Want Financial Freedom? Fix These Six Spending Mistakes First*

My Secret Plan to Rule the World Book

*This is a collaborative post*

Money is a hard topic to talk about, isn't it? You don't want to think about what you don't have, but equally, you can’t talk about what you do have because what you do have is so stretched! Finances are funny things: you earn your paycheck, pay your bills, and beg, borrow and scrimp until payday again. It's not the way anyone wants to live.

When the debts are piling up, and you’re craving financial freedom, you’re in an excellent position to start evaluating which spending mistakes you’re making the most. With the errors listed below, you can learn what you’re doing wrong and begin to repair the mistakes.

First Mistake: Living Beyond Your Means

The most significant cause of people’s financial pain is earning $1,000 but living in a way that makes them spend $2,000. It’s not okay - all it does is trap you in a borrowing cycle you’ll never leave. You can get some excellent loan rates from direct lenders, where you can pay off all your debts in one go and only pay one repayment each year. There are plenty of ways to edit your budget and stop living beyond your means, and all it takes is understanding where you’re spending and where you should be spending instead.

Second Mistake: Paying Less Than Your Card Balances

Every single month, you are missing the full repayment level of your credit card. When this happens, the interest builds up and takes you further and further away from paying off your debts. Start paying as much as you can on the cards each month so that you can lower the balance rather than build it up with more interest on top!

Third Mistake: Burying Your Head In The Sand

You cannot set yourself any kind of financial goal without knowing your own financial situation first. You have to stop burying your head in the sand and instead start looking at your in-comings and outgoings. This will give you a clear picture of what your finances are doing.

Fourth Mistake: Adding More Debt

You want financial freedom, so you have to stop borrowing further. The only borrowing you should be doing now is to consolidate your current debts. Once you pay off your cards, cut them up one by one.

Fifth Mistake: Spending Everything

Living paycheck to paycheck, as we mentioned earlier, is not fun. It would help if you stop overspending. Make sure you’re saving for your emergency fund and putting money aside for the car when it breaks down. Once you do this, you can ensure that you always have a spare to last until the next payday. It would help if you weren't getting halfway through the month and finding yourself out of cash.

Sixth Mistake: You Don't Save For Retirement

If you currently don’t have plans for retirement, it’s time to make them. You want to ensure that you’re saving for your future. Life is short enough, and the last thing that you want is to get to the part of your life you’re supposed to enjoy with no money to do it!

*Contributed by Sam Jones. *Photo Image Source

Four Things To Add To Your Garden This Year*

*This is a collaborative post*

Your garden space might be something currently that doesn’t get much of a look in. However, it’s important that you spend time on this outdoor space as it’s an area that you can make full use of when the sun is shining, and you want to get some fresh air in your lungs. Here are four things to add to your garden this year.

Durable Plants And Shrubs
During the year, even if you’re not someone who loves planting flowers or shrubs, it’s nice to have them in your garden so that they look nice when you have the opportunity to be amongst it. So look for the plants and shrubs that are going to be durable all year round. Start off by looking at thuja occidentalis and anything that you might find is recommended for being able to last through even the harshest of weather conditions. There’s also certain protective equipment that you can put over certain plants that are perhaps vulnerable to heavy rain or snow. Even though they’re durable, you’ll still need to give them some attention every now and again. If something dies, though, the main thing is to replace it as soon as possible so your garden can continue to look nice.

Decking To Add Levels
Decking is something that adds a more luxurious feature to your garden area, but it’s also great for adding levels to your outdoor space. Usually, it’s just a flattened surface, so to add texture and levels is important to keep it interesting. Make sure that when you are building your decking, you are using the right materials to make sure it doesn’t warp or damage easily. It should be something relatively easy to maintain but not only that, it’s good to check where you position it is somewhere that has perfect conditions for you to sit outside. That could be directly in the sun, in the shade or half and half.

A Water Feature To Make It Interesting
A water feature can help add sound to your garden but also encourages a whole host of wildlife to come into your space. From ponds to simple water fountains, it’s completely up to you what you decide to incorporate, but that might bring fish, birds and even squirrels to your garden. And it’s nice to have a bit of activity in your outdoor space throughout the year. It certainly makes it more interesting to look at and be in.

New Outdoor Furniture For Socialising
Being able to sit outside in your garden to socialise is wonderful at any time during the year, but if you haven’t got furniture, then that’s not possible. Invest in some new outdoor furniture and make sure it’s something that’s durable or can be packed away pretty easily. It’s great to have somewhere outdoors to host a dinner party or BBQ.

Adding to your garden area is as important as it is when it comes to your home interior. Use these tips to make your outdoor space more interesting.

*Contributed by Sam Jones. *Photo Image Source

Assisting A Loved One With Their Last Wishes*

*This is a collaborative post*

When a loved one is nearing their end, it is likely that their thoughts will go to how they say goodbye and what they leave behind to those that they love. You may be able to play a significant role in ensuring that their wishes are fulfilled. Make sure that you’re ready to take that responsibility and, if you are, think about some of the following ways you could help.

Make sure their assets are being dealt with correctly
Does your loved one have a will or any assets that they would like to make sure are left behind to the right people? If so, having them double-check, update, or write their will for the first time and making sure that all their preparations are in place can take some of the concerns they might have about their family off their mind. Finding a probate solicitor to help them execute their final wishes might be the least contentious way of handling this sensitive matter.

Talk to them about how they would like to say goodbye
Broaching the subject of any ceremony following the death of a loved one can be a sensitive subject. Asking them about the details of what kind of floral arrangements they would like and any songs or other requests they have can be difficult. However, arranging funerals in advance can make them much easier to pay for and get organized in a timely and orderly fashion. If your loved one is ready to have that discussion, it might be time.

