Christmas days out for kids

Six super money-saving ideas for the festive season

We’ve probably said it a hundred times, but we love Christmas here at Angelfish! From choosing our favourite Christmas ads all the way to sharing boredom-busting Christmas days out for kids, it’s fair to say that we’re getting pretty excited for the festive season – albeit a little early! There’s just one small downside: Christmas can get expensive – and fast! As we mentioned in our recent blog on taking care of your mental health during the festive season, however, it doesn’t have to. In fact, we’ve found six great money-saving ideas that you can use this year to keep your bank account healthy, and everybody happy!

1.   Stay in

There’s usually a lot of going out to be had around Christmas time – parties, nights on the town, pantomime trips, to name just a few scenarios! But why go out and spend money when you can enjoy staying in? Invite all your friends and/or family around for a Christmas movie marathon, have a mince pie baking session, curl up with a good winter novel and a hot chocolate. It’ll help preserve your energy for the big day, too!

2.   But if you have to go out…

There are ways to keep it cheap. Christmas markets, for example, are a wonderful way to soak up the Christmas atmosphere without spending anything – just take a flask of coffee or hot chocolate with you so you’re not tempted by the vendors!

3.   Don’t go nuts on the food

Next to presents (more on that below), food is probably one of the most expensive aspects of Christmas. People will often fork out to get the “best food” the most expensive supermarkets can offer because – well, it’s Christmas! But blind taste tests have revealed that, in a lot of cases, the cheaper brands are the ones that win out for the best Christmas culinary experience – definitely a  great money-saving idea to invest in!

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4.   Presence over presents

When it comes to presents and gift-giving, we’re sure we’re not the only ones who’d agree that quality is far superior to quantity. Buying presents for the sake of it is never worth the stress or the money – especially when so many of them just end up going to charity shops! So when choosing something for a loved one, make sure it’s something they need or want (yes, even if it really is just socks!), and that you’ve put more thought that money into it. What’s more, people are much more likely to want you to be there at Christmas than to receive gifts from you but not see you! In sum, presence is greater than presents.

5.   Get your Christmas craft on

One great money-saving idea – in fact, even a way you could make some money and spend more time with friends and family – is to get crafty and creative! Christmas time brings a lot of local fetes and markets along with it; so why not make some Christmas cards or baked goods with help from loved ones and see how much you can sell?

6.   Take part in paid market research

Another wonderful way you can save money – as well as make money – is by taking part in paid market research. We have lots of exiting projects going on here at Angelfish that’ll keep you occupied during the festive season and pop some money in the Christmas fund. If you’d like to know more, check out our current projects here, or register to join our panel of people looking to voice their opinions on their favourite products and services via the button below!

Sign Up Here.

creative ways to make money

4 creative ways to make money and save your wallet this Christmas

Like it or not, Christmas is coming in all its tinsel-clad, fairly-lit, carol-singing glory. With just weeks to go until the big day, the festive spirit is everywhere—but as jolly as it is, we know that Christmas isn’t for everyone (the expense, in particular).

If you’re reading this and nodding your head, never fear – because we’re here to offer you a festive lifeline. Rather than clearing out your bank account this Christmas, there are a host of creative ways to make money during the festive season—and we’re going to tell you about the best ones.

According to The Bank of England, the average UK household spends over £3,300 on the leadup to Christmas. But not you.

To help you reduce the cost of Christmas this year and take away the festive financial pinch, here are four creative ways to make money this holiday season.

1. Become a consumer critic

Did you know that one of the most creative ways to make money at your convenience is reviewing stuff online?

There are a selection of websites that will pay you for your opinions, often verbally (no writing required!)—over the phone or in person.

Did you know? Here at Angelfish Opinions, you can make money by signing up for focus groups or market research studies. We pay in cash and gift cards, so either way you’ll be in for a festive WinFall.

2. Take part in an identity parade

When we say identity parade, we do mean those police lineups designed to catch criminals. If you’re not particularly enamoured with the Christmas period, taking part in an identify parade is about as anti-festive as it gets. What’s more, it makes for an interesting story, and, it pays a little, too.

