A Celebration of Life

We just had our first summer vacation for this year and where else but in the Philippines! The trip was planned early last year as the thought of celebrating my dad’s 70th birthday came to my mind. You know, reaching 70 in our country is already a milestone and considering my dad’s health condition, to celebrate his birthday is a way of thanksgiving. What else could be the perfect way to celebrate this special day? As usual, surprise dad like what we did two years ago. He had no idea that we’re coming home and he’ll get to celebrate his special day with his grandchildren.

We also took this opportunity to get my father-in-law to fly in from Indonesia. Although he just spent his Christmas holidays there, we requested for him to go back in time for our vacation. We rarely spend time with him since he’s been working abroad. The kids doesn’t even know him! So weeks before our departure, we decided to shoulder his tickets. However, problem came up while we were trying to book his flight. It seemed we were not allowed here to purchase a ticket for him using hubby’s credit card since the plane ticket holder will be different from the name of the ticket buyer. We’re glad brother-in-law came to the rescue. He’s a holder of one of the best credit cards in the Philippines. Buying the ticket online using his credit card was just easy peasy. Not that I haven’t realized yet how credit cards make things light to us consumers, but what happened made me reminisce my banker days. How agents call us, newly-hires and offer the best credit cards which perfectly match our profiles. In a few days, we were granted our first ever credit cards. What I liked in credit cards were the perks that come with it. Those points you’ll have to collect and eventually exchange for premium items. Or those miles which were converted to points if you are a frequent traveller. I would have used that credit card to buy our tickets to Manila. Sigh…

Anyway, back to reality… Although the celebration was just a simple lunch in Max’s, nothing can compare the joy I felt and saw in my dad as he was surprised by hugs of Zyc and Ryz.

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The tears that fell on Dad’s cheeks just melted my heart. By the way, the kids knew they’ll surprise their Lolo. I told them that our trip is a surprise for his birthday and that them being with him on his special day will be their gifts. I was glad the kids, too were happy doing this.

Together with my whole family, we filled a long table for 20 persons and feasted on the Filipino dishes I have missed tasting. I got to eat Kare-kare, Lumpiang Ubod and the famous Max’s fried chicken just to name a few.

credit cards, credit cards philippines, family gathering

Hours were spent telling stories; hubby answering questions about the trip, me spending time with my side of the family and catching up.

Hehe… come payment time… Since we haven’t exchanged enough Euro to Peso currency, it’s one of those times I’m thankful I’m with someone (well, not just one but 4 of them) who has credit cards. Big brother offered to pay the bill so of course, the points will be his. 😛 Hmm.. I wonder how it is done now… I mean, it seems like having a credit card in the Philippines is easier nowadays. How do people apply for one? How much is the interest nowadays? Well, I wouldn’t wonder if googling “credit card Philippines” would lead me to a site where I could see and compare the best credit cards in the country.

I was glad for this simple celebration. Yes I know it’s incomparable from those grand parties of parents who reach such milestones but I think the physical closeness of each one of us brought more meaning to the occasion.

How to Find Low Cost Hotels in London

low cost hotels in london, london, travel to london, london eye, west minster
London Eye and West Minster

Travelling can be really expensive if you do not know how to plan your travel budget carefully and look for deals that will make your stay budget-friendly. You can search for low cost hotels in London from the web if you plan to visit this great country and see for yourself what more they can offer in a limited budget.. What you need to learn is how to allocate your funds to the travel activities and amenities that you want to enjoy the most. Unless you have a bottomless travel budget, you want to prioritize specific travel expense items. If you plan on staying out most of the time, you would not have to spend on a luxurious hotel suite, would you?

Here are some tips to keep in mind to find hotels that help you stretch your travel budget:

1. Schedule your travel. You have to give yourself time to find the best deals possible. When you leave your hotel booking to the last minute, you won’t have any other choice but to take whatever is available. Try to find promotional offers several months to a couple of weeks before your travel. Spring and summer are the best time to visit London so take note of these.  There’s a slim chance of finding rock bottom hotel room rates during these peak seasons.

2. Look for group rates. Hotels normally offer discounted rates for families or groups of friends. Find London hotels that offer group packages as well as all inclusive packages that could save you some money in the long run. There are various amenities like shuttle services, group tours, and dining privileges that are often offered with group discounts. Don’t forget to do your own pencil-pushing. What might appear to be a good deal upfront might not necessarily be as good when you get down to the computations.

