What Are The Most Effective Ways To Generate Savings?

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We don’t like to admit it, but money rules everything. Subsequently, it’s vital that we all take greater financial responsibility in our lives. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t still enjoy your life. Nevertheless, keeping a watchful eye is vital.

 

Arguably the hardest part is knowing what aspects of life will bring the greatest level of saving. Similarly, you should look to prioritize items that won’t bring negative impacts to your life. Preparation is the key.

 

Follow these simple tips below, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your financial status improves.

 

Save Money At Home

 

The family home is central to every aspect of your life. It is the place for your family to grow and spend time together. However, it’s equally integral to your financial status. After all, it is probably the biggest expense that you face.

 

On the other hand, it does mean this is the place where you can see the biggest impact. Upgrading the home will require an initial outlay. But many of the projects will bring long-term savings while boosting property value too. Windows are a great starting point as they’ll also enhance the esthetic of your home. However, there are plenty of other items that can improve the overall outcome.

 

It’s equally important that you learn to use the home efficiently too. Simple ideas like switching electric outlets off at night can soon make a telling impact.

 

Save Money On Leisure Trips

 

We only get one shot at this life, and should be allowed to enjoy it. However, this shouldn’t be an excuse to spend money frivolously. Organizing leisure trips on a budget won’t impact your enjoyment, but it creates a vast impression on your money situation.

 

Whether it’s a group day out or a family holiday, booking early often saves money. Meanwhile, weighing up the different travel options can cut the costs significantly. Visit Shofur Wikipedia for more information on taking those aspects of the itinerary into your own hands. It will make life a whole lot easier.

 

Another simple way to reduce the costs is to go self-catered. Not only will it save funds, but you can guarantee that you’ll actively enjoy the food too. After all, there’s nothing worse than wasting money on meals that you don’t even enjoy.

 

Remove Unnecessary Items

 

Being resourceful is a key element of taking greater financial responsibility. Unfortunately, we’re all guilty of wasting money. Learning to curb those bad habits should be a priority.

 

Millions of us pay for TV and cell phone plans that easily exceed our usage. Tailoring those packages is a great starting point. Using price comparison sites to find cheaper car insurances can boost your wealth without making any impact on your life.

 

Another useful idea is to start making your unwanted junk work harder for you. Hold a garage sale to sell those items, and you’ll be surprised at how much money you raise. You’ll also gain extra space around the home. What more incentive could you need?

Does A Family Trip To Australia Have To Break The Bank?

The mistake a lot of us make is thinking that being on a budget means we have to miss out on things like family trips. The truth is, if you’re willing to save like crazy and do your research to find the best deals, you can visit anywhere. Don’t believe me – I just saved up for a budget-friendly family trip to Disneyland so I know it’s doable. If I can do it, you can too!

Australia is the place that lots of families dream of visiting but because of the high prices it’s known for, it can seem a little out of reach. However, that doesn’t have to be the case, if you’re smart about it, you can keep costs low, no matter your location.

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For all the best tips and tricks for planning a budget-friendly trip to Australia, have a read of this.

Find budget-friendly airfare

The most expensive part of planning a trip to Australia is, of course, the airfare. Plane tickets to Australia don’t come cheap, so if you want to ensure your trip stays within your budget, you need to be smart about your plane tickets. Keep an eye out for any deals or discounts and work out the cheapest time to fly – the evenings are most often cheapest.

If you collect air miles, you could trade them in for money off your tickets. The great thing about air miles is that kids can get them too, so your little ones may have air miles built up that you didn’t even know about. Obviously, flying out of season goes without saying.

 

Research the most budget-friendly locations

Like any location, there are places in Australia that are cheaper than others to visit. You’ll find that popular cities, like Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide, are all pricey, but the less well-known cities are not. When you’re on a budget, finding an affordable place to visit is incredibly important.

Cairns, for example, isn’t as expensive as these places, so is a better option for a family holiday. Plus, being the home of the Great Barrier Reef, it has plenty of beach and water activities to keep your little ones occupied. As well as these types of activities, there are also plenty of other things to do in Cairns for visitors of all ages.

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Accommodation can be seriously expensive if you’re not smart about where you book it from. Take your time to look online for resorts and independent accommodation that is affordable. To keep costs low, your best bet is to opt for self-catered accommodation.

