Simple Ideas for Saving a Deposit for a New Home

by admin
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Moving away from home and into your own place is a big step in your life, and at first you’re just proud to be out on your own. But eventually renting somewhere doesn’t feel like enough and you want to have a home that really belongs to you. It’s not easy to buy a house anymore, however, especially for first-time buyers. Getting on the property ladder can be difficult, and one of the biggest hurdles is saving up a deposit. In some cities, the cost of living is so expensive that after you’ve spent your money on rent, bills and food you don’t have anything left to save. Or if you do, it would take you a decade or more just to save enough for a deposit on a house. If you’re desperate to own your home, see if you can do any of these things to start saving for a deposit.

Draw Up a Budget and Cut Back

The first thing you should do to help you save is take a long look at your finances. Keep track of everything you spend for a couple of months and then sit down to see where you could cut back. Are there luxuries you could go without or replace with cheaper alternatives? Check to see if you could be saving money on regular expenses, such as household bills and car insurance. You could save a lot by switching provider for a lot of services, from your phone to your electricity. When you’re cutting back, be hard on yourself but not too hard – don’t create a miserable life just to save money. There might also be ways you can save money that could require a little spending first. Perhaps you can move house, to somewhere cheaper, or make some home improvements to be more economical.

2157559108_2b60a28951_zAndrew Filer

Create Extra Income

Sometimes if your income isn’t enough to help with buying a new home you need to find some extra cash. There are lots of ways you can make a little extra cash on the side without giving up your whole life to a second job. You might not always make a lot of money, but every little bit helps towards monthly savings for your deposit. The possibilities for making money are endless. If you’re creative, make and sell something. If you’re a child care professional, do some babysitting on the side. You can make a little bit of extra cash with just a few hours a week.

Set Up a Savings Account

To make sure you’re actually saving your money, look for the best savings account you can find. It’s a good idea to set up a regular payment and configure it into your budget. That way, every month you know how much money is going into your account, instead of a vague amount left at the end of the month. Try to find an account with a good interest rate and choose one with limits of withdrawing money if you think you’ll be tempted to spend it. Make sure you know how much you’re allowed to save for tax purposes.

The Best Kind of Mortgage Interest Rates: Finding the Right Deal For You

by admin
October 26, 2014
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Having the perfect mortgage deal is your right as a homeowner. You don’t have to suffer at the hands of mortgage lenders and their financial interests. Rather, you can make sure that your money is working for you in the best possible way. Finding the right mortgage doesn’t have to mean that you put in an excessive amount of research. We have the best kinds of mortgage deals right here. You don’t have to swim through a maze of financial jargon. Take a look at the best kind of interest rates and see which works for you.

You could save yourself hundreds of pounds per year. Over the total term of your mortgage, you can see massive savings that run into tens of thousands.

Fixed Rate

A fixed rate mortgage is where you know exactly what is coming out and when. You know that the interest is fixed for a short term. This is usually done over three years. The interest is then fixed for the term, meaning that you know exactly how your cash is being handled. For many new buyers or first-time lenders, this is the perfect kind of mortgage. You can manage your money better. What is more, you could be the price of inflation.  This is the most popular type of mortgage.

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Variable Rate

After your fixed rate term has ended, you may be introduced to the variable rate mortgage. For many, this is an attractive prospect. With interest rates currently at a low, this is an excellent way to save cash. But, the interest rates can vary month to month as the name suggests. The rates of interest can increase or decrease based on the current market. If you are in a sound financial position, this could be a great way to save money.

Tracker

Tracker mortgages are preferred by those who have been in the property game for a long time. What’s more, if you have found the best property deals in Cuffley and beyond, you are likely to benefit from a tracker mortgage. They are similar to a variable rate mortgage. But, they are different as they track the rates that are introduced by the Bank of England. This means that you can save when the economy is down, but you may pay more in periods of boom. These can be sought for a period of 1 to five years. Alternatively, you can opt for a lifetime tracker. One of the biggest advantages of these kinds of mortgages is that they offer rather competitive rates of interest. But, be prepared to gamble and take risks.

