Family Budget

Home Date Night Ideas – Cheap, Cheerful & Fun

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If you are looking for Home date night ideas then what could POSSIBLY be better than a home movie night?

 

Home Date Night Ideas - Cheap, Cheerful and lots of Fun

 

Home Date Night Ideas

I am so excited to share these tips with you from Pick & Mix London Co-Founder, George Edwards, reveals five simple ways to bring Hollywood magic into your lounge room and all for less than £20.

1. Choose the right movie

This is perhaps the most important step because if you don’t like what you’re watching, chances are, your at-home movie night won’t last long! During these uncertain times, a comedy can be a great way to lighten the mood (and is enjoyable for parents too!) or a simple search on IMDb will help you decide if the movie is right for you and your family.

 

Home Date Night Ideas

 

2. Set the mood

By setting the lights on a low brightness or using a light in another room (make sure they’re not completely off!), you can help to replicate the cinematic experience. You can also optimise your picture and sound quality with a quick web search of your TV settings.

 

Home date night ideas

 

3. Get comfortable

Textiles are really important, especially in winter, so before you hit play – layer pillows, throws and blankets and relocate to a comfortable couch or mattress on the floor. 

 

4. Load up on sweets & savoury

You can now recreate your favourite moments from your childhood by filling up on the likes of fizzy strawberry pencils, chocolate jazzies and cola bottles which are available from Deliveroo London in as little as 20 minutes or next day delivery UK-wide. Can’t decide? Why not try Pick & Mix London’s movie night bundle

 

 

 

5. Choose the right company

A night at the cinemas is always best enjoyed with friends so why not recreate this at home? Plan ahead – set a time to hit play on your favourite movie and connect with friends on one of the many online meeting places like Zoom or Google Hangouts. But remember you still have to have cinema etiquette even though you’re at home!

 

 

What do you think of these home date night ideas..are they something you would try?

5 Quick Solutions to Reduce Your Grocery Costs

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Today we will take a look at 5 Quick Solutions to Reduce Your Grocery Costs

There are plenty of expenses in daily life that can be avoided or minimised without much effort. Unfortunately, some expenses are absolutely necessary: it’s not a matter of whether they can be avoided, but only how they’re afforded. Arguably one of the best examples is food.

In the UK, approximately 10 percent of household spending goes to food each year. This is a major expenditure and one that seems to be increasing annually. While more luxurious forms of food can be eliminated from your budget, most groceries are an absolute necessity.

Fortunately, reducing your grocery costs can be done and there are multiple ways to make the process easier.

 

5 Quick Solutions to Reduce Your Grocery Costs

Here are a few simple solutions that’ll lower your grocery bills each month.

 

Consider Short Dated Food Options

Supermarkets and grocery stores have strict standards about when select products can be sold. However, many products are entirely edible after their respective sell-by dates have passed. Many grocers attempt to move products nearing their best before dates at a discount: this can save shoppers a lot of money.

There are a variety of short-dated food suppliers UK shoppers can consider, each of which offers cheap food online. One notable example is Low Price Foods, which has some of the cheapest online food shopping anywhere. This service offers low price clearance food and drink that is delivered to your door within a few working days.

You may be able to also find local clearance supermarkets that specialise in short-dated food options. While you may not be able to find every food or drink option you need on your next shopping trip, it is not uncommon for shoppers to save two-thirds or more on items when compared to traditional supermarket prices.

 

Purchase Groceries in Bulk

Another major way that shoppers can save large sums of money on their grocery bills is to simply buy in bulk wherever possible. Whether it is through local grocery stores that have excess supply or through memberships at stores like Costco, shoppers can find great bargains on select items that they often use.

Buying in bulk for every food item on your grocery list doesn’t always make sense. After all, vegetables and fruits can easily spoil, and select menu items you’re trying for the first time may not be as delectable as you had hoped. Nevertheless, finding cheap food online and in-person through bulk grocery shopping trips can significantly reduce the cost of individual grocery items that you buy and use regularly, such as rice and pasta.

