Does Hypnobirthing REALLY help?

 

 

I had a fantastic opportunity to talk to 100 midwives at Coventry University last week. The day had many fantastic speakers talking about holistic care for women and how midwives must look after their own wellbeing enabling them to effectively care for the women and families; hence the title of the day was ‘We Are Only Human’.

My chosen topic was Humanity, Midwifery and Hypnobirthing. This is a huge topic so I had to focus on just a couple of areas related to hypnobirthing: language and the power of breathing in labour. Although a fantastic day this blog isn’t about my presentation, it is about the feedback I received from clients whilst planning this event, about their experience of hypnobirthing and whether they would recommend it to other women.

This blog is their words, not mine, but demonstrated to me the benefit using hypnobirthing has had on all their birthing experiences, from the positive birth to the incredibly traumatic.

In brief, between them the group of women had every birthing journey possible from spontaneous labour and birth with no intervention, to spontaneous labour and birth with medical intervention, to induction and caesarean section, planned and emergency. All the women had a hospital birth, and some used a variety of medical forms of pain relief, whether it be TENS machines, Oramorph, pethidine, gas & air, birthing pool and/or epidurals to support them through their journey. The use of medical pain relief varied greatly.

Each woman used hypnobirthing techniques that worked for them, but all found that the power of focusing the mind and using breathing techniques was of huge benefit, regardless of the mode of birth. Other techniques used were Relaxations, Visualisations, Affirmations, Knowledge of active birthing, their partner being the advocate and gatekeeper with the knowledge of hypnobirthing techniques and language they had been practising.

I asked what words they would use to describe their birth experience… Calm, supported, informed, confident, comfortable, relaxed and traumatic were the responses.

Despite such a huge variety of experiences my main question was whether they would recommend hypnobirthing to other women and whether they would suggest anything to student midwives. Interestingly, all the women said that they would recommend hypnobirthing! Here are some of those responses:

 

“Yes! I went into it thinking I had nothing to lose and ended up thinking it was great. Practising the breathing and visualisations made me feel relaxed because I was doing something proactive to help with the birth, and on the day, it helped me stay calm and enter a focused, relaxed state. The midwife said I breathed our baby out! It was key to have done the sessions with my husband as he encouraged me to practise and ensured I remained focused and felt in control.”

 

“Yes, I found hypnobirthing techniques were something I was in control of and benefited from using the techniques during labour. Especially at times when we were left alone and were not really sure what to do. Even though I ended up having an emergency c-section, up to that point I used the breathing techniques with my contractions and found I was managing the pain well. I think even in the emergency situation I remained calm and during the c-section I closed my eyes and used visualisation of my health and my baby’s.”

 

“Yes, would definitely recommend to all expectant parents”   

 

“Hypnobirthing really helped me and my husband before, during and after birth. We did not have the birth we wanted but it helped us to stay calm and informed throughout the process. First, it helped to conquer my fear of hospitals (I was induced so I was there for 4 days, calm and relaxed before anything happened). Then, during labour I used breathing, relaxation and visualisation techniques to stay positive and calm. Finally, when we realised we won’t be having the birth we wanted, we still stayed calmed and informed which made the whole experience positive. Even with medical interventions.”

 

“Definitely. When I was able to go into my own place with breathing and ignore where I was it was brilliant. Unfortunately, being in hospital was the last thing I wanted, and all the interventions were what I had said I didn’t want. I feel like the people involved and the clinical environment made everything traumatic for me but being able to breath and ignore people absolutely helped.” 

 

“YES and I have done to all of my friends expecting!” 

 

“Yes – I probably would but stress the need to practice a lot. My contractions got intense very quickly so didn’t have much ‘quiet’ time to really do many of the hypnobirthing techniques. I think it could help other mums more than me if they have a longer time with few contractions. I’d just say to anyone be prepared for things to go off plan and don’t be rigid with your plans.”

 

A couple of the women offered this information for midwives:

 

“I would implore all student midwives to be open minded and on board with hypnobirthing as it was the most incredible and surreal experience of my life! They need to use the right language and offer a holistic approach to a mummy to be during labour and most importantly to look after those people chosen to support the mummy throughout. I found all but one of the midwives on incredible while having the water birth I had dreamt and practiced for with aromatherapy, ice lollies, lightning, music, little intervention; leaving me to it as much as possible and gentle encouragement at the end. They looked after my husband and mother in making sure they were comfortable and had eaten and drank which gave them the strength to stay by my side for a rather epic 24hrs of established labour. We all have our own stories of giving birth to our children but mine was purely magical and that was thanks to the power of hypnobirthing.” 

 

“Give the mother the space, darkness and quiet she needs to be comfortable. Constant questions and noise are not nice for a birthing environment. I don’t know why everything went so wrong with my birth, but I do believe it was partly because all of my choices were taken from me. I was constantly told what I had to be doing and told that my plans were not possible. I feel I was forced to have drugs etc that I didn’t want and the whole experience made my body stop doing what it should have done hence the baby couldn’t come out naturally.”

 

One mum even sang my praises after attending a hypnobirthing workshop and then having twins 🙂

 

“Helen, your knowledge and teaching was amazing. Helped me hugely. Much much more than my midwife. You gave confidence to be in control and to ask the right questions to medical staff. To have the knowledge of how everything works and how you can help yourself and how being calm and breathing etc can really really help to relax. Medical staff tend to treat it as a job..and as a patient it can be scary…but when you work together and feel like equals and have some care and time and have the midwife understand the mum getting in the zone..that is hugely beneficial.”

 

Thank you very much.

I hope that this blog speaks for itself without me having to add things to it.

I have found the feedback from clients moving and really empowering, the work I do every day has benefited them in some way regardless of how their babies came into the world.

Hypnobirthing is something that can clearly help women during pregnancy, labour and birth and if you are considering it there appears to be no disadvantages to using it. The golden key is to practise, practise and practise.

 

Wishing all those expectant mums a positive birth, whichever way your baby comes to meet you. Be prepared for your journey x

 

Helen Keast

Antenatal and Hypnobirthing Educator

www.bump2babyreality.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Money for Mummy – Mummy Sanity Savers: How I cope with working while taking care of a baby (Part 2)

02/09/2018 by Eda

App bubbles

In Part 1 of my Mummy Sanity Savers series I talked about how porridge, pouches and pre-made formula all help me juggle work and baby care. In Part 2, I share some of my favourite organisational tools. I have so much to remember all the time that I depend on these to keep my head straight! I’ll admit I do still forget quite a few things. They often tend to pop back into my head during the 4am night feed! However, by using the apps below, I at least have a place to quickly jot down tasks and events as I remember them.

My favourite Google apps (Calendar, Keep, and Maps)

As I do a lot of mystery shopping, being organised is essential. The mystery shopping companies don’t take kindly to you missing report deadlines. If they can’t reschedule the task you won’t be able to complete it and won’t get paid. Missed reports count against your reputation with the company resulting in you being offered less work. More than a couple of strikes could mean you are taken off their list altogether.

To keep track of my upcoming, active and completed work, I use Google CalendarGoogle Maps and Google Keep. All of these tools can be used on your computer and your phone.

Using Google Calendar and Google Maps together

As I use an Android phone Google Calendar and Google Maps come as standard. I use Google Assistant to input new appointments/events to the calendar when I can’t hold my phone. This is very useful when I’m driving or when my phone is out of reach and I’m holding the baby! You can also ask the Assistant, “OK Google, tell me about my day”. It then gives you a run down of the day’s weather, what’s in your diary, and the latest news. These functions also work if you have a Google Home device that’s synced to your account.

Download Google Calendar

Get it on Google Play    Download on the App Store

When you add an event to Google Calendar you can put in the location and time you need to be there. With this information Google can remind you about the event. It also tells you when you need to set off to get there on time, taking into account current traffic conditions. It gives you the option to get directions or navigate to the location via Google Maps.

While using Google Maps you will have your phone’s location setting switched on. Google uses this to track your location and can give you a summary of time/distance/routes travelled that day (or previous days). To access this data, go to the menu and select Your Timeline. I find this so useful when I have forgotten to record my mileage for the day!

Download Google Maps

Get it on Google Play    Download on the App Store

Using Google Keep

Google Keep is such a handy little app for making quick notes and lists. You can make notes different colours and move them around the screen. Important notes can be pinned so they always appear at the top of the screen. When you have a collection of notes it looks similar to having a wall of Post-Its! Another useful feature of keep is that you can attach photos to a note. It can be very helpful to be able to snap a picture of something and know exactly where to find it later.

My favourite use of Keep is to give myself cue-card type reminders for mystery shopping tasks. A lot of the assignments require me to remember large amounts of information. It’s easy to forget to check for something so I make a quick reference list in Keep. I can discretely check this list during the shop and it just looks like I am reading a message on my phone. I can also make further notes in Keep about my findings, with the appearance that I am sending a text.