Capped Rate

A capped rate is great for those who want the financial security of a fixed rate mortgage. The interest payments are likely to increase and decrease. But, they can never rise above the capped amount. Even if the rates of interest increase higher than your capped rate, you don’t have to worry about being out of pocket. But, the beauty of a capped rate mortgage is that you can benefit from lower rates of interest too.

Tourism in the Seychelles

by Blogger
October 22, 2014
Tourism in the Seychelles

With its talcum powder, soft white beaches, stunning scenery and almost perfect climate, the Seychelles has become one of the most desirable holiday destinations on the planet.

The Seychelles is an archipelago consisting of 115 islands located 932 miles off the east coast of Tanzania/Kenya and to the north-east of Madagascar. The country is made up of 43 Inner Islands, the largest being Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, and 72 Outer Islands, the majority of which are uninhabited.

History

The earliest traces of habitation date back to the twelfth century and were found on Silhouette Island. In 1502, Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama was the first European to officially record seeing the islands, but it was not until 1602 that Captain Sharpeigh and the crew of the English East India Company ship Ascension actually made landfall. In 1756, the French claimed possession of the islands, renaming them after Louise XV’s Minister of Finance, Jean Moreau de Séchelles. Tourism began to develop in 1971, with the opening of an international airport, and by 1979, numbers had grown to 77,000. Over the next decade, visitor numbers continued to increase steadily, reaching 116,000 by 1993 and 130,000 in 2000. By 2013, the figure had rocketed to over 230,000.

Climate

The average temperature in July and August is 28°C (83°F) with 230 average monthly hours of sunshine. The climate is that of a tropical rainforest, making the islands feel humid, especially between December and April. The most pleasant time of year is from May to November when the southeast trade winds blow.

Things to do

If relaxing on a pristine white, palm-fringed beach, by the warm azure waters of the Indian Ocean is your idea of paradise, you will not be disappointed. Swimming, snorkelling, water-sports and surfing are available on most of the larger islands. If travelling with children, the majority of resorts have kids clubs offering a range of activities.

The more adventurous can visit the largest raised coral reef in the world, while Curieuse and Aldabara islands are home to thousands of giant tortoises. PADI diving centres organise expeditions to even the remotest of the Outer Islands.

With so many islands and atolls to explore boat charters are popular; around 36 companies operate from Mahé and Praslin islands. Both bare-boat and crewed charters are available. If not sailing, you can still enjoy some island hopping courtesy of local planes that fly into remote airstrips.

Accommodation

Though the Seychelles has expensive five-star luxurious resort hotels, it is possible to spend a week or so in this exotic destination without breaking the bank. Family-operated guesthouses and self-catering apartments are also available as are affordable dining options.

What of the future?

The Seychelles government has maintained a policy of sustainable tourism, limiting the number of new resorts on the larger islands and instead promoting growth elsewhere. For example, Mukesh Valabhji of the Capital Management Group has been advising Six Senses Hotels Resorts and Spas on its stunning new Zil Pasyon project on Félicité Island. The country has also recently launched a United Nations World Tourism Organisation initiative whereby hotels complying with sustainable tourism guidelines will be able to display an internationally recognised logo.

There is little doubt that, given its government’s commitment to managing the tourism industry effectively, this stunning archipelago will remain an unspoiled paradise for many years to come.

The importance of understanding contractor finances

by Blogger
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For anyone with the requisite skills, being an IT contractor offers a potentially lucrative future. The skillset presently in demand includes programming/application development, business intelligence/analytics, project management and security, to name just a few.

Competition is fierce within IT, but for the operative with ambition and drive there is much scope for success. Many people start in the industry working for an IT company, but becoming a self-employed contractor is an attractive prospect, especially for those who have enjoyed a large measure of success and have the ambition.

Admittedly, becoming a self-employed contractor in the IT industry does offer many advantages, such as the flexibility in determining one’s own working conditions, but there is also a lot of paperwork involved, including setting up a limited company. One way round this is by becoming involved with what is known as an umbrella company.

