Saturday, August 10, 2019

Life's Not Fair But You Can Learn To Cope

Life is harsh and unfair. Even though none of us genuinely believes they live in a happy and cozy kingdom, surrounded by fluffy candy floss trees and bouncing unicorns, we tend to assume good things are bound to last. So when suddenly something terrible happens, our first reaction is to rebel against it. 

It’s not fair, we say. And we are right, it isn’t fair, but fairness is not what life is about. Unfortunately, life is a combination of good and bad. If you’re lucky, at the end of your days, the good moments outnumber the bad ones. But, in the meantime, when life hits you with a tragedy, you don’t know how to react. When you lose someone you love, the world around you seems empty. Even your day-to-day existence feels void of joy and purpose. At the back of your mind, you hear a little voice asking you how you are going to cope. And you realize, with horror, that you can’t find an answer to the question. 

But, life is not about fairness. If we accept to be alive, we need to accept that not everything that happens is fair. And when you do, you find in yourself the strength to cope and rebuild your happiness. Indeed, even if everything seems dark today, there is a light at the end of the tunnel if you are ready to look for it. 

Art helps you to express your grief
Asking the practical questions first

Tragedies can take your mind off the practical things. But you’ll find it easier to deal with your emotions gradually. Sudden loss is a shock that leaves you vulnerable, exposed, and confused. You are surrounded by a mixture of violent emotions, ranging from sadness to anger. However, you need time to understand what it all means and to let go. During that period of pain and confusion, simple and practical facts can help you to move forward until you’re ready to unbottle your feelings. When the loss is unexpected and accidental, you can find the pragmatic approach of a local attorney reassuring in the face of grief. If the loss was the result of a long illness, discussing the case with a specialist doctor can give you a better understanding of the situation. The practical questions don’t eliminate your pain, but they give you a clear perspective of what was done and what is left to do. They provide you with a direction you can follow until you’re ready to face your emotions. 

Pexels
Setting easy goals to achieve

You don’t want to get up in the morning. What is the point? Life has hurt you too much, and you’re not sure you are ready to forgive and move forward. 

It might be hard to believe, but you are not alone with these feelings. For any people who go through grief, imagining a happy day again is impossible. Impossible goals are not exactly easy to reach. However, small goals are more manageable. Getting out of bed in the morning. Cooking lunch and eating it. Getting out of your house to do your shopping. A goal at a time, you can relearn to live and redefine your happiness. More importantly, these little milestones create a path towards your future. 

Finding a way to express your emotions

Grief is difficult to describe. Sadness. Anger. Confusion. Pain. Feeling lost. There is more than one emotion to grief and more than one way of expressing them. When you’ve run out of tears, but you still feel that the grief bottle isn’t empty yet, you need to find another way to pour its content. Some choose therapy because talking can make a big difference. For others, art offers a path to explore your pain. Drawing, painting, writing, or even knitting can show you a way to let your grief out. 

Realizing that you’re not okay

Grief, however, doesn’t pass easily. It can hide at the back of your mind, creeping into your life every day a little more. And one day, without knowing it, you realize that you’ve stopped grieving, but instead you’ve become depressed. Developing awareness of your feelings takes time, and as you’re falling, you may not have noticed the signs. But some clues can tell you whether it’s time to consult a specialist. Depression affects your sleeping patterns. You may not be able to rest at night, or you might sleep too long and still feel tired. Your mood also influences your appetite. Many people lose weight when they’re depressed. Ask yourself: Are you eating correctly? Finally, depression leads to social withdrawal. Avoiding social situations could be a sign. 

A sudden loss is devastating. People will tell you that time heals all wounds. But it doesn’t. You heal, only if you can use the time to understand and accept the pain.


Moving House Doesn't Have To Be Stressful. Here's How

Moving has always been a stressful process. It is said to be up there with divorce and a serious illness as one of the most stressful things you can go through! To make it a little easier for you, we have some tips to make moving house this year a little more straightforward.

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels
Understand the property market

If you really want to make the process of moving home easier, then you need to gain an understanding of the property market. You are probably very eager to sell your old house and buy a new one as quickly as possible, but it's essential that you don't rush the process. There are many things that you need to consider if you want to save money and make sure that you make the right decision. Start by making improvements to your existing house; if it's in good condition, then it will be more valuable in the eyes of the market. Declutter it, paint the walls and clean the carpets - this will impress potential buyers and does not cost a huge amount in terms of time or money.

As for buying your new home, you need to think carefully about what you and your family want and need. The location is just as important as the property itself. You might be looking for an exclusive gated community, such as those provided by wigwam properties or a beachfront condo. By gaining an understanding of the property market, you should be able to sell your old home and buy a new one with relative ease. 

Get a decent offer from a removal company

Another costly and stressful aspect of moving house is hiring a removal company to help you out. The chances are that you probably don't have enough room to move all of your belongings in your car, and you don't want to damage your precious possessions, especially if you are making a long-distance move. Before you rush into booking the removal company, you might want to start by decluttering, so that you do not take anything unused or unneeded with you, saving you both time and money.

Prepare for moving day

With everything that moving house involves, it can be easy to focus on the bigger picture and completely forget about the small details, especially on moving day itself. For example, you need to make sure you pack an emergency moving kit that you take in your car - this may be a spare change of clothes, some mugs and plates, your toothbrush, toilet paper, and soap. You don't want to put your essentials in the main moving van; otherwise, you will spend forever trying to find the things you need once you arrive at your new house - it is always the last box that comes off the truck!

You may also want to prepare for moving day by setting up things such as the internet a few weeks in advance. It can take most providers a couple of weeks to send out an engineer to set up your connection. You also need to redirect your mail and let all the important people and organizations know that you have moved house.


