12/01/17

Time:06:51

Waiting for the call – aha! Beat my newsagents opening again! It may seem strange “if you know their opening times then you should just need to get up before then” Thing is they don’t really have a set opening time. I’ve lived here about 3-4 years and all I’ve managed to ever work out is that they’re open between 6:20 and 6:55am.

Tutoring is picking up, I have about 5 students now which is nearing my max number of 7. I could have more if I opened up my saturday but I am loath to do that for a couple of reasons. Mostly it’s because I do courses on some weekends and there’s nothing more annoying than having to skip sessions or try to rearrange them.. Speaking of which I have an amazing course to attend the end of Feb, very excited – it’s all about the weather and I’ll be travelling up to Scotland!

Just sent out an email to *all* my tutees about Feb half term and, because that course is the week after about rearranging sessions and any extra sessions they may want. It was harder than I thought although it was strange, in a nice way, to be emailing all these people who I tutor. Feels good to see my business growing and as it does I can relax a fraction about money. Getting the full load of tutees would be amazing, but the two slots I have left are both on a friday night so on one hand MONIES….on the other hand WHOOPWHOOPFRIDAYS. Swings and roundabouts eh?

I’m hoping to hear back from my accountant soon….something along the lines of ‘government owes you shed loads of money’ would be great right now. I think if I got a tax rebate I’d upgrade my computer. Don’t laugh but right now my home PC is on VISTA – yeah yeah, get the giggles out of your system. Thing is I like VISTA, I’m comfortable with it in a way I can’t seem to get with my Windows 10 Laptop. Perhaps it’s because I’ve used it for almost a decade and i just need to get used to a newer OS again. My home PC is called NAMMU and I do adore it and it’s dual screen setup. Then again (Mazu) my laptop is pretty awesome and good for taking to uni. I find though when I’m at home I prefer the PC.

07:30
Hmmm things I would buy with a tax rebate….say if it was about 400/500 pounds.
Sadly I’d probably be sensible and put it in my savings account for the car tax/insurance that will be coming up in oh three or four months..but if I DIDN’t have to do that…

1) Upgrade PC
2) Treat my partner
3) fix some minor things on my car
4) attend a convention
5) Pay for a years swimming membership so I could go when I wanted

Huh. I had to really think about that list to make it more than three things. I guess at the moment I’m feeling pretty fulfilled with life at the moment. Sure there are lots of silly things I could spend money on but seeing as it’s a bit of a squeeze at the moment that is not going to happen. Saying that I did buy a whole cake yesterday :-/ it was a SMALL cake. Barely the size of my head! I bought a whole cake but I’m pleased to say I didn’t eat the whole things – I just haven’t had cake in so long I was craving it.

Rumour is we’re going to have snow this weekend. That’ll be a laugh!
Until Monday!

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09/01/17

Time: 06:36

Well good morning there!

It’s completely pitch black out of my window at this time on a morning , not surprising in the winter. However, if you look closely you can see the lights of my neighbours across the road, looks like I’m not the only one awake. I’ve beaten the newsagents up today though 😀

Leading on from my last post I decided I would try to do my coin jar challenge. It’s going to be difficult because I used to use my tutoring money to fill the jar and now I need to use that money to fill my car….and me….and my savings account to pay for car insurance etc.

This week has been interesting – the first time in a long time I’ve started taking bank payments for tutoring. Which has helped my poor bank balance look a bit healthier.

Interesting works, two new tutees starting this week. I was actually pleasantly surprised to receive a text from someone I tutored before. Sometimes no matter how hard me and the kid try they just don’t do well on the exams, this happened and they moved onto BTEC. I always feel bad but the family didn’t blame me which I appreciate because sometimes they do! Anyway, they’d like me to just give then a hand with their last few months of BTEC, I’ve said yes conditional on what units they needs help with! The other one is actually one who’s found me by themselves no parental involvement as of yet, although we’ll see – I don’t consider them as serious students until they’ve paid for my details on tutorhunt. I hasten to add I haven’t just been randomly picking students up, I use tutorhunt although there’s always my website as well.

