Mobile Shopping Savvy

Some have an innate gift for shopping. The clothing size for each family member is memorised alongside favourite colours and specific taboos for each. Jenny hates sleeveless, John only accepts brand names, Jess will wear it all. Yes there are some incredible power shoppers out there; you may know one or be one yourself. But then there’s the rest of the world. And those mere mortals wonder how they ever got by before mobile phones. How did it work, was it with paper list in hand? Or did it take coordinating a group outing and keeping loved ones distracted whilst your sister gave not-so-subtle looks toward a cashmere sweater? Do you even remember? If not you’ve probably blocked the memories. Yet these days shopping is made easy thanks to that magnificent invention, the smartphone.

Why mobile phones are one of the best shopping companions, ever.

Texting. Nieces and nephews are not the same size they were just yesterday. Not to mention tastes can be fickle. Texting is a handy (and quiet) way to get information quickly without disturbing fellow shoppers. This form of communication often helps keep conversations short and to the point. Just remember if children are involved to be careful not to let them see any messages that could give surprises away.

Photographs. A picture’s worth… well you know—particularly when trying to verbally describe a coat that might be sage or could be chartreuse. Anyone who is colour-challenged or shopping for someone who is very particular should greatly value the ability to send a photo to the lifeline of their choosing. Photos are also very handy when choosing an item to add to an existing collection of similar things. Though if you enjoy the awkwardness of giving a duplicate gift, then feel free to leave the mobile at home.

Price Comparisons. If your mobile doesn’t have a barcode scanner install one now. This feature is absolutely brilliant for comparing prices, seeking out the item’s nearest location, and even seeing if those antique candlesticks are worth the exalted price. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for locally you can keep shopping online whilst fortifying yourself at the pub.

Discount Apps. Many shoppers are hopping on this trend by offering discounts and coupons through their own sites as well as through group discount programmes. Have a particular interest? Don’t forget to search app subjects like “shoes” and “clothing accessories” in order to find software specifically geared to you. And note with discounts that many are time-sensitive and some have specific hoops to jump through, but terrific deals can be found.

Store lookups. In addition to the costs of getting from here to there, time also equals money. And few things are more frustrating than spending excessive amounts of time on a fruitless search. Mobile access not only makes sure you’ll get to the store before closing, your GPS can help offer even closer alternatives at hand.

Mobile Banking. Might not have thought of this one but what if your shopping expedition is so successful that you run out of cash or find your bank account is tapped out? Thanks to modern technology, transferring funds can be done easily, quickly, and securely. Online banking is also handy when going in on gifts as a group. Remember though to never share banking information unless it’s someone implicitly trusted.

Some consumers are more than happy to shop ’til they drop. Yet many also want to make the most of limited time and funds by becoming savvier shoppers. With today’s communication and Web-browsing capabilities it’s a wonder how any shoppers hit the sales successfully before mobiles and actually enjoyed it. Now the up-and-comers need not wonder how challenging the “old days” were—most sought information, no matter how detailed, can be found with just a few clicks.

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What are SIM Only Plans and Will They Work for You?

You may have heard about a new type of phone plan being offered by service providers in the UK – they are referred to as SIM Only Plans, and they essentially are cheap service plans with generous usage. Companies are able to offer these plans for a less expensive rate than usual by not supplying the customer with a brand new mobile phone every two years. Obviously if you like that aspect of your current plan, SIM Only Plans likely won’t be something for you.

For those willing to part with a bi-yearly upgrade in order to save some money on a monthly basis, SIM Only would be a fantastic option! Another good time to switch to SIM Only would be in a situation where you can get a phone at a discounted rate – since the retail price on most mobile phones can be as much as £550 or more, it may not be ideal to purchase that completely out of pocket. However, there are some SIM Only Plans that will actually save you more than £550 depending on your current plan.

If you’re looking to save a lot of money, in most cases you should be prepared to give up some of your monthly allotted usage. Although, there are some cases where customers are paying way more than the average monthly rate to begin with, and could cut their bill in half while retaining the same usage. Regardless of your current situation, you will definitely save a noticeable amount on your monthly bill by switching to a SIM Only Plan.

Which Service Provider has the Best Deals?

Most of the people in the market for a SIM Only Plan are looking to save money, of course there are other cases (like those who can obtain a free phone or are satisfied with their current one),  but regardless of why you’re able to make the switch doesn’t negate the fact you want to save money. Part of the money saving process, is to find the best SIM card deals, which can take a little bit of research.

You can either look for comparison sites that do most of the research for you, or you can go to individual service provider websites and see the most up to date rates. Some good places to start are companies like T-Mobile, Orange, Vodafone, and O2 – these are all well-known SIM Only providers that offer a variety of different options for phone plans.

When looking through the plans, you’ll likely notice that they are similarly priced, but have different benefits from one company to another. For instance Vodafone’s plans have a big emphasis on data, in-fact, every single one of their plans comes with 750MB of UK Wi-Fi; the allotted minutes however, doesn’t quite match up to other companies. This makes it easy to find a plan that you know is going to work for you, just check which type of usage you’re currently using the most – whether it be minutes, texts, or data.

Pricing Variables with SIM Only Plans

Obviously the biggest variable that comes into play when choosing a plan is home many minutes and data you want to be given each month – texting not so much, simply because most plans offer unlimited texting; with the exception of the most basic plans. For example, T-Mobile offers a plan with 250 minutes, 500 texts, and 500MB for either £8 a month with a 12-month contract or £10 a month with no contract. Whereas, the next cheapest deal offers 500 minutes, unlimited texting, and 1GB of data for £3 more.

