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How to make the most of Black Friday Deals

With Black Friday finally here, the temptation to surrender to the shopping gods is sometimes too hard to resist. For many, it is an opportunity for tactical early Christmas shopping and receive mega discounts from some of our favourite brands. Many will be sitting on their phones and tablets deliberating over the extra pair of shoes that they may (or may not) need. Behold, we want you to maximise your spending and saving and here are some of our top tips to make the most from Black Friday deals. 

It’s only a saving if you were going to buy it anyway

Do not give into the lure of Black Friday sales and spend just for the sake of spending. If you desperately needed a new pair of trainers or jeans, then this is a sensible time to buy. However, if you are now buying things that you never considered, this is where you are going to get sucked into the Black Friday deals and spend more than you needed to.

Ways to avoid impulsive spending including setting yourself a budget of x amount and not leaving the house with any more. Equally, you can prioritise various things such as gifts or a new jacket, and therefore not give in to any other temptation. 

Do research

Good research online is key to maximise your savings on Black Friday. It is worth looking at a range of different websites because the actual deals and savings available will range from retailer to retailer. In fact, some retailers will also match prices too – so if you want to buy everything in one place such as John Lewis or Debenhams, be sure to check their price match policy. 

If you are a keen Amazon customer, use free comparison sites like camel camel camel which can show you if the same product is cheaper elsewhere. 

Use cashback

If you find that you are doing a large order with one specific provider such as Amazon or ASOS, try using your cashback account too. There is no reason why retailers will not include cashback and this could give you an extra 5% on your overall savings, which on a £1,000 purchase would give you £50 back into your account (source: allthelenders). 

Buy online, give yourself space and time

One can feel pressured to buy on the spot when in a beautifully decorated store. But if you buy in person, you may not know whatever deals are available elsewhere or if further discounts are available online. Take time and buy online – this is a good mantra!

Treat products with caution 

Some products, specifically tech and electronics, will be cheaper on Black Friday for a reason. Maybe because they are outdated or very unknown brands – but again, this should not be something that you should be drawn into. Consider the life cycles of various tech products like mobile phones, speakers and headphones and if new ones are being released in January or early next year, they will likely fall in price anyway and by even more than the Black Friday discount.

In addition, be cautious of any counterfeit brands trying to jump on the Black Friday bandwagon. New websites and adverts will pop up on your Facebook and Instagram but do not be seduced. Be sure that they are not too cheap for a reason (such as being knock-offs) and make sure that any website you use is secure.

Check the return policy 

It’s one week later and you’ve received that you bought shoes that don’t fit well and you have completely overspent on pretty much everything. Before any large purchases, double check the returns policy since some companies may not accept returned items that were purchased on Black Friday. Check what options you have available to you in house you want to return any goods.

Some of the best deals:

John Lewis: Will be price matching any deals you see from any other retailers.

Nike: Will be discounting all of their shoes by 30% this Black Friday

KFC: Will be handing out free portions of chips if you download their app

How to spot fake deals on Black Friday

Black Friday in the UK is big business and spending by British consumers is expected to pass £2bn this year. But, with so many deals and offers, there are a lot of retailers jumping on the bandwagon and they are not always the safest or best options for customers. With this in mind, we give any frugal Mums and Dads some tips on spotting fake deals this Black Friday.

Beware of unusual websites

You may see adverts on Facebook or Instagram promoting different Black Friday deals for things like shoes, jackets and electronics. Whilst there are several legitimate e-commerce stores out there, you should approach every new website that you click on with caution. Certain things to look out for include:

  • Is the site secure? Does it start with https? This is essential for encrypting your personal and payment details and protecting it from fraud.
  • Is the URL well-known or does it use a lot of words? e.g black-Friday-deals-uk.com 
  • Does the website have a UK address or appear to be local? Some websites looking for a quick buck will avoid using a real address or be based overseas.
  • Does the website have any UK reviews or followers on social media? This is a good way to see how other people have used the site, positively or negatively.
  • Does the website have a phone number? The UK’s best retailers will always have a customer support team who you can ask raise questions with. If there is no phone number, it may not suggest a legitimate operation.

