Posts by this author:

Holiday Trends for 2019

Holiday Trends for 2019

Three exciting alternatives to your typical resort holiday

Backpacking Sabbatical

What’s furthest away from your typical resort holiday? How about trekking across multiple countries with nothing but a backpack to immerse yourself in new cultures and live like the locals?

More and more, travellers are forgoing the usual summer holiday in favour of year-long (or longer) sabbaticals to explore the world. If this doesn’t immediately light a fire of wanderlust in your belly, consider this: a year-long trip gives you the chance to fully experience other cultures and take in the world at your own pace. Imagine letting go of your everyday stresses and responsibilities, taking time out from the rat race to discover more about yourself and the world around you. Almost any backpacker’s blog will tell you that it’s the best thing they ever did and, in many cases, they found a way to make their time off help (not hinder) their career progress.

So where should you go? The options are endless; ever-popular destinations include Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, where there are plenty of communities virtually untouched by the Western world. Some decide to take on the whole of Europe, learning to cook in France, running with bulls in Spain or exploring Amsterdam’s rich history.

Mini City Breaks

City breaks continue to be a trending travel option over all-inclusive resorts for a number of reasons. There’s certainly something to be said for spending a week (or even just a long weekend) in a bustling new city, taking in the sights. Yes, it may be a little more hectic than a seaside resort, but for avid historians, art buffs and foodies, a city break often holds more excitement.

Europe is a popular choice for city breaks in 2019, with plenty of exciting cities to choose from. Let your curiosity lead you to Athens, where the ruins of Acropolis tell tales of Ancient Greece. Stroll through the streets of Copenhagen for Michelin star dining, quirky cafes and world-class shopping experiences along Strøget. Or take a trip down to Madrid, where the days are as vibrant as the nights, bursting with art, music, food and shopping that’s full of Spanish spirit.

Luxury Expedition Cruises

If you still long for the luxury of all-inclusive, but you’re bored of the resort scene, why not set off on one of Scenic Eclipse’s expedition ocean cruises? Anything but ordinary, Scenic Eclipse takes you to places the ordinary traveller can only dream of. On board the ‘World’s First Discovery Yachts’, you’ll have all-inclusive access to exclusive excursions on-shore, as well as on board the ships’ helicopters and 6-seater submarines.

You can choose from the Arctic to Antarctica and everywhere in between, including the lesser explored polar regions in the White Sea, to the Fjords of Norway, the Svalbard archipelago and the mythical Northwest Passage. Plus, for their 2019/2020 season, explore charming coastal cities across the Mediterranean, Western Europe, North America and South America.

If the destinations alone aren’t enough to thrill you, Scenic Eclipse’s expedition cruises boast world-class dining experiences from 10 on-board restaurants. Their 6-star luxury Verandah Suites are complete with elegant interiors, a personal butler service, king-size beds, a secluded private verandah and a separate lounge area to relax in; offering you absolute luxury and adventure in one unique package.


5 Ways To Generate A Travel Fund

5 Ways To Generate A Travel Fund

Most everyone would like to travel a little bit now and then. Often, however, the prospect of actually doing it is a little bit expensive. Whether it’s booking a hotel for the weekend at the nearest beach or jetting across the world to a bucket list destination, travel costs can easily add up, and it can be difficult to justify making it happen. If traveling is a priority, however, you can do away with some of these concerns by maintaining a travel fund over time. By keeping a little bit of money separate, and either adding to the pot or helping it grow, you can occasionally dip into it for the sole purpose of making a trip happen. It makes the whole thing more doable and less stressful, and it’s easier to do than you might imagine! Here are five tips for getting started and maintaining a travel fund.

1.) Maintain A General Budget

Keeping a budget is the best way to have extra funds, period. This might not be the most specific of tips, but it’s important to remember not to start engineering your finances in only one way. If you’re hoping to generate a travel fund, you’ll need to get your overall financial outlook in order first. Once you set up a more general budget, you can begin to work a travel fund into it, not as an independent concern but as part of your greater strategy.

