5 Tips for a Wedding on a Budget

Last summer, it was reported that UK wedding costs had reached an all-time high, with the average rising to just over £30000. If you are engaged or thinking about getting married soon, numbers like that might fill you with dread. The engagement ring is one thing, but the idea of spending that much on one day might seem a little much.

While it would be lovely to spend that kind of money and have whatever we want, the reality for most of us is that if we wanted to splash the cash in such an extortionate way the only option would be to get into massive amounts of debt, which isn’t always a great way to start married life. Or even an option for all of us.

But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a beautiful wedding on a much smaller budget. Many people manage to do it on less than £5000, without spending more than they can afford, or regretting their choices. Here are some great tips to help you to get married on a budget.

wedding on a budget

Prioritise

If you’ve always wanted a band, look here, to find one. If the honeymoon means more than the wedding, go for it. If you want a big meal, or something a little different food wise, have it. Just make cuts elsewhere. Break your budget down into sections, assigning money to every part of your wedding. Spend less on the things that aren’t important to you, and more on your priorities.

Don’t Be A Slave to Tradition

You don’t have to have flowers, just because it’s the tradition. You don’t have to have wedding cars or fancy invites. You certainly don’t need save the date cards or centrepieces. Don’t feel like you have to have everything that everyone else does. If these things are important to you, that’s fine. If they’re not, they are great places to save money.

Get Married on a Monday in November

Venues, entertainers, caterers and even hairdressers could charge you more on Saturdays in the summer. Weddings in the winter and mid-week are often much cheaper than summer weekend weddings.

It’s also worth skipping the word “wedding” when you speak to suppliers. This little word could inflate costs massively. Just tell them that you are planning a party if possible.

It’s Who You Know

You probably know loads of people that could help. It’s time to call in favours or to ask people for help, instead of wedding presents. Ask yourself if you know anyone that could bake a cake, or DJ your reception. Are there any photographers on your friends’ list that could give you a discount?

wedding on a budget

Keep Your Number Small

When it comes to a wedding, people cost money. Every person that you invite costs you money in food, invitations, favours, and drinks. A wedding with 100 guests is much more costly than one with 50.

When it comes to your guest list, don’t fall into the “If I invite her, I have to invite him” trap. You don’t have to invite anyone. It’s your wedding. Instead, ask yourself if you’d buy them a meal usually, if not, do you really need them at your wedding?

13 Things To Consider Before Bringing A New Pet Into Your Home

what to consider when bringing pets into the home

Although it may not seem like it, bringing a new pet into your home is an incredibly big decision to make. There are lots of different things you need to consider before you bring your pet home as you need to ensure it’s going to be in the best possible environment it can be. If you’ve never had pets before, it can be hard to know what sort of environment this is.

Whether you’re going to be getting a dog, cat or even a hamster, here are 13 things you need to consider before you welcome them into your home:

  • Why Do You Want A Pet?

The first thing you need to think about is why do you want a pet? There are lots of different reasons for bringing a pet into your home, but if it is something you don’t think you’re going to be able to commit to looking after for as many as 20-25 years, then maybe it isn’t the best decision for you.

You may want to consider taking part in programmes like Borrow My Doggy to test the waters. You’ll be able to get a good idea as to whether or not it’s something you can fit into your current lifestyle, without having to bring a pet into your home permanently.

  • Can You Afford To Get A Pet?

Another important thing you need to consider before bringing a pet into your home is whether or not you can afford to give them the life they need. Having a pet can be expensive when you consider all of the food, toys, insurance and medical bills you will need to pay for. Try researching the average monthly cost for the pet you want, then see whether or not it will fit into your budget.

  • Will Your Landlord Allow It?

If you’re renting a home you may find that your tenancy agreement states you’re not allowed to have pets, so it’s important to check this before you bring a pet into your home.

You could also ask your landlord or estate agents personally. You may find that you’re able to pay an additional deposit as insurance for any pets causing damage to their home.

  • Will They Fit Into Your Lifestyle?

Depending on what kind of pet you want, you need to consider whether or not they will fit into your current lifestyle.

If you’re looking to bring a dog or cat in your home you will find that they’ll need much more attention than most other pets. This means that if you have a busy lifestyle where you don’t spend much time at home, then it may not be the be best pet for you and your family. If you’re looking for a pet that will fit into a busy lifestyle, you may be better suited to a rabbit or hamster.

  • What Pet Will You Be Getting?

It goes without saying that one of the most important things you need to consider is what kind of pet you’ll be getting. Make sure everyone in your family has a say in the decision, taking everyone’s opinion into account. Most of the time you’ll find you’re all on the same page, but when you’re making such a big decision it’s important everyone has a say – including your kids!

