Doing Retirement Right!

Retirement, by many, is viewed as the end – and as scary as they sound, it’s correct. However, it’s only correct when you’re about 20 and have about 60 years to look forward to. However, retirement isn’t the end of anything except full-time work – in fact, all retirement is, is a new chapter in our lives. It’s not the time to settle down, by the way – if that is what you are thinking. Retirement is something to enjoy, and we should only really calm down when our health starts to demand it.

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Retirement isn’t just something we can head into at full speed though – we need to retire in the right way, with all threads closed off and not dangling in our minds after we stop work! What’s more, we need to plan effectively for retirement, because it could be a disaster if we do not plan for it!

 

So, if you’ve found your way onto this post in your twenties or thirties, there’s still a lot you could learn. It’s never too early to start thinking about retirement, at least in the back of your mind. In your twenties, you should be putting cash away, in small doses, and signing up to a pension plan is a good idea at this point, as well as general investing. If you’re young, learn about money, and it’s importance. If you’re thirty and above, start seriously thinking about putting cash away. You will have a lot of priorities throughout your life, but make sure you always have one eye on the future. Clear your debts, keep in control of your mortgage and always have your eye on the future.

 

If you’re a bit older, you’re a bit wiser and you should know these things. We’re all in different financial situations though, so everyone’s retirement will be different and we will all have to adapt to what we have.

 

There are still things you need to consider though! Will you sell your home to fund some adventures or move into a retirement home? What will you do with all this time on your hands? Again, don’t retire until you are ready to do so. Retirement means some big changes in your life, and you might find yourself becoming a bit bored with things. There might not be an enforced retirement age where you are based, so check this out.

 

What you do in retirement is your own business, but find something to do. There’s no excuse for lazing around so try your best to keep your mind and body busy. Whether you have a daily walk around the neighborhood, go for a coffee, do a bit of yoga, some gardening or settle down with some good films, make sure you have a hobby or something to do. You’re not in work, but keep working at something so you can make the best out of all this time you have on your hands. It could be working on projects, or even blogging – just keep busy and make sure you treat retirement like it should be – as a new chapter in your life.

 

Eco-Friendly Living For Cash-Strapped Families

There are lots of families out there who are struggling to save any money at the end of each month. And because cash is quite tight at the moment, they think that there is no way they can afford to switch their lifestyle to one that is a lot more eco-friendly and sustainable.

 

However, that really isn’t the case. In fact, following an environmentally friendly lifestyle has never been so affordable. And there are so many tips and tricks you can use to help bring your bills down even further. Here are just a few of the best ones.

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Get Solar Panels

 

Are you sick of paying sky-high energy bills every month? If so, you need to think about getting some solar panels installed onto your property’s roof. Shop around when you are looking for a solar panel contractor as this gives you the chance to find the best possible price to get the job done. Even though it might be a bit pricey to get these panels installed, you will find that your energy bills plummet once you start to rely more on solar power.

 

Cook From Scratch

 

Cooking from scratch at home can save you a ton of money. After all, you probably can’t afford to eat out at restaurants every day of the week! And take out and ready meals are no cheaper really. But cooking at home won’t just save you some serious money – it is also the best option for the environment as well! That’s because processed food goes through an industrial process that uses a lot of energy and creates a huge carbon footprint! Even if food in restaurants isn’t processed, you don’t know how far it has traveled to get on your plate – and that could have required high carbon emissions.

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Go Veggie

 

There is another way you can help the environment with your diet. You just need to go vegetarian! Don’t worry, you don’t need to commit to a meat-free diet every single day. Lots of studies show that if we were to all have one meat-free day per week, the environment would greatly benefit. That’s because lots of farming now requires heavy industry that leaves a huge carbon footprint. So, maybe it’s time to swap your chicken for lentils?!

 

Unplug

 

Going out for a few hours? If so, you do a quick check of your house to make sure that every single electrical appliance has been unplugged. This is especially important for devices like set-top boxes as these will continually drain energy, even if they aren’t in use. Obviously, you can’t unplug appliances like your freezer or fridge, but anything that isn’t in use should always be unplugged. Once you start doing this, you will notice a big difference to your monthly bills.

 

So, as you can see, turning to a greener way of life doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Why not give it a go to see just how great the benefits are to you and the environment?

Budget-Friendly Home Improvements: Alternatives To Common Replacements

Every homeowner needs to give their property a little extra attention from time to time. Frankly, those upgrades are crucial for sustained happiness at home.

 

Replacing items can blow your budget at a rapid rate, though. However, this isn’t the only form of possible upgrade. Before rushing into any future jobs, why not try using these alternatives instead. It’ll save time, money, and a lot of effort.   

