Budget city breaks – How not to break the bank

To say that city breaks have come into their own over the last few years would be a gross understatement. Once upon a time it was just about sun, sea and sand and while these getaways certainly haven’t died out, tourists are now looking for alternatives.

City breaks fill this gap and can provide something different for a weekend, or longer. Unfortunately, many of these destinations have caught on to the fact that tourists are now flocking in their millions, and before you know it a break of this ilk can really break the bank.

This is the reason we have put together today’s post. We are now going to look at some of the best ways to save money on a city break, whilst still having a great time.

Location, location, location

It’s one of the biggest clichés going in the travel world, but we really can’t emphasize location when it comes to a city break. There are some destinations out there which always capture the tourists, but always happen to capture the dollars as well. In other words, it’s impossible to do them on a budget. London can quite often fall into this category, while Paris isn’t far behind either.

However, there are some destinations which appeal to tourists, but aren’t overpriced. Belfast can be included here, and with hotels in the area being really good valuable it is places like this which should be worth considering.  If you are looking to explore a city in  a tropical locale, a last minute all inclusive vacation is sure to save you money.

The power of “off-season”

Next, let’s talk about school holidays. This next point might not be music to many ears, but just be aware of the price hikes if you have your heart set on a trip during this period. The prices are inflated ridiculously, and it means that the once-affordable city break is suddenly costing a fortune.

The solution? Become creative with your dates, or postpone for another period.

Forget the suitcase

This next point is becoming more understood amongst travellers, but suitcases are so last decade. Most of the time, you’re going to need to take very little on one of these breaks. It means that a suitcase is not necessary, and can in some cases double the cost of your flight. Learn to pack shrewdly, and watch your costs dwindle.

Don’t be afraid of exercise

Finally, don’t be lazy! This point relates to transport and while at times it can be interesting to sample the local transport networks, in some cities this can increase your costs.

It’s something else that isn’t always necessary, either. For example, in London, it has been found that it’s quicker to walk between some tube stations rather than get the metro. As such, do your research before traveling.

There’s a time and place to save money

Following on from all the above, let’s conclude with a point about common sense. Sure, you can really dive into one of these city breaks and save money in countless areas. However, there’s a time and a place to be smart, and if you are looking to cut something out that is going to cost you in terms of safety or even significant enjoyment, this might be a step too far.

Best Places To Take Paid Online Surveys

This is a fact that having more money makes you feel more secure. You will also sleep better at night. But sometimes, employers hate giving raises, or maybe overtime at work has become scarce. If this is the case, then you need to look for unorthodox ways to earn money in your spare time. And one of the best ways to earn money is through paid online surveys. Taking paid online surveys is totally free. It is easy as well as completely flexible. You can take these surveys at any time and anywhere with your computer, tablet or mobile phone. Believe me, if you enjoy doing the crosswords or puzzles, then taking such kind of surveys could be a form of entertainment for you. Probably the reason why you have landed on this page is because you are looking for the best places to take paid online surveys. Believe me, you are reading the right article. Nowadays, there are various sites that are offering paid online surveys for money. That is why this article tends to highlight a brief review of some legitimate paid survey sites. For more in-depth details of these best places, read on.

1- Survey Junkie

Survey Junkie hits the top position in the list of the best places to take paid online surveys. This platform is quite straightforward as it tells you that you will not get rich instantly from taking paid surveys for money. We all know this fact, but people say that it is quite refreshing to see some transparency!

This great platform works on a points system. These points can be converted into cash. Moreover, Survey Junkie offers 1000 points as the payout threshold which is equal to $10. To use Survey Junkie, first, you have to create an account. You can also sign up with Facebook. After creating an account, browse different categories and pick a survey that you like. Once you have completed the survey, points will be added to your account which you can cash out via PayPal after reaching the $10 threshold.

2- Swagbucks

Swagbucks is one of the largest and most reliable paid survey sites. It is a great platform that offers rewards for playing games as well as watching videos. At Swagbucks, the amount per survey is 70 points. You can receive cash, vouchers and prize draw as rewards. After completing a survey on Swagbucks for around 10 minutes, you can earn around £2.40. This paid online survey site also offers to complete surveys from multiple providers. Moreover, it gives consolation points as well when you do not qualify for a survey.

