The forgotten few

It’s not all about your big schemes, sometimes it pays to take a step back and make sure the small steps are in place. As they say, look after the pennies and the pounds take care of themselves. As you may well have noticed by now, I welcome just about any income to my stash, however big or small. So whether something is raking in £100’s a month, or trickling a few pence a week into the coffers, The Shoestring Investor is happy to see it all reach ‘the stash’. As such, there are a few things I have on the go that make a small contribution to the stash. None of them are worthy of a full review, but never one to overlook the little guys, I wanted to take the opportunity to give them all their moment in the sun.

Most of them take the form of loyalty schemes – which are great as they take no effort and are ongoing ways to make a little extra (or save a little, depending on which way you look at it). None are likely to get too far into double figures, but they will all be included in due course.

Tesco Clubcard
Making money from Tesco Clubcard

It’s worth checking your account to see if you’ve got any neglected vouchers too

It would seem there is barely a person left in Britain that doesn’t have a Clubcard, so this is hardly original. However, as long as tesco is offering points, I’ll be happy to collect them. Each pound spent is only equivalent to about 1p in reward, although this does vary across the many tesco ranges (eg petrol is half a pence per £1).

The real beauty of it comes when the clubcard exchange promotions kick in, and as I write this, there is one happening. These events are where Tesco allows you to trade in clubcard vouchers for rewards vouchers on a variety of things and double the value of your vouchers.

I have £23.00 in vouchers (some stretching way back to 2011, which I had more or less forgotten about). If you’re wondering if you have some kicking about too, but have no idea where to lay your hands on the vouchers, don’t worry –  they’re all stored online, so you can log in to your Clubcard account and check if you have some forgotten bounty awaiting you too. By exchanging these into the double points promotion, clearly that would net me £46 instead of £23, however, it only makes sense if there is something that I actually need to buy in the promotion, otherwise it’s worthless. I will have to have a browse and see if I can take advantage of this.

Aqua Credit Card

This little beauty of a credit card offers 3% cashback on purchases (up to a maximum of £100 cashback a year). Whilst the card is still available, the cashback has unfortunately been discontinued to new applicants. I’m glad I got in there a few months ago before it was discontinued, as it’s an excellent rate. I haven’t been using it too much recently, as I ran a few calculations and decided that maxing out my Natwest World Card first is a better option.

The key with this one is to make sure it is paid off in full each month, as the APR is horrific. But if managed sensibly it is a nice little way to get something extra back. I believe that I will get about £50 back from it during the course of the year. It’s not astronomical, but it’s a decent return considering it is just for using a credit card as usual.

Nectar Points

Nectar points can be a good way of saving some pounds

Accepted by a myriad of places, it’s a handy little bit of plastic to carry.

Very similar to the Clubcard in essence. It works out to the equivalent of between half a pence and 1p back per pound spent on most purchases. The nice thing about Nectar is that it is affiliated with a variety of different companies, from Sainsbury’s, Oxfam, eBay and BP to name just a few. This means it’s a handy thing to have knocking about the wallet as, at some point, the odds are that I’ll be spending money in some of these. It’s worth mentioning here, choosing to shop in a certain place because of a loyalty card is illogical in almost all circumstances – it’s always best choosing for price – or quality/service etc. if you prefer. Then if you have a loyalty card for your chosen shop, then that’s a plus.

Another nice thing about Nectar is that there are plenty of promotions out there that can bag a quick few pounds without any spending. I have £3.32 on it at the moment, having signed up about a month ago. The majority of this is from the signup bonus and various points promotions for first time registration with eBay and Oxfam. In the course of the year, it will be surprising if this gets into double figures – but it’s all money at the end of the day, and it doesn’t cause me any extra effort.

Google Adsense

I’ve mentioned this one before, and it’s fairly straightforward. Essentially, most of the adverts you see on this site are serviced by Google. Companies looking to advertise do so through Adsense, and each time one is clicked on my site, I get a cut of the payment from this company. It works out at about 50p per click on average, and about 1p per 100 views. So far I have made around £18, which in all honesty is more than I expected to have made on it at this stage. If you’re interested in learning more, there’s plenty of information on google’s guide.

There is a withdrawal threshold of £60 (outrageously high in my opinion – but that’s a rant for another time), so ideally I will at least have hit that by the end of the year, but it would certainly be nice to stretch closer to £100 from Google Adsense in the year. So, don’t be afraid to get clicking on those adverts when you spot something you like, and help grow the stash in your own little way. You’ll earn my gratitude and respect, which no doubt you value highly…

The copper jar

I know what you’re thinking, I’m both metaphorically and literally scraping the barrel here. I thought hard about whether to include this in the stash or not, as at first it felt a little against the spirit of things. However, after some consideration I realised that it is exactly all about what the Shoestring Investor stands for! Let me explain;

A copper jar is a good way of saving for a rainy day

Just how much this treasure trove contains is anyones guess

Perhaps you are thinking – hold on, this project is about how much he can make, not what he already has lying about. I agree. However, this jar must be well over 10 years worth of emptying overstuffed wallets of coppers. I’ve always said to myself that I’ll save it for a rainy day, that one day I’ll crack it open and cash it in. Whilst that might sound nice, it is completely illogical and entirely un-shoestringian! My whole mantra is about maximising my resources and finding every possible opportunity to increase worth. Leaving something sitting depreciating in real value for 10 years to the whim of inflation hardly falls into that category. As I never would have got to this realisation if it wasn’t for the Shoestring Investor in me coming out, it only seems right that it goes to the Shoestring stash. No doubt without this project, it would have sat in the back of a cupboard for another 10 years. It encapsulates the very fulcrum of this project, that every opportunity, no matter how great or small, should be pursued to it’s maximum potential. With this in mind, when I get a bit of spare time, the jar will be emptied, the coppers counted, and the money banked.

No doubt you’re wondering how much is in it. I haven’t got a clue! I really am struggling to make an educated guess. It’s certainly pretty heavy, and whilst I’m sure most of it is coppers, there are a few silver shapes shimmering out at me. Perhaps a better use of it is to run one of those “how much is in this jar” competitions! Answers on a postcard. If I had to put a figure on it, I’d say maybe £20ish. It really could be anything though.

Every little Helps

Whilst none of these on their own add up to much of a total worth writing home about, when combined I reckon I’m probably looking at about £150-£200 over the course of the year. That equates to less than 1% of my target. But if you then consider that I could perhaps make a return on this money of 5%, it all starts to add up. Each pound I can create is a pound that can continue to work for me indefinitely. Learning the importance and practice of that principal is just as, perhaps more important, than having bags of money. Just look at the amount of people who come into money quickly and end up broke very soon after.

For fear of becoming any more philosophical about a few pounds, I best curtail things there. I have no doubt left a few things off this list, but they’ll get their time to shine at some point in the future I’m sure.

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