For a guide on deciding what pet to get, you can visit this handy guide here.

  • What Breed Do You Want?

If you’d like a dog, then it’s time to decide on a breed. This may be a simple decision but if you’re unsure it’s definitely worth doing your research as different breeds have very different temperaments.

  • Where Will You Be Getting Them From?

There are a lot of different places to get pets from including a pet store, a local home or from a rescue centre. Depending on where you choose to go there may well be different procedures to follow, so it’s important you do your research beforehand.

If you’re thinking of rescuing a cat or dog, make sure you’re preparing your home for a pet that may be a little bit more timid and scared based on their previous living conditions. Whilst this is an incredible way to help an animal in need, you need to ensure you’re offering them a living situation they feel safe and comfortable in. For more information on rescuing a pet, you can visit this site.  

  • How Will You Introduce Them Into Your Home?

Once you have decided what pet you’re getting and where you’re getting them from, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to start introducing them to your home. There are lots of tried and tested methods to ensuring your new pet doesn’t feel too overwhelmed, and that they settle in within the first few days.

Whilst it will definitely be a stressful experience for them moving into their new home, doing everything you can to make them feel comfortable will certainly make the entire process go quicker.

things to consider when bringing pets into the home

  • What Changes Do You Need To Make In Your Home Before They Arrive?

If you need to make any changes to your home to help accommodate your new addition, it’s better to do them before they arrive. This could involve tidying away any cables, covering up and small holes and ensuring the doors are secure – basically anything that will keep them safe and out of harm’s way.

  • What Essentials Do You Need To Buy Before They Arrive?

There are lots of different things you need to purchase for your new pet before they arrive including a new bed, a stockpile of food and lots and lots of things to make them feel at home. Making sure you have the essentials (especially a bed) in place when they first arrive will help them get used to them straight away.

  • What Toys Will You Be Purchasing For Them?

If you want your new pet to feel comfortable from the moment they arrive, make sure you have lots of toys for them to play with. You’re better off buying a selection of different things, to begin with, letting them choose which their favourites are themselves. For example, dogs may want a mixture of rope toys to pull on, balls to throw about and chews – like this fun deer antler chew – to help them teethe.

  • Are You Well Stocked Up On Pet Food?

Making sure you’re well stocked with pet food will ensure you’re pet is getting everything they need. It may be hard to find a brand and taste they like at first so getting a couple of different varieties may be a good idea. Once you’ve discovered which one they like best you can purchase that brand moving forward.

It may also be worth stocking up on lots of different treats to help house-train them. They’re great for positive reinforcement and letting them know they’ve done a good job!

  • Have You Booked In Their First Vaccinations?

Most pets will need vaccinations to help ensure they’re fighting away illnesses, especially if you’re bringing them into your home at a young age. As soon as your new pet arrives make sure you book them in for an initial checkup, arranging any vaccinations they may need. For cats and dogs, it’s also important you’re protecting them against fleas and worms – something every veterinary surgery will offer.

Reasons Why You Should Start Saving Now To Better Your Family’s Future

saving for familys future
Working towards the future, there are all kinds of goals we might have in mind for our family. Invariably, many of these goals will be centered around our finances, because if we don’t have the money in our bank accounts, we might inhibit our future and our family’s future later on.

By setting saving goals early on, you can work towards bettering your family’s future today, for the benefit all of you.

#1: Saving for those nice-to-have things your family wants

You don’t need money to have a good time with your family, but let’s admit it, a bit of cash in our pockets certainly helps. Set goals for something specific then, such as those bucket list travel destinations you have in mind, or on home improvements, such as a games room for you and the kids, and you will all benefit. Memories will be created, fun will be had, and you will create bonding moments that will strengthen your relationships.

#2: Save your money for those important life events that may affect your family

Your daughter’s wedding? Your children’s college fees? Moving your family to a new home? Some of these saving goals may not be set in stone at the moment, but they might be one day. The sooner you start saving your money, the more you will have to support yourself and your children when these life events start becoming a reality.

#3: Save money to support yourself after your retirement

You don’t want to be financially dependent on your children when you are older, so you really do need to consider your retirement, no matter how far away it might be. By doing so, you won’t have to carry on working, you will be able to enjoy your retirement, and if you need extra care as you get older, you will be able to afford care homes such as Porthaven instead of landing yourself on your children’s doorstep.

#4: Save money to pay off your debts

If you are forever burdened by debt, you might not have the means to buy those nice-to-have things for your family, or for those important life events that may happen en route. You won’t have the means to put a lot of money into your retirement fund either, and that will limit your lifestyle later on. Debt can inhibit you in lots of different ways, so to ensure you aren’t beholden to them forever, start to put extra money into your savings to clear your debts, and use the debt advice here to climb out of the debt pit sooner.

