How To Set Yourself Achievable Goals

Whether you’re looking to implement big change in your life, or just looking to make small steps towards being a better version of yourself, setting goals is paramount. However, there’s a difference between setting achievable goals and giving yourself unattainable targets. Ambition is an enviable trait – and ensuring your hard work leads to accomplishments is the reason behind goal setting. So, how do you create achievable goals for yourself, and ensure you see them through to their conclusion?

How To Set Yourself Achievable Goals title with faded tape measures image

Set targets to reach your goal
It doesn’t make a difference whether you’re chasing one or numerous goals – getting started will always be the most difficult part. It can be a daunting proposition, looking at the goals you’ve written down and wondering how you’re going to achieve them. For this reason, it’s recommended that you split your goals into further micro-goals, or targets. This way, you can start small and build on those early successes. Once you get started, you’ll soon find that the psychological benefit of completing each of these smaller targets toward your goals drives further determination.

Create detailed and specific targets to meet your goals
It’s important to clearly understand what you need to do. The more information you can include, the easier it will be to follow. A specific target gives you more focus. One commonly used example of this is if you’re planning to save money. Rather than ‘save £2,000’, incorporate more detail to keep your eyes on the goal: ‘save £2,000 for home renovations’. Then set the specific targets: ‘save £600 for new hardwood flooring, £1000 for new kitchen units, and £400 for re-painting the whole house’. The added detail and smaller target totals make it more achievable, whilst keeping you focused on why you’re saving.

A desk with planners, notebooks and organisers

Give yourself a timeframe
Further adding to the emphasis on detail, giving your goals a specific timeframe is an important factor in motivation and accomplishing targets. They also encourage action. Take, for example, a ‘flash sale’ email from your favourite brand, telling you that you can get an unmissable offer if you buy within the next 24 hours. The likelihood is that most of us have been persuaded by this before, and this is because the time-bound offer triggers a psychological reaction. Setting yourself timeframes for your goals works in a similar way. If you know you’ve only got a certain amount of days to achieve, you’ll be spurred on to put in the work. If your target is open-ended, it can easily fall to the bottom of the pile.

Put them down on paper
Having your targets written down provides you with something to refer back to. If you’re lacking in motivation, look back at your goals and remember why you set them in the first place. Seeing them in black and white makes the goals feel real, and helps to keep you focused one step at a time. Keeping them at the front of your mind allows you to focus on the bigger picture.

Lost sight of your goal and missed your targets? Don’t beat yourself up, or let it slip back further. Remind yourself of your next targets and review/ amend them if they feel too unrealistic. Focus on achieving the targets one at a time with your eye on the end goal you’ve set yourself and get back on track. Without these constant reminders it’s easy to let goals slip, which is a definite no-no. Start with a simple list, then edit and grow as required.

Make your goals realistic
Arguably the most important aspect of setting yourself goals: make them realistic. If your goal isn’t attainable, why set it in the first place? It’s a slippery slope when you become over-ambitious. Confidence is crucial, there’s no doubting that, but if you aim too high you risk knocking this confidence and subsequently giving up. Simply put, it can do more harm than good. Start off small and, once you have more experience, you can aim bigger and better. Many people set end-goals and put too much focus on getting there. It’s easy to forget that the journey is where you learn and develop. Whether it’s professionally or as a person, never take your journey for granted. Celebrate each target reached!

Weight lifting

Measure Your Progress
This is an obvious one, but it’s easy to forget if you’ve got multiple goals to track at once. Measuring your progress is important for many reasons. It helps keep you motivated – if you’ve lost weight for example, you’re more likely to feel confident on your progress and continue to work hard. If you’ve not hit targets, you know you need to put in more work in order to achieve your goal within the set timeframe. There are hundreds of tracking templates for almost anything, all you have to do is a quick Google search. Keep track of how you’re performing, and adjust your plan to make sure you accomplish what you need to.