Download Google Keep

Get it on Google Play    Download on the App Store

Speedy Access to Google Calendar and Google Keep

I use the Google Chrome browser and this allows me to very quickly access Google Calendar and Google Keep. Both can be added as extensions to the browser. With the Keep extension you can quickly save notes with web links, images or quotes from webpages. The Calendar extension allows you to see at a glance what you have coming up. Clicking the calendar extension button takes you straight to your Google Calendar if you want to see it in more detail.

What if I have an iPhone? 

Google Calendar, Google Maps and Google Keep are all available from the app store (see buttons above). Siri does not work with Google Maps, but you can use it with Google Calendar if this is set as your default calendar in your phone’s settings. You may prefer to use the Apple’s default calendar and map apps if you are an iPhone user.

Keeping Track with Trello

Trello is a super simple and very useful website/app. You record individual chunks of information as ‘cards’ which are displayed in lists. You can freely move the cards between lists, so it’s good for seeing what you have to do, what you are doing now, and what has been finished. I find Trello perfect for organising my mystery shopping work.

How to use Trello

To get started, this guide explains the basics of using Trello. For my mystery shopping board, I use the following lists:

  • Job applications pending – cards in this list show mystery shops I have applied for
  • Upcoming jobs – all the cards in this list are for jobs I have been given
  • Completed jobs awaiting payment – once I’ve sent the report, I move the relevant card to this list and archive it after I get paid

If I have applied to a shop, I create a card in the pending applications list. I give the card a useful quick reference title. This is normally the shop name and location, and the date range that I can complete the task in. I mark the card with one of the coloured labels (I use a different colour for each mystery shopping company) and use the description section to say what the job involves. I attach useful info, like my shopper guidelines, to the card. Finally, I use the due date field to make a note of the deadline for the report.

What I like about Trello is I can upload all this information via the website, then access it easily on my phone using the Trello app. It’s so useful while I’m out and about. The best thing about the app is that when I have taken photos as part of a mystery shop, I can upload them to the relevant card. I can then easily access and download the photos to my computer from the website version of Trello ready to upload to my report.

Download Trello

Get it on Google Play    Download on the App Store

The Wonders of Wunderlist

I spent a long time searching for different productivity apps that allowed me to make quick notes of tasks. It was difficult to find something like Trello where I could make notes and add attachments, but that also allowed me to quickly list and tick off different jobs.

I tried Taskworld and Wrike, but after a short trial period they both required premium subscriptions for me to continue using them. Then I tried ToDoIst. It worked well for me on the web but I found the app fiddly to use. It also needed a premium account to enable full functionality.

Then I discovered Wunderlist. This had everything I needed. It is really easy to use both on the app and online. I can add notes, comments, attachments and subtasks to any task. Completed tasks are ticked off and archived with a single click/tap. The lovely backgrounds are fun too.

 

Download Wunderlist

Get it on Google Play    Download on the App Store

Not forgetting… good old fashioned pen and paper

Even with all the technology available I still carry around my pen, a little diary and a great little notebook/folder I found called a Padfolio (by Paperchase). You just can’t beat writing stuff down sometimes, especially when you don’t have phone reception.

The diary helps me to see at a glance what I have coming up for the week ahead. It is useful to have to hand when I get calls about mystery shopping work. My Padfolio gets used for recording mileage and time spent on each job. I stash the receipts I need to keep hold of in the little pocket in the front.

 A6 Padfolio by Paperchase

Thank you for reading!

I hope you’ve enjoyed Parts 1 and 2 of my Mummy Sanity Savers and found the tips useful. To finish off, I recommend that you schedule in some YOU time. Like, actually put it in the diary and stick to it. Enlist help from partner/friends/family, give them the pre-made formula and take yourself off to do an unrelated work/baby activity. A morning or afternoon alone will feel really refreshing, but if you can get a whole day you will feel really rejuvenated. If you’re breastfeeding you may need to consider having your pump so you don’t mess up your supply. If I take mine anywhere I also take a cool bag, ice pack and milk storage bags/bottles. I don’t want to waste that milk!

 

A note on affiliate links: some of the links in this post help me to earn a small commission (at absolutely no cost to you) which supports the running of the blog. For more details click here

DISCLAIMER: Bump2baby Reality would like to stress that any links in this or any other Money for Mummy blog post have not been researched by Bump2baby Reality. Similarly, the views and opinions expressed in the Money for Mummy posts are only those of the original author and contributors. The information contained in the posts is what was considered by the author to be relevant and correct at the time of writing and may be subject to change. Bump2baby Reality cannot be held responsible for any financial or other decisions made on the basis of information or links in the Money for Mummy blog posts.

MONEY FOR MUMMY DISCLAIMER: Please click here.

Money for Mummy – Mummy Sanity Savers: How I cope with working while taking care of a baby (Part 1)

19/08/2018 by Eda

Baby food in a bowl

 

Lots of people say to me that they don’t know how I am able to do so many work activities while looking after the baby. Truth is, sometimes I can’t. Only the other week I ended up getting stressed out because I got tempted by too many mystery shopping tasks and it was a struggle to get all the reports done! I’m still learning how to strike the right balance between work, looking after my girl and looking after me. This post will be the first of 2 where I talk about some of my mummy sanity savers that help me to survive! Read Part 2 here.

Note: this post contains affiliate links. There are more details about this at the bottom of the post.

Porridge, Pouches & Pre-Made Formula

Porridge for breakfast

I love baby porridge as a fast breakfast. There are some really nice ones available. I personally like the Organix range best and my baby loves the taste! I think these products have great texture and the ingredients are high quality. They are suitable from 7+ months (stage 2). I get them in the supermarket, or Amazon sell multipacks (links below):

Multigrain porridge
Banana and plum porridge
Banana and mango porridge
Raspberry and banana muesli
Fruity apple cereal

I make the porridge up with formula – I tried using expressed breast milk once but the resulting smell made me want to run a mile! I like to add mashed fruit (my favourite speedy choices are banana, nectarine, peach, mango or strawberries). If I don’t have any I use fruit puree from pots/pouches or just the porridge on its own.

Another thing I add is Wellbaby 6+ month vitamins which you can buy as drops or liquid. Trying to give my daughter the vitamins directly just resulted in her spitting them out down her chin, but she’s quite happy to have them as a porridge topper!

Pouches for later

As much as I’d like to, I’m not able to cook very often. The time and mental capacity it requires are just too much for me at the moment. My baby also gets very impatient while watching me cook so it becomes very difficult. I therefore very often use pouches. They can be a bit pricey, but then so is the fresh food that I buy and waste when I don’t get an opportunity to cook with it. The big supermarkets, in particular ASDA, often have good multi-buy offers that can help with the cost.

Pouches sometimes have a bit of a bad reputation so I did some research to find out why. The ingredients are healthy. Most companies use organic products and the majority of pouch contents are fruit and veg. So what’s bad about them?

Too many apples

Some of the mixes are SUPER sweet. I’ve been caught out by a particularly misleading Ella’s kitchen pouch before that said ‘sweet potatoes and pumpkins’ on the front. Sounds great, I thought. The packet also mentioned apples and blueberries but I thought it would be savoury overall. Well, my little girl inhaled that pouch in about 2 minutes. I’ve never seen her eat anything so quickly. I managed to taste a bit when I could get it off her and I was gobsmacked by how sweet it was! I turned the packet over and found out that apples made up 52% of the ingredients! I felt pretty cheated by this and I’m now very wary when choosing pouches.

I don’t really understand mixing fruit and veg. It’s not something you have as an everyday meal. So I look for pouches that just have veg, meat and rice/grains/pasta and give these as the main part of a meal. I then do fruit and/or yogurt for a dessert. My favourite brands are Babease, Piccolo and Heinz (links to some great savoury options below).

Babease (130g pouches):

Organic brown rice, swede, butter beans, courgette and kale
Organic butternut squash, quinoa, beetroot, onion and sage
Organic sweet potato, tomato, carrot, quinoa, chickpeas and cumin
Organic chickpea, pumpkin, tomato, coconut, herbs and mild masala

Piccolo (130g pouches):

Sweet potato and beef ragu puree
Sweet tomato and ricotta spaghetti puree
Spring vegetables and chicken puree
Squash mac and cheese puree

Heinz (180g pouches):

Veggie Singapore noodles
Spaghetti Bolognese
Thai chicken curry
Paella with Mediterranean veggies
Sweet and sour chicken

Sucking food through a straw is not a normal way of eating

As my baby has got older she has become more experienced with eating from pouches. She will quite happily hold them and suck the food out. This is an easy and relatively mess-free convenience when out and about. However, if I give her pouches at home I empty them into a bowl. This has several benefits.

Firstly, she can see, smell and touch the food which helps her learn about it. Pouch food looks the same as home cooked pureed/mashed food when it is in the bowl. I feed her the food with a spoon so she still learns about using cutlery. If your baby is like mine you will probably have to surrender the spoon at several points during the meal! I often have a sneaky second spoon to prevent tears caused by retrieving spoon number 1.

Emptying the pouch into the bowl in stages means I can easily leave any unwanted food in the pouch and minimise wastage. Anything that’s left goes in the fridge until the next day.

