So, it’s time to put your house on the market! You have had several valuations, you have researched comparable properties, taken a look at the local and national housing market, and you are happy with the asking price you have decided on! But, instead of simply sitting back and hoping, here are some top tips for ensuring you get full asking price on your home when selling…
Essential Basic Strategies
Sweeten the deal – Homebuyers want to feel like they are getting a great deal. Entice them with something that is going to make your deal hard to refuse. There are many incentives you could offer – if your home is situated in an exclusive neighborhood, how about a year’s membership to a luxury club? Or, try the more practical approach with a transferable home warranty.
Fix anything that needs to be repaired – You can’t paper over the cracks when putting your property on the market. Buyers today aren’t stupid. Plus, you can rest assured any issues will come out during the survey, and this gives the buyer leverage to demand a lower price. Whether it’s residential AC repair or filling a few cracks around the home, make sure you do it.
Stage your home – Home staging can ensure you get the asking price you have decided on! This all revolves around setting up your home to increase its value and chances of selling. You need to declutter, increase space, clean thoroughly, tend to necessary repairs and repaint your home in neutral shades.
Have brochures printed – A high-quality brochure can go a long way! A lot of real estate agents are scrapping this idea because they don’t want the costs associated with it, but don’t let your agent skimp! Brochures give a luxurious aspect to your home and are an exceptional way of showcasing everything your house and neighborhood have to offer.
The best price is the right price
Have you lost confidence in your asking price? Or, maybe you are considering overpricing your property just to see how it goes for a few months? Neither strategy is advised. The best price is the right price, and here’s why…
Overpricing – A lot of people think it is a good idea to set their property at a price higher than what it is worth. Why? Well, some do it because they know a lot of buyers end up offering below the asking price, while others just want to push their luck. If you price your property too high you will be on the market for a longer time and you will miss out on opportunities.
Lowering your asking price – If you have had your house on the market for a little while now and don’t seem to be getting any interest it can be extremely tempting to lower your asking price. But, you shouldn’t! It will make buyers think that there is something wrong with your property.
Do your research on comparable properties – those that have sold, those that haven’t, and those that are still on the market – and you need to couple this information with valuations from several real estate agents to come up with your asking price. By doing this, you know you have the price right, and you should be confident in what you are asking for!
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When it comes to newborns and pregnancy, you can be the most prepared person in the world and still forget something. Growing a baby is such a stressful thing to do that even the simplest of things can slip your mind, especially when it comes to buying newborn essentials for the arrival of your little one.
From diapers to breast pumps, the list of things you need seems like it is ever growing, right?
Well, to help put you at ease we’ve put together a list of 9 things every new mom absolutely needs (even if they were to buy nothing else at all).
1.A Handy Diaper Caddy
When you’re trying to juggle a newborn, diapers, baby wipes and absolutely everything else – an accident is bound to happen. A diaper caddy, however, helps you organize everything you need into one handy (portable) box that is easy to carry when you’re holding a baby. Not only is it easy to carry, but it means everything stays in one place and is less likely to get lost around the house.
2. A Good Quality Baby Carrier, Stroller, and Car Seat
Okay, this may be three things but in a lot of cases these can all be purchased together, or as a 3-in-1. Carrying your little bundle of joy around with you may be tempting to start, but when it comes to both your health and your baby’s safety it’s much better for them to be in either a baby carrier, stroller, or a car seat.
If you’ve never had kids before then you will probably be surprised by the number of diapers you end up getting through on a daily basis. For this exact reason, you should definitely try and stock up on as many as you can before your bundle of joy arrives – meaning you always have some on hand.
Another great thing to do is to make sure you stock up in a variety of different sizes, as you never know when you’re going to need to start moving up to a bigger size. Once you find a brand you trust, this will be much easier to judge.
Whilst we’re on the topic of stocking up, you can never ever ever have enough baby wipes. Even once baby is out of diapers, you’ll still use wipes for years to come for messes at home and on the go. Seriously–can never have too much.
5. A Breast Pump
If you’re going to be breastfeeding then it may be worthwhile to invest in a breast pump to make things that little bit easier. If you’ve never breastfed before (or if you used a surrogate), breastfeeding is definitely not the easy option. Regardless of that, the benefits have been proven and it’s a great way for baby and mom to bond in the early months – whether you use a breast pump or not.
During the first few months of your baby being born, having them sleep by your bedside is extremely beneficial. While they can’t sleep in the bed with you, you can purchase a co-sleeper that has only 3 sides and attaches to the side of your bed. This way, they’re at your side but still safely in their own space.
Not only does a co-sleeper give you peace of mind, but it means you’re right there if anything was to happen in the middle of the night.
7. Lots And Lots Of Baby Clothes
If you’re a first-time mom then you will probably be unaware of how many baby clothes you will actually go through. Often, you need several outfits a day and by the time it comes around to wearing them again, they’ve already grown out of them!
As you don’t get much wear out of each outfit, it’s often better to go for the more affordable places so you get much more for your money and can easily stock up.
8.… And Tons Of Muslin Cloths!
Muslin cloths can be used for absolutely anything, and you never know when you may need one! Keeping your house, car and baby bag stocked up with clean Muslin Cloths at all times means you’ll definitely need to stock up.
9. Patience, Patience and More Patience
Whilst having a baby is the greatest thing you can do, it definitely requires lots and lots of patience.
It’s 100% worth it though.
Are you a new mom? Let us know if we missed anything off the list in the comment section below!
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9 Superfoods for pregnant woman that will up your nutritional profile without even trying.
Pregnancy is such a challenging phase for every woman. Aside from the physical changes, the pregnant mom also needs to adjust her lifestyle for the new life she is carrying. Though there are different challenges to be faced, this is a rewarding stage where womanhood is completed.
For first-time moms, it’s very important to understand that the food you eat will have an impact on your body and the child you are carrying. With this, you have to make sure that you are eating the right food. Nutritionists would say that there are more nutrients in natural food. Instead of relying on crappy and processed food, you have to purchase fruits, vegetables and other natural food. The health of your child and your own health are dependent upon what you’re consuming. Make sure that you are getting enough nutrition.
To give you a good start, here’s a list of superfoods that every pregnant woman should add to her diet:
For the mom, egg yolks are very important in reducing the risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and low birth weight. For the baby, it is beneficial because of its choline content. This specific chemical helps in improving the baby’s brain. Aside from that, it also contains the proper folic acid that helps reduce the risk of having neural-tube defects. Eggs indeed should be part of the daily diet because it provides important nutrients that keep you going in your pregnancy.
One of the greatest fears of pregnant women is birth defects. Luckily, this can be avoided by consuming the right food that contains the nutrients the baby needs. This green superfood is a great source of folic acid and it is also a source of calcium to strengthen and build the bones of your baby. Aside from that, kale is also a great source of vitamins A and C. Consuming a cup of this green leafy vegetable three times a week will help you get the nutritional content it can provide.
Do not underestimate the nutritional content of oatmeal. This is a perfect food for breakfast, and you can also consume more of it while you are pregnant. Oatmeal contains magnesium and you can get as much as 30 percent of your body’s need if you add it to your daily consumption. Aside from that, this is also a great food because it can help in reducing the risk of preterm labor. Lastly, it also helps in regulating your blood pressure and your blood sugar levels.
Every pregnant woman needs oranges because of its vitamin C, fiber, and folate content. This is something that you really need as you go through your pregnancy phase. It also contains a lot of water and it is a great hydrant during warm days. Instead of relying only on regular water, you can also look for fruits and other foods that will make you more hydrated.
The baby needs enough calcium for bone building. If you want to make sure that your baby is going to be healthy, you also need to add yogurt to your daily food. Aside from the addition it can provide for your daily calcium requirement, it can also help in decreasing the risk of eczema and allergies when the baby grows up. There are different varieties of yogurt that you can find in the market. You can also find ones with some fruits and other flavors. Just be sure to keep an eye on the sugar content. It’s always best to have plain and add in your own toppings and flavors rather than have fillers and extra sugars.
There are some pregnant women who experience pregnancy-related hypertension. This is something that happens due to different factors. But there is a way for you to lessen the risk of hypertension while you are pregnant. By adding bananas to your diet, you will be able to maintain your blood pressure. It can also help in reducing the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and heart disease. Its potassium content is what really helps pregnant women from experiencing hypertension.
A pregnant woman is recommended to get 300 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acid daily. This is another way to help lessen the risk of preeclampsia and preterm labor. The DHA content in salmon is also a great way to help you in developing the baby’s brain and the nervous system. You do not really have to eat salmon every day. You just have to eat at least once a week. Other foods that are fortified with DHA include milk, bread, yogurt, and chocolate.
Lentils are a great way to get in the proper form of folic acid that your baby needs during pregnancy. You can add this to your meals twice a week. One of the best things about lentils is that it can be added to different foods such as salads. It can also be served as a side dish that you can eat with fish, chicken, or pork.