Thursday, August 8, 2019

Image Credit: Pexels
Lifestyle over-halls, health kicks, and new fitness regimes are great, and anyone embarking on a health and fitness journey should be encouraged and applauded. If you are thinking about doing this, then it's a good idea to break it up into smaller chunks rather than focus on the bigger picture and a whole transformation. If you want to lose weight for example, then while it's good to have an overall goal, it can be too daunting to think about trying to lose four stone, but if you focus on losing half a stone and you achieve that fairly easily then you can focus on the next half and so on. It works the same with anything, and in just everyday life, it is all those small things that count and add up that make the difference to your life. 

To transform an unhealthy lifestyle, start by trying to focus on one small, unhealthy habit, and turn it into a healthy, positive habit. For example, if you have a can of soda at lunchtime every day, have a glass of water two days a week instead. Starting with small, painless changes helps establish the mentality that healthy change is not necessarily painful change. It's easy to build from here by adding more healthy substitutions.

When it comes to exercise, start by taking 10-minute walks, and choose the days and times to walk, and plan a route. Once you have achieved this for a couple of weeks, then you can start to build it up, either add in some running, stair climbing or stopping to do some press-ups or sit-ups. 

Focus on drinking more water, so treat yourself to a nice new water bottle and make sure you have it with you at all times. Set yourself challenges to drink a certain amount by your 11 am meeting or by lunchtime so that you make sure you're getting into the habit. 

Steer clear of all-consuming diets and meal prep as this can be hard to keep up with you end up failing. Take it slow and steady and make a conscious effort to add more vegetables to every meal. 

Small changes make a big difference, and it's not just about diet and exercise either. Small health problems, if ignored, can deteriorate and end up affecting your overall state of health and quality of life. For example, if you notice that your hearing isn't what it once was - at first it's nothing serious, you can cope with it and it doesn't affect everyday life, however there is evidence that if you have hearing loss, it could mean that your brain atrophies at a faster rate than normal. It could affect your memory and might increase your chances of developing Alzheimer's and other types of dementia which you can learn more about here.

You need to look after your eyes, your skin, and your brain as well. Each body part should be cared for and as mentioned, if you do so in small doses, then you will have a far better chance of overall health.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Making It Through A Funeral With Care

Pexels
Funerals, no matter how well organized, no matter how supported you are, are not events we hope to attend many of in our lifetimes. Unfortunately, they do happen, and when they happen, it’s important to care for them as carefully and respectfully as possible. This is why funeral directors up and down the country continually exercise the utmost professionalism, ensuring that they shepherd a family through this process as carefully as they can, avoiding added distress as much as possible.

Yet as someone organizing the funeral, or simply having to experience it, this period of time can be very difficult. No guide like this can help you erode that difficulty completely, unfortunately. It is why funerals can be hard to deal with. However, we can offer you some guiding advice to help this experience progress steadily, to help you feel the most supported throughout, and to pay respects to the departed as humbly and modestly as you can.

Let us consider how you can make it through a funeral with care, particularly in an organizing context:

Resolve Disagreements

Sometimes, it can be that disagreements occur. This can be normal in any organizational context, however it can sometimes feel extremely stressful when trying to plan a funeral to this extent. This means that mediation, speaking to people carefully due to the current high emotions being felt, and always listening to everyone’s point of view is important. Sticking to how the deceased might have wished for their procession to go can be a great idea, as well as listening to the closest members of their family. Don’t be afraid to be humbled or to change the plans according to the wishes of your family members who might know better but need help. When communication thrives, events like this can be planned with care.

Consider Cost

It can be very important for families to pitch into the overall cost of a funeral. Sometimes, services such as BSF can provide you with the funding you need to send off your relative in a timely and respectful manner. It can take a frank and honest discussion with your family members, or  those whom you are helping organize. Don’t sign onto anything unless you are certain that the money can be raised in the future. However, with this kind of effort, some breathing room can be established. On top of that, crowdfunding elements can help you set a goal and funnel the cash correctly should you wish for accountability.

Do Not Force It

A funeral is best when it is respectful and simple. It is not like a wedding, where extravagance and luxury can often be something aimed towards. Instead, simply giving a humble send off for your family member and letting your love be present is important. This can sometimes be why inviting those who had little contact with the departed can be unnecessary. This way, you will care for the best outcome.

We are sorry that you have to deal with this. But with these tips, planning a funeral with care will be a real possibility.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Buying a car is a big decision and it’s important that you spend enough time finding the perfect car for a good price. But it’s not just about the car either, you need to work out how you’re going to pay for it. There are a lot of different financing options for a car and they all have their own benefits and drawbacks. You need to think about your own financial situation and try to work out which option is best for you. The problem is, a lot of people don’t really know where to start and they don’t fully understand how all of the different options work. If you’re buying a new car soon, read this list of your different financing options and the benefits of each one so you can make an informed decision. 

Image from Flickr
Paying in Cash

The best option when you’re buying a car is to pay for the whole thing upfront in cash. If you can save up the money to buy the car without having to get financing from anywhere else, you’ll save yourself quite a lot of money. Firstly, you won’t have to pay any interest on a loan and over time, those interest payments can really add up. Secondly, most car dealerships will offer a cash discount so you can usually get a better price on the car. Even if you can’t pay the full price in cash, putting down a big deposit and reducing the amount that you need to borrow is always a good idea. 

If you are going to pay in cash, there are a few important things that you should keep in mind. It’s not a good idea to spend your entire savings account on a car and leave yourself with absolutely nothing, because you may need that money in the near future to pay for other emergencies. Only buy the car with cash if you’ll have enough left over as an emergency buffer, otherwise, you could land yourself in some serious financial trouble. Even if you do have the cash to pay for the car, it might be best to put it on a credit card and then pay the balance off right away so you can benefit from credit card purchase protection

Cash is the best way to pay for a car but the majority of people don’t have that kind of money lying around, so you’ll need to look into some of your other financing options. 