Hotels are often a lot more expensive because they include breakfast and use of the on-site facilities. So if you’re on a budget, it’s best to steer clear of hotels. Unless, of course, you find a fantastic deal.

I told you that you could plan a family trip to Australia on a budget. The most important thing when it comes to budget travel is planning ahead. As well as being willing to do adequate research into all the best deals and discounts.

DIY Dos & Don’ts to Save Money at Home

When it comes to home DIY there are so many things you need to make sure you do and avoid doing. There are plenty of dos and don’ts that are essential when it comes to looking after the home. And you need to make sure you’re aware of what these things.

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Do Be Energy Efficient

One of the things you need to try to implement right away is becoming more energy efficient. How can you do this through DIY? Well, there are quite a few ways and you can visit http://www.conserve-energy-future.com to find examples of them. For a start, you need to think about the fact that you can start recycling. You could change all the light bulbs in the home for eco-friendly ones and you might even want to set up your own compost heap. From here you can move on to growing your own food, and, eventually, using solar energy.

Don’t Try to Fix Your Own Plumbing

Something you need to remember to avoid is trying to fix your own plumbing at home. This is not something that should be recommended. Plumbing is a craft and it needs to be learnt and perfected. Rather than trying to fix it yourself, you should visit http://www.beavertonplumbers.net. Here you can take a look at some of the plumbers available in your area. You can’t mess around with things like plumbing and electrics, and you need to make sure you get the necessary help as soon as possible.

Do Fix as You Go

You must think about how to make things easier and more efficient for you. When you are doing DIY and home repairs you should consider efficiency. How can you go about making sure you make the process more efficient and economical? Well, one of the best approaches to take would be to fix things as you go. This is much better than leaving all the problems and trying to fix everything in one go. Fixing as you go is much more practical and gets the problem taken care of quicker.

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Don’t Rush Things

It’s important that you remember not to rush things. Rome wasn’t built in a day! You have to take your time and make sure you do things properly. There is a lot of work involved in this, and it can often seem like it’s taking forever to get anything done. You have to remember to dedicate the time to making sure everything is done right. Rushing through something to get to the next thing is the best way to make mistakes and cause further problems and costs. You only want to have to spend money sorting something out once. That’s why you don’t want to rush it and risk making mistakes.

There are so many dos and don’ts when it comes to home DIY projects. And you really do have to be careful about the things you do and what you attempt. There are a lot of things that could go wrong and make the situation much worse. But, there are also plenty of things you can do to save cash so you just need to decide what they are.

How To Avoid Expensive Repair Bills

It’s not always easy to avoid expensive repair bills. There are different things you need to know when it comes to things like car repairs and building fixes, but there are a few generic things you can do. They work in all cases to help you to avoid expensive repair bills. As long as you follow a few basic tips, you can at least prevent expensive repairs as much as possible. So, if you want to save a little money the next time something goes wrong, read on.

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Know When Something Is Wrong

You know that niggling feeling you get when something is about to go wrong? We often call it our “gut” feeling. There’s something not quite right, but you aren’t sure what it is. Trust your instincts. Something is going on that shouldn’t be happening, and the quicker you get it sorted out, the better. If you know what you’re doing, you can investigate for yourself. If you don’t, call the experts out and ask them to take a look.

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Don’t Make It Worse

We all seem to think we’re handy people when it comes to fixing things. The reality is: we’re not well educated on most of these subjects. Trying to fix them ourselves often leads to even worse problems, causing expensive repairs. If you’d have just waited a little longer for the professionals, it wouldn’t have cost so much money to fix! So, if there’s something wrong and you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t make it worse.

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Educate Yourself

A bit of a basic education would go a long way when it comes to avoiding expensive repair bills. You can’t avoid them when something major goes wrong, but small fixes are often easy to implement. Look online for guides or read books about the subject so you know what to do. Some appliances even come with manuals with basic troubleshooting in case things go wrong.

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Seek Professional Help

We’ve mentioned the professionals a bunch of times already, and they really are the best bet in many cases. Yes, it’s going to cost you money, but it’s a heck of a lot less than it would be if you made the problem even worse. You’ll want to find the most reputable company with the best prices. Searching will uncover websites like portlandplumbingcompany.com for plumbing fixes or usamotive.net for car repairs. Find the best deal to suit your needs.

