Foreign Currencies As Investment Vehicles

In many people’s mind, investment vehicles comes in various forms, with the higher risk, higher returns vehicles being stocks, foreign exchange followed by mutual funds and ETFs, and finally the safest, low returns vehicles are treasuries, fixed deposits and bonds.

Is that really true? And is it a fair comparison for fixed deposits in today’s market? That is the question I’m going to answer in this article.

Fixed Deposits, or Certificates of Deposits as known in the United States, is a contract you have with a bank to lend it a fixed amount of money for a fixed period at a fixed interest rate, after which you would get your money plus the interest back into your account.

The interest rates given is usually dependent on the period you place the deposit for, the longer the higher interest. While practically guaranteed, the interest rates are usually pretty low when compared with the returns you can get using other vehicles, which is why it is considered a low risk, low return vehicle.

However, with today’s global market integration, it is no longer difficult to move money across countries. In fact, with a click of a button, you can transfer money from China to the United States, or from the United Kingdom to Singapore, using the bank’s exchange rates. With this, a whole new arena has been created for those who are looking for good yield and cashflow, all in the same vehicle.

Today, as EUR is still consolidating at 1.36, down from its last peak of 1.60, while the NZD is at 0.71, up from its last bottom of 0.5. Having bought the Kiwi at 0.51 fourteen months back, and earning 4.5% interest per annum, my holdings had increased 40%, while having an annual cashflow of 4.5%. I’m changing my money into the EUR to cash in on the profits while taking advantage of the current depressed price of the EUR, to get an interest rate of 1.25% per annum.

So can Fixed Deposits still be a safe and low return vehicle for investment? The answer is definitely yes. But at the same time, Fixed Deposits can also be used as a cash flow instrument or hedge in foreign currency bets. This kind of investment has been done by locals going to the   money   changers  and holding the paper currencies, but with the kind of global integration right now, you can make  money  with the paper currency you are currently holding.

So while the basic idea of a Fixed Deposit being a low risk and low return instrument, it can no longer be totally ignored as an alternative instrument for a higher risk, higher return global currency investment.



Apple Watch: A Game Changer or a Gimmick?

Apple has finally announced the new Apple Watch at the Apple Live Event back on September 9th this year and it’s due to be released in early 2015. There has been much speculation as to the design, functionality and even the name. It was previously referred to as the iWatch and even iOS Watch by some. This device is the company’s first developed technology that is fully wearable.

People today set many new trends when it comes to technology. The emergence of smartphones is also the product of continuing innovations throughout the years. Nowadays, all major smartphone manufacturers invest heavily into extensive research and development projects. The goal is to create the latest and greatest unique technologies. Apples latest attempt at this alongside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has taken the form of a wearable wristwatch.

The concept of a smart watch is nothing new. An early example of the smart watch was a product called the Pebble Watch which was released back in 2013. The Pebble Watch allowed users to receive notifications, view emails, check the weather and display a wide variety of custom information. Just like the Apple Watch, the Pebble Watch needed to be connected to your smartphone to benefit from most features. So now lets take a look at the Apple Watch in more detail and evaluate if it really will be a game changer or simply just another gimmick.

Features

The Apple watch at first glance looks much like your typical wristwatch but with many innovative features. It has two different sizes, for people with both small and larger wrists. There are different variations of the Apple watch. The first is made of stainless steel, the second from luxurious 18-carat gold and third is made of aluminum. The watch straps are to be available come in a number of colors and materials. The Apple Watch will also be interchangeable using magnetic technology.

It is important to note that the Apple watch is NOT a stand-alone device. It is connected via Bluetooth and Wi-fi to an iPhone running iOS. It will not work independently and like the Samsung Galaxy Gear, must be connected to an Apple device. If you are an android user then it’s probably not a good idea to by an Apple Watch as you will need to switch to the iOS platform in order for the watch to function.

The screen is made from sapphire crystal glass that has a strong resistance to scrapes and scratches. Let’s face it, there is not point having a $349 watch if it damages easily. It also has a very sensitive touchscreen that can sense the slightest touch or tap. It’s tap function will let you easily select an item on the screen and it also has “force touch” that is the equivalent to right clicking on a mouse for faster access.