 

 

Pay Attention to Unit Pricing

When shopping for groceries, it can be all too tempting to look merely at the main price listed. However, this isn’t always the best course of action when selecting which option for an ingredient or foodstuff to choose. Unit prices ultimately tell you how much is being paid per individual item, per gram, per litre and so forth.

Some grocery stores list unit prices in fine print below the standard grocery store pricing labels. Others may not include unit prices at all: a calculator can make quick work of deducing unit prices all the same. Some products may be as much as 50 percent cheaper if you simply buy a slightly larger amount now rather than buying smaller quantities on a regular basis.

To learn more about unit pricing, click here.

 

Freeze and Store Meals

Even if you’re shopping at the cheapest online supermarket, taking advantage of bulk pricing and inspecting unit pricing, there is another major culprit driving up grocery bills in the UK: waste. Did you know that the average household tosses out approximately one-sixth of its groceries?

A great deal is only such if you avoid wasting or allowing said items to spoil. Otherwise, you’ve spent money on groceries that offer no benefit to you or your family! Fortunately, a simple solution of freezing and storing meals can reduce overall waste.

Many meals can be prepared in bulk and in advance. Navigating the logistics of providing meals and snacks for the kids and meals to take to work, spending an evening each week to prepare, store and/or freeze meals can lengthen their shelf life and reduce overall waste. Some items may simply need to be refrigerated but freezing most items – from soups to bread – can extend their viability for weeks or months.

 

 

Consider Cost-Saving Appliances

Last but not least, eating more affordably can be done quite easily with a handful of convenient kitchen appliances.

A slow cooker can be found for as little as £15 and makes preparing inexpensive meals incredibly easy. Simply throw in the ingredients and let the slow cooker do the work over the span of several hours.

Rice cookers are also useful items to have in any home. Rice cookers can deliver amazing results from a dish that is among the cheapest staple foods in existence. Reliable rice cookers can be purchased for as little as £10.

Electric pressure cookers – especially the all-in-one pressure cooker varieties – can serve not only as slow cookers, but also allow for the creation of breads, pastries, meats, and more. You don’t need to be a master chef to get absolutely incredible dishes with complex flavours with a pressure cooker – and at an affordable price, too.

 

Cost-conscientious shoppers seeking to reduce grocery spending can easily incorporate one or more of these solutions to reduce their overall grocery spending by one third or more. While it takes a bit of patience and research, the rewards are simply too great to ignore!

 

5 Quick Solutions to Reduce Your Grocery Costs is a feature post

The benefits of buying a car from a local dealer

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Today we are going to take a look at the benefits of buying a car from a local dealer

Sooner or later, all of us who depend on the use of a car in our day-to-day lives – whether for work, play or a combination of the two – find ourselves in the market for a new vehicle.

But if this is your situation, it raises an obvious question: do you look first to the used car classifieds in the local newspaper, or would you prefer to contact the nearest vehicle dealer?

 

The benefits of buying a car from a local dealer

 

The benefits of buying a car from a local dealer

There’s no doubt that buying your next car from a private individual has its merits. However, what we’re going to focus on in this piece are the reasons why turning to a local dealer makes a lot more sense than you might initially think.

 

It’s convenient

Whether you’re on the lookout for used cars in Rayleigh from Cars Under 3000, or you’re in London and in the market for a brand new supercar, being able to simply head to your local dealer does take a lot of stress out of things.

After all, if you have any concerns or questions, the dealer will always be there on your doorstep for you to visit them in person if need be. You won’t be driving as long to get there as you would if you were going to see a private individual at the opposite end of the country, and you’ve even got the option of heading to the local dealer via public transport, before driving your new acquisition home.

 

 

 

You’ll have extensive choice

Much of the very nature of a dealer is that they will give you many vehicles to choose from on their forecourt. So, it doesn’t matter if you go there with the full intention of buying one particular model of car, only to suddenly realise your needs and preferences are quite different once you arrive and have talked to the dealer for a bit. The dealer can accommodate that!

