12 Jun

Is A Smart Phone Really A Smart Idea?

A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to spend 9 days in the Canary Islands, soaking up the sun and I really enjoyed the time away from my desk.

I almost always take my phone with me wherever I go. It’s only a cheap and cheerful Blackberry Curve, but it gives me access to email and web when I “need” it, but for this particular holiday, the phone didn’t come with me. It was never really my intention to leave the thing at home, I’d always thought I’d have it with me so I could keep on top of things with my business and projects etc. But the decision not to take it was kinda forced upon me as by default, Roaming is not enabled on mobiles from Virgin Media, meaning the phone just won’t work abroad.  So with no roaming set up, and the thought of outrageous call and data charges being clocked up on my bill if I did get it enabled, I decided it was best to just leave the thing behind. I would in theory though have access to email etc in the evenings via my tablet, so I wouldn’t be totally disconnected.

Having no phone for those 9 days was, I have to say… unusual! It felt very weird. I first noticed it standing queuing in Costa Coffee in Birmingham Airport, while my Fiance and Daughter had wandered off to another shop. The first thing I normally do when I’m waiting on my own is check my phone. 9 times out of 10, there’s nothing new, or worth even looking at, but I always check it. Maybe it’s a comfort thing… or just an addiction.  But this time, it was weird! I had no phone… nothing to pass the time. It was like I’d been hit by a wrecking ball!

I looked around me, and all I could see were people on their phones… Heads looking down, engrossed in their own digital world. I could count the number of people without a phone or other device on one hand! It was crazy! The whole world seemed to be permanently engaged in some kind of virtual existence… Not one was having a real conversation or taking notice of the world around them.

This continued on holiday too. The longer I was without my phone, the more I began to really notice what other people where doing. There we were, on this beautiful, hot, sunny island in the middle of the Atlantic, with the sea, beautiful blue skies and fantastic surroundings and so many people were still engrossed in facebook and twitter, completely missing the amazing world around them, in favour of living in an electronic world on a “Smart Phone”, that didn’t even exist a few years ago. Yes in some ways it’s amazing, but come on… This planet is a fantastic place to live… Who the heck would want to miss it?

The more I noticed other peoples behaviour, the more it rang alarm bells with me too. This was what I’d been doing… and it made me feel quite embarrassed to be honest. The amount of time I’ve spent glued to my phone and missed out on conversations with friends, family and loved ones. Checked my email constantly looking for that nugget of something to put a smile on my face like a notification of product sale, or an ebay auction ending etc. Continuously pushing buttons in the hope of winning a prize, when all around me are prizes galore (not literally, but you know what I mean).

As the holiday went on, the more I came to the conclusion that a Smart Phone might be “Smart” by nature, but it might not be a “Smart” idea from a Living Life point of view. Do we really need to be that connected? Do we really need access to email all the time? Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc… Yes it’s nice to share stuff, but how often do you check your Facebook feed, looking for something exciting, something to like, something to entertain you for a few milliseconds, then after 5 or 10 mins of looking down your feed you realise “hmm… not much happening”? I’ve done it. A lot!

At the end of the holiday, I’d really become accustomed to not having instant access, and it actually felt fantastic. Liberating in fact. I was now more “connected” with the world around me than with the online world and it felt brilliant.

Returning home, I really didn’t want to even bother turning the phone on! I made a bit of a pact with myself to really get to grips with what I used the phone for, how long I spent on it and when etc. It really wasn’t as important a thing in my life as I’d come to believe and decided to put a bit of an action plan together to really cut my usage down, and allow me to be more present in real life. Some of it may seem a bit drastic, but it’s 2 weeks since we came home and I’m still going strong! I still have the ability to connect  to the web should I need it but for the most part, it’s totally unnecessary.

  1. Turn off Data completely! Yep, I switched off data access on my phone 100%. Now the phone is… erm… just a phone! No web access by default. If I really need it, I can turn it back on.
  2. Email, Facebook, Ebay and all the other things can wait until I get home. There’s never really anything that urgent. If it’s life threatening, everyone that matters has my number.
  3. Turn off email on the phone.
  4. Turn off all visual and audible notifications (except for sms… sms is still enabled in case family need me etc)
  5. Have a serious cull of my Facebook timeline… Less stuff to see means less time spent on there and more time doing stuff that really matters.

I honestly thought I’d struggle with this, but I haven’t at all. If anything I’ve become more aware of just how negatively, maybe, smart phones are affecting the world and society. No one seems to live in the real world any more. Go and sit in a public place when you have a minute and people watch. Turn your own phone off or even… leave it at home. Count how many people pass you in 10 minutes & how many of them have their heads buried in their phones… It might just shock you!

20 Aug

The preparation for moving begin with the smallest step…

Moving to the coast seems like a huge step at the moment… It’s going to be one heck of a journey for sure, but as the old saying goes, every journey begins with a single step, so we’re taking baby steps towards making our move, to build momentum over the coming months.

De-cluttered: The result of 4 hours work! A job well done.

One thing we still seriously have to do is declutter… There’s little point in taking junk we’ll never use with us when we move. Why pay removal men to cart boxes of stuff we don’t need to the other side of the country? Read More

25 Jun

Paying your credit card off with your savings – Sometimes you gotta be bold!

For us this has been quite a difficult one. This year hasn’t been the greatest as far as money is concerned. Things have been tight at times to say the least, but we have managed to put aside about £30 a week into a pretty standard savings account. Since about January, the £30 plus anything else we could lay our hands on, has been squirrelled away into that savings account, amounting to just over £2000 up until yesterday. Not a bad achievement at all I don’t think.

Now back on New Years Eve, Tina, Elizabeth & I wrote on a note on a Chinese Lantern, a short note, asking to be personally debt free in 6 months, which we both agreed would be the end of June 2012. In a flash of inspiration and alarm this Saturday, it dawned on me… we had just 7 days to be debt free and we still had £3124.80 on our personal credit card! There’s no way we could manage that!

After much discussion, deliberation and thought, we went through every savings account we could find, to try and get our wish to come true. With the money we’d saved and some that was sitting dormant in a couple of other accounts, we could just do it. It would wipe out our safety net once again, but we decided…

…Let’s Go For It!

So yesterday we took that bold step. Why? Because the interest on the credit card is WAY higher than that we’re earning on our savings… So paying it off would save us £100’s if not £1000’s if we only paid it off a little at a time like we were doing.

Plus, there’s nothing like a little motivation! If ever there’s a reason to get the stuff I’ve got stored in the garage cleaned up and sold, this is it… If ever there’s a reason to work smarter and bring in more money… this is it. No safety net is a dangerous thing, but sometimes you’ve got to fly by the seat of your pants, take a chance, and have faith in whatever you believe in, yourself, your family, God… Whatever your faith, you’ve got to believe you can do it.

So has our wish come true?

In a fashion yes… Debt free in 6 months… Done!

Maybe not in the way we thought we’d do it, so maybe we need to be a little more specific with next years wish. But in a day or so’s time when the credit card company confirms receipt of the payment, we shall be debt free. Now the massive challenge comes in building that safety net once again… £30 at a time, even £1 at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so if we keep focused, all pull in the same direction, we can do it.