Pre-Made Formula

Whether your baby is breast or bottle fed, pre-made formula is a lifesaver. I use it to make my daughter’s porridge as mentioned above. It’s also a great option for my husband when he takes her out to give me some time off. I like how small the bottles are as they can go straight into the changing bag.

It took some time for our baby to accept formula at room temperature, but before that I found they warmed up really quickly. Trying to defrost and warm up expressed breast milk (especially if I forget to take it out the freezer until the last minute) isn’t great with a hungry, crying baby on your hands.

To begin with our little girl point blank refused formula. I introduced it with her solid meals at first, then mixed it with expressed milk and gradually adjusted the proportions. We took our time to avoid upset. It was 3 weeks altogether before she would take formula on its own.

I save money when buying pre-made formula by getting it in 4-packs from supermarkets or Boots. I use half a bottle at a time and keep the rest in the fridge for up to 24 hours. I only ever get first stage formula – second stage follow on milks do not have any additional benefits apparently.

Thank you for reading!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my mummy sanity savers! In part 2 I’ll talk about the apps I use to organise my time.

 

A note on affiliate links: some of the links in this post help me to earn a small commission (at absolutely no cost to you) which supports the running of the blog. For more details click here

DISCLAIMER: Bump2baby Reality would like to stress that any links in this or any other Money for Mummy blog post have not been researched by Bump2baby Reality. Similarly, the views and opinions expressed in the Money for Mummy posts are only those of the original author and contributors. The information contained in the posts is what was considered by the author to be relevant and correct at the time of writing and may be subject to change. Bump2baby Reality cannot be held responsible for any financial or other decisions made on the basis of information or links in the Money for Mummy blog posts.

MONEY FOR MUMMY DISCLAIMER: Please click here.

Money for Mummy – Working on the Web: Testing Websites for Cash

12/08/2018 by Eda

Woman browsing the internet on laptop

 

When a company creates or updates their website they want to know what people think. They will pay to have people test their site before it goes live. You can be one of those people! Keep reading to find out how you can earn money through website testing.

 

What does website testing involve?

The tests are normally short, taking around 10-20 minutes per test. The payments start from £5 or $10, but can be as much as $60 for longer tests that may take up to an hour. Payments are made by PayPal so even if you are paid in Dollars it is still easy to withdraw the money in Pounds (for a small fee).

Most of the companies that offer tests require you to install a screen recorder. This records your screen as you use your normal web browser to test the website. The screen recorder shows you different questions for you to answer. You speak your answers out loud and your responses are recorded via a microphone. I just use the built in microphone on my laptop. If your computer doesn’t have one you will need to use a headset.

If you have a mobile device running IOS or Android you can complete tests on your phone or tablet. The testing company will check whether your device is suitable. Once that’s confirmed they will send you mobile tests separately.

Not all tests require you to speak out loud. I mention a couple of companies below that have different requirements. Don’t worry if you think speaking out loud will be weird. After you’ve done the practice tests you soon get the hang of it. You can even have a go at tests where you do an interview about the website over Skype.

Website testing from a Mum’s perspective

Although it is easy to complete these tests flexibly, you do need to have a quiet and distraction free environment. This isn’t always easy with little ones around. I either get up early or wait until my baby has just started a nap before I look through the different websites to see if any tests are available. I still manage to complete a few tests a month this way. If you need to you can pause the screen recorder and continue the test later.

Where can I find the work?

Screen/voice recording tests

WhatUsersDo

WhatUsersDo were the first company I ever tried website testing for. Unfortunately I can only do standard computer tests for them as the mobile ones require mirroring the screen of my phone onto my laptop. My computer can’t cope with the extra workload! If you can get this set up though, WhatUsersDo offer tablet and smartphone website tests as well.

The pay is £5 per test so it’s not as much as other sites. However, most of the tests are quite short. The other benefit is that you are very rarely screened out. WhatUsersDo are good at sending you tests that you are actually likely to qualify for. They also have a very good helpdesk so if you run into any problems they can help to sort these out quickly.

MfM Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

UserTesting

UserTesting offer me the most surveys but I find I am screened out of a lot of them. I still succeed in getting through to a few of them though and they are my second most used testing website. The screen recorder works much better with UserTesting and they pay $10 per test. You are rated by the customer after each test. You get useful feedback which can help you improve for the future.

UserTesting have an app which you can download in order to take part in mobile/tablet tests. You can see these tests on your dashboard along with the computer ones when you login. If you sign into the app on your phone the tests appear on there for you to attempt.

When you are signed in to the UserTesting website leave it open on a tab in your browser. You will hear a ping when a new test becomes available. This is the fastest way to get access to tests you might be eligible for. Otherwise you can receive the notifications to your inbox. They offer longer tests and interview surveys as well as the standard $10 tests.

MfM Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

TryMyUI

TryMyUI is another great platform for website testing. Like UserTesting they have an app which allows you to take mobile tests. These will show up on your dashboard when you log in to your account via a computer. TryMyUI are great for only sending you tests which you actually qualify for. They email you when new tests become available. Their screen recorder works really well too.

The only issue for me is that I don’t get many tests from them, but this could just be because of my profile and how it fits with their needs. It’s still worth signing up to them. TryMyUI pay $10 per test.

MfM Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Any Others?

You can try UserFeel who pay $10 per test. I have qualified to test for them but so far I haven’t been able to complete any.

Validately offer tests on both computer and mobile platforms. They send me lots of tests but I have yet to qualify for any of them. They seem to keep sending the same invite multiple times for each test so I sometimes feel like relegating their emails to spam! Validately offer longer tests of up to an hour for $60 as well as the shorter $10 tests.

UserZoom, who own WhatUsersDo, also have a company called IntelliZoom who you can test for. I haven’t qualified for any tests with them yet. They pay $10 per test.

UserLytics pay $5 to $20 per test. Some tests offer as much as $90 according to their website.

Other types of testing

Enroll

Enroll offer short surveys where you look at websites and answer questions about them. You don’t speak out loud for these tests but type in your responses instead. Unfortunately they don’t pay very highly. I have taken 3 tests so far and only earned $0.20 to $0.50 for each one.

MfM Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

uTest

If you feel confident with getting more technical with website testing, you can give uTest a go. I found the sign up and qualification process quite challenging and I learnt some new skills in the process. I now know how to use the developer mode in my phone and how to access the console log of my web browser! All this gets explained to you as part of the training process.

The aim of uTest is to explore websites and apps, testing their function and generating bug reports. The fee varies depending on the client. You normally get at least $8 to $10. If you are successful at it you can earn quite a lot per test cycle, especially if you find valuable bugs. It is up to you how long you spend exploring and looking. You only get paid for bugs that are approved – this is where I haven’t been very successful. Bugs that I thought were great didn’t get signed off. I’m therefore cautious about how much time I spend looking for them.

MfM Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Any Others?

You could try signing up with Testing Time if you can spare more time for testing. You get paid €50 per hour and you either test products at home via Skype or at the customer’s offices.

Thank you for reading!

Website testing is a great little earner when you have some spare (quiet) moments. It’s so easy to do (with the exception of uTest which is a bit more involved) and pays well. Let me know in the comments section on the Money for Mummy website if you give it a go and how you get on!

 

DISCLAIMER: Bump2baby Reality would like to stress that any links in this or any other Money for Mummy blog post have not been researched by Bump2baby Reality. Similarly, the views and opinions expressed in the Money for Mummy posts are only those of the original author and contributors. The information contained in the posts is what was considered by the author to be relevant and correct at the time of writing and may be subject to change. Bump2baby Reality cannot be held responsible for any financial or other decisions made on the basis of information or links in the Money for Mummy blog posts.

MONEY FOR MUMMY DISCLAIMER: Please click here.

Money for Mummy – Mental Health Matters: Boosting More Than Just My Budget

03/08/2018 by Eda

Woman with missing face

 

A short while after my daughter came into the world she was taken away from me and adorned with a collection of wires and tubes. She arrived early, and this resulted in a week long stay in special care. That unexpected and difficult start to my journey into motherhood was followed by a lot of emotional weeks and months. I anticipated the physical difficulties of being sore and tired, but not the knock to my mental health.

I found it very hard to adjust to my new way of life. I loved my little girl beyond measure, but I felt like I left my former identity at the door of the hospital. I’d gone from being a confident, independent and highly organised woman to an exhausted, emotional mum drowning in unfinished and unstarted tasks. It was difficult for me to come to terms with this.

When the going gets tough…

A lot of people said to me how things would get easier after 6 weeks, 10 weeks, 3 months… It didn’t. Not for me anyway. Not until my baby got to 6 months. Then, all of a sudden, it felt like things had fallen into place. She didn’t need to feed every 2 hours thanks to starting on solids. She wasn’t sleeping through but she was only waking up twice during the night instead of several times. I started to feel a little bit like me again.

It was at this point that I began talking to my employer about my return to work. Things had changed for me. I had gone from feeling like I wasn’t cut out for childcare, and that me going back to work full time would be better for everyone, to knowing that this wouldn’t be the right option. I wanted to influence my daughter’s upbringing during her early years. I wanted to make the most of that time that I would never get back. So I filled out a request for flexible working.

