Back to Basics is the theme set by Chloe for this week’s relaunch of the Best Boot Forward linky.
So as I often do I looked to the dictionary to help inspire my post. The dictionary tells us that basic can mean the essential foundation or starting point of something. In other words, the fundamentals of a thing or concept.
Grooving to Best Boot Forward
Well you can find the fundamentals about Best Boot Forward here but also it is a good time for me to reflect how I set up Grooving/Groovy Mums so many years ago now when I felt so worthless, bored, fat, fed up and hopeless. I wondered if anyone else felt that way which touched a nerve with so many women and so the Grooving/Groovy Mums linky started bringing women together who wanted to change their lives in ways small or large. Best Boot Forward is the new and improved version with the addition of my lovely co-host Chloe.
I think there are more pressures on women these days with so many taking part in social media, blogging becoming an income-generating sport and austerity meaning so many women are juggling far too many balls. So many of us are trying to be perfect when nobody can be. It is madness!
What is the minimum required?
Basics can mean the minimum required. I reflect that sometimes we need to strip things back to the minimum amount of stuff we need to do. Let’s put minimum expectations on ourselves at least for a little while. This is essential for our wellbeing in a busy world. Basic can also mean required by everyone and that certainly applies to mental health. I like seeing some bloggers giving up blogging knowing it is now more costly than beneficial to their wellbeing. I like to see women acknowledging that they are close to breaking point and reaching out for support. That’s a real sign of strength and if this linky can help just one woman find her way a bit, it is so worth doing.
Not too long ago I was trying to do a job, a business, exercise, housework and home educating too. Something needed to give and it was interesting to see the job disappear around this time as if Fate was telling me to ease up a bit. It gave me time to consider what really matters. Well, I do of course and it is great that I now have proper relaxation time at home and also a social life in a lovely community with new friendships formed.
I decided that I needed to be away from the mad whirl of blogging and social media for a significant part of each day. I have not made less money by doing this because the chilling has probably made me more efficient when I am online.
Very recently I worked out I can get away with doing less housework every day and still keep on top of things.
Similarly home education can happen in manageable chunks instead of me sitting around stressing about it and piling pressure on myself and the children.
I also worked out that some things can be combined so I can blog about home education. The children can learn to do chores as part of their education reducing the housework load on just me. My next step is to see what my children can learn about what I do and to see which if any of those elements appeal to them.
Finally I worked out that whatever the world thinks myself and my 17 year are perfectly happy with him living here and enjoying himself until he decides what he wants to do next. He is coming up with ideas but there is absolutely no rush – he does not have to be perfect because perfect does not exist.
As I work towards a big milestone birthday, I am basically wise enough to say back to basics teaches us a lot about how to live our lives!
Coming up with ideas that are going boost your monetary situation is so important. The first place to start is by understanding what the modern money concerns are that we are all susceptible to facing, and what can be done to address them. You have to make sure you do as much as possible to come up with ideas that will help you get a better handle on your money. These are some of the biggest modern money concerns you’re going to need to deal with, and ideas to help you deal with them!
There is no doubt you’re going to be facing a lot of bills at some point in your life. This is a fact of life that none of us can get around. In fact, it’s a good bet that a fair amount of your expenses on a monthly basis are taken up with bills. You have to remember that there is a lot to think about in this regard, and doing what you can to trim your bills is so important. Consider switching your energy provider, changing your TV package, and going a little more eco-friendly.
So many people face the costs of rising debt these days, and this can be crippling. You need to make sure you figure out what you can do to deal with the costs related to this. There are so many things that can affect your debt, and one of the biggest is to kerb your spending. The average Brit has debt of around £8,000, so this is a real concern for a lot of people moving forward. Speaking with a debt management company, and trying to pay off your credit cards as fast as possible is a good approach to take.
Mortgage payments are one of the big necessities in life if you are serious about keeping the house. There are so many expenses we could do without, but, if you are a homeowner, it is crucial to make sure you keep up with mortgage payments as much as possible. This is something you need to make sure you focus on wherever possible and make sure you cut costs in other areas so you can make your mortgage payments each month. You might even consider lowering your payments temporarily until you are in a more comfortable financial position.
Being off Work
Sometimes things happen, and we wind up being off work. Now, this could be due to ill health or some kind of workplace accident that resulted in injury. The fact remains, if you are off work for long enough this can start to adversely affect your finances. So, you need to make sure you take action to deal with this. You should consider filing for compensation for your personal injury. Now, you might be wondering, is there a catch with no win no fee? In some cases, yes, but there are a lot of reputable companies out there where this isn’t an issue, and you are no worse off if your claim is unsuccessful.
Running a Car
A car is seen as a necessity for many, and a luxury for some, but either way it is an expense that can mount up. There are some pretty hefty running costs involved in owning and maintaining a car, and this is something to keep in mind. You will need to think about the costs of fuel, as well as road tax, insurance, maintenance, and MOT. There is a lot to pay for when you own a car, and one of the best ways around this might well be to stop using your car, or at the very least cut down on your usage.
