Broke In Lockdown – Day 1
The global pandemic we’ve found ourselves in has brought a lot of unforeseen financial challenges. In many places, unless you’re an essential worker or have access to a whole lot of free money, chances are you’re wondering how a person can stay afloat in light of these challenges.
I’ve decided to do a seven-day series in which I explore potential solutions to this problem.
To be completely honest, I can’t say that my intentions are altogether altruistic. I’ve spent a lot of time putting myself in less-than-ideal situations in order to demonstrate how a person might find ways to avoid going hungry or homeless, but this has been one of those rare cases where I’ve quite literally become my target audience.
Times are hard, so I’m doing what I can to save and stretch my money during a time when money seems hard to come by, for all of us. My hope is that you’ll find something you can use too.
[1:46] – Video Timestamp
I began by calling a few friends to ask what they’ve been doing to keep their heads above water. When you’re looking for inspiration, the people closest to you are usually a good place to start.
Their answers ranged from relying on universal credit, to a little extra money via taking part in online surveys, to working a job considered to be an essential service. When asked how much they typically spend on groceries per week, it ranged from anywhere between 15-50 pounds a week.
£50 seemed a bit much to me, although that was probably only because I didn’t have that kind of money to spend every week for an indefinite amount of time. I’d have to find a way to do it for much less my survival was to be a viable option.
It was time to open the piggy bank.
[3:50] – Video Timestamp
A Good Start
My savings amounted to a grand total of £21.29 pounds, which more or less left me with £3.04 pounds a day if this was to be a seven-day experiment. This was great news, because I had survived on much less in the past. Now, instead of having £1 to spend per day, I’d have £1 pound to spend per meal!
But what would happen once I ate through my money? I’d be right back where I’d started, which meant I also had to find ways of making money, despite the global situation.
Right. So, I had my game-plan, but first I had to secure breakfast.
I made my way to the nearest ASDA, shuffled to the discount isle, and picked up a bag of porridge for 62p, crumpets for 25p, and a banana for 10p. I snagged some free sugar from the Starbucks counter inside and whipped all the ingredients into a tasty little bowl of goodness. For 97p, it was truly a fantastic meal.
Now it was time to channel all my survival mode energy into making some money.
[7:28] – Video Timestamp
Getting paid to complete online surveys seemed like a great place to start. Not only can do them from anywhere, but you don’t really have to go way out of your way to find one. All I had to do was open Google and type “surveys for money”.
The site I found first was called Survey Spotter. Survey Spotter’s website says that once you sign-up (for free of course), you’ll be able to make up to £300 a month or £20 per survey, which, honestly, could go a long, long way for a lot of people!
It soon became clear to me, however, that patience and willpower is the name of the game when it comes to filling their surveys out. I found that the forms were painfully long, and the questions unbearably mind-numbing. After what seemed like an eternity, I had barley scratched the £5 surface.
£300 sounds extremely inviting, but if Survey Spotter, and sites like it, are what you’re looking for, it would be best to keep in mind that your return on investment might not be as balanced as you’d like.
[9:38] – Video Timestamp
GoDaddy Domain Search
Next, I decided to try something that tends to have a much greater return on investment; purchasing domains. The idea is to think of a trending topic or buzz word, and then buy the domain, and then set your re-selling price.
So, for example, if we search for the domain name, “thehack.com,” we’ll find that it’s already been bought (unfortunately) and is now on the market for a whopping £10,775.86! This means that the person who bought this domain recognised that this term is a buzz word, or trendy, and would be in high demand at some point.
That’s a staggering amount of money, but it’s hardly the most expensive.
If you search for the domain surplus.com, which, with the global push towards sustainability and conservation one might imagine as being in high demand, the going amount is a mind-boggling £1,800,000!
I settled for going with something that would suit the budding meditation trend, “mindfulactions.com”, and set the buying price for £300. Better to start small.
However, while the profits might potentially be very large, it is something that might take a while to pay off, if at all. But if you’re someone who’s good at keeping up to date with the latest trends and hottest topics, and good at judging how much a company or individual might be willing to pay for a domain, it definitely has “big break” potential.
[Comparison of mushrooms 14:12 / 14:31]
Discount Isle Trap
When it was time for lunch, I made my way back to ASDA to spend my £1 for lunch. While looking through the discount isle, I found a pack of mushrooms for 64p in the discount isle.
Now, because it’s in the discount isle, a lot of people might assume it’s a good deal, but that might not always be the case. After looking around a little more, I actually found a pack of mushrooms that was both larger and cheaper. We could speculate on why that is, exactly, but I think it’s enough to know that even though the discount isle might have most of the best deals in any supermarket, it’s always good to keep an eye out for better ones.
I settled for the larger pack of mushrooms, a bag of potatoes and canned beans.
[15:29] – Video Timestamp
Perhaps it was the improved mood due to having a full belly, or perhaps I was simply unconvinced that all survey websites were so taxing, but one way or another I saw fit to give the surveys another shot. My search brought me to another site called 20 Cogs that actually pays you 10 pounds just for signing up. As soon as you do that, you’re set to start earning.
One deal I’d found had me pay £1 in order to take a survey and make £10, which seemed a bit shady. The site also seemed to have a lot of discounts on certain items, where you would pay one pound for delivery and get free products in return as well. In my case, I signed up for a promotion with a company called SimplyCook, which let me choose four meals to be delivered to my house after signing up and paying the 1 pound.
This all seemed very fishy to me until I discovered that just about everything you signed up for came with a mandatory subscription that could only be cancelled once the trial had ended. So, the important thing to remember is that once you sign up for a survey or promotion, you need to write down the trial end-dates. Otherwise, you will continue to be charged, and probably not for £1!
When it was said and done, I had managed to secure 36 pounds in a relatively short amount of time. As far as quick money goes, this one seemed to be a winner.
[17:31] – Video Timestamp
Typically, I would have called it a night there, but for the sake of seeing you through these trying times I though I’d see what else I could secure in the way of a £1 dinner.
In the U.K., and many other places around the world, there are actually benefits to scouting the discount isle at night. Often times, the food you’ll find will be items that the store absolutely needs to get rid of. Which means a lot of it will be unbelievably cheap, such as the sizable loafs of bread I found for 9-10p, or the large bags of potatoes for only 20p.
So, if you can afford to wait until later, be sure to do the bulk of your shopping at night!
I had managed to secure a full day’s worth of food for only 3 pounds, invested 1p into a domain that could well end up paying me £300, and had gained £36 for doing surveys. As far as I was concerned, it had been, by all accounts, a very successful day.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to stay afloat during lockdown, or something similar to lockdown, then stay tuned for day 2!