The Apple watch features a “Digital Crown” which enables you to turn or twist the crown for zooming functions and it can also be pressed. This is something that Apple is very proud of as the digital crown is a unique and innovative advancement. The digital crown functions alongside the touchscreen and has a click wheel control. It enables you to zoom in and out and scroll up and down completely eliminating to need for pinch and zoom. The digital crown also acts as the home but and will return you to the app menu when pressed.

The Apple Watch also has a built-in taptic engine which vibrates on your wrist to alert you when you receive a notification such as an incoming messages or email. It’s also integrated through Siri, an intelligent personal assistant and serves as your navigator.

There are a range of apps designed for the Apple Watch. A mini notification system called “Glances” provides for instant notifications. Glances provided a user interface of all relevant notifications from apps such as maps, passbook, photos, messages, weather and mail. It also has the Friends app which gives you a convenient way to connect with your friends by tapping on your friend’s image to send a message or even make a phone call. You can even send a reply directly through the Apple Watch without having to interact with your iPhone. The Apple Watch comes with integrated audio capabilities including a fully operational speaker and microphone.

The Apple Watch functions as a monitoring device for your health and fitness activities. It holds a number of health and fitness apps that give you a tailored experience in providing health related information such as calorie burn performance. It also includes a workout app that will display your exercise stats and progress. The Apple Watch has a number of small sensors to perform functions like tracking your heart beat and the number of steps you take. The new Apple Pay has been integrated into the Apple Watch too. You will be able to directly pay for purchases by swiping the watch though Apply Pay, Apples new money payment system.

A Game Changer or a Gimmick?

It is far too early to give a definitive answer as to whether the Apple Watch will be a game changer and set the standard to become a must have gadget. It’s important to note that this is NOT the first smart watch to be developed but it does have a number of highly competitive features when compared to other smart watch models currently available on the market today. The simple fact it is an Apple product will also help Apple gain more attention than some of it’s lesser known rivals with fewer features. Another factor to consider that sets the Apple watch apart from the competition is the elegant and premium design that Apple has chosen to develop. The device may very well turn out to be just a gimmick but it certainly is a nice one. Other companies like Samsung who have created a smart watch before have so far failed to generate a successful impact on customers. Will Apple be different I wonder?

There does seem to be a fairly substantial amount of initial interest in the Apple Watch both in the media and online. So maybe this kind of wearable technology is what customers want since it’s an entirely new experience and very different from interacting via a smartphones or tablets. Will the Apple Watch complement the smartphone and also become a respectable product or will it lose interest and become irrelevant?

Game changer or a gimmick, the Apple Watch is still a great early breakthrough in the wearable technology industry. There will almost certainly be a number of future updates / improvements by Apple through the coming months to streamline and enrich this product based on feedback. The Apple Watch still has a great opportunity to set the standard for wearable devices. Even as a gimmick it showcases the best technology design and is an excellent idea in principle.

So will the Apple Watch succeed where others have failed and convince the consumer that this is a MUST HAVE product? Only time will tell.



Choosing Software to Change IP

These days, it is important for us personal computer users to use software to change IP for surfing anonymously on the internet. Hiding or changing our IP has become vital for our protection and privacy while we browse the Internet. Many businesses based on Internet and computer innovations are also stepping up in the production of software that hides or changes IP to offer to customers and buyers. These days, there are a lot of IP changers available online to choose from.

We should not just choose any software that we find online, of course. It’s just like how we choose any other software and program. We look at the reviews of those who already tried the product, read their comments, and analyze the ratings of the product with its competing products. Knowing which program is the most commonly used and well-liked by your peers in the online community may be what could save you from unwise software shopping.

In choosing an IP changer, let us first ask ourselves whether we want a free product or one that is on sale. Majority would prefer the free software. Financially speaking, free is always the better choice. But the software might prove to be ineffective, and may even cause some damage to your configurations. In this case, free is not always the best solution.