You have to understand that there are going to be living costs as well, and these are unavoidable. This is the cost of things like food, parking, and just everyday things that are a part of life. Now, these are costs that can’t be avoided, but they can certainly be reduced. Try your hand at something like couponing, and do as much as you can to save costs on a daily basis. The more you can do to reduce spending the more money you will be saving, and the more disposable income you will be left with.
Trying to Save
Come up with as many ideas as you can to help you save more money. Trying to save is a big concern for a lot of people, and it can be very difficult to achieve. So, you have to come up with ideas that will help you make more savings and free up more cash. There are a lot of options you can use here, and it is important to think about where you can trim costs, and how you can earn more money on a monthly basis, allowing you to free up more cash.
Though they aren’t an essential part of life, holidays are pretty important. You work hard, and there is a lot of stress in modern life, and that means you need to get away once in a while. Holidays are great for detoxing and relaxing, but the problem is that they cost money. So, the thing to do is to come up with ideas that will help you to enjoy a less expensive holiday. You could look for special offers, fly last minute, or travel off-peak if you want to be sure you’re going to get the best possible deal.
Having kids is the dream of a lot of people, but it is easy to overlook how expensive this can be as a venture. So many people have children and fail to recognize how much this is going to affect their finances. Kids cost money, and raising kids can put a strain on the family budget, so this is something to remember. There are a few ways around this, and you might want to think about things like hand-me-downs in order to save you some money.
Insurance is a big thing to consider in daily life, and there are a lot of different areas in which insurance is a big deal. This is something that you have to consider in order to protect you and your family in the future. Now, insurance is going to cost money, but you need to make sure you look at how to reduce your insurance costs. There are a lot of premiums that you can get at reduced costs, and this is something to consider. Insurance costs are, in some ways, a necessary evil, so you have to think about the best way of doing this.
Let’s be honest, emergencies happen, and we often can’t legislate for these. But this is why it is important to keep some money aside in order to cover the expenses that emergencies can cause. Whether it is the car breaking down, the roof leaking, or an emergency hospital appointment, you need to make sure you are prepared. Setting aside some money every month or so to help you account for emergencies is actually really important. This is something you need to consider moving forward, and you have to consider how best to do this.
Investments are great for providing financial security in the future, and this is something that is important to keep in mind. There are loads of great investment opportunities these days, so you need to decide what you would like to invest in. This is an important decision to make for the future, and you need to understand that this is going to cost you money. Investment is crucial for the future, and you will need to pay out now in order to make sure you benefit from it later down the line. Think about the sort of investments you would like to make, and how much money you’re going to set aside for them on a monthly basis.
If you are in a loving and committed relationship the odds are you’re going to want to tie the knot at some point in your life. This is so important in terms of lifelong commitment, but you have to understand that weddings are an expense. Having said that, there is no obligation to have a lavish, expensive wedding. You can have a budget ceremony and get married as cheaply as possible, and this is a great way of helping you save money and cut costs.
Modern money concerns plague us all sometimes, and we need to come up with ideas that help us address these and deal with them. It is so important to come up with ideas that will help you to improve your personal finances and sort out these money concerns once and for all.
I am delighted to share an infographic today from http://psychicfuture.com/
Saving money is something that is usually on at least one person’s mind in wedding season. It may be the bride and groom who are concerned that costs are getting out of control. If parents are paying, they want to appear generous but also have limited funds and are looking for ways to save wedding budget without looking tight. So many couples have children already either from their current or previous relationships and don’t want to put all their financial resource into just one day even if it is their Big Day. Every item on the budget can be considered as an area where savings can be made and wedding favours is one of them. You can spend a small fortune or check out wedding favour ideas for under £1 online.
History of wedding favours
Wedding favours certainly were given to wedding guests as far back as the 16th century often simple love knots made from lace and ribbon. European aristocrats gave fancy bonbonnieres containing sweet treats. There is a tradition around giving five almonds representing fertility, longevity, health, wealth and happiness. Most of us will probably have received coloured almonds or bon-bons in tulle at a wedding at some point. It is a pretty little memento of a lovely day.
My wedding favours
I have to confess I did not give wedding favours at my wedding. I wanted our day to be very individual and it did not include many of the traditional elements such as a first dance for example. I had always fancied having an outdoor picnic as my reception but as my parents were elderly by the time I tied the knot, I ruled that idea out in favour of a small sit-down dinner. My flowers were simple along with the cake. I did buy 6 wedding dresses which was not how to save wedding budget but that’s a whole other story! Anyway I guess I am saying do your day your way and if one item does not bother you, why invest money in it in the first place?
