This thirty second video explains very quickly who uses Zeek and why. Secretly I just love it because of the cat…
Buying Gift Cards For Less Than Face Value With Zeek
Zeek provides you with the opportunity to save anything from 4% right up to 40% on your gift cards.
All you need to worry about is what vouchers you’d like to buy. In fact, I aim to make this process even more straight forward with a code to get £5 off your first Zeek order.
Once you’ve decided on the brand it’s time to decide on your value and therefore the percentage in which your saving. You can see that for Starbucks savings range from 4% – 7%. One important thing to note as with any gift card is the expiry date. The details of this shown on the left hand side just below the brand logo.
Electronic vouchers are delivered immediately, and physical vouchers are posted out to you. Physical gift cards are said to take 7 working days however most people report them arriving within 3.
Selling Your Unwanted Gift Cards With Zeek
Selling your gift cards on Zeek couldn’t be made simpler. Simply search for the brand you would like to sell, enter a couple of details, select the amount and the discount you’d like to offer and just like that your gift card is up for sale with Zeek.
Selling on Zeek is really simple – just open up the app and start listing your voucher for sale. You will need to provide a photograph of the voucher and some details such as the face value and expiry date. You then decide how much of a discount you want to offer – the bigger the discount, the faster your voucher will sell. Zeek charges a £3 processing fee for selling your voucher.
Once sold you’ll need to post your voucher to Zeek by registered post (the cost of which will be refunded) and you’ll receive your payment within 14 days.
There we have it. My complete Zeek review. As always let me know in the comments what you think of the idea behind Zeek? Is it something you’d use? Do you know of any Zeek alternatives? Personally, I think I’d only ever use Zeek to buy gift cards. I just can’t stand to loose money on anything, so I’d probably just re-gift unwanted gift cards or use them to purchase gifts for other people.
As always, if you do try Zeek out let me know what you think in the comments…
I’ve been submitting a self assessment tax return for over five years now. At a time it was a rather daunting task for 20-something however, thanks to new cloud software such as Xero this process has been made simple and straight forward. While my tax affairs have become more complicated in recent years forcing me to hire an accountant.
For a long time I committed to becoming a ‘Jack of all trades’ and saved myself some serious cash by doing so. April marks the end of the tax year once again, which is exactly why I want to share with you the very basics of a self assessment tax return. I hope that by doing so I can help you to save time, money and hassle.
Who Needs To Complete A Self Assessment Tax Return?
Not everyone needs to complete a tax return. The majority of UK tax payers have their tax collected at source through the Pay as You Earn Scheme. This is where employers run a payroll scheme that deducts the correct amount of tax and national insurance each month.
The employer is then legally obliged to pay this amount over to HMRC every month or every three months depending upon their size. There are however many reasons as to why 7 million people in the UK need to submit a self assessment tax return to HMRC.
Below are the most common;
Income above £2,500 from Land or Property
Company Director or If you are self employed
Income from a pension and a salary 40% income tax payer and have savings income
Receive an income from investments that are not taxed at source.
Income from foreign sources Income subject to capital gains tax
Just remember this is just a few examples. If you are unsure as to whether or not you should be completing a self assessment contact HMRC directly.
When Does The Tax Year Start? And End?
The tax year runs from the 6th April until the 5th April each year.
When Do I Have To Submit My Tax Return?
I believe the deadline is very generous. HMRC give you until 31st January to submit and pay your return. That’s around 10 months!
Yet many still fail to meet that deadline and by doing so receive penalties for doing so. Many of us also leave it to the last minute. Causing unnecessary stress and running the risk of being unable to submit the return on time.
How Much Does Submitting A Self Assessment Cost?
If you’re willing to put in the graft and do all the work, record keeping and mathematics yourself then submitting your self assessment tax return to HMRC is totally free. However, remember time is money and it’s often all about finding the best of both worlds.
You can outsource your self assessment return entirely to a bookkeeper or accountant. This could cost anything from £300+ per year. It’s entirely dependent on the accountant you choose and your personal circumstances.
However, I found the middle ground for myself was using the cloud based accounting platform Xero. It cost less money than an accountant, but also required less work than doing the entire thing myself. Time vs Money for me personally it was a winner!