What’s happening to the credit card now?

It’s going to be locked away in the drawer… where it belongs.

12 Jun

Get Fit For Summer – Day 1

So we have just 7 weeks now until we go on holiday and as usual… it’s kicked in… The desire to look half-decent on the beach so when we don our Wet Suits my Fiance and I don’t look like a pair of Walrus’s! It’s time to start a little hard work, watch what we eat and get more active to try and shed those few extra pounds and possibly gain a few pounds of muscle in the process.

I’m starting pretty easy, but we’re going for quick and intense training over the coming weeks. Sprints, weights & body-weight exercises will be the order of the day, so here goes.

A note of nutrition during this 7 week period: For the first two weeks I’ll be eating what I normally eat, but being mindful of what’s going in. Sticking to wholegrains, minimising the bread and wheat intake though, and eating plenty of fruits and salads. Still having a blowout though at the weekend with the usual crisps and chocolate. Just not overdoing it. We’re not starving ourselves. The idea is to get our Metabolisms boosted to try and shift the extra pounds, not starve ourselves!

Day 1 Workout

Gently easing into it, these are done at your own pace, throughout the day, but putting plenty of effort in as you do them. Each of these exercises can be fitted into your working day with ease as they only take a few minutes.

  • 10 Pull-ups
  • 3×10 Chair dips
  • 2x 100 Metre Sprints – Flat out, no holds barred
  • 4 minute belly buster
  • Set an interval timer app on your phone for 12 x 20 second intervals. Then do 20 secs on each of the following. No rest in between.
    Mountain Climbers / Plank / Crunches (putting the rest in between). Pushing hard during each work period to get as many in as possible.
02 Jun

Can running make you fat?

I was reading an article in the paper yesterday about exercise and the various conflicting theories about how much and which type of exercises you need to do to actually burn body fat. We recently took up running, primarily in the hope of shedding a few pounds before our summer holiday, but also to improve our level of cardiovascular fitness.

6 weeks on, how do things look? Well, both Tina and I have been running 3 times a week for between 20 and 30 minutes per session and the routes we’ve taken have been varied to include running up and down hills, grass, asphalt and gravel. Our general fitness levels have increased considerably a we can both now run for the full session holding a conversation, and neither of us are ready to completely collapse from exhaustion on our return. Recovery time is also far reduced too, with the whole experience leaving us both energised afterwards and ready to face the rest of the days challenges.

Weight loss wise though, it’s a different matter. Neither of us have seen any weight loss at all. In fact I think I’ve put on a pound or two. So the question is what do you have to do to get the burn that body fat? According to the article and the guys at R and O Group it’s to do with the bodies reaction to prolonged exercise or at least exercise that stresses the body out too much. Stress through exercise causes your body to produce the stress hormone, Cortisol. In short, this puts your body into Fat Storage mode! Not something we’d expect from exercising.

Change of approach

A change of direction is therefore required. In their Weapons of Fat Destruction post on their blog Ruben and Ozzie recommend Sprinting over jogging or running for stimulating fast fat burning. Here’s what they recommend…

6 Sprints a day, 6 Days a week. Combined with healthy eating and some resistance exercise which can be done at home using just bodyweight – Push ups, Pull ups, Sit Ups, Squats etc.

Sprinting Program

Work (sprint) Rest No movement
20 seconds 20 secs
20 seconds 15 secs
20 seconds 10 secs
20 seconds 20 secs
20 seconds 15 secs
20 seconds 10 secs

They also reckon that fantastic results can be achieved in just 4 to 6 weeks too… so we’re going to give it a go, see how we get on!

15 May

Learning to Run!

Believe it or not it’s taken me ages to come up with a title for this post! Do you really learn to run? I guess you do.

I’ve never been a sporty person, always dabbled with a bit of weight training, the occasional game of squash, the odd swim here and there, but nothing serious. Anyway, last month, Tina suggested we started running, with a view to maybe taking part in a 5k run, then maybe a 10k or even a half marathon at some point. We both seem to have reached a point in our lives where our health is of real concern. Ensuring we’re on this planet for as long as possible to support our beautiful daughter and give her the start she needs in life is incredibly important to us. So getting fitter through running seemed like a good idea.

Starting Slowly

We tried running this time last year, and we did the usual – This is easy, flat-out legging it as fast as we could and I think we both managed to keep it up for a week, two weeks max. This time, we started slowly:

Walk for 3 minutes

Jog for 2 minutes

Repeat 3 times

Sticking to a pace that’s comfortable when jogging worked well. Just fast enough to get your heart pumping, but not so fast you’re ready to collapse at the end of each 2 minute session.

One Month On

We’re both really please with our progress to say the least! We’ve progressed 3 mins walk – 2 mins jog to a constant 25 minute jog at a very reasonable pace indeed! I don’t think either of us have ever ran that far in our lives. Plus our recovery time is now down to less than a minute when we do decide to push ourselves which is incredible.

There’s little or no weight loss yet, not that either of us need to lose a great deal, we just need to tone. But we’re certainly seeing the benefits in our overall fitness.

Golden Rules

  • Do Start slowly
  • Do Little and often – Do the above regime 3 times a week
  • Don’t go out and buy new running gear

An old T shirt and Joggers will be fine. And wear your most comfortable, old trainers. When you’ve proved to yourself that you’re going to stick at it, maybe 2 – 3 months in, go invest in some decent running gear. Splash out too early and there’s an increased chance that swanky new running vest and those high-tech trainers will just gather dust until you decide they can go to the charity shop.

Prove to yourself you can stick at it, then reward yourself with new gear when the time is right.

13 Mar

Kicking The Information Habit

Ok so I’ve never smoked, and don’t drink hardly anything at all these days. In fact Tina and I shared our first can of beer since Christmas, last weekend… Note: Shared! But that doesn’t mean other addictions don’t creep into our lives. I spend a crazy amount of time each day checking emails, facebook, twitter etc, just looking to see what else is happening, if I’ve made any sales of my products, seeing if anyone wants any design work doing, looking for offers… all manner of things, and all stuff that can really wait until later. Sometimes I’d check my email several times in the space of 10 minutes, just to see if anyone else had responded to a post on facebook etc! Information addiction is eating up my time!

Last week Tina randomly stuck an elastic band round my wrist and told me to flick it hard every time I nagged at my daughter to do something, and do you know what, I was amazed how quickly it’s worked. Partly because it really hurts, and partly because I consciously and subconsciously wanted to make that change.

So while keeping the band on there for that reason, I’ve also included Email, SMS and Facebook checking at times other than 9am, 12 noon and 3pm in there too, hopefully to help curb my Information Addiction.

I have plans, hopes and dreams, but if I look in detail at what I’m doing on a daily basis, I find that checking email and Facebook etc is really eating into my day. Much of my posting to Facebook pages is automated, so there is really no need for me to check things more than maybe once or twice a day.

