Bargain Family Holiday Deals

Summer sun that won’t break the bank

 

Thrifty guest blogger Natalie has been hot on the trail of bargain holiday deals this month. Read on to find out what she found.

 

Over to you Natalie ……

Natalie Vincent B&W

 

Holidays are a great opportunity for families to spend some quality time together away from the stresses of everyday life.

However taking a typical family of four abroad for a week or two can quickly get expensive.

That’s why we’ve found some good value trips that won’t break the bank this summer.

 

 

Eurocamp

 

Eurocamp is a great place to find family-friendly deals at affordable prices. Many of the parks have plenty of free activities on site and the accommodation ranges from basic tents to more luxurious campervans.

We found affordable Eurocamp deals to traditionally expensive countries, such as Switzerland.

A family of four can spend seven nights at the Bella Tola site for £763. That’s staying in a surprisingly spacious tent that can accommodate six.

If you want something a bit more comfortable, then try a two bed caravan for £1,029.

 

Mountain campsite

 

 

Cycling in Catalonia

 

Spend a week cycling through beautiful Catalonia countryside, medieval villages and secluded beaches in this active family holiday from Inn Travel.

One of the best things about this trip is that the routes are short and easy enough for the kids to manage. This means there is plenty of time left over for long, leisurely lunches and water fights in the pool.

Accommodation, bikes, breakfast and dinner are all included in the price. You don’t need to worry about luggage either as that is all transported for you. All you need to do is peddle.

Adult prices start at £660. Get more informationhere.

 

 

Disneyland Paris

 

Take the kids to see Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Disneyland Paris this summer.

A trip like this is never going to be cheap but we found a three night break for a family of four for £888.24.

That deal includes return flights from Manchester and accommodation at the historic, 4-star Vienna International Dream Castle Hotel – perfect for a little Prince and Princess!

Considering prices for this kind of trip can easily start in the thousands, we thought this was a good deal.

 

 

Balearic Islands

 

Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza are all popular holiday destinations that are just a short flight away.

We found a 7 night stay in a three star TRH Jardin Del Mar Apartments for £1,165.92. Like many other properties in Majorca, this one is aimed at families. It has a pool, playground, play room and entertainment included in the package.

Try Travel Republic for similar deals.

 

 

City Breaks

 

Thomas Cook has some good deals if you prefer a city break over a beach holiday.

We found a 3 night stay in Berlin for £891.88. That includes return flights and accommodation at the Sylter Hof hotel for a family of four.

That’s a pretty good deal since a short city break can often cost the same as a week long holiday.

 

 

Build Your Own

 

Package holidays can be a God send if you’re just looking for a quick and convenient trip. Most companies will handle all the particulars so you just need to pack and show up.

Building your own trip can often work out cheaper though and it gives you a lot more flexibility.

 

Holiday homes

 

That’s why we are big fans of Airbnb. This useful website lets you stay in other people’s property for the duration of your trip. You could rent a room in a house or an entire apartment. There are also plenty of weird and wonderful properties you can stay in such as castles and even tree houses.

Organising your own trip is time consuming, but you can get a great deal if you’re willing to put the effort in.

 

Bon vacance!

 

Natalie x

 

Natalie Vincent is feature writer and social media manager for Watchmywallet.co.uk

 

Photographs: Eurocamp, Air BnB

 

Other articles by Natalie:

Things to do this Easter Bank Holiday

The Share Economy

Affordable things to do February half term

Improving your money habits

How to have a thrifty Christmas

Ideas for pre Christmas breaks

How to avoid big phone bills abroad

Free things to do – New York

Free things to do – United Arab Emirates

 

 

 

 

Wedding Fashion on a Budget

Creative ways to make sure that the wedding season doesn’t break the bank

 

We’re welcoming a new member to the 4Manchester Women team of regular guest writers today. Meet Sarah who writes her own blog, The Threadbare Fashionista. Sarah’s going to be helping us to get the most out of our wardrobe – and this time she’s tackling the money pit that is wedding outfits!

 

Over to you Sarah ……

Sarah Foulkes

 

Some people cry at weddings.

