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Showing posts from January, 2014

Ways to save on your energy spend

We have been really lucky this winter and it has been wet and mild in the UK, but apparently there is a cold snap on the way.  So here are some great tips on saving money on your energy spend Make sure you close your curtains when it gets dark and open them during the day.  This shuts out the clod and let the warm in. Use draft excluders , we have a range from stuffed fabric ones to ones that we have stuck on door frames and even screw on ones on the external back door. Use a curtain at external doors.  We have one on our front door and also one on the door from the garage.  Turn off lights in empty rooms. Do not leave items on standby Unplug or turn off chargers at the wall when not in use (they still pull power even when not charging) Turn down your thermostat by 1 degree.  This will give you an annual saving of over £50 Wear more layers.  We have got in to the habit of wearing dressing gowns and slippers Use throws - we all snuggle up under throws on the sofa when we

Share trading: Getting the hang of the basics

Getting into share trading can be difficult. Well, getting into it is easy, especially with the abundance of online trading accounts out there. Getting it right however, can be tough. Novice traders can find the whole process of deciding what to invest in, buying shares , selling shares, and knowing when to enter and exit the market somewhat daunting. And for good reason – it is daunting, and there is a lot to know. Get informed Before you start trading, it is highly recommended that you find out as much as you can about the market and the kind of trading you want to do. This may take a while, but getting a good grounding makes it much easier to succeed, and allows you to learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others. There are various investor starter guides available online, so check them out as a starting place. There are also dozens of websites dedicated to helping investors make decisions. Make sure the advice you take is credible, and use your commo

Using online loan calculators to find the best loan option

Using an online calculator is a great way to find the best deal on a loan, allowing you to compare loans and work out how much you can afford to borrow. There are many different types of loan calculators, from car loan calculators to personal loan calculators, to a whole range of calculators for home loans. Using an online loan calculator to work out a budget Online loan calculators can help you work out how much you can afford to borrow before you take out a loan. The key to finding the best loan is finding a loan that is affordable. Note down all your incomings and outgoings, and work out how much you can afford to pay back on your loan each month. Then use the loan calculator to find a loan that fits within this budget. You can use the calculator to play around with different repayment options, and find a repayment schedule that works for you. This will help you work out how much you can afford to borrow overall, and how long you will need to pay it back. Usin

Save money on private health insurance with these easy steps

If you want to save money on private health insurance, there are some really easy ways to do it. From choosing the right level of cover, to choosing the right insurer, to choosing the right level of excess – there is a lot you can do to make sure you get value for money on your private health insurance policy. Choose the right level of cover Making sure you have the correct level of cover is one of the easiest ways to ensure you don’t pay more than you have to for health insurance. Most insurers will offer varying levels of cover, with the more basic options generally being cheaper. You can also choose which services you want cover for, allowing you to only pay for the services you are likely to use. Choose the right insurer Different health insurance providers offer different types of policies, and charge different prices for their services. If you want to save money on health insurance, be sure to compare private health insurance companies and find the best op

My M&S Magical Dining Room

I love my dining room. We use it each and every day and we eat together as a family 5 out of seven days as week. I also make sure that we eat breakfast together when we can too. Growing up we had family dinner times and those times all at the table hold special memories for me, of good times, conversation, family and food. I believe that children learn good manners and are also more adventurous eaters when they eat with the rest of their family. Also it is a great time to catch up on what everyone has been doing each day, I am also a great believer in not keeping things for best.  So we all use the china, glasses  and good cutlery too. My family dining table is somewhere we gather, where homework is done, where board games are play and where we do jigsaw puzzles as a family.  It is also the place where most of the art and crafts in the house are done. I find if we eat together I only have to prepare one meal and the boys will eat what we eat.   Do you eat toge

