How Suzannah started her Super Mums’ Business Club

I met Suzannah Butcher (virtually!) a few years ago now because we both blogged about being a mum with a business. Suzannah really does know her stuff, so I was really pleased to find out she’d started a website and online members club to help other mothers running their own business, both in the UK and internationally. The website is called Super Mums Business Club and Suzannah’s aim is to connect women in business online. Members can join the club to get training and support to help to grow their business on the Internet.

After searching for training online and not finding anything geared towards mums in business, Suzannah realised there was a gap in the market – “I found lots of great training and clubs, but I found it hard to engage fully. I wanted somewhere to hang out online which provided great training but also had a friendly and informal feel”.

Suzannah, who started her first business in 2008, has been running online businesses for many years and is all too familiar with the challenges this can bring, especially when women are trying to fulfil many roles as a small business owner as well as being a mother. Suzannah says“I really struggled in my first few years in business and felt overwhelmed, lonely and at times, desperate. After coming out of the challenging years, I knew I could reach out to other women in business, particularly mums, as I understand how difficult and isolating being a solopreneur can be. I’ve created a platform to provide down to earth training presented in a way that’s simple to follow and easy to slot into the life of a busy mum and business owner”.

The club, which has free and paid membership options, is an online portal where members can access a business directory, training and printable downloads, plus gain access to a Facebook support group. Suzannah said “The free element was really important to me. How can I have a business vision to connect women in business and then charge for everything I was doing? Accessibility and inclusion is key to the club, so even if someone can’t invest in the monthly club, they can still get access to some great tools and support”.

Why Super Mums? Suzannah said “I wanted to turn the whole Super mum concept on its head. I was fed up with the term ‘super mum’ because I was struggling to do everything on my own but when I really thought about it, I realised that actually we are super, just not in the way the term would generally mean. I firmly believe we all have something great within us, we just need the right mindset and support to find our Superness!”

To find out more, or to join the club, visit mumsbusiness.club

Family Days Out Don’t Have To Break The Bank!

When you have a young family, you want them to get out and about and have new experiences. In fact, some of the best memories are made on family day trips. But the problem is that they can be so expensive. You have to pay for the travel, food, and snacks, entry to the activity that you are doing, and all those other little costs all add up. But it is possible to have a fun and cheap family day out. Read on for my suggestions.

Bottled Water and Snacks

The first thing you need to do, even if you plan on eating out while you are on your day trip is to pack a bag with bottle water and snacks. Snacky kids are grumpy kids, so it’s important to make sure that they don’t get cross because they are hungry. This will make sure that you have the best day out.

Of course, there will be loads of place you can buy snacks like ice creams and chips. But one these will cost you much more than if you have brought your own snacks with you. They are also likely to be pretty unhealthy. So if you are trying to get the kids to eat better taking, your own snacks mean you know they will have a treat that is good for them.

Free activities

You can save by choosing activities that are either free or cheap. You can plan your own low-cost days out. Take the kids to the beach for the day. They will be happening playing in the sand and paddling in the water. The best part is that it costs you nothing.

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Or, what about organizing a picnic for them and their friends. You can have competitive games afterward and award small prizes to the winners. This won’t cost too much as someone will have a baseball bat that you can borrow, and you can always use sweaters for bases.

Car Pool

Something else that can be a large concern when organizing a family trip out is the cost of travel. If you have a car, why not carpool with friends or family so you only need to pay for one tank of gas? Then you can split it.

If you don’t drive, pick somewhere that’s accessible via public transport. Or, see if you can get a coupon for a taxi form like this new user promo code for Lyft.

Packed Lunch

If you are on a seriously tight budget, then you may want to take a packed lunch as well as taking snacks and water. It is surprising how much money a packed lunch can save you. It doesn’t have to be boring either. You don’t just have to go for simple sandwiches, although they are easy to make and store. You can make salsa and guacamole and put in plastic pots and take chips. Or how about wraps or even a salad?

Loyalty Schemes

Another clever way of reducing the overall cost f a family day out is to sign up to loyalty scheme or season tickets for your favorite attractions.

