Friday, March 22, 2019

Can You Actually Save Money With a Home Warranty?

It’s true: homes can be money pits. We’re not just talking about the mortgage – maintenance can put a hole in your budget as time goes by. According to Statista, the average household spends more than $2,000 per year on maintenance.

When faced with any considerable expense, we look for ways to reduce its burden. Some tout home warranties, as they replace unexpected repair bills with a predictable premium. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll save money over the long run.

Are home warranties more cost-effective than paying for repairs as needed? In this article, we’ll explore this question in further detail.

Home maintenance costs can kill your finances

Every so often, we all look forward to getting away on holiday. Whether it is to the tropics or an energetic city, it helps to recharge our mental and emotional batteries. And then, the furnace dies. Facing a minimum bill of $3,500, it forces you to cancel your dream holiday – sad day for you.

This can happen even if you don’t own an older house. Often, new suburban developments are slapped together quickly and cheaply. Affordable homes are in strong demand, and the profit motive compels developers to skimp on labor and building materials.

A couple of years later, the roof of your ‘brand new’ home springs a leak. Or the pipes freeze on a cold winter’s night. Or the electrical goes on the fritz. All these unforeseen issues can cost you dearly – quite inconvenient if you’re trying to enjoy life.

Let’s run through a few numbers. Got a leaky roof? Expect to pay as much as $1,000 for a repair, and up to $10,000 for a replacement. Air con just died? Central air repairs can cost more than $900, and a new system can cost up to $4,000. Need to get your electrical fixed? If your house needs to be re-wired, expect to pay at least $4,300.

How can a home warranty save me money?

Are you scared yet? Good – if you are a new homeowner, you should be taking home maintenance seriously. Rather than waiting for expensive repair jobs to happen, it’s best to be proactive. Some do this by signing up for a home warranty – but can they really help you save money?

Before we answer that question, though, let’s talk about what a home warranty actually does. According to Review Home Warranties, home warranties offer repair/replacement of house systems and appliances for a reasonable premium. Whenever something breaks, the home warranty company will send a repair person to fix the problem.

Aside from a service fee (like an insurance deductible), you pay nothing for the rendered services. This arrangement is a godsend for some, as it takes the unpredictability out of home maintenance costs. Rather than spend $500 one year, and $5,000 the next, the homeowner pays the same premium each year.

This makes budgeting simple, regardless of whether the long-term math is in their favor. With your expenses locked in, you’ll no longer have to worry about maintenance expenses wrecking your bank account.

Home warranties are especially useful if you’ve bought a resale home. Once a house has been around for 8-10 years, maintenance costs begin to exceed premiums. At this age, issues become more frequent and expensive, making home warranties a great value. 

How much can I expect a home warranty to save me?

It depends: how old is your home? How long have you had your appliances? If your house is less than eight years old, a home warranty will be more expensive than the status quo. However, if you have an older home, you’ll likely save cash over the long run.

Take Select Home Warranty, for instance. This firm offers home service contracts for $430-$500 per year, with service fees averaging around $60 per call. Let’s say you live in a ten-year-old home – according to this home maintenance calculator, you’ll pay $861 per year for repairs.

Not bad – it looks like you’ll save $431 on maintenance. But with an average of five calls per year, you can expect to pay $300 in service fees. All of a sudden, you’re only $131 in the black. And then there are caps to consider – if you don’t have platinum coverage, Select only covers the first $400 in heating repairs. If your bill comes to $600, you’re on the hook for the remaining $200. Goodbye, cost savings.

However, let’s put you in a bungalow built in 1969. In a house like this, you can expect to spend approximately $2,700 on repairs annually. While premiums are higher on older homes, they’re still reasonable – about $700 annually. If you request service seven times per year, that pushes your annual bill to $1,120 – still well below your projected out-of-pocket maintenance costs.

In this case, getting a home warranty is a no-brainer. However, be sure to comb through any agreement for exclusions (e.g. preexisting conditions) to avoid disappointment.

