Family

Could You Live A More Self-Sufficient Life?

With countries around the world experiencing their longest and hottest summers for some years, it’s more important than ever we consider our carbon footprints and the waste we produce that could contribute to global warming. While recycling has been encouraged for some time, there are other ways you could live a self-sufficient life with you and your family and have a kinder effect on the planet. Here we’ve put together some fun and interesting ways you can incorporate self-sufficiency into your daily activities.

Home Harvested Breakfast

Kitchen windowsill herb gardens and spice plants are a fond favourite but there is plenty more you can grow easily at home. Set up a home allotment plot and grow favourite dinner accompaniments such as tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, you can even plant some sweet delights including strawberries and even pineapple! If you plan your garden right, you can continue to grow all year round providing you healthy variation to keep your palette happy.

A meal of just vegetables likely isn’t going to take your fancy but no one can turn down the freshest of eggs and keeping chickens is a great way to bring a pet into your life that offers a daily reward. Chickens like any pet can bring you lots of joy and can be quite affectionate, responding to your voice and following you around the garden.

Turn Your Waste into Plant Food

You may have heard of a composting toilet used in caravans, but could you bring one into your home? There are plenty of composting toilets available on the market and the new designs handle your waste without worry about nasty odours, not to mention the fantastic effect they have on your water bill. Considering the huge amounts of water used every day by toilets around the country, a composting toilet is a brilliant way to live a greener lifestyle.

Harness the Energy of the Sun

Electricity bills can be a huge outgoing every month with the amount of connected smart gadgets that are ever increasing. Consider installing solar panels on your home, modern day designs can still generate on overcast days, so you don’t need to worry about lack of sun in the winter months. Solar panels can drastically lower your electric bills and in some areas even produce enough energy to provide you free electricity (once your panels are paid off).

Live in an Eco-home

The term eco-home can be applied to many types of dwellings that are either self-sufficient in nature or eco-friendly in their build. An earthship would be an extreme example of an eco-home, completely built out of recycled materials including bottles and vehicle tyres and using natural materials like earth and clay. Could you build your own earthship?

A less extreme example would be a park home, built to strict energy efficient standards and often manufactured from sustainably-sourced resources and materials. Find more information on how a park home could save you money in the long-term and look at park homes for sale here. Park homes can be bought and installed on private land but are most common in residential parks where residents feel a greater sense of community and are close to necessary amenities and facilities like entertainment and sports. Perfect for starting a growing community or even keeping chickens together! Greener community living is a great way to accompany your eco-friendly park home.

Are you a self-sufficient home-owner or do you struggle to keep up with the recycling? Consider living a greener life today so your children may follow these traditions and help improve life on our planet for all people and species, the globe over. We only have one planet, so it’s important we take care of it and there is a special sense of accomplishment that is felt from living a self-sustaining lifestyle where you grow, harvest and recycle as much as you can.

Family

When is it the Right Time to Get a New Car for Small Families?

Obtaining a new car is a big step for a small family and a vehicle is often essential in order to address daily activities. When is the best time to consider a new car and what factors should you consider in advance?

Year-End Sales Events

All dealers are required to clear out old inventory before the new models can go on display. So, they will often offer discounts and other special packages such as extended warranties. The end of the year is a great time to see what is available, but keep in mind that others will likely have the same idea.

The End of the Month

Many experts feel that the end of the month is a great time to get a new car. This partially arises from the incentives that are offered to sales representatives. As they rely upon commissions, you could very well be presented with an offer that would not otherwise be possible.

Model Changeovers

Out with the old and in with the new. This phrase is particularly relevant within the car industry. Countless makes and models emerge every year and quotas need to be met.

Therefore, newer versions tend to roll out in the beginning of the year. This is one of the reasons why the month of December is a good time to begin performing research.

However, the end of the model year can sometimes occur in the spring or the summer. This is often the case if the dealer happens to be releasing recreational vehicles such as convertibles or SUVs. Keep up to date with your local dealerships to learn when new designs are coming to the market.

Online Shopping (and In-Person Testing)

The great thing about the online retail community is that you have an immeasurable amount of information at your fingertips. Check out local and regional dealer websites to first see what is being offered. Compare the price of each model with other providers as well as with the official listing (MSRP).

Also, be sure to research your leasing company first. Examine their history, what services they provide and what other customers have to say. Having said this, always perform an in-person test drive before committing to any deal. NEVER close an agreement over the Internet, as you might not be aware exactly what you are getting.

Holiday Sales Events

The holidays are great times to find a money-saving deal on your favorite vehicle. You will often find discounts equivalent to five or even ten percent. We should still mention once again that others will likely have the same idea. Try to schedule an appointment in advance.

A new car can provide your small family with room to grow and there is no doubt that such vehicles are a pleasure to drive. If you would like to discover even more family-oriented advice, be sure to subscribe to Mum’s the Word. There are countless tips and tricks here to make your life easier than you can imagine.

