How can you save money on your bills? That’s the age old question isn’t it? Plus its something we all would like to know – with two small children and working from home, I am always looking to save money on my energy bills – I’ve just finished paying off a massive bill from when we had a leak of hot water and a ton of gas got used – and now my new bill has come through, joy! I’m planning on paying that off in the next few days too thanks to some invoices being paid but I am super keen to get my bills down once again!
It is shocking to see just how much energy we waste in the UK. This infographic from Underfloor Heating Trade Supplies shows just how much, how we compare to other countries and some ways of cutting costs down on your energy bills. The smart power strips and auto turn off charging stations definitely sound of interest to my household – they would surely do us the world of good as we’ve always got things plugged in that we forget to turn off of an evening.
I’m definitely going to be taking steps to reduce my energy consumption and get my bills way, way down. What steps are you going to take to reduce your bills?
I like to think I am a good person. I like to think I am nice, that I’m kind and that people can trust me. But don’t we all believe we could all be a better person if we changed just a few things? It is something I have been thinking about a lot lately, especially in light of recent events, and I really want to aim to be a better person in general for the rest of my life.
But how am I going to manage this? I’ve got a few ideas that I’ve been mulling over – what tips do you have for becoming a better person?
Volunteering. I love to give my time and have volunteered for many things in the past and also arranged charity events too. I’ve volunteered as a helper in my local library for the children’s reading scheme, given up my time for charity events and like to help friends with their business ventures too. One thing I would love to do in the future though, when the children are a little older, is volunteer abroad, especially if I was to be teaching English. I have a passion for the English language and had the opportunity to go on such a trip ten years ago but couldn’t raise the funds to go unfortunately. I’d like volunteering to form a part of my time again and will definitely be looking into schemes in my local area whilst planning to go abroad in future years.
Random acts of kindness. I did this a few times over the past year and it always felt good to make someone else smile. I love that you can brighten someones day just by a simple act and I would like to do this more over the next few months. It always makes me smile to read news stories of the random acts of kindness others have done – why can’t the world be more kind?
Educate myself. Whilst trying to be a better person, its also important I don’t forget about other things apart from humans – I want to educate myself more on things that affect our planet and make changes where possible to reduce the amount I am personally affecting the planet. I already recycle plenty but I know I can do more – and there are so many other changes I can make. It is all about educating myself though.
Practice forgiveness and don’t hold grudges. I’ve let go of a lot of anger in the past few weeks because of certain events. I am trying to forgive and forget previous events, move on even if I felt I was in the right originally and let bygones be bygones. I feel much better for it and I am hoping it makes me a better person in turn.
These are just a few of the ways I plan to be a better person in 2017 and beyond – and I am already putting some into action. What tips do you have for becoming a better person – what do you do for others?
You know me – I’m all about saving money and stretching my budget as much as possible. This is most true when it comes to spending on my children. Don’t get me wrong, my children do not go without – but if I can save a few quid on those essentials, I sure am going to do it. Jack’s birthday and Christmas presents last year were gathered via sales, competition wins and only occasionally did I pay full price for an item that he really wanted. Now that I have Olivia to think about too, I need to really up my game when it comes to saving pennies on their items.
With Jack’s birthday three weeks before Christmas and now Olivia’s two weeks after, this is forever more going to be a very expensive time of year. Like always I plan to shop throughout the year but the problem is Jack is a growing boy and goes through clothes and stuff like wildfire and Olivia is a baby who is going to grow so quickly. I love to get a good bargain so I’ve been checking out the LoveTheSales website to see what good deals I can get. I’ve even spotted some super cute Disney items for both children that I am tempted to pick up for Christmas 2017.
I love sites like this that collates items that are currently in the sales so you can see what awesome items you can get for mere pennies. With clothes being the main thing my children go through quickly, I am always looking to save a little money and this is proving a handy resource for keeping my eye on the ball when it comes to all the latest sales – I never usually know about the big and best sales until it is far too late and barely anything is left.
Whilst this is just one way I save money on children’s items, I also have a few more tips apart from shopping the sales…
Sometimes quality wins through. Certain things you can get away with buying cheaply but sometimes you have to pay a little bit extra in the beginning for some good quality rather than going for the cheaper option. Sometimes you end up repurchasing and repurchasing the cheaper option as it just isn’t lasting so it makes more financial sense to get the better quality item in the beginning.
Enter competitions. You should have guessed that I would mention this but entering competitions helped me with both Jack’s birthday and Christmas presents in 2016 – it does take time but the rewards are so worth it!
Buy second hand. I don’t recommend this for all children’s items as safety wise, some things need to be purchased new – but I have nothing against picking up second hand items from the selling sites if it will save me some money.
This year, I will be doing all of these to help me to save more money on children’s items – do you have any top tips?
The bedroom is the one room in your house where the focus should be on relaxation and comfort, above all else. You need to have that one room that makes you feel warm and fuzzy, providing you with a space to leave the worries outside. But what makes a bedroom cosy and is it possible to create a relaxing room when you don’t have a huge budget to work with? Here are tips to help you create the cosiest of rooms without spending a fortune.
