Saving as a Family: Moving in a Parent

movinginparentSourced from Pixabay


There are hundreds of ways to save every day and have healthier finances. As the economy changes, people’s living and spending habits change too. One of the things that have increased over the last few years is multigenerational living. Having an elderly parent move in has always been common. However, people are no longer waiting until their parents need extra help to share a home with them. Adults are both living with their parents longer when they’re younger and moving their parents in with them earlier. There are fantastic money-saving benefits, plus it brings families together. If a parent (or more than one) is moving in with you, make sure you’re ready.


New Home?


The first thing you should decide is whether you’re going to stay put. When families move in together, they sometimes decide to get a new home. There are several benefits to moving elsewhere. You can pool your funds together to ensure you can get a larger home. You’ll all be able to have your say and get what you want. Your current home might have a spare room, but is there enough space for everyone to live their own lives? If you move, you can look for somewhere with an annexe or a small cottage for your parent or parents.


Preparing Space


If you do decide to stay put, you need to make sure your parent has their own space. There are a number of ways to do this. They might just be occupying a spare bedroom you have available. However, if you want to give them more space, there are other options to consider. The possibility of an annexe or studio might appeal to them and give them more independence. You could convert part of your home or add on to it if there is space. Consider using your garage, for example. Don’t forget to think about accessibility.


Hiring Movers


Before your parent arrives, you’ll have to think about their things. It’s unlikely you’ll be bringing everything they own into your home. When you hire movers, you might want someone like Two Men And A Truck to also provide storage. There’s likely to be furniture and other items that you won’t have space for. Arrange to sort through their things and decide what will happen to everything. You should also set a date for moving so that you can start preparing for the big day.


Selling Their Home


If your parent owns their home, you might be selling it. If you’re buying a new property together, the proceeds might go towards this. However, if they’re moving into your existing home, you might have other things to consider. Perhaps some of the money will help to pay for their living expenses. Some of it might be put aside to pay for future care that could be required. Another option is to keep their property and rent it out for income.
Moving in a parent can save money and bring you closer together. But don’t forget to make sure everyone has their own space.

What Can Desperate Parents Do To Keep The Cost Of University Down?

We all want an excellent education for our kids. But when that education costs tens of thousands of dollars a year, the financial and emotional burden can be high. University costs can put a real spanner in the works of those trying to get by on a limited budget. But it’s not all bad news. Thanks to the rise of the internet, there’s now plenty of advice for parents to save money on university costs. Here’s a sample of the best advice out there on the web right now.


Give Help With Budgeting



When your child goes to university, it’s probably the first time in their life that they’ve had to manage their own finances. They’ll be responsible for paying their rent, buying food and, sometimes, running their car. With that in mind, it’s important that they have some financial education. It’s easy for young adults to fly off the rails and spend like crazy. And they can soon lose track of how much they spend each week. Although it’s still possible to get student loans with bad credit, a bad credit score can hurt future borrowing prospects.


The first thing to do is to focus on budgeting on a weekly or a monthly basis. Your child should have a set weekly allowance for food, rent, and other bills. The next thing to do is to encourage them to partner up with the other students in their house or flat to buy food. Buying food together helps to cut down on waste and saves on cost. They can also do things like buy big bags of pasta together that will serve all of them throughout the term.


Buy Them A Student Cookbook



Student food costs can quickly get out of control if your child is regularly opting for fast-food options. Thus a student cookbook can be a great way to keep their food budget in check. What’s more, cooking from a cookbook helps them to make healthier food choices and learn how to cook. There are all sorts of cookbooks around, including those that cater to individual dietary needs. If you really want to do things on the cheap, you can encourage them to use free apps, like Yummly and Feastie. These apps are especially useful because they allow you to search for recipes based on the ingredients you have in the cupboard. Less wasted food means lower food costs over the long term.


Splitting Bills


Some students can get accommodation in the university grounds. Often, the price of renting a room on campus includes the cost of bills. But as soon as students go off campus, they’ll be expected to pay bills separately. And when there’re lots of students living in the house, this can be difficult to organize.


Make sure that your child is only paying their fair share of the bills by encouraging them to use apps like Splittable. Splittable includes a timeline of upcoming household expenses. And it allows students to break down their spending on bills into utilities, food and nights out. The app then tracks who is in debt and who is in credit, so everybody can see where they stand at the end of the term.


Rent Out Their Old Room



With the rise of sites like Airbnb, renting out an unused space in your home has never been easier. When they leave, you’ll probably have a room spare in your home that you could offer to a lodger. Then, you could share the additional income with your child to help pay for their university bills.