The role of the umbrella company is to act as a link between the IT contractor and the business that contracted out the work. Crucially this arrangement saves the contractor much of the time and expense when dealing with such things as accounts and tax, which he/she would have to do in the case of a limited company.

The IT contractor would be a director if a limited company had been formed, but in the case of an umbrella company he/she is classed as an employee and so pays PAYE and the corresponding National Insurance contributions.

It is important to note that with an umbrella company, contractors are not tied to it as they would be if they were working full-time with an ordinary employer. They still have the freedom enjoyed by freelancers but without the accounting obligations. In short, IT contractors can concentrate on their everyday work instead of being sidetracked by having to deal with the likes of taxes, NI contributions and payroll.

Another advantage for the IT contractor going down the umbrella company route is that the HMRC may still decide that the self-employed freelancer is in fact an employee for certain work carried out. This is down to the IR35 regulations passed in 1999. IR35 can lead to contractors having to pay more income tax and higher NI contributions. This can be problematic for IT contractors who have formed their own limited companies and need to retain profits for future business growth. One way round this quandary is through an umbrella company.

Another advantage of using an umbrella company is that it is very flexible. It gives scope for the future should the IT contractor decide to become a limited company.

Whatever route IT contractors follow, they should be aware of both the pros and cons. Undoubtedly freelancing offers so much more freedom and allows the contractor to build up their CV and business reputation in his or her own right. However, when not in receipt of a regular wage from an employer there is always a degree of uncertainty. That is why it is always important that IT specialists considering going out on their own appreciate the importance of understanding contractor finances.

Home insulation advice for beginners

by Blogger
October 20, 2014
Home insulation advice for beginners

Home insulation isn’t just for builders and contractors to install, as homeowners can do it for themselves. It doesn’t have to be the complicated and highly expensive cavity wall insulation, although if that’s what is needed you may be eligible for a grant. You can make a difference to the insulation properties of your home by making small changes; this refers to both the way that you live, and physical alterations to the structure.

Loft insulation – one of the obvious solutions

Head off to your local DIY store, and pick up some rolls of loft insulation. The thicker it is, the better, but obviously it will be more expensive, and also there comes a point when making it thicker isn’t going to make any difference. You should measure what you’ve got up there already, and if it’s around 30 cm of fibreglass, or 20 cm of cellulose, it’s already as much as you need.

If it’s less than those measurements, go ahead. You’ll need several rolls, so you’ll have to measure the space to begin with (or have a good idea of it), and there are plenty of YouTube videos and ‘How to’ articles on the web for you to study.

Chase those breezes and draughts

Air leaks through window frames, electrical outlets, fireplaces, loft hatches, and skirting boards are responsible for as much as 20% of your heating bills. Moisture-filled air coming in makes your home more prone to mould and condensation, so simple insulation of cracks and gaps can make a huge difference over the long term. This can be achieved in many cases with a can or two of polyurethane-based foam sealant, bought from a DIY shop. If it’s a cupboard a doorframe or window frame, you could also look at draught excluder strip, which is a long strip of foam tape you can stick to the frame sealing any gaps.

Shutters or blinds, which is better?

You might think that blinds are a good way to insulate your windows. You’d be wrong. The usual types of roller blinds are no better at preventing draughts from entering than a piece of paper would be. Insulating blinds, which are constructed from the same foil material that space blankets are made of, are extremely expensive. True, they’re not as costly as new double-glazing, but it is still a potentially huge expense. Something rather better, and more cost effective, is the use of custom shutters. The plantation or colonial style, with the louvres (similar to Venetian blinds in appearance) are almost as good as double-glazing, and reduce heat loss by around 51%. They come in a variety of colours and styles, and are a fraction of the price of double-glazing.

Eco-friendly homes are warmer homes

The better your insulation, the less energy you need to heat your home. It doesn’t get more eco-friendly than that! Yes, you could go all out and spend thousands on ground-heating systems or air heating systems, all very eco-what-not, but these simple techniques for insulation are also more wallet-friendly. As soon as you’ve improved your insulation all round, you’ll be able to turn down the thermostat, take off those three sweaters, and relax.

