Friday, 31 May 2019

Budget Templates For Newlyweds

Whether you are getting married, newlywed, or looking to reconnect with your spouse about your finances, the money talk is one of the most important you will have as a couple. Having the money talk early and often will build trust and inspire a deeper connection with your spouse.

Deciding if and how you will combine finances and also how you will budget your life together will help you set realistic financial expectations for your future together. Talking about money seems uncomfortable to most, but why not look at it instead as an opportunity to learn more about your partner and their priorities?

Consider setting aside an evening or two to ask questions around your spouse’s financial past (such as what is your credit score?), lifestyle choices (such as what’s an ideal emergency fund amount), and future plans (what do you want retirement to look like?) Click here for more budgeting for newlyweds questions.

There’s not one right answer for questions about personal finance so having open and honest conversations with your spouse will help you better understand each other and prepare for life together.

If you do decide to combine finances, there will be lots of paperwork, research, sacrifice and compromise. Use these budgeting printables to make financially planning fun.

Whether you are using our monthly budget calendar to keep track of bills, or using our finance-focused conversation starters to discover more about your spouse and their relationship with money, these printables will get you on the same page and ready to plan your future together as a team.

You can also use these printables to set goals like building your credit and budgeting your first year of marriage.

Printable buttons:

Printable mockups:

Actual printables to link to:

Author bio:

Jeff Smith is the Vice President of SEO at Self Lender, an organization that helps thousands of people begin their financial journey with a credit builder account. He also serves as Editor of the Self Lender blog. Jeff has more than 14 years of experience in marketing and product-management teams in high-growth companies, and was previously a newspaper editor.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

5 Money Saving Tips When Buying A House

House shopping can be an exciting time for families, but also an incredibly expensive and time consuming one. If you're selling your home, it could take upwards of 6 to 12 months in some markets just to sell your old house. While the cost of buying a home might be more reasonable than renting in the long-term, it's still likely to be one of the most expensive purchases you make in your life. Use these tips to help make the right choice of home for you and your family, and to save a bit of money in the process.

Talk To Your Agent

The first and potentially most obvious way to save on your home is to work with your real estate agent closely. Your realtor is an expert in the housing market; that's why people hire them to navigate real estate. 78% of recent buyers found their real estate agent to be a very useful information source, especially when looking for a good deal on their home. Find a real estate agent you can trust and work closely with them to find the best properties for a more affordable price.

Look For Repairs

While this might seem counter-intuitive, looking for repairs in your future home might end up being a way to save. Depending on the extent of the repairs needed and the price of the home, you may be able to talk the overall price down. Better yet, you might be able to have the seller tackle some of the simpler repairs for you, like the water heater, for example. A standard water heater only lasts 10 to 15 years before corrosion attacks the tank walls.

Second Homes And Vacation Homes

If this isn't your first home purchase, consider whether you really want to own this property or if you'd be better off renting. 42% of vacation home buyers plan on using their property for vacations or as a family retreat. Depending on the circumstances, you might save money by choosing to rent.

Plan For The Future

While your home might suit your needs today, what about five years from now, or ten? When you're buying a home you're investing for the future and your future living needs. Consider where you might be several years into the future when you're looking for your home to make sure your home will fit your needs then as well as now. This is especially important when you're considering the size of your future home.

Save For A Larger Down Payment

While there are a few programs in place that allow you to put down a smaller initial payment on your house, it's best to take some time to save up for the full 20%. You'll reduce how much you ultimately end up paying due to reduced interest payments, private mortgage insurance, and other hidden fees. It might take a bit more time to save, but it will be worth the wait for sure.

While buying a home will still be expensive, there are a few ways you can reduce the financial strain it will put on you and your family. That way, you'll be able to settle into your new home without worrying too much about the associated costs.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Awesome Gift Ideas Every Mom Wants for Their Birthday

Picking the perfect gift for your mother’s birthday can be tricky. Sure, everyone loves getting breakfast in bed and a bouquet, but sometimes Mom wants something a little special for a day that's supposed to celebrate her. Here are some excellent and unique gift ideas every mom out there wishes for their birthday. 

1. Bamboo Bathtub Caddy

There's nothing better than a hot bath after a long day — unless you drop your book, tablet or God forbid your wine into the water. Save Mom from all of those tragedies by gifting her a bamboo bathtub tray. It's got a holder for a wine glass, a phone and a tablet or book with three different tilting angles, so it's comfortable no matter how tall Mom is or how small your bathtub is. The bamboo is varnished to be water-resistant, plus the material is more sustainable than oak or other woods. It's also adjustable if your tub is a little wider than standard, so it will be the perfect birthday gift for every mom who loves the occasional bubble bath. 