Take accountability
There’s nobody else you can blame for your failures (or your successes) other than yourself. You’re responsible for whether your goals are accomplished or not. Others may be responsible for minor setbacks, but your overall success is down to you. Hold yourself accountable and work hard to achieve your goals!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Easy Ways to Cut the Amount of Energy You Use Each Month

Whether you want to do it for the good of the planet or the good of your bank balance, taking steps to spend less on energy is definitely worthwhile. It’s also a lot easier to do than many people think. We’re all guilty of wasting energy and using more than we need to. That’s just the way it is, but that doesn’t mean your habits can’t change. It’s more than possible to make changes to how you consume energy, and we’re about to prove that right now…

Easy Ways to Cut the Amount of Energy You Use Each Month title with image of house made of leaves

Go LED

LED light bulbs are so much more energy efficient than the vast majority of other bulbs out there. If you’re still using old halogen bulbs, that’s something that’s really got to change. They use a lot of energy, and all of that’s being wasted when you could so easily switch to LEDs without any drawbacks of negatives involved at all. Every light in your home should be an LED.

Shut Your Doors and Close Your Curtains

Heating is a major way in which people waste energy in the home. If you only focus on heating the rooms that you’re using, you will save so much money and energy during the winter months. And you can do that even better by closing the curtains to stop heat escaping and also shutting doors so that the heat doesn’t escape into the rest of your home.

When Dealing With Frozen Foods, Use the Microwave Less

This is a very simple but effective trick. When you have frozen foods that you need to defrost before you can cook, simply remember to take them out of the freezer and sit them out on the countertop about 8 to 12 hours before you plan on using that food for preparation. It’s so much more energy efficient than defrosting in the microwave because it doesn’t use any energy at all.

Install More Energy Efficient Windows

Your windows will have a big impact on how much energy you use on heating your home. By improving the quality of your windows, you will be able to get away with spending less on energy each and every month. Find a company that can offer you replacement double glazing as soon as possible and start reaping the rewards of these changes. They’ll pay for themselves in no time.

A photo of windows

Wash in Colder Water

Washing your clothes is obviously another necessity, and that’s why many people think that there is no way for them to save energy in this area. That’s simply not true though. By washing your clothes in colder water, you will achieve the same results in most instances, and you will use a lot less energy.

Everyone can use less energy each and every month if they’re willing to put in the work to make it happen. You don’t need to spend money on energy that really isn’t needed. As the tips and ideas here prove, there are alternatives to energy inefficiency. Why not start making these changes right away?

*This is a collaborative post.

Your Family And Finances: The Rules

When it comes to your family and finances, you need to make sure that you’re handling them the right way. Many people don’t realize that the way they handle their finances and talk about their finances teaches their kids everything they believe about money before they’ve even grown up and had a chance to experience it for themselves. Take a look at your family and finances: the rules…

Your Family And Finances: The Rules title on faded background image of pennies

Always Use Positive Language When Discussing Money

When talking about money, especially in front of your kids, always use positive language. If you talk about money in a negative way, they’ll have a bad relationship with money right from the start. You don’t want that!

Have Regular Meetings

Having regular family meetings where you discuss money, amongst other things, can make it less of a taboo topic of discussion for your family.

Give Your Kids Pocket Money

There’s nothing wrong with buying kids things that they want, but giving your kids pocket money is usually a better way of going about it. This way, your kids get to decide how to use their money early on. Do they want to save it up for a bigger purchase, or spend it on something small? You can use this as an opportunity to get them into their own saving habits, too.

Get Into Good Saving Habits

Make sure you’re in good saving habits. This will be evident to your kids and they will learn from watching you – it’ll also make your family less stressed out when an emergency payment or something of importance pops up! Take a look at the superhero saving habits below for help:

credit to Sunny

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Easy Ways To Save For Your Family Adventures

Family adventures are great, but unlike the ones you read about in books, they cost money. Whether you like to plan for big trips or days out, it’s nice to have a little rainy day fund to help you pay for your adventures. A family has a lot of expenses, making it hard to put money away, but thanks to these clever savings ideas you can help your family save easily for your next adventure…

Easy Ways To Save For Your Family Adventures title. Sunset beach image with family on pier.

Don’t Buy Anything Without Checking For A Voucher First

In the age of internet shopping, it is possible to find discount codes for almost anything – including days out. It only takes a few minutes to do a quick search, but you could save a lot of money on things you were planning to buy anyway.

Vouchers from supermarkets, clothes shops and other places could help you save a few extra pennies to put towards your family adventures. Sites like Groupon are great for family dinners, and it’s worth signing up to VoucherCloud and other discount code websites too. Always do a price search and see if you could save yourself some money.

