Cast your mind back merely two decades ago and the thought of children sitting in front of screens would send shivers down any mother’s spine. The good old days when too much TV would set your eyes square and kill your brain cells! We all laugh, but mum was probably right all along.

Don’t tell her.

I’m certainly not about to throw it all out there and ban screens from my household. I value my sanity and, let’s be honest, ‘100 per cent screen-free’ is one heck of a claim in the 21st century.

That said, instead of preaching on and perhaps judging other households who do have a lot of screentime, it would be beneficial if we all simply remembered how great things can be if you just turn off the phone/tablet/tele/laptop/games console [delete as required] for a short while and enjoy being outdoors. Or just being.

Just being.

Christmas is a fabulous time to encourage children to switch off the screen and spend time doing other stuff. Gifting outdoorsy items such as skates, scooters, and skateboards, for example, is exciting and they’ll want to get out there to play with the friends.

Rather than creating rules and regulations for screen time, how about we just make the other stuff just as fun so it appeals to our kids, tweens, and teens.

Mind-blowing, I know.

As well as reducing the amount of time spent on YouTube, Fortnite, and [enter your tech nemesis here], it’s more about kids reaping the rewards of outdoor play. Health wise, fresh air improves their blood pressure and heart rate, they’re running around, exercising, working their body, increasing the oxygen flow in their blood. It’s all good.

But there’s more to it than that. Sure, they’re not sat still indoors, scoffing, sweets. Thumbs up. Really, though, outdoor play is about developing skills, learning independence, creatively spending time. Seeing friends, enhancing social skills, improving overall wellbeing as little human creatures who very much need and enjoy spending time with other little human creatures.

We know enjoyment of exercise and social skills are important long-term. We have that knowledge nowadays. We’re privileged in that way. With that in mind, as parents, let’s get nostalgic and make playing outdoors as appealing as it was, way back when.

 

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I’d say the secret’s out – not that it’s ever really been much of one anyway – talking money is a yawn-fest. Trying to figure out where’s best to place your hard-earned moolah can be such a chore.

Northernmum: Money

Different banks, different financial advisors, different advice. And why is it that when it comes to the important stuff, such as investing, Google is not your friend. It just makes matters worse. Same goes for general illnesses and childhood rashes, but that’s another blog post for another day. Parents know.

Top form adulting with ISAs

Yet, as much as we loath sitting down and getting our finances straight, investing is pretty vital. Some would say more so once you have a family, children, of your own. When little humans are depending on you, really, putting money aside to ensure you keep things ticking along nicely is a must.

What are the biggies? Well, if your adulting is on top form, I’d say ISAs and personalised investment accounts are certainly handy. Where else in the world can you stash you cash tax-free? The government kindly, believe it or not, allow us to save up to £20,000 a year, away from the grabbing hands of the tax man.

So use it. Or lose it. Corny, right? But true. Sorry.

Set up an account and a standing order and just hamster some numbers away for a rainy day. How many times have you had to turn to a credit card or eat into your overdraft to fix the car, replace the washer, fork out on vet bills? ISAs save the day in emergencies, and for smashing those long-term savings goals.

Who knows what’s around the corner?

Putting small amounts regularly, consistently, into savings can give you peace of mind that whatever path your children choose to take. Whether you help with uni fees, live their around-the-world trip vicariously through your investment account, or support them in buying their first home. There’s no better feeling than helping your children live their best life.

And for you? When the little ones have left the nest, having a hefty, reliable pension fund can mean there’s money aside for you to enjoy the little luxuries in life. Be a lady who lunches. Become a member of the theatre. Book that transatlantic cruise. The world is your oyster.

40 is the new 20? Pah, set your sights high. I’m aiming for 60.

 

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At times kids can say the funniest things, and at other times they can increase my stress level to the point that I think my hair may fall out!

Luckily, and mainly so I don’t have to to check out hair transplant costs, one seems to balance out the other and my sanity remains.

Just…..

This week has been special, work has been at an all time high.  My clients are all amazing, but they have all wanted extra this week and the stress has been intense.

Not helped by the fact that my youngest threw up in the school loo on Wednesday, left it as proof, and earned herself two days off school sick.

Free Activities

She has binge watched Netflix  – every day.

This week, my son lost his phone three times, his packed lunch twice, one school shoe, two tops and my patience many times over….

But luckily my daughter made me howl with the following comment.

To set the scene…

We were driving past the local football stadium, when my eldest child said with a tone of surprise.

I’ve just realised, most football clubs have names that reference the town in which they are based…..

My son, looked at her, with an expression that said  – you did not just say that….

But that was not the only gem to fall from her lips at that time.

She instantly followed up with…

Except Arsenal and Chelsea…..strange how they are different.

She has options in two years…. Lets hope she leaves geography alone

 

Gotta love kids!