 

How your employees are costing you money

by Blogger
October 20, 2014
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Ideally, the only money that an employee should be directly costing their company is their salary and/or commission. However, an employee brings many factors to the table that may indirectly be costing the company a lot of money. Unfortunately sometimes employees can be more of a burden to the company than an asset. Here are some tips on how to determine how or if your employees are costing your company valuable money, time or productivity, with advice on how to correctly approach fixing these issues. 

Substance abuse

If you suspect an employee of substance abuse, there are many drug and alcohol test specialists, such as Matrix Diagnostics. They are willing to provide your company with the tools needed, such as oral fluid testing, to hygienically and systematically test and ensure that employees are not using any illegal substances. Some common warning signs of substance abuse are frequent late arrivals, early departures or absences, and physical warning signs, such as bloodshot eyes, an inability to sit still or an alcohol smell on their breath. If your employee is abusing drugs or alcohol this could cause a decrease in productivity or even a direct law suit if the employee comes to work under the influence and causes damage to themselves or others.

What should the company do?

Gather information to offer to the employee about possible rehab/ out patient/ therapy or support groups that they could attend. This will show you are interested in finding them the help they need. Discuss your actions with your lawyer to make sure that none of your behaviour will violate the company’s substance abuse policy. Finally take action and approach the employee (even if it is awkward at first) express how much you care and give them all the material you have for seeking treatment.

Stress and health Issues

If your employees are extremely to moderately stressed this can have a negative affect on their productivity, and an increase in their unethical behaviour. A stressful work environment is often blamed on the people in power so it is important to communicate to your whole company that you want to promote a productive but positive work environment. Many health-related issues and worker’s compensation claims are linked back to stress related issues.

What should the company do?

Start by recording concrete information about the stress levels of employees. If you have monthly, weekly, or daily meetings with your staff give them short surveys that they must sign and date that evaluate their stress levels and overall happiness in the workplace. These could be very beneficial in future disputes or situations. Offer morale boosting activities to keep a positive office environment, such as holiday parties, casual dress days, office yoga or extra curricular activities.

Excessive time wasting

In today’s world, technology is everywhere. Although technology is really helping the business world, there are ways that it could be hurting your company too. Many of your employees could be costing you precious time, productivity and ultimately money due to the excessive time during office hours that they spend on the internet; surfing the web for unrelated gossip or pleasure, using social media or playing games. Unless their position is “Social Media correspondent”, is there any reason your employee should be spending 2+ hours logged onto their Facebook account?

What should the company do?

Decide how much time you believe your employees are spending on their work each day and how much time they are spending on their computer for their own personal entertainment or gain. This may require you to block certain websites during the working day or only allow those websites during designated time frames, like the office lunch hour. Technology has really changed the way that companies operate, but it is the company’s job to use the technology to enhance success and not let the technology dictate the success of the company and it’s employees.

Jim Carrey Biography

by admin
September 12, 2014
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Jim Carrey is one of the most renowned comedic actors of the contemporary age. He is known for the physicality of his performances and his exaggerated facial expressions. Though he is famous for making people laugh, he has a predilection for playing dark, even deranged characters.

Carrey was born in Newmarket, Ontario in 1962. His dark sensibilities are the result of his difficult childhood, during which he was forced to leave school and get a job to help support his family. His father had given up on his dream of becoming a successful musician so he could have a stable, family-friendly career, and he ended up losing that job. Growing up, Jim would often wonder why his father had not continued to pursue music despite the narrow odds of success; if the Carreys were destined to struggle anyway, there did not seem to have been a need to place so much value on the so-called “normal” career track. Young Jim was determined to make his living as an actor, even if it meant he would have to struggle for the rest of his life.

jim1
Carrey’s early stand-up work was not received well on his local comedy circuit. He was plagued with self-doubt but still pushed himself to keep trying. He got his first big break when Rodney Dangerfield spotted him and asked him to be his opening act. He began performing in Los Angeles in 1982 and appeared on The Tonight Show a year later. He auditioned for Saturday Night Live and was not cast, though he did start to get roles in low-brow films. His film work led to him being cast on In Living Color in 1990. This is when he started developing the persona and acting style that would make him a celebrity, both in Canadian entertainment news and abroad.

