Thursday, 12 April 2012

Thought of The Day

Good morning! Thought of the day today: In today's world, there are only two factors that affect how much you earn; time and knowledge. You are paid for your time, since everyone has time, jobs that only require time do not pay much and are highly competitive. However it becomes a different ball game how much you earn if you have time and knowledge, your time will be rewarded but the reward are greater if you are more knowledgeable. If you are concerned with increasing your income then the best thing to do is to increase the knowledge you have. I know you will not settle for less!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


Yesterday I wrote about the perils of falling for valentine traps set by intrepid retailers in which the prices of ordinary things if not purchased today cost 20-30% lower. I mean you do not need Hallmark or Interflora to be able to tell your loved ones you love them not after we started this challenge of not settling for less. Why not buy tomorrow the flowers will be cheaper so will the cards and the chocolates? However in your quest for personal excellence it imperative that at this level I share something with you regarding love.

You cannot love another person unless you truly learn the art of loving yourself, it is only when you have truly loved yourself that you can then be capable of loving the next person. I am not talking about that egoistical narcissist trip where you spend countless of hours in front of the mirror admiring yourself . It might appear selfish but we need to remind ourselves that only when we have done our best to make the most of our lives  it is only when we be of great service to others, be it our families, friends, communities, co-workers e.t.c. Some people hide under the guise of public service as an escape from the responsibility that they have to of changing their own lives. They say that their friends should come first, their wife you come first, some say their church is first, that is why some people bury themselves in projects with boundless zeal to mask failings in their own lives.

Putting yourself first means basing your actions, your goals, your time-management and your life on how that will impact on your own self-improvement. Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: human beings must meet their basic needs before they can move on to higher-level goals. Since most of us already know that we should take care of ourselves—but often have trouble figuring out how to do it, here are some guidelines for getting there:
  • Preserve your physical health with adequate sleep, exercise, and nutrition.
  • Value your emotional health as much as the physical, with a support system of friends and a willingness to laugh—especially at yourself.
  • Schedule fun activities on a regular basis—it’s just as important to plan pleasure as it is to plan work.
  • Identify “busy behaviours” (or people) that drain your time and energy but aren't really important, then dump ‘em, or at least minimize their hold on you.
  • Kill two birds with one stone, combining family time with exercise, for example, which benefits everyone involved.
  • Try to look at the problems in your life with new eyes to find solutions. If you’re a new mum, for instance, see if you can trade childcare with another new mum to get some time for yourself.
  • Learn to say “No!” Your “yes” is valuable and should not be automatic. Instead, reserve it for the things that are most important to you.
  • Don’t try to change every problem area in your life all at once. Start with one or two items, then expand as you get things under control.
Just as the airline attendant tells you to put on your own oxygen mask in an emergency before helping a child with theirs, you must take care of your own basic needs before you can attend to the needs of others. Do not settle for less love yourself first today!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Whatever you do tomorrow do not be a sheeple!

The other characteristic that differentiates the unsuccessful who will settle for an average life and the successful people who do not settle for less , is their voluntary acquiesce to a suggestion without critical analysis or research. Tomorrow millions of couples will sit down for a valentines meal, open their valentines present, some will read a poem that shows ho much they love their spouses and partners. But if you are a person who does not accept things at face value, the big question is do you need an artificial date whose origins most people do not even understand to profess your love for a loved one? Why do you have to wait for a day in February to declare your love to significant other, do you need an external stimuli to show how much you love her or him. Even if you wanted to tell your loved one how much you love them does it have to be at a time when the prices of cards, chocolates, jewellery and flowers is inflated such that the clever retailers make the buck off your sheeple mentality? What is wrong with exchanging pleasantries everyday like its valentines? 

 Here are some of the facts about valentines: 
  • The average spend in the Western world is £75 up from £63
  • Men spend twice more than women
  • Tomorrow a dozen long stemmed roses will cost £48 about 30% more than the normal price of £36
  • Pet owners will also buy their pets a valentines gift
  • 15% of Women will send themselves flowers and chocolates
  • Durex the condom manufacturers will get a boost of about 25-30% increase in the sales of latex contraceptives and consequently more pregnancy tests are sold immediately after
  • One billion cards will be sold world-wide making Valentines the second largest holiday in which cards are sent after Christmas
  • Hallmark employs an 80-person research staff to analyze the sales pattern of previous valentines. That analysis, combined with more than 100,000 annual customer interviews, focus groups and in-store observations, will help create roughly 2,000 cards in Hallmark's core Valentine's Day line.
Whatever you do tomorrow do not be a sheeple. On another note this blog will be moving from Blogger, I have decided to purchase a domain name and host this independently of Google. I am just busy getting the new website ready

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

On Money: Planned Spending & Maximising Saving Potential

Successful people are shrewd when it comes to shopping, their buying decisions to start with are planned, they do not do adhoc spending. They have a budget they stick to it, they have already decided what they are going to spend, what they need before visiting their favourite shop. They do not just visit the supermarket and decide what they want as they go like what most people do. A lot of people do not plan their shopping, sometimes a visit to the shops is triggered by one item which will have run out, it could be milk or bread, instead of just buying that pint of milk or that loaf of bread they end up buying other unbudgeted items like newspapers, gum, candy, chocolate e.t.c. Such that a grocery shop trip that was supposed to cost just over a pound becomes a £15 trip loaded with items bought on impulse. Successful people on the other hand do not purchase items on a whim without an carefully consideration of the need and uses of the items to be purchased. To entice people to buy on impulse is a science that supermarkets have dedicated time and money in order to increase their profits. So a way to beat them is to understand how they work

