How to Find Good Deals Online

The internet has made it easier than ever to find the kind of bargains you used to have to spend hours rooting around malls and second-hand shops to discover. Here are some tips to help you get the most bang for your buck and dodge some of the tricks online retailers might try to play on you.

Let Your Cart Simmer

If you see something you like the look of on a website, stick it in your online shopping cart and then leave the site alone for a day or two. The website may register your interest in the product but also believe your delay in purchasing might mean you’re looking elsewhere for a better deal. With any luck, there’s a decent chance a promo code or voucher will show up in your inbox to try to make you follow through with the purchase.

Stay on Twitter

Twitter is stalked by some of the most voracious bargain hounds on the internet. To keep you main feed uncluttered, considering opening a second account to follow sharp-eyed users as they let the world know about the latest deals and flash sales. A flurry of specifically hashtagged tweets showing up together may mean that there’s a sale on the subject matter going down.

Barter In-Store

If you’re in a shop browsing for an item, particularly one of high value, see if you can manoeuvre into a conversation with the manager where you show him there’s a better deal online. It’s their job to hit sales targets and free bonus slots, so with a little tact and charm, you may find the shop prepared to give you a discount to match the list price.

Check Free Shipping

While free shipping is great, don’t automatically assume that you’ll be making a net saving on the cost of your purchase. Some places may charge for shipping but still have the product at a cheaper price to make a bigger overall saving.

Snuggle up to Your Favourite Brands

If you’ve got a brand you’ve always been crazy about, consider bookmarking it, adding them on social media and signing up to their mailing list and uk slots.That way you’ll be the first to hear about surprise sales both on and off the line, and might be the recipient of loyalty awards like coupons and discount codes.

Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

If you live in a fancy or well-off area, you may be hindering your chances at finding the best deals. Businesses will use online telemetry to find out your IP address and zip code, which could work against you if they flag your location up as being affluent. They may, therefore, increase the prices on their site when you visit that location. A permanent solution is to run your browsing through a VPN to confuse tracking software. Or a simpler solution might be to compare prices when browsing from work or at a friend’s house.

Clear Your Browser

Websites will track your attendance and browsing behaviour through cookie software installed in your computer’s cache. This can lead some companies, say an airline, to bump up prices if they see you shopping for the same destination flight over a sustained period, increasing the price to match what they see as the degree of need on your end. Similarly, prices may be lower for customers they view as browsing the site on an introductory basis to get their repeat custom. Either shop in a private browser session where surfing data gets wiped after you close the window, or simply clear your history in between shopping sessions.

When Should You Call an Interim Manager?

It’s not uncommon for businesses to run into problems they don’t have the institutional knowledge to solve. Sometimes this is a natural evolution that leads to a growth of the business and its operational capacity. The rise of the IT department is something that has happened within living memory. It required businesses to take a risk, employing full time staff who were specialists in a new field, and sinking resources into equipment and training. The result of this, however, was increased efficiency; better problem-solving capacity; and now it’s impossible to imagine any business of any size without an IT support team.

Similarly, absorbing new expertise is part of the growth of a business. Start-ups and small businesses often make do without full time HR staff. This works as long as you have a small number of employees and can extend them flexibility in return for commitment to a growing business. Once you start to grow, processing payroll can be too much for an overstretched founder to handle, quite apart from tracking holidays and staff sickness. It makes sense as a business grows to transition into having dedicated HR staff to handle that side of a business for you, and is part of the foundation for future expansion and success.

Sometimes, however, businesses face a problem that doesn’t justify taking on new full-time staff. A project failing or overrunning, or an urgent to break into a new market represents an acute need, rather than a chronic one.

It’s in situations like these, when you need a short term dose of additional knowledge and resources, that Interim Managers are a good idea for your business. Experienced in adapting to business needs quickly, they are a solution that’s available immediately, and provides practical support rather than the recommendations you would receive from a traditional consultant. If you have a failing project you need to turn around, an Interim Manager wouldn’t simply make recommendations about how to bring it under control, they would work closely with you and the project team as a project manager.

