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LIFESTYLE: 5 Reasons You Might Find Budgeting Difficult

 Let's take a closer look at some of the most common budgeting roadblocks. Many of them are the result of concerns and emotional blockages that are tough to overcome.


Photo by Mikhail Nilov: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-man-and-woman-doing-budgeting-7735783/

You Become Overwhelmed, So You Never Start

For some, the hardest thing is getting started. There are dozens of budgeting software to select from, and deciding which one you "should" use might leave you paralysed with indecision.


Experiment with other options without committing. You can read budgeting tool reviews and comparisons, but the best way to get started is to try it out and make a budget. Many apps provide free trials for you to try out the platform. Also, don't feel obligated to fill in every blank throughout the practice run. To gain a feel for the new structure, start with one or two categories.


Additionally, you are not required to use an app. After all, you'll use the "best" budgeting tool if you stick with it. Because it works for them, some people develop an envelope system and use cash or their debit card. However, you can sync your information by connecting budgeting applications to bank accounts and credit cards, and many people find that apps make it simple to arrange and monitor their budget.

It Can Be Scary To Face Your Finances

Making a monthly budget requires confronting your financial circumstances, whether you have large average monthly auto payments or not. When you have unlimited funds, listing your income and expenses may be a lot of fun. It's far more difficult if you're frightened to look at your debt, if you're trying to make ends meet, or if your income is inconsistent. This is particularly true if you are embarrassed by your debt.


Learning to stick to a budget might also be associated with limits. You may prefer not to be restricted by a monthly or weekly budget and prefer to spend money freely.


Concentrate on your objectives. Rather than focusing on what is bothering you about your finances, make a list of the goals you want to achieve with your money, such as being debt-free or increasing your savings account. Perhaps you're putting money down for a down payment on a house, creating an emergency fund, saving for the holidays, or paying off school and personal loans. Make the goal a priority, and keep it in mind as you get serious about your finances.


Rephrase the term "budget" to "spending plan." A budget, rather than preventing you from spending money, encourages you to be realistic about your income and required costs. Then, based on your goals and what makes you happy from investing, you construct a plan for what's left. Sometimes you need to face the fact that you may need a £200 loan, but if you have a plan in place to pay it back, you should have no issues. 


Using An Unrealistic Budget

Setting a budget and sticking to it can be difficult, and many individuals give up after a few weeks or even months. However, as with starting up, the tools aren't always the most important factor.


One issue is that many people begin by imagining the budget they wish they could stick to. But, after unforeseen expenses throw their budget off or they find the budgeting system is too hard, they give up.


Focus on tracking at initially, and be flexible with your budget. Instead of making a budget, keep track of your regular expenditure for a month or two to get a suitable baseline. You can then evaluate the data to see if your spending is in line with your objectives. Then, based on these findings, they build and revise a reasonable budget.


Remember it is always possible to amend your budget. So, if you find you are always struggling and overspending, adjust your budget to make for the allowances you are overspending on. For example, if you are now spending more on your weekly food shop because of the rise in the cost of living, you might want to adjust your food budget. 

Your Not A Natural Saver

It appears that some people are born savers. They may have financial setbacks of their own, such as neglecting to invest in desirable items, but budgeting is easier when you have a positive attitude about saving and financial self-care. Spenders, on the other hand, may make impulsive purchases and have problems sticking to their budget.


Remember your aim and take another action instead of spending. Setting aside time for self-reflection may be necessary if you want to learn how to stick to a budget and save money. If you didn't write down your objectives when you made your budget, it'll be crucial to do so now.


You may even paste a reminder of what you're striving toward on your bathroom mirror or business cards. Not just how much money you require, but also how you want to spend or feel in the future.


Also, attempt to figure out what makes you make spontaneous purchases. Stress and boredom are common causes of overspending. You can also find yourself shopping and surfing online to avoid doing other things. A smart first step is to become aware of your triggers. Then, rather than trying to stop cold turkey, consider if you can replace your spending habit with something more in line with your objectives.

You Feel you are budgeting alone. 

It might be a two-pronged problem to feel that no one else budgets. For starters, you may believe you can spend as others do, but you haven't seen other people budget. When you go shopping, you only see other individuals who have chosen to spend money, not those who have chosen to stay at home. Even when you're buying online, some sites will tell you however many people are looking at, or have previously purchased, an item you're interested in.