Is it because they know that like the bride, they’ll never wear their overpriced dress again?

Being a wedding guest is a costly business: a hotel, whatever’s left on the gift list, a few rounds at an eye-wateringly expensive bar.

Plus the hen weekend.

 

And you haven’t  got an outfit yet, right?

WRONG!

If you’ve been to a few weddings over the last couple of years, you probably already have everything you need jammed in the back of your wardrobe.

So ask yourself – do you really need a whole new outfit that you might only wear once?

 

Coast - rail of dresses

 

The youngest of 25 cousins, I’ve spent a loooot of time at weddings, been a bridesmaid four times and witnessed more nuptial frock-ups than a registrar.

I’ve never, EVER, bought an outfit just to wear to a wedding.

Maybe you think I’m some kind of nut. Maybe I am. But here’s how to be the best dressed wedding guest and still have a few pennies left in the bank.

 

If it looks like a bridesmaid’s dress, leave it on the rail

 

Chances are, the retailer thought so too and slapped a few extra quid on the price.

Shopping at wedding faves like Coast and Monsoon guarantees a beautiful outfit with matching accessories, but remember, everyone else is thinking the same.

Which is awkward when you rock up in the same frock as the bridesmaids (I should know, I WAS that bridesmaid).

 

Coast - yellow, peach and green

 

Recycle, upcycle, swap

 

Find a friend or relative who’s a similar size and exchange outfits, or just buy one dress and change the shoes and accessories so it looks different every time. Boring? Maybe. Money saving? Definitely.

 

Controversial, but try separates instead of a dress

 

You’ll get much more wear out of a skirt or trousers and top than you will a dress. The skirt and top combo by Oasis (right hand side of the picture below) is a perfect example.

 

Oasis - pink skirt and floral top

 

You don’t always need matching shoes and bag 

 

Or each other. As long as they compliment and add something to the whole outfit, it’s all good. Personally I’ve worn gold shoes and a minky coloured leather bag I made myself for less than a tenner to pretty much every do I’ve been to in the last two years.

No one has turned their nose up. Yet.

 

Monsoon - silver shoes

 

Ditch the hat / fascinator

 

Unless you’re one of those uber cool types who can carry off a hat, don’t bother. Nobody looks cool in a fascinator.

 

Perhaps you’re thinking, so what does this smart alec wear to a wedding?

Here’s three of my outfits from weddings past. I confess, they’re not to everyone’s taste!

 

harem pants

 

Joy dress

 

Turkish dress

 

All I’m trying to say is, if you don’t want to spend a fortune, and want something you’ll actually wear again, there’s plenty in your wardrobe – and on the high street – to have a go at.

Ultimately, it’s the bride and groom’s day– you’re just the supporting cast, so unless you turn up flashing too much leg/cleavage or looking like scrag end dressed as fillet steak, no one will remember what you wore.

My advice? Keep it stylish, keep it comfortable and don’t break the bank!

 

Sarah x

 

Photographs: Sarah Foulkes

Sarah writes her own personal blog over at The Threadbare Fashionista.

 

 

 

 

 

Money saving tips for holidays

Helping to make your holiday money go even further

 

We’ve got Altrincham based money saving web site Watch My Wallet back on the blog again today with some top tips for keeping on top of your holiday finances.

I hate having to watch the pennies when I’m on holiday, but in the current economic climate, and with exchange rates less favourable than they used to be – all advice is gratefully received.

 

Over to you ‘Watch My Wallet’ Natalie ……

Going on holiday can be very exciting, but it can also be incredibly stressful if you’ve got a budget to stick too.

That’s why Watch My Wallet has created a guide to help you manage your money and get the most out of your holiday.

 

beach walk

 

Pick the Right Destination

 

Eastern Europe has some beautiful budget friendly destinations that are becoming increasingly popular amongst savvy tourists.

Countries such as Lithuania, Croatia and Bulgaria offer secluded beaches and beautiful scenery just a few hours flight away.

