The Skint Dad Give Back Is Coming

You reap what you sow; well that’s what I believe and because of this I am truly delighted to share with you something I have been planning for quite a while: The Skint Dad Give Back.

You reap what you sow; well that’s what I believe and because of this I am truly delighted to share with you something I have been planning for quite a while: The Skint Dad Give Back.

So what is this Skint Dad Give Back I hear you say?

Since I started Skint Dad back in August 2013 my life has changed beyond belief. Back then I was struggling through life, not really going anywhere. Yes I had a beautiful wife and my adorable children but life was tough.

Financially we were in a real mess. Debt up to our eyeballs, just about living pay cheque to pay cheque. Getting by on credit cards, borrowing from friends and family and even resorting to the dreaded payday loans.

We had been in such a spiral of debt for a long period of time that we just couldn’t escape it, or so I thought!

Anyway, nearing the end of September 2013 everything really did come to a head. We were so in the red, borrowed all we could, and had nowhere else to turn. We were literally surviving on the breadline.

It was at this moment when we were at our lowest that our lives changed, never to be the same again. It was at that time Skint Dad was truly born.

We didn’t end up losing everything but instead we took that moment of despair and turned it on its head. We started living a more frugal and thrifty life and instead of debt being in control of us, we took control of the debt.

Over the next couple of years not only did we manage to smash a huge amount of the debt we’d accrued but my blog Skint Dad went from strength to strength.

With mentions on some of the biggest sites in the UK, winning a plethora of awards and carving out a freelance writing and media career, producing money-saving content for the likes of Quidco, Mirror Online, BT and even getting my own weekly column, the Skint Dad blog has gone from a handful of readers in the early days to today where we have just passed one million page views!!!

There is no way I could have imagined back on that cold and desperate September day what would transpire. Every day I try to work harder than the last so that we are never in that position again.

And with all the success there have been a group of people which I owe everything to and that’s you – dear readers.

You reap what you sow; well that’s what I believe and because of this I am truly delighted to share with you something I have been planning for quite a while: The Skint Dad Give Back.


The thing is, I know it might not be all roses and rainbows for you either.

From speaking to quite a number of you I know that some of you are doing okay, just managing. You can pay the bills and maybe have enough for a small treat at the end of the month.

On the other end of the spectrum, I know that some of you are not doing quite so well. You are where we were a few years ago. You are struggling. Struggling to keep up with everything, in debt (maybe still in denial) but you want to do something about it.

No matter who you are, together we are helping each other. Giving each other support and ideas to save money, make a bit more cash and manage our finances better.

Without you reading my blogs, commenting on social media and sending the hundreds of emails supporting me through our journey, I would never have got to where I am today.

And it’s because of this I now want to give something back.

The Skint Dad Give Back

Starting in January 2016 and carrying on every month thereafter I am going to be giving away 10% of my net blog income. 5% of it will be donated to a charity and the other 5% will be given to one of my readers – you!

Now you may be thinking that I’m crazy to be giving away a portion of my hard-earned money but for me it is a simple decision. Not only will I be rewarding my readers but I will be also helping charities that are close to my heart.

This is very important to me.

I want to be able to give back however big or small. I want to continue building relationships, I want to grow and I want to make a difference.

So what are the next steps?

Well I already know how it will work, although there are a few finer details to iron out. The main thing you need to know is that the wheels are in motion and The Skint Dad Give Back is happening.

At the beginning of December I will be posting a blog outlining those details, the charities I want to help and also how you can be in with a chance to walk away with that other 5%. To make certain you read that blog post be sure to sign up to my weekly newsletter here as this is where I will notify you that it’s been published and where you will find updates of all future give back recipients.

I’m so thrilled about this and it’s great to finally be able to share it with you guys. Hopefully as I grow the Give Back will grow and then who knows where it could lead?

Exciting times ahead!

