Trying to Get on the Property Ladder? How to Afford Your First Home

Saving for any big purchase is challenging, and purchases don’t get much bigger than a first home. It can seem impossible for young 20-somethings to ever get on the property ladder. Housing is so expensive, and well-paid jobs can be hard to find. Buying a house is a great investment, though, and once you're on the property ladder, you’ll reap the rewards. If you’re struggling to save, take a look at this advice. Hopefully, there are some money-saving tips you can use in your day-to-day life.

Do Your Research

There are plenty of schemes out there which help first-time buyers. There are also plenty of ideas which lower the costs of mortgages.

For younger people trying to buy their first home, a parent might be able to help out with a more informal loan. They can even act as a guarantor. This will make them liable for mortgage payments that you can’t make.

If that’s not an option consider buying your first place as a group. If you don’t mind living with friends or siblings, it will lower the cost if you split it between you. This takes lots of prior negotiations, though. You will need to consider what happens if someone wants to sell their share.

Shop around for the best mortgage deals. Some schemes offer first-time buyers a better deal. You could pay as little as a 5% deposit and the government will fund the rest. This will mean your mortgage repayments are greater so always research thoroughly.

Getting a loan is another options. A homeloan calculator will help you to work out what you can afford to borrow and your monthly repayments. Just make sure you can afford to take out a loan in the first place.

Finally, some mortgage deals will actually cover some of the costs. Valuations and legal fees are included in some deals and paid for. This will reduce the amount you need to pay upfront.

Tips on Saving

Start saving as soon as possible. This may seem obvious but it’s the best piece of advice out there. There is just no getting around the fact that deposits and mortgage repayments are expensive. Not to mention the stamp duty and legal fees.

You may want to make all your rooms look perfect in your new home, but start off small. You won’t have the money to redecorate all of your house straight away. There are enough costs to worry about pre-moving in! So don’t become too bogged down with saving for furniture or anything like that. Just focus on your deposit and mortgage repayments, to begin with.

Set up a savings account and create goals for how much you want to save each month. You can even set up a direct debit to take this amount out of your account each time your paid. That way you can be sure you’re investing in your future. Ask your bank about the best savings account. Over time your savings could even accumulate some interest.

Party On: Making The Most of The Good Weather


While the summer here is Australia has come to an end, it’s still nice and warm and perfect for an outdoor party! Plus for everyone in the Northern hemisphere, you have a long summer to look forward to- the perfect time to get friends together and make memories to last a lifetime. If you’re planning on hosting an incredible get-together, here are some cool ideas to consider.

Create a Cocktail Station
The great thing about a cocktail station is with a few different ingredients, you have the potential to create a huge variety of different drinks. So there’s something for everyone. Start with some spirits and liqueurs- vodka, whiskey, brandy, gin, and amaretto are good choices. Add some mixers to the table such as tonic water, cola, lemonade and fruit juices. Then a bowl with chopped lemon and lime and some garnishes will finish everything off. Don’t forget to have plenty of ice in the freezer ready to go. From there people can make any drink or cocktail they like! You could leave out a book of cocktails or laminate a few classic recipes for people to try.

Jump For Joy
Not just for kids- inflatables are something adults will have a whale of a time messing around on. If you’re wondering where to buy a jumping castle, inflatable slide or inflatable game there are sites online with a wide selection. If it’s only something you’ll use the once, you could hire them instead. If you have a pool at home, you could buy some huge inflatables for this too. Either way, it’s something a bit different and is something people aren’t likely to forget in a hurry!

More Childhood Nostalgia
Another way to bring back some childhood nostalgia and have loads of fun is with giant lawn games! You can find everything from snakes and ladders to connect four. It’s a good way to get everyone chatting and mingling and is a nice way to enjoy the weather outside while it’s still nice. You could turn them into a drinking game where the loser does a shot!

Capture The Moment
When we all lead such busy lives, it can be difficult to get everyone together at the same time. Parties are great for this, so if you do manage to round everyone up then be sure to take some photos to capture the memories! You could set up a DIY photobooth in the corner of your home or garden- all you need is a plain white wall (or a white sheet) some chairs and some props. You can buy all kinds of fun and silly accessories on eBay to liven up the photos, and it’s another thing for your guests to do. When everyone has fantastic cameras on their phones these days, you don’t even need a camera. Why not set up an Instagram hashtag for the party and get everyone to tag their pictures with it? That way all of the pictures are in one place making it easy to scroll through.