Supermarkets In A Nutshell

Supermarkets are designed both in store merchandising and the millions of pounds poured into market research to encourage and seduce people into buying and spending more than they need. When you enter a supermarket, the first smell to hit your nostrils is smell from the bakery, the in-store delicatessen with its array from different flavoured meats; the scent is designed to make us hungry and more likely to buy more food on impulse when in fact we just wanted to get household cleaning products. It is also imperative as you read the guide below to know outright that before your trip to the supermarket you need to have eaten a decent meal or a snack such that you will not go hungry while shopping. Even the layout is designed to milk the most from impulse buyers, the sweets, the candy, chocolate and magazines are placed by the till to entice you to grab them on our way out even when they were not on our budget. The aisles themselves contain different items such that as we walk around to get to the milk section we will have passed through different aisles stuffed with items that we might impulsively buy. The items that will make the most money for the supermarket are placed at eye level so it is always best to scan the upper and lower shelves for cheaper items. Seedless grapes and other attractive treats are usually near the store entrance, often below cost price, to entice us in. Similar signs and displays are used elsewhere to promote deals, even when they're not on sale. Bright colours and the words 'discount' and 'sale' make us feel good, yet the reduction may be pennies and cheaper equivalents or alternatives hidden elsewhere.

Grocery Shopping

  1. One of the reasons food gets wasted is because people buy more than they need. A lot of families in UK wastes an average of £600 per year in food wastages which equates to £50 a month. Imagine if you have £50 a month in savings account which gives you interest of about 8% at end of the year you will have saved £600 plus the interest of £48. Use this to incentives yourself on the need to do a proper grocery planning that saves you money and will not result in shortages. The best way to tackle food shopping for families is to design a meal plan,a weekly or a monthly meal planner is difficult to devise.

    a) Write out a plan for your meals for the week or month ahead, get your family involved by asking them to suggest what meals they’d like to have.

    b) Make a shopping list so you only buy what you need, check what you have left from last week. Can you use it up? Why not be creative and try something new.

  2. You can create your own meal plan on your computer using a planner in email software packages such as outlook. There are also plenty of free online applications that can help you many supermarkets have online meal planners.
  3. The golden rule once you have done the meal planner is to stick to what is on the list and not be tempted by things you might not use. It is also recommended that you buy your fresh vegetables and other food items loose where possible to avoid buying more than you need. Buy One Get One Free (BOGOF) is a marketing gimmick for supermarkets and grocery shops, do not be tempted to buy them thinking you have had a bargain unless you can definitely use the free one, or give it to a friend. BOGOF items in special in fresh produce should be completely avoided unless as above you can use the free item or you can give it away because both items will have the same expiry date.
  4. Another trick is to have in your cupboards food items that will enable you to make a quick meal with left overs. So items such as Flour Sugar, Herbs, Spices and condiments, Pasta, Rice, Ready made sauces, Oils (olive, vegetable, sunflower, Canned fish, Tinned tomatoes, Vinegar (white wine, balsamic).
  5. Another tip that can help reduce your grocery spend is buying meat in bulk, most farms sell meat directly to the public and on comparison you will find that it is cheaper than buying pre-packaged portions from your local supermarket.
  6. It would also help to consider store's own brands of items such as cereal, instead of sticking to premium brands where the difference is packaging, product placement and price and has nothing to do with quality.
  7. Compare prices the best tool in UK is mySupermarket, use it to find where som items are cheaper, where there are deals

Real Savings

Suppose you have made a list of essential items, used some of the tools suggested above to determine where you can get items cheaper. You are also working on a weekly or monthly meal planner as suggested to minimise food wastage. On your trip to the supermarket you have discovered that you have got some items cheap than what you had budgeted for, which leaves you with some change it could be £10 or even £5. Instead of finding a item to buy with those savings to indulge yourself it is best if you took that money and deposited it into your emergency fund savings or to top up your holiday savings account or better still any savings goals you have. That is what successful people and people who will not settle for less do, they take advantage of real savings they gain from sales and bargains not to overspend on on unbudgeted items rather to boost their savings.

We spend an average of £3300 a year in food and groceries, if we can find savings of 15% on that budget, it could boost what we ar already saving from our earnings with an extra £500 a year. Start today find savings in your grocery list and increase the amount of money you save every year.

Monday, 23 January 2012

On Money: Develop The Habit of Saving Money

People that will not settle for less have a long-term outlook in life as well as in behaviour, one concept that they have taken to heart is that generally success is long-term. People who will not settle for less are not consumed by short-term and often selfish acts that characterise most people in life. People that accept mediocrity are fixated on living only for today, they hardly think about tomorrow. Some have already given up on their future such that they spend their lives dulling the ache of a desperate existence by escaping the present through drugs, opiates, alcohol, gluttony and excessive consumption of television. They justify their attitude by saying "You only live once", whereas people who will not settle for less, successful people use the maxim of only living once to achieve lofty goals and change people's lives through philanthropy and innovation. You will find that the people that settle for less live like there is no tomorrow, this reflected in their attitudes towards saving money be it for their own goals or their children's education.

When behavioral economists study why people have such a hard time saving money, the biggest factor isn't spending as many would like to think rather it is inertia, what they call "status quo bias." That means you're more likely to keep doing whatever you're doing rather than change it. But this flies in the face what we are doing here we do not settle for less the mediocre type of living we constantly break the mould and it is no different in saving. There are so many reasons why we should develop a habit of saving a portion of our income and getting ingrained in our psyche such that it will become second nature like brushing our teeth. Here are some of the reasons why saving a portion of our income is imperative;

Something For A Rainy Day?

