Five Ways to Cut Down on Household Expenses in the New Year

As we look to finish off the year it’s quite normal that we look back and reflect on what we’ve accomplished, the hurdles we’ve faced, and the challenges we have before us as we head into 2018. For many families out there, the biggest challenge facing them today is money, more specifically having enough money to pay for all their expenses.

Piggy Bank

If you found this year to be particularly tough and you’re looking to lessen the load next year, then you aren’t alone. Here are five tips you can use heading into the new year that will help you to cut down on household expense, giving you that extra breathing room you’re after.

Embrace Couponing

If you’re the type that has never really thought much about coupons, nor have you used them, it’s time to think twice. Nowadays, you can find coupons for all kinds of items; it’s no longer just for groceries and toiletries. Coupons range from small price cuts to giving you a free item.

The key to using coupons successfully is knowing where to find them. Typically, the best option nowadays tends to be online, rather than the traditional flyers people used to clip. Coupons can then be stored on your smartphone and scanned at the store.

Sites like eCouponsHub feature all the latest coupons in a large variety of categories. You’ll be able to find significant savings such as the Pizza Hut coupon code 5 off which gives you $5 off your order. Before you know it, these savings start to add up over the month and suddenly you’re freeing up cash.

Look Into Bundling Your Services

Most people spend a fairly significant amount each month on their landline phone, mobile phone, cable provider, and internet provider. Experts recommend looking into bundling your services with one provider, as they will often take a percentage off your bill each month. While you’re speaking with your provider, take a look at your current add-ons and ask yourself if they are really all needed.

Watch Your Energy Usage

Finding ways to cut back on your energy usage can result in significant savings too. Look into things such as energy-efficient light bulbs, energy-star rated appliances, doing things such as laundry and dishes during the off-peak hours, and making sure you turn everything off when it’s not in use.

Cut Back on Outside Entertainment

If you’re the type of family that loves going out to the movies, dining out, and visiting local attractions, now is the time to reign that spending in. Start looking for fun activities you can do at home, or for free. You’d be surprised just how much your town likely offers in terms of “free activities”.

Consider Using Public Transportation

For those families that are a two-car household and looking to make drastic cuts in the budget, then it may be time to consider selling one of those vehicles and using public transportation instead. Obviously, this is a pretty big move, but if your family is able to make do with one car, the savings will be well worth it.

There are Always Ways to Cut

When it comes to cutting your household expenses, the good news is that there are always places you can make changes.

Exercise science- the new buzz word

Exercise science is a very wide term. It encompasses everything from fitness, to body movement, to diet and more. It is the study of the mechanism of human body movement, physical activity, and exercise. It studies how exercise should interact with the human body. It lends a scientific touch to fitness and to enable people to understand the physiological impact of exercise and its impact more objectively. Exercise science is used interchangeably with kinesiology. Both the terms are closely related. While exercise science is the effect of physical activity on the body; kinesiology includes the studies of biomechanics, motor control and physiological effects of exercise.  Exercise science typically covers areas of exercise physiology, kinesiology, sports medicine, human performance and physical education.

exercise science

How did it all begin?

During the early 20th century the subject of exercise science gained prominence. The resurgence of Olympic Games was a major contributor too. What was being studied at the time was the effect of exercise on the heart rate, lungs, and hemoglobin.  Exercising at higher altitudes, oxygen consumption and other related areas were also researched. This was also the time when insulin was synthesized for treatment of diabetes. Organizations, as well as, individuals woke up to the importance of fitness, physical activity and awareness about the same increased. Aerobics became a buzzword in addition to exercises like walking and jogging.

If you wish to pursue exercise science or are pursuing the same and are wondering about your prospects there are some useful resources like out there. Sharing here some key terms associated with the discipline. The field of study in the discipline is fairly wide and a degree in the same can open several career paths for you. Though some of the more advanced occupations based on exercise might require further education.

Understanding the discipline of exercise science better

Kinesiology: It can be literally defined as the study of human movement. It can be broadly defined as the study of the biological, social, behavioral and developmental bases for physical activity, sports, etc.

Sports medicine: It deals directly with sports-related injuries also including injuries sustained during physical activity or exercise. It also covers the prevention and treatment of such injuries.