Trade-In Value 

If your old car is still in relatively good condition and it’s still worth a bit of money, you should consider trading it in. If you trade the car in, you’ll get a significant amount of money to put towards your new car, which makes the cost a lot more manageable. You might find that you have enough cash to cover the cost once you factor in the trade-in value, which is great news. Even if you don’t have the cash and you’re going to take out a loan, trading it in will reduce the amount that you need to borrow so you can pay it off quicker and save yourself some money on interest payments. Trading in isn’t always the right option so you should check out these trade-in tips to see whether it’s a good idea or not, and help you to get the best price for it. If the car is costing you a lot of money in repairs and it’s a bit outdated, it’s worth trading it in. However, if you still owe a lot of money on your current car loan, trading in won’t get you that much money once you’ve paid off the rest of the money that you owe on it. 

Personal Loans

Image from Picserver
If you need to borrow some money, a personal loan is often one of your best options. If you can get a loan from your bank or building society, you can spread the cost of the car over an extended period, usually somewhere between 1 and 7 years. If you shop around some different lenders, you can get a good interest rate on a personal loan and it’s usually the cheapest option aside from paying in cash. You can get a loan to cover the whole cost of the car and it’s easy to arrange, sometimes over the phone or even online. However, there are a couple of downsides to getting a personal loan. Sometimes, you won’t get the cash paid into your bank right away so you’ll have to wait a while. The monthly costs are often higher than other options as well, even though the overall cost of the loan is lower. But as long as you can afford the monthly payments, it’s probably your best option. 

The only issue is, a personal loan is dependent on your credit rating. If you have a good credit rating, you should be able to get a loan with a good interest rate quite easily. But if your credit rating is bad, you might struggle to get a loan at all and if you do, the interest rate will not be very good. You may be able to get a better interest rate if you secure the loan against your house but that isn’t usually a good idea because you’re putting your home at risk if you can’t afford to make the repayments. If you’re going to go for a personal loan, it’s best to pay off your debts and spend some time trying to improve your credit rating first so you’ll get a better deal. 

Hire Purchase 

Hire purchase agreements are a way of buying the car on finance but you don’t actually own the car until you’ve made the final payment, up until that point you’re just renting it. You’ll pay an initial deposit on the car, usually around 10 percent, and then make monthly payments until you’ve paid off the rest of the cost of the car. The hire purchase agreements are usually made with the car dealer, so they’re quite convenient and you don’t have to go and find separate financing. A lot of people like to go for a hire purchase agreement because it’s easy to arrange, however, you should shop around a few different dealers to see who is offering the best rate. The payment terms are usually quite flexible, ranging from 12 to 60 months in most cases, so if you want to spread the cost out a bit more, you can. The interest rates are usually very competitive and they’re fixed so you don’t get any sudden price increases further down the line. The only downsides are that you don’t own the car until you complete all payments, which some people don’t like, and they tend to be more expensive if you’re going for a shorter payment period. 

Personal Contract Purchase 

Image from Flickr
A personal contract purchase is quite similar to a hire purchase, however, you don’t get a loan for the full price of the car. You get a loan for the difference between the cost of the car brand new, and it’s predicted value at the end of the payment period. At the end of the payment period, you have 3 different options; you can trade the car in for a brand new one and start a new personal contract purchase agreement. Alternatively, you can return the car and pay nothing, then start looking elsewhere for a new vehicle. Finally, if you decide that you want to keep the car, you can pay one final payment, called a balloon payment, and then you will own the car. Just keep in mind that the balloon payment can vary quite a lot so it might be a few thousand but it could also be tens of thousands. 

If you like to update your car regularly, a personal contract purchase is the ideal financing option for you. It’s also good if you’re not quite sure about a car and you want the option to return it at the end of the period if you decide that you don’t like it. You get a low deposit and the monthly repayments tend to be quite low, but the overall total can be quite high. The resale value of the car is also based on an average mileage and if you exceed that mileage, you may have to pay an excess fee. There will also be fees for minor damage like scratches and dents if you decide not to keep the car at the end of the payment period. 

Leasing 

When you lease a car, you never actually own it. You pay a fixed monthly cost for the use of the car, and that includes all of your maintenance and servicing costs as well. At the end of the agreement, you simply return the car and start a new agreement with a new vehicle. That means that you can plan for the cost easily because it’s fixed and any repairs are handled by the dealer. However, there is a mileage limit that you have to stick to and the monthly costs are higher because they include all of the maintenance. 

There are a lot of different options for financing your car and they all have their own benefits, so it really depends on what your financial situation is and how you use your car. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

What Makes A Careful Driver?

Millions of people hit the roads to get to work every day. No matter where you live, there are always risks to bear in mind when you get behind the wheel of a car, van, or truck. Most of us would consider ourselves careful, safe drivers, but over 90% of accidents are caused by human error. Whether you’re an experienced driver or you’re relatively new to the road, it’s crucial to be aware of the risks posed by driving dangerously and to make an effort to steer clear of trouble. Here’s a useful guide to what makes a careful driver. 

Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-driving-car-on-freeway-1386648/
The most common causes of accidents on the road

Research suggests that most of us rate our driving skills highly. However, the statistics tell a different story. More than 90% of accidents are caused by mistakes. The most common causes of road traffic incidents include:

Speeding

Speeding is one of the most significant risk factors for fatal crashes. If you’re driving too fast, it’s much more difficult to maintain control of the vehicle, it’s more challenging to react quickly, and the impact is likely to be greater. Driving at speed increases the risk of life-changing and fatal injuries. You might think that speed restrictions take the fun out of driving, but they are there for a reason. The limit is set according to the type of road and the proximity to residential properties and community buildings like schools. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents based in the UK, an increase of just 10mph from 40mph to 50mph can elevate the risk of life-threatening injuries by over 40%. 

