10 Simple Ways To Cut Costs And Save Money Around The Home - Helga-MarieWith Christmas right around the corner, you’re probably looking for ways to save some money here and there and cut costs around the home. After all, you can’t buy gifts, decorations, or a turkey if you haven’t got any spare cash. Unfortunately, when it comes to handling your finances, figuring out how to spend less is one of the more challenging tasks. A lot of the time, it seems like you’re doing everything you can to save but seeing no results. Despite this, there are always more options to try. With that in mind, here are ten ideas for you to consider.   Change How You Shop Before you go shopping, you should always take some time to look in your cupboards, fridge, and freezer and write a list of exactly what you need to buy. This will help you to keep track of your spending and stop you from picking up items you simply don’t need. To cut costs even further, you can shop around for the best prices on goods you purchase frequently and buy non-perishables in bulk. You could also switch to generic products, rather than purchasing luxury brands. Boost Your Energy Efficiency With regular global warming warnings and energy prices on the rise, it’s more important than ever to consider your impact on the environment and do what you can to reduce it. Even using a small percentage less gas or electric (They say 68 degrees is the magic number for your thermostat!) can have massive effects on your energy bills and benefit the world around you.  For this reason, you should work toward eliminating phantom electricity and insulating your home. You can also invest in energy efficient products and appliances. Make sure to look for the Energy cost ratings on water heaters & appliances before you buy! Don’t Drive To Work Driving to work might be the most convenient option for you, but they say it harms the environment and your bank balance will feel the impact as well. After all, even if fuel costs aren’t particularly high in your local area, you still have insurance, maintenance, tax, and parking to deal with. You can find ways to reduce these costs, of course, but it’s much easier overall to stop driving altogether. You could always walk, cycle, or take public transport to work or even look into working from home.   Look After Your Wheels Getting rid of your vehicle is a big decision and one that many people simply can’t do. If you’re in this situation, then the least you should do is ensure that you look after your wheels properly. Make sure that you stick the maintenance schedule and take it for regular checkups with your local mechanic. You should also drive responsibility, avoiding speeding and harsh braking. This will help your gas to go further and prevent potential mechanical faults and costly breakdowns. Handle Home Maintenance Yourself Most people dream of the day they can own their own home, but it’s not until this dream becomes a reality that they realize just how expensive it all can be. Of course, the house itself will cost you tens and sometimes even hundreds of thousands, but the maintenance, repairs, and decoration won’t be cheap either. To keep these costs low, you should learn basic DIY skills and tackle some maintenance yourself. However, you should call professionals for harder tasks.   Build Your Emergency Savings Life is incredibly unpredictable with unexpected expenses popping up here, there, and everywhere. To prepare for these costs, it’s vital that you build an emergency fund. My magic number for this is $5000. Its a good umbrella in case life rains on your parade. This will save you stress and keep you from having to borrow. If this fund doesn’t cover the expense that you’re dealing with, and you’re considering applying for quick loans, just make sure that you do your research first. Different lenders have different interest rates, so find the best deal that you can.    Ditch Any Bad Habits When you’re trying to save money, the last thing you want to be doing is wasting the cash that you do have on things that could harm your health. Smoking, substance abuse, and excessive drinking are all incredibly costly and harmful habits. As difficult as it may seem, it’s never too late to ditch these issues and get your life and finances back on track. You don’t have to do this alone, as there are always people out there happy and willing to lend you a hand. Cancel Your Gym Membership Healthcare can be expensive, especially when you develop a chronic health issue. For this reason, it’s important that you take proper care of your body by eating right, drinking plenty, and exercising every single day. However, that doesn’t mean that you should have to pay for an expensive gym membership. There are plenty of free ways to get your daily workout in, including free workout classes, home exercise DVDs, bike rides, and jogs around the local area.   Forget About The Joneses Your neighbor may have bought the latest gadget, and your sister might have invested in some home improvement work, but that doesn’t mean that you need to do the same. Trying to keep up with the Joneses can only ever cause harm, both to your bank balance and your self-esteem. You’ll spend far too much time trying to be someone else that you’ll lose who you were in the first place, as well as a lot of money. Instead, stick to just being you and be happy with that. Remember To Treat Yourself Trying to save money doesn’t mean that you should buy the bare minimum and save everything else. In fact, this can do more harm than good, as it makes you want to splurge, which will probably cost you a lot more. Instead of living a life you’re not happy with, you should allow yourself a treat now and then, whether that’s a whole new outfit, a meal out with friends, or a fun day trip. Just make sure that these are treats and don’t turn into incredibly expensive habits.   Finding ways to save money isn’t always easy, but, hopefully, a few of the tips above can help you to cut costs. Pin This Post!  
