What is financial quicksand and how can we help ourselves get out of it?

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Have you ever found yourself slipping into bad spending habits online, that you just can’t get out of? You could be experiencing financial quicksand

What is financial quicksand and how can we help ourselves get out of it?

Money. It’s one of those taboo subjects that many of us feel uncomfortable talking about. According to one 2020 survey from the Money and Pensions Service, 29 million UK adults don’t feel comfortable talking about money, despite 48% worrying about their finances recently.

With concerns around growing inflation, and the impact of rising costs on households, there’s never been a more important time to better understand our finances – and to feel able to ask for help.

What is financial quicksand?

Popularised by Citizens Advice, the term financial quicksand is used to refer to the slippery slope of online spending. Companies influence us to make spending decisions in both deliberate and subtle ways. By introducing risky or longer-term spending commitments to us when we’re already checking out online, it can lead to financial commitments we aren’t fully considering. And by the time we realise? We’re already in too deep, spending more than we can really afford.

Financial quicksand can include different kinds of spending, such as:

By Now, Pay Later (BNPL) schemes

When you click to delay payments, or split one cost into smaller, monthly payments, you are entering into a BNPL contract. Many people find themselves agreeing to these without fully understanding what they are signing up for (e.g. the total amount of payments, interest rates, or even late fees).

More and more online retailers are offering BNPL options once you’re already trying to pay – making those ‘six easy payments’ sound much more enticing (and often just one click away).

Research undertaken by Citizens Advice reveals that one in four people regret using BNPL schemes, two in five struggle to meet repayments, and one in three miss or make late payments. Worryingly, two in five of us who have used BNPL didn’t realise it until after the sign-up process.

Online gambling

Apps are often easy to access, taking minutes to create an account. For those who experience gambling addiction or want to limit their spending, protections (maximum spending limits, forced breaks) can be difficult to access, or may have a delay in being applied.

Closing accounts can be tricky, whereas money can be deposited with just a single click. Many apps even accept Apple and Google Pay, meaning you don’t need to enter your card details at all. This can make tracking your spending much harder, meaning you’re more likely to fall into gambling debt.

Subscriptions services

Often offering free trials with just a couple of clicks, cancelling subscriptions can be extremely hard. You may need to directly call a customer service line, but finding the number isn’t easy through the website’s FAQs or menu, and only has limited availability. Or perhaps they have a complex chat system that requires you to jump through hoops with buggy chatbots sending you round in circles.

Many subscriptions turn into automatic payments unless you click to cancel in time, and some companies avoid using the word

Browned Butter Sage Honeynut Squash

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Browned Butter Sage Honeynut Squash

If you have never tried honeynut squash, get your buns to the grocery store, buy a couple and then make this browned butter sage version!

Have you ever heard of honeynut squash? It’s a cross between buttercup and butternut squash, and it’s one of my absolute favorite squash varieties ever. You can easily sub butternut or buttercup or even sweet potatoes ps.

We started making this based off of a ravioli with brown butter sage we had in Florence Italy, and slowly it has evolved into a veggie dish instead of just pasta. We use lemon instead of white wine to brighten the heaviness of this root veggie.

a photo of two halves of a honeynut squash face up and golden brown with fresh sage leaves on top.

Why You Will Love This Squash Recipe

My favorite part of the dish, well ok I’ve got a few, but first up is that it’s just in one skillet. No need to turn on an oven, though you could certainly roast them and then finish in a pan if need be. Honeynut squash is much more tender than butternut, so cooking it is much quicker and easier.

Number two is even more important, it’s all about the nuttiness of browned butter. Simple, aromatic, and rich without much work.

Finally, throw in a little sage, salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon if you have it and youR

Working with a sexpert: Sex counselling or sex coaching - what’s right for me?

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Working with a sexpert: Sex counselling or sex coaching - what’s right for me?

Sex. It’s one of those topics that equally excites and embarrasses us to talk about. Despite 43% of women and 31% of men reporting a degree of sexual dysfunction (from trouble orgasming or a lack of desire to pain while having sex), a whopping third of us feel uncomfortable talking about sex with our partners.  

Enter the sexperts. To help us overcome our embarrassment and hesitancy in talking about all things sex-related, there are a variety of different experts we can now turn to to help us talk about our issues. They can help us learn more about common sexual problems, as well as work towards strengthening our sense of intimacy in our relationships.

But what are sexperts, is sex really that important, and what help is available out there?

Working with a sexpert: Sex counselling or sex coaching - what’s right for me?
Photo by Tachina Lee on Unsplash

What is a sexpert?

A sexpert is an informal term for someone who is knowledgeable about sex and sexually related things. According to Merriam-Webster, sexpert refers specifically to those with jobs that involve the academic study of sex, or people who help provide information and advice about sexual relationships and/or intercourse. Despite becoming a more commonly used term in recent years, sexpert actually dates back as far as the 1920s.