Plus, even the most locally-oriented dealers tend to have sophisticated websites these days, complete with search functions, allowing you to browse their current stock from the comfort of your own home. That means you won’t even necessarily need to trudge to the dealership in the rain.

 

The knowhow of the dealer

The average private seller is unlikely to possess the technical and mechanical knowledge that will make it worthwhile for you to quiz them on all of the hyper-specific and ‘nerdy’ aspects of the car you’re considering buying from them.

A reputable local dealer, though, can be a very different matter. Dealers routinely undertake a technical inspection of each car that comes into their possession before putting it on sale, which should give you heightened peace of mind.

Similarly, local dealers are frequently very good at advising on related aspects and products, such as warranties, which a private seller is unlikely to be able to give you that much help with.

 

The benefits of buying a car from a local dealer

 

Buying locally supports your local economy

At times like the present that are so tough for local firms, it might please you to know that you chose to do business with a local dealer – which in the process, kept more of your expenditure in your local economy. It’s a feel-good move that also makes practical sense.

So, what do you think? What have your experiences been with private sellers versus regional or national dealers versus local dealers? Would you recommend any particular steps for getting a great deal? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments section below.

 

The benefits of buying a car from a local dealer is a feature post

Quick Wins For People Who Need to Save Money

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Quick Wins For People Who Need to Save Money

Quick Wins For People Who Need to Save Money

 

Quick Wins For People Who Need to Save Money

Saving money is something almost everyone has at least thought about. But like starting a diet, reading a new book, or getting round to clearing out the shed, it’s often something we put off “until tomorrow”.

The problem is, tomorrow almost never comes. There’s always a new reason or excuse as to why you can’t save money today. It might be a special occasion, you saw something in the shop at a “great price”, or you had a hard day and need to “treat yourself”. Unfortunately, when promising you’ll do it later, you’re just making the task of saving money even harder.

There is a popular Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now”. And that applies to saving money as well.

While you may have spent days, weeks, months or even years procrastinating and cutting back, put that behind you and start today.

A great way to start is to focus on some quick wins. These easy to achieve money saving techniques will help you to see some progress quite quickly, which will be crucial for helping you to stay motivated further down the line.

 

Cancel Anything You Don’t Use

Are you paying for a magazine subscription but never actually read them when they’re delivered? Cancel it! Are you paying for satellite or cable TV, but only watch Netflix? Cancel it! Have you got a gym membership that you’ve been paying for years, but haven’t stepped foot on a treadmill for longer than you care to admit? Cancel it!

This is a really quick and easy way to save a lot of money, and what’s more, you don’t have to give anything up.

Sure, you might finally get around to going to the gym again, but if you do pluck up the motivation to do it, start paying again at the time. Until then, keep the money in your pocket. The average membership fee is £40 per month, so after one year, you’ll have saved almost £500.

Don’t just cancel the Direct Debit though; this is a mistake that many people make and it can land them in hot water. You will need to contact the supplier directly and cancel your contract. Sometimes you may have to wait until the end of your existing contract before you can do it. If that’s the case, just make a note of the date so you can remember to do it when it expires.

Quick Wins For People Who Need to Save Money

 

Find Offers on Things You Already Pay For

Again, this is a way you can save some money without giving up on the things you like. If you want to enjoy a meal in a restaurant, no problem. If you want to buy some new shoes, no problem. Just look for ways to bring the cost down.

Many restaurants run promotions at certain times of the day or on certain days of the week. Check their website and social media for any offers they’re currently running. Other times, you can get a discount for signing up to a newsletter. For example, if you sign up to receive email updates from Sizzling Pubs, they’ll send you a £5 voucher that you can use against your bill. You can find an up-to-date list of promotions run by cafes and restaurants on the MoneySavingExpert website.

If you enjoy playing games, there are ways you can play great titles without paying. For example, Call of Duty: Warzone is a free-to-play battle royale game that runs on the same game engine as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Alternatively, if you like to have a flutter, you can use bonuses that can make your money go further. If you’re unsure which casino offers the best bonus, you can use sites like oddschecker to compare them.