We live in a very volatile and unpredictable world which is always dynamic and it is only those people that are better equipped to deal with these changes in everyday life that survive. While no one wants to think they will loose their jobs or their businesses one day it is fact that they have to live with that one day our source of income might not be there. the general rule of the thumb is to have an emergency fund that can pay your everyday expenses for 3 months without resorting to borrowing, up until the time you get another job or be able to start another business. Its not only loosing your job that you have to plan to, an unexpected car breakdown, a broken boiler, a toothache, a bereavement in the family.


One day you will have to stop working, it is another reality of life, few people pay attention to the question of how they will fund their retirement. Unless you have a job that guarantees you a pension or if you are eligible for state pension like the one offered in UK then you really have to start thinking about putting some money aside for your retirement. Even if you are eligible for state pension you will find its not adequate as you will only receive £10 200 per annum if you have in continuous employment for 30 years, if you use the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's estimates that you need £15 000- a year to live comfortably in your retirement age, which impels those that just wanted to settle for the UK state pension to save more. The quicker you start the better you will be positioned when the actual retirement looms. According to Alliance Trust, a personal pension provider, how much you need to put into a pension each month to generate a pot worth £100,000 at age 65. Here are their estimates:
- If you start saving at age 30 = £75 per month
- If you start saving at age 40 = £150 per month
- If you start saving at age 50 = £350 per month

A Deposit For A House

Unless you have won a lottery or inherited a lot of money if you want to own a home you will need to start saving for a deposit of your house. With the current economic climate it is difficult to get mortgage regardless of your income and credit rating without putting down a significant amount of money as a deposit. Most lenders require you to have at least 10% of the cost of your home as deposit if you have good credit rating, if your credit rating is average to bad then you will need a large deposit which most lenders insist should be between 15-30% of the total value of your home. According to Nationwide, Britain's largest mortgage loan providers the average cost of a house in England and Wales is £165000, which means you will need an average deposit of £16500 if you have AA credit rating, if your credit rating is average to poor then you will need between £24500 to £49500 to be able to purchase a house. If you buy a house in 5 years then you will need to be saving at least £3300 per annum or £225 a month with good credit rating otherwise you will need £9900 a year or £825 a month with dodgy credit rating.


You might be thinking of going back to school to ensure better earnings, you might be planning to get a masters degree again to improve your career prospects or a PHD. It might be your children's education that you might be thinking about putting away funds for collge or university. The costs for private and public education are rising every year, and it's getting tougher to meet these demands. Tuition fees have risen by 32% between 1999 and 2009 according to Delta Cost Project in their report titled "Trends In College Spending. Which highlights the need to put a portion of your earnings aside for your own and your children's education. A better education breaks the cycle of poverty that affects people from generation to generation.

Car, Holiday, Luxury Items

There is no point working your socks off just to be able to get by, I think you might have already picked this up not only from the title of the blog as well as numerous times in any of the articles here including this one. Life is not meant to be a dull monotony act of of survival but it should be both rewarding materially and emotionally. A lot of people have not taken a vacation in over 10 years, well it is the usually the same tired reasons that they cannot afford and holidays are expensive. There is nothing that is stopping you to put aside a few pounds or dollar each month towards that holiday you have always wanted whether its in the Caribbeans, or Maldives or South of France. Frankly there is no way you can have £2500 to £5000 for that dream holiday unless you save each month towards it. The same applies for that new car you have always wanted, that TV those Jimmy Choos, that season ticket to see your favourite football team every time they play. Calculate how much it will cost you and start saving towards it today.

Wealth Building

The greatest teacher on money Robert Kiyosaki in his best selling book ever written about money "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" he says pay yourself first. Before you pay anyone else pay yourself first, let other people scramble for what is left of your money after you have paid yourself first. Wealth building should never be confused with popular get rich schemes, you will only get wealthy if you are 1) making money 2) saving it and 3) investing it wisely. Unless you are putting a portion of your income aside and then investing those savings wisely then there is no way you will ever become wealth obviously unless you inherit a lot of money or win the lotto. If any amount of money is saved regularly coupled with principle of compound interest it can grow significantly.

For people that will not settle for less, saving should become a habit, akin to brushing teeth every morning. That way it will be passed to our children,and eventually it will be so ingrained in our psyche that it will become our culture and define us. Most people that live an average life dismiss saving even little amounts of money but its not the amount you are saving that matters the most it is principle. As people that strive for the best in our lives lets leave people who have a spending culture but never have a saving culture.

Friday, 20 January 2012

On Money: Time Management

It is often said that time is money, you must have heard it, its a common phrase that is thrown around in a lot of conversations. Time is indeed money, after all at our work places or in our business we are paid for the time we spent working. I will add to the phrase that Time & Knowledge are money. Today however we are just concerned about time we will deal with knowledge in the next posts on A Life Long Habit of Learning. In my first post in these series of Money I pointed out that one of the most crippling factor in the quest of poor people to break the cycle of poverty is lack of time, its not really lack of time but lack of time management. No one has more time than another. We have the same amount of time in every day as everyone else. We have the same number of minutes in our hours and the same number of hours in our day. Yet successful people who will not settle for less seem to accomplish more than we do within the same amount of time that we have. Why is that?