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Carry Out Basic Maintenance From Time To Time

If you want to prevent problems from occurring, most things require basic maintenance from time to time. This means taking the time to understand what’s necessary to keep things in working order. In the case of something like a car, you’ll need to keep the tyres well inflated and make sure there’s enough oil in the car. As long as you do these basic things on a regular basis, you should be able to prevent any needless repair costs.
With these tips, you’ll hopefully never have to spend over the odds on a repair!

Things You Need To Fix Around The House Before They Get Worse

It’s no secret that things can go wrong around the house. Very wrong.

You do your best to keep everything in good working order, but suddenly you get blindsided by an unexpected breakdown. If you can eliminate problems before they arise, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money in the long run.

Fill Cracks In Your Driveway

Why is that that driveways end up in such bad condition? Usually, it’s because they haven’t been adequately maintained. When it rains, water gets lodged in little cracks in the surface. Then, usually, overnight the water freezes. When it freezes, it expands, causing whatever crack it’s in to grow. This is obviously bad news. And the longer you leave it, the worse it gets. Weeds can also infiltrate your driveway, and they too can cause the surface to weaken and crack.

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So what should you do? First off, deal with the weeds. All you’ll need is some weed killer, like Roundup, and the weeds should quickly vanish. For the cracks themselves, fill them with clean sand, packing it tight. Then use a patch or crack filler. Just be wary that for more serious cracks, fillers probably won’t be enough.

Mend Leaking Pipes

The pipes in your house can crack for all sorts of reasons. Usually, it’s because the material just becomes fatigued dealing with significant temperature variations. A leaking pipe, however, can wreak havoc on your home and your water bill, so it’s important to deal with it straightaway.

Most new plastic piping is more durable than the stuff used when your house was built (unless you have a new build). If you don’t feel comfortable installing pipework yourself, get a professional to do it for you.

Fix Masonry

If your home is made from bricks, you’ll know that masonry isn’t as robust as many imagine. Exposed masonry, especially things like chimneys, can suffer extreme damage at the hands of the elements. But deep cracks in masonry are a big problem. They serve as an entryway for wildlife and could lead to weakness in the whole structure.

Repair work usually starts with grouting. Grouting is made by mixing up lime and sand into cement. Force it into the cracks so that it fills them completely.

More serious repairs require the use of tuckpointing tools. Here, though, there is a much greater scope for making dangerous mistakes, so it’s probably a good idea to call in professional help.

Remove The Lint From Your Dryer

Official US Fire Administration statistics reveal that over 15,000 fires each year are caused by dryers. The main reason for this is a buildup of lint in the filters. Lint obstructs the flow of air through the dryer causing it to heat up rapidly. And because lint is so combustible, the dry air and the heat can lead to fires.

One obvious sign that your filters are blocked is if your dryer is hot to the touch. Use a vent cleaning rod to clean out the dryer vent. Then remove the grille covering the exhaust at the rear and repeat the process.

3 Tips For Surviving Parenthood with Huggies and Sam’s Club

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!

Get a $10 Sam’s Club e-gift card!

  • Buy any two packages of Little Snugglers diapers and/or Natural Care wipes between 5/9/16-6/30/16

  • Snap a photo of your receipt and email/text it to Huggies@uploadreceipt.com by 7/15/16

  • You will receive a code and instructions within minutes to get your $10 Sam’s Club e-gift card

  • You will also get $3 in instant savings off Huggies Diapers at Sam’s Club from 5/11-6/4

Disneyland Vacation (Tips and Tricks)

If you’ve been around a while, you know we started saving for a debt free (no credit card) trip to Disneyland.  Many gift cards and monthly deposits later we were ready.  We set off on our road trip for four nights and three days in the parks.  Hopefully, you follow along on Instagram for up to date pictures and tips!

Disneyland Vacation on a Budget

Food

We definitely went on a budget vacation but I tend to like to splurge a bit when it comes to trips.  In this case, splurging met character dining and restaurant reservations in the park.  Eating in the parks can really add up but it was so worth it.  Each restaurant was pretty accommodating when it came to my little vegan so don’t worry too much about dietary restrictions.  We did research before arriving but don’t be afraid to ask!