Beware unusual brands

Some items are only cheaper for a reason, perhaps because they are less known or less popular or indeed counterfeits. If you know the most well-known TV brands and there is a deal on an unknown one, this is a good opportunity to check reviews of the product or see if it in person before buying.

There has been a common issue with Canada Goose jackets on sale for £200, but they are typically 3 or 4 times this amount. The reason for the discount is because they are just copies of the well-known brand.

On this note, it is important for Mums to check the life cycle of various products, specifically tech and electronics. This is because these type of consumer goods will typically go out of date very quickly such as headphones, speakers and mobile phones. Could new versions be coming out in January? Would they be significantly cheaper than any Black Friday deals

Check return policies

This is essential for any deals you claim and any purchases you make on Black Friday, from well-known and less well-known websites. You want the flexibility to be able to return any items that you did not like or want – since some companies can be restricted when it comes to Black Friday.

If you find that a product you have purchased on Black Friday is shoddy or a clean counterfeit, you can speak to your credit card company or use Paypal as a way to reverse the payment and receive a refund. It is also an opportunity to raise the suspicious website with your card provider.

Information extracted from Payday Bad Credit

How to spend like a savings pro this Christmas

The season of goodwill is breathing down our necks and if you have mixed feelings about Christmas because of the penurious January and February, it’s time to get a handle on your finances.

Too many people let their spending get out of control, or they give into impulse purchases that they’ll “…pay for next year…”. It’s also common to forget how much the little extras, like wrapping paper and gift cards cost and this all adds to the big bill.

Make this Christmas different

This year, you’ll tip the balance between seasonal spirit and new year regrets by getting your finances in order. You can start by heading to Creditfix and using their handy budget calculator to plan your spending – right down to the last penny if you need to.

Once you’ve done that and you know how much you’ve got to play with, you can start spending like a pro – cutting corners, sniffing out bargains, thinking ahead and bringing home the goods with money to spare. It can be done – here’s how.

Don’t forget your loyalty cards

If your loyalty cards tend to languish in the darkest recesses of your purse, then get them out, shake them off and put them to work! Chances are there’s already a few pounds on them so if you watch out for points promotions when you start shopping, you’ll probably be able to earn enough to afford a few extras nearer the big day.

Think about next year as well

The most convenient thing about Christmas is that it’s predictable – December 25, every year! If you don’t manage to accumulate loads of loyalty points this time around, start next year’s campaign! Similarly, buy your wrapping paper, cards, ribbons and gift tags in the January sales and stash them away, ready for action in 12 months’ time.

Make a very strict list of presents

This list might as well be carved in stone. Do not deviate from it unless you see something that’s better and cheaper! Don’t make any impulse purchases because such-and-such a person will love it, unless you’re prepared to cross them off the list.

Book train, plane or bus tickets as soon as you can

People can focus too much on the presents and the food at Christmas and forget about the travel expenses. If you’re travelling to see relatives, or you pay for someone to come to you, then book as soon as you’ve got your dates so you can get cheaper fares. The nearer Christmas gets, the more prices shoot up, so don’t hang around!

Try a bit of benign neglect

If there’s a branch of the family that you don’t see until after Christmas, or for New Year’s Eve, then don’t bother rushing to get their presents. The Boxing Day sales can offer some deep discounts, so if you can hold your nerve and be ready to take a bit of a chance on the items you had planned still being available, then you could be on a saving streak. You’ll have to be more flexible with your ideas, though, as not everything you wanted will still be on the shelves, but…savings!

WIN a family ticket to The Night Before Christmas at G Live

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.

We've teamed up with G Live to offer you a fantastic chance to win a family ticket (4 people, minimum 1 adult and 1 child) to their adorable show, The Night Before Christmas. The lucky winners will be able to attend any performance between 12 and 14 December 2018.

Santa Claus and The Night Before Christmas is a simple studio show, it lasts an hour as it is specifically aimed at keeping the attention of pre-schoolers. Be prepared to join in with the story, the songs and the dances throughout the show and at the end each child gets to meet Santa and receives a present. To enter, use the form at the bottom of this page.

A bit more about the show

Santa Claus Returns to G Live, Guildford following last year’s smash hit Christmas production. The next tale in the Santa Adventure series, Santa Claus and the Night Before Christmas, will take to the Bellerby Studio between Wednesday 12 - Monday 24 December.

