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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. Life Skills That Save Money

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    We all know the saying that the best things in life are free and this is true but unfortunately money is necessary to survive comfortably in today’s society. You need money to pay your bills and to provide food, clothing and shelter for your family. You need money to pay for your children’s education and to put aside for your retirement. In addition to meeting your present day obligations you need to develop life skills that will help you save money for the future. By saving money you protect yourself against life’s unexpected upsets while enhancing your quality of life both now and later on.

    1. Learn to manage your money

    The most important life skill you need to learn regarding your money is how to manage it - how to earn it, how to spend it, how to invest it and how to save it - for both present and future financial stability. Children can develop good money management skills early on by managing an allowance, using a portion of the money for personal expenses and a portion for building up a savings account.

    Money Saving

    2. Respect your money

    Another essential life skill for saving money is developing a respect for your money. Respecting money is not the same as lusting after it. Respecting your money is appreciating the hard work it takes to earn that money and the value it has in allowing you to provide for your family. Never take your money for granted, thinking the well will never run dry. As evidenced by the many years of downsizing, layoffs and high unemployment rates, money, especially earned income from a job, should never be taken for granted.

    3. Live within your means

    Learn to live within your means. Failing to meet your bills, getting behind on your rent or mortgage and accumulating debt are quick ways to financial ruin, leading to possible eviction, even bankruptcy. Buy a home or assume a rent that you can comfortably afford based on your present income. When purchasing or renting a motor vehicle, make sure you can make the monthly payments. Buy what you need, avoid unnecessary spending and don’t take on what you can’t afford.

    4. Work with a budget

    Drawing up a budget worksheet can get you on the right track for managing your money. Keep an itemised account of all money that comes in and all money that goes out, what bills need to be paid each month, every six months and annually. Include present and projected expenses and income. Include everything from the mortgage and car payments to the smaller items such as kids’ school lunches. Obviously, to save money at the end of each month or year you have to bring in more income than you pay out. With a budget you can more easily determine where you may be overspending and where you need to cut back to save some money.

    5. Stretch your money

    To borrow an old cliché, get the most bang for your buck. Whenever possible, buy items on sale and off-season to get the lower prices. If you have a large family, join a food warehouse club and buy groceries in bulk. Always use in-store and online vouchers. Compare prices and always go with the best deal. Avoid impulse buying even when items are on sale, especially if you don’t need them and most importantly if you can’t afford them.

    6. Don’t waste your money

    Avoid credit card use and abuse. Limit yourself to one credit card only and pay off your bill each month. When possible, pay for purchases with cash or check to avoid late fees, interest and finance charges - those ugly expenses that quickly eat up your hard-earned money. Do whatever you can to protect your pension fund, insurance plans. Avoid premature withdrawals and the exorbitant penalties attached to them. Avoid high-interest loans that can consume a huge portion of your income over a lifetime.

    7. Put your money to work

    Take advantage of company pension plans and other incentive plans where your employer contributes, often matching you dollar for dollar. Talk to your local banking institution about ISAs and other long-term options. Consider investing some of your money. Do some research and seek the advice of a reputable financial planner. As no investment is a guaranteed immediate or long-term success, invest cautiously and stay far away from schemes that are too good to be true.

    Money should not become the be-all and end-all of a person’s life but it does need to be recognised for what it is - a basic necessity if you want to adequately provide for yourself and your family. Developing the life skills to manage and save your money can enhance the quality of your life now and minimize the potential for financial difficulties down the road.

    Oh and as a final note, as we are now on the approach to Christmas ..... don't overspend. It is too easy to buy for the sake of it. Buy what is necessary, don't buy for everyone out of obligation. You will be surprised how many people hate the waste of it all and will be grateful not to have to do the same in return!

  2. How to save money on school supplies

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    Back to school sales are beginning to pop up and organised parents are starting to think about the start of the new school year. School supplies lists are growing and every year more parents find themselves frustrated with the growing cost. With a plan and a little thinking ahead you can save money on school supplies this year. 

    Back to School : Collins

    Go through what you have in the house from last year before you buy anything new. You do not need new pencil sharpeners, scissors, and other odds and ends that do not get used up. This can lead to a big savings as you work your way down the teacher's list. 

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    Keep an eye on the sales. The early sales are often not as good as the later ones so only start shopping if you know a better price will not be coming. If you have the budget but want to wait for the sales getting a gift card to set to the side is always a great way to set your budget.

    Buy non-school supplies items off your teacher's list at the pound shops or use vouchers and sales to get the best deals. Some teachers list items that help keep our kids from getting sick during the school year. While this bothers some parents it can be valuable for keeping your family healthy come flu season. Tissues, disinfectant, and hand sanitizer in your child's school will save you a lot of money after so if you find a good deal, your child's teacher would love some extras.

    Stock extras when the best sales hit or grab extras when offers are online, so you won't need to pay full price later. These extras can be pulled out when your child needs more supplies without paying full price or if you really want to plan ahead, they could even be used as frugal stocking stuffers.

    If money saving is on your hit list for this summer, why not take a look at easy ways to save money from Baby Budgeting.