When we wake to go to work or our places of business, we do so in such a hurry that we fail to notice our surroundings such trees, flowers, birds, the clean crisp air, we are oblivious in of rush of the beauty of the world simply because we proclaim to have no time. Instead of us controlling the time we end being controlled by time, it dictates when we go to bed when we work we get trapped such that we are frequently saying we have no time or we waste that time we have. In order to control time instead of it controlling us we need to learn effective time management. Time management is simple, it consists of two aspects; 1) Mental Attitude 2) Planning

1) Mental Attitude

The relentless ticking of the clock holds the impression that there isn’t enough time to do what we want to do. For example there are things we might have been meaning to do for a long time now, like learning a language, visiting some place, studying, writing a book, If only we had more time we lament. We are so busy. But are we really busy or we give ourselves a semblance of being busy. A lot of people waste money on time management courses and countless of hours with experts at work being told how they can manage time but do they need an expert to manage their own time? No they do not, if we have not taken that course to learn another language its because we do not want to take it. Its simple it has got nothing to do with time, same as visiting that place you have always wanted to, we did not because we did not want to. We do the things we want, we have that freedom to choose to the things we want so when we do something else over and above that one which we say we do not have time to its because we did not want to. If you really need to study you will find the time to study, if you really need to write that book then you will make time to write it.

Lets suppose I employ you to sell my seminar "What Will You Settle For" which will cost delegates £10 to attend, however I propose to pay you £100 for every delegate you can sign up in the next 48 hours. Tell me how much time are you going to spend watching that re-run of Come Dine With Me? How much time will you spend reading the paper about last night's match which you watched live last night? How much time will you spend chatting on the phone with the "Gurlz" about the up coming party? How much time will you spend eating, drinking beer while you listen to your growing collection music? I think with such a proposal you will spend most of your time time talking to prospective delegates in order to maximise the number of delegates you can sign in the next 48 hours, remember its £100 for every delegate you sign up. Replace signing up a delegate for any activity that you think you do not have time, if you are studying suppose on completion of your study I will give you £1000 but if you get a distinction or an upper second then I will give you £50000 and £30000 respectively, do you think you could find the time to study?

What I am saying is simple, if you have a goal and burning desire to achieve it obviously given the rewards that goal will offer you, then you will not need a course and a manual in time management. As a matter of fact the time that you will give towards your goal will be determined by how much you want to achieve it. If you want it badly then trust me you will have the time to do it. You need to spot the key difference; you have to want badly to achieve something to find time for it and are not just wishing to do something, wishing will never give you the time. I started with mental attitude as opposed to straight diary and calender planning because, for every activity you undertake you need to first identify why you want to do it? Once you have convinced yourself the importance of attaining your goal you will have mastered the ability to control time.

2) Planning

The head start in time management you have it from the above, you know what you want to do, you have listed the things that you what to do in the order of their priority. The priority here is determined by how much you value attaining that goal. You ill then proceed to divide your day's 24 hours with the number of activities you have to do, lets say for example you are employed or you run a business, you spend 10 hours of your day commuting and at work, you are left with 14 hours of the day, 2.5 of those hours are spent either cooking, eating or doing household chores, living you with 11.5 hours of which depending on the goal you have set, you will decide how much of that is for sleeping suppose you give yourself 4.5 hours sleep that will leave 7 hours, will you spend the 7 hours watching millionaires kicking football, being entertained yet you want to take a course that will improve your career prospects or improve your business.

I rely on a prioritisation matrix developed by Stephen Covey to ensure I focus my attention on those activities that contribute towards my strategic goals. Without doing so, I have found that it is too easy to get consumed by non-important tasks. Covey first introduced his time management matrix in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It involves a matrix composed of four quadrants that define how we spend our time:

I. Important and Urgent

II. Important but Not Urgent

III. Not Important but Urgent

IV. Not Important and Not Urgent

The two factors that define an activity are urgency and importance. Urgent activities are self-explanatory; they require immediate attention. Importance has to do with results - if something is important, then it contributes to one's strategic goals or mission. We react to urgent matters while we tend to plan important activities.

Finding More Time

Here is a trick which I have learnt that will ensure you find more time; it is rising an hour early than normal, say you normally wake up at 6 try waking up at 5 and if you are studying that will give you an extra hour study every day and if you maintain it, in no time you will have mastered the subject you are learning to become and expert. If you are studying a language, after sometime you will have become proficient in it to describe it as your second or third language depending on how many you speak. The key to be monotony is alternate activities, if you normally read on a Monday morning why not alternate and do it every other Monday morning. This spices the activities breaks monotony and eliminates bore-doom that makes us abandon our goals from time to time. Alternating the activities we do also ensures we do not fall in the trap of people who want to do things after they have achieved other things, we can loose weight while we are studying, we can learn a language along our cookery lessons, we can travel to that favourite destination before we make loads of money.

People who do not settle for less, do not live in the after scenarios, they live in the now world they do the best they can today such that when they accomplish their goals they do have anything else left to achieve. You will hear of people who do not settle for less, you have obtained that Masters Degree they have always wanted, at the same time they have also taken those guitar lesson that they have always wanted, while raising their families. Its no secret it all lies in good time management, follow the step above and you will find yourself rich because indeed time is money.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

On Money: Finding Your Niche

Recently we looked at supplementary income streams, little things that will bring an extra £10 or more a day. For those that do not settle for less its easy, they dedicate their spare times in maximising earning potential, they do not have time to watch x-factor or catch that omnibus on Eastenders. I am not advocating an attitude of all work and no play, I understand that there are periods where you have to take a break. Walk the dogs, take the kids to a kick-about, do your garden, read a book watch TV as well or a movie, finish the crossword. However people who do not settle for less than their true potential are focused, even these periods of play are planned in their busy activities. If you have not yet embarked on your search for an activity that will bring you extra income, I suggest you give it a thorough thought. Once you have decided on the course of action then by all means get on with it, the rewards of action are greater than that of inaction or procrastination.

