January 16, 2018

Author Archives: Marxa Dillan

About the author  ⁄ Marxa Dillan

Choosing the Right Credit Card for Overseas Travellers

For many overseas travellers, having a credit card as well as cash makes any trip a lot more convenient. It’s ideal for big purchases or for when you need to buy something online. Everybody knows that not all credit cards are created equal. Different banks offer different credit cards that come with their own features and offerings. And as an overseas traveller, there are certain features that you need to look for to suit your international travel needs.

In this article, let’s take a look at the factors that you may want to consider when you compare credit cards to get the best one for you:

Currency conversion fees

Since your credit card is programmed for AUD, you will need to pay currency conversion fees every time you make a transaction using your credit card in another country. However, there are credit cards that do not charge a currency conversion fee, so make sure to look for them to get the best credit card deals.

Other fees

Aside from the currency conversion fees, you may also need to pay ATM fees and cash advance fees whenever you use your credit card for a different currency. Shop around for cards that offer lower charges so you can save some cash while overseas.

Travel insurance

There are certain credit card providers that offer complimentary travel insurance, which is obviously great for international travellers. It’s a great way to save money since you don’t have to get separate insurance for your travels. Make sure, though, to check the coverage. The travel insurance can come with purchase protection insurance that is geared towards protecting your expensive items.

Rewards programs

Many credit cards come with some sort of rewards program. As a regular traveller, you will use your credit card most of the time. You may get reimbursements for certain purchases, or points or discounts for accommodation, flights or tours.  There are even credit card providers that offer access to airline lounges. Just look for the rewards programs of several providers and choose the card that best suits your overseas travel requirements.

No annual fees

Annual fees can be quite expensive, so it would be great if you can find a credit card that doesn’t come with an annual fee. It can help save you more money that you can use for other expenses.

Do you have other tips on how to compare credit cards? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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How to Prevent Your Mobile Phone from Being Stolen

For most people, a mobile phone has become a necessity. It not only helps them to stay connected with friends and family but also provides them with entertainment and an avenue to look for information or make online transactions.

It offers convenience and it is imperative to take good care of it including making sure it is not stolen. After all, it doesn’t come cheap, so take measures to ensure that you will always have your mobile phone in your pocket or purse.

So how can you prevent your mobile phone from being stolen? When you compare phones, look for security features and other offerings that will make it easy for you to do something to retrieve your phone or at least protect your personal information if your phone gets stolen. Check mobile phone reviews and know what other people use to secure their phones and data.

Here are some things to take into account:

1. Activate the screen lock

It doesn’t matter if your phone is iOS, BlackBerry or Android – there is a feature that will enable you to lock the screen down. You can use a four-digit PIN code. In other models, it calls for a biometric authentication or a fingerprint scan. While having a screen lock will not prevent thieves from stealing your phone, it does make your personal data safe and secure, making it difficult for thieves to use your phone right away to make calls or any other transactions.

2. Mark your handset

Make sure that you can identify your phone very easily. For instance, put it in a secure case so you can spot it immediately. If you have a common model, it may be hard to know which is yours, but with a unique case that you can identify quickly, it’s easier to know which phone belongs to you.

3. Use the tracking features

When you compare phones, look for a model that has tracking features, and make sure to use them. Apple has a feature called Find my iPhone which lets you know where you phone is. It also works in iPad Pro as well as in Apple Watch. The great thing about it is that you can keep track of all of your Apple devices with just one login.

 Do you have other tips on how to prevent your mobile phone from being stolen? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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How to Get the Best Deal on Your Home Loan

Buying a home is an exciting affair. It’s a milestone in anyone’s life. But it can also be pretty daunting, considering the number of documents that need to be prepared and factors considered, not to mention the huge money involved. That’s why it’s important to think things through and make sure that you’re emotionally and financially ready to buy a home.

When buying a home, most people take out a home loan. Different lenders offer different types of home loans. The key is to find one that meets your needs and preferences. But how can you get the best deal on your home loan? Let us help you:

Do your own research

As with any major purchase or life decision, it pays to have all the necessary information. This is an investment that costs a lot of money, so you might as well understand what you’re getting yourself into.

