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  1. We all rely and depend on so many household appliances nowadays that allow us to get on with our daily lives with ease.  But every now and then one of them will begin to fault or unexpectedly break on us.  Hopefully we’ve all been sensible enough to save an emergency fund to cover such situations, but even so or if budget is tight, there are several ways we can save money on household appliances:

    8 Ways to save money on household appliances

     

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    Buy quality in the first instance

    OK so not great advice if an appliance has just broke, but worth considering for your new purchase.  Quality often pays, so make sure you are buying a high quality appliance in the first place that will last longer and perform well.  It’s also highly recommended to buy an appliance with a good energy rating such as A or above as this will also save you money on your household bills.

    Wait for the sales

    If it’s not totally broken yet and you can hold out a little longer, then wait for the end of season or end of line sales.  This is where you’re going to find the best bargains, particularly if lines are discontinued and new ranges are coming into the stores.

    Check for imperfections

    If you’re buying in store then check for imperfections.  We managed to negotiate a substantial discount off a washing machine once as it had a few dents and scratches from being on display in the store for so long.  If you can find a mark or scratch then don’t be afraid to ask for a discount as the goods aren’t in perfect condition. 

    Try a deal hunting community

    There are now websites such as Latest Deals where people like you and I can share the best deals we have found online.  These can be items in the sales or a voucher code.  Check out their Dyson V6 deals page where you can save over 50% on a new Dyson vacuum thanks to people sharing the bargains they have already found!

    Buy second hand

    Check out Facebook Marketplace and eBay to see if you can find a second hand item.  Often people are simply redecorating and changing a colour scheme so you can grab used kitchen appliances, for example, that work just fine.

    Use Cashback sites

    Never underestimate the power of cashback sites.  Not only can they offer cashback of a certain percentage of your order for most well-known retailers, but they often have their own exclusive discount codes too.  Sometimes you can hit a double whammy and get a discount and cashback in one swoop!

    Search voucher sites

    If the above isn’t finding what you need, then search online voucher sites to see if you can find a general code for the retailer you need.  There are also handy shopping browser extensions that can do this job for you so you don’t even have to search.  They simply tell you if there’s a voucher code for the site you are already on, saving you the hassle of searching.

    Find a B-Grade store

    Search your local area for a B-Grade appliance store.  These stores sell ex-display item, appliances with marks or returns.  They should be in perfect working order, but they’ll be a fraction of the original cost.

    With a little savvy shopping we can all find a bargain and a way to save extra money when replacing household appliances.

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    How to earn cashback on things you already buy
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    8 Ways to save money on household appliances

  2. Kids love pets.  Just look through their bedrooms and I’m sure you’ll find stuffed animal toys, farmyard books and movies with lovable animal characters.  Choosing to add a pet to your family has so many benefits for your children such as teaching them empathy, responsibility, to be caring and look after others as well as so much more.

    However, taking on a pet is a big responsibility and it’s important to choose the right pet.  Here are some things you should consider when choosing a pet for your family:

    Important things to consider when choosing a pet for your family

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    Your home

    Firstly, are you allowed a pet?  If you live in rented accommodation then you may not even be allowed a cat or dog.  It may be OK to have a caged pet such as a hamster or mouse.  If you have outdoor space then a rabbit or guinea pig may be allowed.  It’s best to check with your letting agents or landlord as you don’t want to buy a pet only to break the rules of your contract and have to either move or give it up for adoption.

    Your lifestyle

    Next think about your lifestyle.  Can you cope with pet hair everywhere, potential wear and tear to furniture or a litter box inside?  Is there someone at home to take a dog for walks in the day or let them out to go to toilet, or do you work 12 hour shifts?  Have a good think about the responsibilities and challenges of each animal before making any rash decisions.  The animal will need to fit into your life as much as you need to fit into theirs.

    Health care

    Do you have access to a nearby vet to ensure their vaccinations are up to date and for any health care issues?  It’s common for most pets to require regular treatment for worms, fleas and parasites.  Will you be able to provide this care each month and not slack?  It can be as simple as purchasing some chewable worming tablets for dogs, but you need to commit to taking care of your pets health as well as your own.

    The cost

    Health care, food, and pet insurance all comes at a cost.  Tally up exactly how much your ideal pet will cost each month to see if you can afford it.  If you are already struggling with finances then another mouth to feed probably isn’t the best idea right now.  A pet is also a financial commitment so you need to be aware of the costs and have enough disposable income to dedicate to the proper care of your pet.

    The most important thing to take home from this article is to do your research.  There are lots of tips for first time pet owners online so you can research the exact pet you’d like and see if it’s right for your family.  Never just buy an animal on a whim.  They are living breathing things and deserve to be properly cared for in the right environment.