When you’re driving, always pay attention to the road signs, and make sure you’re aware of the speed limit. If you’re going too fast, and you have a crash, you will probably be held liable for the accident, and you may face legal charges. Adjust your speed according to the weather conditions and the surface. If it’s foggy, it’s raining, or there’s ice or snow on the ground, reduce your speed. Your stopping distance will increase in wet weather, so you need to give yourself more time to slow down and brake. 

Driving fast can be fun, but you should always be wary of the fact that hazards can appear out of nowhere, and that you have a responsibility to protect other drivers, as well as yourself. If you are hurtling down the road, and an animal runs out, for example, you may not be able to react quickly enough, and this could put other road users in danger. Stick to the speed limits, and be prepared to modify your speed to minimize the risk of collisions. Even if a road has a speed limit of 70mph, it might not be safe to drive at this speed if visibility is poor, or the surface is slippery. 

Image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/chadelliott2012/5659144073
Distracted driving

We live in a world where we tend to try and do several things at once. We watch TV while scrolling through our phones and having conversations with our families. We take business calls while reading and sending emails. Multi-tasking is fine in certain environments, but it’s not a skill that should be exploited when driving. When you’re driving, your focus should be the road ahead, the vehicles around you, and any other hazards that could come into play. 

One of the most pressing concerns for drivers is that the landscape can change in a matter of seconds. One moment, you’re moving along without a care in the world, the next you’re having to slam the brakes on. Even in quiet areas, animals could run into the road, children could appear from behind parked cars and other drivers can make mistakes that require you to be able to react instantly. If you’re sending a text message or messing around with the navigation system, you might not be able to brake or steer your car away from a hazard in time. 

In some countries, it’s illegal to use your phone while driving, but in others, this isn’t the case. The best advice is to avoid doing anything that could potentially distract you from the road while you have the wheel in your hands. If you need to make a call, use an in-car, hands-free system or pull over in a safe place. Keep at least one hand on the wheel at all times and make sure you’re prepared to change gears, to brake quickly or to turn the steering wheel. Checking social media is much less important than staying safe. 

Picture credit: https://www.moody.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/210557/texting-talking-impacts-more-than-drivers-life/
Tiredness

If you’ve had a sleepless night, or you’re feeling drowsy and lethargic, it’s best to avoid driving or to take steps to wake yourself up and increase alertness. When you’re tired, your reaction time increases, and there’s also a risk of falling asleep at the wheel. This could have devastating consequences. If you have to make a journey, open the window to let fresh air in, listen to uplifting music, and have a caffeinated drink before you set off. If you’re already on your way, and you feel your eyes closing, and it’s impossible to stay awake, pull over in a safe place, park up and take a nap. It’s much better to delay your journey slightly and arrive in one piece than to run the risk of injuring yourself and others on the roads. 

If you are prone to feeling tired when you drive, try and steer clear of making trips at night, and drive when you feel most alert. If you have a long journey ahead, and you want to set off late to avoid peak traffic, have a sleep beforehand. 

Image via https://www.ellsworth.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/216142/airmen-guard-against-fatigued-driving/
Drunk driving

Drunk driving is one of the most common causes of fatal car accidents. Drinking alcohol has an array of negative effects on drivers. The problem is that often, drivers don’t realize these effects. Even if you feel fine after a few drinks, there’s every chance that drinking could put your life at risk. Drinking affects your reaction time, it can cause you to lose focus and concentration, and it can encourage you to take risks you would never even consider if you were stone-cold sober. You might try and overtake when there isn’t enough time or space, for example, or you may drive faster than usual. If you need to respond instantly, it might also take you too long to react, which could end up in a serious collision. It’s also worth noting that drink driving is illegal. If you cause an accident as a result of drinking too much, you will be held liable, which enables the other person to claim car accident compensation, and you’ll also be likely to face legal charges. Rules vary according to where you’re driving, but in most countries, drivers who are over the limit face fines, driving bans, and even prison sentences. 

If you do decide to go for an impromptu drink after work, or you’ve ended up having a couple more beers that you intended to, don’t risk getting behind the wheel. Organize a taxi or ask a friend who hasn’t been drinking to give you a lift home. 

Picture courtesy of https://pixabay.com/photos/drink-driving-drunk-alcohol-808790/
Careless driving

When you learn to drive, you’re required to take a test and swat up on the rules of the road. This might not be the most interesting or fun way to spend your time, but it’s critical to ensure you stay safe when you pass your test. Rules and laws are there to protect road users and pedestrians. If you’re driving too fast, you’re weaving in and out of traffic, you’re changing lane or overtaking without signaling or giving yourself enough time, or you’re aggravating other drivers, this kind of behavior will put you and others at risk. Take your time, be patient, and give other vehicles time and space. There should be a gap of two cars between you and the vehicle in front. If you’re too close, you might cause the other driver to become anxious, and you also run the risk of flying into them if they brake suddenly. Keep your distance, especially in adverse weather conditions. If you plan to change lanes, you’re overtaking, or you’re stopping, check your mirrors, signal, and then move. Always check your blind spot for cyclists and vehicles you might not have spotted. It’s also essential to make sure you look before turning into or out of a junction. Other drivers should not have to put their brakes on to accommodate you. 

Image taken from https://pxhere.com/en/photo/712092
Most of us assume that accidents happen to other people. The truth is that anyone can be involved in a car crash. The vast majority of incidents are caused by driver error, and every driver should be aware of the risks of taking to the road. Driving carefully is essential for your own safety, but also for the safety of other drivers and pedestrians. Next time you take the keys in your hand and fire up the ignition, think carefully about the decisions you make and pay attention to the rules of the road. 

