Women and Digital Inclusion Energy Spark Project – Money Matters and the Cost-of-Living Crisis.
Energy Spark Project was made possible with funding from Liverpool Charities and Voluntary Services – LCVS which also offer support for individuals struggling with the current cost of living crisis. We at Women and Digital Inclusion are so grateful that LCVS always has the heart of BME communities and holds space for us to be able to run projects like E-Spark, to hold conversations that allow us to support each other, sign post each other and uplift each other to step up to the table where decisions about us are made. Especially during the cost-of-living crisis. You can visit our website to learn more about Women and Digital Inclusion aka WODIN and how we can be of service to you or a sister, mother, friend, grandma fellow black migrant you know at https://wodin.org.uk
Feel free to use our referral form if you wish to learn both basic, essential, and advanced Digital Skills right here: https://wodin.org.uk/contact/
E-Spark Project has been all about learning, sharing, and talking about Money, Debt, and Mental health, during the current cost of living crisis. These subjects are traditionally taboo in black communities. People find it uncomfortable talking about financial management, debt, and generally mental health is considered a huge no-go zone. Most black households are used to focusing mainly on the 4 essentials: housing, food, fuel/warmth and financial security, we at WODIN add Digital access to that list following Covid-19 and global lockdowns.
Many black people are on the lowest incomes and have struggled for years to cover their needs let alone bills. Yet, things have gotten worse post covid and the energy crisis.
Also, most black families think if one has mental health challenges, they should be hidden from view lest the young people’s chances of marriage are affected! While in the UK talking about one’s earnings and income is frowned upon. Making it difficult for a black person finding themselves facing either challenge. Or looking to improve their income in the UK and back in the motherland where you came from.
If based in Liverpool, the council website has a ton of info and signposting on the Cost-Of-Living crisis, please visit the website to learn more and get support asap.
So, let us talk about money and…
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How do we navigate the cost-of-living season, build resilience and maybe even thrive in the black communities in Liverpool Merseyside?
How to Maximize your Income.
If you missed the first session, feel free to visit the Video Replay and grab the nuggets you missed – Replay right here. Please do follow us over there. #TYVM
We all know and understand that every adult pays bills of some sort, yet when those bills skyrocket to unimaginable costs, yet one’s wages/income hasn’t increased to support the current status quo, it becomes a major challenge for many households and some do get into desperate situations. Where they have to choose between “eating or heating”.
So, we have had these conversations to support our communities to find ways to survive and maybe even thrive in such an environment as the UK and the world has found itself in since the Covid pandemic and more so from October 2022.
First of all, Martin Lewis kindly created a Cost of Living Survival Kit which you can access on his website.
That said, the nuggets and resources mentioned in our workshops and virtual fireside chats are listed below. We focused on ways families and people can increase and maximize their income at home.
*There are discretionary rent payments for those in social housing, please reach out to your housing provider and have that conversation if you are struggling to pay your rent. We are not sure about mortgages, please approach your provider to discuss if they will allow you a discretionary mortgage payment.
For Energy and Utilities
#1. Get/Use Smart Meters – It was suggested that participants could get/use smart meters. Plus, they can Earn rewards for using less energy at peak times this winter Octopus, rewards you for using less power and gives people a chance to win mystery prizes too. Learn more about OCTOPUS and sign up for the scheme.
For Smart Meters, it is advisable to reach out to your energy supplier as they are fitted by professionals and attached to a supplier.
#2. Pinpoint which gadgets are energy guzzlers. For instance, tumble dryers are known to take up so much electricity and water. It was suggested that if the budget allows it, people could invest in Dehumidifiers. Once clothes are washed, hang them around your home and use a dehumidifier to dry them for way less energy than a dryer would. In the process, while helping with drying your clothes rather than using your tumble dryer, the dehumidifier can help reduce condensation and control mould, which can be a health hazard. Learn more about a dehumidifier here or try the recommendation: Ebac 2650E on their website.
#3. Try alternatives to gas heating options – Like using LED Panel Radiator Heaters. These are electric heaters that heat your space without the massive gas bill. We use one that heats up to 1000w instead of using gas heating. Also, you can use electric bed warmers to warm your bed as opposed to heating the bedroom, before going to sleep. There are also heated body blankets for when you are working or just in your home to “Heat the body not the home”. All these resources can be reused next winter or even during the UK cold spells in spring, summer, or autumn.
