England vs. Ireland: Where Will You Take Your Family Next?

England vs. IrelandFamilies that vacation together, stay together! The only question is where will you travel next! If you’re looking for your next vacation spot choose between England vs. Ireland.

Not only are both of these locations stunning but they also many fun, interactive sites that everyone in the family can enjoy. Learn about what makes these two countries special, and find out which one is the perfect destination for your next trip.

England Vacations

Nearly 36 million people visit England every year on vacation. It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and it’s no secret why.

Whether your family likes to visit historical sites, eat delicious food, or spend a relaxing say in the countryside, England has it all.

Spend a day at the Natural History Museum in London. It contains some of the most amazing artifacts and fossils in the world. Did we mention it has delicious food as well?

You can also visit some of the more popular sites. These include Harry Potter World, the Ironbridge Gorge, Blackpool, Warwick Castle and more. England is home to dozens of famous locations. Which one will your family visit first?

If you’d rather avoid the crowds, just head to the Lake District instead! Lakeland Holidays outlines dozens of activities that will take your family vacation from bland to grand. Here you can go boating on the lake, shopping in the center, or hiking.

These are just a few of the best attractions that England has to offer. If you’re looking for a well-rounded trip, England’s your place!

Ireland Sites

However, if you’re looking for a relaxed and beautiful trip, Ireland is the place to go. With its rolling hills and stunning cliffsides, your family will be entertained for days.

It’s even better when you bring your dog as well. Here are our 8 tips for traveling with pets. Ireland is the perfect trip to bring your family pets. The wide-open ranges will give them room to run around, and fewer crowds.

Want to get out of the countryside for a day? Ireland also has some stunning towns and villages as well. Spend the day in Dublin and Killarney. There you’ll be able to interact with locals and get the true authentic Irish lifestyle.

If you’re lucky you might even be able to see some Irish dancing.

However, Ireland is very large, so just keep in mind that you might not be able to see everything. Here are our tips for traveling safely when you’re on vacation.

While you’re there don’t forget to visit authentic Irish pubs and castles!

Time to Choose between England vs. Ireland

Whether you’re traveling to England or Ireland, your family vacation is going to be great! Both sites are extremely popular for their own unique reasons.

When choosing between an England vs. Ireland vacation, find the site that best suits your family and their needs. You can’t go wrong with either of them.

Planning a trip? Let us know! Comment below with some of your travel tips!

Tips for Buying High Quality, Affordable Furniture

People that are trying to buy new furniture or redecorate their homes may be in for a sticker shock when they go shopping.

Furniture prices have steadily risen. On average, you can expect to spend $800 on a sofa and $400 on a coffee table.

When furniture prices are that high you may feel like you need to hold off on your latest home decor project. Luckily for you, there are ways you can find furniture that will fit your budget.

Tips For Finding Affordable Furniture

After you’ve spent months searching for affordable furniture you may think that the term is an oxymoron, but it’s possible to find nice furniture that won’t break the bank.

If you’re ready to have stylish furniture for bargain prices, make sure you follow the tips in this post.

Visit Thrift Stores

Thrifting isn’t just for people that want unique clothing anymore. Thrift stores are goldmines for affordable furniture.

A lot of the furniture you’ll see in thrift stores has been donated but is still in relatively good condition. The furniture may be gently used, but you won’t have to worry about that showing if you put a little work into it.

Thrift store furniture is ideal for people that like DIY projects. If you don’t mind doing some minor refurbishing, thrifting could be what you need to furnish your house.

Check Out Estate Sales

Estate sales are designed to unload property fast. If you make a habit of going to them, you’ll be able to find the affordable furniture you want in no time.

One of the benefits of going to estate sales is that you may be able to find matching items. It isn’t unusual for some people to sell entire dining room sets or a set of bedroom furniture.

If you’re a fan of vintage looks, make sure you go to an estate sale. Some of the furniture can be decades old, and could have aesthetic look you’ve been going for.

Have A Flexible Style

There’s nothing wrong with having a look in mind for your furniture, but if your style is too rigid you could have trouble finding what you need.

If you’re willing to go for furniture that’s high quality, you can’t go wrong regardless of the style it’s in.

Be open to trying new looks and styles. There’s a lot of vintage furniture that’s affordable that’s just as stylish as something brand new.