A survey indicated that most people don't talk about their finances, which is somewhat connected. Younger generations are more open to financial discussions, but even 18 to 34-year-olds tend to keep their financial decisions, bankruptcy, and credit card debt to themselves.


Find a community or a money accountability partner. When you start talking to people about money, you'll quickly realise you're not the only one who has issues, questions, or difficulty sticking to a budget.


Regular money meetings with a partner, friend, or close relative who is also budgeting can assist you in finding solutions; think of it as a personal financial checkup. If people are unwilling to talk about money, don't put pressure on them to do so. Some people believe that thinking about or discussing money is mentally taxing.


If you don't have somebody with whom to talk money or don't feel comfortable sharing something so personal, you could explore anonymous online communities. There are smaller subReddits devoted to certain budgeting platforms on the personal finance site Reddit, which has over 14 million individuals ready to ask and answer concerns about money.

Final Words 

Sticking to a budget can be difficult for a variety of reasons, but many of them boil down to having realistic expectations and shifting your attitude to prioritise long-term goals over immediate desires. These aren't only challenging to conquer; putting in the effort can lead to tremendous progress.


Hopefully, this short guide will help you with becoming more financially stable and able to stick to your budget better. Do you have any other issues or solutions that could help others trying to budget? 


Please share some of them in the comments below.


LIFESTYLE: Getting Your Home Ready for a New Pet

 Are you thinking about getting a pet in the near future? Have you already put in a request to adopt a pet? If either of these is true, then you may want to start looking at how you can prepare your home for a new pet. In this post, we’ll be covering some of the most common types of considerations and how you can adjust your home to make it more pet-friendly.


Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/7QjU_u2vGDs (CC0)


Are your family members ready for a pet?


Lastly, don’t forget to speak to your family members about the possibility of bringing a pet into the family. Whether you want several small pets or just one family dog, you need to consider everyone else in your home because there’s a good chance that they’ll also be responsible for looking after them now and then. Something like a dog can be a lot of maintenance and it helps if everyone is actually interested in having a dog around instead of it being limited to just you.


In short, speak with everyone in your family about the possibility of having a pet and ensure everyone is on the same page.


Have you decided where your pet will be sleeping?


There are two main considerations when it comes to deciding where your pet will be sleeping; what part of the home will they be in, and what are they going to be sleeping on? For example, you may need to consider Pawpedics dog beds for a dog, a cat tower if you’re bringing in a feline friend or a cage for a hamster. These are the most common places for a pet to sleep, but it’ll depend on the type of animal, their size, and how much freedom you want them to have.


For much larger animals such as a dog, you could even let them sleep with you in bed. This is a great idea if you feel like sleeping with your dog can help you sleep better as well. However, if they toss and turn a lot in bed, then it’s probably going to make it harder for you as well.


Do you have enough pet supplies and furniture?


Almost every pet that you could own has its own supplies and furniture requirements. You’ll want to have the relevant supplies for each of these pets. This can include a good amount of pet food, medication, and also any grooming accessories that they need. You can get a lot of this in bulk by purchasing it online which can save you a considerable amount of money.


However, it’s worth remembering that not every supply is suitable for every pet, even if it has been labeled as such. For instance, your dog might prefer a certain type of food or they might need to eat something like wet food because they have trouble with the harder stuff. Similarly, certain pet grooming products might cause allergies or skin-related issues with some pets, so it’s a good idea to try out various products to see what works best with your pet.



LIFESTYLE: 3 Telltale Signs It's The Right Time To Get Married

 


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Marriage isn’t for everyone - and that’s completely fine. Many people are content being in relationships that aren’t formally bound by marriage. It’s completely up to you whether or not you want to do this. 


Nevertheless, marriage is still the end goal for a lot of people in relationships. It’s something you are actively thinking about in the future. So, how do you know when it’s the right time to get married? 


For starters, there is no ‘right’ time in the sense of a timescale. Couples can be together for months and get married, then live happily ever after. Similarly, some couples are together for over a decade before deciding to tie the knot. You shouldn’t think of things from a time perspective, but more from a relationship perspective. 