Where Can I Learn More About Self Assessment?
I remember when I first went into the world of self employment. It was a first for anyone in my family, and being young at times I found it confusing and hard to understand. HMRC knows this is often the case regardless of your situation which is why they host regular webinars.
Just remember that if you’re confused or for whatever reason don’t understand you should always contact an accountant or HMRC directly. They’ll be able to tailor the answer to your particular circumstances, ensuring that you’re always submitting your self assessment forms correctly. I hope this latest post has given you some insight into submitting your own self assessment tax form.
The most important thing to remember is to complete your form as early as possible, and keep on-top of your record keeping. This is going to really reduce the time it’s going to take you to complete your return whether you choose to use an accountant, cloud based accounting services or do it yourself.
Xero is a beautiful, easy-to-use online accounting software designed for small businesses. I have personally been using the software since January 2015 when I ventured into a world I knew very little about – self employment.
Since then it’s allowed me to understand the financial situation of my business, save time, save money and plan accordingly for the future. I can’t recommend it enough (which is why you’ll often see me go on about it in Facebook groups & on Youtube hangouts)
I therefore decided it was long-over due that I dedicate an entire post to a Xero review. Explaining exactly why I use Xero for my cloud based accounting. Clearly, I’m not the only fan of Xero as their community is made up of more than 862,000 subscribers in over 180 countries.
In this Xero review I’m going to start with perhaps one of the most basic and yet profound features this online accounting service offers. It’s ability to be able to link my bank and credit cards as well as my PayPal account. Updating them all in Xero in real time.
No more logging in to check all of your business bank accounts. Load Xero up and you can be assured that all your accounts are completely up-to-date. I can see the overall financial possition of my business on one screen – not a calculator or spreadsheet in sight!
To link Xero together with your bank account is as simple as logging into your online banking. No more wasting your time writing down your expenses or exporting and importing CSV files. With Xero your income and outgoings are right there in front of you.
The reconciliation Xero offers also allows you to create ‘rules’ allowing you to select what certain transactions should be catagorised into. This not only saves you time but reduces the risk of human errors.
If the ability to work together with your bank wasn’t enough maybe the integration with almost 500 different applications might be. In this section of my Xero review I’m going to be talking about everything from SqaureSpace to Shopify and Gusto to Debtor Daddy (and everything in between!)
All this is designed to allow you to customise your Xero experience exactly to your businesses needs. Giving your the opportunity to connect with other time saving applications from advanced solutions for point-of-sale, time tracking, e-commerce and more!
Aged just 20 I began my life as a self-employed entrepreneur. I knew very little about accounting, taxes and everything in between. When I got set up on Xero I had questions;
Why does this do this?
Why isn’t this doing that?
Am I doing this right?
If like me you’ve never done this before it’s super overwhelming and confusing. Luckily Xero’s support team was here to help every step of the way. I’m not just talking about being there for the few weeks where I was getting set up.
Just recently my business became a limited company, I was back to square one with one-million and one questions, again Xero’s amazing team was here to help… best of all it was quick, free and the amount of support they provide is unlimited.
Xero also comes complete with a mobile application. This mobile application allows you to view your businesses financial situation whilst on the go or out and about.
It’s made all the difference when I find a business opportunity whilst on the road allowing me to see exactly how much I can afford to invest without restricting my business further.
When starting up a new business we all know how important it is to save money wherever possible. I wanted to be in full control of my financial situation. I didn’t want to hand everything over to an accountant who wanted to charge me £150 a month for the privilidge.
Instead I opted for one of Xero’s three price plans;
Starter – £10 per month Ideal for bloggers or those who are just starting out.
This allows you to reconcile 20 transactions a month. Enter 5 bills Send 5 invoices
Standard – £22 per month My personal choice and more than enough for most small-businesses.
Reconcile unlimited transactions Enter unlimited transactions Send unlimited invoices
Premium – £27.50 per month If you conduct transactions in a currency other than your local (UK – GBP / US – USD)
Everything standard offers plus multi-currency transactions. Take Xero up on their 30-day free trial to find out which service might suit your needs best.
