Whether it’s doing up the bathroom or kitchen, or adding an entire new wing to the house, some focused planning will help your home renovation project run smoothly. Here are some tips to help you get the biggest ‘bang’ for your renovation buck.
1. Budgeting and saving
Renovating is a major expense so unless you’ve already saved up the necessary funds you will either need to prepare for increased loan repayments or get cracking on a savings plan.
First up, prepare a couple of budgets - one for the renovations, and another for regular living costs. Then, with your current spending and future savings needs laid bare, it’s time to play the penny-pinching game. Can you take lunch from home rather than buying it every day? Does avoiding the toll road add that much time to your daily commute? Are you paying for bottled water? And can you still enjoy life with less eating out or ordering in?
2. Avoid hidden surprises
Make sure that the fabric of the existing house is sound. Depending on its age, have the house inspected for asbestos. Its removal can add time and many dollars to your renovation. Termites and timber rot are other unwelcome surprises.
3. Find the right contractors
Shop around, get multiple quotes and check references and reviews. Also ask to see contractors’ licenses. Don’t just go with the lowest quote; make sure you have confidence in the tradie’s ability to do the job.
4. Release your inner handyperson
How much can you save by doing some of the work yourself? Most people can do a great job painting a room. How about laying your own tiles? The Internet abounds with ‘How to’ videos for all sorts of renovation skills.
5. Call in a favour
How many chippies, sparkies and plumbers in your family or friendship group? Of course, you won’t want to stretch a friendship or impose on them, so maybe you can swap one of your skills for some of theirs.
6. Shop smart
Extend your budget by buying seconds or second hand. Check out Gumtree and eBay, or get to know your local auction rooms - bidding at auction can be both fun and rewarding. Can you deal directly with any suppliers, and who can offer you mate’s rates?
7. Select your materials with your budget in mind
Hand basins, shower screens, kitchen sinks, taps, flooring, light fittings, ovens… Everything comes in a wide range of styles and prices to suit every budget. However, appearances can be deceiving. A cheaper bench top or bath can provide all the visual appeal of more expensive alternatives. Still, sometimes you may have to compromise and opt for ‘good’ rather than ‘best’. And if you’re renovating with a future sale in mind, it’s also important that you don’t over-capitalise on your renovations.
Undertaking major renovations can be a daunting prospect, but some thought and planning can deliver not just a more valuable home, but also one that provides you with years of satisfaction.Read in full + comments 1 Comments
I want to put those fears to rest and encourage any pet owner not to hesitate – go forth and enjoy an extended holiday with your loved friend. You won’t regret it and for many it will make the holiday so much more enjoyable. Afterall they are great company.
Like everything with RV’ing a compromise is often called for. By this I mean; whilst there are now many caravan / holiday parks that welcome pets - National parks do not.
But don’t let this put you off. We spend 4 years travelling with ‘Teddy’ our miniature Schnauzer and never missed out. Australia is a big place with so much to see even if you do miss a few National Parks.
But for us, when it came time to explore a famous National Park we looked for the closest campsite that permitted animals (be it free camp or paid park) where we knew there would be other pet owners. A social visit was all it took to arrange for a pet sitter, in return we did the same for them the next day. Easy…and we made a new set of friends in the process.
Vets: Quite often local vets allow you to leave your pet for short term boarding if there are no other options in the area. It’s definitely worth making a phone call if there’s vets in the area and you can’t find an alternative pet sitting service.
Now that you are convinced here are a few pointers to ensure your trip is a success.
Before you leave:
- Ensure your pet is fully vaccinated and its registration is up-to-date
- Have your pet Microchipped – the best way to identify a pet that goes walkabout
- Put your pet’s name and your mobile number on a name tag attached to their collar
- Ensure you have the appropriate equipment to transport your pet
- Make sure you pack everything your pet will need for the duration of the trip, as you may not be able to buy the products when travelling in regional areas.
Items to pack for your pet:
- Vaccination papers – very important if you want to leave your pet at a boarding kennel for a day, E.g. National Park visit where pets are not permitted. Kennels may refuse to take your pet if you are unable to provide proof of vaccinations.
- Food, water bowl and treats
- Grooming equipment, such as clippers, brushes, shampoo
- Toys, blankets (coat if required)
- Plastic bags or ‘Pooper Scooper’ to clean up after your pet and keep Australia beautiful
- Collar and lead – a pre-requisite of caravan parks
- Any medication your pet might require
- Sleeping bed, folding kennel.