It all starts with a bed
The key to a cosy bedroom is in the bed. Naturally the most important element in the room and one you shouldn’t cut corners with. A good bed can last a lifetime and a well looked after mattress also keeps going for eight years. So, even if you need to initially fork out a bit of cash, in the end it’ll be worth it. You should pick a bed, which has an attractive design for you, and pay extra attention with the mattress. Pick the right finish, as you don’t want to end up with a too soft or too hard surface. It’s often a good idea to visit a few stores and try out the mattresses to get a better feel of what you like. But don’t buy the first thing you see and like. Online stores can offer extra discounts, which could help you save a lot of money – great when working with a budget. Dreams have a great reputation for quality beds, with plenty of offers available to ensure you don’t have to invest your lifesavings into a bed so it’s very logical to say that Dreams UK vouchers rock!
Keeping it minimalistic
Once you’ve sorted out the most important part of the room, you can start focusing on the other elements. The key to a cosy bedroom is in minimalism. You shouldn’t add things to your bedroom just for the sake of it. In fact, you will probably feel much more comfortable and relaxed when you aren’t surrounded by clutter and bumping into things when walking in the room. Apply the ‘less is more’ mantra when decorating the bedroom. Have a single rug on the floor if you have hard floors, and only pick one or two decorative elements for the walls. Include only the absolute necessary furniture – bed, wardrobe, a nightstand and so on. Don’t add anything you can’t think a good use for.
A nightstand that fits your needs
Aside from the bed, a nightstand plays a key role in the bedroom, even though you might not think it’s like that. First, it offers a great opportunity for storing a few items, helping you keep the wardrobe uncluttered. Nightstand is the place to put down any of the things you might need before, during or after spending time in bed. For this reason, you need to carefully pick a nightstand that fits your need. For example, if you often drink water after waking up, you want to ensure you can’t accidentally knock down the glass in the middle of the night. If you read in bed before sleeping, you want the table to be just the right height and size for putting down the book. So, don’t go for something decorative if you actually use the table a lot. List your needs and find a nightstand that fits the bill. Retailers such as Wayfair and Ikea have a good selection of affordable and functional nightstands.
The lighting plays a crucial role in creating the right ambiance to your bedroom. If your bedroom is getting plenty of natural light, allow it to flow freely into the room and take advantage of its relaxing effect. On the other hand, if you don’t have much natural light to work with, you want to create a similar effect with lighting. Pick lights that can be dimmed according to your needs. This ensures you don’t need ten different lamps in the room and the dimming effect guarantees the room looks inviting and relaxing. Dimmed bulbs won’t cost a fortune either; you can find plenty of good deals from retailers like REUK.
Somewhere to sit it out
Finally, your cosy bedroom should have a little corner for sitting down. You don’t always want to relax by lying in bed and a cosy chair adds attractiveness to your room. Pick something soft and decorate it with a few throws and blankets. The chair can be a proper armchair if you have the space, or a simple cushioned bench if you don’t have a lot of room. You can save a lot of money by opting to look outside of the big furniture retailers and using sites like NotOnTheHighStreet or even buying second hand!
With the above tips and ideas, you can create a cosy bedroom in no time. The key to budget-friendly decorating is to plan well, keep minimalism at the core of your decorating and to always shop around for deals and discounts. It never hurts to look around for special offers!
The bathroom is an important room, especially for a family. Once you have kids, you soon realise how much you need one.
Kids and dirt are drawn together. If I did not know better, I would swear there was some sort of magnetic connection between the two. Not to mention the fact that once your kids become toddlers your bathroom quickly turns into your sanctuary. For most parents, the bathroom is the one place where they can relax for 20 minutes, or so without the children interrupting their thoughts. There really is nothing quite like a long shower or a soak in the bathroom to relieve the tension, and clear your head.
Making sure that everyone can use your family bathroom safely and comfortably is important. To help you with this, I have put together a few tips.
Plenty of storage
When you have a family, it is particularly important to incorporate plenty of storage into your design. You will certainly need it when your children are young. Bath toys take up a surprising amount of room.
As they get older, and turn into teenagers storage will become even more important. They will need plenty of space for their hair and skin products, and makeup.
Make sure it is child friendly
When your children are young, it is particularly important to make sure that the bathroom is a safe place for them. Installing a thermostatic shower is an especially good idea if you have young children in the house. Children’s skin is more delicate than an adult’s skin is which means it is far easier for them to be injured by hot water. A thermostatic shower regulates the temperature of the water. If you would like to know how they work, you can read about it on this site.
Installing a non-slip floor is particularly important when you have children in the house. If you have a shower or bath, also consider buying a non-slip mat.
Choosing a shower that can be adjusted low enough so that your child can shower without your help and a low-level toilet are both important. They will make it possible for your kids to learn to use the bathroom on their own.
You need to make sure that you have somewhere high up to store items you do not want your children to be able to get hold of. A lockable cabinet above the sink is a good place to keep items like scissors, razors, lotions and any tablets you need to take. Just make sure that you always lock it, and keep the key in a place the children cannot reach.
Turn it into a place to relax
I mentioned earlier that bathrooms are important for parents because they are one of the few places they can actually relax in. You need to think about this when designing your bathroom. For example, placing lighting, so it is easy to read in the bath, and making sure that you have space along the edge of the bath to place some candles is just as important as practical considerations like whether there is enough storage.