Exercise physiology: Though used interchangeably this is not the same exercise science. While exercise science might embody kinesiology, physical education, human performance and more, exercise physiology only covers a fixed a field of study. This is more or less standardized curriculum focused on physiology.

With increased interest and the need for fitness globally exercise science has become popular. It is an interesting field of study. There are several new discoveries in exercise science that have been path-breaking for the fitness industry; the 7-minute workout being one of them.  There have been studies projecting growth for the job prospects for exercise physiologists and athletic trainers. This is in addition to median salaries for professionals in the field also increasing. It is fast becoming the most versatile field of study.

The Best Comic Books for Teens and Older Kids

comic books

Some people will always think of comic books as being exclusively for kids, however this notion has been challenged in recent years as an increasing number of comics and graphic novels aimed at older audiences have started to appear. While adults are now catered to with offerings such as The Invisibles, Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and many others, the teen market has still been somewhat neglected.

However, for those who know where to look there are a number of quality titles on offer. In this article we have put together a list of some of the most critically acclaimed titles available for the teen and young adult market.

Runaways, by Brian K. Vaughan

Part of growing up is coming to the realization that our parents are not infallible, and are flawed human beings like the rest of us. This has been a recurring theme in young adult literature for some time and it is also a prominent feature of a number of the young adult graphic novels. In Runaways that realization plays a central role in the story, in fact it takes it one step further, the protagonist comes to realise that their parents are in fact evil supervillains. The teens run away as a result, later discovering that they have inherited some of their parents’ powers and have to decide what to do with them. It is a classic coming of age story combined with a superhero adventure.

Paper Girls, by Brian K. Vaughan

This quirky adventure tells the tale of a group of badass newspaper delivery girls in the 1980’s. It deftly combines classic science fiction tropes with a dose of 80’s nostalgia. It has been referred to as Nancy Drew does punk and this accurately reflects the overall feel and aesthetic of this unique graphic novel.

For teens who would like to have a go at creating their own comics, the website Rage Maker is an excellent start point.

Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon

The X-Men series has always been one of the most effective vehicles for exploring adult themes within the realm of comic books. The series focuses on the trials and discrimination faced by a group of humans born with genetic mutations which confer them with super powers. Over the course of its history, the series has explored a number of important themes such as discrimination, eugenics, and the difficulty of coming of age while a member of a discriminated community.

As you would expect of a series which has been going for so long and which has produced such a large number of titles during that time, some X-Men titles have been received better than others, while some have been criticised for falling victim to overly dramatic scenes and soap opera tendencies. When the X-Men is done right, and its setting used to its full advantage, as is the case with Astonishing X-Men, the stories it produces are involving and relevant to the reader.

There are now more comic books available than ever before to the teen and young adult markets. The titles on this list are just a small selection of the many excellent titles which are now available.

Better Sleep Tips for Busy Moms

The job of a mom is never an easy one, especially during the summer months where it’s down to you to keep your little ones occupied and entertained. For many moms, juggling family commitments, work, and everything else can quickly lead to a number of issues that can prevent them from sleeping well, no matter how tired they are when their head hits the pillow at night. If you’re a mom who’s finding yourself surviving on less and less sleep every night, then the good news is that there are several steps that you can take to help yourself wind down and get the hours of quality shut-eye that you need to keep your energy levels high. Here are some of the best things to do.

#1. Wind Down Early

Whilst you might want to have a few peaceful hours to yourself after you’ve put the little ones to bed, choose how you spend this time wisely since the activities that you do during your ‘me’ time can make or break the quality of your sleep at night. Ideally, it’s a good idea to begin winding down once your children’s bedtime arrives. Use the time when they are asleep to do something relaxing such as listening to classical music, taking a warm bath, or even doing some yoga. Avoid anything stimulating, such as watching action movies or using technology too much since this will only serve to keep you awake.

#2. Get Ready for the Next Day

Spending a little bit of time getting things ready for the next day, whether it’s making packed lunches or laying out your little ones’ outfits for school tomorrow, will give you less to worry about when it comes to going to bed. If you find yourself unable to relax in bed because you’re overthinking about the number of things that you have to do when you wake up, getting a head start on this can help to calm your stress and get you into a state of relaxation. It can help to have a checklist of things to do before bed, as this will enable you to stay in control.

