Life suddenly becomes a lot trickier when you have multiple mouths to feed, particularly if you are a mom that is out of work. Being a parent is an incredibly demanding job in itself and also one which can have a massive impact on your finances as there are so many different expenses on top of your preexisting costs. It is perfectly understandable to have concerns over finances when you are a parent, but if these start to interfere with your life and stop you from getting to sleep at night, then there are a few steps to consider which should help to alleviate your concerns while ensuring that the family remains happy, healthy and safe.

Reduce Spending

One of the best ways to improve your financial position while out of work is to reduce your spending. It may seem like a difficult task with so many outgoings, but it can actually be relatively straightforward when you list all of these expenses and then identify if they are necessary and if savings can be made. Often, you will find that simply switching to non-brand products or shopping at a cheaper supermarket can help you to make significant savings.

Bills

You should also take a look at the bills and subscriptions that you are paying each month. Consider cutting out anything that you do not need and look into switching suppliers if it currently costs you more than is necessary. This can be time-consuming and stressful, but it could help you to save more money in the long run.

Travel

When you have kids, you will find that you spend a considerable amount of time behind the wheel taking them to school, giving them lifts to their friends, doing shopping and other important trips. While in many cases this will be unavoidable, you may find that there are times where you could walk or cycle instead. It could help you to save on gas while also making sure that both you and the kids are getting exercise and fresh air. After all, walking can even be a fun family activity that brings you closer together.

Cooking Affordable Recipes

Food is one of the most significant expenses each month but also one that is essential. It can be much cheaper and healthier to cook meals from scratch and to make packed lunches instead of paying for school dinners. You should be able to find affordable and delicious recipes online that are sure to satisfy the whole family and even fussy eaters.

Free Activities

Kids need constant entertaining, but this does not mean that you have to spend a fortune taking them to leisure centers, to the cinema or other expensive venues. There are many cheap or free activities that you could all enjoy together and with their friends. This could include games in the local park, family walks, having friends over to the house or bike rides.

Online Work

If you are unemployed but want to generate a stream of income, then you could consider doing online work. In today’s day and age, there are all kinds of jobs that you can do online which are highly flexible and allow you to work at a time to suit you and from anywhere. It is perfect for parents that need flexibility as you can earn money while looking after the kids and take on as much or as little work as you want.

Set Up A Home Business

Similarly, you could set up your own business and run it from your home if you want to earn money but still need to be around to look after the kids. It can be a challenge, and it may take a while until you start to make a healthy profit, so this is best if you have a partner who earns or you have savings tucked away. There are many businesses that you could run from home, including e-commerce businesses, an IT consultancy, a baked goods shop or work as a tutor.

Part-Time Work

You may be able to find a part-time job that can fit around your busy lifestyle as a parent, but just be sure that you do not neglect either the job or your family life in order to earn. There are many different possibilities, and often you can find flexible part-time jobs with little prior experience.

Welfare Or Unemployment Benefits

If you are out or work, then you could be entitled to welfare or unemployment benefits. It can be helpful for opening up a stream of revenue so that you can afford the essentials while you look for stable income.

Borrow From Friends/Family

If you are struggling to make ends meet and you are in need of cash, then you may want to consider reading out to friends and family. Nobody likes to borrow money but sometimes this is unavoidable so do not shy away from reaching out for financial support. Just make sure that you borrow an amount that they are happy with providing and that you have a plan in place to pay them back at a specific date.

Take Out A Loan

If you find yourself unemployed and in need of cash first, then it could be worth taking out a loan. In most cases, you will struggle to do this without a job, but there are loans for unemployed individuals which will help you to get the money that you need. As with any type of loan, make sure that you figure out how much you need to borrow and make sure that you will be able to pay it back.

It can be challenging to make ends meet when you have kids, and you are out of work. Whether you are unemployed but have a steam of income from a partner or if you have recently lost your job, you could find that these tips will help you to create stability and security for your family. Managing money is always challenging when you have a family to consider, but there are always options available to you which could have a significant impact on your entire family.