Here are some extra ideas some will rehash what we talked about yesterday:

1) Sell your old books/DVDs/CDs/Games here: Amazon,, Green Metropolis is for books only. Amazon Trade in, trade in your old books

2) Ebay - a place to sell anything and everything, Gumtree, Preloved, CQout, eBid, Craigslist, Vivastreet,, Trade-it

3) Join Topcashback and Quidco - type in surveys in the search engine and some will pay you to join up with them. Visit famous for shop and scan. They may also ask you to join their other panels Shop and Scan gives 1100 points a week, plus a bonus 500 if you upload a receipt. Food on the Go - upto 5000 points a week (200pts for the first 20txts sent weekly - none after that. Plus 1000 points just for sending. If you have no submissions, you can also just txt to say that and still get 500 pts). Petrol Panel - 2500 points per month for all petrol submissions.

4) Daily clicks Although clicks take time to add up it's worth it in the end if you have the time to spare.

5) Mystery shopping - Get paid to be a mystery shopper! I will also be updating the mystery shopper's list soon.

6) Mobilphone to recycle? There are plenty players in this field now just google it.

7) Music Magpie - have cds/dvds you haven't been able to sell at carboots or online. Try your luck here. Is you do sell your albums/dvds be sure to go via quidco or maximiles to get a few more pennies.

8) Etsy & Folksy - If you enjoy making crafts why not have a go at selling them on etsy or folksy. They've been getting increasingly busier each year.

All the above activities will earn you an extra income, however the ultimate income earner is specialisation. Take doctors for instance a general practitioner earns less than an oncologist or than a neurologist. It applies in every profession in life, a general nurse will earn less than a chemotherapy nurse, a web developer will earn less than a web and mobile device application developer. A solicitor will earn less than a tax lawyer, a banker will earn less than an investment banker. The key here is to find your niche, if you are a generalist you will need to streamline your activities and horn on that one aspect of your work that will transform your earning potential.

You will find nine of ten times if you do that your income will never be average again cutting down on the need to take a second job or finding ways we listed above to earn extra income. What is niche?

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

On Money: Supplementing Your Income

Last week I talked about money and its importance in today world, we looked at the limitation of having no money and also saw the advantages of being rich. One thing that was the highlight of that post was the fact that poor people are confronted by circumstances where they income is stagnant while their expenditure rises every year if there are increases in their average earnings the gains are eroded by rise in the cost of living. It is a vicious cycle that traps a lot of people into poverty. Here are the facts according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation: in the past decade the average cost of living has risen by 43% while the incomes of low earners has risen by just 7%, on the other hand the income of high earners has outstripped the rise in both consumer and retail price index by a whooping 49%. It is said that a single person in UK will need at least £15000 to afford a minimum acceptable standard of living, a couple with two children will need at least £31200. Which leaves one option for you, will you settle for the average or you will seek ways to increase your income and reduce your outgoings. Companies do exactly that, it is the maxim that they live with, everyday they seek ways to increase their earnings and in equal measure they also look for ways to minimise their costs. There is no reason why you should not be doing the same, everyday you should be on the lookout for ways to increase your income and reduce your outgoings.

Before we explore ways to supplement your income there are some few home truths that need to be acknowledged. When people talk of ways of increasing their income they are always thinking in terms of huge amounts, to them an increase can only mean hundreds of pounds anything that earns them small amounts of earnings is disregarded. Your supplementary income is directly proportional to what you earn right now, it is wishful thinking that you could have a supplementary income that earns you hundreds of thousands of pounds when in fact you do not earn that now in your main job. So to ignore or look with disdain to anything that earns you an extra £10 a month is to close your eyes to the opportunities to at least make a difference in your income levels. If you think earning an extra £10 a month is derisory and not worth your effort try paying your monthly rent or mortgage with £10 less than what you are required. Use the same analogy that its not a lot of money as an explanation to your landlord or mortgage officer as to why your rent is £10 short see if they buy that. There is a Chinese proverb that says "A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step" you have to start somewhere, the amount of money you want to make as supplementary income might be huge in line with your aspirations but you will have to start modestly acknowledging maybe as a fact that you do not have the resources to potentially earn you large amounts in your spare time now but whatever you can make at least you have made an effort. If you started with £100 at the beginning of the month and then found ways to increase that to £110 at the end of the month you can not dismiss that gain as insignificant. Its the first step in our journey for financial independence.

Ways To increase Income

1)A second job is a good way to increase your income if you have time and energy, even if it will be for only two hours a day that will give you an extra £10 a day. Which you would not have earned had you not taken a second job.

2)Earn money from your hobbies, you are good at baking, why do you start selling cupcakes at school fairs, festivals, from home on the internet. You are an artist you can earn extra money by selling your art at private galleries or direct to the public at fairs, festivals and market stalls. Are you into photography, could you sell your services as a photographer, covering weddings, christenings, parties, graduations ....e.t.c. So you can sing have you considered basking? So you are a writer, have you thought of earning money from blogging.

3)Do you have a spare room in your house? Have you thought of taking a lodger who's rent could give you a extra income. If you are baulking at the idea of living with a stranger have you thought of renting your home to TV Production companies who rent ordinary homes to film adverts and episodes of their programmes? Do you live nearer top town, parking is expensive in the CBD have you thought about renting your parking to shoppers?

4)Sell stuff, start with your second hand goods, from clothes to books and CDs, there are numerous sites in which you can list from eBay, Amazon, Friday-Ad, Gumtree, Facebook, Twitter, on your own website. We are hoarders naturally and when you do our spring clean we are usually surprised by items we purchased long ago we no long use. Remember one man's trash is another man's treasure.