Sing The Night Away
Finally, we know everyone becomes the world’s best singer after a few drinks! So make the most of this, a karaoke machine can provide hours of fun. They’re not too expensive and is something you can bring out at every party for plenty of laughs!

Insider Secrets For How To Make Any Room Look Better

Many of us see interior designers as modern day shaman: people who can somehow combine colours and textures and produce something at the end of the process that actually looks good. But it’s important to remember that this isn’t some bizarre, magical process: instead, interior designers are following a bunch of loose rules. These are aesthetic principles that have been shown time and time again to work.

The question, of course, is: what are they? Here are some insider secrets for how to make any room look better.

Give Furniture Breathing Space

If you open up an interior design magazine, the first thing you’ll see is a bunch of beautifully arranged furniture. But if you look more closely, you’ll realise that there are some patterns that repeat themselves, whenever furniture is presented. One of those patterns is the fact that furniture, especially chairs, are always given their own space. If you wanted, you could walk around the back of them quite comfortably.

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The point of doing this is two-fold. First, it helps to emphasise any beautiful pieces of furniture that you may happen to have in your collection. And second, it helps to avoid your rooms looking stuffed.

Create A Central Focal Point

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It might sound strange to say it, but every room needs to have a purpose. Often that purpose can be given by setting up a focal point for the room. One good idea for a focal point in large rooms is a chandelier. You’ll need to find an electrician who knows what he’s doing to install it, but once it’s done, it’ll soon start grabbing attention. Other favourite focal points include things like works of art, fireplaces, and mantelpieces.

Add Layers Of Lighting

A single point of light in a room might be the way that lighting was traditionally done in the past, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the best way to do it. In fact, solo lights can make a room appear cold and harsh.

A much better solution is to include multiple types of lighting in a room, including recessed lighting. Light emitted from different heights will equally illuminate the entire room, avoiding shadowed regions.

You can also experiment by placing lights in pieces of furniture. In kitchens, for instance, many people achieve success by putting secondary lighting inside glass-facade cabinets, illuminating them from inside.

Make Bold Statements

No matter how good the lighting is, if a room is dull, it’ll never “pop” the way that you want it to. Personality is what makes rooms in your home come to life, and without it, it’s impossible to make a space truly great.

Adding elements of drama is actually quite easy. Usually, it just means being smart with accessories. For instance, many people like to incorporate funky ottomans into their living space, or thinks like lean-to shelving for dramatic effect. The point here is to make sure that you’re rejecting people’s expectations, including your own, and adding truly unique elements. People are expecting generic blocky sofas, so go with something a little more art deco instead.

Summer Paradise Isn't On A Beach, It's In Your Garden

If you’re thinking about going on a summer vacation this year, you might want to stop right now. Rather than heading away to a tropical location, why not work to make your home the place you want to be. You’ll save money and you get a great return of investment. When you go on holiday, that trip is only going to last two weeks. The effects and impacts will only be apparent for a few months. If you change up your garden and make a picture perfect paradise, you’ll be able to appreciate it for years. So, what type of changes am I talking about?

Great Garden Furniture

Gone are the days when garden furniture meant wicker chairs or plasting seating. Now, you can buy outdoor furniture that is just as comfy and luxurious as the furniture you have in your living room. We’re talking about lush, cushioned low level sofas and armchairs that are a treat on your back too. They look great with contemporary styles that really fit the aesthetic of a modern garden. We know what you’re thinking. Won’t they get ruined outside. There’s an easy solution. You can make sure that you put them on concrete so that the chairs don’t sink into the mud. Then, you can buy some furniture covers to keep them dry on the wettest days of the year. Through the winter months they can be put in storage out of the way.

Delicious Evenings

Next, why don’t you think about setting up a traditional stone BBQ in your garden. Food never tastes better than when it’s been cooked on a natural steaming hot grill. You can get all the little pieces you need to make your own BBQ online such as a bbq burner. Bbq burners allow you to make sure you can get the gas to light and with the right setup you can even adjust it to the right temperature. Just think about inviting guest around for a proper bbq, using your new furniture for seating.