Simple Ways You Can Save Money At Home

Saving money is easier said than done. Although we all want to keep our bank accounts as flush as possible, every day expenses often mean that this isn’t likely. Here are some tips that will help you save money at home without having to decrease your quality of life...

Record Your Expenses

A great way to cut down on your spending is to figure out just how much you really are actually spending. Make sure that you note down all your purchases, from that Starbucks coffee to buying a pint of milk on your way home from work, and you may realise that actually you are spending more than you realised. It sometimes feels as though money vanishes without any warning, and you aren’t entirely sure where it vanished to - so making a record of your expenses and your purchases is the perfect way to figure it out. Check off the expenses that were actually necessary like bills and grocery shopping, and then you will see how much expendable income you really have.

Source
Go For A Used Car

When it comes to buying a new vehicle, many people veer instantly towards the shiniest and newest cars at the fanciest showrooms. But if you take a moment to consider matters, you may decide that actually a used car is the smartest financial decision for your family. A car depreciates in value extremely quickly, which means that if you buy a car that’s just a couple of years old, you’re paying considerably less than you would have paid for it when it was brand new, but it definitely hasn’t lessened in quality that much. Finding used cars doesn’t have to be difficult - look for a local dealership that has good reviews online, and talk to the salespeople there about what exactly you require from your new vehicle. You may need to travel vast distances frequently, or you may only be going to and from work; they will be able to advise you on what exactly you need. You should make sure that you negotiate - check out other dealerships as well, and make sure that you have a certain amount in mind that you are willing to pay. Buying a used car can save you a lot of money in many ways - you may be able to pay cash instead of entering into a payment plan during which you will have to pay interest.

Source
Learn To Meal Plan

Learning to meal plan is a great way to save money. It means that you can grocery shop at the start of the week with a specific list, so you won’t end up buying and wasting food items ‘just in case’ that you don’t actually end up using. Make your lunch every night - you could even use leftovers for part of it - so you don’t end up buying it at work, and take along a reusable water bottle and a flask of coffee so you can take your own beverages instead of buying them. Reusable cups and bottles are also great for the planet.

Source
Go Eco-Friendly

A great way to save money is to be eco-friendly. Reducing your energy use is great for the planet and the environment and it is also, of course, great for your electricity bills. Turn off lights when you leave rooms, and make sure that you don’t leave appliances like your TV on standby - this uses up almost as much energy as it does when you’re actually watching it. Turn off your tablet and computer when you aren’t using them, and try to hang your wet laundry outside instead of throwing it all in the dryer. This will also keep your clothes in better condition for longer. When your light bulbs burn out, replace them with energy efficient bulbs. Not only will they last for longer but they will use significantly less energy. When it comes to travel, why not try to walk more often and to use public transport instead of using your car all the time? You could also consider buying a bike so that you can cycle to and from work or in your local vicinity. This is great for your health as well as your wallet.

Source
Try Out The 30 Day Rule

If there’s something you want to buy but that you don’t entirely need, wait for thirty days. If you still want it then, splash out and buy it. A lot of the time, these items are just momentary impulses, so you need to conquer those impulses in order to save money. It’s better to splash out on experiences rather than items so that you can create memories instead of hanging onto objects. So next time you see a pair of shoes that you just desperately need, bookmark the web page or take a photo on your phone and come back to it in a month to see if that desperation is still there!

Source
Figure Out Your Priorities

One of the most important aspects of saving money is figuring out what exactly you are saving money for. Some couples save for a house before a wedding, some families would rather save for vacations over expensive clothing, others may be setting up college funds for their kids, some might be setting themselves up for early retirement so that they can spend time travelling. You need to make sure that you talk to your spouse about saving money: why are you doing it and what are your long term aims? At some point, most families decide to save money for a certain amount of time, when they realise that their expenditures are going up and they would like a little more money in the bank for a rainy day. But talking to your spouse and children about what you want long term is crucial to your happiness, so that you all have the same ideas about the future. Remember that although saving money is great, you also need to spend it a little to enjoy your life - nobody knows how long they’re going to be here for, and it’s important to take advantage of every day!

Saving money is easier than you think - make sure that you plan and prioritise, and you’ll be all sorted.
















Tuesday, July 30, 2019

13 Ways To Find The Right Used Car For You

Every year, around 40 million used cars are sold in the USA alone. Unfortunately, lots of those cars are sold for inflated prices to unsuspecting buyers who don’t know how to ensure they get the right car for the right price. With some know-how and advance prep, you can dodge the scams and cowboy dealers, and score a great deal on a great car. 

Image
1. If you don’t like the idea of owning an older car, remember that you don’t need to buy a very old car to get the savings. A car that is only a year old is still likely to be significantly cheaper than a brand new car. While luxury brands tend to hold their value better, other vehicles will drop in price over the first year. Keep an eye out for year old models you like to save some cash on a relatively new vehicle. 

2. Choose the right car to save more money on your purchase. If you’re smart about the car you buy, you can get the car itself for less, and save on the running costs later on. For example, look for a smaller car with a smaller engine. These are cheaper to insure, and can be a lot cheaper to run, depending on how you use the car. Petrol is cheaper from the pump than diesel, but diesel is more efficient. If you can drive a manual car, you could save even more, as automatics tend to be more expensive. 

3. Play to car dealership targets. Dealers have quarterly targets to hit, so if you time it right, they may offer you a better price in order to secure your sale. Go towards the end of the quarter, but not too close to the end. If the dealer has already hit target, they’ll be less bothered about locking in your sale, and won’t discount the car or offer freebies to get you to buy. Visit around March, June, September or December to get the best deals as targets loom. Weekends and the days just after payday are bad times to shop. Dealers will be busier, so will be making more sales and have less time to spend with you. 

4. If you’d rather buy from a private owner, look around for what kind of prices cars are selling for. If you’re seeing average asking prices going up, hold off going car shopping for now. Strike when you spot prices starting to creep down again to get a better price. The time of year can help you get a better deal too. For example, people are less likely to be buying a convertible during the winter. 