The police still use video parades to catch baddies, and they typically pay around £10 to £20. Simply sign up or register your interest with your local constabulary, stand in line, and make a little extra cash.

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Source

3.  Be a mystery shopper

Next on our list of creative ways to make money list: take part in a little mystery shopping.

While mystery shopping won’t make your rich beyond your wildest dreams, it’s an excellent way of generating some extra cash at Christmas. Plus, you can shop without the burden of parting with endless piles of money. Oh, and occassionally, you get to keep the items you’ve shopped for, so you can give them as gifts. A real win-win.

This guide on how to become a mystery shopper will tell you everything you need to know to get started.

4. Sell your unwanted items

You know what they say: one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. We’re not saying that your unwanted items are trash as such, but at Christmas, there will be droves of shoppers looking for a bargain.

In our hyper-connected digital age, there are more platforms, apps, and touchpoints than ever for selling your stuff either on the go or from the comfort of your own home—so do it!

If you’re gadget-mad or a techy type especially, selling your old electronics will give you the capital you need to invest in the latest innovations, inventions, and gizmos on the market. Happy Christmas to you.

We hope these four creative ways to make money have inspired you to get out there and save your wallet some serious damage over the festive season. You may not love this time of year, but wherever you are or whatever you do, we hope you have a warm, happy time this Christmas.

Looking for a little inspiration for Christmas and the New Year? Explore our top 15 podcasts, as recommended by the Angelfish team.

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want to make extra money

What would a “cashless” society be like?

Money.* From its earliest form circa 9000BC – i.e. cows and wheat – all the way through to the modern-day bitcoin, money and monetary transactions have taken on a variety of different forms throughout the ages (here’s a really cool infographic for the history buffs in the crowd!). It appears that now, however, it might just be taking one of it’s most society-altering turns yet – by becoming entirely cashless! 

What do we mean by a “cashless” society?

Quite simply, a cashless society is one where we no longer make purchases using tangible coins and notes. Instead, all transactions are carried out electronically, from the more traditional bank transfer through to debit and credit card transactions (including chip and pin and contactless), apps such as ApplePay, and so on.

Is the UK a cashless society?

Almost! In fact, we’re currently the third most cashless society in the world, following Canada in second place, and Sweden, who are currently topping the leaderboard. 

And it’s not been a slow process; just a decade ago, 63% transactions in the UK were made with cash, but today, we only use cash for 34%  transactions. So probably won’t come as a surprise to hear that the UK is predicted to no longer be using coins and banknotes within the next 15 years.

So if we were to fast forward to our anticipated cashless society of 2034-ish, what could we expect to find?

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The good stuff

Less chance of theft

With people no longer carrying cash around with them and shop/restaurant tills/safes and banks no longer containing physical cash, the chances of physical robberies taking place will be significantly lower. Of course, you could argue that people will still be carrying their debit and credit cards around, but with banks now having websites and apps close to hand, cards can be cancelled in mere seconds. 

Reduction in cash-based criminal activity

Most criminal transactions – such as the buying and selling of illegal drugs – are completed using cash, as this means there’s no electronic trail that can be traced back. So with physical cash-in-hand opportunities unavailable and the increased monitoring of online transactional activity, these kinds of crimes are less likely to take place in the future as they’ll be significantly more difficult to carry out undetected.

More time-efficient processes

Handling paper money, as well as storing and depositing it, is a lot more time consuming than many people realise. As with many of the other increasingly digital processes going on in the world, handling money electronically is a significant time-saver. For example, cashless transactions in shops will eventually mean we have less queues to deal with, as shoppers won’t have to spend time counting out cash and coins to make their purchases. 

Easier to monitor your income and spending 

With the multitude of banking apps now available – and most of them incorporating budgeting tools – it’s already easier than ever to monitor your incomings and outgoings. And the more cashless we become as a society, the easier this will be (though of course it’s worth bearing in mind that it might end up being too easy to just keep spending when we’re not seeing cash physically leave our hands)!

Physical health

As strange as this may sound, living in a cashless society may make us physically healthier, too! Think about it; how many different pairs of hands will your cash and coins have been held in before they reached yours? Probably thousands! One study found that there can be as many as 19 different kinds of bacteria living on cash, among other nasties. So with no cash being passed around, it’s likely that our cashless society of the future is likely to be a healthier one as well!