All you need is just a quarter cup of almonds. If you are consuming almond butter, you only need 2 tablespoons daily. This is a very important food for the pregnancy because of its vitamin E content. It will help in the development of the infant’s brain. Instead of getting unhealthy food for your snack, consider a handful of this. You do not have to rely on different salty snacks that will not give you the nutrients you need.
Eating the right food is the most important thing that you can consider. Your lifestyle matters and you should never settle for less. Think of pregnancy as a great opportunity for your to turn to a healthier lifestyle. You are carrying another life and you have to take care of your own health. The baby is depending on you and your willingness to embrace a healthy lifestyle. Enough sleep is also another important part of pregnancy. Be happy, healthy and well rested.
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It can be challenging to keep your finances in check when life is so hectic, and we know this. But, you will need to know how to dodge some of the financial issues that a lot of people will end up facing. If you don’t know how to do this, it’s a good thing that you have landed on this page because we are about to go into some of the financial bullets that you could face and how you can avoid them. So, let’s take a look at how you should dodge financial bullets of this type.
Keep Your Budget In Mind
When you are working out everything you need to spend, you need to keep your budget in the back of your mind. A lot of the time, financial issues come from people trying to live beyond their means. It is likely going to be the case that you know how much money you have per week, or per month to spend and you have to try your absolute best to stick to this. If you don’t, this is going to be the easiest way for you to fall into debt, which brings its own line of issues for your future, as well as your present.
If you don’t already know what it is you’re working with, sit down and work it out. Form a budget, it isn’t that difficult, all you have to do is work out what you are getting in and what you need to pay out. Once you have done this, you will know what is going to be left over at the end of the month. This is going to be yours to do with what you will, as long as you are keeping in mind that that is all you’ve got. Don’t try to spend more than this, because you are going to dig yourself a hole that is extremely difficult to get out of.
Watch Out For Sketchy Businesses
Some businesses are not secure, and you need to keep your eye on whether this is the case for a business that you are purchasing something from. Some businesses meet compliance mandates using Netverify, and these are the companies that you want to be using. If a company does not have a service like this in place, you are never going to be sure that your personal information and your data are going to be secure. If you do not have trust in a company that you are purchasing from, you should stop using them immediately.
The reason that you need to do this is because you don’t want someone to come along and steal your information. If they do, they will have access to your financial information, and this can lead you into a whole range of issues. It is important that you can feel comfortable entering your information and sending it to an online business. However, if they are not able to use a service to make sure that this is the case, then you need to find another company that does.
Don’t Rely On The Credit Card
A lot of people end up relying on their credit card to get them through the month. But, this is going to be dangerous for a few reasons. Once you start using your credit card, it can become very difficult to stop. Even if you have paid everything you owe, you might still find yourself spending on this card. You will do this because you have become used to using it to get what you want and this is okay while you are making the payments. However, when the day comes that you can’t make your payments, you are going to find yourself in a bad situation.
Also, it is important to remember that credit cards charge interest. You might think that this is an insignificant number because it is only slightly more than you used, but these add up if you miss payments.
We hope that after reading this article, you feel as though you have a better understanding of how to dodge some of the big financial issues that you could be facing. We don’t want to alarm you with this, just to make you aware that you need to be careful with what you are doing with your money.
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Being a mom may be one of the most challenging things in life. This is especially true for the modern mum. After all, you have to balance your work and family life while still maintaining your physique. Many women give up on some of these goals along the way or reach the point of burning out of trying to have it all. It doesn’t have to come down to only these two options, though. Believe it or not, there are some ways to be the perfect mum without burning out.
1. Take it slow
You may be pumped up and motivated to get started, but you need to remember to pace yourself. Going hard will just make you want to go home. You’ll use up all your energy and efforts at once, leaving you tired, sore, and unmotivated. Let’s not mention how that won’t give you any results, either. Ease into your workout routine.
Start with a few basic workouts twice a week. Gradually increase the intensity as you get to know what your body can handle. It’s much more important to stay on track and maintain your routine rather than to give it your all and tire yourself out.
2. Stick to a schedule
Since there’s a lot to do on day to day basis, schedules can be a lifesaver. Pencil in your weekly workouts and stick to that schedule. It’ll be much easier to find the energy to devote yourself to the workout when you’ve already scheduled the time for it. Writing it down doesn’t leave room for the excuse “I don’t have enough time.”
What’s more, if the other members of your household know you’ve got a scheduled workout, it’ll be much easier to complete it. They won’t bother you or ask for your help with anything because they’ll know this is the time you take for yourself and your fitness goals.
3. Update your soundtrack
The essential part of any workout is a good soundtrack. Choosing your music must be a regular thing before starting your workouts. When you have something upbeat and energetic in the background, you can help but move to the beat. Music can help you move forward and cross your limits without tiring you out and burning yourself out.
That being said, you can’t just come up with one playlist and stick to it forever. It will lose its effects after a while because you’ll get used to it. Always strive to have a new and fresh workout playlist that’ll bring the best out of you and maximize your sessions.
4. Find a workout buddy
Working out with a friend can be the ideal solution to maintaining your fitness routine. You’ll have someone with the same goal in mind by your side. This will make the experience more fun as you’ll feel like you have someone to share everything with. The failure, the success, the varied workout routines- you’ll never have to go through it all alone.
What’s more, working out with a friend will mean you always have their support. It’ll be much easier to stay on track when you’ve always got someone to keep pushing you forward. Don’t forget to be the same kind of support for your friend, though. Finally, just think of all the fun workout routines you can come up with together.
5. Don’t be afraid to reach out for some help
Since it’s sometimes impossible for us to optimize our fitness routine ourselves, it’s okay to reach out for help. Your body probably won’t be able to handle all the stress of daily life plus a quality workout, which is why adding some supplements to your diet can help. Of course, they shouldn’t be your only muscle fuel but should work hand in hand with your eating habits.
A good idea is to create workout smoothies. This way, you’ll be ingesting protein through dairy, and vitamins through the fruits and veggies. Then you can add a spoonful of creatine to make the ultimate workout fuel. It will increase your performance, elevate muscle volume, and even improve your cognition. All the while, you won’t reach the burnout point while getting optimal results.
6. Get enough sleep
Sleeping is the key to reaching your fitness goals. Since your body is under a lot of pressure daily, what with your work, child, and exercise, it’s important to let it heal. The time when our bodies heal most is during sleep. That’s why you should strive for a full eight hours, or make time for a nap. If you don’t get enough sleep, that can have real consequences for your workout routine.
You won’t be able to keep up the pace and soon you’ll be too tired an unmotivated to try. In order to stay on track, you really need to know when it’s time for a break. Working out regularly will help you know your body’s limit and help you realize when to rest. Sleeping adequately will also be a huge contribution to not burning yourself out.
Being at the top of your game doesn’t need to be impossible. You can still have time to work out and improve your look despite being a devoted mother and employee. Keep your goals in mind and you’ll never lack the motivation to achieve them. Soon you’ll make all the other moms wonder how you manage to look so good while still being present in your child’s life.
A fantastic way to keep track of all your hard work is with the Fabulously Fit Planner + Tracker! Snag it for FREE when you sign up for the Newsletter! Click the image below! 👇
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Whether we like to hear it or not, there are some lessons in life that we seem to learn the hard way. The ones that we definitely all have to go through at some point in our lives, and to some degree. That’s not to say that these life lessons are going to knock us down. They’re called life lessons for a reason, and that main reason being that we learn and grow from them.
But that’s also not to say that these life lessons aren’t going to cause us some of the biggest headaches. In fact, some people are so badly affected by bad decisions, that it can be hard to live a life that’s actually desirable. We all have this fairy-tale idea of what we want our lives to work out as when we’re a bit younger, and it doesn’t always end up that way. But what you can do is try to get it pretty darn close, and avoiding the mistakes of others is a great place to start!
Some of us make some seriously silly mistakes in life. Some of us like to get them out of our system when we’re nice and young, and boy isn’t that a turbulent time. But, for the majority of us, we wouldn’t be living our life right if we didn’t make a silly little mistake here and there.
One of the biggest mistakes that we make actually comes on a daily basis. It’s how we drive. Think about it now. You’re either a super sensible driver who follows the rules of the road like they are always meant to do. Or you’re someone who drives as if they are the only person on the road.
If you’re a sensible sally, then you definitely know some who drives a bit crazy. But the harsh lesson that you will learn in time is that you can’t get away with driving like a crazy person forever. Eventually, you will have an accident, and you will pay the price. Companies such as Robinette Law see all kinds of road traffic accidents, and all types of claims being made. It usually boils down to one of the drivers doing something they shouldn’t have been doing at the time.
Don’t find yourself at the mercy of this. The money it could cost you will definitely hurt the bank account, and your insurance will only shoot through the roof! And worse case scenario is that someone is hurt very, very badly.
Admit it, you’re not the best at borrowing at the minute, are you? If you borrow, you feel as though the money you’re spending is going to be yours forever. Or, even worse, you’ll be that type of person that thinks, ‘Oh, I’ll just borrow a little bit more because I know I’ll be able to pay it back another time’. You come up with an illusive plan in your mind that justifies the borrowing.
