Family · Money

4 Easy Ways to Make Your Money Go Further

Making your money go further as a parent can be tricky. You don’t want your kids to miss out, yet you don’t want to be splurging out on things you can’t afford.

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There are many different ways you can save money, but did you know you can also take advantage of different options to save money on things you need to pay for or buy. 

So how can you save money on your household expenses without cutting back?

Check your subscriptions

If you are finding you are paying for a tv subscription you aren’t using, then it may be time to find alternatives. Check out a TV sale clearance to see if you can find a better price. Or even a new TV on offer to save you some money and stop you paying for packages you simply aren’t using.

Apply this to other subscriptions you could be paying that you can find a better deal for or even cancel altogether. This will help you free up cash from your monthly budget to put to better use elsewhere.

Loyalty Cards.

Everyone still needs to buy food, toiletries, clothes. Shopping in sales can help you save money initially. However, signing up to store loyalty cards can help you accrue points you can then use for future shops. think of it as a rainy day fund, or a Christmas savings account.

The thing is if you are spending your money with them any way you may as well get something back for it, right!

Cashback Sites.

If you shop online frequently, then are you using a cashback site? If not, then maybe you should be considering it. It is pretty easy to use too.

Simply sign up, and start shopping. find the right deal for the site you want to buy from, or even service you want to use or sign up to and click through from the cashback site.

Qualifying shops and spends will then be tracked and once the holding period is over, you have the funds in your account to do as you please. You can save the money until you have a decent lump sum. Or withdraw it as soon as you can and benefit from some free cash. After all, you have earnt it!

Use Deals

Make a vow to yourself that you will try to find as many deals as possible to help you afford meals out, day trips and even holidays. There are always voucher codes out there or even discount cards that will allow you to save money. 

From buy one get one free offers, to kids eat free and half-price deals, you can find yourself some great offers to help you save money doing what you do regularly.

Be savvy when it comes to your spending and see how you can save as you spend by utilizing all of the ways mentioned above. Use websites, vouchers and even apps to help you find the best offers and deals out there.

 

Business

3 Principles to Keep in Mind When Starting a Business with a Friend

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Thanks to the resources and possibilities available to us all today via the web, entrepreneurship is skyrocketing, with more and more people feeling driven to start their own businesses, and to take their professional and financial lives into their own hands.

An entrepreneur’s life can certainly be very fulfilling and rewarding, but it’s also inevitably going to be challenging. Even the most accomplished entrepreneurs in the world tend to have a good number of failures under their belts by the time they end up “making it big.”

While the life of an individual entrepreneur can be challenging, though, what about if you happen to be starting a business with a friend.

On the one hand, this can be a very powerful and positive experience, but on the other hand, there are all sorts of new pitfalls that await.

Here are a few principles to keep in mind when starting a business with a friend.

  • Look out for one another

This point should be self-evident, but if you’re starting a business with a friend it’s essential that you don’t both let your competitive natures, and the stress of the job, turn you into rivals rather than partners.

A business is unlikely to thrive if the two driving forces behind it are at loggerheads, and your friendship certainly isn’t likely to remain in good condition either, if you and your friend are practically coming to blows on a regular basis.

So, look out for one another, and be sure to always treat the business as a collaborative experience. Take steps to protect each other in the event of catastrophe, by, for example, looking into things like mortgage payment protection insurance.

And, by no means must you ever throw your business partner under the bus if a client is unhappy.

  • Choose your business partner very carefully

As mentioned at the beginning of the article; entrepreneurship is filled with challenges and obstacles, and the challenges and obstacles are, in some ways, magnified when you’re running a business alongside another person.

One consequence of this is that your partnership will be placed under stress, and you will be in a vulnerable situation, with regards to what the other person choose to do.

What that means is that you must choose your business partner very carefully, to minimise the chances that you will be exploited, or that the partnership will crumble under the strain.

  • Good communication is essential

A business partnership absolutely requires good communication if it’s going to succeed – because without good communication, you and your business partner will almost certainly end up working at cross purposes to one another, stepping on each other’s toes, and unintentionally undermining each other’s efforts.

Be sure to schedule in regular meetings and catch-up sessions, and have systems in place whereby you both know to consult with one another if you are presented with a particular opportunity, or have to make a particular decision.

For those circumstances where you can’t both be actively involved to the same extent, you should have agreements in place beforehand that determine how you should each conduct yourselves.

Adulting

Homesickness Help For The Kids Out On Their Own

As the parent of a university student, you may have done everything you could to ensure they are well equipped to live independently and to use that independence wisely. However, that doesn’t always mean they’re going to have an easy time doing it on their own. Most of us experience homesickness occasionally when we’re out on our own for the first time. For many, the experience can really be crippling. If your kid is having a tough time out on their own, here are a few ways you can help them cope better.

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Make sure they leave with realistic expectations about what university is going to be

As a parent, part of our responsibility is to make sure that our kids are prepared for a prosperous future and part of that means helping them get a more informed idea of what’s going to be waiting for them when they leave home. Social media, TV, and film may have given them ideas that university is a constant party but they’re soon going to be disabused of that notion. If they were particularly looking fun to that part of uni, that twist can actually be quite shocking and disappointing. As such, it’s important to help them understand that managing a household, studying, and going to class is what they’re going to be spending the majority of their time on, and that partying isn’t quite as frequent as they might believe.

