Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
It’s probably safe to say that for most of us 2020 isn’t exactly going as expected. No one could have foreseen spending 3 months at home and putting on hold all of our plans! The good news is there’s plenty to cheer you up, from free stuff to having more time on your hands.
Keep reading to find out how to prevent the doldrums from setting in.
The transformative power of technology has brought our dearest peers closer than ever through just a click of a button. All you need is a stable internet connection, and you can have an uninterrupted video conference with friends from across the globe. Apart from the internet connection, there’s nothing extra to pay! You can also use your mobile phone, if you have unlimited or a high data limit, to keep in touch when you’re out of the house.
Being away from our family and friends has made the easy access to Skype and Zoom platforms feel like a blessing, as it almost feels like you’re in the same room. During the lockdown, many people admitted being more in touch with their families than ever before through these online communication platforms.
Along with Skype and Zoom, we’ve been able to bring people together from across the globe to engage in a bit of fun! From charity quizzes run by The Brothers Trust (actor Tom Holland’s charity) to regular pub quizzes with your local faces, it’s been all go.
Other online group events have popped up, too. You don’t have to go out to have a sociable time anymore! From ‘knit and natter’ online groups to choirs meeting virtually, there’s a local (or international!) gathering that’ll suit you. So, as well as catching up with old friends (without spending a lot on travel and dinners out), you can make plenty of new ones, too.
Before 2020, many of us worked 60 hours/week. Or, we’d face a commute for 2 hours to and from work. Others feel stuck in jobs they hate for years for lack of better opportunities. It’s hard to think of new ideas, hidden passions, and forgotten hobbies when your career feels as if it takes over your life.
Although being furloughed or working fewer hours can feel worrying, on the flip side, we have more time for ourselves. You finally have more time to think of a business idea and write down an action plan. You have more time to write, draw, bake, paint, sing, play, and do whatever you didn’t have the physical time to do before. Looking at all the extra free time most of us have on our hands is a good reason to cheer us up.
Even if you’re working from home, juggling home schooling with a full workload, not having a commute adds time to your day. Having the children at home has – let’s face it – been really stressful. However, it has also meant most people have reclaimed family time again.
To boost your career, you might have been thinking for a while that it’s time to do an online course for a new skill. Yet, when we leave a busy lifestyle, it’s hard to find the time to actually sit down and do it. This year gives us a great opportunity to finally use the internet to enrich our set of skills and qualifications.
We’ve covered how you can learn new skills with free and cheap online courses here. From creative arts to law and IT skills, you’re likely to find anything that suits your area of interest.
Whether you decide to keep indoors and order some food for a movie night or finally go out and enjoy a long-awaited for restaurant meal, you likely to get a big discount with any dinner option.The hospitality industry has been so put upon lately that there are deals galore to tempt people into buying food.
For limited periods of time, apps like Uber Eats offer 50% off on your entire order. Or, look at your local restaurants directly offering takeaway deals.
Other dine-in places also offer a significant discount. For instance, the fine dining restaurant, Tattu, offers a £20 discount to your order from Mondays to Wednesdays. This could be a great time to enjoy a nice mean in an expensive restaurant that might have been out of your budget before. In August, the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme also lets you blag up to £10 per person for dine-in meals on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays!
After spending months in your loungewear, getting a little wardrobe update could be quite refreshing. If you have this in mind, you’ll be happy to hear that most of the big retailers offer huge price discounts on their main summer collections. The closure of shops in lockdown means there’s suddenly a LOT of stock to shift – so prices have been slashed!
Brands like Next, PLT, misguided, ASOS or boohoo offer discounts as high as 70% off, depending on timing. With business trying hard to regain their customer base, people can find some very hot deals in the market. Look online for extra cashback or discount codes to snag a super bargain!
Watching TV is one of the go-to activities when it comes to down-time. While not everyone managed to stay productive during the lockdown, probably everybody indulged themselves in some more TV than usual.
Yet, if you were interested in also making some extra money from all this down-time, there are platforms that pay you to watch TV. Companies like InboxPound, Swagbucks, and The Viewers include surveys, reviews, and group discussions. They can also pay as high as £40 depending on the type and length of feedback that you provide. Who said watching TV in quarantine can’t be a lucrative business?
This year has been an eye-opener in my areas of our lives. Did you use to appreciate as much as you do now meeting your friends in the pub or taking your dog for a walk? In 2020, most of us will have learnt not to take things for granted. We learnt to value more our health, hygiene, and wellbeing. We learnt to appreciate the proximity of the people that we love and the importance of spending time outdoors being active. Perhaps 2020 wasn’t the best year humanity’s ever lived, but maybe it was the year that we needed to realise what’s truly important in life.
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