Really try and avoid this trap as much as you can. It’s so easy to fall in to, but so hard to get out of. You need to make sure that you’re borrowing money sensibly, and only when you know you can pay it back. It might sound funny, but if you’re going to do something like this, you need to ensure that you’re doing it long term. The repayments will be smaller and more manageable, and as long as the loan is a one time thing, it won’t matter that you’re paying it back over a long period of time.
Boring Work Life
Work life can definitely be boring, there’s no denying that. One minute you could be photocopying some paper, the next minute you could be sending an email… sounds thrilling doesn’t it! For those of you who do that and enjoy your job, you probably have the best people around you to make it fun. The harsh life lesson that the majority of us have to learn is that work life is boring. If you don’t find something that you’re truly passionate about, which a lot of people never do, you’ll most likely always be bored in work. So, our top tip would be to make sure you’re finding a career that suits you, rather than one that suits your bank account.
Family Life Is HARD!
We want to finish off with this little one, because family life is definitely hard. One minute you’re dealing with a screaming baby that just doesn’t seem to want to stop. The next minute you’re dealing with a relationship breakdown because family life is just so hard! So, our top tip would be to make sure you’re getting some help if you need it. If you feel like you’re struggling to take care of the kids, bring in a nanny. If you feel as though your relationship is struggling, go to see a relationship counselor!
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Whether we’re snuggling down in front of a warm fire crackling, or chillin’ with an ice-cold lemonade under the ceiling fan switched to high, the family room is the place our brood goes to kick back and relax together. But that many people together with our snacks, drinks, blankets or flips flops, and countless board and card games means it’s one of the messiest places in the entire casa. Luckily, there’s a way that you can prevent this from happening, or at least keep it under control with these 4 steps to the perfectly organized family room.
Consider the design of the space
First of all, it’s impossible to keep your lounge organized if you don’t consider the design and decoration of the space that you have. In particular, going for minimalist style decor and furniture like the couches from Sofamania can help a great deal, as they will provide you will a straightforward and low maintenance foundation on which to build the rest of your room.
You can even view Sofamania reviews here to check that you are getting the best quality and most comfortable sofa for your money. Something that is essential if it’s to sit in the family room and be the place that you all curl up together, after a hard day.
Dealing with clutter
Clutter is perhaps one of the most significant problems when it comes to having an organized living space, especially when you have kids. After all, their homework, water bottles, and toys are routinely spread all over the place. Happily, there is a way to manage clutter effectively, even in the most hectic of homes.
Firstly, you must schedule in regular clear outs. I’m not just talking a good spring or fall clean once a year here, but weekly, and monthly sessions as well. During these times, actually make an effort to consider whether you need these each item any longer; And if you don’t, get rid of it. They don’t have to be long sessions though. In fact, you can work organizational wonders in a room in just 10 minutes, if you stay focused and are ruthless with your choices!
Having storage for the things you do want to keep is going to be a total lifesaver in keeping this space clean. If you’re lucky enough to have built-in storage, purge that space and take some time to get it organized.
If you don’t have built-in storage, a fantastic option is a coffee table that has storage inside, or even investing in storage chests that can double as seating.
And don’t forget about storage baskets! Storage baskets are a mom’s best friend when it comes to organizing, especially decorative ones. These can then be placed out in the family room, and any item of clutter that appears can be stored there. Something that not only helps to stop items getting lost, but means they are neatly packed away to deal with later as well.
Factor in tidy up time
Last of all, to stay organized it’s crucial that you factor in tidying up time, each day. In fact, if you can schedule this for the beginning or the end of the day, you will be able to start each day anew with a tidy and organized space. A situation that is way easier to keep that way, as it can help to give you am an organizational, motivational boost to keep things that way!
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Cooking is the kind of activity that can be both therapeutic and stressful. There is nothing worse than cooking when you are absolutely ravenous or super short on time with cranky hungry kids. But there’s also nothing better than spending an afternoon cooking leisurely for family and friends with a home swathed in the aroma of your culinary creations.
Cooking is integral to life–it’s literally what keeps us going; But sometimes it can feel all too much. The key, then, is to create a kitchen that works with you to save time, bring joy and create delicious meals–whether that means an a redesign of the whole room, or just some new additions to make our cooking life easier. And in our modern world, that means gadgets. Here are 5 of the best kitchen gadgets to make your time in the kitchen a dream.
The Induction Cooktop
This option came especially helpful for us because we don’t have a gas line to our house. But we wanted the control that a gas range offers. Induction was the answer for us.
Unlike other cooktops, the induction cooktop uses magnetism to produce heat. A copper coil creates an alternating electrical current and the resulting magnetic field is what heats your pan. But really what you need to know is that this flat glass surface is easy to clean and works perfectly as a normal surface when it isn’t on. All you need to do is get the right induction cookware and you’re away.
If you like to make your own soups, pasta sauces or just want to chop things fast, a blender is all you need. You can get all kinds of awesome settings and fittings that will do the everything from whip up the perfect cake batter to finely chop an onion without the tears. Just make sure that you keep the blades nice and sharp and your cooking experience just got a whole lot easier.
Many like the more expensive options like a Vitamix if you’re serious making tons of smoothies or juices. We went with the less expensive Ninja option and I’m so glad we did! It has other features available like a food processor bowl and spiralizers, plus the blades stay super sharp!
A Pasta Maker
Cooking for the family can be stressful but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy making something slowly and taking an afternoon to bond together. A pasta maker might be a bit niche but once you have made your own, the stuff you get in the supermarket just won’t taste the same. There are also pasta attachments available for the KitchenAid mixer if you don’t want to buy an entire pasta maker separately. You can add all kinds of flavors to your pasta to make your meals more fun and all you need to do is let the pasta dry to preserve it.
A Juicer/ Smoothie Maker
Juicers are often regarded as part of the useless clutter that you get in most family kitchens; but before you throw it out, a juicer can actually be a brilliant way to increase your daily nutrition needs. Making a smoothie is as easy as throwing some frozen fruit and plain frozen yogurt in and blending for a minute. Healthier than a pop tart and in pretty much the same time! Juicing vegetables is also a great way to get a concentrated shot of vitamins.
A Coffee Maker
Your morning coffee should be akin to a breath of fresh air but with all the faff of filter coffee, you might be put off. A coffee maker gives you everything you need with the push of a button and many now come with all the features baristas need to create the ultimate coffee. Now you can enjoy everything from a cappuccino to a flat white in the comfort of your own kitchen.
We don’t drink specialty stuff, so I especially enjoy the 2 in 1 options for basic coffee like the Cuisinart or even the Hamilton Beach model offers. It gives the option of using K-cups or making an entire pot (whether it’s 2 or 12 cups) in one easy appliance that’s only barely bigger than a coffee pot and definitely smaller than a Keurig.
With just a few of these best kitchen gadgets, cooking will get so much easier and you might even start to enjoy being in the kitchen all the time, not just when you’ve got time.
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I know that times can be tough occasionally, and the family budget can take a beating every now and again. As a mom, it can be one of your priorities to balance the books, ensure the bills get paid and make sure everyone has what they need to function. But with that can come stress and extra pressure. Especially if the figures are just not adding up. Life can get in the way sometimes, and things can surprise us like unexpected bills. But how can you save money in the family budget to make it work for you?
There are tweaks and changes you can make to your spending habits and how you manage the family budget. First of all, make sure you have exact figures for things. This will help you get a clear idea of where your money is going each month. Once you have scrutinized your outgoings versus your income, then you can make some additional changes to see real results.
Time to reduce the food bill
One of the first things you can start to reduce would be the food bill. Traditionally, this can be one of the biggest outgoings you have per week after your mortgage or rent payment. Thankfully, it is one that is in your complete control. A great tip would be to try meal planning. This can help you put together a list of the things you need, and stop you from wasting food or spending money when it isn’t necessary.
You could also look at making some changes to the places you shop and the type of food you buy. Choose to have an extra meat-free evening to save on buying meat, if that is an option for your family.
Make debt a priority
Debt can also become a big part of your outgoings when looking for ways to save money in the family budget. And while you may not have had that intention, it is a fact of life that people have some debt around them at different stages of their lives. Instead of burying your head in the sand with it, take control of the situation. You could start with receiving some advice from The Credit Counselling Society who can lay out the options you have in your personal situation. Or, you may be able to start paying things back yourself. A top tip would be to pay back the debt that costs you the most in interest first.
Switch and save
When you begin this journey, you will have itemized what you spend on other outgoings such as energy and insurance. But when was the last time you changed provider for those things? Many companies save their best deals for new accounts, and so loyalty may not be paying off for you. Switching could give you some amazing savings each month. Doing this sort of check regularly will ensure you always pay the lowest possible price for what you need.
