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Ten Ways to Save Money Running Your Home

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Nowadays, with wages struggling to keep up with inflation, the cost of living feels like it’s always on the rise. Running a home involves so many different expenses that every penny counts. Here are some easy ways to save money when you’re running a household. 

Stick to your shopping list

Whenever you go shopping, do you stick to your list or do you pick up a few things on sale that you don’t really need? Is that packet of Twinkies really necessary? Next time, only buy the things that you set out to buy unless you remember something that you genuinely need like toilet paper. 

Try generic brands

Another way to save money is to try the generic version of name brand items. Why not try and see if the store brand cereal is as good (or even better) than the big name brand you normally buy? 

Get appliance insurance

One of the biggest expenses that can hit you when running a home is sudden appliance breakdown. Your fridge breaking down can cost you several hundred dollars in repairs or replacement. Read this blog post to see how appliance insurance could save you money. 

Sign up for free customer reward programs

There are retailers of all kinds that offer free customer rewards programs. You often only need an email address to sign up, and you’ll soon be drowning in freebies.

Cook in large batches

Chili is a great meal to cook in bulk. You’ll actually also be saving time, as you can cook multiple meals at once that can then be frozen and eaten later.

The 30-day rule

This is a really powerful way to save money based on the incredible concept of not spending it. Basically, whenever you get an urge to buy something, wait 30 days and then see if you still want to buy it. If you still have the urge, then it’s clear that you really want it. However, if you no longer have the urge, then you just saved yourself the money you would have spent on an item you didn’t really want.

Turn off the lights

Make sure to take advantage of sunlight when you can by opening your curtains. Turn off lights when no one is in the room or you don’t need them on.

Drink more water

Water is the best thing you can drink, both in terms of health benefits and in terms of cost. Stop stocking up on cans of sugary soda and expensive juice drinks and just have a glass of water instead. Drinking water throughout the day can also help you feel less hungry, so you’ll also snack less.

Stay away from fast food and takeaway

The cheapest way of eating is always cooking at home. Fast food may have a reputation for being cheap and easy, but it really isn’t that cheap when you have it frequently. 

Go to free events

Instead of going out to expensive movies or spending loads at bars, try finding out if there are any free events going on nearby. You might find something great that won’t cost you a penny.

Managing a household can be expensive, so finding the small areas where you can save a little here and a little there can lead to savings that really add up.

Hey all! Big thanks to Katy Blevins for handing over the reins to me at the end of 2017 to fulfill my new years resolution to write...often! Based in Miami, you can find me blogging about family life as a mother of two young kids. But i'll also continue the Chaos and Kiddos theme of business, fashion, parenting, product reviews, and...well, I could go on and on.

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Financial

How to Find Discounts that Make Your Money Go Further

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When you are a working mom, every penny counts. But finding the best deal is not always easy and you don’t always have time to go searching for offers. There are a few things you can do, however, to help you get a better deal on anything that interests you. Let’s take a look. 

Connect with your favourite brands

Getting a deal is great but you don’t want to make a purchase for the sake of it. So think about what items you need to buy and what brands you prefer. By following brands on social media or by signing up to their newsletters, you will get access to coupons and special offers. Many brands post coupons on their social media account that you can print off and use or they send discount codes to their newsletter subscribers. The “coupon queen”, Holly Smith, even recommends sending birthday and Christmas cards to your favourite brands, as many will send you vouchers, freebies or coupons in return.

Sign-up offers

Some websites that require registration will offer you a bonus to sign up. If you play online games such as bingo or slots, you may have already come across such offers. For example, at Zodiac Casino players can deposit as little as $1 to get 80 spins on the million dollar jackpot slot Mega Moolah, according to the in-depth review at Bonus.net. Many online casinos will give you free spins or similar incentives. If you play these games anyway, it is worth taking advantage of such offers, while it’s good to remember that several other types of companies follow similar strategies that you can take advantage of. 

