How to Save Money on Your Next Cruise

You’ve spent hours trawling through a variety of different websites to try and find the best possible deal for your next cruise holiday, so now you’re just going to book the best offer you’ve seen, even though it’s not that great.

Sound familiar?

Even though getting a fantastic deal on your next holiday is imperative, it doesn’t have to be stressful – and you don’t need to plump for the first great offer you see either. Instead, all it takes is a little savvy planning and you’ll be enjoying an unbeatable deal on your cruise.

Here’s how:

  1. Remain as Flexible as Possible

Cruise holidays are very similar to airline tickets: every time you look at the prices they vary dramatically. Therefore, if you can wait until the very last minute to book your holiday, you’re going to get the best deal.

These cheaper tickets tend to become available three to six weeks before the cruise liner is due to disembark from the port. However, when you’re waiting for these last-minute offers, you need to be prepared to settle for the rooms and packages that no one else has booked – e.g. a cabin that doesn’t have a balcony.

  1. Look Out for Deals

Some of the best cruise companies, like the Bolsover Cruise Club, will have different promotions and deals available at various times throughout the year. These are often available from January to March when many of the other travel companies, airlines and so on are having their sales too. So, to ensure you’re in the know when these deals become available, sign up for any alerts or emails that’ll let you know of the sales once they go live.

  1. Book in Advance

Even though this contradicts our first tip, there’s a lot to be said for booking in advance, too. If you can plan as far as 18 months in advance, it should help you find some of the best deals – and you may even secure some added bonuses, such as free drinks on-board and upgraded cabins.

  1. Sail with a Large Group

Cruises are a great way of celebrating special occasions or organising group trips. And if you can do this, you may even be able to make sure one of your group travels free (hopefully you!). The majority of cruise liners will offer a free ticket to large groups, and even though these are often only available for groups of sixteen or more people, there’s no harm asking for some discount when booking for a large party.

In essence; all it takes to secure a fantastic deal on your next cruise is some great planning, a little bit of flexibility and plenty of smart shopping skills!

5 Reasons Why Owning a House Is a Good Investment for Retirees?

With the strong housing market, many people are wondering whether or not they should invest in a home. There are many people who say that a house is the best investment that anyone can ever make. However, buying a home the right way is crucial to making a good financial investment specially when preparing for retirement.

The type of loan that you get on a home is also important. With the housing market improving, many banks are more willing to be flexible with financing than in previous years. Here are some of the most important aspects of buying a home and getting the right loan for your situation.

Do Not Buy Based on Emotion

There are some people who wrongly buy a home based on emotion. This is a bad decision for a variety of reasons. Buying a home is a long and difficult process, and mortgages are hard to get. During this time, there are going to be homes that you want that sell quickly. Instead of getting upset, you should simply move on to the next home.

Buying a home should involve math and logic. Instead of worrying about the color of the walls, you should concentrate on things like the growth of the area and how many square feet the house contains and its location. Over time, if you buy a home in a growing area, you have a much higher chance of making money from it long term.

Other Loan Options

There are even some people who own their home. This is a great accomplishment and gives them a lot of financial flexibility. Some people who are on a fixed income struggle to pay all of their bills. If you own your home, you can turn it into a source of income.

A reverse mortgage will actually pay you for living in the home. This is a great way to make money every month while staying in your home even after you retired. Before signing up for a reverse mortgage, make sure to conduct thorough research on reverse mortgages on different products in the market. The more research you conduct, the more comfortable you will be with the entire process.

Understand How Much You Can Borrow

Another important step in making a quality investment is to understand how much money you can reasonably borrow. There are some people who make the mistake of borrowing too much money based on their income. This is a major mistake for a variety of reasons.

When you have a high loan payment, it restricts other areas of your life. There are many people who have a beautiful home, but they are not spending any money on retirement or saving for their children’s college education. Having a big and beautiful home is a dream for many people. It should not come at the expense of other financial goals in your life. Remember, just because you can borrow at a certain amount doesn’t mean you should!

Building Equity

Homeowners build equity in a home in several ways. As the prices of homes increase around you, your home will increase in value as well. The difference in the potential selling price and how much money you owe is your equity in the property.

If you have a typical mortgage, you will pay down the principal over a period of many years. The lower your loan term, the higher your payments toward the principal on the debt. There are many people who pay extra on their mortgage to attempt paying it off early. This is a great way to save money over a long period of time.