3. Subscribe to travel deals websites. Even if you are not planning to travel yet, it would be a good idea to sign up for travel deals subscriptions. There are websites that regularly feature discounts on London travel packages including hotel bookings, air fare, tours, and other special travel inclusions. You would be surprised to find how affordable travelling or going on a vacation could be with various travel and tour operators all too willing to offer the lowest prices. With all the attractive deals feature on these websites, you might just have that dream vacation earlier than you originally planned.

Image credit: Kaddy64/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3 Steps to Invest in the Best Kalkan Property

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Kalkan Property for sale

Real estate as an investment instrument is popular in all parts of the world and Kalkan property options are not exempt from this popularity. Properties in Kalkan, Turkey are among the most sought after by investors from all over. This Turkish territory is marked with high class living and spectacular views wherever you are. Many overseas investors own property in Kalkan, ranging from small villas to huge mansions. As in any other country, Kalkan properties are priced depending on the specific type of property as well as its location.

There are various reasons why you would consider buying property in this place. Whether you are doing it for you to have your own vacation home in Turkey or as a means to earn more profits, there are important steps that you should take to invest in the piece of property that best meets your needs:

1. Understand your motivations and set a budget. Properties can cost as low as a hundred thousand euros to upwards of 400,000 euros. To put it bluntly, it would not be a good idea for you to think about buying a piece of Kalkan property that is way beyond what you can afford. Be realistic in your buying decision. Especially if you are doing it for profit and if you are taking out a loan to finance your purchase, you have to make sure that you will be able to recover your money in the soonest possible time.

2. Look around for options. There are a lot of properties available for sale in Kalkan. You might want to get in touch with a reputable and reliable broker to help you find the perfect property. Make sure that your requirements are clear to your broker. Make sure too that you are clear about whatever your broker will require from you in exchange for his services. You need to be in control of the buying process. Do not be cajoled into making a premature buying decision if you are not completely convinced that the property is right for you.

3. Go through all the legalities of land purchase. Once you find the perfect piece of property, you can already go through with the preparation of documents to complete the sale. There are buying costs, stamp duties, and taxes that you will have to shoulder when buying property in Kalkan, Turkey. Your broker should be able to advice you about these costs as well as any other documentation requirements to transfer the property to your name. You may consult with a lawyer who specializes in real estate purchases and transfers to ensure that all the legal requirements are complied with. You do not want to have to face legal hitches on your property ownership later on.

4 Lessons to Teach Your Kids About Money

finance

As your kids grow up, their understanding of the world around them is often based on what you teach them. For this very reason, it is essential that you take steps to ensure that they understand the importance of money, and how it can affect their lives. If you’re looking to give your kids a head start on all things finance, here are 4 important lessons to teach them about money.

Learning About Income

Pocket money is a great way to introduce your kids to the idea of income. Every family is different, but the basis of pocket money is that you give your kids a small weekly allowance in exchange for them completing a few set jobs around the house. Whether it is finishing their homework, maintaining a tidy room or helping out with dinner, you can customise your system to reflect your family values. The important moral of the lesson for your kids is that they begin to understand and appreciate that money needs to be earned, and is a benefit of doing their work.

The Value of Money

Many children grow up without truly understanding the value of money. Now that your kids have their own allowance, you can help them to realise what their money means. Ask them what they would like to save for, and spend some time talking about how many weeks pocket money it would take for them to have enough money ready. This will help your kids to connect the work they do with the money they receive, and in turn what they can use it for. All of this will coalesce into a better understanding of the value of money.

The Importance of Saving

Once your kids begin to grasp the concept of getting pocket money and using it to buy the things they want, you can introduce the importance of saving. Spend some time explaining the way that saving helps you to achieve the really big things that you want, as well as making life easier in the future. By putting even a little bit of their pocket money aside every week, they will be learning essential savings habits for later in life.

Using the Bank

It’s a great idea to set up a bank account for your kids, and show them how the system works. Bring them with you whenever you are making a transaction, and get them to help with the withdrawal and deposit slips. By physically being involved in the banking process, your kids will gain valuable skills on how to manage their finances.

Addressing Your Own Financial Stress

It’s hard to be a good role model when you’re struggling with your own finances. Fortunately, there is a great range of quality financial advice available for when you need it the most. Choosing a reputable provider is the key to success, and a firm such as Fox Symes is recognised as being one of the leading debt solutions specialists in the country. From budgeting advice to debt assistance, the team will work with you to find the best strategy for your financial needs.