Think Small

If you’re looking for affordable furniture, big box stores and mainstream places won’t be helpful.

Small stores and local retailers can help you find unique furniture, and help you save money when you go shopping.

Niche stores tend to be smaller, and can also give you the kind of furniture you’re looking for. If you love the style of American Country furniture, you can find a retailer that just specializes in that style.

Keep Quality In Mind

Remember, affordable furniture doesn’t mean that you have to buy poor quality sofas and tables.

Before you purchase anything make sure to give the item a thorough inspection.

If you’re buying a table, all legs should be firmly attached and shouldn’t wobble. Wood should join in the corners and shouldn’t be held together by glue or flimsy screws.

Turn over cushions before you purchase chairs and sofas and look for signs of damage. Rips and tears can be repaired with some stitching, but uncoiled or loose springs will never be comfortable to sit on.

Think About Your Lifestyle

If you want affordable furniture, you’re going to want things that will last. This is why it isn’t just important to consider quality, you should also take your lifestyle into consideration before you go shopping.

The light colored leather sofa that’s 40% off may look great until you consider the active young kids in your home.

Stain resistant fabrics like linen and tweed may be best for people with pets.

Are you about to embark on a big home remodeling project? You may want to wait until your done before you start shopping for furniture.

When you take your lifestyle needs into consideration, you’ll make sure that you get furniture that will stand the test of time. You won’t have to go furniture shopping for awhile and can save your money for other home decor needs.

Be Prepared To Haggle

So far we’ve suggested a lot of different ways to find the furniture you need. One of the benefits of not shopping with traditional furniture is that you’ll have more room to negotiate the price.

If you walk into any box store or chain, the prices are set. Private sellers are much more willing to be flexible when it comes to price.

Before you go shopping, take time to learn a bit about the right way to haggle. Be prepared to walk away from a few things, and that some people may not be willing to go to low.

The key to haggling is to stay realistic. Don’t expect people to be willing to drop 60% off of a nearly new couch or coffee table. Aiming for a 10%-20% reduction should be enough.

Time Your Shopping

Sometimes you can’t wait to go shopping, but if you want to get truly affordable furniture you’ll time when you shop.

Going towards the end of one season and beginning of a new one ensures that stores will be trying to get rid of last season’s merchandise.

Many stores are willing to drastically mark down their prices so they don’t have to worry about furniture taking up space.

This is an excellent way to furnish backyards and patios. Going shopping towards the end of the summer season can help you get affordable outdoor tables and chairs.

Next Steps

Now that you know how to find affordable furniture, it’s time to start beautifying every part of your home.

Read our post on cheap decor hacks for your home. Also be sure to check out our giveaways page to see if there’s anything you can use to help you save money.

Work From Home Full Time? Here are Tips to Be More Productive

work from home full timeAround 60% of the working-age population in the United States is employed. The unemployment rate tells us that about 4% are classified as unemployed.

That leaves 36% unaccounted for, many of which are self-employed.

This is indicative of a significant trend.

Millennials are going to work for themselves instead of employers. Workplaces are changing as a result.

In today’s challenging job market, you may decide to work from home full time whether or not you are self-employed. Here are some tips to make sure you’re successful!

Create a Schedule

A frustrating thing that happens when you work from home is you must repeatedly reinforce your business hours.

In a perfect world, working hours should be a time when you are not disturbed.

But short of taping a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign onto your back, popping in your headphonesaddict earbuds and hoping for the best, that’s probably not the reality of your situation.

If you have other people living with you, it’s important you carve out some special time for working. To do this effectively, you must create a schedule.

Creating a schedule does a couple of things for people who work from home:

  1. It helps you time block your day so you know what needs to be accomplished and how much time you have to do it.
  2. It can be printed or added to a shared calendar with housemates. It lets everyone know that you are working.
  3. In the event that you have to work in a ruckus environment, it helps you prioritize which items can be completed in that atmosphere and which work items need to be completed during a time when you are able to focus.

Having a schedule is good business. It’s not just for people who work in the office.

Break Habits That Are Too “Homey”

Have you dreamed of the day you will work in your pajamas with an oversized mug of coffee in your hand?

Well, if you work from home full time, keep dreaming!

