it long-term, some even claim to make a full-time living!  My plan was to do the sign up offers and continue doing the reload offers for as long as possible, until all the bookies realised what I was doing and gubbed me!  It's been a great ride as I have made over £5000 profit since starting in January 2017!

    I highly recommend matched betting as it's made me £5000 in just under two years which is tax-free cash.  At first it was very time-consuming, but once I got the hang of it I could make around £50 per hour with the little time I spent doing it.  As a side-hustle it is a brilliant and fun way to make extra money from home. There's no need to do every offer and you can take your time working through the sign up offers.  

    I recommend using Profit Accumulator for matched betting as a beginner.  They have so many guides and walk you through the process in the first few offers.  If you get stuck you can ask a question in the forum and someone will get back to you.  They also have a 30 day money back guarantee on their memberships, plus you can try the first couple of offers without even signing up to anything to see that it really does work and is so simple once you get the hang of the free bet offers! 

    See also:

    One Year Review: How I earn up to £50 per hour matched betting from home 

    Matched betting milestones 18 months and £5000

    matched betting box

     

     

    Personal eBay £104.70

    I've been consistently making around £100 per month by selling our outgrown and unwanted items on eBay and sometimes on Facebook Marketplace.  It keeps our home clutter free and provides us with a bit of extra pocket money each month.  If items don't sell after a while, then I donate them to the charity shops.

    Related - 5 tried and tested ways to make money as a UK stay at home mum

     

    PA referrals £137.47

    This is from referring people to Profit Accumulator who I highly recommend for matched betting.  I use them myself and have done since January 2017 making over £5000 profit.

    Related - Make money from your blog with Awin affiliate marketing and get £30 per person you refer to Awin!

     

    Blog writing £2421.58

    This is always my most lucrative method of income from home each month.  I love to write and thoroughly enjoy writing about topics that I am passionate about, sharing my experience, or researching topics I enjoy to learn more and then share it on my blog in a relatable way.

    For more blogging tips and advice on ways to make money from home and online read my blog posts how I made £26000 from home in 2017 and 10 ways to make money blogging.

    Find lots of handy blog posts in these sections:

    Make money blogging
    Blogging tips

    November stats for reference:

    2018 Nov
    Page Views 11935
    Sessions 7261
    New Users 4540
    Total Users 5068
    Twitter @lyliarose 57014
    Instagram @lyliarose 13151
    Pinterest @lyliarose 1870
    DA 37
    Newsletter subscribers 4300

    Related

    How to improve your domain authority (DA) 

    6 secrets to make more money from your blog

    6 handy tax tips for bloggers

    Make money blogging with Link Monster

     

     

    November 2018 grand total £2782.04

    Shopmium cashback £2.50
    Curve cashback £5.00
    Top Cashback £8.73
    Shoppix £10.00
    Whatusersdo £20.00
    LR shop sales £35.10
    Matched betting £36.96
    Personal eBay £104.70
    PA referrals £137.47
    Blog writing £2,421.58
    TOTAL £2,782.04



    If you want to read more, then check out the 5 ways I made £30000 money from home in 2017/2018

     

    Please pin me to your money boards:

     Blogger Blog and Home Income Report NOVEMBER 2018 (1)

     

  5. Investing doesn’t have to be a gamble. If you’ve got some savings you’d like to build, why not try some of these low risk investment strategies.

    low risk ways to invest your money

     

    Image

    Use a high-interest savings account 

    Putting your money in a savings account is a practically risk-free way of investing your money. The problem is that many modern savings accounts have very low interest rates, so you won’t make much of a return. You’re best shopping around banks to find the best interest rates going. Online savings accounts can have some of the highest interest rates (some are over 3%) and are usually a good option. Some of these accounts may require you to make regular contributions in order to get the benefit of these interest rates.

    Use a certificate of deposit 

    Another option could be to put your money into a CD (Certificate of Deposit). These are much like savings accounts in that there’s no risk of losing your money, but unlike savings they do have restricted access for a certain amount of time. CDs can have interest rates of over 3.5% beating some of the best savings accounts. If you’re okay not accessing your savings for a certain period of time, this could be a great way of making a return. 

    Try peer-to-peer lending

    Peer-to-peer lending involves lending your money to another person online. This person then pays back the money in instalments with interest attached. By going through a secure peer-to-peer lending platform you can ensure that you get your loaned money back. There are many different platforms out there, all offering different interest rates. In some cases, interest rates can be over 7% making this a very lucrative risk-adverse way of making a return.

    Use an automated trading system

    Investing in stocks is generally regarded as a high risk form of investment, but it doesn’t always have to be. An automated trading system can lower the risk of investing in stocks significantly by allowing you to make trading decisions based on hard data. Loss is still an option, but if you diversify your investments and are careful about how much you invest, these losses should be fairly low.  

    Use credit card rewards

    Credit cards needn’t just be a form of debt – they can also be a way of making money if you’re savvy enough to take advantage of credit card rewards. Such rewards are usually only offered if you pay back your credit card bills consistently on time so you need to be sure you have the discipline to spend responsibly (as a result, the risk is on you). It’s worth shopping around to find credit cards that offer the best rewards. There are also apps and payment platforms that can offer rewards on top of this for using a credit card.