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New Money Smart figures show that holidays account for $77 in the average Australian household’s weekly budget, adding up to a total of $4,004 a year. Prices for flights, car hire and accommodation peak in December and January, making the annual summer holiday and expensive exercise for families.

Here are some simple tips to save money on your summer holiday by using the sharing economy.

  • Save $455 on car hire by borrowing a car through peer-to-peer car sharing service Car Next Door. A 7-day, 300km round trip in a small car with reduced insurance excess at peak time would cost around $750 in a traditional hire car. The same trip in a local car from Car Next Door would cost just $295.
  • If you’re planning a motoring holiday, save on campervan hire with peer-to-peer service Camplify. Hiring a campervan that sleeps four people costs $260 a night from Jucy rentals, and around $90 a night through Camplify – a saving of $1,190 on a 7-day trip.
  • Accommodation is one of the biggest costs of any holiday. A hotel room by the beach in December could cost around $2,335 for 7 nights. Book a spare room in someone’s home from around $935 for 7 nights with Airbnb and save $1,400.
  • If your furry friend can’t come along on your holiday, you’ll need to find someone to look after them. A cattery or kennel at peak time can cost up to $350 a week. With MadPaws you can find a pet sitter near you to visit your pet each day from around $140 a week. You’ll save $210 and your four-legged friend gets to stay in the comfort and familiarity of their own home.
  • No trip to the beach is complete without a day in the surf. Hiring a board from a surf rental company costs between $40-60 a day, or just $25 a day through peer-to-peer equipment rental platform, Quipmo – that’s a saving of $35.
  • Save money and boot space by hiring baby gear from other parents through Kindershare. Hiring a portacot and pram from a traditional baby gear rental company would cost $80-100 a week. You’ll save around $60 a week using Kindershare.
  • While you’re away rent out your unused driveway or parking spot to someone who needs it – and make around $250 a month withParkhound.
  • Download the free GetReminded app to remind you when you need to update your passport, book all or parts of your holiday as well as reminders about travel insurance, holiday pet care and more.

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Many first-time home-buyers express an interest in buying modular (or prefabricated) homes. These are not a new concept in the construction industry. But, modern house plans have only recently gained popularity. Technological advancements are a major influence. But the main reason for the rise in interest is due to a few factors. Modern consumers are generally more aware of how their actions impact the environment. So, they want to make a difference by going green. They do so, by adopting more energy-efficient practices.

Further, more architects turn to modular construction when designing modern house plans. Sustainable practices include:

  • Reducing material waste and pollution generated by transport
  • Energy-efficient building materials
  • Solar panel systems
  • Creating modern homes that reduce one’s footprint

Read on to discover the hottest trends in the evolving world of contemporary homes.

Expand Your Living Space with a Modular Extension

Modular extensions aka ‘pods’ are a great solution for expanding a home. You may need a garden shed, art studio, DIY workshop or teenage retreat. These help homeowners to increase living space without making structural changes. Built off-site in climate-controlled factory environments, mean these are fast to install. Some only take a few days before they are ready to go.

Include Space-Savvy Solutions

But before you consider extending your home, you should know how to make the most of your existing space. Keeping the space neat and free of clutter is one modern house design trend that will never go away. Consider using a combination of practical storage for decluttering purposes.

Hiding gear from sight also makes rooms look bigger. To save on space, consider built-in shelves and closets. This way, you will take care of your clutter without disrupting the freedom of movement in your home.

Finally, keep spaces refined and polished by camouflaging appliances and homewares. For example, pick a refrigerator colour that matches your kitchen counters and cupboards. Or, use a retractable chopping board built into the counter.

Let the Light In

To enhance the cleanliness and air in a space, bring as much daylight in as possible. Instead of using window treatments that obstruct the view and the sun, leave windows bare. adorned with only some sheer curtains that allow for the light to sneak through. If your space doesn’t get sunlight during the day, get some with overhead ambient LED lighting. Go for a colour that’s as close to natural as possible.