Not only are these countries cheap to fly to but your money stretches a lot further there too. You can grab a good meal and a pint of beer for under £10.00 which is a pretty good offer.

 

Dubronik

 

If you’re after a cheap city break, Prague and Budapest are great options. They have lots of free activities to keep you occupied during the day and the streets are filled with affordable restaurants to relax in at night.

 

All Inclusive Holiday

 

An all inclusive holiday can help you stick to a budget as it eliminates the need for additional spending. However, it’s only good value for money if you can pick a hotel that fits your specific needs.

Before you book, know what kind of holiday you want. Do you enjoy a glass of wine (or four) in an evening? If so, check to see how many drinks are included in the price. If you don’t drink, there’s no point paying for an unlimited bar tab so see what else is on offer or find a more suitable deal.

 

croatia

 

 

Flash Currency Sale

 

Get a good deal on your currency before you go away by taking advantage of a flash sale.

This type of deal typically lasts just a few hours but it means you can snap up currency for a heavily discounted price.

Keep up to date with currency flash sales here.

 

 

Cheap Travel Insurance

 

No-one wants to spend their money on something as boring as travel insurance, but it is important to have a policy in place before you go away.

When looking at travel insurance quotes, use a comparison website, such as Moneysupermarket.com, to find the best price.

It’s important to disclose any health issues you have. If you fall ill while abroad and it’s discovered that you weren’t entirely truthful on your insurance form, the policy could be declared invalid and you will be left holding a huge hospital bill.

Be sure to check the small print so you know exactly what is covered. Some basic activities may not be included and you may need to purchase additional insurance for certain sports.

 

snorkeling

 

 

Keep your eyes peeled for offers

 

There’s money to be saved if you keep your eyes peeled for time limited offers, like this one for Disneyland Paris.

 


Have a great holiday!

 

Natalie x

 

Natalie Vincent is feature writer and social media manager for Watchmywallet.co.uk

Photographs: Watch My Wallet

Disclosure

 

Other articles by Natalie:

Making money through the share economy

Affordable things to do February half term

Improving your money habits

How to have a thrifty Christmas

Ideas for pre Christmas breaks

How to avoid big phone bills abroad

Free things to do – New York

Free things to do – United Arab Emirates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sustainable Eating in Chinatown

Heads, shoulders, knees and toes…. on a plate

 

Austerity cooking is back in vogue – livers and cheeks and tongue. In addition to being newly trendy, this kind of cooking which uses the whole animal is also most sustainable.

We asked Bonnie Yeung at Yang Sing to elucidate this new trend which the Chinese community have been practicing for years.

 

Over to you Bonnie ……

Bonnie Yeung

 

People are really embracing food in a way they haven’t in decades, this is a trend that’s enabled by technology and social media.

Food to most consumers is as much about enjoyment, passion, and love – as it is about nourishment.

We’ve become a nation of eaters.

We’re eaters but not necessarily cooks.

 

Many are reliant on manufacturers and retailers to the work for them. Instead of cooking, what some seem to prefer is composing, taking semi-prepared components and combining them.

We’re lazy cooks essentially.

 

Same dish – different restaurant

 

For those who are in the food and drink industry, it isn’t such a bad thing. Frankly, it’s been great for Manchester eateries; the domestic kitchen torpor has created a thriving dining out scene, helped pull Manchester out of recession and made the city more exciting.

So why do I still sometimes find that I’m eating the same dish at different restaurants?

I believe many people, and indeed some chefs, rely on far less variety throughout the year and reproduce the same bland formulas that seem to sell, leading to an unsustainable level of consumption; dependence on imports and a lack of understanding of how to cook ingredients that might help reduce the impact on the environment.

 

What happens to the bits that are not prime cuts?

 

Eat these too and we would save money, help the environment and slaughter fewer animals.

The moral imperative: if you eat meat, then the idea of eating intestine, tongue or feet shouldn’t distress you any more than tucking into a chop or a steak – it’s all flesh and blood.

