How to invest your money wisely

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Investing has been an important part of culture since the inception of money, but how it occurs has dramatically changed. One thing still remains true though: you need to invest your money wisely. This guide will provide some simple things to think about when investing your hard earned money.

Pick your aim

The first and most important step into making an investment is to have a goal, whether it is investing in the stock market for a bit of a hobby on the side or investing in aim shares for inheritance tax. Your aim doesn’t matter but you need to consider how serious it will be and how much you can afford to invest and also your tolerance for losses. All these should be considered within a safe limit that won’t make you go bust, because if you cannot afford to invest you should either invest less (to an amount you can afford) or not at all.

Do your research

It is a great idea to research the particular thing you are investing in and to gain a better understanding of how beneficial it might be. In terms of investments you want to actually believe in what you are investing in and if you are going to back it with your money, you need to ensure that it has some chance of success.

Be wary of false promises

If it sounds too good to be true, then usually it is. It is important to realise that not everyone you go into business with has your best intentions at heart and the best way to find out these people is to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for some proof or historical evidence of claims that people make if you are unsure, because it is your money and yours alone. Never feel pressured  to enter into something, because you are the key decision maker and not the person wanting you to invest.

Don’t invest in something you don’t understand

You wouldn’t buy food if you didn’t know what was in it and the same thing applies for investing, if you are not sure how something functions then it is advisable not. A great example of this is in the stock market, people are continually investing without having knowledge about how it works and how they are actually going to benefit. When it comes to any decision in investing it is always best to ask all the questions you need and if people aren’t willing to answer them, then this is probably not something that you should invest in.

10 Web Analytics Solutions for Ecommerce Merchants

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10 Web Analytics Solutions for Ecommerce Merchants

Any serious online marketer understands the power of web analytics. The internet has an array of online tools that online businesses can use to effectively analyse the behaviour of their consumer traffic. Here Cloud-iQ present ten web analytics tools to help identify and correct issues before they become costly.

1)Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the go-to business tool for online marketers. Containing many of the features to be found in paid solutions, Google Analytics is free! There are tutorials available to walk you through using Google Analytics, and while there is limited support available, the programs are user friendly.

2)Kissmetrics
Kissmetrics is another excellent tool that provides in-depth information about your consumers’ habits, such as when the time that elapses between the moment someone visits your website and a purchase.

3)Web Trends
Web Trends’ clientele comprise some of the top online marketing companies out there. With a long history it is considered to be a leader in online data collection and it provides comprehensive digital intelligence. Pricing varies so check with their website.

4)VisiStat
Visistat is particularly designed for small and medium sized businesses. Although this tool has advanced features, it is actually designed to provide information that is simple, clear and usable.

5)Snoobie
Snoobie aims to help online merchants determine which marketing strategies generate the most sales. It is popular in the European market but is also useful for merchants based in North America.

6)Truviso
Truviso offers visitor data, online advertising data and video measurement. The firm’s analytical engine can be white labelled so that you can use it without even realising it.

7)Reinvigorate
This engine monitors real-time site data using globally distributed tracking code. They offer industry leading heatmaps and also offer tagging.

8)Mint
This tool is particularly popular with bloggers and website owners who publish a lot of content. It allows them to host their own analytical tool set.

9)Woopra
Woopra allows businesses to filter its online traffic according to various categories by community, feed reader traffic, email and social media.

10)Clicky
Clicky is another solution that is focused on providing a user friendly service and making things simple.

Social Media has its own analytics tools such as Twitter Analytics and Facebook Analytics. Online businesses would benefit from looking into these solutions as well.

Human Generosity

Everyone reacts to sudden wealth very differently, and whilst some choose to live the high life, others prefer to treat their friends, families and even strangers! We take a look at some of the most generous lottery winners of all time.

  • Nigel Page and Justine Laycock

In 2010, Nigel and Justine won £56 million on the Euromillions and decided to give their cleaner Denise Kelso their £400,000 house and their £19,000 Honda Civic as a thank you for her hard work cleaning their property for the last four years.

  • An anonymous French winner

According to an article in The Guardian, in 2014, an unmarried man in France scooped the €72 million jackpot and decided to give away €50 million of it to a dozen charities working for the disadvantaged.

  • Allen and Violet Large

World Lottery Club recently published an article about the Canadian couple who donated 98% of their $11.3 million win to the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, fire department, churches and their local hospitals, the latter of which had treated Violet for ovarian cancer.

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  • Ray and Barbara Wragg

After winning £7.6 million in 2000, the couple from Sheffield have given away £5.5 million to helping family, friends and other good causes including donating £10,000 towards the first MRI scanner in Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Weston Park Hospital’s Teenage Cancer Unit and £12,500 to send 60 Monte Cassino veterans to the battlefields where they fought. Each year they take a group of children to watch a Christmas pantomime and pay for 12 children to have a week at Whirlow Hall Farm.

  • Tom Crist

In 2013, Canadian Tom Crist won $40 million and decided to donate it all to charity in honour of his late wife.

