Easy Tips For Saving Money At Home

We’d all like to have more money in the long run, wouldn’t we? However, in between our basic living costs and all the leisure items we like to have, saving money at home can feel pretty tough. If you feel you have way less to spend than you should, then fixing this could be easier than you think. Here are some easy ways you can save money around your home.

The most general tip I can offer for saving money is to use what you already have in the house, rather than going out and spending more. There are more ways to do this than you might think – though it takes a little DIY from you. Think of the money you spend on skin care products. This can be cut right down by making your own! For example, you can make your own effective moisturiser by mixing coconut oil, lavender oil and vitamin E. You can also make your own dry shampoo using corn starch and various essential oils. There are countless recipes like this available on the web. Once you’ve tried a few, it’ll be hard for you to look at professional beauty products in the same way!

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Image from Flickr

Next, I strongly suggest using a slow cooker. Depending on your particular tastes, you could save by simply cooking more meals from scratch. Slow cookers have a more specific niche though; saving you from the temptation of ordering out! Early in the day, you simply throw a few ingredients in, and let it simmer for several hours. When you come home after a long day of work, you might be tempted to order a pizza, but a cheaper and more nutritious meal will be cooked and waiting for you. Cooking with the recipes that work with a slow cooker can take some adjustment. Keep at it though. Soon, you’ll have a few favourites which you’ll be able to prepare in no time.

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Image from Wikimedia

There are a lot of good habits which can save you money around the house. However, if you need money fast, you might want to have a big clear-out of your entire home. I’m sure there’s a lot of stuff which you don’t need anymore. Most of this can be donated or sold at yard sales, but make sure you don’t throw away anything of value! Antiques and precious metals are something you should really look out for. We’ve all seen those auction shows where people bring in old junk from the attic, and discover it’s worth much more than it would seem. Also, with silver prices per ounce today, you’d be crazy not to get any precious metals valued. It might not solve all of your problems, but selling as much as possible will certainly help.

I hope this information has helped you towards a more cost-effective home. After you try out a few of these suggestions, you’ll probably find it much easier to be proactive with your money. Keep looking for different methods of saving, and soon your finances will be much more stable and manageable.

Essential Packing Tips For The Perfect Road Trip

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Are you taking the family away for a relaxed road trip this year? Would you like to make sure you don’t forget to pack anything important? Then read this article carefully and print the page if you think it will help. Most people know that spending time on the open road is a great way to enjoy their annual vacation. Indeed, you could visit some of the country’s most iconic sights during a single trip if you plan the route right. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the items you won’t want to leave out of your suitcases.

 

Clothing for different weather conditions

 

It’s impossible to know if the weather will deteriorate during your trip. However, it’s almost guaranteed to happen if you plan to go camping. Those people on the TV get their forecasts wrong all the time. So, it’s sensible to pack a range of spare clothing for your family. You’ll need jumpers if the temperature drops, and plenty of t-shirts for the sunshine. It’s also wise to make sure everyone has enough underwear. You might think it sounds silly, but running out of socks half way through your trip could become a real pain. You’d have to find shops that sell the items you need, and that takes the magic out of your journey.

 

Beach products when you visit the sea

 

Most people in America live hundreds of miles from the coast. So, those who take road trips often decide to visit the sea. Make sure you don’t forget to pack the essentials if you want to have a good time. You’re going to need towels, spades, and maybe a beach chair or two. It’s also a good idea to pack enough sun lotion for the entire family. Again, buying it while you’re away can affect the ambiance. Also, retailers near the bear will charge over the odds for products like that because they know people will pay.

 

Safety and navigation devices

 

It would be nice if you could leave your mobile phones at home during the trip. However, that’s not realistic in the modern world. While you can keep them switched off, you never know when you might face an emergency. You’ll also want to pack a satellite navigation system in case you ever get lost along the way. First-aid kits are critical, and you must make sure they’re well stocked before leaving home. If a member of your family becomes ill during the holiday, you can bet it will be when you’re miles from a hospital. So, double check that you’ve got antiseptic creams and anything else you might need.
So long as you remember to take all those items along for the drive, your family should have an excellent time. The only other thing you need to bring is your camera. It’s possible you might have some incredible experiences during your two weeks on the road. So, it would be a real shame if you failed to capture them on film. Now you just need to plan your route and ensure your family doesn’t miss out on any interesting sights. You can use Google or an app on your phone to help with that.