Bookkeepers & Accountants
As your business grows and your needs change you may find yourself needing some further accounting assistance in the form of a bookkeeper or an accountant.
What’s great is that with Xero being a cloud based platform your person of choice can access your books at any time. You are also able to keep in full control of your financial situation and make decisions accordingly.
If you think finding someone with the knowledge and experience who is also a Xero professional is going to be tough, think again. Xero have created this fantastic interactive tool to find the best person for the job, local to you.
The final part of my Xero review is dedicated to security. Afterall, your handing over very sensitive information in regards to your business. Which means security has to be tight… and it is. Xero’s platform is run with a secure SSL encryption. SSL encryption is the exact same as what your bank uses, so with security as tight as your bank. You can be sure you’re sensative information is in safe hands.
I do hope you enjoyed this Xero review. If you’re still unsure then be sure to take them up on their 30 day free trial to find out if they are right for you. If you go ahead and sign up then be sure to let me know in the comments.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while you may have realised that there are three things in life that I love; money, business, and technology. So, it comes as no surprise to find out that when Airbnb hit the scene back in 2008 I was amazed.
The concept is simple; Either pay to rent out people’s couches, spare rooms, spare apartments, houses hotels around the world. Or go ahead and rent out your own for cash. Unsurprisingly not everyone is a fan of Airbnb. Recent research found that if Airbnb is already taking a 10% cut from hotel’s takings as locals fight to rent out their rooms and undercut hotels.
Cities, States, and Countries are also against Airbnb. One example of this is in Barcelona where Airbnb have just been fined €30,000 for breaching local tourism laws.
Research also found that Airbnb has also been partly to blame for the increasing rent in Berlin. City officials have had to go as far as creating a new housing law banning regular short-term letting of rooms without permission from the authorities.
Despite all this, I still love the concept from both the person looking for accommodation and the person looking to rent out a part or all of their home. Which is exactly why I decided to write this Airbnb review post.
That’s because either way, the person should win. The person looking for accommodation should find better accommodation, at a cheaper rate. The person looking to rent out some or all of their home is able to make money from a commodity they already own.
That’s not to say I wasn’t sceptical. In fact, for years now I’ve been looking for a way to try out the experience. That was until a recent experience left me heading to the British capital, London on short notice.
My Airbnb Experience
I recently managed to get us on a last minute table booking at MCM Comic Con in London. It’s the largest Comic Convention in Europe and certainly not one to be missed. The event is held at the Excel Arena on the side of the river Thames. This isn’t city centre London, but it’s still London all the same.
Accommodation in and around the area sells out fast when an event is on at the arena. Hotels that still take bookings hike prices to take advantage.
Despite pulling every trick in the book when it came to booking a hotel for this event I was looking at paying over £300 for one person for two nights. It just didn’t make sense, that was more than my table at the event for three days!
So, I decided to take to Airbnb to find someone local to the shows arena with a spare room at perhaps a more reasonable rate. Setting up an account is simple and straight forward, you can even import your details direct from social media accounts such as Facebook & Twitter.
Finding a place to stay is actually easier than using websites such as booking.com. Simply type in the postcode and use the filters on the left-hand side to filter the results. You can filter and sort to include accommodation based on; distance, price, user reviews, accommodation type etc. I decided to look for someone within five miles of the venue, who had a spare room.
Considering I was looking for somewhere to stay in London I was surprised to find that I only had around eight choices. Five of which were out of my budget / the same price as a hotel. This left me with three choices. I ranked them in order of preference and decided to make contact with my first choice.
This Airbnb user had over 250 reviews, the photos looked great and the location was perfect. I explained my situation, the dates I wanted to stay and the reason why. After 24 hours I had no response. The event was now in 72 hours so I decided to move on.
My second choice was a female, she had no reviews but the photo and description of her place seemed perfect. I dropped her a message much the same as my previous, and after five minutes I got a reply. Within 30 minutes I’d arranged to stay in the spare bedroom of her apartment for £93 – a third of any hotel for miles.
Just 72 hours after booking my accommodation, I set off on my journey to London. It took me over four hours to get down there and a further two to get unpacked and set up. After all that I was more than ready to lay down. I hopped on the DLR at the Excel Arena and three stops later I was just a two-minute walk from my spare room.