Now here is the challenge for those that joined our Facebook group What Will You Settle For, let us list other activities or ways in which we can increase out income.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

On Money

The society that we live is a capitalist society its a society that has chosen money as a form of exchange for goods and services. Whether you love or hate money you got live with it because there is little that you can do without money, while on the other hand there is plenty of things that you can do with money. Despite people's misgivings about money and the overrated virtuousness of being poor, no one wants to be poor. As a matter of fact if you are poor you cannot help anyone, you actually become a burden to others, while on the other hand if you are rich you can transform lives.

Here are some of the fact are about money that you will agree with : Parents will object to their daughters' marriages unless their future sons-in-laws have jobs with good prospects. Money also influences education too, students acquire knowledge not for its own sake, but because it guarantees a better salary. We need money to live in the homes we live in whether we are renting or paying a mortgage. The food we consume, the energy we use to heat or cool our homes, the fuel we use in our cars, the mode of transport we use to commute socially or for work. The material comforts we enjoy in life need to be paid for, for example you are probably reading this from a laptop or desktop computer even from a smart phone, that had to be paid for. If we enjoy wine after work or a beer that too need to be paid for. If you are planning a holiday, from the transfers to the airport, the flight, the hotel that you will live in right up to the food you will eat will need to be paid for.

Another aspect of money that I want to draw your attention to, is that if you are poor you pay through the nose for most items. As a matter of fact you need to be rich to be poor, it is extremely expensive to be poor. Lets dissect this for a minute, take a pint of milk, if you are poor and cannot do your groceries in out of town shopping centres where grocery items are generally cheaper because you do not have a car then you will opt to buy at the convenience store near you which will turn out to be expensive. The current prices in UK for 4 pints of milk is £1.27 that is if you can drive to the bigger supermarkets which are located out of town instead of popping into the local Londis were the same 4 pints o milk will cost £1.50 a massive difference of £0.23. Taking banking for instance, if you do not have a basic bank account, then you will be charged anything from 5% of the value of your wages cheque that you want to cash together with the handling fee that cheque cashing shops charge. It is a fact that if you are rich banks will actually pay you to put money into their accounts and that people with loads of assets get the lowest interest rates, whereas those with nothing pay exorbitantly for the privilege of borrowing. Put £50 in a savings account at the bank, and they'll take 10% of your assets a month as a maintenance fee. Put £50,000 into that account, and suddenly not only are there no maintenance fees, but you're getting a nice chunk of change as interest every month, along with free cheque facility. Now when you put £500,000 into that bank, and suddenly the bank's increased the interest rate it's paying you.

Now think about time, poor people spend a lot of time waiting for services, for the bus, the trains, Dealing with lenders and banks and credit collectors and banks and bailiffs, unpaid fines and doorstep loan collectors. Some of poor people's time is spent trying to get government assistance. You also have to factor in time spent with a car that breaks down frequently just because the owner is unable to provide proper repairs because of the price and also that they cannot afford a newer model of a car which could save them on repairs. Poor people also spend some of their time travelling to laundromats to wash their clothing in washers and dryers which they cannot afford to own. If you are poor then its given that you pay rent that they cannot afford, but lack the credit to get a mortgage or afford down payments for a house you might call your own one day. Money is funneled out so that you can afford roof over your head, sub-standard food, clean laundry, and the fees and penalties for every loan you take out, however the money coming in never increases. Such that the poor are trapped in a vicious cycle of increasing expenses with a diminishing income.

As poor people can only afford to rent and the fact that the rents are cheaper in poor neighbourhoods which inadvertently dangerous to live in. These neighbourhoods are characterised by poor public transport facilities, limited if not non-existent job opportunities, if they get any jobs they will be offer derisory wages for longer hours and often menial and demeaning jobs.In these neighbourhood people often turn to crime to supplement dwindling incomes. You will find petty criminals here looking to profit in whatever illegal ways they can. Stealing pipes and wires to hock for copper scrap, burglary, sticking people up, dealing drugs, and prostitution are common in extremely impoverished areas. They also often characterised by high teen pregnancy rates. In turn, children learn to imitate what they see in a world around them that of remarkable crime and violence.

The most stressed people in the world are poor people, they are amongst the most worst sufferers of stress. Amongst the things they worry about is making their monthly payment from rent to loans that they have taken, arrears on service charges. The stress brought about by long travel times, longer working hours, inadequate income, denial of government assistance. Its not without its effects which are manifested in poor memory for children that grow up in poor households and blood pressure, ulcers in adults.

One final thing on being poor is because its been studied that a lot of people without money spend a lot of time watching television therefore advertisers target poor people which fuels their spending of non-existent income I think I have covered enough in this article to show you that if you have a choice like you have now choose wealthy over being poor not only because its expensive to be poor but because the world we live in is governed by money. Beside you will be able to change a lot of people live and make a difference in life if you have money. While on the other hand if you are poor you will be a burden to your friends and family that will need to rescue you from time time lend you something for you to get by.

The best and ideal outcome for anyone who read this article is to resolve to make more money than they are now. I will reveal how from tomorrow.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Whatever You Do, Do Not Give Up

The news that dominated headlines in UK last week was the conviction of two men for the murder of Stephen Lawrence an 18 year old Afro-Caribbean student. He was murdered for the colour of his skin almost 19 years ago. The murder of Stephen Lawrence was a callous crime which reflects the imperfection of the society we live in but what is also remarkable is the dogged determination of his parents to see justice, after 19 years they finally got what they wanted. The parents survived racism they faced from police who started investigating them rather than the murder of their son, a trial of people suspected of murdering Stephen collapsed, they brought a private trial which was unsuccessful, then there was a public enquiry which did not shed any new light about who could have murdered their son. That was followed by a judicial inquiry headed by a retired judge again nothing came of it except confirmation that the police was institutionally racist. New developments in forensic science provided a new way to re-open a trial last year which brought last week's conviction.