Cashback websites

Some websites will offer you cashback for every purchase you make through their pages. They are able to do this because they get a commission for every referral they make – and they pass all or part of this on to the customer, depending on what type of membership you choose. The top cashback websites work with thousands of retailers so you can usually easily find the product you are looking for. You can even switch utility company, broadband supplier and mobile phone provider via cashback websites. And if you use certain credit cards, you can earn further cashback for each purchase. If you’re not sure if your card has such a scheme, get in touch with your bank so you don’t miss out.

Voucher codes

We have all had that experience where you get to the checkout after making an online purchase and see that little box marked “promo code”. You then skip past it and feel like you are missing out – or you go searching for discount codes online in the hope that there is one available.

There are hundreds of voucher code websites but finding valid promotional codes is becoming harder and many sites just send you back to the website you started at or tell you about a sale that you already know about. That’s why it’s better to plan in advance and get codes via newsletters and social media, or even wait for major sales such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. However, it is always worth looking for codes, as you may get lucky.

Whatever method you choose to find the best deal, you should always remember to only buy what you need and not make a purchase for the sake of it. A deal is only really a deal if it saves you money off items you would have bought anyway!

Image: Needpix

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Worried About Starting a Family? Here Are a Few Financial Tips That Could Help

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Anyone can start a family, but not everyone can keep their family happy. From making residential choices to taking budgeting decisions, there are a number of things that you will need to consider on an ongoing basis if you want to ensure that the partner or the young lives you brought to this world get to live a life that they deserve. You want to give the very best life for you and your loved ones. For many, the concept of “managing” so many aspects not only for themselves but for a number of other people could be very daunting. This is especially true if they are transitioning from their role of being a young-adult with just their own self to care for, to someone who would have dependents of their own that will look towards them whenever they have a financial need. As someone who went through that same  experience before starting my own family, I can deeply resonate with that notion. And when I think back, the reason behind that seems to be simple: I was afraid of managing my finances, among other things. What if I am not able to pay the bills on time? What if my shopping habits cannot be curbed? What if I drive myself so deep into the ground with debt that I am not able to recover? Who will take care of my family then? Those questions kept me awake at night for a long, long time, before I was able tell myself that until and unless I find an answer to them, I might not be able to start a family of my own. It was from there that I went on the path of getting finances in check. Once I understood the simple basics of managing my personal finances, I knew that none of those questions mattered anymore. While the thought of personal finance management may sound grueling, the goal itself is quiet easy to achieve especially if you know what you are doing. By getting on top of your finances and knowing your spending and budgeting like the back of your hand, you can ensure that your family gets to live comfortably and with the kind of lifestyle you want for them.

Start by Learning About Your Credit Report

It all starts with the basics. If you earn a decent paycheck but spend more than half of it in debt repayments each month, then you clearly need to get your affairs in order. That is where learning about your credit report and taking important actions comes into play. Think of the credit report as the atlas to explore your financial world, or in modern terms, the Google Maps to making your way to that happening neighborhood where you have your dinner reservations. The term “credit report” gets treated like it’s rocket science, but it actually is more like a guide when you start making your way through it. Among other things, it will tell you about your account statuses, your debt and credit ratings, and the amount you owe to your credit accounts. By keeping tabs on this information, you will be able to make informed decisions about whether to get that big screen TV for the living room, or actually put that amount towards repaying some of your pressing debts.

Strike a Balance Between Savings, Budgeting, and Spending

Once you have the idea about your loan and credit card debts and exactly where you stand in terms of your finances, you will be able to devise a plan on how exactly you can maintain the poise to manage your family’s comfort and a credit report that is not a screenplay of how you broke your back. You can put many popular saving mechanisms in play that could help you strike that perfect balance. As something which has worked for many, including me, you can go with the 50/20/30 rule. The 50/20/30 rule is simple yet effective, which is quite evident from the very description that it presents for itself. From your paycheck, you allocate 50% towards your needs. These include the very things your family cannot do without. For instance, your rent money/mortgage payments, your children’s school fees, the minimum payments on your credit cards, and your loan repayments. 20% of your paycheck should be allocated towards your savings/debt repayments. For instance, if you have debt and have made the minimum repayments on it, then add more amount into a relevant account to pay off additional chunks in terms of repayment. Any amount that is saved from here should then go towards your savings. 30% of your paycheck can then be put towards your wants. These would be your desire to purchase that new phone, get that new piece of furniture for your house, or going out for movies. Since you will have a significant portion of your paycheck allocated towards this aspect of life, you can ensure to support a great lifestyle for your family.