Teaching your kids about money is an essential aspect of their growth, and these important lessons should provide a framework of knowledge for them to build upon as they mature. Remember to contact the FSA Group for a free and confidential discussion if you want to get back in control of your finances for good. By setting a good example and being a great role model for your kids, you are giving them the best possible chance of having a bright financial future.

Five Tips for Keeping Money Safe Overseas

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If you are planning to travel overseas, you might be making plans to book the hotel and make arrangements and plans for what you will be doing while there. What you might not even be thinking about is how to keep your money safe while over there. In general, it is always better to bring the actual currency with you as opposed to cards because many overseas businesses will only accept cash transactions. Keeping your large amount of money safe can definitely prevent any problems while you’re vacationing.

Know How Much You Have

One of the best tips for keeping money safe overseas is to know how much you’re traveling with. You might want to keep track of your spending each and every day to ensure that you have the exact amount that you came with. Keep receipts when you go shopping or even out to eat to keep track of how much you’re spending and how much money you have left after that.

Don’t Leave Money in the Hotel Room

It is very difficult to prove that you left money in your hotel room that went missing after the maid cleaned the room or maintenance staff came in to fix something. Because of this reason, you really want to make sure that you bring any and all money with you at all times so that none of it is left inside of the hotel room that you and your family are staying in.

Keep it Safe

If you’re going to be carrying the money around with you, make sure that you keep it incredibly safe inside of a bag or wallet that is not easily accessible to pickpockets. You do not want someone snatching your purse or wallet and being able to get away with all of the money that you went on holiday with. You might want to designate a special bag or pouch solely for the purpose of keeping money and have this bag in a place on your person where people will not be able to find. A lot of people find that storing money in their socks or shoes helps a lot.

Avoid Certain Areas

Another good way to avoid losing money is to simply avoid sketchy areas. If the area looks like there are people there who could be deviants, you might want to avoid getting out of the car and actually walking the streets. When you’re in a very crowded city area, keep a tight hold on your purse and wallet at all times.

Consider Travelers Checks

A traveler’s check allows you to pay with money that you have in an account. The money is in check-form but can be transferred to any type of currency available. These types of checks are a lot safer to use and might help you to feel more comfortable while you happen to be on holiday with the rest of the family.

Apart from the above options, also consider doing an international money transfer if you have family or friends living in the country that you’re visiting. You can then get cash from them when you arrive.

Image credit: thisismoney.co.uk

Give or Sell Option in Disposing Old Mobile Phones

Techie or not, consumers can be easily drawn to purchase the latest phone models or upgrade their existing mobile phones. Aside from attractive designs and modern features, the phone applications in new gadgets are also fun and practical for everyday use. When the tablets and the smart phones were introduced in the market, I knew I just had to get an upgrade even though I’m not a trend driven buyer by nature. Devices like these enable us to enjoy the convenience of having a combination of phone and laptop tools in our pockets. After getting an upgrade, my next concern was how to dispose my old mobile phone.

Mobile phones and other electronic devices contain metallic and hazardous waste that can harm the environment if not disposed properly. They are not like toys or furniture that one can simply put in the trash. Those who would simply like to discard their phones can inquire at their local sanitation office for instructions on proper phone disposal. However, one can still find some use for old mobile phones that are still in relatively good condition.

The first one is to give it away to friends or family members who don’t have their own mobile phones yet. But in this day and age, almost everyone has mobile phones already including the kids. Since my kids are still too young to have their own phones I considered other more promising options like giving it away to charity or selling it.

There are charity organizations that recycle and reuse old mobile phones to fund their activities. You can simply contact them through their online sites to make arrangements for your phone donation. You can also sell mobile phones in one of the online sites that offer competitive rates for used ones. I find it convenient since everything is done online and they facilitate the transfers of the phone and the payments.

Another variation of the sell option is trading in the old phone for a new model. This enables the buyer to get the latest or more recent phone model at a discount in exchange for surrendering an older phone model.

There is no need to throw away your phone when you have the option to help a charity cause or make a little profit out of it. Giving away or selling your old mobile phone to reputable organizations ensures that it gets disposed properly and doesn’t harm the environment. For those who simply throw their old phones away, please consider the give or sell option for your old mobile phone on your next phone upgrade.

