Garage Conversions: They’re Not As Difficult (Or Expensive) As You Think

So your house has a garage. That’s great if you’ve got a car! But, what if you don’t? Or perhaps you do have a car but you just always leave it on your driveway? In those circumstances, garages can become unofficial storage areas for all kinds of junk.

They are the places where things that have no specific place in our homes spend their days. As you can imagine, junk can soon start to accumulate in our garages. As a result, we can end up losing track of where everything is! The obvious solution to that problem is to do something with that junk.

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Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Once we’ve done that, we end up with an empty garage – hooray! But, what can we do to use this now-empty space better? Many people opt for garage conversions. In a nutshell, this is where they convert their garages into more usable spaces. Believe it or not, they aren’t as expensive as you might think. Not are they difficult DIY projects. Here’s why:

 

It’s already a usable room

One of the brilliant things about garage conversions is you don’t have to start from scratch. You already have a good foundation, walls and a ceiling in your garage. All you need to do is carry out some interior decoration work.

Most people know that the cost to build a garage from the ground up can cost thousands. The beauty of garage conversions is you’ll pay nowhere near such figures. In a sense, one can compare the cost of garage conversions to converting attics.

 

You have limitless possibilities

Another advantage of garage conversions is you can do more with the space. In many cases, you’re often limited to what you can do with the rooms in your house. Garages are a different story! For example, you could create a soundproofed recording studio.

 

So, it wouldn’t matter if you’re into heavy metal music or even rock. You can make as much noise as you want without disturbing other people in your home. Soundproofing an internal room in your house is harder to achieve than in an annex like your garage.

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Photo via Flickr

You won’t have to replace anything in your garage

Some of you reading this might think you’ll need to pay for replacement items. But, don’t despair if you’ve just bought some new Novoferm garage doors! You can keep virtually everything in your garage!

Doors, windows, and other fixtures can remain where they are. All you are doing is repurposing your garage into a different kind of room. So, you can rest easy knowing you won’t need to spend five-figure sums on your garage conversion!

 

You could opt for the converted warehouse look

Are you on a tight budget? If so, the thought of spending large sums on a garage conversion might not fill you with confidence. The good news is you don’t have to spend a lot.

For example, you could achieve the converted warehouse look with your garage. Bare brick walls are popular with many garage conversions these days. As is concrete flooring, believe it or not!

 

You could even achieve a more homely look for less

“What if I want to achieve the opposite look for my garage?,” I hear you ask. Well, that is also possible on a limited budget too! For instance, you could get discounted carpet from a variety of sources. Local carpet stores usually have rolls of “off-cuts” or end of line items. And you can even get some cheap carpet online too!

White paint is cheap to buy, and you can use it over masonry. If you wanted to have decorative interior walls, drywall is actually cheap to buy. You could get some and then paint or wallpaper over them without plastering.

There is a variety of ways that you can make your garage like other rooms in your home. And most of them can get done without spending a fortune.

 

There is plenty of inspiration on the World Wide Web

So, now you know that it’s possible to do a garage conversion while keeping your costs down. But, what if you’re unsure what to use the room for?

People convert their garages into all kinds of things. Examples include artist studios and games rooms. Some people even build model railways in them! If you’re still stuck for inspiration, don’t worry because help is at hand! The Internet is awash with inspiration for people that want to create garage conversions.
I recommend checking out websites like Pinterest for a start. Be sure to take a look at this article from Homedit. Thanks for reading today’s blog post!

Sick Of Low Household Finances? Five Tips To Turn Things Around

One of the most important, and often the most stressful, parts of managing a household is keeping track of the finances. We all have our tips to being frugal, but we don’t want to keep it that way. What we should really be aiming for is a more stable financial situation in future. That means developing a plan.

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Image by Dave Dugdale

 

Know where your money goes

The most important thing is making sure we know how we are and have been spending our money. In excruciating detail. Without that information, we don’t know how much we’re improving in future. Don’t guestimate things. Track your expenses and make a household budget. See who’s spending where and spot opportunities to start improving your spending. Tracking your progress is key to actually making some.

 

Be a smarter consumer

Once you know where your money is going, it’s easier to start reducing the amount you’re paying. Being frugal isn’t necessarily about cutting down on the things you need or even the things you simply want. It just means being smarter about it. Finding the best deals and coupons. Planning and buying in bulk for your meals to reduce those costs. Arranging a staycation at a city or town instead of flying for a quick visit.

 

Improve your options

You also need to improve the financial options you have. To get better interest rates and access to loans that can help you in the future. A lot of this boils down to taking better care of your credit. Knowing the different types of accounts on your credit report and how to take care of them. Catching up on loans, getting rid of debts. This is where the extra money you’re making on your budget should rightly be going.