When the going gets rough…

The request didn’t work out. Despite my best efforts I couldn’t convince work that a flexible alternative to regular office hours would provide benefits all round. I was disappointed, but it forced me to think outside the box. My husband reminded me how I had always had a dream to work for myself; about all those ideas that had been left on the shelf, or only nibbled at due to not being able to fit them in around full time working hours. Now I had a new opportunity. I had time during the rest of my maternity leave to find out whether I could make a go of it.

I started experimenting. I began with things that I knew about, that I had tried before. It quickly became apparent that I could earn enough from these things alone to justify going back to work part time only. I got excited! I was having sleepless nights again. This time it was not because the baby was waking up, but because I had so many ideas tumbling around my head. I found so many opportunities to explore. It quickly became apparent that this new purpose was giving me more than just financial benefits.

A new sense of self

Although I was still finding a lot of things about motherhood difficult, I was now enjoying it so much more. My little girl was happy and learning lots of new things, and so was I. I felt like I had purpose again. It seems daft to say this, when I knew that I had a very important purpose as a mother. It’s hard to think of a different way to describe it though. I felt like I was contributing to more than just the housework, and having come from a professional career background this meant a lot to me.

A boost to my mental health

I’m now feeling really excited about the future. Looking for ways to earn money online and being successful at it so far has given me so much more than just the money. It has had the unexpected benefit of boosting my mental health as I continued to adjust to my new role as Mummy. I still have the odd wobble and I’m very grateful to have my support network of family and friends to help me.

I feel stronger and more empowered now, knowing that I managed to come through those first few difficult months and have a happy and healthy baby as well as surviving myself! I still take on too much at times, and have to take a step back and remind myself not to overdo it. Luckily my husband is very good at reminding me of this when I forget! I’m still finding the right balance, but as I learn how to adjust to this new lifestyle I hope that sharing my story, past and present, can have a positive impact on other mums and other families. I want to give them the same financial and wellbeing benefits that I am getting.

Thank you for reading!

As a new mum it’s easy to forget yourself. You value your importance less because someone else needs you more than you do. Eventually that catches up with you. You realise that, actually, your baby needs you to be happy and healthy as well in order to look after them. You need to make time for you. You might not be doing the same things you enjoyed before, or you might be doing them in a different way. If you need help to make time for yourself, ask for it. Don’t struggle on thinking it will get better someday. Carve out that little niche for yourself and make sure you go back to it from time to time. You are worth your time too.

 

DISCLAIMER: Bump2baby Reality would like to stress that any links in this or any other Money for Mummy blog post have not been researched by Bump2baby Reality. Similarly, the views and opinions expressed in the Money for Mummy posts are only those of the original author and contributors. The information contained in the posts is what was considered by the author to be relevant and correct at the time of writing and may be subject to change. Bump2baby Reality cannot be held responsible for any financial or other decisions made on the basis of information or links in the Money for Mummy blog posts.

MONEY FOR MUMMY DISCLAIMER: Please click here.

Money for Mummy – Make Way for the Matched Betting Mums!

29/07/2018 by Eda

Horse racing game

 

After starting to look into ways to earn money online you are more than likely to come across matched betting at some point. When I initially found out about it I was unconvinced. It looked like gambling to me and as far as I was concerned the only ones who won from betting were the bookmakers! However, I kept seeing stories from people who were making money from it. In the end I got curious and did a bit more research.

Isn’t matched betting just gambling?

It turned out matched betting wasn’t gambling at all. In fact it is a clever way to use bookmaker promotions to get tax free winnings. There is a bit of maths involved, but you can get access to calculators which do all of that part for you. It’s definitely worth giving matched betting a try as you can make risk-free winning bets by following the right instructions.

Is it legal?

Yes, in the UK matched betting is completely legal. You must meet the requirements for signing up with the bookmakers and exchanges though, and this requires you to be over the age of 18. Usually you will provide ID as part of the sign up process to prove this.

Will it affect my credit rating?

This was certainly a concern of mine initially. However, matched betting does not affect your credit rating so you do not need to worry about this. When you sign up to the bookmakers they may perform a soft search on your credit file to confirm your identity and to check you are not a money launderer. This will not show up on your file to future lenders, so won’t affect you getting credit. At the end of the day, the bookmakers and exchanges are not giving you credit, so they will never need to do a full search.

You may still have concerns, especially if you are due to make an application for something like a mortgage. To put your mind at rest, have a read of this excellent blog post from Emma Drew:

Matched betting and mortgages – what you need to know

How does it work then?

Stage 1: placing and matching the qualifying bet

The basic method is that for each promotion, you begin by placing a qualifying ‘back bet’ with the bookie. This is you betting that a horse/team/player will win. At the same time as placing your ‘back bet’ you place a ‘lay bet’ in a betting exchange. The ‘lay bet’ says that the opposite result will happen, i.e. the horse/team/player will lose.

After the event finishes, if you have won you will have winnings waiting for you at the bookmaker. If you have lost, your winnings will be in the exchange. At this stage, because you will have used your actual money, you will have made a small loss. You get this back (plus profit) at the second stage of the process.

Stage 2: placing and matching the free bet

After the event has finished the bookmaker will award you your free bet. You now go through the process again, using your free bet as the ‘back bet’ at the bookie. This time when the event finishes, the result is that you make a profit because you placed the bet with ‘free’ money. If you win, you cash out your winnings from the bookmaker. If you lose, you get them from the exchange instead. As you cover yourself both ways it makes the bet ‘risk-free’ provided you take care not to make mistakes.

There is a little more to it than what I have outlined above. You need to choose the right odds at the different stages in order to make a profit. There are various calculators and odds-matching sites to help with this, but it all looks complicated and overwhelming to a beginner. Fear not though; you can get help to learn how to get to grips with matched betting and make easy money from it.

Learn how to do matched betting successfully

The best place to get started is Profit Accumulator. This website makes learning matched betting super easy, and by signing up to their free trial you can earn £45 right out of the starting gate (see what I did there?). After the trial period, you pay a monthly subscription of £17.99 or an annual membership fee of £150. You should easily be able to pay for this with your profits. If you don’t make a profit in your first 30 days Profit Accumulator offer a 100% refund of your subscription fee.

How much money do I need to start matched betting?

You don’t need a lot. There are lots of promotions available so you can choose the lower value ones to help build up your pot of winnings. You need enough money to be able to cover the liability of your lay bet (the amount you must pay back the exchange if you lose the bet with them). The size of the liability changes depending on the odds of your bet. The bigger the size of your ‘bank’ the greater odds you can go for and the better your profit will be.

For me personally, I started out with a bank of £150. This was after I switched a current account over to another bank and they gave me the money as a gift. Within a few months I had converted this to over £1,000 through matched betting. You can, however, start matched betting with as little as £50. If this concerns you, don’t forget you will get your money back quickly, plus profit.

Setting up a matched betting bank account

I found it really useful to set up a separate bank account for matched betting. It made it so much easier to keep track of my deposits and withdrawals with the different bookies and exchanges. I also felt a lot safer using an entirely separate debit card to do the betting with in case I made a mistake. As I mentioned above, if you are clever you might just be able to get some free money to set up your matched betting starting bank!

Can I lose money?

Yes, you can. It is important you follow the instructions for each matched bet carefully. If you make a mistake and don’t match your bet properly you can lose your money. The best thing you can do while you are learning is stick to the smaller promotions to minimize your liability. If things do go wrong you will only lose a small amount as a result.

It’s a horrible feeling if you mess up. You won’t be alone though. If you are using Profit Accumulator they have a very helpful forum where you can get fast advice. They got me out of a couple of sticky spots.

What are the common problems?

Where do things go wrong exactly? Well, if you don’t put the right numbers in the calculator you can end up putting the wrong values into the bookmaker or exchange. Equally you could make a mistake with the value when placing your bet. Your bet may not get matched at the exchange because there is not enough money in the market. You might choose the wrong type of bet for your qualifier at the bookie, and so lose out on getting your qualifying bet. These are all easy mistakes you can make if you’re not careful.

Another difficulty is if the bookie decides to ‘gub’ you. This is where they stop you from making further bets with them. This is very unlikely to happen when you first sign up, but after you have used them for a while they may suspect you of matched betting and freeze your account. There are ways to prevent this which Profit Accumulator can guide you through.

Can I make a regular income from matched betting?

It is certainly possible to continue making an income from matched betting. A subscription to Profit Accumulator will certainly help you with this. To make money from it long term you will need to follow their advice on how to prevent yourself being gubbed. As part of your subscription they will also keep you up to date with all the latest offers. It is finding the offers that can be the main chore with matched betting and they do it all for you.

Matched betting can therefore be a great way to make extra money on a regular basis. Don’t just take it from me though! I’m finishing up this post with two interviews with real life matched betting mums. The first is from a beginner, Ar. You can find out more about her at her blog actualar.co.uk. The second is from Katykicker, who is an experienced long term matched better. You can follow her blog at katykicker.com.

Welcome to our beginner matched betting mum, Ar

How long have you been matched betting for?