If you’re shopping, you can save money by using loyalty cards. These are offered by many different brands, including Boots, Tesco, Superdrug, M&S, John Lewis, Starbucks, Costa, and Nandos. Just don’t let the prospect of earning points convince you to buy more, or pay a higher price than you could get somewhere else.

In certain stores, you can also earn cashback. By using sites like Topcashback and Quidco, you can receive a small rebate on purchases you make online and instore. But again, don’t let the prospect of earning cashback make you spend more than you were going to anyway.

Many users of cashback sites report earning several hundred pounds each year just by using them when they shop.

 

 

Quick Wins For People Who Need to Save Money

 

Change Your Energy Supplier

For many of us, looking at our energy bill is both boring and disheartening as it can take time and usually shows you a number higher than you expected.

At the end of 2019, energy prices in the UK were 40% higher than they were in 2015. This is an increase that is significantly more than inflation. According to the Bank of England’s inflation calculator, prices rose by 11.7% over the same period, meaning energy prices rose four times faster than everything else.

However, changing your energy supplier is a really easy way to save a lot of money. Many people are put off by the idea as they think that it’s a big hassle, that they will have their supply cut off, or that they will have to wait for an engineer to come round.

 

None of this is true. Switching is usually just a case of filling out a form online with your new supplier and providing them with a meter reading on the day that you switch.

Changing your energy supplier is much easier than remembering to turn off your lights or trying to spend less time in the shower during a cold winter’s morning. Though, you should do those things too.

Each of the items on this list require almost no effort on your part. For most of them, a small bit of effort once will yield you with savings month after month as you spend less on your energy and retain the money you were throwing away on subscriptions you didn’t use.

Saving money doesn’t need to impact your lifestyle too much; just take these simple steps first and you’ll be well on your way.

 

Quick Wins For People Who Need to Save Money is a guest post

5 Thrifty Wins for the Week

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5 thrifty wins for the week

I have had a funny old week missing my kids as they head back to school whilst also relishing the space and time to get my head down and work and catch up with a few old pals too.

 

Free Promo Opps

Lots of lovely free for publicity for my book working with Britmums on a zoom call and collaborating on various podcasts enabling me to share my new product at no cost. I have written about easy ways to promote a book before and they really can be cost-free. I also made a vlog to promote my book this week ( it’s out on the 17th so again some free publicity!) Do you fancy a peek

 

 

Garden parties

Okay well it was a cup of tea in my pal Giselle’s garden BUT i avoided spending coffee shop money and it was just as nice if not even more relaxed and it felt safer too – I have to remember this. I have a bit of a thing for cafes and they are not cheap!

 

Book club

I have been passing on books to friends – a thrifty win for them and actually I know that in the end, it will be a thrifty win for me too. I have learned if you share with people they almost always share with you.

 

thrifty wins

Walking the talk

I used to drive my kids to school because it’s about a mile and a half walk and pick them up half-way back. But they are 13 and 16 now so I am saving my petrol and my precious time and I have stopped- so there you go a thrifty win! (and they are totally, surprisingly fine with this)

 

You!

My final thrifty win for the week – this linky! I get SO inspired by those of you who link up and share your post really I think you are amazing so here is to you. This week I want to point you toward Joleisa’s blog and how to decorate for Fall on a budget.

Gorgeous stuff! I hope you have enjoyed reading about my thrifty wins

 

Let’s hear your thrifty wins for the week

Come and link up your money-saving posts this week into the link below. Do let your readers know that you’re linking up with the five frugal things linky by adding a little line to the bottom of your post like this one:

I’m linking up with this Cass

Emma and Becky in this week’s ‘Frugal Friday’ linky.

 

 

5 Free Ways to Deeply Relax

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If you want free ways to deeply relax you really don’t have to look very far. here are 5 things I have done this week that have been deeply relaxing but haven’t involved expensive manicures spas or holidays in the sun!

 

5 Free ways to Deeply Relax

I have danced – my daughter and I are learning a line dance and it requires intense concentration. When dancing I cannot stress about tomorrow or worry about yesterday I have to be absolutely present in the now. It is very healing to dance.