 

Always prepare for emergencies

Besides the longer term focuses, you should always have a short term wad of cash ready. Not to splurge on a shop or keep for Christmas. But to take care of you when it really matters. A real emergency fund should be around three month’s share of the salary in the home. This way, it protects you from the risk of unemployment. Just make sure you actually save it for emergencies. It’s strictly a no-dipping-into fund.

 

Shop around more

It’s not just the short-term costs you should plan for, either. Take a look at your bills in detail. Get good, wide price comparisons on them. Your cell phone, your insurance, your utilities. A lot of us pay for more simply because we want more inclusive options. Then we don’t use them. This is particularly common in health insurance policies and things like mobile internet data. Decide what you really need from your plans and shop around for them.

 

The plan we need should be all encompassing. It should help us look at how we’ve done in the past. Incorporate how we change our spending in the present. Look at what options we have for our financial future. Taking your eye from any one aspect of these means the others all fall down.

A Beginner’s Guide To Building A Financial Future For Your Kids

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(Photo via pixabay: https://goo.gl/rCedCs)

As a parent, you want to think about your kids future. Most importantly, you want to ensure they never have to worry about money. When they grow older, you want them to have enough money to get by. I’m sure a lot of you have been through tough financial situations in your life. Living in debt and struggling to pay rent isn’t fun. So, we want to ensure our kids don’t go through the same financial stress as us. With this guide, you can start building a better financial future for your kids:

 

Open Savings Accounts

For many people, savings accounts are a brilliant solution to the problem at hand. By opening a savings account for your kids, you can start to build a brighter future. Every month you can deposit money into the accounts, and it will grow with interest. The result is that your children end up with money in a bank account for them. Then, when they reach a certain age, they’re able to access this account and do what they want with the money. Some may choose to keep it as it is, while others will switch it to a regular account and use the money.

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(Pic source: https://goo.gl/jMGPdN)

Make Investments

Investing your money is a great way to build a financial future for your kids. With the right investments, you can slowly build a large sum of money for them. The extra cash you earn can remain tied up in the investments and passed on to them. Alternatively, you can take part in something like an SMSF. Typically, these are funds designed to help you generate retirement income. You can use them to make investments and build a retirement fund. Then, when you retire, you can use the money from these investments and pass it on to your kids. It can give them a financial boost and keep them living happily. If that interests you, then there are SMSF services available for you to try out. Of course, there are loads of investments you can make, ranging from gold to property.

Teach Them The Value Of Money

Arguably the best way to secure a good financial future for your children is by teaching them the value of money. Too many kids will grow up not knowing anything about money. They think it’s something you can spend whenever you want, and just keep on spending. People aren’t aware of the best ways to manage their money until they get into a bad financial situation. Then, they’ll be told what they need to do to improve it by an advisor of sorts. You can stop your kids from getting into bad situations by teaching them about money. Tell them how to manage money and the importance of saving. By teaching them valuable life skills, they’ll take greater care of their money. I think this is the best advice in this guide; all parents need to do this with their children.

 

Hopefully, this guide has given you some words of wisdom to follow. Follow all the advice and you’ll sleep soundly knowing that you’re building a good future for your kids.

 

Here’s How You Can Still Be A Domestic Goddess On A Budget

Many women dream of being a domestic goddess. Someone who can effortlessly whip up awesome meals in the kitchen and make it look all so effortless. It may look like you need to spend a lot of money on fantastic kitchen ware and top-quality ingredients, but that certainly isn’t the case. It is very possible to be a fabulous domestic goddess on a budget! Interested to learn exactly how you can manage it? It’s all in this blog post…

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Cook Big Batches At The Weekends

 

Batch Cooking is a great way to save money while cooking. It is super easy to do – all you need to do is cook a large meal and portion it up into freezable portions. You can then use each portion for dinners at a later date. So it is the perfect way to save time during those evenings when you don’t have long to cook dinner! You will only have to take out a portion from the freezer, let it thaw and then reheat in the microwave. If you and your partner are ever away for the evening, your kids can heat up the meal for themselves. And that way, you will know they are eating nutritious meals while you aren’t there! Obviously, this form of cooking only works with certain types of dishes. Casseroles and stews are ideal. As are shepherd’s pies and lasagnes. You can even cook big batches of desserts to make sure you always have something sweet in your kitchen. Try cooking a batch of chia pudding. Make sure you cook your big batch at the weekend, and then it should last you through the week.