Create an Alternative Focus

Now every time I feel the urge to check my mail, as well as flicking the band, I also get up and do something else for a minute or two to help kill off the urge:

  • Do some exercise – Grab the pull-up bar and do 10 pull-ups or dips, do star jumps, squats or push ups
  • Write a quick blog post or diary entry
  • Tidy the desk, do some shredding
  • Drink a glass of water
  • Go for a few minutes walk in the garden
  • Make something – Anything…

Whatever you chose, make sure you replace the information addiction with something beneficial to you. Those all important emails will still be there when the allotted time comes to check your mail. The world won’t end if you don’t respond to a Facebook conversation, and your twitter followers won’t stop following you just because you don’t tweet every 2 minutes… Life still goes on, and we managed pretty well before they existed.

This blog post wouldn’t have even existed if it wasn’t for me having the urge to go check email!

Grab an elastic band… Flick it hard next time you check your email, make it hurt, and enjoy the freedom, time, and clearer mind you create as a result.

27 Feb

How to make your own butter

Ever since we went semi-primal with out diet about a year or so ago, we switched from Margarine, which is full of all manor of weird and nasty man-made junk, to butter, a far more healthy choice, even though the media would have you believe otherwise.

How To Make Your Own Butter From Cream

How To Make Your Own Butter From Cream

Butter is made from milk, something we humans have been consuming in various forms for thousands of years. Margarine contains sunflower oil and all manner of other derived fats and ingredients that we truly have no real clue as to what effect they have on our bodies!

Well one feature in this years series of Super Scrimpers on Channel 4 caught my eye… Making your own butter. All you need is a pot of double cream or whipping cream (heavy cream for our American/Canadian readers), and an clean, empty jam jar. Now here in the UK double cream is quite pricey and if you’re looking for an economy route to making your own butter, then it may not be the best way, but it does taste far better than margarine, contains none of the dodgy ingredients or even the preservatives found in shop bought butter.

What you need?

  • A small pot of double cream
  • Jam Jar
  • Elbow Grease


Pour the cream into your jam jar, about 1.5 to 2″ deep is plenty. Put the lid on and fasten it tightly. Then start shaking the jar… It takes a while, but after about 2 or 3 mins the cream should reach a whipped state. Continue shaking the jar… It gets harder to shake as the cream stiffens, but persevere. I find rotating the jar round and turning it upside down every so often helps keep it moving.

As the cream reaches room temperature, it starts to become easier to work with… Continue shaking. All of a sudden you’ll notice a change in the sound the cream makes as it slops back and forth in the jar. The fat in the cream will eventually start to separate out, forming pure butter, and you’ll be left with a watery milk liquid known as buttermilk. Continue shaking for another minute or so to get as much buttermilk out of the butter as possible.

Then pour the buttermilk into a suitable container and refrigerate for later use (It’s lovely added to regular milk on cereal etc and it contains tons of calcium!).

Fill the jam jar containing the butter up with cold water and give it a good shake again, to wash out any further butter milk. I find squashing the butter in the jar with the back of a spoon helps get as much butter milk out as possible. It’s important to remove as much buttermilk as possible as if it’s left in, the butter will quickly turn rancid.

Rinse the butter several times using this method until the water runs clear. Then transfer the butter to a suitable dish or container and it’s ready to use immediately. Freshly made butter will keep unrefrigerated for a couple of days, or up to a week in the fridge. To store it for longer, just pop it into the freezer.

Most importantly, enjoy your own freshly made butter! Especially on freshly made scones with homemade black currant jam!

17 Feb

Frugal Food Shopping – Hit That Reduced Counter!

Over the past few months the cost of living has continued to rise, and one of the most notable areas where we’ve seen increased prices is in our Food bill. We don’t eat out often, certainly not as much as we used to and my rather talented Fiance, Tina is cooking pretty much everything we eat from scratch so we know exactly what we’re putting into our bodies, but the price of the raw ingredients is just going up and up.

During the spring, summer and autumn, we try and grow as much as we can ourselves as far as Salad crops, fruit and vegetable are concerned, but in the winter, our frozen stocks diminish and we have no choice but to buy from the supermarket.

So this past month, we’ve been on a bit of a mission to minimize our food bill as much as possible and there’s one particular way we’ve managed to decimate the amount we spend rather dramatically… Buying from the reduced counter.

Ok, maybe it’s being cheap… or just Yuk… But stop and think for a minute… Our local supermarket reduces a ridiculous amount of bread, normally two days or more prior to the “Best Before” or Display until date (and we all know those dates mean pretty much nothing), and the reductions are massive… Warburtons loaves reduced from £1.60 to £0.80p or lower… And the stuff is fresher than the bread we normally get delivered from Tesco when we shop online!

Fruit and veg is another big one… Huge bags of spinach at less than 1/3 their original price, celery, aubergines… The savings are phenomenal! Ok, it may not last as long as if you bought from the new stock that’s just been put out, but if you buy and use it that day, or with bread and fruit, pop it in the freezer, you’ll save a fortune.

We now have a months supply of bread in our freezer and it all cost less than £5… saving us at least £5 if not more! And the savings we’ve made on meat for Sunday roasts etc is just crazy.

Golden Rules To Pocket the difference

Next time you’re in the supermarket, drop by the reduced counter and see what’s there, you’ll be amazed I can assure you. But to make sure we don’t get distracted, we’ve got a few golden rules we go by…

  • Only buy the things you would normally eat. Or if you’re tempted by something you wouldn’t normally chose, check the ingredients for additives and other man made nasties.
  • Don’t buy more than you need. If you can’t freeze it or eat it before it goes off, don’t buy it. You don’t want to end up binning it as that negates the whole point of the exercise.
  • Save the difference – Make a note of the money you’ve saved and put it to one side. Put the money you would have normally spent into a coin jar or transfer it to a savings account if you paid electronically. You’ll be amazed how quickly the savings add up.
  • If you’re buying reduced meat, make sure you use it on the day or get it put straight in the freezer.
  • Lastly, be sure the price is a real reduction… Could you get the normal, full price product cheaper anywhere else. It’s unlikely, but you never know. Supermarkets are crafty!

Next time you’re in the supermarket, be crafty… go check out that reduced counter and see what you can find. Get over the use-by date thing and use your noddle. If it looks ok, smells ok and tastes ok… 99.999% of the time it is…

Have you got any other ideas for Frugal food shopping? Feel free to post them in the comments below and share them with other readers…

25 Jan

Forget 5 A Day – More Like 1 A Day

Before you get your knickers in a twist I’m not talking fruit and veg, I’ll talking Junk and Clutter!

Following on from my last post, which was I while ago now I admit but, on the subject of de-cluttering, a good, full-on purge of clutter and junk every now and again is very good for the soul, but if you’ve got a lot of clutter to get through, keeping up a routine of 15 to 30 minute de-clutterfests can be pretty hard going. Forming any good habit is hard… We all know bad ones are easy don’t we. Well, I’ve found the best solution for me is to do it in really small steps.