Overall, buying a home is an exciting process. Make sure to conduct thorough research in order to make a good financial investment in your area.

 

Three Affordable Ways to Create Space in Your Living Room

A spacious living room is a real luxury and provides us with somewhere to relax with the family and to entertain our friends. It is far too easy, however, to find that your living room has become too crowded or cluttered and it is then that you may look to solve the problem.

Here are three top tips for creating space in your living room without spending a huge pile of money.

Clean, Tidy, Declutter

Before doing anything else, you will want to spend time decluttering, tidying and then cleaning the space. The idea, if you will, is that the result will be a blank canvas from which to assess what further measures need to be taken.

Toys, books, magazines should all be consigned to their rightful places and any ornaments, old cushions, to tatty to keep, should also be dealt with – maybe this is an opportunity to make a little money on eBay.

Storage Solutions

 Once you have decluttered and so forth, it is time to look at what storage you have and what storage you need – the last thing you want is for the place to become cluttered again.

If you feel you don’t have enough storage space, then there are some cost effective ways of increasing it. For example, adding some hinges or struts to an existing piece of furniture may transform it into somewhere to store things.

Improvised solutions to storage issues make for just about the cheapest way to address the problem.

Mirrors and Windows

Making sure that windows are not overdressed is another good way to maximise the space in a living room. Heavy curtains, not only take up space, but even when drawn open they restrict light and make the room look smaller.

Replacing curtains with blinds can be a quick, cheap and easy win if you are looking for more space. In addition, hanging a large mirror on one of the walls will reflect light and give the illusion of more space.

Sofas and Seating

Sofas and seating, while essential, take up lots of space and evaluating exactly what seating you need and acting on it can yield remarkable results.

For example, armchairs are a no, no if you are looking to maximise space. Replacing armchairs with a two seater or with a three seater sofa, or even a futon, can work a treat and needn’t be particularly expensive.

Making space in your living room doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg, rather, it is more about getting organised and making some simple decisions.

Is the Citroen C3 the Best Value Supermini?

The supermini market is one which is fiercely competitive. This is good news for those that require a small vehicle, as it means that there are plenty of great options available. In order to be appealing, the car must be compact, easy to drive around town and economical. Many motorists also want an eye-catching design and plenty of tech inside.

Right now, the class leaders include fantastic superminis like the Ford Fiesta, the Skoda Fabia, the SEAT Ibiza and the Citroen C3. These are all excellent choices, but in terms of best value for money, it is the C3 that is leading the pack.

Costs

Available from just  £10,525 from places like Robins & Day, the Citroen C3 has a very low price-tag but is one of the best superminis available. In terms of running costs, the entry level C3 can return 60.1mpg and every edition emits less than 110g/km. All diesel models emit below 100g/km. This makes the C3 superb value for money and one of the more affordable cars available.

Design

The C3 has a fun, bold and quirky design. It features the funky plastic cladding that is found on the C4 Cactus – this serves a practical purpose in addition to an eye-catching exterior design. Inside, the C3 looks smart without going overboard. One of the key selling points of this car is the comfort level in the cabin and there is a surprising amount of space considering the size of the car. It also features a large boot so that you can comfortably carry passengers and luggage.

Performance

The C3 is ideal for use around the city as it has responsive handling and a smooth ride. It does not provide the most thrilling driving experience and instead opts for comfort, which is something that families will appreciate and benefit from.

Tech

The intuitive 7-inch touchscreen makes it easy to control the infotainment, air-con and heating, plus there is plenty of connectivity options. One particularly valuable piece of technology for city use is the ConnectedCAM, which is a camera located at the back of the rear-view mirror. It records everything that you see out of the windscreen which can be useful for criminal proceedings and insurance claims. It also features a handful of driver aids to improve safety, such as speed sign recognition, lane departure warning and speed warnings.

Overall, the Citroen C3 is a fantastic value supermini that is as practical, reliable and economical as the more expensive class leaders.

5 Reasons Going Cashless Will Save You Money

Am I the only one who had to deal with bounced cheques as a kid?

You’d think it’s not something a kid even needs to know about. But I learned early on what it meant when a cheque was returned with a pretty stamp.

Of course, the bunch of returned cheques we’d periodically receive didn’t belong to me. Both of my parents were responsible for spending money they didn’t have.

My job was to help them file and keep track of when and where their money was rejected. There’s a quaintness in the ability to pay for something knowing you don’t have the money.