So I’m only actually about a month into matched betting and to be honest I was so hesitant to begin with. I’ve never done any kind of gambling or betting in my life so initially I was really reluctant, but after feeling the pinch massively at home I decided to take a leap of faith and give it a go. It’s been a bit of a learning curve but following the step by step advice on The Money Shed and on Profit Accumulator has been really helpful and I now feel a lot more confident with it.

What are your favourite bet types?

My favourite events to bet on are horse races, purely because they’re over with a lot quicker than things like football! I’m not a risk-taking type of person so I hate waiting and watching to see what a final result will be – it’s too nerve-wracking. I quite like playing slots too but I’m still quite new to casino offers so haven’t really tested those out too much as of yet.

How much did you earn in your best month ever / your worst month ever?

As a total beginner I can’t believe the difference it’s made to just one month of income – bearing in mind I’m still only doing a lot of the starting offers I have managed to make around £800 in profit, if my maths is correct (which is often not the case!).

What are your average monthly earnings?

It really shocked me how quickly the money added up just by doing one or two bets every day – I still find a lot of it confusing and I might be adding things up wrongly here and there but in the space of four weeks I’ve made enough cash to buy the computer I’d been lusting after for the last two years, so I’m more than happy that my leap into the unknown seems to have paid off.

How do you fit it in around family life?

I try to do a little bit every day, usually on a morning so I can fit it around my little girl’s nursery routine.

Have you been gubbed by any bookies?

So far I’ve not been banned from anywhere but it is only month one so I have no idea if that’s on the cards soon!

How do you keep track of all your bets, profits and losses?

There’s a profit tracking software on Profit Accumulator that helps me keep tabs on what I’m doing so I think that I’m doing ok.

Do you have any tips for a new matched better?

My main tips would just be to give it a whirl and make sure you follow the advice step by step and slowly. Don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with and if you’re the kind of person who may find this addictive then get someone else to do it with you, such as a partner or family member. It’s risk-free as far as my experience goes, but like everything in life moderation is a good idea!

 

Welcome to our experienced matched betting mum, Katykicker

How long have you been matched betting for?

I have been betting for 3+ years now, and have been doing it regularly since my daughter was a small baby. I bet at least 3 times a week if I can find the time.

How do you find your matched bets, and what are your favourite bet types?

I personally use Profit Accumulator and love it. My favourite offers are the sportsbook or casino ones, as they are usually quite straightforward.

How much did you earn in your best month ever / your worst month ever?

Best month ever would be around too big to write in a message here… Think 5 figures and you’d be right! My worst month ever I lost money when I let my tiny baby hold my phone and she placed a bet for £400+ (all the money in my account pretty much). Whoops.

What are your average monthly earnings?

My average monthly earnings are around £600-700.

How do you fit it in around family life?

I try to do a few hours in the evenings, 3 nights a week. This works well for me. I do around 5-7 hours a week, nothing huge.

Have you been gubbed by any bookies?

I’ve been gubbed by a couple of people, and when I had a HUGE win the company SHUT my account afterwards. Given that it took me around 30 days to get my money I wasn’t planning on using them again anyway! I do lots of mug betting, as advised by PA.

How do you keep track of all your bets, profits and losses?

I have a simple spreadsheet. Easy enough.

Do you have any tips for a new matched better?

Try to make time to complete matched betting regularly. Make it part of your routine.

Thank you for reading!

I hope this post has helped you to see what matched betting is like and has answered your questions about it. Thank you to Ar and Katykicker for sharing your experiences! If there is anything else you would like to know please feel free to ask in the comments on my website. I would also love to hear about your own experiences with matched betting!

 

DISCLAIMER: Bump2baby Reality would like to stress that any links in this or any other Money for Mummy blog post have not been researched by Bump2baby Reality. Similarly, the views and opinions expressed in the Money for Mummy posts are only those of the original author and contributors. The information contained in the posts is what was considered by the author to be relevant and correct at the time of writing and may be subject to change. Bump2baby Reality cannot be held responsible for any financial or other decisions made on the basis of information or links in the Money for Mummy blog posts.

MONEY FOR MUMMY DISCLAIMER: Please click here.

Money for Mummy – How to be Savvy at Surveys

23/07/2018 by Eda

Laptop showing survey question

 

Surveys are an easy way to earn some extra cash. There are many companies offering surveys, either for cash payouts or vouchers. How do you know which ones are the best to use? In this post I will talk about the sites that value your time the most.

What’s good about answering surveys?

The number one benefit of doing surveys is how easily accessible they are. Surveys are always readily available too, especially if you sign up to a few different sites. I tend to get survey invites daily, even though I am only registered with a few companies. Your reward points or cash value in your account can build up surprisingly quickly.

The surveys themselves can be on all sorts of topics and they are often really interesting to fill out. Some of them, particularly the ones from YouGov or PopulusLive, really get you thinking as they tend to be about current political issues. Other surveys can be about anything from what household cleaning products you use to what mobile contract you have.

Surveys from a Mum’s perspective

As a Mum I find surveys are a very convenient little money maker. You can sneak them into your daily routine without much effort. They are easy to do during nap times, or when little ones are busy playing or eating. You can quickly fill surveys out while being a car passenger or on the bus or train. If you have a baby, they are perfect for entertainment during long feeds, or for keeping you awake during the night feeds.

 

What are the drawbacks?

The biggest annoyance with many surveys is getting ‘screened out’ after you answer multitude of profiling questions. This is where the survey has had enough participants with the same gender, age, job, salary and location as you, so they don’t want any more. You may also find that surveys ask screening questions such as ‘do you own a car’, do you have children’, etc. If you give an unwanted answer that’s it – you’re kicked out.

How can you avoid screenouts? Try to respond to survey invites as soon as you get them. That way you stand a better chance of being able to complete the survey to its conclusion. This is easier said than done though when you have an inbox cluttered with invites! Also, there are so many people registered on these sites, even the fastest acceptance doesn’t guarantee you’ll get to finish the survey. So aside from trying to respond quickly, your best bet is to choose better survey sites. That’s where this post comes in.

Another drawback is that the surveys tend to ask you the same profiling questions every time. These questions become quite tedious, especially if you are doing multiple surveys. It’s frustrating when you know you have already answered the profiling questions with the company so why do they ask for the information again? It’s because most sites are just providing links to surveys from other companies who won’t have your details, so you have to provide them again. There isn’t much you can do to avoid this, but with practice you do get quick at answering the profiling questions so they become less of a chore. Just watch out for any that are worded differently and actually asking for different details to normal.

How do I sign up?

There are dozens of sites to choose from. If you want to experiment with different companies, a good place to start is www.surveyspotter.com. This will very efficiently sign you up to all the main sites. Note that the claims of £5/survey and £300/month are somewhat unrealistic!

A word of advice: it might be a good plan to create a separate email address for surveys. You can get a bit overwhelmed by survey invites and they tend to clutter your inbox. Not great when you want to filter out the interesting or important emails!

After signing up you normally fill out a few profiling questions. These are to help the company send you surveys that are relevant to you. Once you’re signed up you get offered surveys that will vary in length and pay rate. The trick is to look through to find the ones that pay the most for the least amount of time! You may also only have limited time to complete a survey in which case you just look for the shorter ones.

How do I get paid?

As I mentioned in my post about Mummy Money Makers I found that lots of survey sites offer points as a reward. After accumulating enough points you exchange them for cash payouts or vouchers. Normally you get a bit more value for your points if you choose the voucher option. There are other sites where you build up a cash value in your account which you withdraw after reaching the payment threshold. Typically, cash payments are sent to you via PayPal.

How do I choose the best sites and surveys?

I have reviewed my favourite survey sites below. These are the ones that either provide the most interesting or best paid surveys. I feel that my time is worthwhile being spent by answering surveys from these companies.

Some of the other sites you will come across, such as GlobalTestMarket, MintVine and Swagbucks, are reviewed in detail on an excellent Money Shed guest post, The Survey Bible, by blogger KatyKicker.  Katykicker is a big fan of paid surveys. When I asked her for her top tips she said, “Surveys can be quite time consuming, and can feel like a poor return on your time. For this reason, I stick to using the higher paying websites when I’m short on time.”

As well as prioritising the best paid surveys, KatyKicker also suggests filling out multiple surveys at once. This can make you more efficient at answering the questions and help to stop you getting bored! Find out more in Katykicker’s post, Tips for completing surveys.

Working out which surveys pay the best rate

In terms of ‘value for my time’ I like to work out the hourly rate for each survey I do. I try to choose ones that pay the equivalent of at least £5/hour. For quick reference, this equates to:

£0.84 for 10 minutes
£1.25 for 15 minutes
£1.67 for 20 minutes
£2.50 for 30 minutes

So if I have PopulusLive offering me £2 for a 15 minute survey I’m quids in! But if I have another company like Qmee offering me 30p for 10 minutes of my time I’m not interested.