Micro-Steps to a clutter free house

  • Choose just one item or 1 small pile of paperwork to go through each day.
  • If it’s a pile of stuff, make it small enough to be dealt with in under 5 mins.
  • Quickly decide if the item in your hand or in front of you is worth keeping.
  • Choose what to do with it:
  1. Keep it – Put it in its proper place
  2. Flog It – Check to see if it’s worth anything to anyone by looking at the completed auctions on Ebay for similar items. If it’s worth something, flog it and put the money to good use paying off a debt or towards a holiday. Every little helps!
  3. Gift It – Advertise it on Freecycle or Freegle and gift it to someone who could use it
  4. Recycle It – Put it in your recycling bin or take it to your local recycling bank

Choosing just 1 item a day means you’re not taking hours out your day to do an extra task. While the kettle is boiling, open the Man Drawer in the kitchen and get rid of 1 thing you’ve not used for ages.

Keep it up for 30 days and you’ll be amazed how effective this technique is!

24 Oct

Making Time To Clear Your Clutter

In the previous house we lived in, we longed for more space. There was never enough room to store our stuff. Room to work on DIY projects properly. Room for hobbies.

I always wanted a garage to do “bloke” stuff in. My Dad’s always had one, and I wanted one!

In December 2009 we were fortunate enough to move to a bigger house where we now have room for all these things, and it had a garage. But guess what… over the past, almost 2 years, that garage has become so full of clutter and junk, you can’t move. There’s no room for hobbies, DIY stuff or fun things… It hasn’t become cluttered over night, it’s a gradual happening that’s bugged me now for many months and I’ve just never been able to find the time to get stuck in to clearing it.

Overlaying helped me clear my clutter!

Last week was Half term here, and I normally make an extra effort to get up nice and early to do a few hours work before the rest of the house awakens. That way we can get on with family things during the days and I’m still productive as far as work is concerned too. But last week, maybe with the darker mornings drawing in, I found it harder to haul myself out of bed and slept through the alarm on at least two occasions.

Instead of beating myself up about it though, or starting a work related task I wouldn’t be able to finish in the 30 mins or so I had before the rest of the family woke up, I decided to head into the garage and get stuck in!

The Result?…

Just 3 x 30 minute sessions de-cluttering the space resulted in me now being able to get access to my tools, the freezer, my hobby projects and most importantly, our three pushbikes, which we immediately made use of last week too!

Why the clutter amassed in this space?

“It’ll come in handy one day” syndrome.

This is something I’ve suffered from all my life, and I think it’s hereditary. My Dad has suffered from it on more than one occasion I’m sure, and I know for a fact both my late Grandfathers did! There’s just so much stuff in that garage that I’m keeping for a rainy day it’s crazy, but the key is to be a little ruthless. Most of the stuff in there I probably wouldn’t miss and indeed most I’d forgotten I’d kept! A good proportion of it is kept “just in case”. Half tins of paint, old brackets, screws, cabinet feet etc… it’s all handy stuff, but it’s all “Just in case”.

Plus… the garage, although integral to our house, is a separate entity… with a door… a great big metal door… which is great for slamming shut on all that clutter… out of sight, out of mind… That is how it got there! And probably general laziness and lack of self discipline to put stuff away properly.

The Method

It’s not rocket science to be honest, it’s discipline (something I think a good proportion of us are a little lacking in these days.) and focus. When you focus, it’s amazing what you can achieve. You don’t need a massive plan or reason to do it… Just a desire to reclaim a little space, clarity and calm in a particular area. Clutter = Chaos, and despite the fact that many of us, myself included, appear to thrive in chaotic situations, I think it’s really a distraction or an excuse for not tackling the more important but less exciting things in life.

Keeping things just in case of an emergency or for that project I think I might do one day etc, is all well and good, but if it has no proper storage place and you can’t find it in an emergency, it really is just clutter.

If you can’t find a “Proper” space for it… flog it on Ebay, give it a way on Freegle, take it to a charity shop, or recycle it at your nearest facility. Then take a step back and admire the space… It’s wonderful!

Start small. If the floor is cluttered, choose one small area, say 1m². Work through everything in that area. Pick up an item and ask yourself a few quickfire questions:

  • Do I need it? If so, have I used it in the last 6 months or will I use it in the next 6 months?
  • Is it valuable to me (not just monetary value)?
  • Can someone else I know use it?
  • Can it be sold? Getting a little money back is always a nice feeling. Put it towards paying off a debt, or into your emergency fund.
  • Can it be donated?
  • Can it be recycled.

Working with one small area at a time, makes it much much easier to tackle the bigger problem. A large room filled with clutter is daunting and off-putting. A small square on a floor, in a cupboard or on a shelf can be tackled in minutes.

Most importantly, enjoy the process and admire your achievements. Relish in the calmness, freedom and space you’ve created and make a pact with yourself to keep it that way.

Next time your tempted to fill that space again, ask yourself those 7 simple questions before you fill it…

24 Aug

Digital Decluttering

Image By Frank Gruber

I recently spent a week camping in Cornwall with my Fiance  and my Daughter. During the week I had virtually no mobile phone signal except when we popped to the supermarket or into a town. This meant no email or internet access for me too… My initial thoughts were “Oh heck… how do I keep on top of my work stuff?”… but it actually became a blessing in disguise. Having no email or internet access allowed me to properly switch off and relax. In fact I hardly thought about work at all while I was away. And even when I tried to, I actually found it difficult… I just wanted to get on with being in the moment, enjoying messing about in the sea, sitting on the beach watching the world go by, or doing general camping stuff.

The Big Wake up call…

When I did finally get access to my emails, all 567 of them, I immediately realised something. Firstly that they were just filling up my phones memory, making it slower and slower, and most importantly, I have an inherent ability to surround myself with clutter, in every shape and form possible. And one of the biggest areas in which my life is cluttered, is email… More than 95% of the emails I received while away where junk, or stuff I would never read, and that’s after Gmails spam filter had already been through everything!

I’ve been subscribing to god knows how many internet marketing newsletters, free ezines, special offers… my inbox was swallowing up so much of my time and attention each day.

Action Plan – How To De-Clutter Your Inbox

This Monday I returned to my office with a plan of action in mind. Each time I checked my email, if there was something I would never read or was complete junk, I’d unsubscribe there and then. And do you know what? Yesterday was a remarkably quiet day in my inbox 🙂

Step 1 – Take a look at your emails today… look at where each one comes from…

  • How many are ones you’ll never open
  • Do you really need all those facebook notifications… turn them off… chances are if they’re important you’ll find out anyway
  • Unsubscribe there and then and feel good about freeing up your inbox allowing you to focus on what really matters in your day, not the latest Get Rich Quick Scheme (And let’s face it, most of this internet marketing stuff is just that!)
  • How many are special offers? Do you need that extra temptation to spend (well they say SAVE) money? Unsubscribe and Save even more money! It’s a no-brainer.

Step 2 – Grab the kitchen timer and set it to 5 mins

  • Now find the first “Junk” email that you’ve not read in your inbox
  • Search for more emails from that sender
  • Delete them… Feels good doesn’t it?

