April 2014 archive
Even for the shrewdest of us, we seem to throw good money after bad at ours cars. It is an unfortunate fact that cars are a huge drain on the bank balance, especially if you are not being savvy with your finances. Do not despair; your car does not have to be the financial drain that it is. There is little doubt that the costs of running a car seem to soar. Petrol and insurance are both huge factors to take into consideration when looking at the financial impact of your beloved automobile. There are number of different ways that you can save money on the day to day costs of running your car:
Local mechanics and garages tend to be cheaper than large franchises, so going local just makes good economic sense. If in doubt, get recommendations from friends, do a quick internet search and check out the reviews. Going local could save you a small fortune in the long run.
If the repairs that need doing on your car are minor, why not do them yourself. While the thought of repairing your own car may seem daunting, even doing a simple oil change yourself can save you a huge sum of money. With a small amount of research and investing a small of time, you can see the savings mount. Check out 247spares car parts for great deals on spares and repairs.
By outlaying a nominal sum of money regularly to ensure that your car is in tip-top condition, you can save hundreds in the long run. By running your car into the ground and avoiding a regular service, you are allowing potential problems with the car to get worse. When the car finally gives in, you will be left with a rather large mechanics bill. Check the service history and see when your car was last serviced. Your car manual should give you clear guidance on how often your car should be serviced.
Check Your Car’s Tyre Pressure:
By checking the cars tyre pressure, you can save a small amount of money each month. Driving on underinflated tyres means that your car has to work twice as hard to get you from A to B, which shows on your cars fuel consumption. With the cost petrol seemingly more expensive, it is a shrewd way to save money and see the financial services instantaneously.
Photo Credit: Hartwig HKD
Remember to Haggle:
This can relate to insurance, services, breakdown cover and repairs made by a mechanic. If you think the price is unjust or too high, let the relevant companies know. Prepare to haggle to get a fair price. If you think that the price is too much, or you are unsure on exactly what the money is going on, ask for a breakdown of costs. That way, you can make a fair assessment of what is needed and whether you think the price is too high. Use your bargaining power and save money.
Be smart with your car, and you can see the savings mount, giving you more money to spend on the things that you love.
How you spend your downtime is vicariously just as important to accomplishing all your jobs and errands as working directly on them. You can’t operate at capacity if you’re not finding time to unwind and replenish properly; excuse the poor analogy but you can’t expect a car to drive long distances without you making stops to fill it with more petrol.
The simplest and most obvious one I think, but often overlooked to great detriment. Light exercise can consist of something as achievable and relaxed as a long walk- and if not a scenic recreational walk, perhaps in place of a morning commute. A lot of people won’t realize that if they’re not tiring out their bodies then their sleep isn’t the best quality it could be, and that’ll cause untold amount of stress too! If walks aren’t for you then yoga is a well renowned stress-annihilator, for its gentle exercise and even more so for its heavy focus on meditation.
If your bath is like mine then it’s filled with clothes and talcum powder most of the time, in between my bi-monthly baths. But even finding a day a week to sink into the tub, with some candles around, and either a nice book or a bit of relaxing music, will have you noticeably less tightly wound in no time.
I’m not talking about going out to a spa for a professional rub-down (although there really is no parallel for that if you do find time), I simply advocate getting your partner or a truly good friend to crack out the grapeseed oil and knead out those knots of tension from your poor shoulders every once in a while. To be honest even administering a massage alleviates stress itself, so maybe you can take it in turns, everyone’s a winner!
If you can identify specific causes of stress in your life, like smoking or anger issues, then professional hypnotherapy could be the route for you. Expert hypnosis can not only aid in getting rid of behaviours you’d be better off without, but can change your outlook on worrisome situations, and even just deal directly with removing feelings of stress. And with some of the better clinics now starting to offer webcam therapy sessions, it’s a no-brainer.
You can’t have failed to notice that the right music has a massive impact on your mood but, even knowing that, some people still don’t find a moment to just kick back and listen to their favourite album. Have a sing along, have a dance, you’ll be amazed just how cathartic it can be.
How do you expect to relax when you’re constantly the victim of a barrage of bleeps and buzzes? Instantly accessible by everyone, anytime. Don’t you remember a time before mobile phones? Before the internet? It was okay right? Nobody mithering you. Whichever of the preceding 5 you choose to combat your stress with, their effectivity is going to increase tenfold if you just fall off the radar for a couple of hours. Phone on silent (or off altogether), no tablet or device, computer or laptop, don’t even turn on the TV. Serene silence. Heaven.
