I don’t work for free

I’m not the first person to say, and I know that I won’t be the last. But there appears to be a growing trend in the “workplace”. And I’m using that term loosely because more and more people are being asked to work for free. That’s not employment, that’s slavery.

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In it for the money: Being on YouTube

I think it’s safe to say that anyone who goes on YouTube is there for the money. I’m not judging you if you fall into this category because I’m right there with you. If you have been over on the Latte Lindsay channel then you will be familiar with our podcast and it does deal with some “interesting” things that could cause us some backlash. Although I’m not happy with the backlash, trolling or whatever term you want to use, Ryan is. But the big question is, is it safe to be on YouTube now, even if you are only in it for the money?

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A Year to Change Your Life: Week 3

One thing that a lot of people forget when they are trying to improve their lives is their house. Your house, your home, your environment, whatever you like to call it, has a big impact of you. So this week we are going to look at how to change your house for the better.

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The Perfect World Project

It is the age old question which will have a variety of answers. “Money is the root of all evil.” “Money can’t buy you happiness.” But if money is what makes us so unhappy then why we end up muttering under our breath “If I won the lottery….”

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Kiddie contracts

I had called at my friends house for coffee and had just sat down when she exploded at her step-daughter in a rage filled rant about wrappers so I decided to cut my visit short. I don’t normally back-up women when they lose their temper with their children but I felt she was justified on this occasion. For months she had been complaining to me about her step-daughters behaviour and how she doesn’t listen but the thing that drives her insane is when the young lady in question sticks food wrappers down the sides of the sofa. Between every cushion there where chocolate wrappers and crisp packets. The child knows not to do this. I say child, she’s 10 years old so she should have some common sense about her. But, still, after months of trying to drive it through her skull that it is unacceptable to do it, she keeps doing it.

As I watched my friend turn a funny shade of purple, I couldn’t help but feel smug. My daughter didn’t do things that, but I had trained her well. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t long ago that I was in her shoes. Screaming and crying at each other, blood pressure through the roof. I was really starting to lose my mind over some of the stuff my daughter was doing. My pet hate is snotty tissues on the floor, clothes on the floor, anything on the floor really. I don’t expect children to scrub floors and clean the chimney, but I do expect them to pick up their own stuff, not leave their shoes at the bedroom door for someone to trip over as they walk in to put washing away.

How did I get my daughter to go from pain-in-my-ass to golden child? I’m glad you asked. Bribery. Well, sort of. My daughter had be going on about doing chores and getting paid for it. She offered to wash the car, cut the grass, and other random things that I didn’t want her doing. Why would I let her play with the lawnmower when she can’t even pick up her socks? Then it hit me. I’ll make her do what she is supposed to and pay her for that. And the kiddie contract was born. It was nothing too difficult, just what we parents expect our kids to do. Just think of it this way, if a grown-up person who is employed and works gets paid in relation to their performance, then why shouldn’t we treat our kids the same?

My Contract

  • Pocket money shall be paid at the rate of £10 per week.
  • In order to get this money, all tasks must be completed.
  • The floor will be clear of rubbish. For every tissue, item of clothing, hair clip, etc, left on the floor, £1 will be deducted from the pocket money.
  • Performance of homework will be monitored. For every % lost in results, 10p will be deducted. For example- 98% in homework, you lose 20p.
  • Extra money will be paid in the event of outstanding achievement.
  • Random acts of stupidity will lose you the full amount for that week, example- leaving your phone at your backside (it was expensive and you should take care of your stuff).
  • £1 will be deducted every time a drawer is left lying open.
  • £1 will be deducted every time you don’t shower.

As you can see, these are not difficult things, they are basic and they are things which should be easy for an 11 year old to do. The first week I put the contract in place she messed it up big style. 3 tissues were left on the floor, drawers were left open twice, and her homework scores were in the 80% range. She lost the entire amount when she lost her new phone after only having it for two days. It later turned up in the car but the fact remained that she had been careless and she lost her weeks money because of it. She must have thought I was going to be soft about it and pay her anyway but when I didn’t turn over the cash she knew it was for real. The following week she got no less than 97% in any homework’s or tests, her room was spotless, and she showered everyday. She put her washing in the basket, she even managed to earn extra by being shortlisted for an art competition. I may be £15 down this week but I haven’t popped a blood vessel.