2.) Pocket Your Perk Money

“Perk money” is the phrase I’m using to refer to the little indulgences that we allow ourselves on a daily basis, and which add up over time. Think about how much takeout Chipotle you might buy, or how much you spend on Starbucks, and do a little bit of simple math to see how much it might add up in a month. Then, don’t just stop the activity – cut back on it and pocket the perk money. We read a lot about how much we could save by dropping the morning latte, but if you instead funnel that money into a specific fund, you can specifically direct your perk money toward future vacations.

3.) Do Surveys Online

Surveys online are a little bit overrated, in that some people mistake them as a means of side income. The truth is they’re typically somewhat time-consuming and most of them dish out only small financial rewards. However, if you find a few sites or apps that work for you and keep them in mind for idle time, you can at least start to stack up some spare change over time. As with perk money, if you put these earnings directly into a fund for travel, they’ll be more meaningful than if you simply lump them in with your general income. That is to say, $5 from a half-hour survey may not mean much in your bank account – but in a piggy bank for a trip fund, it might be that first percent of a plane ticket!

4.) Open An Investment Portfolio

If you’re not already investing, you can start with specific intent to generate a travel fund. Investing can seem a little bit daunting or even entirely unpredictable when you’re just getting started. But done strategically and conservatively, it can start to make you some extra money over time. Investing is not the same as gambling, in that it implies you have an actual projection of a positive outcome. It’s up to you to find such a projection, either through your own research or a trusted fund you can buy into, but the idea is that you can grow your income and put some of the extra toward your travel budget.

5.) Try Acorns

If investing is too complex or too daunting, you can try Acorns, which is a mobile app that essentially puts your spare change into a strategic portfolio. It’s not meant to have the same returns as an ordinary investment project, but it can net you a few hundred dollars over the course of a year, if not more, and that can be enough to make a major contribution to your travel plans.


5 Tips on Funding Your Home-Grown Business during a Crisis

5 Tips on Funding Your Home-Grown Business during a Crisis

Did you sit with your banker of late? You may need to trust your banker while trudging through economic hardships. For instance, it’s often beneficial for a home-based businessman to sit with his banker regardless of whether his business thrives on borrowed money or not. Trust and credibility are often the key determinants of a successful relationship. In order to stay in touch, you’ll need to remain honest and respectful towards each other.

Get in touch with your banker more frequently and keep his organization informed about what’s taking place in your business even when you don’t need money. Invite them to your premises more frequently and show them through your operational activities for about once each year. Developing a good standing with your bank often helps develop a strong bonding for tough times. Bankers are more likely to approve loan requests from businesses or individuals with whom they have a good standing for long. But when the economy is trudging through a downturn, even the issuers of quick cash loans are likely to ask more questions and incorporate stringent compliance norms.

To-do-list for achieving funds under a financial crisis

If you can manage your business activities and future plans more effectively, borrowing money often helps in establishing a great business sense.

Points to consider before you reach out to your banker:

1. Determine the type of fund you require

Do you need funds for acquiring fixed assets in the long run? Are you looking forward to extending your working capital? Do you wish to contribute more towards equity? Determining your choice of financers gets easier when you’re aware of the type of fund you need. It will help you decide on whether you should approach an equity investor, credit union, or a banking concern.

2. Opt for more than one lenders

Establishing a few extra credit sources and shopping in your neighborhood are supposed to be included in your risk aversion policy. If you’re well-equipped, your finances ought to be segregated between multiple organizations. Also, consider distinguishing between your long-term and short-term needs.

3. Get in touch with your banker

There’s no point in being a stranger; you must be open to all forms of communication. You must meet and exceed the reporting needs of your business on time. You may end up leaving a bad impression on your banker if you furnish financial reports and statements later than his expectations. You mustn’t exceed the spending limit set on your credit card. Contact your banker if you need more funds for your business and seek an extension temporarily. Check out the projections of your cash-flow for the long-term as well as short-term and convey it to your banker. You may consider it as the basis of your credit requirement.

4. Do a detailed research

Avoid creating a fuss when extra paperwork and data are demanded by a banker. Banks are eager to lend money to their customers, but the applicants often need to undergo stringent screening under a financial crisis. It helps in proving that the funds that they applied for are actually going to be used for safe business ventures.