- Recommended Heaters: Mylek LED Panel radiator heater up to 1000W Click to learn more
- Also to stay warm you could invest in heated blankets and/or Heated Vests for those freezing days when you wish to minimize the gas heating. Thus you are heating the space you are in or even just your body, as opposed to the whole house.
#4. For support with food, there are various food banks and food vouchers across the city of Liverpool. It was also suggested that participants could check out the LIDL coupon program to save on shopping. And other opportunities like getting free food weekly (e.g., from Liverpool zero waste community CIC), and warm spaces to warm up freely.
Liverpool Zero Waste: https://theguideliverpool.com/liverpool-zero-waste-group-is-giving-away-unsold-supermarket-food-on-christmas-eve/ Or connect with them via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100068829767693
Warm Spaces: Also you can look for places offering “warm spaces” in different neighbourhoods especially if you live by yourself and struggle with the heating.
We also discussed mental health as something we all have. It is on a spectrum ranging from good mental health to poor mental health. We discussed ways to stay on the good side of the spectrum. You can follow this conversation via the Session Video Replay Right here.
And now let’s talk about maximizing our Income to rise above the Cost-of-Living Crisis
Ways to increase/Maximize your Income
Everyone is always looking for alternative ways to make more money and increase their income to access some or more of life’s comforts. And we know that if you are reading this, you are on the search too. So how about you…
Check how many extra hours you can do to make a difference in your income. If you are self-employed; how much more can you sell? Are you leveraging digital marketing strategies? Are you asking the people you know for referrals?
Also, there are various ways you can add some extra money to your bank, even though they do not pay huge amounts, what they ask of you is not much either, and every £5-20 matters and makes a difference. Between hours, on your lunch break, after hours, while watching your fav movie, spare 10-20 mins to grab that extra £5-100 depending on your time availability.
1- Get Paid to test websites and Apps – Most of these pay in USD and so the amount you get in GBP is usually based on the day’s exchange rate. Recommended Paid web testing sites are:
usertesting.com – Earn $4 for every 5-minute test, $10 USD for every 20-minute test, and between $30 USD to $60 USD for live interviews. It takes a few tests to get to the bigger tests and live interviews, yet it is doable.
userlytics.com – Earn between $5 and $90, depending on the project.
utest.com – Earnings and Pay-out unknown.
intellizoom.com – Earn between $2 and $10 per study.
usefeel.com – Earn $10 for each test
For testing Apps – Try these platforms
ferpection.com – Earn between $10 – $20 per test.
betafamily.com – Earn between $5 and $20 per test.
Always remember to talk to a tax professional about your extra earnings. It is good to handle your tax matters 😊 and avoid penalties.
2- Amazon influencers program https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/
This program allows influencers to create a “storefront” and they can drive people to their store which shows all of the products they like.
There is a program (The Amazon Influencer Program) that allows people to get paid for making simple video reviews of products that they buy or products that are sold on Amazon (yes, you can get paid for a review of a product that you didn’t actually buy on Amazon including your home gadgets and stuff around your house).
Simply upload a video to Amazon, tag a product (Try to ensure it is the same or exact product, no matter whether you purchased it on amazon or not, wait till it gets approved (2 days or so), and anytime someone watches the video and then makes a “Qualifying Purchase” (which Amazon isn’t very clear on what that is… but let’s assume it’s a sales of that item), you get a commission.
It really is that simple, but there is obviously a setup process. One of the criteria is you have to have a social media profile with at least 1000 followers e.g., Facebook Page, IG Account, TikTok, Twitter, or YouTube.
The table below is important for you to choose what type of products to create video reviews for to maximize your income potential.
Apply to join via your amazon account, you become an Amazon Associate. And start shooting video reviews of products in your home using your own Smart Phone. Check out and follow my newest Amazon Influencer account with videos I have done. Imagine if you purpose to shoot a video a day. Each video a maximum of 3 minutes talking about your “Honest User review of XYZ product.” You upload it to your amazon influencer page and let Amazon do the rest. You could get approved in a matter of days… but don’t be shocked if you are seeing nothing for weeks or even months. It does take time, keep uploading your videos and wait for “Amazon on Placement”. If you are serious about learning more, reach out.
3- Do you have a spare room in your home? – Let that spare room for as much as you wish per month via Spareroom. Learn more about how to let your spare room at http://www.spareroom.co.uk/ Be sure to let your mortgage lender or landlord know if you go down this route to avoid any confusion down the road. It is also important to deal with the tax that comes with this extra income.
