Monday, February 28, 2022

How to Make Your Garden More Child Friendly

 Do you have young children and want to spend more time outside in the garden with them but feel like it's not really child friendly? Maybe you're not sure where to start? This blog post will give you some tips on how to make your garden more child friendly. With a few simple changes, you can create a safe and fun environment for your little ones to explore.

Photo by Tetyana Kovyrina from Pexels


#1 Remove any sharp objects


Make sure there are no dangerous plants or objects in the garden. Remove any rose bushes, thorns, or anything else that could cause harm. Also, make sure all of your tools and equipment are put away and out of reach. Keep an eye on your children at all times when they're in the garden, and always be prepared to intervene if needed. Lastly, if the deck is a little more elevated and could cause potential falls, consider looking up how to build deck stairs to ensure the kids can go back and forth safely..

#2 Secure any areas with water


If you have a pond or pool in the garden, make sure it's fenced off and secured with a lock. It's also important to teach your children about water safety and how to swim. Install some gates or fences around the garden so that your children can't wander off into unsafe areas. Make sure these gates and fences are sturdy and safe for kids to climb on.

#3 Add some fun features


Now that the garden is safe, it's time to make it fun! Add in some colorful flowers, a few trees for shade, and maybe even a swing set or playhouse. These features will make the garden more inviting for children and encourage them to spend more time outside. Also, consider adding some toys or outdoor games that your children can enjoy.

#4 Ensure there's enough shade


It's important to provide some shade in the garden, especially during the summer months. Add a few trees or large plants to create some shady areas. This will help keep your children cool and prevent them from getting too hot. If you live in a warm climate, make sure to include plenty of shade in your garden design.

#5 Create a sensory garden


Children love exploring new things, so a sensory garden is a great way to encourage them to use their senses. Include some plants that have different textures and smell nice. You can also add in some brightly colored flowers or objects. This will help your children learn about the world around them and have fun at the same time.

#6 Install your trampoline in the ground


If you have a trampoline, it's important to install it in the ground. This will make it much safer for your children to use and prevent injuries. You can find trampolines that are specifically designed for installation in the ground. Follow the instructions carefully and make sure the trampoline is installed correctly before allowing your children to use it. 


In addition, make sure to always be on the lookout for safety hazards. Even with all of these precautions in place, it's still important to stay vigilant when your children are in the garden. However, creating a child-friendly garden doesn't have to be complicated. With a little bit of planning and effort, you can create a space that both you and your kids will enjoy. So get out there and start gardening!



Thursday, February 24, 2022

Why It Could Make Sense For You To Move Abroad

 

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Living overseas is a big undertaking, there’s no doubt about that. There’s a lot to take into account, from immigration rules to the cost of the move and much more besides. However, for many of us, it’s an attractive prospect. Put yourself in that position for a moment - doesn’t the adventure and the experience sound a little thrilling? And even if you’re decades away from retirement, there can be significant advantages to such a move at this time in life. Below, we’ll look at some reasons it could work for you.


It’s an enriching experience while you can truly appreciate it


One of the definitive benefits of time spent living abroad is that it gives you the chance to develop as a person by experiencing another culture and rhythm of life. This is something that will benefit you as you get older, which is why it may be a good idea to take the chance before you retire. A lot of people fancy the idea of retiring abroad - and you don’t need to cast that idea aside - but the benefits of the experience can make a much bigger difference if you do it while you are still young or even middle-aged.


The cost of living can be much lower


It’s an underrated fact that while house prices have skyrocketed over the course of decades, wages have not risen in the same way. In real terms, that means the cost of living is only getting higher, but that doesn’t need to affect you in the same way if you spend some time living abroad. You can even hire property management and rent out your current home - planning to return at some stage in the future - and do your job or run a business remotely while paying much less to live somewhere like Portugal or Costa Rica. This will allow you to save more for your retirement and for your return home should you plan one.


It’s a chance to give your kids something special


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It’s recognized as fact that learning a second language helps to strengthen the important reasoning and linguistic centers of the brain, and there is no better time to learn than when you’re young. By raising kids who can converse in two languages or more, switching between the two with an ease that most adults can’t manage, you’ll give them an excellent chance of higher educational attainment in their adolescence and greater employability post-college. Not to mention that they’ll have an experience few kids their age can call upon.


You can invest in cheaper real estate


Buying investment property is a good way of making passive income once you’re over the early learning curve. There’s a significant difference between the costs of doing so in the USA, and doing it in a country that is still considered a growing market. Places like Italy are a great deal more affordable than most countries in the Anglosphere, and they’re not exactly a chore to live in. Buying a house and turning it into something more profitable is an excellent way to add to a future nest-egg, and could also offer you options to retire to decades from now.


