9 tips to make moving-house stress free

There’s no getting around it – moving-house can be painful and stressful.

At the very least you’ll be working to timescales with a lot of packing and logistics to consider – and then there’s the additional worries that go hand-in-hand with relying on solicitors, banks and vendors…

We recently sat down with the team at Your Property Advice who offer free mortgage advice in Glasgow which have compiled the following 8 tips, you may be able to reduce your headaches and midnight box shifting…

  1. Start early

It’s a simple tip and almost everyone plans it – but few people actually start packing and planning as early as they should.

Instead of planning to have everything ready on your move date – aim to have everything done 1 week before. That kind of plan might force you to start even earlier, especially if you’ve got work and family commitments to consider.

Now, in reality you’re going to end up running over that week – which is fine, because you’ll need clothes and essentials to stop life grinding to a halt. But, it’s better to aim to get finished before time, rather than working until the small hours of the morning the day before you move.

  1. Create a checklist

Moving-house is a big deal and our brains don’t do well with big deals on top of day to day life – which means you’re going to forget stuff.

Instead of leaving it to chance, create a checklist of everything you know will need to be done, signed, kept out, stored, borrowed – and so forth. When you’ve got your list, print it out a few times and stick it around the house.

It’s not totally fool proof – but half the battle is just keeping the most important things in your mind.

  1. Do a reconnaissance mission

This is an optional tip depending on where you’re moving to – if you’re staying local and know the area you’re heading for then feel free to skip forward.

However, if you’re moving to a totally different postcode, it’s going to be worth doing a bit of homework to make the transition as smooth as possible. If you can, take a trip to your new place a week or two ahead of time and look at the following:

  • What’s the parking provision around the house like? There’s nothing worse than turning up with a van or a big box of breakables and finding out you can’t park within half a mile of your front door.
  • Where’s the local shop or supermarket? You’re going to need some essentials when you land – and setting out to try to find milk or something for dinner without knowing where to go can be painful, plan-ahead and keep things simple.
  • Is there a recycling centre or tip nearby? You’re going to need to get rid of heaps of boxes, wrapping and packaging stuff if you want to keep your new place stress free and tidy. Knowing where to take it all is really helpful.

You might want to take things to the next level and checkout what’s a decent takeaway for your first night hassle free meal – a bad chicken tikka masala can really take the edge off the excitement!

  1. Create some key leeway

If it’s possible, creating some breathing space with the handing over of keys puts you in an enviable position.

For example, you’re handing the keys to your landlord on the 30th of the month – why not get paperwork in place to make sure you can move into the new place on the 28th or 29th – giving you an extra day to get your possessions moved and give your old place a spring clean?

It can get complicated if you’re selling and buying – and therefore relying on funds being moved – but it’s not impossible, talking to vendors and solicitors can free time up.

  1. Get good boxes

Short and simple tip! Getting some good big boxes can make a world of difference. Storage and removal companies often sell them, or, if you’re working on a budget, asking politely at supermarkets is good too.

  1. Make a document box

There is virtually nothing worse than trying to remember which box that ‘important stuff’ is buried in – and typically, it won’t be in the first one you empty into the back of the rental van.

Get one small box and make it the place that the important stuff goes. Documents, wallets and purses, keys and phone chargers are all important, keeping them safe will stop tempers flaring when the pressure is on.

  1. Buy a cordless screwdriver

If you like your furniture Scandinavian, then you’re probably familiar with that unique ache in your wrist that comes after the 300th turn of a little silver hex key. Moving-house is a double pain if you’ve got flat pack stuff in your house – because you’re going to need to take it apart then put it back together again – sometimes within hours.

You’ll be able to pick up a perfectly adequate cordless screwdriver for about £15. If you’re not DIY-savvy, just search on Amazon or in B&Q – they’re a little gun-shaped power tool and they’re an absolute piece of cake to use – quiet too. Trust us, it’ll become your new favourite thing when you’re on wardrobe number two…

  1. Create a survival kit

A little like the document box, a survival kit means that you’re not hunting for stuff when time and your mood would benefit from a little convenience.

