Category Archives: Guest Post

Kitting Out a New Home on a Budget

Kitting Out a New Home on a Budget

Kitting Out a New Home on a BudgetStarting off in a new home isn’t cheap. Apart from the initial cost of deposits and agency or mortgage fees, you’ll have to stump up the funds to kit out your pad. The good news is, there are lots of money-saving tactics that you can employ in order to keep your spending down.

Shop around

When you’re on the hunt for kitchen appliances and other items, make sure you shop around for both larger white goods and smaller appliances like toasters, kettles and grills. There are lots of deals available online, and by taking a little time and using price comparison sites to review a number of options, you stand a better chance of bagging a bargain.

Go second-hand

Also, it can pay off to opt for second-hand products. These can also be found online auction and ad sites, as well as in charity shops and car boot sales. OK, so these items may not last as long or look as pretty as brand new versions, but they can save you a tidy sum. Of course, before you hand over any money for these items, you’ll need to make sure they work properly.

Free living

You might even be able to get some items for free. There are a growing number of reuse websites in cyberspace where people advertise products ranging from white goods to sofas that they no longer want. As long as you can pick the objects up, they could be yours for nothing.

Comb the sales

Timing is also key. If you stock up on products for your property during sale seasons, you can benefit from impressive value for money. This may mean being patient for a little while, but if big savings are on offer, it could be worth your while.

Kitting your new house or flat out on a budget doesn’t mean you have to compromise when it comes to style. Often, it is the inexpensive little extras that help to make living spaces look and feel warm and attractive. Something as simple – and cheap – as adding some new cushions to sofas or placing a fresh bunch of flowers in a vase can bring rooms to life and suddenly make it feel like home.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/familymwr/4929685747/

Share This Post

5 Ways to Enjoy Time With Friends Without Breaking The Bank

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photo Credit

In these tough economic times, many people are starting to feel the pinch. Getting out and seeing friends is an important part of your social life though, and it can be difficult to think of exciting things to do when you’re on a budget.

Here, we take a look at five ways to enjoy time with friends without breaking the bank.

Host a dinner party

Going out for dinner can be expensive, though it’s something that so many people enjoy. After all, what could be better than sharing good food with good friends? While restaurant bills can add up to hundreds if you aren’t careful, hosting your own dinner party can be remarkably cheap. Buy your ingredients from the local market, and consider asking friends to bring along dessert and drinks. You might want to invest in a few pieces to make the occasion special, such as high quality champagne flutes, which you’ll be able to use again and again.

Look out for discounts and coupons for events

The internet is a great resource when it comes to finding discounts. Sign up to daily offer sites, or just keep checking back with your favourite businesses. With lots of competition out there, they want to keep your interest and get you through the doors! You can also get money off vouchers when you’re signed up to certain mobile phone networks. From restaurants to bowling, there’s something out there for everyone.

Make use of happy hour

Sometimes, saving money is all about picking the best times! A few rounds of drinks in your favourite bar could cost less than half of the usual price if you go during happy hour. This isn’t just the case for pubs, either. Many restaurants and cinemas offer special deals for those who visit outside of peak times. Find out what’s available at your usual haunts. Why pay more for exactly the same?

Try new things

Most people fall into the habit of doing the same old things weekend after weekend. But if you’re willing to try something new, you could be amazed at how much cash you’ll save while having a great time. Activities such as walking, for example, offer a fun way to get fit without spending a penny. When you get your friends involved, it could be an interesting day out. Pack a picnic and take along a map, just in case! Similarly, many councils offer free taster activities, covering everything from exercise to pottery.

If you’re struggling for ideas for your next social gathering, why not give one of these a go? You have nothing to lose, and you could discover an exciting new hobby or interest.

 

 

This article was brought to you by Ruth Jones on behalf of Gurasu. Gurasu specialises in fine crystal products for the more discerning customer, with ranges that include crystal vases, glass tumblers and much more.

Share This Post

Top 5 Budget Hotels In Boracay

While Boracay remains a world-class tourist destination that hosts a vast number of luxurious and renowned hotels, the island still has a lot of affordable hotels and inns to offer. So, if you are bound for Boracay, and you are looking for the best and most affordable deal for your accommodation, make sure to consider these budget hotels in Boracay:

Bans Beach Resort

Bans Beach Resort

Photo credit: majorpanicuk

Bans Beach Resort is a budget resort that is just situated three kilometers from the white pristine sands of Boracay, and just a few minutes away from the Station 2 D’Mall. For one thousand five hundred pesos only, Bans Beach Resort gives you an air-conditioned room with a set of modern amenities, such as a private bathroom, hot and cold shower, refrigerator, cable television and a Wifi access.

Rate per night: 1,500 PHP

Villa Romero

Villa Romero

Photo credit: tripadvisor.com

Situated just a few meters away from the famed Boracay White beach, lies a renowned budget hotel known as Villa Romero. The rooms offered by this budget hotel would usually cost around one thousand five hundred to three thousand five hundred pesos per night, depending on the size of the room and the type of accommodation.

Rate per night: 1,500 PHP

Banana Saging Guesthouse

Banana Saging Guesthouse
Photo credit:tanyaregala

Located in Bulabog Beach, Banana Saging Guesthouse offers their guests with an easy access to the best and liveliest activities that the island has to offer. From Banana Saging Guesthouse, you can take pleasure in visiting and touring Boracay’s finest attractions like the D’Mall, Boat Station 2 and Bulabog beach. On top of that, this budget hotel offers a wealth of comfortable amenities and unrivaled services like a massage center, a restaurant, water sports, a bar and a free Wi-fi access.  For the most part, the rates per room per night from this budget hotel would cost around eight hundred to one thousand pesos.