Be savvy with your shopping
Shopping can often be one of those things that can be stressful as a mom. Your children and family members need things. They are always growing, and yes, that means you need to spend money. However, it doesn’t need to dent the bank balance as much as you think. You can actually, use discount codes and vouchers in order to find what you are looking for and save some money in the process. Plus sales are always a great place to shop and buy ahead of time.
Recycle where possible
Recycling isn’t just about your waste and garbage; it is also about recycling older things from your older children for your young ones. Toys, clothes, uniforms, they can all be stored and then reused when the time comes. It can be a great way to make some savings on those essential purchases that you know are on the way.
Plan as much as you can
Finally, planning can be a great way to ensure that you do all that you can to make some savings. You can plan birthdays and occasions. You can take time to plan Christmas by putting together lists of what you need to buy and save for. That includes making sure you have a budget for Christmas and are saving year-round.
You can also plan for vacations. Planning can help you save and prepare for what spending you need to make, so it doesn’t hit you too hard when the time comes.
With these tips, you should be able to boost the family budget and feel more in control of your finances.
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In any job for any woman, the list of must-do’s can make you more dizzy than a tilt-a-whirl at the county fair. But all this talk about obligation and duty and the need to better yourself never seems tempered with talks about self-care, about how to actually thrive in your career in the most healthy manner possible. It’s especially important as moms to get rest, to regroup and to settle ourselves occasionally. Otherwise, burnout is inevitable.
But what does working self-care really mean? What are the true ‘musts’ of actually developing a worthwhile career while reducing our stress levels? Here are three super effective strategies at navigating this:
True Time Management
An ability to manage your time well might be seen as some kind of magical effort that only the best among us can do. But perhaps the time management of a lawyer or other highly executive professional isn’t always the thing we need to emulate. True time management means working productively, not for hours upon hours upon hours each week. It’s actually been shown in studies that working in an office is often a waste in the afternoon, as most employees fulfill their tasks in the morning, and then spend at least the last hour wrapping things up or simply filling time with less-than-effective work.
The better solution is to find what works for you, when you’re most effective, and when you can apply yourself completely to a certain task. With this true time management (which takes a little time to get a feel for), the days you encounter become much more enjoyable and much less frantic with this type of self care at work.
Sometimes defending yourself at work is necessary. If you’ve realized that you’re actually being harassed by an overly keen manager, you need to report that to HR, collect the evidence of this happening so it’s undeniable, and even leave the company if possible with a claim made against them.
Defending yourself also includes the possibility of having to hire an injury lawyer after experiencing an accident due to negligence at work, even if your boss is one of your friends and might discourage you from doing so.
Defending yourself is also trying to attain the confidence to speak fairly and rationally about your opinions and working interests. An uncompromising attitude towards self-respect will become all the more important if you raise the ranks of any firm, and that goes double for opening a business on your own terms. While it might sound like working for a firm is akin to fighting a war (it isn’t), it’s essential to know that almost no office environment is a center for R&R. Sometimes you do have to defend yourself and your craft for your personal health and reputational integrity.
Keeping Your Options Open
Keeping your options open is always important when you’re trying to navigate your way through the working landscape. Not matter how loyal you’ve been to your current firm thus far, there is always a chance that you may be let go, or that conditions might deteriorate. Opening yourself up to further opportunities by keeping your eye on the market, perhaps building your own platform outside of work, or simply looking at the available job market once in a while, can help you feel less completely and blindly loyal to one firm, but potentially open you up to the real weight of salary and treatment your skills should be earning you. This means that you will never be taken advantage of, because it’s impossible to force someone to do something who cannot lose from being let go.
Don’t forget these tips are more crucial for moms. Whether we like to admit it or not, we have limited patience and availability for stress in our lives if we expect to take care of our families properly. Our responsibilities on us at all times really reach way further than just time spent at work. So managing our self care in that aspect only helps reduce our overall stress levels. And you, Mama friend, are so worth it!
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The days are getting shorter, the temperature is dropping, and the weather is taking a turn for the worse. It’s safe to say that winter is definitely on its way – and it’s approaching fast! Now, various tasks and things to do spring to mind when we think about the upcoming festive season. But winter home maintenance to ensure your home is winter-ready should be top of your list of priorities.
Home really is where the heart is and this becomes evident during the holidays, as you tend to spend more time indoors and you tend to invite more friends and family members over to celebrate. So, you need to make sure that everything is in great condition by the beginning of December at the latest. Here are two major steps that you can take in order to achieve this!
Check Your Property Over for Major Faults
The winter months can put any property under strain. So, it’s a good idea to take a look over your entire home to ensure that any faults are identified before the bad weather hits. This will allow you more opportunity to rectify issues without having to wait for rain, sleet, snow, or fog to clear.
Remember that not all problems are immediately obvious. Sure, you could notice exposed wiring, a crack in a window, or a splintered door frame immediately.
But remember to check things like your property’s foundations. Soil contracts and expands when wet and the winter months can speed up this process. Increased contraction and expansion exerts increased pressure on your property’s foundations and can result in damage and cracks. Identifying existing cracks or faults before more rain falls can help you to repair existing damage rather than letting things progress until damage is extensive and excessively costly to fix. You can find more out about this process through Helitech.
Conduct a Deep Clean
Many of us conduct a thorough clean of our property in the early stages of the New Year. We want everything to feel fresh and clean as we turn a new page. However, by December, things may have gotten a little hectic. You’ll have accumulated a bunch of unnecessary items over the months and you may have kept up with standard cleaning chores, but other less regular tasks may have fallen by the wayside. So, if you intend to make your home particularly cozy and comfortable during the festive season, you should conduct a deep cleanbefore you put your decorations up. Your home will become a clean canvas to work with when it comes to decorating and everything will feel that touch more clean and organized.
These are just a couple of steps that you might want to incorporate into your pre-December routine. They will help to ensure that your home is in ship shape for the winter months!
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I know that when you are exhausted and overwhelmed as a mom, catching 40 winks in during the day can seem like a good idea. After all, what’s better than waking up feeling refreshed and ready to take on all the rest of your tasks? A short nap can be a great way to get a micro-rest to finish your day. But there are other awesome self care ideas to get your afternoon energy boost.
Yoga Nidra is a fantastic activity to do if you are feeling tired and in need of some rest but don’t want to give into sleep. Otherwise, known as the sleep of the Gods, Yoga Nidra is primarily a static mediation price that is grounded in ancient Indian tradition.
Primarily, Nidra consists of laying on your back and relaxing while a recording guides you to place your consciousness in various different parts of your body. This is often done quite fast, to give your mind something to focus on while your body relaxes and you can find many meditations at varying lengths to fit into longer or shorter breaks.
Of course, when you first begin, you may occasionally find yourself nodding off! However, if you just remember to set an alarm to wake you up at the end when you first begin this practice, over time you should be able to stay fully conscious through the whole thing. In fact, if the hype is to be believed, just a short session of Yoga Nidra can provide the benefits of a four-hour deep sleep, all without having to nap! Something that makes Yoga Nidra a much more constructive and refreshing use of your self-care time.
Working out is another fantastic activity to do in your self-care time as opposed to napping. The reason being that it can help you get more oxygenated blood to move around your body. Something that can assist you in feeling more alert, as well as stimulate the production of endorphins that can provide you with an instant emotional lift.
Of course, if you are tired it can be hard to get motivated to exercise. That is why it can be helpful to enroll in a program such as this Personal Training by UP Fitness course, as having someone to be accountable to can assist you in fighting through the inertia and get your body moving. Something that can not only help you feel better right now but also give you a sense of real achievement during your self-care time too.
Read a book
Reading is such a fantastic activity for self-care time because it allows you to escape into a completely different world to the one that you inhabit in real life. You can choose to visit distant planets, the wild west, or even fantasy locations that never have or never will exist. Through reading, you can also get to meet characters that you would never come across in real life, and if the book is written well, you can even get to see thing from a perspective you would have never considered.
However, to achieve this reading in your self-care time should not be about grabbing a social media post. Instead, put down your electronic device and pick up a real paper book instead. Then not only will you get the benefits of being transported to a completely different world through words, but you also get the advantage of spending some time unplugged as well. Something that is known to help minimize stress, and improve mood. A worthy use of your self-care time, if ever I there was one!
Call a friend
Lastly, if you are looking for a better use of or you self-care time than napping, why not use it to call a friend or beloved family member? After all, life can get pretty, and most of us struggle to stay in contact with those that we love that are outside our immediate family group.
Connecting with a friend is an excellent use of self care time.
Of course, speaking with a loved one can give you an emotional boost as well, and make you feel connected to others, and part of a social group. All things that can be pretty tough for moms to manage when they spend most of their time looking after the little ones, and so make it an excellent use of your precious self-care time.
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We’d all like to be better gardeners. But where do you get the best information on how to turn your garden from out-of-control nightmare to prim perfection? It turns out that there are a lot of resources out there for the budding gardener (sorry, couldn’t resist), but which are the best?
Some blogs are clearly better than others, but each is trying to fill a niche, so there probably isn’t a “best” one out there. With that said, there are a lot to choose from so here are some of the best gardening blogs on the internet.