Shelves of disembodied, boneless, velvety chicken breast, and lean steaks stacked high in supermarkets create a weird visceral disconnect. Where’s the rest of the animal, and why aren’t we eating it? Killing an animal, sacrificing one life to sustain another is not to be taken lightly; we don’t need to do it to survive – so if we make light of our livestock – we devalue their worth and the sanctity of life in general.

The creative imperative: I find the prime cuts tend towards the same texture, consistency and taste, with only small differentials in flavour – more ‘lamby’ or more ‘beefy’.

 

Tripe

 

If we’re truly fans of variety then we must turn to all the more interesting cuts; the creamy liver, the velveteen underbelly, the smooth, melting flesh of the feet or knuckles, combined with the fibrous crunch of tendon – these better by far the monotonous masticating of mince, steak or breast.

 

Chinatown – independent, varied and interesting

 

One of the few areas in the city where one can find massive meat diversity is Chinatown. The eateries in Chinatown truly are independent, varied and interesting – if a little more challenging or inaccessible. The menus aren’t always in English – so find a Chinese friend (I’ll be your friend if you’re paying for dinner!).

 

knuckles Chinese style

 

There is a tiny grocers’, run by an elderly couple known only to me as Uncle’ and ‘Aunty. They can be found behind a screen at mealtimes, perched on makeshift furniture cooking up a riot in their rice steamer and kettle, using produce straight from the shop.

It is sights like these that beatify Chinatown; there is nowhere in Manchester today, that one can share something so personal, intimate and evocative. So Uncle and Aunty are not au fait with technology – they’re not on Twitter or Facebook – it probably means they’re missing out on some customers, and they’re not raking in millions. They probably find it difficult to communicate the origins, artistry and creativity that are behind many ingredients and dishes in Chinatown – within a mere 135 characters.

 

Textures, layers, stories and discoveries

 

It is indeed difficult to convey the cultural delight of slow, convivial, ‘pick for hours’ dining style that is common amongst the Chinese. The textures; layers, stories and discoveries of Chinatown foods – the majority of people miss out on.

 

Intestines Chinese style

 

Chinatown is aged, interesting and complex – it’s not new and shiny, not a hipster haven. It’s nostalgic, personal and familial. It’s a neighbourhood to an older population that don’t tweet; have time like old man river; that have always eaten things other people have not, and have menus like War and Peace.

For decades, the more interesting ingredients that have been shunned – have been popular and commonplace at Chinese dining tables. The glories and subtleties of steamed chickens feet, pork knuckles, fish heads and braised pigs blood were previously unknown. What Chinatown offers is a more sustainable example of eating. So look East for more exciting mouth feels and ways of using up all the parts of an animal.

 

Gastronomic experiences to be uncovered

 

I want prosperity for my community but sometimes secretly I’m thankful that in a world of social media, technology and information – there are still places and gastronomic experiences to be uncovered; places where appreciative foodies can eat quality food without having to battle with the droves of glitterati for a table in the evenings.

However, in the age of foodie fashion, there are growing voices of dissent that demand accessibility from Chinatown, insisting on being handed everything on a plate – access to feet, knuckles and heads too.

 

Feet cooked Chinese Style

 

The fist of modernisation is beating at the gates of Chinatown. But let’s try to stop a while… take a seat, enjoy a cup of steaming tea, ponder the subtleties of life and food, and suck on a duck tongue or two.

 

Bonnie x

Yang Sing

Address: 34 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 4JY

Tel: 0161 236 2200     Fax: 0161 236 5934

Email: marketing@yang-sing.com

Website: yang-sing.com

Facebook: facebook.com/Yang-Sing

Twitter: @yangsingmcr

 

Photographs: Yang Sing (tripe, knuckles, intestines and feet)

This is an edit of an article published in Now Then issue 8

Disclosure

 

Other articles by Bonnie

Yang Sing cookery classes

My China Town

Yang Sing – Finding fresh ingredients

The Dragon Boat Race

 

 

 

 

 

 

The share economy

Make money from your things with peer-to-peer lending

 

We’ve all of us spent years acquiring stuff – that we don’t necessarily use all the time. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if there was a way of making a bit of money back on our ‘investments’!

