Livewire's challenge...

Hi guys,
Being new to MSE, let me tell you a little bit about myself and what my plan of action is...

Having been in full-time employment at my current position for almost 3 years (and in total almost 9) I've recently been informed that my office is due to shut (following loss of business) and all positions there are to be made redundant. Not an unusual situation to be found in during the current climate I know but with financial responsibilities such as a mortgage, I realise that without a job especially, I should find as many ways as possible to save/make money through the popular methods as described of MSE.
On a occupational perspective, I'm looking at kickstarting a freelance career (I'm in the graphic design trade) but until I can get the ball rolling with that, I'm hoping to spend a lot of my spare time tackling my own challenge of moneysaving through the likes of cashback, online surveys, ebay, matched betting, haggling, etc.
I've yet to decide on what challenge I'm going to set myself (I will reveal this at a later date) but I do however know that day 1 will be September 1st 2009.
Similarly to a lot of you on the 'How much have you saved' forum, I'm going to be keeping a weekly diary of my progress and I hope that many of you can join me in support.


  • Ok, so roughly 3 weeks until 'the off'. I can't wait to get started!
    I've been spending a bit of my time reading through other threads on here and I have to admit that I'm drawing a lot of inspiration from some of you that have undertaken similar challenges. In particular, I've taken a lot of interest into U4EA's thread "From -£1,523.00 to +£50,000"and I can echo most of what he says.

    For me, being employed by a company and suffering a frustrating lack of progression within the company regardless of my efforts, I've become tired of having a lack of control for my destiny so I can see nothing but positivity flooding from the changes I'm facing ahead of me and a window of opportunity that I must seize. I want to know what it feels like to hold my destiny in my own hands and to be honest I've already started planning.

    Naturally, the most crucial factor to me will be ensuring that I keep myself busy at all times. I think it's extremely important to have to work for your money in order to gain a sense of personal achievement - and this is obviously something that will play an important part of my ongoing progress.

    Now of course, I will be ultimately be aiming to get myself back in employment as this will generate a consistent flow of cash (hopefully through the freelancing route as I explained earlier) so my priorities to begin with will be to ensure the skills I'll be required to have are razor sharp and my design porfolio is re-vamped and the daily job search will be on-going.

    Aside from this though, my side project will be based around saving as much over the following 12 months as possible.
    As ridiculously optimistic as this may sound, I am going to attempt to generate/save more money through any legal method possible over the following 12 months as I would if I were still in my job.
    Fail, I may do but at the end of the day (or year in this case) what I've go to consider is that however little I save, I'll be in a better position financially than if I hadn't attempted this challenge at all.

    Shortly, I will be noting my overall target figure along with a monthly break down of what I target compared to what I would usually earn after tax and N.I. and then from September 1st, it's game on.
  • I've now got a target figure for the 12 months I will be tackling this challenge (which is based on my last 12 monthly wage after tax & N.I. is deducted).
    I will be breaking the figure down into weekly chunks to make the process more easier to manage.
    The breakdown as follows:

    WEEKLY: £465.48

    MONTHLY: £1861.90

    OVERALL: £22,342.80

    As I've already mentioned, to begin with without any full-time employment this will initially be a near impossible task but my plan is to fill my vacant time (whilst I'm searching for freelance work) with a mix of money saving strategies (as listed previously) and hopefully with the addition of some sporadic employment, the total amount raised will be closer to my target figure.
  • So, the start of my challenge begins tomorrow and I'm ready for action.
    It's so touching to see how many people are there for me when i'm down with no job so I'm not short of ideas for saving and making money.
    But before any of that I need to lay some essential foundations.

    Securing the payment protection on my mortgage and signing on at the job centre are my priorities. Any forms of benefit and financial support that I can get which I am entitled to are obviously going to be the first things I deal with.
    So to begin with I have a form to fill out to return to my mortgage lender followed by an appointment at the job centre tomorrow to get the ball rolling for job seekers allowance. In total it should hopefully provide me around £1100 per month (I will confirm this amount at a later date and all will be recorded as part of my income each month).