Compare mortgage rates

When you compare home loans, it goes without saying that you need to find out what rates new home owners are paying.  Some offer high mortgage rates, while others may be able to meet your needs. In some cases, lenders offer discounted rates and special features to new customers.

Use a home loan calculator

To help you with the mortgage rates, you can always use a home loan calculator so you will know how much you need to pay on a regular basis. Keep in mind that a mortgage repayment calculator should only be used as a reference for when you are looking for the best deal on your home loan, or when you are thinking about refinancing. It is used only as a guide. It is not designed to give you exact figures since a lot of factors come into play.

Never be afraid to ask

As the saying goes, “if you don’t ask, the answer will always be NO.” If you want lower interest rates, more manageable mortgage repayment schemes, and/or other special features, don’t be afraid to ask your lender or financial institution.

Do you have other trips on how to compare mortgage rates and how to get the best deal on your home loan? You can share your ideas in the comments section.

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Understanding Compulsory Third Party Insurance (CTP)

Life can bring unexpected surprises. No matter what your age or background is, there are numerous circumstances that we cannot control. And for these instances, it is essential to have something that will give us the protection that we need to avoid further inconvenience and shelling out a lot of money.

This is where the insurance comes in. It comes in many types and forms, but the main purpose of the insurance is to provide protection in case something happens – to your health, life, and/or property. Most Australians have car insurance. It comes in many types, one of which is Compulsory Third Party insurance (CTP).

In this article, let’s delve into what CTP means and what it is for:

  • Compulsory third party insurance comes with the registration of your car or vehicle. It covers compensation for the victim if you are at fault in an accident and injure another person. The other person could be the driver of the other vehicle, the passengers, or a pedestrian.
  • If the accident results in people being unable to go to work, or if those who are injured need medical treatment, your CTP insurance provider will pay an amount to cover the medical expenses and/or the loss of income because of the accident.
  • As a car owner, it is mandatory to get CTP insurance. It offers protection not only for those who are injured but also for the at-fault driver or the one who caused the accident since he/she will not have to personally pay any compensation.
  • Keep in mind that different states have different processes when it comes to CTP insurance. For instance, in Queensland, it comes with your rego, following the same period as your rego. In other words, you’ll have coverage whenever you renew. Make sure to check the process related to CTP insurance with your state or territory department of transport.
  • Don’t be confused – CTP is different from comprehensive car insurance. While CTP insurance provides protection for those who are injured as a result of the accident, it doesn’t cover damage to property. If there are dents or scratches to your car, CTP will not pay any compensation for these.

Do you have other ideas when it comes to compulsory third party insurance or in general, car insurance in Australia? You can share your insights in the comments section.

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How to Get the Best Exchange Rate

Foreign exchange rates go up and down constantly. There is no easy way to tell the best time to buy your travel money but there are ways that can help you get better rates.

There is no single best currency exchange rate. Aside from the exchange rate, there are some factors to consider when conducting international money transfers.  These include transfer fees, payment method, speed of delivery, and customer service.

Economic factors also affect exchange rates. The economy may be conducive to exchange rates today, but tomorrow is a different story. So, before you decide which is the best way to exchange money, here are some tips that you might need to consider.

Do your homework

Before leaving Australia, start monitoring the exchange rates for the country you are travelling to.  There are exchange rate charts that can give you real-time currency conversions. Currency converters are also handy if you want to check how much you’ll get for a specific amount.

Compare exchange rates

This is the best thing that you can do to negotiate a better currency exchange rate. Knowing the exchange rates of each bank and currency exchange companies in your area puts you in the best position to negotiate a better exchange rate.

Pay attention

Look at the total cost, not just the rate. Always check the total price, not just the exchange rate because there are other costs that you pay for. These include commission, credit card fees, and delivery charges.

Buy currency online

This method is becoming more and more popular because online exchange rates are often better. And, there are thousands of pick-up locations that make it easier to buy. Keep in mind, however, that buying online with your credit card can incur fees and other charges.