Rate per night: 800 to 1,300 PHP

B&B Resort

B&B Resort

Photo credit: tripadvisor.com

B&B resort is a tropical resort that offers affordable rates for their services and amenities. For the most part, their rooms would cost around seven to one thousand pesos per night. Aside from its quality and economical rooms, this budget hotel has competent, friendly accommodating personnel.

Rate per night: 700 to 1,000 PHP

Boracay Tourists’ Inn

Boracay Tourists’ Inn
Photo credit:bee my honey

One of the most affordable inns and hotels in Boracay Island today is the Boracay Tourists’ Inn. For only nine hundred pesos, you get a luxurious and restful place that is equipped with air-conditioning, a cable TV, a private shower and a refrigerator.  Aside from offering affordable and luxurious rooms, Boracay’s Tourists’ Inn is also situated just a few steps away from the island’s seashore.

Rater per night: 900 PHP

You do not have to spend a fortune in order to get a luxurious and relaxing vacation in Boracay Island. Besides getting Cebu Pacific promo, you can also save a lot of money from your Boracay escapade by staying at a budget hotel. Aside from their economical rates, budget hotels in Boracay provide tons of amazing amenities as well.

 

About the Guest Author

This post is written by Melanie Sy, a traveller who wants to share her travel experience and adventures.

Share This Post

Losing Weight and Eating Healthy while on a Budget

Losing Weight and Eating Healthy while on a Budget

Photo Credit

Anyone who wants to lose weight or lose the belly fat must perfectly understand that to achieve that goal, diet and exercise should go together. Not just one, but both. But given our modern trying times, another key factor comes into the picture: budget. And honestly, it plays a very big role in your goal plan, especially if one adopts frugal living as a lifestyle.

While researching diet plans and weight loss techniques over the internet, I have found numerous articles that encourage dieters to eat high-protein meat like turkey, red meat, or salmon. Consume healthy unsaturated or monosaturated fat that can be found in avocado, olive oil, almonds, sunflower seeds, and the list goes on. Eat green vegetables like lettuce, celery, cauliflower and the list goes on. And every time I go to the supermarket, the prices for these diet foods are very expensive. Yikes!

As for the exercises, the famous action plan for dieters is to hit the gym. Most gyms require membership fees that do hurt the budget too.

So what do frugal livers do?

Start with the Right Mind

I think it starts with the mind. Why do you want to lose weight or your belly fat? Determine what motivates you, and create a mantra for it. Say it to yourself over and over again. While trying not to eat your favorite unhealthy food, say that mantra. When you get tired and your knees already hurt from too much exercise, say that mantra. If your motivation is weak, chances are you’ll be ditching your goals sooner than later.

Every body is Unique, Your Body is Unique

Listen to your body. Which time of the day do you feel most hungry? In spite of all the diet and exercise, why am I not losing pounds? How do I stop myself from grabbing another cup of rice, or ordering another round of drinks? And why do I eat less but gain weight and fat so fast? When you determine the answers to the questions above, then likely you’ll adjust your eating habits, self-control, and again, motivation.

Eating the Right Food

Now here comes the food part. Yummy, but in dieting, the word is sacrifice. Though it requires a lot of sacrifice, it does not have to be sad or deprived. Studies show that skinny people enjoy their food and do not gain weight easily because they savor it and chew it properly, before grabbing another. So try to enjoy your food on the table, and not devour it. And make sure to eat the right food. Right. Food. Set out a diet plan that is budget-friendly.

Eat oatmeal or whole wheat bread for snacks.

Eat less rice, hence you can save money.

Drink lots of water, it is cheap.

Eat a lot, and I mean a lot of fruits and vegetables. Eating a lot of it does not harm the weighing scale, even so, is more healthy and beneficial for your weigh loss goal. Fruits can be expensive, so try buying them in the market where the price is still within supplier price. Apples, mangoes, banana, are good options for breakfast or dinner. Then you can eat rice on your lunch. Or whatever makes you comfortable. I can not stress enough the importance of fruits in a diet plan, because it is highly recommended. I think it is one of diet techniques that is mostly ignored or overlooked. Fruits help flush the fat from your body, make you less hungry often, and do not make you feel bloated.

Avoid oily food, you don’t want to add more fat in your body.

Ditch the soda and other high sugar-content juices. Drink green tea, or hot water with lemon.

Here comes the hard part. Ditch the junk food and fast food. They contain a lot of salt, preservatives, and monosodium glutamate. When salt content enters the body, it retains water in the body which in effect, can make body look bulgy. They contain a lot of carbs too.

Exercise: Move a Lot

After knowing your diet plan, choose where you can exercise. You can jog in parks that do not collect entrance fees. You can do yoga in your home. You can lift weights using improvised tools such as a water bottle that contains sand, it becomes heavy. Other improvised workout routines can be the following:

At your home, try to do planking, push-up, and sit-up for 30 minutes everyday.

If you have stairs at your home, use it as a workout source. Climb first stairstep with left foot, then right foot. Step down using left foot, then right foot. Repeat for 5 times.

This is yet the best cardio exercise for me: jumprope. I swear I lost few pounds pounds after jumping ropes for 30 minutes everyday for 2 weeks. It is not just cardio, but also an overall workout routine that enhances muscle flexibility and mind-arm coordination. It works a lot of part of your body: arms, legs, knees, stomach, and thigh.

But if you have no time for exercise, go aggressively with your diet plan and try to move a lot. If your work involves sitting whole day, try to stand and have a short walk every 20 minutes. You can maybe go to the restroom, the kitchen, or talk to your friends. After work, if you live nearby, you can just walk the distance. Or if you commute, try to walk to the farthest jeepney or bus stop. At home, you can wash laundry standing up. Cook food. Watch the TV while doing something productive like cleaning. The key thing is try to move a lot.

