Life Hacks That Will Save You Money

Everybody wants to save more money. Whether you’re saving up for a vacation or want to build up your savings for retirement, saving money is important to everyone. It can seem difficult to save money if you feel like you’ll have to go without things. With these life hacks, you can save money without feeling like you’re going without.

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      1. Speak to a financial advisor. They can help you to look over your finances and help you spot areas where you could better manage your money. Whether you’re overpaying on your mortgage or have debts to handle, they can assist you with sensible solutions to make you better able to save.

      2. Clear your browser history. Shopping online can very tempting when you’re trying to save money. After browsing online, clear your cache and browser history. Online companies use cookies to follow your progress around the internet and will show you the products you’ve looked at in adverts, tempting you to go back and buy.

      3. Turn down the brightness on the screens of your TV and computer. This is not only better for your eye health, but it can also save you a lot of money. Lowering the brightness from the default can really reduce the amount of energy you use, which is much cheaper. The default brightness is meant to make the screens look their best in a store under fluorescent lighting. You don’t need it this bright in the lounge.

      4. Carry large bills. Many people find that paying in cash instead of using cards makes you less likely to overspend. This is because you can see what you’re spending. If you carry large bills, you won’t want to break it, which can save you from making impulse purchases that you don’t actually particularly want.

      5. Build your credit. Whether your credit is good, bad, or middling, you can still do more to build it up. Credit is used to determine your rate on loans and is also used by utility and insurance companies to decide on your monthly premium. A good score could save you a lot of money on the bills.

      6. Make big purchases at the end of the month. Sales representatives, whether they’re selling cars or washing machines, will have a monthly quota to meet. If you need to make a large purchase, try and wait until the end of the month. If the salesperson has had a bad month, they may be open to giving you a generous discount in order to secure a sale and meet their targets.

      7. Paint your roof white. Painting the roof sounds strange but could potentially be a big saving. Roofs are usually a dark shade, but dark colors absorb more heat. In the summer, this means you’ll have to crank up the air conditioning to keep the house cool. With a white roof, this doesn’t happen.

      8. Brew your own coffee. Takeaway coffee can be a pricey treat, especially if you buy it most days. Instead, treat yourself to some quality coffee that you can brew at home. Even with a more expensive brand, it’ll be cheaper than coffee shop drinks. If you do buy takeout coffee, take your own reusable mug. Many shops now offer a discount if you don’t need a disposable cup.
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How To Enjoy A Happy Retirement

Have you ever wondered what your life will look like after retiring? Do the thoughts worry or excite you? Your answer may be dependent on how prepared you are for retirement. Retirement is not something to push back until we start growing old.

Some people end up with either little or no retirement plans at all. In fact, experts have suggested a retirement crisis where most Americans will not be able to live a ‘solid life’ after retiring. So, how do you ensure that you do fall within the retirement crisis group? Hopefully, the following tips will help.

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Save Early
The first thing you need to start doing is to start saving early and often. Look for retirement savings account options, sign up, and start saving as soon as possible. There is no right time to start saving. In fact, some experts have advised that children are taught the habit of saving at a very young age so they can grow up with it. The earlier you begin to save, the greater the value of your savings will be when you finally retire.

Balance Investments
Don’t get it wrong; investments are not the same as savings. Savings take a number of forms such as treasury bills, certificates of, savings accounts, etc. These are usually very safe as well as liquid. As a result, they are always available to us whenever we need them.
Investments, on the other hand, come in the form of assets that are expected to yield returns in the long-term on a yearly basis. Investments come in different forms that include purchasing of stocks, real estate, trading in gold, art collection, etc.

Because retirement funds are for future use, many people choose to use them to acquire investments. Experienced investors opt for diversity in terms of the number of assets to avoid certain losses. Thus balancing investments allows for the selection of certain securities that will ensure that a loss in one investment is canceled by a gain in another.

Maximize Tax Advantage
Currently, there are enough opportunities for diligent Americans to lower their tax liabilities through credits and retirement plans. This is all thanks to the federal tax code. There are even savers’ tax credits available for people who 401 k or IRA contributions. Indeed, there have been several considerations about the possibilities of one person having multiple 401k accounts.

Control Spending
Unnecessary spending is gradually becoming a part of most Americans, as countless companies and advertising agencies encourage consumers to spend on things they do not need. This situation is not helped by the availability of easy credit that is behind the habit of instant gratification. Thus, anyone who is seriously interested in enjoying retirement should seriously consider cutting back on unnecessary spending. That is, do not spend money on things you do not really need.

Stay Healthy
It is better to enjoy your retirement in good health. Age-related health issues are one of the main reasons why most people do not enjoy their retirement. You do not need to wait until it’s too late to start living healthy. Start now. Exercise often, eat healthy, get enough rest, and drink loads of water. Your future depends on it.

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How To Make Your Home Look Gorgeous From The Outside

Curb appeal is usually something the average homeowner only worries about when they’re trying to sell their house. Curb appeal just means making your house look good from the outside. Curb appeal can be used for your house even if you’re not planning on selling it any time soon. You can use some of the classic curb appeal tips for your home to make it look welcoming and beautiful from the outside, to impress visitors, and to make you happy every time you get home and see it waiting for you.

