An Anniversary Trip That Doesn’t Cost The Earth

When you are in a committed relationship, it is important to mark the significant events and milestones that happen. An anniversary is one of those, especially if it is a big one such as 10 or 20 years. But many people put off celebrating how long they have been together because they feel they don’t have the time or money. Now making time for your partner is essential to any successful relationship. But you can’t always do something about your money situation. However, it is possible to take an anniversary trip without breaking the bank. Read on to find out more.



The first thing we think of when going away is where we are going to stay. Many people have high expectations for an anniversary trip. They immediately consider anything less that a romantic 5-star hotel as not enough. But this isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, romance can happen anywhere, it’s more about a state of mind. If you are determined as a couple to enjoy each others company, then you will do, no matter where you stay.

With that in mind think carefully about the accommodation that you pick. Of course, you don’t want somewhere that is downright nasty. But you can definitely save some money by going for some nontraditional accommodation options.


If you and your partner enjoy the great outdoors and getting back to nature why not take a camping trip? You can use a tent and RV or even rent a small cozy log cabin in the woods. Then you get to enjoy a change of scene with plenty to do like hiking, and you can cozy up to one another in your sleeping bags at night. The best thing is you can do a trip like this for a fraction of the cost of a fancy hotel.

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Ok, so staying with family might not seem like the most romantic break ever. But it all depends on the situation. If you have to sleep on a roll down bed in the front room, then you might want to give it a miss. But some families are lucky enough to have gorgeous guest rooms or even suits with attached ensuite bathrooms. This can give you some privacy as well as allowing you to get away from the daily grind for a bit.

Or, if friends or relatives have a holiday home, why not ask them to borrow that instead of paying out big bucks to rent one?


One you have picked a location for your romantic anniversary getaway, you will need to make sure that you can get there are back ok. Depending on the location of your stay the travel can work out to be a major cost.

If you have a vehicle, then you will need to make sure that it is roadworthy for the journey and pay for gas. If you don’t have a vehicle, it can be even more difficult and costly. You will either need to rent one or use public transport.

You can take a bus or coach to your destination, but this is not always known as the most sophisticated or romantic mode of travel. A train might work, better depending on where you are going. Although you will often need to take a cab to and from the station. If you find yourself in a situation like this, don’t pay a fortune for a cab on the meter, use something like these promo codes for Lyft.  



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Of course eating out is a big part of any anniversary celebration. It’s pretty much standard to treat your other half to a nice meal. But eating out can be very expensive. Ways to reduce the cost of eating out include booking a lunch or set menu. This is often a lot cheaper than the a la carte dinner option. But you get the same type of quality food and the experience of eating somewhere nice, without that massive price tag.



Finding things to do when you are away fro your anniversary is also vital for a good trip. Again if you are concerned with the cost you need to be clever and pick interesting and romantic things to do that don’t need a lot of money.

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A romantic walk in either the city or the countryside is a good option. Or how about touring a free museum or art gallery? You could put together an inexpensive picnic or go to the river and feed the ducks. It just takes a bit of imagination.

When Should I Upgrade My Smartphone?



When a shiny new smartphone upgrade comes out, your first thought might be ‘I want it!’ But of course, want and need are two different things entirely. These companies know exactly what to do to make us swoon over their products, and so it’s important to make the decision for yourself whether it’s actually worth upgrading. Here are a few points to bear in mind when making the decision


Does your current phone still work?

If your phone is still in perfect working order, do you really need to upgrade? The newer model might have all the exciting new bells and whistles you could hope for, but if your current phone still does you fine then perhaps it’s worth waiting a while. However if you’re dealing with a cracked screen, severe wear and tear or a battery that no longer lasts, then upgrading could be an option. The battery tends to be the things that wears the quickest in technology like this, and if yours is no longer lasting you the day, then it’s no longer providing the function you need. But before taking the plunge, have a look at your current handset. Does it do the job you need it to? If it does then upgrading is just a luxury.


Are you still tied to a contract?

Most of the big smartphone companies will release a new phone each year. But mobile contracts are generally two years. And so if you love having the latest in technology this can pose a problem. A good quality smartphone will easily last you for the two years of your contract (and actually a lot longer if they’re taken care of properly). So if you’re still within contract, it’s usually worth waiting until you come to the end of this before upgrading.


Can you afford it?

New smartphones, particularly when they’re just released will cost a significant amount. Once you’re tied into a contract, you’re then paying this for the next two years. Can you afford this payment- not just now but for the next twenty-four months? Often the price will come down slightly after the first few weeks and so it could be worth waiting. Alternatively, you could look for deals and offers online. Paytm Coupons at and others will all knock a bit of money off, and so if you are going to upgrade, be sure to shop around first. If you’re going to upgrade and your current phone is still in good condition, you could sell it and put the money towards the cost of the new contract. A good way to keep costs down.


Our smartphones are important pieces of kit in our daily lives. They act as a means of communication, our calendar, notepad, alarm clock, calculator and so much more. And so owning a good one is always worthwhile. But how often you need to upgrade will depend on the factors above. So decide if you really need a new phone, or are just craving a shiny new piece of technology. If not, regular upgrading may just be an expensive habit!


How often do you upgrade your smartphone?


Expensive Habits: Is It Time to Stop?

We all have our little habits that make us happy. Maybe you love to get your nails done, or you have to have that coffee in the morning. These habits can give us pleasure, but they can also end up costing us. The question is, is the expense worth it? You can’t give up everything you enjoy just to save money. But, on the other hand, you shouldn’t waste essential funds on habits that don’t do much for you. If you want to decide whether to give something up, you need to weigh up whether it makes it happy. Try asking yourself these questions.


Credit: stevepb

Is It a Healthy Habit?

The first thing to consider is whether your habit is healthy. This means is it good for you financially, as well as for your health? For example, you might think that smoking makes you happy. However, it only relaxes you because you satisfy your cravings. Giving up could save you a lot of money and improve your health. The same can be said for many other habits that might affect your physical or mental health. But many habits might be great for you. Maybe you love taking the train at the weekend so you can go to the beach.


Credit: Hermann

Does It Make You Happy?

It can be hard for us to determine whether a habit makes us happy. We do them because we’ve done them for a long time. We assume they must make us feel pleasure, otherwise we would stop doing them, right? But sometimes the only reason we keep doing something is because we have done it for so long. You need to really think about whether something makes you happy. Maybe you don’t ever win much of anything on Lottoland, but you love the thrill of imagining that you could. Perhaps that first sip of expensive coffee in the morning is what start your day off right.


Are There Alternatives?

You can consider whether there are alternatives to your habit that could save you money. Maybe you love going to the gym, but you could enjoy yourself just as much by going for a run or working out at home. If you love coffee from Starbucks, perhaps making your own at home is cheaper and tastier. There’s never just one way to do something. You could continue the habit you love but take the DIY route or make it less expensive in another way.


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How Much Could You Save?

Another important thing to consider is how much you could save by giving up your habit. If it means a saving of a dollar a week, is it really worth it? Perhaps, if you’re really trying to pinch pennies. But sometimes it’s not worth removing the little pleasures from life for a tiny saving. You have to make sure there is joy and small indulges to keep you happy. However, if you could save a lot on a gym membership or your car, for example, it could be worth it.
Any habit that costs you money could be affecting your budget. But don’t give it up right away without considering the pros and cons.

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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.