When thinking about acquiring free software, we have to think there will be disadvantages. Not everything is bad about a free IP changer. It will still serve its purpose in hiding or changing our IP. It is also easier to use if you are a beginner, and with an acceptable Internet connection speed. But we have to consider that despite these advantages, the tool may also have its downside. The main disadvantage of a free software is that you will rarely get support, and that most of these software only works with Internet Explorer. For those using Firefox or other browsers, you may have to do some configuration of your own.

If you’re thinking of purchasing an IP changer that is not free, make sure that it is worth your money. With paid software, there is usually the thought that the software is more advanced in performance, speed, etc. This is not always true, though, and this you have to look out for. Still, paid software does come with quality. You will have a fast Internet connection speed and the IPs provided for you are all clean and not blocked or banned. There might only be a limited number of them available for your usage though. There is also the fact that with paid software, you can get support and assistance from the providers if you need them.

With the many products being offered on the Internet, it is natural to feel confused about which one to purchase or download. We’ll just narrow your choices to those that are compatible with your computer, and which ones have the most needed features. It is also recommended to try on a trial version of the product. However you go about it, you should take careful steps in choosing an IP changer for your personal computer.



Game Changer DNA Review

People are finding out that getting good online marketing courses is not all that easy. There are absolutely thousands online and more being marketed every single day. It is recognized that: to be a success in a business online, you have to know the tricks that only courses like Game Changer DNA can give you.

But who is Dan Kennedy?

For those who don’t know him, Dan Kennedy is an expert internet marketer and one of the pioneers of business coaching. He is also known as “The Millionaire Maker”, and this not just a claim. Actually he has performed successful training to many entrepreneurs to help them make the first steps in the online world. And that’s not all; Dan came with very innovative marketing concepts, such as “Magnetic Marketing” and “Psychological Manipulation”.

The newest course by Dan Kennedy is Game Changer DNA. It’s actually a collection of the best conferences, e-courses, ebooks, and training videos that come from this marketing genius. To be honest, this course isn’t the accomplishment of Dan Kennedy alone. Also, Bill Glazer, which is one of Dan’s students, has contributed to it. He made the selection of these training materials and simplified them to the audience.

When it comes to choosing among online marketing courses, it’s important to find one that is easy to understand and that is suited to your style of business. Many courses are so complex that only an expert can understand them. So, if you have no experience at all, you won’t get anything. Well, this is not the case with Game Changer DNA package, as Bill Glazer has already made big part of the work. He explained it all and simplified the information, so you digest it easily.

If you are not interested in making the old usual business, then this e-course is made just for you. It teaches new aspects and concepts of the business, and this can take it to a higher new level. Dealing with customers the old way can still work today, but it won’t make you a big fortune. Dan Kennedy’s Game Changer DNA starts you off with the basics, and can walk you all the way through some of the more advanced concepts. And what’s more, it tackles to the psychological aspect of online marketing, which is very important.

One thing you must realize going in is that success comes from hard work and persistence. Expecting life altering results overnight is unrealistic and any course that make these claims are best given a wide breath.



How Futons Can Save You Money

Furnishing a home is never a cheap proposition, and everyone should always be on the lookout for ways to keep costs down. One way to do this is by choosing futons since they are cheaper and more versatile than other furniture. Offering both simplicity and great flexibility, they can bring savings other types of furniture simply cannot.

The cost advantages futons offer start with their origins in Japan. In a land were space is often at a premium and a chair may consist of a pillow on the floor, they are a logical choice for bedding. They simply are taken out at night and folded up to be stored away in a closet during the day.

Outside of Japan were the approach to furniture is different, futons are almost always set on frames. While this makes them more like the kind of furniture non-Japanese expect, they still have unique features and simplicity that make them a great, cost-effective choice.

Lower purchase price

The first thing anyone purchasing futons for the first time will notice is the lower costs. They are simply cheaper on average than regular sofas and beds. Since one futon can replace two pieces of furniture (a sofa and a bed), these cost savings are further amplified.

This flexibility in being able to change from a sofa to a bed in no time is especially slick for those who do not want to invest in an extra bed for occasional guests or for those who simply do not have room for extra furniture. They come in up to queen sizes and work just fine for daily use as a bed too.