Use credit and ATM cards

Most of the time, you can get the best exchange rate when buying foreign currency with your ATM card or credit card. However, some credit card companies add fees for every transaction in foreign currencies.  Use your ATM card for day-to-day cash needs but keep in mind that your bank may charge you additional fees for every transaction. That’s why it is a good idea to withdraw as much money as you can instead of making multiple withdrawals.

Do you have other tips on how to get the best currency exchange rates? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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Tax Deductible Expenses in Rental Properties

An Australian property investor needs to deal with a lot of things. One of these is tax. If you have a rental property, there are tax-deductible property expenses that you should know. If you own a rental property and you get an income from it, you can make claims on any expense incurred in earning that income.

These are deductions from your taxable income that are associated with operating your rental property. Bear in mind that it is still better to seek professional advice so you will have a better understanding of what you can and cannot claim.

You can claim numerous expenses that are related to running and managing your rental property. However, it will apply only for the period that your property was rented or available for rent.

Here are the tax deductible expenses in rental properties you can claim:

  • advertising for tenants
  • bank charges
  • body corporate fees and charges
  • borrowing expenses
  • capital works
  • cleaning
  • council rates
  • depreciation of assets
  • gardening and lawn mowing
  • insurance
  • interest expenses
  • land tax
  • legal costs
  • pest control
  • phone usage
  • property agent fees and commissions
  • repairs and maintenance
  • stationery and postage
  • travel done to inspect or maintain the property, or to collect rent
  • water charges

It is likewise important to know the expenses that you cannot claim when it comes to your rental property. Expenses you cannot claim include the utility bills which are paid by your tenant/s, as well as those that are related to your personal use of the rental property.

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Differences in the Conveyancing Process between QLD and NSW

Whether you’re a seller or a buyer of a property, you may want to consider hiring a property conveyancer who will oversee the transfer of property ownership. Conveyancing in Australia is highly regulated and scrutinised. Although it may look like a simple process, transferring property ownership involves a lot of steps. If you’re not careful, you may face legal problems later on. A property conveyancer is a qualified individual who will guide you throughout the process so you don’t miss anything important.

One consideration when it comes to conveyancing in Australia is that the process differs depending on the state you’re in. For instance, the conveyancing process in Queensland is different from the process in New South Wales. What are the differences? Read on to find out more:

Contract of Sale

  • New South Wales: the seller of the property needs to include copies of the property certificate, plan of the land, all registered documents that create easements on the property, town planning certificate, as well as a sewerage connections diagram to the Contract of Sale. This is in addition to the search conducted by the buyer.
  • Queensland: requires the buyer to conduct searches and ask questions to ensure that the property meets expectations. The seller needs to disclose certain aspects in the Contract of Sale. Otherwise, the buyer may have termination rights.

Time and Settlement

  • New South Wales: if one of the parties fails to settle on the settlement day, a notice to complete will be issued indicating the time for the completion of the contract. If the party who got the notice to complete fails to adhere to its terms, the other party may terminate the contract and ask for damages.
  • Queensland: conveyancing means both parties should be prepared to settle on the agreed-upon settlement date. If one of the parties fails to meet one essential aspect of the process, the other party may terminate the contract.

Building Inspection

  • New South Wales: they inspect the building for damages or pests needs to be done before the exchange of contracts.
  • Queensland: they indicate that both parties can make the contract conditional based on the building and pest inspection. This means that if the buyer is not satisfied with the inspection results, there will be termination rights.

Do you have other ideas on conveyancing in Australia? You can share your insights in the comments section.

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How Meatless Monday Can Save You Money

Meat is a staple in the grocery list of most, if not all, Australian households. For many, lunch or dinner will not be complete without meat as it is a main source of protein. But truth be told, it takes a relatively large portion of your shopping budget. And when you add all meat expenses, the total cost can be really high.

Of course, saving money on groceries is possible. Since meat can be expensive, you can set a day per week where meat is not the focus of your dishes. Ever heard of Meatless Monday?