Home-made wedding favours
Of course, maybe I should have given my guests something to take home with them. I was not trying to be ungenerous. I simply put the focus on giving them a lovely day rather than something to take away with them. There are so many ways to save money on wedding favours with a little creative thought. My first suggestion is that you should not fall for the fancy marketing ploys seen in wedding magazines and at wedding shows. Wedding favours do not need to be pricey. You could consider giving a really personal touch by making something yourself for your guests to take home with them after your wedding. If you are a great baker, why not produce some yummy cookies which are bound to be welcome and a talking point too. It really is the thought that counts so a home-made treat made with love matters so much more than something pre-bought. If baking is not your thing, perhaps you could use your crafting skills in some way to create a memento of your day.
Of course brides and grooms are very busy in the run-up to the wedding so perhaps you lack the time or inclination to go down the home-made route for wedding favours. If that is the case, do shop around to see what is available out there both on and offline. Look out for voucher codes, discounts and sales as you would for any other purchase.
Be inspired by ideas from around the world
If you want your wedding favours to stand out, why not take inspiration from other countries. In Spain, gentlemen guests are sometimes presented with a cigar. In Russia, you might get a tiny picture, a trinket or a candle. Mini wedding bells are given quite often in Ireland as favours whilst in India, you may be given a hand-crafted elephant. Perhaps your wedding favours could reflect the location of the wedding in some way or the place that you and your other half fell in love. Use your imagination and have fun with deciding on the perfect wedding favours for your Big Day.
So what will you decide? Will you take a bold decision like myself and do without wedding favours entirely or is that too harsh on your guests? Will you get creative and use your existing talents to make something very personal for your wedding favours? Or will time constraints lead you to look for affordable solutions online?
On reflection, I probably would give my wedding guests favours if I ever remarried. I did remember it was important to send thank-you letters and I did have party bags for the child guests so perhaps I did not do too badly really.
What is your favourite type of wedding favour?
Have you had a great tenancy? My belief is that they are not as common as they should be. When they go wrong, it is stressful for both the tenant and the landlord. Advice on having a great tenancy should be on the school curriculum in my opinion. When I worked for Citizens Advice about a fifth of problems concerned housing which is such a shame when homes are where we should feel safe and happy.
My renting experiences
I have rented homes since leaving university. To be honest, my best experiences were living in a rented room with a resident landlord. I think that is probably because a resident landlord obviously wants to keep their home in a good state of repair so you benefit from that as a lodger. Also I think that when you are lodging you get to know the landlord and vice versa so you understand each other that bit better than in a traditional tenancy.
My complaint about landlords is probably mainly that they are not realistic. If you rent to a family with small children, the house will not be pristine 24 hours per day. Similarly do not rent to families with pets unless you want to see the odd dog hair or two. Life changes from time to time so if someone loses a job there may be a delay in getting their benefits and they can’t help that. Pick the right tenant for your property and for your circumstances.
My other complaint is that landlords can be tardy to deal with repairs. That means things tend to only get worse and in the most extreme cases the wellbeing of the tenant and their family is put at risk.
I have had some good landlords but overall it has always felt that they were after money and did not really care about their tenant’s welfare at all. I find it amazing that I have never had the How to Rent booklet that landlords are supposed to hand you when you take a tenancy with them.
The landlord’s perspective
Of course, landlords have their own pressures partly because they are maintaining more than one house with all the associated costs from mortgages to maintenance. Some tenants do behave badly causing damage or issues such as noise pollution with neighbours. Great tenancies happen when both parties behave well and with respect. Sometimes it can be easier to have a letting agency such as HomeLet to help with this.
How to have a great tenancy
I think the first step is for both parties to act honestly and to communicate clearly. Yes there is the written tenancy agreement but it would also be good to see a good human as well as legal relationship in place too. Some things really help at the start such as reading the fuel meters together and agreeing the readings. That is one potential area for conflict sorted on day one. Make sure the landlord or his/her agent shows you how to use the boiler and appliances, where the fuse box and stop cock is. These are so easily forgotten but you do need this information about your new place. Setting up a direct debit for rental payments is reassuring to the landlord and a great idea for the tenant as then the rent is prioritised over other expenditure so securing their home.
Protection for tenants
- Negotiate for the period of time you would like the tenancy for
- Be realistic about what you can afford to pay in rent
- Check that you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to
- Collect proofs of identity, immigration and employment status so you have it ready for the landlord should they ask for these
- Find out if your potential landlord is part of an accreditation scheme
- Find out if the letting agent is accredited
- Check out deposit protection schemes
- Research bond and guarantee schemes to help you put your deposit together if you are struggling
- Ensure the landlord has provided smoke and carbon monoxide monitors
- It is a good idea to agree an inventory of the items in the house to prevent disputes later on
- Make sure you have the landlord’s real address and find out if the property is mortgaged. I once had the not so lovely experience of a possession summons for mortgage arrears arriving on the doormat just after I moved into a house many years ago now.
- You should be provided with a gas safety certificate, electrical inspections details and an energy performance certificate.
Who can help in a crisis?
The lovely news is that if everyone behaves with good intentions, you can have a great tenancy. If things do go wrong, you can seek support from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a specialist housing charity such as Shelter.