It just goes to show, with the right motivation, children can achieve whatever they want to. The contract will be altered as time goes on to include boys, alcohol, and drugs but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I think I may have laid the foundation for a hard working young lady who can look after herself. Well, I hope I have, but only time will tell.

Car Insurance……Oh how I hate you!

Like everyone else in Britain I have to pay for car insurance. It’s a legal requirement that costs a fortune and I’m fed up with it. Since I passed my driving test five years ago I have had nothing but problems with insurance companies. My first insurance company kept cancelling my monthly repayment plan at the last payment so I never got any higher than 1 years no claims discount. The next company I went to had to cancel my insurance because the previous company wouldn’t hand over my no-claims paperwork. And finally we come to my current insurance company who are being so unreasonable right now I could scream!

When my renewal came around in August I was told my policy was £650, awesome, it had dropped by £200 from the year before. My monthly repayment? £200 odd per month for three months. Wait, what? I don’t know about anyone else but that is too much. Over £200 per month for an annual policy of £650? No way! My policy the year before had been £800 and I paid £90 per month, so why in the name of everything Holy had they come to this figure? Long story made short, I can’t afford that much of a repayment every month. I complained but it fell on deaf ears, they didn’t care. So I managed to get the first months scrapped together without selling my soiled underwear on Ebay, but that was only month one. The next month I didn’t have enough money to pay….and they didn’t try to take the money. Huh, had they taken my complaint seriously and were they changing the monthly amount to something more reasonable? What was going on? I tried to get on the phone to talk to them but could never get through. Finally someone called me at the wrong time and I missed the call. I got a voicemail telling me that there had been a computer error and my monthly payment hadn’t been taken, so if I could just give them a call to pay the £200 now that would be great. Oh yeah, my next and final payment would be taken in about a weeks time. What the Hell!?!

Do you know the only way I could get in contact with these people? I had to go online, get a new insurance quote, and get them to call me. Finally I was getting somewhere! The online quote was another £200 cheaper and the repayments where £40 per month. The end of this drama was in sight! Or so I thought……

When I finally got talking to a human being to get it sorted, things went completely tits up. Because I had “cancelled” my last policy, they wouldn’t let me have a monthly repayment plan again and put the policy up to £650 again. Wait, just hang on a wee second there. I complained months ago about the monthly amount being too high, a computer error stopped your company from taking any money from my account, and when you realised your mistake, you wanted the remaining £400 within a week? Are you freaking high?! Clearly if I had that sort of money lying about the place, I would have paid the policy in full in the first place instead of having to deal with all this rubbish!

I’ve had enough. They have passed the blame about so now I’ve passed it on to the Financial Ombudsman. Maybe this is just a breakdown in communication but seeing as I have went out of my way to get this sorted while they continue to be awkward, I’m afraid I’ll have to give them an ass kicking. I’ll not name and shame them today, I will wait until the Financial Ombudsman investigates them for this. Maybe I’m being a spoilt brat but when you tell a company that they are being unreasonable about a monthly repayment they really should listen and work with their customers before it comes to blows.

Are you listening Mr Prime Minister?

I’m cross, really cross. Today I had to contact the Child Support Agency because my ex partner owes me over £18,000 in child support. In six years I have maybe received maybe £200. And that grinds me the wrong way. It’s not about the money, it’s about his lack of respect for me and his daughter. Not only is he not paying, he is self employed and tax dodging. How is this fair? Sadly I am not the only person who is affected by this. Across Britain, hundreds of single parent families struggle to get by when they should be getting financial support from the absent parent. But what can be done when the Child Support Agency seems powerless to do anything? Or, more to the point, are unwilling to do anything. I have supplied all of the details I can about my ex partner, including his address, but here I am, still receiving nothing. I have even contacted the Prime Ministers office about this on several occasions to vent my fury over being forgotten and being left powerless against a system that I can’t even begin to understand. What am I supposed to do? Handcuff the ex and dump him outside Downing Street?