Veg Plotting was founded by Michelle Chapman back in 2007 so that she could tell people stories about her garden outside her home in Chippenham. She began the blog after leaving work because of full time caring responsibilities. Rather than just focus on that, she decided that she wanted some responsibility, and so began her own gardening blog. To start with, Veg Plotting took up 10 minutes a day, but over time, the site’s popularity grew, and Chapman found herself dedicating more time to it.
People in her community wanted to know all sorts of things, including how to make great vegetable patches and how to decorate their gardens for Christmas. As demand grew, Chapman says that the site had real potential and decided to dedicate herself to it. Although computers weren’t here strong suit, she persevered and created a blog, complete with easy navigation and a quick menu. Chapman says that the blog is still a work in progress. She doesn’t like to plan her life out in advance, but she’s certainly looking for ways to take her publications to the next level.
Craft beers are all the rage right now, with the industry growing at a healthy clip. But even before the craze began, Nich and Rich, the guys behind Two Thirsty Gardeners, were sharing their advice on how to grow the best apples for cider. In the early days, that’s all they focused on. They wanted people to know how to coax their apple trees into producing more fruit and at a higher quality, and they shared their secrets for turning it into great cider. But as the years wore on, they realized that they couldn’t just focus on cider alone, and so now they offer advice for growing other kinds of plants that will eventually be used to make alcoholic drinks.
If you’re interested in making your own beer or other kinds of drink, Two Thirsty Gardeners is for you. They’ll take you through a step-by-step process for creating your own craft beers and ciders in a way that no other blog really does.
Do you sometimes feel that gardening blogs are talking to people who are nothing like you? People with loads of time on their hands and large gardens? Well, The Middle-Sized Garden is the blog for you. Set up by Alexandra Campbell, a journalist, the site aims to provide regular gardeners with practical tips to help them make the most of what they’ve got. This blog isn’t aimed at the gardening staff at Kew, but rather at people who live with regular plots.
Sometimes it can be tricky to figure out which products to choose. But thanks to the site’s myriad reviews, you’ll always be able to find information on fertilizer or garden tools. The blog also puts enormous effort into helping gardeners generate new and exciting ideas for their garden, whether it’s updated seating, creating no-dig borders, and choosing the right garden trees. The site also features interviews with landscaping experts and professional gardeners to provide in-depth advice beyond that which you would find in standard blog content. Campbell accepts that, at root, she’s a journalist, and so she goes out of her way to find people who have been tending to gardens all their lives so that they can give expert advice to you.
We all know what it’s like to have a hobby and a family at the same time. Spoiler alert: the hobby almost always loses. Usually, it’s because you don’t have either the time or the energy to pursue it, once all of the day’s other responsibilities are taken care of.
Enter Growing Family, a gardening blog designed for busy parents. Begun by mother and writer, Cat Hughes, the site not only provides you with time-saving tips but also inspires you to get the whole family involved in gardening efforts. You’ll find blogs on everything from how to grow fabulous asparagus to ways of getting your kids involved in the gardening process. Along the way, the writing keeps its light, upbeat style, making it an easy, enjoyable and informative read.
We all know that growing food locally is good for the planet. But the creator of Vertical Veg, Mark Ridsdill, wants to take this concept to the next level. He’s not satisfied with farmers selling their produce at the local market – he wants individual consumers, like you, to grow vegetables in their backyard.
Begun in 2010, the blog is a kind of encyclopedia of all things grow-your-own. Ridsdill puts enormous effort into providing the best advice to people who may know nothing about how to successfully cultivate edible plants. There is all sorts of information on the site, including how to make the plants you grow last longer once harvested. He also points out the benefits of picking food fresh, rather than eating it after it has sat on a supermarket shelf for a few days.
Still not sure how to create the perfect vegetable garden after reading the blogs? Have no fear. Ridsdill also runs workshops and has even created online courses to provide skills to a new generation of gardeners.
For many, the joy of gardening comes from beauty. Horticultural societies feed of this demand for aesthetic perfection, hosting flower shows designed to celebrate the beauty of nature. If that’s your interest, then you’ll love The Patient Gardener, a site set up by Helen Johnstone to showcase the most beautiful gardens the world has to offer.
Yes, there are a lot of posts about flowers. But Johnstone also takes her readers on a whistlestop tour of the world’s best gardens from San Francisco to Mumbai. For photography lovers, the site is second to none, with some of the best camera work in the gardening world on show. Every month, Johnstone publishes her “End of Month View” showing how her garden is progressing through the seasons. Some months are quieter than others, but she always has a story to tell. Her advice is down to Earth and practical even if her presentation is excellent.
Nature doesn’t like to do what you tell it to do. You can try over and over again to get your flowers to bloom, but if conditions aren’t right, you’ll be disappointed. The Frustrated Gardener feels your pain. It was set up by Dan Cooper who was himself frustrated with his garden for being too small. Instead of giving up, Cooper decided to do what he could with the space he had and began blogging about his progress.
Over time, the blog evolved into what it is today. Cooper shares stories about what he learned from his grandparents, and tells tales about how plants have always been his passion. Even when he was a baby, he became fascinated by how plants grew and loved experimenting with cuttings and seeds. His grandfather was a head gardener at a large country estate and taught Cooper how to grow grapes and asparagus, two notoriously tricky crops to master.
The Blackberry Garden began in 2011 when Alison Levey, the site’s owner, decided that she had had enough of boring gardens after moving to a new location. Levey, who had always had an interest in photography, decided that she wanted to put her talent to good use, and began building a portfolio of photos around her beautiful gardening creations.
Perhaps one of the best aspects of her blog is her book reviews. In these, she provides in-depth advice to newbie and experienced gardeners alike, providing them with all the information they need to decide on whether to buy. She also does product reviews in her own inimitable way on dozens of different gardening tools and accessories. There are reviews on everything from Bosch cordless secateurs to Marigold seeds, from lawn mowers to hanging pots. In short, if there’s a garden product out there you want, there’s a good chance you can find more information at The Blackberry Garden.
Finally, if you’re interested in tree following, then Levey’s site provides you with one of the most in-depth examples on any blog. She meticulously chronicles the growth of a quince tree from sapling onwards, showing you what happens each step of the way with helpful commentary. As always, the photography is exemplary, allowing you to see how the tree changes throughout the seasons. The comments section is always buzzing.
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A while back, we spoke about a few of the simple ways you could de-stress your kitchen to make the cooking process easier. A stress free kitchen is, after all, a goal which any mother in her right mind can get behind. Let’s face it–cooking for the family can be a nightmare.
If your kids are at different ages or have different tastes, the chances are that you have to cook various meals each night. Even if everyone’s happy to eat the same thing, you may find yourself getting more stressed while cooking than you’d like. And that’s before we even talk about the chores of the cleaning process. In short; your kitchen could fast become your least favorite room in the house.
To make matters worse, many kitchens just aren’t designed to make your life any easier. As we touched on in that last post, kitchen clutter and disorganization turn stress-levels up even further. In some instances, these issues do have simple solutions. But what if your problems here take more than a little rearranging to solve? Small hobs or a crowded kitchen space can both stress you out more than anything. Even the wrong layout can make your life much harder here than it needs to be.
If this situation is bad enough, you may be on the verge of considering a kitchen renovation. In some cases, that’s the only way to get this space the way you want it. Imagine how much easier mealtimes would be if you could get rid of that kitchen island. Imagine the ease with which you could cook if your cupboards were in the right places.
The trouble is, kitchen renovations involve major upheaval. When you have a family to consider, that’s never good news. In fact, the mere thought of trying to provide for your family without a kitchen may raise your blood levels. Lucky for you, kitchen renovations don’t need to be as stressful as you’re expecting. To prove that point, keep reading to find out our stress free kitchen remodel steps to success.
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Have a clear idea of what you want before you start
This may sound simple, but it’s astounding how many people embark on renovation without having a clear picture in their minds. Instead, they work on a brief outline and change things as they go. This is fine for childless couples who aren’t in any rush, but it definitely won’t suit your situation. Operating this way can more than double the time renovations take.
In extreme cases, this could also see you ending with a kitchen which still doesn’t make life any easier. Instead, then, make sure to sketch out a clear and concise idea of what you want before getting started. Whether you’re doing this alone or hiring an outside company, be clear about what you need and where you want it. Consider where you want things to be. Think about how many cupboards you need. And, remember; the more you consider now, the better chance you have of landing with your dream kitchen in no time.
Know your time period
It’s also essential that you know the period of time you’ll need to dedicate to this cause. This can be a tricky thing to get your head around as renovations rarely run smoothly. Still, by developing a brief timeline of how long you expect this project to take, you can save a whole load of stress. As a general rule, you want to give yourself excess time here. That way, even running over a little shouldn’t matter a great deal.
You’ll also find yourself more willing to take things easy and not push this when you have that timeline in mind. So, sit down and be realistic about how long you can expect jobs to take.