Old school money

Cheques are old school. The earliest known use of a cheque (or its equivalent) was in the 9th century. It was called a saqq. Quite simply, it was a vow of payment, to avoid having to send the actual payment over long, hazardous distances.

Which makes it particularly incredible that some people still use them.

Granted, the technology has improved quite a lot in the past 1200 years or so, but more and more the cheque is becoming outdated.

Cash is going the same route

But it’s no longer just cheques that are ridiculously outdated. Cash has been around for a very long time – the concept of coins and paper to which we arbitrarily assign value. An easy to lose, bulky, dirty symbol of what these days is an abstract concept.

In fact, in an age of digitized currencies such as bitcoin, it is absurd that cash still plays a big part in people’s lives. It’s as if we sometimes still rode horses to work instead of taking the car.

There are many reasons to stop using cash. These are the top 5.

  1. You have to count it

We’ve all agreed that if you’re a character in a movie, you can identify a million dollars on sight. But in real life, we have to count cash. In a world in which money can be easily viewed as a figure on a screen, counting cash is not just old-fashioned but a total waste of time.

  1. You miss out on modern innovations

Credit card processing machines are not the same clunky things with only one use. In fact, they now collect information, use biometrics, and can accept payment from smartphones. With new apps coming out that make paying a bill even easier, you stand to miss out on automatically updated loyalty cards, too.

  1. You can’t keep track of it

Okay, you can keep track of your finances, but it takes a lot out of you. It means holding onto receipts in order to annotate money spent. Whereas if you use a debit or credit card, the transaction will show up in your banking records automatically.

  1. You can get robbed

If your credit card gets stolen, you can cancel it immediately. If your cash gets stolen, it’s gone forever.

  1. You have to carry it

Fact: in the near future, we’re no longer going to carry wallets. Instead, we’re going to wear our money. Already, using a smartwatch is a great way to eschew even the credit card.

If you’re still carrying cash around, rethink how you spend your money. Going completely cashless will, in the short and long term, make your life more convenient, help you keep track of your finances, and keep you in touch with the modern world.

Making Money by Playing Online: Is It Possible?

Online gambling is continuously being listed on personal finance and “make money online” websites as a risky, yet viable way to make money. Which is strange, considering that the risky nature of such an investment. Whenever you dare to double your money, you are always at risk of losing it all. Of course, there is a chance that you will win, ending up with more money in your pockets that you started. Online gambling has been at the center of many discussions regarding its true nature. Some say it’s a dangerous activity, others consider it little more than casual entertainment, similar in nature to social casino apps – with the one big difference that playing at the Royal Vegas can indeed make players rich.

So, let’s put an end to all discussions on this matter once and for all, and see whether gambling online can be a viable way to make money.

Understanding RTP

Casino games all come with a metric called “Return to Player” (RTP) that shows players how much money they can expect to lose in the long term when playing certain game types. You’ve read that right – the money lost by the player is the profit of an online casino. At the Royal Vegas, the average RTP of all games is 96.7%, as shown by the casino’s independently audited data log files by the industry body eCogra. This means that players can expect to win back 96.7% of all the money they wager at the Royal Vegas – or, translated into layman’s terms, end up having $96.7 for every $100 played. This is, of course, an average value – slot machines have a less player-friendly average RTP of 95.99%, while table games can pay back as much as 98.41% of all the money wagered.

As you can see, player losses – casino profits – are built right into the game. And this is perfectly OK, considering that online casinos are entertainment venues – and entertainment is expected to be paid for.

It all depends on the game

Some casino games, online or otherwise, can be played for profit. Not only do they have a higher RTP but they also involve some level of player decision, which can bend the odds to the players’ favor. One of these is blackjack, a game available in many variants at the Royal Vegas Casino. Here, players have the advantage of being able to apply a strategy to win more hands, which helps them double – or multiple – their wagers in a round. While it takes quite a while to gather a considerable sum – the saying about winning some and losing some is especially true for casinos – you will be able to feel the satisfaction of winning, as well as seeing your bankroll rise with every session you play.

6 Investing Tips For Your 20’s

Investing in your 20’s is a sure fire way of setting yourself up for successful financial years and decades down the road.  Not only does it set you up financially in the future, but it also jump starts your education in the stock market by investing at a young age.

The financial markets can be daunting with many competing ideas, philosophies, and strategies.  I started investing in my 20’s, and if I could do it all over again, here would be the six tips I would tell myself.

