Working from home jobs – how to stay motivated

Working from home jobs give you some great freedoms, no boss looking over your shoulder, no frantic commute and if you’re lucky, extra time in bed. However, if your home is your workspace it can be difficult to stay motivated when there are so many distractions – try these tips if you’re finding it difficult to keep your motivation levels high…

  1. Define your day

It’s temptingly easy to get up, brush your teeth, have a cup of coffee and get on with your work – even before you’ve got out of your pyjamas. However, countless studies say this is the worst way to start your day if you’re a home worker.

Without defining solid working times you’re letting home and work blend together into one big mess. When your day blends into one you’ll find home jobs that need doing throughout the day – taking you away from work tasks. These distractions are motivation and focus killers.

If you want to get the most out of your time working it pays to be disciplined with your schedule. Set a solid starting time and make sure the household tasks that would otherwise distract you are done and out of your mind.

Creating a habit like this one means your evening is more clearly defined too. If you’re the kind of person who ends up eating their evening meal while they work, being more disciplined with your time through the day means you’ll get more done – and work will stop spilling over. A healthy work life balance is crucial when you work at home, nothing kills motivation like knowing you’re going to be flitting between doing your washing and work tasks for the next 14 hours.

List, prioritise, execute

To do lists are either extremely helpful – or extremely painful, depending on whether you’re the kind of person who can focus on one task at a time. If you’re on of the millions of ‘task butterflies’ that flutter between one thing and another – never really achieving anything until the pressure is on – then a solid plan of how to tackle your to do list is crucial.

As you begin your day take a few minutes with a blank piece of paper and think about what you need to achieve. Write it all down, the order doesn’t matter, in fact, it’s better to just get all your thought down instead of trying to figure an order out just yet.

When you’ve got your tasks written down think about what’s the most pressing job to be done – and write the number 1 next to it. When you’re done, think about the second most important task – write a number 2 next to it. Now stop. You’ve got your two most pressing jobs of the day prioritised, there’s no need to create a 15-point list that is likely to go out the window when the phone rings. When you’ve done these tasks – you can reassess your list (along with any additions that have popped onto your phone, email or schedule) and put the next 2 priorities in place.

Getting stuff done is like a huge shot of motivation to people who are used to ending the day with a to do list longer than it was at 9am. Prioritise, execute, keep moving – you’ll be pleased with the results.

Go through the pain barrier ASAP

Look at your to-do list, there’s something on there you’re dreading isn’t there? It might even be the reason you’re reading about ways of bolstering your motivation… Essentially now you have two choices, put it off for as long as is possible, hoping that some turn of events will mean it doesn’t need to be done – in the meantime letting it affect your mood and general will to even cast eyes over it or – get it done now.

If you’re willing to take it on now two things are going to happen – firstly, it’s probably not going to be as bad as you thought it would be so it’ll take you less time than you anticipated. Secondly, when you draw a line through it the clouds will miraculously part and warm rays of sun will hit you and recharge those waning motivation levels…

If you develop this as a habit and tackle your most feared job as a priority every day, your work output and generally mood will be through the roof.

Use the right equipment

There’s likely to be nothing that zaps your motivation away quicker than trying to use the wrong tools for the job. As a home worker you discredit your professionalism by thinking you can take short-cuts with the stuff you rely on to get your job done. You wouldn’t expect a brain surgeon to wield a blunt scalpel – so why should you be any different?

You’re likely to have the some of the kit you need already, perhaps a computer and a mobile phone – but what about the other stuff? Having a diary, whether you choose an online or paper version, means you’re able to keep track of deadlines and organise your time accordingly. What about a notepad? Don’t rely on keeping scraps of paper organised, keeping a physical notepad means you can jot notes while you’re on the phone or in the middle of other tasks without having to break off.

And then there’s the role specific kit – if there’s anything that you need to do your job in the most productive manner then either requesting it from your employer or buying it yourself is going to be a big step toward staying motivated. Even if it feels like unnecessary expense now, your long-term role satisfaction is going to thank you for it.

Finally, take some breaks!

