I’m all about that side hustle: earning extra cash, burrowing away savings… and then using all that extra/saved cash for travelling/gig tickets/pretty things for the home. I may not have used that money for anything significant in the past, but you can bet your ass that in 2018 I’m getting my sh*t together and saving towards something a bit more grown up like my own flat or actual travelling.

I also want to save more in the new year and to do that, I’ve been researching (and dabbling in!) some alternative ways to earn extra cash. Because we all know how f*cked we are as a generation and even professionals with genuinely good paying jobs struggle with saving to buy their own property and the like. I can’t be arsed getting a second job – ain’t nobody got time for that – and I gave up on Ebay/Vinted/Depop when no one wanted to buy my sh*t. So, like most people my age, I’ve turned towards other means and they’ve actually somewhat worked so far!
Here are some alternative/easier ways to earn extra cash in 2018.

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Money | Alternative ways to earn extra cash in 2018 | Money Saving | Chip | BingoKings | Monzo | OnePulse | CitizenMe | ReceiptHog | Matched Betting | OddsMonkey

APPS
I’ve been using apps on my phone a lot this year so far and they’ve been one of the easiest/best methods to earn/save extra cash. I’ve been using Chip since mid July – and cannot recommend it enough. I have already saved £189 out of my bank account without even realizing it. Monzo, on the other hand has helped tons with budgeting – and they’ve recently obtained a banking license. It works sort of like a (bright pink uber cool looking) pre-paid card so, for example, I load on however much I need for parking and petrol so that I’ve got that put aside every month and don’t have to worry about trying to afford it when it reaches the end of the month and I’m skint. I’ve also earned £6.17 with OnePulse since installing it in the summer. It’s not tons, but it’s free money just by answering a few questions every now and then. You need a £5.00 minimum payout for this app but for instant earnings, try CitizenMe. Each short survey earns you between 5p and £2.00 and is paid into your Paypal account immediately upon completion. I’ve earned £9.21 so far, but haven’t been using it much in recent months so that’s still a fair bit since the summer. Finally, ReceiptHog. I haven’t been using it for long – and it’s clear to see you need to gather a lot of receipts to earn enough points to withdraw – but if you’ve got them sitting around or save them from a shopping trip, you might as well scan them in!
MATCHED BETTING
This one can take a while to get your head around but as long as you go slowly and follow a guide, you’ll realize how easy it is to win with matched betting – and it’s totally legal. I’m certainly no expert on this and I’m still learning, but a general way to put it is you put two opposite bets on the same game/match etc so that whatever the outcome, you win something. It also relies a lot on new sign up offers with betting websites so that you don’t lose any of your own cash. People have claimed to earn up to an extra £1000 a month through this means. OddsMonkey is particularly helpful – you pay a small fee – but it offers training videos and essentially does a lot of the work for you so it’s perfect for beginners.
SELLING OLD SMELLY SHOES
This might sound silly, but there’s a whole world out there when you think about who can benefit from buying your old smelly shoes you no longer wear. Yes, it’s people with foot fetishes. I’ve yet to make a huge lot from this method but being that I’d usually just throw my old shoes away, it’s nice to sell them on even when they’re in terrible condition. Try ebay first – but be careful of what words you actually use to sell your shoes – then look into selling on specific websites or even setting a persona up on Tumblr or a similar site. There are tons of helpful guides online so if you have some old shoes lying around that you want to get rid off, definitely consider selling them for some decent cash instead of just throwing them out.
ONLINE GAMING
Bingo is actually really popular these days to people of all ages – both online and offline. People love the thrill they get from winning bingo and I especially love that I can sit at home and play in the comfort of my own bed. Off course you need to be careful when venturing into online gaming, but as long as you only see it as a bit of fun or an opportunity to win – not earn – a bit of extra cash, you’re good to go. I tend to only deposit £30 or less every now and then – when I can afford it – and go through it slowly. I also tend to stick to less empty rooms later at night – so there’s less people to play against – and for smaller wins as these all add up in time. Also, I don’t know about anyone else, but I always tend to win with beginners luck!