A phenomenon which started in the US is now making it’s way over here. I already make extra money by renting out my spare room to tourists through AirBnB (see below), so this month I’ve asked our regular thrifting blogger Natalie to explore a bit further to see what’s available to us in the UK.

 

Over to you Natalie ……

Natalie Vincent B&W

 

Peer-to-peer lending has become increasingly popular over the last few years as household budgets shrink and consumers watch their every penny.

Savvy savers have realised that you can boost your monthly income by renting out your spare room, car, bike, and even your power tools if you know the right places to list your items.

 

Similarly, you can save a bundle by renting from a private owner rather than buying or renting from an established business.

Watch My Wallet has looked at some of the best ways to save or make money via peer-to-peer lending.

 

Rent Your Spare Room

 

Watch My Wallet and your 4ManchesterWomen editor are big fans of Airbnb.

If you have a flexible schedule and a spare room, you can rent it out to some lovely people looking for somewhere to stay. It is a safe way to generate a bit of extra income and meet a diverse bunch of people.

 

Air BnB

 

It’s also a good place to find affordable accommodation in some of the most popular holiday destinations in the world.

The website is easy to navigate and you can read hosts profiles and ratings to check everything is legit. You can communicate with hosts via the site which is great if you have any questions or want further information.

For more information visit airbnb.co.uk

 

 

Rent Out Your Car or Driveway

 

If your car spends most of the week just sitting outside your house, you could make some money by sending it to work. Your car has to be up to a decent standard for this to kind of scheme to work and EasyCar won’t accept models made before 2005.

 

Easy Car

 

If you regularly drive long distances, you could cut costs by renting out a seat in your car. BlaBlaCar ensures that drivers can’t profit from this kind of arrangement though but it can substantially reduce your petrol costs.

BlaBlaCar also offers women only journeys, which can give you some extra peace of mind if you’re a solo female travelling on a budget.

Parkatmyhouse is an easy way to generate income if you live in a busy or popular area. Got a house near Old Trafford or in trendy Chorlton? Rent your pavement out to visitors and earn a pretty penny while you’re at it.

For more information visit:

 

 

Rent Your Bike and Winter Sports Gear

 

Spinlister is a small American website that is steadily growing in popularity across the UK and the rest of Europe.

If you have a bike collecting dust in the garage but don’t want to part with it for good, then you can rent it via Spinlister. The same goes for snowboards and skis.

 

Spinlister

 

This site can help you avoid renting a costly bike while visiting London, Paris or New York. You can pre-arrange to meet a local resident and simply rent their wheels for the day, normally at a much lower rate.

For more information visit spinlister.com

 

 

Rent Your Space

 

Generate some extra cash by renting out your spare room, garage, empty loft, or vacant shed.

Storenextdoor claims that the average person makes £90 a month, or just over £1,000 a year, by listing on their site. That’s your summer holiday paid for.

 

Storenextdoor

 

It’s also a much cheaper way to store items than using a traditional unit.

For more information visit storenextdoor.com

 

 

Miscellaneous Items

 

Got a set of tools you only drag out of the garage occasionally? Rent them out to frugal DIY fans via Rentmyitems.

This site has a bizarre collection of things on offer. You can find instruments, camping equipment, air guns, a cross trainer, rollerblades, sledge, kayak, lawn mower, BBQ, chocolate fountain, and a decorative archway to hire – as well as many, many other items.

 

rent my items

 

You’re probably not going to generate a large regular income via this site but you could still make enough pocket money to pay for the odd takeaway or trip to the cinema.

For more information visit rentmyitems.com

 

It’s time to start embracing the share economy. Let us know how you get on.

 

Natalie x

 

Natalie Vincent is feature writer and social media manager for Watchmywallet.co.uk

 

Other articles by Natalie:

Affordable things to do February half term

Improving your money habits

How to have a thrifty Christmas

Ideas for pre Christmas breaks

How to avoid big phone bills abroad

Free things to do – New York

Free things to do – United Arab Emirates

 

 

 

 

 

Improving your money habits

Getting back on track with some new resolutions

 

January – month of cold weather, short days and no money!