Sleeping mate: Not everyone wants to have their dog sleep inside. An RV can be a cramped space for two without a four-legged friend claiming territory, not to mention their smell will permeate your living space for years to come – not good for re-sale. And pet hair is a bugger to remove.
A portable kennel is an alternative to consider. Our Teddy never once came inside, she hated it. In summer she slept on a folding travel bed which kept her off the floor and in cooler or wet days I initially made a kennel from a cardboard box to put over the bed – A frame design worked best. Easily replaced, free and warm (paper is a good insulator). Both these options pack flat and are lightweight.
We then moved up to an aircraft carry case (the type use to carry pets’ onboard planes) these split in half for packing, have air holes along all sides and a locking door that can be easily removed. Throw over a tarp and you have a waterproof house that will be loved by Fido. It doubles up if you need to fly home for any reason.
Reminder: All RVs have weight limits and pet accessories all add up despite what you think they only need the basics to live well.
While travelling, look after your pet:
- Take enough water for them for the journey
- If you are taking your cat or bird, which traditionally do not like to travel, place a blanket or cover over their carry cage in the car, as this can help to keep them calm.
- Make sure they do not overheat or get too cold
- Make regular stops to exercise your dog during long journeys
- NEVER leave your pet inside a car – even on cool days. Leaving the window open can still overheat your pet with potentially disastrous consequences.
During your stay at a caravan / holiday park, make sure you:
- Respect the park’s regulations and be considerate of your fellow guests – don’t allow your pet to dominate the space.
- Always pick up any dog droppings
- Always Keep your pet under control, as much as for their safety as the safety of those around you.
- Barking dogs are not easily tolerated so do the training before you leave
With proper planning, your pet will enjoy their holiday as much as the rest of the family!
On the road, it is important to keep an eye on your pet, some animals react differently to travel and without proper care it can cause them distress. If you are planning to take them on a long car trip, it might be worthwhile taking them on a few day drives to monitor their behaviour first. Dogs can get car sick just like us. Talk to your vet if they show signs of this.
Restraining your pet is law in many states. There are now seat belts for dogs who should always travel in the back seat or tray area – never in the front seat or on your lap. A seat cover or travel hammock are a great invention: Check this one out:
Going it alone. If this it is still not for you or you don’t want to miss anything (activities, National parks etc.) then consider leaving your loved one at home with a house/pet sitter or friends.
House sitting is a great service, your pet remains in their home feeling a lot more secure than at a kennel. They soon adapt to a new carer which is peace of mind for owners. The bonus your house is also secure.
Dogs don't have a good perception of time and they don't forget you. You get the same reaction from them when you return whether you are away for a week or for a year! So, go and enjoy your trip travelling Australia and your dogs will still love you when you get home!
Time to Hit the Road
Now you have all the facts, its time to start planning that long-awaited trip. If in doubt start off with a series of weekend adventures to caravan parks close to you, going further afield the next time. It won’t take long to know if you and your pet are travellers inching to follow the sun come winter time.
What are you waiting for – just do it!
This article is an extract from Chad’s RV Newsletter ‘Aussie Life On Wheels’ which, thanks to Hudson Financial Planners, you can grab your FREE copy by clicking this link: www.AussieLifeOnWheels.com/free-issue.html
Here you will find additional informative insights, invaluable tips, lots of laughs and exciting places to visit. An entertaining read and a useful tool for all Caravan & Motorhome owners and would be owners.
Chad and his partner are veteran caravaners. (10 years into a 2-year trip around Australia!). Chad has spent years researching vans and equipment, knows most of the ins and outs of living on the road and how they earn a living from their van.
They are also long-term clients of Hudson Financial Planning.
Are you in the market for a new RV, a BBQ, perhaps an annex or your phone needs upgrading (having read my article on ‘LET’S TALK Phones, Modems, Antennas & Wi-Fi”)?
The problem is where to buy and what price to pay and the first thing you notice is that prices vary from ‘too good to be true’ to ‘damn right outrageous’ for the exact same item depending where you go shopping?
As the internet gets faster and we get slower it becomes more & more daunting looking for a good deal in the electronic world unless you are still in diapers. Let alone know who you are dealing with and who to trust. We constantly hear of online scams that are targeting unsuspecting older and internet illiterate people.
Then there’s the kids:
Are you worried about the education your children/grandchildren are getting? It’s not the algebra that bothers you it’s the apparent lack of life skills that is of concern. Important subjects like budgeting, saving for their future, negotiating, conversing face to face with another human, all seem to be overlooked at school these days, yet are so important for their survival in later years.
