Friday, 15 March 2019

Are You Ready For The Unexpected?

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Life is an adventure full of unexpected twists and turns, just when you think you have all your ducks in a row, something comes along and throws everything out of whack - but hey, that’s what makes it interesting, right? You never know what might be around the corner - good or bad, it could be an unexpected pregnancy, a new job opportunity or sadly you could lose your job, have an accident, get ill or lose a loved one and all of these events could have and probably will have a significant impact on your finances. So, are you prepared for life, for the unexpected - good and bad? And do you know how you can prepare while still enjoying yourself and living life to the full?

Be Realistic
No one plans for illness, why would you? You don’t prepare for a tree falling on your car - why would you? But when one of these out of the ordinary events happen, you could actually be prepared and know how to deal with it and have the means to deal with it. You won’t be surprised or shocked, and you could even have some money put to one side or access to cash or the right people to help you through it. It’s tough to focus on adverse and traumatic events until you have to, however, if you do and you can think about what could/might happen, and what you would do about it, mentally walking it through, it can help you to work out what you might need. What would you need if you were hit with a sudden illness, personal tragedy, or a natural disaster? How likely is it in your job or where you live that you could suffer a personal injury? Think about what you would need for yourself personally, for your family and what you would need professionally. What help would you need for yourself and your team family get out of the situation in the best way possible?

Can You Prepare For A National Disaster?
Do you live somewhere susceptible to flooding or storms? If you do, then it is wise to plan for natural disasters. You can see from any newspaper the devastating effects these disasters can have on homes and families, and they can also happen very suddenly. Insurance for these kinds of events is a must, and as well as that, a good emergency kit and five-day supply of food and water are good to have on hand in your home, car or office. It doesn’t have to be anything extreme or elaborate, but being prepared in this way can make a difficult situation much easier to get through.

Think About The People You Know
Professionally and personally, who do you have in your life who will be willing and able to help you if you need them? Is there a good number of people you can count? Have you helped people yourself in the past when they have needed it too? It doesn’t have to be financially, but do you know people to give you advice, coaching, or counseling? Each person you know will be able to offer something different; some people will be great at providing practical help such as meal deliveries, or personal friends who will stop by your home to help out. Having a support system can be invaluable when an unwelcome event occurs.

What About Your Job?
If you have an accident or fall ill and find yourself having to be away from your job for an extended period, this can add additional stress as you might be worried about your work, your clients and your team. Will they be able to manage without you? If you get a system in place for these kinds of eventualities, this will help to keep your mind at rest, as well as improve your team and employer know that everything will be taken care of. Organising passwords and organizing workflow enables freedom for you. Don’t worry about it making you more replaceable, share information and cross train your colleagues because if you’re a valued employee you will not be easily replaced, and this attitude is very beneficial to the company, and they will know that. If not for an unexpected life event but for merely going on annual leave, it makes life easier for everyone instead of creating a sense of panic and emergency.  

As well as the work side of things, investing time in building strong working relationships and having a reputation for being reliable is essential should a personal emergency. Making yourself an invaluable part of your business community, making unique contributions and looking for innovative ways to add value will ensure a higher chance of your company supporting you and giving you the time you need, should disaster strike.

On a more personal level, if you are there for your colleagues and others in your network when they need you, then they are more likely to pick up slack when you can’t do so.

Think Clearly
When the unexpected happens, it can be challenging to think clearly and not get caught up in the emotion surrounding the event. Make sure you take care of yourself as much as possible during these times and find ways to alleviate stress and calm yourself. Whether it’s taking long walks, drawing, or just spending time with family and friends, find the activities that will help you remain calm and centered so you can make the best decisions in difficult situations.

Begin with an Emergency Fund
One of the first steps for preparing for the unexpected is to have a substantial emergency fund in place. Your emergency savings should ideally cover three to six months of living expenses. However, if you are single, or you are a single-income family, you then building an emergency fund of up to a year is desirable if you can. This will provide security for you and for your family if you suddenly lose your job and struggle to find another one, or if you are struck with an unexpected illness and have an unplanned gap in your earnings.

It is reassuring to know you have the money there while you are concentrating on dealing with other issues such as finding a new job, doctors appointments or anything else that could affect your income.

Money Money Money
It’s essential to prepare financially to the best possible extent, do you have some money put aside if your car or boiler breaks down? Saving some money, investing in insurance to protect your assets and income, and creating a comprehensive financial plan can give you more flexibility and help you bounce back from difficult times is vital. Disability, renter's, or homeowners insurance and a line of credit that can help you cover unexpected expenses in a pinch is an excellent idea to look into. Also, speak to your HR department about what they can offer you, as an increasing amount of companies are making financial counseling and planning advice available to their employees. Know your employment policies and benefits, as well as your employment rights; know the leave and other benefits to which you are entitled to.

Do You Have Life Insurance?
It is essential that you have life insurance for your family or your spouse if you are married, and especially if you have children. Life insurance should provide your family with enough money for them to pay off any debt and live on if you are not around anymore.  If you have children, you should make sure that the insurance is enough to help cover the cost of their education. Depending on your circumstances of course, but if your partner doesn’t work or doesn’t earn enough and they will also have to deal with the loss as well as other things, so will need time off work. You and they need to know that they are cared for and make the whole thing as smooth as possible.

