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How To Boost Your Budget This Christmas

How To Boost Your Budget This Christmas

Tech trade-in sites such as Mazuma offer a chunk of cash in exchange for unwanted mobile devices, which can be handy for cashing in when you upgrade or switch deals. With our viewing habits increasingly moving online, our DVD shelves are often a bloated and unused repository for clutter these days. High street exchange stores like CeX are a great way to cash in on your unwanted media and technology, and redeem for cash or in-store credit.

But saving money doesn’t necessarily mean selling, clearing or working extra hours. Simple changes to your day-to-day lifestyle can yield a remarkable saving. Taking a packed lunch to work, cycling rather than taking the bus, or moving your weekly shop to a more affordable supermarket can save as much as £30 to £40 a week. And who knows? Your budgetary innovations may open up new experiences and cost-effective habits that stick around beyond new year.

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Every saving will add up to something special. By combining these online and offline solutions, you can find real wiggle room in your budget for festive frivolity.

The days are getting shorter, and our budgets are getting tighter. With Christmas on the horizon, the prospect of funding the festive season can feel like a little too much pressure on the purse strings. Don’t panic though – there are many simple, stress-free ways to make a little more money in time for yuletide. Relax and indulge your friends and family this year by building your very own Christmas bonus.

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Playing the markets

There are any number of nifty solutions for making money online quickly. Many cannot be actioned overnight, and require a long-term strategy and effort. However, some sites allow you to sign up and start earning money almost straightaway. Sites such as Swagbucks allow you to ‘put cash back in your wallet’ by completing quick surveys when you search, shop, watch and browse online. There are loads of these sites out there, and there’s good money to be made – users often earn upwards of £200 per year. For the dos and don’ts for this form of money-making, check out this guide.

Taking part in simple market research is also a healthy budget booster. Create a profile then accept ‘tasks’ on sites such as Streetspotr, Roamler and Field Agent. You will be expected to pop in to shops and businesses and carry out a basic request, such as taking a photograph or checking a price. You earn money for every mission you complete, which will add up sharpish if you can integrate the tasks into your daily routine. Many of these sites work with nationwide high street brands – so it could be delightfully simple for you to make a little extra money on your walk to work, or during your lunch hour. Signing up for a real-world research recruitment agency can also be very lucrative. They’ll book you into evening focus groups, perfect for fitting around your schedule.

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Declutter for Christmas

While a spring clean may not be seasonally appropriate right now, it can still have a transformative effect on your home. Decluttering is proven to boost productivity and improve mood – and can lead to a little extra cash if you can sell those unloved shoes or superfluous home-wares online. Marketplaces such as eBay can seem tremendously old hat these days, but there is still a huge audience and money to be made if you have the time to promote and post your unwanted paraphernalia. If you’ve got clutter to conquer, selling online can be the fastest way to monetize your miscellany.

Saving money for Christmas? Do you have any other top money-saving tips to bolster your budget? Let us know!

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Featured photo credit: Lights up the darkness / Susanne Nilsson via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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