5 Reasons Why People Get Into Debt

Getting into debt is unfortunately very easy and something that can spiral out of control but there isn’t just one reason why debt can strike.

Getting into debt is unfortunately very easy and is something that can spiral out of control but there isn't just one reason why debt can strike.

Getting into debt is an easy thing to do and something that can easily spiral out of control.

The thing is, there isn’t just one reason why debt can strike. Different people have different reasons why they get into debt and circumstances for everyone can be different.

I think if you can recognise why debt can happen, it may be that you can stop yourself getting into debt in the first place, or at least recognise that you have a money issue and can hopefully get some support.

Life changes

One of the reasons we got into really bad debt years ago was due to changes in our incomes. After being made redundant, we had less household income and we really struggled to pay the bills. It took a few months to find work again but, by this time, we had spent all our savings and were living off credit cards to get by.

Other things can change too. What would happen if you moved house and the council tax band goes up, or your landlord puts your rent up or the interest rate goes up on your mortgage? How will you cope with changes?

Instead of struggling to make ends meet while you are adapting to the changes in your life, speak to people you currently owe money to and explain the situation. If you are upfront and honest about your finances companies are more than willing to either put a repayment holiday, or lower your payments for a month or so until you can get to grips with your situation.

Lack of emergency fund

If you have a small pot of money to call upon when the worst happens you can hopefully stop yourself getting into debt. Even £500 sat in a savings account can be a lifesaver if your car breaks down or your fridge freezer needs replacing.

According to the Money Advice Service, four in ten adults – or 21 million people – have less than £500 in savings.

Just saving a little each month can easily boost your emergency fund. Set up a standing order to transfer just a little our each pay day and you will see the savings rack up quickly.

Getting into debt is unfortunately very easy and is something that can spiral out of control but there isn't just one reason why debt can strike.

Burying your head in the sand

Not opening the mail that falls on your doormat, avoiding phone calls from creditors and purposefully ignoring financial issues will see you get into debt very quickly – and this debt will spiral. Trust me. I’ve been there, got the t-shirt and had to sell the t-shirt to help clear my debt.

Maybe you that you don’t have enough time to deal with your finances so just outright avoid them or think that by not opening your post it will make the situation go away? Both wrong.

By not dealing with the situation things are just going to get worse. If you can’t pay a household bill then call them (or even get an email address or write if you can’t bring yourself to make a call). Tell then why you can’t pay and what you plan to do about it.

If you ignore one bill, soon it will turn into a bad debt. The next letters will be from a debt management company or a solicitor. They will start chasing the payments instead. Your credit file will be hit badly. Fees will get added on. You may get taken to court and be given a CCJ. Enforcement Agents (which you may know as a bailiff) will turn up, unannounced, at any time of the day and knock on your door.

Don’t bury your head in the sand. Don’t ignore the issues as one letter can very quickly spiral to a lot more letters and a lot more costs.

Living beyond your means

You may not even be trying to keep up with the Joneses in terms of what you are buying. You may find that you buy all the basic brands, rarely go out and have no treats. If you are living pay cheque to pay cheque and are still struggling to make ends meet you could quite easily get into debt to help when things are tight.

The thing is, do you actually know what money is coming in and what you are spending out. Get a hold of your finances by creating a budget and listing out every penny that you earn and receive through benefits as well as writing down everything that you spend out on from rent/mortgage, household bills, groceries and other everyday spending. By seeing things in black and white you can then ascertain how much money you really have left at the end of each month and can start looking at what you can cut out.

It could be that you are spending out on lunch at work each day, or have an expensive gym membership, that could go and would mean that you could balance the budget each month, avoiding the need to slip into debt.

Keeping up with the Joneses

The neighbours have just bought a new car, your colleague is off on another holiday and there are 12 cousins who are all buying presents for each other for Christmas.

Spending money because you think you need to have the same things as those around you or you need the latest bit of tech will soon see you get into debt if you cannot truly afford them. We very much live in a want it now society. Fashions change with the season (some of them worse than others) and the media push products to love and want. It can be easily to get caught up in the splurge.