Image credit: tlc.howstuffworks.com

How Much Do You Need To Spend To Look 10 Years Younger: 5 Tips For Every Budget

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Looking young and beautiful does not have to cost a fortune. When most people think of turning back the hands of time, they automatically assume that they will need plastic surgery or some expensive facial cream that they can only get from a doctor. While many people have had great results from plastic surgery and expensive creams, there is no reason for you spend the same money just to get the same results. There are five things you need to do if you are looking to appear younger without all of the extensive work.

1. Use Generic Brand Products

Believe it or not, most generic brand beauty products are just as good as name brand items. They normally contain the same ingredients and the same strength of ingredient to keep the skin looking young. By purchasing store name brands, you will find that you save a lot of money over time. Remember that you pay for the name when you purchase a name brand item found on store shelves.

2. Compare Prices from Different Stores

One of the best things you can do for your beauty budget is to compare prices for a variety of different stores. You might find that one store is having a sale on the exact product you need while another store is selling it at full price. Comparing these things in your daily newspaper is one way to ensure that you get the best price. If you’re opting for a botox from your cosmetic surgeon, make sure you research how much does botox cost online before your first visit so that you get an idea of what is the reasonable price.

3. Use Coupons

Using coupons for beauty products might seem a little too frugal for your tastes, but it will amaze you at the amount of money you can save just by using coupons. You can find coupons in newspapers, e-newsletters and even on the manufacturer’s website. Be sure to print these coupons out and take them with you when you are ready to buy the item in question.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Return Items

Beauty products can often be returned for a full refund if you have a receipt for the item. If a product was not to your liking or if you bought something that simply did not work the way it was supposed to, do not be afraid to return it and get your hard-earned money back. Obviously, return policies will differ from one store to the next, but it does not hurt to try and return the item so that you can get back your money and spend it on something else that works better.

5. Look for Ingredients Rather Than Name Brands

Instead of staying loyal to one brand, look at the ingredients and ingredient strengths on the product. You might find that a lesser known brand has the exact same ingredient strength that a better known and more expensive brand has. For instance, retinol products come in different strengths and this ingredient is the same whether it’s used in a name brand product or a store brand item.

Written by Sonya Kelsy

Image credit: uk.lifestyle.yahoo.com

5 Basic Bargain Hunting Tips

No matter how big or small of a purchase you are making, it’s likely that you would like to save some money on it. You might think that hunting for bargains is way too difficult and not worth the effort. However, if you follow these tips, you’ll soon find that it truly can be a fairly easy way to save some money.

shopping, bargains, sale, shopping storesGoing to Different Stores

When you want to find the best price on an item, it’s always smart to go to at least a couple of different stores. Chances are, you have multiple shops in your area, so it should not be too difficult to drive to two or three, and then go back to the one that has the best price.

Shop the Sales

Most items in life are not necessities. You can probably wait another week or two until you purchase that brand new car or pair of shoes. Instead of spending a huge sum of money on it now, wait until it goes on sale. When you see a sale, be careful though. Do not purchase items that you will never need simply because they are on sale.

Deals on Bulk Items

Whether you go through a lot of bottled water, diapers or hand lotion at your house, wait until these items go on sale in bulk. As a result, you will be saving money on the unit price of the goods, and you will have plenty of them saved up for several months at a time. Use common sense when buying items in bulk though. Purchasing a lot of milk, eggs or other perishables at once is sure to be a waste of your hard earned money.

bargain, brochures, shopping, couponsBrowsing through Catalogues and Brochures

It’s a bad idea to simply throw these publications out when they arrive at your home. They often contain special coupons and alerts for sales on tons of different goods and services in your area. When they are mailed to you, they are likely published with your specific location in mind. Go through them, and cut out any coupons you think would be helpful for you. Keep them all in an envelope in a safe place, so you know where they are. Check the expiration date, and make sure you go to the store and stock up before that day comes and goes.

Looking for Online Coupons

Many people do a lot of their shopping online, so you also need to browse the Internet when making such a purchase. Simply typing in the name of the store from which you are buying followed by the phrase “coupon codes” will bring up different searches that can be of help to you. You might receive free shipping, or the codes may be for a certain percentage off the price.

Following these tips should help to keep more money in your wallet, and you should see a positive change soon.