2. Long-Distance Friendship Lamp

These cute little lamps do more than illuminate the space around them. If you've got two of them linked together, you can touch one, and the other one will light up. It's a sweet way to tell someone you're thinking of them without picking up a phone or sending a text. Once you sync the pair, the distance between them doesn't matter. Mom could live across the country or on the other side of the world, and her lamp will still light up if you tap yours. 

The connectivity does require an internet connection, so you may have to talk Mom though setting up her home Wi-Fi network, but that gives you an excuse to spend more time on the phone. 

3. Children's Photo Book

Who doesn't love a gift of photos of their children or grandchildren for their birthday? Why not put together a photo book for Mom for this holiday? Adorama gives you the ability to pull pictures from your phone library, your social media accounts, Flickr or Amazon Cloud and organize them all seamlessly into the perfect birthday gift with a few taps on your smartphone screen. The site's auto-sort organizes your photos into the ideal order, but you can also reorganize them as you see fit. 

4. Handwriting Bracelet

It's not hard to make custom jewelry — nearly every jewelry website gives you the option to pick things like the type of metal, the gems and the design — but most don't allow you to turn a piece of handwriting into a bracelet! This Etsy seller takes your photos of a handwriting sample and turns them into a piece of jewelry that will last a lifetime in either sterling silver, gold or rose gold.

5. Fit Self-Rolling Smart Yoga Mat

Is your mom a yogi, or is she just starting to experiment with yoga? Either way, this smart, self-rolling yoga mat makes an excellent birthday gift, because the last thing you want to do after an intense yoga session is bending down again to roll up your mat. It's designed to stay flat during your session. Once you're done, flip it over and click the activator, and the mat rolls itself up and stays rolled so you can store it upright and out of the way when you're not using it. 

6. AeroGarden

If Mom wants to grow some fruits and veggies but doesn't want to head outside and ruin her manicure, the AeroGarden is the best birthday gift you can give her. This beginner hydroponics kit has everything you need, from an LED light to help the plants grow to a full set of herb seeds to get you started. It sits on a tabletop, so Mom doesn't have to worry about not having space to garden, and she'll have fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs in no time. 

Celebrate Mom Every Day

Birthdays only come once a year, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't celebrate your mom every day. Take a look at some of these unique birthday gifts and use one to make this holiday one your mom will remember for years to come. You might end up wanting to pick up one of these things for yourself, too — or hint to your partner that you really want something from this list for your next birthday. If you really don’t have any idea about what you want to do, you can take you mum to a sky trail in San Antonio as well. It’s fun, after all!

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

What Are The Ways Of Short Sightedness Correction In Children?

The short sightedness is also called myopia which is found to be very common these days. It is the cause of impaired vision mainly in kids. This usually occurs for people who are below the age of 40. But the prevalence of the problem is somehow growing at an alarming rate. If the person is suffering from myopia, then he must have difficulty to read the road signs and even see the distant objects clearly.


Signs and symptoms of myopia include squinting or eye strain and headache. The person or the child feels fatigued when they drive or play a sport. But the shortsightedness correction can be done by wearing glasses or contact lenses.


Causes of Myopia


The problem of vision occurs mainly when the size of the eyeball is too long comparatively to the power of the cornea. Hence the focus of the light rays is at a point in front of the retina. It does not focus directly on the surface.


The other cause also includes the curve of the cornea or the lens of the eye. It is seen to be more curved as per the length of the eyeball. Sometimes the shortsightedness also occurs due to the combination of these factors.


Treatment For Short Sightedness


The short sightedness correction can be effectively done with the help of different treatments.


• One is the use of corrective lenses. This is the use of glasses or contact lenses. This will help the eyes to focus on distant objects.


• Laser eye surgery is that which will alter the shape of the eye. This is normally carried out on children as their eyes are still developing.


• Artificial lens implants are another way of short-sightedness correction. This is the treatment where a man-made lens is inserted into the eyes permanently. This helps to focus correctly on the objects.


• The lenses used for shortsightedness correction are usually concave in shape. This means that these are the thinnest in the centre and thicker at the edge. They are called as minus power lenses. This is because they help in reducing the focusing power of the eye. This is how the minus lenses move the focus of the light in the nearsighted eye. This is done from a point in front of the retina but backward. This, therefore, falls directly onto the surface of the retina. This shift will make the correction of the blurry distance vision. As a result, it will gradually restore the clear vision.