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The potential downsides…

Lack of privacy

Although the monitoring of electronic transactions is helpful for avoiding criminal activity, it’s not so great when you think that your payment information could turn up in unpredictable ways. Just a couple of years ago, Google planned to track billions of credit and debit card sales to compare online ad clicks with money spent offline!  It also puts us at greater risk of identity theft and information loss. Being able to use physical cash grants you much greater anonymity, so this opportunity will be lost in a cashless society.

Beware the hackers

Remember when we were talking about physical robberies earlier? Although this may not be such a problem anymore in our cashless society of the future, one smart hacker gaining access to your online bank account could leave you entirely penniless in mere seconds. And with no physical cash to hand to use as back-up, this could leave you in a debilitating situation. 

Loss of control

A lot of people currently use cash as a means of having control over their finances, and some receive it as payment for odd jobs when they want to make extra money. A cashless society would mean relinquishing that control to technology – which, for those unfamiliar with technology, would be potentially distressing. These people may also find themselves at greater risk of financial abuse, for example if  family members take control of their accounts.

Technical problems

Picture the scenario: You want to make extra money by taking part in a market research study, and when it comes to getting paid, the researcher’s banking app fails on them. Frustrating or what? Despite technology making new advancements by the day, there are always going to be times when it fails us. It hasn’t happened to us yet – fingers crossed! But power cuts, slow load speeds and timeouts, and other technical failures can leave us temporarily penniless or unable to complete transactions, which could lead to all sorts of problems.

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Will we be ready?

Despite the many advantages of living in a cashless society, it looks like we probably won’t be ready for it in fifteen years’ time. According to one report, nearly half of Britain – that is, 25 million people – would struggle without access to cash, and for some, they feel it would be impossible to function. 

In which case, it might be a good idea for us to look to Sweden for guidance. The apparent model for a modern cashless society, it’s not uncommon to see signs that say “No cash accepted” in Swedish shops, with some banks no longer handle cash at all and cash payments making up only 15% of their retail sales. What’s more, 59% of consumer transactions are completed through non-cash methods, and 47% of Swedish citizens are aware of the types of mobile payment services available to them.

Conclusion:

However money turns out in the future, we’re glad to say that there will always be opportunities for you to get involved in our market research projects if you want to make extra money! If you’d like to take part, simply visit the current projects page on our website and get in touch!

*Money money money… must be funny… come on, you were thinking it, too!

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The best travel tour companies for your gap year

This is it. You’ve waved your last goodbye to compulsory education, and you’re ready to embark upon your long-awaited, much-anticipated gap year! Whether you want to spend it in the comfort of your homeland or you’re looking to venture abroad, there’s a multitude of amazing travel tour companies out there just waiting to guide you along what will hopefully become one of the best years of your life. The question is… which company do you choose?

Ultimately, the most important factors this comes down to are:

  • Where you want to go
  • What you want to do when you get there
  • How much you’ve got in your budget

We’ve spent some time picking out some of the most reputable tour travel companies in the business for a variety of gap year dreams, and ways to make extra money to fund it!

To work

  1. Best Gap Year

Location: Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, North America, South America, UK

From activity instructors to chefs, teaching internships to Au Pair-ing and even ski resort hospitality, Best Gap Year has a plethora of working gap year opportunities on offer, ranging from ten weeks to several months.

      2. Australia Working Holiday

Location: Australia

Australia Inc. offers fantastic ways of making extra money during your gap year, and promises to help you develop essential career skills such as team building, working under pressure and relationship building – on top of getting to explore some of the most amazing places on earth, of course!

      3. BUNAC

Location: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan  

Experiencing totally new cultures whilst having an unforgettable experience with lots of new friends sits right at the heart of BUNAC’s work experience opportunities. If it’s a high wage or high waves your searching for, delicious foods and stunning beaches, or something equally exotic, read on! 