This one’s for you – the self-employed people fighting with a never-ending workload! It’s easy to think that the key to success is spending 18 hours at your computer – but it’s often not. Even if your job means putting in huge hours, it’s better to have 8 motivated and productive hours in front of your screen that it is 12 hours of feeling like you can’t get started.

Get some fresh air, stretch your legs, give your back a rest from that computer chair. No one said the path to success would be a short one – taking regular breaks keeps you moving toward your goal with a full tank of motivation.

6 Life Hacks for Students to Make Money

Finding yourself constantly asking for money? We understand what a student budget can be like. Living in Birmingham University Accommodation, bills and the like can become quite expensive, which is why we want to show you 5 different and tremendously easy ways for you to make money.

1.      Sell Old University Books

That’s right, you can make your money back from those previous academic and university books that you don’t want anymore! Believe it or not, you can get yourself a quite a bit of money fetching upwards of about £50.

Both Amazon and eBay are a fantastic option for selling your books (and any other unwanted items). Sadly, you do have to pay for the fees and postage that comes along with selling on these websites.

Another brilliant way you can sell your University books is with this site called The Book Pond, where you can become connected with other students who are in need of these books. Attracted buyers will get in talks with you after they’ve seen your post about the books are how much you want from them. Lastly, another great advantage is the fact that there is no fees or postage to pay!

Another handy app is called Shpock, a ‘boot sale’ app where you can advertise and sell for free to people in your area. People also use this app to sell clothes and other items, so if you want to have a bit of a clear out, you can sell more than just your old books!

However, the easiest way to flog your fiction of course is to simply sell your books to friends or family: perhaps you have a family member who just started University and who could use some books, or know some students in the year below who will need your books next year. Give them a discount and it’s a win-win!

2.      Make and sell your own custom T-shirts

Zazzle is a super simple site to use, it allows you to create your own custom T-shirt designs for other people to buy. As long as you come up with the idea, Zazzle will do all the hard tasks for you from shipping to printing and collecting money.

3.      Sell photos

Got a good camera? Into photography and have some neat holiday pictures? Got some worthy snaps that could make it into a news headline? All you need to do is upload your photos to image stock sites – then sit back, relax and wait for the money to come flying on in. Anyone that uses your photos will have to pay you a fee.

Some examples of stock imaging websites including Shutterstock and Fotolia. For a news site where you can send in your news stories or photos, try Cavendish Press.

4.      FREE Lottery!

The Free Postcode Lottery is exactly what it says on the tin. How can you not resist a FREE lottery! A winner is selected everyday – yes, the prize may be ‘only’ £100, however if it is not claimed it rolls on over to the next day. Enter for free now and test your luck over at Free Postcode Lottery’s site.

5.      Make money from your parking space

You heard that right – you can get your parking space at home rented out by other people on websites such as Your Parking Space and Just Park. You can make the amount you want to charge the exact amount you want; the best parking places can make up to £100 a day! However, the location of your parking space is what will give it value – a few examples might be living in a large city or near major attractions, such as stadiums, tourist landmarks, arenas or train/tube stations.

Even if you don’t have a free parking space to sell, these sites are also great for if you just want to see the cheapest options available to park when visiting built up areas.

6.      Teach your subject

All that knowledge you’ve accumulated over your GCSE’s and A Levels is worth more than just your ticket to your dream degree – it’s worth money! Working a private tutor is both flexible and well-paid, and you can use simple sites like First Tutors to register and get local applicants for free.

Alternatively, if you’re already doing great on your degree, you can tutor others on the same degree (either in your year, or most likely a year or two below) and give them guidance on how to study and pass the exams you did with flying colours. Most tutors charge around £15 per hour but if your subject is more difficult you could charge up to £20 or £25.

7.      Manage social media for local businesses

Most students tend to be pretty savvy with social media, and believe it or not, companies will pay you to post on their behalf! Small, local businesses often don’t have the time to invest heavily in social media, so pop into some of your local high street businesses with a pitch and CV, or get in touch with some businesses from home.

You can charge anything from £100-£500 per month for the full service or charge per post, and plan all the posts in advance with social media scheduling websites such as Hootsuite, Retortal, Buffer and more. A few hours work that you can do in your jammies too! What more could you ask for?