It’s Christmas Eve and whilst most children are hanging up their stockings, there are a few boys and girls who are not! They don’t believe in Santa and, with Christmas morning fast approaching, cheeky elves Charlie and Kara must help Santa prove that he is indeed real! With magic tricks, songs and stories, can they make them believe before it’s time to board Santa’s sleigh and deliver the presents?

This fun-filled adventure promises to be the Christmas treat you won’t want to miss. A truly unforgettable experience which includes the magical moment when snowflakes fall over the audience – a guaranteed white Christmas at every show.

To enter, answer the following question:

Which is NOT the name of one of elves in the show?

a) Charlie b) Martha or c) Kara?

To enter, use the form at the bottom of this page.

Terms & Conditions

  • One entry per family.
  • Prize is for 4 people, including a minimum of 1 adult and 1 child.
  • The prize winner can choose only one of the following performances: Wednesday 12 December at 2pm or 4pm, Thursday 13 December at 10.30am (relaxed performance) or 2pm or Friday 14 December at 10.30am, 12pm or 2pm.
  • This competition closes at 8pm on Sunday 25 November 2018.

https://glive.co.uk/Online/tickets-santa-claus-and-the-night-before-christmas-guildford-2018

Improving the pelvic floor after childbirth

Childbirth is a beautiful thing, but the aftermath of birth, and the changes to the body which a vast number of women will experience is often far less talked about. Nine months of pregnancy and then labour puts a lot of strain on the body, particularly the pelvic floor muscles, which weaken as a result.

If you are experiencing bladder issues following childbirth, know that you are not alone. 1 in 3 women who have given birth notice bladder weakness afterwards. Thankfully, this is not usually a long-term problem, and the pelvic floor muscles which control the bladder can be strengthened through exercise, diet and lifestyle changes.

We spoke with top gynaecologists, The London Women’s Centre, who have several practices across London and Surrey, to discover the best ways to improve the pelvic floor after having a baby.

What happens to the pelvic floor after birth?

Giving birth is quite traumatic on the body; the weight of the baby can damage the bladder, whilst the pelvic floor becomes stretched and weakened. This is normal, and simply a result of the body naturally making room for the baby to enter into the world. However, common problems occurring as a result include stress incontinence and pelvic prolapse. 

Stress incontinenceis where you leak wee when sneezing, coughing or laughing - an extremely common problem faced by new mums, but one which can easily be improved, by carrying out daily pelvic floor exercises, which many of us know as “Kegels”. 

Another relatively common issue after childbirth is pelvic prolapse, which is more likely to occur after a particularly traumatic birth experience, or after multiple births, resulting in a severely weakened pelvic floor. Prolapse happens when the pelvic organs (the womb, vagina, bladder and bowels) are not being supported properly due to weakened tissues, causing a dragging, heavy or bulging sensation.  

Again, this a problem which can, in most cases, be remedied through self-help methods, including pelvic floor exercises, diet and weight loss. 

Rebuilding strength in your pelvic floor

Kegel exercises are the simplest method in helping regain the strength of the pelvic floor. Ideally, you would have started doing these before falling pregnant and during pregnancy, but if you didn’t, it’s never too late to start!

The good news is, it’s perfectly safe to begin daily pelvic floor exercises straight after giving birth, as long as you feel comfortable and well enough to do so. You can carry out your Kegels in any place and at any time - nobody even has to know. 

The method is simple – just lie down on your back or side (or have a relaxing bath, if more comfortable right after birth), then squeeze your pelvic muscles, as if attempting to stop peeing while mid-flow. Try to refrain from holding your breath or tightening the muscles in your stomach, butt and thighs at the same time. Hold this squeeze in for five to ten seconds while breathing normally. Repeat this 10-15 times in a row daily. Once you’ve got the knack for it, you can start doing quicker squeezes in a row, and more frequently. 

You probably won’t feel like you are doing much for a while, but bear in mind that it typically takes 6-12 weeks for the pelvic muscles to strengthen, which is why persistence is certainly key to results!