#3. Create a Sanctuary in Your Bedroom

For most moms, the bedroom isn’t just a place for sleeping – it’s probably also strewn with toys, games, and anything else pertaining to the kids. However, research shows that making a calming, tidy sanctuary of your bedroom can have a huge effect on the quality of your sleep in a positive way. Use smart storage to keep things tidied away in your room, and if you have the time, you might want to consider redecorating in calming colors. You can also use essential oils in a diffuser to help you sleep; lavender oil is especially good for this. Lastly, make sure that you’re using the right bedding – a supportive pillow tailored to your sleeping style can make all the difference. See for more information on choosing the right type of pillow for you.

Did these tips help you sleep better? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

5 Tips for Going on Vacation with your Children

Raising a young family is no easy task. In fact, it can be an incredibly demanding undertaking. Often, these demands are only intensified when you decide to go on vacation. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Going on holiday with your family should be a time when you get to have fun and create lots of fabulous memories. If you are determined to make your next trip a success, you will need to read on. Below are five tips for going on vacation with your children.

Book your tickets ahead of time

Queuing with children can be an absolute nightmare. That is why you should book your tickets in advance. For instance, if you are treating your family to the cultural delights of a Vatican tour, you can arrange your tickets online. You could even buy ‘Skip the Line Tickets’ that will help to take even more pressure off your shoulders. If you want to encourage your children to engage with culture, it is vital that you maintain a sense of excitement. This will be hard to do if they are forced to wait around!

Plan ahead

To prevent yourself from getting stressed, you will need to plan your vacation carefully. Why not create an itinerary for how you are going to spend each day? Your plan should strike the right balance between relaxation and adventure. This will ensure that you are making the most of your time away. It will also save you from the panic of making on the spot decisions.

Keep your little ones entertained during your journey

Traveling to your destination will probably be the most stressful part of your experience. That is you will need to keep your little ones entertained during the journey. This is the best way to ensure that everyone is in a great mood when you arrive. You could play games, read books, or tell each other stories. Alternatively, you could invest in technology such as a tablet, an iPhone, or an iPod. This is a great way for you to keep your little ones occupied, without wearing yourself out. 

Think about the lessons that you are teaching your children

Going on holiday is a great opportunity for you to teach your children something new. Perhaps you could introduce them to a new culture and show them how important it is to respect people who are different from them. Maybe you could help them to learn a new language and find new friends. Or, you could take them to historical landmarks and teach them about an important event.

Encourage your family to document their experience

If you are hoping to make your vacation one to remember, you should encourage your entire family to document their experience. One way of doing this is by creating a family scrapbook. This is a lovely place for you to store all of your treasured pictures and mementoes. Tell your little ones about the scrapbook before you set off. This will encourage them to be on the lookout for inspiration throughout the trip.

How to Become a Happier and Healthier You

Have you been thinking about trying to get a little fitter recently? Maybe you were always a regular jogger until work, and other commitments meant it dwindled? Well, there is no need to worry, because getting fitter and healthier doesn’t mean you have to devote hours in the gym, it just means you need to alter a few things in your life. Then, before you know it, you will be on the way to a happier you.

running on beach

Exercise Around Your Life

Not everyone has the time or the energy after a long day to go for a jog around the park. However, you don’t have to do that to get fitter, all you need to do is exercise when you can, and find other ways of getting fit. Try to get off the bus one or two stops earlier and walk the rest of the way. It might not seem like much, but after a while it all adds up. Why not start to take the stairs up to your office floor instead of taking the lift? If you work on the 20th floor, you might want to climb at many flights possible as this is a great means of exercise.

Quit Smoking and Cut Down on Drinking

It has been well established that smoking is bad for your health, and there are now many ways that you can give up. One way is to turn to vaping instead because you can still get the sensations of smoking without the deadly toxins. Companies such as Mount Baker Vapor create alternative ‘juices’ that you can use in your vaping machines. Drinking alcohol in moderation is nothing to worry about unduly, however, if you are drinking a lot every day, then you need to think about cutting back on the amount. Switching to an alternative such as grape juice will help, especially in social situations.