If you’ve ordered new appliances, consider when you can expect them to arrive. Consider how long installation will take. Include, too, time for grouting or paint to dry. Aside from saving you stress, having some idea of the time this will take frees you up to ensure you have plenty of pre-prepared meals to see you through. Talking of which, you’re going to want to…
Prepare ahead of time
Once you’ve done the above, you’re nearly ready to start. Before you do, though, you want to make preparations to ensure life runs smoothly after renovations begin. You can do this in a few different ways.
For one, you want to pre-cook. By referring to your schedule, you can see for sure how many days you’ll be without a kitchen. That allows you to pre-cook and freeze enough meal portions to last you. This can both save you money on eating out, and make sure you stay healthy while your kitchen is out of action.
If nothing else, this will be better for your family than endless nights of microwave meals. When you have plenty of food put aside, you also need to consider how you’re going to cook it once your oven’s out of action.
Your best bet here would be to prepare a temporary kitchen using tips like those found at heyletsmakestuff.com. By providing a space elsewhere in your home for your microwave and cutlery, you’ll be able to maintain some semblance of normality at mealtimes. This also has the bonus of keeping all your essential stuff away from the dust which is sure to come during a renovation.
If you want to go all out, you could even invest in a portable hob. That way, you could cook rice to go with those frozen portions of chili. Either way, sparing some thought here ensures you’ll have everything you need for the duration of this period. If your table is in your kitchen, you could even take this out and hide it in the corner of your living room.
The thing to remember is that you want to make this as normal as possible. Achieve that, and you won’t have any cause for stress.
Order your jobs well
Of course, makeshift kitchens aren’t all fun and games. The capabilities they provide are minimal. What’s more, keeping this going for a long time could pose a safety risk. The chances are that there are far more hazardous materials in this makeshift alternative, after all.
With that in mind, you want to know that you can get back to your kitchen as soon as possible. In part, your pre-drawn schedule can help towards that.
To take this further, though, it may also be worth considering the order in which you tackle each task. Some jobs, after all, will need completing before you can even enter that space again.
Others, you can finish as you go. If you’re fitting all new cupboards, for instance, that should be a clear first step. You’ll also need to head to sites like www.worldstonegroup.com and select new countertops to arrive as soon as possible. Focus, too, on ordering any replacement appliances.
Once these essentials are in place, you may find that you can move back into your kitchen and complete the rest of the jobs as you go. Your kitchen floor, for instance, doesn’t stop you from being able to work. Nor does the installation of wall tiles. If you tackled tasks like these first, you would waste precious time. By saving them until last, though, you can get on with life as usual. What more proof do you need that order matters?
Write a list of every job, then put a number next to them. Refer back to this, and be clear in your own mind when you can move back into your kitchen.
Make sure you have more than enough money aside
If there’s one thing the many renovation programs out there tell us, it’s that work is never as cheap as we expect it to be. The chances are that you’ve been saving up for this project for a while. You may have even added the costs of materials, or gotten a quote from an outside company.
Don’t think, though, that means you know how much this will cost. If you only set aside the amount you think you’ll need, you’ll slow progress and pile no end of stress on your shoulders.
If you find that you can’t afford to continue, you’ll be stuck in catch 22 for goodness knows how long.
When projects run over, they don’t do so lightly, either. Hence why you need to take that ‘estimated’ budget and raise it by at least 10-20% before starting work. This may seem extreme, but you would be amazed by how fast that money could go. It’s also worth knowing your options for things like loans, just in case. Only through the above can you ensure your renovation remains stress-free for the whole family. It may seem like a lot of work, but every step mentioned is easy enough to achieve when you get down to it. Besides, don’t you think a little effort is worthwhile for a kitchen which makes cooking a breeze?
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The weather’s getting colder; however, there’s plenty of spiced lattes, movie nights, and cozy nights in front of the fire ahead as the seasons change. With all those warm nights in your house and hot baths, you might be spending a lot of money on maintaining that cozy feeling. The added expense of the upcoming festive season will also cost more than you’d normally spend in a month, so you could end up heading towards the new year out of pocket. However, there are plenty of ways to enjoy fall and winter, without spending a fortune. The following are some tips and ideas who are looking forward to a new start this autumn and want a fantastic cozy home on a budget.
Money On Your Mind
Turning the household heat up and taking as many hot baths as possible throughout the season is just one of the many luxuries to stay warm. Therefore, it’s worth looking into energy efficient boilers, and other ways to save on your energy bills. You could look into a quick cash loan to cover the cost, as long as you have a plan in place to pay it back, and it’s for something that’s going to save you cash in the long run.
Your energy provider might not be the most competitive rate available on the market either, so research into better value companies, and don’t be hesitant to switch if you discover one.
You’ll be tempted to get to the grocery store and buy all the ingredients and items you need as quickly as possible, before heading home for a cozy night. However, it’s worth taking some time before you head to the supermarket and looking to see where there are special deals on your weekly shopping. Buying items in bulk can often save cash, and there’s no better time to stockpile than fall and winter. Don’t flick the page over when you spot a coupon; cut it out and use it. You’d be surprised how much all those little deals and offers can add up over time. And definitely take advantage of digital coupons–nearly all major grocers offer them now.
Homemade Is Always Better
Perhaps you’ve eaten out more times than you can remember during summer; well, now’s the time to start utilizing your kitchen space and get baking or cooking up a storm. Warm, hearty, homemade food is always an appealing part of the colder months, so it’s worth saving you cash, and creating your own cafe, coffee shop, or restaurant for your family home. Check out some delicious fall recipes here and start writing your next grocery list.
Beauty treatments can also be an expensive addition to your monthly budget. Therefore, it’s worth considering a regular pampering evening in the comfort of your own home. Invite your girls over for some quality time, and they can sample all the good stuff you’ve been cooking recently. Make your own hair and face masks, and snuggle down and watch your favorite chick flick. You’ll save the money it would cost to visit the movies or a salon, and you’ll stay warm and cozy during a cold fall night.
Take turns with your family and close friends over fall and winter to host dinners and get-togethers. A simple, hot, home-cooked meal can be enjoyed by everyone, and those who are out of their home will be saving money on food, gas, and electricity in the meantime. You’ll have to return the favor, but what better way to spend the new season than with your nearest and dearest, and you’ll save money and stay cozy too!
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The credit crunch may be far behind us but ask most families and they’ll tell you that their finances are not out of the woods yet. Indeed, household wealth for the bottom 50% of US households is around half of what it was prior to the recession of 2008.
The economic realities of the 21st century mean that many households, especially those who have kids, are still feeling the pinch when it comes to managing their household finances. The cost of living has gotten increasingly untenable, especially for those living in major conurbation and living in properties where the rent keeps going up while offering tenants less and less for their money. The cost of raising a kid these days to the age of 18 is hovering just under the quarter of a million dollar mark.
With this in mind, pretty much all of us can afford to keep a closer eye on the purse-strings. The good news is that you don’t have to make huge sacrifices to save money. It’s usually just a case of staying vigilant and plugging any unnecessary leaks in your household’s outgoings. There are some surprising ways in which your household may inadvertently be wasting money. But first…
Budgeting is half the battle
Most of the time, we’re simply unaware of how much money is flowing out of the household simply because we don’t take the time to keep track of it. Carefully managed finances start with a carefully managed budget. When you account for everything that’s coming into and going out of your bank account it becomes that much easier to take control of your finances.
Just take a look at these household budget templates. Any of them will work for you so long as you stick to them. Over time you’ll see your disposable income increase, leaving you able to set some money aside in savings and treat yourself every once in a while.
Once again, doing this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to make sacrifices. You can still live the same lifestyle, you just need to look at some areas where money may be trickling out of your home unbeknownst to you. Some of these may be obvious to you. Others may be surprisingly… Surprising!
Sure, we all know about how to save money on the little things like your home’s gas and electricity, but we can compare price tariffs on these little essentials all day yet still find money leaking out of our homes on the most essential thing of all… Food! Of course, we all need to eat, but none of us needs to pay over the odds on food. Yet thousands of us do so all the time.
Food waste is a major cause of monetary waste. As a nation Americans waste 150,000 tons of food every day. That’s roughly equivalent to a pound of waste per person, per day.
Many of us buy fresh fruits and vegetables with the best of intentions. The trouble is that we can fail to order our refrigerators properly and it sits unused at the back of the shelf where it slowly rots and is thrown away.
Or we get home after a rough day at work and decide that we’re too exhausted to cook and reach for the Uber Eats app. Digital technology has made it easier than ever not to remain disciplined.
You’d be amazed how much you can save simply by cooking more, meal planning and prepping meals in batches.
Eating more fruits and veggies and less of everything else, especially meat and dairy can also save you a small fortune on your grocery bill while also helping your family to eat healthier. Indeed, a plant based diet could save you over $700 a year!
Still, even if you can’t get by without eating out as a family every now and then, you can still make savings here, too.
We’re long past the days where an internet connection is a luxury or a novelty. Whether we use it to stream Netflix in our down time or facilitate our telecommute, we’re all reliant on prepaying for internet connections.