Sell Your Unwanted Items

Each Christmas or birthday helps you realise just how little space there is in your home, and how much stuff doesn’t get used. Instead of just letting unwanted items clutter up your home, sell them. If you’ve got streaming subscriptions, you can easily save yourself some money by selling off your old DVDs and Blu-Rays, while unwanted clothes and toys are perfect for eBay. If you want an easy way of posting your items, https://www.shiply.com/ is a great service to make shipping your items a breeze. Having a regular clear out not only helps you to make a bit of money but will keep your house in order too.

Keep A Forfeit Jar

Many families have swear jars, but if your family tends to be good on the bad language front, you might want to consider a different kind of forfeit jar instead. You could have one for anytime someone forgets a household rule, or whenever someone leaves a light on in the house. Keep it up and at the very least, you’ll stop some bad habits, while the best you can expect is a nice healthy sum for your savings pot.

Cut Your Bills

It’s becoming more common for people to switch providers for everything, including your utilities and banking. It’s worth ringing other providers for a quote and seeing if your current provider can match it. There are some great ways to haggle with service providers that can at least get you a temporary saving. Put the difference into savings and watch them grow month after month.

Saving money can be a fun and rewarding challenge for all the family, helping you to afford those little extras. Looking for some more great money saving tips? Check out this useful article on how to what to do when you need money fast. Enjoy finding ways of saving money with your family so that you can look forward to creating many more happy memories together.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Make Your Christmas More Creative

It’s easy to let Christmas take over your house, mind and wallet. Maybe it even instills a feeling of dread and an expectation that you’ll start the new year on the back foot in a bank overdraft. But there are many ways to upgrade your Christmas that don’t revolve around presents and decorations. Fun, personal and thoughtful touches will win every time! Here are some ideas to get those creative juices flowing, so that you can make some changes this year that’ll be more creative, fun, and also save you money – without compromising on time with loved ones.

A picture of Christmas accessories on a blue background with the title written in white.

Get crafty

If you’ve got a skill or talent that could be used to make a gift instead of buying one, this would add a personal touch and could save money (depending on the skill). If you’re a keen cook, why not offer to make a dish for Christmas dinner rather than buying everyone a gift? Perhaps you’d rather make a delicious dessert for everyone to share – it’ll be really appreciated, will help out the host and is something you can all share. If you’re more into sewing or painting, you may prefer to make small handmade gifts instead – just remember to give yourself enough time to complete them in the busy time leading up to Christmas.

Save money

Take advantage of cheaper options and make sure you shop around. If you have a particular gift in mind, see if you can get hold of it second hand – sites like eBay may have the same item either brand new or used – in many cases you might find one that’s been opened but never used, or still comes in the original box. Why spend more for no reason? Shopping around more could save you a lot of money! Just don’t forget that you may need to arrange your own courier which you’ll need to factor into your budget.

Take charge of Christmas games

Games are a big part of Christmas for many and a great way to bond with family. If games aren’t part of your Christmas day usually, why not give yourself the title of Games Coordinator, do some research and find a few easy games that’ll get you all working together and passing the time so you’ve got something to keep your mind busy when waiting for your food! 

If you’re already a lover of games, why not find a few new ones to try – perhaps you’ve got that one person that never wants to play and they need something else to get them motivated. If there’s a certain game that divides family members, try to find one that includes everyone and that appeals to their interests. Ask friends which games they play at Christmas time and steal any good recommendations!

New board games can be expensive so it’ll pay to shop around – a good tip is to look in charity shops or borrow from others. There are also so many games that only need a pen and paper or a pack of cards so you don’t need to spend a fortune!

Hopefully these tips give you some inspiration for cutting the cost of your Christmas this year and add a little sprinkle of creativity whilst saving you money!

*This is a collaborative post.

Home Education on a Shoestring 

This post discusses how you can save money on home educating and still provide plenty of home ed opportunities. It is a common misconception that home educating is expensive and unaffordable to most. However, many home educators successfully home educate on a tight budget and there are lots of ways to make home educating affordable. The truth is, home education can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. Plus with the money you would spend on uniform, trips and lunch money, school is not necessarily a cheaper option either!

It is a common misconception that home educating is expensive and unaffordable to many. However, there are actually various ways to cut the costs, and many home educators successfully home educate on a tight budget. Here are my top tips…

Trips and Activities

Join your local home ed facebook group

In many areas, home educators organise trips and activities together as a community, in order to access cheaper group entry charges or school rates. This often also includes educational workshops that wouldn’t otherwise be available to individuals.