However it’s also a month of new beginnings and trying to get back on track. So today we’ve asked our regular thrifty guest blogger Natalie to come up with some top tips to help us get our bank balances back into the black!

 

Over to you Natalie ……

Natalie Vincent B&W

 

The growing cost of Christmas means that many of us spend January struggling to make ends meet.

It’s not surprising that one of the most popular New Years Resolutions is to save money, but with scary credit card bills and a long wait till payday, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Watch My Wallet has come up with some useful tips to help you get into good financial habits this year.

Even if you can’t set aside a large chunk of change each month, you could still save money by making a few small changes to your everyday habits.

 

Set a Goal

 

Why are you saving money? Do you want to pay off your credit card, buy a new house or have some money put aside for emergencies?

Having a specific goal can help you stay focused.

If you need £20,000 for a house deposit, break it down into smaller milestones so it feels less daunting. You’re probably not going to reach your target overnight (unless you win the lottery!) so it helps to recognise small achievements that build towards your bigger goal.

 

Sterling money

 

Make a Budget

Blue piggy bank - face on with money sticking out

 

Have a good look at your finances and create a budget. Aim to save around 20 percent of your total monthly income, splitting the money into an emergency fund and retirement savings.

If you can’t manage 20 percent, work out how much you can afford and try to build on it when your circumstances change.

The Money Advice Service has a quick and easy budgeting tool that can help you create a realistic financial plan for the year.

 

 

Shop Carefully

 

We’re all prone to the occasional impulse purchase, but you could also be spending more than necessary on everyday items.

Trolley full of money

Supermarket offers can be misleading and many customers get confused over the sheer volume and variety of deals.

One supermarket could offer a seemingly good 3 for 2 deal. However, even with the offer, products could still work out cheaper elsewhere.

The basic rule is don’t assume you’re getting the best price just because it’s on sale.

It may be worth using a website like mysupermarket.co.uk to compare prices before you shop. This could save you an average of £17 per shopping trip.

 

Cut Unnecessary Spending

 

Have a good look at your finances and see where you can cut costs. Do you really need a gym membership or could you cycle to work instead? Do you use Netflix enough to warrant the cost? Could you take a packed lunch to work or skip that Starbucks latte?

Be ruthless when analysing your direct debits and standing orders. A staggering 75 percent of us are on the wrong phone tariff and paying way more than necessary for our contracts.

Check if you’re being overcharged by comparing your usage levels against your contractual allowance. If you’re using less than you’re entitled to, shrink your tariff to see how much you could save.

 

Good luck and happy saving!

 

Natalie x

 

Natalie Vincent is feature writer and social media manager for Watchmywallet.co.uk

Photographs: Free digital photos

 

Other articles by Natalie:

How to have a thrifty Christmas

Ideas for pre Christmas breaks

How to avoid big phone bills abroad

Free things to do – New York

Free things to do – United Arab Emirates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to have a thrifty Christmas

Top tips to help you save during the festive season

 

Christmas can be an enormously expensive time of the year. So with that in mind I’ve asked our regular money saving expert guest blogger Natalie to come up with some top tips to save us some cash.

 

Over to you Natalie ……

Natalie Vincent

 

With the stress of feeding your family, preparing your kids for the school play and navigating the hectic high street, it’s easy to lose track of your budget.

However, with a little planning, you can have a great Christmas without breaking the bank.

Watch my Wallet has come up with some convenient ways to have a fun and thrifty Christmas:

 

Pre-Christmas Sales

 

Many of us exploit the boxing-day sales but we don’t make the most of the pre-Christmas deals.

Big name retailers such as ASOS and Debenhams are running good sales at the moment. This could be the perfect place to find a dress for the office party or find a jumper for your niece or Nan.

 

shopping

 

Homemade Hampers

 

This is a great gift if you’re a bit crafty. You can make snug scarves for your relatives or try your hand at a festive jumper (Mark Darcy style!).