Right now, there’s a significant demand for accommodation from international students. Try to get somebody who has similar term times to your child to avoid clashes when they come back for the holidays.


Get Them A Job


In the past, students used to work in the holidays, and that would pay all their expenses, including tuition, throughout the year. Thanks to the financial incentives facing universities and higher tuition fees that is no longer the case. But students who work during the holidays can still do a lot to improve their financial position. Student loans will cover the costs of fees and accommodation. But working during the holidays should pay for all their food, fuel and nights out throughout the year. The best seasonal work is offered by bars, cafes, and restaurants. Universities themselves may also provide work that fits nicely around term times. Plus, local shops will regularly advertise for people who are willing to work on weekends.


See The World On A Shoestring: Family Travel Made Simple And Affordable

Do you love to travel, but struggle to get way because of the cost of taking a vacation? Traveling can be pricey at the best of times. But when you’ve got a large family, costs can really add up. Thankfully, there are some ways of seeing the world on a shoestring. Here are some top tips to help you plan affordable, unforgettable family trips.


Explore different accommodation options

Have you typed your dates into a hotel website and been flabbergasted by the total price? If you’re staying in a hotel for a week and booking numerous rooms, you’re likely to receive a hefty bill. The good news is that hotels aren’t your only accommodation option. There are plenty of alternatives you could consider. If you’re travelling board, hostels may be an option. You can hire out dorm rooms that will house the entire family and save you a fortune. You could also consider renting an apartment, a villa, or a farmhouse. Often, group accommodation works out much cheaper than paying for individual rooms.


If you’re planning a road trip, or you’re off out into the great outdoors, you may wish to research the advantages of hiring a fifth wheel trailer. This option covers both your transport and accommodation costs. You can travel at your own pace, and stop where you like. If you have a small family, you could consider RV rental.


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Drive instead of flying

Flying is often a cost-effective method of exploring the world if you’re a solo traveler. But if you’re paying for a family, the cost can soon mount up. If you’re traveling over land borders, it may be cheaper to drive. If you’re in the US, and you want to go to Canada, for example, you may find that it works out much cheaper to take the car rather than booking flights. Do some research before you make a decision. You can use online comparison sites to find the cheapest fares. Work out how many miles you would be traveling, and get a rough estimate for gas charges. You can then figure out the difference, and see which option suits best.


Take advantage of group discounts

If you’re traveling in a group, make sure you take advantage of special offers. You may be able to save on flights, accommodation, and attraction tickets. It’s also usually cheaper to book online. When you’re making bookings, ask about additional discounts that may be available for larger families. It’s also wise to check online to see if you can use discount codes or promo vouchers.


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Traveling doesn’t come cheap, but there are ways of cutting costs. Seeing the world doesn’t have to cost the earth. If you’re hoping to get away with the kids, look at different options. Consider swapping hotels for hostels, apartments, or even hiring a trailer. Think about whether it would be cheaper to drive, and make use of the Internet. You can compare prices for almost everything within seconds. Ask about group discounts, and book tickets online for the best-selling sights.

Simple Curb Appeal Tricks That Can Make A Sale

From Wikimedia


Although we all try to live by that old maxim “don’t judge a book by its cover”, first impressions definitely count. We all make instant, possibly unfair judgements on something as soon as we see it, and this is especially true for people who are house-hunting. The way your home appears from the outside is going to have a big impact on how easy it is to make a sale, so here are some easy ways to up your home’s kerb appeal.

From Pixabay

First of all, giving the front of your house a fresh coat of paint. Decent paint for your exterior will typically cost you about $30 a gallon, and the potential value of it goes way past that! Like a lot of people, you may have a door, frame, or wooden shutters that have begun to peel and look a bit off-putting. Giving these areas a fresh coat can really breathe life into the exterior, and make it much more attractive to passing buyers. To give your home even more kerb appeal, have a look at some of the other homes on your street and find a way to differentiate yours. For example, if most people have their doors in a watery, subdued colour, use one that’s bright and bold.

From Pixabay

Putting up new house numbers is another wonderfully simple way to bring up your home’s kerb appeal. Over time, it’s pretty common for our original house numbers to gather dirt and rust. Yes, it’s a minor detail to the overall look of a home. However, it’s not minor enough that potential buyers won’t notice it! Find some decent door numbers at your local department store, and replace the old ones. If you have any metallic light fixtures or other features on the front of your home, then try to choose a finish that matches up with them.