4- Transcribing people’s audios and videos – Many digital content developers, authors, streaming services and podcasters do hire people to transcribe their shows and podcasts to offer people with hearing disabilities accurate subtitles. You could watch your favourite shows or listen to a podcast you love, learn new stuff whilst getting paid to do so! http://www.transcribeme.com/freelancers/ Become a Transcriber if you are sure of your English or other language and have a college qualification.
There are a lot of websites offering transcription gigs. So, google, do your due diligence, generally, you have to pass a typing test. Once you’ve passed their test, you can see available jobs and claim the ones you want. How much you earn is up to you.
5- Reseller Pallets in the UK – This requires some investment i.e., you buy a pallet with customer returns from catalogues and online stores, you sort the stock, and resell what is good. Most stores do not have the time, staff, or space to do it themselves. PLUS, there’s loads of profit to be made. So, if you are of an enterprising mindset and wish to start a long-term reselling business, you could start with reseller pallets. The best way to describe this is by suggesting that you Learn more about it here. Do your due diligence and make an informed decision if this is something you wish to undertake. A lot of Amazon Sellers do this. It is also a way to purchase goods at almost 95% off RRP for reselling in Africa/Asia/Europe and here in the UK. There are pros and cons, that’s why we recommend you do your due diligence.
6- Deliver Amazon Products – You DO NOT need to sell anything on amazon. The Amazon Flex feature allows anyone interested in delivering for Amazon as a side hustle the opportunity to do so. Once you sign up with the program, you will be able to select a block you can work on and start delivering products people purchase from amazon. If you already own a car, you can get started today, there are no other direct start-up costs!
7- Rent Your Car – This may sound out there for most, but if you work from home and your car is parked all day long. While you pay the insurance and all related costs for it…Or you work long hours e.g., 12hr+ shifts, and your car is parked in a specific place for those hours, why not make even more money while working? At least £650/month is what Karshare suggests you can earn renting your car.
And guess what? The extra Insurance, mileage fuel, and security are covered by them. So go ahead and check them out, and see if you could make some money from your car without being a Taxi driver.
8- Do Microtasks Online – lots of microtask websites allow you to carry out some tasks for them and pay you. The pay is not much, but every little counts, right? You get paid by completing small tasks like basic data entry, basic research, categorizing data, moderating content, etc. Some tasks aren’t worth your time so double-check before you undertake a task.
Sign up to different tasking websites and do as many or as few tasks as you want to make money without paying. You can work whenever you have some spare time. Some of the leading websites for microtasks are:
Swagbucks – Offers a £10 signup bonus
InboxDollars – Offers a £5 signup bonus
9- Become a TV Extra – Yes it can pay to just walk down a street or sip your fav Mocha, lean more on how you can get started here.
5 in-demand side hustles you can do from home that pay based on your skills
|Side hustle||Skills||Average earnings per year|
|Design||UX Design, Website Design, Photoshop, Illustrator||$75,789 to $263,571|
|Game Development||Game Design, Unity 3D, Animation||$56,493 to $258,501|
|Coding||Java, HTML, CSS, PHP, Backend Development||$101,250 to $219,108|
|Mobile App Development||iOS & Android App Development, User Interface (UI) Design||$56,493 to $145,200|
|Website Development||WordPress, PHP, MySQL, HTML||$63,586 to $141,923|
Table: Morgan Smith, Source: Freelancer.com
10- Do Research – If you are intellectual or just enjoy doing research, then this could become a good side gig for you. It is highly flexible and research opportunities vary from simple tasks like finding and verifying addresses to much more detailed and thorough professional research. Thus, also the flexibility of task delivery and pay varies. Some sites that offer work for researchers include:
There are numerous ways to make extra income. Some are more time, money, and resource hungry than others. What we have listed is just the tip of the iceberg. Simply search online and you will find so many more ways.
We live in this digital era; neither we nor our children should lack for a bit of extra money – cost of living crisis or not. Especially during their holidays. If we parents sign up and then we let them do the work, they can be given their earnings too.
Our program/workshops facilitator Barbara will be sending out a resource on Budgeting that would be of use to you if you need some support in that direction. We shall forward it as soon as we receive it.
We hope this toolkit will be of use to you, your family, or a friend.
So, feel free to pass it along too.
We appreciate you for taking part in our E-Spark project and wish you every blessing during this tough season and beyond. Any questions please contact us here.
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All the blessings
The WODIN team