How Much?! Financing An Expensive Hobby

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Everyone has a passion in life. From stamp collectors all the way up to base jumpers, there’s any number of interests and activities that people live and breathe. However, some passions are a lot more expensive than others. If you, your child or your significant other is thinking of getting into a particularly expensive hobby, here are a few tips for managing your finances for it.

Make Sure You (or They) Will Stick with It

Okay, let’s say your husband had a round of golf with their friend, they took to it like a natural, and absolutely loved it. For the week after, they watch golf on TV, read golf blogs, and talk about it non-stop. While they may be genuinely interested, this isn’t quite enough justification to spend the household budget on a new set of clubs, pair of shoes, and anything else they might want. I’m not saying that you should step on anyone’s passion here, least of all your own. However, I am saying that you or your partner should take it slow in the beginning, and avoid spending a small fortune if they don’t know they’ll stick with it. Instead of a full set of clubs, get a few lessons at your local course.

Finding the Money

Pursuing an expensive hobby is all about learning to manage finances in order to meet the hobbyist’s needs and wants. The options you have open to you here depends largely on the hobby itself. For example, if your teenage kid is getting more and more into ballet, but the lessons and clothes are causing a serious strain on your money, then it may be possible for them to offer to clean the studio in exchange for lessons. On the other hand, if your husband wants to pursue classic car tuning, and they need to fund enclosed vehicle transport to get their baby to and from shows, they’re going to have very little wiggling room in terms of how much this will cost. In order to manage those finances properly, start off by writing out the costs, covering everything from equipment to lessons to clothing, and figure out how much you’d have to work in order to fund, say, a year’s worth of the hobby. This will put things in perspective, and allow you to make plans for sourcing extra income if needs be.

Make the Most of What You Buy

When it comes to gear for hobbies, impulse buys are always a bad idea, especially when you have perfectly good equipment. If your son wants to start playing guitar and you’ve got one lying around in the attic, then dig it out and learn everything you can about it. It may not be a Gibson Les Paul, but if it’s in a decent working condition then you can put off a brand new model for some time. In general, you should also learn something about maintaining the equipment in question. Re-stringing your own guitar is infinitely cheaper than what a lot of music stores charge for it!

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Spreading The Green Gene: Getting More People To Be Sustainable

In case anyone hasn’t realised, we are indeed suffering some of a crisis with our environment. Essentially, if we’re not dedicated to changing our ways, we won’t have much of one left. Yet there are still a lot of sceptics out there, as well as people who simply can’t be bothered to put in the effort. Yet there are more, still, that do care, and those are the ones we can help to support. The more effective we make it for those who want to live sustainably to do so, the more visibility the movement gets.

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Hold your businesses accountable

Corporate social responsibility is a term that has been making the rounds and picking up traction. People are getting familiar with the fact that businesses that benefit from our society should play a bigger role in supporting them as well. Whether you’re a customer or an employee, you should consider bringing up some of the ways businesses can tackle their own environmental practices. There are a lot of ways they can go green, after all, and a lot of them are going to actually help them save money. Make it clear you and plenty others care about the sustainability of the business, but make it a suggestion rather than a demand. Make it seem that you’re offering the solution you are.

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Make way for bicycles

The more we can promote alternative forms of transport than cars, the better. If you run a business or you play any key role in it, then you can incentivize public or physical transport like walking or cycling with rewards like an additional break. Anyone can also look into making requests and creating petitions to get things like cycle shelters installed in public places, too. If you have to drive a car, then make sure you’re sharing the road with anyone cycling. Despite the increased risk to cyclists over the risk to drivers, many car owners refuse to acknowledge that the responsibility of sharing should rightfully belong a lot more to them.

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Talk about it

Everyone has an access to some sort of influence. If people ask you recommendations of purchases, you can tell them to use sustainable retailers and why exactly. You can get in touch with local government and lobby for greener practices in public services, as well as raising awareness. If you have children at school, that can give you the perfect opportunity to get in touch with the educational environment and ask them if they’re talking about green living, too. On a national level, look at your priorities in voting and make sure your choices align with those most important. Where the value of saving the world ranks on your list is obviously up to you, but it shouldn’t be neglected for other views.