If you’re a coffee drinker, put it in. Don’t want to be turning boxes out to find your toothbrush, make up or shower gel? Put an overnight toiletries bag in. At very least, make sure you’ve got a change of clothes and a towel in there so you’ve not faced with boxes the moment you wake up.

  1. Look after yourself

With a bit of scheduling and planning – you can put a bit of time aside to make sure you’re feeling good.

Feeling good means something different for everyone, it could mean finding a space on the floor and having a glass of wine while you’re on social media for an hour – or perhaps it means making sure your running trainers are in the survival kit box and getting out to pound the pavement for a little while.

You’re never going to totally remove the stress from getting into a new home – but keeping your head in a good place is a big step toward not letting the experience get on top of you.

9 gadgets, tools and apps for working from home jobs

9 gadgets, tools and apps for working from home jobs

You’re there! You’ve won the working from home job that finally gives you the freedom you want – or you’re setting up by yourself and making home your command centre. Whatever’s brought you here, you’re going to need to the right kit around you to make sure you’re as productive as possible – from physical kit to software and apps – we’ve got you covered.

  1. Handsfree headset

If you communicate with people every day you might want to think about getting a Bluetooth handsfree earpiece or headset. Most modern phones let you handle a variety of calls, whether that’s on normal cellular networks or over a data connection using a service like Skype or Whatsapp. It used to be that taking a Skype call meant being stuck in front of your computer – but as that’s no longer that case – so with a Bluetooth earpiece you can handle all your calls while you’re doing other tasks.

  1. 1Password

Struggle thinking of unique passwords for your email, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts? If the answer is yes, the world of remote working just made your password troubles ten-times worse. We can’t stress quite how important it is to choose unique passwords for every application, service and device you use – so if you want some help with that, look at a system like ‘1password’ – as its name suggests, you only need to remember a single password – it’s browser extensions and app integration mean one click will get you into everywhere else 100% securely.

  1. A laptop stand

If you’ve been allocated a work laptop (or you’re a business owner who likes the portability) then having a stand can make the difference between enjoying working on your machine or it taking a toll on your back, neck and shoulders. Ergonomics experts say your eyes should line up with the middle of your screen – which is often impractical for laptop users. If you’re really struggling with peering down at your screen, get a stand that sets your laptop fairly high and use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse in easy reach.

  1. Backup

If you’re working remotely as part of a bigger company then your IT team will hopefully have you covered in this regard – but if you’re setting out by yourself, you’re definitely going to want to invest in a good backup solution for all your files and data. By ‘backup’ – we don’t mean saving your important files to a USB drive – we’re talking about a dedicated cloud-based backup service that will keep you on track no matter what.

Without a good backup, you’re taking a big risk with your data. The risk is primarily from malicious programmes and viruses – but there’s also a possibility that computer could be damaged or suffer a hardware fault. Less than £5 per month will get you started.

  1. Trello

If you’re the kind of person who benefits from having to-do lists then you’ll fall in love with Trello. It’s a simple and customisable drag-and-drop task system. You start with an overview of everything you’re working on, each individual task is represented by a note which you can expand to enter more details. You can create any number of ‘boards’ – these act like larger project titles. Within those boards you make your own categories to start putting your notes in.

It’s a little like having a very well organised wall covered in post-its – except with Trello those notes can become places for notes, discussions, files, check-lists and so much more. Drag and drop to your hearts content. Oh, and you can share your boards with collaborators too.

  1. Pomodoro app

If you have any grasp of Italian you might be wondering what a ‘tomato app’ is going to offer you as a home worker – but actually the ‘pomodoro’ technique is well established business productivity tool – and is an absolute must if you’re one of the 25% of people who consider themselves a ‘chronic procrastinator’. You set a timer running for a short period (usually 20-25 minutes), during that time you concentrate on one task only – even switching your phone to silent if necessary. When the timer chimes – you’re done.