Take it One Day at a Time

There are no shortcuts.  And it takes a significant amount of work. Nothing that is worth having comes easy. Just like any goals in life, shedding a few pounds and fat in the body needs discipline, work, and honestly some sacrifices. But enjoy your journey and don’t be too hard to yourself. Make it a lifestyle and not just a one-time or weeklong phase. Just like in the practice of frugal living, spend wisely. So choose your food wisely. Choose your motivations wisely. And you’ll just wake up one day and realize you have conquered yourself, and the reward is you lose some pounds and fat. Success!

 

About the Guest Author

This guest post is written by Cathy Tejano, a technical writer, blogger and a vegetarian-wannabe. She blogs at Lens and Pens.

Share This Post

How to Make Yourself More Employable as a Freelancer

How to Make Yourself More Employable as a Freelancer

At a time when there are around 197 million people unemployed across the globe, there’s no doubt it can be incredibly difficult to find a job. This is highlighted even more by some of the latest figures from recruiters which estimate that upwards of 100 job seekers are now applying for a single vacancy.

So what can you do to make yourself stand out from the crowd and ensure you are picked ahead of numerous other candidates?

Get some experience

According to a study by High Fliers Research – a company investigating recruitment opportunities for university leavers – 36 per cent of jobs offered by employers in 2013 will be awarded to people who have already worked for them in some capacity.

As such, it is essential to get as much work experience as possible, even if this sometimes unfortunately means taking on unpaid work placements or internships. In addition to ensuring you already have one foot in the door at a certain workplace, this experience will help to develop key skills that employers look for – such as communication, organisation and trust, arguably three of the most important for a freelancer. You should also take this opportunity to demonstrate how punctual and eager to work you are, as these are aspects that will be looked upon favourably and give you the edge over applicants who are not currently in similar positions.

Social media

With the popularity of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook increasing drastically in recent years, people are putting more and more information about themselves on the internet. As a result, it has become common practice for employers to search an applicant’s name and find their social media profiles.

Therefore, it is vital you make sure they do not find anything that would put them off employing you. If you are applying for jobs in a certain sector, try to make posts that show your expertise in that area and shy away from making risky jokes or saying things that could be construed as offensive. In certain circumstances organisations have used the content on staff’s social media profiles as ammo for dismissal, which has then resulted in employment solicitors having to get involved to ensure this was legitimate. Unfortunately this is being seen more and more so it’s worth giving profiles a quick once over to make sure there’s nothing on there an employer could look unfavourably upon.

Think carefully about your application

Whereas job seekers once speculatively handed their CVs out to employers en masse, it is now quite common to see applicants copy and paste answers to online questionnaires and send the same resume to a number of different companies.

However, the need to tailor your application to the specific vacancy cannot be understated. This will really pay off in the long run and it is a far more effective use of your time to submit a handful of good, targeted applications than numerous identical ones.

As well ensuring your CV is specific to the particular role you are applying for, producing a cover letter that is unique to the company is also essential. You should look to make sure you make reference to the firm and why you want to work there, as well as highlighting the skills and experiences you possess that make you the ideal candidate.

Time spent researching the company will not be wasted, because you will need this information when it comes to the interview stage of the process. Simply looking at the firms’ websites for a few minutes will not provide you with the required insight, so investigate further to see if you can find out specific details relating to what they do, who they work with and who their competitors are. These are all details that will seriously impress a potential employer and the fact you have done the research shows you are keen to secure the job.

 

Photo above is used under Creative Commons License.  Credit.

Share This Post

Top 8 Effective Ways to Encourage Your Child to Save Money

Top 8 Effective Ways to Encourage Your Child to Save Money

We are living in difficult financial times, so one of the most important lessons for your children to learn is how to put money aside for a rainy day or for unexpected situations that may be around the corner. It can be tough to get children motivated by saving money, so we’ve come up with some great ways to get them involved:

 

1. Start them young

Children live in the moment and find it really hard to hold onto their money once they’ve got it, so start them young! Teach them to drop coins into their piggy bank from when they are a toddler, and help them understand why it’s important to let those coins build up before spending.

2. Open a savings account

Take your child to the bank and open an account in their name – this will help them feel part of the process and understand the importance of saving for the future.

3. Reward their efforts

Let’s face it, saving is pretty boring when you’re 10 years old and would rather rush out and spend, spend, spend! Make sure you praise their efforts to save whenever you can, and encourage them to treat themselves sometimes too.

4. Goals and dreams

As your child gets older, talk to them about their dreams – do they want to travel the world, buy a house or train to be a doctor or a vet? What does that mean for their savings? Help them to see how much they will need to achieve their goals.

5. Talk about money matters

Children need to understand about money and realise that they can’t have everything they want or everything they see on TV. By talking about how much things cost and the true value involved in saving up for something special, you will help your child understand how finances work.

6. Set a good example

Remember that your child will learn by example, so create your own piggy bank and make it clear that you are saving up for a trip out, a new sofa or a better car. This will help show your child that saving is a part of normal daily life.

7. Match their savings

Of course in these tough financial times this won’t always be possible, but if you can, offer to match whatever your child manages to save and help them achieve their goals even faster. Or if you’re not in a position to put in money, why not ask friends and family to let your child do odd jobs to raise more cash?

8. Save as a family

In difficult times, families stick together. Help encourage your child to understand the value of saving money by doing it as a family. Whether you’re saving for a holiday, a trip to the cinema or a new pet, make sure you all talk about how close you are to your goal and celebrate when you get there. Your child will love being part of your world, and it will teach them valuable lessons about the importance of saving and being patient.

Encouraging your child to save money will teach them vital life skills such as patience and determination. Saving money will also increase their confidence and help them to stay focused on their goals. By teaching your child these skills you really will give them a fantastic start in life.

 

About the Guest Author

This post is written by Ealing Trading, who provide cash loans when you need them most.

Share This Post

Frugal Living & Entrepreneurship Is Possible

It’s remarkable to see that mainstream entrepreneurs have emerged at a time when the economy is going through financial crisis. This proves the notion that there is opportunity in adversity. This post examines how creating your business is one of the main ways of ensuring your financial security.

