Welcome to my new guest series where I invite fellow bloggers to write about their blog, how they make money from it and share their top tips and success stories. I would like to give a warm welcome to Jim, from The Money Builders, to tell me about his blog.
Please tell me about your blog and why you started to blog about money
Hi Scott. My blog is called ‘The Money Builders’ – https://themoneybuilders.co.uk. I cover a wide range of money related topics including savings, investments (specifically ISAs), debt solutions, blogging and side hustles. I started the blog because I had worked in financial services for four years and thought I could share some of my know-how on investing. It has grown arms and legs since then to cover the additional topics I have mentioned above.
What was your first ever blog post?
My first blog on The Money Builders was ‘How Do Pensions Work’ – in retrospect a rather dry and wordy article. If I was writing it again I would certainly do it differently.
It’s a good blog and explains everything you need to know well. It’s something that everyone needs to know about and how they work, as it’s not as clear cut as many people think.
What is your favourite / most popular post?
My most popular post is 10 Best Apps To Make Money. I put a lot of work and research into this – downloading all the apps and giving them a try and I tried to be as thorough as possible. I guess visitors can tell this and that’s why it gets a lot of hits.
I can see how it gets a lot of traffic. Nobody would know what you have covered there and it’s a fascinating read. Acorns was the one that stood out for me and I can see why it’s your favourite too.
Have you ever had a parking ticket? Was it deserved?
I’m ashamed to say I don’t actually drive! I’ve had a test booked in recently but it got cancelled due to Covid-19.
It’s a double-edged sword. Motorists can’t park anywhere they like with impunity, but equally, motorists are seen as easy pickings. It points back to the principle for me – consumers need to assert their consumer rights wherever possible and seek redress.
What’s your biggest money failure?
Getting into debt with credit cards when I was younger was a big mistake. It can be so tempting to just spend and the way debts mount up can be frightening. If I could give any advice on money I would tell anyone to steer well clear of credit cards.
If we knew then what we know now. It is too easy for consumers to rack up debt without thinking of the consequences. I think there’s a lot to be said for simply saving up for something you want, like we did before credit cards existed. You know and appreciate the value of something when you have had to save up to pay for it.
What’s your biggest money success?
Rather a stroke of luck, when we took out our mortgage, interest rates were reasonable high, relatively speaking. So, our rate was the Bank of England base rate plus 2%. As you well know, interest rates have crashed through the floor. So, our biggest expense has actually turned out to have an ultra-low interest rate – certainly much lower than you could get anywhere these days.
Well done! That reminds me of my last tracker mortgage which I secured at Bank of England base rate + 0.25% just before the financial crash hit in 2008. My mortgage payments fell away to nothing at the stroke of a pen, although I continued to overpay it. What you don’t have, you don’t miss.
Do you ever complain to get redress and refunds if service or goods don’t come up to scratch?
No, I’m afraid I’m not really a complainer. I am more inclined to shrug my shoulders and get on with it. Maybe I should start complaining more!
Yes, that would be a good idea Jim. That’s the problem – consumers are reluctant to complain and firms play on that. I think it’s partly because people do not fully understand their consumer rights and how to effectively complain. There are benefits for everyone in doing so, least of all because you are providing feedback to firms so they can improve on their offering.
Potholes and the state of the roads are the bane of our lives. Have you ever won a pothole claim? Do you know how easy it is?
We’ve never made a pothole claim (my wife drives). I know nothing about the process or how easy or difficult it is to be honest. I’d be interested to find out.
It’s a bone of contention for most motorists, and we drive on what’s left of the roads in Edinburgh. I am dealing with a £1100 pothole claim in Dunfermline where a pothole broke a lady’s car axle. Fife Council and the claims handlers (I call them claims stoppers) deny liability, which is outrageous.
I have taken screenshots from Google Earth and Google Street Maps with a date stamp to evidence that it’s been a problem hotspot for years. I have also submitted a Freedom of Information request asking a series of questions that will blow a hole in their case saying that Fife Council maintains a reasonable inspection and maintenance system. It takes time, but perseverance is the key to success and I will win eventually.
Which Moneyblogger(s) do you most admire and why?
I enjoy reading Money Mage – https://www.moneymage.net – There’s lots of good money articles on there tackling subjects I am interested in.
It’s an interesting blog. I had a look at https://www.moneymage.net/7-thoughts-low-cost-living/ which was an interesting read on low-cost living in Dundee. There is plenty of inspiration to be found in so many different blogs and niches.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
In terms of my blog, I’d love to be making a residual income which could perhaps cover the costs of a nice holiday every year.
That’s the dream and aspiration for every blogger at the very least – best of luck with it!
Thank you once again Jim for sharing your story with me. I found your answers interesting to read and it’s great to see what you have achieved from your Money Builders blog as well as the inspiration behind it.
Your website is great and there is plenty of good content there that people can take something from.
Have a look at Money Builders and see for yourself.