People who work from home should break habits that remind them of how comfortable they are with their daily home-life routine.

This includes:

  • Wearing pajamas instead of getting dressed
  • Doing chores during your scheduled work hours
  • Tending to the needs of others, when possible leverage family or daycare to assist with children
  • Sleeping in
  • Working in a comfortable space

We are creatures of habit. And it’s easy to fall back into ones that make us less productive at home. To avoid this, be aware of what habits make you feel “at home” when you are working and break them during your work day.

For best results when you work from home full time, avoid the comfortable spaces like your bed or a couch. Instead, set up an organized workstation and make it the focal point of your workday.

Work From Home Full Time and Love It!

Working from home is rewarding in any profession. In many cases, it comes with benefits like setting your own schedule, an increase in time spent with loved ones and flexible, unconventional work hours.

But when you work from home full time the struggle is real. You’ve got to stay focused if you are going to submit quality work.

By creating a schedule, sticking to it and breaking cozy habits you will be on your way to freedom from micromanagement.

For more tips like this, follow my blog.

9 Awesome Things to Do in Downtown San Diego

downtown san diegoPlanning to visit San Diego?

If you’re worried you’ll only find sunny beaches and the usual high rise of skyscrapers, think again. Home to over 1.4 million people and 34.9 million annual visitors, there’s a lot to see and do in the city.

It’s home to historical architecture dating back to the Spanish conquest. The weather down there is the most comfortable you’ll experience in the whole country too.

Don’t waste your time and money wandering around with no direction. To help you craft the perfect itinerary, here are 9 awesome things to do in downtown San Diego.

The Spanish Village

Visiting the Spanish Village is among the best things to do in downtown San Diego. You’ll find it in Balboa Park, right between the Natural History Museum and the Zoo. It’s home to the works of over 200 artists and 37 studios and galleries.

It started back in 1935. Back then it was an artist colony and haven for the California Pacific International Exposition. Since then the US military used it during World War II and afterward went back into the hands of native artists.

USS Midway Museum

This aircraft carrier has the honor of being the longest-serving ship of its kind in history, serving the US Navy for over 50 years. When it first launched in 1945, it was also the largest ship in the world.

The ship has gone through a long history of war until its decommissioning in 1992. It is now a permanent resident of downtown San Diego.

Visitors can go on self-guided tours through the living quarters, flight control towers, the flight control deck, and more. The ship is popular enough that it made its way into popular shows like The Bachelor and American Idol.

Little Italy

If you want a luxury vacation then you have to go to Italy. If you want a similar experience while exploring other things to do in downtown San Diego, you can do so in Little Italy.

Little Italy was once an Italian neighborhood and fishing village. This is the best place to eat because of the numerous Italian restaurants and it’s also home to several art galleries.

San Diego Zoo

YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim and his companion Yakov Lapitsky filmed the media site’s first video here. It’s also the zoo where the animals from the Madagascar films came from before they went on their wild adventures.

The zoo is popular for being one of the first establishments of its kind to feature cage-less and open-air exhibits. This emulates the natural habitat the animals came from.

If you’re looking for a Giant Panda, this is the zoo to go to. This zoo is one of the few places where they managed to breed and maintain healthy members of the species.

The Gaslamp Quarter

This is right in the center of downtown San Diego and is a historical site that goes on for 16 and a half blocks. If you’re looking for fun nightlife activities and metropolitan hot spots, this is where you need to go first.

It is home to 94 historic buildings. Many of these originated during the Victorian Era and are still open to this day. These historic sites now find new functions as restaurants, art galleries, and boutique shops.

People looking for San Diego homes for sale often do so because they want to live close to this particular corner. San Diego can be one fun place to relocate to and the Gaslamp Quarter is a great example why.

Balboa Park

You can’t say you tried all the things to do in downtown San Diego until you explored every nook and cranny of Balboa Park.

This massive place covers 1,200 acres of land and is home to 15 attractions and popular venues, 16 museums, and 17 gardens. Of the numerous museums, the highlights include the Museum of Photographic Arts, the San Diego Museum of Man, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

Some of the places included here, such as the zoo and Spanish Village, are within the park’s perimeter.

California Candle Gallery

A rare and unique store, the California Candle Gallery can craft fresh and colorful candles right before your eyes.