The determination of Stephen's parents to see justice is delivered serves as a lesson for all of us. It could have been easy for them to give up after so many failed attempts to bring the killers of their son to justice. Yet for 19 years they worked tireless, there was no way that they could have known the end result of this agonising process. Nothing else mattered in their life other than the pursuit for justice, it consumed their lives altered it forever in no way we can imagine yet they never give up.

It is the same approach needed in pursuit of your goals you cannot give up at the slightest failure. It might seem daunting at first, after all we live in a pressurised society which expects success instantly. The need to deliver success in today's world is more urgent than ever before. We are bombarded by TV images of perfect people with perfect lives who appear to have everything in life, wealthy, beauty, loving families. With those images implanted on our conciousness and coupled with the human trait of impatience it has transformed us into a now generation that think that success is at a press of the button. We are suffering from the sauna and jacuzzi syndrome in which we want to sweat but do not want the associated workout that brings sweat. We are no longer willing to work hard and bide our time to achieve success. Rather we want it now and look with disdain at any process that takes longer with little visible results. This kinda of behaviour has led many to become victims of financial fraud and perpetrators of crime. We no longer look with suspect to deals and schemes that promises to turn us overnight into millionaires. It has also given rise to the number of people who buy lottery tickets they are unwilling to make plans that will make them millionaires in 5 or ten years its got to be today.

The best advice I have encountered on the attitude of trying to take short-cuts to success was dished out by Stephen R Covey in his best selling book "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" He describes real success like a natural system. he talks of people that might have crammed to get by in school, while they can pass they never gain true mastery of their subjects. Try applying the principle of cramming into a natural system like farming which has to follow a natural process he implores us. Suppose we fail to plant at the beginning of the rain season then cram at the end the rain season expecting to bring a bumper harvest. The farm like success is a natural system, the price must be paid and the process followed there are no short-cuts in success. You reap what you sow.

Be determined to achieve that you set out to achieve, be earnest and unwavering in your quest for success. Do not give up easily or get distracted by something else, develop that zeal to achieve your goals regardless of the difficulties or the amount of time that it takes. For some it might be determination to graduate from college and get a degree despite financial hardships. It would be good to adopt the motto of the U.S. Marines, which goes something like: "The difficult, we do right away. The impossible takes a little longer." the best quote I will leave with you is by Confucius
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall."

Thursday, 5 January 2012

What Is The Plan?

Congratulations if you managed to write down your goals or you defined what success means to you. I am sure you read my yesterday's article where I talked about mentally preparing yourself for the tasks ahead. Its important to acknowledge that the road to success is not easy, however that said your determination to make it and your unrelenting focus on what you want to achieve will provide you comfort on the road ahead. The next part is formulating a plan, its pointless to write the goals down and to even have the right mental attitude if there is no plan. The next biggest question is how will you achieve your goals? The fact that you want what you want badly is not enough, you need a detailed plan on how you will achieve your goals. Without a plan your goals will not achieve itself just because you have written it down.

A plan is set of actions that you will undertake in order to achieve your goals. If you like it is a set of instructions that will produce your goal. It is not anything complicated planning is a process which will help you to focus your ideas and to decide what steps you need to take to achieve your goals in a given set of time. Start with what you will do NOW. There is no point in having an action plan that will start in six months time. Define clearly the steps you will take. ("How do I get there?’’) Think of all the possible things you could do to take you closer to achieving your goal, no matter how small. Break down any large steps into smaller components, so it doesn’t seem so difficult to achieve. What is the biggest obstacle? What could go wrong?
Identify the end point of each step. You will also need to arrange the steps in a logical, chronological order and put a date by which you will start each step. Put these dates into your diary or onto a calendar. Try to set yourself weekly goals: what research you will do into jobs, what skills you will concentrate on learning etc. It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of planning a timetable each evening listing your tasks for the next day or two. Action generates the impetus for further action: if you want something done quickly, give it to a busy person. The best time to do something is NOW! Do not procrastinate as they say the procrastination is the thief of time.

An example of a action plan will be as follows:

Objective: To loose weight
Specifics: To shed 10 kilos
Time: 3 months
1. 0500-0530 - Early Morning jog around the park.
2. 1700-1800 - Cardio-Vascular exercise at the gym a) 20 mins on the treadmill
b) 20 mins on the elliptical machine
c) 20 mins in the aerobics class
Diet & Nutrition:
1) Breakfast Day 1
Low calorie muesli no sugar
2) Lunch Day 1
Fruit Salad
3) Supper Day 1
Steamed fish with lots of vegetables

Substitute loosing weight with whatever your goal is, write a specific plan within a time frame that you have given yourself to achieve your goal. Do not procrastinate the time to take action is now.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Prepare For Blood Sweat & Tears

If you spent the last three days of this new year taking up my challenge to commit to paper your goals for this year congratulations, once you have the goals written down then you are half-way through. This article is just a reality check, just before you set out a plan on how you will achieve your goals you need to realise some facts about success.

The world that we live in is highly competitive world, only those that are exceptionally good will make it the rest will live an average life. Its simple in order to succeed in today's world you will need to be stand out from the rest. Its not going to be smooth sailing or a walk in the park. You will have to work exceptionally hard and be prepared to sacrifice some life comforts to achieve what you want in life. Like they say no pain no gain, the same maxim applies in your quest to success.