Home warranties: not a silver bullet solution

Unless you live in a character home, home warranty companies won’t save you boatloads of money. Those in new builds will spend less out-of-pocket, and those in 10-year-old houses will break even.
However, those in older homes looking for cost certainty may find this to be a worthwhile product.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

5 Ways To Cut Out The Emergency Costs

When you find out that you have to pay out some emergency costs, it can be the worst feeling ever. You’ve just managed to get yourself on your feet financially - maybe you’ve even accrued some savings - and now you’ve got to pay out a whole lot of cash for this emergency situation, and you don’t really know what to do. Luckily, there are some ways around this, and you don’t always have to splash out the cash when it comes to the emergency costs.

We’ve put together a list of 5 things that you can do if you find yourself in a situation like this.

1. Ask to pay the cost back in installments
If you’ve found yourself with a fine, or some other form of cost that you’ve got to pay back, then there is no harm in asking whether you can pay it back over the period of a few months, or perhaps even a year. Not everybody can afford to deal with a bulk payment, and if you negotiate with the company in question, then they may be flexible about your repayment options. Whatever your emergency cost is, don’t be afraid to try and haggle about how you repay it, and don’t hand over a bulk payment until you’re absolutely certain that you have to do so.

2. Protest your innocence if you think it’s incorrect
OK, so you’ve got a speeding fine, and it puts you out almost $100. That’s a lot of money, but you don’t actually remember doing this, and you know that you’ve always been a responsible driver. Instead of just paying out for this, you should ask the company that sent it to you whether they have further evidence, and whether you can appeal the decision. After all, you shouldn’t have to pay out if you believe that it’s a mistake, and this can leave you seriously out of pocket. Visit a site like if you think you’ll need a bit of support from the professionals here.

3. Cut out non-essentials
Sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet and pay out that emergency cost. And yes, whilst you’d prefer not to, there really is no choice some of the time. In order to pay this off with minimal impact to your savings, you should cut out that non-essential spending, at least for a few weeks. Of course, you still need to pay your rent, eat, and pay to get to work, but you probably don’t need to take yourself for that $20 meal out every other day, so try your best to avoid those fancy restaurants and drinks out whilst you get back on your financial feet.

4. Keep on top of savings
When you open up a savings account, you may be all geared up about saving that cash. Over time, however, your passion towards this slowly fades away, and before you know it, you’re putting $0 a month into your savings, and blowing your cash on things that you don’t really need. Again, if you find yourself in a tricky financial situation, then you’ll be a lot better off if you have a bit of a nest egg there, rather than just using your current earnings to battle with it. Even if you only put $20 aside each month, it will add up over time, and it could help you a lot in an emergency.

5. Be more responsible
The main thing to remember if you don’t want to splash out the cash, is that you should be a little bit more responsible, especially when it comes to things like driving. Don’t DUI, make sure that you park in legitimate spaces, and try not to speed down those roads with speed limits on them. We know, some of these rules seem pretty illogical, but following them can help you to save a lot of cash in the long-run. The best way to deal with an emergency cost like this, is to make sure that it doesn’t happen again in the future, as you don’t want to be dealing with these things twice over.

If you want to cut out those emergency costs - or simply deal with them more efficiently - then make sure that you keep these things in mind. Whilst you can protest the cost and pay it back over time if necessary, the most important thing is to save up some cash beforehand, and try to be more responsible when it comes to fines and other costs. We know, we sound like your Mom, but trust us, you’ll be glad that you remembered this when you save yourself a lot of cash in the long-run!

Getting Engaged On A Budget: Who Needs Grand Gestures?

When you meet someone, you can’t help but think about what the future holds, can you? You can fall in love quite quickly, take all the right steps to enjoying each other's company and potentially even move in and live together for a while. But it can all lead to one point, and the question that so many start to ask once you get settled into a relationship. When are you getting engaged and married?