 

5 Free Ways to Deeply Relax

 

I have played – I have played Chess and Dobble and Mario carts with my kids and we have laughed so much. I have found this deeply relaxing despite the frenzy round the race track. Just to switch off and hang out is so important.

I have talked – I have talked with my best friends several times this week for a long time and that connection, that being heard by someone who loves you, that’s deeply calming

I have done my Tai Chi – my new hobby which I love so much I am not taking a diploma in it. It is so good to help you feel zen. I just use a free YouTube video

I have baked bread this week  – oh the smell and the taste and the pummeling – it releases tension so much – baking bread is such a chilling thing to do. I include this as an activity for kids in my new book Create Your Own Calm because I know from experience how much they love it too.  (jus 2 weeks until my book is published I am SO excited – you can pre-order here)

 

 

So yes a full and relaxing week at home for me with no expense. How has your week been?

 

Join the Linky

Come and link up your money-saving posts this week into the link below. Do let your readers know that you’re linking up with the five frugal things linky by adding a little line to the bottom of your post like this one:

I’m linking up with this Cass Emma and Becky in this week’s ‘Frugal Friday’ linky.

 

I do hope you enjoyed this post on 5 Free Ways to Deeply Relax

 

 

How to save money on prescription glasses

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Today – How to save money on prescription glasses

Wondering how much the average pair of glasses costs? If you’re a glasses’ wearer, you’ll know that wearing specs can be a costly exercise with regular visits to the optometrist to check your prescription & eye health, plus the cost of the frame and lenses to correct your vision. 

Read our blog to discover how much it costs to wear glasses and how to save money on prescription glasses with the SmartBuy Collection £9 frame and lens deal. 

 

How much does the average pair of glasses cost?

Wearing reading glasses can be expensive! Plus, it is recommended that you replace your glasses every one to three years, as well as have regular eye exams. You could face these annual costs as a prescription glasses’ wearer:

  • Eye exam: Can cost between £20 and £30, although certain people are able to have a free eye test on the NHS.
  • Designer frames: start from £180 and up! 
  • Lenses: Standard single vision lenses are often included in the price. Bifocal or progressive lenses wearer? You could pay up to £300 or more!  

 

Luckily, retailers like SmartBuyGlasses offer great prices on prescription glasses, free shipping, 2 year warranty and 100 days returns, so you don’t have to break the bank when you shop for eyewear. 

 

Why are glasses so expensive?

There are many reasons why eyeglasses can be considered expensive. Some of these include: 

  • Cost of manufacturing 
  • Cost of materials 
  • Buying a recognised designer brand 

 

Save money on prescription glasses

SmartBuy Collection stands for quality eyewear at super affordable prices. They have launched a new collection of prescription glasses from just £9 for frame and lens!

 

You don’t have to compromise on style, with nine different styles including full-rimmed, pilot shaped, rectangular, square, oval, round and cat-eyed in a variety of modern colours. The frames all include FREE 1.5 standard lenses too! The glasses come with a sustainable cleaning cloth and case made from recycled PET. How cool is that? 

 

Top tips to save money on prescription glasses

  1. Shop online: SmartBuyGlasses promises the best prices, free shipping and 2 year warranty from over 180 designer brands
  2. Buy affordable glasses from SmartBuy Collection starting from just £9 for frame & lenses
  3. If you’re 16-26 take advantage of the Youth Discount offered at SmartBuyGlasses for 10% off.