With that in mind, here are three signs it’s the right time to get married: 


You trust your partner immensely 

You can’t have a marriage without trust. Do you trust your partner with your life? Do you trust them to always be there for you, and to put you - and your future family - first? If the answer is yes, you are definitely on the road to being ready for marriage. If the answer is no, that doesn’t necessarily mean marriage is always off the cards. You could have an early relationship where trust is still building to the point where you know they’ll always have your back. 


For me, this is particularly important for single mothers. You need to know that you can trust your partner to not only look after you but to look after your child as well. 


You can live together

One of the strangest concepts in life is when partners don’t live together until after they are married. This is seen in more traditional relationships, where you get a house together after you’re married. However, in modern times, it’s just wise to live together before you take your relationship further. 


You never truly know how compatible you are with someone until you live with them and share a place together. You’re constantly around one another, always in each other’s space. You’ll either get on very well - and it brings you closer - or you hate it. If you have been living together and feel your relationship has improved dramatically, it’s another sign that marriage is right for you. 


You’ve had the marriage talk

A lot of people can get carried away by the idea of marriage. In your spare time, you’re looking at engagement rings online and pinning different wedding concepts to your Pinterest board. However, you can’t think about marriage until you’ve had a talk with your partner. 


Speak to them about the whole idea of marriage to see where they stand. Are they even keen to get married? This can be such an important conversation as it lets you know if you’re both on the same page. Obviously, if you are, then it’s another big tick in the marriage box. 


If you’ve noticed all of these signs, it’s a good indication that your relationship is ready for marriage. Now, it’s just a case of personal preference. You’re ready, but when do you want to get married? Perhaps you want to wait until you can buy a house instead of renting one? Maybe you want to save up a certain amount of money before getting married? It doesn’t really matter when you get married; what matters is that you’re ready. 


How to Plan the Perfect Family Road Trip

Family holidays are tough to plan. You have so much more to think about, and the expenses are far steeper than they used to be. This can leave you short on ideas and funds when it comes to your next family adventure.

However, there is another option. The family road trip is something that everyone either looks forward to or dreads. With the right preparation, you can make sure that your next road trip is something that everyone remembers for the right reasons. 

Image Credit.

The Right Attitude

The first challenge that you might encounter is that kids don’t always make the best travel companions. They can get antsy if they’re bored and it’s easy for a pleasant trip out to turn into a painful slog for everyone. 

However, the right attitude can do wonders for you and your family. Simply put, don’t expect too much from smaller children. While adults might be content to sit in a car for hours on end, children will need distractions. 

Another thing to consider is whether your children are travel-sick. If so, then a road trip isn’t the best idea for your family, as the child will be miserable and so will everyone else. Before you decide on a route, factor your family’s unique needs in mind.

By making sure that your children are entertained and comfortable, you can ensure a safer and more pleasant experience. Driving with kids isn’t easy a lot of the time, but you can make changes to help. 

The Right Vehicle

One of the most important aspects of your road trip is the vehicle. The right car should be roomy enough for the whole family to sit comfortably. If you have younger children, then it will also need to be able to accommodate car seats.

As well as space for the occupants, the vehicle should also have enough space to comfortably fit all of your supplies. Whether these are just some snacks for the road and emergency provisions, or clothes and other necessities for a more extended trip, make sure there’s plenty of room in the boot. Nobody wants to have to put up with a bag in their footwell, especially not for a long trip.

The vehicle should also be reliable and in good condition so that your road trip can be as safe as possible. Look for a “new utility wagon near me” to find a great road-trip-friendly vehicle.

The Right Activities

When you’re on a road trip, the idea isn’t just to drive around and sit in the car all day. You want to be getting out and exploring the countryside, getting up close and personal to the sights you’re driving past.

For some families, it pays to swing by an activity centre of some kind, so that the kids have something to look forward to. One great option is a Junior Off-Road experience, which lets your kids explore nature away from the beaten track, with plenty of supervision, of course. As long as they’re having fun, things will run smoothly.


Tips For Getting Back To Work After A Career Break

 Regardless of how long or why you have been out of the workplace restarting a career, new job or self-employed business can be daunting. What was once the familiar has now become the unknown and you may have taken a little confidence hit along the way. To help you get back into the workplace stronger than ever, here are some tips that will hopefully make the transition smoother and easier. 