Begin a Healthier Eating Regime

There are many popular ideas that you need to go on a strict diet and cut out all of the bad things such as fat and sugar to be healthy. In fact, although you should cut down on sugar and fat, the most important thing is to keep everything in moderation. If you try to cut out all bad things at once, you will soon start to get bad cravings that may make you fail. It is far easier to reduce all of the bad things, but you can still have them occasionally. It means you won’t feel guilty when you do have that bar of chocolate once a month, because you know it is part of your new healthier eating regime.

There are many ways that you can make small changes to your life that will make you healthier. You can try swapping a cup of coffee for a glass of water, taking healthier snacks with you in your bag for when you get peckish, and considering cycling to work. All of these little things will add up to a much healthier and happier you in the end.

Maintaining a Hygienic Home with Cats

In a world where working hours are becoming longer and longer, it’s not always practical or kind to have a dog. Dogs need a considerable amount of time, both in exercise and human contact and interaction. Cats, on the other hand, need these a little less. That’s not to say a cat is definitely the best pet to have if you work long hours (they still need their humans around a fair amount; that fishing app for felines wasn’t created for nothing), but they are certainly preferable as companion pets for those who aren’t particularly keen on or are unable to fully enjoy outdoor pursuits (though there are a few owners who delight in walking their cats on a lead). Nevertheless, as wonderful as a warm, purring body nestled in the lap is, living with a cat requires a different, more meticulous routine when it comes to health and hygiene.



Indoor vs. Outdoor Cat

The first decision you must make as a cat owner is whether to keep your new pet indoors, or to allow it (through use of a cat flap) to wander outside when you’re at work. The latter option certainly minimizes any odors from the litterbox. However, it opens up consideration pertaining to safety from vehicles, other animals, and even people, as well as the possibility of being brought “gifts” such as dead birds and rodents. So, a collar with a bell is a must if they go outside, as cats are natural predators.

Conversely, indoor cats seem to have a penchant for coughing up hairballs, though fastidious brushing and removal of shed fur from furniture (a simple lint brush works wonders) helps to reduce this. Indoor cats are also highly picky when it comes to litterbox cleanliness levels (they will, in fact, leave you a warning deposit just outside of said receptacle if they feel your standards have fallen unacceptably low).

Fleas, and Worms, and Ticks – Oh My!

Of course, if you’re letting your cat outside, you must make sure your pet is microchipped and fully vaccinated, as well as up-to-date with worming and flea treatments (there are advantage ii for cats coupons available for affordability). Furthermore, if you live in an area that could be described as tending towards the rural, with long grass and visiting wildlife such as deer and foxes, then an anti-tick course is probably sensible, too.

Healthy Boundaries

Similar to owning a dog, it doesn’t hurt to establish boundaries with your cat as regards sleeping areas, either. In short, you shouldn’t sleep with your cat at all. Further, when out for the day, close bedroom doors so that you don’t find yourself face first in a pillow covered in shed fur later that night. If possible, ensure cupboard doors are firmly shut, also, so the same scenario doesn’t occur after that post-work shower, the towel you thought freshly laundered in blatant need of another wash as you find your arms covered in damp cat hair. There is nothing a cat likes more than a dark place complete with unusual “bedding”.

What To Consider Before Leaving For Your Next Vacation

Traveling is stimulating and creates a sense of excitement as soon as you start thinking about planning your trip. There’s a lot to reflect on as you’re preparing for a new experience. It’s easy for important tasks to slip through the cracks when you have a lot on your mind.

It’s a good idea to come up with checklists to help you manage your to-dos. Start early and plan ahead, so you have nothing to worry about when it comes time for departure. Put measures in place that make it easy for you to plan your trip and still handle your daily responsibilities. See what to consider before leaving for your next vacation.

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The Location 

Think about the goal of your trip. Consider if it’s to go lay on a beach or if you want more adventure and activities like hiking or skiing. Make sure it’s really what you want and that you’re not settling because of price or timing. Talk it over with your family and make sure everyone’s on the same page before booking the trip. The location should be somewhere that’s going to lift your spirits and make you happy you left home for a little while.