 

Here are some of the best solutions.

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New Doors & Security

 

Safety and security should always sit top of your list of priorities for the property. After all, enjoying a home that doesn’t protect your possessions and loved ones is virtually impossible.

 

The security of your main doors can be a major source of concern, especially if you’ve only recently moved in. However, a professional locksmith service can change the locks rather than the whole door. This’ll save you time, as well as a significant amount of money.   

 

Similar ideas can be used for windows. As for alarm systems, new batteries and a couple of simple CCTV cameras should do the trick.

 

New Flooring

 

When considering the interior design aspects of individual rooms, flooring is one of the main issues that will spring to mind. When they’ve not had the TLC they deserve, they can start to ruin the atmosphere of the entire room. It’s tempting to replace the flooring completely, but there are cheaper and easier options.

 

Firstly, you could restore dirty floors with the help of a quality carpet cleaning company. Replacing a floor that’s in good condition would be a waste of time and money. Use those savings to paint the walls instead and the whole room will look brand new.

 

If you’re still looking for a new esthetic, investing in a shaggy rug should is a far more affordable option.

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New Appliances

 

The average modern home is blessed with an array of different appliances. From washing machines to irons, they all have an important role to play. Sadly, there’s no escaping the fact that things can go wrong.  

 

Replacing those appliances can be costly, and it also means you’ll need to get used to using the new ones. Calling out an expert to repair them is often a far cheaper and easier solution. Moreover, it’s usually the eco-friendly approach too.

 

This isn’t always the best option, and it’s important to accept defeat when a product is broken beyond repair. Nonetheless, changing your approach so that replacement becomes a last resort will serve you well.

 

New Structural Items

 

Problems with structural elements is a homeowner’s worst fear. Unfortunately, the worst situations can end up costing thousands to rectify. But, as long as you spot the issues early, they can be repaired before escalating into something worse.

 

Finding ways to manage those common home horrors won’t only save you cash. It’ll also provide you with peace of mind while also protecting your assets for the long haul. Quite frankly, this makes it a fantastic investment for your immediate and long-term future.   

 

Unlike some of the above aspects, this job is more of necessity rather than choice. Still, overcoming the damage before a replacement is needed is essential. And it will establish the foundations of a far better home life.

Money Savvy Soccer Ball #MoneySavvySoccerBall

The Money Savvy Soccer Ball is the perfect way to teach your little one how to save money. First off I want to share with you, this piggy bank is a soccer ball!! How cool is that? The soccer ball is clear where the white would be on a regular soccer ball so you are able to see how much money you have saved up! I love the idea of a clear piggy bank because it makes my son feel like he has achieved something with saving his money. “Almost there mommy” is what he always tells me when one of the slots are almost full. The clear soccer ball has four slots separating the ball into four different sections. In each of the sections, there is a spot to put a sticker (which they provide).

 

Above the sticker spots, they have four words listed, INVEST, SAVE, SPEND, and DONATE. In the INVEST slot, my son decided to put a picture of the orange globe so we can travel to Disney World when he is older. In the SAVE slot he put the green graduation sticker, so we can start to save for college. In the SPEND slot, we put the purple hamburger sticker to represent spending money on the food he wants to get (candies, ice cream, sweets, etc.). Lastly, we have the DONATE slot where we put the purple church to teach him to donate to our church. This piggy bank is designed to help kids get smarter about saving money.

It is a learning tool a child can take with them the rest of their lives. Helping kids learn how to budget and save for things in their life. This is the perfect gift for a little one. I highly recommend this piggy bank.

This is a sponsored ad, however, all the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Get A Buckingham Palace Dining Room On A Budget

The Old Family Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 9, 2015. The room opens to public view for the first time in White House history Tuesday, February 10, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

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Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a grand dining room in which to entertain your friends and family every so often, or to just eat your simple as simple comes breakfast in? It would just be nice. A bowl of Rice Krispies sat at the end of a sophisticated dark wood table, wonderful portraits looking over you as you chomp away smiling. It would be amazing. Unfortunately, this is just a pipedream for most because owning a dining room like this would cost a fortune. But it doesn’t have to?

 

Yup. That’s right. We have been on the prowl recently, looked at ways to make this a quick room revamp and come up with a few amazing ideas to help you transform your space and create a stylish dining room on a budget. And here’s how you can do it:

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Antique-Styling Shouts Grandeur

It’s true. Having antiques dotted around your dining room shouts old-money and sophistication. However, it doesn’t have to cost a ton of money and require a grandma that once dated royalty. Just head to a flea market, or a salvage yard, or even an online auction site, and pick up anything that gives you butterflies. We’re talking unique pieces, with gilded edges and metal bases. If it would go unnoticed in a Parisian palace then get it.