Create an Earthy Atmosphere with a Palette of Neutral Tones

Create a home that feels honest, true and connected. Introduce nature, by using natural and earthy tones in your interior. The colours lack, brown, grey and beige create a balanced look with a homely feel. Neutral tones are also popular because they make spaces appear larger.

Let Rooms Flow into Each Other

There’s no rule that says each room has only one purpose. Try to see potential in all the separate rooms in your home. For instance, a kitchen can also contain a dining area. Remove the need to build a separate dining room. And a home office can double as an entertainment area. Fuse one off a living room. Dual-purpose increase available space and offering convenience.

Look Up to Mid-Century Modern Style

Modern mid-century architecture is gaining popularity. Design is minimalist and marked by clean lines, flat or gabled roofs. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the space with light. This style is popular when it comes to modern house plan interiors.

For example, consider bringing in accents in retro colours. Think avocado, mustard, and baby pink. Also, use colours on vibrant tiles as a statement in the bathroom. An intricate contemporary pendant will grab attention in the dining room. These tasteful pops of colour can give sleek modern houses personality.

Elements such as peg legs or hardware can add a mid-century modern vibe to your interior. Instead of going for mass-produced (or throwaway) furniture, consider hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind pieces. These give the interior a unique character. Reclaimed wood, bamboo, and eco-smart furniture are great for adding texture. and warmth to a modern interior.

Say Hello to Terrazzo

For all the reasons above Terrazzo is popular. Wall coverings and floors, especially in bathrooms and kitchens are on trend. Terrazzo is a composite material. It’s made up of small pieces of marble, granite, glass, quartz or other material. Then it’s mixed with a polymeric or cementitious binder, or both. It’s great for wet and high-humidity areas as the material is resistant to water damage.

Make a Statement with Large Scale Art

New home designs in 2020 include large scale art covering a statement wall. Or in other words, wall murals, decals, tapestry or large paintings are popular. This works well in interiors with a neutral colour palette and a minimalist design. This big picture art brings a bold but tasteful touch to the space. Make sure that the theme and colours of the art complement the existing style of the space.  

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As the year comes to a close many of us are dreaming of a holiday in 2020. And it’s hard to juggle budgets and find holiday money with the expense of Christmas looming.
However, there’s good news from Agoda.com to make it easier for you to plan and budget for your holiday.
Because Agoda.com is the first online digital travel booking platform to enable Australians to book and pay for their holiday accommodation via interest-free instalments, and can still access to Agoda’s lowest price deals .You can now choose to pay for your travel accommodation with Afterpay on Agoda.com, paying in four interest-free payments for any of Agoda’s “Book Now, Pay Now” accommodation options.
And there are loads of accommodation options to choose from with Agoda offering over 2.5 million properties globally. There’s accommodation to suit all budgets and travel occasions. You can opt for luxury, mid-range or budget-friendly hotels. Or select apartments, villas or unique properties from Agoda Homes that offer additional facilities such as kitchens, which can be helpful in watching your budget whilst you are on holiday.
How Afterpay works on Agoda.com

  • The Afterpay payment option is applicable on Book Now, Pay Now accommodation
  • At checkout, select Afterpay as your payment method
  • Pay over four fortnightly payments, interest-free
  • The payment option is applicable to hotel room charges only (excluding local taxes, service fees, and additional charges)

Go to www.agoda.com/afterpay for more information.

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As part of my quarterly money cleanse, I’m taking a look at the best mobile phone plans on the market today. My tradie hubby is a massive phone person. He’s always wheeling-and-dealing with suppliers and customers. As a writer I’m desk-bound most days. When I’m not, I’m checking email messages and notifications on my phone. So, hubby needs some good SMS and calls juice, while I’m big on getting the most data I can while at home and out-and-about.
In saying this, getting a plan that does both is of course, the best result. But, looking for the right plan can be a minefield. I’ve put this easy-to-digest A-Z guide together to help you make the right decisions.
Hit the ground running with slashing expenses this quarter.