Loyalty schemes often offer you free items or entry after you have so many points or stamps. This can mean you can save up your freebies for a time when thing are tight like the summer holidays, where they never seem to be enough money to go around!

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Season tickets are a great idea too. Especially if you go somewhere a lot. You pay one fee, and then receive unlimited access to that location. So you can go as many times you want. If you live near a Disney or other theme park, this is a great option. As there is always something new to do and see, and it will already be paid for.

Coupons

It is also worthwhile to keep your eyes peeled for coupons that will help you reduce the cost of your family day out. These could be two for one entry, pay for a child, and an adult goes free, or even kids eat free at the venues restaurant.

Souvenirs

One of the biggest costs that can often catch parents unawares is souvenirs. These tend to be vastly overpriced item designed so kids will love them. Then they end up asking for them over and over again. It can really spoil the mood of the whole trip.

The best way to deal with this is to give your kids an allowance. Tell them that that is their money for the day, and they can spend it on whatever they like, but once it is gone, it’s gone.

Then they will get to have something small to remember their trip by and it will help them to understand the value of money.

 

Tips for Getting through Early Childhood as a Single Mom

eco-summerIf there is one thing a single mom knows, that is nothing comes cheap. From the diapers on that little person to the constant need for clothes as baby grows seemingly by the day, there is always something needed, something wanted and something not wanted but an absolute must when you have a child. Some single mothers want to stay home with their babies at least until they reach preschool age but there never seems to be enough money to manage that so how to do this and still forge that oh-so-important bond with baby? Here are some suggestions for getting through early childhood as a single mom.

No Matter What You Forego – Keep that Internet Going!

As a single mom you may be tempted to let go of that Internet payment because money is tight and it seems as though there are more important bills to be paid. Actually, that one single Internet connection can be worth more than you know. Not only can you meet up with other moms who can share advice and life hacks for those early years but you can actually make a living online and all from the comfort of your home. Every tip from here on out is based on having Internet, so whatever you do, keep that internet going!

Combine Studies with Cash Aid

Many single mothers dream of having a career but opt to have that baby instead of furthering their education. That can always be done later, right? Actually, there’s no need to wait because you can get government grants for women that not only pay your tuition but also provide money for books and living expenses as well. Have you always dreamed of becoming a nurse?

Why not check out the online nursing program here that is from a respectable, nationally acknowledged school of nursing at a leading university? You may qualify for student loans or even government grants that are 100% free money and also be able to study for an online nursing degree. It’s a way to make ends meet while staying home with baby and also studying for a career that is among the most ‘in-need’ professions around the world.

Working Online from Home

You can also find a way to work online around the hours that baby needs you to be there for her/him. Many mothers have taken up writing content for web development companies and other innovative moms who are an entrepreneur at heart set up online storefronts to earn an income. Money doesn’t come quickly at first but as you build up a name for yourself and develop your own personal brand, you can make more money than you believe while taking care of baby and studying in that online RN program.

It is no longer a societal stigma to be a single mom raising a child by yourself. The only ‘stigma’ involved is if you throw up your hands in despair and fail to help yourself out of dire financial straits. You can stay at home with your little one if you plan well and find innovative ways to bring in the bucks. It’s also possible to gain a future career at the same time so turn this time around to your financial benefit! You made a wonderful and loving choice to be a single mom so now it’s your turn to shine and show the world how it’s done!

Growing Plants Around Your Oil Tank

marguerite-1656357_640Although you may be wondering why this post is advising you to do something you’re usually discouraged from doing – growing plants around your tank – there are actually several benefits to greening the area around it.

A word of caution

You have to be careful with your planting, however, as there are various space and access considerations to take into account before you start sowing anything.

You shouldn’t let any plants grow too close to the tank or its base, or let them climb over it. If plants are too close to the tank they can make access difficult or even impossible, and fallen leaves or other debris might present a fire risk.

The idea is to camouflage the tank with tall-growing plants or trellises, maybe even some fast-growing trees. A good rule of thumb is to place your plants at least two feet away from the tank so that you and any technicians, as well as delivery drivers, can get to it. Your tank will have people, including you, visiting it regularly throughout the year, so you all need to be able to reach it, with ladders and hose if necessary.