 

Our Top Affordable Prescription Glasses Picks 

 

How to save money on prescription glasses

 

 

  1. SmartBuy Collection Bay Glasses £9
    Looking for a stylish, cheap pair of glasses to leave at the office? Bay is your answer! These super feminine cat-eye frame glasses come in a trendy havana print that’s ultra office-chic. With full-rimmed frames, 1.5 lenses included and 2 year warranty, we vote SmartBuy Collection Bay glasses the best choice for your spare pair at work.
  2. SmartBuy Collection Laurie Glasses £9
    Want affordable glasses but something a little more unique? The unisex Laurie glasses come in transparent shades of blue, yellow and green making you stand out already for the unique colour palette. With pilot shaped, full-rimmed frames these glasses look great on both men and women, making them an excellent choice for anyone that desires the ‘cool’ factor when they wear prescription specs.
  3. SmartBuy Collection Jody Glasses £9
    What you see is what you get with Jody. These classic-shaped square glasses are professional and sensible cheap reading glasses. Available in a transparent grey shade, they come with 1.5 lenses all for the ultra-affordable price of just £9. 
  4.  

How to save money on prescription glasses is a featured post

Pet Tips: Where to Save and Where to Spend

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Pet Tips: Where to Save and Where to Spend

Pets are a lovely addition to any family, but they come with their own expenses. If you are trying to save money and make your pets more budget-friendly, this is a guide to the things that you should and shouldn’t skimp on.

 

1)      Pet Food

Pet food is one expense that is essential – every pet needs to eat! When it comes to pet food, there are a lot of options available, so what makes some brands more or less expensive, and what food can you trust? It is true that some brands are much higher in quality, and if your pet has dietary requirements, you need to buy the food that meets their nutritional needs. That being said, expensive doesn’t always mean better. Whichever brand you prefer, always look for deals, promotions, and vouchers as a great way to save money. Buying in bulk can also cut costs, and some brands offer reward schemes for customer loyalty.

One issue that some pet owners face is fussy eaters. If you have to buy different foods to appease your fussy pets, you are wasting money. Trusted dog food brand Bella & Duke are dedicated to making nutritional and delicious dog food. They care a lot about pets and have a dog blog full of tips and advice. On their blog, they discuss numerous topics, including fussy dog tips, so if you need to find tips to deal with fussy dogs, then they have just the guide for you. When your dog is eating the right food, they are less likely to have costly health issues, so this might be one worth spending the extra pennies on. Talk to your vet if you need advice on foods that suit your dog’s needs should they require a special diet.

2)      Pet Insurance

This is one expense that you shouldn’t skimp on, as pet insurance can save you money. You should do your research and talk to your vet if you need advice on which pet insurance companies they recommend – because they can tell you which ones actually pay out! Pet insurance is a regular cost that might seem expensive, but if your pet gets ill and needs expensive treatment, medication, or even surgery, that insurance will take away those big upfront costs. Many vets offer their own pet-club schemes too, so that is another option you should consider. Unexpected vet bills are not a nice surprise, so insurance is your friend here.

3)      Pet Furniture

This is one area that you can easily save money on because whilst there are lots of pricey pet beds and furniture out there, there are plenty of cheaper options out there too. If you are on a budget, this is a nice way to save money. Pets are not that fussy generally – if you have a cat, you will often find they enjoy sleeping in cardboard boxes! Pets will often be attracted to different items of furniture you have around the house, so getting a few blankets to throw over your sofa is an easy option that will keep you and your pet happy. Having a cat scratching post and encouraging them to use it will help stop them from scratching up your sofa. It will also keep them happy, as this is part of their natural grooming behaviour. You could also try making scratchers from cardboard too.

 

 

4)     Pet Tips: Where to Save and Where to Spend –  Pet Toys

Similar to pet furniture, there are lots of options out there. The toys your pets enjoy is down to personal taste, but they often don’t need to be expensive. Tennis balls and squeaky toys can be purchased fairly cheaply, and there are lots of easy toys you can make yourself too – even scrunched up tin foil balls make fun toys for cats. Cats and dogs need to have playtime, as it is enriching for them and encourages exercise. You should make time to play with your pets every day to keep them happy and active.

 

 

5)      Bringing Home a New Pet

Pets are not cheap to look after and come with a lot of responsibility, but they make great companions and can brighten up your home. Take careful consideration before adopting a pet, as you are promising them a lifelong home and care. Whilst pedigree breeds are admired and purchased from breeders, there are lots of lovely dogs and cats in shelters that need a home. They will already be vaccinated and neutered, and you will only be paying their adoption fees. Rather than spending lots of money on a puppy from a breeder, consider adopting a pet from a shelter instead. There are plenty of shelters and charities out there that seek to rehome dogs and cats that need a family.