About the author:Nichole, from Brisbane, Australia, is a Mother of four children and is always looking for new ways to save money. She says that LDN provide the best service for leaflet delivery Brisbane has to offer and is always finding great deals in catalogues and brochures.

New Landlord? Guide To Becoming A Landlord

In the current economic climate the rental market is a rocketing sector. Mortgages are hard to come by so more people are turning to rental options in which to house their families and loved ones, making this a prime time for investors in property.

If you are able to invest but are new to the sector, becoming a landlord may seem somewhat daunting. Here are a list of items to tick off your check list to ensure you are doing the right thing for your reputation and your prospective tenants.

mortgage, landlord, rent, house rentCheck your mortgage

If you are buying a property for the purpose of letting it out, you must ensure your mortgage provider understands this is the case. Most lenders offer separate types of mortgages for buy to let investors than for homes lived in by the owner. If you don’t have the right sort of mortgage you could find yourself in hot water as your lender may be within their rights to repossess your property.

Know your tenants

It is important that you check out your tenants’ backgrounds as these are the people who will essentially be left in charge of the day to day running of your property. Getting hold of references from previous landlords and employers ensures you are doing what you can to put responsible people in your property. You can choose to let your property privately, through an estate agent, or through a registered provider of social housing Wirral Partnership Homes Flats is one such example. Using a third party may mean references are carried out on your behalf.

Protect yourself and your tenants with a tenancy agreement A tenancy agreement can be procured easily from stationery shops and online retailers, but it is important that you read it carefully. This sets out your legal obligations as a landlord and tells you how both you and your tenants are protected by the law.

Gas and electrical safety

As a landlord it is your responsibility to ensure the gas and electrical sources and equipment provided in the home is up to scratch. You will be required to get gas appliances tested annually by a Gas Safe Registered engineer.

Invest in an EPC

An EPC is an energy performance certificate which shows how efficient your property is. You will require one for every self contained property you let out. EPCs cost about  100 and the better your property scores the more appealing it is, so consider making upgrades such as wall and floor insulation to help keep your property better insulated year round.

Fire protection

When it comes to fire protection you have responsibilities as a landlord to ensure working fire alarms are fitted and that tenants can escape should the worst happen. Houses with multiple occupants such as house shares have even more responsibilities so make sure you check these out.

Declare any income

Any money you make as a landlord should be declared to HMRC so you can pay any tax on it. You can be prosecuted for not doing so and forced to repay any benefits you should not have received.

Becoming a landlord is exciting and it could prove to be a great money spinner, however you should make absolutely sure your legal obligations are satisfied when embarking on such a project.

About the author:

This is a guest written by Jamie for wirral partnership homes & flats.

Image credit: renjith krishnan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Making the Most of Discount

gift voucherRaising children isn’t easy, wherever you live, as Europe falls prey to the recession. Being a parent could not come at a more difficult time and must provide nights of endless worry for those trying to provide for their families. We need to make the most of every discount, and every voucher code we set eyes on. Anything that helps in getting those extra football boots or a new gym kit for the new school year is welcomed.

We are at an advantage, as we have just come out of the season of goodwill, the season of the gift voucher! How many of you have received a gift voucher this Christmas? And how many of you are going to be waiting until the perfect opportunity comes along so that you can use it on your son or daughter?

Gift vouchers are the one thing we all look forward to, they come at Christmas and birthdays and are usually received from well-meaning aunties, and uncles who aren’t too sure what to give this year, so settle on a gift voucher, rather than risk a potentially unwanted gift. Instead of spending it on something trivial that your children will soon lose interest in, why not spend it on something practical?

Instead of using a gift voucher for toys or games, why not use it on football boots, a new coat or perhaps a new school bag? It will certainly take the strain off the household budget. These days, sadly, most children fall prey to peer pressure and are desperate to have all the latest trainers, shoes, and bags. This puts an unwanted strain on parent’s budgets.

Perhaps they need a new piece of technology that could help them with school work? There are plenty of gadgets and IT accessories out that are reasonably priced. They’ll be very happy that their aunties and uncles have bought them such a useful gift!

Something else to consider is that nearly all high street chain stores offer the opportunity for customers to use their gift vouchers online and offer instructions on how to enter their voucher code. It’s not too complicated, and with young children in tow, many parents will welcome the opportunity to shop online and get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city or town where they live. Make the most of that voucher code now it’ll be worth it!