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      1. Trim back your garden shrubs. This is one of the simplest ways to keep the front of your house look a lot tidier and to give it some serious appeal. Cut back any shrubs, bushes or hedges that are getting a bit overgrown and aim to keep them looking neat and tidy all the time. A front garden that has been kept tidy can make the house feel fresh and new again and will always look good.

      2. Add some cheerful plants in pots. Buy some attractive plant pots in a few different sizes. Fill these plant pots with a selection of flowers and green plants. Flowers are a simple way to add a pop of cheerful colour and some visual interest to the front of the house. Choose plants that smell nice too, so you can be welcomed home with a waft of pleasing scents that you can enjoy opening the front door to. Put your new pots of plants around the front door where they will look welcoming and cheerful. Hanging baskets could be a good choice too to add some interest to a plain house front.

      3. Clean the windows. If your windows are dirty, then your house is never going to look at it’s best. You can keep the windows clean to keep your house looking smarter and better cared for. If you hate washing windows yourself, hire a company to do it for you, but keep on top of it. Fingerprints, grubby smears, and other smudges won’t look good, whereas clean windows will look good from both the inside and the outside of your home, and will be better at letting the light in.

      4. Paint the front door a colour you love. Painting the front door a pretty colour will look very eye-catching from the road and can be a great way to add some fun to the look of your house. Choose whatever shade you like best, whereas that’s a more classic shade or something a bit funkier. Don’t be afraid to choose a bright colour, as these happy shades will stand out against the greenery and can’t fail to make you smile when you pull up outside the house.

      5. Clean the front path. Paths and patios can soon get grubby if they’re not cleaned on a regular basis. A good clean with Propel Pressure Cleaning can make a big difference. At the start of the spring, get your garden looking better by giving any pathways or patios a good clean so they look fresh. This will make your house look much more put together, and will brighten up the front of the house.

      6. Add some seating on the porch. If you have a porch with enough space, why not add some seating? A porch swing, a long bench, or a set of smart chairs with a little table all look welcoming whenever someone is coming to visit the house. Some seating at the front of the house also gives you a spot to sit and relax with a cup of coffee where you can watch the neighbourhood go by. For a smaller porch, even a single chair in a material like wicker can look cosy and welcoming, and gives you somewhere to sit to take off muddy shoes before going inside the house.

      7. Make your entryway as welcoming as you can. An entryway that has been thought about and well-decorated, whether a porch or the front steps, makes your house look much smarter. This will welcome visitors in the right way and make a good impression as soon as someone arrives at the house to see you. Repaint the front door regularly so the paint doesn’t start to look faded. Keep the entrance area clean and tidy, and free from clutter like abandoned umbrellas and muddy boots. Put out some bright plants in pots, and keep the front door’s hardware clean. A bright or patterned doormat is a good addition too to add a splash of personality to the front of the house.

      8. Light up the front of the house. Lighting at the front of the house not only looks good but can help to make your home feel safe and more secure too. Automatic lights are very handy for you for when you arrive back at home in the dark. The light will come on to light your way to the door without tripping or fumbling for your keys in the dark, and will also act as an effective deterrent against any would-be burglars coming towards the house. Solar lights along the pathway at a low height can light your way to the front door, or be used to highlight the best bits of your flowerbeds. An automatic light over the door is effective for security, and for lighting your way through the garden.

Curb appeal isn’t just for estate agents. Even if you never plan to sell your home, you can still use these tricks to make your home look gorgeous from the outside, so you can feel proud of it every time you arrive home. Why not make your home as nice as possible for you, and for anyone who comes to visit you, and not just for would-be buyers? With some simple additions, like lighting and plants, you can really change the feel of the front of the house and make the house welcoming, pretty, and ready to greet you when you get home at the end of the day.

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How To Meet Work From Home Challenges Head-On With The Right Software

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In the last few months the world has been turned upside down. The COVID-19 healthcare crisis has changed everything in our lives. One of the areas that it has affected the most has been the workplace.

With workers unable to share a space, non-essential businesses have had to close their doors. Those that have been able to, have adapted by asking employees to work from home.

Working from home has its benefits, especially when social distancing and isolation are such major issues. Working from home can lead to improved productivity, and it can help your business remain flexible to challenges.

But the issues associated with working from home include challenges surrounding communication and collaboration, and concerns over cybersecurity.

In this article we’ll talk about how you can meet all of these challenges head-on with the right software.

Collaboration

When you share an office space it’s easy to collaborate. But when your workforce is spread out and is completely isolated, it can be a challenge to work with other people effectively.

The right software can help this. Firstly, by making use of Cloud Services and Solutions you can work together on the same documents in real-time. All of the changes that anyone makes, will be visible on the other person’s screen. All of the work will be stored safely on the cloud.

Email is a way of communicating collaboratively, but it’s not effective. Because emails tend to be long-form they lack immediacy.

Using a tool such as Slack, you’ll be able to quickly engage with other members of the team and share ideas quickly.