The thinking is this – 25 minutes of sole focus on one task is better than countless hours revisiting the same task in between a multitude of other distractions. And it works – it takes a little discipline, but you’ll be amazed at how productive you can be in such a short period. There are some great apps that offer alarms, tracking, prompts to keep you on task and much more. If you’re on iOS have a look at ‘Be Focused – Focus Timer & Goal Tracker’ on the Appstore, Android users might like ‘ClearFocus: Productivity Timer’ on Google Play.   

  1. An ergonomic chair

The majority of working from home jobs and new business start-ups involve sitting in front of a computer for lengthy periods of time. If you’re planning on doing that on your sofa or a dining room chair you’re going to quickly find yourself quite uncomfortable – worse still, actually damaging your back.

Finding a good ergonomic chair is a must – some are eye-wateringly costly, but not as eye-watering as painful physiotherapy sessions. The general sentiment is that you ‘get what you pay for’ – but realistically even a budget option is better than risking your back slumped on an unsuitable chair.

  1. Docusign

If your business is going to require signatures on legally binding documents, contracts, quotes or similar than having Docusign can take a huge amount of scanning, sending, copying and waiting out of the equation. It’ll reduce your costs elsewhere, especially in print and postage – and is backed up by over 200 million worldwide users – from huge multi-nationals to one-person start-ups, so you’re on sound legal ground.

  1. Coffee – and a big cafetiere

Finally, if you’re in the middle of launching your own business it’s time to buy a large cafetiere and some good strength ground coffee! There isn’t an entrepreneur in the world who got to where they are quickly and without some very long days and sleepless nights…

The Ultimate List of Money Saving & Discount Sites 2017

The internet can be an incredible source of money saving tips, vouchers, special offers and so much more – but you have to know where to look! Lots of sites claim to be able to save your hard-earned money, but not all deliver on their promises. Take the guess work out of your hunt with our handy guide to the best sites and what you can expect to find when you visit!

Also, check out this post with some of the best money saving tips for 2017!

  1. Quidco.com

With Quidco you sign up with your name and address to get access to an enormous list of companies (almost 4,500!) When you shop with any of them through the site you’ll earn cashback – sometimes up to 10%. The site costs £5 each year for membership but don’t worry – instead of paying that upfront it’s taken from your money earned.

Great for: Online shoppers who browse and shop with lots of different retailers.

  1. Say No To 0870

This site gives you the chance to avoid the premium rate numbers some companies use for you to contact them. Enter the details of the company you’re trying to reach and they’ll let you know if there’s a cheaper or free alternative number to ring!

Perfect for: People looking to keep their phone bill down and anyone who gets free landline minutes with on their mobile tariff.

  1. mySupermarketco.uk

At mySupermarket you can enter your full shopping list – when you’ve done so the site then compares your shop at most of the major supermarket chains and lets you know the different costs – meaning you can relax knowing you’re getting the best deal without having to do lots of legwork! Not only does it compare costs, but it will offer you cheaper brands of the same product and even suggest healthier options should you wish. You can then either order your shop to be delivered or head for your chosen supermarket happy in the knowledge you’re saving some money!

Ideal if: You’re keen to get the best value from your supermarket shop.

  1. Dealslandsco.uk

If you shop online you’ve probably seen a box that says ‘discount code’ or ‘promo code’ as you’re about to part with your money. If you’ve ever like leaving that box empty is a money-saving opportunity missed then Dealslands is the site for you: Enter the name of the retailer you’re shopping with, hit search and it’ll return any voucher codes they have for that site. There’s usually a lot, so scroll through and pick out something that suits your basket.

Great for: Anyone who’s got a couple of extra minutes while shopping online to look for big discounts.

  1. Supercook.com

SuperCook is a clever service that lets you list everything in your household cupboards; it then instantly searches hundreds of thousands of recipe ideas from the most popular cooking sites and returns some great ideas for meals you can put together with your ingredients!

Ideal for: Anyone who’s keen to make their food go further with delicious recipes.

  1. Wow247.com

Wow 24/7 is a comprehensive site that lists interesting days out and attractions by location or type of day out you’re looking for. As well as being brilliant for ideas the site always lets you know about 2-for-1 entry offers, discounts, freebies and other great money saving opportunities.