If I do get two extra students that would ease things  a lot financially – it’d essentially double my weekly income from tutoring. We shall see! (P.S. I am also registered self-employed and pay my darned taxes because I’m law-abiding citizen)

07:32

I’ve always been a bg fan of David Weber’s Honor Harrington series (start with the first book here). Imagine my delight when I discovered there’s an entire fan club devoted to it 😀 The Royal Manticorian Navy (TRMN.org) for all those Honor Harrington fans out there. You progress by taking exams and getting promoted and so far I’ve been doing Xenobiology and hydroponics because I’m more interested in the Civilian life than the military side of things. Any who, nice bunch of people as well 🙂

I had a bit of luck recently, I won £100 as a gift voucher. I was delighted although I’m not sure I spent it in the way some would! I bought an Amazon echo dot, a pair of jeans (I had just worn through my last pair and was stressed out about having only work trousers to wear), a book on clouds, a storage system for some bits that have been loose and bugging me, another book about clouds and a book called ‘red rising‘.

Thanks to sharing my partner’s amazon prime account (you can share your prime account with members of the same household) most of my items came the next day 😀 I’m just waiting on the storage system now and I’ll have some nice neat organisation in my life (hahahaha)

07:52  I have lots of stuff I should be doing whilst waiting for ‘the call’ I should be working on a job application, I could be doing some craftwork or tidying. In about 10 mins I’ll wake my partner up and have some breakfast (crumpets are on the menu this morning yum) *puts head on desk* I’d LOVE to go back to bed, but I need to get out of the habit of doing that. Need to get used to early morningzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Receipt hog vs. Shopprize vs. ClickSnap.

As you’ve probably guessed from the title today’s post is all about Receipt Hog, Shopprize and ClickSnap. These three apps give you points/cash for uploading pictures of your receipts and as we all know, points mean prizes.

Let’s start with Receipt hog;

I love the layout of this app with its cute little pig logo and bright colour scheme. It does seem to take forever to get coins though. I have had this app since the end of February and I have earned 792 coins (coins are how they represent points). The amount of coins you earn depends on how much you’ve spent and also where you’ve spent it. So some shops don’t redeem for coins, they redeem for ‘spins’ and every valid receipt gets you a sweepstake entry.
Okay, deep breaths and let me start that again.
Three ways to win
1) Coins which can be redeemed for cash of Amazon voucher
2) Spins where you get to have a go on a slot machine in app

3) Sweepstake entry, which you get free with every valid receipt and drawn once a month.

The lowest redeem for coins is 1,000 for which you get £3 PayPal credit or if Amazon vouchers are your thing it’s 1,500 coins for a £5 voucher. I get the feeling it’s going to be a while before I get a voucher from this L I should mention you are also limited to earning 100 coins a week, after that limit you will get 5 coins per receipt regardless of how much you have spent, Also you are limited to 20 receipts per week. As receipt hog accepts receipts that are up to two weeks old though I wouldn’t stress too much about this limit. The spin prizes are quite interesting, you can win from 2 coins, your last shopping trip paid for, £66, 4,000 coins – it is quite random. Sadly since they updated the app I don’t seem to win anything on the slots anymore – but I could just be unlucky!

I almost forgot to mention the levels! Like in a game you level up when you have ‘fed your hog’ as far as I can tell it doesn’t matter how much you have fed him, just as long as you have done so regularly. I wasn’t overly fussed about this as when you level up you get ‘spins’ and, well, see above for my feelings about that. However, it has been pointed out to me that once you get to level 12 things start to get very interesting. When you hit level 12 you get a bonus of, not spins, but 100 coins and the higher levels you hit the more coin bonus you get culminating, as far as I can tell, at level 30 with 430 coins.

Summary:
Cute and easy to use but a very slow earner. The recent update has made the upload process much quicker as it now only asks who went on the trip and if they enjoyed it. Don’t forget to feed your hog every week!

Referral code:
You can refer up to 20 friends and you will receive 10 spins, they will receive 5 spins (as long as they upload a receipt!) My referral code is: wik57947

Shopprize is a different kettle of fish.

The basic premise is the same, you upload receipts in exchange for a reward, and in this case every receipt gains you 100 coins. There is a limit on how many receipts you can upload in a day, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it is, I know there is one though as I have hit it before (I think it’s 6?). As receipts are valid for three days, if you hit your limit one day just wait till the next day to scan them in.

