Encourage Your Teen In Their School Years*

Image Source Pixabay

*This is a collaborative post*
There are many distinct challenges to having teenagers which you will need to face head on, and the better that you do, the more likely it is that you will be able to provide for them well and help them to live the best adult life that they can. Of course, one of the most important of these challenges is always going to be education. As long as your child is educated as well as possible, much in their life will be easier, so it is hugely important to make sure that this is something that they take seriously and which goes well. In this article, we are going to look at some of the things you might be able to do in order to encourage your teen to get more out of their school years. Any of these will help you to do that more effectively.


A big problem for many teenagers is motivation, and if you find that your teen is lacking in this area then you will want to look into what you can do to improve that. As long as they have enough motivation, they will get more out of their education, and will put a lot more into it as well. But how do you encourage your children to be motivated when they might just not be so at that time in life? It’s actually not too hard overall, although it does take some persistence, which is something that can be very hard to have yourself. 

You can motivate them by talking them through their future goals and plans, as well as ensuring that they are aware of the consequences of a poor educational result. Of course, you shouldn’t suffocate them here, as that can often have the opposite effect. But as long as you get the balance right, motivating them in this way should make a difference.

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

It’s important too for your teenager to appreciate that it is not just the main part of the education itself which matters. It is also the entire realm of opportunities that exist around it, and that is something that will not come at many times in life. You should therefore do whatever you can to also encourage them to engage in as many of these extra-curricular activities as possible. It might be taking trips for sixth form students, engaging in some kind of art or craft which they enjoy, or whatever else. As long as they are keeping their options open, they will both enjoy it more and have more luck with it.

Study Time & Break Time

Something else which is very important is to ensure that your teenager understand how to balance out their time effectively, so that they are going to be able to study enough but not too much. Too much studying means that they might burn out, and that is absolutely not what you want to go for. As long as they find this balance effectively, they are bound to get much more out of their school years.

*Post contributed by Sam Jones*

How To Afford Life's Important Milestones*

Image Source Pexels
*This is a Collaborative Post*

As we go through life, there are some milestones that are unavoidable. Even if we sail through our teenage years and early twenties not wanting to settle down, this perspective on life will often change. All of these milestones are things to be truly proud of. However, there is one major downside. They are often extremely expensive. But that shouldn’t put you off trying to achieve them, though! For the short term needs, there are options such as Guarantorloans.com, but for the big events, there are so many easy ways to drum up the money. Here’s how.

Photo by Colin Watts on Unsplash


There’s no escaping the fact that university is super expensive these days. Yet it remains a rite of passage for many young people. There are loans that you can apply for which will help you out with tuition fees and accommodation costs. However, these can take a long time to pay off after graduation. So try to be prepared and save up for university. Even if you still have to take out loans, saving will help you get together a big lump sum to put towards paying off your debts. If you can get a part-time job through uni, do so as well. This will be a regular source of income, so you don’t have to be too reliant on loans!


Who doesn’t dream of their ideal wedding day? If you want a lavish ceremony, you had better start saving now! There are plenty of ways to save cash while you are planning your big day, though. Look online for engagement and wedding rings as some jewelers offer online deals. If you have a large garden, think about holding your reception in a marquee at home. This will reduce venue costs. Many people also get family members to bake their wedding cakes or do the catering for them. It’s a fantastic way to add a personal touch to your day!


Babies can make a big difference to our lives. They will fill our family with a lot of love, but they can also put an extra strain on your bank balance. Once you know you are expecting, start putting money into a bank account each week. This will set some money to one side for when the baby arrives. If any relatives have just had kids, see if they have any baby clothes that they don’t need anymore. Second-hand clothes will save you a lot of money!

First Home

Housing is getting more expensive as each day goes on. Therefore, it is super important to start saving for a deposit as soon as you can. Even if you don’t have much spare money, every little helps. Don’t just put your money into a regular current account. Look for a high-interest savings account that will pay a lot of interest, helping you to increase your money. There are now also many ISAs and savings accounts aimed at first-time buyers. Pop into your local bank and ask for more information on these useful bank accounts.

If you save money wisely, it will certainly go a very long way!

*Post contributed by Sam Jones*

Costly Money Myths That Could Ruin Your Finances*

Image Source Pexels

*This Is A Collaborative Post*

Managing your money and getting out of debt aren’t always the easiest of tasks. After all, if they were, there would be a lot fewer people struggling to figure out their personal finances. What makes these jobs that much more difficult, however, is paying attention to all of the financial advice you’re given throughout your life. Sayings like “You get what you pay for” certainly seem to make sense, but most of the time, they just don’t apply. This can cause you to make costly mistakes that put your finances at risk. With that in mind, here are ten money myths to ignore.