    Once all of this is taken care of I will then be setting my sights on refining my portfolio and brushing up on my professional skills as I potentially have some freelance work available from next week with a local company to hopefully give me my first client. If it does materialize, it's a great start as it will boost my income a lot faster than any other form of money generation that I'll be using along the way.

    Now in order to keep me fresh and to provide me with some balance and variation I won't want to spend all my time doing this so the next task I'll be hoping to tackle is getting my head around matched betting. I've printed off the introductory guide which I'm in the process of thoroughly reading through so hopefully it won't be too long before I start with that.

    Aside from that, anything goes really. Cashback sites, ebay, bootsales, cash4clicks, surveys, handyman services I can offer people..... whatever methods can provide me some form of financial return will be looked into.

    So, with that I'll sign off until tomorrow when the big push begins.
    (I'll be noting my starting bank balances then).
  • Well although day 1 has failed to net me any cash, the appointment at the job centre for job seekers allowance went smoothly and I'm due back there tomorrow for my first claim. So that already guarantees me £64.30 per week. Even though it cant really be classed as money earned, it is a contributed alternative to my normal monthly wage prior to unemployment so it's only fair that I include it.... if I'm entitled to it, it's going down!! :D

    Following that, the rest of my day was generally taken up by redesigning my CV (the visual aesthetics of a CV in my industry are very important).

    In all honesty, I'm not expecting the rest of this week to provide me with a great deal of time for money saving schemes so I'll keep the updates to a minimum. So barring any major 'breakthrough' news my updates will generally be coming once a week, logging a broken down list of money saved.
    I'm expecting (and hoping) for this to be a situation that starts slowly and builds gradually momentum so apologies if my money saving progress to begin with appears somewhat pathetic to begin with! :eek:

    Finally as I mentioned in my previous post, a log of my current bank balances to track progress:

    Barclays: +£1,080.41
    N&P: +£192.78

    My first week has come to a close and although my money saving hasn't been a great success, I have been a bit of a busy bee in sorting out other things in relation to my unemployment situation.
    The highlights this week are as follows:

    • Signed on at the job centre
    • Recieved, filled out & returned an unemployment claim form to my mortgage provider*
    • Redesigned and updated my CV
    • Began an overhaul of my work portfoilo
    • Registered with a wide range of cashback websites
    • Registered with a wide range of survey sites
    • Reading up on matched betting

    * Technically I could list my mortgage protection money as income but considering the claim is in the final stages of being processed, i would be tempting fate so I'm just going to keep that out of the picture for now!


    Job seekers allowance: £64.30

    Cashback pounds: £25.12
    (signing up to 18 websites)

    Cashback points: 1676
    (signing up to 7 websites)

    Freebies: £0.79
    (itunes single of the week)

    Grocery savings: £0.89
    (Nisa promotions)

    Restaurant Savings: £40.00 (approx)
    (La Tasca - good food, terrible service, refused to pay bill having walked in with a 50% off voucher)

    Pounds: £131.10
    Points: 1676

    Now 2 weeks into my challenge and I'm beginning to make some progress, although I'm a long way adrift of my target figure and I haven't had much luck with employment.
    As with week 1, a lot of my time has been taken up by work based activities and preparation for employment/self employment.
    I'm still waiting for the imminent response from my mortgage provider with regards to my mortgage protection and until I get that, I'll be holding off on opening a new bank account for matched betting as my income is very unstable at the moment to say the least, plus the fact I've been a bit lacklustre with reading up on it anyway so I don't expect to make a start on that just yet.
    The highlights this week are as follows:

    • Continued overhaul of my work portfolio
    • Designed & ordered a batch of business cards for self employment venture
    • Spent some time working on software tutorials to enhance my skills
    • Made a start on redesigning my business website
    • Referred family members to cashback websites
    • Sold surplus goods at a bootsale


    Job seekers allowance: £64.30

    Cashback pounds: £6.96
    (cleared referrals)

    Cashback points: 180
    (cleared referrals)