However, it’s also very easily to not get caught up. Just stop! If you don’t have the money then it doesn’t matter what others are doing, just don’t do it yourself.

Debt is not cool.

Going to Egypt on a two week 5* holiday and getting a killer tan may be cool but not being able to heat your home this winter is not cool.

Having the latest designer clothes may be cool but wearing those clothes while having to eat tins of basic beans – every single night – because you can’t afford other food is not cool.

Sorry to say but there is no other way to say it – if you don’t have the money then don’t spend it.


These reasons are all about bad debt. This is all about unmanageable debt that you cannot clear each month. Debt that happens when you are not in control of the situation. If you don’t think you can make a full payment each month to clear a credit card then don’t get one.

If you already have debt you could be one of the eight million have problems with debt. Of those people only one in six are seeking help.

Don’t struggle on alone – please.

Please get support and get yourself out of bad debt and into a debt free life.

You can get free debt and money advice from Stepchange (call free from a land line on 0800 138 1111 or go to their site and ask for a free callback) or National Debtline (call them for free from a land line on 0808 808 4000 or use their online web chat service).

5 Ways to Save Money Without Even Trying

When you want to save money but struggle to cut out spending it can be hard. Don’t cut back but use these hassle free ways to save money without even trying.

When you want to save money but struggle to cut out spending it can be hard. Don't cut back but use these hassle free ways to save money without even trying.

Whether it’s Christmas, a treat or your emergency fund that needs to grow, saving money can be hard work if you like spending or don’t have much spare cash left at the end of each month.

Saving money when you’re not in a habit of doing so can be hard. There are lots of things to tempt you to spend instead of save and if the money is sitting in your account it can be a real tempter.

With these tips, there is no giving up your favourite brands, ditching your coffees or cutting back on Netflix.

There are some easy ways to trick yourself into saving money so you won’t even notice the pounds totting up – getting you closer to your savings goal.

Skim your account

When you want to save money but struggle to cut out spending it can be hard. Don't cut back but use these hassle free ways to save money without even trying.

I try to balance the money I spend on my card and the amount of cash I draw out from the bank. They both have bonuses. If I have cash then I know when I’ve run out of money but if I spend on my debit card then I can track my spending easier.

If I’ve been out shopping and have used my card, at the end of the day, I log into my bank and skim any pounds and pennies off my balance.

Say I have £101.25 in my bank, I will transfer £1.25 of it to my savings leaving a whole round number.

One pound here and there soon adds up and I can easily save £30 a month without realising.

Fill a piggy bank

Just because I spend on my card doesn’t mean that I don’t have to have cash.

Whenever I’ve spent any money, the first thing I do when home is empty my pockets. Any notes left over go straight back in my pockets, along with pound coins, but any smaller denominations go into either a piggy bank or spending pot.

The spending pot has the coins worth the most. We use them if the children have been extra good and need a chocolate treat or if we need another loaf of bread or pint of milk – it saves us having to break into another note.

The piggy bank is sealed and collects all our shrapnel and 5p’s. When it get full up, we head out to one of our local banks who have a machine which changes all the change up for free.

52 week saving challenge

52 week saving challenge

You may have seem similar challenges to this – well I have anyway! Have you seen the plank challenge, or the one for squats or sit ups? You have to stretch yourself each day or week to do a little more. This is very similar but with money.

This is a challenge that I’ve never tried myself. I’ve seen a number of people start this in January as one of their resolutions but not heard many people finish it.

The idea is that you save a bit of money each week, every week, for a whole year.

So, you put in £1 on week one, £2 on week two, £3 on week three and so on. By the time you get to week 52 you will be saving £52.

At the end of 12 months you would have saved a whopping £1,378!