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  3. 7 Money Lessons to Teach your Teen

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    Schools may teach your teen everything he needs to know about their plan for the future, but it doesn’t teach them other important life skills and values like doing a tax return, practising compassion and managing personal finance.

    It is never too early to sit down with your teen and brush up on some important money lessons that can help him a lot during his impending adulthood. We have put together 7 of the most valuable money lessons we think you need to teach your teen.

    7 Money Lessons to Teach your Teen

    Making a Choice

    The right steps usually start with having the right mindset- encourage your teen to have a healthy money mindset, and they will be more likely to stick to it. Remind them that everything in life has a cost, and they can pick what he wants, but they can’t possibly buy everything. Advise them to make conscious choices about where they wants to spend their money.

    Avoid Impulse Buys

    We’re all guilty of this one- from that irresistible sale to just something cute that catches our eye- we often tend to buy things impulsively, and end up regretting it almost instantly! Help your teen understand the difference between wants and needs and remind them to ask themself whether they really needs something when they are about to go make a purchase. A good idea is to ask them to wait for a day before they make the purchase- this will help them make the decision in a more level headed manner.

    Making a Budget

    You know how much of a difference this can make when you’re trying to save up for something or are just looking to get your money matters back on track, and yes, now's the right time for your teen to learn it too! Encourage your teen to create a budget from their monthly allowance, and set particular amounts for particular expenses, and to try and stick to it as much as they can.

    Keeping Track of Finances

    This one’s just an extension of creating a budget, but again, is super important! Get your teen to download a money tracking app on their phone or just use an old diary to note down their expenses. This will help them get more organized not just on the financial front, but also in other parts of their life.

    Every Penny Counts

    Remind your teen that saving is cool, and that every little penny that they puts into the piggy bank today will add up, and turn into a big amount in the future. If there’s something they want to purchase, encourage them to start saving for it, and then ask them to pay for it when they finally manage to do it- the feeling of responsibility and satisfaction that comes with doing this can be refreshing and can bring about a positive change in your teen!

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    Having an Emergency Fund

    Creating and maintaining an emergency fund is again, a crucial money lesson you need to teach your teen. Remind them of how these little savings can help them in the days when they are actually in need of funds and can keep them prepared in days of personal financial crisis.

    Contentment & Sharing

    Last, but definitely not the least, as a parent, you need to teach your teen about giving too! Encourage them to donate a certain amount every month- even if it is small, and share with those that are less fortunate. Allow them to experience the joy of giving, and at the same time, teach them to be content with what they has, and not fall into the comparison trap.

    And finally, make sure you too, as a parent, are a good role model for your teen, and that you too, make wise choices when it comes to money. After all, kids tend to learn from what their parents do, and not what their parents tell them to do!

  4. How to get your rental ready for your tenant

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    With so many different types of blended families these days, very often people end up with two properties and it makes sense to rent one out. More and more people are now looking to rent rather than buy, and so you're almost guaranteed to find a suitable tenant. However, before you rent out your property, there are several things you need to go over before allowing someone to live on the premises. To ensure you achieve success a landlord, you should take a look at the following tips, which will make sure your letting process is legitimate, and your tenants are satisfied. 

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    Make sure everything is working

    If your property is an older build, it may have some wear and tear, so to avoid any tenant complaints, you should make sure to repair anything that needs fixing as soon as possible. This could include a leaky shower or a faulty boiler, which you may be able to fix yourself, or if you're not qualified, you can call in someone else to complete the job. When performing any maintenance, you should make sure it is done correctly. Otherwise, your tenant may experience the same problem when they're living there, which can be problematic for you. 

    You should also fix any external issues like a broken roof, window seals or even a broken doorbell. While the latter may only seem like a small problem, it will show your tenant that the property is well looked after and they should not face any issues if choosing to live there. 

    Compile a property inventory 

    Before your tenant officially moves into the property, it is essential that you make a list of all the inventory, especially if you’re offering a furnished rental. This involves listing detailed descriptions of everything from furniture to the smallest ornaments, and it should also include the condition of these items, should anything happen.

    By creating an inventory, you can protect yourself and the tenant from facing any replacement charges. This should also prevent any theft from taking place, as your tenant understands that you have a record of everything in the property, so they are aware that they will be liable if anything is missing at the end of the tenancy.

    Secure the property

    One of the most important things tenants look for in a property is how secure it is, as they will want to feel safe in their own home. To ensure you meet their needs, you should consider updating your security systems, by placing security cameras outside or even using technology like smart doorbells which can be connected to a smartphone to show your tenant who is outside, even they're away from home. 

    Property experts like RW Invest utilise automated door systems, which means only tenants are allowed to enter the property. By implementing this technology, it has caused an influx of tenant demand and also significantly increased the value of each apartment.

    Check over the tenancy agreement

    Once you’ve approved a tenant to move into your property, you can then start to make it official by both signing a tenancy agreement. The tenancy agreement should include the monthly rental charge, the start and end date of the tenancy, tenancy deposit terms, damage costs, landlord and tenant obligations, and more.

    Before signing the tenancy agreement, you should make sure that the tenant understands everything within the agreement, and if not, you should explain everything to them, so there is no confusion moving forward.

    And good luck!