Pets are a financial responsibility, but they have so much to offer. Every animal deserves love and attention and will give you that love back too. They really are worth every penny!

 

Pet Tips: Where to Save and Where to Spend is a feature post

Pet Tips: Where to Save and Where to Spend

DaveRat No Comments


Pet Tips: Where to Save and Where to Spend

Pets are a lovely addition to any family, but they come with their own expenses. If you are trying to save money and make your pets more budget-friendly, this is a guide to the things that you should and shouldn’t skimp on.

 

1)      Pet Food

Pet food is one expense that is essential – every pet needs to eat! When it comes to pet food, there are a lot of options available, so what makes some brands more or less expensive, and what food can you trust? It is true that some brands are much higher in quality, and if your pet has dietary requirements, you need to buy the food that meets their nutritional needs. That being said, expensive doesn’t always mean better. Whichever brand you prefer, always look for deals, promotions, and vouchers as a great way to save money. Buying in bulk can also cut costs, and some brands offer reward schemes for customer loyalty.

One issue that some pet owners face is fussy eaters. If you have to buy different foods to appease your fussy pets, you are wasting money. Trusted dog food brand Bella & Duke are dedicated to making nutritional and delicious dog food. They care a lot about pets and have a dog blog full of tips and advice. On their blog, they discuss numerous topics, including fussy dog tips, so if you need to find tips to deal with fussy dogs, then they have just the guide for you. When your dog is eating the right food, they are less likely to have costly health issues, so this might be one worth spending the extra pennies on. Talk to your vet if you need advice on foods that suit your dog’s needs should they require a special diet.

2)      Pet Insurance

This is one expense that you shouldn’t skimp on, as pet insurance can save you money. You should do your research and talk to your vet if you need advice on which pet insurance companies they recommend – because they can tell you which ones actually pay out! Pet insurance is a regular cost that might seem expensive, but if your pet gets ill and needs expensive treatment, medication, or even surgery, that insurance will take away those big upfront costs. Many vets offer their own pet-club schemes too, so that is another option you should consider. Unexpected vet bills are not a nice surprise, so insurance is your friend here.

3)      Pet Furniture

This is one area that you can easily save money on because whilst there are lots of pricey pet beds and furniture out there, there are plenty of cheaper options out there too. If you are on a budget, this is a nice way to save money. Pets are not that fussy generally – if you have a cat, you will often find they enjoy sleeping in cardboard boxes! Pets will often be attracted to different items of furniture you have around the house, so getting a few blankets to throw over your sofa is an easy option that will keep you and your pet happy. Having a cat scratching post and encouraging them to use it will help stop them from scratching up your sofa. It will also keep them happy, as this is part of their natural grooming behaviour. You could also try making scratchers from cardboard too.

 

 

4)     Pet Tips: Where to Save and Where to Spend –  Pet Toys

Similar to pet furniture, there are lots of options out there. The toys your pets enjoy is down to personal taste, but they often don’t need to be expensive. Tennis balls and squeaky toys can be purchased fairly cheaply, and there are lots of easy toys you can make yourself too – even scrunched up tin foil balls make fun toys for cats. Cats and dogs need to have playtime, as it is enriching for them and encourages exercise. You should make time to play with your pets every day to keep them happy and active.

 

 

5)      Bringing Home a New Pet

Pets are not cheap to look after and come with a lot of responsibility, but they make great companions and can brighten up your home. Take careful consideration before adopting a pet, as you are promising them a lifelong home and care. Whilst pedigree breeds are admired and purchased from breeders, there are lots of lovely dogs and cats in shelters that need a home. They will already be vaccinated and neutered, and you will only be paying their adoption fees. Rather than spending lots of money on a puppy from a breeder, consider adopting a pet from a shelter instead. There are plenty of shelters and charities out there that seek to rehome dogs and cats that need a family.