Add Colour To Your Yard

You can do this by planting some new flowers in your back garden. A brilliant choice would be to select some tropical flowers for your yard. This will make your garden look unique, fresh and exciting. You just need to make sure you look at growing and care needs before you buy. Otherwise, you can end up with an empty plot of soil where the bulbs haven’t poked through at all.

Attract Wildlife

If you want the tweet of birds, the buzz of bees and the rustling of leaves to all be part of your summer garden, you need to think about how to attract wildlife. Planting some new flowers is always a good start. As well as this, you can think about letting the grass grow a little and allowing your garden to look wild. Do this and you’re sure to find more life exploring your garden, particularly at ground level. It’s all about creating the right home for the creatures you want to see outside your window.

Smile Like You Mean It

All ladies want to achieve the perfect smile, and many of us spend lots of money in the process. However, the process we need to follow is much simpler than most people imagine. You just need to consider your oral health and use some of the tips from this page. They should help you to get the results you desire without working too hard or waiting too long. The advice might sound basic, but it’s guaranteed to create an improvement. As you will discover, getting the perfect smile isn’t always about cleanliness. Sometimes you have to improve your mood as well if you want people to melt every time you look in their direction. So, put these ideas into practice as soon as possible.

Brush three times every day

Everyone knows they need to brush their teeth correctly to ensure they don’t cause infections and other issues. That said, most of us don’t use our toothbrushes as often as we should. You should always try to brush and floss after every meal, but that isn’t always possible. So, as a basic rule of thumb, you should aim to perform the process three times every day. Once in the morning when you get out of bed, and again after lunch. You can then clean your teeth for the final time after your evening meal. When you’ve been doing that for a couple of months, you should notice a huge difference. Make sure you use toothpaste that contains bicarbonate of soda for the best results. That substance will make your pearly whites shine.

Always attend dentist appointments

Making sure you visit the dentist regularly is essential if you want the perfect smile. You should get appointment letters through the post every six months. So, you just need to make sure you book the time off work and attend. Your employer is legally obliged to let you have time off for any medical issues, and so that shouldn’t become a problem. Professionals from say your appointments are necessary. Attending them could help your dentist to spot any problems early. If you have an infection in your mouth, time is of the essence. The sooner you deal with it; the less discomfort it will cause. Nobody likes opening their mouths for people to prod around, but you’ll never get the perfect smile if you don’t.

Consider teeth whitening services

If you smoke or drink lots of coffee, you might have stained your teeth more than most people. Indeed, the writers from recently hit that nail on the head. In that instance, brushing might not create the desired results. So, you just need to go a step further. Find a dentist online that offers cosmetic services like teeth whitening. The process doesn’t take long, and you should see a drastic improvement straight away. Different dentists will use different methods. That is why you must ask about the details of their service ahead of time. Make sure they plan to use a technique that will work for someone in your situation. You could also look at getting some crowns if you have enough cash to spare. They will make your teeth stay in good condition much longer than they otherwise would have done.

Always be happy

As we said at the start of this post, cleaning your teeth isn’t the only way to create your dream smile. Many beauty blogs try to highlight that fact these days. Sometimes you need to lift your mood too. If you’re not happy, you aren’t going to use your smile even if you make it perfect. So, now is the best time to remove all the negativity from your life. Go to see your doctor and ask for medication or counselling services if you feel depressed. Help is available, and you should make good use of it. You will smile all the time if you can lift yourself up and find a happy place. If you’re in an unhealthy relationship, get out of it as soon as possible. That is certain to make you feel more enthusiastic about life.

You should now have some excellent ideas about the best way forwards. Use the information I’ve just relayed to ensure you never have to hide your smile again. Be happy, clean your teeth, and always visit the dentist. If you manage to do that, I’m confident you will reach your goal in the first part of this year. Your confidence levels will increase, and you’ll feel more comfortable around other people. Who knows? It could even encourage you to go out more often and meet your dream man. Stranger things have happened.

