How To Spend

Wise Money Management and Spending Tips

Month: February 2017

Hosting the Ultimate Child’s Birthday Party

How to Give Your Child a
Party to Remember

Whether it is crisps in the
back garden or canapés at the Dorchester, every parent is faced with organising
a party sooner or later. Here are some tips for survival.

Contemplating a
troupe of over-excited children descending on you for even a couple of hours is
enough to put most of us into a cold sweat. Yet the child’s birthday party is
an event that every parent has to contend with sooner or later.

From sausages on
sticks to bouncy castle hire, there is so much to think
about that it can be hard to know where to start. Here is a short survival
guide to help ensure your child’s party is one to remember.

Planning is key

As with most
things, everything will be much more smooth and stress-free with advance
planning. Decide on venue, attendees and entertainers/equipment hire as early
as possible, get the bookings made and the invites out.

Try to keep the
guest list to a manageable level, particularly if the party is at your home.
10-15 children is ideal – anything more can start to get out of hand! Make sure
the invites are RSVP, and follow up on anyone who does not answer, so you have
a clear idea of how many are coming.

Unless you are
intent on making it a surprise, it can be a good idea to involve your child in
the planning process and let them help to choose exactly what they want.

Have a theme

What are your
child’s likes and interests? If your child is helping plan the party, then
simply ask them.

Themes such as
princesses, pirates and Hawaiian are always popular, or something related to a
popular film or TV show such as Ice Age or Spongebob is guaranteed to be a
winner.

Clear the decks

If you are
holding the party at home, then the last thing you need is to be worrying about
valuable ornaments being broken, or mucky hand prints on your brand new sofa.
So tidy away all breakables and if you can’t move it, cover it!

Invite the
parents

You have enough
on your plate organising the party, without finding yourself the sole adult in
charge of more than a dozen unruly children. Make it clear that the child’s
parent or parents are welcome, and have suitable refreshments on hand for them
too.

Old fashioned fun

Don’t be afraid
to indulge in the games you remember from your own childhood. You probably have
fond memories of playing pass-the-parcel, musical statues and so on, and that
is because they are great, timeless games that kids of every generation will
enjoy.

Leave the sweets
for the party bags

No kids’ party is
complete without the obligatory party bag, and that is the best place to keep
the sugary sweets. Try to keep to healthy food and drink during the party
itself – they will be excited enough, so if they are going to be on a sugar
high too, that can wait till they get home!

Enjoy yourself

Finally, and most
importantly, remember the golden rule – it’s a party, so enjoy yourself! These
are the events from which lasting memories are made, and when the kids see the
adults getting stuck in to the fun, then any shyness or reserve will soon
evaporate, and the time will fly by.

Best Android Buys for 2017

Choosing your next smartphone powered
by Google’s popular platform

While Apple’s iPhone is a hugely
popular smartphone with over 800 million users worldwide, devices using the
Android operating platform currently account for over 80% of worldwide
smartphone sales. Major manufacturers using Android include Samsung, LG and
Sony giving users a wide choice of phone.

The main Android advantage

Android is Google’s platform developed
for smartphones and tablets and, like Windows compared to Apple’s computer
operating system, offers an alternative to the iOS platform as used on iPhones.
A key advantage of Android is that of choice; with Apple you can only choose
from the current and immediate predecessors of one smartphone, the iPhone.

With Android, you have a welter of
phones to choose from by various manufacturers often at differing price points.
Also, certain manufacturers offer variations of the Android platform so it’s
easier for you to find something ‘hand in glove’ suitable for your main
requirements.

So what phones to consider? Here are
some suggestions.

1. Samsung Galaxy S7

A hugely popular smartphone, the S7
improves considerably on its predecessor, the S6.

With a stylish design, quality feel
and its own ‘take’ on the Android platform with its Touch Wiz software, the S7
is also a rugged phone that can even survive being immersed in water up to a
depth of five metres. A used Galaxy S7 is an option worth considering to make savings on the
price of a new one if buying outright as opposed to on a contract.

A variation on the S7 is the S7 Edge
which is basically the same phone but with a slightly larger screen. On average
this would cost nearly £100 more than a standard new S7, so quite a price hike
for increased screen real estate.

2. HTC 10

Maybe not as strong in certain areas
as phones like the Samsung, the HTC is nevertheless a stylish and solid
all-rounder.

It also represents a good value used
option if you don’t need the latest model; the M8 and M9 are currently
available at attractive prices.

3. Sony Xperia

The Z series was superseded last year
by the XZ range with a 5.2 inch display and HD screen (although not as higher
resolution as the Samsung S7 or LG G5). 

Not everyone needs or wants a larger
screen, so the older Z5 Compact offers a 4.6 inch screen making it more easily
pocketable than larger smartphones from other manufacturers. The Xperia range’s
camera quality is particularly good – not surprising perhaps in view of who
makes it – and they’re waterproof, rugged phones able to take a few knocks to
their well made cases.

Buying used can save money, and the
latest XZ isn’t considered to offer huge advantages over the Z5 it
supersedes
, so
buying a used one offers significant savings over the current model and is
still an advanced phone.

4. Huawei P9

Chinese manufacturer Huawei makes the
highly thought of Nexus 6P, and its own-brand phones represent very good value
for money with a simply styled, attractive smartphone option.

The P9 is considered only a fraction
behind the more expensive Samsung S7, and if you value good camera quality
highly then the P9 is definitely one to consider. Its dual lens system has been
developed with world renowned prestigious camera maker Leica.

Used examples of the Nexus 6P and
older models such as the Ascend G620s make owning a Huawei an even more
attractive option from a value for money viewpoint.

5. LG G5

While most manufacturers usually
increase screen size with each successive phone release, LG has actually
reduced the screen to 5.3 inches on the G5 from the 5.5 inches of its
predecessor, the G4.

Noteworthy for the quality of its
display, overall performance in day to day operation and decent quality wide
angle camera, the G5 has an easily removable battery. This is a definite plus
when a second, fully charged battery could help at times of restricted access
to a power point.

The G4 is worth considering if you don’t
need the G5’s extra features or new, metal case compared to the G4’s plastic
variety. Used examples are available and attractively priced.

Options from Android

The Android platform certainly offers
you plenty of options in terms of phones from different manufacturers. Whether
you’re already on Android and thinking of a change or considering moving from
Apple’s iOS, the above should give food for thought.

Also,
buying used can help your budget further if you’re buying your next smartphone
outright.

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