Take a serious look at what hits your inbox next time you check your email and be ruthless

More ramblings and the odd bit of usefulness very soon… 🙂


10 Sep

5 Quick Reasons To Go Primal

Five quick reasons why I’ve decided to go Primal!

  1. Consistent energy levels by avoiding processed fats, sugars and carbohydrates and choosing better quality, natural foods.
  2. Effortlessly lose weight as your body naturally sheds excess fat.
  3. Look good naked without even trying!
  4. Never have to count the calories anymore.
  5. Never feel guilty about eating stuff that tastes good.

There are tons more too which I’ll post about very soon!

10 Sep

I’m Going Primal!

A Tasty Primal Salad

A Tasty Primal Salad

For most of my life, I’ve been a bit of a weedy kinda guy. I’ve never been classed as Over Weight, but I’ve got a bit of a spare tyre going on round the middle and carry a few extra pounds over and about what the Docs say is “Ideal Weight” for me, and I’ve never put on as much muscle as I should. I’ve always wanted to be a bit bigger muscle wise, but never found the time or inclination to pursue any serious training to do anything about it.

At school I never really liked sport, except maybe tennis & badminton. I’ve ridden a bike since I was knee high to a grasshopper, but running… ha… forget it… gym workouts? They last about a month and I get bored. But I seem to have reached a point in my life now where I’ve realised I really do have to get off my arse and get fit, get the body I’ve always wanted but never had a clue how to get, and really knock myself into shape physically.

Well after trawling the net for what seemed like days for ideas on how to get fit, after seeing millions of “Lose X Pounds in 30 days”, “Get Ripped in a Week” and all these kinds of programs I came across a post on Zen Habits, a blog I read regularly. The post was by Mark Sisson, owner of Primal Blueprint, and what can I say, Going Primal made total sense in every way!

The idea behind Primal Blueprint is one that fits in with something I’ve been thinking about a lot over the past couple of years… Why do we eat so much processed crap… what happened to “Proper” ingredients for food, and what would happen to my body if I just decided to eat stuff that Man hadn’t messed about with? Surely my body would thank me for it, right, if I ate plenty of nuts, decent quality meats and a ton of fruit & veg? Surely if I cut out anything that “We” the human race had messed with, wouldn’t my body become the shape and size it’s programmed to be by Mother Nature?

So I had a look at his site Marks Daily Apple and whoa… this looks like just what I’ve been thinking about… A Eureka moment for me at least. The whole thing made sense, cutting out processed fats, sugars and other horrible stuff from our diet, and eating plenty of the things we used to eat, like Berries & Fruits, Meat, Vegetables! So I read a little more, and the more I read, the more I became fascinated by the whole concept of “Going Primal”.

The idea is that if we eat what we’re meant to eat, our bodies will take on a natural, toned shape as programmed by our genes. Ok so not everyone is going to look the same, but we’re all generally genetically predesigned to look a certain way.

So what does going Primal Mean?

Going primal means going back to eating the same kinds of things we used to eat 10,000 years ago, before Agriculture brought about a massive change in what we ate by introducing grains into our diet. Back then, we’d have spent most of our days foraging and hunting for food. We’d all have been far more active than we are now, and we’d all have eaten healthier stuff. No donuts, no bread, no cakes, no sweets, refined sugary stuff, no hydrogenated fats or any of that rubbish. Just good quality vegetables, berries, leaves, meats, eggs, nuts & seeds.

When you think about it, it makes sense, but then you start to think “Hey, I like Donuts and the odd burger, and I chocolate too!” and going primal can indeed seem a bit of a difficult thing to do. Especially when you come to the big one… Wheat! When going Primal, anything grain based, or most importantly Wheat based is totally off the menu due to the effect wheat has on your body. I’d never have thought Wheat could have such a profound effect on your body, but the facts are right there on Marks site and in his book!

I’ll expand on why Mark says wheat is so bad for us in my next post, but it looks like Going Primal, not only makes sense, but it’s going to be a bloody big challenge… looking through our cupboards, there’s so much stuff that contains wheat!

  • Pasta
  • Museli
  • Wheetabix
  • Bran Flakes
  • Biscotti
  • Cheerios
  • Corn Flakes

… and the list goes on.

I thought our cupboards where relatively healthy, but when you start analyzing the ingredients list, it scares the living daylights out of you.

So over the coming weeks I’ll be posting about mine and my other half’s (yes Tina’s giving it a go too!) experiences with going Primal, including recipes we’re trying, the big cupboard audit, exercises we’re trying and more!

Photo by Mr T In DC

26 Feb

5 Must Read Books For The Financially Free Wannabe!

Just a quick post today listing my favourite 5 Must Read Books for the Financially Free Wannabe. I’ve read several of these books not once, not twice but up to 4 and 5 times, and each time I do, I learn something new or gain a fresh new way of looking at life, finances and my approach to work… I hope you find this list useful!

The Richest Man In Babylon Rich Dad Poor Dad Awaken The Giant Within 4 Hour Work Week Conspiracy Of The Rich

  1. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clason
    A very inspirational guide to personal finance and solving money problems which is presented via eleven ancient Babylonian tales, ultimately revealing the way to financial success. A very good read once you get your mind around the style of writing.
  2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.
    Robert explains the theories and thinking behind his strategy and attitude to money. Written in a clear and easy to understand way, Robert illustrates striving to buy, build and create investments and assets that provide cashflow it’s entirely possible for anyone to achieve true financial freedom.
  3. Awaken the Giant within by Anthony Robbins
    One of the greatest Motivational Coaches of all time, Anthony Robbins shares his wealth of knowledge about how the human mind works and how we can condition ourselves to achieve more in our relatively short lifetimes. There’s some excellent exercises to help break bad habits and indeed form some very good habits when it comes to behaviour, work, money and life in general. Well worth a read.

  4. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
    by Tim Ferris.
    Again focusing on the passive income / cashflow concept, Tim illustrates how anyone can reduce the working week substantially by cutting out the crap and focusing on what really matters. While it’s hard for the average reader to achieve what Tim has, many of the techniques and theories detailed in this book can be applied by anyone wishing to Achieve and Earn more.
  5. Rich Dad’s Conspiracy of the Rich: The 8 New Rules of Money
    by Robert Kiyosaki
    I don’t like suggesting too many books by the same author incase it looks like I’m jumping on any bandwagons, but I can assure you I’m not when it comes to this book. An excellent eye opener with regard to the current financial crisis. Robert explains in laymans terms exactly how the Financial world confuse and bamboozle the average person for one specific reason – to make money! He explains exactly how many investments work and how we can cover our backs when it comes to investing and making money regardless of what the economy is doing. I’m currently putting into practice some of the ideas and concepts put forward in Conspiracy of the Rich and I’ll keep you up to date with my progress over the coming months.

All of these books have help change the way I think about money, saving & investing, and have set me on the way to retiring long before I reach 65! I hope you find them as beneficial as I do.