Great for: People who still want to enjoy their free time while be careful with their finances.

  1. Topcashback.co.uk

This service is built on an interesting principle – generally when a website advertises a product they are paid a commission if you click on their advert and buy it. Instead of pocketing the money, Topcashback give that money to you. So if you’re planning on shopping online it’s worth looking through their list of partner retailers (there are thousands and thousands of big names) and looking at what you’ll earn if you purchase through the site.

Prefect for: Online shoppers who want to see their savings add up into cash.

  1. Give or Take

This is a cashback site with a difference – there are huge amounts of great deals and retailers and possible cashback rewards of up to £60 or 20% of the purchase value, but you can choose whether you take the money yourself or donate your rewards to one of 50 charities that are associated with the site.

Ideal for: People who are keen to give to important charities while still saving money.

  1. CamelCamelCamel

If you’ve ever bought something on Amazon and been frustrated by spotting the price cheaper a few days later then this is the site for you. You can enter products you’re interested in buying from Amazon and CamelCamelCamel tracks those prices – sending you notifications when prices drop and letting you double check that you’re not paying an increased price.

Great for: People who can wait to make sure they’re getting the very best price.

  1. FreePrintable.com

Got a printer and fed up of paying through the nose for things you could print at home? Whether it’s colouring books, craft, puzzles and games, invitations, calendars, birthday cards or many others, you’re likely to find what you’re looking for here. If you combine this with buying printer cartridges on a cashback site you’re being double-smart with the finances!

Ideal if: You’re sick of paying a fortune for things that can be done just as well at home!

  1. Energy Saving Trust

This really is a one-stop shop for everything relating to energy, being green and saving money. From simple tips of reducing bills – through to in-depth reviews of money saving methods such as insulation and green energy options. You can easily compare and swap energy providers and tariffs too, with the site claiming customer savings of £250+ per year.

Perfect if: You’re interested in seeing reductions in your gas and electricity bills.

  1. EntitledTo

It’s widely accepted that billions of pounds in benefit and allowance payments go unclaimed each year. EntitledTo gives you the chance to enter some details relating to your circumstances and seeing if you’re missing out on anything you should be claiming. It’s quite an in depth process but millions of people are missing you, so it’s well worth checking.

Great if: You’ve never considered all the possible allowances that might be available to you.

If any of these sound like they might be appealing, have a look! Your bank balance might just thank you for it.


How To Live On A Small Budget: Tips & Tricks

How To Live On A Small Budget: Tips & Tricks

Money is one of those things that we all wished that we had more of. However, many of us simply do not have the type of cash that we would like. Does this mean that we have to give up on all things that we love? The answer is most definitely no! There’s a tone of information out there that can help you budget easily and save money. For example, this post on the Top 10 Budgeting Tips for Low Income Families

We believe that with some careful budgeting and planning, you can lead a full and fun packed life, without having to break the bank each and every month. But how? Let us show you the way with our tips and tricks for enjoying life whilst keeping to a small and strict budget.

Enjoy some free entertainment

Stuck for things to do at the weekend or in the holidays? Not sure your wallet will manage a big family day out? Well, fear not, there are things that you can do without spending a penny. There are a variety of museums, galleries and educational centres spread across the UK, all of which are fascinating places to spend some time, and don’t cost you a penny!

Have a movie night at home

Fancy watching a movie, but not sure that you can face heading to the cinema? Why not make a cinema in your very own home? Find a film that you can all agree on (this could be the trickiest part) and cuddle up on the sofa with a variety of snacks. Not only is it a great (not to mention cheap) way to spend the evening, but it is also going to give you the chance to indulge in some quality family time.

Always make your own lunch

Eating out every day, or buying sandwiches from a shop can really see costs mount up. Save yourself some money and make your own lunch instead. Not only will you end up spending less, but you will be able to make everything just the way you like it!

Budget, budget, budget

It may be one of the most obvious tips to live well, but there is a reason why budgeting keeps coming up in the list. Having a budget in mind means that you are thinking about what you spend, and thinking about what you spend should mean that you make less frivolous purchases, saving yourself money in the long term.