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Look For Inspiration In Unusual Places

 

Why just stick to the same recipes? There are so many meals and dishes you could be cooking; it’s a good idea to mix things up now and then! So try to find culinary inspiration in unique places. If you go on a vacation, try to find out about your destination’s cuisine. Then you can try to make your favorite foreign dishes at home once you get back. This is a great idea for dinner parties and your guests will love experiencing new flavors and textures in their food. Another great place to hunt for culinary inspiration is on YouTube. Lots of cooks have started making recipe videos and sharing them with their fans and followers. Even brands have now started using the video website to share recipe and food ideas. Subscribe to Hampton Creek and their YouTube channel if you want regular videos that feature recipes and ingredient information. Not feeling too tech savvy? No worries; you can always switch on your TV and see what is on the cooking channels. TV chefs are on around the clock, bringing you modern ideas to use in your very own kitchen.

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Be A Smart Shopper

 

There are always new and unique ingredients coming onto the market. Things like kale and chia seeds weren’t sold in supermarkets a few years ago. But today, thanks to an increase in their popularity, you will find them in many shops and stores. However, they often come with very high price tags. You might not think you can use these trendy ingredients if you are trying to cook on a budget. But, in actual fact, you certainly can! One of the best ways to look for deals is to shop online. Many shops and supermarkets offer special deals and discounts that are only available to online customers. You could even try searching online for coupons that can be used to save you money on your total shop. When you are out in the supermarket try and look for offers such as buy one get one free. You will be very surprised at how much money you can save if you stick to these deals!

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Buy In Season

 

Almost every fruit and vegetable will have a season. This is the few months when you will be able to buy it in the shops. Most fruits and berries come into season through the summer. Vegetables such as turnip and cabbage are in season in the winter. You can still buy some things when they are not in season, though. But remember that they will cost you a lot more than if you wait to cook with them during their season. This is because farmers and producers have to put in a lot of effort and money to get them to grow out of their season. And this pushes up price tags. So to keep your grocery bill as low as possible, only buy things when they are in season. Not sure when that will be? There are plenty of informative websites online that can help you out.

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Don’t Waste Leftovers

 

Cooking too much food is a surefire way to waste money. If you find it tricky to always cook just enough, then you need to start begin creative with all your leftovers. Don’t just bin any food that isn’t eaten. Think about how you can use it in your next meals. Some foods, such as lasagne and soups, can be saved and enjoyed the next day for lunch. Leftover meat can also be eaten cold in sandwiches. However, fatty meats like lamb and duck are best reheated and enjoyed warm. You can add them to curries and stews. If you have a lot of leftover vegetables after a large Sunday dinner, save them for lunch the next day. All you need to do is fry them to make a delicious serving of bubble and squeak. If you are clever with your leftovers, you could even reduce your weekly shopping bill. Not sure something is safe to be eaten later? Have a quick search on Google to find out.
The life of a domestic goddess isn’t easy – you will need to be smart enough to look after your whole household and also stick to your budget. But it is very much worth it! You’ll be the envy of all your friends!

Clever Ways To Make Moving Much Easier And Cheaper

Moving day can be a really exciting time for couples and families. Whether you’re moving into your first ‘real’ home or you’ve been in a few already. Moving signifies a new start, and can bring many opportunities. You can explore new places, and make new friends. You can make new memories in a home you love!

 

That being said, moving isn’t always a breeze. Unless you sell all of your belongings and only have yourself to take, moving can cost a lot of money. Not to mention time! Then you have the area to consider, job prospects, and the cultural aspect of things. Moving isn’t always sunshine and rainbows!

 

Don’t worry though: there are a few ways you can make moving day much easier and even cheaper. Whether you’re moving across the country or down the road, this infographic can help. You’ll not only get some great tips, but a helpful checklist too.

Produced By Moving Checklist Infographic

E-Hydrate Protein On-the-Go

With active kids and a busy lifestyle, our goal is to always make sure the kids (and ourselves) have enough nutrients.  Because we have young athletes protein and hydration are always a high priority.  E-Hydrate Protein is perfect on the go.

We actually took E-Hydrate with us on a recent camping trip.  I wasn’t sure if we’d use them but, again, I like to be prepared.  The kids loved the KIDS Hydration Drink Mix and I love that they have 0 grams of sugar!  They loved all the flavors but both agreed, Fruit Punch was their favorite.  The Protein On-the-Go was mess free and only has 4 grams of sugar (and 25 grams of protein, while the kids protein boasts 10 grams).

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These packets are easy to travel with for both adults and kids.  I highly recommend these mixes and packets; there’s something for everyone and for all needs.