Change styles with the seasons

With futons, a total change of style can come with a cheap futon cover. For a variety of reasons, people often find themselves in situations where the style they were perfect with before no longer works. With futon covers, the need to buy or reupholster furniture is replaced by a simple cover change that can be done in seconds. Just about every imaginable color and design is available for any change one desires.

Easy assembly and disassembly

Mattresses are not the only things that can quickly come off futons; their frames also can be broken down quickly. While this obviously comes in handy when moving a futon to another room, it is also nice when moving it longer distances. Moving regular furniture is very awkward and requires a lot of hands as well as shipping space. The ease in which futons can be broken down means they require a lot less shipping space and fewer hands to move them. This can save on both shipping expense and needless aggravation!

Cheap cleaning

From dirt falling into the cracks to stains, regular furniture can be tough to keep clean. With futons, everything can be removed quickly and easily. The futon cover can simply be thrown in the wash or replaced. In more serious situations, the mattress can also be replaced without major expense.

Easier repair and replacement

With more traditional furniture, the inner frame is covered and very difficult to access. The makes any type of home repairs extremely irritating at best. Futons are very open though and everything is easily accessible. Often, repairs to the frame can be made by novices and parts replaced at low cost.

Storage

While traditional furniture requires a lot of storage space, futon frames can be quickly disassembled and stored even in homes with very limited space. This can reduce the need to buy storage space or sell furniture that will need to be bought back again.

These are just some of the cost advantages futons offer. They certainly should be considered by anyone with limited funds or space. They are a great way to save money without sacrificing style while increasing convenience.Furnishing a home is never a cheap proposition, and everyone should always be on the lookout for ways to keep costs down. One way to do this is by choosing futons since they are cheaper and more versatile than other furniture. Offering both simplicity and great flexibility, they can bring savings other types of furniture simply cannot.

The cost advantages futons offer start with their origins in Japan. In a land were space is often at a premium and a chair may consist of a pillow on the floor, they are a logical choice for bedding. They simply are taken out at night and folded up to be stored away in a closet during the day.

Outside of Japan were the approach to furniture is different, futons are almost always set on frames. While this makes them more like the kind of furniture non-Japanese expect, they still have unique features and simplicity that make them a great, cost-effective choice.

Lower purchase price

The first thing anyone purchasing futons for the first time will notice is the lower costs. They are simply cheaper on average than regular sofas and beds. Since one futon can replace two pieces of furniture (a sofa and a bed), these cost savings are further amplified.

This flexibility in being able to change from a sofa to a bed in no time is especially slick for those who do not want to invest in an extra bed for occasional guests or for those who simply do not have room for extra furniture. They come in up to queen sizes and work just fine for daily use as a bed too.

Change styles with the seasons

With futons, a total change of style can come with a cheap futon cover. For a variety of reasons, people often find themselves in situations where the style they were perfect with before no longer works. With futon covers, the need to buy or reupholster furniture is replaced by a simple cover change that can be done in seconds. Just about every imaginable color and design is available for any change one desires.

Easy assembly and disassembly

Mattresses are not the only things that can quickly come off futons; their frames also can be broken down quickly. While this obviously comes in handy when moving a futon to another room, it is also nice when moving it longer distances. Moving regular furniture is very awkward and requires a lot of hands as well as shipping space. The ease in which futons can be broken down means they require a lot less shipping space and fewer hands to move them. This can save on both shipping expense and needless aggravation!

Cheap cleaning

From dirt falling into the cracks to stains, regular furniture can be tough to keep clean. With futons, everything can be removed quickly and easily. The futon cover can simply be thrown in the wash or replaced. In more serious situations, the mattress can also be replaced without major expense.

Easier repair and replacement

With more traditional furniture, the inner frame is covered and very difficult to access. The makes any type of home repairs extremely irritating at best. Futons are very open though and everything is easily accessible. Often, repairs to the frame can be made by novices and parts replaced at low cost.

Storage

While traditional furniture requires a lot of storage space, futon frames can be quickly disassembled and stored even in homes with very limited space. This can reduce the need to buy storage space or sell furniture that will need to be bought back again.

These are just some of the cost advantages futons offer. They certainly should be considered by anyone with limited funds or space. They are a great way to save money without sacrificing style while increasing convenience.