They also have a daily bonus where all you have to do is load up the app and you are given a certain number of coins; it starts at 5 and goes up to 125. That amount of coins for free, just for remembering to open the app every day seems a good deal to me.  Android users only and UK users only, it’s run by Nielsen Panel so it’s got a trustworthy name behind it at least!

Shopprize’s main thing are sweepstakes, I can see right now four, a Decker corded grass strimmer (155 coins per entry), handheld vacuum cleaner (120 coins per entry), DSLR and Laptop backpack (140 coins per entry) and a pair of Bluetooth sports headphones (70 coins per entry). None of these are particularly tempting to me, but the prizes change enough there are always things coming and going. I have entered sweepstakes before but then I realised I’d much rather have an Amazon voucher and I was spending my coins on sweepstakes rather than saving the 7,500 coins for a £5 Amazon voucher.

That many coins seems a lot but they do really build up quickly, I’ve been a member since April and have earned 3 Amazon vouchers, that’s £15 essentially in 4 months, which for something that’s fairly easy to do ‘take picture of receipt’, ‘accept coins’ I think is pretty good.
Much as I adore Shopprize there are some things I don’t like, I don’t like that there isn’t a way to complain if a receipt has been rejected (I had one rejected for being blurry when it was upside-down not blurry), the FAQ requires some serious work as it doesn’t answer basic questions such as ‘how many receipts can I upload in a day’ or ‘what do the levels mean’. I also dislike the fact that their website has never loaded for me, it looks odd if nothing else.  I wonder if perhaps the newest version of their app fixes some of these bugbears but alas I won’t find out for a while as it’s incompatible with my phone 😥

It would also be nice if there were rewards for a higher level of points, at the moment you can spend 7,500 coins for a £5 Amazon voucher. That’s it. It would be great if at say, 14,000 coins you could get a £10 voucher. Ah well, perchance to dream

Summary:
Very easy to use, watch your camerawork. Quick earner, wish I could use the new app!

Referral code:
You can refer friends and receive 1000 coins (as long as they upload a receipt!) My referral code is: xnjvc

 

ClickSnap

This one is different to Shopprize and ReceiptHog in a couple of ways. Firstly your receipts only count if they come from Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, Morrisons, Aldi or Lidl. Secondly this is cashback on certain items, so for example a couple of days ago I bought a 2ltr bottle of Pepsi max, scanned the receipt in and I’ll get 20p cashback. If nothing on your receipt gets cashback you can still get 1p and an entry into the £100 Amazon giftcard draw.

You have 7 days to upload your receipt and only 3 receipts per date can be uploaded. ClickSnap is run by Quidco so you will need a Quidco account to use it (and if you haven’t got one it is so worth it, sign up here)

The process is a bit more involved than the other receipt apps, you have to select your shop, select your date, select which offers your redeeming and how many times (some of them are limited in how many times you can claim per receipt, the information is in the terms and conditions) then you take your picture, then you upload it. Then you can forget about it as it takes up to 14 days to confirm. I’ve found my penny claims to be a big quicker than this but they do say 14 days.

So far on this app I’ve made 50p. I’d say 40p of that was from buying two bottles of Pepsi, so 10p from other receipts, my main problem is simply I don’t buy what’s on cashback offer! I’d have so much coconut milk drinks and yoghurt if I did 😀

Summary:
Does what it says on the tin, a slow burner but might as well whilst doing others. You will need a Quidco account.

Referral code:
ClickSnap itself doesn’t have a referral code; instead you can sign up to Quidco using my referral link. You’ve probably seen it throughout the ClickSnap part of this post. When making a referral link you can choose to give people a proportion of your bonus, so, when you signup using my link you get a bonus in your account.

This is my link in case you haven’t spotted any of the others.

19/04/16 teaching and learning

My life is pretty busy as far as the average week goes. My week starts on a Tuesday, with classes at university, last semester they were on a Monday and Tuesday – I go part time, so half the amount of units in a year and theoretically half the amount of work.

It’s true, however, I do the course part time because 1) I couldn’t afford the fees for a full time year and 2) If I was at university full time I couldn’t afford to eat, or do anything, including traveling to uni.