Other ways to improve the pelvic floor

Kegels aside, there are plenty of other ways you can help to improve the pelvic floor after birth. Having a good diet and generally watching your weight not only contributes to good overall health, but it also means less weight and stress is put on the pelvic floor. Exercising regularly is also important, as is drinking lots of water and eating a well-balanced, high-fibre diet, helping to prevent constipation, which can, of course, put significant strain on the pelvic muscles. 

Reducing or eliminating alcohol, caffeine and sugary soft drinks may also help, since these are known to dehydrate the body more quickly, irritating the bladder. Likewise, avoiding acidic and spicy foods (citrus fruit, tomato) whilst experiencing bladder issues is wise, as they can make your problems more difficult to manage. 

You should also get into the habit of only going to the toilet when you feel like you absolutely have to, since going too often can cause your bladder capacity to shrink, meaning you will eventually have to urinate more frequently.

When to see a doctor

If you see no improvement after several months following the self-help methods mentioned, it might be necessary to visit your doctor, who can refer you to a women’s health physiotherapist. 

The specialist will assess your issues and individual needs and then come up with a tailored plan that is personal to you. These people are specially trained experts whose job it is to help women improve their pelvic floor, through one-to-one rehabilitation techniques and exercises.

Get started today!

Having a strong, toned pelvic floor is beneficial to women before, during and after childbirth. Not only does it greatly reduce problems such as stress incontinence and pelvic prolapse, but in many cases it will allow women to enjoy a better and more satisfying sex life. 

Besides, the pelvic floor will naturally weaken as we age, which means there really is no time like the present to start making the simple diet, exercise and lifestyle changes necessary to help strengthen the pelvic muscles.

Get inspired at Christmas fairs and markets in Surrey 2018

Looking for something a bit different to buy your loved ones this year? Surrey has some lovely Christmas fairs and markets, selling a range of unique crafts, gifts decorations and food to give your festive season a special touch.

This can be a lovely way to do your Christmas shopping – with many events also offering music, entertainment, refreshments and an opportunity to taste before you buy. A few even have guest appearances by Santa!

Here are the fairs and markets we have found so far, but please check in advance to make sure your event is still going ahead and do tell us about any we have missed. 

Rural Life Centre Christmas craft fair
Date: November 10
Venue: Rural Life Centre, Reeds Road, Tilford, Farnham, GU10 2DL
Times: 10.30am-3pm
Description: This fair showcases crafts such as woollens, wood, jewellery and jam and also includes some craft demonstrations. Refreshments will be available. Admission is FREE.
Website: http://www.rural-life.org.uk/html/Events/Christmas-Craft-fair.html

Royal Kingston Christmas fair
Date: November 15-December 24
Venue: Grounds All Saints Parish Church, Clarence Street, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey, KT1 1JS
Opening times: Monday - Wednesday 10am - 7pm, Thursday to Saturday 8pm, Sunday 6pm
Description: Event includes a craft marquee, Alpine wooden chalets, a bar area, live entertainment, outdoor heating and seating and food stalls.
Website: http://www.edencrafts.co.uk/eventdetails.asp?ev=833

Loseley House Christmas Fair
Date: November 15-18
Venue: Loseley Park, Guildford, GU3 1HS
Times: 9am-5pm (4pm on Sunday)
Description: Fashions and accessories, leather bags and belts, jewellery, soaps and skincare, candles, platters and bowls and tasty treats. A Specialist Food area offers cakes, wines, cheeses, meats, olives, dips, chutneys and preserves.
Website: http://www.ruralcraftsassociation.co.uk/Crafts-for-Christmas.html

Guildford Cathedral Winter Market and Fair
Date: November 16-17
Venue: Guildford Cathedral, Stag Hill, Guildford GU2 7UP
Opening times: 10am-4pm
Description: Christmas gift ideas, food and drink, and festive decorations.
Website: https://www.guildford-cathedral.org/events/christmas-gift-fair-2018

Garsons Christmas food market
Date: November 17-18
Venue: Garsons, Winterdown Road, Esher, Surrey, KT10 8LS
Times: 10am-5pm
Description: A marquee and farm shop offering seasonal food and drink from the local area as well as festive gifts, decorations, lights and trees,
Website: https://www.garsons.co.uk/what-s-on/view/esher-christmas-food-market