The buzz of micro-ecosystem

There has been a lot of innovation when it comes to minimizing the size of devices and expanding their capacity. Take smartphones for that matter or nanotechnology which is harboring a lot of potential ranging from healthcare treatments to use in the textile industry. This diversity shows the value created by making the access of technology easier.

You don’t need to come up with big ideas or massive inventions. Now, it’s the era of the micro-innovations or modification of existing technology to make it better. Smartphones or similar technologies have spawned off profit incentives. For example, app development is a massive business. Similarly, healthcare is now being defined by having better and bigger databases for treatment. All these factors indicate that there’s a looming opportunity in the micro-ecosystem.

Self-employment and being frugal-the connection

The philosophy is pretty simple. If you can control your cash, winning in business is a possibility. Since you are frugal, you won’t have the urge to spend unnecessarily. The element of research becomes important here. You have to identify a niche or an area which has not been maximized or used by existing entrepreneurs. This will allow you more room for growth.  It was generally thought that entrepreneurs spend big to win big. However, safe play has churned out the best results for many.

Understanding consumer behavior

The advent of social networking as well as free access of data on the internet has allowed entrepreneurs to analyze the target market in a refined manner. These channels have created businesses, for which, the target market is entirely virtual. This means that the opportunity is always there for you to grab. A frugal entrepreneur has a potent mixture of caution and motivation to succeed.

He would opt for term life insurance for ensuring some financial security while he could possibly use his retirement saving to invest in a business. With the consumer behavior is changing over a period of time; it is quite possible to examine it closely. After doing so, prediction can be made as to which side the market would turn.

Previously, such statistics were decided or predicted by a team of analysts trained in consumer psychology, but now, if you engage on social media, you can know the interests of people in your interaction zone, and this is where you can go for the kill. This is how consumer tips for various products/services are made.

The Paradigm Shift

The global economics has shifted from huge corporates to a multitude of profit earning micro set ups. The works in microfinance landed a Noble Prize in economics a few years back. The way down the road is still clear for people who want to do their business.

The competition is there, but the cost of living is also on the rise day by day. The ideal alternate exists in the form of having your own business. The idea is that in order to save money, you need to earn money.

 

Share This Post

How To Combat Impulsive Buying With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

What is it that causes some people to get into debt and others to financially thrive? You might be tempted to say it’s simply down to their salaries, but often this really isn’t the case and you can have two people on the exact same salary but with completely different finances. Of course the cost of living here comes into play a lot, and dispensable income is calculated by how much is left over after they’ve paid for everything they need to survive. A family with lots of children isn’t going to be as well off as a single professional on the same salary. But again even if you compare two people with near enough the same living costs you’ll find that there are often significant differences.

The issue then comes down to how they choose to spend that dispensable income and whether they opt to save it, invest it or fritter it away. Often people who are in a lot of debt could actually have avoided the situation had they chosen not to pay for a holiday that year or their widescreen TV. Of course it’s not always the case, but there are certainly a lot of people who fall into this category. In fact, if you look around you’ll often find that people with less money end up spending more and getting themselves into more debt while those with more money can come across as more tight fisted. So what’s going on?

The Urge to Buy

The problem is that some people just struggle with the urge to make expensive purchases and aren’t as good as others at ignoring this temptation. Of course if you are someone with poor impulse control, then ignoring the temptation to buy the latest gadget might be a little harder for you, and this is going to reflect on your finances.

There’s more going on here though too. For one there’s the smart marketing employed by companies and store owners which is all geared towards getting you to want their products and to make a rapid purchase. Then there’s the fact that many people actually get a sense of self-worth from making purchases they can’t afford. For many people self-esteem is tied closely with material possessions – and particularly if they don’t have much money and are sensitive about that fact. In short if you don’t have any money and you feel bad about that, then you might actually make more purchases so that you can look and feel as though you do.

Likewise people with less money are often happier to make purchase because they have less of a ‘pot’ saved, meaning they almost have ‘less to lose’ (even though they’re actually spending a higher proportion of their overall savings).

Overcoming the Urge

Why have I told you all this? Because understanding the psychological processes at play here can greatly help you to prevent yourself making unwise choices when it comes to spending money. If you find that you do get some of your sense of self-worth from making purchases then you should try to find other ways to get that feeling and you should change the way you think about material possessions. If you buy things compulsively almost, then you may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy which will be able to address the underlying thought patterns that result in your buying behavior. You can learn more here: http://www.ocduk.org/cognitive-behavioural-therapy

Learning Tricks

Seeing a cognitive behavioural therapist you may also be able to learn some useful skills that you can employ the next time you find yourself wanting to make a purchase. An example of this might be to simply make the decision to buy the product later instead. For instance then, you could write down the item you wanted to buy and make the decision to buy it in two months. This way you can rest easy knowing that it’s ‘sorted’, but often you’ll find that in two months’ time you don’t want the same item any more anyway.

Likewise another method could be to make ‘one in, one out rule’ meaning that every time you make a new purchase you have to get rid of something old. This is financially a smart system because you’ll save money by selling off lots of items, but it will also help you to make fewer purchases as you won’t want to get rid of your things.

In fact just having a ‘cull’ of your belongings can help you to become less dependent on them and make it easier to turn down purchases in the future.

About the Guest Author:

The writer of this post, Nick Dunin works as a finance management blogger with http://www.debtconsolidation.com.au and provides efficacious options to people in need with their debt repayment issues.

Share This Post

Freelancing: The Definitive How-To Home Phone Setup Guide for Freelance Bloggers

N.B.: The article below is not just helpful for freelance bloggers but to any freelancers who travel a lot.  It is written by Rachel Greenberg, a fellow writer from the TheDigest.com.