In association with Yale

Since the various product reviews I did for Smart Home Week this year I have been ALL OVER the gadgets. I’m all ‘Alexa, turn my bedroom light pink’ and ‘Alexa, turn my heating up to 22 degrees’. You can be cosy and warm without even having to so much as LEAN.

Smart home technology appeals to my inner lazybones and basically makes my life super easy.

The Yale Sync Smart Home Alarm, part of the range of Yale smart living products, ticks both of these boxes. As well as being disinclined to get up off the sofa unless it’s strictly necessary, I’m decidedly forgetful, and often find myself halfway into town wondering whether or not I’ve remembered to lock the front door/close the windows/put on pants etc.

With a Yale Sync Smart Home Alarm you can check up on yourself, via the Smart Home app, and control your home security wherever you are.

Yale Sync Smart Home Alarm review

Before we start getting into all the cool things it does though, let’s see exactly what you get with your Yale Sync Smart Home Alarm kit. Yes, that’s right! I’ve made an unboxing video! I watched a few beforehand and the main thing seems to be to point the camera right at the thing you’re unboxing and to talk in quite a boring voice. This seemed to come naturally to me, so I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before this video goes viral: View Post

I was in Starbucks this morning, having managed to drop Belle at college for the second lesson of the day at least, (better than nothing), and on the table next to me were two women talking about their daughters and school. It sounded like they were probably just a bit younger than Belle – probably 14 or 15.

‘I just can’t bear to see her so miserable,’ said one. ‘It’s so horrible, because realistically school is meant to be the best years of your life.’

IS IT??

I can totally feel her pain over having a child who doesn’t thrive at school. As soon as I heard them talking I was there, at 8am on a school day morning, trying to gently encourage a sobbing Belle out of bed. I empathised with her on that, but… on her second point, I had to hope that she wasn’t saying that to her daughter – how dispiriting would that be?

Talk to anyone is my family – my sister, my daughters – and I’m pretty sure they’d tell you that school was far from the best time of their life. Even for me, who took a disproportionate amount of pleasure from a good test mark, school was tolerable at best. I did well, but I didn’t have a lot of friends and my absence rate was high. I was bored to a level I’ve hardly ever experienced since, but trapped too. I was, like most teenagers I’m sure, acutely aware of everything I said and did, turning a beetroot red if anyone said anything at all to me that I hadn’t already planned in my head.

I liked aspects of it, but mainly I just found the whole thing excruciatingly embarrassing. No way would I want to do it again.

Outside of school I spent quite a lot of time imagining all the fun things that other people would be doing, the people who had big groups of friends and went to Bridgwater Lido every day of the summer holidays. I made 3D scale models of my bedroom so that I could experiment with rearranging the furniture and went to bed at 9pm while I was sure everyone else stayed up past midnight watching 18 certificate films.

What I didn’t appreciate at the time was that the cool kids, the ones who really did seem to be having the best years of their life, then had only one way to go – downhill. View Post

In association with Red Letter Days

When you think Red Letter Days gift experiences, what do you think?

I have to admit that until a few weeks ago my first thought would have been package spa breaks and track days. Not that there’s anything wrong with either of those things – I like a lounge in a sauna and prosecco lunch as much as the next person – but Red Letter Days is about so much more than that, as I found out when Red Letter Days asked me to choose an experience to, well, experience. 

I started off with a browse, which takes a while as there is a LOT to browse. Honestly, I challenge you NOT to find a Christmas gift for just about anyone in your life. I was tempted initially by the London theatre and dinner packages – if you like comedy then I would DEFINITELY recommend this offer for The Play That Goes Wrong – it’s such good fun. Two tickets plus dinner for two for just £109, which is a bit of a bargain.

I liked some of the adrenaline activities too – how cool would it be to take a vintage Tiger Moth over Stonehenge or to undertake a private investigator surveillance mission at London Paddington? (Even though I’m 40 now I still want to believe that one day I will turn into Nancy Drew, the sassy teen detective.)

