Is travel insurance really worth it? I'd never go on holiday without it and here's why.

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Is travel insurance really worth it? I'd never go on holiday without it and here's why.

I went to Thailand 3 years ago and within 2 hours of being in the country I was in A&E. I stepped on a broken glass bottle and it went through my thong into my foot and I had to have stitches. Luckily for me I had travel insurance so managed to put in a successful claim when I returned from my trip. 

Have  a look at the table below that shows how much Travel insurance costs against the cost of a hospital bed in different countries.You wouldn't want to need medical attention in the Untied States if you hadn't bought Travel insurance!

Ok Fiji, The Philippines or India the cost of Travel Insurance maybe slightly greater, but then so is the risk.

Travel Insurance is important and definitely worth it. Ensure you incorporate this cost into your holiday budget as you don't want to have to find surplus funds whilst on holiday to pay for medical bills. 

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'Saving Money' and 'Not Spending Money'…is there really a difference?

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'Saving Money' and 'Not Spending Money'…is there really a difference?

I read a really interesting article that puts into perspective the difference between these two concepts. It may seem like a joke in the beginning but there’s a really important message that is being portrayed here.

A woman asks her man if he drinks every day and how much he spends on this habit. The man admits that he does and tells her how much he spends.

The woman then does a little maths and figures out how his habit has added up over the last 30 years. She says, “You know, if you had saved and invested that money, instead of buying all those drinks, you’d have enough money to buy a Ferrari.”

The man says, “I suppose so.” Then he asks if she drinks. She says that she doesn’t. “So where’s your Ferrari?” asks the man.

The important point to remember is even though the women doesn’t drink, or if you don’t smoke, or you have given up Foxtel or you haven’t eaten out in the past 3 months, you haven’t actually saved this money if you haven’t put it into a savings account or towards an investment. The theory proves you would have found another way to spend this money. You need to replace a bad habit with a good habit.

This can be achieved through a money mentoring plan, someone there to hold you accountable for your actions.

You need to have a customised plan to know where your money is going every month to ensure you are maximising on every dollar.

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Where has it gone? The mystery bag...

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Where has it gone? The mystery bag...

Food shopping on the weekend is definitely not a favourite chore of anyone but it has to be done right? I know I want to get in there, scoot around for some great bargains, avoid running over small children with the trolley and get out again.

This weekend was no different. I went in there found some great supermarket bargains, went through the checkout and before I knew it, I was on my way home. I thought how it was quite quick and stress free this week. UNTIL SUNDAY MORNING!

I went to the cupboard to get some bread as I thought I would freeze one loaf. I’m looking around and I cannot find the bread ANYWHERE. I looked in every cupboard, in the car, even in the laundry and the bathroom. I was adamant I had bought it because I remember it being 2 for $6, which was a saving of 60 cents – working in budgeting you realise how the small amounts each shop  mount up.

I thought to myself I am going to ring Coles and ask them did I leave a bag of shopping there and it would have been in a Woolworths bag (awkward, but that’s all I had at the time). The store manager answered the phone and informed me that nothing had been handed in and I said I’d thrown my receipt away. The store manager informed me to come in and he would sort the problem out. I rummaged through the bin, got my sticky tape out and started reconstructing the receipt. I checked off all the items and realised that not only had I lost 2 loaves of bread but also a 12 pack of eggs. I took my mangled receipt back to the shop and the store manager gave me the items that I had misplaced.

Even though my bag of shopping was not handed in, the next customer could have taken it with their shopping accidentally. Still, I managed to save myself $9.80 by not having to repurchase the products and using my initiative to chase it up.

So what did I learn from my shopping experience, always stay alert whilst shopping and ensure you have all your bags before you leave. If a mishap like this happens to you don’t be afraid to chase it up.

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What Could You Buy If You Gave Up That morning Coffee?

 This is merely an exercise to show you what can be done by putting just alittle bit away each day/week.  I am absolutely not advising you to give up coffee at all, as I am a three coffee a day kind of guy and without I would a grumpy little turd and entirely unemployable!!