1) Never Invest With Paper Money

One of the big misconceptions in the investing world is that anyone can learn and practice via trading paper money.  Paper money is the concept of having your own account and placing trades and investments with paper (fake) money.  This is a big recipe for disaster.

Investing with paper money is a completely different game when compared to the emotions that come into play when you make your first investment with your hard earned money.  Any best practices gained from investing and practicing with a paper money account do not transfer over to real money investments and real money investing is a completely different game.

This is why I recommend to never practice any investments or trades using anything but real money. It creates bad habits.  You have chosen, in your 20’s, to invest your money so that it can grow over time.  The best course of action is the start developing good habits that can be used to grow your money for the rest of your life.  Trading with paper money can only develop habits that are not tried and true best practices that are created when real money is in play.

2) Keep Your Size In Check

A big part about investing in your 20’s is the ability to add on to compounding positive returns year after year.  Taking a 10% loss in your 20’s requires an 11.11% profit just to get back to even.

Losses will happen, and if they have not happened yet for you, they certainly will.  In order to maintain the ability to make money and compound returns year after year, you must keep your size in check as an investor.

The more you keep our size in check, the more bad positions are able to be isolated from the total value of your portfolio.  If you have a portfolio with 5 positions, all with 20% of your total portfolio value allocated to them, a 40% drop in one of those positions creates a total portfolio drawdown of 8%.  However, if we have 10 positions, all with 10% allocated to them, a 40% drop in one of these positions only results in a 4% total portfolio drawdown.

Over time, I have found that keeping all of my positions at under 10% of the total portfolio allows my single position losses to be isolated from the rest of my portfolio.

3) Always Invest For The Long Term

Investing in your 20’s give you an enormous edge compared to those who begin in their 30’s or 40’s.  Investing as early as possible allows the power of compounding returns to be more in our favor when compared to starting later.

Wealth and portfolio appreciation happen over the course of many years and do not happen in days, weeks, or even months.  Understanding the length of time required to double or triple a portfolio is important as it can help us choose more solid and less risky investments.

Smarter, safer, and less risky investments not only allow us to stay in the game longer, but those kind of investments also allow us to have a long term view.  If we have a long term view of those less risky investments, we will be less concerned with daily ebbs and flows of stock prices and more concerned with the long term outlook of our positions.

I have found that taking a long term approach, especially at a young age, allows investors to be less concerned about the day to day price swings and more concerned with the long term outlook of their investments.

4) Always Be Diversified

At this point, you are making small, long term investments with real money.  The more of these investments you make in your 20’s, the more you need to be diversified.

Diversification is simple.  By spreading out your capital amongst various stocks, bonds, and other asset classes, you significantly reduce your risk.

As an example, investing in ETFs rather than stocks is a way to diversify your holdings.  Rather than holding stock in Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google all at the same time, you could simply buy a FANG ETF that will give you exposure to all four of those popular tech stocks and reduce your risk at the same time.

I recommend diversification through the purchases of ETFs as an excellent way of spreading out your risk.  Spreading out risk will keep you in the game longer and reduce the size of your drawdowns.

5) Continuously Contribute

Continuously contributing to your account is also an example of investing for the future.  Rather than taking leftover money after bills, housing, and entertainment and putting it in the bank, taking that money and adding it to your portfolio is not only an investment in itself but a way to continue to grow your portfolio over time.

The best way to look at continuous contributions is as additional investments in yourself and your future.  

The best way to contribute to your account is to do so weekly.  Even if the contribution is small in nature, say $10, that adds up to $520 a year which can be compounded for years if not decades!

Remember, you are investing in your 20’s in the long game, with a long-term outlook.  Continuously adding fund to your account will allow your account to exponentially grow over time.

6) Never Use Leverage

We have already spoken about the importance of keep your trade size small and showed you the math behind it.

Leverage is the ability to borrow money from others to invest greater amounts of money than the current amount of capital you have.

We recommend never using leverage as it is virtually impossible to keep your trade size under 10%.

Wrapping Up

Here are the 6 investing tips for your 20’s:

  1. Never invest with paper money
  2. Keep your size in check
  3. Always invest for the long term
  4. Always be diversified
  5. Continuously contribute
  6. Never use leverage

Follow these rules and watch your account grow safely for the long term.  Do you have any other investing tips for those in their 20’s?