How to find the perfect car loan

Whether you are looking for a loan to buy a new car or you are looking to refinance your current loan, finding the perfect car loan is simply a matter of asking the right questions and looking in the right places. Find out the best way to find the perfect car loan by following these easy steps. Decide how much you need to borrow Think about which car you want to buy, whether you want to buy new or used, and what extras you need. Compare options at dealerships and from private sellers, and work out how much you can expect to pay for the car you are looking to buy. Decide how much you can afford How much you need to borrow and how much you can afford to borrow may not be in the same ball park. Create a budget to work out how much you can afford to pay back on your loan each month, and work out how long you will need to pay off the loan. If you cannot afford a loan for the car you want, rethink your options. It’s not a good idea to take on a loan you can’t affor

Week 3 decluttering tasks

I have been trying to keep up the momentum with the decluttering tasks, but have to admit that I have slowed down somewhat. This week I am moving down to the kitchen and I am going to work my way through all the cupboards and drawers!  Food - take an inventory of what is in your store cupboards.  Make sure you check the dates and if you think anything is past its best then throw it away.  Is there things that you will not eat?  Then gift them to a local food bank or friend. Freezer - Again time to defrost the freezer, removing everything to a freezer bag making an inventory as you go. Do you have a junk drawer or cupboard?  I have both.  The understairs cupboard needs a good sort through and clean as does a couple of the kitchen drawers. How many mugs does one family need?  This is what I am going to have to ask myself when I sort though the kitchen units! The same goes for tea towels and I am also going to clear out the unit under the sink too! How is your declutt

The moments that mattered in 2013

2013, it was an eventful year, one that truly flew by and was filled with lots of eventful moments, but it was also filled with lots of mundane moments too.   For me, the moments that mattered are not all about our fantastic once in a lifetime holiday to Florida with my brother and his family at the end of November, or a fabulous trip to Butlins over the summer holidays with Cass from Diary of a Frugal Family.  They are also the days spent having blood transfusions just before Christmas, wondering if I would be spending the festive season in the hospital. Jumping off a wall in France and breaking my ribs was also a pivotal moment for me.  I realised that I can no longer act my shoe size, even though my boys thoughts I was super cool for giving it a go! Oh yes, 2013 has been filled with massive ups,  just the weather made sure that the summer holidays were ones to remember where we enjoyed picnics on the beach and my boys chased each other with the hosepipe, but they were also

Save money in your home - Bedroom

This week we are looking at ways to save money in your bedroom. Use the appropriate tog quilt - make sure you add a heavier weight quilt on to your bed in the autumn or if you do not have a heavier one, then layer up with flannel sheets and blankets. Use a hot water bottle in your bed. Line your curtains or add a blind Shut your curtains at dusk. Fit programmable radiator valves. These will allow you to set different heating patterns for every room in the house, so you don't have to go round turning the radiator valves up and down throughout the day. Turn your mattress regularly.  This extend the life of your mattress by regularly turning it. Some mattresses can be turned and flipped – others only turned – so check with your manufacturer. Turn off lights when not in the room. Get into the habit of keeping doors closed. If you have a spare room why not consider renting it out. Wear socks to bed in cold weather to keep your feet warm.  Appently people with warm feet g

Saving with a purpose

I always find that saving with a goal in mind is really empowering.  We started saving for our own home before we got married and then made the decision to relocate to Berkshire from N Yorkshire and had to save a LOT more for that initial deposit, which is why I think this infogram is great as it gives you an idea of house prices throughout the UK. Buying your dream home - find out what you can get for your money We all know property prices can vary significantly, but do you know the average house price of each region in the country, or the most expensive region vs the least expensive? Find out the average house price in your region and share this with your friends, so they too can find out what they can afford with their budget.