(Assuming one coffee costing $5 per day every day of the week) 

In 1 Week you could have a box of beer (Becks $34.90 from Dan Murphy's Online)

In 1 month you could have a nice new pair of Nike Free trainers (On Sale $139.99 from FRebel Sport)

In 6 Months you could get 3 months 6 nights accommodation in a full apartment in the 11th arrondissement in Paris (from airbnb)

In 1 year you will have enough for a return flight from Sydney to Rome (From Flight Centre)

Happy saving!

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Having a party that is fit for a Queen, read on to find out how.

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Having a party that is fit for a Queen, read on to find out how.

It’s hard enough budgeting for one birthday party let alone 2. The Queen celebrates her birthday twice a year; her official birthday is a Saturday in June, usually the second and that’s why we lucky Australians get a public holiday on Monday. Her birthday is normally marked by the Trooping Colour ceremony, the flying of the Union flag on government buildings, a 42-gun salute at noon, and the publication of The Queen's Birthday Honours List. I wander how much all that would cost, it defiantly would'nt be a birthday you 'd forget.

But if you are planning a birthday party for a child, or maybe you’re celebrating a big birthday such as the big 30 or the big 40, you can make it unforgettable at an affordable cost. So what’s your plan to ensure you don’t break the budget and suffer a debt hangover the next morning?

Here are some top tips on how to save when organising a birthday party:

  1. Use a park instead of hiring a venue, there’s some great spots around Adelaide.

  2. Don’t worry about paper invites no one reads them anyway send a group email or send a text.

  3.  Bake your own cake or get the kids involved in making one.

  4. Have a combined party with a friend or relative that has a birthday the same time as you. 

  5. Plug an IPod in and play your favourite music rather than hiring someone.

You can make it memorable, at an affordable price, simply by using these top tips.

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Are supermarkets using Trolleyology to maximise sales?

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Are supermarkets using Trolleyology to maximise sales?

Down, down prices are down! No not really! Supermarkets are maximising their profits using clever techniques to entice us in, make us spend more and gaining free word of mouth when we tell our friends and families about the great deal at Coles or Woolworths this week. Loyalty cards are used to cleverly track our spending. Trolleyologist is an actual profession, believe it or not, they analyse our shopping habits and then supermarkets can use this information to cleverly market to us.

Below are the top ten clever ways supermarkets try to fool us once we are in. So next time have a think back to this article and see how many you were fooled by or managed to escape.

  1. Heavily discounted items are placed by the front door to get you excited about saving this will then make you more relaxed and less disciplined throughout the rest of your shop.

  2. Notice how that delicious smelling fresh bread and hot roasting chicken fill the air with that beautiful aroma? This gets the salivary glands working, distracting us, making us more inclined to impulse buy and not stay focused on purchasing items on the shopping list.

  3. Bright colour produce are displayed at the front (e.g. fruit and veg) this will put you in a positive happy mood, inspiring you to purchase more. Cardboard boxes and boring tin cans are all placed in the middle of the supermarket.

  4. Supermarkets are using tactics such as bigger Shopping carts. This is to make you think that you haven’t bought much yet, so it will make you think you need to purchase more, filling up your trolley, maximising your sales.

  5. Shop on a Monday or Tuesday if you can as these are the quietest times and you can focus more and not be influenced as easily by marketing techniques. Weekends are the busiest so we tend to want to get in and get out therefore falling for those sneaky marketing ploys.

  6. End of aisle products, are normally sold to supermarkets and will create the maximum profits for them. Walk around the corner with your eyes closed, be careful not to bump into anyone, but these products are not normally the best deal, and they are placed away from their competitors so you can’t easily price match. Sometimes they aren’t even on special they are just under big signage that makes them look like they are.

  7. Supermarkets also place costly products at eye level so children in trolleys can easily grab, or you can just grab as you are walking down the aisle. Look for the cheaper alternatives, higher up or lower down.

  8. Additionally, serving sizes are getting smaller however because it is a regular product we purchase we don’t tend to take much notice that the price is still the same, see our shrinkflation article.