Encourage them to throw themselves into their new experience

The trepidation that your kids might feel out on their own for the first time is real and worrying, but it is also something that they can get over best with experience. Simply, if they can find the strength to go out, try new things, join new clubs, and make new friends with the help of networks like Meetup. Simply put, until they find their rhythm in their new environment and find what they like about it, most of their time is going to be spent comparing it negatively to home. When it comes to getting over feelings of homesickness, we need to get out of our own way, occasionally.

Tell them to make their own home-life schedule

One of the best ways to keep homesickness off your mind is to be busy. They can do this, in part, by enjoying the uni life as best as possible, joining clubs, going to events, and making friends. But simply getting used to a new schedule can help them move on with their life as well. Helping them put a daily routine together, including their housework, self-care, shopping, studying, and so on can help them find their own rhythm away from home. It also makes sure they don’t have too much time to let boredom settle in, which is one of the biggest catalysts of homesickness.

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Help them stay in touch with the folks back home

Reaching out and sending messages via Skype, WhatsApp, Discord and the like is one thing. But it can really help warm their heart and centre your kids to hear a familiar voice once in a while. Some kids fresh out at uni may worry about the costs of calling home in their new budget, but deals like the Smarty student campaign can make it as affordable as possible for them. You have to give them some space to acclimate to their new environment, but calling once in a while and letting them know they can call you whenever they want can help them feel extra supported out there. Just try not to do it too much or you could end up getting in the way of them acclimating.

Put down social media

It’s not just home that your kid will be missing, it’s all of the friends and connections they have made over the year that they are now far removed from. That’s an emotionally tough thing for many to deal with, and people make it much worse for themselves with social media. By browsing social media all day, they’re likely to keep scrolling through photos and posts from friends they miss, twisting the knife all the deeper. Encourage your kid to set a rule for themselves that they only browse social media for 30-45 minutes a day during a set time of the day. If they can discipline the habit of thumbing through Facebook out of their life, then they’re going to torture themselves a lot less often. Apps like In Moment can offer some valuable help in doing that, too.

Send them some home comforts

Want to really warm their cockles and help them feel like they are cared for? Then put together a care package of things from home. This is especially valuable if they’re studying overseas, as their local stores aren’t likely to carry their favourite biscuits or even a decent pack of teabags. There are plenty of guides for putting together a university care package that can give you plenty of inspiration. Just make sure your intention in supporting them is clear, not that you’re trying to make them miss home even more.

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Encourage them to look for help

You can offer them advice and a kind word where possible, but if you feel like they’re having a really hard time, then it’s important to help your kid be aware that there may people there who can better help them. For instance, it’s very likely that their university will have counselling services on hand. A lot of young people struggle with bouts of depression, stress, and anxiety when they’re away from home. Let them know that they’re not the only person who has gone through this, without diminishing their experience, that they can get through it, and that there are people and services who can help them get through it.

With the tips above, you can help your grown kids fight homesickness. However, it’s important to listen to their complaints, as well. If they have actual problems it may be that homesickness isn’t really the concern.

Money

Struggling Financially? There’s No Need To Panic!

The truth is that at one point or another, most people will struggle with their finances. It’s not easy feeling like you’re sinking, as a result of struggling to manage your finances properly. It can feel as if it’s your fault you’re finding it hard to stay financially afloat, when actually it isn’t your fault. Yes, you may have made some bad choices with money or you may have lost an income stream, but blaming yourself isn’t going to help you or your family. Instead, you need to approach the problem head on and face it. 

Of course, knowing how to do that isn’t always easy, is it? When you find that you’re struggling with your finances, it’s not easy to accept the situation that you have found yourself in. You may be feeling upset, angry, embarrassed, or ashamed, or all of these emotions. However, it’s important to remember that financial problems impact a far wider number of people that you can imagine, and you really are not alone. 

You may be feeling anxious and panicked by the situation that you have found yourself in, however it’s important to stay calm and try not to let it impact your mental health and wellbeing. Yes, it’s a rubbish situation to be in, but don’t let it impact your mindset – instead find a way to move forward. 

To help you to do that, and to help reduce the stress and strain that you are under, below is a guide to some of the steps that you can take if you find that you are struggling financially. 

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Don’t ‘bury your head in the sand’

The very worst thing that you can do is ‘bury your head in the sand’. Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of pretending that it isn’t happening, or the situation will only end up getting worse. That’s why it’s so important that you are willing to accept the fact that there is a problem, because without doing so, it’s impossible to face the issue head on. However, by accepting that you are struggling financially, you put yourself in a position to deal with the problem in a more positive and constructive way. 

If you ignore the problem, it won’t go away – if anything, it will only end up getting worse. That’s why it’s so important that if you’re struggling financially, you acknowledge that there is, in fact a problem, as by doing so you can then address the problem and prevent it from getting worse. 