You can’t directly change the actions of how people live their lives. Trying to do so will just make people more liable to ignore. What you can do if use every ounce of influence you have around them. Change the culture and you can change the people.

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Where’s The Humanity? Why (And How) Your Business Should Keep The Human Touch

If there is one thing that tends to really upset or annoy customers, it is when they feel as though they are dealing with a business which has lost its human touch. It is easy to spot a corporation which is afflicted in this way, because the way in which they communicate with real people is either jarring, disjointed, or downright rude. It goes without saying that you don’t want to talk to your customers this way, so it is clearly very important to retain the human touch in your business. Doing so might seem like a challenge, but today we are going to see how it is actually relatively straightforward. Here are some powerful, yet simple, ways to retain the humanity in your business, no matter its scope or design.

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Email Signatures

 

Email can be one area which is particularly prone to digitized humanness. We all fall into strange ways of relating and communicating with email, and it is difficult to extricate some of these bad habits on a daily basis. But there is one part of the email where you can easily claw back some humanity – the signature. Here, you have an opportunity to sign off with something real, something genuine, and it is advisable to make the most of this opportunity. Your email signature can be a surprisingly powerful opening in which you can make a human connection. No matter the content of the email, the signature can add that little flourish at the end, and often your customers will find this reassuring.

 

The ‘Behind The Scenes’ Effect

 

People tend to really enjoy finding out about how your business works. This is at least partly because finding out about the workings of a business brings it back to its normal, everyday humanity. Your business is run by normal people, after all, and it is often a healthy sign to show that to your customers. You could even consider using a live streaming sdk solution to provide your customers with a behind-the-scenes reel, footage of your actual office at work. These can be a great way of showing a kind of basic human humility which people tend to find really attractive in a business.

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Remember Your Branding

 

It is all too easy to get carried away with various ideas when it comes to branding. Partly, this is because a brand image does need to be slightly ‘out there’ – in other words, in needs to differ in some way, stand out and be bold. But if you can include something of your basic humanity in your branding, there is a good chance that this will have a positive ongoing effect. Remember the human when you are branding, and it is likely that the real humans – your customers – will appreciate the effort.

 

Customer Interactions

 

Finally, it is worth training your customer services staff to interact with your customers in as genuine a way as possible. There is a fine line to be drawn here; they need to be both human and utterly professional. This is a tricky balance to be had, but it is the one that works, so make sure this is what they are aiming for at all times.

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Ideas For Making Your Living Room The Retreat You Always Dreamed It Would Be

For years you’ve dreamed of making your living room a retreat from the outside world, free from the stresses and strains that come with everyday life. However, so far you are yet to turn this dream into a reality because the truth is you’re not 100 percent sure how to go about it.

 

You may have pinned some ideas on Pinterest and played around with a few design ideas in a sketch pad, but that’s as far as you’ve gone to transform your living room into the retreat that you’ve always dreamed it could be. However, there’s nothing more that you would love to do than transform your lounge, creating a highly relaxing space.

 

To help you to do that, below we’ve put together some ideas that may come in useful. Take note of these, implement them, and you can create the most incredible space.

 

Become a minimalist

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When it comes to creating a relaxed and tranquil area in your home, one of the most important things is to get rid of any clutter. The fact is that clutter causes us to feel more stressed and makes it harder to relax. So to make your living room more of a retreat from the outside world, it’s important to ensure that it’s free of any unnecessary clutter. Admittedly, becoming a minimalist isn’t always easy and can take time, but it’s a change that’s worth making, as you will feel much better for it. Spend some time going through the items in your living room – anything that you no longer want or need, get rid of.