 

You Must Have Matching Sets

That is what grandeur and sophistication are all about. It is all about matching dining tables and chairs, candlesticks, crockery, cutlery, and styling. Luckily this doesn’t have to cost the world. On the dining room table and chairs front, you can go with rental furniture to keep costs down. While lovely, old cutlery and crockery and bits and bobs can all be found in thrift stores and pawnbrokers without too much hassle whatsoever.

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Over Adorn Your Walls

If you have ever seen a grand dining room then you will know that they go against minimalism in every way imaginable, especially on the walls. It is all about gilded gold mirrors hanging above the fireplace, bold pieces of art and elaborate lighting. Luckily, this can all be bought on the fly. Craigslist, Freecycle, and yard sales are all great places to grab a bargain on the mirror front, while the online marketplace is an absolute goldmine for bits of art that you can’t stop having a love affair with, sites such as Etsy. As for the lights, a knock-off chandelier will cost you closer to $80 than it will $3000. It is just about knowing where to look.

 

Chocolate And Cream Works

You may be thinking that we are suggesting a faux-sophisticated dessert here, but we’re not. Chocolate and cream is, in fact, a color scheme that works wonders when it comes to creating that grand look you so desire. Start by splitting the walls. It won’t take long, or cost much, to have a carpenter come in and create a bold styling out of MDF to go two-thirds of the way up your walls. Then paint this white and above this chocolate. Then do the same with your dining set. Leave your dark wood table as it is but sleep some cream covers over your chairs. This is really handy if your chairs are really cheap looking.

Ensure a Successful Long-Distance Move in 3 Simple Steps

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Moving house can be stressful at the best of times. But add a long-distance move into the mix and you can really feel the strain. A successful long-distance move all starts with good planning and efficient preparation, so read on for our top tips on how to organize a seamless long-distance house move.

 

Planning

 

The best way to ensure your big moves goes according to plan is to have a solid and detailed plan in the first place. Start researching removals company well in advance and start making lists of how you intend to stay on top of all the details of your move. Your list should involve the order in which you intend to pack your belongings starting with the non-essential items as soon as possible and your most essential items were packed up the day before, or even on the day itself.

 

You will also need to be super organized with all your packing equipment and labeling goods to ensure that unpacking on the other side is as simple and seamless as possible. Therefore you will want to be buying boxes, bubble wrap, large heavy duty plastic bags, tape, and labels. Keeping all your goods protected, labeled and noted down on your list means that you can be relaxed that everything is packed correctly, is in its rightful place and that should you need anything, you will know exactly which box or bag to find it in.

 

Removals Company

 

You will want to put some research into the right removal company for your move. Some removal companies specialize in short-distance moves and some specialize in long-distance moves. Therefore you will want to look at moving rental trucks that can cater for the long distance haul that you require. Spending time looking at long distance removal specialists in your area, that have a trusted and reliable reputation, will ensure that you can be confident that your move and your belongings are in the best possible hands.

 

Be Ruthless

 

Moving house is a great excuse to really go through your belongings and figure out what you don’t need or don’t want anymore. As the cost of your move will be calculated on the weight of the items that you transport you don’t want to be paying to transport items that will just be forgotten about, unused, abandoned and will just take up unnecessary space in your new home.

 

Therefore take your new move as an opportunity to really have a thorough spring clean and get rid of all the items you no longer use or need. If you do this well enough in advance of the move you will also be able to see if you can sell any of your old things on a second-hand website or even organize a garage sale. The extra cash you make from your unwanted items will come in very handy when it comes to the expense of your big move and setting you up in your gorgeous new home.

Retiring Into Old Age Successfully

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We don’t realize it, but retirement is a game. And, like all games, there is a winner and a loser. Now, no one likes to lose because winning is fun and addictive. But, no one wants to lose at retirement because a loss can have a major impact on the rest of your life.

 

There is no doubt that you don’t want this to happen. After all, our golden years are supposed to be the time when we enjoy the fruits of decades of hard labor. Still, it happens to people all of the time, and it happens because they are ill prepared.

 

As such, you have to be ready if you want to win. And, to do that, you have to know the tricks of the retirement trade. So, here is everything that you need to know to retire into successful bliss.

 

Good luck.