 

Marc Darcy Christmas Jumper

 

Hampers can still be a great present even if you’re not creative. You just need a few items to make it work. You could include a good book, some bubble bath and a home made CD. If you’re willing to spend some more, throw in a nice bottle of wine.

Include little bits that they’ll love, like their favourite chocolate bar or a collage of dishy men they fancy! It’s cheap and it shows you know them.

 

Groupon / Secret Escapes Offers

 

If you’re trying to find something for the person who has everything, why not buy an experience instead?

 

afternoon tea

 

You could treat your Mum to some afternoon tea with a voucher from Groupon or pay for a friend to indulge in some relaxing spa treatments.

If you’d prefer a romantic break, have a look at some of the deals offered by Secret Escapes. This website offers savings of up to 70 percent on luxury holidays and weekend trips.

 

Cashback Savings

 

Save money on your purchases by doing the bulk of your internet shopping through a cashback website like Quidco.

This is a great way to earn some money back on anything from big household items to little stocking fillers.

You can earn up to 8% cashback from Boots, 10 percent from ASOS, and 3 percent from Toys R Us.

You can get also earn cashback on your train tickets or hotel bookings over the festive period.

Learn more about the benefits of Cashback websites here.

 

family at Christmas

 

Whatever your budget, have a great Christmas and happy New Year!

 

Natalie x

 

Natalie Vincent is feature writer and social media manager for Watchmywallet.co.uk

Photographs: Free images from Shutterstock

 

Other articles by Natalie:

Ideas for pre Christmas breaks

How to avoid big phone bills abroad

Free things to do – New York

Free things to do – United Arab Emirates

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eBay Expert – cash for Christmas

Let Liz help you turn your clutter into cash

 

We’ve got another guest blog from Liz Law today. She’s like a magic fairy – you give her the stuff that you don’t need any more – and she turns up a week or so later with an envelope full of cash after she’s eBayed it all for you!

Christmas should be called Cashmas! It can be an expensive time – liquidate your assets (in my case some shoes that I can’t walk in and some gas powered eye lash curlers I never use …..) and take the financial pressure off!

 

Over to our eBay Expert Liz for some top tips ……

 

Let Liz Clean Up Your Clutter – I sell your stuff on eBay!

Let Liz - Clean up your clutter

 

With just a few weeks until Christmas, now is a good time to start your stuff on eBay.

Begin auctioning your no longer needed items and raise cash to fund the Christmas shopping trips, party outfits and other festive fun.

I remove the stress by selling items on your behalf; so check out my website cleanupyourclutter.co.uk for my terms and conditions.

 

My top eBay tips for Christmas cash

 

  • Ask the children to check their toy cupboards to see if there is anything that can be sold. Not only will it make room for the new toys Santa will bring but buyers on eBay are looking for their own stocking fillers.
  • If you are moving house and have furniture or other items you don’t wish to take with you consider selling them before the New Year whilst people still have money in their pocket. They may even be looking for specific items for the festive season e.g. an extra fridge or freezer for the garage for party food, or chairs and tables for their extra guests.

 

Christmas money

 

However, if you are confident selling yourself on eBay begin listing soon.

  • Listing a week or so before Christmas means items will finish with insufficient time for items to be paid for and posted, so plan how long your listing will last and when it will finish. Not everybody buys and pays straight away.
  • Check your items are in full working order; you don’t want an email in the New Year advising the final piece in the Mouse Trap game they bought was missing; or the electronic toy for their grandchild had corroded batteries which weren’t discovered until Christmas morning.
  • If you are selling clothes make sure they are clean with no holes or missing buttons/sequins. Measure items thoroughly e.g. underarm to underarm, underarm to cuff etc. This avoids anybody complaining their item does not fit and requesting to return it. Designer items will sell for more if you photograph the labels and can prove where they were purchased e.g  receipts.
  • When packaging your items ready for posting try and keep items as flat and slim as possible so they can be posted as a large letter. Items can cost twice as much to post if sent as packets which may put buyers off. Expensive items should be sent recorded delivery so they can be tracked and I will never post anything which has sold for more than £46 other than Special Delivery so the item is insured against loss or damage.