Swagbucks is, in fact, the most respected company in the online survey space. People love Swagbucks and they have positive remarks about it!

3- Toluna

Toluna is another website that is working on behalf of leading companies. Actually, these companies want to know what people think about their products, services, and issues. In return, people get rewarded with PayPal payments, Amazon as well as high-street vouchers. At Toluna, you can get 2000 – 50000 points by completing one survey. A single survey on this site takes about 15 minutes to complete. In this way, it will take approximately 4 hours to earn a £15 voucher.

4- InboxDollars

InboxDollars is a survey site that offers free $5 bonus just for signing up. You simply have to answer a few basic questions such as income level, race, education, and health. After some time, you’ll have $5 into your account. That’s pretty cool, isn’t it?

Just go for any of the above-mentioned site to get the most of paid online surveys.

Learning to Loan – 3 Things to Consider Before Taking on a Travel Loan

travel overseas

Honeymoon travel planning

As numerous travel loan financing companies have been cropping up in response to consumer demand, obtaining funds to travel has become more accessible to people of all ages and financial backgrounds. A simplified application process combined with relaxed loan terms make it possible to travel anywhere at a moment’s notice. However, while travel has become more accessible, consumers should still be cautious of the various traps that result from taking out these types of loans.

Latitude Finance are travel loan providers who service loans all throughout Australia. As one of the more popular online institutions, it is a good example of an outfit that provides clear, concise information to consumers seeking financing for travel. In seeking out other loan providers though, travellers looking to finance a trip should keep a few other factors in mind while applying.

Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to consider when taking out a travel loan.

Financing Alternatives

Travel loans, while functioning a little differently, are still loans that have to be paid back. For this reason, it’s best to consider other less expensive options to taking out a loan. If you have enough time before travelling, consider saving a good portion of the money and then taking a loan out on the balance.

Another alternative to taking out a travel loan is to use the low-interest or no-interest balance transfer option on your credit card to finance the trip. To avoid paying interest, pay the balance off before the new interest rate kicks in. Ultimately, you want to finance your trip for as little as possible, and every time you take on a debt, you’re charged on any balance on the debt, which in the grand scheme of your financial life, might not be all that advantageous.

Types Of Travel Loans

If you have to take out a travel loan, become well-versed on the various types of loans available. There are four main travel loan types depending on your need. Foreign travel loans are usually for large amounts and can only be used for specific purposes. Domestic travel loans have much lower interest rates and can be obtained by both individuals and families. Senior citizen travel loans allow the older population to borrow money for all travel-related expenses. Finally, general personal travel loans are unsecured and can be used for any travel-related purpose.

In most cases, people can take out a loan without having a destination in mind. Furthermore, there are few stipulations regarding how these loans can be spent, which can lead to waste if you’re not careful. Ultimately, getting a travel loan today for many consumers is quite easy with a good credit rating and employment.

Loan Terms

While credit report and budgets are important parts of applying for a loan, consumers should pay attention to the loan’s many stipulations and the fine print. For the most part, these loans do charge an establishment as well as an early termination fee, which can add to the final balance. Also, some banks will assess a monthly surcharge to any remaining balance, which, in addition to interest, can add up.

Furthermore, make sure you understand the penalties for making late payments because, while no one ever wants to go delinquent on their debts, delinquency is a reality of life in a consumer-driven, materialistic culture. These penalties can make paying the balance on the loan downright expensive. A good practice is to read the details of the loan for any hidden disclosures so that there are no surprises for you at any point in the lending process.

Travel Loan Considerations

The convenience of accessing cash quickly is a great feature of online banking. However, while it might be easy to access travel cash, the responsibilities related to securing a loan still apply and can be quite expensive if not taken into careful consideration. In a day and age of full disclosure, enjoying a wonderful trip does not have to come at the risk of complete financial ruin.