Write a list of what you’re struggling with 

The first step that you should take is to sit down and write a list of all the things that you’re struggling financially with. While the concept of doing this might seem somewhat daunting, it’s an important step to take and one that should help to make getting things back on track, somewhat easier. 

Sit down and write out a list of any bills that are overdue as well as a list of any debts that are owed. It’s also important to work out the monthly cost of your living expenses, and determine whether they are affordable. If your living expenses outweigh your monthly income, then you have somewhat of a problem. However, what it’s important to remember is that there are a number of ways that you can make managing your finances a little easier. By creating a list of your finances, you can work out what you can afford to pay and what you are unable to pay, and can then move forward from there. 

There is plenty of support available from financial charities, as well as debt charities like Step Change, for instance. So whatever it is that you are struggling with, don’t feel like there’s a lack of support available, because this isn’t the case. 

Consider selling assets to help 

If you’re struggling with your finances and need a means to an end, one option is to consider selling your assets to help cover the cost of your debts or to help make your living expenses that little bit more affordable. The fact is that while this might not be a route that you want to go down, it may be one that could be helpful, and thus is worth considering. 

Take the time to think about what you could sell – whether it’s old and unwanted furniture, electricals you no longer need, or something else. There are some great resources online designed to help you determine assets that you could sell to boost your income – for a little inspiration have a read of: ‘The 6 Surprising Assets You Can Sell To Supplement Your Income’. These kinds of resources offer some fantastic tips and ideas for making it far easier to give your income that much-needed boost to make managing your finances that little bit easier. 

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Find a way to earn more 

Another option, when it comes to making it easier to manage your finances, is to consider supplementing your regular income by earning more from a second income. While this may not be an idea that appeals to you, it could be a good option to consider, and it doesn’t necessarily have to mean leaving the house. Believe it or not, there are plenty of ways you can earn from home, including by freelancing. 

Whatever your job – be it working in education, marketing, medicine, health, or any other industry for that matter – there are plenty of options for freelancing within your chosen industry. However, it might just take a little time to work out what these options are. Let’s say, for instance, that you work as a teacher but need to boost your income – perhaps you could work as an online tutor? Or, say you work in marketing – maybe you could offer some freelance social media management to smaller companies? Whatever area you work in, there’s sure to be a way that you can earn some extra money through freelancing. 

A great tip is to look on sites like Indeed for remote roles, as well as using Facebook community groups specially created for your industry, and LinkedIn job boards to source remote and freelance roles. 

Struggling financially is not easy to cope with, however with the right action plan  in place, you can make managing the situation that you have found yourself in, far simpler and easier to cope with. 

Home

5 Important Things To Keep in Mind Before Renovating Your Home

Your house is more than just your home. It’s also an investment. It will look after your money for you as you get older, and potentially provide a fantastic nest egg for you when you choose to retire. When you own your own home, you always have collateral so you can finance anything from a new business startup to making the home of your dreams even dreamier. Renovating your home is a great way to help ensure that you’ll get a greater return on your investment if you eventually decide to sell. More than that, however, it can help you to breathe new life into the old place and ensure that you get more pleasure and enjoyment out of every moment you spend in your home.

5 Important Things To Keep in Mind Before Renovating Your Home

Image by Laurie Shaw via Pexels

However, a renovation is a major commitment, and it’s essential to go in with your eyes wide open. Here are 4 important things to keep in mind before embarking on a renovation project…

You can refinance to finance your project

When it comes to financing your project, be wary of spreading the cost across several credit cards or incurring the high interest rates of most loans. Instead, you may wish to consider refinancing your home to fund your renovation. You may benefit from a much better rate of interest and improved borrowing power.

Not everything needs planning permission

If you’re worried about the lengthy and confusing process of applying for planning permission for a major renovation, don’t let this put you off getting the most out of your home. The truth is that there are lots of renovations that can be carried out under your permitted development rights that do not require planning permission at all, from minor repairs to extensions and garden buildings. Get in touch with a local architect to advise on whether or not what you have in mine requires the granting of planning permission. However, you may well be pleasantly surprised.

Add a 10% margin onto your estimated costs

If you’ve ever watched a property show, any property show, you’ve likely seen how often even a modest renovation goes over budget. No matter how long you agonise over calculating the costs before breaking ground, there’s a chance you could go over budget. This is why it’s good practice to add a safety margin of around 10% to ensure that you don’t encounter any unpleasant surprises.

Never choose a contractor on the basis of cost

It’s not that there aren’t many, many reasonably priced and eminently capable contractors out there. It’s just that making these kinds of decisions on the basis of cost can set you up for a fall. Instead, you should choose someone who asks a lot of questions and gets excited about your project. Someone with a proven track record and reliable references who has lots of experience handling jobs just like yours. And if you hire an electrician, make sure they have the best multimeter on the market.

If you get cold feet, remember you don’t have to renovate

Finally, there are so many logistical and monetary considerations when it comes to renovations that it can make your head spin. Just remember, even if you get cold feet, there are still lots of great ways in which you can spruce up your home without the need for renovations.