Try the 30 day list

Feel that impulse shopping is your main problem? A 30 day list may just be the answer to this issue. If there is something that you feel that you just have to have, but it isn’t a necessity then pop it on the list. If, after 30 days, it is still something that you can’t live without, then make the purchase. You will be surprised how much this helps with impulse buying.

Join the library

Books can be expensive, even if you buy them second hand, not only this, but they also take up a lot of space in your home. Rather than buying books, why don’t you join your local library? Not only will you be helping keep a community service going, but you will also save yourself money on buying books. Just make sure that you take the books back otherwise you may be faced with a fine.

 Plan your meals

You will be surprised just how much money we spend on food around the UK. Not only does buying for dinner on the day cost us more money, but it can also contribute to the huge amounts of food wastage that we produce each and every year. A great way to save yourself some money, and feel better about your impact on the environment is to plan your meals in advance. You can look at what ingredients can be used two days in a row, and also do some meal prep in advance too, saving you time.

Get crafty

Not having anything to do on a rainy day isn’t good for anyone, so rather than heading out to a soft play centre and paying for the pleasure, why not indulge the kids in some crafty time at home. Let them do the things that you normally say are too messy, and not only will they have great fun, but you will save money too!

Shop around

There is always a bargain to be had. Whether it is on your groceries, your energy bill or that must have item, by taking the time to shop around and see what prices you can find, you are much more likely to get a good deal.

Try growing your own veg

Another way to cut back on how much you spend out on groceries is to think about ways that you can rely on yourself. Why not create a veggie patch in your garden? Not only is this great fun for all the family to do, but you will also save yourself money by not buying all those veggies! And you get to eat healthy too, which is such a huge bonus.

Fix things up

We have definitely developed a throwaway culture, whereby we are happier to throw things away then we are to make the effort to mend them. If you have some clothes that are otherwise fine apart from a hole, why not try to fix it? There are plenty of how to guides to get you going with sewing, and not only will it save you money from buying new clothes, but you will also have a great project to do too!

There are plenty of ways that you can save yourself money, and live a great life. All you need to do is think carefully about what you are spending out on, and take care of the money that you do have. That way, .when you want to have a splurge and do something as a family, you will be able to afford it!

Teaching Kids the Importance of Money

Financial education is crucial. The last thing we want to see is our kids growing up and needing debt help before they even get started in life. Unfortunately, we are not teaching our kids the importance of their finances early enough. This is something that needs to be addressed. After all, managing one’s finances is a fact of life. We have to prepare our children for that reality as early as possible.

Here are a couple of things parents can do to introduce the idea of financial responsibility to their children.

Teach them Early

In order for kids to understand the value of something, they have to experience it themselves. So, even at an early age give your kids the chance to pay for things. It can be as simple as a weekly treat. This is so that they understand that once you spend money, it’s gone.

Encourage them to Save

Give your child a chance to pick something they really want, and encourage them to save up for it. For older kids, consider letting them open a savings account of their own. This way, they will see the value of setting aside money for practical use.

These are just a few of the things parents can do to teach their children the importance of personal finances.

How to Effectively Save Money

It is everyone’s dream to have money set aside and tucked away into their little nest egg. This is unsurprising since saving money can help you accomplish a lot.

For instance, you can save up so that you can buy that car you’ve always wanted. Or maybe you are saving for a new home for your family. There are also some valuable money saving life hacks in this article that can also help you save money.

However, the problem is that most people are unable to do it. This article gives readers specific ways to save money.

Stick to a Budget

The best way to save money is by living within your means. You have to always be conscious of the income flow in your household. It is paramount that you do not go over it. Take time to review your spending habits in order to look for things you can cut back on.

Savings First, Spending Second

Most people the wrong approach to saving money and that is why they fail. For instance, come payday most people go on spending sprees. Whatever is left of their paycheck, they classify as ‘savings.’

However, if you want to effectively save, you need to do the opposite of that. You need to ensure that you set aside the money you want to save before you spend your money on anything.

These are just a few things you can do to effectively save money. So, always keep them in mind.