Two Incomes Are Better

Bringing extra money into the house is rarely a bad thing. However, having both you and your partner working could cost you more than you earn. If you have children and pets or need to travel quite a way away to get to your job, then you might have to spend out more than your salary on childcare and travel. Having two paychecks also makes some couples more careless with the money they have. In these circumstances, sticking with one income makes the most sense.

Good Salary Equals Stability

Making good money, unfortunately, doesn’t mean that you’re financially secure. For some families, even with a large salary, it can be difficult to pay the bills. Plus, it’s always a possibility that you could lose your job or might need to take some time away from it, in which case, you’d be left with little to no income anyway. This means that, even when you’re a high earner, you need a solid financial plan. You should also build an emergency fund and buy insurance cover.

Credit Cards Are Dangerous

Your credit card is not evil. In fact, it’s an incredibly helpful tool, which, when used correctly, is far from dangerous. When you pay on a credit card, it’s like taking out a small loan. But, as long as you pay your card off on time, you won’t face any interest. In fact, you’ll instead see a number of benefits, including a better credit score. Credit cards also offer extended warranties and fraud protection, which, in some cases, makes them a much safer option than paying in cash.

Only The Rich Invest

When most people imagine investing, they think of gold bars, jewellery, stocks, and houses, all of which are far from cheap. However, that doesn’t mean that this practice is for the wealthy alone. There are investments options out there for almost everyone, even those on the lowest of incomes. All that you need to do is find the opportunity that is right for you. For most of these options, you can get started almost right away. Just make sure that you consider the risks.

Wills Benefit The Elderly

Everyone is going to die someday, whether we want to admit it or not. But, not everyone manages to live a long life before they do. You never know what tomorrow might bring, which is why you should always have a will prepared. If you don’t already, there are many wills and probate solicitors out there who can help you. Without this vital document, there are no guarantees that your money and assets will be divided in the way that you wanted them to be.

Renting Property Wastes Money

When you rent a property, you don’t get to keep the home, like you do when you buy it. This has led many to believe that it is a wasteful practice. That being said, while buying definitely has its advantages, it isn’t the best decision for everyone. If you’ve just started a new career, move around a lot, have no solid plans for the future, or are just quite young, then renting might be better for you right now. This gives you flexibility, which you won’t have if you buy a house.

Too Poor To Save

Regardless of your age or circumstances, everyone needs savings. This gives you a cash cushion to fall back on in emergencies or just on rainy days. Unfortunately, many people believe that they can’t save up, as they simply don’t earn enough money each month to allow them to. Rather than give up, you should find ways to free up some cash. You could start working from home, for example, or eliminate unnecessary expenses. You can switch to cheaper plans too.

Always Buy In Bulk

Buying in bulk is an effective way to save money on your shopping. Although you shouldn’t purchase everything you need in large quantities. Perishable items, for example, should usually be bought as and when you need them. The reason for this is that these goods tend to go bad before you get the chance to use them. This means that you’ll waste money rather than save it. Non-perishable items, on the other hand, like canned goods and soaps, can be a steal.

Quality Means Paying More

Although in some cases, you do get what you pay for, this isn’t always true. More often than not, you don’t have to pay through the nose for a quality product or service. A good example of this would be medications. The pills you find in generic packets are the same as those in branded ones. The only difference, other than the price, is the box. Before paying extra for a seemingly better product, consider what the differences between that and the generic kind actually are.

Mother Knows What’s Best

Most of what we learn throughout our lives comes from our parents. From the moment that we’re born, they start to teach us things, from how to talk to how to go to the bathroom. They also give us advice on how to handle our money. However, times have changed significantly since your parents were your age. This means that their wisdom might now be outdated. Rather than taking your parents’ word as gospel, you should do your own research.

Managing your money is definitely tricky, but avoiding the myths above can make the task a little easier.

*Post contributed by Sam Jones*

How to Declutter Your Home the Easy Way*

Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

*This is a collaborative post*

If you feel like your home is fit to burst under the weight of all your stuff, then it may be time to have a clear out and de-clutter. The problem with clutter is that it sneaks up on you very slowly, and before you know you’re tripping over that pile of books in the hallway, and searching for your dressing table stool under a mountain of clothing.

As everyone’s lives are so busy nowadays, it can be hard to find the time to have a good clear out, and you may find it is a chore that never seems to make its way to the top of the to-do list. Here are some ideas to get you started on your mission to ditch the clutter:

One Step At A Time

Often people wait to de-clutter their house until it’s absolutely necessary, such as moving house. However, this can make life much more stressful at a time when you’re already probably going to feel pretty stressed out.

It’s easy to put off de-cluttering when it feels overwhelming, so breaking the process down into small steps is the way to go.

Starting with just clearing out one cupboard rather than a whole room is a great place to start, and won’t leave you feeling completely swamped.

