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The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky and entertaining daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or by one of our baby bloggers. Occasionally we accept guest posts too. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) education and swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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Category: Money Saving

  1. New Year Savings

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    I can't believe that it has been a month since we have posted on the blog and we have taken some time out and had a really good break. To be honest, having so much "down time" I have struggled to get back up again. And get out of bed in the morning. But you can't keep me down for long.

    The New Year always brings new starts for people, new ideas, sometimes new jobs and new homes and for me it is always a spring clean and a fresh approach.

    Last weekend I "cleansed" our bedroom of things we were just holding on to and in the words of Marie Kondo, found myself questioning whether or not those things brought me joy ..... or just something else to clean or store.

    Having cleaned out a lot of space I have now have some extra room to store some of the bargain savings I have been making.

    1. Buy Christmas Cards at less than half the price

    I know, I know! But I have bought some stunning Christmas cards for less than half the price and there is nothing nicer than opening a cupboard in November, already being prepared and having one less thing to buy in December.

    2. Make the swap

    We have swapped some of our brand shopping for local produce and shopping at Aldi. I can't say that I can still do a whole shop in one place but we are being more supportive of local businesses and saving money

    3. Buy in advance

    Being prepared is one of my biggest money savers. I always check the calendar for upcoming birthdays and events and set a budget. Especially at this time of year when so many expensive items are reduced, it is good to plan present ideas meaning the recipiant gets more, while you pay less!

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    4. Encourage money management

    Both my girls had Christmas money and now when they ask for something, I reply with "do you want to spend your Christmas money on it". If they do, then I know they really want it but if they don't, it highlights that it is just a "want" rather than a "need".

    5. Just say NO

    This is something I am learning to do this year. I am very much a Yes person. I love to go out, I love to take my girls on activities but in January I have said no on more than a couple of occasions already. Money saving right there! 

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    What do you do to survive the January pinch?

  2. How to keep the cost of Christmas decorating to a minimum

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    It’s advent! Time to deck the halls and pull out all the stops to ensure your home is sparkling, twinkling, merry and bright. While Christmas decorating is one of my favourite things to do with the kids, I’m definitely feeling as though there’s more of an expectation than ever to have a fantastically festive home.

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    Whether you’ve found inspiration on Pinterest, from a neighbour, or via following certain Insta accounts, 2018 is about creating a classy Chrismassy abode, from lighting to scents and all that’s in between. Heck, even your favourite seasonal Zoflora scent is a topic of interest this year. Yes, even your disinfectant. Needless to say, the pressure is on!

    With so much to think about, the cost of Christmas decorating can quickly sky rocket. It’s important to remember that your Christmas is about what it means for you and your family. If your Christmas tradition is to pull down the same tree from the attic and decorate it with family favourite baubles, then don’t cave under social media standards. As soppy as it sounds, memories are moments with meaning, rather than heaps of material possessions.

    That said, if you’re fancying a revamp or want to add to your existing collection, there are ways to push down the financial burden of decorating, so it’s a little kinder on your pocket.

    During advent, children are on top form, bursting with the excitement of Christmas. Channel this energy into some creative crafts. Making Christmas paperchains, paper snowflakes to stick to the windows and even Christmas crackers, will not only keep the young ones entertained, but is a sure way to make decorations steeped in sentimental value.

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    Scout around the charity shops, too. Often, when people buy new Christmas decorations, they donate their old ones to charity. This doesn’t mean they’re worn and outdated, either. Some homes buy new year on year, others donate theirs when they decorate with a new colour scheme. Have a browse around! You’ll be surprised.

    Do a bit of a decoration swap with family or friends. What’s old to you, is new to them, and sometimes that’s enough to give your Christmas decorating a bit of a boost. Incredibly cost effective – costing nothing at all – get together with your bits and bobs, and you may well have enough to swap to give your home a fresh new festive feel.

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    And finally, failing all that, check out the sales. As we head closer to the big day, stores start to panic that they won’t shift Christmas stock and prices drop. With up to 75% slashed of RRP on the highstreet, the longer you leave it, the better the deals you will get on decorations. Perhaps, you will keep your existing sparkle for this season, and bag a brand-new haul for 2019. Sounds like a plan!

  3. 3 easy ways to save money before Christmas

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    With Black Friday Week  and Cyber Monday Week done and dusted, we’re all feeling the pinch in our pockets this week. Although we’ve all supposedly been paid last week, I’m shook. My bank statement sure doesn’t look like it!

    As the end of the year gets closer and we are cozy in our homes, it is usually a time when we all think about new years resolutions and maybe a new home. Moving house is a massive undertaking for anyone, so before you start getting moving quotes we have some top tips for saving money before Christmas. It sounds like an impossible task but it can be done! 

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    We all know that December is tight. It’s no secret that when we get towards the end of the month, there’s an element of scrimping and saving. Luckily, we’ve already bought sufficient supplies of snacks, so at least we don’t starve. So long as you’re happy feasting on Festive Friends biscuits, M&S chocolate rounds, Pringles, and Quality Street toffee circles. If you’re lucky, there might even be an allusive After Eight left lurking somewhere amongst the empty wrappers.

    In all seriousness, while this is certainly the season for splurging, there are ways your can keep hold of some of your hard-earned cash.

    1. Go a bit Grinch with gifting

    OK, so that’s not in the holiday spirit, entirely, but it’s definitely worth rethinking your gifting. Sure, if you want to splurge on your children at Christmas, that’s great. You do your thing. But do you really need to be a second Santa Claus for the children of extended family and friends? Do you have to gift your parcel delivery lady, the staff at school, your colleagues? Probably not. Tot up what you would spend on presents you actually begrudge gifting and consider gradually decreasing the amount your pocket parts with. Alternatively, if you’re brave enough, scrap it altogether and simply explain you’re cutting back should the conversation arise.