 

Be Mentally Prepared

 

The biggest mistake everyone makes is to assume that retirement isn’t a big deal. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it is a huge deal because your life is about to change forever. Yes, the idea of slowing down and pottering around the garden is appealing, yet it is still a transition. Indeed, when was the last time you took the time to relax? Exactly, and now you’re going to do it for the rest of your life, which can be intimidating. To avoid any scares, you should try and get used to the idea. Then, there is no need to wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night. People often focus on the physical, yet the mental aspect of retiring is just as important.

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Continue To Work

 

‘What?! I’m never going to work again!’ Okay, you have every right to think this way, particularly after 40 years of hard work. However, not to be critical, but it is a little short-sighted. Although working hasn’t always been enjoyable, it has given your life structure. And, sweeping that structure from under your feet is a recipe for disaster. It is no secret that the golden generation suffers from boredom, and working is one way to relieve the monotony of life. Plus, it adds value because it gives you something to look forward to every week. Of course, it is your decision how much to take on because you are not fully employed. Still, one or two days should break up the week nicely.

 

Stay Physically Active

 

Again, ‘letting yourself go’ is another benefit of quitting work and getting old. But, again, it isn’t a good idea if you want to win the war as well as the battle. Staying healthy is the key to a long and happy life, and that never changes. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how many dues you have paid in the past. Your body still needs maintaining, and exercise is the only method that works. Now, there is no reason to get down with the kids because that is too much. But, there are ways to get the blood pumping without encouraging a heart attack. Walking is the ultimate example, as is gardening. Try and opt for activities that are active but not too strenuous.

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Get Your Finances In Order

 

Anyone that doesn’t work full-time has to be financially savvy or else retirement could be more of a nightmare than a dream. One thing you have to understand is that your earning potential has limits. As a result, it’s imperative to use what you have to your advantage. To do that, you need a working total of all your assets, and you need to write them down. Next, work out your expenses and how much you pay out every month. The total that is left is your overall budget and the trick is to stick to it as much as possible. Sure, there will be some expenses that are bigger than others, yet these are the anomalies. On average, your monthly payments must hit a certain figure. If the number is too low, consider cutting back. It isn’t nice, but it is necessary.

 

Consider Living Arrangements

 

An example of cutting back is moving out of your home. Let’s face it – a house is expensive and may be too big for your needs. The logical thing to do is to downsize or consider the alternatives. For example, living with one of your children may be on the cards if they have the room. Or, moving into a residence with in-home care facilities is also a popular choice. Whatever you decide, it’s essential to be logical and analytical if possible. No one likes the idea of leaving their home, especially if it has sentimental value. However, sometimes it is the only option if your finances are not in order. Hopefully, you’ll be able to keep your independence for the foreseeable future, but you shouldn’t assume that to be the case.

 

Talk It Through

 

The important aspect of a successful retirement is making an informed decision. Usually, this can’t happen without having a conversation with the people you love. Quite simply, your life and theirs are intertwined, so your actions impact their lives. As a result, you need to sit down and inform them that you plan on retiring. That way, everyone can bounce positives and negatives off one another and cover all of the issues. It may be that you’re not ready to quit work for financial reasons, or you’re only doing it because you think it is right. At least when you have a discussion, you will realize if it is the right move or a mistake. Don’t forget that people do make retirement mistakes all of the time, and you don’t want to be another statistic.

 

Finally, don’t do it too early. The idea of retiring and emigrating to somewhere hot is always appealing. However, it also means you have a lot of time to sit around and do nothing. Even if you work part-time and look after the grandkids, it is still a long time.

Friends Of The Earth (And You): Persuading Loved Ones To Recycle

When you have got on board with the need to recycle, become more energy efficient and live more sustainably, you can quickly become a total convert. Not only are you helping out the planet, but you’ll usually find that you’re able to live well for less money thanks to your efforts.

 

When we change our lives in a positive way, it’s a natural next step to want to share what we have discovered with our nearest and dearest. It can also be tough from your new-convert stance to see someone throwing anything into general rubbish and not bothering to separate their recycling.

 

So you make the decision to tackle this head on: you’re going to be the one to convert them to a brand new way of thinking. While that’s all well and good, there is the tricky subject of how you go about it. Go in too hard and too fast and they’ll feel like they’re being lectured; but if you’re too softly-softly about it, then they might not get the message.

 

You need a strategy. Here are a few ideas to get you started on convincing others of the benefit of recycling and sustainable living.

 

Offer To Help Them

 

The best way to offer to help is to do it in a way that just seems like you’re being a good friend. Given that few people live in highly-organised homes, the person in question might have a junk room or attic that is in need of some attention. Here is the best place to begin; offer to help them go through it. Say you have developed a keen interest in recycling, and you’d be happy to see what items they might be able to get rid of or potentially find another use for.