The truth is, engagements have gotten a little out of hand in recent years. So much has been put on the actual event of getting engaged that in some cases the gesture of a hand in marriage is lost in the moment of fireworks and expensive venues. Let’s not forget how much a wedding can cost in today's market. So if you are hoping to get engaged then why not try out some of these suggestions to make the sentiment work. Once you have been through the engagement rings and made your choice, the rest should be the easy part to sort out and organise. Here’s some options to consider to finally make that step and get engaged.

Getting the engagement ring right

Picking out the engagement ring can often be the hardest part, and in truth, this is the element that should be costing you the money. So take some steps to ensure that you pick the right one. From the sizing of the ring to the style that might be right. This is why these days, so many couples actually pick the ring together. Using a dummy ring or another gesture at the actual engagement moment. Think about what might be right for you and your partner before making this big decision. After all, you want to make the right choice.

Think about a place that means something to you

The next big thing is where you might actually want to get engaged and this is where people can go a little overboard and it really isn’t needed. To start off with, you will want to ensure that it is romantic. So think about a place that means something to you. A place where you shared your first kiss, whispered “I love you” to one another, or spent a fantastic weekend together. Perhaps you already know where it is, or maybe this is going to take some thought as you have a few potential options. It could be combined with a meal, maybe another weekend away to celebrate a milestone or an anniversary or simply you just make it quite spontaneous. Which brings us to the next point.

When should you do it?

Often the when can actually be the hardest decision. Some people like to use occasions that are already in the calendar. Valentine’s Day in February, Christmas in December, a birthday or an anniversary. However, some people like to make the engagement a day to celebrate in itself, so you may want to think about what will work for you as a couple. Could it be that you you want to pick a random day so that it isn't expected? Or would a specific celebratory day be unexpected because there is other things going on? You know how your partner will react so pick whatever suits you best.

What are you going to say?

Now we are on to the tricky part, the thing that can have you wondering what to say. There is, of course, one main question to ask. But, sometimes it is is nice to lead up to that questions with a little built about why you love them or want to spend the rest of your life with them. This is your time to get all of your feelings out and essentially it is your moment as well as there’s. Words cost nothing as they come from the heart, so spend as much as you like on this element of the engagement.

Record the moment to look back on

Finally, a new trend that is worth considering is recording the moment. There are so many things that you could consider. Of course, you could hire someone to take pictures of video it, but if you are conscious of your budget then why not ask a friend to do it for you? Even better, you could set up a camera on a tripod and just click the record. Editing the footage at a later date so you get the moments that count. Pictures are also a great thing to look back on, so make sure you have a camera and either a tripod of someone nearby to capture a few happy snaps with the ring.

As you can see, it can easily be done in the right way without there necessarily being a huge cost. Let’s  hope you now feel inspired to pop the question.

Things To Consider Before Buying A New Car

Buying a new car is an exciting time - whether it’s your first car or you’ve already bought many cars in the past, it’s always going to be fun. However, owning a car is still a big responsibility that you need to consider before going ahead and taking home the first one you see.

So, in this post we’re going to share with you some of the main things to consider before buying a new car.

If you can afford it:

Cars aren’t cheap, and even if you’re able to secure a great deal on the initial purchase of the car, then you’re likely going to have some monthly costs such as insurance, safety checks, gas costs, and other ongoing upkeep that you’ll have to consider, so making sure that you can actually afford a car is a really important thing to consider before going ahead and even looking at them. If you really need a car, then you can still explore your options, such as buying a second hand car or even going for an older model. You should set yourself an initial budget for a car and then see what you have to work with.

What kind of car you need:

As you know, cars come in all shapes and sizes, so if you’re looking for a car then it’s important to know exactly what you need it for. For example, are you looking for one that you’ve always wanted just because it looks good, or do you need something that is suitable for a family so that you can do things like school runs and go grocery shopping, etc? Knowing what you need your car for from a functional and practical perspective is something you really need to think of and it will also make your life so much easier when it comes time to shop for a car since you’ll be able to narrow down your search.