Tip: Make a late dinner reservation at the Carnation Cafe for right around when the evening parade starts.  They don’t allow people to stand in front of the patio so the view is pretty nice and being able to avoid the crowds made it a fabulous experience for us all.

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Souvenirs

We gave each kiddo a budget for souvenirs (using gift cards we’d been given throughout the year) and let them shop on the last day.  In addition to their own gift cards, I picked up some Disney items on sale and brought them along, hidden in my suitcase.  Each day the kids found these little souvenirs in our hotel room. We also tried our hand at pin trading.

Tip: I picked up some Disney pins online (be careful of fakes or scrapers, but you can find great deals online) and the kids loved finding pin boards in shops and restaurants.  We purchased some mystery pins in the park, too, and traded between ourselves.  I highly recommend this activity; pin trading was a really fun experience!

Hotel

We stayed at a wonderful Good Neighbor hotel within walking distance, Hotel Menage.  It isn’t right across the street but it is down the street and the price is so reasonable.  Accommodations were clean and friendly and the view of the Disneyland fireworks is one of the best aspects of this hotel.  If the walk proves too much (I mean Disneyland is ALL about walking) Hotel Menage is right on the ART line, in fact, it was the last stop on the way to Disneyland, making it super fast to get to the park.  My husband and I agree, we’d definitely stay at this hotel near Disneyland again!

Tip: Hotel Menage has a 24 hour pool (that is heated at night) which is the perfect way to end a long day of traveling!

Disneyland Hotel Walking Distance

The kids are still talking about all the amazing things they say and experienced on our fun adventure.  I’m so glad we were able to take them and have zero debt involved.  Disneyland can be pricey but with a plan and a budget you can make it work and make some amazing memories.

Budget-Friendly Ways To Heat And Cool Your Home

If your home is too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer, you’re probably spending a lot of money on heating and air conditioning. Here are some fail-safe ways to cut bills and enjoy the luxury of feeling just right all year round.

 

Saving on heating and energy bills

When temperatures fall, it can be tricky to keep your home warm without spending significant sums of money on central heating. The first thing to do if your utility bills are too high is try and reduce your energy usage. Do you often leave lights on or taps running? Do you use several gadgets and gizmos at the same time? Are you still using traditional light bulbs? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, you could reduce spending instantly by changing your habits. Always turn lights off when you’re not in a room. Open curtains and blinds and make the most of natural light. Switch old-fashioned bulbs and appliances for energy-efficient models. Never leave televisions or games consoles on standby.

It’s also a good idea to make sure your windows and doors are shut and to block out drafts. You can use simple draft excluders or look into adding insulation. This may be particularly beneficial if you have an old house, which doesn’t retain heat well. It may also be worth looking into switching your energy provider.

If it’s slightly chilly outside, don’t reach for the radiator controls automatically. Put another layer on or get cozy on the couch with blankets and throws. You could also light a fire or make a hot drink to warm you up.

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Image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/moonhouse/38539053

Cutting the cost of air conditioning

If you dream of all year round airconditioning comfort in the home without hefty bills, there are ways of saving. One of the best ways to decrease payments is to replace old-fashioned systems with modern air conditioning units. Although the initial installation may dent your budget, it will save you money in the long-term. Look out for systems with high energy ratings. Use a thermostat to regulate the temperature and turn your units off if you’re going away. Increase the temperature at night when it’s cooler outside or during the day if you’re popping out. Even adjusting the setting by a couple of degrees can save a lot of money.

Make sure you have your air conditioning system checked and cleaned regularly. This will increase efficiency and reduce spending. Maintenance checks also help to ensure that your units are in good working order. It’s particularly important to call an engineer if you notice a leak.

Everybody wants to feel comfortable in their own home. If the weather is unpredictable, it can be difficult to keep track of spending on energy bills and to get the temperature right. If you’re looking for ways to save money, it’s a good idea to start with your heating and cooling systems. Controlling the temperature of your home can cause your bills to spiral out of control. But there are ways of reducing spending. Invest in the latest systems and use energy-efficient appliances. Use thermostat controls and reduce usage if you’re out all day, or you’re going on holiday.

 

Budgeting For Beginners

*This is a guest post for LLandLoL readers.  Enjoy!