The company uses a special, patented process that helps them cut through several layers of colored candle wax. This lets them cut and mold candles into any image.

If you’re looking for a great souvenir, then this is the shop to look for. You can find it in the heart of the next highlight, Seaport Village.

Seaport Village

Are you looking for live music and fine dining with a grand view of the Pacific Ocean?

With over 14 acres of top-of-the-line establishments, the Seaport Village is the place to go for fine dining and a weekend of shopping. You’ll also get to walk down the waterfront boardwalk and visit a hand-painted carousel dating from 1895.

This is also the recommended spot to visit for romantic dinners and relaxing evenings. If the Gaslamp Quarter is too noisy for your tastes, this can be the best alternative for a soothing vacation.

Whale Watching

Do you want to enjoy the different things to do in downtown San Diego but also aim to stay thrifty during your travels? One affordable but nevertheless enjoyable experience is to go whale watching.

This activity lets you and others ride out to the open ocean for three and a half hours. The trip alone is enough to let you relax and enjoy the coastline view.

During the excursion, you may catch a close-up view of sea lions, dolphins, and the majestic grey whales. They often appear during the winter season, which is when they migrate from Alaska down to Baja California.

Stay Thrifty Enjoying the Things to Do in Downtown San Diego

Looking for something a little more casual, perhaps? Do you want to find the best camping grounds or do you need tips to save money while exploring San Diego?

We can help you with all those details and more. Our goal is to help you enjoy life while staying thrifty.

Have further questions about the main tourist spots in San Diego? Looking for other thrifty tips and tricks? Feel free to contact us now and we’ll do our best to answer any and all your inquiries.

Keto vs. Paleo: How Do the Two Stack Up?

keto vs. paleoEach year, millions of people resolve to lose weight. It’s a resolution we as Americans make each year.

In fact, in 2017, 45% of respondents to a Nielsen survey said they wanted to lose weight that year.

If you’re among them, that’s great! Being in a mindset to get healthy and exercise regularly is a resolution that can help reverse diseases like diabetes and extend your life.

When you get down to it, you realize there are dozens of diets to choose from like the Mediterranean, Vegan, Whole30, Keto, and Paleo.

It’s these last two – Keto and Paleo – that we’re discussing today. Many people have questions about Keto vs. Paleo because they seem similar. Ready to complete your resolutions?

What is Keto?

The Ketogenic diet forces your body into ketosis. This is the biological process by which your body burns fat instead of carbs. Ketones are a byproduct of that burnt energy.

How it works is you remove almost all carbohydrates from your diet. With carbs removed, that means your diet is made up primarily of fat and protein. You’ll eat a lot of meat (grass-fed, organic), full-fat dairy, and healthy oils.

What is Paleo?

The Paleo diet is also a low-carb diet. The line of thinking is that cavemen, or Paleolithic humans, didn’t have access to grains or processed foods. With the removal of those foods, we can reverse a lot of ailments that plague us today.

On the Paleo diet, your diet will be comprised mainly of grass-fed meats, low-starch vegetables and fruits, eggs, nuts and seeds, and healthy oils. You won’t get to eat dairy, legumes, refined sugar, salt, or potatoes.

How Are They Similar?

The main similarity between the Keto and Paleo diets is the fact that they’re both low-carb. Both restrict the consumption of grains, beans, legumes, sugars, and starchy vegetables.

With both of these diets, you’ll notice an initial dip in your energy levels. This is due to the fact that your body no longer has access to quick-burning fuel (i.e. carbs) and has to rely on other sources of energy.

How Are They Different?

With Keto, your focus is primarily on consuming fat. On this diet, you’ll consume about 3 calories of fat per 1 calorie of protein or carbohydrates.

To get all this fat into your diet, the Keto diet allows you to eat full-fat dairy products like cheese, milk, and butter.

On the Paleo diet, your primary macronutrient is protein. You also cannot eat dairy on this diet.

Paleo is also much more restrictive on the types of fruits and vegetables you can eat.

Which Diet Is Better?

The answer to this question for any diet really is “it depends.” This is especially true for Keto vs. Paleo.

With any new diet, your body will need to adjust to the fuel you’re giving it. However, you should also listen to your body about its sensitivity to certain foods. For example, if your gut is sensitive to dairy, then the Paleo diet might be better for you.