Don’t stop paying

If you have a debt that you’ve cleared, instead of the money getting lost among other outgoings, save the money instead. You’re already used to the money coming out of your account each month so just change where the money needs to go.

Alternatively, if you still have other debts, you could snowball the payments and clear your debt off quicker (but I was talking specifically about saving here).

A similar thing could be said for the months off on council tax payments – that could be a couple of hundred quid saved!

Why not change your energy supplier and save up to £300?! In the same way, use that money saved from a household bill and put it straight into your savings account.

Use your standing orders

Set up a regular standing order on your main bank account. Every time you get paid, have a set amount get transferred into a savings account. Would you miss £10 each week? Really you probably wouldn’t. If you didn’t have the money then it wouldn’t get spent.

Even if you wanted to transfer out £40 as soon as you get paid, you won’t notice the money gone and by the end of the year would have saved £480 – easily! If you could stretch to £80 each month that’s a massive £960 in one year!


What other ways do you have to save money that are hassle free?

MandM Direct Review: Cheap Clothing – Save up to 85%

MandM Direct review: how much can you spend on an outfit? Plus extra tips to make sure you maximise all possible discounts and pay the absolute best prices!

MandM Direct review: how much can you spend on an outfit? Plus extra tips to make sure you maximise all possible discounts and pay the absolute best prices!

I was recently asked if I wanted to try some clothes from MandM Direct and I couldn’t say no really. I genuinely don’t buy clothes very often and make do and mend when something starts to fray.

The majority of my clothes come from charity shops as it works out more affordable to buy nicer quality clothes than buying them brand new.

It’s like the egg and chicken. I could buy brands but they cost more but last longer. Or I could buy a cheaper item of clothing to save money initially but it usually falls apart quicker.

Although I’m saving money up front, I have to pay more money out overall.

I would much prefer to have a few quality items in my wardrobe than throw cheap items out and waste money.

So it was great when a large package was sent for me from MandM Direct it would mean that I’d have some quality items to add to my wardrobe just in time for the season to change.

If you’re not sure who MandM Direct are, they have a really big range of cheap clothing for women, men and children. They also sell shoes and accessories – all from top named brands but at discounted prices.

Without breaking the bank, or having to buy second hand from eBay or a charity shop, you can get an outfit at a snip of the price.

When having a browse for products I wanted to add to my wardrobe, my first port of call was their massive discount clearance section. On top of the discounted products, they had an even bigger sale price!

MandM Direct Outfit

For this outfit, the RRP is £199.94 but it only actually cost £66.54 – that’s just a third of the retail price!

That is one whopping saving! Plus, having looked again, some of the items have reduced slightly more since in flash sales.

For this outfit, the RRP is £199.94 but it only actually cost £66.54 – that's just a third of the retail price!

This look is made up of:

Board Angels Boots – RRP £49.99 – selling for £19.99

Onfire Trench Coat – RRP £39.99 – selling for £13.59

Fluid Women’s Skinny Jeans – RRP £39.99 – selling for £11.99

Fluid Sweater – RRP £34.99 – selling for £12.99

Board Angels Leather Gloves – RRP £14.99 – selling for £3.99

Onfire Eau De Toilette Pink – RRP £19.99 – selling for £3.99

* all prices correct as at 15 November 2015

Tips to get the best deals from MandM Direct

So you probably get the idea that you can make a saving when you shop with MandM Direct but don’t let that make you just start shopping.

With a couple of tips, you can make sure you maximise all possible discounts and get the absolute best possible prices!

Save money on delivery

If you are going to put a few orders in a year, it’s probably worth joining MandM Premier.

You get express delivery and free returns on every order, priority catalogue mailing, special offers just for Premier customers and new product alerts.

It costs £19.99 for a year. Standard delivery is £3.99 so if you’re going to put in a few orders and want the flexibility to return them with as little hassle as possible, this would be a really good option for you.

Follow them on social media

Whether you are just looking to keep an eye out for their latest products, or you want the chance to win a freebie in their competitions, it;s worth following them on their social media channels.