As long as you have a quantifiable aim in mind like increasing your revenue by a set amount, or facing a particular crisis, an Interim Manager is a good solution for your business. If you have more diffuse goals like broad improvement or simply ‘growth’ without figures attached to these aspirations it’s unlikely the practical skills of the Interim Manager can help.

Professional Support Every Musician Needs

Being a professional musician is a difficult path. It’s a long journey from playing small pub gigs for nothing more than the joy of playing to a crowd to building enough profile that you can support yourself on your musical earnings.

On the way to this dream, you’re going to need support from some professionals to keep youself safe and avoid some of the pitfalls that are waiting for you in a creative career. Fortunately, lots of professional bodies, charities and other organisations exist to make sure you get the support you need to navigate this difficult world.

Union Dues

If you work regularly as a musician you may wish to join the Musician’s Union.  As well as being a good hub to connect musicians with resources like rehearsal space, tuition and of course each other, they also ensure good standards throughout the music industry. If you’re being forced to work extra hours without overtime pay, for example you can appeal to the union for representation and advice.

They also campaign about issues affecting musicians. For example, the Musician’s Union is campaigning for better provision for musicians traveling on airlines with their instruments.

Lawyers

While no one wants to encounter legal problems, being self-employed and working for many different clients means the possibility to run into difficulties are multiplied. If you have a contract to sign that you are uncertain of, run into the problem of non-payment for your services or need to protect your intellectual copyright, you may need to consult a music lawyer.

Lawyers who specialise in performer’s issues are available, or you may wish to use a less specialised lawyer who you already have a relationship with. Using an online lawyer rather than a high street firm can help you keep costs down by making sure you only pay for the service you need, rather than a whole hour’s appointment. Reading and advising on a contract before you sign it likely be a quick job, and using a lawyer who will only charge you for the time taken puts this service in your reach and makes it more financially justifiable.

Other support can be found through ISM, the professional body for musicians. Even if you’re not sure what sort of help is appropriate for you, joining and making contact with ISM gives you access to people who can identify who can help you, and connect the two of you.

Thank EU for Cheaper Roaming

The day has recently arrived. After years of phased of reductions, and gradual moves, on the 15th of June, roaming charges were banned across the EU, so you can use your phone in any EU country without paying additional charges for calls or data. You just pay the standard amount you would at home.

This is a huge boon to business travellers and holidaymakers, but there are some hidden strings attached you need to be aware of to make sure your bill holds no nasty surprises at the end of your trip.

Switzerland isn’t in Europe

Check your destination before you travel. Some countries are geographically very much in Europe, but not part of the European Union or the European Economic Area. This means they aren’t bound by the EU ‘Roam Like at Home’ legislation that has abolished roaming charges, and if you stray into them, you’ll be subject to big fees for using your phone.

It’s a confusing area, as different countries have different relationships with the EU even when they aren’t in the Union. For example, France, Germany and Italy are in the European Union and so you can use your phone there without any penalty. Norway isn’t in the EU, but the agreements that allow it to trade with the EU mean it has to accept many of the EU’s regulations, including ‘Roam Like at Home’.

Switzerland, meanwhile has a series of bilateral agreements allowing it work with the EU (fortunately, as it’s surrounded by the Union at every border), but which don’t oblige it to work accept every EU regulation so trying to use your data there will see you hit with big charges.

Similarly the Isle of Man is a British Crown Dependency, and near the geographical centre of the British Isles, but it’s independently governed, and sits outside the EU. This makes it popular as a banking hub but also somewhere you can’t use your phone without additional charges.

If you’re traveling and aren’t certain your destination is in the EU, check with your network provider to find out their policy on charges for that country, to make sure you are getting the best deal.

And if you find yourself in need of extra airtime when you’re traveling you can use a secure overseas top up service like Senditoo to get the extra credit you need, wherever you are in the world.

Renewable Residences – How To Build A Sustainable House

In 2015, a record breaking number of homes was built in Sydney. The number of new buildings reached 30,191 and the trend was repeated in other areas. Unfortunately, however, Australia is dealing with a major housing shortage right now. So, there are questions about whether this accelerated rate of construction is even viable.

Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that a record number of these builds can be categorised as ‘energy efficient’. This describes high performance, low impact properties which incorporate eco-friendly designs and features. According to environmental experts, they are the future of our cities – and if you are thinking about building a home, they should be your model, too.

This guide to the key principles of green architecture and construction will tell you a little more about these eco-friendly builds.

Capturing The Sunshine

Of all the groundbreaking green technologies on the market, solar panels are the most easily accessible to homebuilders. For instance, AGL offers solar panels without any upfront costs. The price of installation is spread over two or five years so that you can pay for the product with the money that solar energy is actively saving for you.

Solar energy is a great idea when building a green home because it doesn’t have to cost you anything, as the money spent on solar panels is recouped. Plus, you can easily harness the full force of the sun just by positioning the property in the right way. South facing homes are 25% warmer, simply because they benefit from passive solar heat.

Staying Insulated

So, you’re getting all of this amazing energy and warmth from the sun. You want to hold on to it, right? Well, you need to make sure that your home is fully insulated. This is essential for all year round energy conservation – and for your comfort, too. Properly insulated windows and doors trap heat inside during winter and regulate its entry in the summer.

As building experts are fond of stating, no amount of solar panels can improve your green credentials if you’ve got leaky window frames. Invest in double glazing and install fibreglass insulation throughout the attic to minimize lost energy. This is how you squeeze maximum value out of your solar technology and make every kilowatt count.

Shrinking Your Footprint

One of the easiest ways to shrink your impact on the planet is to, simply, build a smaller home. Now, this isn’t always the most popular of ideas, but it is a highly logical one. Smaller properties take up less physical space, leave more of the ground intact, and cost substantially less to heat, light, and maintain.

While nobody is suggesting that you live in a shed, the reality is that most homes contain wasted space. There are rooms that never get used, but they’ve still got to be cleaned and powered. In the long run, it is not economically sound to pay for space that you don’t really need. Don’t forget that your taxes will be smaller with a more compact place too.

Using Recycled Resources

It’s a great idea to try and use as many locally sourced resources as possible. This provides support to local manufacturers and producers. It also shrinks the impact of their use, because you’re not paying for trucks to deliver materials halfway across the country. If you do your research, you can probably source recycled stone, timber, glass, and other materials.

In summation, for those who are serious about green construction, it is recommended to work with an architect who is familiar with this type of building. They will be able to point you in the right direction as regards viable materials, affordable, resources, and innovative construction techniques. It is worth investing in expert advice if it’s going to help you create your dream home.

7 Tips for the Perfect Open House

Any real estate agent will tell you that the secret to selling your home is an open house. The open house is the potential buyer’s first and most lasting impression of your property. Follow these seven tips to draw more attention from potential buyers.

Market Online

If you’re on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you probably have hundreds of followers. Your easiest marketing tool is already at your fingertips! Even if you don’t know all of your followers, reaching out online with an invitation to your open house can attract scores of visitors. Create an engaging description of your space with detailed and enthusiastic language that will pique their interest. Encourage them to visit and bring any friends who may be curious. You never know who knows someone who is looking for new digs.

There are also other social platforms designed specifically for real estate marketing. Sites like Apartments.com, REALTOR.com and Zillow are the preferred source for real estate agents and landlords who want to fill their property fast. No matter where you post, be sure to advertise reminders leading up to the event to keep people’s attention.

Use Signs

The web isn’t the only resource that can drive people to your open house. Expand your marketing strategy by posting signs the day of—nothing beats a good old-fashioned sign to get a nosy stranger interested. Get up early and place at least 20 signs near and around your property hours before your open house begins. Get a few different kinds of signs with your name, the address of the property, and your number (if you feel comfortable). Some people aren’t in the market for a home, but they’ll stop by if they’re curious. Once again, someone always knows someone who wants to buy a home.

Increase Curb Appeal

Do you want people crowding to your open house right away? Spruce up your front yard. Curb appeal makes all the difference between someone walking in or just driving by. If you want an offer that meets your expectations, don’t settle with a dead yard. It may be tempting to stop caring for your garden once you decide to sell, but it’s never been more important to keep it maintained.