If you want to buy or lease:

One of the options you have when it comes to getting a new car is buying one outright and leasing it where you pay a monthly lease during your contract and then upgrade to another car if you want. As with everything else there are always upsides and downsides to both of these options, so it’s worth thinking about which one is best for you.

That you’ve checked the reviews:

When shopping for anything online or offline you generally always check the reviews for that product or service, and when it comes to shopping for a car this shouldn’t be any different. You can use various websites to check the reviews for the cars you’re considering so that you can get a full overview of all the features to see if it’s something that will work for your needs.

That you know the price is genuine:

Cars typically cost what they cost when they’re new, but it’s important to understand that some dealerships or unofficial places selling cars may try and add something on to the price so that they can profit from it, and whilst this doesn’t mean that they’re bad dealers, it’s not exactly the most ethical practice out there, so it’s important to do your homework around the price of the car to make sure you’re not getting ripped off.

That it’s been safety checked:

When it comes to cars, safety should be your number one priority, so it’s important to make sure you know that the car you’re considering buying is made in line with the latest safety standards and that it’s been fully checked over to ensure that this is the case. Not only is something you should do for your own safety, but it’s something that you should think of in terms of other people’s safety - for example, if you were to get into an accident later down the line and your car is found to be unsafe in any way, then you could be held liable for that and could see yourself hit with a claim from a personal injury lawyer, which is not really something you want to be dealing with.

That you can test drive it:

Being able to test drive a car before you buy is a very important step in getting your new car because even if they look similar, cars are made differently and they all drive differently, so it could take some getting used to a new car and you need to make sure that you feel safe and comfortable driving it at all, so when you’re searching for a car one of the main reasons for going through a trusted dealer or even the manufacturer directly is that they’ll allow you to test drive it  - in fact most will actively encourage it because they know the importance of this step in the sales process.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Bucket List- Bake a Giant Cookie

We like doing things for that ole bucket list, and one easy one is to make a giant cookie. Both of us took part in making the dough, putting in pan and keeping an eye on it in the oven. Easy one for your own bucket list,(especially if you use a mix) or something fun to do with the kids!

Welcome First Day of Spring!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Last Minute Gifts, That Don't Cost The Earth!

Urgh, don't you just hate that creeping dread you feel when you realize you have forgotten a loved one's birthday and there isn't enough time to get the gift you intended! It can be unbearable! Luckily, there is a solution that will still allow you to get them a gift in time for their birthday, and it's going for last minute offering instead. However, the problem with these is that they often cost you way more money than you are willing to spend unless you use one of the suggestions below that is. Read on to find out what they are.

Home baked gifts

The thing about a home baked gift is that you can whip these up in an hour or two, and depending on how you package them can make them look really expensive as well.

Of course, the best choice for those with a sweet tooth and a love of chocolate are truffles, which are coincidently super simple and not too expensive to make.

In fact, all you need is some double cream, some good chocolate, and some cocoa powder and to follow recipes like this one and you are done. Make things extra special with a beautiful gift box lined with tissue paper, and you'll have a gorgeous gift in no time.  

Of course, you may be in a situation where even making some cookies or truffles will take too long, but there is no need to panic if that is so. Why? Well, it's because you can put together a baking kit instead which consists of all the ingredients the recipient will need to cook up a delicious treat.

For this, all you will need is a cute glass jar, such as a Kilner, some scales, an all in one recipe, and a funnel. Start by sterilizing the pot, and then measure out each ingredient to the correct amount and use the funnel to layer it in the jar neatly. Add a ribbon and a label, and you will have an almost instant gift that is not only cheap but genuinely thoughtful as well. Especially, if you make sure that the ingredients create a favorite dessert such as a brownie or biscuit when cooked.