Another thing that I don’t understand is car insurance. Sure it’s a legal requirement but it’s expensive. I, like many others, have to spread the cost out over the year but recently hit a bump in the road when Government legislation changed. I went from being able to spread the cost over the year, say nine months, to having to pay it in three months. Now, I’m no maths whizz but imposing something like this on the unsuspecting public means a lot of people couldn’t pay their car insurance. In fact I’ve had friends crying down the phone because their insurance company wiped out their bank accounts for their policy, leaving them with no money for food or to pay their bills. But I only found this out today when the very nice insurance man that I was screaming at managed to get me to calm down long enough to explain it to me what the Government had done. I knew nothing about this and it screwed my car insurance up big style.

Last week I had posted about the twitter storm surrounding the Prime Minister and today #CameronMustGo is still going strong if my twitter feed is anything to go by. But something has changed, it no longer appears as a popular tweet in my little sidebar. Have they finally taken away our freedom of speech? Have we finally got under the skin of the Government? It looks like we have started to enter a new era and the message is getting spread far and wide that we are not powerless lemmings. People are researching and digging deep to explain why they are angry. No longer is it just random ravings from loony tunes like myself, it has evolved into a powerful message that we don’t have to take this crap. Those who were once powerless are being empowered by others to stand up and make their voice be heard. People who understand the system are educating those who have no idea. No longer will we tolerate being walked over with sudden law changes that can screw us over. Those who are entitled to help should get it, and shouldn’t have to fight tooth and nail to receive it. A revolution is coming. And right now, I’m sure that the Prime Minister and the all the rest are scared, but are they listening? They had better start paying attention to us all.

Now now, everyone calm down

A while back I was accused to being a bully on twitter just because I used the #CameronMustGo thingy that is going around for the last while. I’m offended by that statement and to call someone a bully, or in this case anyone who has been using this hashtag, a bully. It is missing the point of what is going on. Sure, a lot of people are using it to vent about the injustice that they can see happening around them, and maybe we aren’t going about it the right way. So I sat down and had a think. How can we make this better? How can we get our point across without seeming like thugs? How can we make the a change that will force the Government to take notice? A plan evolved as I mused over the possibilities. Violence is not an option but action is.

What we can do-

  1. Get rid of our debt- This is a hard one for most people because most of us are up to our eyes with bills. But we can get rid of it. I have been credit blacklisted for a few years now, I don’t have a credit card to fall back on if I have a sudden expense, and I’m slowly paying back all the money I owe. And you know what? Being blacklisted is probably one of the best things that has happened to me. I learnt how to manage my money better and make do with what I have. It’s hard at times but it’s a better way to live. Once I’m debt free again I will not be taking out any more credit. Whenever you use your credit card or take out a loan, all you are doing is funding the banks. With what they have been up to in the last few years, I’d rather not take part in the lining the pockets of those guys. We need to take control of our money again and by starving the banks of the interest from credit cards and loans, we can force them to make changes that will work for us.
  2. Spread your wealth- If you are one of the fortunate people who has a savings account, ask yourself this, do you really need that money? What good is it doing you? Give it to charity or help out your family members who maybe aren’t so lucky. If that money is doing nothing other than collecting dust in a saving account then maybe you should think about doing something with it. Ok, nobody wants to hand over their life savings to a stranger but if that money is for your kids after you have gone then give it to them now and watch them enjoy it. Pay off their debts, take yourself away on holiday, give some to your local animal shelter, keep some of it for yourself. Enjoy spending it because you can’t take it with you when you pop your clogs.
  3. Go local- I read something a while ago that shocked me. Did you know that if you went to Tesco or Asda and spent £100 only £15 of that money would go back into the local economy? But if you went to your local butcher and spent the same amount of money nearly £45 would go back into the local economy. That’s scary. Where is all that money going? The moon? But this is the kicker, if we all started shopping with our local small businesses, the recession would be over in no time as we would be funding the local economy and local suppliers instead of having to import from aboard. In your local area I’m sure that you would find clothes makers, local designers, food shops, so there is no reason why we need to shop with the big giants. If your own income is a concern, don’t let it be. A lot of local businesses will give you a good deal and will help you shop on a budget. Just ask them and you will be surprised how much they will be willing to help you.
  4. Don’t listen to the big media- I might come as a surprise to you all but I used to freelance for a lot of papers and magazines. I’ve been published internationally and locally mainly doing fluff pieces for a giggle. But when I tried to up my game and write about real world problems that people were telling me about, when it came to get the story run I was told to “drop it”. That was my experience two years ago and I only recently found out that the Government controls around 75% of the media. That explains a lot. When I was working in newspaper sales I got some amount of abuse for the content of the papers. It was one-sided, the writers didn’t know what they were talking about, the paper only printed the articles that took a certain spin on a story. These people, as horrible as they were to me, were right. Big media is controlled and funded by the Government so they are forced to put a certain spin on stories. And when they do publish a story calling the MP’s out, it’s done in a certain way that they aren’t really the bad guys. Freedom of speech and the internet means that people like me, people who have been apart of the media marketing machine can publish what we want. Sure, we don’t have the trusted name of a big paper behind us but there is a good chance that at one time we did. Support those people whose voice is not censored by the corporations and governments who want them to remain silent. We all don’t sit wearing tinfoil hats while we rant about the world, some of us are normal. Promise.