Image Source Pixabay

Little And Often

If the thought of spending a whole day rummaging through your stuff is your idea of a nightmare then simply commit to spending 20 minutes a day sorting through your things.

An effortless way to get started is, to begin with furniture such as cupboards and drawers. Once you’ve gone through these and sorted out what you’re keeping and what you’re getting rid of you should have freed up quite a bit of space. This means that when you go through other areas of the home, the things you decide to keep can be placed in the cupboard space that you have created. This system should have you de-cluttering with minimum effort, and you should see faster results.

Divide it Up

Rather than just emptying a cupboard into one big mountain of stuff, try to separate it into bags and boxes as you go, this will save you time as you won’t need to handle everything twice and will also make the process more manageable.

You could try having a bag of recycling, a bag for the charity shop and a pile of stuff that you want to keep to prevent yourself from getting in a muddle and so that you don’t have tonnes of stuff that was in a cupboard adding to your clutter.

Storage Is Key

Of course, while you’re de-cluttering, you’re bound to come across stuff that you don’t want to get rid of but are unsure where to keep it. In this situation, you may decide to rent some space at a self storage site. That way you know that your stuff is safe and that you can access it whenever you need it, but without it being in the way at home.

Some Tips For Your Dream Winter's Wedding*

 *This is a collaborative post*

For many people, the idea of a magical Winter's wedding is the ultimate, and apart from the obvious potential pitfalls which can befall a Winter wedding, - mostly weather related - there are many upsides to having a wedding at this time of year. With the right preparation you can ensure you have a weatherproof day of celebration and revel in the the excitement of your Big Day.

Save Money On Your Venue

The first advantage of a Winter wedding is that by comparison with Summer weddings, you can actually save a small fortune when it comes to venue fees. Because business is slower for wedding vendors and suchlike during Winter they will be keen for your business. For many people who might be a little strapped for cash, you could also consider getting married on a weekday in order to really save a sizeable chunk of money again particularly when it comes down to venue fees, the differences in the fees are quite extraordinary.

If you would like to have a 'big' wedding and need plenty of guests, a weekday wedding will be unlikely, but for those who picture the smaller more intimate wedding it might be a more feasible and cost-effective option. However if you aren't particular bothered about having a Summer's wedding then you will find the Autumn, Winter and Spring seasons much more affordable than Summer weddings. Also with regards to having a Winter wedding, do not be afraid to shop around, haggle with venues and vendors on pricing, or be politely cheeky and ask for some kind of deal etc.

Again due to business being slower during these months they should be more open to your negotiations. We are spoiled these days with our range of options with regards to venues, and a quick online search will bring up a list of potential candidates. With so many old stately homes, former castles and historic buildings now transformed into the perfect wedding day venue. Botley's Mansion is a great example of this. For those who might like a more modern feel to your wedding, have no fear, that options list is also considerable. Lot's of venues will have their own website, so be sure to check out menu's, photo galleries, potential themes and other details before you get in touch as this will help you to discuss and tailor your plans to your specific design.

Make The Most Of The Photography

With high risk comes high reward, and with regards to booking a Winter's wedding and hoping for the best weather possible: if it is good weather especially, the photographs can be amazing! If you are planning on a wedding with a good backdrop or with beautiful scenery then you can really get some beautiful crisp clear images. And with a bit of luck you might get that dusting of snow, which of course is what everyone who dreams of a Winter's Wedding envisions right!? The opportunity for the most beautiful and dramatic wedding photographs are during Winter. 

Many of your guests will be taking their own photos too so be sure to make use of a wedding photo sharing platform. Wedding photo shop in particular is free to join and allows your guests to upload photos as they take them throughout the day.

Indulge In The Romance

There is something wonderfully romantic about a Winter wedding. As mentioned the opportunities for amazing pictures and moments from a magical snow coated Winter's wedding are second to none and obviously unique only to this season.

Take Your Pick

If you are considering getting married during the Winter months then you will most likely have your pick of venues, officiants for your ceremony and reception as well as bands and or DJs etc. Vendors are more likely to be available also and you will be more likely to get the photographer that you really want, or perhaps that exquisite caterer who did your best friend's wedding last summer.

Dare To Be Different

There is no denying that by holding a wedding in Winter you will be able to make your wedding your own in ways which are not an option during the Summer's months. Of course you can embrace one of many themes depending on your culture and background, from Christmas, to Honika to Winter Wonderland. You can add unique twists and turns of your own which will give your Big Day a truly special and memorable experience. Also another plus, is that you can rest assured that your guests and vendors are going to be happy, fresh and raring to go. This is not always guaranteed during Summer, as the wedding season can burn people out at times. 

*Written by Michael.
 Photos via Pixabay and Pexels.

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