You can really challenge yourself


It’s not easy to up sticks and move to another country, and it will ask a lot of you as a person. That’s not said as an argument against doing it - in fact, it is a way to discover things about yourself and the world. All the things you do on a daily basis, you’ll do in the new place, but with a degree of added difficulty. This helps you grow, and later on in life when you face trials, you’ll have benefited from a thorough grounding in testing yourself. The good news is, by learning this way you’ve done it in a controlled way which you’ve been in charge of all along.



Moving, living and working abroad isn’t for everyone, and it takes a certain type of personality to even consider it. Could that personality be yours? If it is, then you’re likely to find that spreading your wings and changing your scenery, even for just a couple of years, might be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have. There’s no best way to do it, no best place to try it - these decisions are ones you’ll need to make with your own strengths, weaknesses and preferences in mind. However, the undeniable truth is that taking a chance and living abroad for a while is the kind of experience you can’t replicate any other way.


Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Why Healthcare Costs are Rising and Ways You Can Keep Costs Down


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Just when healthcare costs already feel at an all-time high, they continue to rise beyond belief. It can often feel stressful, knowing that one wrong move could leave you in thousands of dollars of healthcare debt. It is therefore a good idea to understand why healthcare costs are rising, and ways that you can try to keep the costs down as much as possible. There are a range of factors that are out of your control, such as government policy and global pandemics, but there are still steps you can take personally, that will help you manage your money and save some costs in the unfortunate event you or a family member are injured or have an accident.

Why are healthcare costs high, and rising?

America is known to have some of the highest healthcare costs in the world. Healthcare costs are directly influenced by the way the American government creates policy. However, this comprises several societal and political factors, such as the age and growth of the population, service price and intensity, and the prevalence of diseases.

Dr Fauci is an important figure in America’s healthcare system, as he is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and is the Chief Medical Advisor to President Biden’s Administration. The NIAID researches to support the understanding of infectious, immunologic and allergic diseases and how they can be prevented, diagnosed and treated. As the advisor to the President, Dr Fauci can advise on national issues that shape healthcare. If you wish to learn more about the individuals who shape the healthcare system, you can do so with some simple interest searches, for example, you can learn about the experience, bio and reported net worth of Dr Fauci

One of the other factors contributing to rising healthcare costs is the growth of the population. As the population size of the United States increases, and the aging of the population is also increasing, is naturally going to result in more demand for healthcare services such as pharmaceuticals, ambulances, nursing facilities, inpatient care, emergency departments, dental care, and much more. The larger the population, the more the prevalence of diseases which also need to be treated. 

While there is a positive correlation between the growing population and healthcare costs, a huge factor is the cost of services and treatments available. In a 2017 study, it was found that rising prices and intensity of services alone accounted for 50% of the overall healthcare costs. This includes the essential services a person may require, such as emergency facilities and pharmaceuticals, as well as the prevalence of innovative healthcare technology. Although this can increase the level of care provided, it also comes with more expensive costs. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for medical care has grown at a rate of 3.5% per year for the past 20 years, while the price for average consumer goods has grown by 2.1% per year. 

Healthcare costs have been rising long before the COVID-19 pandemic, however, this factor has exacerbated the costs significantly. 

How to keep your healthcare costs down

It can seem overwhelming when you see the current state of the healthcare system, but there are steps you can take to save money on your care. Here are some of the top tips to help you get started:

  • Switch from brand medicines to generic medicines which are issued from your healthcare provider

  • Follow healthcare instructions and take the full course of medication you are given to prevent further problems 

  • Catch issues early with routine appointments 

  • Seek support from a health advocate that is offered with your healthcare plan, who can help you navigate the complexities of the industry and tailor solutions to your personal preferences to keep costs low 

  • Review your healthcare plan and make use of all the offered discounts such as eyewear, gym memberships, medical devices, health tests, etc.

  • Make a plan for emergency care (where you will go, how you will get there, etc.) so you are better equipped in the event of an injury or accident, for example, it will be cheaper to get to an urgent care center or see your doctor, than visit the emergency department 

  • Consider outpatient services for procedures or surgeries that you require 

  • Use the healthcare providers that are “in-network”, this means in association with your healthcare plan, which will be cheaper

  • Choose your healthcare plan carefully and only add on the services that you require, for example, if you have a range of medical conditions, you may choose to pay the higher premium as it will work out less money for your ongoing treatments, however, if you don’t need medical care unless it is an emergency, you may choose the higher deductibles 

  • See if your employee has a healthcare plan you can use, as these usually are deducted before taxes 

  • Take steps to take care of your health as much as possible 


Understanding the healthcare costs, and what you can do to save money, can go a long way. Implement these small steps to experience more peace of mind! 