  9. Statistics state items priced at 90, 95, 99 are more likely to be purchased because we read left to right we see the numbers before the decimal points and not worry about the numbers after. I tend to disagree, if I see $49.99 I see $50 not $49. I can believe this for high priced products e.g. houses or cars, if you see a house marked at $299,000 you will think you have purchased a house for less than $300,000. Rounded prices apparently show high end – if you are worried about the cents it’s a way for the marketer to say move on you can’t afford to shop here.

  10. Cleverly, supermarkets are designed in a rat run formation, we feel the need to walk up and down the aisles therefore giving marketers more opportunity to put promotional products right in front of our eyes. Also natural behaviour is to turn right when entering a supermarket.

But it’s not just supermarkets that use they sneaky manipulative techniques. Restaurants tend to overprice one item on the menu, this way they can then up the price of all the other menu items because they will always seem cheaper compared to the overpriced product. Stay alert, stay focused and reduce the chance of being manipulated.

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You need a flexible budget for your varied income.

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You need a flexible budget for your varied income.

If you are self-employed, a business owner, investor or freelancer, we all need a budget. I know you may think well my income is irregular how can I create a budget. The truth is you need a flexible budget more than anyone.

Firstly use the past 12 months to determine your spending pattern. Does your income vary because of seasonal work? Does it vary depending on whether clients can be bothered to pay up on time? Once you have established the reason why, then we can begin to create a flexible budget to deal with those circumstances.

Identify all your expenses whether its food, utilities, a shoe fetish, or a regular Friday night pub appearance at the local.

Now prioritise the necessities, we all know that we need food, shelter and warmth. So prioritise your mortgage or rent, utilities and groceries. Ensure you can pay for these every month.

On lower income months maybe you will have to cut your going out or take away budget and cook more at home. If you budget based on the lower income and allocate funds accordingly, having the extra income means you can still afford your needs and maybe some of your wants as well.

If you know that you have a period annually where business is low e.g. seasonal businesses or products, plan and set aside money each month leading up to that date. That way you have a buffer when you come to the low months and you can ensure you can pay for all the necessities.

If not stock up the pantry and then you know on the lower income months you can always put food on the table and you can use that income to pay the necessities such as utilities and rent.

The number one golden rule to remember, if you reduce the temptation to splash out and overspend on the good months, then you can set aside the surplus cash for months that are tougher. Why struggle to make ends meet on some months and live like a king on the other. Having the surplus cash and a buffer that you can use will help reduce stress and tension between relationships on the harder months.

Personal finances are up to the individual, ensuring the budget has flexibility and factoring in the luxuries that make you happy are not a bad thing, you just have to prioritise when you know income is varied.  

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Are we paying more because its Pink!

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Are we paying more because its Pink!

Women are paid up to 19% less than their male peers in the workforce, is it then fair that we are slammed with paying higher prices for products because they are branded towards women. NO! I collated some examples, courtesy of 9news of classic supermarket examples where you are paying extra just for being a women.

1) Razors – both Woolworths Select brand, both purchased to remove hair however the women’s version is priced $3 more expensive.

2) Hair Removal cream – Same brand, packaged differently and has a staggering $4.06 price difference.

3) Deodorants – supermarkets are clever with their marketing approach, even though the women’s version seems cheaper because it is at a reduced rate, the price per 100g is still $1.65 more expensive.

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4) Socks – just because they are pink and marketed towards women bonds socks are still 20c more expensive.

Supermarkets tend to not display the male and female versions next to each other as it’s easier for consumers to compare prices. So next time you are at the supermarket have a look out for these sneaky tactics and send us your pictures.

Another classic example of gender price discrimination are haircuts. No wonder why we see so many budgets here at Prudent Cashflow Mentors where we are having to allow a bigger allowance for haircuts for women over men. In 2000 a women took a salon to court after she was charged $56 and her male friend paid only $38 for exactly the same haircut. The salon had to introduce a unisex price list but there’s no legislation to combat gender price discrimination.

So maybe supermarkets should be offering unisex products to consumers, I would quite happily purchase unisex razors, shaving cream and deodorants. Even though Pink is my favourite colour, why should we pay more for products because they are pink and are branded towards women, espescially if they are all manufactured to carry out the same purpose and have the same function.

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