Why You Should Buy a Cheap Coffee Maker

There are varieties of coffee makers that you can select to buy online. You have the web to explore for the sake to buy a great coffee maker, but the thing is, it is not easy to find a great coffee maker which also fulfill the requirement of your budget. That’s why this article is here to help you all to get a great and a best cheap coffee maker. For those who are mediocre and cannot afford too expensive appliances, this article is going to help too much. Even for those who are rich enough to purchase great appliances of any price, but what if they can have those in cheap prices.

What is the difference?

I am not denying the fact that the price doesn’t matter. The price and quality are directly proportional, but a wise buyer goes for the differences. If your requirement can be achieved by a cheaper machine, then why one should go for the expensive one. This is what cause most of the user a great loss. They go for the price first and this is the nature too. But, before going ahead, you should search for some reasonable coffee makers that have the same features and lower price.

Why Companies Make Cheap Coffee Makers

Every company should have a wide range of coffee makers so that user can pick one coffee maker according to the budget and need. That’s the reason the features and quality vary from company to company and model to model. Many companies are getting yearly awards of the best coffee maker and many are starting to trend. Still the main focus should be on the price. We can compare some models and that will help us to understand about seeking the right buy for us.

Best Buy

I thought it would be a great idea if I will describe the aim of this article through comparison. I have selected two models from 2 different companies. One is Bonavita BV1900TS 8-Cup Carafe Coffee Brewer and the 2nd is Mr. Coffee BVMC-SJX33GT 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker. These both are great selling machines on Amazon. If you want to have a look at the reviews of these products, you can search these on Amazon. So, when we compare these two models, there are a lot of things to discuss. Let’s make points while doing it.

 

  • Price – The price between these 2 is a great factor of selling. The product of Bonavita is of 140$ to 180$ and the price of Mr. Coffee model is only 30$ including the 2 year protection.
  • Body – The body is another matter. The Bonavita is made of stainless steel body and that makes it durable, but Mr. Coffee is of chrome material and less durable.
  • Operation – Both are easy to operate and has one touch operation.
  • Speed – Bothe coffee makers are fast enough to make a great cup of coffee within 5 minutes.
  • Capacity – Bonavita model is designed to make 8 cups but the Mr. Coffee’s model can make up to 12 cups of coffee.
  • Programmable – Both are programmable, but the Bonavita’s model is easier to operate.
  • Cleaning – Cleaning is also a “must factor” to keep in mind. Mr. Coffee is always easy to clean and has less mess.

 

These are some points but there are many other points too that I haven’t covered and it is because these are the main features that you should consider in a coffee maker. Both are for home use and both have great rating and reviews. My point is to clear the fact that the price difference is too much. If you want a great cup of coffee, Mr. Coffee will give you a great taste as Bonavita with the cheap price. Now, the choice is yours. My intentions are to clear what you can have in less amount of money then why to spend more money on it.

 

A Cyclist’s Guide to Visiting France

This is a guest post for LLandLoL readers.  Enjoy!

If there is one sport that is most often associated with the country of France, it would be cycling. Thanks to the prominence of the Tour de Force, cyclists of all levels – amateurs to veterans – take to the European country for practice. And it’s easy to see why. There is ample of terrain to test your skills against. From the mountainous slopes in the French countryside to the peaceful plateaus elsewhere. There is a track for all different levels to challenge themselves.

 

Even if you’re only headed to France to test your mettle, though, you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to sample the country. There is an awful lot to behold in such a diverse location. No matter where you’re staying, you’re bound to find something that will speak to your preferences. So, while you’re enjoying the warm, respectful welcome given to cyclists by the French, here are other things you need to try during your stay.

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Source: Pixabay

 

Accommodation

 

You’re going to need somewhere to stay, even if you’ll be spending most of your time out on the terrain. And indeed, France has no shortage of accommodation options. When you come home exhausted after a long day of pushing yourself to the limit, you’ll want somewhere relaxing to rest your head. When staying in France, you have many more options than your usual hotel stays. In fact, you would be naive not to take advantage of the luxury, boutique accommodation available to you. From the luxury Loire Valley properties to the quieter cottages of Brittany, look for a setting that speaks to you most.

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Source: Flickr

 

Cuisine

 

We all need to eat, right? And especially if you’re going to partaking in such strenuous exercises, you need to keep your strength up. Luckily, France is a culinary hotbed of diverse flavours. Its cuisine is one of its biggest reasons to boast. As you travel throughout the country, you’ll experience a range of different tastes and flavours per region. No two places in France are ever the same. These foodie experiences give you enough reason to want to cycle far distances to try them for yourself.