From Pixabay

Even after these changes, the outside of your home may still be looking a little drab and plain. If this is the case, then you can add some colour and vibrancy to it by installing some window boxes. It’s not quite a picturesque rose bush, but if I wanted to sell my house fast, I’d certainly refresh my window boxes to make the home more attractive. Either buy some cheap flower boxes, or build them yourself, and choose a colour of flower that complements the rest of the home.

From Flickr

Finally, if you’re still struggling to interest many buyers, consider replacing the exterior lighting. Like your house numbers, these are a relatively small detail, but when any kind of metal starts to rust and flake away it gets pretty unpleasant to look at. Think about the overall style and colour scheme of your house, and find a style that’s going to bounce off it nicely. If you already have any light fixtures, try and find new ones with the same mounting system. This will take some of the hassle out of changing the lights over, and may make the new fixtures look more natural with the rest of the house.

Frugal But Fun RV Vacations: Do They Exist? Hint: The Answer Is YES!

Driving around the country in an RV offers a real way to experience what America has to offer. You are free to roam when you wish, and you don’t need to share your space with strangers. Of course, one thing that puts off some people is the cost of RV vacations.


But, what if I told you that there’s both a fun AND frugal way to do that? The “secrets” are quite straightforward and easy to follow, believe it or not! Here’s why fun and economical RV vacations exist and how you can have one too:


Rent, not buy an RV


You might think that renting an RV for a specified period will cost a small fortune. But, compared with the cost of ownership, the price you pay is but a mere fraction!


For instance, you don’t have to worry about maintenance fees and finance payments. Plus, you get to drive around in a reliable and modern RV with all the latest technology you need.


Don’t pay to park


Many people that go on RV vacations often pay to stay in RV parks. What if I told you that you could save your money and do something else instead? There are plenty of alternatives you can consider. National and state parks are two such examples.


The sun is your friend


Heading to somewhere in sunny California, for example? If so, you should take advantage of the weather by using solar energy. You can get solar panel equipment to create free electricity on the go.


That means you can charge your cell phone when you’re parked up. And you can even power small appliances without draining your RV’s battery!
The following infographic shows the ten “solar cities” in the U.S. that you should check out with your RV:

Infographic designed By Semper Solaris

Money-Saving Hacks at Home

Whether you are renting, already a homeowner or in the process of buying, the matter of housing is always going to come at a cost. Once you add up bills, maintenance and feeding the family, things can start to seem a little overwhelming!


Image from Flikr

Keep costs to a minimum with our easy but effective money-saving hacks at home:

Do your research

You might move into shared accommodation that already has its bill providers set up. Chances are, there are cheaper options out there. Find faster and cheaper internet with verizon internet deals. Shop around online for the cheapest energy provider. And make sure your home insurance covers everything you need at the lowest cost possible.

Use deal websites religiously

Deal websites are so handy when you are trying to live on a budget. Sites like Groupon and Wowcher constantly have great deals on to help you save. You can get everything from family meals and beauty treatments to entire holidays abroad!

Enter competitions

No really. It sounds silly, but if you don’t enter, you will never win. Browse online, newspapers and magazines for up-to-date competitions. You might be able to bag yourself a fancy new fridge after your one has packed up. Or perhaps you’ll be jetting off for a holiday in Barbados before you know it.

Eat vegetarian and vegan meals as much as possible

By basing your meals around cheap but healthy meat-free foods, such as beans, brown rice and lentils, you’ll spend much less. Not only will you save your pennies, but you’ll also probably drop a few pounds on the scale too. It’s wise to cook large volumes in bulk and freeze extra portions for a later date.

Buy in bulk wherever you can

You can buy essential household items in bulk from plenty of websites. Things as simple as toilet roll and face wipes are easy to track down. Trust us; you’ll be delighted at how much money can be saved here!

Use a clothes line instead of the washing machine

If it isn’t sunny, it doesn’t mean your clothes won’t dry outside. The basic rule is: if it isn’t raining, hang your clothes out to dry. A light breeze will dry clothes naturally in no time, saving considerably on your washing machine electricity usage.

Always remember to unplug

Remembering to unplug all your appliances is an easy, yet commonly forgotten, task in any household. It’s good for your wallet and the environment! Switch off lights if you aren’t in the room and turn technology off when it isn’t in use – never leave it on standby.

These money-saving tips at home are as straightforward and effective as they sound. Whether you decide to invest the surplus funds or put them towards a treat for the family is completely up to you. The only challenge you have now is making sure your kids remember to do it all too!