Lookout for Impulse Decisions That Could Have a Long-Term Impact

There is no ifs, ands or buts about it, you are adulting now. You have to manage today and plan for the future too. This means that you can no longer give in to impulse purchases. I know, I was surprised too, when I first realized this, I automatically thought about the fact that you only live once. When you did not have a family, buying that Fendi bag or that new PS4 console could be taken with a grain of salt even when you could have spent that money on home renovations or any other purchase that would have made the quality of life better for the residents of your home. But now that you do lead a family of your own, you have to think of your home and its inhabitants as your first priority. Before you make impulse purchases, think about how they could affect your long-term finances. Instead, go with what you learnt from your credit report and through your preferred spending and saving techniques, and start saving up for luxury purchases. That way, you’ll not feel guilty in case an emergency expense arises for your family right after your purchase, since in that way, you would not have spent money you did not have.

Master These Techniques for a While, and You’ll Feel Confident Enough to Start Your Family

By following these few techniques, you can ensure to put yourself on a path of stellar financial management that will help you with making great decisions all the way into your future. This would have you sleep every night with the assurance that you are on the way of building a strong foundation for your family’s comfort, which in turn would give you all the confidence in the world to take steps towards achieving that lifelong dream of having a family of your own. Remember, keeping a family happy will always take work but it is definitely worth it.

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Financial Housekeeping Tips For Everyone

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Good habits make it easier to be good with your finances. What is “financial housekeeping”? Well, it’s essentially the process of keeping your finances in good order through regular attention and maintenance. A quick dusting down of your budget each week or shining up your savings with better planning and research can make all the difference to overall financial health. Keeping your finances in good shape means you won’t have to rely on expensive doorstep cash loans or personal loans in an emergency – like your heating breaking down in the middle of winter. If you’d like to be better at financial housekeeping then here are some useful tips. Make your finances a regular priority Just like regular housekeeping, the financial version needs to be regularly done if you want your finances to be orderly and sparkling. Schedule in some time once a week to look over budgets and review your goals to see where you are with what you have in the bank – and what you’re trying to achieve. Carry out a financial spring clean often Overspending and financial waste can be curbed with a regular review and clear out of your finances. Are you paying for apps or services that you just don’t use anymore (e.g. online streaming or gaming apps)? Do you know how much you spend on coffee every week and are you eating the food that you buy or does it just end up in the bin? Go through every aspect of your financial life and assess whether it’s working and if improvements could be made. Always hesitate Hesitation isn’t always helpful in life in general – except when it comes to your finances. If you’re trying to improve the way that you manage your money then a little hesitation is sometimes no bad thing. Feeling like you want to spontaneously purchase a whole new outfit or TV? Just give yourself a day or so to think about it. Looking at exotic holidays online and wondering if you could just skip a few car repayments to take advantage of a discount? Just wait 24-48 hours and then think it over again. Regularly reassess your options Interest rates change on a regular basis so it makes sense to review where these touch your financial life as part of routine financial housekeeping. Could you pay less for money that you’re borrowing, for example? Or is there a better product for your savings that would help you to generate more income from what you put aside? Think about the future When you’re committing to financial housekeeping always keep your eye on the horizon. Living in old age is becoming increasingly expensive and poverty is a very real threat for many who reach pensionable age. Do your current financial arrangements include a provision for covering the costs of living when you’re in your golden years? If not then this is a reassessment that is going to be essential for keeping your finances in order. Stay on top of your income and outgoings Budgeting gives you control when it comes to finances and is an essential part of financial housekeeping. Make sure you know what’s coming in every month – and that you’ve estimated your outgoings so that there are no nasty surprises or white knuckle moments.

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