Sunday, February 20, 2022

Save Money on Moving Costs: 5 Steps to Take Before You Move

 Moving to a new place is fun, but it can also be expensive. Whether you are moving a block or two or you need to undertake cross country moving, there are many costs associated with moving. This includes the cost of hiring movers, packing supplies and boxes, and renting a truck for your belongings. If you want to save money on your move, here are five things to do before you relocate.


Book Movers As Far In Advance as Possible

Hiring movers is often one of the most expensive parts of a move. Moving companies can be expensive, so it's best to book them as soon as possible. This way, you will have time to compare prices and choose the company that suits your budget. The more lead time you give yourself, a better chance you'll find an affordable option for your move.


Move During Off-Peak Times

Moving during off-peak hours is a great way to save money. You can avoid peak costs by planning your move at a time that is not rush hour or on the weekend. Off-Peak months are between September and April. Also, off-peak hours are when many movers are available, and trucks are less expensive. The other benefit? Moving during off-peak times will have fewer delays so that you won't be sitting in traffic for hours.


Declutter So You Have Less To Move

Decluttering is a really effective way to save money on your move. When you have less stuff, it will cost less to move. You'll need a smaller truck and be able to pack lighter. This will also make packing less of a chore and take up less time. You won't have to go through all your belongings to pick out what you can live without and what is worth saving.


When you declutter, you are forced to identify items that no longer serve a purpose in your life. This makes it easier for you to get rid of the clutter in your life so you can focus on what's more important. Once you've lightened the load, it becomes easier to prepare for the move.


Even if you're not entirely sure where everything should go when you get there, decluttering will help give you an idea of what can stay with you and what needs to be left behind or donated.


Pack Yourself

One way to save money on the move is by packing yourself. You may not be able to do all of the work, but you can certainly fill some of your belongings and boxes. For example, if you are moving within your city, you could offer to pack up some of the items in your home. You could also ask friends or family members to help and then charge them for their services.


Deduct Moving Expenses From Your Taxes

One of the easiest ways to save money on your move is to deduct moving expenses from your taxes. You need to have a valid taxpayer identification number, and you'll need to keep track of all receipts. Then, when April rolls around, you can fill out Schedule A and request that the IRS deduct the expenses from your tax return.




Friday, February 18, 2022

How To Look After Your Family’s Well Being


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Looking after the wellbeing of your family is a priority when you are a mom. So naturally you want to do all you can to make sure your family is looked after and are all fit and healthy. These are some suggestions on what you can do to look after your family’s well being. 


Maintain a Clean and Tidy Home 


Having a clean and tidy home is good for everyone and instills a good mindset for your children so that they pick up good habits from a young age. It will also create a less stressful environment if all the chores are done and you know where things are when you need them. 






Have Lots of Family Meals 


Sitting down together at the dinner table provides the perfect opportunity to bond together and enjoy a lovely meal. It’s a good idea to try and do this as often as you can so that you can enjoy delicious healthy meals together. You are also more likely to benefit from eating together frequently as home cooked meals are healthier than take outs and restaurant food. 



Play Board Games 


Whilst cozying up on the sofa together to watch a film is relaxing, it is nice to also do activities that do not just revolve around tv. You could play board games together as it is a fun activity that enables you to bond but also your brain skills. This is important as you want to do as many stimulating activities so that everyone is using their brain as much as possible. 




Unsplash Image


Exercise Regularly 


Another good bonding activity is exercising together. You could go on nice family walks together to scenic locations or your local park so that you are all being active and getting the benefit of doing some exercise. It is great for both your physical and mental well being, so try to incorporate as much exercise into the family routine as is possible. 



Invest in Life Insurance 


Ensuring that you have life insurance in place is a good way to protect your children’s future. It will mean that they are taken care of financially should anything happen to you. You want the best for your children, so planning for the inevitable is a good way to make sure that they will be ok when you are not around. 



Protect Your Home 


Ensuring your home is protected is also important for your family's well being. The best way to do this is to fit a home security system, be careful of where you leave your house keys and install a burglar alarm. This will ensure that your family home is safe and secure from any intruders if they attempt to break into your home. 