5. Before you go out to look at any cars, create two different lists to make sure you get everything you need. One list is for the things your new car absolutely needs to have. This could include things like having a spacious backseat for a car seat, or being cheap to run. Make a second list of things you would like the new car to have, but that you can live without if they push the price up too much. This could be things like a built-in navigation system, or room in the trunk for a lot of suitcases for vacations. 

6. Make sure you budget for costs other than the car itself. You’ll need to pay for car insurance, fuel and be prepared for repairs. Do you need a parking permit to park near your home or work? 

7. Don’t just look at the car dealer nearest you. Before choosing a car dealership to buy from, visit a few and make a note of the prices of any cars you like. You can shop around for the best deals. If you find a better deal on a car, but prefer another dealer, you could use it to negotiate a cheaper price. 

8. Never accept the asking price. Go to your dealer with a figure in mind, some knowledge of the car’s value and a lower price from another dealer, and haggle. You could push for a lower price, or try and get something like a warranty, a service plan or a full valet thrown in for the price of the car. Study the car before you buy it. If you spot superficial issues, like small dents or marks in the paintwork, you could use this to try and get some money off too.

9. Give the car a very thorough check before agreeing to purchase it. Check the mileage. Is the car in good condition? Has it had any repairs made and have they been made well? If the car has been in an accident, make sure there aren’t any doddy repair jobs leaving the car in a dangerous state. Gaps in the body panels are a giveaway of questionable repair work. Check the engine and the oil for signs of leaks. Make sure that everything like the lights work before you agree to buy it. 

10. Make sure you take a car you’re considering for a test drive. Does the dar drive smoothly and feel nice for you to drive? Is there enough room in the car for things you need, like space for a dog crate in the trunk, or  car seat in the back seat? Are the passenger seats roomy enough? Make some basic maneuvers like parallel parking to check the clutch and the brakes are working correctly. Test the handbrake, and check all the doors and bonnet. Do any features like the radio work properly? Make sure this car is the right one for you, and that you’ll be happy driving it for the future. 

11. Would you prefer to buy from a professional dealer or from a private owner? Both ways have pros and cons. If you buy from a dealer, you’re more likely to have better protection if there’s a problem with the car after purchase, such as via the warranty. However, a private owner is likely to accept a cheaper price on the car, so could save you a lot of money on the price of the car. 

12. If you have the option, buy your car with a credit card for some extra protection in the event of a problem. A credit card can be used to claim back the cost if the car is wrong and your dealer is unable, or refuses, to refund you. 

13. Dealers will often try to cushion a lower price on a vehicle by selling you a lot of extras that you don’t actually need. Try not to be tempted by extras that you don’t want. Adding a warranty can be worth it, but don’t be sucked into buying unnecessary services plans or luxuries like an upgraded car stereo. Do some research first so you know whether you can find these kind of items cheaper elsewhere. Only agree to extras that you actually want, and be sure you’re paying a fair price for them when you do.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Pexels
The elderly are often subject to many misconceptions. Many think that because they are retired or simply because they aren’t as physically able as they might be - that their life is over. But it’s not. Retirees and the elderly have many years of potential joy, love, and beautiful experiences left. This is why this period of time is often called ‘the golden chapter.’ 

Helping your elderly relative enjoy a better quality of life can often be helped by this consideration. It allows you to ensure only the best for them, and to make decisions that can truly help them squeeze the most joy out of things. They have a lot to offer, a lot of love to give, and can be a wonderful part of your family should you spend the time on them. Often, the elderly also have a better sense of appreciation for what matters in life. They don’t care about the latest smartphone or best television set - they know that loving their family is the highest point of pride possible.

If you hope to help your elderly relative enjoy a better quality of life - you might consider the following efforts:

Opt For A Better Standard Of Care Home

All care homes offer what seems to be an interesting package. But it’s important that you consider how suitable one might be for your relative. Your relative might have additional needs compared to other patients, or would be more appropriate as a resident of a facility known for a particular type of care. Considering prestigious and well-appreciated institutions such as the Porthaven care homes can be a fantastic first step. We would also recommend visiting, walking around, asking about how the flow of daily life is arranged there, as well as finding out as much as you can. On top of that, don’t just choose for your relative. Ask for their opinion. Sometimes, they struggle to give their opinion, but you will likely know how receptive they are to a place. This should help immensely.

Visit Them

The elderly know that their time with you is the most valuable thing they have to experience. Your time with your family is also the most valuable thing you have to achieve - you just may or may not have realized that yet. Visiting your elderly relative can make their entire week. Make it a regular thing. Involve them with your children, and speak to them about their past. When you do this, you show that you care, and that’s the most important thing of all.

Cater To Their Youthful Spirit

Elderly people aren’t simply relics of another age sitting down ready to be ignored. They are profoundly caring, and can take pleasure in learning new things. So show them! Bring them to your favourite theatre show, walk in the park with them, show them your social media page, help them perhaps create one themselves. Cater to their youthful spirit. Remember - age is just a number.

With these tips, we hope you can better help your elderly relative enjoy a great quality of life.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Spotting The Signs Of Anxiety And Depression

Image Credit
It can be hard to notice the signs of stress, anxiety and depression as they creep into your life. Sometimes there is an obvious trigger, like a life-changing event. Other times, it can because you've taken on too much in life, and have gradually become overwhelmed by it. There may be times when there is no reason at all. Mental health issues can affect us all, and very often an imbalance of chemicals in the brain is all it takes to leave you suffering in many ways. 