Photo credit; This Is Engineering from Pexels

Decide on what you want and need

When it comes to employment many people have a ‘take what you can get approach’.  While that may be a necessity in some situations if you have the time and ability to determine what you want and need from a career then you should prioritise that. This is especially important if you are returning to work after a period of absence to raise children or have family commitments to consider. It is important that you are honest and upfront with employers and yourself from the outset. Be clear about the type of job you are looking for, the flexibility you need and the responsibility you do or don’t want. The last thing you want to do is take on a role that is not suited to you and knocks your confidence further. 

Learn or develop a skill 

During your absence from work why not use the time to brush up on pre-existing skills or take the time to learn something new altogether. You could undertake an online course that allows you to undertake and understand CFD trading, social media management or even head back to the classroom to retrain completely. It is never too late to start learning, what is more, it will improve your confidence and job prospects in the process. 


Another great way to improve or refresh your skills is to undertake some volunteering roles. This will look great on your CV, improve your confidence and get you back into the habit of routine and responsibility. 

Explain your career break

Some employers may want to know a little bit more about your career break, especially if it has been a protracted one. It is a good idea to work out the reasons behind your break. That is not to say you need to justify it, rather explain it and be comfortable discussing it in interviews or covering letters. Remember, there is no wrong answer, keep it brief and to the point. 


Network 

If you have maintained a good relationship with former employees and colleagues then now is a good time to reach out. Typically people will always be willing to help, it might be by way of a coffee and prep talk or they may be able to offer you something more concrete. Reaching out and reconnecting with the professional world is a great way to let people know that you are returning to the workplace and potentially unearth opportunities you might not have known about. Networking does not have to be limited to the professional world, remember friends and family may be able to offer up the same benefits. 





LIFESTYLE: 7 Crucial Factors That Can Affect A Home's Price

 7 Crucial Factors That Can Affect A Home's Price


According to consultancy firm TwentyCi, there were 350,980 homes for sale in the UK at the start of this year. It is no secret that several factors affect a home's price irrespective of its location. For instance, your property's age is one of the most popular determinants of how much it will go for, so homeowners are always making savvy improvements to boost value. However, numerous not-so-popular elements can determine whether you get more or less money when selling your home. Below are some critical factors that affect a home's price.


  1. Changing neighbourhood demographics


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The kind of buyers interested in a particular neighbourhood will also significantly influence which houses are in highest demand and will sell for more. For example, you may struggle to find buyers willing to part with a lot of money for a one-bedroom flat in a neighbourhood that primarily attracts couples with young children. Therefore, it is prudent to monitor the kind of homes being sold for the highest prices in your local area to discover the best time to sell. 


  1. Insulation


Many homeowners will paint their home's exterior, upgrade windows, invest in landscaping, and refurbish bathrooms and kitchens when considering ways to boost resale value. However, it is critical to note that modern-day home buyers are increasingly interested in home energy efficiency to reduce their carbon footprint and utility bills. Therefore, adding insulation to your home can be a huge selling point that fetches you more money when you put it up for sale. The exact impact of insulation will differ based on your home's size and the type of insulation installed. For instance, installing a 72.5mm Celotex Insulated Plasterboard in your home may save more energy than using blanket batts and rolls for insulation. However, some reports reveal that all homeowners can expect a 2%-6% rise in their overall property value, regardless of the insulation type they use.



  1. Superstition and bad history


If you are struggling to sell your home at a good price, you might want to consider the potential superstitions surrounding it as well as its bad history. According to 888 Poker's research, nearly 74% of the British population describe themselves as superstitious. These individuals will do anything to bring good luck, from picking up a penny from the ground to knocking on wood. Similarly, they avoid bad luck like the plague by avoiding black cats and not walking under ladders. Therefore, it is highly likely that your house numbered 13 is struggling to sell due to superstition. It also does not help if your home is on 13th street. Indeed, a study showed that homeowners who sell a property with the number 13 receive 4.1% less than average. Likewise, a home with a bad history of murder, hauntings, and divorce can ward off buyers. As such, you may be forced to accept up to £100,000 less than average property prices if your home has an unpleasant history. 