Thursday, February 17, 2022

14 Affordable Ways To Honor Someone’s Memory

 

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It's never something that we really want to think about, but when we lose a loved one and it comes at a time when we have financial difficulties, it can prove to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The cost of the funeral, combined with the emotional hardship involved in sorting out a loved one’s estate can be too much. But we have to remember that when someone passes away, we need to honor their memory appropriately. It may prove difficult to do because of the costs. However, here are some ways to consider that don’t have to break the bank. 

An Urn

The cost of an urn can be a little too much out of people's budgets but there are many small urns we can purchase. An urn is such an important aspect of memorializing somebody, but we need to make sure that it is within our budget. 

Immortalizing Them in Writing

If you are creative, you can write a poem, short story, or even a novel using your loved one as inspiration or as the main character. You can then have this printed and framed. It's possible to self-publish it as an ebook on Amazon within a decent budget, so you can make copies available to purchase by friends or family members. You could donate the proceeds of the sales to your loved ones' favorite charity. 

Make a Documentary of Their Life

With such high-quality phone cameras, we can easily retrace our loved one’s steps and make a little movie. Recording all the places where they lived, worked, and frequented can be a great little project as a way to immortalize your loved one. 

Butterfly Release

This is an amazing memorial activity that children and adults will appreciate. Having friends and family release butterflies at a special gathering is an amazing way to honor your loved one. Butterflies are classed as a symbol of hope and it's an amazing moment that you will treasure forever. 

Create a Memorial Wreath 

Wreaths can be very expensive but you can make your own by getting an inexpensive one made from foam and attaching mementos and photos of your loved one. This is an amazing project for so many people to get involved with. 

Painting Memorial Rocks

Another excellent activity for children; grab some small rocks and paint and decorate the rocks with your loved one’s favorite quotes or just their name. Hide the rocks around local places that your loved one frequented and you can also keep tabs on how the memory travels. You could write a hashtag on the back of the rock, and share the name of a social media memorial page. 

Start a Journal

You can get a blank journal with a number of decorative elements that remind you of them and every time they come into your mind you could write down your thoughts or memories of that person. When you come back to it after a few years, it will be full of amazing memories. 

Get a Local Landmark Named After Them

If you want to memorialize them, you can talk to local officials about getting a landmark named after them. You could inquire about getting a park or a street named after them, but many people opt for benches as a little way to commemorate them. While local landmarks are usually reserved for people like veterans, it might be possible to buy the naming rights. 

Host a Fundraiser

Many people do 5K runs to honor loved ones and how they passed away, but you could go one step further and host a memorial fundraiser that honors your loved one's interests. Whether they like to play golf or dance, get a party together and donate the proceeds to your loved one’s favorite charity. 

Dedicate a Maker Space

Public libraries have maker spaces to bring more people in. So if you don't have one in your local library, you could help create one in honor of your loved one’s memory. They can cost at least $100 and, depending on how much you are willing to spend, can go into the thousands. 

Write and Record a Song

Another amazing way to memorialize someone is to create a song for them. If you are musically inclined, you can do it yourself and use recording packages on your laptop. If not, you can ask around for a local musician who could work with you to record it. You could always put it on Spotify and donate any streaming proceeds to a charity, or send it to a local radio station as a way to truly commemorate them. 

Create a Stencil

If you want to memorialize them in such a simple way, you can use your favorite photo of them and create a stencil. You can purchase glass etching supplies and create an amazing image of them that is immortalized in your property. 

A Memory-Sharing Event

Another great way for people to get together is to have an event in your garden with papers, pens, and a large jar encouraging people to write down their favorite memories and put them in the container. 

Create an Heirloom

An heirloom is a wonderful way to commemorate somebody. You can turn a piece of their furniture into a tribute by adding photographs, and you can also decoupage images onto a piece of furniture with an adhesive. This is an amazing way to start an heirloom that keeps the memory of your loved one alive. 



As it can be difficult to find the right ways to honor someone's memory if our finances are not in the best condition, we have to remember that we don't have to spend a lot of money to actually honor someone's memory. Because if you think about it from your perspective, would you really want people to completely bankrupt themselves in order to memorialize you? There are so many ways to honor someone's memory within a budget, and whether you are experiencing financial hardship or not, honoring someone is about the thought behind it, not the money you invest in it.