What to consider when choosing a mobile phone plan

What to look for in a mobile phone plan and what decisions you will need to make first:


  • Ease-of-use when managing your account
  • Customer service
  • Support from the phone supplier via contact pages, phone or live chat services



  • What’s it like in your area for your provider.
  • Can you check it on a map?


  • Length and cost monthly fees and total spend. Is there a cost for cancellation and payouts?
  • Is it best to not have a contract? Find no-lock-in contract plans to achieve flexibility and freedom.


  • Costs including charge per second and block of time
  • Inclusions: Items that aren’t included such as overseas calls and 1300 numbers.
  • Are FREE calls available on the same network, free social network options.
  • Are calls cheaper at a certain time of day.
  • Are calls charged per second or per block


  • Phone call connection fees (term: flag falls)


  • How much data you are using now and what you need (Check out this mobile data calculator to determine your monthly usage)
  • Budget versus freedom (unlimited data)
  • Is unlimited data necessary?
  • Can you easily monitor your data usage


  • Pre-pay or pay after the fact (via billing)
  • Terms: Fixed-term (12-24 months) or go month-to-month
  • What is the cheapest way to pay (e.g credit card or other)


  • Bring your own phone along
  • Pay for a phone with a plan
  • Can you switch between plans without incurring fees?
  • Are you just looking for a data only plan for tablets and iPads etc ?

Check out the most competitive mobile plans we found from amaysim here.


  • If you need more than one phone for business purposes
  • Is the phone locked to the network an
  • Is there a cost for unlocking a phone.
  • What does the warranty cover and how long will it last.
  • How much you love technology and if you are likely to change phones over a contract period



  • People on your network you call often
  • Is it cheaper if you are all on the same network


  • Do you call often from home through wireless
  • What is your schedule at and away from home
  • Where are you using your phone the most


  • Monthly call limits andincluded value and what happens when you go over your data?
  • Is the plan enough for how you intend to use it?


  • Phone usage including SMS, calls, email, social, photos, videos, games and travel (as above).
  • How much are voice calls, SMS and data usage when overseas.

I hope you find your perfect money-saving phone plan.
Nice work if you slashed some expenses here today. Stay tuned for more of my money-saving goodness.

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I’m a clean freak and admit I do come from a family of clean freaks. I’m also a chronic hayfever sufferer. I’m the person walking around with a hand over my nose, telling people not to shake carpets or unsettle any dust. Until recently, I didn’t know how dirty the air was. Read on to discover what’s hiding in the air you breathe, ailments that come from dirty air and the fix. This is my ultimate guide on what air purifiers, humidifiers and dehumidifiers can do for you. You’ll also get your laundry done faster, which is a big bonus.

Keeping it clean

As a mum, I’m obsessed with getting the kitchen to sparkle. Vacuuming up pesky kid crumbs and organising sock drawers are also jobs I’m obsessed with. I’m also a hayfever sufferer. Yes, one of these ‘poor souls.’

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), almost one in five Australians (more than 4.6 million people) had allergic rhinitis in 2017-18, with the ACT having the highest rate (29 per cent). News.com.au

Every year, when spring hits after the long hard Melbourne winter, I’m excited. The next thing that happens is an itchy nose and a box of tissues. Most years, I go ‘head-to-head’ with this monster. I’ve tried so many different things over the years.
These include:

  • Nasal spray
  • Hayfever injection
  • Every pill on the market
  • Natural therapies
  • Drowning my eyes with water
  • Honey from local bees

While, I know the local pollen has much to do with this, I’ve never considered other factors ‘in the air.’ I’ve started reading about air purifiers for this coming spring season to see if they can help me.

Harmful effects of breathing dirty air

Here are the little known facts about how breathing dirty air can harm you:
General Air Pollution

  • Asthma attacks
  • Infections
  • Decreased airflow
  • Excess mucous
  • Lung cancer
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Heart attacks
  • Systemic inflammation
  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Headaches and anxiety
  • Reduced IQ
  • Behavioural problems
  • Link to dementia


  • Preterm birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Systemic inflammation
  • Link to autism

Source: HOW POLLUTION HARMS THE BODY: Moms Clean Airforce

Here’s what Air Purifiers remove

  • Large particles
  • Harmful gases such as TVOC, smoke and odours
  • Ultrafine particles (e.g. 0.003um) that include allergens, dust and dust mites

Systems like the Philips Air Purifiers are effective. This is because their systems deal with all three of the issues above. The multi-layer filtration system deals with the large particles. Active carbon filters remove any harmful gases and odours. They also include a HEPA filter, which removes allergens and dust particles.