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    1. Say no to seasonal outings

    Not all seasonal outings, of course. You want to head somewhere special with your family, whether it’s Christmas markets, a panto, or Santa’s grotto. Sure, you do. However, you don’t need to show your face at every festive event with extended family, friends, or co-workers. Prioritise your time. Don’t go to anything that really doesn’t do it for you. Choose the odd one or two occasions, and really enjoy them. As well as saving money, it could well save your sanity at this time of year!

    1. Bag the bargains

    There’s two ways to save mega bucks when it comes to buying presents: get gifts early or get them real late. Chances are, if you’re considering this tip, purchasing pressies early is out of the equation. Luckily, during December, stores start to panic and slash the prizes on prezzies. For example, M&S frequently slashes Christmas gifts by as much as 50 per cent at this time of year. Keep an eye on your inbox, as companies give sales a final push, you should see a whole host of discount codes appear in your emails. Don’t panic buy, put a couple of evenings aside, search online for the best prices, make use of offers and discount codes, and save some cash on the RRP.

    If you take heed of some of our top tips, you will notice that your savings will quickly add up. Good luck! 

  4. 20 Great Tips to Home Stage Your Property for a Fast Sale

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    As the nights get darker we all want the luxury of a warm cozy home and with the new year looming many of us start thinking about moving home. We’re all aware that a nicely presented, clean property with extra desirable features won’t stay on the market long.

    But, if you need to sell your property fast, you probably won’t have the time to re-decorate or invest in major building works.

    Don’t worry; this doesn’t mean you’ll scupper your chances of securing a buyer for a price you want. There are lots of tricks of the trade you can use to make your home look fantastic and appeal to potential buyers.

    Home staging doesn’t have to take up too much time, and the best bit is you can do it yourself. Don’t worry if you’re DIY shy or feel like you don’t have an eye for interiors—you just need to follow these simple tips.

    #1 Make a good first impression
    Make sure your home looks picture ready from the minute the listings photographer arrives. Getting the best pictures is essential to securing viewings.

    #2 Clean
    Before you do anything, give your property a deep clean. Areas to focus on include removing mould from bathrooms, grease from kitchens and any signs of dirt or staining.

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    #3 Declutter
    A golden rule in property selling is get rid of all your clutter. This includes everything from unwanted junk, bulky furniture, pictures, ornaments, kitchenware and clothes. A good rule of thumb is to remove at least thirty per cent of your stuff.

    #4 Depersonalise
    Prospective buyers want to imagine themselves living in your property. This means personal objects all need to go. This includes family photos, holiday trinkets, pictures on the walls and kids’ toys.

    #5 Room Purpose
    If you’ve turned your living room into a gym or the bedroom into an office, prospective buyers won’t like this. Return each room to its original purpose.

    #6 Furniture placement
    Remove extra chairs, tables or couches that take up too much space. Shift furniture away from the walls and put in locations that will better show off the space and any period features such as fireplaces and wooden floors.

    #7 Enhance the lighting
    Create as much extra light as possible. Dark properties are a major put-off. For instance, removing curtains and clean windows inside and out. Also, leave ceiling lights on during viewings, even in the day.

    #8 Put up mirrors
    Mirrors are great as they can make any space feel both bigger and brighter. So, they’re perfect in corridors, darker rooms and even the garden.

    #9 Paint tired walls
    If you haven’t got time to redecorate an entire room, focus on areas in greatest need only. For instance, paint over walls with stains, or brighten up a drab room with a colourful feature wall.

    #10 Visit other homes
    Get inspired. Visit other properties for sale in your area and look at what they have done.

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    #11 Mow the lawn
    Gardens are a massive selling point. So, if you have one, make the most of it. Make sure the lawn is mowed before viewings, flower beds tidied up and any eye-sore clutter is removed.

    #12 Accessorize small spaces
    Add lights, neutral decorations or candles to freshen up small spaces.


    #13 Add character
    It’s a fine line between neutral and boring. Avoid the latter by adding a splash of colour e.g. a coloured rug in the kitchen or a tasteful picture on the wall.

    #14 Highlight storage options
    Everyone wants more space. If you have storage, clear it out and make sure prospective buyers can easily access it during viewings.

    #15 Go green
    Don’t attempt to turn your home into Kew Gardens, but a few extra plants will make it look more attractive and feel fresh and clean.

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    #16 Final touches
    It’s not just how your home looks—it’s how it feels. Add soft furnishings like cushions, rugs and blankets.

    #17 Dress up the entrance
    Don’t focus so much time on the inside that you forget about the outside. After all, the first thing every buyer will see is the front of your property. Make sure it looks immaculate—no rubbish bags in sight and there's a tidy driveway.

    #18 Be inviting
    Leave doors open to each room so prospective buyers feel welcome to look around your property comfortably and freely.

    #19 Make it smell nice
    Bad smells will leave your property languishing on the market. Pet smells, smoke, mould or drains—get rid of it before any buyers visit. Add potpourri to each room and buy essential oil diffusers.

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    #20 Final touches on the day
    To really impress on viewing days buy fresh flowers, bake bread and put a fresh brew of coffee on the stove. Your prospective buyers will really appreciate the effort.  


    By investing a little time into home staging your property, you can secure more viewings. And, this will help sell your home fast by finding you the best buyer.