RHS Wisley Craft and Design Fair
Date: November 21-25
Venue: RHS Garden Wisley, Woking GU23 6QB
Opening times: Saturday, 9am-6pm, Sunday 9am-4.30pm
Description: Shop in the stunning surroundings of the garden and buy beautiful crafts for your loved ones. Free entry for RHS members or normal admission charges apply.
Website: https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley/viewevent?EFID=604&ESRC=CMS

Weald and Downland Christmas Market
Date: November 23-25
Venue: Weald and Downland Museum, Singleton, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0EU
Opening times: 10.30am-4pm
Description: Find that perfect gift and enjoy a great day out at the museum at the same time. Stalls will offer arts, crafts, food, unusual gifts and more. There will also be festive music and seasonal treats to sample and buy.
Website: http://www.wealddown.co.uk/events/christmas-market/

Priory Farm Christmas food festival
Date: November 24 & 25
Times: Sat, 10am-4pm, Sun 10.30am-4pm
Description: Priory Farm Christmas Food Festival has become a firm fixture on the foodie calendar, with artisan producers offering tastings and chatting to visitors about their speciality products. Festival-goers can look forward to award-winning pies and naturally-seasoned crisps, West Country ciders, jams, jellies, condiments and much more. Father Christmas also pops in at the end of the first day to greet visitors.
Website: https://www.prioryfarm.co.uk/whats-on/christmas-food-festival/

Godalming Christmas Festival Market
Date: November 24
Venue: Godalming town centre
Opening times: 10am-6pm
Description: The town centre will be filled with festive stalls selling a range of gifts, crafts, decorations, festival food and drink. The Christmas lights will be switched on and local pantomime stars will make an appearance.
Website: https://godalming-tc.gov.uk/christmas-festival-2018/

Shooting Star Chase Christmas and Craft Fair
Date: November 24
Venue: Bourne Hall, Spring Street, Ewell, Surrey, KT17 1UF
Opening times: 10.30am – 3pm
Description: An ideal opportunity to buy your Christmas presents and stocking fillers.
Children can also visit Father Christmas and there will be raffles, face painting, gifts, cakes, crafts and a tombola.
Website: https://www.shootingstarchase.org.uk/christmas-and-craft-fayre/

Mytchett Community Centre Christmas Fair
Date: November 24
Venue: Mytchett Community Centre, Mytchett Road, Farnborough GU16 6AA
Opening times: 10am-2pm
Description: A variety of stalls including art and craft, beauty, gift and jewellery stalls. There will also be refreshments, mulled wine, cake stalls, tombolas, a raffle and a chance to visit Father Christmas.
Website: https://themytchettcentre.co.uk/FLEventsSpecial.htm

Christmas Fair at Farnham Maltings
Date: November 28 & 29
Venue: Farnham Maltings, Bridge Square, Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7QR
Opening times: 1pm to 9pm on Wednesday and 10am to 8pm on Thursday
Description: A bustling marketplace with over 150 stands specializing in handmade gifts, unique stocking fillers, crafts, vintage, food and drink.
Website: http://craft.farnhammaltings.com/portfolio/christmas-fair/

Reigate Business Guild Christmas fair
Date: December 1
Venue: Church Street, Reigate
Times: 12noon-5pm
Description: Market stalls, donkey rides, street food, live music and the Christmas lights switch-on ceremony.
Website: https://www.facebook.com/ReigateBusinessGuild/

Ashstead Park Garden Centre Christmas Shopping Evening
Date: November 30
Venue: Pleasure Pit Road, Ashstead
Times: 6-9pm
Description: An evening of Christmas shopping and mulled wine supping, with 20% off your purchases. Choose magical Christmas decorations, lights, gifts and gardening goodies.
Website: https://www.ashteadpark.com/christmas/late

Haslemere Christmas Market
Date: December 2
Venue: Haslemere town centre
Opening times: 10am-4pm
Description: There will be stalls in the town centre, Haslemere Museum and the Georgian House Hotel. Other attractions include a Santa’s grotto, refreshments, festive entertainment.
Website: http://www.haslemere.com/christmasmarket/