This weeks decluttering plans

I have still be busy decluttering and even managed to get MadDad to sort through his clothes at the weekend! This weeks plans are as follows: Linen Cupboard - Sort though the linens and make sure they are sorted in to bed.  Donate or sell any surplus sets. Bathroom - Clear any drawers or storage in the bathroom.  Make a list of what products you have, so that you do not over stock. Children's bedrooms - Sort through drawers removing items for your throw away, giveaway and sell box. Children's bedrooms - Sort under their beds. Children's bedrooms - Wardrobe sort out  If you have older children then it is important that you involve them in this, so that they can ensure they keep their rooms in a clean state.  I always agree with my boys that anything I sell from their rooms that they can have that spent on them. Emotionally decluttering  For me removing excess items from the home is all part of a larger exercise.  When I am upset, scared or unwell I accu

Free Magazine - 91 Magazine Craft Special

I have mentioned many times before my love of Free online magazines .  91 Magazine is a firm favorite and I was delighted to see that they had brought out their first ever 91 Magazine craft special . January might feel like the longest darkest month of the year, but you can delight at this wonderfully inspirational free magazine.  It is filled with creativity of all sorts and I am so looking forward to sitting down with the IPad and a steaming cup of tea to  envelope myself in craft inspiration. To see the other free magazines I have featured, just click here .

Join @BT_uk to celebrate the Big BT Broadband Sale and #GuessThePrize

To celebrate the BT Big Broadband Sale offering BT Infinity for only £7.50, BT are holding the the world's first game show live on Twitter. BT will be giving away amazing prizes every hour, starting at 12pm on January 10th with a live round lasting each time 7 minutes and 50 seconds To be in with a chance of the prize you have to spot which prize is worth £7.50 and tweet your answer with the hashtag  #GuessThePrize to  @BT_UK To enter  To enter successfully, you will need to feature the hashtag , the item valued at £7.50 and @ mentioning @BT_UK How does it work? You will have the chance to win a bundle of themed prizes including XBox1, home entertainment system, Barclays Premier League tickets and many more to be announced tomorrow (10th January) by interacting the BT's live twitter games how at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.  You will have a seven minute 50 second  time slot  to answer correctly once each hour.   Each successful answer will go in

My first income from decluttering

Yippe, a side effect of all this decluttering has been that I have been able to add a few of the quality items I no longer want or need on to ebay and I have my first income from all the effort I am putting in to decluttering. I have made £28 from selling three pairs of shoes. I have also made £40 from selling some of my fabric stash £40 from selling my books on (this is not a sponsored post)! So I have made £108 in the first week of January just from making our home a better place to live in. It certainly makes all the time spent decluutering worthwhile and has spurred me on to keep going.

Do you have a birthday box?

My boys are seven and eight and throughout the year they get invites to a lot of parties.  This means that I have to find presents for these children.  A birthday box is not a new thing, in fact my mum had one! A tend to keep an eye out during the year and January is a great time to stock up with items from the sale or from ebay.  I even do not have issues giving away second hand toys  (as I wrote about here for the Making Money Go Further Blog). Some recent additions have been from Paperchase where we bought some Robot jigsaw erasers and also some wooden stamp sets.  Children of all ages adore stationery. The book people often have some fantastic book sets that you can split into smaller gifts.  We love these LEGO Minifigure sticker books which work out at less than a £1 each. Small LEGO kits are also a fab present and gratefully received. so we always keep an eye on  LEGO Deals Facebook page for bargains throughout the year. LEGO Legends of Chima 70000: Razcal's G

Being in business doesn’t have to mean a desk job

Work and family are probably the two most time intensive activities any of us is likely to engage in. Doing both can often seem to be a challenge that no-one can ever truly master, and finding a way to prioritise both without damaging either can be a real hassle. Being your own boss and being able to set your schedule can seem like an ideal fix. It allows easy time management so that there’s flexibility when you need it, like school holidays, without compromising your work. Becoming a landlord can be a great way to make the most of this kind of opportunity. While you will need to be aware of your tenants and any problems that they might have, they won’t take over family life to the point where you start missing things. You can still focus the time when the children aren’t around to work and unless there is a real emergency you won’t have to sacrifice time you normally spend together as a family. Being a landlord is an opportunity that can be as little or as large