How Fintech is Creating Financially Stable Families

In today’s economy, many families struggle to make ends meet. Paychecks go just far enough to meet expenses, leaving little cushion for events that can break a budget, such as an expensive car- or home repair or loss of income. In fact, according to a survey by JP Morgan Chase Institute of one million Chase customers, 50 percent experienced a monthly income swing of 30 percent or more between 2012 and 2015. For lower income Chase customers, the percentage rose to 50.

Living on tight margins increases stress levels. Worry can become constant when even a minor upset can cause a family to fall behind on essential bills. Often, families resort to credit cards and payday loans, which can make their stresses even more acute in the longer term. Debt is the opposite of what families struggling to make ends meet need. Savings provide the key to relieving financial instability. For the millions of families struggling with financial instability, Fintech has created exciting products that boost savings, reduce debt, and make managing household bills easier.

Even

Even is a three-year-old app that assists customers with fluctuating incomes. Even calculates the family’s average monthly income over past paychecks and advances the difference when paychecks are low. It then collects the advances when higher paychecks arrive. For workers paid on commission, freelancers, and employees dependent on tips, Even can be a lifesaver. Though freelancers, salespeople, and servers may take home huge paychecks, they also get skimpy ones when business slows. Often, savings are depleted and workers wind up with debt, overdraft fees, and late payment fees as a result. Even puts an end to that destructive cycle.

Digit

Digit helps households save money on a consistent basis. Saving often eludes people because they lack a consistent, large chunk to put away every month. Often, the only way to save or increase savings are through tiny increments. Digit analyzes users’ pay rates, bills, and spending. When a chance to add to savings occurs, Digit automatically deposits the money into an interest-bearing savings account.

Prism

This app takes all the stress and angst out of paying the monthly bills and guards against late payments. Prism creates reminders of payment due dates. Users are able to pay their bills when the reminder comes simply by clicking on a button. Prism ends long periods of time spend logging in an out of multiple accounts or, for the old fashioned, writing checks.

Fintech also assists in finding low-interest lending opportunities. As everyone on a tight budget knows, paying huge interest rates hurts. Ascend Consumer Finance, for instance, provides consumer loans with rates much more competitive than payday lenders.

Credible provides a multi-lender platform for securing private student loans. By using Credible, student loan borrowers are able to shop for the most competitive student loan rates. Unlike federal student loans, private student loan rates vary greatly by lender. Choosing the best option saves borrowers thousands of dollars in interest payments.

In an era where high living costs take an increasing proportion of Americans’ incomes, saving money has never been more important. 

5 Ways to Make Your Home More ‘Green’ and Save Money

The crazy weather and horrid hurricanes and storms plaguing the entire planet are more than enough proof of the climate change. Scientists have yet to determine whether we are past the point of no return. However, one thing is perfectly clear now and it’s that reducing the carbon footprint of your home is essential. It’s the contribution everyone can make into the fight for preserving our planet’s health. It’s also a wise way of saving a bit of money, as making your house more energy-efficient will cut down your bills. To make your home more ‘green’ you’ll need to replace some appliances with a solar installation companies like Sun Rock Solar and do some minor but effective changes to the décor.

5 Steps to an Energy-Efficient Home Everyone Can Afford

Forget about your clothes dryer

There are energy-efficient variations of all important house appliances. You can check the Energy Star website to choose the best devices for your home. You’ll be able to find clothes driers there. However, the truth is that this particular appliance is never worth the energy it uses. Regardless of how little of it the device consumes.

A washing machine with a high RPM (rotation per minute) rate can ensure your clothes come out nearly dry. Therefore, unless you are living in a place where air-drying is a complete impossibility, using a dryer is always a waste of money as well as a major addition to the carbon footprint of your home. Note that it’s also not good for the majority of fabrics.

Reduce your use of an AC unit

Fans are over a dozen times more energy-efficient than air conditioning systems. The Huffington Post also brings to light some important research on how AC units can be a cause of sickness. Therefore, the best way to keep your room cool in the summer is to get a high quality stand fan. This particular type of device allows you to cool a specific area and offers you something an AC cannot, meaning a pleasant breeze.

Ceiling fans are also more efficient than air conditioning and require less maintenance. They can make an entire room cooler, but overall, their ‘effect’ is less pronounced than that of a pedestal fan.