<a href=”http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0751532711?ie=UTF8&tag=jamesherberbrita&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=0751532711″>Rich Dad, Poor Dad</a><img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.co.uk/e/ir?t=jamesherberbrita&l=as2&o=2&a=0751532711″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />
22 Feb

Saving… It’s good for the soul.

Put supermarket savings into your Savings Account!

Put supermarket savings into your Savings Account!

Being in debt has driven my nuts for the past few years. Including our mortgage the total outstanding was nearly £70k back in December 2009, with half of that being on the most evil forms of debt – the credit card. My god, that’s a lot of wasted money.  The stupidity of how I got there in the first place is one thing,  but the monotony of paying off a little each month, just keeping my head above water, whilst trying to keep my family happy, and keep my business going became a real bind. I should be enjoying life, not moping about moaning cos I’m skint.

Over Christmas, I did a lot of thinking, day dreaming and pondering about what I could do to at least make myself feel a little better, which would then, hopefully have a knock on effect on my health, and ultimately my relationships with my Daughter and my Fiance.

The revelation if you want to call it that came to me while I was lying in bed, about to fall asleep… “You’ve got to start saving”. Yeah right, that’s easier said than done with no extra cash coming in and what is coming in going straight into paying debts off, but I knew I had to find away. Just as is described in the excellent book “The Richest Man In Babylon”, putting a little aside each month, even when you owe money, does wonders for your well-being. Even the smallest amounts, put into a half-decent savings account soon start to mount up, and seeing “YOUR MONEY” begin to grow, no matter how slowly is a great feeling, so somehow I knew I had to find a way.

The thing is though, I’ve never been a big saver. Since I was young my savings account balance has been up and down more times than the lift in the Eiffel Tower. There has always been something more important that I needed the cash for than saving it for that mysterious rainy day. A car, CDs, DVDs, Computer stuff, new furniture etc… I guess the reason for me to save money had never really been there. Because of the debt that have been there for a few years now, I’d kind of reach a point where I had no interest in trying to save, because I owed money.

But, the fact is I’m get older, now approaching Middle Age, whatever the hell that is, and the rainy days I should be saving for seem to be approaching quicker and quicker. Plus my Daughter is growing up and I want to spend more time with her and my Fiance doing fun things, not working all the time. The only way I can do that though is to build a solid foundation of Savings that will cover us when work is slack, and also start to grow so that one day, we may, just may, be financially free!

So my task for the start of the new year was to find a way of putting money away each month. Where the bloody hell was I going to find any cash from to save?

Everybody’s got to start somewhere

The Eureka moment for me came on around Jan 2nd, when we popped into our local Tesco store. When you buy your regular weekly shopping from Tescos, Sainsburys, Asda etc, at the bottom of your till receipt, there is always a section that tells you how much you saved on the weekly offers. In our case, £5.77. Ok, so it’s not big bucks, but it’s £5.77 we didn’t spend because things we regularly buy in the supermarket were on offer. Now I know in the Rich Dad books, Robert Kiyosaki talks about hunting down supermarket bargains as being Poor thinking, and that’s true to a degree, but the difference here is I’m not going bargain hunting. If the things we as a family buy week in week out are on offer, then why not put that saving to good use…

Save the Savings

It’s always the simplest ideas that are the best and this one is no different. If I’d have spent the “Savings On Offers” money in the supermarket anyway if the items were at their regular price, why don’t I invest that money into a decent Savings Account. So that’s exactly what I’ve done. And now, in just over 6 weeks, I’ve got just short of £100 sitting in a Halifax Web Saver Xtra account by doing nothing but my weekly shop and saving the savings! Not bad going for about 2 mins work each week! That money is now growing, albeit at a paltry 2.8% per year, but it’s a start.

The Result

Money in the bank that will grow week by week! That feels damn good I can tell you. Good old Tesco… Every little really does help!

22 Feb

A Journey To Financial Freedom

Financial Freedom is something I’ve dreamed about for a long time, but like many Big Goals, it has always seemed totally unattainable. But as I get older, the need to achieve it is becoming more and more important, not only for myself but for my family.

Like a large proportion of 30 somethings in the UK and no doubt, the World, I have little or no provisions set aside for my retirement. The result of many years of poor planning and an over-active wallet I guess, but hey, that’s my reality and now it’s time to deal with it. I’ve always wanted to retire early and live a financially independent life, but the desire to actually attain it has never been strong enough. Why? I’ve no clue, but as the months go by, I’m thinking about reaching that point where I no longer need my pay cheque to survive and indeed enjoy life.

So, my quandary at the ripe old age of 37 is, can it be done? Is it possible to go from practically nothing, to being financially independent in say 15 years? Can it be done in 10 years? How about 5? What would it take to get to that point from where I am now? What will I need to do… Saving, investing, Gambling?!

The Journey is about to begin… it could be a bumpy ride!

15 Jul

Free Owl Energy Meters

Free Owl Energy Monitor

Free Owl Energy Monitor

The UK Government announced “Free Energy Meters For Every Home” back in 2007, and it’s finally come to fruition in 2009. While you can’t keep the Energy monitor for ever, you can now get a an Owl Energy Monitor on a Free one week loan from your local library, just as you would a book… Nifty!

I’d been thinking about getting one for a while but the cost of the meter vs what I’d save was questionable in my mind, after all, applying a little common sense to your energy usage and you can reduce your energy bill substantially without a meter. But getting one for free, even just for a week was worth a shot.

Easy to Set Up

The first thing you need is Batteries, 6 of the little beggers… I thought it might have come with them, but then unsavoury types that borrow the meter would probably keep them, so hey, no probs. Once the batteries are in, you just sync up the transmitter and receiver and fit the transmitter sensor round the live feed to your consumer unit (full instructions as given). It’s as simple as that. The receiver/display unit should then start to show how much electricity is currently being used.

You can then set the various tariffs up on the receiver display module using the info from your latest electricity bill. Don’t forget to press reset on the Display to start afresh, or you may end up adding the last users consumption to your readings.

Start Logging

Those useful people at our local library had included some templates to use for logging purposes, which was very kind of them. Listed on there were the most common household appliances such as Kettle, Toaster, Dishwasher etc so you could work out the consumption of each device as you used it, and keep a tally over the week.

It Soon Adds Up

It’s amazing how Energy Conscious you become when you’ve got one of these things on your Electricity supply. Even with hardly any gadgets or appliances we found we were paying 2p per hour, which then doubled and trebled as the Fridge & Freezer kicked in. Turn the kettle on and Wham… up to 25p per hour. Dishwasher 30p per hour while it’s heating the water.

Most notable was leaving my Computers switched on over night. Even during Economy 7 hours, leaving 2 computers, a Laptop, 2 external hard drives, router and couple of other gizmos running was costing around 3p per hour. Which even at Economy 7 rates is £25 a year. Doesn’t sound a lot, but me and the Mrs can get a meal out for that. I’d rather do that than leave the stuff switched on!

Get Your Name On The Waiting List Now!