You should also consider what your fitness goals are. Both diets tend to be ideal for those who lift weights often. Keto tends to be better for runners.

Whether you choose Keto or Paleo, you’ll find plenty of sources and meal services online to help you adjust. One such service is Ketoned Bodies keto meals.

Keto vs. Paleo Wrap Up

Both of these diets focus on ditching foods that are generally thought to make us sick.

When it comes to Keto vs. Paleo, you have to consider what your lifestyle and workouts are like before choosing one. You should also consider which foods you know you’re sensitive to.

And remember, these diets are not right for everyone!

For more articles like this, check out our health and fitness section.

How Short Term Loans Can Boost Your Personal Finances

short term loansSometimes, things happen that are beyond your control. It may be an illness, the loss of a job or loss of a loved one. If you’re self-employed, it may be a slump in the economy or an equipment breakdown.

Whatever the reason, you may find your personal finances need a boost to regroup and reset.

A loan may not be the first on your list of solutions, but there are many reasons why you should consider getting one.

Short term loans are usually below $10,000, although some may be up to $50,000 depending on your credit rating and income. Most loans are paid back within one year.

Read on to learn about the benefits of short term loans, and to see how they may be the solution to your financial needs.

Why Get Short Term Loans?

Even if you’re a good planner, no one can predict an unexpected or unanticipated need. Having access to quick money can avoid a burden on your personal finances. Here are some reasons why you may need to consider getting a loan.

When You Need Emergency Funds

There’s always the possibility of something unexpected going wrong. Ever have a pipe burst causing extensive water damage in your home? What about lightning frying your computer and home office equipment?

And it always seems to happen when you’re short on cash.

Your ability to get a quick loan to fix the problem can make all the difference in stabilizing your personal and business life.

If You’re Selling Your Home

If you’re thinking of selling your home, you may need to invest a little money to get the best price by doing renovations. But you may have already exhausted your savings for a down payment on your new home.

A short term loan won’t require any home equity as collateral. It can help you get a better price for your home. You can quickly pay back the loan and won’t be leaving any money on the table.

To Improve Your Credit Rating

Ever think how nice it would be to consolidate your credit card debt and make just one payment? Consolidating your debt can have many benefits.

A loan can pay off your credit card debt at lower interest rates. And it can help you improve your credit rating.

This type of loan helps you to improve credit scores. Here are some ways you can raise your credit scores by getting a loan:

  • Make regular payments
  • Pay more than required every month
  • Bring balance down quickly
  • Stay below 30% of the original loan

If you do pay off credit cards, make sure you don’t max them out again. Take time to consider why you ran up credit cards. Were you overspending or buying on impulse?

Maybe you need to find ways in bring in additional income or create a budget to save money. Find the issue and make a plan to avoid getting into debt again.

Short term loans also help those who have not yet established credit.

To Start a Business

There are a lot of great home-based businesses that can be started with a low investment and offer a great ROI. When an opportunity presents itself but you’re low on disposable income, a loan could be the solution.

A loan can help with start-up costs to carry you until the business becomes profitable.

Even after your business is stable, credit is a way of life for many small businesses. And your business survives on good cash flow. Extra cash from a loan can help you seize unforeseen business opportunities or solve immediate shortfalls for operating expenses.

A loan can free up business revenue that would be used for emergencies, and it can be paid back quickly. It can be used to meet business expenditures and increase working capital.

If your business needs to carry accounts on credit, a loan can sustain you until your accounts receivable come in. One example would be a small motor carrier that would need to carry fuel costs and other operating expenses until he receives payment for his deliveries.

Where to Get a Short Term Loan

Lenders extend short term loans for various purposes. Here are some of the financial institutions that offer these loans.

  • Banks and credit unions
  • Private and short term lender
  • Lenders requiring low documentation
  • Lenders approving high-risk loans

If you already have an account with a bank or credit union, they would be your first source for a loan. Most banks and credit unions will require proof of income.

There are lenders who offer loans requiring less documentation for self-employed people or others without documents like income tax returns or business financials required for most loans.

You can use a statement from your accountant about your business activity as proof of income for these loans.