What the Government needs to do-

I’m not expert on any of this but it appears that certain things are coming to light as time goes on.

  1. Wage cuts- Yes Mr Prime Minister, it’s time you and all your boys took a pay cut. You complain that the country is in the toilet but have yet to cut your own pay cheque. Instead you choose to cut front line workers while you sit and drink bubbly. I have no idea how much these guys all get paid but I would imagine that even taking a small pay cut would fund a hell of a lot things.
  2. Do something useful- A lot of these guys have been privately educated so why are they not doing something useful with those big brains? Maybe it’s just me but if I had that type of education behind me I would be doing something a bit more useful with myself, like curing cancer or ending hunger.

Sadly that was all I could think of but at least it’s a start. A blueprint for others to use to build a better plan on. But one last thing, instead of using #CameronMustGo, lets use #empowerthepeople because that’s what it is about. Cameron may be our current target but who says that the next one will be any better? Let’s keep ourselves empowered and make our world a better place.

Would you like that gift wrapped?

Children are expensive little items to say the least but this becomes more obvious at Christmas time. It’s not just buying your children gifts, you have to start buying their friends as well. My daughter has made friends with a few girls in her class and last night I found myself running out in the wind and rain for some late night shopping for a bunch of pre-teens that I’ve never meet. The end result was a shower gel set each which I’m sure they will probably hate. In a way I don’t mind doing this, to be honest I’m just glad my daughter made friends, but it was the expectations of my daughter that were the problem. I have never meet these girls but my daughter wanted me to spend a small fortune on stuff. Earrings, phone covers, sweets, and that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Christmas is not the only time. From children start to socialise and make friends, your money will start to bleed from your purse like it’s been attacked, repeatly. Birthdays are a horrible one when every parent seems to compete to get the birthday boy/girl the best gift. And most of the time, what is handed over is crap that said child will never use. It’s a sad truth that your hard earned money will go down the toilet on presents that no-one wants but in these situations you can’t not buy a gift. And it always has to be something “fun”. No child wants clothes from their friends, money as a gift screams “this parent has no time/imagination”, and useful things are not an option. But why not? There is a scene in Mermaids, the classic 80’s movie with Cher, when she hands out toothpaste and toothbrushes instead of sweets at Halloween, what an awesome idea! Why can’t we all give kids useful presents? I’m not saying that I should have gotten my daughters friends a box of tampons each….or maybe I should have? Let’s face it, getting that for Christmas would always stick in their minds.

In the end, I talked my daughter round to seeing things my way, which was “my money, I choose”. Like I said, I don’t mind buying a small gift for each if her friends but I refuse to buy them something expensive at every birthday and holiday. That’s just not happening. For now, she’s happy enough with what I picked out but you would be too if I had threatened you with a box of tampons as a Christmas present too.

Kidney for Sale | Financially Backwards

financially

Being financially backwards seems to be the latest craze. I’m sure I’m not alone when I look at my bank balance and wonder where my money has gone. But frankly it has gone beyond a joke recently. I don’t think I’m wasteful with my money, so what happens to it? I have a budget which I have to stick to. I work as much as I physically can. And yet there appears to be little gremlins living in the bank that eat my hard earned pennies on me.

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