The highlights for me and the blog over the last 12 months.
I don’t write about me and the blog itself very often, but I find this anniversary each year is a good time to reflect on everything that has been going on. It’s actually been a huge year, with lots of change in my life, but all of it good.
This article is also an opportunity to thank you all for your continued support as the site turns five years old. I know the words I write and speak here on Be Clever With Your Cash can make such a difference to your finances, but without you reading, listening and watching it would all be quite meaningless. So thank you, thank you, thank you.
Here’s what been going on:
Leaving London, going freelance… and on to TV
At the end of February last year Becky and I upped sticks and moved to Yorkshire. The locals have a reputation for being a savvy bunch, so it seems like fate to have ended up here.
In another big change, last May I took the tough decision to go full time and leave the Money Advice Service where I’d been writing their blog for the previous four years, though only part-time for the last 18 months. I was looking forward to devoting more time to the blog, when quite unexpectedly a new opportunity came about… TV.
I’d had chats with TV production companies before, even making a “taster tape” at one point, but none ended up getting commissioned. This one was different, Channel 5 already wanted a new consumer series and the team at True North were looking for a money expert to be part of the team.
The initial chats were promising, and I hoped I’d get this small role on-screen to build upon my other TV experiences. You know that I did make the cut, alongside Gaby Roslin and Fiona Phillips. Shop Smart Save Money had an initial run of three episodes in June 2018, returned for another eight in the autumn.
I didn’t expect quite how large my role would end up being. I’m loving going out and meeting a different family each week, and even more so sharing tips and tricks every week in the studio. We’ve just started filming for another batch which will air in the spring – and I found out last week that I’ve been shortlisted for the Financial Broadcaster of the Year award at the Headlinemoney Awards for my work on the show. Exciting stuff!
The TV work actually takes up as much time as my two days a week at the Money Advice Service, so sadly I’ve not been able to expand my time on Be Clever With Your Cash. But that doesn’t mean the blog hasn’t continued to do well.
One million different people have visited the site in the last 12 months, totalling 1.4 million different page views. Imagine one person saved £1 for each of those views… a huge amount of money saved, and I really think the figure could be much, much higher.
The articles and deals
I wrote a total of 122 articles, and regularly found and updated hundreds of deals. Once more I still didn’t have the time to write about everything I wanted to. My highlights, in case you missed them the first time around, are:
- Bank Switching: How I made £1,900 in five years
- How to spot a scam email
- Budget long-haul flights: Can you really avoid the extra charges?
- Can split tickets really cut the cost of train fares?
- Are recipe boxes worth the money?
- Why 0% currency commission is a lie
- How to stack deals and save money
Sadly the last year saw the end of the popular NUS card trick, and it looks like Zeek’s cut-price gift cards are also now finished. So I’ll keep working hard to find new ways for you to get the best discounts and help your money go further.
The podcast & YouTube
Cash Chats clocked up 35,000 listens in 2018. Though I’ve taken a bit of a break over the last few months it’ll return in March with brand new episodes. Plus you can now listen on Spotify!
YouTube also took a bit of a back seat during filming, and with house renovations about to start these videos might not return for a few months. The most popular has been “Why I’m saying no to a smart meter“, which so far has had almost 5,000 views.
Another big award win
When I wrote the article for the site’s fourth birthday, my highlight was winning Financial Blog of the Year at the 2018 Headlinemoney awards. It says a lot about this year that winning it for a second time last May wasn’t the biggest news! But it was amazing to win the award again.
What do you think?
I’d love to know what you think about Be Clever With Your Cash so I can make it even better for you. If you have a few minutes, please do fill in the survey below.