After lectures on a Tuesday I travel through rush hour to tutor a highschooler science, the travel is a pain but I’ve had her almost a year now and I’m not giving up on her. I leave my house at typically 8:30am and get home around 8:30pm

Wednesday is hard, I do supply teaching and I have a long term contract with a school that on a good day is a 30 minute drive – assuming I set off at 6:40am. That’s the sweet spot traffic wise, for some reason if I leave at 6:45am it’s a 45 minute drive. i get to work at around 7:10 am and begin my work for the day. This consists of printing any resources for the day, making sure I book any practicals I need for the week after and doing my marking. I have a fairly light timetable, because they know I only get these two days to do work for them. However inevitably I’ll get cover, so slowly my ‘free’ periods get eroded, meaning I get behind on everything else. This is why I don’t check my emails until my printing is done for the morning. if I have no email by 8:30am I can cheer, I’m off the hook for the day. I’m attached to a year group to help with assembly, mainly little needed crowd control. Then I got back and mark until 4:15. After that I drive to another tutee and tutor her for A-level. I get home around 6:30-7pm, not quite 12 hours but close.

Thursday is similar setting of at 6:40am, I typically get home for 45 mins then head out at 6:30pm to help with my local sea cadet unit, I say help. I mean teach – that 45 mins I’m at home? It’s spent wrestling with my printer and sorting out what I’m actually going to go over with them. I’ll get home from there about 9:30.

Friday is the first (and every so often only) day of my weekend. it’s usually spent doing laundry or sorting out my paperwork. I also do some work online so I’ll spend time sorting out that.

Sometimes I’ll do a training course over the weekend but typically I’m so bushed I’ll sleep till I wake up Saturday and Sunday, if I haven’t already it will be a case of doing groceries and laundry and trying to clean just a little bit more of my house.

Monday, anything I didn’t do the other ‘free’ days. I also have a knitting club I run after 5, and sometimes a club I attend.

Heh. Pretty busy eh? I can imagine there are people out there who do many more things than me over a week, over a month day after day after day.  Hat’s off to you busy people. Hats off.

I think if I could start again I would delay my course for a year, at least then I’d be eligible for the masters loan coming in September. I’m not because even though I’ll have to pay my fees again I’m not a new student so get zilch. Also because in my undergrad I didn’t do so well I’m not eligible for a lot of the grants etc. There are some I can apply for, especially now I’m doing well on my course. I’ve found a couple, but they’re pretty niche! Definitely check out findamasters.

The balance is hard, I need to start using my Friday or Monday to do more work towards my exam otherwise I will never get this damn essay question down. It’s a seen exam, with one question, for three hours. Help. *cries*

Any questions? Post them below..

 

 

Penny a day/coin challenges

So, since January 1st I’ve been saving pennies in a jar. Yes, you read that correctly, Pennies. In. A. Jar. (Not to be confused with http://www.penniesinthejar.com/ which is an amazing blog and I thoroughly recommend it)

The idea is, that on January the first you put 1 penny (or whichever the smallest denomination of your country is), January second, you put in 2 pence. Eventually this builds up so you’re putting more and more in each day. I figured this would work out cheaper than the 52 weeks challenge, which is similar except week one you put in £1, week 2 £2 etc.

As some of you may have figured out by now, my main source of income is from teaching, more specifically supply teaching. Due to the shortage of teachers in England I’ve managed to find work, even though I needed two days a week which was initially quite difficult to find.  The main issue with supply teaching is, if you don’t put money aside during the plentiful periods, you have no source of income over the holidays because you don’t get paid. You’re a contractor, and unless you have a very, strangely, generous school that you work for you only get paid for what you work.

This means that whatever challenge I take, I’m going to find it difficult over the summer, 6 weeks definitely without pay, and probably a very slow September/October as schools tighten their finances.

Anyways, let’s see what I’ve got so far.

17april

I like excel spreadsheets, if you like you can download the dated and undated versions of this one. For those without this software I’ve included a PDF tick list (you might also be able to open it in open office as I use an older version of excel). This is the traditional penny a day challenge going from 1st January to 31st December, note it’s 266 days as it was a leap year this year. I tend to add and remove the date columns when I want and colour in dark grey when I’ve put the money in. Those looking carefully may note that I’ve made a start putting coins in for mid-July and I’ll try and do that from now on until July, August and September are complete. When done you would have £671.61, not bad going.