TREAT YOURSELF AND BE REALISTIC
Finally, you can’t be strict all the time. If you meet your saving goal for a month, treat yourself to something small (whereas I treat myself throughout the month which doesn’t work): this will help motivate you to not spend unnecessarily and will also give you time to think about what’s really worth spending your money on. If you’re saving to pay off debts, do what my brother did. Once you’re done, cut up your credit card, pop it on a nice background and frame it. His cut up credit card now sits proudly on his hallway wall and not only does it look awesome but it’s a great achievement to look at whenever he enters his flat. Hard work needs to be recognised sometimes – good luck!

What do you think? Do you use any of these methods to save money? Let me know!

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I love any hacks that come along with saving or earning any extra money. I’m on nearly every cashback and survey site going; and I’ve tried quite a few different saving methods over the years; from putting the remainder of a paycheck into a different account the day before my next pay or just saving old pennies.
I wouldn’t say they entirely failed – I do have a bunch of pennies hiding somewhere at home – but I wouldn’t say they were entirely successful either.
Which is why I recently took some time to research into some new saving methods; after all, I have a lot to save for now and I’m pretty sure you will all benefit from this post too what with Christmas fast approaching!

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Money | Money Saving | Chip | Chip App | Lifestyle

Chip is my latest go-to money saving app and so far I am thoroughly impressed. I installed the app in July and have earned/saved £41.72 – although, bear in mind, I didn’t actually start getting paid from my new job until mid July. This money has come out of my bank account bit by bit without me even noticing.

The way it works is this. Chip is like a personal savings bot (you can even chat to it via the app) and you give the (totally safe) app access to your bank account so that it can analyze your spending. Every few days, it calculates a small amount that you can afford to save, based on your spending. 
So, rather then choosing a set amount to put aside each month, this app takes into account the fact that some months you might be spending more than usual. It calculates just enough so that it doesn’t affect your day-to-day life, so, for example, you don’t transfer a huge amount and then find yourself short at the end of the month. Likewise, it really analyzes very well, so you don’t save just a tiny bit and then spend loads of money that you have left over unnecessarily.
I was a bit wary at first but I decided to give it a go and I can honestly say it feels like free money as I’ve not even noticed the money being taken.
You also get a notification a few days beforehand to let you know how much will be taken so if you really feel like you’ll be short, you can cancel the transaction. Plus, the bot shares super funny gifs throughout which is always a win in my eyes. You can use the chat to report a problem, so although you speak to a bot, if there is an issue, an actual person will get back to you.
You can pause the app, withdraw your money anytime and can even change how you want to save: at first I had my saving level set to low, then, when I started getting a regular income, I changed it to high.
You can make your own manual savings too, just in case being able to see saved money in your own banking app makes the temptation that much easier to spend it, and you can also save in your overdraft – and we all know how hard it is to save when in your overdraft.
It’s extremely smart, especially for millennials like you and I. I’m very much the type of person to see what I have left over at the end of the month and save that but, as we all know, all too often this does not work.

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Money | Money Saving | Chip | Chip App | Lifestyle

And yes, it’s entirely safe and legit. Their website states:

Chip is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) through
its agency status with Prepaid Financial Services (PFS). You can look
PFS up in the Financial Services Register (FSR) and you’ll find us on
the PFS website too. Sorry about all the TLAs, btw.

&

Chip has a data control licence – you’ll find us on the ICO register –
and we always act in full compliance with the Data Protection Act. Your
online banking login details are protected using 256-bit encryption and
Chip does not store your data.

That’s cleared that up then.

The app has recently released a new feature to help you save. You pop in details such as how much you want to save and what for and it automatically updates you on how long it will take you to save that amount based on your current activity. It’ll send you regular reminders as you get closer to your goal too.