For more inspiration on getting the most out of your home, read these inventive tips on awesome organisation hacks.



Houston, We Have A Vacation

Houston might not be the first city to spring to mind when you consider vacations. But whether travelling from near or far, the sprawling metropolis will keep you and your family occupied and well entertained.


Photo Credit

Houston, we have lift off

Of all the things to do in Houston, Texas, the space centre is probably the most famous. All for those two incredible phrases: “Houston, we have lift-off” and “Houston, we’ve had a problem”. Fun for adults and kids alike, the Space Centre is the area’s most frequently visited tourist destination. The centre is run by The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation. This is a registered, non profit, educational foundation. Visit the extensive space museum and science education programme to learn a little bit more about what lies beyond the stars. Attractions range from lunch with a real-life astronaut to checking out Explorer 1. Take a seat in the Blast Off Theatre to experience the sensations that come hand in hand with a real life blast off. Witness out-of-this-world science demonstrations and take part in an interactive presentation that demonstrates everyday life inside a space station. If you’re planning on visiting Houston there really is no excuse to check this place out. Join the ranks of the 18 million visitors who’ve enjoyed this experience so far.


Picture Source

Board meeting

If you’re more of an active type with a penchant for moving fast, you might want to take a day trip to the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark. This expansive space was named after married couple Lee and Joe and was opened in June 2008. It is home to one of the largest cradles in the US of A. It is free to the public and opens from 9am-10pm every day of the week. Don’t forget to wear protective gear, including a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads. While you’re there, why not check out “Skater Alley”. This is a walkway between the street and the park’s entrance, covered in contemporary, urban art.


Image Source

Keep it cultured

The art fanatics amongst us wouldn’t pass Houston without taking a look around the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The gallery’s director describes the museum as a space of “wonder and enlightenment” and we couldn’t agree more. Classic works from the Museum of Fine Art’s collection grace the museum’s walls and podiums year-round. They exemplify the art of numerous eras and cultures from around the globe. There are also beautiful exhibitions and installations which are regularly changed throughout the year.


Photo Source

Child’s Play

If the little ones are bored by contemporary and ancient art, the Children’s Museum of Houston might liven them up a bit. The museum aims to transform local communities through innovative, child-centered learning. But children from out of the area will be welcomed with open arms, too. It plays host to numerous exhibits at once, which will spark a thirst for learning in your child.

If Texas isn’t for you, then why not try California? Read our article giving nine reasons to visit Carlsbad, CA.


Want To Know What You Should Be Investing In With Any Surplus Funds? Read This!

When you have a good month – money wise, it gets you thinking about what you could be doing with that extra money you have. Of course, the first things that spring to mind are always little treats that you could splurge on. However, if like me, you do all you can to scrimp and save each month, the chances are you want to put any spare money that you have to good use. Instead of wittering it away on things that won’t help to make life easier or less of a struggle. Of course, the question is, what should you be investing your surplus funds in? Below are a few suggestions and ideas.


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Use extra money to clear your debts

If you’ve got any outstanding debts, all extra money each month should go towards them. Think of it this way, the sooner you pay them off, the sooner you’ll have more spare money each month. The fact is, if you have debts, it’s important to clear them before doing anything else with your surplus money. Then, once you’ve cleared all your debts, you can then start to invest any spare money you have in whatever you want to.


Invest in your children’s future

Leading on from the point above, a great way to invest your spare money is in your children’s future. Start each of your kids a trust fund, and then each month, divide any spare money that you have, between each account. It might only be a small amount, but what it’s important to remember is that every little helps. Say, you put $50 a month into each child’s account, by the time that they’re 18 years old, they’d have over $10,000 in their trust fund. That’s enough to put down a deposit on a small house or to pay for college.


Save for your twilight years

Or, how about saving for your twilight years. You may already have a pension set up through work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save a little extra. Perhaps each month you could put any spare money that you have into a high-interest savings account. That way, when it gets to your retirement, you’d have more money to play with than just your pension. Or, what about investing your spare money in life insurance or burial insurance plans? That way, should you die without having enough money in place to pay your debts or cover your funeral costs, you’ll have insurance to cover them.  


Pay off bills in advance

If the idea of saving money for the future doesn’t appeal to you, how about paying off bills in advance. Did you know that a lot of utility providers and bills companies are happy to take payments in advance? So, if you’ve got money left over at the end of the month, consider making an extra payment to some of your utilities providers.