Another variable is something I just mentioned, the choice of a 12 month contract or a month to month agreement with no contract. I’ve never seen a company have a bigger variance than £2 for this choice, but there may be some rare occurrences where this is not the case. There are also cases where a company will offer completely different plans for contracts and non-contracts, in which case this standard wouldn’t be applied.

If you break down T-Mobile’s plans a bit more, you’ll see why the most expensive component to upgrade is the minutes. From the second cheapest plan to the third – which happens to be the third most expensive as well, so right in the middle. You’ll double your minutes to get 1000, but triple your data to get 3GB, for an increased monthly rate of £5. Beyond that, you can double your minutes again and unlock unlimited data for another £5, and for £5 more, you’ll get unlimited everything.

For those that didn’t keep up with the math there, that equates to just £26 a month with a 12 month contract for unlimited talk, text, and data. You simply can’t beat that price, and you can even be contract free if you fork over an extra £2, making the total monthly cost £28.

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Wedding Photography – Getting it at the Right Price

Choosing the Best Photographer for Your Wedding

If you are looking for an exceptional wedding photographer for your big day, then there are several things you need to keep in mind. One of the most important is making sure that the photographer is in your budget. You want somebody who is extremely processional and creative so that your pictures look amazing. There is only one chance for them to get this right as the night will be over in the blink of an eye. However, you do not want to be paying photographer fees with money better spent elsewhere. Thus, you really need to research the best packages and photographers in your area to find the one at the right price for your wedding. 

Begin Your Wedding Photographer Search

You should attend local wedding conferences to meet with area photographers. This is a prime opportunity to ask them about their work and see example of the finished product. Some photographers offer discounts to people who hire them for their wedding that very day. This is a prime opportunity for you to save money on a wedding package with one of the best photographers in your area. Therefore, You might want to take your check book in case you need to make a deposit for the photographer of your dreams!  

There is no time to waist once you do find the right photographer. The best professionals go fast, and you do not want to be scrambling a month before your wedding. Do everything you can to get the photographer you want at your wedding even if it means paying half of the fees upfront. This might seem a little crazy at first, but you will soon realize wedding photography is a serious business. If you want the most in demand photographers, then you have to be willing to book early and pay upfront. Think about it this way: you will have paid your first wedding bill without every having to worry about it again. 

Budgeting for the Best Wedding Photographer

Budgeting for a wedding can be difficult. However, you do not want to settle for second best when it concerns the biggest day of your life. Create a solid spending plan, and you will be able to afford almost anything you want for your wedding. Trust your instincts when it comes to making your final choice for the photographer. Do they seem nice? Are they willing to work with your budget? Do they offer a payment plan? The answers to questions like these can really be the determining factor. You need to make this working relationship work in anyway possible if you truly believe that this is the only photographer for you.

For example, the photographer might let you pay in installments before the wedding. Communication is key; however, if you are not honest about your financials, then you might miss out on the best photographer in your area.  But don’t be put off be upfront and clear and you can’t go far wrong.

Jennifer Jones began her career doing wedding photography in london before moving onto blogging and running her own site.

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How Your Child Benefits From Playtime

You may think play is just about keeping your child happy and amused but play is so much more important than that. Through play your child is able to learn about the whole world around them in a safe environment. Play is used to teach your children how to solve problems, build and develop skills and overcome challenges that they need come across in everyday life. Here are some of the other ways your child is benefiting from the all-important play time.

Building the Imagination

“Let’s pretend” is one of the most important types of play there is. This activity doesn’t usually begin to present itself until the child reaches 2 but from there on it grows and develops. Anything can be used to spur the imagination, from saucepans and spoons to clothes, songs and stories. A cardboard box can become a plane, a pirate ship or a car. Allowing your child to be imaginative is vital. There are all sorts of scenarios that your child will be able to explore securely, it build empathy, imagination and builds confidence.

Promoting Social Skills

When children are small they usually sit next to each other to play rather than actually communicating and playing together. Gradually the interaction develops. They learn how to share, how to work together to benefit the play and take it to new levels. Through this interaction children are developing a whole host of social skills that they need when they reach school and through the rest of their lives. They learn about cooperation and negotiation as well as teamwork.

Physical Development Enhancements

There are all sorts of play that will help develop skills such as motor skills, coordination, balancing and hand eye coordination. It’s important to provide all sorts of toys and opportunities to help your child practice these skills. By the time they reach school they will be able to feed themselves, put on their coats, take off their shoes, use zippers and be coordinated. This will make them feel independent and confident.  This type of play needs to begin at home, encourage physical activities rather than spending all day in front of the television and watching DVDs.

Emotions and Role Play

Children first learn about expressing their emotions through role play, physical play, art and activities. Sometimes children find it hard to express how they’re feeling through words so they use these playful activities as their outlet. You can help with this by encouraging role playing games that cover a wide amount of emotion such as happy and sad. If your child doesn’t understand how to react you can help by showing the right kind of response, and encourage your child to find humour in the play to relieve any tensions and concerns.

Children need to mix with other children and get involved with guided play that will further their development. A day nursery is the perfect environment where play is used to entertain and educate. By mixing with other children they are able to develop their social skills and learn more about emotions. A day nursery is also an excellent solution for those parents who need to take time to work and bring money into the home. For more information visit:

The author is a freelance blogger and mother of three. She loves to draw on her experience raising three small children to provide advice and tips to other mums and dads. For the last five years she has mixed parenthood with writing and during that time she has had several hundred articles and blog posts published online.

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