     

    You may also enjoy reading:

    Purrfect Pets with Victoria from Lylia Rose

    Important things to consider when choosing a pet for your family

  3. Braces at 30 | Dental Implants Result and a New Consultation | 27 Months

    Welcome to my latest Braces at 30 blog post where I share my experience of wearing a brace as an adult with updates from each appointment.  I had my braces fitted when I was 30 years old.  I’m now 32 and have had braces on for over two years!  Below I share what happened at my latest appointment.

    Here’s my last update if you missed it:

    What happened at my private dental implants consultation?

    Braces at 30 – Implant consultation results and a new consultation

    Me with the retainer on and false tooth in retainer which you can't tell from a distance.  Bottom brace still on.

    Implant results

    So it’s been a while since my implant consultation and unfortunately the results weren’t what I was hoping for.  I was also waiting for the dentist to reply to me, but he’s totally ignored my two follow up emails.  It’s so frustrating when companies do this.  He sent me my results from the CT scan and x-ray.  He had thought one side looked too narrow at the roots for an implant root and he confirmed this was so.  This meant I could have an implant on one side (the peg tooth side), but not the other.  This other side would need a bridge.

    This was pretty frustrating as if I could have two implants then I could get these implanted, have a permanent bonded retainer and be done with it!  That was what I hoped for by going down the implant route, for it to be a permanent solution and to get on with my life with no more removable retainers and to pretty much have a normal mouth and teeth.  So it was disappointing to hear that I couldn’t have an implant on one side and that I’d need a bridge still anyway.

    I decided to just go for the two bridges seeing as it is a cheaper option for now and I’d still have to have the removable Essix retainer.  I emailed back the dentist I saw to say this and to ask a few questions, such as could I have my teeth whitened beforehand and how long did I have to wait to have the bridges since I need the peg tooth removed.  I waited a few days and then his assistant called to ensure I had his first email.  I said I did and that I’d responded and she said she’ll let him know.  A week later I still hadn’t heard anything so I forwarded my reply to check he received it.  I’m pretty sure they would have seeing as he received and responded to all my emails leading up to the consultation and his assistant now knew I had replied as we spoke on the phone.

    Ben said I should call again, but I’ve emailed twice and spoken on the phone to his assistant, so why should I have to chase them anymore?  I’m a paying customer and if they can’t be bothered to respond then I’ll not spend my money there.

    So I’ve just been this week to a different practice instead for a consultation and I’m pleased to say the ball is rolling and I have four more appointments booked next month.  I’ll share below what happened at my new consultation.

    A new consultation

    I went for a new consultation at a different practice this week and it was so much better.  I’m not sure what went wrong at the first practice.  It’s so bizarre for them not to reply.  I can only assume they wanted my custom for the implants only and not for the bridges which are considerably cheaper.  Otherwise why would you turn a paying customer down?  A customer who would continue to come back for appointments and check-ups possibly for life?

    Anyway at the new appointment I explained I wasn’t suitable for implants and that I needed my peg tooth removed sue to internal resorption (basically the tooth is eating itself and the body absorbing its minerals).  So I had decided on two bridges and wanted to know my options.

    They took a look in my mouth and made me keep biting my teeth together and sliding my bottom jaw forwards then left and right.  Another dentist was called in to check what they thought too.  I think perhaps the dentist I was seeing is fairly new as he looked very young, so perhaps he wanted to confirm what he thought.

    Here’s the plan of action for my top teeth:

    1. Remove the peg tooth in July.  This tooth has internal resorption and so needs removing.  I’ll then need to wait 6-9 months (gah) for the gum to fully heal and to have a bridge.  This was the most frustrating part of this appointment.  When I asked how long I’d have to wait for the false teeth after removing this peg tooth and he said ‘6-9…’ I thought he was going to say weeks and I thought that’s a long time.  So when he said months I was like eek!  I was hoping for this whole brace thing to be coming to an end and I might have another 10 months before I can get the false teeth.  So frustrating.
    2. Have another false tooth added to my Essix retainer.  As I’m having the peg tooth out it will leave me with another whole tooth gap next to my front teeth.  I’ll be missing both full sized lateral incisors – these are the teeth next to the front teeth, so very noticeable!  I already have one false tooth in the retainer to cover the gap when I’m wearing it, so the dentist will send my retainer off to have a false tooth added to the other side.  This will mean 24 hours of two teeth missing whilst my retainer is sent off between my appointments.  Let’s hope no one needs to talk to me and I can hide at home.
    3. Take impressions for a partial acrylic denture.  I was really disappointed about having to wait 6-9 months for the proper false teeth as I’m finding the Essix retainer a real pain.  I have to take it out to eat or drink which means baring my gaps.  This is fine at home, but not great when out and about as I’m too embarrassed!  I also have to brush my teeth before putting it back in.  So I can’t have a spontaneous day out say to the countryside with a picnic as I need to be able to brush my teeth after and put the retainer back in.  We love going for days out or to the countryside, plus we’ve just got a camper and want to go camping so it’s annoying I can’t think of doing all this as normal as I need to think about whether I can eat and brush my teeth wherever we are!  So I asked if there was anything I can do about this and the dentist suggested a temporary denture.  It is at a cost, but seeing as I may need to wait nine more months I thought it was worth it so I can kind of get on with my social life as normal.  I’ll go for a third appointment to take an impression for a partial acrylic denture which will fix to the roof of my teeth and back teeth and have two false teeth on.  I can wear this when I want to eat or go out for short periods of time as I can keep it in to eat.  I can’t wear it all the time as I currently need to wear the retainer full time for around six months.  But after this I can wear the denture all the time until I have my permanent false teeth.  It is an extra expense, but I’m so pleased I decided to do this as it means I can go out for meals again and food with family/friends, days out and so on without worrying that I can’t eat all day.  I can use it when I know I’m going out and then pop my retainer back in as soon as I am back.
    4. Acrylic denture fitting.  I’ll have a fourth appointment to pick up my denture and to see how to fit it.  It will take around 8 days to have it made.  Then I can enjoy meals again!
    5. Wait 6-9 months.  Then I have to wait 6-9 months until my gum has healed from the peg tooth being removed to move forward with the next stage of getting bridges and deciding which type of bridge to go for.

    Phew!  So my top teeth are going on and on and on.  Up to another ten months from now for them to be finished!

    I still have my brace on the bottom teeth, but I’m hoping to have this removed next week if ready.  I’ll update then.

    Braces at 30 – Implant consultation results and a new consultation

  4. Finding love online is becoming more and more popular.  Go back ten years or so and I knew a couple who had found love online using dating sites, but they were ashamed to admit it, so they had a made up story to tell others when asked how they met.  There was a certain stigma to online dating back then.  Now times have changed and online dating is becoming the norm especially as we communicate and socialise online more than ever.  I can only imagine in a few years or so it will be so normal to find a partner online that a future generation will question how we found love without the internet and traditional dating methods will become old fashioned.

    The benefits of free online dating sites

    With the rise of online dating comes the rise of sites promising to be the one site that will find you love.   Of course many of these sites will come with a hefty price tag too; perhaps a monthly fee or signup fee.  Many are jumping on the bandwagon to make a profit from your soulmate searching.  But are they any better than free dating sites? 

    Before spending a penny, have a read of the benefits of using a free dating site:

    Why finding love doesn’t have to cost a penny

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    They are free

    Of course the biggest advantage is that they are free.  You don’t have to spend a penny to potentially find the person of your dreams.  If finding a match takes a long time then this could save you a lot of money.  Obviously it also has its disadvantages as you’ll have the jokers on these sites who aren’t interested in dating at all, but hopefully these are few and far between as who has time to set up fake profiles all day long?

    You can get a feel for online dating

    If you’re new to the world of online dating sites then trying a free one is a great idea to start.  It will give you a feel of how dating websites work and to see if it’s actually right for you.  You may otherwise spend money on a paid site only to discover it’s not the avenue you want to go down for finding a date.

    Everyone can send and receive messages

    Other dating sites may allow you to sign up for free and browse profiles, but you’ll be unable to message anyone you are interested in without upgrading to a paid plan.  On free sites you know that anyone who is interested in you is able to message you and vice versa.

    There’s no contract

    Some dating sites have a contract so you’ll have to pay by monthly direct debit until your contract ends.  This is a waste of money if you stop using the site or find love before the contract is over.  Make sure you read the small print before giving payment information to any dating site to check what you’re signing up for.  Or just use a free dating site where you’ll never have to enter payment information or be caught out by a contract.

    If you’re looking for love and want to try online dating then a free dating site is the perfect starting point.

    What to read next

    Date Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank
    How money influences a relationship
    How to keep a relationship strong after having kids
    The secrets to a long term relationship

    Why finding love doesn’t have to cost a penny

    Collaboration

  5. I always find it fascinating how different couples manage their finances, particularly those who are married.  Money can be a very taboo subject and most people in the UK do not discuss their personal financial habits openly, or even share their salary.   In this blog post I’m going to look at how money impacts relationships and take a look at how money affects my own marriage.