Calculating the rate for reward point surveys

For surveys that offer points it is a bit more of a faff to work out the pay rate. Sites like SurveyBods make it easy because 1 point = 1p. However, others like GlobalTestMarket require different point values to get different rewards. For example, a £30 PayPal payout might cost you 1087 points, whereas you would need 1041 points for a £30 Amazon voucher. For this situation, choose your reward and use that points total to work out how much each survey is worth:

1087 points = £30 PayPal payout
1 point = £0.0276

Or

1041 points = £30 Amazon voucher
1 point = £0.0288

So if a 15 minute survey will give you 50 points, you would get the equivalent of £1.38 (PayPal) or £1.44 (Amazon). That survey will be worth your time if you compare the rate with the £5/hour reference list above.

And now for the reviews…

PopulusLive

PopulusLive is the best paying survey site that I have come across. They pay you £1-4 for surveys of 5-20 minutes in length. This always works out better than my £5/hour target. I do find their time estimates are a bit on the optimistic side. The surveys sometimes take up to 5 minutes more than they suggest. However, they are usually about interesting topics. You are able to do most surveys on your phone which I prefer to doing them on my laptop. I find the computer survey versions are easy to read but the buttons are spread out quite far across the page. It involves a lot of mouse movement which gets irritating.

Unlike with some other survey sites, PopulusLive don’t bombard you with invite emails. They only contact you when you are very likely to be a match for a survey. This means they rarely screen you out. The surveys come from PopulusLive themselves so it frustrates me slightly that they always ask the same profiling questions. Another disadvantage is that they have a high payment threshold of £50 (which they pay you automatically by cheque). Overall though, this is probably the best survey site you can join.
MfM Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

YouGov

YouGov are another survey site that ask questions on current affairs and political topics. You frequently see them referenced in news articles. Like PopulusLive they only email you about new surveys that you are actually a fit for. YouGov very rarely screen you out. They leave most of the profiling questions until the end so they feel less tedious. You are able to access the surveys easily on your smartphone as well as your computer.

Surveys tend to take 5-15 minutes and you get 25-50 points per survey. The big disadvantage to YouGov is you need 5000 points in order to cash out £50. It takes a long time to get to that. It also means the cash equivalent for each survey averages out at a pretty poor £0.50. If you prefer, you can use your points to enter prize draws instead of trying to get to the cash out stage. Surveys tend to take 5-15 minutes and you get 25-50 points per survey. You get 100 points for signing up.
MfM Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

SurveyBods

SurveyBods have a modern feel to their website, app and surveys. When logging in they present you with an attractive dashboard which shows you surveys you are eligible for. The dashboard also shows your progress towards the cash out value of £15. Surveys are often short but have good payout rates. You typically earn 75-150 points per survey. Each point is worth £0.01.

SurveyBods make an effort to only send you surveys relevant to your profile but I do still find they screen me out of a lot of them. If you are screened out you get a prize draw entry for that month. Most surveys are accessible on your mobile via their app. The survey format on both the mobile and computer versions is attractive and easy to read. They present the questions differently to other sites and vary the way you answer them. Sometimes you just tick boxes, other times you drag and drop cards into different sections on a page. It keeps things interesting.
MfM Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Panelbase

Panelbase have a lot of surveys on offer and you get paid £3 when you sign up. Most of their surveys fall below the £5/hour target but sometimes you get one that pays higher. They have a low payment threshold of £10 so even if you just try to reach that after getting the initial bonus it is probably worth your effort. There are quite a lot of profiling questions to answer when you sign up. You are still offered surveys without answering these, but you are more likely to be screened out. I do find I get a lot of invite emails from them which can be annoying. Panelbase redirect you to other providers to do the actual surveys. This means you get extra profiling questions at the start of them.
MfM Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Prolific Academic

Prolific Academic has completely different content to the other survey companies. Academic researchers use the site to find participants for research studies. It means the surveys on offer are varied and interesting. They also pay very well. The site shows the hourly rate next to each study you are eligible for, and it is usually more than £5/hour. You can cash out when you get to £5 but your cash out is subject to PayPal fees of 2.9% + £0.20 transaction fee. If you get up to £20 before cashing out, you can use Circle which has lower fees of 1% + £0.10 transaction fee. Unfortunately Prolific Academic studies only tend to be available during the academic year. You do get the odd one coming up in the holidays though.
MfM Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Survey Apps

As well as the sites above there are also a variety of survey apps available. To find out more, take a look at my post about phone apps here.

Thank you for reading!

I hope this post has given you a good insight into the most profitable ways to complete surveys. Although they do not generate a lot of income compared to other money making methods, they can provide a welcome top up to your bank balance. Many thanks to KatyKicker for her help in writing this post. You can read lots more helpful money making and money saving tips on her blog katykicker.com.

I would love to hear from you…get in touch via the Money for Mummy website or the Money for Mummy social media pages.

 

DISCLAIMER: Bump2baby Reality would like to stress that any links in this or any other Money for Mummy blog post have not been researched by Bump2baby Reality. Similarly, the views and opinions expressed in the Money for Mummy posts are only those of the original author and contributors. The information contained in the posts is what was considered by the author to be relevant and correct at the time of writing and may be subject to change. Bump2baby Reality cannot be held responsible for any financial or other decisions made on the basis of information or links in the Money for Mummy blog posts.

MONEY FOR MUMMY DISCLAIMER: Please click here.

Money for Mummy – Money Making Apps: Quick Quids for Quick Tasks

16/07/2018 by Eda

Smartphone with £s

 

Did you know you can get money making apps for your smartphone to turn it into an online earning hub? In this post I talk about apps that pay you for completing short activities either at home or out and about. Note: these apps use mobile data – please check you have enough data as part of your contract before using them. 

Mystery Shopping Apps

In my previous post about mystery shopping I wrote about different companies you can pre-book tasks with and complete a report about your experience. Sometimes these reports take a long time and you have to remember lots of information in order to fill them out. There are a number of mystery shopping apps that solve this problem.

To use these money making apps you log in to see what tasks are available near to you (visible either in a list or on a map). You read through the task details and accept it if you want to do it. Normally you have 2 hours to get to the location and answer the questions presented to you in the app. Usually you take photos of the outside of the premises, and for shop tasks you often take pictures of products on the shelves or of promotional materials.

Some tasks require you to buy an item which you usually get reimbursed for. There are few that give you bonus payments if you get a product put out on the shelf that wasn’t there already (these are merchandising tasks). Sometimes you interview the shop manager about their experience of stocking a certain product. The best thing about the tasks is that they do not take long to do. Once you complete them that’s it, you relax and wait to get paid! Some of the products you purchase can be quite good too!

I’ve listed below the mystery shopping apps that are available and a short review of each one.

Roamler

Roamler is by far my favourite mystery shopping app. It is well designed and easy to use. They have a lot of tasks available and you can earn some decent cash. My record is £180 in one month! The availability of jobs can vary from week to week, but that is true of all these apps. If tasks are still available close to their deadline Roamler quite often put the fee up to make them more tempting!

You go through a bit of a lengthy training process in order to get approved. It’s worth doing so you know how to complete tasks the right way and get paid for them. You may find there are no vacancies for Roamler in your area, in which case you’ll need to get a referral code.

To get a code:

  1. Comment on this post on my website to request one! I will let you know if I have one and will send it your way if I do.
  2. Visit TheMoneyShed.co.uk where you can get a code after making 10 good quality posts in the forum.
  3. Keep an eye on Roamler’s Facebook page for a signup code, or post on their page to see if other ‘Roamlers’ can give you one.

MfM Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Get it on Google Play    Download on the App Store

BeMyEye

BeMyEye has the best job availability after Roamler, but you have to be fast as tasks tend to get snapped up quickly (or they do in my area at least!) Unfortunately the app is not as stable and quite often crashes mid-task which is frustrating, especially if you have to take your pictures again. The other thing I have found is that when the app launches the camera it puts the flash on. This is not ideal when you are trying to take covert photos! I usually have to launch the camera with the back of the phone pressed up against my sleeve to hide the flash until I can turn it off. The benefit of BeMyEye is that they tend to pay higher fees.
MfM Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Get it on Google Play    Download on the App Store

Streetspotr

Streetspotr is quite a good app and the jobs are similar to Roamler and BeMyEye. The tasks are set out in a way that you can easily look back at the different questions if you want to review them. I find the camera can be a bit slow to respond which can be frustrating. I’ve had issues in the past where the pins for the tasks have been inaccurately placed. If this happens you have to message Streetspotr to get them to move the pin before you can complete the task. You can’t submit your answers if you are not at the location set by their pin. Overall, the availability of Streetspotr tasks is low compared to BeMyEye and Roamler, but they might have more in your area.
MfM Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Get it on Google Play    Download on the App Store

RedWigWam

RedWigWam works a bit differently to the other apps in that the company is an employment agency. When you sign up you become an employee, so you have to go through quite a long winded process of document checking to prove you are eligible to work in the UK. Your task payments will have tax and national insurance deducted and you receive a weekly payslip. Although a lot of their tasks are similar to the other apps, they will also invite you to other temping jobs such as working as bar staff at events. They have quite a few merchandising tasks available too.