In most cases you can make savings by bundling your internet, cable and phone packages but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some other useful ways in which you can make savings on your internet connection.
Get the speed you need. Many households pay for download speeds that are completely superfluous to their requirements.
Watch the prices of your provider’s competitors. If they can offer a better deal either leave your current provider or threaten to leave. Most providers would rather match or beat a competitor’s price to keep a customer.
Most of us in this day and age need a car to get around. While vehicles represent a necessary expense, by no means is this an expense that can’t be mitigated. Most of us know the value in keeping an eye on where to get the best gas prices, but fewer of us are aware that we can save money on gas by ensuring that our vehicles are well maintained.
A poorly tuned car uses between 25% and 33% more gasoline every year. While manufacturers recommend getting your oil and oil filters changed every 10,000 miles, changing them every 3,000 miles can potentially save you a small fortune in repairs and engine wear.
While it’s a no-brainer that your vehicle should have insurance before it takes to the road, don’t make the mistake of assuming that your insurer will reward you for your loyalty. Letting your policy roll over is almost always more expensive than seeking out a new one. What’s more, if you see a better offer out there you don’t have to be stuck with a bad policy. Changing over before your 12 months are up may incur a small charge, but this will usually pale in comparison to the savings that can be made.
Whatever your family’s circumstances, there are always ways in which you can save money month in, month out. And it only takes a few little changes to add up to big change over time.
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Helping your kids with their homework is part and parcel of being a parent. When they’re younger, you need to sit with them and go through it all. Then, as they get older, you can’t take such a hands-on approach anymore. A teenage child won’t want their parent sitting with them and trying to help them with their homework. They see it as embarrassing, this is something they need to do by themselves!
Similarly, they need to learn to be a bit more independent. So, how can you help your teen with their homework without being too hands on? As it happens, there are a few subtle things you can do that will assist them…
Buy them a homework planner
I love the idea of getting your kids practical presents. For one, it shows them that you care, and they’ll really appreciate you. Secondly, who doesn’t love getting gifts?! With this idea, you buy your teen a planner that they can use to be more organized. It lets them jot down any homework assignments, meaning they shouldn’t forget anything at all. They’ll also have a little book that shows them what needs to be done by when. So, it lets them prioritize which pieces they need to do over less important ones. Again, this brings more organization to their workload, ensuring they don’t miss deadlines and stay on top of everything.
Ensure they have a good internet connection
It seems silly, but you need to provide your kids with a good internet connection. Nowadays, pretty much all of their homework is done online. Even if it’s not submitted online, they still have to do lots of research to find answers and so on. As a result, you need the best possible internet service for your house. This ensures that the connection is fast, it doesn’t drop, and lots of devices can connect to it. Therefore, your teen will have no issues using the internet, and there will be fewer scenarios where they get angry and annoyed as pages aren’t loading or the connection is down. Anyone with a child knows that this is often the cause of many arguments in the home! So, if you can give them a good internet connection, then it’s one less thing holding them back from doing their work.
Give them a good place to study
Aside from a dodgy internet connection, one of the most frustrating things for teens is that the house isn’t a good place to work. There can be so much going on, particularly if they have younger siblings that pester them all the time. As a result, it’s hard to really settle down and get into a nice zone where they can concentrate. So, you can help them by giving them an excellent place to study. There are two options on my mind; convert a spare room/attic/basement/garage into a study, or set up a study area in their room. The first option is the best, but it’s also the most expensive and time-consuming. If you do go down this route, then you essentially create a place for them to work without interruptions – almost like they’re in a library or at school! With the second option, you can buy a nice desk and equipment for them to put in their bedroom. At the very least, this gives them a comfortable place to work with minimal disruptions .
Help them pay for study materials
As a parent of a teenager, you’ll quickly learn that the educational system is trying to bleed you dry of all your money. Textbooks and other study materials are quite frankly overpriced. So much so that your child probably can’t afford them on their own. As such, they’re at a disadvantage by not having access to the resources they need. Therefore, you can help them out by paying for some of the textbooks and other materials they need. It means they can use things that will assist them during their studies, so homework becomes much easier. Plus, as a bonus, you give them things that could help them go the extra mile and produce better assignments as well.
Try and make the house quieter while they work
Another subtle thing you can do to make a difference is making the house more peaceful when they’re working. This works in conjunction with the point about creating a study space for them. As I said before, your teen could have much younger siblings who are pretty hyperactive! So, family life in the home tends to be very manic and noisy. For an hour or so every day, you should work on making the house a quieter place to work. Take their siblings out to a park, bring them grocery shopping, or just entertain them in a room far away from your teenager. By giving your younger children the attention they need, it means they won’t bother your teen. As a result, they can work in a much more peaceful environment.
Encourage them to ask for help
While you don’t want to sit down with your child and watch them do all their homework, you can still be on-hand to help them. Here, you need to encourage them to ask for help whenever they need it. Make yourself available if they have any questions or queries about certain things. You should be someone they come to for help when they’re struggling to understand what’s being asked of them. In essence, you can still be a parent who helps your child do their homework, but you’re only there when they need you. This stops you from being too overbearing and looking over their shoulder every five minutes!
No matter how old your children get, they’ll always need your assistance. Especially when it comes to homework, and especially when they’re a teenager. Assignments will come in thick and fast, so you must do whatever it takes to help your teen without being too hands-on. These ideas all allow you to provide a helping hand without being too involved in their work!
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Our health is one of the most important things in our lives. Being in good health can help us get by in life and achieve everything we want to. It can also promote good mental health and help us enjoy happiness. However, even though we all know the whole importance of good female health, there are still few of us who actually know all about the ins and outs of women’s health.
Seeing as men an women have such different bodies, there is no wonder that they each have a completely separate set of health needs. So, it is imperative that, as a woman, you know all about your own set of needs so that you can give your body everything it needs to stay healthy. And that should help you stay happy too!
Here’s a quick rundown of the main points of women’s health. Make sure you have a good read through and fill in any gaps in your knowledge. Doing so could vastly improve your female health!
Every woman will have periods throughout her adult life. They start during adolescence and are a signal that puberty has started. Once you start your period, you will have one every month, unless you are pregnant, until you reach the menopause. More often than not, the menopause starts at middle age, though there are some reasons why it might begin earlier or later. Once you go through the menopause, you will no longer be fertile and won’t be able to have children. Many people think of periods as an annoyance as it can be quite uncomfortable for the few days when you have yours. Here are a few tips to help you get through your period days without too much discomfort.
Use A Hot Water Bottle – You will probably suffer from cramps while you are on your period. This is from the muscles in the uterus contracting to move the blood through. One way to relieve these is to hug a hot water bottle close to your stomach. The heat should relax the muscles and stop some of the pain and discomfort.
Do Some Gentle Exercise – Taking part in some Yoga or swimming will help to relieve some of the pain you experience from your period. That’s because it will increase the blood flow through the body, which can ease the cramps. Not only that, though, but this exercise will release endorphins and can help to lift your moods.
Try Not To Drink Coffee – Coffee is high in caffeine, which is a chemical that will make the body retain water. The more water your body retains, the more bloated, crampy, and achy you will feel. In fact, it’s best to stay away from all kinds of drinks that have caffeine, including sodas and teas. Instead, why not sip some ginger ale? Ginger has been proven to reduce stomach cramps.
Women are at a higher risk of contracting a UTI than men. So, it’s a good idea to find out about the best way to deal with these pesky health conditions. Here are a few tips that can help you get rid of your nest one faster.
Drink Plenty Of Water – The first thing you should do once you realize that you are dealing with a UTI is to reach for a big glass of water. You will need to drink plenty while you are suffering with the infection as it can help the body to flush it out. You just need to drink when you are thirsty to ensure you are getting plenty but, in general, that should be around eight glasses a day.
Eat Foods High In Vitamin C – You should try to eat as much vitamin C as possible, even when you don’t have a UTI. This vitamin can make the urine acidic, which will inhibit the growth of bacteria in it. When you do have a UTI, you might want to boost your vitamin C intake by taking a daily supplement.
Don’t Eat Or Drink Anything That Could Irritate The Bladder – There are quite a few foods that are considered to be bladder irritants. These include anything with caffeine in it, alcohol, spicy foods, and sodas. Instead, you should stick to fresh food and vegetables as well as whole grains. Carbohydrates that are high in fiber, such as oats, are particularly good at soothing UTIs.
Fertility Tips And Advice
One of the main differences between men and women is that a woman’s fertility is a lot more restricted than a guy’s. In fact, men are fertile for their whole life, while women only become fertile in puberty and then are infertile again after the menopause.
There are also a lot of external factors that can affect a woman’s fertility. For instance, drinking a lot of alcohol and smoking can reduce it, as can being very overweight. However, some women can struggle with their fertility even if there are no clear reasons why.