Give your local library a ring now and put yourself on the waiting list to get one of these gadgets right now. It’s a real eye opener. Just by having one on a weeks loan, I reckon some of the changes we’ll make as a family to our energy consumption will save us well over £50 a year…

Find your local library here, it’s free to join and costs nothing to borrow an Owl Energy Monitor for a week.
Alternatively, you can Buy your own Owl Energy Monitor online here.

14 Jul

New Furniture Restoration Project

Old Chair For Restoration

Old Chair For Restoration

On a recent trip to our local recycling centre in Shepshed I spotted this fine, but unloved specimen and thought I could maybe give it a new lease of life. I didn’t steal it btw, I explained to the staff there what I was planning to do with it and they let me take it Free of Charge 🙂

I’ve not a clue how old it is, maybe 1960’s or 1970’s, it could even be newer than that, but something about it’s simple clean shape caught my eye. I’ve always fancied having a go at restoring a piece of furniture, up to now we’ve nearly always bought new items, but this should be a nice project to get me started.

A quick session with the paint stripper and a new coat of sprayed gloss, plus a new seat of course and this beauty should look quite nice indeed. I’ve no idea where I’m going to put it, but we’ll face that when it’s finished. Our local Ikea stock a good range of hard wearing material that will more than likely be suitable for the seat cover. I’ll have to go hunting through their bargain bins for an offcut that will do the job.

14 Jul

Easy Black Currant Jam Recipe

Black Currants

Photo By Vibrant Spirit'

I’ve never been the best cook in the world, but sometimes you just have to have a go. My Fiance is way better than me at all things culinary, but due to other commitments it was up to me to make the most of some of the superb Black Currants we picked last week at Cattows Farm before the started to go off / mouldy. So I kinda flew by the seat of my pants with a few yelled instructions from Tina in the other room… To keep things simple I went for the simplest Jam recipe possible and hoped for the best!

Easy Homemade Black Currant Jam Recipe – Makes 4 to 5 Jars

1kg of Black Currants (As freshly picked as possible)
1kg of Granulated Sugar


1 x Large Saucepan
1 x Wooden Spoon
1 x Tea Spoon
1 x Plate, Chilled

First put the Black Currants in a colander and wash the fruit with cold water to remove any bits of leaves, lose stems, spiders etc! I didn’t bother topping and tailing the currants. My Mother would have done, but I’m blowed if I’m sitting there for hours chopping the little brown bits off a million and one Black Currants!

Empty Currants into the saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Stir regularly to stop the fruit burning. The fruit will start to reduce down quite quickly and eventually begin to boil. Keep stiring them as they can burn easily.

Get The Right Equipment!

A good quality Jam or Maslin Pan will make Jam making much easier!

When the “Stewed” Black Currants have the right mix of juice and whole fruit, pour in the Kilo of sugar and continue stiring. The sugar should melt down quickly. Keep boiling the mixture for about 10 mins or so. Some say it takes longer but that’s all mine took.

My First Homemade Black Currant Jam

My First Homemade Black Currant Jam

After about 10 mins, take a Teaspoon of the hot Jam from the saucepan and drip it on to the chilled plate. Turn the heat down on the boiling jam to minimum and put the plate in the fridge for about 5 mins.

After 5 mins, remove the plate from the fridge and push the jam with your finger. if it wrinkles up and looks to be a jam like consistency, it’s ready to pour into jars. If not, wack the heat back up on the saucepan and boil it for another 5/10 mins. Again don’t forget to stir it… Burnt Jam tastes awful!

Once you’re happy with your jam and think it’s ready, pour it into steralized jars and pop the lids on asap. That way as the hot jam and air above the jam inside the jar cools, it’ll create a vacuum, pulling seal on the lid nice and tight. If you’re using recycled jars you’ll probably hear the little safety buttons pop down after about an hour as the jam cools. Having a vacuum inside the jars keeps them 100% airtight and the jam keeps much much longer.

Once the jam has cooled completely, store in a cool place. Properly stored jam can keep for over a year i.m.o.

If you liked this recipe, please feel free to share it with your friends on Facebook & Twitter, or leave a comment below!


13 Jul

New Web Project – The Scalextric Shop

Scalextric Slot Car Shop

Scalextric Slot Car Shop

This is my latest project, The Scalextric Shop. The shop is a dedicated store focusing on the vast range of products from Scalextric, which includes many Standard and Digital Sets, Slot Cars, Slot Car Track and accessories for slot racing enthusiasts, young and old.

I’ve teamed up with Amazon.co.uk for this shop which allows me to give customers the best possible shopping & customer service experience possible. Read More

11 Jul

Basic Time Management

Photo By: BigBlue

Photo By: BigBlue

Managing my time effectively has always been one of my biggest downfalls. When I’m working I have a habit of not taking regular breaks away from my desk, which in turn causes me to get distracted after a while because something inside me wants a change of scenery for a few minutes… Checking email, checking the weather & news headlines etc, seeing what bargains are on my favourite shopping sites, all that kind of nonsense! Well, I’ve decided to put an end to that by practicing a few simple time management techniques. These techniques I’ve garnered from around the web from the likes of Tim Ferriss, Leo Babauta and Penelope Trunk to name but a few.

There are many methods of managing time but few I’ve found are that effective. For me it boils down to 3 or 4 key activities that help me maintain focus an keep as productive as possible throughout my working day.

  1. The To Do List
    Historically my “To Do” lists have been massive. In the past I’d sit down and write huge list of as many jobs and tasks as I could think of, then pick one of the most important tasks and get stuck in. The problem with this method is that a huge list, although it may not appear so at the time, is very daunting and quite demoralizing. By creating a seemingly endless To Do list creates a feeling of being overloaded without you even realizing.

    Instead, create a simple To Do List for each day of your work life & home life, and include on the list the Three most important things that you need to do that day.  The list must contain only ever contain 3 entries. Only when items on the list are completed can you move on to the next list.Why do a three item list? A three item to do list is ultimately a managable list.  Once you’ve completed the tasks for today, create a new list and get stuck in on tomorrows task. That way you’ll feel like you’re getting ahead on tomorrows work list too!

  2. Take Regular Breaks
    Taking a break from what you’re doing is essential to retain focus on the job in hand. If I sit chained to my desk for hours on end, I ultimately get distracted after about and 1.5 hours and go off to check my email, check website stats etc. Instead, get yourself a kitchen timer, and set it to 1 hour or so. Work as intensely as you can during that time period. At the end of the period, take a 5 minute break and grab a coffee, lift weights, do some weeding in the garden, read the newspaper, anything to give yourself a break for a few minutes. The essential thing is to get away from the computer.
  3. Create a Timetable
    This is a new one that I’m currently trying out. Remember when you were at school you used to be given a timetable by your tutors telling you what subjects you were doing when? Well, why not apply this to your working day? As I’ve always got so many tasks to do I’ve recently drawn up a timetable for my working day, just like I had at school, and split my days up into chunks where I work on specific projects for set time periods, that way I keep several of my many projects evolving rather than languishing!

In conclusion, time management is essential to get the most from your day and by using some or all of these simple tips and sensibly planning what to do with your time, you can accomplish more during your working day, feel less stress and stay ahead of your work schedule for the majority of the time.