A lawn is the most important driving factor of curb appeal. If your lawn is dead, so will be your open house. If you need to, put down a new lawn and water it according to your city’s regulations. Keep it looking lush and fresh, and the prospects will pour in.

Clean Everything

Even if you’re selling an old mid-century bungalow with 70’s wallpaper, make an effort to clean it up. Power-wash the outside, scrub the baseboards, clean the carpet, and get into every nook and cranny until it’s spotless. This is a good time to invest in a cleaning service to take care of the work for you.

Turn on All the Lights

The hardest work is done, and you’re about to show your home. Turn on all the lights, open the blinds, and if it’s not too hot out, open some windows to get ventilation. A lit space feels more open and inviting.

Bake Cookies

Now for the finishing touch—a warm batch of cookies. Bake either vanilla or chocolate chip cookies in the oven and let the pleasant smell fill the room. Smell is one of the strongest senses, and a fresh batch of cookies is sure to seduce people into your open house. Bonus: greet them at the door with a plate of cookies so they can snack on one as the walk around your property.

Be Personable

When people come in, don’t just stand there. Greet them with a handshake and a smile, let them wander around, and stay nearby to help them with any questions they may have. If they make a compliment on a particular feature, feel free to talk about it. Hold multiple open houses to get the word out. Encourage people to return, even if they attended a private showing. By doing this, you create a sense of urgency and competition among buyers. Be prepared to accept different types of offers. Some buyers may be looking for a home they can purchase a flip; these investors generally come in with cold hard cash sourced from private companies like Source Capital Funding, Inc. Other buyers may choose to refinance, or purchase their home with a mortgage funded through a traditional bank.

Having the perfect open house is critical to draw buyers in. Follow these tips and you’ll see people crowding in at your next open house.

How to Host a Comfortable and Eco-Friendly Multi-Day Event

If you are super organized, putting together a large-scale event might be one of your favorite things to do. From making sure that all guests are able to gain entry without any delay, to checking in with your security detail, vendors and entertainers, you might be running around behind the scenes but keeping everything going smoothly is sure to bring you satisfaction.

Royalty Free Photo

All guests are definitely going to need to have access to plentiful bathrooms. You can hire any number of Satellite Suites & Restroom Trailers for your private event. This will enable guests to relieve themselves and freshen up whenever necessary. Having restroom and shower facilities available in the most convenient location will help to prevent long lines and complaints of trespass from adjacent properties. If you want all event attendees to remain comfortable without harming the environment, these next suggestions will help you to plan a fabulous multi-day event.

Supply Recycling Bins

When you are a guest at a large event and you need to dispose of waste, you are probably going to utilize the first garage receptacle that you find. Whether guests at your event are going to be camping out or staying in private quarters, you want them to be able to recycle responsibly to help prevent the area from being overwhelmed with litter. Putting out clearly marked recycling bins will enable guests to separate plastic items from cardboard and glass, and the premises will stay a lot cleaner. You can place recycling baskets near your restroom trailers to make it as easy as possible for guests to place their trash in the right areas.

Stock Bathrooms with Eco-Friendly Toiletries

If you keep your guests bathrooms stocked with recycled toilet paper and eco-friendly paper products, your event will not negatively affect the local environment. Keep vegan soaps in guest bathrooms and prevent harsh chemicals from going down the drain. Everyone will be able to stay fresh and clean, and you will be happy to know that there has been no disruption to the environmental balance.

Give Each Guest an Environmentally Conscious Gift Bag

Even though your guests will likely be coming with their own toiletries, you can encourage them to do their part to save the environment by giving them sustainable bathroom and beauty products. From reusable feminine hygiene supplies to shower caps made from recycled materials, each guest will want to sample and test out what you put inside of their goodie bags. Not only will your guests immediately feel more comfortable while enjoying your event, there will be a marked uptick in environmentally friendly behaviors on site.

Knowing that everyone at your event is working hard to keep the environment intact will inspire you to plan similar shindigs in the future. It is easy for humans to reduce their negative impact on the land, especially when they are thoughtful and responsible. At the same time, the home comforts people are used to can still be maintained if environmental sustainability is kept in mind.