 

If they agree – which most will, who turns down free help on their house?! – then it becomes a learning experience. As you sift through the trash and uncover the broken appliances they forgot to get rid of, you can explain to them how they might go about dealing with these items in the future. When you have a good pile separated into trash and recyclable, you can arrange a same-day rubbish removal so that your friend can see that this process can be as efficient as just throwing things out without further thought. Hopefully, this will set them on the road to taking the mantle on for themselves.

 

Enthuse About Your Habits

 

Is the above method too direct for you? Then you might need something more subtle. Many of us pick up our ideas and habits from the people around us, especially if they talk positively about them. So it becomes your mission to endlessly enthuse about how much you’re enjoying recycling, how it makes you feel good, how it’s nowhere near as much effort as you initially expected it to be.

 

The problem with subtle is that you have to rely on them to pick it up and run with the idea. If it’s been a few weeks and you’re yet to see any evidence of this happening, then there’s nothing wrong with nudging them in the right direction. Finish your latest “I love recycling” speech with an additional: “have you ever thought about trying it?”

 

If that doesn’t get them thinking, then nothing but direct, blunt statements will! It’s your final option, but sometimes, you might just need to be straightforward and ask them to make more of an effort. Hopefully, by deploying the above tactics, it won’t come to that.

 

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5 Amazing Family Experiences To Embrace This Summer

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Summer is officially here. People are wearing shorts and sandals, people are complaining about how hard it is to sleep at night and some people are already wearing sunburned sleeves. Oh, yeah, summer is well and truly here and we absolutely love it. The days are long, the kids are outside, the smell of barbecues fill the air and people are just in such high spirits.

However, for all the amazing wonder that arrives with the first days of summer, after about a week, almost all parents suddenly find themselves sweating a little bit because they’ve already run out of things to do with the kids. It happens every year.

Luckily for you, we anticipated this and came up with a summer vacation bucket list to help you keep your kids entertained and happy right the way through. We hope it helps.

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  1. Camping Trip

The chance to go camping as a family doesn’t come around often enough, so the summer weather should definitely be utilized as a chance to break out the tents, buy too many marshmallows and get your outdoor cooking expertise down to a tee. First off, it is the ideal way to have budget-friendly fun and, secondly, it is just one of the most amazing family memories you can make.

  1. Home Makeover

There is no better time to get stuck into some home improvements than when the sun is out and the kids are off school. It is one of those activities that can be super fun and super practical, as this guide shows. Get your kids on the paintbrushes, move some furniture around and just do whatever you need to do to make your home beautiful again, and do it as a family.

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  1. Backyard Garden

Planting your own little garden comes with so many added bonuses. Not only will it teach your kids some vital skills and reduce your family’s carbon footprint, but food from the garden just tastes so much better when you have grown it with love. Fresh food is simply unbeatable. It’s delicious, nutritious and cost-effective too.

  1. Zoo Time

The zoo is one of those places that you can visit and revisit and it never gets boring, a lot of the time because there is too much to do in just one day. Lions, tigers, rare monkeys, elephants, and just about every almost-mythical animal you can possibly imagine. The other great thing is, you can visit different zoos. Start local and then branch out.

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  1. Outdoor Movies

Kids aren’t impressed by films like we used to be impressed by films. Nowadays it is a matter of going on Netflix and watching something at the click of a button. It’s not an experience like going into town on a Friday night, visiting the local video store, studying the shelves, picking two or three films to rent out and enjoying a movie night. So, why not make movie night an experience by taking your kids, even your toddler, to an outdoor movie, getting tons of popcorn and watch as they have their minds blown a little.

Amazon Prime Discount Prices Available #AmazonPrime, #IC #sponsored

This post was sponsored by Amazon as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

I love using Amazon Prime for all of my Amazon orders.  It is so nice to know that whatever I order will be here in two days. I am always so last minute, so this feature comes in handy when placing those orders late but still need them to hurry.

I also love not having to pay for shipping, with Amazon Prime. I save a ton of money since most of my shopping is done on Amazon!

But what I am most excited about is how Amazon Prime is discounted for anyone who is an EBT cardholder. This benefit is awesome and anyone who is an EBT cardholder can opportunity to experience this.

Amazon is offering a discount to customers who are EBT cardholders as part of a government assistance program.

This is wonderful since Amazon offers most of the lowest prices around and with Amazon Prime, you get free shipping.

For a low price of only $5.99 monthly you get Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Reading, Prime Photos and unlimited fast, free shipping.

Amazon Prime benefits include:

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New customers can learn more about Prime or Sign-up for a 30-day free trial at amazon.com/qualify. Or you can read the full press release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170606005643/en/

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