Here’s a solution to both problems:
When you want to purchase any big-ticket item have your children/grandchildren do it for you.
They are tech savvy, so they know where and how to find virtually anything on the net (including all the things they shouldn’t be looking at!). It may turn out to be a local business that has the best deal but it’s the kids that can help you find it.
But how to do you get them interested in helping you?
Pay them 50% commission. Yes, 50%...it got your attention, so it is guaranteed to get theirs.
First you find a price for the item you want yourself, this becomes the benchmark. Then offer them the chance to earn 50% of any amount they save off that price. The more they save you the more they earn. Translated; if they find a price that is say $300 cheaper they will earn $150. If it’s a new caravan that could be in the thousands of dollars.
- They learn valuable budgeting/research/saving lessons.
- You save money and without all the hassles.
- A win-win for all parties (except the salesman!)
Take them along to the shop/caravan lot and have them involved in the final negotiations, which might include having the salespeople throw in extras to sweeten the deal. They’ll soon learn; how to save or make money through negotiation and the potential to earn more in the future by buying items as cheaply as possible (and potentially selling for a profit).
This same rule could also be applied when you wanted to sell something. Teaching young people how to budget, make their dollars go further and not rely on credit cards is a valuable lesson that will help them for years to come.
The next step is to encourage them to invest that commission, so it grows on its own, by introducing them to Hudson’s Financial Planning. They will thank you later in life.
Meanwhile you have what you wanted for less and you have youngsters who see you with different eyes.
Greed is a wonderful thing!!!
This article is an extract from Chad’s monthly RV Newsletter ‘Aussie Life On Wheels’ which, thanks to Hudson Financial Planners, you can grab a copy FREE of charge by clicking this link: www.AussieLifeOnWheels.com/free-issue.html
An entertaining read and a useful tool for all Caravan & Motorhome owners and would be owners.
Chad and his partner are veteran caravaners. (10 years into a 2-year trip around Australia!). Chad has spent years researching vans and equipment, knows most of the ins and outs of living on the road and how to earn a living from their van. All of which is revealed in Aussie Life on Wheels
“If there was a 60% decline in the human population, that would be equivalent to emptying Europe, China, Oceania, Africa and North and South America. Scary isn’t it?
Nature's destruction of is as dangerous as climate change.
Destruction of natural habitats is the biggest cause of wildlife loss, much of it to create farmland. Three-quarters of all land on Earth is now signiticantly affected by human activities. Food is the next biggest cause - 300 mammal species are being eaten into extinction - while the oceans are being decimated through over fishing.
The proportion of the planet's land that is free from human impact is projected to drop from a quarter to a tenth by 2050, as habitat removal, hunting, pollution, disease and climate change continue to spread, the organisation added.
This crisis is 'unprecedented in its speed, in its scale and because it is single-handed', said Marco Lambertini, the WWF's director general. 'It's mindblowing... We're talking about 40 years. It's not even a blink of an eye compared to thie history of life on Earth'.
The report also found that 90 percent of seabirds have plastics in their stomachs, compared with 5 percent in 1960, while about half of the world's shallow-water corals have been lost in the past three decades.
The group has called for an international treaty, modelled on the Paris climate agreement, to be drafted to protect wildlife and reverse human impacts on nature.
So, why am I sharing this with you?
The whole point of RV’ing, be it in Australia, Europe or USA, is the freedom to explore our natural wonders and interact with wildlife at a multitude of places away from our crowded cities.
We are blessed in Australia with a small population living in a huge continent, yet we continue to destroy our environment as much as any other nation.
With the explosion in demand for RV’s also comes demand for places to stay, purchase supplies and fuel even in remote areas. This results in habitat being destroyed to build campsites, roads and shopping centres, and let’s not forget waste disposal!
We are part of this global crisis. Our habits could be improved.
Hudson’s & I ask that all RV’ers set an example wherever possible. Be aware of your carbon and eco impact. Encourage others to keep our free camps & national parks clean and ensure all waste is disposed of properly.
Chad and his partner are veteran caravaners. (10 years into a 2-year trip around Australia!). A published author and adventurer.
Aussie Life On Wheels is his newsletter for RV owners and potential owners, which thanks to Hudson Financial Advisers, you can download your free trial copy by clicking this link: www.AussieLifeOnWheels.com/free-issue.html
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