People who have suffered from mental issues will tell you that there are good times, and there are bad times. And some people are good at dealing with the bad times as soon as they appear. Learning to spot the signs of depression and anxiety early will allow you to practice self-care, or get the help you need through psychotherapy

For others, though this can be more of a challenge. Developing awareness of your feelings can be much harder than you'd expect. Nobody likes to feel as though they are failing, and a struggle with mental health problems can make you feel just that. 

Why We Can't Always Tell That We're Struggling

Our brains have defensive mechanisms pre-programmed into them. If you're dealing with trauma in your life, your body produces adrenaline, and when we overload on this, it causes anxiety. At first, the extra adrenaline might feel like we're doing well, there's lots of energy and a heightened awareness of everything that's going on. But when this fails to diminish, it can leave us constantly feeling on edge. 

At other times, our minds and bodies hide the effects of depression and anxiety from us by denying the opportunity to process uncomfortable thoughts. While in the short term this can be helpful to us, in the long run it can lead to more significant issues. 

How To Spot The Signs

There can be lots of signs that you are depressed or anxious. They can range from not being able to sleep, through to sleeping too much. It can be the same with eating too, as some people find comfort in food when depressed, and others lose their appetites. Avoidance of doing things that you enjoy might be a symptom, as can negative thoughts that you can't control. Feeling tired a lot of the time, and generally despondent to the world around you is common too, as is withdrawing from social situations. 

Making Plans

If you find that you are doing these things, take some time to think about what is going on in your life right now that could be causing you particular distress. Try to identify triggers and work out when you have felt the lowest. 

Think about implementing a self-care routine. Laying or sitting down in a quiet room, try to meditate by calmly breathing in and out, focusing on your breath. There are many guided meditations that might help you. 

Exercise is essential, so try and take a walk or go for a run. This will help to produce endorphins, which will make you feel good. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Promoting Better Pond Health in Your Own Backyard



A garden pond can be an attractive addition to your property. Whether it is a formal reflecting pool, or a more natural free-form build, there are important steps you must take to ensure peak maintenance and health of your pond's ecosystem. 

Avoid Stagnant Water

Standing water can be the root of a host of issues. Algae blooms can erupt at an unwanted rate within your pond, affecting its overall appearance and health. Mosquitoes are also drawn to still water, as they use it for breeding purposes. To prevent such takeovers from happening, it is important to equip your pond with aeration systems, like fountains (also for decorative purposes), or a kit of pumps and diffusers.

Balance Fish and Vegetation

Fish can contribute to your garden pond's ecosystem by feeding off of insects, weeds, algae, and other plant debris. If mixing species, be mindful of each fish's natural instincts and tendencies, as well as their full-grown adult sizes to prevent overcrowding. For pond vegetation, allow for partial shading of the water; too much shading, and the water could suffer from oxygen deficiencies, impacting the overall health of your pond.

Mind the Clarity

Be sure to keep your water filter cleaned to maintain a clear, attractive water quality in your pond. If you have just recently dug and installed your pond, the murky water can be a direct result of unsettled soil and matter. If, however, the muddy water problem persists, you can reach out to a professional aquatic management service for treatments that can bind loose particles for removal, resulting in better, cleaner water.

With these points in mind, you can rest assured your pond will thrive in every season. You may find that it is easy to keep your pond visually pleasing when both the flora and fauna are happily coexisting.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

5 Reasons to Get a Motorbike

Have you ever had a motorbike? Most people either love them, and would love to own their own, or are a little scared of them and would much rather be sat in a car. Unfortunately, even in the group of people that love them, many have never taken the plunge to swap their sensible car for a bike. 

Often, this is out of worries for their safety. But, while there are risks involved in riding a bike, there is always a motorcycle accident lawyer, and if we’re being honest, there’s a risk whenever you are on the road, whatever kind of vehicle you are in, and, most things in life come with their own associated risks, especially the things that we love. So, if you have always been tempted by a bike, and even if you’ve never considered it before, here are five reasons you should get a motorbike. 

Image Source
There’s Nothing Cooler

There’s no denying it; bikes are cool. Certainly much cooler than a boring family car. Imagine yourself set on a gorgeous bike wearing leathers. Don’t you look great? Owning a motorcycle can make you feel good about yourself, and be a massive confidence boost, just because it’s cool. Isn’t that reason enough?

Freedom

Motorbikes give you freedom in a way that a car never can. When you’ve got a bike, you can just hop on and go for a drive. You’ll feel as though you can go anywhere, at any time and your trips will be as much about the journey as they are about the destination. You’ll take this freedom and attitude into other areas of your life, and you might find that buying a bike makes you a happier, more laid back person. 

To Be Part of a Community

There’s a massive biking community out there ready for you to be a part of. Some bikers chose to join clubs and groups. They ride together, go to shows together and build firm friendships. They might even have matching jackets and colors. But, even if you don’t want to take things this far, you will be a part of the wider biker community. When you see someone else with a bike, you’ll stop for a chat. You’ll say hi to people, and you’ll bond with people you’d never otherwise speak to about your shared interest. 

You’ll Be More Relaxed

Image Source
The sense of freedom that a bike brings you will help you to be more relaxed, but so will the bike itself. When you are on a bike, there’s nothing between you and the open air. You are close to nature, you get plenty of fresh air, and you feel as though you are a part of the environment around you. Going for a ride after a long day can be unbelievably relaxing, and it might have a positive effect on your mental health

You’ll Enjoy Your Commute

Most people hate their commute to work or school. It’s time sat in traffic that could be better spent doing something productive. It’s a waste, and it usually means that you arrive at work or home stressed out and annoyed. Get a bike, and you’ll start to enjoy your commute, which might mean that you are able to work more productively. 

Pimp Your Ride In 3 Easy Steps

Image
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a boring old generic hatchback or a conservative SUV out the front on your driveway, the chances are you want a bit more va-va-voom for your motor. While the metallic paint isn’t looking too shabby and your set of wheels is highly economical on fuel, it might be a tad boring to look at. Cars nowadays tend to follow a strict formula when it comes to aesthetics. It is up to the car owner to add a bit more spice by customizing their vehicle. Take a look at these three simple ways that can see you pimping your ride.