 

I find completing reports on their app is not as user friendly as the others but it’s not difficult. Launching the camera from the app usually tends to make it crash. However, you have the option to use your normal phone camera app to take all the photos needed. You then upload them into your report from your gallery (not something you can usually do on the other apps). If you don’t get on with the app, you have the option to fill out the report on the RedWigWam website from your computer. Job availability is pretty good, but make sure you respond to their invite emails quickly before the tasks are all claimed!
MfM Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Get it on Google Play    Download on the App Store

Other apps you can try

Field Agent – worth downloading and signing up to see if they have work in your area. It’s pretty non-existent where I live though so I no longer use this app.

Get it on Google Play    Download on the App Store

Clic and Walk – again, I didn’t have much luck getting paid tasks from this app so I no longer use it, but have a look to see if they have anything near you.

Get it on Google Play    Download on the App Store

Survey Apps

Another way to earn money through your smartphone is to try different survey apps which are available. These money making apps are easy to use. You just take a look at them whenever you have a bit of free time. I quite like to use them when I’m queuing! The apps will guide you as to how long each survey will take so you can complete them according to whether you have the time or not.

Streetbees

The Streetbees app has interesting surveys that are presented to you in a messaging type format. They are easy to fill out and for some questions you take photos or videos as part of your answer. The surveys are interesting and topical, often linking to current events.

A big point to make is that not all surveys are paid, and availability of paid surveys varies. Sometimes if you complete a paid survey it doesn’t show up on the payment screen. This can be confusing and makes it hard to keep track of your earnings. As a result I’ve had to query missed payments with the helpdesk in the past, although they did correct the error and sent me what I was owed. I’ve also had issues with uploading videos in the app. This meant I didn’t get paid, so I tend to stick to the ones that only require photos.

If you sign up to Streetbees and would like to use my referral code, it is 7984KL. Thanks if you do!
MfM Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Get it on Google Play    Download on the App Store

SurveyBods

SurveyBods has a very nicely designed app which links to your online account. When you open it you get a mini version of your SurveyBods dashboard and a list of available surveys. After clicking on a survey it launches the browser on your phone which is where you will actually complete it. I would love to give it a higher score, but for my demographic I don’t get as many surveys as I would like. Also, I am quite often screened out which gets annoying. The surveys I do get tend to be interesting and have a user friendly format.
MfM Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Get it on Google Play    Download on the App Store

Curious Cat

Curious Cat is a quirky app that offers you surveys of different length in a nicely presented card format. You choose surveys you are interested in, based on the type of task and the points on offer (each point is worth 1p). I only tend to go for the straightforward surveys, but there are ones that pay more if you are willing to download tracking type apps to your phone. You receive all the details after selecting the card so you can then decide if you are happy to go ahead or not.

The surveys launch in your browser. After completing them Curious Cat quickly notify you to say you have new points. You still receive a point if you are screened out of a survey. This happens quite often (for me at least) but within the first few questions, so it doesn’t feel like a waste of effort. One of the main things I like about the app is the very low payment threshold of £1.
MfM Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Get it on Google Play    Download on the App Store

Thank you for reading!

I hope you have enjoyed this post and go on to get some good earnings from money making apps! Do you use any other apps on your phone that I haven’t included here? I would love to hear from you…get in touch via the Money for Mummy website or the Money for Mummy social media pages.

 

DISCLAIMER: Bump2baby Reality would like to stress that any links in this or any other Money for Mummy blog post have not been researched by Bump2baby Reality. Similarly, the views and opinions expressed in the Money for Mummy posts are only those of the original author and contributors. The information contained in the posts is what was considered by the author to be relevant and correct at the time of writing and may be subject to change. Bump2baby Reality cannot be held responsible for any financial or other decisions made on the basis of information or links in the Money for Mummy blog posts.

MONEY FOR MUMMY DISCLAIMER: Please click here.

Money for Mummy – Mystery Shopping Masterclass: Become an Undercover Mum!

09/07/2018 by Eda

Supermarket image with Top Secret stamp

 

Do you fancy going detective? Have you got an eye for detail, a good memory and an interest in improving customer service? Do you have great English skills? If yes, then mystery shopping could be an enjoyable way to earn extra income.

So what is mystery shopping all about?

Lots of different companies want to see how their customers are being treated in ‘real life’. It means they can see how to make improvements. It can also help them decide whether they need to provide more staff training, for example to promote a particular product or service, or to advise customers of their rights before they purchase something. They may also want to check if and where products are being put out in-store, if promotional advertising is visible in the right places, and what competing products are being stocked next to theirs!

Here are some examples of different tasks I have performed:

Retail mystery shops

  • Enquiring about buying a product (e.g. clothing, phones, tickets)
  • Purchasing products online or instore (you get reimbursed or you keep the product as part of your fee)
  • Returning a product
  • Asking about extra cover for items being purchased
  • Looking for specific promotions being offered
  • Checking stock and merchandising (getting items put out in store or moved to the right location)
  • Covertly taking photographs or recording secret audio

Other mystery shops

  • Opening a bank account or credit card
  • Getting insurance quotes
  • Seeing if I qualify for mortgages
  • Sending emails or making phone calls and assessing the quality and speed of response
  • Ordering takeaway
  • Eating in restaurants
  • Test driving cars

As you can see the work is very varied. You have the freedom to choose the tasks that suit you based on how confident you feel about doing them and how well they pay. When making that assessment you need to look at how complicated the brief is and how many questions you will answer in the report. The time taken to do a shop is a combination of the preparation time (30-60 minutes), the task itself (typically 5-60 minutes), and writing your report (1-2.5 hours). In the reports you will answer questions about your experience and be expected to write detailed comments about a lot of your answers.

Don’t blow your cover!

Mystery shopping is not about catching anyone out, and you should maintain a high level of integrity – no trying to blag special treatment by revealing who you are! You always keep your identity a secret (except in very rare cases), even if you think you’re suspected. Your reward is your fee, higher ranking status with the mystery shopping company (the higher your ranking the better the tasks you will be offered), and frequently you get to keep products that you are paid to purchase as part of a task.

Hopefully that gives you an idea whether mystery shopping could be for you. The different companies that offer it go through all the requirements in more detail when you sign up to them, and you often need to pass a short qualification test before you can carry out any work. You should expect to only have access to the more mundane and less well paid tasks to begin with, but as soon as you have a few good reports under your belt you will unlock access to the better jobs.

How do I start mystery shopping?

Start to practice when out and about to see how much you can remember about your experience. When mystery shopping you very often assess how clean and tidy the premises is (inside and out), how long it takes you to reach the front of the queue, how you are greeted, what a staff member says to you during a transaction, what they look like and what their name is (most wear name badges), how you are thanked, and what you think of the product (if it is something like a restaurant meal).

If you think you can remember all that, were you looking for any promotional material? Did you spot what the other staff members were doing? Was there enough toilet roll and soap in the toilets?  Did you remember to get your receipt and take the photographs needed?

Don’t worry if this sounds daunting. If you start off with the smaller and easier tasks you will soon get the hang of it and you find that most briefs ask you to spot similar things. With practice you pick up on all these details without too much effort. You can’t take your notes in, but I often jot down some of the more obscure requirements in a note app on my phone and have a peek on the sly at an opportune moment. You just look like you’re reading a text message.

What equipment do I need?

You don’t need a lot to start mystery shopping. A laptop is useful for writing reports but you can do everything on your smartphone.

It’s recommended to wear a watch, but again if I don’t have one on, it’s easy enough to check the time on my phone screen or use an app to discreetly set a timer going.

Having a printer helps if you prefer reading briefs and questionnaires on paper. I’m happy to read them on my computer screen but I do make my own handwritten notes that I have in the car to glance at just before starting a shop.

You need to send in pictures or, rarely, scans of your receipts and materials given to you during your task. If you don’t have a scanner (I don’t) then a very useful app to have is CamScanner. You simply photograph the item and it automatically crops, un-skews and enhances the image to make it look like a scanned document. You can email the images to yourself from the app and they are all stored on CamScanner’s cloud for future reference.

Finally, I carry around a small diary to help me keep track of which mystery shops I’m doing, and a great little notebook/folder I found called a Padfolio which I use to keep receipts safe, and to record the travel time, mileage and time taken to do each shop. I use this information to look back and review which shops were worth my while for the fee paid.

How can I do mystery shopping with a baby/child?

You are more restricted in carrying out mystery shopping when you have a little one in tow. Some companies specifically say no children allowed, but then there are some activities where taking your kid(s) is part of the brief. I actually find it very beneficial to mystery shop with a pushchair. No one suspects the undercover mum!

My main tip is to choose your mystery shops carefully. Go for ones that you can do at any time of day. Email and phone enquiries can easily be slotted in around nap times. For actual shopping tasks choose ones that are short so you can carry them out when your little one has fallen asleep in their buggy, or while a friend or relative can wait with them outside the shop or in a nearby cafe.

Be prepared and leave extra time

Like anything mothering related, mystery shopping with an infant is a juggling act. You need to get the tasks done whilst remembering to feed the baby, eat your lunch, stay hydrated, change nappies and make sure you don’t run over on your parking. It can be quite challenging when you are trying to do more than one shop in a single outing. Be prepared and make sure you have plenty of toys, snacks and drinks to hand. It will save you time and money if you don’t have to buy them while you’re out. It’s good to try and time your outing so it is just after your child’s meal/snack time so they don’t start demanding food in the middle of your shop!

