Sunday, 23 April 2017

The pointless solution.

We may have ten loyalty schemes running simultaneously and yet profit from them not at all. This is because a thousand points in each scheme is unlikely to amount to anything useful whereas the same number of points in a smaller number of schemes is likely to yield something useful.

This is not an absolute rule. We can keep a number of schemes on the back burner but not actively pursue them much. If the points fall into our lap, all well and good but we should not care very much about the matter.

Loyalty schemes may not involve points at all. One of my favourites is a supermarket that allows me to buy a sandwich for £1.10 and have a coffee as a free perk. This is in a street where a coffee alone can cost twice this. Every purchase, no matter how small gets the same perk. One man bought an individual mushroom for a penny but I think I would be embarrassed to do this.

The supermarket (Waitrose) is expensive but not overpriced when all things are considered. I will use it as my top up location and will buy cakes, newspapers and emergency items. There is always something it is possible to buy if one must.

Once we have decided a scheme is unlikely to work for us then we should utilise or transfer the points and leave it as a shell. Be brutal and back the winner!

N.B You may be confused that I did not mention Waitrose in my previous article. This is because I was discussing which schemes have worked for me in the past. Waitrose is part of the future.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

There are only three schemes that have really worked for me.

The internet is full of money making schemes. Many sound honest and could actually work but there are only three that have significantly improved my life. These are Free Rice- a sort of charitable virtue signalling thing. Avois- a not-quite-quite-free air ticket scheme and Quidco, a quite wonderful get cash back on the monthly shop scheme.

Of these only one- Quidco has paid me in actual cash. I will explain.

Free Rice is an online quiz that awards ten grains of rice to the World Food Programme whenever we get an answer right. We cannot eat the rice ourselves- it is sent to feed the worlds poor- but the scheme is genuine and does some good. The payback for ourselves is that we become knowilagable on a great many subjects and can win any pub quiz.

One interesting feature of Free Rice is that one can join a group and pool the rice earned. The aim is to get various philosophies competing against one another about which is the most charitable. I gave created a group called 'Free Rice virtue signallers' which must be the most honest of all the groups. I invite you to join.

Avios is a multi retailer award scheme that allows us to collect points with very little expense or effort if it approached in the right way. If one has a huge number of points it is worthwhile spending them on long distance flights or first class tickets. If we have a smaller balance it is better to spend them on days out or or wine. I have had two crates of very good wine but no flights as it is more effective to use a budget airline for short flights.

Finally we have Quidco which is free so nobody has a reason not to get on board. I have earned £146 from this scheme which may not be a fortune but is certainly a useful lump of money.

If you join only one scheme- join Quidco.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Cash back holiday one.

I have a mad scheme that I hope will justify spending much of my life on holiday.

This is how it works.

Budget £300.

1. Take three days off work. Book a cheap hotel. It is possible to do this for as little as £20 a night if you follow my advice.

2. Spend money on luxury items only. These are generally available at deep discount through Quidco and other places.

3. Also aim to maximize Avios through  hotels bookings or other means. Six hundred is a demanding but quite possible target for the weekend.

4. Aim to have at least one item by the end of the weekend that will produce an income that was also obtained at a discount.

5. With luck the combination of cash back, Avios and the useful purchase will pay for the holiday.

6. Repeat.

I am currently in the planning process of setting these holidays up but realise that I have achieved the same accidentally. Let us see how I did.

1. I spent the time at home on a weird parapsychology housecleaning experiment.

2. I bought ten rather posh shirts for £225 and received one free of charge. I also earned 900 Avios- comfortably over my target.

3. Does not apply.

4. I will make a modest income from my shirts in two ways. Firstly I can wear white business-casual shirts when about my normal business. This means I will be available for work if I am called in for a night shift as the shirt will be the correct colour. I estimate this will make it possible for me to do one extra shift a month if I wish to do so.

5. Upon these estimates I will pay for the shirts in eight weeks. I am also under budget so buy myself a crate of wine to celebrate.

6. I will do something like this monthly.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The search for 'yes' or 'no'.

My first adventure in financial trading was a successful one. I knew a few indicators and the game seemed simple. If only it had remained that way!

Unfortunately I learned more and more. Suddnely I was confronted with fifty shades of grey on every trade- and not in an enjoyable way.

I needed simplicity and I hope that my study of Japanese Candlesticks will return it to me!

What are Japanese candlesticks? They are pictures of candles that represent price action in a simplified way. If the market falls then the main body of the candle is one colour. If it rises then it is another. If the candle has a wick then this indicates it reached a certain price and then fell back to another one.

The candles are usually read in groups and as such gain exotic names such as 'hanging man' and 'evening star'. The great virtue is that these have definite meanings that are not grey.

Candlestics cannot be relied upon as a sole guide but they are great when combined with other, less emphatic indicators.

I will learn my indicators and then put them to the test one hundred times. If they advise me well then I will use them.