Whether I’m blogging silly photos of my cat in a bunny costume or offering tips on how to be a successful entrepreneur, the beauty of blogging is that I can write from the comfort of my own home. For all of those at-home bloggers that use a residential VoIP system, they get to experience the best of both worlds: they can work in their PJs, but they also have a fully-featured phone system that gives a highly professional outward appearance.

With VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), customers get a cheap Internet home phone service that is as fully-featured and reliable as any traditional home phone service, but without the high costs associated with traditional providers. In so doing, at-home bloggers can make every penny count without sacrificing quality home phone service.

Cost Savings

If I’m blogging just for fun, blogging full-time, or blogging for a little supplemental cash, I’m most likely in the market for a money saving telephone system.

Installing a telephone line in your home office with a traditional phone provider can result in a huge bill. Traditional phone services often charge installation fees and technician fees on top of you regular high monthly phone bill. And if you want to add a second line, that’ll cost you another pricey visit from the technician.

With a residential VoIP provider, however, you receive much cheaper monthly service, while in many cases installation is completely free of charge. VoIP services usually cost $10 to $20 per line, while traditional phone companies are notorious for charging between $20 and $40 per line.

Free Features

VoIP systems can also offer your at-home business a professional outward appearance to the public. With VoIP companies, you can receive numerous free phone features, such as conference calling, call waiting, and call forwarding, which can make your residential blogging business seem more capable and efficient. Oftentimes, traditional phone companies otherwise charge you for these basic features.

Unlimited Nationwide Calls

Well-respected bloggers need to keep up to date on the latest trends, whether it’s a new technology popular among teens or a promising new anti-aging solution, you need to stay on top of the fads.

In some cases, you’ll want to receive first-hand information, and that more than likely means picking up the phone to call experts, witnesses, and other bloggers. It’s not uncommon, however, that you will need to interview someone who lives on the other side of the country.

The good news is that you don’t have to forgo valuable quotes and opinions from those subjects just because of your fear of long distance calling charges. Countless VoIP providers offer free and unlimited domestic calling on basic residential plans. These basic plans allow you to spend as much time as you want on a nationwide call, jotting down all the juicy details for must-read blog entry.

Low International Calling Rates

Some of the most successful bloggers have worldwide followers. Acquiring a readership that spans the globe means adapting to an international audience. Bloggers need to write about topics that will interest and intrigue international readers, and to do so, bloggers just may have to pick up the phone.

Regardless of whether I’m blogging about current events in China, or announcing a popular hair treatment in the UK, I’ll want to be able to cover every story without worrying about the related phone bills.

Fortunately, various residential VoIP providers offer affordable international calling rates. Many providers charge just pennies per minute for international calling, while others provide unlimited international calling plans. These international calling plans offer unlimited calling to various international destinations for a set fee each month. Residential VoIP provider ITP, for example, features a global calling plan with unlimited calling to 60 countries for a flat rate of $24.99/month.

Flexibility

Perhaps I’m conducting research at the library for my latest blog entry or maybe I’m just hanging out in the coffee shop while I work. With a VoIP provider, I can continue to send and receive VoIP calls even if I’m miles away from my residential landline.

One of the most convenient aspects of VoIP is that with a hosted VoIP system, you can receive your VoIP calls on virtually any mobile device, from PC and laptops to tablets and smartphones.

Simply log into your VoIP account on any of these devices, and a softphone will appear on your screen. A softphone is an on screen dialpad, which allows you to use your device to make a call through your regular landline phone number. You can also receive incoming calls to your home phone number this way.

This is a great feature for bloggers who want the freedom to blog outside of their homes and still remain accessible by their VoIP number. This feature also allows you to take advantage of those unlimited nationwide calls and low calling rates for international calls from any remote location.

Photo above is used under Creative Commons License. Credit.

About the Guest Author
Rachel Greenberg
is a tech and telecom writer and editor.

Share This Post

5 Top Tips to Travel on the Cheap!

N.B.: This guest post is brought to you by Roy Duffield, a fellow blogger from the UK.  Hope you will learn something from his tips.EOD

As kids we tend to think that life is free, and it’s hard to imagine that we’ll have to get jobs one day. We picture our dream lives, doing what we want, going where we want, when we want. All the while “Grown-ups” are telling us we are wrong, that one day we’ll become grown-ups ourselves, realise our mistake and have to settle down, get a job, get a mortgage, pay the mortgage, etc, etc…

For a while I feared this may be true…and then I discovered travel, and I became a kid at heart again.

The truth is, travel is a lot cheaper than you think, and whether you are tramping or travelling in luxury, there are always ways to save money, which in turn means that dream trip can last as long as possible.

Here are my 5 top tips to travelling cheap:

Accommodation

A major reason why a lot of people don’t travel is the cost. They say they can’t afford hotels. Well, I’m here to prove those people wrong. The cost of anything is relative to the GDP of the country you’re going to. Therefore, what we might class as a fancy hotel, can cost almost nothing in the cheaper countries in the world. Furthermore, when you think about it, you pay rent back home don’t you? Now say your rent is around £300 a month. That’s £10 a night, and trust me, there are a lot of nice places (nicer than a £300/month flat) out there for less than £10 a night…

Go long haul!

…which brings me to my next point. The other reason people often think travel is expensive and thus can’t understand how others do it, is because they’re thinking too short-term. One of the biggest expenses when going on holiday is the flight. Since most people only get a couple of weeks off work at a time, they are used to short holidays of a week or two. Now think about this: if a flight to Florida costs £450 and you go for 2 weeks, that’s £225 a week on the flight. However, if you go away for 3 months, backpacking the States, you’re only looking at around £35 a week. Much more affordable. Go away for a year, and the flight, spread out, barely costs a thing. Some great ways to extend your trip include learning a language as you travel, teaching one, or any other kind of work abroad (see below).