Self-Awareness: The Key to Positive Change

Just how much self-awareness do you actually have? Everyone these days has something that they want to change about themselves or in their life in general, but very few of these people stop to think about how changing these things will change them as a whole. Something’s may need to be changed if they have a negative impact on you, and the people around you, but just what do you actually know about yourself?

In this article we’re going to put forward ten questions that should help to improve your self-awareness, assuming you answer them honestly, and give you a greater insight into whether the thing you want to change about yourself are things you really do want to change about yourself.

1. What is it that I really want?

Have you actually taken the time to consider what it is you want to do with your life? So often we end up doing things that other people think we should be doing, or get stuck in a rut because we ‘fell into’ something and just can’t see ourselves doing anything else.

If you have the self-awareness to know what it is you really want to do, you’re on the path to achieving it. If you don’t have a path you just wander aimlessly.

2. Do I really need to change?

If you want a different outcome from what you’re doing now, then something has to change. This could be changing yourself to change your circumstances, or, changing your circumstances to change yourself.

If we don’t do something to at least keep up with the times then we get left behind. So the answer is ‘yes’, you probably will have to change to achieve the things you want to do.

3. Will there be a light at the end of the tunnel?

If you know what it is that you want to achieve you can make a plan. If you can make a plan then you can set a specific deadline to reach your goal, and if you have a reachable goal then you have something that you can focus on.

It’s only when you have something that you can truly focus on, and know that you can achieve, that you can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel. So yes, the will be a light at the end of the tunnel for you.

4. Am I going to be comfortable making these changes?

Not all changes are going to be changes that we’re comfortable with. Self-awareness helps you to discover what you’re comfortable with. If you’re about to do something that’s completely new then you’re probably going to feel a little uneasy about it, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the wrong thing to do.

Don’t do anything that’s going to make a change that you’re not comfortable with; but don’t not do it because the process makes you feel uncomfortable at the time.

5. Have I neglected myself?

A lot of people tend to forget about their selves while doing a lot for others, and while doing a lot for other people isn’t a bad thing, you still have to make sure that you don’t totally neglect your own needs.

Many people feel that it’s selfish if they think of their selves, but, if you don’t take some time out for yourself, once in a while, how are you going to be in a fit state to help others anyway? Also, if you don’t have the time to reflect on what’s going on in your own life, you won’t have all of the information you need to make the changes that you’re looking to make.

6. Am I happy with who I am and where I am today?

This may be a tough question for most people, bearing in mind that who and where we are today isn’t who and where we were yesterday, or even tomorrow. We are always in a state of change.

Life may have been unfair in the past, but it’s got you where you are today; is that a good place? Changing something today may not have an immediate effect on your life, but it will make you who you are in the years to come.

7. Do I appeal to the opposite sex?

That’s often a hard one to judge for yourself, seeing as you haven’t met everyone in the world.

We can often appeal to others for the unlikeliest of reasons, but if you want to appeal physically then there are always things you can do to change the way you look. It may be something as simple as a new wardrobe, or something as involved as doing a little more exercise.

Most will come down to who and how you want to appeal to the opposite sex. Just remember, however, any changes you make should be for your own benefit, not for the benefit of someone else.

8. How much do I want?

In terms of money you should remember that the more you want, the more you’re going to have to do to get it. If you want a lot of money, and are prepared to put in the time an effort to get it, then there’s nothing wrong with that.

If you want a lot of money, and have a family, then you have to weigh up which is more important, spending the time and effort to get it, or spending the time with your family. It can be a difficult juggling act; it really comes down to you and which you want the most.

9. What gets me motivated?

What is it that gets you motivated? This will be different for everyone, so there really isn’t any right answer.

Is the pursuit of happiness your motivator? Is it making sure that the family is taken care of? When you sit down and think about it, what makes you take action?

10. What is it that really makes you, you?

Now that you’ve written down your answers to the above questions you should have a better self-awareness. The answer to the way you make your changes lies in what you really want, if you really want it, whether you can see the final outcome, are you comfortable in making changes, are you actually happy with where you are at the moment, and what sort of motivation it will take to actually achieve your goal.