    Freebies: £7.29
    (itunes single of the week - £0.79)
    (Tesco sim card - £1.00)
    (Orange sim card with £5 free credit - £6.00)
    (Dove moisturiser sample - £0.50)

    Grocery savings: £15.86
    (Tesco discounts/promotions)
    Nisa promotions)

    Bootsale takings: £97.60

    Pounds: £192.01
    Points: 180

    A relatively quiet week this week in terms of money saving, what with a busy weekend away from home and most of my week has been spent dividing my time between developing my business website and contacting no less than 118 local businesses for work. I've also recieved my business cards so I'm well on the way to having all of the essentials for starting up a business complete.
    Good news on the work front aswell as one of the local companies I contacted wants me to freelance for them for a while. Some of the work may be quite challenging so I'm going to pay a few visits to learn their way of working before pay can be considered but I see that as a great benefit to me as its the best way of expanding my skillsets to make freelancing a success.
    Still waiting for the news on my mortgage protection though - hopefully won't be too much longer.

    The highlights this week are as follows:
    • Contacted 118 local design and print companies for work
    • Completed the redesign of my business website
    • Received business cards in the post
    • Received an approach from a local design company for freelance work


    Job seekers allowance: £64.30

    Freebies: £1.99
    (itunes single of the week - £0.79)
    (Money off Anadin Liquifast - £1.00)
    (Money off Weight Watchers desserts - £0.20)

    Grocery savings: £6.21
    (Nisa promotions)
    (Discount on aftershave)

    Pounds: £72.50
    Points: 0

    This week saw a real push in the right direction for me in one sense but a minor setback in another.
    I started some part-time freelance work towards the end of the week after being told at the job centre that I can actually work 16 hours without it affecting my JSA claim which is a huge relief because I also spoke to my mortgage provider this week to check up on the progress of my payment protection claim.... I was informed that there is actually a 30 'retro' period following the 30 excess period before I can receive any financial support. Although it does state this in the handbook, i did at least expect this to be explained to me through correspondence letters. So some poor communication from them in my eyes. How they expect every unemployed individual to keep up with there mortgage repayments for 2 months without any reasonable income is anyones guess.
    But despite this drama, I'm am at least keeping myself busy with some paid work.

    The highlights this week are as follows:
    • Contacted 49 london design and print companies for work
    • Started part-time work at a local design company


    Job seekers allowance: £64.30

    Work earnings: £67.50

    Cashback pounds: £3.00
    (Cashinco - £3.00)

    Cashback points: 41
    (Loyalty Shopper - 41)

    Freebies: £10.98
    (itunes single of the week - £0.79)
    (Garnier Pro-X Double Eye Care Sachet - £0.10)
    (OXY face wash sample - £0.10)
    (personalised calendar - £9.99)

    Grocery savings: £3.49
    (Nisa promotions)
    (online book purchase discount)

    Pounds: £149.27
    Points: 41

    Into my second month already (how time flies). Some encouraging results this week. I've managed to get a full weeks work (inkeeping with the 16 hours I can work although I believe this weeks JSA will have to be voided as its a £1 for £1 deduction for every £1 you earn...tbc). I've also managed to make a considerable saving on some bills. What started off as a courtesy call from TalkTalk developed into a tug-of-war between them and BT - what companies will do these days just to get customers. This recession does have some benefits!

    The highlights this week are as follows:
    • Continued part-time work at local design company
    • Made a major saving on my landline telephone by switching providers


    Job seekers allowance: £64.30 (tbc)

    Work earnings: £244.50

    Misc earnings: £15.00

    Freebies: £2.79
    (itunes single of the week - £0.79)
    (Felix kitten pack - £1.00)
    (Whiskas kitten pouch - £1.00)

    Grocery savings: £7.20
    (Tesco promotions)

    Bills savings: £147.03
    (Landline telephone saving (annual))

    Pounds: £480.82
    Points: 0
  • Just found your thread livewire! well done, sounds as though you are giving it your all so really happy for you. Keep going at it and you will get there.

    Hope some of your motivation rubs off on me.... i'm supposed to be setting up a part time business with my sister and we're both just faffing around at the moment!
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