TVOC is a grouping of a wide range of organic chemical compounds to simplify reporting when these are present in ambient air or emissions. Many substances, such as natural gas, could be classified as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).Mar 22, 2019 Total Volatile Organic Compounds | National Pollutant Inventory

How to clean the dirty air you didn’t know you were breathing

I’m working with Philips to bring you this ultimate guide on the latest technology available:

Vitashield Technology does this:

  • Trap indoor contaminants without generating ozone
  • Trap secondary pollutants in the process
  • Remove pollen, dust, dust mites, pet dander and mold spores

Extra-Sensitive Allergen modes do this:

  • Allergen mode monitors air quality and boosts airflow
  • Bacteria and virus mode
  • General mode

AeraSense Technology does this:

  • Get instant info on your air quality at a glance
  • Allergen index and colour ring will show even slight changes in air quality and in real-time
  • You will know you are breathing the cleanest air

NanoCloud Technology (99% less bacteria) – Humidifiers

  • Hygenic evaporation to assist with dry skin, itchy eyes, dry throat and coughing
  • Spreads 99% less bacteria and no scale dust
  • Reduce water droplets carrying bacteria through the air
  • Avoid wet spots and white mineral dust
  • Monitors and maintains humidity
  • Distributes are in rooms up to 25m2
  • Natural evaporation to add water molecules to room air
  • Adjust humidity levels to 40%, 50% or 60%
  • Automatic shut-off and real-time digital display
  • Two fan speeds and humidification rates for different sized rooms E.g. Medium room 220ml/hr for up to 25m2

Dehumidifiers & Purifiers

  • Purify air while removing excess moisture
  • Remove dampness and prevent mold growing
  • Protect furniture from damage
  • Help laundry dry faster
  • Control mold, mildew, pollutants and allergens
  • Effective year-round in damp environments
  • Purify air at the same time during dehumidification
  • Adjust levels to get the best air quality

Air Humidifiers

  • Manage indoor humidity levels
  • Reduce mold, mildew, bacteria and dust mites
  • Remove up to 23L of water per day
  • Reduce damage on furniture and homewares
  • Breathe healthier air
  • Dry laundry modes to increase clothes drying speeds
  • Continuous dry mode will run non-stop and alert you when the water tank needs refilling
  • Air purifier only mode combines moisture control with air purification
  • Purifier only mode will clean air even when the air is dry
  • Filter ultra-fine particles (0.02microns)
  • Remove 99.9% of airborn allergens
  • Deliver clean air at 270m3/hr

Extra features that might be important to you:

  • Adjustable settings control the mode, fan speed, timer and child lock.
  • Automatic alerts tell you when it’s time to empty the tank or change the filter.
  • The air dehumidifier has wheels, allowing easy movement throughout the home.

Prices for dehumidifiers range from between $450 – $900 depending on the system you are after. Read more at the Philips website.

*Sponsored. Note: I would never write about a product I wouldn’t use myself. The Savings Room takes pride in only working with reputable brands. Only the most reputable and high-quality products and services feature in the Savings Room.

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If you are a mum who feels overwhelmed by your to-do list, this post is the best four minutes you’ll spend this year. This one’s a game-changer for Aussie mums. I’ve been waiting a long time for solutions like this to come to Australian shores, and I haven’t been this excited about saving time and money since I put Aussie dinners on autopilot.

Read on to discover why I love Amazon Australia’s Subscribe and Save concept. I’ll also show you how I plan to make the most of Amazon’s home delivery and how it can help you stop feeling so overwhelmed too. Also, enjoy a laugh at the end with some example cases I put together, and learn how Amazon’s program can stop the stress for you or your family.