This is my coin jar

109b.jpg
You’ll need a big jar for this challenge, this is an olive jar from Lidl, the lids are a nightmare to get off initially but my partner appreciated the olives.

If you’re not sure you’ll have the cash in December you can always try doing the challenge backwards (dated, undated, use the same pdf as the normal challenge) or alternating the money you put in (dated, undated, pdf).

As I mentioned I did once initially start doing the £1 a week challenge (although the sheet was in dollars) I bottled out after 4 weeks, good job I’ve matured this year! If you managed to do challenge that you would have saved up £1,378 by the end of the year.  Here are some tracking sheets Normal (undated, pdf) backwards (undated, pdf) or alternating the money you put in (undated, pdf). I think if I had a steady job that I’d be tempted by this one.

The Skint dad blog has some other ideas for money saving challenges, his £12.50 a week one is quite good; that would get you about £650 by the year’s end. He also has lots of downloads if you don’t like mine.

As I was typing this I was thinking, hmmm, some of these aren’t really do-able for someone who doesn’t make very much income, say for example a child with pocket money who still wants to save. I also thought it might need to be simple.

I am not a parent; though I have nieces and nephews, according to my knowledge of them and research on the internet pocket money can be anything from £3 to £7. With this in mind I’ve put together a sheet that is a simple £1.50 a week (excel, PDF), £5 a month (excel, PDF) as well as a blank version of both (weekly, pdf, monthly, pdf) in case it’s a differing amount each week/month.

Oh my goodness, making all those spreadsheets and putting them into this post has killed my back! Twenty-seven files were harmed in the making of this post (the PDF’s have their excel equivalents)

There are loads of ways to store your coins as well, as I mentioned I have an old olive jar from Lidl. You may not also know, but I also collect money boxes, I’m not sure if that’s an odd hobby or not. I’ll make sure to do a post about them another time J

I think with challenges like this you get three types of people.
1) People who like to watch the coins grow, this might mean they use a see through jar like this Plastic Coca Cola Savings – Money Box / Bottle 60cm Fancy Money Box / Novelty Money Box  or, if you don’t like to count your own coins… Gift House Int Digital UK Coin Counting Money Jar

2) People who don’t want to be tempted. You might get these types of jar: Tin Money Box

3) Terra Mundi enthusiasts. Oh yeah, I hear you. I have a serious love of these coin jars; I have one that I put £2 coins in when I’m not using them for challenges. Alas I know the secret of getting coins out without smashing them (which is good because they’re beautiful) but also bad…as it means I can get the coins out! I would love to own one of the large disney versions
(like this one: Deluxe Large Terramundi Money Pot : Disney Fund written in Yellow and Whitebut at over £50 that’s unlikely to happen!

I hope you enjoyed this post, happy savings!

Prolific.ac 03.04.16

Another site I like to use when I’m not teaching is prolific.ac, they’re a little like a survey site: except I’ve never been part way through and then kicked out of a study on there.

Basically when a researcher from a university wants participants for their survey or research piece, rather than bugging people in the streets they register on here and the site matches them up with people who meet their criteria.

There is always a cash incentive, the highest amount I’ve received myself was £5, the lowest 35p. The cash out minimum is £5, which isn’t too bad to get to. You can choose to have PayPal or to have the money paid to a charity. I have to admit that I have never used the charity option so I couldn’t tell you much about it!

The best thing to do with this site is to register, fill in any prescreening questions and let it mosey along in the back ground. I don’t get tonnes of studies from this; I signed up in November and have done 31 studies. Two of these studies I had to pull out form (which was a shame as one was £10!) when I realised that I didn’t actually match the criteria.  Overall I’ve made £34.90, a nice little amount; I’d say definitely enough for a few pizzas on treat night!
If you’re a researcher who uses my referral code for a £50 study you’ll get £10 to run your first study (check the terms and conditions on the website first in case this offer is out of date!)

Overall I find the site very easy to use and they haven’t messed me around, both points in their favour!

Have you used prolific academic? What do you think?

Swagbucks 28/03/16

swagbucks

 

Logo from the swagbucks facebook page. All rights belong to swagbucks.

 

So, I logged on this morning and was pleasantly surprised to see my swagbucks account had got 1,001 ‘swagbucks’(SB’s) the reason this makes me happy is because it’s 999 for a £5 PayPal voucher. Yay! £5 for nothing! There are lots of rewards to choose from.