• The power of lenses for shortsightedness correction is usually measured in dioptres. This power always will begin with minus sign. If the dioptic power of the lens is higher, then myopia slowly gets corrected.


• The lenses that are recommended are high index lenses that are greater than 3.00 dioptres. These lenses are both thinner and lighter than even plastic lenses. They are very comfortable and have an attractive look.


• The anti-reflective coating is also a highly recommended lens for short sightedness correction. The AR coating helps to eliminate distracting reflections. This makes the vision appear thinner and attractive. This also eliminates reflections and overall improves vision and comfort level.

The people may also benefit from implantable lenses. This is known as phakic IOLs. These are very tiny lenses that work almost like contact lenses. They are implanted surgically within the eye and directly behind the pupil. This is the permanent way of short sightedness correction. The short sightedness or myopia has now become a very common eye condition and it’s found to affect at least 1 in 3 people in the UK. It rangesfrom mild to severe and at times the vision is significantly affected.




Tuesday, 21 May 2019

6 Ways to Plan a Holiday on a Budget

 There aren’t too many things that are more exciting than jetting off on a holiday. Taking in new sites, eating new foods and possibly seeing old friends are just a few of the things you can expect to do whilst on a holiday. 


However, if there’s one thing that can really bring us down when we're on holidays, it’s the cost. Nobody should be forced to sit in their hotel room reflecting over the steps to recuperate their expenses on their holiday. 


With that said, we have a whole range of tips and tricks below that will make it easy to plan a holiday on a budget.


Choose a suitable location


For future holiday-goers who haven’t yet settled on a location, it’s always a good idea to consider a city or town that’s affordable. You’d be surprised by just how much you could save if you chose to stay in a hotel outside of the city you’d like to visit. 


Take the time to make a plan beforehand which takes travel times and public transport into account. By doing this you'll know how far out of the city you can stay and which public transport routes to take to get into town. 


You might find yourself saving $100 a night or even more on hotels as you’ll be staying outside of a hotspot. Though you won’t be missing out on any sites or attractions because your planned access to public transport will keep you within range of the city at all times.


Take advantage of short loans to snap udeals


If you’ve ever scrolled down your social feeds or checked your emails to see an incredible holiday deal that you couldn't afford, then this tip is for you. 


These incredibly deals are often only provided once or twice a year during promotions and are only available for the first few people to book. That means you have to book right away in order to be saving thousands. 


Now, you might not have the savings in the bank to snap up the deal right away, so consider relying on short term loan providers like CashnGo. You’ll have access to up to $2,000 which you’ll be able to combine with your own savings to get a hold of those great promotional deals.  


Bundle Hotels, Flights and Daily Expenses


When budget holidays are concerned, unforeseen expenses could be disastrous. You may find yourself spending too much on food, shopping, accommodation or anything else, which defeats the whole purpose of the budget holiday. 


We suggest only booking bundled or packaged holidays. This way you’re getting a deal, and also able to more easily calculate what you’re going to spend. 


Head over to Expedia for some examples of bundled holidays and you might find that some locations are up to 70% off when purchased in a holiday package. 


Consider a Staycation


One of the easiest ways to stay within budget on your holiday is to simply go on a staycation.


There are likely hundreds of vacation opportunities around where you live, which could cost you only a few hundred dollars and also give you an entirely new perspective on where you live.


Head off to a nearby town, go camping or even stay in a hotel that’s just a few minutes drive from your home. You might find that you have a different outlook on your city when you’re in ‘holiday mode’ and that could mean you have a whole lot of fun without even needing to leave. 


It’s the change of mindset you may desperately need and your bank account will thank you. 


Book Hotels and Flights in Advance


We all know that leaving flights and bookings until the last minute can result in financial penalties. That said, make sure you’re online and scoring the web for holiday deals as soon as possible. 


We advise booking at least three months in advance for both hotels and flights as this will give you the best deal possible. 


Additionally, if you use Google Flights, you’ll be able to enable price change notifications. That way, you won’t miss out on any sneaky last minute airline deals. 


Stay at Smaller Hotels


Wed all love to unpack and wind down in a Sofitel or a Hilton, but when it comes to a budget, luxury hotel chains are a no-go. 


Take a look online prior to booking a hotel and search for smaller hotels or family-owned businesses. You might be able to pick up a bargain for less than one hundred dollars a night without giving up too much luxury at all.