Have a backup plan and leave extra time for nappy/vomit/spillage disasters which are bound to happen at the worst moment! Definitely have spare clothes in your bag for you both because you don’t want to be distracted during a shop by your baby stinking of poo or your top being covered in sick (oh, the joys of motherhood!)

As for parking, add an extra 2 hours to whatever you think you’ll need. It sounds a lot, but if disaster strikes you will be pleased you did. It can make all the difference if it means you can still complete your shop after dealing with the problem, without worrying about going back to the car or popping back home. I often like to park further away from town where parking charges and time limits are less. The walk helps me to run through the shop in my mind and it gets my little one to sleep. Make sure you can still get back to the car reasonably quickly if needed though.

Where can I find mystery shopping work?

There are lots of mystery shopping companies out there. I recommend to sign up to a range of them, because the range of shops available varies by area and company. If you sign up to several companies you’re more likely to get work near to you, and more likely to find tasks that are easier to fit around childcare.

A word of warning: sadly there are lots of spam companies out there who claim to offer mystery shopping work. The companies I have linked below are genuine. If you go searching for any more, be very wary of any that offer high value product testing giveaways (such as iPads), or £100 of supermarket vouchers when you sign up, or other such claims.

Market Force

Market Force are a good company to start your mystery shopping journey with, with clear briefs and reports that are easy to fill out. The downside is that the reports can take quite a while to fill out.
MfM Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Ipsos

Make Ipsos the second company you sign up to. Their sign-up procedure is like a mini crash course in becoming a mystery shopping pro! Don’t be put off by the part that says you can’t take children. There are virtual tasks available that you can do by phone/email, and short tasks you can do in 10-15 minutes if you go with someone who can babysit nearby while you do your shop. Ipsos take care of their shoppers and are easily contactable if you need help.
MfM Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

ESA Retail

ESA Retail have lots of work across the UK and you can quickly build up your rating with them. They offer a decent range of visit types, including phone and email tasks which you can easily do from home. Some of my best work has come from ESA Retail.
MfM Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Mystery Shoppers

Mystery Shoppers are another company that has a lot of opportunities available. They operate on the same platform (WEBMS) as Ipsos and ESA Retail, so if you are already a member of those companies, you will know how it works!
MfM Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

ProInsight

ProInsight have lots of opportunities and again, they work on the same platform (WEBMS) as Ipsos, ESA Retail, and Mystery Shoppers.
MfM Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Grass Roots

Work from Grass Roots only comes up every so often, but when it does their jobs are well worth your time and come with clear shopper guidelines. Their online reporting system is well designed meaning you can fill the surveys out relatively quickly.
MfM Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

GfK

GfK are a big research company and have some high level clients. They have a few jobs you can complete at home but you have to be fast to get them! You can view their available jobs on the Presto app, which is very useful for finding out what work is available near you, either from GfK or other companies who use the SASSIE platform.
MfM Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

As well as the above, you can also try:
Retail Active
Blue Apple
Mystery Customer Evaluations
360 Perspectives
ABa

Other companies on the Presto App (SASSIE platform)
Amber Arch
BARE
Insight
React
Tern

Mystery Shopping Apps

As well as the sites above, there are also a variety of mystery shopping apps available. To find out more take a look at my post on phone apps here.

Thank you for reading!

I would love to hear about your mystery shopping experiences! If you would like to share your own experience, or if you think there is a topic I should cover in this blog, I would love to hear from you…get in touch via the Money for Mummy website or the Money for Mummy social media pages. Feel free to ask any questions – the most frequently asked questions will feature on a future Q&A post on mystery shopping.

 

DISCLAIMER: Bump2baby Reality would like to stress that any links in this or any other Money for Mummy blog post have not been researched by Bump2baby Reality. Similarly, the views and opinions expressed in the Money for Mummy posts are only those of the original author and contributors. The information contained in the posts is what was considered by the author to be relevant and correct at the time of writing and may be subject to change. Bump2baby Reality cannot be held responsible for any financial or other decisions made on the basis of information or links in the Money for Mummy blog posts.

MONEY FOR MUMMY DISCLAIMER: Please click here.

Money for Mummy – Mummy Money Makers: How to start working flexibly online

02/07/2018 by Eda

Let's get started...

 

So having had the great idea to earn money by working flexibly, the next step is finding out how to actually go about doing it. This post talks about different mummy money makers that I have used in the past, and new ones I will be exploring.

I started with Mystery Shopping

I have a little previous experience to go on as a couple of years ago I fancied giving mystery shopping a go in my spare time. It turned out to be one of my favourite money makers and was fun to do.

There are many mystery shopping companies available and the types of tasks vary widely. You could be pretending you want to buy a phone on one day, and test driving a car the next. A lot of tasks involve you actually making a purchase (these are normally reimbursed). Some just involve making a phone call or sending an email and giving feedback on the response. You can also find yourself secretly recording audio or video of your visit (this is often the case when you do mystery shops at banks or insurance firms). Take a look at the mystery shopping post to find out more about what it is like to go undercover!

And then I found more Money Makers

While I was searching the web for mystery shopping companies I came across some sites that opened my eyes to a whole load of other money makers:

  • The Money Saving Expert guide to making money online, which has a good list of sites and apps to get you started.
  • The Money Shed forum and blog which are my favourite sources of information and support. I would particularly recommend having a read of the Working from Home Toolkit on the blog. The Money Shed community have loads of experience and advice. The topics cover not only the list on Money Saving Expert, but lots of other opportunities as well. It is the best place to go for up to date info on these ever-changing work sources. Many of the users have their own blogs which you can follow alongside the Money Shed for extra inspiration.

Next came Money Making Apps

Following on from my discovery of the Money Saving Expert guide and The Money Shed, I went on to download some great phone app money makers. These allowed me to earn quick cash during my lunch break, or on my way to or from work. Roamler was (and still is) my favourite, but I also used others such as Streetspotr and StreetBees (if you would like to use my StreetBees referral code it is 7984KL). Take a look at the Money Making Apps post where I talk about using phone apps in much more detail.

I completed lots of Surveys

Surveys are good money makers for a bit of pocket money if you enjoy doing them. The earnings aren’t massive but with persistence you can build up to good payout levels. SurveySpotter is a good place to get started as it signs you up to all the main sites in one go (be aware that their claims for £5/survey and £300/month are somewhat exaggerated for most users).

The majority of survey sites give you reward points. You build up your points and cash them in for payouts or vouchers. I have limited the sites I use to the ones that pay the most and waste the least of my time through screenouts. This is where you get kicked out of the survey after a few questions because they already have enough responses from people like you. The sites I like to use are PopulusLive, Surveybods and Prolific Academic. Yougov is also worth joining as their surveys are interesting, but it takes a long time to reach the 5000 points threshold needed for the £50 payout.

I tried out Matched Betting

Another one of the great money makers I tried was matched betting. Initially this looked very much like a ‘too good to be true’ scam. I didn’t feel very comfortable ‘risking’ my money by what I thought would be gambling. However, after reading success stories on The Money Shed I decided to give it a go with the support of Profit Accumulator and a free £150 pot courtesy of switching an old unused current account to another bank.

The venture turned out to be a big success. My initial £150 turned into £1000 in a matter of weeks! The step by step instructions and videos from Profit Accumulator made everything very easy. There was mostly no risk or gambling involved (some of the opportunities available had small risks, but this was all made clear so you could see if you were comfortable with it). Profit Accumulator has a small monthly fee but they explain how this can be covered by your profits. They have a free trial if you want to try it for yourself.

Eventually, my journey with matched betting came to an end when I had exhausted the start up offers. Also, some of my main betting accounts were closed despite my best efforts to keep them going. Some people do manage to continue with matched betting long term though, especially if they are good at the accumulator bets on horse races. I personally found these too stressful and made a few mistakes leading to losses, so I decided to call it a day.

There is lots more to come

There are lots of other ways to earn money from home working online. Look out for future posts where I will be exploring new options including:

  • website testing
  • web search evaluation
  • transcription
  • writing content
  • proofreading
  • virtual assistance
  • T shirt printing

Thank you for reading! 

If you would like to share your own experience, or if you think there is a topic I should cover in this blog, I would love to hear from you…get in touch via the Money for Mummy website or the Money for Mummy social media pages.

 

Previous Posts

Money for Mummy – My Mum Conundrum: Solving the Work-Life Balance

 

DISCLAIMER: Bump2baby Reality would like to stress that any links in this or any other Money for Mummy blog post have not been researched by Bump2baby Reality. Similarly, the views and opinions expressed in the Money for Mummy posts are only those of the original author and contributors. The information contained in the posts is what was considered by the author to be relevant and correct at the time of writing and may be subject to change. Bump2baby Reality cannot be held responsible for any financial or other decisions made on the basis of information or links in the Money for Mummy blog posts.

MONEY FOR MUMMY DISCLAIMER: Please click here.