Ripley Christmas Fair
Date: December 3
Venue: Ripley High Street
Opening times: 12noon – 4pm
Description: Music, rides, over 90 stalls on the High Street, a grand procession with Father Christmas (3.40pm) Christmas lights ceremony and more.
Website: https://www.ripleysurrey.co.uk/event/ripley-christmas-fair-2017/

Christmas Market for Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice
Date: December 1
Venue: St Thomas-on-The Bourne, Frensham Road (opposite The Bourne Club), Farnham
Opening times: 10am-1pm
Description: Stalls selling Christmas gifts, decorations, cakes, handbags, homemade preserves, tombola, raffle, silent auction, toys and much more! Entry donation of £3 includes tea or coffee and biscuits – children free.
Website: https://www.farnham.gov.uk/events/christmas-market

Enjoy your shopping – we hope you find some lovely presents and enjoy a bit of Christmas spirit!

Five ways to create a child-safe garden

As digital technology continues to take over more and more of our lives, there are becoming fewer and fewer reasons to spend time outside. This is particularly important for children, who reportedly now spend less time outside than prison inmates according to the Guardian.  

These days there are increased concerns about letting the little ones go out and play on their own, and this is understandable, but your kids can still get plenty of outdoor play in your own garden. With that in mind, we've put together five ways you can create a child-safe garden.

Childproof everything

While it is never good to wrap children up in cotton wool, it is a wise idea to spend a bit of preparation time to make your garden hazard-free. Try and think from your child's perspective and look at your garden in terms of what might present a danger to them. Any tools or equipment should be locked away in a secure location; the same goes for any building materials. 

Children are curious by nature and not very good at assessing potential risk. Any nails, branches, or rocks sticking out and creating hazards should be taken care of before allowing them to play. If you have a pond, consider installing grids or netting over it. 

Solid boundaries

The kind of garden fence you install will vary depending on your needs, but when children are involved, safety and security should be a top priority. If you have kids regularly running around your garden, you need a solid boundary that will prevent them from venturing into next door's non-childproofed garden, or worse, into nearby roads. 

Wooden fences have been traditionally preferred for aesthetics, but they are easily damaged, and broken panels and splinters can pose a risk to children. UPVC fences are a cheap solution to this problem, but a metal fence will look better.

Create a child-specific play area

Now that you've gotten most of the obvious things out of the way, it's time to create a child-specific play area that can be a total safe zone. Giving the kids their own sectioned-off play area is a great way to put your mind at ease, allowing them ample space for independent outdoor play, while being in a controlled environment. 

The space can be as large or as small as you like, but it should have a mix of interesting and fun activities for kids to partake in. Wyevale Garden Centres offer a fantastic range of outdoor play equipment that you can incorporate into a safe space to keep them playing for hours.

Child-friendly surfaces

Hard surfaces such as stone and brick can be good for riding bikes, but may not be the best choice for garden play. Grass and bark provide a softer alternative that allow children to crawl, run, and fall over without getting hurt. Gravel should be avoided altogether as it is painful to land on and not very comfortable to crawl on. 

For an added bonus, consider installing artificial grass instead of the real thing. Not only is it durable and tough, but you don't have to worry about it getting slippery and muddy — and it'll make doing the laundry a lot easier. There are a surprising number of different artificial grasses available, so check out Artificial Grass Direct for a free sample.

Child friendly flowers

Take your eyes off them for a moment and your small children will have disappeared, eagerly exploring and discovering new things to touch and put in their mouths. For this reason it is important to be aware that some flowers and plants can pose a risk. Stinging nettles and thorny plants are obvious causes of harm to curious children, but there are some plants that you may not know about. Common flowering plants such as lily-of-the-valley and philodendron can cause irritation, while every part of the English yew is poisonous.

Having children doesn’t mean you can’t still have a fantastic garden. By following the five tips above you will be able to create a beautiful — and safe — outside space can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. 

How to save more money during the winter

Winter can be both a magical and stressful time of year, depending on how you look at it. From one perspective, you've got the wonder and joy of the festive season, when you get to spend time with your loved ones and celebrate together. On the other hand, you've also got all the costs associated with the holidays and the huge debts that you can build up when you're trying to have a good time.

To help you get the most out of the winter season, and keep your bank account in the pink, we've put together some quick tips for how to save more money during winter. 