Do you need insurance for anything else?
While we have already covered natural disasters, even if you don't live somewhere where your house is susceptible to them, it doesn’t mean you are off the hook. Make sure you have sufficient health insurance, as well as renter’s or home insurance coverage. While this adds to your bills and monthly budget, it will save you in the long run. Remember that accidents do happen and sadly the following costs can add up very quickly which could leave you in debt.

Think Outside The Box
While this all might seem easier said than done, if disaster does strike when you are unprepared, there are plenty of options for you to turn to, whether it is asking family or friends, Guarantor Loans from Buddy Loans, or taking on extra work to earn more money. There are always options and advice available.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Have Yourself A Thrifty Little Christmas

While you may have grand dreams of a mammoth goose on the table at Christmas, an eight foot monster tree, and presents galore for the kids, sometimes our budgets cannot match up to our lofty dreams. Just because you are not swimming in cash doesn’t mean that you cannot have a fantastic and memorable Christmas. Some of the most glorious aspects of the festive period are those things that cost very little at all. Remember when you were young and you baked mince pies with your mum, or when you handmade your Christmas cards complete with dried pasta and pipe cleaners? Why not hark back to this golden age and encourage your brood to embark on a thriftier winter holiday this year?

Save Up

If you haven’t started already, make sure that you budget to save a proportion of your wage each month towards Christmas. This doesn’t have to be hundreds of pounds. £20 here and there will soon add up to create a festive fund. If your finances have seen better days, consider venturing to a site like and explore the option of a short term loan, not to splash out on gifts, but to consolidate your debt, making festive budgeting easier. Specific Christmas saving schemes are handy for those people who struggle to keep their money in a bank account. It can be a pleasant surprise when you withdraw your cash at the beginning of December, and you have a tidy little nest egg ready to enjoy with your family.

Go For Experiences Over Gifts

The new trend is to purchase experiences like the ones at, rather than unwrappable presents. If you are this way inclined, you could end up saving your family a whole load of cash. Consider what your family loves doing together. This could be heading to the beach, the movies or a city break. By exploring an experience gift for your offspring, you could be making more valuable memories than if you bought them a random computer game that they’ll soon stop playing by the end of January. There’s no better time to create moments of quality family time than the Christmas holidays.

Get Crafting

Nowadays there’s a craft for everything. You might fancy a spot of decoupage for your Christmas wrapping paper, getting the kids to bake some festive cupcakes for the neighbours or whipping up some homemade baubles and decorations for the tree. While it is a little more time consuming than heading to the shops, this way of celebrating Christmas can be more fulfilling and memorable. There’s nothing better than seeing your kids with glitter and glue and smiles on their faces to give you that warm festive feeling.

While Christmas is a time to splash out and live a little, there’s nothing wrong with adding a little frugality to your festive plans. Instead of breaking the bank, why not explore more thrifty options this year. The most important thing is that you and your brood can make happy Christmas memories that will last a lifetime.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Maintaining Your Sense of Style as a Mum

When you have kids, your whole life becomes about them. And on top of working and running a household, your appearance can easily slide down your list of priorities. Maybe you find yourself dressing for comfort, or where you’re rushing around in the morning find that you don’t exactly care about the way you look. But appearances are important, it’s more than just being shallow. It’s not to say you need to look like a catwalk model every day, but feeling like you look acceptable will boost your self esteem and help you to maintain your sense of identity. If you’re in a bit of a rut and aren’t liking what you see in the mirror, here are some easy and inexpensive ways you can make a change and feel like ‘you’ again.

Buy yourself a new outfit
When was the last time you bought yourself some new clothes, or experimented with your style? You really don't have to spend a fortune, places like Primark sell clothes incredibly cheaply or you could scour your local charity shops. A new dress, jacket or top might be just what you need to give yourself a boost. You can mix and match with things you already have or invest in an entirely new outfit. Choose clothes that flatter your figure and when you put them on, make you feel happy and confident. You don’t need to parade around in new things every day, but if you’re going out somewhere or just feel like looking nice on some days then you have the ability to do so.

Try a new makeup look
Makeup is a fantastic tool. It can be used to subtly enhance your looks, or totally transform them. As a busy mum, why not master a ‘five minute makeup routine’- a bit of foundation, blush, eyeliner and mascara can make you look fresh and finished and can boost your self esteem all day. If you want to go bolder, experiment with false lashes, contouring, smokey eyes and bright lipstick. There are plenty of ideas on sites like Pinterest and Youtube tutorials for women of all ages, regardless of your style. Again, you don’t need to spend much- makeup from the high street can be very good. Read some reviews online for the best budget items.

Get a piercing
A piercing is a fun way to express yourself and can allow you to feel cool and youthful again. You could look into a tragus piercing, helix or an anti-helix, also known as a snug. You can find out more about the snug piercing online as well as other alternatives. With the right jewellery it can be as bold or subtle as you like so is something you could go for regardless of the job that you do. Another option would be to have a tattoo. After having your kids, now is a time for rediscovery and expressing yourself again and these are great ways to go about this.

How do you maintain your sense of style and identity as a mum?

Maintaining Your Sense of Style as a Mum