Make your house ‘leak-proof’

The most ‘leaks’ your house has, the more energy you are wasting when cooling or warming it. If you can’t afford to renovate and add another layer of insulation or replace your windows, you can look up DIY options. There are affordable kits that will allow you to reduce the waste of heat through the windows and doors. You can find many cheap insulation materials and cut the costs further by looking for discounts. Also, don’t forget about simple things, like sealing off your chimney when it’s not in use or finding some thick curtains.

Reorganize your home (if necessary)

Sometimes, to make your home more energy-efficient you only need to move the furniture. Make sure none of the vents are obstructed by anything. Lift the curtains up or away from the radiators. Place big pieces of furniture near the walls so they don’t obstruct the air circulation.

You also need to make sure that your fridge isn’t located anywhere near the stove. Even if your kitchen is very small, try to have at least one cupboard between them.

Get a dishwasher

Even when you are on a tight budget, you should consider buying a dishwasher as soon as you are able. Studying your water bills should inspire you to do this as using this appliance. Think that washing a load of dishes by hand might use up 27 gallons of water.

An Energy Star approved dishwasher will need about 3 gallons per one load. This difference easily makes up for the bit of electricity used by the appliance and still allows you to save money in the long run.

3 Ways that cryptocurrency has changed the world

Over the past few months, the general interest in cryptocurrencies has grown so much that the topic has become one of the most popular terms looked up on search engines, discussed on news programs and other trade and finance talks. In addition, it even has received great attention from different governments and institutions worldwide. As of the end of 2017, it was estimated that only two percent of the global population are involved in cryptocurrencies. These risk-oriented individuals are considered as the ‘innovators’ and most of them have already experienced huge gains with cryptocurrencies and their underlying technologies.

 

Although the advantages of this technology are already evident from the past up until now, we are yet to its full potential once cryptocurrencies achieve a possible mass adoption in the future. Read more about the three ways that cryptocurrency has changed the world and take part in this one major ‘financial revolution’.

 

  1. Decentralization

 

Cryptocurrency platforms are considered by many people as the future of decentralized banking. It allows ordinary people to obtain financial services and store their savings without the control of central authorities, middlemen, and other bodies that can go in the way of monetary transfers. Even less privileged individuals can receive, store, and send cryptocurrencies with just a smartphone, a wallet application, and a working internet connection. Bitcoin, for example, operates on a network that is purely peer-to-peer in nature. It means that the mass collaboration of Bitcoin users allows the confirmation and bookkeeping of all transactions; past and present.

 

  1. Convenient Money Transfers

 

There are a lot of limitations when it comes to the conventional methods of money transfer. Aside from being very expensive, sending money between countries have maximum and minimum limits and can take from hours to days to be confirmed. With the increasing adoption of different cryptocurrencies by several financial institutions, money transfers overseas will now take only a few minutes and cost from a few cents to a few bucks, depending on the type of cryptocurrency and the priority set for the transaction. You also don’t have to wait in long queues and go through a tiring verification process before you can send money to other people. Additionally, cryptocurrency has no holidays and it runs non-stop 24/7.

 

  1. Security

 

By taking extra steps when assuming full responsibility for your accounts, cryptocurrency can provide you the greatest form of security nowhere to be found in other forms of digital assets. Bitcoin transactions, for example, are completely irreversible, fully addressing the issue of chargebacks that is common in credit card payments. The Bitcoin network itself is very secure from hacking and another form of digital attacks. Transactions are also private, containing only the amount of money sent, and the sending and receiving addresses – nothing more about the identities of the sender and the receiver.
If you are planning to get into cryptocurrency but you are hesitant to start because of your busy schedule, then the Crypto Code mining and trading software can help you out. The application includes automated trading codes that can do the stressful tasks for you and earn you passive income the easiest way possible.

National Cyber Security Alliance Responds to Equifax Breach

 Equifax announced a major data breach yesterday affecting some 143 million Americans’ personal information. According to the company, the data breach left Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and other sensitive information at risk sometime between mid-May and July of this summer.