The Home Safety Check Off

The home is automatically registered in your minds as one of the safest places you can be. It is where you eat, sleep and spend time with family and friends, so the last thing on the mind is that the home can actually be quite dangerous and hazardous. Certain things can happen in the home which can be really dangerous for those who live inside. As such, there are various things you should check off to ensure it stays a safe place. Here are some such things. You may have already looked into them, but if you haven’t, give it a quick check just be sure. It is easy to overlook things while living a busy life after all.

Fire Hazards

This is one of the most dangerous issues that still plagues the world. Fire can seriously hurt or even kill your family if you are not careful. If you live somewhere that has an issue with bush fires then consider using a property maintenance firm to check your home over. They can potentially make it less susceptible to fire. You should also check the threats that are internal. To mitigate these ensure you have smoke alarms throughout your property. These should be placed in the main hallway and landing of your house. Test them once a week and always ensure they have a battery replacement when needed. They will detect the smoke and tell you about the fire before it really becomes a big issue. Without them your home and family are certainly at risk.


It can depend on where you live, but homes are popular places for insects and other animals to call home. Some of these can be really dangerous. Hornets are particularly nasty. As are wasps and bees if disturbed. If a child bumped into one of these nests they can easily be killed by multiple stings and if you have a an allergy then the threat is even more severe. You home is also at risk from other kinds of creatures such as rats and mice and cockroaches. Rats can carry diseases which spread with ease. Make sure all such things are dealt with as soon as possible. If there are stinging insects consider calling out professionals who can ensure the nest is removed in a safe way.


The silent killer can be extremely hazardous. Anything which burns fossil fuels can give off CO2 which in turn can give severe symptoms like nausea, headaches and sleepiness and in the worst cases, death. People die every year from CO2 poisoning. You need to ensure you get all your fossil burning devices checked out yearly in a service from a certified tradesperson. They can ensure it burns right and also save you money because they will be more efficient. The issue is worse the older the boiler is, so if you have a really old one consider replacing it. You can also get CO2 alarms, similar to fire alarms. They will sound if you have excess CO2 in the air and you should put one in each of the rooms where a fossil burning device is.


Keeping The Kids Healthy

There has been so much in the news lately about the increasing average weight of children and how they are much less active than 20 years ago. It can be pretty scary to read if you are a mom. But it is a good thing to be aware of because knowledge is power, and if we know there is an issue there, we can do some things to avoid or prevent problems like these. Read on to find out how.


A pool is a fantastic way of keeping the kids moving and active, especially if you live in a warm country like Australia. Kids just love to mess around in the water and swim about.


Obviously, you have to think about the practical side of this too, though. For example, you will need to teach the little one to learn to swim as soon as possible, as well as have a cover over the pool to prevent any accidents.

It is also a good idea to get a pool heating system like the one available from, so you can get the most use of it it all year round. It's not much good if they can only be active in the is way in the summer now, is it?

Sports Clubs

Another great way for looking after the health of you kids to encourage them to join a sports team. This can be anything they like from football to basketball. Or a martial arts club, or dance class can work well too.


Setting a regular time for exercise like this not only gets them out of the house and off of their games consoles. But it also allows them to get use to being in the habit of integrating physical activity into their everyday lives. Of course, it's a great way for them to meet friends and socialize too, so it really is something that is worth considering.



Another simple way of getting the kids active is to provide them with bikes. What little one wouldn't live to wake up on their Christmas or birthday morning to find a shiny new bike with a ribbon on it at the end of their bed?

Bikes are great because they teach balance and coordination and as well as just burning calories. They are also good for helping your kids to build up a sense of confidence as well as independence when they learn to master the technique.


Of course it, not just activity that is important for the little ones heath, but rest too. Children need more sleep on average than adults every night as their bodies are still growing. They also need time to unconsciously process all the learning that they are doing.

That means it is can be very valuable to have a set time the week, that the kids know they must be in bed for. Having a set time like this as recommended by, can also help you get them ready for bed by limiting phone and computer use. As well as getting them to partake in rituals like a hot bath, which can make falling asleep easier.


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Disposing Of Wasteful Habits

Appliances break down - that much is a given. Of course, they tend to break down at the worst possible time. That's not a rule or something you should have to accept, but it always seems to go like that doesn't it?

While you can't control the Murphy's Law aspect of when appliances decide to give up the ghost, there are certain ways of managing a breakdown that you do have control over.