Couchsurfing

And there ways to cut down the cost of travel even further! Couchsurfing.org is a great example of how, if you are prepared to think outside the box a little, you can travel for practically nothing…and you also get a much richer travel experience, meet more locals, and so on. As long as you’re prepared to give as well as get – so, for example, offering to cook a meal for your hosts, teach them a skill, or about your own culture or traditions – this is the option for you! And don’t forget to ask the people you meet about their own money saving tips! Locals always know the cheapest places to eat, drink and shop.

Hitchhiking

And while we’re on the subject of travelling for free, hitchhiking is another great way to meet people, get deeper into the culture of the place you’re travelling, and save so cash that would’ve gone on buses, trains or even flights. You’ll also get more freedom than with public transport and you can choose which roads to travel, where you get on and off, etc. Just exercise some caution. There are plenty of great sites with tips for safe hitchhiking.

Work while you travel!

Finally, all of the above focus on how to cut your spending, but what about using travel as a way to make money? Whether you want to WWOOF (work on an organic farm), in a call centre, as an au pair, in a bar, or as an English teacher (TEFL), there are plenty of opportunities waiting for you all over the world, from Sydney to Cusco, Varna to Kamloops. If you’re a keen writer you can even make money from your blog, or also as a freelancer. There are plenty of organisations and websites offering various travel benefits in exchange for online content, whether it be a free room at a hostel, or a more long-term set up.

I hope you found this inspiring. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll all be on the move, livin’ the dream. But until then, happy travels! Don’t forget to let me know what you think or ask any questions in the comments.

Photo above is used under Creative Commons License.  Credit.

About the Guest Author

This has been a guest post by Roy Duffield. Why not check out his travel stories and notes from the road.

Share This Post

5 Ways to Bring Your Freelancing Career to the Next Level

N.B.  This week’s freelancing guest post is brought to you by Erica Moss, a fellow writer who is also a well-seasoned freelancer.  You will surely learn a lot of new stuff about Freelancing if you’ll continue reading her article below.EOD

Being a freelancer is a very rewarding path for creative and self-motivated people. You’re not tied to a mind-numbing commute or the same drab office day in and day out. You work on different and exciting projects, and meet new people all the time. Those who choose the freelance lifestyle are generally pretty happy with their choice, but finding new clients and new projects can sometimes be the most challenging thing they do.

The one thing that a freelancer should always dread is getting into a rut. If things aren’t improving, then sometimes it can be easy to lose sight of why you even became a freelancer in the first place. It can be extremely beneficial to your career and your well-being to break through these plateaus.

One of the biggest advantages of being a freelancer is that you have control over your destiny, but sometimes it can be nice to have some help. To that end, here are five simple tips to help get out of a rut or over a plateau and to generally improve your freelancing career:

Increase Your Rates as You Gain Skill and Experience

While it may have been okay to charge rock-bottom rates when you were trying to break into the field, your compensation rise should reflect your skill and experience. There is a human psychology element to premium pricing: Those who charge more and have the skills to back it up will often land the job over the cheaper but less-experienced person.

Don’t sell yourself short! You are really good at what you do, better than you used to be, and your rates should reflect that. Try not to let longstanding clients bully you or guilt you into keeping your rates low, either. You need to upgrade your tools and skills over the years, and they secretly know that. And on that note …

Upgrade Your Tools and Skills

Whether it’s learning a new version of the software you use or upgrading your hardware, tools or materials to reflect changing trends, it really helps to keep on top of things. Announcing that you now use a new version of a popular software package or have upgraded to a new device that can help you express yourself better can actually bring in new clientele.

Think about people in your field who are stuck in a rut and keep churning out the same thing over and over again — you don’t want to be that guy. Trends change, and you need to change with them to stay relevant.

Invest in an Online Portfolio

There are so many great online portfolio sites out there that no matter what you freelance in, there’s bound to be a perfect site for you. Many of the high-end portfolio sites have free basic services, but to really connect with others and make it worth the time, you should probably invest in the premium paid service.

If you’re an artist or designer, for example, Behance offers a premium service that can put you in front of serious prospective clients. Photographers might want to try selling their work on 500px or Smugmug. No matter what you do, having the right portfolio site might be the difference between a slow month and a busy one — and sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

Take Your Social Media Networking to the Next Level

Whether you love it or hate it, social networking was “the future” of marketing a couple of years ago; now it’s the present. You’ll have a very hard time finding new clients online without the important connections that social media provides. At the bare minimum, having a current and modern website, Facebook profile and Twitter account is required. If you cannot or will not make these profiles and use these services, it might even be worth hiring someone to do it for you.

For every kind of freelancer, there is a valid and important social network. Image-based networks such as Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest can be incredibly beneficial for artists and photographers, while Facebook and Twitter are tremendously important for bloggers and writers — freelance journalists, for example, are expected to have active Twitter accounts at this point. No matter what your discipline or social network of choice, putting effort into your social media outreach will only benefit you.

Find a Mentor

There is nothing like a kick in the pants from someone you respect to get a fire lit under you. Sometimes only that human touch can get us to snap out of a rut. Find someone who is successful in your field or someone you respect and reach out to them. Ask them for advice; be humble; thank them. Remember that some day, someone might ask the same favor of you.

Hopefully these tips will help you stay on track. Remember: You are a freelancer, and the world is your oyster!

Photo above is used under Creative Commons License.  Credit.

About the Guest Author

Erica Moss is the community manager for Georgetown University’s online graduate nursing programs, which partners with Nursing License Map to provide valuable nursing license information. She enjoys blogging, TV, pop culture and tweeting @ericajmoss.

Share This Post

Frugal Handicraft Ideas: 7 Recyclable Home Items You Can Transform Into Beautiful Gift Souvenirs

N.B.:(At the moment I’m still publishing guest posts on this site as I’m still very busy with work and settling some personal matters. I’m not sure yet when I can fully blog.)