Travel Roulette: The Ultimate List Of Ideas To Inspire Your Next Trip - Helga-MarieAre you looking to spice up your trip planning process? Then you’ve come to the right place! I’m going to give you the tools you need to do just that. If you have no idea where you want to go, or you seem to just be visiting the same beaches and cities, and anything in between, then this list is sure to inspire you. With the different types of vacations that you could take and different options you normally wouldn’t have considered, you’ll soon be excited about your next adventure! If you really want to have some fun. Write down each of the numbers on a bit of paper and draw them out of a hat. Then, it’s much more like a game of roulette because you’ll never know what you’re going to get! And without further delay, get ready to be inspired with this list of vacation ideas.   Head On A Romantic Break Up first, I’m going to hit you with a little romance. Maybe you need some time away with your partner? Or you have a special occasion coming up that you want to celebrate? Then a romantic trip will be absolutely perfect for this. Just make sure that you find a location that has some significance or meaning to the two of you. So – ask yourself, where immediately comes to mind? Visit The Country Is country living your kind of thing? Maybe you need to slow it down a little in life? There are so many pretty small towns across the country, and you should try to see as many of them as you can. Whether you’re traveling solo, in a duo, or with your family, small-town trips are a dream. And there’s sure to be a small town that you’ve had on your bucket list for a little while now.    Go Camping Next up, we’re going to add camping to the list. Because who doesn’t have a good time camping? And, most of the time, when you’re thinking about travel, you think of sun and hotels and water. So changing the pace up with a tent and the wilderness could be a ton of fun. Think of the camp sites that are all across the country that you could look to stay in.  Back in April, we decided to get this Airbnb, which was out in the country, overlooking gorgeous views, rolling hills, and solitude like you wouldn’t imagine. There are many different places like this all around the world, so take a look & don’t forget to get $40 off your first trip on me!   Take A Road Trip Have you ever just hit the road before? Packed a bag, grabbed the map, and just driven? If not, add this to your list! Maybe there is a little route that you’ve always wanted to try? Or maybe you have family across the country and it would be fun to make some stops along the way? One of my friends from England actually did this last summer! They took a basic map, such as this one & visited 48 states over 3 months! It looked like an incredible trip & they had the best time!   Visit The Capital And then, there’s always the option to see the capital. Now, this could be THE capital (aka Washington D.C.), or it could be the capital in your state. Or, let’s be honest, it could be any capital. Maybe there’s a city that you’ve been itching to see for a while? Is it coming to mind? Then this could be exactly where you need to be!   Rent A House Now, if you’re the kind of traveler that is used to hotel living, it’s time to change the pace. Maybe you need to find a house for rent and do things on your own terms instead? For a lot of people, this feels too much like home. But you can still eat out and explore the area you’re staying, without having to be in a hotel. Plus, with a rental or Airbnb, you tend to get a bit more space too and what’s not to love about that! Check out this gorgeous Airbnb we stayed in when we went to Kansas City last year! Go Skiing One of the best parts of our beautiful country is that there are just so many different climates and terrains. So it’s fun to see and enjoy them all. If you’ve yet to go skiing, or you’ve not been in a long time, this could be next for you. Booking a trip to one of the famous resorts and seeing what they have to offer might be perfect.  I have never gone skiing, but if I’m bundled up enough, I think I would enjoy it. Plus, I’d love to visit Colorado sometime!   Experience A Safari Maybe it’s time for you to unleash your wild side? Then an African safari could be perfect for you. And although we’ve suggested the location here, we haven’t really. On the continent, safaris can be booked in a number of countries. So now it’s on you to decide which location would provide you with the perfect backdrop for your experience.   Go Away Over The Holidays Have you ever watched The Holiday? That movie immediately comes to mind when I think of a holiday vacay! Now, this could be quite the controversial option for a lot of people. If you love to be at home over the holidays, this may not be your thing. But maybe you do want to go away for the holiday period? Maybe finding the perfect holiday destination and enjoying a trip away during this time is what you need? So, think about it, if you could spend the holidays anywhere, where would it be?   Stay On The Shores Have you seen all of the gorgeous coastlines we have across the country? From the beaches to the colder country coastlines, there’s so much to experience that staying on the shores might be what you need. And surely enough, there’s probably a coastal spot that has just come to mind! For me, its Hwy 101 starting from San Fransisco, CA up the coast to Seattle, WA. This is my ultimate road trip, mostly for the scenery and the coastal drive!   Try A Staycation Then, there’s always the option of staying closer to home. When we think of travel, it’s all too easy to think about heading off to a hot location and being as far away from home as possible. But right now, a staycation could be the perfect getaway, without actually getting away. Book a hotel or Airbnb in your hometown or near to it and enjoy a home away from home experience. Sometimes, being a tourist in your own town is exactly what you’re looking for. The house below is a rental that I would love to experience sometime! And its right down the road!! Go Island Hopping And last but not least, the next thing you could look to do is try out island hopping. This is definitely different but it’s also a fun way to experience new things. If you want to make sure that you’re seeing a range of different locations in one, nothing beats it. You get to pack a lot in over a short space of time. See it as a cruise, but done in your own way. So if you’re really ready for some adventure, this could be it!   So there it is – the ultimate list. And the locations are diverse, different, and definitely exciting. Are you feeling inspired? You should be! Now that you’ve seen the ideas, all that’s left to do is to write down each of them (or what came to mind as you were reading) and then take your pick. Or maybe you already know which you want to go with! Either way is cool. And now, you’re all inspired and ready to take a trip with a difference. Pin this post!