Carrey gained mainstream recognition in 1994′s Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. The Mask and Dumb and Dumber hit theaters that same year. He took a dark turn in 1996′s The Cable Guy, and proved the depths of his talent two years later in The Truman Show. Carrey was slowly revealing that he was not just a comedian; he was a true actor who used comedy to make serious statements about the human condition.

Since then, Carrey has alternated between broad comedy and serious roles. He appeared in the Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon, and he put his signature spin on the Grinch in How the Grinch Stole Christmas a few years after that. 2004′s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is considered a modern classic and is notable for featuring what is arguably Carrey’s first completely serious performance. In 2009, he bravely starred in I Love You Phillip Morris, further proving his commitment to interesting and challenging film work.

Jim Carrey continues to push the boundaries of comedy while exploring his deeper side. His success is evidence of the power of persistence and believing in oneself.

 

Inspirational Ideas For Raising A Mortgage Deposit

by admin
September 7, 2014
Blue Piggy Bank WIth Coins

If you want to buy a property, you will have to start saving for the deposit early. Of course, there are those who come from a wealthy background whose parents will pay it, but most of us have to find the money ourselves.

Now is a good time to buy a home thanks to the Help To Buy Scheme. It is set up by the government to help people in your situation. Banks and building societies ask for huge deposits now, to minimise their risk when they lend. Not many people can raise twenty-percent of the cost price, and the housing market would slow significantly if those in power did nothing about it. Under Help To Buy, you only need to pay five-percent yourself and the country will forward you the rest. After five years, you must start to repay that money at a low-interest rate. This system encourages people to go online and see details about searching for a home in Salisbury and Shaftesbury.

You still need to find the rest, so here are a few inspirational ideas for raising a mortgage deposit.

Ask Your Parents

The best way by far is to ask your parents for the funds you need. Even if they don’t have the money, they could take out a loan for you. That debt will not show in your financial background when the lender undertakes checks, which is vital. Your parents must state in writing that the cash they give you is a gift that you don’t have to pay back. I know it seems a bit dishonest but many people do it. It is also a cold fact that if your parents pass away you might not have to repay that money; an awful thought but true nonetheless.

Take A Second Job

Could you take on an extra job for a couple of years and put all of that money into your savings? Working extra hours will exhaust you, but keep your eye on the goal. The supermarkets and petrol stations are always on the lookout for staff. You never know, the job may pay more than the one you are in now.

Sell A Heirloom

Did great aunt Bertha leave you a diamond necklace in her will? She would hate to think of it stuck in a draw when it could be put to good use. That heirloom could be worth some or all of the money that you need for a deposit. Whatever the item is, take it to the appropriate expert in the field and get their opinion. It could be the answer to your troubles.

Win Big!

Take what savings you have and triple them in an online casino. Others might frown at this course of action, but if you have a mathematical brain and the confidence to act on your hunches, you could win big. Many people have done it before you and stand as a testament to the benefits of online gambling.

Even if you don’t follow any of my suggestions, I hope they have inspired you to come up with a solution of your own. There are some weird and wacky ways to raise cash. How are you at lap dancing?

Blue Piggy Bank WIth Coins

Ken Teegardin

5 WAYS TO HELP THE ENVIRONMENT THIS SUMMER

by admin
June 26, 2014
tips

CONSERVE WATER IN YOUR HOME

Water is an important part of our daily life, we use it for cooking, bathing, washing and watering plants. Sometimes we misuse this important natural resource without even being aware. Reduce the amount of water you use daily by opting to take showers rather than baths, brush teeth without running water, take shorter showers and take showers with partners.  Make use of water used in your kitchen to water your garden rather than using water from the tap. Making these changes may seem difficult at first but once you get used to them, your bills will reduce significantly and you will have played your role in conserving the environment.