The essence of frugal living is to live within your means and to make use of the things that are considered useless by many. The core value of frugality doesn’t mainly depict saving money but to create and recreate things so that nothing will be wasted.

On the other hand, this quote by Samuel Pepys is for you. “He that will not stoop for a pin will never be worth a pound.” Hope you will learn something from this guest post from my fellow blogger, Laura Brently. - EOD

If you are one of those who are in the business of making beautiful things with your hands, from souvenir gift items to handicrafts, chances are you’re wondering how to cover the cost of packaging considering you already spent a lot on the materials to make the products you are about to sell. No need to fret, because a lot of potential packaging materials are available right in your house and in your favourite school and office supplies store. You’ll be surprised that you already have some of these materials in your house. You’re only limited by your creativity.

1. Paper Lunch Bags - You can buy these cheap by bulk, and the classic brown ones have a very down-home, comfortable look that makes it flexible for designers and artists to come up with various designs. These can be used to package anything from figurines, plush toys, to CDs and paperback books. In this easy-to-follow instruction from DIY craft blogger and musician David Curry, you can learn how to use paper lunch bags as a nice case for your CDs.

2. Paper clips - You can use coloured paper clips to seal bags or wrappers, and you can even bend them into attractive shapes, as demonstrated in this project by designer Jessica Jones. You can even go crazy with the design by using rainbow-colored or striped paper clips!

3. Zip lock bags - These nifty items can be used to store and pack anything from food to spare parts to medicine. Expert handcrafter and stay-at-home mom blogger Deanna provides an awesome-looking step-by-step instruction on how to make a reusable ziplock bag (with a zipper!) that is both beautiful and useful.

4. Duct Tape - These items are probably left around in your garage or tool shed and forgotten, despite the vast potential you can have with them. These left-over duct tape rolls have been used to make everything from bags to flipflops. In this wikiHow tutorial, is a step-by-step guide on how to make a duct tape wallet. You can use this design as an attractive packaging option for small flat items such as laminated cards and specialized photo prints, and even include it as an add-on to make your handcrafted product stand out.

5. Sticker paper - With a basic desktop printer and a lot of sticker paper, you can design your own labels for bottles, containers and boxes. You can even laminate them to prevent smudging by using transparent packing tape, as demonstrated by CrazySexyFrugal blogger Joi in this blog post on DIY labeling for homemade cosmetics.

6. Old newspapers - Instead of sending them out for the garbage truck, why not re-use these and save a lot of trees in the process? In another tutorial, Jessica Jones shows us once more that with a bit of imagination and creativity, even mundane-looking old newspapers, doomed to be thrown out, can be used to make eye-pleasing packaging, in this case, gift bags made from newspapers.

7. Plastic drinking straws – Leftover unused straws from your last house party can be used as bag clips for sealing bags in a colorful and decorative way. This illustrated wikiHow instruction shows how it can be easily done with just a scissor as your tool.

Photo Credits: Paper Lunch Bags, Paper clips, Zip lock bags, Duct Tape, Sticker paper, Old newspapers, Plastic drinking straws

About the Guest Author

Laura Brentley is the marketing manager at Card Printing US, a plastic card and gift card specialist company . She’s also a craft enthusiast whose “go-to” tools are her triangle rule, a french curve and an x-acto knife.

Share This Post

Freelancing $5 At A Time

N.B.: As what I have mentioned in the previous freelancing guest post that I published almost a month ago, freelancing is a very challenging field and it is not ideal for anyone.  But, if you managed to get your hands on it, it would become a stable source of income with limitless opportunities.  Below is a guest post by my fellow freelancer, Marc Lafleur, on how he managed to start a freelancing career.EOD

Are you dreaming of being your own boss, to start freelancing and take control of your financial life, but don’t know where to start? Have you heard about $5 mini jobs web sites but didn’t give them a try yet?

Let me share with you my story.

It all started in January 2012 when a good friend of mine told me about $5 sites where you can offer mini jobs and also buy mini services. My friend is a funny comedian so he offered was to dance in a spandex suit and do dedicated videos for $5 that people could buy for themselves, their company or their friends. I even bought one from him to wish happy birthday to one of my relative.

I ‘Googled’ it and found sites like www.minijoblist.com, Fiverr, and a few other ones. All have a similar concept and interface and over 15 categories of jobs that you can create: Fun videos, graphic design, tips and advice, video testimonials, social marketing.

One category stood out: Social Marketing. I found tons of people selling Youtube views, Twitter Followers and Facebook Likes. I really had no clue how to do this and had no other skills to sell at the time so came up with an interesting idea: what is I can sell the exact same things that other people sell on the site, and once I get orders I hire someone else from the same site to do it for me?

In example, I noticed that some people were selling 5000 Youtube views for $5. So I decided to 1000 Youtube Views for $5 and every time I would get 5 orders I would pay that other seller $5 to fulfill the job. Soon I was making $50 per day just by forwarding a few emails, which took probably 30 minutes! This little exercise taught me a lot about micro entrepreneurship and 5$ outsourcing. It taught me that you can sell absolutely anything on the internet, even if you don’t have a clue about the industry and even if you don’t have any skills related to the matter. Just sell it, and then find someone to do it for you for cheaper.

Less work, more profits, more time for personal activities that you really want to do. Sweet deal!

So I wanted to take this concept further and promote it on Google (www.buymorefans.co.uk). It was a steep learning curve but I did, and 1 year later I am financially autonomous and starting 3 new online businesses as we speak.

Take control of your life: Sell anything online, then pay someone to do it for you for less. Good luck!

Photo used above is under Creative Commons License. Credit.

Share This Post

How to Live a Frugal Life as a Student

N.B.: When I was a student, I scrubbed floors and cleaned office furniture to free my parents from the burden of college tuition.  Though I worked as an assistant to our College Guidance Psychometrician, my daily tasks (aside from conducting exams and checking test papers) involve taking on menial jobs and running errands.  Looking back, I am quite proud of myself as I managed to graduate from college without debts and even helped my parents to minimize our expenses.