 

Shopping on eBay

 

And don’t forget; as well as eBay being a great outlet for selling items you can pick up bargains buying from eBay too.

 

 

In my eBay shop I have 100s of funky items: Russian trapper hats for men. Pretty berets, scarves and outfits for women. As well as clothing and toys for children. Many items are brand new with tags for less than £10 or even less than £5. And by combining postage you can buy several items if the weight category is not exceeded with no extra postage costs.

In fact if you live locally come and try them on and save on postage altogether.

 Happy eBaying ……

 

Liz x

 

Website: cleanupyourclutter.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/CleanUpYourClutter

Contact: cleanupyourclutter.co.uk/contact

Tel: Contact No: 07801 416383

Twitter: @ElizabethLaw1

 

Photographs:  Wikipedia (eBay logo)Let Liz, free digital photos

This is a sponsored blog post.

 

Other articles by Liz:

Introducing Let Liz Clean Up Your Clutter

I ‘Let Liz’ sell my stuff on eBay

 

 

 

 

 

How to avoid big phone bills abroad

Don’t get caught out with shock roaming charges when you’re on holiday

 

Our thrifty travel expert Natalie is back on the blog again with money saving tips to help prevent you getting a nasty post holiday mobile phone bill shocker!

 

Over to you Natalie ……

Natalie Vincent

 

Holiday’s are expensive when you consider the cost of flights and travel money.

While relaxing on a beach or rushing around a city, the majority of tourists don’t think about how much it will cost to upload a few pictures to Facebook or even check their emails.

Figures show that the average tourist racks up £120 in additional charges while abroad. However, you can avoid these costs by being a bit savvy and thinking ahead:

 

How to Avoid Roaming Charges Completely

 

If you’re happy to go without the internet for a few weeks, switch off data roaming settings before you board the plane. This will ensure that your phone doesn’t automatically connect to a signal when you arrive in your host country.

 

Use Wi-Fi Hubs

 

Many hotels offer wi-fi or have computer clusters you can use. There may be a small charge for these, but it is normally reasonably priced and substantially cheaper than your phone.

 

Girls looking at mobile phone

 

Buy a Data Plan

 

If you plan to use the internet regularly while abroad, it’s worth purchasing a plan from your network provider. There is normally a set price per day for X amount of data used. This means that you will know exactly how much you are spending so there aren’t any nasty surprises when you get home.

 

New EU Rules

 

The EU now requires networks to cap data roaming costs when people travel within Europe. This means that phone calls will be charged at a maximum of €0.24 a minute and texts will cost no more than €0.08.

Data charges are the most expensive but will be capped at €0.45 a megabyte.

 

Girl on holiday with mobile phone

 

I hope this will help you keep costs low and avoid any post-holiday stress!

 

Natalie x

 

Natalie Vincent is feature writer and social media manager for Watchmywallet.co.uk

 

Other articles by Natalie:

Free things to do – New York

Free things to do – United Arab Emirates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackberry Vodka

Have you been blackberrying yet?

 

A long dry summer means that the blackberries are later this year – so there’s still time to head out to a hedge near you with a plastic ice cream carton and long sleeves (prickle protection).

 

blackberries

 

Ingredients: 110g caster sugar, 500ml cheap vodka, 300g blackberries.

 

Method

  1. Sterilize your container (you’re supposed to use a Kilner style jar – I used big plastic milk bottles because I was too tight to go shopping!)
  2. Pour in vodka, blackberries and sugar.
  3. Give it a shake (5-10 mins) until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Store in a cool dark place – shake periodically (every 3-5 days).
  5. Leave for at least six weeks (the longer the better), strain and bottle.

I froze my blackberries first last year which made them mushier once they thawed and happier to release their juice.

 

Blackberry vodka

 

Blackberry vodka

 

Blackberry vodka

 

 

Of all the presents I gave last Christmas, the mini bottles of blackberry vodka were by far and away the most popular (and the cheapest).

So Manchester Women – what are you waiting for?

 

Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)

 

Photographs: Alison Staples

This is not a sponsored blog post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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