Why is sex important?

Research has shown that sex can have a wide variety of benefits for us and our relationships. Physically, emotionally, and psychologically – sex can help improve our overall sense of well-being, strengthen our bonds and sense of intimacy with our partner(s). Sex can even improve our sense of self-confidence.

That’s not to say that you have to have sex to be happy and healthy. Many people still have satisfying, fulfilling relationships without a sexual component.

Why is sex good for you?

There are many scientifically proven benefits of having sex and a healthy sex life. These

Grace Victory's 7 supportive tips to help handle family finances

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With the cost of living weighing heavily on our minds, columnist Grace Victory explores the pressures on parents, and her personal tips for budgeting when you have a growing brood

Grace Victory's 7 supportive tips to help handle family finances

I think it’s fair to say that most of us are feeling financially insecure at the moment. Whether you are literally just getting through each month, a student nurse trying to make ends meet, or a mother trying to go back to work but nursery fees are stopping you, the rising cost of living is affecting us all.

I grew up poor. I grew up knowing about payday loans and child benefits, and I understood from a very early age that if I wanted something from life I needed to go out into the world and grab it, because nothing was going to be handed to me.

We lived in a flat on a council estate, then a council house, and at 18, after finishing college, I chose to get a job instead of furthering my education. I knew I needed money, and that I would need to contribute to my family home in some way, so I said no to university or a professional musical theatre school (which was very much a dream of mine). And while I don’t regret my decision at all, I do often wonder if I would’ve made that choice if me and my family had financial freedom.

I don’t ever remember going without, but I do remember my mum budgeting, saving from January to afford the next Christmas, and her never ever buying anything for herself. I believe my mum sacrificed a lot in order for me and my sister to be clothed and fed, and I will forever be grateful for that. I know all types of family dynamics struggle, but single mothers do not have it easy in any capacity, so I respect those going at it alone.

I started making money from social media in 2015 and, since then, every year that goes by I make more and more in profit. It’s no secret that influencers, content creators, and YouTubers, get paid a substantial amount from ads, paid partnerships, or affiliate links – I am no different. But I often struggle with knowing where I am in my identity, because I grew up with very little, and now I have so much.

And it’s not just about having the money to buy things, it’s about the opportunities, convenience, and mental relief that comes when your bank account is abundant. It’s the lack of worry or anxiety that I’m grateful for, because at the start of my career I struggled to pay my rent, and the stress levels I felt were enough to make me vomit. I’d see people online flying business class to Bali while I was sinking further into debt.

I’m very proud to say that I have £0 in debt now, which is bloody amazing, and I’ve made a life for myself and my children that looks different to the life I had as a kid. But I’m also becoming increasingly aware of our ever-changing world and the fact that money just doesn’t seem to go as far as it used to – or as far as it bloody should.

Read more

The Little Things Newsletter #337 – Life, laughter, and lots of great food!

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Welcome to the weekend, friends! I turned on the radio in the car this week and nearly jaw dropped when a Christmas song started playing. I love that we have a local station that plays non-stop Christmas music through the season, but wow. This year it really caught me off guard! How are there only 50 days until Christmas???

ON THE BLOG this week: You know those foods that you taste once and then you simply can’t get it out of your mind? This Sausage Gravy is one of those foods. The hints of fragrant rosemary add something unforgettable, many people have told me this immediately became their all-time favorite gravy.

One pan, easy meals are the key to dinnertime at our house, and these roasted brats with potatoes and green beans fit that bill nicely.

An irresistible sweet and tangy glaze takes this slow cooker pork roast from just another crockpot meal to a tasty and fantastic meal.

Garlic parmesan roasted potatoes are crispy, salty, garlicky potato perfection that we enjoy quite often for dinner.

Toasted pearl couscous with pistachios and pine nuts, chewy raisins, a hint of cinnamon, and a squeeze of lemon combine in this incredibly flavorful Israeli Couscous dish. (Have you tried pearl couscous? It’s this pasta lover’s dream come true!)

Spinach and chicken are combined in a creamy green chile sauce for these easy-to-make craveable enchiladas. I love adding a couple of handfuls of baby spinach to this recipe, it adds a freshness that can’t be beaten. However, if you aren’t a fan of spinach, these enchiladas are also delicious without it.

Creamy White Chocolate Fudge filled with pecans and swirled with caramel might be the ultimate treat for a holiday tray. This is a quick and easy 5 Minute Fudge Recipe that is perfect for any occasion.

Have you tried a mayonnaise cake? This Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake is a very old-fashioned recipe that was likely in your grandmother’s recipe box. My best friend’s mom often made this cake when we were growing up.

What I’m CRAVING: This Pumpkin Pull Apart Bread with a cinnamon spiced glaze looks like fall snacking at its best. This bread plus a cup of coffee sounds like the perfect Saturday morning right now.