 

Lifestyle

 

The French are very particular about the way things are done. Though they veer from plans when it suits them, most of the time you can expect the country to run like clockwork. That’s why it’s crucial to get to grips with the lifestyle in France, as you’ll have to adjust yours around them. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an eatery for lunch outside of the hours of 12 and 2 in the afternoon. You probably shouldn’t rely on the kindness of stranger to help you out of that particular jam.

 

Tourism desks are great places to connect to their WiFi, allowing you a broader scope of exploration. And luckily for you, there are plenty of them around the country. It may also be a good idea to veer away from expensive all-inclusive hotels. It can be cheaper (and more delicious) to sample France’s delicacies directly from the cafes.
Take a look at more of my travel guides for more information on different locations.

That’s a Wrap! Art and Sol Performing Arts Youth Program

You may remember my surprise and excitement a few months back when my oldest boy was deciding what after school program he wanted to participate in.  He’s gotten a flier from school about a performing arts program that was doing Alice in Wonderland Jr. and he was adamant he wanted to participate.  Art and Sol Performing Arts has three different locations and one was only 5 minutes away from school and worked out perfectly with our schedule.  The tuition is reasonable when you consider the length of the program and what it includes.  The former theater kid in me rejoiced when he made his final decision.  He usually picks a sport, which he’s great at and I love watching him practice and play, but I love that my sporty boy wanted to ‘branch out’.Youth Theater After School Program in Phoenix

Alice in Wonderland Jr. has wrapped and Art and Sol is gearing up for it’s next session (School House Rock) and I wanted to share my thoughts as a parent and K’s thoughts as the participant on the overall experience.

Arizona Youth Auditions

My often shy 6 year old enjoyed the Audition Workshop (there’s also an Open House to get an idea of the program before signing up, if you like!) before the season started and was super excited when he chose “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells” as his audition song.  He had high aspirations as far as parts he wanted for his first show (his little heart was set on the White Rabbit, a character who is in almost every scene in some capacity).  Art and Sol Performing Arts sends out a weekly email and on audition week they had helpful hints for talking to any child that was disappointed.  In this program, though, every child gets a part.  They all participate and get their time to shine.  When we saw that K had been cast as part of the ensemble (Kid/Rock Lobster/Cardsmen) I was worried I’d need those helpful hints, but he was fine.  We’d already discussed how important all parts are and he felt the directors must really trust him to play three different parts (oh how I love this boy’s heart).

Arizona Youth Theater Program

I’ll be honest, practice started and my usually sports minded boy began to wonder what the ‘pay off’ was.  He was so used to practicing during the week and then playing a game only a few days later.  I think sports are more instant gratification.  He hadn’t experienced performing yet so he didn’t understand.  To help with that we went to see a local production of The Wizard of Oz so he could see what the end result would be like.  We were surprised to read in our programs that some of the actors were Art and Sol Performing Arts ‘alumni’!  Watching a live performance helped but I think it finally clicked when he got to dress rehearsal and began seeing the show come together on the stage.  I knew he was enjoying himself, though, because when Halloween rolled around, he was begging to be The White Rabbit, and since we love a good family themed costume, we went with it.

Alice In Wonderland Family Theme Costume

During the few months of practice I saw his personality grow.  His confidence, though never really lacking, blossomed.  He used to be a child I needed to prompt to say hello to his former teachers or respond when other children said hello (or goodbye) but I slowly noticed, during his time at Art and Sol, his ability and willingness to open himself up a little more.  He also became a huge and adorable comedian, doing bits form the show for his family and even friends.

Youth Theater Phoenix AZ

Watching him perform (and rock his parts!) was a huge moment.  But more than anything else, watching him grow outside of the theater, and knowing it’s directly related to his time in this program, makes me such a proud mama.

After School Theater Program

When I ask K about Art and Sol Performing Arts he shares how much fun he had and even says he might like to do another show soon and he hopes to do Alice in Wonderland Jr again.  Next time, he says, he’ll audition for the Mad Hatter.  His younger brother G cannot wait until he is old enough.  Both kids still sing songs from the show in the car and at home….”No time to say hello, goodbye! I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!”

 

 

 

Making Your Camping Vacation Fun For The Whole Family

A camping vacation with kids can be great fun. It can give you the chance to teach them some new skills or just make a stronger connection with your children. These days, it seems that ninety percent of the time children are staring at their phones. It can be good to get them away from the tech of the world and into the outdoors. But even when you’re camping you still want your trip to be fun, comfortable and relaxing. These are three traits of a great holiday and if you don’t want to lose them on your family camping trip, you’ll take my advice with these tips.