If you do think you have fertility problems, you might want to talk to your doctor about fertility testing as they will be able to refer you to a fertility clinic. Once you are registered with a clinic, the specialists there will be able to talk to you about your options. You might want to try IVF, IUI, or even consider using a surrogate.
Necessary Health Checks
A fertility test isn’t the only check you might want to get. There are also a few other examinations and tests that it is highly advisable for all women to start taking as soon as they reach adulthood. Taking them can help you spot a potentially life-threatening illness in the very early stages when it is still easy to treat. Here are some of the most important health checks to take.
A Pap Test – The pap test is also known as the smear test. You might have heard it been called a cervical screening before. This test is carried out every three years in women aged over twenty-five. It aims to detect the early stages of cervical cancer. In some cases, the test can even spot pre-cancerous cells that haven’t started to turn into the disease yet. Even though this is quite an invasive scan, it is still crucial that you go for your test when it comes around. Some women don’t attend because they are too embarrassed. However, it is much better to have the test done to ensure that you are healthy. Otherwise, the cancer could go by undetected, and things could turn very serious very quickly.
A Breast Examination – As well as testing for cervical cancer, you should also carry out a breast examination to spot the early signs of breast cancer. You can do this yourself at home, and it’s best to carry out the examination once a month in the week immediately following your period. You should feel your breasts gently and see if you notice any new lumps or changes in the breast tissue. If you do notice this, you should see your doctor immediately for further tests.
Blood Pressure – All women need to be going for semi-regular blood pressure tests. Normally, your doctor will do this even if you are seeing them about something unrelated. Even though high blood pressure is something that usually affects older people, it is still important to get tested for it. These days, high blood pressure is on the rise amongst young adults as most people lead such hectic lives these days. Ideally, you should try and keep your stress levels down to a minimum. If they get too high, then you will be at a high risk of developing high blood pressure, which could then lead onto serious health conditions, including heart disease.
BMI – It’s also worth getting your BMI (body mass index) checked out every now and then. Your doctor can do this for you, but you should be able to figure it out yourself if you have some scales at home.
A Good Night’s Sleep
We all need to get plenty of sleep, and this is particularly important for women. A good night’s sleep has been shown to improve fertility as well as mental health and a range of other health conditions. So, make sure you are getting to bed at a decent time each night. If you struggle to sleep, there are a few things you can do that should improve the situation. For instance, you might want to try getting into a good bedtime routine so that you can prepare your body and mind for sleep. It’s also worth not using screens for an hour before you go to bed, and remove any distractions from the bedroom. If that doesn’t seem to help you, you might want to see your doctor and discuss the possibility of insomnia.
There are lots of health things to try and keep on top of as a woman. If you get into a good health routine, then you should be able to improve your body and mind’s health and fitness!
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As wonderful as gardens are, they are somewhat time-limited. In spring and summer, you can enjoy all the benefits of spending time outside with friends, gardening in an effort to create a truly spectacular space, and even throwing a party or two to celebrate the warmest seasons of the year. Even when fall sets in, there are still wonders to be enjoyed in your outdoor space; watching the leaves change and enjoying the last of the year’s sunshine before winter garden prep.
Unfortunately, winter is the season that tends to cause most people to have to abandon their gardens, as the weather turns and makes time outdoors an unpleasant proposition. You may currently be planning your annual winter retreat from your garden as a result, but before you go, there are a few tasks you may want to attend to…
#1 – Plant cover crops
Cover crops – such as rye and clover – can help to prevent soil erosion over winter and add nutrients to the soil, so they are well worth using. It’s generally thought that cover crops should be planted at least one month before the first serious frost; there should still be enough time to do this in most regions, but it’s definitely a task that should go right to the top of your to-do list.
#2 – Protect your garden tools
Garden tools are always susceptible to rusting, but the lack of use over winter means you need to take extra preventative steps at this time of year. The best way to do store tools over winter is as follows:
Carefully dry your garden tools with a microfiber cloth – this should help ensure you get every last drop of moisture.
When you’re sure the tools are dry, store them in a covered container filled with sand.
#3 – Cut the lawn short and remove leaves
The best approach for your lawn over winter is to cut the grass as short as your equipment allows and remove leaves as and when they accumulate. Some people add fertilizer to help maintain good lawn health over winter, but some experts argue this can be harmful, so it may be best to consult a professional for advice on whether this would be an appropriate choice for you.
#4 – Winterize your water sources
Water sources – such as your hose pipe, water butt, or sprinkler system – are vulnerable during the coldest month of the year, so it’s important to take the appropriate steps to protect them. Take the time to insulate your hose, cover your water butt, and go through steps to winterize your sprinklers in order to ensure these items are able to work exactly as they should right from the get-go next spring.
#5 – Prepare your soil for spring
Although most people reserve this activity for the spring, fall is a great time to dig in soil amendments like manure, compost, bone meal, kelp, and rock phosphate.
By going through the steps above, you can be sure that all parts of your garden will be as protected as possible – so you can get right back to enjoying your outdoor space the moment the first signs of spring arrive.
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Every parent will know that raising kids and managing a household don’t come cheap. The good news is that it is possible to make savings, and often, small changes can make all the difference. If you’re looking to maximize your disposable income, or you’re hoping to bolster your savings account balance, here are some tips to help you tighten your belt without making any sacrifices.
One of the best things to do if you’re keen to take control of spending and try and reduce your outgoings is carry out an audit. In this day and age, when we tap or swipe to make a payment, place orders online or use credit cards, it can be incredibly difficult to keep track of spending. You may underestimate how much is going out of your checking account or onto a card, and you might not really know where your money goes each month. To adopt a firmer grip, it’s a great idea to sit down with a notebook and a pen, and go through your most recent statements. This will give you an idea of how much you spend in an average week or month, and enable you to see if there are any outgoings you could curtail. If you do find that you lose track of transactions easily, it’s also beneficial to make a note of how much you spend each day using an app or a spreadsheet on your laptop.
Budgeting is a really useful tool for anyone who is keen to spend less and save more. If you know exactly how much money you have available every month, this will help to prevent overspending and ensure that you only buy what is necessary. Budgeting is really simple, and it can make a huge difference when it comes to money management. All you need to do is use an app, create a spreadsheet or use a pen and paper to create lists of your incoming and outgoing payments. Once you’ve got all the figures in front of you, you’ll be able to see how much disposable income you have, how much your bills cost, and how much you could put away in your savings account.
Lowering household costs
The vast majority of people could lower their household expenditure without making drastic changes. Think about where your money goes, and then consider how you could shave a few dollars off every payment each month. Simple changes like avoiding buying a takeaway coffee every morning and doing your food shop online could lead to huge savings.
One of the best ways to slash household costs in revising your food budget. Many of us overspend at the supermarket, and we end up throwing away items that we don’t use. If you’re lured in by neon lights and special offers, now is the time to embrace online shopping. When you shop online, you can create a list, add those items and keep an eye on your running total without having to swerve promotional items and giant sale signs. You can also save money on food bills by batch cooking, buying frozen food, and swapping takeouts and ready meals for home-cooked fare.
Another way to save on household bills is to reduce energy usage. If you dread the arrival of your monthly gas and electricity bills, you can bring costs down by using less energy and investing in gadgets and devices that are designed to save you money, such as energy-efficient bulbs. Don’t leave lights on when you leave the room, turn appliances off at the socket, and don’t be wasteful with water.
In this day and age, it’s almost always possible to save money by shopping around. You can apply this rule to products ranging from diapers, strollers, and clothing to pet food, electrical items, flights and insurance policies. As a general rule, it’s best not to buy anything until you’ve looked elsewhere to see if you can get a better deal. The Internet makes it possible to compare prices within seconds, and you can follow links online to complete a purchase in a matter of minutes. With the holidays coming up, it’s a great idea to embrace price comparison and also to look out for special offers like Black Friday stroller deals and discounts on popular items like TV sets, gifts and festive food and drinks. If you are braving yourself for Black Friday, go into it with a list of items you want or need, and try not to be blinkered by marketing ploys. Great deals aren’t so great when you end up with a load of stuff that you won’t use.
On the subject of shopping around, it’s useful to take a moment to look at your insurance policies. If any are due for renewal, it’s worth using comparison sites to see if you could get more for your money. Competition in this industry is rife, and many companies offer new customers their best deals. Rather than renewing automatically, check what other plans are available. You may find that you could save hundreds of dollars across a range of policies.
Having fun on a budget
We all know that having fun can come at a price. If the kids are asking to go on vacation, they want to go to theme parks or to the movies, or you fancy treating yourself to a day out with your friends, it can all add up. Thankfully, there are ways to save. Register with coupon sites to take advantage of offers like discounted park tickets and buy one get one free on kids’ meals, and think about ways you can socialize for less. Take it in turns to host dinner parties or movie nights instead of going to restaurants and cinemas and organize play dates at home.
Most of us would love to have a little extra cash, especially at this time of year. If you’re looking to try and save, but you don’t fancy overhauling your lifestyle, there are some very simple ways to take control of spending and reduce your outgoings. Hopefully, this guide will set you on the right path.
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