For the moment, I’m bursting to get this message out, so here’s the summary.

The goodness Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program delivers:

  • Amazon Australia’s Subscribe and Save program launches in Australia this week
  • You can schedule repeat deliveries of essential everyday items
  • Subscribe to products you use most often for delivery anytime between one and six months
  • The system is flexible – customers can skip deliveries, change the delivery day or cancel from the ‘manage your subscriptions’ page
  • Get the products you need at time best suited to you
  • Customers receive a 10% discount from subscription products
  • Delivery is FREE! After the first initial order
  • There is no subscription fee
  • Add and remove any products from your list at any time
  • There are thousands of everyday items available
  • Brands (you already use) include Carman’s, Coke, Fairy, Heinz, Huggies, L’Oréal, Omo, Optimum Nutrition, T2 and Vegemite
  • Household items include paper towels, toilet rolls, laundry powder, shower gel, dishwasher tablets, nappies, infant wipes, snack foods, coffee, cold drinks, pet food, vitamins and many, many more.
  • The solution is a ‘set-and-forget’ for time-poor and cash-strapped mums, couples, families and consumers wishing to save
  • Categories include pantry, food and drink, vitamins, supplements, pet supplies and beauty.

Time, Money, Sanity and World Savings

As many of my readers know, I love any solution that creates big savings in time, money, sanity and the world. I’ve spent ten years dedicated to achieving these win-win goals, writing menu-planning systems. My books put 28 dinners in the freezer for the month so my readers and I can relax more. We love our carefree easy nights now. My time and money-saving goals are ‘holistic.’ I want to create a calm life filled with love. I want to live a happy lifestyle with my family and do it all while leaving the Earth better than I found it.

Losing the overwhelm

Lose the overwhelm and find happy

Mums are always on the run. We’re in cars doing school drop-offs and pickups. Working mums fight traffic to get to day jobs. Work-from-home mums like me wash dishes in their lunch break. We’re all sweeping, mopping, cleaning, putting laundry in and taking the laundry out. We’re running errands and fighting paper wars. Then we’re grocery shopping and dropping our kids all over town to hobbies and friends’ houses.

Reading the to-do list is long and exhausting for most of us, let alone executing it. I know the list for most mums is much longer than the one above.

For this reason, I’m always on the hunt for solutions that make life as easy as possible. No one likes a cranky mum (kids and dads alike) and I don’t like being one. Out of love, no mum likes to feel chaotic or cranky. So, feeling calm and losing that overwhelming stress in your life is high on our list of daily goals.

Here are just some of the things that get my mummy goat and how the Amazon program takes these problems away.

Use-Case Scenarios

Here are some scenarios that actually happen (not mentioning my house or anything hmm….). I don’t mind you having a giggle though. See how everyday problems are SOLVED with Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program.


I’m sure you can all relate to these:

Toilet Paper:

Don’t get caught in this situation
  • No-one tells mum they used up the last roll of toilet paper
  • Mum is busy and doesn’t notice
  • Mum runs up the road to get toilet paper while someone is waiting on the toilet
  • Mum rushes like a madwoman to get up to the shops and back
  • Mums spends extra money on the paper itself (milkbar), petrol and chips because she’s stressed
  • She delivers the loo paper
  • The kid on the loo is grateful but cranky

The FIX:

Schedule bulk toilet paper once-a-month and never run out again

Subscribe & Save


Milk Running Out:

There’s nothing worse than running out of milk for a coffee
  • Teenager drinks the last drop of milk late at night
  • Doesn’t tell his parents and they both wake up without coffee
  • Both parents start their day grumpy
  • Dad is late to work because he had to go up and get milk for grumpy mum
  • Dad is extra grumpy because he is late for work
  • Mum is happier but feels guilty grumpy Dad’s day is grumpier

The FIX:

Schedule long-life milk once-a-month, stash it in a secret cupboard. Rinse-and-repeat. Never go there again.

Laundry Loads:

Running out of laundry liquid is such a pain…
  • Mum and Dad are happy all th