“Major breaches like this one remind us that it is critical for internet users to remain continually diligent about practicing good cybersecurity habits,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). “As our connected world grows and vast amounts of information is collected and stored, the scale of data breaches is likely to grow. Businesses and organizations that accumulate data must operate with a deep understanding of the value of that data to cybercriminals and the other risks to their customers, employees and networks. It is essential they employ a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity and be prepared to respond if a breach occurs.”

Fortunately, Equifax is reporting no evidence of unauthorized access to core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases at this time. Nevertheless, NCSA urges all Equifax users to take action now to secure their accounts. Equifax is offering complimentary identity theft protection and credit file monitoring. Information can be found at equifaxsecurity2017.com/enroll.

Following any breach, everyone can better protect their accounts by following these steps to stay safer and more secure online, including:

  • Lock down your login. Use strong authentication — more than a username and password to access accounts — to protect your most valuable accounts, including email, social media and financial.
  • Keep clean machines: Prevent infections by updating critical software as soon as patches or new operating system versions are available. This includes mobile and other internet-connected devices.
  • Monitor activity on your financial and credit card accounts. If appropriate, implement a fraud alert or credit freeze with one of the three credit bureaus (this is free and may be included if credit monitoring is provided post breach). For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission website identitytheft.gov.
  • When in doubt, throw it out. Scammers and others have been known to use data breaches and other incidents to send out emails and posts related to the incident to lure people into providing their information. Delete any suspicious emails or posts, and get information only from legitimate sources.

This data breach happens as the nation prepares for National Cyber Security Awareness Month, an effort co-founded and co-led by NCSA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to educate businesses and all digital citizens about staying safer and more secure online. More information is available at staysafeonline.org/ncsam.

4 Tips to hiring an ecommerce web design firm on a budget

For owners of small to medium-sized businesses, setting up a website is an effective strategy that you can use to increase your brand awareness in the online market. There are several website platforms claiming that even those who are not very familiar with programming can create good-looking websites using their products. There are also online guides that can help you learn both the basic and advanced techniques of web designing. The downside of relying on these online resources is that many people also use the exact guides too. Chances are your website may look very similar to others.

Hiring a web designer is definitely a great idea when setting up a website for your business. Instead of wasting several hours experimenting with things you’re not really good at, you may able to use your extra time focusing on what matters more for your business. But that doesn’t mean that you have to pay tens of thousands of dollars just to set up and maintain a website. There are actually many ways which you can hire an ecommerce web designer on the cheap. That is without compromising the quality of your website. Read more about the 4 tips to hiring an ecommerce web design firm on a budget and start seeing great results for your business now.

  1. Avoid hiring web design firms that specialize only in one aspect.

When looking for the best web developer for your business, you may encounter ones that are adept at creating attractive web designs and those that actually know how to incorporate them into your site. The problem with hiring two or more firms for your website is that the work usually takes longer and more costly in the long run. If possible, look for an ecommerce web design firm that can do all the work; from your company’s logo to the website’s user interface and everything that you might need. For owners of small to medium-sized businesses, setting up a website is one of the top 10 branding effective strategies that you can use to increase your brand awareness in the online market.

  1. Set up a realistic budget and don’t hesitate to negotiate the price.

Before starting the project, you should be able to discuss the timeline and plan with the web design firm down to the smallest of details. Set up a realistic budget and don’t hesitate to negotiate the price. For brochure-style websites, the price typically ranges from $2,000 to $5,000; while it can go up to $20,000 or more for sites which feature a bunch of products and which support electronic payment. You might find some good offers at less than $1,000 but be wary that the quality might get compromised.

  1. Plan ahead on the things that you need and you don’t need.

Web design services usually become expensive when the package includes a lot of features that can optimize your website. Although most of them are useful, you might not essentially need some of those features for your website. You may choose a couple of websites that you admire and pick some features that you really want for your site. Discuss the details with the web design firm carefully before making a deal.

  1. Trade for services if you personally know the web designer.

If you personally know the owner of a web design firm (or some other people who work there), you may consider discussing if they are open for bartering. For example, you may offer them accounting or legal services for a certain period in exchange for web design services. Discuss the terms properly so both of you will neither profit nor lose in the barter.