Avoid Being Taken Advantage Of When Searching For A Home

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Searching for a home is often one of the most exciting, and sometimes one of the most vulnerable times in a person’s life. Why is this? Well, it’s not hard to see why this process, and all it can offer, is exciting to embark on. But often, investing in a house with a brand new mortgage to guide their budget is often one of the biggest ‘purchases’ someone will ever make, as getting onto the property ladder is in no way cheap.


For this reason, avoiding being taken advantage of when moving into a home is key. That’s not to say that there are jackals looking to rob you of your cash at any opportunity, but it’s certainly true that without care, you can be convinced to overpay for something. It’s natural, after all, for a home seller to try and get the most amount of money they can for a potential property.


Avoiding being taken advantage of when searching for a home, then, requires just a little patience, diligence, and the willingness to exercise a few necessary skills. Let’s consider what those may be, below:


Understand Your Market


It’s essential to understand the local housing market or rental atmosphere, no matter if you’re hoping to do this for a family or a business real estate investment. What are the property prices like in a given area? How is investment being placed into these surroundings, and is this causing property prices to skyrocket? What is the general state of the housing market going forward? Understanding this can help you understand the ballpark figure of what may be offered, giving you the context to understand a property on its own terms.


Learn To Negotiate


Learning to negotiate is an essential skill worth developing. This can help you politely lower your offer and slowly come to a figure that you were willing to pay in the first instance. You may point out investment that needs to be placed in a property before it’s liveable, or offer a certain amount of cash up front and the rest wired so the offer becomes more attractive. An approach like this can help you get a better deal, and if not, it’s always worth trying.


Consider Rental Rates


It’s important to note that searching for ‘a home’ may not simply involve searching for your family, but for an essential element of your business. For instance, taking the time to talk to a lease expert for renting cell tower access will take into account proximity, location, and the surrounding taxes and fees, something that a business will need to consider, and something which is very much tied into renting real estate for a vital business good. Rental rates, and considering their negotiation, length, and terms, will help determine your own vital path forward. As you can see - this advice is universal no matter what property you’re hoping to access.


With this advice, you’re certain to avoid being taken advantage of, even when searching for a property.


Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Business 101: Making The Finances Add Up For Your SME

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Managing a successful business relies on many different factors while you can also define success in various ways too. Nonetheless, if the financial situation isn’t in good health, any other aspects will be rendered useless. So, focusing on this part of the venture is one of the most calculated choices you could make.


Gaining a tighter grip on your business finances needn’t be as daunting as you might first feel. Check out these five tops for guidance, and you should notice significant improvements. 


Get Your Accounts In Order


First and foremost, you must ensure that your finances are organised and under control. After all, you cannot plot where you are going if you don’t first know where you stand. Getting your taxes under control, through a professional or in-house team can work wonders. Otherwise, you could be losing money by not claiming your full expenses - or through filing your documents late or incorrectly. 


If nothing else, ensuring that your accounts are in good health allows you to focus on other aspects with a clear mindset.


Reduce Financial Waste


Most companies naturally focus on their revenue first. However, learning to eliminate financial waste is a job that will deliver far quicker results. It can be achieved by changing suppliers or plans for courier services, utility bills, and more. You may also wish to look at alternative approaches to various tasks. For example, outsourced customer care or using freelance graphic designers can be very useful.


Overspending is one of the chief reasons why many SMEs fail. Remove this problem from the equation and success will be more likely.


Get Paid Properly


It’s hard enough to generate profits when things are going well. Sadly, the threat of bad debts can make things infinitely harder. Invoicing software prevents the threat of forgetting to chase payments or allowing clients to not pay. If you offer any type of repayment plan to consumers, you must use credit checking too. While you’ll still probably encounter the odd defaulted account, it’ll save you a lot of money in the long run.


Once those winning systems and strategies are in place, you can focus on the products and services.


Focus On Efficiency


Productivity leads to productivity. Understanding the OEE method will transform your manufacturing processes. Meanwhile, automation and modern tech can be used for stock management and order fulfilment. Optimised efficiency ensures that you create more products while it also reduces faults and the threat of returns. As such, this should aid the brand reputation while also strengthening your position to remain competitive. 


Besides, acquiring an efficient mindset will encourage you to take the right approach to all aspects of business. 


Look For Expansion Opportunities


Even if you are just starting out, it’s important to keep one eye on the future. Otherwise, the lack of a growth plan could see you get left behind. Turning the business into a franchise is one of the most effective ways. It requires little effort from you while you’ll make money through commissions or licencing fees. The blueprint can be repeated time and time again to grow the brand and increase your earnings. 


While financial control isn’t the only key aspect of running your business, it will put you in a far stronger position.


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