If you’ve decided to keep a watchful eye on your finances, or your financial circumstances have changed, it’s a good idea to learn to budget. If you’re new to budgeting, follow these simple tips to keep track of money matters and manage saving and spending.

 

Where to start

Budgeting is all about balancing your income with your outgoings. In order to do this successfully, it’s essential to monitor your bank account and work out how much is coming in and how much you’re spending. Most people draw up a monthly budget, as they get paid a monthly salary. You can alter the time frame to suit your individual arrangements. If you get paid weekly, for example, you may prefer to draw up a budget for each week.

Start budgeting by writing down your monthly income. Include any money you receive from work or the state. If you receive income support benefits or disability tax credit, for example, include these in your total income.

The next stage is to note down everything that goes out of your account every month. Include all your bills and regular payments, such as a train or bus pass. Go through your statements and check all your direct debits. You can use the old-fashioned method and stick to pen and paper, or use a more advanced spreadsheet. If you’re confident with computers, it’s wise to use spreadsheets, as you can update and alter them quickly and easily.

Once you’ve recorded all your regular payments, add any additional costs for the month ahead. Have you got birthday presents to buy, or a night out planned, for example? Are you due a dental check or does your health insurance need renewing? Add up the total expected outgoings and compare it to your income.

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Spending and saving

Once you have a monthly budget in place, you can adjust your saving and spending. If you’re left with little margin for error when it comes to balancing the books, try and cut costs down for the month ahead. If you’ve got a little extra, try and set some aside.

Check your bank balance on a regular basis. Even if you think you know exactly what is coming in and going out, you can often forget about things you’ve bought or payments you’ve made. In a short space of time, you can lose track of your spending, and this will throw your budget off kilter. The easiest and fastest way to keep track of your finances is online banking. If you don’t already have Internet banking, contact your local branch and ask an adviser to set it up for you. You can check your balance, see your statements and make payments whenever and wherever you want.

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Image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/6793826885

 

Tackling financial problems

If you have debts, it’s always beneficial to seek advice. Often, there may be simple solutions. Tackling problems may be daunting, but it’s much better to act quickly, rather than letting issues spiral out of control.

Making a budget is relatively easy, especially once you get the hang of it. Keeping track of your spending can help to ensure that you steer clear of debts and improve your chances of saving successfully.

 

Top Things You Should Do With Your Windows When You Move In!

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When moving into your property, there are many things to sort out such as unpacking your stuff. But a lot of people forget to sort out the windows in their new home. Here are some top things you should do with your windows when you move in.

 

Check the locks

A lot of break-ins occur because of the windows in a home. It might be that they aren’t shut correctly so burglars can get in that way. But sometimes it can be that they haven’t been locked.You should ensure that the locks are working when you move into a property. Ask the previous homeowners for the keys for the windows and check before you move in that they are working. You may need to buy new locks for the windows to keep your house protected. You can get a locksmith in who will know which locks to fit. To protect your company, you could even install a window alarm so that it will warn you if someone is trying to break in.

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Give them a clean

Make sure that the windows are looking clean when you move into a property. The previous homeowners might not have given them a proper clean for a while, so you should make sure to clean the outside, and the inside of the windows. You may want to organise a window cleaner to come to your home once a week, or a month, to give them a proper scrub. It’s so important as people will notice marks on your windows when they come to see your new home.

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Buy curtains or blinds

Unless you want people looking in your windows when you are not there, you should make sure you buy some curtains or blinds. Make sure you look at the different ones available before purchasing as there is so many available which can make the room look beautiful. Paint the room first then you know what color to choose from. When you move in, you should measure the windows so you know what size curtains you will need. If they are an unusual size, you may need to get some that are made to measure.

 

Consider getting window film

Another thing you should do when you move into a property is to consider buying some window film. It can be ideal during the summer months as it will protect you from the sun’s glare. You could even get some tinted window film which can be put in your little one’s room for their safety.

 

Decorate the window sill

Hopefully, when you move in, there will already be window sills underneath the windows. If not, you may want to get one installed as they make a nice feature in a room. They are brilliant for decorating with excellent pictures and ornaments. It’s also a superb idea to put your Christmas Cards on there during the festive season. Make sure you keep it polished so it’s looking great.

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After you have sorted out your windows, you can then move on and sort out the doors!