Finally, there are always tons of incentives to earn that bit more – recently, the app offered a £10 sign up bonus for friends and, currently, if you get a friend to sign up, both you and your friend you will get an extra 1% interest (per friend) for a year.

PSST! – my bonus referral code is JLB3BY if you’re interested in grabbing this 1% interest!
Please note, I have of course used my referral code in this post (every little helps!) but you also know how transparent I am with these types of posts. This is not a sponsored post, I genuinely have had a great experience with Chip so far and often like to share any tips on this blog when it comes to saving money. Alternatively, if you are interested in using Chip but would not like to use my referral, you can learn more at getchip.uk.
So, overall, the fact that I’ve managed to very easily save close to £30 (which would undoubtedly be more but I’ve only had two paychecks since using the app!) since July without even noticing it is a total win in my eyes. It’s perfect for my current financial situation and my lifestyle too.
Would you ever try Chip? Do you have any budgeting apps? Let me know!

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I can hands up admit that I am terrible with money.
I’m ridiculously bad at saving and I usually drop my money on really stupid stuff, but when it came to travelling around Mexico, I did tons of research in advance when choosing how to deal with my money over there.
I also spoke to two other members of the trek and came to the conclusion that the best thing to do would be to take half my spending money in cash (and then keep it hidden in my suitcase, taking out only what I needed day by day) and keeping the other half on a cash card. That way, if I lost one, there was the other option.
I went with a company called FairFX, which was actually recommended by TrekAmerica – BIG MISTAKE.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Money | Travelling | Currency | Cash Cards | FairFX

I can only apologize in advance as this is more than likely to come across as a whiney, complaining post; although I hope it offers some advice for those of you travelling soon and looking into your money options whilst abroad.
I had so much trouble with this cash card that I almost ended up stranded with no money halfway through the tour. Although it worked out in the end, there was one point that it really got to me bad, and of course all the stress was the last thing I wanted when away.
Here’s my story.
THE WRONG CARD
The first time I tried to use the card, I tried to pay for something in a restaurant and had my card declined. I thought nothing of this, until it happened a few more times and I was even unable to withdraw cash. I compared my card with other members of the tour and one other girl who had a similar cash card pointed out that her card stated USD in the corner, whereas mine said EUR.
They had sent me a Euro card by mistake, despite the fact that I’d ordered a USD one. Still, I was later told that this wasn’t an issue and that the EUR should have worked fine.
Despite the fact that I’d activated it the moment it had arrived, I tried it at a few different cash points where one asked me to activate it again. I tried, but of course this made no difference.
At this point, I tried to contact the company…before promptly realizing I could not find a contact number nor an emergency number anywhere. And so I began to email. The closer I got to halfway through my tour (and running out of cash), the more I panicked.
LACK OF COMMUNICATION
After around three days, I received an email reply simply stating that someone would be in touch soon.
Then I really began to panic. I sent numerous emails, stating that I was stuck abroad with no money and that it was an emergency. I begged for a contact number so I could speak to an actual person and begged that someone just refund the money back into my bank account, but again got no reply till around two days later.
I was absolutely amazed at their lack of communication; what company doesn’t have an emergency contact number – or a contact number at all? And despite the fact that it was an emergency, the only reply I got was an automated email saying someone would be in touch soon.
Eventually I was told what had happened was the card had automatically been blocked from the first time I used it as I was using it abroad – which is odd because, y’know, it’s a travel card which I ordered to use abroad. I was told an email would arrive, asking me to email back to state that it was me using the card abroad and that it wasn’t a mistake, even though I’d already told a member of the team this.
This email eventually arrived in my junk box the following day.
Finally.