Yeah…. Let’s not get too excited. Nothing isn’t quite the right word. Nothing –financially- to get the points. However, there are a lot of clicks in those thousand points.

So, firstly you sign up to swagbucks. On the first day I registered I earned 166 SB’s from all the signup rigmarole they get you to do. Five of those SB’s were from disqualification after I didn’t meet the criteria for some of the surveys I’d started. I also got another 500 for signing up after I’d been active a certain amount of time (about a week or so)

I didn’t really go into swagbucks with the intention of using it as a cash back site, I have other sites I use for things like that. However, saying that I DO use it when I order from just eat for takeaways. (I have so far got 269 points from those orders) which at 3SB per £1 tells me far too much about my eating habits!

So, free things you can do to earn swagbucks.

You can do the poll for 1SB every day. So that can get you a potential 365 points a year.
You can also do Daily offers (NOSO), that’s 2 SB a day. That’d give you 730 points a year.

So for two very easy clicky things that probably take less than 30 seconds you’d get 1,095 points a year which you could use to buy a £5 Amazon card. By my calculations (which could be wrong) I make that just over 3 hours for the whole year. I’ve definitely had worse returns for three hours clicking!

Other things you can do:

Surveys: I’ve earned about 476 points doing surveys. When they’re good they’re very good, I usually get about 80 SB per survey but some can give you up to 100. Also when they do that irritating thing of you completing part and then getting kicked out? At least you get 1 SB for your trouble!

Games: If you have spare time there are a couple of games you can play that earn you SB’s as well. I’ve only earned 14 SB from games which should tell you how tedious I find them. Although perhaps I just haven’t been giving them a chance! One is a card matcher and the other a game where you race a dinosaur over obstacles. I usually get about 2SB per game.

Swagsearch: This is probably my biggest earner, netting me 1,135 SB since I joined in November 2015.  I have the search function installed on my browser and use it as my go to internet search. It seems to use yahoo search and images which I’m not a big fan or, but if something is really not working I just switch over to Google.

Swagbutton and Swagcodes: I have the swag button installed on my browser as well and it lets me know when there are Swagcodes active. These are codes that you input to the Swagbutton (or on the site) and it gives you points. Usually you have to go to the website or facebook page to find the code but it’s not too technical, least SB I’ve ever gotten was 2; the most I’ve ever gotten was 6. Most of the codes are time sensitive though so don’t always rely on sites that list them!

Watching videos: You can watch videos on apps or on the website to earn SB’s. It’s tedious and sometimes dull and you have to watch something like 10 or 15 videos for 3sb (max). However, if you have the apps on your phone watch both on there and on your PC you can get through the videos whilst doing something else. I’ve earned about 230 SB from doing this. It’s especially good in the summer holidays when you’re at home with nothing else to do! Don’t do it if you haven’t got a wifi connection from your phone and watch your data allowance.

Downloading Apps: Downloading apps onto your phone and using them can net you mega SB’s. I don’t like to download things onto my phone unless I’m going to use them for a while but the lowest I’ve had was 25 SB’s the largest?  500 SB’s!
Daily goals: If you can meet the daily goals you get bonuses. Simple as that!

Slightly riskier are the swagstakes. These are basically like lotteries, you buy tickets with your SB’s and then they are drawn. Some of the prizes are very good but there are thousands of tickets, some are small. When I do partake I like to do the 100SB draw. There are 5 tickets, two tickets for 55 SB’s or 25 SB’s each, I like good odds so I buy 2 and 1, spending 80 SB’s with a chance of winning 20 (when I take away cost). I don’t always win, but it’s just a little bit of fun.

Ah! Last but not least, the birthday bonus! This year if I bought a giftcard (which I did) I got 55 SB back, because it’s the month of my birthday. Woot.

So, Swagbucks is easy to use and you can amass a decent amount of points. Since joining in November I’ve earned enough SB’s to buy 3 £5 PayPal giftcards amounting to £15. I think that’s not bag going seeing as I’ve not really being making an effort! You may think this isn’t a lot, but a fiver every now and then never hurt.

If you’d like to give it a go you can use my referral link here of throughout this post. Until next time!