It is difficult to cope when every day is a financial struggle. You might work all day every day but still not have anything left at the end of the month. You’re not alone. The cost of living has simply escalated too much too quickly, and we’re left scratching our heads to figure out how to pay the bills. There are a few approaches you can take to managing this situation. Doing nothing might leave you even worse off.

Stop Everything

When you’ve reached the point of emotional intensity about your money situation that you find yourself crying or angry, things need to happen now. Emotional reactions like this are normal when you can’t see a way out of difficulty. Taking action, even if you don’t like it, gives you back some control over the situation. It’s time to stop everything that isn’t absolutely essential spend. Try this for one month.

Here are just some of the things that you might need to stop spending money on for a while:

Chocolate, biscuits, sweets, cakes and other non-essential food – You won’t go hungry or malnutritioned by cutting out these items. Of course, you might miss this type of snack so make sure you have something to see you through between meals that perhaps you’ve made yourself. There has been a substantial price increase on sugary and other non-healthy foods lately.

Money

Can you say goodbye to all this for one month? Image credit

Coffees or drinks out – Socialising is really important, so don’t give up the chance to meet up. But choose your venues wisely. Invite your friends to your house instead of spending at coffee shops. Why not walk around the park and bring a mini picnic?

Clothes and shoes that aren’t replacing something worn out – Retail therapy like this has become habitual for many of us. Try buying clothing to replace items that no longer fit or are worn out. This can help to avoid bursting wardrobes, and will encourage you to become more creative with your outfit ensemble choices!

Haircuts and styling beyond a trim and colour at home – We ladies have seen price hikes of an extreme nature when it comes to taking care of our hair. Even shampoo and conditioner from the supermarket is more pricey. Pick a cut that is easy to maintain. Then reduce your spend to just trims. If you colour, try a home kit for a month to see if that can work for you. It might save you hundreds of pounds a year.

 

Cosmetics unless you’ve run out – This is another area where our money can disappear. Lots of us love to change our colours up every season. But this simply isn’t practical when money is so tight. Invest in a multi-colour palette and see how versatile it can be.

Apps and games – If you often pay for apps and game updates, then it might be worth stopping for a month to see how much you really need it. We all need hobbies and interests to enjoy when we have some downtime. It might be time to find some free sites for a while.

Movies and TV packages on demand – One month off shouldn’t cause too many problems, but it might save a little bit of cash when you need it most. When you’ve managed a little while with none of the packages, consider reinstating the bare minimum ongoing. It only needs to be for a while until your finances are in good shape again. The same goes for your music streaming packages.

Gym memberships – All of us need to keep fit, and some of us need particular exercises for therapeutic reasons. However, it is possible to stay in good shape for free. Walking and running are great cardio activities. Perhaps you have a bike? A step can be very useful too. Check out YouTube for some great exercises using just a workout mat at home.

Non-essential Spend Quashed, Time For Other Cuts

Now you might be feeling that this is frugality gone mad, but for just one month to get over a financial bump, it might be an eye-opener. The next thing to look at is your essential expenses. Can they be reduced? Rent and mortgage payments must be made in full each month. You can’t risk the consequences of not covering that cost. But if you can’t afford it anymore, you must consider moving to cheaper accommodation. As a mum, you’re not likely to be in a position to rent out a room to reduce your own burden.

Pull out the knitwear so you can turn the heating down a degree. Image credit

Emergency!

Are you in a hurry to cover arrears before you find yourself homeless? You might quickly sell some unused items like clothes you don’t wear, appliances you can live without, or jewellery. This can be heartbreaking, but a roof over your head is more important. You might need to borrow the rest from a friend or lender like MoneyBoat that works quickly enough. It’s often at this critical time that other things go wrong! The car might break down so you can’t get to work. Or maybe the fridge stops working? These are other costs you need to cover in a hurry, so sometimes you have to make the tough calls.

While you’re searching for something suitable, try to turn the heating down a degree, turn off all lights and appliances not in use, and batch cook. These will all save a lot on your energy bills. Again, these must be paid promptly, but most energy companies will help you out with a payment plan if you struggle.

After A Month

Once you’ve proven to yourself just how little you can live in, you can make some big decisions about moving forward. Ask for a promotion and pay rise at work. You know you deserve it so detail your contributions and their value to your employer. Find some work-at-home work to boost your income too. Most importantly, use a detailed spreadsheet to meticulously budget from now on. This is a great tool to help you avoid overspending and struggling in the future. Hopefully, going forward, you can even put a few pounds away each month to cover shortfalls and emergencies. Perhaps there is just enough for that well-deserved chocolate bar too?

I am reviewing a Palmistry App which is a first for me. The new app is called PalmistryHD

Palmistry App

How do you feel about palmistry and fortune-telling  in general? I have never ruled out that there may be something in such things. As I get older, I am convinced there is more to this life than most of us understand.