When I first started buying cars, people always used to tell me about how I should avoid car dealers like the plague.
Thoughts of wheeler-dealer types like Arthur Daley in the old TV programme “Minder” would often enter my mind whenever people spoke to me about such car sellers, but the truth is it’s actually better to buy from a car dealership rather than a private seller – and the majority of car dealers are not like how I described them just now!
Photo via Flickr
You might think I am being completely barmy suggesting that you only buy your car from a dealer, but there are many different benefits to that over buying from a private seller. Here’s what you need to know:
When things go wrong, you aren’t on your own
As a trader, car dealerships have to abide by certain laws and regulations when it comes to selling cars direct to consumers. They are responsible for ensuring that the car you buy is legitimate, accurately described, roadworthy and isn’t “clocked”.
If you drive away in your new or used car and something goes wrong, you will have the opportunity to take the issue up with the car dealer that you bought the car from. The only times they aren’t liable for when things go wrong is if the problem is down to wear and tear or if you have misused the car in some way.
Car dealers offer a wide range of services
When you walk into a car dealership such as one owned by pentagon-group.co.uk, you can’t help but notice that a number of services are on offer to motorists just like you. Examples of the services typically offered include:
Servicing and repairs – many dealers will have their own workshops that employ skilled motor vehicle technicians, available to work on most makes and model of car;
Financing – the vast majority of consumers finance their car purchases, so it makes sense for car dealers to be able to offer financing facilities for their customers;
Warranties – used cars typically don’t have much of a warranty other than the minimum amount of warranty required by law, or the warranty of the car’s manufacturer if it is new enough. Some dealers offer extended warranty options with the cars that they sell, for your added peace of mind;
Parts – main dealers aligned to specific makes will even have their own parts department, so if you need any parts for your car, you can always go and buy them from the same place that you bought your car from.
You can trade your old car in
For some people, it is often convenient to trade their old car when buying a new one and having the money off their new purchase. Although this doesn’t always give you the highest value for your car that you could achieve had you sold it privately, it’s a great option for those that own cars which aren’t particularly valuable, such as older cars or those with higher-than average mileage.
Houses are used for many things, mainly to keep a roof over our heads, but when we decide to renovate our homes we need to consider how we are going to use it in order to make it as practical as possible.
For example, if you have young children, providing them with a ‘play room’ might be a practical move with that spare bedroom or if you have pets, something as simple as putting a cat or dog flap in the back door could be worthwhile.
If your home is regularly filled with friends and families and you host a number of parties then you will want to ensure there are parts of your home that are practical for when people come to say hello. For instance, the heart of the home often refers to the kitchen, where you will find you and your friends spend a large chunk of your time chatting and drinking. This will mean the kitchen will need to be practical and durable.
To make it practical but still look great you will need to invest in a flooring that is easy on the eye, durable and easy to clean and there is no better option than kitchen floor tiles. Kitchen floor tiling is hard-wearing and it comes in a number of styles and designs so you can simply install it to suit your existing décor. There is no need to completely change your kitchen by removing units and painting walls, just by adding a flooring that stands out, you can completely transform a room.
If you’re predominantly known for hosting the family barbeques though, you will need to turn your attention outside. The garden can be what turns your great home into an unbelievable one, but is one of the hardest aspects of your home to keep looking beautiful all year round. For parties, it might be advisable to install a patio or decking area for people to sit and enjoy the sun, away from the fumes of the BBQ. Grass looks beautiful when it’s bright green and healthy, but again this is very difficult to keep on top off so the best alternative is artificial grass. With very little maintenance and a guarantee that it will stay green all year round, it is perfect for children, pets and even adults.
Back in the house, and if you and your friends enjoy a little tipple every now and then and are struggling for space for your bottles of wine, a simple and cost-effective way to store them is by using a wine rack. Wine racks come in a lot of shapes and sizes and can add a great feature to your home, even if all it does is hold your copious amounts of red wine. Still, it’s practical and perfect for entertaining.
So, if your home is the headquarters for parties, it could be time to up your game and improve your homes practicality so parties can be easier than ever.
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You have read the title of this piece and your answer will be “ because they can hand them back”. Well, yes, that is a big advantage of being a grandparent, and it can be a good thing. But there are many other reasons why being a grandparent can be more fun than being a parent.