Money

7 Ways to Save Money on Your Daily Coffee Habit

coffee
Photo by Christiana Rivers on Unsplash

So, you love drinking coffee but your daily habit is burning a hole in your wallet? How we can relate to the feeling! Drinking coffee in large amounts can get a little expensive over time, especially if you are fond of the premium varieties.

Fortunately, there are some useful life hacks that you can rely on if you’re serious about spending less money on coffee without necessarily drinking less of the good stuff. It’s the next best thing asides from outright finding money you didn’t know you had!

Use Cash Instead Of Credit

If you’re purchasing your coffee using your credit card, you waste money in needless transaction fees every single time. Something as simple as making a point of always paying your coffee related expenses using live cash can add up to meaningful savings over time. Cut back on transaction fees and make sure to spend all your coffee money in actual coffee!

Make It At Home

Another typical reason why some coffee lovers will break their budget too quickly is because they refuse to go down the DYI route. You really don’t have to spend a lot of money to be The Coffee Maven around your neighborhood – you just have to know how to brew great coffee! Even learning how to brew like a pro by taking a barista course from Kimbo! Sure enough, those trendy coffee shops you love do have delicious and Sure enough, those trendy coffee shops you love do have delicious and foamy drinks that make your heart sing… but think about the needless sugar you’re putting into your system and all the money you’re wasting.

Be Aware of Your Expenses

It might be worth tracking your coffee related expenses for a while, in order to illuminate on the matter. It could be that you’re actually wasting a lot of money on related expenses such as pastries, chocolates, and cigarettes; if so… you may want to consider cutting back on those things first.

Find an Alternative for Your Coffee Habit

If you feel you really are drinking too much coffee and it’s actually working against your well-being, maybe cutting back is the right thing to do. In this case, you may want to try substituting some of your coffee breaks throughout the day with other beverages (like tea) or other habits (like going for a walk).

Make Coffee Ice Cubes

Here’s an ingenious trick to use all your leftover coffee rather than simply letting it go to waste: make coffee ice cubes! Not only it’s a great way to preserve brewed coffee, but you can use those coffee ice cubes at any time to add a little flavoring to other drinks.

Create Your Own Creamer

If you like having creamed coffee, you can save a lot of money by simply making your own coffee creamer rather than purchasing the ready-made versions available on the supermarket. The base recipe calls for equal parts of cream and condensed milk, but you can also try different textures and even add a little extra flavoring such as vanilla or chocolate.

Download Coffee Apps

In this day and age, there are many useful coffee apps out there worthy of your time and attention. From learning new recipes to staying on top of the best deals and latest promotions, there are many ways how relying on a good coffee app will help you cut down your expenses.

Home

5 Things to Look for When Buying Property Overseas

Image source

Buying a property overseas is a major decision, but one more people than ever before are opting for. There are places abroad where the properties are much better prices, give better rental yields, but if you decide to live in them yourself, give you a better way of life. The cultures and rules can be very different to in the UK though, so you need to be certain that you can abide by the laws of your adopted country before moving there, like the Saudi visa fee.

Why Do You Want The Property?

This is the first thing you need to know as it can affect the type of property you choose and which country you decide on. Are you intending to live in it yourself? If so you need to ask yourself about the sort of lifestyle you are after. Do you want calm and peace or to be in the hustle and bustle of a big city? Do you want to be by the sea or tucked away in the countryside? Do you want to live with the locals or be in a holiday resort with other expats?

Perhaps you are buying the property as an investment for the future, and in the meantime will use it as a holiday home for family and friends. Or maybe your aim is to rent it out to a long-term tenant so that you can reap the benefits of the income. Finding an overseas property expert, like Simon Conn, to help you with your search is a great idea because he’s probably got a whole load of other questions that you haven’t even considered yet!

The All Important Location

The importance of the location you choose cannot be underestimated. People have different tastes and interests and you need to find somewhere that is suitable for you.

If you want to live in a tropical paradise you may opt for somewhere like Bali or Java. Both of these islands are in Indonesia and neither of them will cost you a fortune to live there. They have all the local amenities you would expect, and some of the friendliest people in the world. They also have delicious local foods, markets selling locally made crafts, watersports galore, and many other activities suitable for all ages. Don’t forget to research passport legalisation.

If you have a thought of moving to Australia or New Zealand, you might have to reconsider, as they are extremely hard to get accepted into. You have to have a trade o profession that they have a shortage of, such as doctors or dentists, or be very rich indeed. There are a few other exceptions, but the list of those grows shorter every year.

Somewhere such as Singapore could be ideal, although such as Singapore is a bit misleading because this place is unique. It has the most stable government in the whole of Southeast Asia, who actively encourages businesses and immigration. With some of the lowest tax rates in the world, excellent education and the highest quality healthcare, Singapore has been accredited by several worldwide organizations for its high standards.