The daily allowance my parents gave me was only Php50 ($1.23).  It was quite small for a full-time working student with a big appetite.  But, I managed to squeeze it with the help of the little allowance I received as a working scholar.  I still can’t forget that I often brought rice from home to school to listen my lunch expenses.  And I only eat Chinese Ngohiong with it so that I would only spend around Php10 for my meal.

When I was a student, I can’t remember that I entered and ate in any fast food chains.  This is the very reason why I’m quite amazed these days watching students going in and out of fast food restaurants and other expensive diners.  Either they are really well off, or they just don’t give a damn about money.

Below is a guest post by my fellow blogger, Linda Forshaw, that teaches students these days on how to minimize their expenses and be more responsible in handling their parents’ money. - EOD

Living a frugal life is not about going without the things that you need; rather it is about living a life that avoids waste, extravagance, and unnecessary expenditure. As a student, money is likely to be tight, so there is never a better case for living a frugal life than while you are at college. Here are some top tips to help you do exactly that.

A budget is always the first place to start


When attempting to live a frugal life as a student (or in any other capacity for that matter), creating a budget should always be the very first thing you do. Include all income (from scholarships, student loans, part time work, and parental contributions) and all anticipated expenditure. Understanding how much you have to “play with,” is paramount to keeping on the financial straight and narrow.

Free is good but affordability is better


It goes without saying that free is always a good option. Whether it’s hooking up to free wifi to avoid data charges or joining your local freecycle group, you never know what you can pick up for free (and would otherwise have paid for). Cheaper (although not quite as attractive as completely free) is a close runner up. Adopting the mantra that every time you need something you will try and find it cheaper is a good plan. A good place to start is making full use of grocery coupons and visiting the store toward closing time to pick up any discounted food stuffs.

Sharing is sensible


There’s a lot of truth in the saying that “two can live as cheaply as one,” so imagine the savings that can be made from teaming up with more than one other person. As a student, most of your peers will be in the same boat financially speaking, so team up to help each other out. This could involve any number of things. You could each buy a textbook from a required reading list, start a supper club (whereby one of you cooks each night), or team up to benefit from bulk buy discounts, The possibilities to make savings are fairly endless.

Alternatives can be attractive


Always be on the lookout for cheaper alternatives. It can be as simple as when you fancy watching a movie, renting a DVD instead of forking out for an extravagant trip to the cinema. It could be that you really need a haircut. Could you wait until next week and bag yourself a cheaper appointment with a trainee hairdresser? This is all about seeking viable alternatives to the things you want or need. If you can’t wait for a better deal, remember to always ask for a student discount. Such discounts might not be widely advertised by a company, but they are often available.


Living frugally as a student doesn’t mean you won’t have any fun. You’ll probably have just as much fun as the other students in your class. The only real difference is that you’ll be getting a better deal.

Photo above is used under Creative Commons License.  Credit.

About the Guest Author

Linda Forshaw is a Business Information Systems graduate from Lancaster University in the UK. A contributor to Degree Jungle, she is a full time writer and blogger specializing in education, social media, and entrepreneurship. Contact her on Twitter @seelindaplay

Share This Post

Frugal Home Ideas: Green and Self-Reliant Additions to Your Home That Save Money

N.B.: Have you been thinking how to save electricity and lessen the frequency of buying new bulbs every time they got damaged? Or, perhaps are you planning to cut off on energy cost by buying solar-powered appliances? If you have these thoughts then you may continue reading below.  The following guest post is from my fellow writer, Sam Peters.EOD

Elektrostandard LED light bulb

You may be cutting down on the weekend meals or trying to shop smarter, but you may be unaware of huge savings that can be made through green installations at your home. Apart from the potential savings offered by these installations, they’ll also make your home self-reliant.  Here are some of the options you can go for.

1. LED light bulbs

These are low-energy consuming lights that can last for up to 20 years. For brightness, they use 90 percent low watts per hour compared to incandescent lights. They lead to savings in light and bulb purchases as well as in energy. They’re an investment worth looking into, and the cost only averages around $20 per unit. They’re a top choice when it comes to green home installations. Custom LED lightning installations also available to consumers.

2. Energy-saving adapters

Many of you would be fond of using consumer electronics at your home; laptops, smartphones, tablets, video games etc. Did you know they account for a total of 13 percent energy consumed at homes? This was reported by CEA, and the cost of charging and running these devices goes up to $191 per year.

Energy saving adapters (AC/DC) are now being manufactured by companies such as Green Plug. They’re made to give the devices the exact amount of charge they require, and shut themselves down automatically once the required amount of power has been given to the specified device. They’ll lead to money savings if you regularly charge devices and other electronic items.

3. Outdoor Solar motion sensor light

Apart from green installations inside the house, you could save some bucks by tweaking your home from the outside. The outdoor solar motion sensor lights provide you ‘free energy’ to use, They use the sun to charge themselves, and the charge goes on for up to 2 weeks.

They’re also brighter, and stay on during power outages as there’s no electricity involved. Therefore, you save in terms of electricity as well as home security.

4. Programmable thermostats

Thermostats have been around for a while, but advances have been made to make them more energy efficient, leading to savings. The thermostats are now being equipped with advanced sensors and algorithms, and they even allow for cloud computing.

These high tech thermostats can lead to a 30 percent decrease in average annual energy bill. An example of such as thermostat is Nest Learning Thermostat by Nest Labs.

A separate account can be maintained for spending on the listed and other green additions. Researching banks that offers the best interest rate on savings accounts would result in some options.

Apart from savings accounts, there’s also an option to go for current deposit account by comparing cd rates of different banks.

Photo used above is under Creative Commons License. Credit.

Share This Post

wordpress seo