If you are worried about getting old, you shouldn’t be. You may be closer to meeting your maker and your joints may be shot, but being older gives you a different outlook to that you had when you were in your prime.
Read on to find out why it is great to be a wrinkly.
You have been there and done it. Purely by living as long as you have, you have gained a certain amount of wisdom that cannot be learned any other way. Teenage years left their marks on your personality, and you met several loves of your life before finding the perfect one and settling down to raise a family of your own.
When your first child is born and returns home, you remember the sheer panic and weight of responsibility that kept you awake at nights (as well as the crying, of course). How can you provide for and give the best possible start to this little one/ It’s hard enough taking care of yourself most of the time.
As the child grows, without realising it, you find that skills involved in being a parent are gained one at a time, as they are needed. It’s not rocket science, after all. We are guided by systems in society for many things. The ages for inoculations are set down and we are reminded of them, schooling is just a great big machine, with rules set that we all follow. When the kids are ill we know where to turn. Though people think that parenting is hard, when you look back on it, much is taken care of for you.
When the children are nearing the end of their school life, however, we start to panic again over what they are going to do with the rest of their lives. Looking back, we realise that most of this takes care of itself too. By this age, they are competent young adults who can follow their own paths.
When your grandchildren arrive, you will recognise that look of terror on your child’s face. You are now armed with the wisdom to know, however, that everything is going to be fine for your child and grandchild. Now your skills can come into their own. While your child is feeling the pressure and running around in a panic, your wisdom allows you to leave all of the hard work to them while you take pleasure engaging with your grandchild as a friend. You have more time for them too, and look forwards to visits and long childish chats. You don’t feel so guilty as a parent when you take them to the pick and mix stand or let them have a sugary drink. Leave that worry to their mom and dad.
As you can see, being a grandparent is a magical time in anyone’s life. When you hear that comment about handing them back, it is just bravado. Often waving goodbye is a sad time, but it always leaves you with something to look forward to next week. You will need that time to build your strength back up, so make the most of it.
Do you remember the time when you learnt how to drive? When I was learning to drive, back in the late 1990s, I had a really horrible Metro to learn in. I’m sure there are some die-hard Metro enthusiasts out there, but the car I was learning in really was a piece of junk!
I actually failed my driving test in it because when I put my foot on the brake pedal to do an emergency stop, the accelerator pedal got stuck (due to a dodgy cable from what I remember). That was truly a facepalm moment!
Afterwards, I had decided to ditch my current driving “instructor” and went with a more professional firm that had a fleet of Ford Fiesta cars. Being a Vauxhall person at heart, I didn’t really think I’d have a better experience but having driven one I can see what the car was – and still is – the most-popular car to drive in nations such as the United Kingdom!
Car technology, design and style has clearly come a long way since the tail end of the 20th century and today in 2014, the Ford Fiesta is still proving to be the number one choice; not just with owners and drivers, but also with youngsters learning to drive.
Why is the Ford Fiesta such a perfect car for learners?
Obviously you won’t want to just take my word for it so I will talk you through some of the specific reasons why millions of people – not just me – think that the Ford Fiesta is the perfect learner driver car for youngsters.
First of all, the new Ford Fiesta is very stylish. I know that style won’t help you to pass your driving test, but it’s one of the factors that attracts young drivers to the car.
It is also going to be the most-likely influencing factor for their buying decision (or yours) when they pass their driving test, as they will more than likely want to drive the same make and model of car they passed in because of familiarity reasons.
Car dealerships such as the GK Group sell the Fiesta like hotcakes, and a lot of their customers happen to be either youngsters looking for an affordable, reliable car, or their parents; I wish my parents bought me a brand new car when I passed my test!
Secondly, and arguably the most-important point, is that like it’s predecessors, the Ford Fiesta is actually a really easy car to drive. It’s small enough to navigate around busy city streets and park in tight spaces, yet its interior is extremely cavernous and will comfortably transport the driver and three passengers over long distances.
Thirdly, the Fiesta is a very safe car to drive. According to test results from Euro NCAP, the independent organisation set up by several European nations to determine how safe new cars are, the Ford Fiesta scored an impressive five out of five stars on crash tests, with a score of 91% for adult occupants and 86% for child occupants.