Apartments in areas such as Tampines – you can see some interesting Tampines facts here – are comfortable, reasonably priced and convenient for all the delights of Singapore. Of course, there are lots of other places like that and it is up to you to do your research and find the perfect place for you.

European locations might seem an easy option, but even they have restrictions on immigrants from outside other EU countries. For instance, Spain will not accept driving licenses from some other countries, New Zealand being one of them. Any New Zealander moving to Spain should take a driving test before using the roads.

Choose your location with care. The house or apartment you live in will be the home you make it, if you have got the location right.

Watch The Costs

You need to be aware that each country has its own set of costs when it comes to buying a property, and agent’s fees are sometimes handled differently. In some countries, it is the seller or owner that pays them, and in others, it is the buyer or the person renting that has to settle their bill. This can be a huge cost and more than the legal bills or local taxes.

If you have purchased the property to rent out, there could be maintenance costs, and who is going to pay the local taxes every year? As an example, in Spain, there is a yearly tax for rubbish collection that is usually paid by the landlord, but not always. You need to agree on everything with any tenant because these tax bills will be in your name as the owner.

Legal Experience

If you intend to use a property lawyer for the deal, you need to be certain that they are qualified to operate within the country you are buying in, and that they are experienced in dealing with international transactions. The alternative is to use a legal firm in the country itself, but beware of any language barrier because sometimes things get lost in translation. It is worth the extra cost of hiring a professional translator to attend any meetings with you. This translator or interpreter should be independent of the law firm you are using, as you will need them to translate any documents and paperwork as well. It could be a good idea to refer to a passport agency London, too.

Tax Implications

If renting out is your preferred option, you need to speak with a local tax expert. The tax systems vary greatly from country to country and you can end up with huge fines and penalties if it is not done correctly.

The laws regarding inheritance have to be considered as well, as there can be tax implications where these are concerned.

Legal and tax advice for the country you have chosen are crucial if you do not want to end up on the wrong side of the law.

Buying Property Abroad

The prospect of owning some property in another country can be an exciting one and should be totally trouble free if you go about it in the right way. Check the places out by spending some time there first, and take a look at things like the infrastructure as well as the properties. A good local bus service, for instance, can be a boon so that you can get around without having to drive everywhere.

Speak to people that already have property in the area and you will find the benefits and pitfalls, and don’t give up if your first location choice turns out not to be right. The world is a big place and there are plenty more locations you can consider.

Education

5 Benefits to Having an Aquarium at Home for your Children

aquarium
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Have you considered using an aquarium as an educational tool? There are many ways that having an aquarium at home will positively stimulate the imagination and affection of your kids! While many parents look into getting an aquarium simply because it’s fun, there are many underlying reasons that reinforce why this is such a good idea.

If you’re wondering exactly what these benefits may be, read through the following article for some guidance and inspiration. You will also find useful links here comprising technical aspects of having an aquarium.

Aquariums Encourage learning

There’s something so new and exciting about having a live fish tank indoors that always fascinates children. As such, an aquarium is a great opportunity to pique the curiosity of your kids, which in term will help fuel their desire to learn more about the world. They’ll start by pondering simple questions such as how do fish breathe or whether they drink water, and from there their natural curiosity should entice them to learn more about fish species and underwater environments.

Stimulates imagination and creativity

Since an aquarium is a self-contained little world inhabited by peculiar creatures and plants, watching this unusual setting will stimulate your children to look beyond reality and imagine other possibilities. This is especially true if you allow them to play an active role in decorating the fish tank and helping with research – like finding the 3 best aquarium timers. It’s also a fun idea going on some field trips for inspiration – such as visiting a large public aquarium before getting your own.

Increases senses of responsibility

Even though they’re a great tool to stimulate imagination and creativity in children, aquariums are also a great way to encourage your children to keep their feet firmly planted in reality. After all, those are living creatures swimming around in the fish tank, and they have to be properly fed and taken care of. By recruiting the assistance of the young ones, you will manage to get them involved in the project while subtly exercising their sense of responsibility.

Helps with negative emotions

There’s something incredibly soothing about an aquarium that seems to have a positive effect on anxiety levels while promoting healthy bonding. Children who help manage a domestic aquarium will tend to connect with fish and regard them as friends. This on-going experience will provide a valuable outlet to help dismiss negative emotions such as frustration and sadness.

Creates moments of magic

For a growing child, a aquarium can be truly a magical and wonderful thing, since it’s so unlike everything else around them during any given day. Having the opportunity to interact with fish and observing them enjoying their underwater setting can be a magical and character-building experience. It will provide your kids with many happy memories as well as a window that allows them to peek into the underwater world to watch some of its fantastic creatures. To start out, here is a guide to setting up a Betta fish tank! Bettas are great starter fishes  to take care of.