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To volunteer

  1. Pacific Discovery

Location: Central America, South America, Nepal & Tibet, Southeast Asia, New Zealand & Australia

Based on the concept of experiential education, Pacific Discovery’s volunteering programmes are designed to challenge, broaden horizons, and merge cultural insights and environmental sensitivity with fun and adventure. 

2. Frontier

Location: … Well, where not?

“You dream it and we will make it happen” – quite the promise, but as goabroad.com’s Top Volunteer Abroad Organization 2016, Frontier’s marine conservation, environmental science efforts, and medical endeavours do truly bring a whole new meaning to volunteering abroad.

        3. International Volunteer HQ

 Location: All over the globe!

As the world’s most trusted and experienced volunteer travel provider, IVHQ is definitely worth a look-in. With projects ranging from teaching and childcare to arts and music, women’s empowerment and special needs care, there’s something on offer for everyone. What’s more, they’re super budget-conscious!

For adventure

  1. Intrepid Travel

Location: Pretty much everywhere!

If you consider yourself an especially adventurous individual, Intrepid Travel has your name on it. Activities range from cycling to sailing, walking and trekking and much more, with the goal of building human connections, supporting local communities, respecting the environment and drawing everyone just that bit closer together.

       2. Trek America

Location: USA, Canada, Alaska and Central America.

If exploring America is your dream, Trek America has over 50 incredible gap year tours to choose from, ranging from 3-75 days. These guys know where all the great and unusual sites and activities are and how to give you an outstanding gap year travel experience in America that’s really fun – and fair on your budget!

       3. Exodus Travels

Location: Again pretty much everywhere, but their top destinations include Italy, Nepal, France, Africa, and Peru.

45 years of experience gives Exodus Travels the ultimate edge in adventure travel gap years; especially as they now offer an extraordinary 500 itineraries across more than 90 countries! The possibilities for action and adventure are equally as endless, such as walking and cycling tours, wildlife encounters, and more.

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So there you have it! We hope this has given you an appetising taster of the gap year opportunities available out there for you to choose from. We know travelling isn’t particularly cheap though; one of the ways you can make extra money to  bolster for your budget for the adventure ahead is by taking part in paid market research. If this is something you’d be interested in, do get in touch and we’ll help you get started!

get paid for shopping

Why ‘vanity sizing’ is driving shoppers mad

When shopping for new clothes, it can sometimes be a demoralising and frustrating experience. Going from shop to shop, the labels on clothes seem to hold no relevance to the actual measurements of the clothing, leaving many questioning their true size. The lack of standardisation across high street stores and online fashion retailers is causing confusion and upset amongst women. How is it possible to be a size 10 in one shop and a 16 in another? A ‘medium’ in one store and a ‘small’ elsewhere?

What is vanity sizing?

‘Vanity sizing’, a term coined to reflect the upset consumers are experiencing, describes clothing of a certain size becoming bigger over time, tapping into buyer mentality and encouraging shoppers to buy smaller sizes to feel good about themselves – we all know how great it feels to buy a top a size smaller than expected! Although a new term, vanity sizing is not a new phenomenon by any means; sizes have been gradually getting smaller over the years – for example, a size 14 in 1958 would now be considered a size 8 by today’s standards.

Walking into a shop and not knowing where to start is beginning to frustrate shoppers. There has been a lot of exposure of this issue on social media, with online influences sharing their sizing struggles in the dreaded fitting rooms. For example, motherhood, fashion and beauty blogger, Kerri Northcott, posted this photo on Instagram. She stated, “these [shorts] were a size 16 that I had no chance of doing up, followed by a different pair of shorts that were a size 16 that were a bit too big”. Many of her followers chipped in with their bugbears about brands and their sizing too.

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Standardisation of sizes

It’s interesting to consider the differences in the fashion world. Take shoes, for example. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying from Primark or Russell & Bromley: you’re pretty much guaranteed to be the same size. So why can’t clothes adopt the same philosophy?