 

Keep technology to a minimum

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Packing out your living room with technology might make it look stylish, but when it comes to relaxation, it’s not conducive. While you could opt to ban technology from your living room altogether, this isn’t exactly practical. After all, there are sure to be some nights when you want to spend the evening watching TV and drinking wine, and for that, a TV is a must. It’s also nice to have a speaker in your living room, so that should you want to listen to some tunes, you can do. Don’t banish technology from your living room, instead find ways to keep it out of sight. For example, place your music speaker and laptop into a cupboard when not in use, this will help to ensure that the room stays feeling and looking tranquil. Place the TV inside a cabinet, so that it can be shut away. Or, if your TV is on the wall, consider investing in some 4K screensavers that depict relaxing things, such as a fireplace or a coral reef. This will distract from what the TV is used for, and help to create a more tranquil atmosphere.

 

Decorate in neutral or natural shades

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Colors have a big impact on your mood, so when it comes to selecting the perfect shades for your living room retreat, it pays to be selective. Research has shown that the most calming and tranquil colors are natural and neutral shades. For neutrals think white, gray, and beige, for naturals, think moss green, sea foam blue, and tan. To give your living room a calming look and feel, select one of these colors for the walls. If you’re not a fan of simplicity, consider adding an accent wall using wallpaper with a subtle pattern, which comes in either a neutral or natural shade.

 

There you have it, a guide to making your living room the retreat that you have always dreamed it would be.

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Natural Beauty: Adding a Breathtaking Vibe to Your Home

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Have we moved too far away from the beauty of nature in our everyday lives? Many would certainly argue that that’s the case. One could also argue that things are better off this way. After all, nature isn’t always as kind as it’s made out to be!

 

But introducing a little more nature to your life can benefit you in so many ways. The fact is that a home with a lot of natural elements in its interior design can have fantastic calming effects. This is certainly something that a lot of people could appreciate, especially when you consider how stressful modern work can be!

 

So here are a few tips that will help you bring a more natural feel to your home.

 

Indoor plants

 

Seems almost too obvious to point out, right? Various types of plants are usually the first things people think of when they think about nature. But you may not be considering all the potential benefits of indoor plants.

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You may think it’s a bit of an exaggeration when people say that plants improve the air quality of your home, but it’s true. They’re also incredibly affordable means of introducing elegance to your home, something that’s usually quite expensive!

 

Wooden decor

 

Never underestimate the power of introducing more wood to your decor! It fits pretty much anywhere. It’s great to have in your kitchen because wood has natural antibacterial properties.

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There isn’t a room in your house that couldn’t be improved by the introduction of wood. Tearing up your carpets and using wooden panel floors instead adds both a touch elegance and improves hygiene! Of course, where you get your wood from is also important. Companies like Latham specialize in responsibly providing of such natural materials.

 

Natural light

 

Natural light is something that seemed to have become less important in interior design for a good few years. Thankfully, as more and more people begin to realize how important natural light is for the body and mind, it’s coming back to interior design in a big way.

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Introducing more natural light to your home is a crucial step towards bringing more nature to your life. Artificial light should be brought to a minimum in your home. You may want to consider anything on your property that is blocking the sunlight from getting in – and yes, that includes anything outside, such as trees or fences, that are situated in an awkward position near your window!

 

Eco-furniture

 

Perhaps your home is starting to look like the perfect love letter to nature. But you need to take a moment to consider your furniture. This is where a lot of people make mistakes. They tend to go for furniture that contains plastic or fabrics that have dangerous non flammable materials in them.

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When you’re looking for new furniture, you have to make sure that the provider is getting its materials from sustainable resources. If they do, they’re usually certified as such, as are their providers. This is a great way to bring an environmentally conscious vibe to your home – which is essential to a design that leans towards nature.

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Business Budget Busting – How To Extend The Life Of Your Office Furniture

Planning your business budget for the next twelve months can become a real pain. You want to spend as much cash as possible on taking your company to the next level. However, you know there are going to be unexpected costs somewhere along the line. It’s impossible to predict things like that, but there are techniques you can use to limit your exposure to such instances. Sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference. That’s why we’ve published this article today. With a bit of luck, these tips designed to extend the lifespan of your office furniture could help you to save a fortune.