It’s good to have a plan, but you won’t know how to fulfil it if you don’t have at least a basic amount of self-awareness.



Free Proxy Websites Vs IP Changer Software

Aren’t you sometimes surprised that those advertisements that you see when you surf seem to know your exact location? Blame your IP address. Your IP address is your identification to the cyberspace. IP addresses, or internet protocol addresses, tell everybody your real location. Each computer which is connected to the Internet has an IP address – and basically a way for everybody to know where everyone is.

Your IP address could be a way to pinpoint your identity, especially for those techie people who know how things work around the cyberspace. To prevent such to happen, people resort to a IP  changer  or proxy sites. These services mask your real IP address, giving off a fake address to other people.

However, free proxy websites may do more harm than good when you use them. Simply put, you can easily change your IP address by letting you surf the Internet using their IP addresses, protecting your own address and even your identity. But what other people do not know is that these proxy sites may be places for hackers and other people to use their skills and break into users’ real IP addresses.

Most proxy websites do not have any security features which protect their users when surfing. And because they are free, most of them do not have the budget to invest on security features. Moreover, users should also be cautious when using these free proxy sites when they change IP addresses because sometimes, even the hackers may pose as owners of these proxies, therefore still putting your personal information at risk.

When you use free proxies, you expose your own information to the owners. It is like coursing your online activities to another computer for it to record it, and your information is still exposed; therefore, your very reason for using a proxy is destroyed.

The moment you access your financial accounts over a proxy website with the hope that you remain anonymous, you are even exposing yourself to a more serious threat – the possibilities of being an identity theft victim because somebody else had seen your financial information. In this case, it is the free proxy websites.

On the other hand, IP  changer  software truthfully helps users. And because most of the time, this software needs paid subscriptions, users are more confident that these corporations invest their money on high security to protect their clients’ IP addresses.

Of course, people might say that it is free services vs. paid services, but then why are you changing your IP address through a free proxy site if you know that it might do you more harm? If you really want to invest on something for the protection of your identity and information, then a free service won’t be enough – you really need to invest on something more secured and more reliable to do the job for you.

A simple investment on something like an IP  changer  Software or Service which will let you change IP addresses will surely go a long way, especially in today’s Internet age. Keeping your anonymity in the cyberspace will keep you secured and more confident that you won’t be a victim of identity theft.



What Is ISO 20000 Certification?

The ISO 20000 certification is also known as the ISO/IEC 20000 certification and has been designed to fully replace and improve upon the BS 15000 certification (British Standard). This new international certification details the set standards for which any business much accomplish in their Information Technology service management in order to qualify for the certification. IT services are an integral part of any business with a growing heavy reliance on computerised technology in order to complete every day business tasks.

ISO 20000 certification is designed to ensure your business meets the needs of its staff and customers as well as the needs of the business. In order to achieve this, the ISO 20000 certification has produced what is known as an ITSMS (IT Service Management System). Using this system will enable you to utilise the internationally recognised best practices for IT services management within your business and demonstrate as such to your customers and clients.

The certification is published in two separate sections to cover IT Service Management. The first part specifies the standards required for IT Service Management and is used as the basis for audits and your minimum requirements for certification. The second part of the certification outlines the code of practice that is internationally recognised as the standard for best practices in the IT services area. This details specific practices for the management process to fall in line with the best standards of the ISO 20000 certification.

Any business whether it is large or small is able to participate in the ISO/IEC 20000 certification process. Primarily the course is best suited for business with a large focus on IT services including those with call centres, IT departments, Internal IT providers and even IT outsourcing. This will ensure the ISO/IEC 20000 certification makes a positive impact on your business as it has with many other leading companies in the IT sector from telecommunications to finance.

Not only is the ISO/IEC 20000 certification designed to mirror the best practices of the ITIL framework (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) but it is also designed to support additional frameworks such as the Microsoft’s Operations framework. This enables you to fully integrate the ISO/IEC 20000 standards into the everyday procedures of your working business.