 

If You’re Roughing It…

There are two ways to approach camping. Either you can sling a tent in the trunk and be on your way. Or, you can think about taking the more comfortable option with an RV or trailer. If you’re taking a tent you’re truly roughing it but it doesn’t have to be that uncomfortable. You can use some foam pads to make a soft floor even if you are sleeping on the ground in the woods. I do quite like the idea of camping in a tent, but only for short getaways. For longer trips with a full family, I’d definitely recommend the RV trailer. The trailers I’m talking about are the things you see on the road that take about five minutes to overtake. I’m exaggerating but they are massive and with good reason. It gives your family all you need for the perfect stress free camping trip.

 

Choose The Right Location

To decide where to go camping I suggest you have a look at some of the most popular camping destinations. For instance, you could head to Yosemite National Park. It’s a stunning terrain with sweeping views and even a waterfall to explore. You can spend your day hiking as a family, climbing the nearby mountains and searching for wildlife. This truly does offer the chance at a vacation that is back to basics.

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Flickr Picture
Or, you could go camping in Disney world. Fort Wilderness offers the possibility to campers to experience the Disney World resort their way. You’ll get all the magic of a Disney holiday but you won’t be tied down to an expensive hotel stay. As well as this, there are plenty of fun family activities like a camp sing along with the characters.

 

Make An Agenda

I recommend that you do make an agenda of activities your family can do before you go. Otherwise you could be in for a few long days of doing nothing at all. You really should take advantages of the possibilities camping offers. You could go white rafting down a rapid river or mountain bike across a rocky terrain. You’ll never know how much fun your family could have if you don’t explore these possibilities.

 

Finally, an extra tip is to plan for rainy days as well as the best weather summer offers. That way, you can make sure your family have fun even when it’s cold and wet outdoors.

 

Easy Ways To Rent A Home For Less

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Depending on where you live, renting can seem like a waste of money. You pay a landlord every month, and see nothing in return – and in certain cities, rates can be extortionate. However, there are a few things you can do if you want to pay a little less. Follow some of the examples in this guide, and you might be able to live a little more comfortably throughout the duration of your tenancy.

 

Learn how to haggle

First of all, if you can learn how to negotiate, you will get yourself off to the best possible start. It won’t always work, of course – many rental properties have a lot of interest, and the landlord might just want to go to the highest bidder. But, if they think you are a safe pair of hands, then they might be willing to talk about your terms. There’s an excellent guide on learning to haggle over at Million Dollar Journey. Check it out – and put it into action!

 

Go for a longer lease

Landlords are petrified of their property being empty, and finding the right tenants can be tricky for them. So, use this to your advantage. If they like you as a tenant, then say that you are willing to enter a longer tenancy. You can save some serious money of they know that you are going to stick around and look after the place.

 

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Choose apartment over location

If you want to rent in a popular place – in a trendy area of a major city, for example – it’s going to cost a lot of money. So, cast your eye further afield and consider the property itself rather than the area. For example, many of the best rental apartments often come with residential gyms and swimming pool, regardless of where they are. So, a cheaper location will give you everything you need, as well as saving you money on gym membership.

 

Pimp out your skills

Your landlord will consider the costs of maintenance when they price out your apartment. So, if you have any DIY skills, make them aware of it – you may find they offer you a discount. It can be pricey for landlords to pay for maintenance and fixes, so you will be doing them a big favor if you can do it instead. Of course, they may be a little wary of letting you loose on their bathroom plumbing or electrics., so if you have qualifications, make sure they are aware.

 

Don’t live alone

Living on your own has many benefits, of course. But, you can expect to pay a lot more for the pleasure. If you can put up with a little extra noise and other people’s living habits, then you can save significant sums. It will give you the opportunity to save a lot more money for other things – and in the space of a few years, you could have a deposit to put down on a home.

 

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to save money when you are renting your home. Any other tips to add? Let me know and join in on the conversation!

 

Cranberry Tequila Fizz

The holidays means time with family and friends and I love experimenting with spirits.  A delicious and unique signature cocktail recipe can really elevate a casual holiday gathering and make for a fun conversation topic.

This cocktail uses classic holiday flavors like ginger and cranberries with a tequila twist.  It’s a simple process (a shaker or mason jar will do) with a big wow factor.

Cranberry Tequila Fizz

1 Tbsp Cranberry Sauce

1.5 oz Tequila

4 oz Ginger Ale

Shake cranberry sauce and tequila together (in a shaker or mason jar).  Pour mixture over ice and top with ginger ale.

Holiday Cocktail Recipe

You can prepare these in advance but these are easy enough to make as needed, too.  Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

3 Tips For Surviving Parenthood

When I became a parent I was bombarded with advice and tips.  Most of it was welcome and I enjoyed hearing ‘old pros’ tell their stories and what they’d learned.  I quickly realized that, while some advice worked, all kids and parenting experiences are different.  Here are 3 of my own tips to new (and old) parents.