Freebie Friday is run on Facebook and they give away products every week!

Keep an eye out for flash sales

MandM Direct have good sales anyway but from time to time they launch a flash sale where you can save up to 85% on the RRP.

Make money from them

If you have your own website, you can ask to sign up to their affiliate scheme. If someone then click through a link on your site and makes a purchase, you may earn a commission from the sale.

It can be a great way to earn extra cash.

Look out for a discount

I’m sure you’re well aware that you shouldn’t shop online without first hunting for cashback or a discount code.

MandM Direct have a few at the moment:

Do remember that if you use a discount code then sometimes the cashback won’t track so work out first which will make you the biggest saving.

They’ve also got a Christmas shop and focus on budget so you may well be able to pick up a couple of gifts too and if you use the discounted Premier free delivery code you could make a massive saving on your Christmas shop!

(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. You can read our disclosure policy here.)

Cargiant Christmas Advent Gift Guide

Christmas is almost upon us and with so many stores both online and on the high street vying to part us with our hard-earned cash, this time of year can be quite over-bearing.

But this is only one problem because if you have a far-reaching family to buy gifts for, deciding what to get them – whilst not overspending – can be a real chore.

That’s why the guys over at Cargiant have designed an awesome and interactive advent gift guide to give you a helping hand with your present buying this Christmas.

Like the conventional festive calendar, Cargiant’s advent contains 25 windows for you to explore and under each window you will find a range of gifts for all the family. Whether you’re on a budget or have a bit more disposable cash, you will get loads of inspiration for everyone.

If you are on a tight budget then I would stick to the lower numbered windows as the gifts here are priced around the £10 – £50 mark. If – as I mentioned before – you have a little extra cash then check out the higher numbered windows which contain the pricier items.

Whatever your budget is this Christmas, remember you don’t have to go silly. This time of year is more about spending time with the people you care about rather than how much you spend on them. When I think back on Christmases past I don’t remember what I was given but instead remember how it was spent.

<iframe width=”700px” height=”600px” frameborder=”no” align=”middle” scrolling=”auto” name=”cargiant-advent-calendar” src=””> </iframe>

Side Hustle: How to Boost Your Income Doing Things You Love

Here she shares a few tips to help others boost their income on a regular basis:

When it comes to saving money for something special, whether that’s a house deposit, a new car or a much-needed holiday, reducing your outgoings can be a great place to start. However, if you’re already a thrifty shopper and do everything you can to avoid going over budget, reaching your target can seem like a long way off. If this sounds familiar and you feel as though as though you’ve hit a brick wall, it could be time to increase your actual income. [Read more…]

Cheaper Days Out for Halloween and Bonfire Night

If you fancy getting out and about for Halloween or Bonfire Night but are bored with going to the same old displays, there are loads of events on over the country that may be on interest.

There are loads of great cost effective deals on at the moment that may give you a day or evening out to get you in the mood for a scare-fest.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Halloween Week – save up to 52%

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Halloween Week – save up to 52%

1 Piccadilly Circus, London, W1J 0DA

Get two tickets to Ripley’s Halloween Week with Guide Book which runs until 1 Nov

For £29 you get two fast-track tickets with a guide book (up to 52% off).

One-Hour Escape-Room Adventure for Up to Three at Hidden Rooms London – save up to 58%

One-Hour Escape-Room Adventure for Up to Three at Hidden Rooms London - save up to 58%

12 Henry Road, London, N4 2LH

Choose from three options

  • £19.25 for one ticket for either Prison Break or Chain Reaction
  • £25 for two tickets for either Prison Break or Chain Reaction (46% off)
  • £29 for three tickets for either Prision Break or Chain Reaction (58% off)

There are two different scenarios you can pick from:

  • Prison Break: you wake up in jail after a particularly good party and seek to break free
  • Chain Reaction: escape a bunker before radiation from a nearby nuclear disaster reaches it

Each game needs a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5 players.