My late Mum often told the tale of visiting a fortune-teller in Whitby on a corner right by the sea. She told me the woman told her exactly how her mother would die and that she was right. She also told Mum she would die in a very similar way and was proved correct on that score too although obviously many years later.

I have had a palm reading which predicted my 3 children. I have always had an interest in astrology and might like to do a course on it at some point. I have consulted a psychic along with some other mums at a social event in Leeds a fair few years ago now. Again, there were things she could see or seemed to know that were scarily accurate including a baking history in my family and details of how my relationship with my husband operates. Intriguingly she also told me there was a grandmother (I have four just to confuse things!) who found me frustrating as the world is my oyster writing wise and she was prevented from pursuing her writing.

I am a cynic by nature but to be honest I am more minded to believe in this type of thing than some of the things we are expected to take on without question like things the Royal Family and politicians want us to swallow.

The app is easy enough to download to your smartphone even for someone who does not use apps regularly like myself. It asks for your name and date of birth. It took me a few seconds to work out how to move the birth date from where it landed immediately but that is just because I am a bit dim with technology.

You are asked to take a photograph of your palm and there is good guidance on where to place your hand  so that it is on a dark background and your palm fits inside the circle of a pre-set image of a hand. My photo worked first time and it is quite exciting to watch the circle showing your results being gathered. What could the future hold? At the very least it is a bit of fun.  The analysis can be used to reflect on key areas such a love, success, money and health which  most of us are looking into at this time of year anyway. In fact, these are the very issues we struggle with throughout our lives which is probably why they are incorporated in wedding vows.

I was amazed how spot-on my results were picking up on some ways of thinking I have which do not serve me well like my constant questioning and unpicking of the past and beating myself up too easily for decisions made.

A lack of security was mentioned and anyone who knows me will also know how insecure I am and how very much I would like to feel safer.

Apparently whether I am conscious of it or not I am looking for love. Now if anything was going to persuade me to get a fuller reading for £11.99 this could be the area of interest. We all want a little love in our lives!

The app also picked up that I can be extrovert and affable or introverted and reserved depending on the situation.

It also said I have a great deal of charisma – I will leave that for you to decide on!

You also have the opportunity to check daily horoscopes. I used to do this all the time in the past before parenting and work responsibilities meant such pleasures had to be curtailed a bit.

In conclusion, I enjoyed the app as a bit of fun and also the chance to reflect on my life and times. It helped me think about the things that serve me and the things that hold me back. That can’t be a bad thing at the start of a brand New Year.

Website: https://stellarpalmistry.com

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/nl/app/palmistryhd/id1324828998?l=en&mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.stellarpalmistry.app

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1u_qAK2U5s

 

 

It’s the start of our Happy New Year because I am determined to have one. Looking back all the years that end with 8 have gone well so far from my birth to the best year at college to falling in love to getting married. I have a really strong feeling that this year will be a life-changing one and in a very positive way too.

Happy New Year

I am cheerful because we had a lovely Christmas and how wonderful to wake up in the New Year with money in the bank. We kept Christmas very simple and that worked well – presents, laughter, fun and telly! Nothing wrong with that and food we wanted to eat rather than what Christmas dictates we should. There were of course sprouts and lots of them because I love them with a passion!

We had a couple of relatively wild nights out to keep a fair balance to the festivities too.

We have a new kitten who is learning to keep the two dogs in their place. She is totally adorable, very tiny even though she is 6 months old and a wonderful ginger colour. She has become part of the family very quickly snuggling up with whoever is available to cuddle.

My daughter has decided to write a musical. I admire her ambition.

I have had some good video game sessions with my son and we are now making this a daily event as it gives us some one-on-one time so we can chat too.

My teenage son has said he is just going to have a few weeks more of rest and relaxation before he starts doing something possibly education. I am just pleased he is not going to spend the rest of his life in a horizontal position. Leave them alone and they work out their own answers perhaps.

It is raining a lot but that is not getting me down although I am looking forward to Spring already.

Finally, my husband is away this weekend which means I can focus on some tasks that matter to me without interruption. I also intend to inject a party atmosphere to wrap up the Christmas season before work starts properly next week.

How could I forget? I also started #BestBootForward with my friend Chloe.

What are you feeling positive about this week? Wishing you a very Happy New Year!


R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

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Many single mothers have heard of the troubles and issues that might arise when you decided to split from your partner. Finances were at the forefront in the beginning because giving your children the best future is the most important factor. However the more time went on, and the dust cleared, you may have suddenly realized that securing your children’s future financially isn’t the end all be all. Actually, making sure your relationship and bond with them is the most important thing in the long run. Regardless of what happens, your children will remember you spending time with them, getting to know their interests and hobbies and going the extra mile. Money is fleeting, and the future isn’t certain. Your children might not want to go down the academic route, and they may want to find something they like doing that won’t burden you or them with student debt. Therefore, bonding is actually irreplaceable as it cannot be bought.