Prior to lending money, banks tend to improve the plans and procedures of their client businesses. Furnishing a sound business plan often makes it easier for an entrepreneur to achieve extra funds.

5. Stick to the basics

This is more about sailing your ship more tightly like stock-taking, meeting bills, and collecting dues more swiftly. You must reassure your banker about protecting your business fundamentals. For this, you’ll need to prepare yourself for offsetting risks, diversify them as and when you meet them and ensure you’re aware of the assessment factors. You must also prove how you’re planning to cope with conditions that affect these risk factors. Be proactive in answering the questions asked by your banker and share your views concerning all problems in advance.

Master the art of planning and executing the strategies more accurately just to gain full control over your financial situation.


Ways to Save Money on Clothing and Accessories

Ways to Save Money on Clothing and Accessories

There are many places in our lives where we spend money but perhaps wish we could spend a bit less. Spending less can mean that we have more money available to save for the future, pay towards our retirement or repay our debts. As many of us spend a lot of clothing and accessories, finding ways to spend less on these can be a good place to start.

Set a Budget

It is wise to think about how much you can afford to spend before you start shopping. If you go to the mall with a credit card in your purse then you are likely to buy anything that you want. However, if you have already calculated how much you can afford to spend, then you will have to stick to that and nothing more. This should help you to make sure that you do not get a nasty shock when you return and realise that you have spent far more than you can actually afford to.

Limit how often you go shopping

It can help you to reduce how much you buy, if you do not go shopping that often. By restricting the amount of times that you visit the mall, you will restrict how much you can spend on clothing and accessories. If you know that you are on a budget it can still be really difficult to resist spending money on things when you know that you easily can do so. Seeing them can just tempt you and it is really not fair to expect you to ignore them and not buy them. Even when you do go shopping avoid going into shops that you know are outside of your budget. This will again tempt you to buy things that you cannot afford. You will feel deprived if you look at lovely things and even try them on and then remember that you cannot buy them.

Swap Items

Rather than always buying new items, consider whether you could swap some. If you have outfits that no longer fit you or you just do not like any more, then you could swap them with your friends and family for different ones. Obviously you will need to be around the same size, but you could have a swapping party with a big group so there is a good chance that there will be people of similar sizes or you can pick friends and family that are your size to ask about it. You may find that you when you ask people they think it is a great idea as they are already sick of clothing they have too and would like a change but cannot afford to buy more either.

Rent an outfit

If you have an occasion to go to and need an outfit that no one has seen before, then borrowing an outfit from someone could work really well. However, if you do not know anyone of the same size as you or you do not know anyone who has something that would work, you can hire something. There are stores which hire out all sorts of outfits these days and it can be a lot cheaper than buying something new particularly if you want something high end and you are unlikely to wear it again. You may be tempted to buy something and then sell it afterwards, but this is a gamble as you may not be able to get much of your money back, especially after you have paid to have it dry cleaned first. When renting something try to get something to match up with shoes and accessories that you already have and that will save you spending extra money on your outfit.

Second Hand Shops

If you want cheaper clothing then second hand shops may have some at a good price. Avoid vintage shops as they charge a premium for old fashioned clothes and are likely to have designer labels and things like that which are dearer. Second hand shops do take time as you have to sort through everything to see if there is anything in your size or in the style you want and they may not have sorted them already. Also you cannot browse online first and their stock will change a lot, so you never predict what they might have. However, it can be a fun shopping experience.

Sell old clothing

If you have old clothing that is still in a reasonable condition but you no longer like or it does not fit you, then selling it can be a great way to raise money so that you can buy new clothes to replace them. You can sell in all sorts of places, in social media groups, online auctions, classifieds or even have a garage sale. There are lots of options for you. Once you have sold the clothes, then you will be able to add up the money that you have made and see what other clothing you can afford with the money. You will be unlikely to be able to buy as many items as you sold, but if you go to a second hand shop you may be able to afford more.