    Since becoming man and wife, my husband Ben and I have shared a bank account and we share all our money equally. Ben earns more than me, but he had the opportunity to continue with his job after we had children, whereas things seemed different for me.  Going back to work full time after having two children would have been impossible due to childcare costs being more than my wage, so it made more sense for me to do the bulk of the childcare and find part time jobs around Ben’s hours.  I’ve since managed to build up a full time career working for myself at home, but it’s not yet equal to Ben’s wage.  I still feel we are equal with regards to money  as Ben may earn more, but he can only do so with me doing all the school runs and being there looking after the children for three and a half extra hours than him each day whilst he’s at work.

    Read also 5 tried and tested ways to make money as a UK stay at home mum

    Though we have a joint account, I do all the sums each month.  I try to share this role with Ben or at least tell him what’s going on, but I’m sure it goes in one ear and out the other.  I think he prefers I just deal with it all and he doesn’t have to!  We are very open and honest about money, but I suppose we have to be to share an account.  Not sharing just didn’t work for us as we were constantly moving money between our different accounts and pretty much sharing anyway, so it was the logical step.  I find it fascinating that some married couples don’t even know how much their partner earns, they keep their wages to themselves or they never discuss finances.

    Money was never a deciding factor when we got together.  I have never dated someone because of their earning potential and it really isn’t something that impresses me.  Saying that, I do need to be with someone who has some get up and go and wants to make a living for themselves.  I couldn’t be with someone who didn’t want to work and had no drive!  But I’d never date someone just because they had a lot of money. 

    Shepherds Friendly recently conducted a survey to see how money influences our relationships.  In this blog article I am going to look at 5 of the most surprising ways money influences our relationships from their findings.  From dating through to serious relationships, here are the surprising results:

    How money influences a relationship

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    Money plays a part in how attractive you find a partner

    22% of men and 31% of women agreed with this statement.  That’s very high!  I’d like to think I date someone because I find them attractive, not their pay packet!  If a man earned less than me it wouldn’t matter.  I wouldn’t want to be with someone who was unemployed through choice, so I guess they’d have to have some sort of wage or at least be looking for employment, but it’s the person I’d be dating, not their salary.   I certainly wouldn’t find someone more attractive just because they earned more.

    Men should pay on a date night

    Over 68% of men think they should pay on a date night.  I find this very high and I’d never expect a man to pay for me on a date night.  I’d rather pay for myself, or if I knew there will be further dates then I’d be happy to take it in turns.  If they really want to pay then that’s fine, but I wouldn’t expect or assume it.

    Salaries are personal information and not to be shared with each other

    I am pleased to see the stats for this statement are low, only 9.1% of men and 13.3% of women agreed with this.  I think we should all be open and honest about money, especially when in a committed relationship.  If I earned more than my husband it would still be our money and we would share it equally whilst we are in a committed relationship to each other.  I work hard not only for myself, but for my husband and children too so we can all reap the benefits.  I’d find it worrying if my partner didn’t want to be open about their earnings and I’d probably assume they think I want to steal it, or else why wouldn’t they feel able to share it with me?!  If it’s the other way around and they earn a low wage and are possibly in debt, then this also needs to be shared so the partner can support and live within their means.

    Read also Why saving an emergency fund is a great idea

    Bankruptcy equates to the end of a relationship

    Only around 10% of women and men think bankruptcy means a relationship will end.  Obviously it depends on the circumstances involved, but I would not end my relationship with my husband if he became bankrupt and I hope he would not with me either.  That would not be a reason to break up so long as we were honest with each other about our finances up to this point and tried our best to prevent it.  If the relationship was full of lies about finance and secret debt, however, then I can see how this could result in the breakdown of a relationship.  It’s best to be open and honest about finances and to live within your means.

    It’s important to save for your future

    Around 90% of men and women agree with this and I do too.  It’s so important to put some money to one side, both as an emergency fund and also for a pension.  Being in agreement with your other half about this certainly helps.  It can cause friction if one wants to blow every penny and live like there’s no tomorrow and the other one wants to save as much as possible for a better future.  Finances need to be discussed openly for this very reason and an agreement reached.

    Money can certainly be a taboo topic, but in an open and honest relationship full of trust and understanding, it really doesn’t have to be.  In the beginnings of a relationship it may be hush-hush, but for a relationship to last I think conversations about money are natural and needed.

    What to read next
    Why I do what I do: my plans for the future.
    How to raise the cash for an unexpected bill and my own debt story
    What to do when you have debt you cannot pay
    What to do if you’re struggling to manage your finances
    4 Rules for Preventing Future Debt and Mastering Your Finances

    How money influences a relationship

    Collaboration