Five Tips To Save Money On Your Food Shopping Bill

Our food shopping bill can creep up each week without us even realizing how. Food shopping can be the biggest cost to our disposable income each month. But it doesn’t have to be. Thankfully what we spend on food is our personal choice. We just need to be more clever on how we approach things. So I thought I would share with you some of the ways you can reduce your food shopping bill.

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Image source

 

Meal plan

Planning your meals each week is one of the sure fire ways to reduce your shopping bill. All you need to do is look at what you have in already, decide what you are eating for the week and then buy the ingredients you need. As you only buy what you need, you end up saving money overall. Too many times we can go to the store without a plan and end up buying lots of things we don’t need and worse still end up wasting food because it goes off.

 

Shop in different stores

Another option would be to consider going to different stores to buy products. Some stores will sell certain brands cheaper than others, or may have special offers on like buy one get one free or a discounted price. This is where you need to shop a little smarter. There are plenty of websites online that can tell you where the best deals are taking place. Our shopping habits have changed over the years and sometimes going back to old processes can help you save money. Websites like http://allthingshvac.com/how-to-save-money explore ourshopping habits more closely.

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Use coupons and discount codes

Coupons and discount codes can help bring a shopping bill down. However, they are only helpful if you need the product so again be clever with your choices. You can collect them everywhere. Most stores offer magazines that have them inside, but you could also seek them out on online websites. Some people get in touch with the brands they use regularly expressing how much they enjoy the products. Sometimes those brands will send coupons through the mail as a thank you. It is always worth keeping an eye out for things like this.

 

Batch cook in advance

Meal planning can help reduce your bill but so can batch cooking. Cooking in bulk means you make more of your ingredients and freeze meals for the future. You can save a lot of money doing things this way and it all it require is a little advance preparation and time. When saving money, your freezer can become a great tool to use.

 

Keep an inventory of what you have in the cupboards

Finally, keeping track of what we have in our freezer and cupboards means we are less likely to double buy things. Websites like http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/whats-for-dinner-6-fridge-management-apps-weekly-smartphone-app-roundup-189441 have a great list of phone apps that can help with this. Sometimes we can be guilty of heading to a store and wondering if we have a particular item at home. We then may buy it just incase only to have it in. Knowing what you have means you can create things with the ingredients you have before having to buy any extra food you don’t necessarily need.

 

I hope this helps you save money on your food shopping bill.

Save Money On Your Household Bills Today With These Nifty Tips

Our household bills can creep up without us even realizing. But they are the main things we have no choice but to pay. Our household bills can cover anything from living and clothing to the payment of house and heating. However, just because they are bills and outgoings we have to pay it doesn’t mean we can’t save money on them. So I thought I would share with you some tips on how to save money on your household bills.

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Have a detailed budget

 

The first thing that would be best to do is to have a detailed budget. You need one that can cover the whole year of expenditure. This is so you can budget for birthdays and christmas as well as vacations and annual bills. A lot of the time, the bills we don’t pay regularly, or the unsuspecting ones that arrive are the bills that can put us out of pocket. Having a detailed budget will enable us to see our financial future right before our eyes, and know exactly what position we are in.

 

Think about changing providers

 

Sometimes we can become complacent and lazy when it comes to our household bills. We think that changing things or asking for deals will cause more harm than good. But this is where the most saving of money can be made. A lot of the time, with our current providers like electricity or water, we may have come out of an introductory offer meaning we pay more than we should. Thankfully with things like electricity you now have the power to choose and make changes. This is where you can save a lot of money.

 

Check your outgoings

 

Checking your current outgoings is so important. Many of us don’t realise that we have direct debits leaving each month for things we no longer use or need. This is where a good saving can be made to your monthly spend. Canceling them direct with your bank is a quick and easy way to get things back in order. You also need to check whether you are paying too much for other things like insurances and bank account fees. This is another area you could potentially save on your household bills.

 

Take action with the spend you can control

 

The best way to start trying to save money is to look at the spend you can control and make some severe changes. This is things like food and clothing. Do you need that extra pair of shoes? Will you use that kitchen appliance you think you need? Sometimes you have to ask yourself the questions of whether you will use it and do you need it. A lot of the time it will be enough to deter you from spending money you don’t need to. You can also make a big saving on your food shopping bill by changing your regular habits. This means meal planning and writing a list. You could also hunt out coupons and use them for all sorts of things including meals and days out.

 

I hope these tips help you save some money on your household bills.

 

Saving For Your Family Vacation: 4 Tips

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Family vacations can be expensive, especially if you have a large family. There’s the cost of transport to take into consideration. You have to pay for accommodation. And of course, that’s before you take into account costs for food and entertainment. It can all mount up.