A great bag can literally make or break your outfit. Wearing a fun bag can be a great way to show off your personality, impress your friends, and even impress your boss (perhaps enough to give you that promotion!). If you choose the wrong bag, your look can suffer greatly – nobody wants that, do they? Perhaps you’re not sure of how exactly to buy the perfect bag that will compliment any look you choose. Well, we are – so sit back, relax, and learn everything you need to know about buying a great bag!
Image Source: Flickr
In the same way you’d choose a nice top or pair of jeans, a handbag should fit your body type. I don’t mean that the shape of the bag should match your figure, rather you should choose the opposite of your body type. If you’re a tall, thin woman, then a large oversized bag could look amazing. However, it’s all about what makes you feel comfortable, and if you don’t like something you should pass on it. A nice, classic design will last for years while maintaining a sense of style.
Fakes and Lookalikes
If you’re looking to get a designer bag, you need to watch out for fakes. A fake is something that has totally ripped off a designer bag, complete with their logo. A lookalike can also be called a ‘dupe’ where a bag is simply inspired by a designer piece (a lot of womens clothes stores do this). If your deal seems to be too good to be true and you’re thinking of buying from a market or eBay seller, then it could be a fake (although eBay is good for bargains at times). Make sure you only buy your bags from reputable sellers.
You must have had a bag at one point or another that was uncomfortable for you to carry. This is usually down to the handles. Some people like to carry their bag over their shoulders, others like to wear them cross body. Whatever your preference, don’t stray too far from it. You’ll carry your bag with you every day, so you need to be comfortable. To get an idea of the kind of bag you could be carrying with you day to day, check this out from Shinola.
It might be tempting to buy a big oversized bag for fashion purposes, but if you don’t have a lot of things to carry with you, it’s pointless. You’ll end up overfilling your bag, and rummaging around for what feels like an age looking for what you’re after. Buy a bag big enough to fit your essentials; purse, phone, I.D, glasses, lipstick, and anything else you need. This doesn’t have to be huge!
Colour and Pattern
You don’t need to be boring when choosing a new bag. Although it should be versatile, you can still choose a colourful or patterned bag that will go with most of your wardrobe. In fact, your bag could make a lovely focal point!
Go on ladies, go out there and buy the bag of your dreams!
Nobody gets married with the intention of splitting from their partner a few years later and getting involved with a messy child custody battle, but unfortunately, this happens quite a lot in the modern world, and so you need to be as prepared as possible for any eventuality. I recently went through something like this, and although it was stressful and upsetting, with the right advice from my lawyer, I managed to pull through. With that in mind, today I’m going to relay some handy tips that could make the process a little more bearable for all involved. Of course, your partner may act incredibly unreasonably in this situation, but that doesn’t mean you have to bring yourself down to their level.
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At the end of the day, you want to get through this is the quickest time possible to avoid it having adverse effects on your children. I can tell you from personal experience that family breakups can have a massively negative impact on your child’s mental health, and it’s not always obvious until they’re a little older. Indeed, my own parents split when I was four years old, and it took me until the age of around 22 to completely recover from it. That might sound extreme, but it’s the god’s honest truth.
So, take a read through some of my tips, and hopefully you’ll limit the chances of this happening to your kids…
Tip #1: Always Remain Calm
Situations will almost certainly become heated quickly during a child custody battle, but you need to remain calm and rational at all times. This is the best way to show the authorities that you are the best parent for the job.
Tip #2: Never Lie In Court
You might be tempted to tell a couple of small lies in court, but this should be avoided like the plague. Any lawyer with the same level of experience as Attorney Mark Goldstein will tell you that getting busted for one lie means your entire case falls apart.
Tip #3: Think About The Child
Child custody battles happen because two parents each believes they’re better for the child concerned. Even so, don’t try to get residency for your kids if you know in the back of your mind that your ex partner would do a better job.
Tip #4: Be Patient
Divorces can take a long time to come through, and child custody cases aren’t that different. Your son or daughter will have to speak with social services representatives to help determine their happiness levels, and you’ll have to jump through a lot of hoops. This is just something you have to accept.
Tip #5: Don’t Be Vindictive
In situations where a couple co-owned a property, it’s usually the partner who keeps it that gets custody of the child. However, as I’m sure all the rational people reading this article understand, that is not a good enough reason to fight for a child you’re unable to look after properly.
Well, hopefully know you’ll be a little better prepared should anything go wrong in the future. None of us like to imagine things like this happening, but they do, and so we shouldn’t avoid the issue.
Follow my advice, and everything should go smoothly.