There are many websites available online that can tell you more about the ISO/IEC 20000 certification as well as a variety of training courses and additional resources to help you or your business successfully integrate the ISO/IEC 20000 certification standards. You can also obtain ISO/IEC 20000 certification for yourself as an individual if necessary or you can purchase certification for a business as a whole. Online resources and informational portals can direct you to the right software, programs, training courses and conferences to help you get started on the standardisation of your business IT Service Management practices. You could also choose to obtain ISO/IEC 20000 compliance instead of certification. Whether you choose to complete the compliance route or the certification route both of these can dramatically improve your IT services management and your business as a whole.

Budget Tips for Your Holidays Abroad

No matter if you are a football fan travelling to see EURO 2012 matches or planning your holidays abroad, you can save hundreds of pounds by observing the following golden rules.

These rules will help you to avoid paying unnecessary fees which can often multiply your expenses while on holidays abroad.

5 Golden Rules You Should Follow

When planning your holidays it is not only a good advice to shop around to get the most favourable deals, it is also highly advisable to keep the following essential golden rules in mind. Enjoy the extra money you can save on fees!

1st rule – use a specialist travel credit card for paying abroad

A specialist travel credit card will help you avoid paying extra 3% added to the exchange rates charged by the majority of banks. In this way you can get the most competitive rate on the market which would not offer even the best bureau de exchange. However, make you sure you pay the card in full in order to avoid the interests.

2nd rule – do not change money at the airport

Avoid changing money at the airport as they usually offer the worst rates. If you really must get it from the airport, call there in advance and pre-order the pick-up. The pre-order is usually possible up to 4 hours beforehand and gets you a better rate.

3rd rule – do not use your debit card

In the majority of cases debit cards may charge up to £1.50 every time you spend on them abroad. That can lead to multiplying your expenses which you really do not need.

Owners of the following debit cards should not spend on them abroad – Lloyds TSB, Halifax, RBS, Intelligent Finance, Santander and NatWest.

4th rule – pounds or euros?

If you are paying on a credit or debit card you might be offered the possibility to pay in pounds. Reject this offer as quickly as possible as this is called a dynamic currency exchange. What that means is the retailer himself will do the conversion, usually at a worse rate than your debit card would charge you.

5th rule – withdrawal fee

The last golden rule to follow says that you should be careful how you pay for foreign cash at bureau de exchange. All credit cards and some debit cards (including Barclays, Lloyds TSB, NatWest, Santander and RBS) charge a cash withdrawal fee. You can easily avoid paying the fee by using a different card or paying in cash instead.



How to Have a Successful Garage Sale & Make Money

So you have a lot of stuff around your house, apartment, or whatever you are living in and you do not have the time nor want to go through the hassle of listing each item on eBay. How about having a garage sale? Or maybe you call it a yard sale, and some call it a rummage sale (slightly more refined). Well, where to start? Follow the tips below to ensure you make money from your sale and more importantly get rid of some of the items that are taking up space, collecting dust, and that are just plain “in the way”.

Well, let’s look at a few simple must haves that lead to a successful garage sale. It is kind of like in Real Estate, the old rule applies “location, location, location”. However, don’t be discouraged if you are living in the sticks or in a large apartment building, because there are promotional tools that we can employ in this age that can help promote your sale- and thus bring throngs of people.

Rule #1

Have signs. Signs are probably the number one thing that you will need to display to attract drive-by traffic to your sale. If you are fortunate to live near a major road or intersection then you have a leg up to others that are buried in neighborhoods requiring drivers to follow your signs like breadcrumbs through a maze of streets. In either case, signs will bring the bulk of your potential customers.

Make your signs simple and large enough to follow (an arrow helps). You do not need to load your sign up with text describing your items or even an address (unless you want to put the days you are having the sale and your street address in small and legible print Example” SAT & SUN 1234 Main St”). What you need to do is convey a message, for example YARD SALE -> (the arrow tells the driver where to turn). Now this might sound a little too basic to you, but that’s what we really want to do, we want to make it obvious and easy for people to find us.

Garage sale hunters are really not interested on what you put on you sign- they will come to your sale no matter what (or at the very least drive-by slowly to check it out), so you do not have to write “bikes, old fridge, slightly used septic tank, etc.” on your sign. Let’s also make the signs easy to read with big letters and a big arrow.