1.   Turn the Heat off or Down

It can feel wonderful to blast the heat during winter when it's cold outside, and all you want to do is snuggle up in front of the television. Unfortunately, the more you rely on your radiators during the winter months, the more likely you are to have huge gas and electricity bills by the time you enter the new year. The good news is that you don't have to freeze to cut your expenses during winter.

Simply turning the thermostat down by a couple of degrees can be enough to save you a serious amount of cash. What's more, don't forget to avoid leaving the heating running when you're not at home. You can always throw on an extra jumper if you're feeling chilly. 

2.   Save Money on Gifts

Gifts are probably one of the most expensive parts of the winter season. There are so many different expenses to think about, that you may even decide not to buy gifts at all for certain members of your close-knit community. The good news is that if you do want to buy for other people, there are a few ways that you can keep costs low. 

The first option is to clip coupons and look for as many savings opportunities as possible. Days like Black Friday represent a great opportunity for Christmas shoppers if you know how to take advantage of them. On the other hand, if your budget is really low, you could consider making gifts instead of buying them. It'll give you something fun to do, and as we all know - it's the thought that counts.

3.   Be Cautious with Loans

If you've got a particularly big celebration to pay for this year, and you're going to struggle to make ends meet by yourself, then you might decide to take out a personal loan. With a personal loan, you can spread the cost of this year's holiday season out over the year ahead. However, before you jump into taking cash from your nearest bank or building society, remember to do your due diligence.

Comparing your loan options online can save you a serious amount of money on long-term expenses like APR. Make sure that you're getting the best deal before you sign on the dotted line. 

4.   Save Cash on your Meals

It seems like we all spend a little extra on food during the winter months - and not just when our relatives are visiting. The colder time of year generally makes us feel like we want to get our hands on as many comforting foods as possible. That's why we end up going to the grocery store and leaving with more food than we could reasonably eat.

A goodway to avoid this problem is to make sure that you always take a list with you when you go to the supermarket, along with a cash budget for how much everything should cost. That way, if you're tempted to buy something extra, you'll have to trudge back home in the cold for extra money. Most of the time, you won't bother going back to the store unless it's necessary. 

5.   Find Cheaper Forms of Fun

Finally, it's easy for things to get a little dreary through the winter months, when the weather is terrible, and the nights get darker for much longer. Some people choose to avoid feeling sad at winter by spending money on trips to the movies and nights out with friends. However, those expenses can quickly add up when you connect them with the other costs of the colder months. 

To avoid spending too much on entertainment, try looking for cheaper forms of entertainment instead. For instance, could you try hosting a movie night once a fortnight at a different friend or family member's house? Bring popcorn and treats to make it into a really spectacular event! 

Why choosing the right lingerie is important and how to do it

When it comes to shopping, buying new lingerie is not at the top of most women’s must do list. In fact, quite a lot of us hate the idea of having to buy new underwear. Even if we make it easier for ourselves by going online and buying it from somewhere like www.jdwilliams.co.uk.

Why that is, I am not quite sure. But, what I do know is that taking the time to buy a couple of new bras, knickers and other items of underwear, every year, is well worth the effort.

The right underwear enables you to create the perfect silhouette                               

The underwear you wearhas a huge impact on how you look. An old bra may feel super comfortable. But, it may no longer be providing you with enough support.  Something you may only realisewhen you replace it and compare the way you look in your old and new bra. 

Be able to wear the clothing cuts you love

Choosing the right style of lingerie can also help you to be able towear the dress of your dreams. For example, if you want to wear a strapless dress, all you need to do is to add a well made strapless bodysuit to your underwear drawer. If you want to learn more about which bra or lingerie you need for a specific dress cut, you just need to read thisarticle.

OK, so that is why you should treat yourself to new lingerie at least once a year. Now, for a few buying tips.

Think about the practicalities

It is all too easy to fall in love with a particular bodysuit, bra set, slip or camisole. But, before you buy it, remember to stop and think about how practical it will be. Ask yourself if it will fit in with the clothes that you wear. 

Don’t be afraid to try something new

Over the course of a lifetime, a woman’s body goes through quite a lot of change. Usually, the underwear that suited us when we were in our 20s is not always going to work for us in our 40s.