Family Halloween Canal Tour for One, Two, or Four at Dudley Canal Trust

Family Halloween Canal Tour for One, Two, or Four at Dudley Canal Trust

A4123 Birmingham New Road, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 4SJ

Running until 31 October, you can choose from three options:

  • £7 for a one-hour family Halloween canal tour for one
  • £14 for a one-hour family Halloween canal tour for two
  • £28 for a one-hour family Halloween canal tour for four

Halloween Park Day Ticket (£10) Plus Firework Display (£12) at Gulliver’s Kingdom

Halloween Park Day Ticket (£10) Plus Firework Display (£12) at Gulliver's Kingdom

Temple Walk, Matlock, DE4 3PG

Choose from the following options for a Halloween park day ticket:

  • £10 for one
  • £12 for one plus entry to fireworks display (1 Nov)

You’ll be able to follow a trick or treat trail, become acquainted with eerie characters such as Pumpkin Pete, and witness the spectral confines of Leonard’s Scare School.

Entry to the Halloween Party for Essex with Jamie Raven, S Club, Old Men Grooving and More on 31 October

Entry to the Halloween Party for Essex with Jamie Raven, S Club, Old Men Grooving and More on 31 October

Garon Park Cricket Ground, Eastern Avenue, Southend On Sea, Essex, SS2 4FA

On 31 October from 4pm – 8pmv you can get:

  • £12 for one ticket
  • £45 for four tickets

The Halloween Party is for all ages and includes an outdoor firework display, acts by famous performers, stalls, rides, inflatables, food traders, face painting, and a heated big top kidzone arena.

Acts include:

  • Jamie Raven – Britain’s Got Talent Magician
  • S Club – 90’s supergroup
  • Old Men Grooving – Britain’s Got Talent finalists
  • Jake Quickenden – star of X Factor and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here
  • Artists from X Factor 2015 to be announced

Fireworks Spectacular Family Fun Night on Saturday 31 October at Doncaster Racecourse – up to 27% Off

Fireworks Spectacular Family Fun Night on Saturday 31 October at Doncaster Racecourse - up to 27% Off

Leger Way, Doncaster, DN2 6BB

On Saturday 31 October, from 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm, you can get a family ticket (two adults and two children) for £5.50.

There is a massive kids disco and indoor bouncy castles, fire tricksters, jugglers and stilt walkers. Fireworks Spectacular will feature rides during the fairground happy hour as well as a fancy dress competition and a colouring competition. The highlight of the evening will be a 15-minute fireworks display which can be admired from a covered viewing area in any kind of weather.

Jesmond Fireworks Display Entry for Adult (£4) or Child (£2)

Jesmond Fireworks Display Entry for Adult (£4) or Child (£2)

Osborne Avenue Jesmond, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE2 1JS

Enjoy fireworks at Newcastle Cricket Club from 5pm until 7.30pm on Sunday 8 November.

Tickets are £2 for one child ticket and £4 for one adult ticket.

There is live entertainment from 5.45pm, ahead of the 7pm firework display.

Win a DIY Mummy Costume this Halloween

Win a DIY Mummy Costume this Halloween

Although not an event, you may want to tell me to bog off but this is a legit competition!

To celebrate Halloween, Groupon is giving away 50 fantastic mummy costumes that’ll put your fellow party-goers efforts to shame. Enter our competition and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a specially designed costume that’s ultra-soft yet strong too. Using patented 3-Ply technology, the costume can be self-assembled using an easy rolling technique. The costumes come in a pack of nine, meaning it’s possible to dress all your friends too in matching outfits.

To enter just click ‘Buy!’ (you won’t be charged) then let them know on Twitter @Groupon_UK using the hashtag‪ #‎HalloweenDIY‬.

Whether you use the prize to dress up or to stock up in the bathroom, I wish you luck!