Photo by ArtWithTammy

Going to the game

Football is quite easily the most popular sport in the world. Every year without slowing or faulting, hundreds of millions of fans go to watch their home teams playing the beautiful game. If you have sons or daughters, this is a great day out with a whole range of things to do. It isn’t just the match itself, and it’s the lead up to it that counts too. It starts the night before as the kids are full of anticipation. The drive there can be laden with songs and asking them things about their school life etc. it’s a perfect excuse to not spend a lot of money on food but get quite a good bang for buck treats of all kinds. If you look on TicketOffices, you can find especially cheaper tickets that have been cut down by 15% from the seller’s asking price. There are a whole range of events to choose from, from sport to music concerts with popular artists. If you snoop around, you’ll be able to find exclusive deals as well as discounts for shows and events that would otherwise be quite expensive.

Credit laterjay

Teaching them to cook

One thing that parents in recent years have underestimated is the importance of teaching your children how to cook. This could be because the millennial generation is savvy with technology and there are so many online sources of educational cooking, which parents feel they’ll be okay in the end. However, think about what cooking is. It’s a two-fold necessity because one, cooking is a primal activity as it helps the tribe to bond and learn from each other, and two, it’s a necessity that sometimes cannot be learned just by watching a video of an expert doing it. Let your children choose what kind of cuisine they want to explore and every week cook something new together. Teach them the basics and pass down the recipes that you were taught by your parents. When you give them this life-tool, you’re helping them to be self-sustainable and self-reliant. It’s also fun for them because the pressure of doing it alone for the first time is taken away. Guiding them by the hand, you’re showing them that food is more than a takeaway.

Source John Morgan

Reading them novels

Thanks to the advancement of technology, thousands of books can be stored in little eReaders like the Kindle. They’re essentially smaller versions of tablets that specialize in software that is focused on reading. Make it a routine to read to your children when they’re young. When we go to bed to go to sleep, our minds are the most active right at that point when our brain is trying to shut off. Getting to sleep can be a bit of a chore if you’ve had an energetic and exciting day which many children do. So, as a way to bond and calm down at the same time, reading novels to your children while sitting next to them in bed is great for strengthening your relationship. Allow them to pick their genre of choice and then sift through what they might find interesting. Many eReaders have great screen displays, so books with pictures are also available and not just in black and white either.

It’s not easy being a single parent whether you’re the father or mother. Children have so much going on in their life; it’s easier for you two to drift apart. However, if you take steps to get involved in their interests in sport you can find common ground. Teaching them how to cook meals that will come in handy to them when they’re away from home is something they’ll never forget and thank you for. Fanning the flames of their imagination by reading to them is subtle but incredibly effective of strengthening your bond together.

When we become parents, few of us think about going it alone. It’s a possibility no woman should have to face. Of course, men are increasingly becoming single parents as well, and we take our hats off to any guy who is making a go of it. The path isn’t easy, no matter what. But, there’s still no getting around the fact that single fathers only head 13.5% of single families. The rest is down to us women, and that’s what we’re going to focus on here.

Raising a child is a real challenge, let alone when doing it solo. The problems become harder to cope with, and you haven’t got anyone there to talk things through. While having complete parental rein may seem like a dream, the reality is very different. No one will disagree with your methods. But, you also won’t have anyone there to prop you up or help you deal with those stressful decisions.

The good news is that, even if you’re going it alone, there is help out there. To prove the point, we’re going to look at the two main issues single parents are up against, and the best ways to get past each.

Single Families

Image Source


Money worries

Money worries are, inevitably, the first concern. There’s no escaping the fact that we live in a world geared towards couples. As if you didn’t have enough on your plate, you also need to work out how to make your way alone. It’s never easy. So much so that a shocking 47% of single-parent families live in poverty. It’s hard enough working to provide a roof over your heads. You then also have to foot the full extent of bills which would usually be halved. Admittedly, most councils still offer a single person discount of up to 25%. But, there are plenty of expenses besides that. On top of which, achieving a mortgage is near enough impossible when you’re doing it alone. That said, there’s help in this area, too, with charities like Habitat, who offer affordable housing for the exchange of 500 hours volunteer work. If you can leave your child with a family member while you volunteer, this could be a fantastic way to get a roof over your heads. And, you can work out a volunteer rota which fits with your lifestyle.

Emotional stresses

Of course, it isn’t only the financial strain which is a worry for many single mothers. Parenting alone can cause extreme amounts of emotional stress, too. The task can feel never-ending, and you may be reluctant to take anyone up on offers of help. But, it’s essential you allow yourself a break now and again. This could be anything from an evening where your mum has the little one, to an hour after school while they take part in hobby clubs. Either way, these small portions of time will make a huge difference. Make the most of them by investing in a little self-care, because every mum deserves pampering sometimes, too.

The Pramshed

div align=”center”>My Random Musings