Change The Color

Forget the jet black, gunmetal gray or bright red that your car came in direct from the factory, and instead opt for something a little more daring. Ever fancied lime green, shocking pink or canary yellow. If bright and bold is what you’re after then these colors will surely turn heads. Alternatively, it might be a finish that you’re looking for. The matt finishes to many customized cars look sleek and unique.

When painting your car, you are probably best taking it to a specialist who knows what they’re doing. You don’t want to make a costly mistake. However, if you are going to give it a go at home, make sure you use a primer first, you have done your research, and you have all of your kit. You might be tempted to go for graphics like racing stripes or flames. Just make sure this isn’t a fad, and that you consider how to future proof your car.

Upgrade The Fittings

Take a look at your car and decide how to upgrade the details that often get overlooked. You might want to get hold of a new BMW hood emblem for your sporty little number, or perhaps you want a set of customized alloys to set your wheel trims off a treat. Look at the interior and think about reupholstering your seats with some personalized fabric and think about swapping the steering wheel, upgrading the mats and altering the walnut trim on your dashboard. While the possibilities are endless, so is the amount of money that you could spend. Make sure that you budget wisely and don’t spend more than your car is worth.

Be Safe

While tinted windows are great, blacked out windows are illegal. Consider the safety of other road users, the law, and your own image when pimping your ride. You don’t want to end up driving one of those noisy exhaust modified cars, only for people to look at you when they hear you driving down the road with a negative perception of you in the head. Modify your car sensibly. Yes, you might want a better sound system, but a booming bass isn’t pleasant for your neighbors when you are arriving home late at night. Be considerate and pimp your ride in a sensible way.

Having the money to spend on your motor is a luxury, so don’t squander it. Make sure that you alter the appearance of your car without putting your safety and the integrity of the car at risk. Follow this guide and you will soon have the ultimate pimped up motor on your driveway.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Keep Wiggly Kids Quiet in Class

Image source
Students who struggle to sit still can cause disruption in the classroom, particularly if their desk chair is a little wobbly and clanks against the floor with every wiggle and squirm. A teacher constantly saying "Stop that! Sit still! Be quiet" can be disruptive to classroom peace and calm as well—and if the movement-seeking student has ADHD or sensory processing disorder, all those verbal warnings will be ineffective and stressful. In fact, these students may need to move to stay alert, and surely no one wants them to focus all their attention on maintaining motionlessness.

Seeking Silence

So how can you balance a teacher's need for quiet and a student's need to move? Target the noise, not the movement. A scraping desk chair can be silenced with tennis ball chair leg covers. They can cover desk legs as well to mask the sounds of moving. Suddenly, motion isn't a commotion. Other silencing strategies include an area rug under a desk or folded-up paper under a too-short chair or desk leg.

Supplying Support

An easy way to minimize movement is to give a student's feet something to push against. Try a large heavy item as a makeshift footrest, such as a cinder block, concrete block, heavy textbook, or shoebox filled with rocks. You may need to add some nonstick material to the bottom to make sure the student can't slide it around noisily. Pressing feet against an immovable object may provide sufficient stimulation that the student won't feel the need to wiggle so much.
Students with disabilities are entitled to accommodations like these to make education accessible to them. Once an effective technique is found, parents should make sure it goes into the student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) so that future teachers will know how to handle the movement efficiently and compassionately.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Best Way to Care for Your Sick Dog

Image source
It can feel awful whenever your puppy is sick. You love your pet a lot, so it can feel like the world is against you when they are whining. One big way to prevent sickness in animals is getting them vaccinated. If you have not done so, you can visit Vet Products Direct for dog vaccinations or information about it. Of course, talking to a vet can yield better information.

However, when your dog is sick, you can make a big difference by giving them love and comfort, taking them to see the vet, and giving them medicine.

Make Sure They Are Comfortable

Sometimes, there is not much you can do besides this. For small illnesses or chronic ones, making them comfortable can be the best option. This can include buying a soft bed and blanket for them or letting them sit on your sofa or bed with you. For small dogs, a large pillow may be all they need. Giving them plenty of water and soft, chewable food like unseasoned chicken and rice can help their recovery.

Go to a Vet Clinic

We go to the doctor when we are sick. So, it only makes sense to take your dog to the vet when they are sick. Your vet should have all their records up to date, including vaccines, so they can better determine what care your dog needs. It is a good practice to listen to their advice and purchase the medicine they recommend. For most cases, they will have notes for you to take home to assist in administering the medicine. Following-up may occur as well.

If you are not sure where a nearby vet clinic is, you can use this site here to locate one. It is a good idea to at least have the location written down in case of emergencies.

Give Them Medicine

Whether it is a tablet or ear drops, the medicine you buy can give your pet the fighting chance they deserve to recover. With any administration of medicine, it may be helpful to have someone else help with holding the dog. Unfortunately, they do not understand that we are trying to help them and can struggle during the process. You do not want the medicine to be given improperly or wasted.
For ear medicine, you should swab the area first with a cotton ball before emptying the medicine into their ear canal. For eye drops, apply the same way you would to yourself. For edible medicine like tablets, a lot come in chewable form, but you may need to place it further down the dog’s throat for it to be consumed. In any case, make sure to reward your dog afterward so they do not feel like the medicine was a punishment.
Even if you are not practiced, there are instructional videos online that can teach you how to properly care for your sick dog. Some great advice can come from your vet, especially if your dog has a file at that clinic. Make sure to ask questions if you feel confused or need more elaboration. They should be more than happy to help. Remember, when your dog is sick, they just need a little extra love to feel all better.