Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Sad Case of Doig and Doige

Hoping to strike gold by stumbling across a masterpiece in the attic or at next Sunday's car boot fair? You wouldn't be alone.

It's a natural consequence of the stratospheric prices attached to works of art that buyers, collectors and viewers might as well be looking at a framed wad of cash instead of a painting. Found a lost Manet? Cash in and retire tomorrow. Found a lost painting by your uncle Manny? Well, that's nice. Maybe you'll find a frame for it if it's not too expensive.

Doig, Doige and millions of dollars at stake.

Disputes over the authenticity of artworks aren't new, but they've been usually confined to posthumous sales or discoveries. This year, I was explaining one such case of a painting attributed to Lucian Freud to Lord Balders.

Stranger still, though, was the recently concluded case regarding a painting made by Pete Doige in Canada in 1976. Robert Fletcher bought the painting for $100, and later was told that the painting was by a famous artist. Peter Bartlow, an art dealer, agreed to help Mr. Fletcher sell the painting... however, their plan was scuppered when the famous artist in question, Peter Doig, denied that the painting was his.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Minding the Business - Amy's Organics & Naturals

What does it take to set up and run a successful business? Maybe you want to develop your ideas into a product or service to be able to add to your income or work from home, but don't know where to start. Do you ever wonder what goes into the process, and what helped an entrepreneur get to where they are now? Well, I've got the opportunity to ask just those questions to some real-life small business starters and share their answers with you!

Amy's Organics & Naturals soapnuts
I'm very pleased to be able to kick off this new series of interviews with my friend Amy Deveney, founder of Amy's Organics & Naturals. Amy's story is even more interesting than this little interview can convey - she's overcome many challenges even before setting up her company, and has thoroughly impressed both myself and Lord Balders with her preparation and professionalism.

So, over to the Q&A!

Monday, 15 August 2016

Earning Cashback with Pockit

I've been wondering why I don't hear more personal finance bloggers talking about prepaid cards, and in particular, the Pockit prepaid MasterCard.

Recently, I got an email from Pockit telling me I'd received cashback in my account - £1.88, to be precise, but hey, every penny counts to me. Great, I thought; all of that spending we did on the bathroom has given us something back at last! In fact, you'll probably see Pockit pop up regularly in my income reports.

Prepaid cards are a perfect solution to credit issues for some people, but that's not why I use one. I use Pockit purely for the excellent rates of cashback on purchases.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Signs of... Slugs

I'll be honest: my garden plans have resulted in failure. Not quite all-out, unmitigated failure, but still, not success.

I think every blogger wants to paint a perfect picture of life behind the screen, but hey -  that's not me. I mean, I would love for it all to work out perfectly and be able to blog about how brilliantly everything I've planned has worked out, but I don't have the heart to fake it.

One of my successes - growing carnation cuttings from a marked-down supermarket bouquet.

When I wrote my post about the first signs of life in my garden in spring, I was hoping to be able to follow it up with a beautiful set of pictures of summer bulbs in flower. Well, it didn't all turn out badly - my apple trees are growing, my cuttings are doing well and I've got even more cuttings and baby plants on the go now. However, the bulbs haven't turned out so well...

The slugs got them all!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Make More Money! Part 4: Selling Unwanted Items

When I wrote my list of things to try to make more money, I knew that this would be one of the hardest for me.

Why? Honestly, I don't really know; I've furnished my entire life through eBay for the last two decades, and I know my way around it. Selling on things you already own and don't need is the easiest way to make a bit of cash. In fact, when my finances were at their lowest point and I had no income at all coming in (and a toddler to look after), I sold secondhand items at car boot fairs and online via eBay. It really helped! But what's changed about my outlook?

I just don't want the bother of selling things.

I know what to do, but I've been putting it off for weeks now. My reason's the same as most other people's reasons: it can be a chore. I meant to list a few things last month and use the sale results as a basis for this blog post, but I kept forgetting and putting it off. But hey, that's no good. Couldn't be bothered to make a bit of easy money? I should be ashamed of insinuating that on this blog! So here's what I thought I'd do to make it more interesting all around: compare a few different selling platforms and give my reviews.