Private lenders are also a possible source of funding. Some private lenders are open to making high-risk loans for applicants with credit issues or low income in exchange for a higher interest rate.

While these loans can bring a quick response, you will need to carefully consider if this would be a wise choice for your needs.

Low Hassel Loans

There are many benefits to applying for a short term loan. Express Capital Funding outlines several advantages of these loans here.

Lenders have a more hands-off approach for loans with a shorter payoff period. So, there aren’t as many requirements as with long-term loans.

There is no minimum loan amount. They can be paid back quickly, sometimes within a month or two, but usually no more than 12 to 18 months. This short payback period has several benefits:

  • Easier to pay back
  • Easier to be approved
  • Lower principle limits
  • May have lower interest usually
  • Don’t need high-value collateral
  • The rate of interest is lower than long-term

One other obvious advantage of these loans is that having a shorter payoff period doesn’t tie up future available income.

Short term loans are often unsecured, but first-time borrowers may be required to put up collateral.

Paying Back the Loan

If your credit is good, interest will be lower than long-term loans over the course of the loan payout. But even if you have credit issues, some institutions will be willing to extend a small loan.

Your ability to pay back the loan will impact loan approval. That’s because lenders don’t give credit scores the same weight for these loans as they do for long-term loans.

If getting a loan will put you at high risk financially, you should reconsider. Don’t take out a loan because you are having difficulty making ends meet. You may be setting yourself up for failure unless your situation is temporary, or you anticipate an increase in cash flow.

These loans should not be used for long-term needs like buying cars or high-dollar equipment.

Loans Provide a Financial Safety Net

Short term loans provide the extra security you need to fill the gap when the need arises. Loans allow you to take the next step toward your personal and business goals. And they can help you improve financial health.

At Thrifty Momma Ramblings, we’re all about helping you save money. For other thrifty ideas on how to use your resources for optimum benefit, contact us at here.

Why You Should Invest in an Affordable Security System

affordable security system

The FBI reports that there are nearly 8 million property crimes every year.

Whether you live in an urban or rural area, you’re equally likely to be the target of a burglary. To ensure your peace of mind, you should consider installing an affordable security system.

While a security system might seem out of your budget, imagine how much you could lose from a burglary or intrusion. You could get hurt and have valuables stolen, costing you tens of thousands in medical bills or replacing property.

If you’re not sure whether or not you need security for your property, check out these 4 reasons you should install an affordable security system.

1. Keep Intruders Out

One of the main reasons people cite for installing a security system is for the protection of their family. Whether you’ve got children or even beloved pets, your security system is a great way to deter criminals and hold burglars accountable.

By alerting you early of any unwanted visitors or of a breach of your property, you can monitor via remote cameras or set up an automatic 911 call. Post a sign that you’ve got a security system at the edge of your property line and burglars will be deterred by knowing you’re protected by a security system.

2. Fire Safety

Most security systems will add an additional layer of protection in the case of a fire. A high-quality security system will connect to smoke and heat detectors to let you know when there’s a fire and where it’s located.

Rather than running the wrong direction into the heart of the fire, your security system could make sure everyone’s headed away from the fire if one breaks out. The more the time spent inside a burning building, the higher the chance of smoke inhalation.

A security system will help get everyone out quickly and safely.

3. Carbon Monoxide Protection

Because carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, it’s often an undetected result of burning wood or heating systems. It can be emitted from burning charcoal or from a gas stove. Air quality can deteriorate quickly inside a home.

Because our noses can’t detect it, electronic monitors can ensure our safety by sending a signal when it first appears. A security system that includes carbon monoxide detectors will tell you exactly where the gas is detected so you can easily find the source and take a corrective action.

4. Protect Your Valuables

Whether it’s family jewelry or technology that you’ve worked hard to acquire, your home is certainly filled with valuables both expensive and sentimental. Your security system will be optimally engineered to protect your valuables.

Systems from companies like Sentel Tech design products that monitor spaces in and around the home to make sure that no one walks off with your prized or valued possessions.

An Affordable Security System Is A Smart Investment

If you’re concerned about the well-being of your family and your most precious goods, an affordable security system should put your mind at ease. Once installed, you won’t have to worry about anything going missing again.

If you’re concerned with having the best security for your home, check out other security products you might need.