Flower delivery

One type of last-minute gift that has saved my life a good few time is ordering delivery flowers. This is because you can ensure that something beautiful gets to your loved one, even if you don't remember is their special day until the day before! Something that is especially good if you have an awful memory, like me!  

Of course, before they can enjoy their gift, you need to decide what type of bouquet or plant to get them, and one flower that is particularly popular right now is the gorgeous Peony bloom. In fact, this particular flower comes in all sorts of colors including pink and white and is perennial, meaning it blooms in spring through summer. You can also get it from delivery florists that have a clear pricing plan too. Something that will ensure you won't end up spending too much because you will know exactly the cost before you even make your purchase.

Experience vouchers

Next, let's move onto another type of last-minute gift entirely, the voucher. In fact, the voucher is a fabulous choice for a last minute gift because they are readily available from many high street stores, and even if you do need to get them delivered, they can be sent straight to the recipient along with a message from yourself.

Vouchers also have another advantage in that it allows the person that is receiving them actually to choose what or when they use them. Something that can be particularly helpful if you are buying for someone picky, or even, dare I say it, difficult?

However, I do think that I should make it clear here that store vouchers aren't quite what I mean. Instead, for a more meaningful gift, you should consider an experience voucher instead.

Of course, you will need to do a little work when it comes to selecting the experience itself, with events such as afternoon teas, and spa days topping the list for female family members, and driving days for males. Although there is a much more extensive selection available including bungee jumping, parasailing, bread making, and survival courses, so it really is up to you to find the one that suits them the best.

Such vouchers cost often vary in price as well, depending on two main factors. The first is what the price includes, and the second is whether there is a special offer running at the time. In fact, the combination of such a broad range and a special offer mean that it is very likely you will find an experience voucher that can be sent directly to your recipient for a reasonable price and so your gift won't cost the earth.

Book a photo session

Another fantastic last minute gift that can work particularly well is to book a photography session for the recipient, either on their own or with their family as a group.

In fact, this can be done over the phone or by email if you are in a rush and you can receive a certificate that can be printed out and given to the person in question. You can even frame it to ensure there is a physical part of the present too, and then when they have had their pictures taken, they will already have a place to display them.

Water bottles

Finally, if you are looking for a last minute gift that doesn't cost the earth, why not consider getting the recipient a water bottle? After all, it is something that most of us pretty much have with us at every part of the day, young or old, male or female!

In fact, treating the person in question to a water bottle that is a little nicer than they would buy for themselves is a great way to provide a practical and welcome gift, last minute, without breaking the bank!  

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Shamrocks, Leprechauns and Wearing Green

It is time to break out everything green since St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner on March 17th. Originally, St. Patrick’s Day was a Catholic holiday that celebrated Ireland ’s patron saint, St. Patrick. Eventually, the holiday became a feast day, which is now celebrated around the world. In the United States , the holiday is celebrated by the Irish and Non-Irish alike. Houses are decorated with shamrocks and leprechauns, and the party stores are filled with green paper cups and plates as everyone prepares for food and drink on this special day. While St. Patrick’s Day is a popular drinking holiday for many, others celebrate with Irish foods, including soda breads, stews and corned beef. Cities across the country celebrate the “Luck of the Irish” by dyeing their rivers green or holding parades in their main streets. It is a holiday to be celebrated by the young and old as we all can enjoy the easy-go-lucky feel of this fantastic feast day.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Easter's Sweet Treats Guide

Satisfy any sweet tooth this Easter by checking out the sweet treats our friends below have for you this Easter.

Fairytale Brownies-

Add fudgey Belgian chocolate brownies from Fairytale Brownies to your Easter baskets this year. Start a new holiday tradition and deliver Fairytale gifts to family and friends! They’ll appreciate the sweet treats and you’ll be their favorite some bunny.

***Watch this spot for more sweet treats for Easter, coming soon.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Better Late Than Never- Instagram!

Well, better late than never they say!
We're now on Instagram and looking to build followers so please do follow us @
Hope to see you soon!