#1 Laugh
Get ready and be happy to laugh. Most of the time the laughing will be genuine and happy….there will also be times you are laughing to hold back the tears.  That’s ok.  Parenting is one of the toughest jobs in the world.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on the verge of tears, only to burst out laughing instead.  It’s normal.  I hope.

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#2 Diapers
There’s TONS of stuff you can ‘skimp’ on.  I am a firm believer in hand me down clothes, for instance.  But diapers need to hold up and need to keep baby’s bottoms happy.  One of my ‘horror’ stories involves a bargain brand diaper that couldn’t handle my son’s ‘explosion’….in a public library (at a mommy and me class).  Little Snugglers are the perfect brand for busy moms and their precious babes.  The GentleAbsorb* liner and wetness indicator keep baby’s skin well cared for which helps eliminate diaper rash.  Sam’s Club has great deals on these diapers and the membership cost is well worth it when you take those savings into consideration!

#3 You are doing a good job
Ok, so it isn’t a tip.  But I wanted to reassure you that if you worry about being a good parent, that in and of itself means you ARE a good parent.  You might not hear it enough so I want to end this article telling with this: You are doing a good job!

 

Bedroom Updates That Are Chic, Stylish And Budget-Friendly

If your bedroom is looking a little worse for wear and you have some spare time, you may be considering doing it up. The only thing that’s putting you off, however, could be the cost – why is decorating so expensive? Sadly, money doesn’t grow on trees, and for many households, spending hundreds on doing up a single room just isn’t doable. No matter how urgently the space could do with a little TLC.

Luckily for you, doing up your bedroom doesn’t have to be costly. That’s right, if you’re smart about it and are willing to roll up your sleeves; you can give your bedroom an amazing update. It might require some elbow grease, but if you take note of these tips, you can transform your bedroom without overspending. For everything that you need to know, keep reading:

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Picture source

Be smart about paintwork

If your room’s paintwork is in good shape – not peeling or bubbling but is a little grimy, all you need to do is wash it. Get a sponge, some mild soap and warm water and give the walls in your room a clean. This will remove any dirt and stains, and should help to make your paintwork look lovely and fresh.

However, if your paint has started to peel or bubble – or you just hate the color, you will need to repaint. Don’t panic about the cost of this, as if you do the painting yourself and shop smart, it doesn’t have to be expensive. When it comes to picking up paint, visit discount home and DIY stores. Often, you’ll find discounted paint that’s about to go out of date. As long as it’s used before its use by date, the paint will be just fine. So if you see a bargain like this, make sure to snap it up.

 

Get your carpets cleaned

If you have carpet in your bedroom that’s looking a little worse for wear; you might think that the only option is to replace it. However, in most cases, a good clean will do the job. While you could do this yourself, it’s best to hire a professional company to do it for you.

In most cases, professional cleaning isn’t expensive and can give your carpet a fresh, new look. So make sure that before replacing your carpets, that you get them professionally cleaned.

 

Upcycle old furniture

If your bedroom furniture is looking a little worse for wear, upcycling could be perfect. If you don’t want to spend money on replacing your old furniture, the best option is to spruce your old items up with a coat of paint. This is much easier than you think, I promise.

Believe it or not, when done well, painting old furniture can make a massive difference to the look of the piece. So it’s definitely worth trying – check out this tutorial for an idea of how to go about it, as it will save you a lot of money. It might be a little time-consuming, but trust me, the results will make it worthwhile. To give old pieces a stylish look, upgrade the hardware – aka, the handles. This might only be a small thing, but it can make a massive difference.

 

Give your bed a makeover

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If your bed frame is in good condition and matches the style of the room, keep it. However, if it’s a little worse for wear, it might be best to replace it with a new one. You’ll find that many second-hand stores sell bed frames for low prices, so make sure to have a look around. If not, you may be able to find a cheap one online on sites like eBay.

As for your mattress, if that’s old and worn, it may be time to invest in a new one. A new mattress may be a little pricey, but as long as you invest in a good quality one, it’s worth it. For a good quality mattress that’s affordable, check out these John Ryan by Design double mattresses. If you want to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep, a comfortable mattress is a must.

If money’s too tight for a new mattress, you could always invest in a topper instead. A mattress topper may not be as good as a new mattress, but it will do the job for making your bed a little more comfortable.

Believe it or not, doing up your bedroom doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s just a case of doing the work yourself and being willing to get a little creative.