 

Follow our tips on how to save for your vacation, so you can relax and have fun.

  1. Set A Budget

Before you book your vacation, set a budget. Be strict and make sure you keep within this. Take everything into consideration. Make sure you include transport, accommodation, food, drinks, and entertainment.

Do some research and compare a variety of family vacation ideas. Get an idea of the activities you might want to take part in. Compare prices and look for special offers and budget family vacations. Include all of this in your budget.

 

  1. Look For Simple Ways To Make Savings

Once you have set your budget, you’re ready to make a start on saving. The easiest way to save is to look for simple changes. These are things that won’t be too difficult or you won’t miss. Examples include:

  • Cut out your morning coffee on the way to work. Or, make your own and take a travel cup.
  • Cut down on store-bought snacks. All those cakes, biscuits, and crisps mount up over the week.
  • Make a packed lunch and take it to work. Store-bought sandwiches are more expensive.
  • Cut down on car journeys and public transport. Can you walk or take your bike instead?
  • Cut down on newspaper and magazine subscriptions. Read online instead.
  • Buy large bottles of water, rather than lots of small ones. Or drink tap water.
  • If you like to socialize, invite friends to your home rather than going out all the time.
  • Cut down on beauty treatments by doing them at home.
  • Check your energy suppliers. Are you on the best tariff?
  • Are you spending a fortune on your mobile phone? Find ways to save by using wifi and apps like Whatsapp.

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Cut Down On Your Groceries

Another way to save money is to cut back on your grocery shopping. There are several ways you can do this:

  • Plan your meals ahead of time and use them to work out your shopping list.
  • Always make a list and stick to it.
  • Prepare your meals rather than buying ready made meals.
  • When cooking, prepare twice as much and freeze it. This will help you avoid take-out.
  • Savings can often be made when you buy in bulk.
  • Look out for special offers and 3 for 2 deals.
  • Check out your local newspaper for coupons and promotions.
  • Shop around and don’t do all your shopping at one store.
  • Obtain a loyalty card at each store you shop in

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  1. Get The Kids Involved

Get the kids involved by encouraging them to save their own spending money for the holiday. Encourage them to save their allowance and give them money for completing odd jobs. If they want to spend money on sweets and snacks, remind them of their vacation.

Leave yourself enough time to plan your vacation and save. Start with areas you won’t notice, such as saving on fuel bills, etc. By the time your vacation arrives, you can relax and enjoy it.

 

Planning A Fun & Exciting Family Road Trip: Everything That You Need To Know!

Road trips are becoming more and more popular with families in the US, and for good reason. When it comes to family travel, planes can be a real nightmare. That’s why a lot of parents with little ones, prefer to drive across country, instead of jetting off abroad or to another state. Plus, opting to plan a road trip instead of jetting off abroad can save you a lot of money.

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Of course, planning a road trip that the whole family will enjoy isn’t always easy. Especially, if your children have a large age gap between them. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not doable. It’s just a case of doing lots of research and making sure that you’re prepared for anything that could happen. From the kids getting bored on the journey to the satnav stopping working, you need to be prepared for every eventuality.

For all the best tips for planning a fun and exciting family road trip, keep reading.

 

Visit several locations

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Instead of simply driving to one location and spending all of your time there, visit a range of places. Use a map to work out your route from home to your chosen destination and look for things to see and do on the way. By doing this, you’ll break up the journey and make it more enjoyable. Aim to use a different route on the way there, to the one that you use on the way back, so that there are different things to see and do.

 

Choose the ideal mode of transport

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Once you’ve planned your route, the next step is to choose how you’ll get there. A car is the cheapest option, but if you travel by car, you’ll need to find accommodation on the way or be willing to camp. If you would rather not camp or have to pay for accommodation, hiring or buying an RV is a good option. This gives you a vehicle to travel in, as well as accommodation wherever you go. Plus, you’ll have access to a kitchen which means that you won’t have to pay to eat out every night.

 

Beat travel boredom

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At times, traveling can be boring for kids. So it’s important to plan ahead to make sure that they have plenty to keep them occupied. Travel games are great, but that’s not all you can do. How about packing coloring pads and pencils, books, cards, board games, and downloading movies and games onto a tablet for them. To make the miles go faster and to stop constant cries of ‘are we there yet’, help your kids to track the miles. Print each child out a mini-map and give them a pack of stickers. For each 10 miles that you pass, allow them to add a sticker to their map, to mark the route that you’ve taken.

 

Family travel can be a lot of fun, especially if you’re visiting various locations. It can take a lot of planning to get right, but if you’re organized about it, you can organize the most amazing family road trip.