We do hope you try out at least one of these life hacks, and that they help you earn a little bit of spare cash! If you know anyone who could benefit from trying out some of these ideas, do share it and tag them, and if you liked what you saw here, you’ll love our cheap rates on our Student Accommodation if you’re a Birmingham student.

If you found these life hacks useful then please do let us know via our Twitter or Facebook on what you’d like to learn more about, or what you found most interesting!

6 ways to get your hands on cash – quickly!

Almost everybody has moments when they need to get some cash quickly. If you’re in this position, it can be frustrating or even scary to not have money that you need.

Whether it’s looking at effective ways of selling things, how to get a fast loan or finding other inventive ways to make money, we’ve got you covered:

  1. Working? Ask for an advance

You may or may not feel comfortable doing this, but if your lack of money is hindering your ability to get to work it can often be in everybody’s best interest to talk to your employer first. Payroll departments often have the ability to pay an employee an advance and it can sometimes be repaid over more than one payday, giving you time to get back on top of your finances.

  1. Get a fast loan

Be warned, not all loans are created equal, so be careful to ensure you’re going to a reputable lender whose product is not going to damage your credit rating. There are online comparison tools you can use that will compare loan providers before you’re credit checked, so you don’t have to worry about doing a lot of legwork or lots of applications impacting your chances.

Ensuring you can repay any loan is absolutely vital – meaning this is a good option if you’ve been impacted by a one-off cost. On the other hand, borrowing repeatedly to get you to the end of the month can start a dangerous cycle that’s very hard to escape. Use with caution.

  1. Sell some stuff

If you’ve got items in house that you’re not using they can be turned into cash pretty quickly, especially if the price is attractive. Using online selling resources is a great way to advertise – look for local selling groups on Facebook and list your items on classified sites like Gumtree. There are no selling fees so everything you make goes into your pocket.

You can always offer to sell things for other people too. It can be off-putting dealing with messages, people coming to your house to pick things up or arranging delivery – so if you’re willing to put the time in, then people will happily give you a cut of the profit. Agree it up front, if things don’t sell, you haven’t lost anything.

  1. Call in some debts

If you’ve previously let people borrow money it can be extremely frustrating not to have it back when you’re in desperate need. Pick up the phone to people who owe you and ask for it back, you can appeal to people better nature by explaining your difficult position – or alternatively you can offer them a reduction if they pay you soon. It’s sometimes better to get half when you really need it instead of all money owning when you’re comfortable.

  1. Sell your skills

Selling items on online marketplaces isn’t the only option, if you have a skill you can sell that too. Think broadly, you don’t have to be a qualified professional offering labour, perhaps you could do odd-jobs? Help an elderly or disabled person with a one-off task they can’t manage alone? Could you offer someone a dog-walking or pet-sitting service? Or could you offer to iron clothes?

People are often short on time or people to turn to when jobs need doing, so making yourself available can see you bringing some money in quickly.

Got space?

If you’ve got space, you’ve potentially got money. A spare room can be turned into cash pretty quickly if you’re willing to take in a lodger or someone travelling. Look for resources online that match landlords with tenants and people looking for short term rooms.

Your valuable space isn’t limited to indoors either! If you’re in a good location renting your parking space or driveway can be lucrative too – and people will be willing to pay as soon as tomorrow if you can advertise in the right places. Got a shed or garage? People will happily pay you to store their items.

Act now to avoid repeats

It’s not a great feeling to be in need of money with an empty bank account. If you find yourself in this position frequently, it’s worth looking at putting together a weekly or monthly budget that will help you to stretch your funds long enough to avoid difficult patches.

10 Clever Tips to Help You Save Money While Travelling

Traveling is the kind of thing that pays dividends at all stages of life. It helps us get out of ourselves and brings our life and our world into clearer focus. If there’s a downside to traveling though it’s the cost.

With many people spending so much when the travel it often leads to debt problems with many people becoming ill with stress. This article is a really good example and shares 7 ways debt can make you sick. 

If you’re like most people every expense on your trip is either coming out of your savings or will have to be paid for at a later date when the credit card bills come in. Because of this enterprising travellers are always looking for ways to cut costs and below we’ve compiled a list of 10 clever ways to do just that and bring the cost of traveling back down to earth.