Here's what I tried: eBay, Shpock, Facebook Buy And Sell groups, and Amazon Marketplace.

Here's what I didn't try, although I've tried them in the past: Preloved and car boot fairs. Heck, I've even shoved all of my belongings onto my driveway with a sign saying "moving sale" (yes, I was actually moving).

So how's it going? Let's start with the biggie.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Coupon Wins! Co-op, August 2016

If you read my last 'coupon wins' post last month, this one will be no surprise whatsoever!

I had £30 worth of Co-operative Food vouchers left over from the £50 worth given to me as a perk of taking out Co-operative car insurance. I guess it's not as exciting as hunting a huge coupon by wombling or stacking cashback apps with coupons, but it's what we had on hand, and we were going to make the most of it. So that's how we got this great big grocery haul for 39p!

This entire grocery haul cost us 39p - and I'll get it down to 13p.

And do you know what's even better? We claimed 25p back thanks to Shopitize and 1p back thanks to CheckoutSmart, so this entire shop will have cost us...


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Extra Income Report - July 2016

July was a month for recuperating - after the upheaval of the DIY and houseguests, we got back into the swing of saving and back into our regular routines. Unfortunately, I became so busy with blogging and making artwork that some things did slip, like using my cashback apps for freebies. Hey, it's hard to do it all, isn't it? Still, this blog isn't about being perfect; it's about trying my best. So here goes: my extra income for July!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Make More Money! Part 3: Bank Incentives

Hopping around from bank to bank for cash may be some people's idea of a headache, but it's my idea of fun! I love scooping up bank incentives for switching accounts - it's a bit of a challenge sometimes to keep up with all of the requirements for each account's terms and conditions, but I see it as a bit of a game (collect them all!) and as hobbies go, yes, it's weird, but at least it pays me.

Too many debit cards? No such thing, in my book!

But how do you get around all of the requirements for these different accounts? After all, many of them need to be funded with a large amount each month, and have several active direct debits. Read on to the end to see how you can do this - but remember, please read the terms and conditions for every account you're interested in; offers can and will change from the time of this post's writing.

Between us, my husband and I made quite a bit from switching current accounts:

2014 - £600
2015 - £500
2016 - £200 (so far)

We slowed down to allow our credit scores to recover before taking out a mortgage, but now it's time to look around to see what offers we haven't taken up yet.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Make More Money! Part 2: Selling Your Artwork

Number 2 on my potential income list could be the longest post ever!

This topic is huge and compressing into one post won't truly do it justice, as there are so many ways to make a living (or even just a bit of extra money) from art. I'll be trying lots of new things in the future, so I'll be updating this post with links to my new ventures and how they turn out.

About my artwork: I've been making art for decades, with several inactive periods, and several periods of turning to craft. Read more about my time selling at craft fairs here. I've got a BA in Fine Art, and after completing a professional practice module during that degree, you'd think I'd be ready to unleash my art career on the world, right?

Well, life happens to all of us, and I did an MA and then decided to focus on getting qualified for a steady (art-related) job and knuckling down to saving for our house. Now, I have that part-time job, we have that house, and I'm ready to get back to my art practice. Now, there are many ways to work and earn a living in Fine Art, and selling art is not the prime point of art... but this is a personal finance blog, and we're here to talk about money, and we're not ashamed of that! So what am I trying now to make money from my artwork?

Selling your artwork comes more easily to some artists than others, but there are many ways to go about it.

Right now, I'm going to focus on these things:

1. Selling original pieces

2. Getting commissions

3. Print on demand

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Make More Money! Part 1: Blogging

Number one on my list of potential extra income sources was blogging/web revenue. The first website I ever owned was an online shop set up in 2006 for the craft items I made and sold, and I fumbled along with it for years, never making any money from it apart from a few sales. I read about how important it was to have a blog, so I set one up via Blogger... but I didn't really know what I was doing then. Eventually, I wrapped up that business and started something entirely new.

How am I going to make more money by blogging? I've had some success with blogging in the past, but in a non-commercial sense... although I did win a prize of lots of art materials for one blog! That was a project-based blog though, with an audience that was primed to be engaged and supportive, and blogging as a business is very different.

Here's my blogging checklist...