 

 

 

 

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If you are like most people, you probably find that your transport or getting around costs you a lot more in general than you would want it to. There can be so many ways in which your car can ruin you financially, and often it’s not until it’s too late that you begin to notice just how it has done so. However, with more of an awareness of what is going on here, as well as the ability to make some real choice for change, we can hope to make it so that our cars do not bankrupt us any longer. This means we can then start to live in a more profitable and ennobled way, and stop throwing money away. Let’s’ take a look at how we can make it so that our cars do not rui us financially.

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Drive Efficiently

If you have never learned how to drive efficiently, this is something you might want to look into. The truth is that you can drive so that you are using a little fuel as possible, and it is pretty easy to do once you know what you are doing. The most important thing is to make sure that you keep acceleration to a minimum. This might sound obvious, but it means both slowing down the rate of acceleration and doing it less often. Do both of these for better results. However, you also need to limit braking, as this too costs money in the long run. You should also make sure that you’re changing gear at the right time, around two and a half thousand revs usually, and that you take the shortest route everywhere. All of this will add up to make a considerable difference to how much your fuel is costing you.

Shop Around For Insurance

There is no need to spend more than necessary on insurance, and yet so many people get caught up in poor policies which trap them in for a long time paying far too much and receiving far too little for it. The only thing to really do her is to make sure that you are shopping around as best as possible. The more you shop around, the better off you will be financially in the long run. If you take a look at sites like cheapautoinsurance.co.uk you will see how you can hosp to find some cheap car insurance without too much hassle – and this alone will vastly improve the amount of money you are having to part with to drive your car. Shop around and find yourself the best deal possible – there is no reason not to.

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Only Drive When Necessary

Finally, make sure  that you are only driving when it is really necessary. This way, you will expect to save on fuel, but you will also be able to make it less likely and less common that you need to go to the mechanic or have any work done. A long as you only drive when you need to, you will make a huge difference.

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One of the biggest expenses in your daily life tends to be getting from one place to another. Of course, using your own two feet is the cheapest and most environmentally-friendly way of doing this. But for the times when you need to get somewhere a little bit quicker, you may need to use another means of transportation. Here, we will be discussing how you can make getting from A to B that little bit more affordable for yourself.

Give Your Car a Little TLC

First of all, check your trunk for any unnecessary objects which you have been lugging around from place to place. The greater the excess weight you are lugging around, the less fuel efficient your vehicle will be. Next, complete a couple of basic maintenance tasks like checking the tyre pressure and fluid levels. It is all these little things which can add up in the long-run. Also, check your manufacturer’s handbook to ensure that you are using the grade of motor oil that they suggest.

Calm Down Your Driving Habits

Not only is aggressive driving more dangerous, it also guzzles more gas. So, slow down, limit your acceleration and reduce the number of sharp stops that you make where possible. You can also save money simply by driving a few miles per hour slower. A perhaps more unexpected way that you can save some money is by rolling down your windows instead of using air conditioning as this can cause your car to consume more petrol than necessary.

Take Advantage of Car Insurance Discounts

There are so many car insurance companies out there that it doesn’t necessarily pay off to stick with the same company. In fact, they may increase your premiums for no reason at all. There are various factors which can reduce your insurance costs including whether or not you have short commutes, you are a retiree or you have your own garage. The internet is a brilliant tool to use that helps you compare the cheapest car insurance deals. Make sure that you check again from year to year to get the best deal.

Look Out for Transportation Incentives


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It is worth checking out whether your local government or employer offers you any tax or monetary incentives to carpool, take public transportation or purchase an electric or hybrid vehicle. Alternatively, you may want to look into getting a bike. Not only are incentives always being offered, there are also bike lanes springing up all over the place to make cyclists’ lives easier.

Use Public Transportation Cards

Many towns and cities offer public transportation cards that give you a discount if you buy a card in advance and top it up as you go along. Not only is this the cheaper way of travelling, it also means that you don’t have to go through the hassle of buying a separate ticket every single time you want to take a bus or hop on the metro.

Compare Your Flight Costs


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When you are going to be travelling longer distances, make sure that you always give yourself the chance of getting the best deal. Use a flight comparison service as these let you check out multiple airlines at once before settling on the one that suits you best. Sometimes, an indirect flight with a long stop-over is going to be your best way of saving yourself some cash, so if you have the time to spare, it may be worth taking this approach. As well as this, you could look to fly to a major hub city as they are likely to have more flight options at affordable rates.

Carpool or Plan Your Parking

Set up a carpooling system with your coworkers as this is going to be a great way for you all to save some money. For longer journeys, take a look at carpooling websites such as BlaBlaCar which pair people together who want to make similar journeys. If you are planning to head out somewhere and you need to park your car, check out your options beforehand so that you can get the cheapest price available. Places like city centres and airports can be particularly expensive unless you plan your journey in advance.

Hopefully, after reading through this article, you have come away with a few tips that you can use in your daily life to make moving around that little bit more affordable.

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