To an extent, we live in a society which is becoming more and more accustomed to disposing of everything. We throw away our water bottles; we're encouraged to discard makeup after absurdly short lengths of time. The whole thrust has taken us away from the "make do and mend" attitude that our parents and grandparents were familiar with - and it's wise to wonder if that's such a good thing.

When one of the white goods in your home decides to break down and inconvenience the entire family, then environmental concerns might be the last thing on your mind. And let's be clear: absolutely no one is going to blame you for that. Your life has been interrupted by a malfunctioning washing machine, or you're faced with juggling your usual tasks on top of hand-washing where the dishwasher used to step in. In the midst of a busy family life and running a home, often you won't have the time to sit down and worry about your impact on the world.

At the same time, there are a few things to consider. If you investigate what it would cost to repair an appliance, you might find yourself thinking that you might as well replace it. That's the direction things have gone in for a few decades now - no making do, and no mending. Of course, the environmental impact of this is huge - a constant cycle of production designed to replace relatively youthful appliances that just have a minor glitch.

So you're busy running a home, but is it going to be that much more of an inconvenience to investigate what a repair might constitute rather than just whipping out your credit card, reading reviews at and buying something anew? Repair specialists such as know how to turn things around quickly, and what's more, you don't have to research a new appliance. There's no need to waste time comparing facts and stats about what you're about to buy; you already know the machine, it only needs this glitch taking care of. Bear in mind the lifespan of appliances - there’s no need for a replacement to be the first consideration.

Making this change and opting to repair rather than replace on an individual level might not seem like it's making that much of an environmental difference. You are but one person, right? So what does one change matter, if everyone else is going to go for convenience and keep the high disposable society in production?

Well, everyone is just one person. You can only control your decisions and your impact on the world around you. There are other benefits to repair over replacement; it might work out cheaper, and it might be faster than waiting for a new delivery to your property. Maybe our grandparents were onto something - so next time an appliance breaks down at the worst time imaginable, why not consider it?

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Quick Fixes For The Home

DIY seems to have become something of a lost art, especially amongst younger people. It seems that the old skills are no longer being passed down from generation to generation as they once were, which is a major problem as people are not able to sort out issues in their own home.

While some problems like a pipe leak or boiler breakdown may be too tricky for the DIY novice, there are plenty of simple fixes for common problems around the home. Here are just a few for you to try your hand at if you are having any of these issues.

Squeaky Door Hinges

A door that is constantly squeaking every time you open or close it can get very annoying, very quickly. Try spraying a little WD-40 onto the hinges, while moving the door backwards and forwards so the lubricant gets worked in. If this doesn’t work, use a little bit of petroleum jelly. If you’re still not having any joy, lift the hinge pins up about halfway and use three-in-one oil to lubricate them. Remember to put down some sort of rag to cover the floor underneath so you don’t get any oil on the carpet.

Peeling Wallpaper

Peeling wallpaper is one of those things that seems to get more and more irritating every time you look at it! Use a knife to smear some wallpaper paste onto some writing paper. Next, rub the writing paper against the underside of the section that is peeling. Press the wallpaper against the wall and slide the writing paper out. Use a cloth to smooth away any bubbles.

Stuck Sliding Window

If you have a sliding window that keeps getting caught or has become very stiff, use some silicone spray lubricant to grease the skids. This should be readily available at all hardware stores and shouldn’t cost you a great deal either. Spray the lubricant onto a rag and wipe it along the tracks. This should work whatever material it is made of, whether wood, plastic or metal.

Slamming Door

We’ve all been there - there’s a through draught in the house and suddenly a door is blown shut causing you to jump out of your skin. You can soften the slam with some simple home repair by affixing some foam weather stripping around the doorstop. Otherwise, you can take a wide rubber band and wrap it around the doorknobs on both sides. Stretch it across the edge of the door without covering the latch.

Changing A Hard-to-Remove Light Bulb

Some light bulbs seem to be stuck in place with superglue when you try to remove them. Use some duct tape on the middle of the bulb, folding each end in half so it sticks to itself. Grip the ends between your thumb and index finger, turning the bulb in an anticlockwise direction which should help to loosen the bulb. This technique should help give you some added grip and will save you from trying to force the bulb out.