Suppose you are looking to loose weight, that will mean making sacrifices in your lifestyle. It would probably mean a change of your diet, giving up some comfort foods adopt a more healthy eating no what how much you are averse to it. You might have to join a gym, wake up early and start jogging, it might mean giving up you sedentary lifestyle to adopt a more active lifestyle. If you have decided to go back to school and gain an extra qualification that will give you the urge in life, you will need to study hard, maybe after work, combine studying with your other responsibilities such as parenting and your community activities. Even if you have chosen to start your own business maybe you will at first work alone in your business putting in extra hours before you can high staff. Whatever you will be doing be prepared to make some sacrifices as success will not come easy. Suppose you have chosen to put down a deposit on a house as your goal for this year, and a quick look at your finances will tell you will need extra income, you have taken on a second job even a third job.

Hard work in itself has never killed anyone, working extra hard to make up for lost time is the only way to move your life from mediocre to above average. The situation in your life should move you, there can be no other motivating circumstance other than the state of your life now. If you are tired of being fat and unattractive then that in itself should motivate you enough to weather the sacrifices you will have to make. If you are broke, again that situation should motivate you enough to put the extra hours in overtime or doing a second job to get you out of the situation. You are paid for what you know, if you do not know much then that will be reflected in the jobs that you will take. If you are not happy about the job you are doing then you will need to get an extra qualification or to change careers altogether and the fact that you do not like your current job will spur you study hard. Your situation should move you, it should provide you with the impetus to move forward.

In conclusion you will need to mentally prepare yourself for the hard you will need to put in before you can achieve success.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Here Is A Chance To Start Again On A Clean Slate

As the new year starts you have an opportunity to start again its like starting on a new page, it can also be likened to being born again. Forget what happened or did not happen in 2011, it does not matter any more. You cannot change your past but the actions you will take today will shape your tomorrow. This year I have personally declared it to be a year of action, a year which will be characterised by firm decisions and the resultant action. The best start is to set goals, setting goals is nothing mystique as it appears or sounds, it is in essence defining what success means to you.

Start by defining what success means to you. Does success mean you start living healthily, give up smoking (its expensive anyway), joining the gym, getting into shape? Does success mean buying that car, putting down a deposit on that house, saving for that holiday? Does success require you to get more knowledge, to go back to school, to acquire new skills? To some it might be that they want to spend more time with their loved ones, working hard to make sure their personal relationships work. To some success means starting their own business, being in control of their destinies. While for others it might be getting that promotion at work, applying for that dream job. Whatever success means to you you need to define it first before you go on about achieving it. It is pointless to just talk or even read this without taking action, I am going to ask you stop reading right now and take a paper rather a notebook, write down what success would mean to you in 2012.

Once you have defined your success you will need to write it down, its no use if just think about it and never commit it to paper. A goal is a goal if its defined and written down. I have written about it here when I gave you the example from the classic movie Alice In Wonderland, where Alice wants to go somewhere but cannot clearly define where she wants to go, Cheshire the cat tells it dos not matter which direction she goes she will get somewhere. Well today is the day to discard that attitude if it ruled your life. The idea that you can just drift in life, equating waking up and going to work with achieving something is flawed and will never work. It is probably why a lot of people do not achieve anything in life. They have never bothered to define and commit their goals to paper. It is like getting in car and starting to drive with no clear definition of where you are going and it is no wonder that you will never get anywhere. I

I am not going to labour on the above point but it is imperative that you sit down and write what success means to you. After you have written down your definition of success, you will need to chart a course on how you will achieve your goal. You might have written down that you need to buy a car, you need to be specific, what type of car, a saloon or a estate, a sports utility or a truck, with manual gears or automatic, whether it will be powered by petrol or diesel, even a hybrid electric powered car, what colour will it be, will it have leather seats or fabric covered seats? Most people who successful in life are clear and very specific about their goals, they are not vague about what they want to achieve neither do they ill-defined what they want to achieve. Suppose you want to make money in 2012, how much do you want to make, how will you make it? How much will need to make every month to achieve your target? How much every week, how much each day and consequently how much every day, every hour.

Studies in the past have shown that people get disillusioned about working towards their goals if the goals look unachievable and vague. They give up after a week of trying in January because the goals they set have not be broken down to sizeable chunks to fight goal setting inertia brought about by the looking at the sheer scale of what you want to achieve. There a common English saying that says take of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves. The same principle applies when setting goals, you will need to see what you need to achieve everyday that propels you towards your goals. As long as you are on course everyday then you will be on course every week, the weeks will make months and when 2012 closes you will have achieved what you set out to achieve. Breakdown your goals to monthly targets, then weekly then daily, then hourly if you have to, concentrate on now if you are on target now it will be easier to achieve that epic looking target.

There is no point in setting a goal which is unachievable in your circumstances, it will just frustrate you. The goals you will set need to be realistic, while its good to dream big however setting unrealistic goals is akin to day-dreaming. Successful people do not day-dream they know what they can realistically achieve. A good way of measuring whether a goal is realistic or fantasy is to have a look at the past record. There is no point in saying you will make a million in income when you average income for the past ten years has been averaging less than 25000 in yearly income. Unrealistic goals will look good on paper but will suck the energy out of you. Someone has said before goals should be S.M.A.R.T - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time limited.

I urge to grab this chance you have today, to start on a clean slate by committing to paper your goals. Remember they need to be realistic, specific, measurable and set within a time to achieve it. Happy New Year and a happy new you!