Traveling Doesn’t Have to be a Financial Ball and Chain

While there’s virtually no way to completely eliminate the cost of traveling there are ways the average traveller can reduce the cost by thinking outside the box and keeping their eyes and ears peeled for opportunities. Here are 10 travel hacks you can use to cut your costs while on the road or in the air.

Choose Affordable Destinations – If you’re determined to go to the world’s most expensive cities, good luck. You might find a deal here and there but you’re going to pay a premium on most things. Instead, take some time to investigate those corners of the map you normally pass over. Thailand is a favourite destination of budget travellers and so is India. What about Peru? Machu Picchu has to be seen to be believed.

Travel During Off Months – Every country has a high season for travellers. During this time of year prices on everything from hotels to restaurants to museums and more will be as much as 50% higher than the rest of the year. Arranging your holiday for times just outside the parameters of the high season can wind up saving you bunches of money and chances are the weather won’t be significantly different than it is during the peak tourist times.

Also Read: 10 Ways To Save Money While On Holiday

Explore Alternatives to Hotels – The internet has created an entire subgenre of the hospitality industry that simply didn’t exist 20 years ago. People the world over are opening their homes to travellers through services like HomeAway, Airbnb and Roomorama. If you’re truly the adventurous type you can use a hospitality exchange which sets you up with someone willing to let you stay on their couch for free with the expectation that one day you’ll return the favour. If none of that appeals to you the world is still fairly crawling with hostels.

Use Budget Airlines – The best known airlines can charge more because they have an established reputation for getting you from here to there safely and in relative comfort. People like predictability so they’re willing to pay more to fly these airlines. Low cost start-up carriers have no such reputation however. They just want to put butts in seats and are willing to offer deep discounts to do that. You can save hundreds of dollars on your flights by eschewing the big boys and flying with the unknowns.

Eat In – If you arranged your accommodations through Airbnb or some such service or you’re staying in a hostel there’s a good chance there will be a kitchen. Use it. You can save significant amounts of money by cooking your own meals whenever possible while on the road. Even if you’re in a hotel somewhere you can still save big by hitting up the local supermarket for salads and sandwich making materials and keeping them in the fridge in your room.

Eat Local – If you must eat out avoid tourist areas like the plague. Prices will be on average 25 to 50 percent more in these areas. Instead go off the beaten track and find where the locals eat. Even in the most popular tourist destinations like Paris you can find affordable meals if you veer from the Montmartre/Notre Dame/Eiffel Tower axis and explore the back streets. You’re also liable to discover hidden cultural gems on your way that you would never have seen if you’d stayed with the herd.

Take the Bus – Or the songtaew or the subway or just walk. Sure, it’s not glamorous but there’s typically no better way to get a feel for a location then by traveling the way the locals do. You’ll also save a ton of money as opposed to taking taxis or private coaches. Like seeking out local eateries this will challenge your communication skills and may be a bit nerve wracking at first, you’ll wind up with a much more comprehensive understanding of your locale and save a bundle in the process.

Free Museum Days! – The standard admission price to the Louvre is €15. However if you are under 26 you can get in free every Friday after 6 pm. On other days they offer free admission to a variety of visitors ranging from art students and teachers to those under 18. Most major museums in other cities offer similar perks so it just doesn’t make sense to show up during peak hours and pay the entrance fee without first investigating whether you actually have to.

Call Home with Skype – Are you still paying to call home while you travel? Why, when you can call anywhere for free using Skype? Sound too good to be true? Well it’s not. As long as both you and the person you call have Skype installed on their mobile phone/PC/laptop/iPad or whatever you’ll be able to talk to your heart’s content for nothing. Nada. Zippo. What could be better?

Use Credit Cards That Don’t Charge Foreign Transaction Fees – Not every card slaps you with big fees when you use them overseas. Do some homework and find a financial institution that offers cards with free foreign transactions and secure one before traveling.

Traveling doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might think. Put these handy tips to use while traveling and you’ll see more for less and have a more fulfilling experience to boot.

Bailiffs & Debt Collectors: What are Your Rights?