And then there’s all the food and drink options – I lingered for a long time over the bottomless gin and tonic afternoon tea.

In the end though I opted for a cookery course at River Cottage HQ in Devon. It was well timed for me as I’ve been in a massive cooking rut recently and we’ve been consuming unhealthy amounts of frozen chicken products. I’ve been trying to be more creative, but sometimes you need a bit of a kick up the bum to reignite an interest in something or to make you feel more confident in your own abilities.

Booking the course with my Red Letter Days voucher was easy – there were instructions on the voucher and then contact details for the venue, easy peasy. I packed my selection of Tupperware for leftovers, as advised, and set out for Devon.

I knew the day was going to go well when one of the first things we were told was that there was a bar and that if we wanted any drinks brought to us during the day we just had to ask Steve, and he would sort us out. Needless to say Steve sorted me out with a couple of lovely gin and tonics – the spa day vibe without even needing to hoist myself into a swimming costume.

The one day River Cottage course covers a whole range of cooking techniques, from bread-making to fish filleting, so we started off by getting our dough on the go.

Red Letter Days cookery courses View Post

Travelling is a great way to get away from the dullness of everyday life. However, picking up and taking off, even for a short time, can cost a lot of money, especially considering you have to leave your job in order to do it. But what if you could earn money while you travel, or, better yet, make money from travelling? Here, we show you five surprising ways you can earn money while you travel.

  1. Sell your travel photos

There’s a huge market for travel and nature photography. Just take National Geographic, for example. The photos that get used in books, guides and websites don’t come from nowhere. You can get in on this by learning how to take amazing travel photos, then shopping them around to various stock photo agencies. As your experience grows, you could see yourself making a lot of money from your hobby!

  1. Start a travel blog

Travel blogs are extremely popular these days, as they are interesting and informative. They provide readers with valuable information that can help them make a decision about their own travel. For a detailed guide on how to go about starting your new travel blog, Matt shares how he earns money on his own travel blog. Not only can you capitalize on your writing skills, but you can do it while seeing the sights around the world.

  1. Perform freelance work

There are many ways to earn money online, and becoming a freelancer is one of them. There are tons of small tasks that people need done, and most of them can be done online. For instance, transcribing audio, performing data entry and writing code are all tasks that can be done from anywhere in the world. These jobs may not pay much at first, but once you build a reputation, you’ll be seeing some real money.

  1. Teach English

There’s a huge market out there for language teachers. You already have a language skill that’s in high demand, and that’s English. You can teach English online from just about anywhere, whether you’re at home or travelling. You don’t need any teaching experience, either. The best way to get a good grasp of a language is to practice casual conversation. That means just getting paid to talk!

  1. Be a beta tester

If you’ve got some downtime in your travels, you can become a beta tester, which involves testing software before it hits the market. There are many websites online that allow you to get a sneak peek of things like apps, games or websites, and all you have to do in return is give your feedback. Not only will you get to influence the way a new product is launched, but you get to fill your quiet time, too.

Travelling and making money are no longer mutually exclusive activities, and you can actually make money while you travel thanks to the internet. Whether you want to make a supplemental income from performing small jobs while you travel or make money off your travel itself, there are many ways to start earning real cash. By using our guide, you’ll be able to take your work with you on the road and live the nomadic life that you’ve always dreamt of.

 

In association with The Inner Circle

I’ve been single for about 14 months. Although I enjoy the freedom and the space in the bed, I’d love to have someone to share things with. I’ve dabbled with the ‘swipey’ dating apps, but it gets depressing when you just see the same faces holding the same giant fish…

When The Inner Circle asked me if I wanted to check out their selective dating site I played it cool for about 37 seconds, then shouted ‘Yes please!’

The Inner Circle review

I’ve just started exploring the site, so can’t tell you (yet) that The Inner Circle is THE place to meet the partner of your dreams, but I CAN tell you what makes it different from other dating sites.  View Post