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  • Laminate your desktops

 

 

There are products available on the market today that could stop you from having to purchase new desks this year. Sheets of laminate applied correctly will reduce the amount of damage your desktops receive. That should help you to ensure your office is always in tip-top shape. It’s a cheap solution that could mean you keep your furniture for almost twice as long. We all know how easy it can be for people to chip the surface while placing coffee mugs and other items in front of their computers. So, now is the best time to perform some research and purchase the right solution. Best of all? Adding the laminate to your desks will take no longer than five minutes, and you don’t need any specialist tools.

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  • Purchase top-end drawer slides

 

 

Any office furniture you buy with drawers will also come with slides to ensure their smooth operation. However, most manufacturers won’t select the best products one the market. With that in mind, it’s sensible for you to look for a superior alternative. Look for a company that specialises in industrial drawer slides and check out some of their most popular products. The purchase isn’t going to break the bank, but it could mean your furniture lasts a lot longer. Also, you’ll reduce any instances of workplace injury due to people getting their fingers caught. That can only be a good thing, right?

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  • Don’t scrimp when it comes to buying chairs

 

 

There are a couple of reasons why you should buy high-end office chairs for your workers. Firstly, they aren’t going to break as quickly, and so you will save money in the long run. However, there’s another reason that’s just as important. Some workers will begin to suffer from back pain after sitting on budget chairs all day long. For that reason, you need to invest in ergonomic designs that are built to last. That will mean you don’t have to spend as much cash over the course of the year, and your employees won’t call in sick quite as often. Double bonus!
You should now have enough information to make a real improvement to office furniture expenditure. We hope that leaves you with more cash in your accounts to pay for marketing strategies and other important matters. Just use your head, and try to reduce any unnecessary spending, and you should strive forward in 2017. Also, there are lots of useful posts on this blog that you might find interesting, so take a look around before you leave us today.   

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Personal Branding: Time To Give Yourself The Recognition You Deserve

When you think of a brand, you’re probably going to think about the corporations behind certain products. Of the image they attribute to those products and therefore themselves. It’s how they influence public perception and win people on their side. It’s not just for big businesses with big name products, however. A brand for yourself, for you as a person, can have huge effects whether you’re building a career or a business.

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Identify a brand persona

Don’t get scared if you feel like you’re not a good ‘actor’. Creating a persona isn’t about selling half-truths. It’s about identifying your skills and your flaws. It’s about knowing how to present them to the specific audience you’re talking to. It’s about finding that version of you that hits straight to the core of what the market wants. It might be a certain writing style, it might incorporate visuals, it might be a certain ideal of yours that you wish to push. It’s not about changing who you are, but about honing the focus on what attributes and values you care about the most.

Build your platform

Naturally, a brand needs to be shared for it to have any real effect on perceptions. To that end, you need to learn some of the fundamentals of marketing; online marketing in particular. It’s about visibility and message. Building a website and getting on social media is a good start. But you need to make sure that your website is visible, so use search engine optimization tactics. For instance, if your brand is related to IT work, then ‘IT consultation’ and ‘tech expert’ could be some of the keywords you want to use to build your site. Meanwhile, your message is shaped by the content you put out there. A social media strategy, paired with writing informative blog posts that show that you know what you’re talking about, makes sure that your name is pinned to your content and benefits from the quality of it.

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Put yourself out there

Even better for the visibility and validity of your brand is that other people are going to recognise it and share it. That’s one of the reasons you should be networking. Build positive relationships, use your platform to help other business owners and entrepreneurs. Their seal of approval and powers to boost your signal can add some real legitimacy to the brand.

Stay consistent

A brand can undergo a lot of work to be shaped into the most positive and effective message, but that doesn’t mean it will always be that way. An easy way to watch it break down is to be inconsistent between your image and your deeds. If your brand is all about community and mutual benefit, for instance, you better make sure your business is good to customers. If sustainability is a big part of the brand, then you need to show green practices you take seriously. You can’t say one thing and do another.

Let your reputation precede you and make sure it’s a good one by spending time on your personal brand. After that, you have to make sure that your work speaks for yourself.

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