When you have spare money after paying all your bills, it’s tempting to witter it away. However, if you’re smart about it and choose to save it for yours’ or your children’s future, you can make life easier for yourself.

Advice You Need If Your Household Item Breaks (And You Don’t Know How To Fix It!)

It can be a nightmare when an item in your home decides not to work. You try everything, and it just doesn’t seem to work. It can be frustrating if it’s an expensive item you can’t afford to replace straight away. But you shouldn’t give up; here is some advice you need if your household item breaks and you don’t know how to fix it.



Look for the manual in your home or online

Have you looked for the manual for the item? A lot of solutions can be found in the manual that may end up saving you a lot of money in the long run. You should hunt it down in your home and read up to see if your fault is described in the book. If you have put it down somewhere and forgotten where it is, you can download the manuals online. That way, you can still read up and find a resolution without too much complication.


Read up on the manufacturer’s site for help


Sometimes when a household item stops working it is because of a fault with the machine. In that case, you may be able to get a replacement without charge. You should go on the manufacturer’s site and find a number or email to get in touch with them. They can tell you if you are within your warranty time to be able to get a replacement. They may be able to waive the time if it’s something that has been occurring with several machines. Even if you can’t get a replacement for the item, you can still read up for help on the manufacturer’s site. They often have forums where you can ask for advice. Other owners of the item may give you tips on the forum if they have had that issue too.


Find a friend to help you fix it  


A lot of the time you may be able to fix the item easily yourself. But it’s always good to have an extra pair of hands to help you when fixing the broken household item. You can then both do it safely without getting in danger. You can find many tips online on how to fix items quickly. You can also find video guidance on Youtube which you can follow to ensure you fix the household item quickly.


Buy a new one and repurpose the item


Unfortunately, sometimes an item cannot be saved, and it’s end of the road. However, you may be able to repurpose the item and use it for something else. Or if you don’t have another use for it, a charity such as Smart or Habit for Humanity will always repurpose well-used items. In the meantime, you will have to save up for another item. You could always get an unsecured loan to help you afford to pay for the item. Even if you have bad credit history, some providers will offer you loans for bad credit which will ensure you can still pay for a new household item.
It’s important to fix certain household items before they get worse so that you don’t end up with a fire or a flood in your home!

Make Post-Renovation Cleaning A Breeze With These Handy Hints



Home renovations are an excellent way of improving and adding value to your property. Whether you’re having a new kitchen or upgrading your bathroom, it can transform your life for the better. However, many homeowners get so wrapped up in the excitement that they forget all about cleaning up afterward. While your contractors can help you to some extent, most of the cleaning will be your responsibility. This can come as a huge shock when they are left with a home filled with dust and rubbish. Not having the foresight to prepare beforehand could make this a costly and time-consuming task. So to help make this process as easy as possible, take a look at these handy renovation cleaning hints.


Buy plastic sheeting


The best way to protect your floors, appliances, and furniture from dust and dirt is by using plastic sheeting. You can buy plastic sheeting from most hardware stores in varying sizes. The night before your project starts, place the sheeting over the floors and worktops. You can keep it in place with tape to stop it sliding around. You should also hang your plastic sheeting across the doorways to prevent dust from entering other areas in your home. Doing this will give you far less to clean up afterward and the sheeting can be reused for future work too. You can also use old sheets and pieces of carpet for extra protection too.


Get rid of rubbish altogether


Instead of taking numerous trips to the dump to get rid of your accumulated rubbish, it can be beneficial to get rid of it altogether. You could organize a skip for the duration of your project or buy large bins for the contractors to use. Another option is to designate an area in your yard where waste and rubbish can be stored temporarily. Make sure your contractors know about this area before they begin. You could also hire a junk removal company such as Bay Wide Hauling. This can be especially advantageous if you have appliance and furniture you want to dispose of. It can also be useful if you don’t have any means of transportation. These should all be things you consider and organize well in advance for maximum effect.


Ask friends and family to help


If the extent of your clean up is too much for you to handle, ask your friends and family for their help. They can help you clean the space from top to bottom in much less time that if you were doing it alone. Find out the date in which the work will be completed and ask your loved ones to help in advance. If your family and friends are unavailable or live too far away, why not consider hiring a professional instead. Look online for reputable cleaning services such as Extra Clean Inc in your local area. Always ensure they have experience in this kind of clean-up before you hire.


With the right planning and preparation, post-renovation cleaning doesn’t have to be so challenging. The sooner you get it done, the quicker you can start enjoying your newly renovated home.