Communication

In addition to using services such as Slack to communicate, one way that your business can stay effective and productive is by having regular meetings. Servies such as Zoom are great for this as they offer the ability to host meetings with multiple participants.

Try and keep regular meetings. Maintain a schedule as you might when you were in the office. Given the change in circumstances, it may be productive to host more meetings and include the wider team where possible.

Cybersecurity

One of the biggest concerns you will face will be that of cybersecurity.

Hackers and cybercriminals have increased their activity levels throughout the COVID-19 crisis and as a result, cybercrime has gone up. There is a very good reason that this has happened. Working from home puts your business’ data at risk. Home networks are far easier to hack than you might find in the workplace.

In order to avoid attacks on your home network, you should install a virtual private network. This will provide you with an increased level of security.

In addition to this, you should also hire a managed service provider. By outsourcing your IT support, you’ll get around the clock support. Your MSP will be able to spot any vulnerabilities in your network and they can work to address them. They will also be able to help you to put disaster recovery plans in place that will help you in case of the worst.

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7 Space-Saving Tips For Your Home And Office

Being lucky enough to own a lot of possessions is one thing, but having enough room to store all your possessions is another. Over 25% of Americans admit to having challenges when it comes to household clutter. But not everyone can afford to move into a more spacious house. Plus, bigger spaces are not necessarily the solution to cluster problems. If you feel your abode is currently a mess, consider some of the following space-saving tips to make life at home, or the office organized and clean.

1. Lofty Ideas

This idea is perfect for small homes or offices that have the benefit of high ceilings. You can take advantage of the high ceiling by building lofts. At home, you can build a loft for use as an extra bedroom or living space (depending on how large the space is). Most people living in studio apartments have found this idea to be very helpful, as it helps to separate your private space from the rest of the apartment. In your office, the loft can house some important documents or even an extra office space.

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2. Pull-out Tray Tables

This is especially beneficial for those who work from home and require some workspace. Installing a sliding table is an excellent way of creating a workspace at home. The great thing about slide tables or pull-out trays is that you can install it anywhere in your home – whether in your kitchen, bedroom, or living area. The only extra thing you’ll need is a chair to tuck under your table. Once you’re done with work, you can take the chair out of the way. If you already have a small table for work, you can boost the amount of space you have by attaching a roll-out desk. You can slide this desk out of your table to give you more room to work. And slide it back in when you are done.

3. Wall Shelves

If your floor looks a mess with too much stuff, you can create enough space by building wall shelves. Wall shelves, when done properly, offer more than just a storage platform. They also add to the character and style of the room. The idea can even extend into your bedroom or wardrobe. With the latter, all you need to do is to add a few more shelves if the space is available. Or, you can extend the length of your wardrobe by attaching extra shelves to it. Your home-based working space will also receive a lot of boost with the addition of a wall shelf. It will also help to avoid clusters and make it less difficult to organize your stuff. In the office, wall shelves can provide extra space for files or even picture frames.

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Keeping It Clean: 3 Key Tips For Going Outside During Lockdown

Wherever you are in the world, the chances are your life has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It doesn’t take a genius to tell you that things are different now, and with the vaccine seemingly far away in the future, our new normal might last longer than we think. Although, of course, the best advice is to stay at home and try to flatten the curve, sometimes going out is unavoidable. Many people are struggling to feel safe while going outside, while others seem to be going stir crazy at home, trying to find things to do while they’re on lockdown.

Despite the anxiety-inducing circumstances, there are things you can do to keep your hygiene as the top priority when you take outings. Essential medical needs, like taking a hearing test or picking up a prescription, involve going into a pharmacy, where others have been coming in and out all day. Likewise, visits to the supermarket are inevitable; while social distancing rules are being applied in some places, taking responsibility for your own safety is the smartest thing to do.

Mask up!

While it’s been stated by medical professionals that wearing a non-medical grade mask will not protect you from others’ illnesses, it will protect others from you. Even if you feel fine, you could be carrying coronavirus without realizing it, so wearing a mask assures your sense of social responsibility. Plus, having your face covered will prevent you from touching your nose and mouth – something we all do, often without realizing it.

Additionally, making your own mask can provide a fun lockdown activity for all the family. You can choose your colour and design of the mask, and introduce the idea of mask-wearing to your children in a fun, stress-free way. Everybody wins!

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Hands off!

As human beings, we can’t be conscious of where we put our hands all the time. However, this crisis is requiring us to be hyper-aware of the dangers we pose to ourselves by touching things unnecessarily. When you’re shopping, keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket, using it often. It’s tempting to pick up products to examine them carefully, then put them back on the shelves – but try to avoid this, as you might be leaving bacteria on the object, which will then be transferred to another person.

Leave your phone behind!

This might seem counter-intuitive. Most of us consider our phone as an extension of our arm by now. However, mobile phones are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. When was the last time you cleaned your phone screen? Exactly. We use our phones all day, every day, pressing them against our faces, without realizing that everything we touch is transferred onto them. When you’re out and about, using your phone in a public space can transfer particles from your phone into your surroundings, and vice versa. It’s important to stay vigilant and leave it behind – it might even feel good to be phone-free for a few hours.

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