I used the Airbnb mobile app to contact my host and let her know I was here. My host provided a full tour of the place, gave me the wifi code and left me to my devices. This is exactly what I wanted. Just the right amount of openness. I was tired and didn’t fancy having a chat over coffee with a complete stranger for hours – at least not tonight.
But, if I wanted to hear her life story she’d have been more than happy to tell me it. Perfect!
My two night at my hosts were fantastic. I was out from 7am – 7pm through the day so my evenings pretty much consisted of saying hello, having a shower and going to bed. I believe that if you’re wanting to stay somewhere on the cheap, or get a taste of a different culture or lifestyle, live with the locals, interact with people from different backgrounds then Airbnb provides you with that opportunity.
As for whether I’d use it again, damn right I would! Airbnb provides you with the tools to find an awesome place to stay, and my entire process was quick, easy and simple.
My Airbnb review is certainly, so far, so good… However what about hosting guests within Airbnb?
Making Money With Airbnb
Now, let’s talk about the flip-side. While I haven’t been able to offer up our sofa or spare room on Airbnb there are clearly people who do.
I guess the question comes down to how much are you willing to take for people to come into your home. The answer is going to be different for everyone depending on personal circumstances. I don’t live in a city with particularly much going on, despite being just five miles from Leeds.
Never the less the cheapest place to stay on Airbnb here is £20 a night. Assuming I decided that I could put up with someone coming to stay here one night a week per week for an entire year then that £20 a night suddenly turns into £1,040 for the year.
Even with Airbnb’s 3% service charge to hosts that still brings your yearly total earnings to over £1,000! But, that’s nothing! If you live in Leeds the average Airbnb is £55 a night. Manchester is £67 and London is £78 a night.
In fact, if you lived in London and rented out your spare room at the average price of £78 per night for one night a week for the entire year then you’d clock up a massive £4,056 before fees!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Airbnb review. If you’ve ever used Airbnb either to rent out a spare room or stay in someone’s house? – Let me know your experience in the comments below…
When we visited Billund last month we flew from London Stansted, our flight was super early in the morning and we knew we’d be taking a lot of luggage so public transport wasn’t an option. Unfortunately, for us our chaotic lifestyle had meant the planning for such a trip had been repeatedly pushed further and further down the to-do list.
Which meant that when it came to me looking for somewhere to park the car at the airport the cheapest I could find (including discount codes) was £64.99 for just four nights!
I folded my arms and refused to pay such a ridiculous sum.
Instead, I took to the internet to find a solution, and a solution I found in the form of JustPark. I was so impressed with the service I decided to do a complete Just Park review.
How Does Just Park Work?
Just Park allows you to rent out your car parking space, garage, you name it. I managed to use their nifty website to find around 30 different spaces available on my dates of travel. All within a 5-mile radius of London Stansted.
One car parking space really stood out and that was John’s. John was three miles from the airport, he had a spare car parking space on the date’s we wanted and asked £25 for the four nights he also offered to drive us to and from the airport.
John was fantastic, we turned up to his house at approximately 5am and he was already outside waiting for us to pull up, he provided us with his telephone number so we could give him a call when we got back to the terminal so he could come and pick us up.
Prompt, efficient, polite and all £40 cheaper than parking anywhere else.
When we got back to the UK I was keen to leave John a fantastic Just Park review that he deserved. That’s when I decided to sign up for Just Park myself, offering up our car parking space. The service allows you to tier your prices accordingly we chose the following based on the prices in the surrounding area;
The service charges the buyer the commission and not the seller and is at a fixed rate of £5.00.
Renting Out Our Space
We’re based just a few miles from Leeds with local amenities and travel services. I therefore decided to offer the car parking space at our home up for rent on Just Park.
Doing so couldn’t have been easier, and within a matter of days we was able to generate a small passive income from a small piece of our land.
I can only imagine the amount of money you could generate from this website if you lived close to a major sporting venue, entertainment complex, city or airport. I think we’re talking £200 a month upwards, that’s a whopping £2,400 for the year!!
I’d love to know if you have ever used the JustPark service either to park your car or make money from your car parking space. Be sure to let me know in the comments below!