If you have built up debt over the years then you are likely to feel anxious about making payments on time. The main reason for this is that you will know if you fall behind on your payments then the bailiffs or debt collection companies may become involved.

These companies are organised by a creditor in order to recover debt from you. They seem to have a negative reputation, and seeing as they are often involved as a money recovery tool, this is understandable.

If you are struggling to make repayments the you may also want to consider an IVA or a Trust Deed if you live in Scotland. This article provides some great advice “How To Help Yourself If You Cant Afford To Pay The Bills. 

Worried that a bailiff or debt collector may become involved in your debt? Want to know more about your rights and the process to expect? Here is our helpful guide to understand more about what they may mean for you.

When may a bailiff come to your home?

There is a big difference between debt collectors and bailiffs. Debt collectors are sent to your home in order to enquire about your payment plans for a source of debt, however you do not have to let them into the property, and they are unable to take anything from your home.

A bailiff on the other hand is employed by the court as a form of debt collection. They are often involved in cases such as county court judgments, child maintenance arrears, unpaid tax or parking fines. A bailiff will visit your home only when you have received a final demand from the creditor in question, and you have been given a 7 day notice that they will be coming.

Do you have to let them in?

This is a common question that is asked regarding bailiffs. The answer is that you don’t have to let them into your property, however, you should be prepared for them to use forceful entry in some circumstances.

Forceful entry does not mean that they can push past you, or break your windows in order to get into your home. But they can break a door lock or remove a gate lock if they have been given the right of entry.

A bailiff is restricted on the time that they can gain access to your property, and they are only allowed to use regular entrances, which means that they cannot get in through open windows.

There is a bailiff on my doorstep, what can I do?

The first thing that you should make sure you do is ascertain whether they are indeed bailiffs or if they are debt collectors. This can be done by asking for their ID and proof of authorisation. You will also need to have had notice that they would be coming to the property.

It may be advisable not to open the door to them until you are definitely sure of their identity. If you need to open the door in order to speak to them or see their ID, then you should try to block their entrance as much as you can. Although, this may cause some tension in the situation, so always be respectful in what you are saying and the way that you are presenting yourself.

Bailiffs want to recover the money that is owed, and removal or property is always a last resort, therefore if you can work out a payment plan with them, then this is always going to be the preferred choice. Often, they will require a payment there and then. If you can do this then you should always make sure that they give you a receipt to prove that you made the payment, the rest of the money will then be paid directly to the creditor, and you will need to cover any charges made by the bailiff for their services.

If you cannot make a payment or agree on a payment plan, then the bailiffs are able to take your belongings. They can only take belongings that are owned by you and you need to be able to prove that they don’t belong to you rather than the other way round. They are not allowed to take items that you will need such as your white goods, clothes or any equipment that is related to your work.

Is there any way I can stop them from coming to my house?

As we have said, when a bailiff is coming to your property you will receive 7 days notice. It is important that you do not ignore this notice. The majority of creditors will want to resolve the issue as easily as quickly as possible, which means that you should speak to them about arranging a payment plan.

Explain your situation and come to an agreement on what you will be able to pay on a regular basis, this is the simplest way to prevent a visit from any bailiffs. However, you should remember that if you fall behind with any payments then you may find yourself expecting a visit from them again.

Finding out that the bailiffs are coming to your property can be worrying, but you need to remember that there are still things you can do in order to stop the process and ensure that you don’t have to lose your property. You won’t be able to bury your head in the sand and ignore the issue, but you can work with the creditor to come up with a solution that not only works for them, but is something that you can maintain for however long you need to keep up the payments.


What is an IVA? – All you need to know!

You may have heard the term ‘IVA’ used when people and companies talk about debt – but what is it? How would you go about getting one? And would it be the right solution for you?

What is it exactly?

IVA stands for ‘Individual Voluntary Agreement’ – it’s a legally binding agreement put into place by between an individual and companies they owe money to.

What does it do?

Essentially an IVA (Individual Voluntary Agreement) takes into consideration all the unsecured debt that a person owes and packages it together into one large sum. The person is supported to calculate exactly how much they can afford to pay toward that sum each month and an agreement is put into place to ensure this payment is made. Payments will normally be made for 5 years and when the final payment is made, any outstanding money is written off and you are debt free.