Unfortunately, there is no legal requirement to enforce standard sizing, so manufacturers vary the measurements depending on store and demographic; astoundingly, Zara’s dress sizes even vary depending on where in the world the garment was manufactured. Another highstreet store, H&M, lowered their measurements only to receive a considerable amount of backlash on social media. As a result, they are now changing the way they size their clothes. So how can we make a real difference to the standardisation of clothing sizes? Well, taking part in market research could prove valuable to high street brands who want to improve the buyer experience. Getting involved in accompanied shops will allow you to feed back your thoughts and opinions to well-known brands. Not only this, but you’ll receive an incentive for your time – yes, really, you can get paid for shopping! The dream, right?

The future

Last year, Primark announced that they were changing the way they sized their womenswear, adopting an S, M and L approach to their clothing rather than number sizing in the hope this would provide a clearer guide to their ranges. And, with high-street store H&M already adjusting their clothing ranges to adhere to the correct measurements, it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Now it’s time for the rest of the high street to get on board and make the changes.

At Angelfish Opinions, we conduct market research for brands who want to get valuable insights from their customers. To take part and start making waves with your opinions, sign up to our panel. You’ll get sent relevant invitations to studies to get involved with, including accompanied shops where you can get paid for shopping at your favourite stores!

Sign Up Here.

legit market research companies

How to check that you’re signed up to a legit market research company

We all get junk landing in our inboxes from time to time, spinning us stories about amazing deals that don’t really exist and trying to get us to reveal personal information in return for something that isn’t even real. It can be scary to receive these emails, especially when it’s so difficult to tell the difference between real, legitimate emails and fake ones, masquerading as real. And it’s not just via email anymore – scams and fake news are spreading everywhere on social media, too.

So, when it comes to taking part in market research, how can you spot the fact from the fiction? And how can you spot the legit market research companies from the fake? In this post, we’ll identify the ways in which you can assess the credibility of research agencies so that you can sign up to studies with confidence.

1. Look at reviews

When buying a new product or investing in a new service, how often do you check online reviews before parting with your hard earned money? You want reassurance that what you’re about to buy is going to be worth your time. You want back-up and reassurance from others who’ve previously purchased the item, who can give you information about their experience. Reviews, for the most part, give a good overview of a company. So, why act any differently before you sign up to market research? You won’t be parting with your money, but you will be signing over your contact information. So, have a browse for some online reviews from others who’ve taken part in research with that particular company before you go for it. Ensure you’re looking at reviews from people who have taken part in market research before and can give a well-rounded response.

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2. Assess the claims

Some claims out there are posted by people who don’t have any evidence to support their comments, some aren’t always true, and some are just plain funny! You just have to trust your instinct and make a judgement call as to whether you think these claims are true – are lots of people saying the same things, or is it just a one-off comment?

3. Check out their social media profiles

Every company has social media profiles nowadays, connecting with others in the same industry to chat and share ideas. Angelfish Opinions is our participant facing side of our market research business. Angelfish Fieldwork is our client facing side of the business and you can check out our LinkedIn social media profile – yep, we really do love market research! If you find that the market research agency in question is not on social media, then this would be a red flag; agencies use social networks as one of the top ways to find respondents for their research.

Another thing to consider is their following. Accounts with just one or two followers, who claim to be top research agencies, are probably fake! Look closely at what they post or tweet about; a good market research agency will post about their upcoming studies and share engaging content to interact with respondents. Checking social media for legit market research companies will give you a good idea of whether or not you should trust them.

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4. Check for a website and contact details

Does the company have a website? If not, it’s unlikely that they’re legitimate – are there any businesses out there that don’t have a website these days?! If they do have a website and their contact details available, assess their credibility. Are they local? Does the email address work? Another good tip is to look out for a FAQ page where you’ll be able to find answers to the most common queries the company gets, plus, it is a great place to learn more about what they do.

Open and honest research

At Angelfish Opinions, we take an open and honest approach to market research recruitment. If you ever have any questions about any of our studies, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our friendly team will be happy to answer your queries.

If you’d like to take part in market research and get your opinions heard by big brands, sign up to our panel. We’ll send you emails to the studies that are relevant to you. It’s a fantastic opportunity to express your thoughts, plus, you get to earn a bit of extra cash as you go!

Meet the Angelfish Opinions team…

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The Angelfish Opinions team!
From left to right: Molly, Jade, Sian, Kelly, Lisa

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