  1. Particular names and numbers


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The name of the road your property is located on can reportedly increase its value by up to 73%. Houses located on "Warrens" typically deliver the most returns when sold, while those found on "courts," "streets," and "terraces" return the least value when sold. You can also sell your house for more money if it is on a "King" or "Prince" related road, compared to a "Queen" or "Princess" road. However, you can get more from your property located on a royal road with "Elizabeth" in its name. Furthermore, a house with a name will usually sell for more than one with a mere number. Therefore, consider giving your house with a number a name instead to add value. However, remember to write to your local council first before deciding on a name for your property. This step is essential because your local council will consult the Royal Mail to ensure that your preferred name is not already being used to prevent any issues.

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  1. Available food and beverage amenities


Many experts believe that living close to food and beverage amenities can help you sell your house for more money. Indeed, the "Waitrose effect" in the housing market is well-documented, with research from Lloyds Bank revealing that living near a branch of Waitrose can add up to £40,000 to your home's value. You can also expect your property's value to increase by about 18% if you live close to the Italian restaurant Carluccio's. Furthermore, living near a Marks & Spencer store can add up to 9% to your property's value. However, you don't have to live near a high-end supermarket or store to get more money when you sell. For instance, a nearby Aldi can add about £1,333 to your home's value, so keep this in mind.



  1. Presence of Japanese Knotweed


Japanese Knotweed has a bad reputation in the UK since it has impacted the nation's ecosystems and caused significant damage to numerous walls, buildings, flood defences, and drainage systems. This destructive plant has reportedly wiped out as much as £20 billion off house prices in the UK. Therefore, expect home buyers to offer up to 10% less than market value for your home if it has Japanese Knotweed. Consequently, consider getting rid of any Japanese Knotweed on your property using a safe glyphosate-based weedkiller before putting it up for sale.


  1. Bad neighbours


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You may have the most attractive house on the street, but it sadly will count for little if your neighbours are putting off possible buyers. These prospective buyers will undoubtedly check out your home before buying and may even visit the neighbourhood at random to observe things that could make or break their buying decisions. Therefore, bad neighbours who make a lot of noise through loud music or arguing can deter buyers from purchasing your property. Buyers may also be unwilling to pay a lot of money to move next door to neighbours with unkempt yards, annoying pets, irritating odours, and dangerous trees.



LIFESTYLE: Steps For Moving Out On Your Own

 There are advantages to living at home with your parents. For one thing, it costs much less money, even if you are paying something to your parents for still living there. But even if you broadly like living at home, there comes a point in everyone’s life when they know that it’s time to move out on their own. And even though this can be a little difficult, it’s rarely something that people regret. After all, it’ll allow you to really stretch yourself and step into the person that you want to become.


In this blog, we’re going to look at some essential tips for moving out on your own. 


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Crunch The Numbers


It’s easy to get lost in the idea of renting an excellent place to live, but it’s important to remember that you will (likely) be paying for it. So you’ll need to, first, figure out how much you can afford to pay. It’s best to keep the figure as low as you can, just so you don’t have to stress about paying rent. Also, remember that the cost of the rental will only be the beginning. You’ll also need to pay bills, internet subscriptions, food, transport to work, and so forth. 


Find the Space


Once you’ve got an idea of how much you can spend, you can begin looking for places. You might decide that it’s best to live with other people, in which case you’ll be looking for a flat share. This can be appealing even if you can afford to live on your own because living with other people can be fun. If you’re looking for your own place, then take a look at what’s available within your price range. Quality can vary significantly, so don’t get too disheartened if your initial search doesn’t yield results. You’ll find a place eventually. And when you do, you’ll be ready to sign on the dotted line.


Make the Move


You’re unlikely to have as much stuff as someone who already owns a house, which will make moving into your place more straightforward. But you’re still likely to have a fair amount of boxes to transport. Rather than trying to cram everything into your car, look at renting a van from a company like Sydney Ute Van Hire. That’ll allow you to make the move in one go, rather than having to make multiple trips back and forth. 


Make It Yours


You might like the look and feel of your new flat or house, but it won’t really feel like yours until you’ve put your own spin on it. There are plenty of ways to do this, including hanging photos of loved ones on the wall, creating a cosy environment, adding plants, and so on. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be in a position to embrace all that living in your own place has to offer. Don’t worry if you still don’t feel at home -- it’ll come in time. Eventually, you’ll know that you made the right decision.