Who can get one?

If you think an IVA might be the right solution the first step is to talk to a professional company experienced in supporting people through the process. You will work with that company to assess your current financial situation and an affordable monthly repayment amount will be decided upon. When that’s been done, your creditors will be contacted and this monthly amount will be proposed – they can either be in favour of the agreement or against it.

What happens if they say no?

Often it doesn’t matter, the company or companies to which you owe the largest proportion of the money get the final say, so if most agree, the others are bound by the agreement anyway. Creditors often welcome an IVA, for them it means a repayment of at least some of the debt, which is often preferable to chasing an individual over a large period of time with no certainty that they will be able to recover their money.

So I just pay a set amount?

To begin with an amount is agreed upon based on your current financial position – but this can change. Part of the reason creditors agree to an IVA relates to the fact it’s based on affordability, so if you can afford a little more, the payment might increase – although it’s not just creditors that are protected, if your financial circumstances change and you can no longer afford the payment then it can be reduced.

Who puts an IVA in place?

An Insolvency Practitioner (often referred to as an IP) assesses your finances and draws up the legal agreement between yourself and the companies you owe money to. As professionals, IPs are trusted to do this fairly and impartially. When in place they oversee the agreement, making sure an affordable amount of money is being repaid and ensuring that creditors stick to the terms – which includes not adding any additional charges or interest.

Why do people choose an IVA?

No more calls: The IP deals with the creditors so you don’t have to.

Your house is safe: Court action is stopped, if you’re a homeowner this means your house is no longer at risk.

No more charges: When an amount is agreed by a creditor that’s it, they cannot add further charges or interest.

Agreed amount: You make the payment you can afford, not more.

Agreed timescales: Your agreement runs for the time agreed (normally 5 years) – after that your debt is gone.

Continuing to struggle with out-of-control debts might feel like it’s the only option or the right thing to do – but it could be leading you toward a far worse situation; including bankruptcy or repossession of your home. If you think an IVA could be the right path for you speaking to a professional could lift an enormous weight from your shoulders and protect.

How to Save Up

All of us dream of saving enough money to accomplish something we have always wanted. Some of us dream of going on a holiday cruise abroad. Some want to get that dream house they have always wanted. Some dream of living a life comfort in their twilight years.

Whatever your goal is, saving money is often easier said than done. This article seeks to give you some concrete advice to help you save money.

Also Read: 10 Budgeting Tips For Low Income Families 

Set a Goal 

First things first, you need to have a concrete number in mind. This will serve as your target, your goal. This is actually a crucial step as it will give you something to strive for. Otherwise, your dream vacation will only remain in your dreams.

Check Your Finances

You need to rein in all financial documents in your possession. This is vital so that you can have a concrete idea on the state of your finances. It will also give you a timeframe for your financial goals.

Make a Budget

Now that you know where you stand, it is now a matter of planning how to get to your goals. Making a budget is simple enough – juxtapose your income flow.

Making A Personal Budget

In order to properly manage one’s finances, it is crucial that each individual crafts his or her own personal budget. It is probably one of the most useful financial tools out there. Luckily, making a budget is easy enough that anyone can do it.

Budgeting is also one of the best ways to keep yourself our of debt, we all like to spend our money and buy nice things, however sometimes this does lead us to spending more than we make. This is covered is a recent article called The Psychology of Debt which is also worth a read.

This article presents the simple steps you need to do to make a personalized budget.

Getting the Full Financial Picture

Before making the budget itself, you will first need to have a grasp on your financial situation. After all, your budget will serve as your financial blueprint. So, like with any plan, you will want your financial blueprint to be as accurate as possible.

Making the Budget

In order to make the budget itself, you will need to make a two-column table. One for your income flow, and one for all your expenses. Make sure that you deduct taxes from your income so that you get the actual amount.

This should be as detailed as possible. List down all your expenses, including food, rent, and utilities. By determining the amount of money coming in and going out, you will be able to determine expenditures you can trim or cut out altogether.

Do the budget regularly and make the necessary adjustments for every cycle. More importantly, follow it!