AN UNBLOCKED CARD?
I replied and got my card unblocked, then let out a sigh of relief. My money worries were over and I was finally able to use the rest of my money, just in time for the end of tour.
Oh how wrong I was.
Again, I was unable to use my card AT ALL and ended up going round in circles again; emailing repeatedly, looking for a phone number to contact them and simply being told that someone would be in touch soon.
Any emails I sent just asking for my money to be refunded were entirely ignored which was crazy because essentially it was just a cash card; it wasn’t like I’d brought a faulty product and was trying to return it, I was simply asking for my own money to be moved back to my account.
It came to the last day of tour and all I had left in cash was the money I’d kept aside for my hostel. That’s it. 
All I could think was that at least I had money to have a roof over my head for my last few days in Mexico; in fact it didn’t even hit me that I didn’t have money to get from the hostel to the airport on my last day or anything like that. My hostel offered free breakfast and dinner, so although it meant I would stay in the hostel, at least I wouldn’t be on the streets!

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Money | Travelling | Currency | Cash Cards | FairFX

THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
Finally, after so much time going back and fourth, I had a call the following morning where a member of staff was somewhat apologetic after realizing the issue was their fault; the EUR card was now no longer available to use in Mexico and only half their staff force knew this (seriously?!).
The lack of communication between the company and their customers as well as among their staff was absolutely ridiculous, and it still makes me angry to think that had there not been so many communication issues; I wouldn’t have had to go through so much stress and panic.
For some people it may not seem like a big issue. But being that I was travelling abroad for the first time ALONE, it honestly got to the point where I would have been stranded had I not kept money aside for my hostel.
Luckily, 
So eventually FairFX agreed to refund my money but did not know how long that would take, so luckily my boyfriend agreed to lend me the money. I soon realized my bank card wasn’t working either (despite the fact that I’d contacted the bank to let them know I was using my card in another country)! I wasn’t having much luck AT ALL.

A lovely couple from the tour were still in Cancun the day after the tour thankfully. I used the money I had for my hostel to grab a bus across Cancun, transfer the money my boyfriend leant me to them, and they withdrew it from their bank account for me.

Had they not stayed on in Cancun for a few days, I would have had no money and had my boyfriend not leant me the money, I would have also been buggered. I am so grateful to them all.
Also, my hostel was cash only and I had to dip into that money to travel across Cancun to try and access money. Essentially I was putting all my eggs in one basket and it that hadn’t of worked, I wouldn’t have been able to pay for my full time at my hostel and would have had to sleep at the airport or something for my last night, lolz.
Still, everything could have been avoided entirely had FairFX just called me after my first email to explain the issue and refunded the money; I would have easily been able to get someone else to withdraw it for me as I would have still been on tour.

IN CONCLUSION

SO. The moral of the story is do NOT use FairFX. Although the fact that the card couldn’t be used wasn’t their fault overall, their lack of communication and refusal to just refund the money that was mine caused a whole lot of stress and I cannot even begin to explain how scary it was on the last night of tour when I was so far away from home worrying about my last few days in Mexico.
I will note that they did eventually refund the money (long after I was home), and they also agreed to refund any additional charges I incurred when in Mexico, which in the end was just an expensive phone bill from where I’d been browsing the web trying to find an emergency email, emailing back and fourth and even calling Trek America’s emergency number.
Would I ever use cash cards again? I honestly think that although they sound great on paper, after my experience with FairFX, I have been put off using them completely. I’m sure there are some trustworthy ones out there, but personally, to me, I wouldn’t feel safe using them again.
THINKING ABOUT USING A CASH CARD?
– Never put all your spending money onto a cash card in case of any emergency. Always take half in cash with you.
– Check and double check your card can be used in your country of travel; and not just on the cash card’s website. Look on official travel websites and even do a quick google; the changes to my card being used abroad had only incurred recently when I was travelling, so not all websites will be entirely up to date.
– Make sure you have an emergency contact number for the cash card’s website!
– Double check your card when it arrives and that it states USD or a similar code depending on where you are travelling.
– Check the T&C’s just to be sure you can get a refund or move the money back into your own account and that this can be done promptly.

Have you ever had trouble with cash cards abroad? How did you come to a solution? Let me know!

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