No need to buy signs either, we are looking to make some bucks not spend them- just go behind your local supermarket or big box store (Costco, appliance store, etc.) and make some out of cardboard boxes (if you make nice signs the first time- hold on to them and use them at your next sale). You can fashion a stencil with card board and use spray paint or any way you want to- get creative- just make it clear for drivers on where to turn. Hopefully they will have no problem finding your sale because there will be so many people and cars around your house that nobody could miss it if they wanted to.

You can put the signs up on a Friday evening if your sale starts Saturday morning. Of course, if you are worried they will be ripped down or something, then just get up early and put them up. Besides signs there are many other ways to promote your garage sale. Post an ad on sites like Craigslist, community bulletin boards, and other areas where people post advertisements. You can also post ads in print, like in newspapers or the Penny saver or whatever small periodicals your community has, but let’s keep it free- if they charge to put an ad in then I would forget it.

Rule #2

Be prepared. Nobody likes to show up at a garage sale when it was supposed to start (8am-8:30am) and the sellers looked like they just rolled out to bed and are frantically shoving boxes from their garage onto their driveway expecting people to pull stuff out for them. Not only is that a really bad way to start off a garage sale, but it almost assures you a lot of missed opportunities at making money and getting rid of your stuff. If you are reading this page, then you are already preparing- so you are off to a good start.

Tips to help you prepare for your garage sale

1. Decide what you want to sell. A week or so before the sale choose what items you want to sell.

2. Get change. Have some small change on hand to change money (dollar bills, fives, and tens). During the first hour of your sale you might have to break a bunch of 20 dollars bills.

3. Mark your items. With little stickers or masking tape- put some prices on your stuff. A lot of people do not want to nor feel comfortable bargaining, so give them a break and let them know how much you want for it. There will probably be some times during your sale that you are swamped and you will be thankful to say “It’s marked!” after 20 people ask you, “How much is this?” Believe me, you will thank me. You can always start marking things down (in price) when it slows down or is not selling.

4. Get Help. Employ your family and friends to help you. They can help out a lot and keep an eye out when it becomes busy. Some items have a tendency to “walk-off” especially when it is busy.

5. Get a secure place to keep your money. Have a cash box and guard it with your life.

6. Have enough stuff to warrant a sale. Have enough stuff to sell that is going to make you money and make people stop from driving by. This guide is not for the person who has three or four items for sale, if you do list it on an auction site or on a site like craigslist. That does not constitute a garage, yard, or any other kind of sale. Put out clothing, cookery, and anything that might bring a buck your way. If you have never had a garage sale- you will be shocked on what people buy and what they don’t.

7. Don’t waste time on frills and extras. I do not bother with selling drinks or cookies at garage sales (I have my own drinks- I don’t need to buy yours). That being said, if you have kids maybe that would be fun for them, otherwise I would skip that one. A lot of rookies seem to think that baking and putting can drinks on ice will drive sales, I do not think it does at all. Feel free to tell me if I am wrong.

Rule #3

Have a goal. Whether your goal is to make $500.00 or clear out enough stuff to put in that game room you always wanted, having an idea of what you want to accomplish with your sale will keep you moving in the right direction.

Rule #4

Be flexible. Put items out that you really want to sell. A lot of people who have garage sales get offended if someone offers them half of what they are asking or are reluctant to sell their stuff for less than they think it is worth. For Example, a customer holds up a picture frame and says, “Hi, this picture frame says its $6.00, would you take $3.00?” The owner of the garage sale replies, “Oh, no, sorry…I really like that frame, so I would rather keep it than selling it for $3.00.” In this situation, the seller is making it clear that they really do not want to participate in the sale and as a direct result will be hauling all of their stuff back into the garage and into their house at the end of the day.

Be flexible with your pricing, a little negotiation goes a long way. Also, if the buyer is really interested they will play ball. A better reply to the above scenario would be for the seller to reply, “How about $4.00?” If they buyer doesn’t bite when you have come down on your price and still insists on $3.00 and you don’t like the offer then just politely decline, “No…sorry, I will let you have it for $4.00.” and turn your attention away from them. If they really want the frame, then they will pay your $4.00.