#5: Save money for those emergency situations

Ideally, you should have two saving accounts: one account for your expected saving goals, and another for those life events that are unexpected. Your car might break down, for example, or you might lose your job. These events can eat into your regular savings, and that can scupper your family’s short and long-term future. Therefore, set up an emergency fund for those ‘just in case’ moments, and despite the personal setbacks, you might be able to soften the financial blow.

So, have you set up a savings account yet? We hope we have given you sufficient incentive here for you to do so. Shop around your local banks if you haven’t already done so, consider the advice here, and then start putting money away. Your family’s future depends on it!

The Surprising Issues That Can Cost A Marriage

It seems that it’s more common these days for marriages to end in a divorce than couples sticking it out until they are older. Many grandparents and older generations have marriages spanning years. But today it seems it’s easier to walk away than work on the commitment you made.

There are a lot of causes of divorce, but perhaps you may find that you are reaching for the family law solicitors numbers too quickly. Some marriages can be resolved with good old-fashioned communication. Here are some of the surprising issues that cause a marriage to end and a few tips to avoid it if you find yourself in that situation.

marriage breakdown divorce

Young age

It may seem obvious, but people who marry in their late teens are more likely to have a marriage end in divorce than someone in their 20’s or older. By about age 22 the percentage rate falls significantly. It would appear that the level of maturity has a lot to do with these marriages ending sooner than intended. Other than delaying marriage there isn’t much that can be done to avoid a young marriage ending in divorce. Of course, there are couples out there who have beaten the odds and are still going strong. If you married young and are thinking about calling time on your married life just take a moment to go back to that age you were when you made the commitment. What was it that made you do it in the first place? Try and remember what you loved about each other.

Insecurity

Having either one or both of you insecure in a relationship isn’t particularly healthy. It’s quite surprising that feeling insecure would be a reason a marriage would end. This may have a lot to do with a couple not communicating how they are feeling. Health issues could also have an effect causing depression and anxiety towards your marriage. Communication is key to resolving issues of insecurity. A lot of the time your partner may just need reassurance. It is advisable not to get frustrated in the situation but to be there to offer support.

A change of circumstance

If all of a sudden you are struggling financially or if circumstances have changed, then these factors can have a strain on marriage. One of the main marital vows is “through better or worse” meaning you should be able to stick it out whatever the circumstance. Sadly, some people can’t cope with the strain a financial situation can put on a marriage. Communication is another way to resolve the issues. Loss of jobs or being to blame for a change of circumstance can make you feel inferior. But a marriage means you are part of a team, and that’s exactly how you will get through the tough time.

As much as these issues are surprising reasons a marriage may end, with a bit of time, effort and communication they could be resolved. I hope this inspires you to work on your differences.

How To Keep Insurance Premiums Low

How To Keep Insurance Premiums Low

There is often the misconception that all insurance policies are extremely expensive. Many people do not even consider the possibility of taking out the likes of life insurance and health insurance, as they simply assume they will not be able to afford it. However, this is certainly not the case.

Generally speaking, there are some sorts of policies that are more expensive than others, for example, international health insurance is more expensive than local insurance. Nonetheless, this is because you gain from more cover and a greater degree of benefits. It is all about value. Yet, this doesn’t mean you have to break the bank in order to take out this type of policy. Discover various ways you can keep your premiums low, no matter the policy you are taking out…

Pay On A Yearly Basis – If you can afford to pay annually rather than monthly you will be able to make savings. There are a lot of insurance providers that offer substantial discounts for anyone that makes yearly payments.

Consider Increasing Your Excess – Excess is the amount of money you need to pay before your insurer will cover you. If you increase your excess you will benefit from lower monthly payments. Needless to say, this does not mean you should increase your excess to an unmanageable amount. You do not want to find yourself in a situation where you need health care or a vehicle repair yet cannot afford to pay the amount required of you.

Low Cover – When choosing a policy, you will have the option of basic, intermediate or comprehensive cover. You need to think about the level of cover you truly need. Do you really need a comprehensive cover? Yes, for vehicles, you probably do, but for health policies, you may not. It is also worth noting that young driver insurance without black box can be a bit more expensive, but a lot of people prefer this because they don’t want all of their driving to be tracked. You really need to figure out what is important for you and compare quotes based on this, but don’t pay for unnecessary extras.

A Group Scheme – Group schemes present excellent saving opportunities. Consider joining a group scheme or you could even create a new group policy yourself. All of the members of the group scheme will reduce the amount of money they pay on their insurance and so it should not be too difficult to generate interest.

So there you have it – four key points to take into account if you want to keep your premium costs low. You could also think about switching your insurance provider when the renewal period arises.