Look out for discounts/ offers to local attractions

Find your local community magazine, join an online group that shares local information or sign up to attraction newsletters direct; whichever way suits you personally to stay up-to-date with the latest offers and discounts for local attractions. Some places also do free open days etc… that it is worth taking advantage of too. If you make a point of seeking them out, you’ll be amazed at how much you can actually save!

Research free places to visit

Following on from the previous point, there are lots of free places to visit, and events throughout the year, that offer great educational opportunities. From museums to sporting events, there is plenty to choose from without getting your wallet out.

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Form a co-op, or arrange your own groups/ activities

If you can find a free (or cheap) venue, many home educators lead groups and activities themselves, or with other members of the local community. You can play on each others’ strengths and expertise, plus pool together resources, which can be far more cost effective than paying for classes etc…

Resources at Home

Find freebies

There are lots of free good quality resources on the internet. Also check out freecycle for useful items that someone else no longer needs. Occasionally there is even old equipment from local schools up for grabs, if you know the right people!

Borrow

You can also borrow and swap with other home educators, which makes far more sense than investing in something that is only needed for a short term topic or limited age- range for example. And of course, there are libraries too!

Buy secondhand

There are dedicated home ed selling groups on facebook to find cheap secondhand resources. Charity shops are another place to hunt for bargains; there are some great finds to be had.

Sell the resources you no longer use

Obviously, as well as buying secondhand, it is also useful to sell your resources on if you no longer use them! Or hand them down to someone else who needs them, in a pay it forward type philosophy.

Make the most of subscription discounts

Some educational apps and websites charge an annual subscription fee. However, many offer a discount for home educators so be sure to find out before you sign up.

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Twinkl is great for educational resources

What About Income Though?

It is true that the loss of earnings can be a challenge. It is all very well finding ways to save money on the cost of home educating, but it doesn’t help if you don’t have any money coming in to begin with! (Note: Home educators are not entitled to any additional extra benefits simply because they home educate, and there is no funding specifically for home educators).

However, many home educators do also work. Firstly, it is important to remember that home education does not need to observe school hours and term times so there is flexibility as to how and when a full time education is provided. Secondly, there are various jobs that you can do flexibly working from home, or ways you can juggle home educating with working outside of the home. Here are some ideas…

Home Working

Just a few examples of jobs people do at home while home educating are; tutoring, childminding, workshops/ classes, blogging, making and selling crafts (e.g. etsy store) or other small businesses.

Working While Home Educating

Parents often share responsibility for home educating with each other, other family members or friends. Some use a childminder for part of the week, then focus on home education outside of those hours. Others take advantage of educational groups or childcare schemes that they can send their child to whilst they work. It is also possible to find evening or weekend work too. Bottom line is, there are various options available, much like you would choose at pre-school age.

Do you have any tips on how to finance home education? Or how to home educate on a budget? I would love to hear them!

Switching Energy Providers To Save Money

Roughly this time last year, we switched our energy provider to a clean energy company in a bid to make our lives greener. We chose to switch from British Gas to Good Energy via 38 Degrees Big Switch. We found it incredibly easy to do this, it seriously took no effort at all, and we saved alot of money this year in doing so.

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Unfortunately, the fixed tariff has now ended and the one we are automatically transferred to is a much higher rate, so it is time to switch again! We were kept well informed of this though; 38 Degrees were very good at sending out emails to ensure customers were aware, and to offer a new deal with a different company (Bristol Energy). 

If you don’t review your energy provider regularly to ensure you are getting the best deal, for example at the end of a fixed rate period, I really recommend you do so. The amount you can save is significant! There are lots of energy companies to choose from (including several clean energy providers) so it is worth taking the time to shop around and compare the various deals on offer.

There are also various companies who are using people power too, by joining consumers together to get a better collective deal, much like the one we did. These really take the time and hassle out of it all, whilst getting great savings. Google to check the latest one, as they are usually limited numbers and set deadlines.

The other thing to consider is thinking ahead in order to save money. I would imagine that you are more likely to find deals on installation, or home heating oil if you use it, now during the summer months than later in the year for example. So a little bit of planning now could help make savings in winter.


*This is a collaborative post.