Repurpose clothes

If you are bored of clothes, then you may be able to make them into a different clothing item. There are lots of online hacks where you can see how to make t-shirts into bags or things like that. You can also stitch accessories onto clothes, dye clothing or even cut it up to make it smaller. If clothing is too big, then you may be able to sew it smaller or pin it somehow or if it is too small you may be able to add fabric into it to make it fit you better.

Mix and Match new outfits

Another way to get around the problem of being bored with your clothing is to mix and match new outfits. Take items that you have not paired together before and try them together. You could come up with a lot of new outfits that you have not worn before and this could uplift your wardrobe without you having to put in much effort at all.


What is the Right Age to Apply for a Loan?

Although legally you will not be allowed a loan until you are over the age of eighteen years, there are no other legal restrictions as to when you can borrow money. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to borrowing money at different stages of your life. If you can delay your borrowing, then it might be wise to do so in some cases or do it as soon as possible in other, depending on your age and your life situation.

Age is not really relevant here when it comes to people looking to apply for a loan, but more the stage of life that you are at, which can tend to follow a general pattern with regards to age, but not everyone fits the mould. Therefore it is better to look at the important factors to consider at different stages of your life.

Salary/job security – if you are taking on a loan, particularly a substantial one, then you need to be confident that you will be able to repay it. You will need to not only be paid enough to cover the cost of those repayments but you will need to be confident that you will have this income available to you for the duration of the loan. As we get older and more experienced, we will often have a higher salary and so be able to take on higher value debt. We may also find that our job gets more secure as we become more knowledgeable and therefore more valuable to the company that we work for.

Marriage/partner – When we meet someone and settle down together it means that we then have two incomes. This means that we are far more able to afford loans. Therefore it could be a good time to take them out and pay for things that we need such as a home, furniture and cars. It is best to try to repay the loans as soon as possible, particularly if they have high interest as this will make them a lot cheaper.

Children – once we have children things start getting expensive. It may be that only one parent is working, one is working full-time and the other part-time or both are working part-time. This will put pressure on the finances as the income is going to go down. Even if both parents continue to work there will be the expense of child care on top of the costs of a child. Preparing for a new baby can be quite expensive but children tend to get more expensive as they get older and eat more, grow and need more clothing and want more things to entertain them. So if you have children it is worth calculating really carefully whether it is the right time for a loan and assume that your expenses will go up.

Savings – it is easy to think that having savings is a good indicator that we are ready to take on a loan. We have some money to fall back on and therefore will be able to manage those repayments. While this is perfectly true, it is far wiser to spend those savings on the item that you are getting the loan to pay for, if you can afford it. This will save a lot of money. This is because the loan costs money and you will be saving all of this money by not getting one. You will be losing out on any interest that you were getting on the savings but this will normally be a lot lower than what you would pay out for a loan. You can compare the interest rates to get a quick idea, although loans will tend to have additional costs as well as the interest rate. So put aside each month the amount that you would pay on loan repayments and you will soon have enough money accumulated to take out a loan. Obviously, if you are buying a house you will need a loan as saving up that much would take a very long time but for smaller loans, this idea can work very well.

Caring for parents/relatives – as our parents get older it may fall on us to care for them or for other people who cannot manage on their own. This can mean that we have to give up work or that we do not have time to do extra work such as overtime and therefore it could possibly cause a reduction in income. If someone is being paid to care for them, it may be that you will need to pay them if your parent or relative does not have the money to. It is hard to think of older relatives needing to be cared for, but these days it is really important to factor in that expense.

Retiring – once we retire then we usually see a reduction in our income. Even if we have paid into a pension scheme we usually have a smaller income. This means that we need to be very careful about what we are spending and therefore taking out a loan, where will need to make repayments, may not be a good idea. You may also find that that lenders will be reluctant to allow a retired person to have a loan because they will be concerned that they will have enough income to pay it.


So as you can see choosing when to take out a loan is not easy. There are things at many life stages which could mean that the time is not right. You will also need to think about the future and whether you will be able to afford the loan repayments for the necessary amount of time. Although we should not be scared of debt and it can be very useful for us, it is something that we do need to consider very carefully. It is wise to spend time calculating whether your current financial situation will be able to cope and thinking about how well it will cope in the future as well and this should help you to be able to make the right decision for you.