If your Pet will come along

If you own a pet, contemplate if you want them to come along on the trip. If you’re flying on an airplane, it may be more difficult to bring them with, than if you’re driving up to a cabin. Either way, it’s a good idea to purchase Pet Lock products to protect your pet from pesky pests, fleas and ticks. Leaving your home with your animal always puts you at risk for encountering unwanted parasites.

What you’ll need to Pack

Once you’ve selected a location, consider what you’ll need to pack for the specific trip. Go through your closet and declutter and organize it, so you know exactly what items you have and need. Think about how much money you’re going to spend putting together an appropriate wardrobe for your vacation. It’s always a good idea to try and get your items into a carry-on bag, so you have less of a chance of it getting lost and don’t have to wait in long lines to check it.

How Much Time you’ll need for Working

Plan ahead at work and try to get your assignments completed before you leave on your trip. Talk to your boss well ahead of time and come up with a plan, so your team isn’t scrambling at the last minute or while you’re gone. Offer to work more hours before your trip if it means you don’t have to be checking messages while you’re away. This is an important aspect to take care of as you’re planning your getaway, so you feel calm and relaxed when it comes time to depart.


Deciding to travel has a way of making you forget about all of your responsibilities. You’re so excited that it’s difficult to focus. This is what to consider before leaving for your next vacation.

Keeping Your Home Itch-Free – How to Prevent Head Lice and Fleas

No matter how careful you are, sooner or later your child is bound to come home with head lice. Similarly, very few people get away with having a pet without the occasional fleabite, so it can often feel like you’re resigned to your fate. However, although head lice and fleas are irritating, if you attack the problem quickly, it can be easily managed.

Head lice are relatively harmless because they don’t spread infection or disease, but they can make your head intolerably itchy, so it’s important to stop them in their tracks before they multiply. Similarly, if you’ve ever had a fleabite, you’ll know how painful they can be. Here are some tips for keeping itchy pests out of your home.

head lice

How to Prevent Head Lice

Unfortunately, if your child attends school or daycare, there’s not much you can do to prevent head lice, other than encouraging your child not to share brushes, combs or hats with their friends. Head lice spread through head-to-head contact, as unlike fleas, they cannot jump or hop.

The best you can do is attack the head lice with an over the counter treatment and a fine-toothed comb and make sure you get rid of the eggs so they cannot hatch and multiply. Adult lice cannot survive away from the scalp for more than a day, so unlike fleas, they cannot live in your home without a human host. Therefore, it’s not necessary to deep clean your house or car.

You Can’t Wash Them Away

Head lice can survive submerged in water for up to 20 minutes, so washing your child’s hair every day won’t get rid of them. Head lice like clean hair as much as they like dirty hair, so having head lice is not a sign of poor hygiene, and no amount of shampoo will make a difference. Instead, use a CDC approved treatment, and check your child’s head every day for new lice.

How to Get Rid of Fleas

Of course, cats and dogs can’t get head lice, but they can get fleas, which are worse in most cases. Unlike head lice, however, fleas can take residence in your carpets, rugs and upholstery for weeks, making them even trickier to eliminate.

Even people without pets can find fleas in their home. Fleas can be passed from person to person on the subway, in the supermarket, or anywhere else where you’re in close contact with someone who has one on their clothing. Once they’re in your home, they’re notoriously difficult to rid of, which is why it’s essential to use the right treatment.

To get rid of fleas, ticks and chewing lice, use Pet Action, a vet-recommended treatment that lasts for up to six months. Don’t forget, as well as treating your pet, it’s also important to treat your home with a flea spray that will kill any remaining eggs.

Just be careful to use a spray that is safe for children and pets, like a non-toxic herbal treatment. If the problem persists, you may need to call in pest control for further advice.

A Definitive Guide to Affordably Cooling Your Home

A home or apartment can become uncomfortable during a hot climate, which can make a space uninviting. However, don’t sit back and believe there is nothing you can do about your home’s extreme temperatures. You will be happy to learn there are many way you can affordably cool your home. The following tips are free, low lost or are a financial investment to decrease your monthly electricity bills.