So, you’re the baby shower host.. now what?

How lovely (and, maybe a little bit daunting); you’ve been entrusted with the task of hosting a beautiful baby shower for a beloved mum-to-be. You might be feeling a little overwhelmed if you’ve just started the planning process but don’t worry, it’s time to get the troops on board, then you’ll be able to plan something really lovely together. The following are some tips, ideas, and advice for those who want the baby shower they’re hosting to go seamlessly, and be as enjoyable as possible (without inducing labour in the guest of honour!)

baby shower

Presents And Gifting

Ask and see if the expectant mother wants or needs anything specific for her new baby. Try and put together a gift list to send around to the guests; this will enable each person to tick something off the list, and they’ll be no doubling up on presents. If you are part of a close friendship or family group, you could put your money together to create a hamper full of essentials, or the main gift that perhaps the new parents have been unable to afford. Don’t go buying any designer cots or prams, without asking the mum or dad-to-be what they already have. Personalised items are another way to give the new mama something special that she and her child can appreciate forever; embroidered blankets, or art for the nursery, will make a functional gift, and be a sentimental surprise. Just try to remember that the thought put into it is the most important thing.

Send Out Those Invites

Sort out a time and a venue as soon as possible, and make sure it’s around a month or six weeks before the baby is due to arrive (leaving it too close to the due date is a risky move). The best time for a shower is around lunchtime or early afternoon; this will ensure the guest of honour won’t be too tired, and it’s the perfect time to enjoy any food, drink, and nibbles. If you’re planning a surprise for the future mama, then make sure you state that on your invitations; you don’t want anyone to let the exciting news slip. There are loads of invitation design ideas online, so it’s worth taking a look for a bit of inspiration.

Food, Nibbles, And Treats

The sweet treats at the shower can easily reflect the colour palette and theme of the event; coloured icing, sprinkles and cake toppers are all excellent ways to incorporate your chosen shades. A buffet style offering is a relaxed and informal way to feed the guests and gives everybody the chance to bring a dish to the party. By involving the guests in providing the food, you’ll save yourself precious time and money.

baby shower cakes

Any time and effort that you put into hosting a baby shower will be appreciated by the expectant mother for the years ahead. You’ll be helping her to make lasting, lovely memories, and getting everyone excited for the new arrival.

Ways To Make Your Life As Mummy, Easier

Whether you’re a Mum to five children, or you’ve just got the one special little bundle of joy, one thing we all have in common is that we’re constantly running around after them. Being a Mum is an exhausting job in itself, and then of course there’s the housework, our jobs, our spouses, and also trying to fit time in for yourself. One thing that all parents are looking for, is how to make their lives easier with little hacks here and there, especially when it comes to cleaning. So take a look at these fabulous ways to make your life as Mummy, easier.

make life easier

Invest in Tougher Products

While it’s understandable that you want to save every spare penny, buying store own brands of cleaning products might not always get the job done. Those hard dried stains on your hob just won’t come off with a simple spray of antibacterial now! Take a look at these highly sought-after products to make your life much easier when cleaning:

  • Elbow grease – and not the hard work kind either. This product is amazing for use on hard surfaces and even fabric! Simply spray, wait a little while, and wipe clean.
  • Zoflora is a disinfectant that comes in a range of incredible smells. It can be used to go over surfaces that wouldn’t otherwise smell nice. With so many uses for Zoflora, and at such a cheap price, you can have your home germ free and smelling amazing in no time!
  • The Pink Stuff is a creamy paste that’s perfect for cutting through grime and grease. Popularly used on oven doors to make them come up completely clean, it can be used pretty much anywhere around the kitchen. Again, simply let it do its job and wipe away with a damp cloth. Job done!

Modify Your Home

Sometimes, the worst job when it comes to cleaning is trying to get stubborn stains out of carpets, so why have them in every room? Consider putting oak laminate flooring by Factory Direct Flooring in the rooms that your children (and you) eat and perform messy play in so that you’re able to simply sweep up, mop, and still have time for that cup of coffee you’ve been craving all day. The same goes for surfaces in your home, try to keep them easy to wipe clean so that you’re not spending hours cleaning up after everybody, and you can enjoy time with them instead.

Consider Alternative Ways of Keeping your Home Clean

Fed up of vacuuming? Yeah, pretty much everyone is these days! However, you can now invest in a robotic vacuum to do all of the work for you! Simply set it to the room(s) you want, and let it do the work for you! All you’ll have to do is empty it from time to time!

Get Everyone Involved

Finally, rather than playing maid to everyone, why not get them all involved? Create chore charts for your children. Teaching your children to take responsibility of chores at a young age will help them later in life, and also give you even more time to sit with your feet up and a mug of hot coffee.

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