How can Meatless Monday help you save money on food? Here are some tips to consider:

Plan out your meals

It really pays to know what you are going to cook for the next few days because this information will help you with your budget. Plus, knowing what you need to buy saves a lot of time.

Look for plant-based protein sources

People tend to rely on meat for their protein supply, but remember that there are other protein sources that are not only healthier but cheaper as well. If you have a dish that needs boneless chicken breast, you can buy tofu instead.

Go for beans, lentils, and chickpeas

Don’t underestimate their size. These may be small but they pack a punch in terms of nutrients, plus these make you feel full for a longer period of time. You can add beans to vegetable curry or soup for a hearty lunch or dinner.

Explore meal options

There are so many dishes that don’t have meat but still satisfy hungry kids and adults. Vegetables are obviously cheaper than meat, and if you make your veggies the star of the meal, you can get significant savings during grocery shopping trips. Dishes that you can try include sweet potato frittata, pesto pasta, vegetarian chilli, eggplant lasagna, and vegetable soup.

These are just some of the ways Meatless Mondays can help you save money on food. Aside from these tips, it is likewise important to let your family know about the Meatless Mondays. They may be used to having meat in their meals, and this change can be a letdown.

But if you explain to them why there’s no meat on Mondays, they will better appreciate it. Who knows? If they realise how eating meat-free dishes can help improve the family’s health and savings, they may ask for more meatless days!

Do you have other grocery shopping tips on how to save money on food? You can share your ideas in the comments section.

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9 DIY Home Decor Projects on a Budget

One of the best things about DIY is turning an old item into something new. With just a few scrap items, the creative possibilities for cheap furniture are endless.

DIY home decor is a serious project. Not only does it require creativity, you also have to consider what others might think of your work. However, if you enjoy DIY and have decorations that show a bit of your personality, then this article can help you. Here are some DIY home decor ideas on a budget:

1. Chalkboard Wall Paint

Any surface can be painted with chalkboard paint. It looks great on kitchen walls and kids’ rooms.  This allows you to draw or write anything. This type of paint can be magnetic, too. So, aside from drawings, you can post pictures or notes using small magnets.

DIY Tutorial: Easy 3 STEP DIY Chalkboard Wall

2. Floating Bookshelf

Make a bookshelf out of reclaimed wood and install it on a wall. This can create an illusion of floating books that will surely appeal to your friends and family.

DIY Tutorial: DIY Wood Floating Shelf

3. Rag Rug

This can match the decor of any room.  Though this will take time to finish, it is so easy to do that even kids can have a go at it.  All you need are old clothes that can be cut into strips of fabric and knitted onto a non-skid rug.

DIY Tutorial: How To Make A Traditional Rag Rug

4. Personalised Handwritten Canvas

Get a canvas, write anything that inspires you, then hang it on a wall.

DIY Tutorial: How To Make An Easy Hand-Lettering Canvas

5. Log Slices

Rough-cut timber can add a bit of personality to your rooms. Just attach metal legs if you want to have a side table.

DIY Tutorial: DIY Log Slice Side Table

6. Mosaic CD Mirror

Old broken CDs can be turned into a work of art. Put them on the frame of a mirror and enjoy the different coloured reflections.

DIY Tutorial: DIY CD Mirror Frame

7. Front Door

An old door can be used as a coffee table. The rustic finish adds character to a family room, and this can be used for other purposes.

DIY Tutorial: How to Build a Dining Table From an Old Door and Posts

8. Mason Jar Herbs

Organise your herbs by putting them in mason jars. Hang them on your kitchen wall near a window. This is a very simple and practical way of decorating, and at the same time, organising your kitchen.

DIY Tutorial: DIY Mason Jar Fresh Herb Garden

9. Wood Soda Crates

Old soda crates can be turned into a coffee table and shadow box. Attach the crates to a table base and then lay tempered glass on top.

DIY Tutorial: Ways To Repurpose Old Soda Crates

Do you have other cheap furniture ideas? You can share your tips in the comments section.

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