USE RECYCLED BAGS

Summer is a season when people take it easy and celebrate the sun but a lot of shopping is always part of such activities. Each year billions of plastic bags form a significant portion of waste that unfortunately finds its way into our oceans, rivers and other unsuitable areas. They are not biodegradable which means that they become part of the environment and ultimately destroy our natural environment, as we know it. Recycled bags are inexpensive and reduce the risk or destroying our environment.

DRIVE A HYBRID CAR

Hybrid cars are not only fashionable but are the best cars to conserve the environment. They normally contain two engines, one electric and another gasoline. This means that they can drive an average of five miles per gallon, which in the end reduces amount of gasoline barrels consumed on a daily basis. Hybrid cars emit less carbon gases since they use less fuel, they cut costs and conserve the environment. When a hybrid car is not using its gas engine, its motor is almost silent which helps in reducing noise pollution. This summer as you drive to your destination, use a hybrid car to reduce costs and conserve the environment.

CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERING ABROAD

Make your summer holiday more fulfilling and worthwhile by volunteering to work in conservation related fields. Volunteering work abroad is a fantastic way to see some of the most unspoilt destinations and interact with the real communities in the world. Volunteering exposes you to fascinating animal species, ecosystems and enlightens you on conservation and research skills. It is an affordable way to see the world and offers credible work experience. You can travel to many destinations in the world as a volunteer including Africa, India, Central and Southern America and Thailand.

PLANT TREES

Most of the buildings you see today consist of wood in their construction and this means that we have sacrificed millions of trees to build our houses thus depleting natural rainforests. This has led to imbalances in the ecosystems and effects such as global warming. Planting of trees can help reduce the amount of carbon in the air, improve the appearance your home and provide a home for birds and other animals. Planting trees in your home also helps your family understand the value of conservation as each member take part and improve the value of your property.

 

 

5 Interesting Ways To Use Paper Bags

by admin
June 12, 2014
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We all accumulate hundreds of bags every year from shopping. Plastic bags of course, although bad for the environment, can often be reused several times before they break and in some places you can recycle them. Fabric bags can be used hundreds of times and for all kinds of different purposes besides shopping. But what about the humble paper bag? How can that be put to other uses?

Keeping vegetables fresh

Reusable paper bags are perfect storage containers for onions and garlic, helping them stay nice and fresh without the need to put them in the fridge. They’re also good with mushrooms – the paper absorbs moisture, preventing them from getting slimy, but doesn’t dry them out. A neat solution if you’re planning a risotto in a few days’ time!

Cleaning windows

This is a great trick for eco-friendly cleaning. Simply tear your (clean) paper bags into sheets, apply some white vinegar to them, and have at your glass. You should end up with lovely streak-free windows, and you’re also doing your bit for the environment.

Getting wax out of carpets

If you spill candle wax on a carpet, it can leave an unsightly stain, and like chewing-gum it can also be tricky to remove. When it’s on your clothing you can freeze the wax or gum off, but with a carpet that’s not possible. So what you do is, tear a piece off a paper bag and put it over the wax, then iron over it at a medium to high heat. The wax should attach itself to the paper and problem solved!

Make your own paper

It’s easy and needs very little equipment. First tear up an average-sized bag and mush it up in a blender with two cups of water. Once it’s all squishy, fill a large tub of water and put a wire-mesh screen inside it, just under the water. Pour your paste onto the screen, spreading it evenly and removing any large blobs. Take out the screen, letting any excess water drip away, and place it on a sheet of blotting paper, with another sheet covering the top. Then gently turn it over and tap the screen, so the paste falls onto the second sheet. There you have your paper. Next, take a final piece of blotting paper and put it on top, and use a rolling-pin to squeeze out any remaining water. Now you can leave it overnight, or iron the the top blotting paper to dry it, before writing on it the next day. It’s nice to decorate the paper, perhaps with flower petals or off-colouring – this should be done while the paste is in the water.

Composting

You already used them to keep your fruit and veg fresh, but paper bags also compost very well, so when preparing dinner keep one handy for your unused peelings, then chuck it straight on the pile.

 

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