So, it makes sense to periodically try on some different cuts. If you have been wearing balconette bras, for years, but have got a little bigger, try a demi-cup the next time you go shopping. This style of bra is more likely to offer you the additional support you may now need.

Don’t be afraid to mix up your coloursa bit. There is no need to wear black or white all the time. The 19thof October is Wear it Pinkday, which gives you the perfect chance to treat yourself to some pink lingerie to brighten up your underwear drawer. A lot of retailers will be making donations to breast cancer charities when you buy something pink, in October. It is a great way to support those who are suffering from this very common form of cancer.

More fashion articles from Suzanne Elly. If you would like to read some more of Suzanne's fashion-related posts, just click here to get started. That particular post is all about getting your wardrobe ready for when you bring your baby home. But, she does occasionally write other fashion-related articles.

Can my child take care of a pet?

Getting a family pet can be such an amazing and enriching experience. Pets make great companions and can teach kids about responsibility and compassion, as well as valuable lessons about nature and life itself. How much time, effort, and resources is your family willing to set aside to welcome an animal into the family? Here are some things to think about before gifting your child with an animal friend.

First and foremost, pet ownership is a commitment. You should be willing to properly take care of a pet for the rest of its life. Don’t just get one for novelty’s sake. Are you ready for when the initial excitement wears off? Will you and your kids step up to ensure that the animal will never be neglected, lonely, untrained, abandoned, or left in poor health? If you’re wholeheartedly dedicated and you feel like everyone at home is on board, read on.

Living situation

Get a pet that’s appropriate for your home. Look into more compact pets for an apartment like fish, reptiles, rodents, cats, and small dog breeds. Bigger pooches need more space in order to live their best lives and reach their full potentials. Living in a house opens a lot of doors to the number and types of pets you can accommodate, but your family’s resolve to raise an additional member should always be the most important consideration.

Little toddlers

Toddlers under the age of 5 are definitely not conscientious enough to take on any serious responsibilities. You can bring an animal into your home provided that all duties will fall squarely on adults and older siblings. Now is the time to start teaching kids to respect an animal’s boundaries. Tell your little tikes to be gentle and mindful in their interactions with any animal. Toddlers are rapid learners and can actually pick up these lessons surprisingly fast.

Reception aged children

Youngsters in kindergarten can learn how to appreciate a pet from a respectable distance. If you get a fish, bird, or a small rodent like a hamster, gerbil, or guinea pig, little kids can be given tasks like refilling food and water. You still need to supervise physical interactions and be any pet’s primary caregiver. Individual animals will respond differently to a curious child, and some may not be as tolerant. After all, animals mainly communicate through body language. We can’t read their minds and young kids might have a harder time sensing their animalistic moods.

Primary school kids

You can delegate some pet-related chores to kids attending primary school since they have developed motor skills and basic judgment. Age-appropriate responsibilities can include scooping up dog poop, cleaning out the litter box, bathing, scheduled feeding and removing the hair in the house. The pet hair vaccum has special features like cutting edge suction and may save you a lot of trouble. Still, you may feel more comfortable if your child is accompanied when walking a dog around the block. School-age kids can independently care for small mammals and clean their cages all on their own. They can also flex their imaginations through building creative obstacle courses and elaborate pens for little critters. Always remind everyone that cages, pens, aquariums, and terrariums all need regular maintenance. School-age children that develop an interest in animals are likely to conduct their own research, too.

Preteens

Tweensl can internalize what pet ownership really involves. They can take on more responsibilities, but need your help with adult stuff like visiting the vet. Because middle school preteens are entering the teenage phase, they will have more homework, activities with friends, distractions, and pubescent matters on their minds. Keep reminding them that loving a pet comes with responsibility and everyone should contribute to caring for animal companions.

Preparation and reward

Know what you’re getting into. Research on the proper temperaments, diets, stimulation, habitats, and needs of different species and breeds. You also need to intimately know your child’s personality and health issues like allergies to pick the right pet. Your due diligence, loving guardianship, and continuous commitment will pay off. Pets can create absolutely beautiful moments and memories, fill a household with joy, and teach anyone, of any age, how to become a better, caring human being.