Saying goodbye to their loved ones 
The grieving process can start at any point, even before the death of a loved one. There may be several people in their life they want to say goodbye to. Helping them find and open a dialogue with these people can be of great relief to them. Finding old friends and family members is easier than ever thanks to the internet, so ask them if there is anyone they want to say a few final words to when they start saying goodbye to loved ones.

Be sure to take time to yourself
You might feel like helping your loved one fulfill their final wishes is the most important thing in the world to you, right now, and you are valid in your thoughts. However, it’s important to take the time to process your own emotions and grief, too. Dealing with the administrative and ceremonial side of loss can make it all very real, which means that you can be dealing with the steps of grief well in advance. Make sure you have your own support group and don’t feel bad about having to take a day or two to yourself now and then.

Don’t take on more than you have to, if possible. If you can enlist help to fulfill a loved one’s wishes, you should do it. The process can be both physically and emotionally exhausting, and it’s important to practice self-care when dealing with grief of any kind.

*Contributed by Sam Jones. *Photo source Link - Pixabay License

4 Simple Financial Mistakes You're Guilty Of Making*

*This is a collaborative post*

I'm not one to accuse anyone of anything, but I’m reasonably sure that everyone reading this has made - or is making - some of these financial mistakes. Don’t be ashamed, it’s good to own up to our failures and learn from them. By understanding what you’re doing wrong, you can make changes to your life and become more financially stable!

Not investing any money

Everyone should invest. 

As soon as you get your first job, you should invest your money in something. You don’t have to get a broker to do this, there are apps like Moneybox that help you invest with ease. Here, you can invest the spare change you have without needing to do anything. Investing is essential for good financial health as it means you’ve got money stored away that can grow in value. It’s like having a turbocharged savings account!

Not sticking to a weekly budget

For me, lots of people struggle to save money because they spend too much. This usually boils down to the fact that you don’t set or stick to a weekly budget. With a budget, you restrict your spending each week. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to still buy everything you need, but without going overboard. 

Obviously, budgeting apps are available to help you do this. One pro tip is to figure out your budget then withdraw cash. Then, you only use that cash to pay for things. It’s a brilliant way to curb your spending and stay on track. 

Buying everything brand new

Do you need brand new items? In a lot of cases, you can make do with something that’s already been used by someone else. If you’re buying a car, then why would you buy a new one? There are loads of used car companies like Newtons of Ashley where you can get perfectly good used cars for way cheaper than new ones. It’s the same for other things as well. I knew someone who got an iPhone X on Gumtree for around £300. The screen was slightly damaged, but they paid to get it fixed and still saved a fortune. 

Essentially, you shouldn’t automatically buy brand new things if used ones are available. As long as they’re still in decent shape, it makes more sense to buy the used item. You’ll save loads of money, and this is an easy piece of advice to follow. 

Going for branded products all the time

Similarly, you shouldn’t go for branded products all the time. I appreciate that some foods or clothing items are of better quality when they’re branded. But, a lot of the stuff just isn’t worth the money. If you swapped them out for non-branded items, you will save loads of money and still have a good thing in your hands. 

Most of the time, you’re paying for a logo or a brand image when you buy things from established brands - particularly in the fashion industry. 

How many of these mistakes are you guilty of making? If you’re worried about your finances, then you can start fixing things by avoiding all of these mistakes. As a result, you’ll feel more financially secure as you’re spending less and saving more.

*Photo sources: Header image - Pexels - CC0 Licence Second image - Pixabay - CC0 Licence

How to Maximise the Lifespan of Your Car*


*This is a collaborative post*

By making your current car last longer without breaking down and requiring a replacement, you’ll be able to maximise its life span and save a substantial sum of money. Everyone wants their car to last as long as it can for them, especially when they’ve paid a pretty high price for it to begin with. But there are positive steps you can take no matter how much you paid for your car; find out about them below.

Change Your Driving Style

First of all, you might want to think about changing your driving style. If you drive smoothly, your car will last longer. If you’re someone with a harsh or rough driving style, it will eventually start to take its toll on the car, causing all kinds of wear and tear that’ll ultimately reduce the overall lifespan of the vehicle. By making your driving smoothly, you’ll avoid that eventuality.

Find a Way to Provide Shelter or Cover for Your Car

Parking your car somewhere that’s sheltered and covered will help you to keep it in better condition for longer. There’ll be less environmental damage, wear and tear if it’s not exposed to the elements all the time. If you don’t have a garage, you could consider a carport. If that’s not possible either, you can use a car cover instead.

Get it Serviced Regularly

It’s essential that you stick to your car’s servicing schedule if you want to keep it in good condition for as long as possible. Car Servicing helps to correct any minor problems and ensures everything is ticking over and operating as it should. If you skip services, problems with your car could go unnoticed and that’ll cause further problems down the line.

Check Your Tyres

You should always be keeping an eye on your car’s tyres. Not only is important to ensure that your tyres have the right pressure and that the tread is in good shape so that you can drive safely, but it’s also important because these problems can also impact other parts of your vehicle if they’re not corrected. So, make sure you check them regularly.

Keep Fluids Topped Up

You should also take steps to ensure the fluids your vehicle needs and relies on are properly topped up. The oil and other fluids will hugely impact the performance of your engine, so it’s not something you can afford to ignore. You don’t want engine problems to end up reducing the lifespan of your vehicle in the future.

Maximising the lifespan of your car will save you money in the long-term, and that’s what everyone wants. No one can afford to throw money away on new cars too often or to be paying for expensive repairs all the time. That’s why it makes so much sense to look after your car better in the ways discussed above.

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