I’ve got a few more tips up my sleeve to which I’ll share with you over the coming weeks too!

11 Jul

New Web Project – Musicians Gear

Musicians Gear Musical Instrument Shop

Musicians Gear Musical Instrument Shop

Another in the line of small Amazon powered shops in my portfolio. This makes use of a domain I’ve had kicking around for sometime and not used (one of the 300 or so!). Musicians Gear has turned out to be quite a large Musical Instrument shop, stocking virtually every instrument and accessory available, from Grand Pianos to Bass Guitars, Bassoons to Picolos, Mixing Desks to Guitar strings. The inventory is simply huge! I’ve teamed up with Amazon again for this project, allowing me to give customers the best service possible when shopping for Musical Instruments. They also get fantastic discounts too…

Behind the scenes it uses The easiest way to build a complete Amazon Affiliate Store which is Associate O Matic and enables you to build  customizable, Amazon powered web stores very quickly. If you’re interested in having your own Amazon Affiliate Store on your site, I can offer full installation and customization services now, so please drop me a line here with your requirements and I’ll be in touch.

07 Oct

Book Review: How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously by Mundis Jerrold J

How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously

How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously

Millions of us have become trapped in a spiral of debt over the past decade, me included which is the reason I created this site, but there is hope. If you really want to free yourself from the shackles of debt which is becoming increasingly important in this current economic climate, then this book is definitely for you.

How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously can help you “get out of debt, stay out of debt and live prosperously” just as the title suggests. The author Jerrold Mundis writes in a friendly, engaging style, urging readers to stop the endless cycle of spending. Mundis knows what he’s talking about, he too, was once thousands of (US) dollars in debt and didn’t know where to turn. Anecdotes from members of Debtors Anonymous, plus multiple examples from the writer’s own life and ledgers, make How to Get Out of Debt a very encouraging read, not a condescending one. Once you start your program, you may want to periodically reread some chapters for futher inspiration to keep you on the road to recovery.

Click Here To Get Your Copy Of
How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously Now

06 Oct

Don’t Consolidate… Snowball To Get Your Debts Paid Off Quicker!

Do you have so many credit cards that you paper a wall with them? Don’t know how to get rid of them? Then try this solution out for size. With this handy snowballing spreadsheet tool you can generate a custom strategy for becoming debt-free without the need for consolidation loans!

All you need to do is just enter your credit cards, their balance, and interest rate. Then enter your required minimum monthly payments and then put in the maximum possible amount you could put towards it, based on your current budget. Next, pick the style of repayment you want to go for, such as snowball or highest interest first. The program then generates an effective payoff strategy tailored to your needs. It calculates how much interest there will be and the total you’ll end up paying, and how long it will take to escape the shackles of debt you have built up.

If you’re carrying balances on several cards, this is a great tool for getting started on, or optimizing, your personal debt payment plan and setting you on the path to becoming debt free.

Download The Snowballing Spreadsheet Here

06 Oct

Book Review: Top 10 Habits Of Millionaires – A Simple Path to Wealth and Fulfillment: Transform Your Thinking – and Get Rich by Keith Cameron Smith

Top 10 Habits Of Millionaires by Keith Cameron Smith

Top 10 Habits Of Millionaires by Keith Cameron Smith

I recently picked up a copy of this book and to be honest, didn’t think it would be that good… But then, you should never judge a book by its cover. Top 10 Habits of Millionaires by Keith Cameron Smith is a quick and to the point read, with its 10 points expressed concisely and very effectively. Normally it takes me weeks to read books as I only manange to grab a few minutes each day to read just a few pages at a time, but this one I couldn’t put down, and read it in just a few hours. The content is excellent and really helps you focus on the task ahead… Thinking like a millionaire… not spending like a millionaire… and ultimately achieving financial freedom.


What does it take to become a millionaire – hard work, determination, a bit of luck? All of those help, but as entrepreneur and motivational speaker Keith Cameron Smith makes clear in this life-changing book, millionaire is first and foremost a state of mind. In The Top Ten Habits of Millionaires, Smith elborates ten key principles that animate the millionaire mindset – habits that can be learned and mastered by anyone who wants to improve their financial position, including:

  • Millionaires think long term – Create a clear vision of the life you desire and focus on it
  • Millionaires talk about ideas, not things and people
  • Ask positive ‘what if’ questions every day and bounce ideas off successful people who will be honest with you
  • Millionaires embrace change – Be patient while change is unfolding and find the hidden benefit
  • What you believe about money has everything to do with how much money you will make.

All of this is sound and sensible advice… Yes, I’ve read similar things in other books, but reading them all in such a concise and focused manner helps them sink in even further and prepare and program your mind for wealth in abundance.

Top 10 Habits of Millionaires by Keith Cameron Smith is published by Piatkus Books and is available from all good book shops, or online via the link below:

Click Here To Buy Top 10 Habits of Millionaires Online Now!

06 Oct

Work out how much you owe.

Step one on my journey to financial freedom was working out exactly how much we owed, and the best tools for doing this are either Microsoft Money or a spreadsheet. Dig out your credit card statements, your loan statements and start gathering all the figures together.

The moment you see just how much you actually owe, you’ll start to feel better… even though at present you might feel like you’re drowning in it all and can’t cope, just getting it on paper or into a spreadsheet is one of the best and quickest ways to focus your mind.

List everything, make a column for the outstanding amounts, interest rates, monthly minimum payments and anything else you have. Pull no punches… It’ll help get yourself organized.

06 Oct

Living Beyond Your Means

For much of the past 10 years, I’ve been pretty much a textbook example of a person living beyond their means. Ok I don’t live like a king and over the past year I’ve been cutting back, trying to control this mess I’m in, but there are areas, particularly where the business is concerned that I’ve operated beyond my means. I’ve made some foolish choices of there past 5 years that haven’t helped matters and I’ve taken some risky gambles. I’ve never put money on horses or gone to a casino, but sometimes I think that might have paid off better.

Personally, we’ve not held back really. I’ve always wanted my family to have the better things in life, so “Putting It On The Credit Card” became a bit of a way of life to be honest. “Don’t Worry, I’ll Pay It Off” could often be heard coming from my direction on many occasions. Looking back I can see just how childish I’ve been. Instead of just coming clean with my family and telling them just how much I owed I kept it quiet and just bumbled on… The debts growing slowly but surely.

My father-in-law to be recently asked me, “does the amount I owe worry you?”

The honest answer is no! It doesn’t worry me. It annoys me that I let it get to that level, and it spurs me on now to do something about it…

06 Oct

Where Am I?

My Fiance and I recently sat down and looked at our financial posision. It’s the first time I’d really come clean about how much debt we were in and how much money we have…

Our current balance sheet looks something like this:


  • House: £36,000 Mortgage. House Value: £110,000
  • Personal Debt: £5,000 (Mix of credit card and personal loan for the car, plus an overdraft)
  • Business Debt: £31,000 (Mix of credit card and loans)

Yeah… quite a bit of debt then…


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