Monday, 20 May 2019

UK’s top 5 unexpected household repairs

A new investigation by price comparison experts, Money Guru has discovered that it could take 1 in 4 Brits up to eight years to save for unexpected household repairs. 


Money Guru surveyed British homeowners to discover what part of their home needed to be repaired first and how much it cost. In addition to revealing the top five things likely to go wrong in UK household, the research also uncovered that many homeowners are struggling to save more than £50 per month for household repair; taking them eight years to afford the average total bill of £5,000. 

Replacing the windows revealed as the UK’s first household fix

The windows have been uncovered as the most common UK household repair, with 1 in 7 (15%) of Brits stating that the windows were the first repair they were forced to make when they moved into their new home. However, with the average lifespan of new windows lasting 20 years - it’s a worthy investment. 


Coming a close second for the first household fix for homeowners was the kitchen, with 14% stating they had to repair theirs. The bathroom was also a likely fix for those first moving into their home, with 12% listing it as the top repair job for their new home. Other repairs also included the electrics, heating and, for the unlucky few (3%), ‘everything’ required replacing in the home. 

 The top 5 things that go wrong in UK households first: 

1. Windows

2. Kitchen

3. Bathroom

4. Boiler

5. Roof 


The top five household repairs uncovered as the UK’s most likely household fixes also come with a rather large price tag for British homeowners. The initial repair bill for a house with 10 windows starts at around £5,450. Similarly, the cost for a totally new bathroom is £4,500 - including suite and installation. And, while the price of a new roof depends on the material, the average cost to fit a new roof is close to £4,900.


The prices increase, however, for those who need to repair the kitchen when they first move in - costing around £8,000 for replacement. But, those who face replacing the boiler in their new home, are looking at a bill that can vary between £500 and £2,500.  

A quarter of Brits spent at least £5,000 on their first household repair

In keeping with the average costs for the most common household repairs, Money Guru’s investigation uncovered that 24% stated they spent at least £5,000 on the first repair in their new home.

A further 31% said they spent between £1,000 and £5,000 fixing their home. Sadly, only 17% said their first repair expense was under £100. But do Brits have enough savings to cover the costs? 

1 in 4 Brits only save £50 each month for any household repairs

While the average cost for the most common repairs is around £5,000, only 24% of homeowners are able to regularly save £50 each month to cover any emergencies - taking them eight years to afford the average total bill of £5,000. 


When investigating further, Money Guru found that another 25% were only able to save ‘occasionally’, with 1 in 10 also saying they are not able to make any savings for home repairs. 


In recent years, many families have struggled to put aside savings. Rising costs of food, petrol and energy have contributed to Brits having to cut back on their average monthly spend. 

A third of Brits are finding alternative financing to pay for their first household repairs 

A third of the homeowners (34%) surveyed in Money Guru’s study are finding alternative finance options to pay for household repairs. 


Of that 34%, 1 in 3 opted to get a loan to help them pay for their first repairs. Additionally, 40% added to the mortgage and 12% got a credit card. 


The above numbers suggest that many homeowners do not have the ability to pay outright for home repairs. Therefore, they are seeking options that allow them to pay over a longer amount of time - such as home improvement loans and credit cards, which can offer low interest and aid those requiring financial help. Additionally, it’s also worth noting that adding to the mortgage is a popular option for those looking to improve their property’s value. 


How do British homeowners pay for household repairs? 

● Used savings: 66%

● Added to the mortgage: 14%

● Took out a loan: 10% 

● Got a credit card: 4% 

● Cut back on essentials: 3% 

● Borrowed from family/friends: 3% 

How to prepare for unexpected household repairs 

Owning your own home can often come with a big price - one that doesn’t end once you own your house - especially for those who are paying a mortgage.


Unfortunately, there may be household repairs that you didn’t budget for that require repairing immediately. Luckily, the UK’s most common first household fixes are long-term investments and could, in turn, increase the value of the house. For instance, the likes of kitchen cabinets can last upwards of 50 years, with bathroom suites also lasting around 20 years. 


Below, we’ve included some tips for saving for any such repairs when you first move into your home: 


Set a budget and compare 

Compare the different tradespeople and set a budget to ensure your costs do not spiral out of control. If there are several things wrong in the home, list them by priority and ask for quotes from a number of tradespeople/companies before finalising your decision. 


Look at the best way to pay 

Before committing to the repair, find the payment method that suits you. There are a number of options available to pay for household repairs, including home improvement loans. However, it’s important to make sure you can make all repayments should you borrow the money or take out a loan.