Which plants are best?

The simplest way of camouflaging your home heating oil tank with plants is to use trellises with creeping plants or even roses. Not only do these plants grow rapidly, but they’re particularly attractive if you’re looking to cover up that big old tank. If you opt for roses, make sure you don’t choose an especially thorny variety – while deterring thieves is a definite advantage to growing plants around your tank, you still need to be able to get to it! Some types of creeper rose can be invasive as well, so you could end up with a hostile (although fragrant) takeover in your garden.

An alternative to creeper roses and other climbing plants is ornamental shrubs or grasses. If you choose grasses, you need to choose a type that grows high enough to effectively cover your tank. Pampas is a good choice as it grows fast and high and also has some nice sharp leaves that will discourage anyone from mooching around in the dark!

If, on the other hand, you decide on shrubbery, then make sure you choose a fast-growing evergreen, as then you’ll get all-year-round cover. Oil thefts increase in winter, so bare trees won’t help one bit!

Make sure you maintain your greenery

If you go to all the effort of planting around your oil tank, then you should make sure it carries on looking good and that you keep it under control. Creepers and evergreens don’t need a huge amount of maintenance, but roses may well do. You also need to remember that you need to regularly trim back overgrowth so that you can get to your tank to monitor, inspect and fill it.

Just think, not only are you covering up an unsightly tank at the bottom of your garden, but you’re also helping the environment by providing a mini habitat for birds and insects – everyone benefits here!

Headache-free Kitchen Remodelling

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The day has finally arrived! Months of planning and budgeting are finally about to pay off because you’re starting The Great Kitchen Remodel Project. It’s exciting, but it’s also the most difficult part because your kitchen, the heart of your home, is going to be out of action for a couple of weeks or maybe even longer. If you have a young family it’s particularly tough, so how do you get through this bottleneck? It’s easy (ish) if you follow these tips.

Find a kitchen-substitute

You can’t eat out all the time, as this will become tiresome and unbelievably expensive. You also need to prepare snacks, school lunches and maybe even pour the odd glass of wine. Choose a suitable spot – it could be a corner of the garage, or a spare bedroom that doesn’t get much use – and deck it out with folding tables and chairs, a kettle and some storage boxes. Hey, it’s something! This temporary kitchen should be as far away from the construction site as possible; maybe you should order some notices from My Safety Sign to remind everyone that there’s no real floor in there right now…

Park your fancy cooking gear for a while

You’re not going to be making Totoro-themed bento or a crab soufflé while you remodel – it’s just not happening. Think about the utensils that you can’t do without and put everything else away. Yes it hurts, but it’s not forever.

Think about small appliances

If you have a slow cooker, or an electric griddle, you can still get creative. Think about what you can do with your slow cooker and reframe the experience as an adventure.

Invest in a mini-fridge and chest freezer – someone may be able to lend them to you – or look on Craigslist. These scaled-down appliances can go in your temporary kitchen.

Think about how you’ll wash up

You may have to use the bathtub, or a picnic cooler with hot water and dish-soap. You could even press the garden hose into service. A big help is disposable plates and cutlery. As long as they’re biodegradable you shouldn’t feel too guilty.

Use your outdoor grill

Your outdoor grill can do most of the things your oven can; and you’re having an adventure, remember? Get the corncobs on the grill, slap on a few steaks, crack open the shop-bought potato salad and have some fun. Try out some old-fashioned recipes like skillet pies and s’mores.

Disclaimer: this might not work so well in November…

Keep a snack box

Peanut butter and crackers, instant noodles, canned meats and stews, dried fruit – they all fill a gap and if you get home and you can’t face washing up in the paddling pool and firing up the grill again, well, it’s food.

Get out of Dodge

If you’re able to, why not get away for a few days. You could go on holiday, visit relatives, or schedule that business trip. Most people, knowing you’re remodelling, will be glad to treat you with some real home-cooked food.

Get some perspective

It’s a few weeks of chaos and inconvenience for years of kitchen comfort. If you plan ahead – a week of barbecues, then a week at Aunt Ada’s, then a week of slow cooker meals – you can turn it into an adventure and maybe even come up with your new signature dish.