An Affordable A/C Unit Installation

Don’t allow intense temperatures to ruin your summertime and install an AC unit, which will create a comfortable, relaxing environment for you to enjoy all summer long. Contrary to popular belief, installing an air conditioning unit doesn’t have to be expensive. You simply need to do your homework to discover an affordable, professional company, such as

Open or Close Your Doors

Depending on the AC unit circumstances, you may be required to either open or close your doors across the home to maximize the cool air throughout the property. For example, those living in a small apartment who are reliant on one AC unit should keep their door open to allow air to circulate throughout the space. However, if you want to keep the cool air within one room, we recommend closing the door to stop the air from escaping.

Decide Whether to Close or Open Your Windows

Anyone using an air conditioning unit should keep their windows closed to prevent cold air from leaking out of a room; otherwise, the room will fail to effectively cool down but you will receive an expensive electricity bill. However, once temperatures drop come nightfall, it might be a wise move to turn off the AC unit and open the windows to enjoy a cool, natural breeze.

Close the Curtains or Drapes

On a hot, sunny day, we recommend closing your blinds or curtains to reduce your home’s temperature. Any heat entering your home will also make your air conditioning unit work much hard to lower the temperature. So, close the blinds and drapes when you leave your property, regardless of whether your air conditioner is running.

Block Sunlight with Blackout Curtains

Blackout curtains will also allow you to successfully block sunlight, so you do not have to worry about any light shining through the material. We recommend adding neutral-colored blackout curtains into your space, which should have a white plastic backing, as they can decrease heat gain by up to 33%.

Buy a Ceiling Fan

A ceiling fan is another effective way you can reduce a property’s temperature. You simply turn it on and enjoy a cool breeze that will make your home feel more comfortable. What’s more, many ceiling fans allow homeowners to change the blades’ direction, which can also prevent heat from escaping a room, so they will serve your home 12 months of the year.

Place Furniture Away from an AC Unit

Maximize cool air across your home by moving furniture away from an air conditioning unit. For instance, a sofa, dresser or chest of drawers could prevent cool air from circulating across the room, so ensure you leave enough space for the air to move both forwards and sideways. If possible, position furniture on a 45-degree angle away from the air conditioner.

Change Your Bedding

Are you spending warm summer nights tossing and turning? Stop wrestling with your bed sheets and instead change your bedding with the seasons. While fleece blankets and flannel sheets are superb during the cold winter months, they will be rather uncomfortable during summertime. Swap the sheets for cotton or bamboo sheets, which will allow you to enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep. We also recommend buying a buckwheat pillow, as the hulls feature a natural air space, so they will not store your body heat.

Pay Attention to Your Body’s Temperature

Cool yourself down by focusing on your body’s temperature. For instance, you should sip on a delicious iced drink to hydrate your body and cool you down. You can also apply a cold compress onto your neck and wrists, which will make you feel a lot more comfortable during extreme heat. Also, wear cotton pyjamas, avoid cuddles with your partner and dip your feet into a cool bowl of water if you feel warm during the night.

Say Goodbye to Incandescent Bulbs

It is time to say goodbye to incandescent light bulbs and hello to compact fluorescent lights. This is because incandescent light bulbs are believed to waste approximately 90% of their energy in heat. Switching them with fluorescent light bulbs will therefore successfully cool your property whilst reducing your energy bills.

Avoid the Oven

The last thing you will want is for a hot oven to catapult the temperature within your home during summer, especially if it already feels like it is 100 degrees outside. We therefore recommend avoiding the oven or stove as much as possible during warmer temperatures. Instead, use a BBQ more frequently to create tasty dishes the whole family will love, which can also reduce your energy bills.

Don’t Sleep Upstairs

As everyone knows, heat rises, so the downstairs will be considerably cooler than upstairs. We therefore recommend sleeping on the lowest level of your property, even if it is the basement. Simply take your mattress with you to enjoy a comfortable sleep in a cooler environment.

Place Your Bed Sheets in the Freezer

Placing your bed sheets in the freezer might sound like a bizarre tip, but it can be an effective way to cool down your core temperature during the night. If you don’t have room in your freezer, you could always slightly dampen the sheets with water. Another superb tactic is to freeze a water bottle and place it at the foot of the bed for your feet. It is a cheap solution to stay cooler during summertime.

Do you have any tried and tested methods for affordably cooling a home during summer? Tell us your top tips by writing a helpful comment below.