Pets are a financial responsibility, but they have so much to offer. Every animal deserves love and attention and will give you that love back too. They really are worth every penny!

 

Pet Tips: Where to Save and Where to Spend is a feature post

Different Ways to Reduce the Costs of Running a Family Home

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 Today – Different Ways to Reduce the Costs of Running a Family Home

Nobody prepares you for how expensive raising a family is. There are always bills to be paid, items to be replaced, clothes that get outgrown and a never-ending supply of food. We only ever want the best for our children, so we don’t question paying for this stuff – but sometimes we just can’t physically afford everything thrown our way.

You’re already struggling to fit Christmas into the budget. Are there any ways we can make raising a family more affordable? Yes. Follow our tips on how to reduce the costs of running a family home and you’ll soon find it less difficult to make monthly ends meet. Here they are:

 

Reduce the Costs of Running a Family Home

 

1.) Electrical Efficiency

Every month, electricity bills take a sizeable chunk out of the budget. It’s not uncommon to receive a nasty shock at how much you’ve inadvertently wasted as well. However, it’s relatively easy for families to reduce the price of their electricity bill. Firstly, encourage your children to turn off the lights whenever they’ve left the room. Avoid using things like tumble dryers or kettles because they cost an extortionate amount to run.

You should also get your family into the habit of turning electrical appliances off at the plug once they have finished using them. Leaving your television on standby is a needless waste of electricity. If you want help establishing what is costing you the most, then think about installing a smart meter. Though these are expensive, they might end up saving you a lot of money in the long run.

 

Reduce the Costs of Running a Family Home

 

2.) Thermal Efficiency

Gas bills are another big expenditure that families must face every month. This ties into the thermal efficiency of your house, which is the term used to describe how easy it is to warm up or cool down each room. The less thermally efficient your home is, the more you need air conditioning or central heating. As a result, your gas bills increase as you’re using the boiler more. To correct this problem and save money when running a family home, we recommend improving its thermal efficiency by investing in double-glazed windows, plus insulating the walls and roof. You should always be aware of these things before buying a house.

Don’t forget to set a timer for when your heating should come on in the winter. The optimal times are the morning or evening, as sunlight won’t be able to provide much warmth when its dark. It’s also a good idea to invest in an efficient boiler. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of money every month on something that is doing hardly anything. We recommend you follow Boiler Central’s guidance on this subject to avoid being lured into a false economy.

 

3.) Water Wastage

Whilst we’re on this trend, let’s not forget about water bills. There are many ways for families to reduce the costs here. For starters, if your children are young, it’s relatively common to wash them in the bath together, as this will save you pouring two tubs of water. You could also start regulating how long each person is taking in the shower and encourage everyone to turn off the taps when brushing their teeth. In addition to this, you should rely less on the dishwasher, as this uses 55 litres of water on average, as opposed to 6 litres with a washing-up bowl. But perhaps the best thing you can do is install a water meter for your home. Water suppliers usually calculate your bill with a rough estimate which can lead to you being overcharged. A meter shows definitively how much water you’ve used that month, saving you an enormous amount over time.

 

Reduce the Costs of Running a Family Home

4.) Savvy Shopping

There are many ways you can save money on your shopping for the family each month. One of our top tips is to avoid buying branded items at the supermarket. You end up paying a higher price for the same product. For example, why would you buy 700g of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies for £4 when you can get 750g of Rice Snaps from Tesco for £1.50? You should also avoid ready-made meals and instead cook your food from scratch. Finally, as we mentioned before, children grow out of their clothes quickly. This means you spend an incredible amount of money on new clothing every year.

Parents with two children should keep the eldest’s clothes as a hand-me-down for the younger sibling, and charity shops are a brilliant way to buy new clothes which are of high-quality but inexpensive. These tips are simple but effective.

These are the main ways you can reduce the costs of running your family home. Spend your money wisely on effective solutions like new boilers or water meters, plus find little ways to cut down costs (such as unbranded products or charity shops), and you’ll save yourself a fortune in the long run.