  • Bob Erb

After winning $25 million in the Canadian Lottery in 2012, Bob has given away around $7 million including a $10,000 tip to a restaurant owner whose daughter had cancer and $300,000 to pay for dental care for Terrace residents who couldn’t afford it.

  • Sheelah Ryan

In 1988, Sheelah won $55.2 million and gave away the money until she died of cancer in 1994. She set up the Ryan Foundation which built low cost housing, helped the poor and paid rent for single mothers. Pensioners and the homeless were also helped through the foundation.

 

The golden rules of the casino holiday  

You finally got a week off from work and need to have some fun? A casino holiday can be just the thing you were looking for to break the routine. Just keep in mind the following golden rules and you are set to go:

 

Set a spending limit for yourself

The best rule of thumb when planning to head to a casino is to have in mind an amount of money you are willing to part with per visit. It’s too easy to just keep playing and opening your wallet when your luck is down. Also, do not make trips to the ATM between games or borrow money from friends – you will spend more than you think. Bring your allotted cash and be ready to go once it’s finished.

 

Set a time limit and stick to it

Casinos don’t have clocks: they’re trying to make you lose track of time so that you gamble for longer. The trick is to plan in advance how long you will stay. Wear a watch or set the alarm on your phone and stop playing when it goes off. Even better: arrange to meet up with family or friends later on so that you will have a reason to leave the table.

 

Get some practice

To make sure that you don’t end up gambling on games and machines that you’ve never played before, and don’t know the rules of, practise in advance. Maybe arrange a poker game or two with some friends, or test yourself with some lower stakes online gambling on a site like Euro Palace.

 

Go in expecting to lose some

Expect that you won’t win every time you gamble. This will save you some upsets or aggressive behaviour when lady luck is having a break. At the end of the day people enjoy gambling for this reason as well: for the excitement of not knowing the outcome of a game. Of course you would like to come out richer than when you arrived, and that happens sometimes, but being practical and having realistic expectations will make you more relaxed.

 

Have a few but not too many

Keep an eye on your alcohol intake: free drinks are tempting but they might impair your ability to think straight. How about having some drinks with friends after your gambling session? This way you will be able to concentrate when playing, avoid losses and you might be able to pay for the next round with your winnings. Sounds like a good night out.

 

Plan some non-gambling activities

Remember to add variety to your day and have some activities lined up – you are on holiday after all. If you’re at a resort, you can make use of the facilities: have a swim, catch some rays, go to the spa, get a massage or enjoy some gourmet food. You can also leave the hotel, join a tour, go exploring and experience the local culture. Gambling might be the main reason why you came away but it doesn’t mean it has to take over all your waking hours.

 

Gamble only for fun

Gambling is a recreational activity and can inject some excitement in your day-to-day life but remember to enjoy it responsibly: be social, have your hands up in the air when winning, be a good sport when losing and have a ball.

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Written by Gareth Monet.

 

 

 

 

Things to do in Budapest

Budapest is one of Europe’s most up-and-coming destinations. With cheap direct flights from the UK and inexpensive accommodation to be found right in the city centre, Budapest is a great value option for a long weekend.

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Fabulous accommodation right in the heart of the city can be found on Air BnB (www.airbnb.com), where large apartments are rented out very cheaply – the best thing about this service is not only the extra space and privacy compared to a hotel room, but also that your host will be a great source of in-the-know tips for exploring Budapest and a useful contact for any problems that might arise.

It’s not only the value of the city that’s impressive; the capital itself is both beautiful and interesting, with hundreds of things to keep visitors busy throughout their stay. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Thermal Baths

There are several baths to choose from in Budapest. The most popular is probably Széchenyi Baths, for its enormous size, lavish surroundings, and hot water temperature. Even in winter, it’s a wonderful place to have a soak with the steam of the water meeting the cold air, creating a dramatic visual effect. Old men play chess with each other during a morning dip and it’s one of the public baths in which both men and women are allowed – many others have regulations on the times at which each gender can visit.

Eat

Budapest has a huge range of dining options, so you needn’t spend the whole weekend feasting on goulash – although it is delicious! There are two Michelin-starred restaurant (and undoubtedly there will be more to come), Costes and Onyx. For something more traditional, the Central Market Hall sells a huge range of Hungarian food and is a good place to find lunch. Local food is also served at Múzeum, which has been a Budapest institution for over 125 years.

Drink

Budapest is certainly not short on bars, the most famous of which are the ruin bars. Szimpla Kert is the most well known and a great place to get chatting to fellow travellers; the quirky bar has good music and a buzzing vibe. For something less alcoholic, Gerbeaud is one of the city’s top spots for coffee and cake dates. It’s a good place to write your postcards and call home, something that doesn’t have to be pricey.

Sights

There is so much to see in Budapest, but some sights not to miss include the ornate St. Stephen’s Basilica, the statues of Memento Park, the incredible façade of Parliament, best viewed from the Buda side of the Danube, and the colossal Great Synagogue.

Peter Jackson, The Lord Of The Rings, and The Beautiful Island of New Zealand

Kiwis must be amongst the most fortunate people in the world, with 8,700 miles of coastline, breath-taking glaciers, incredible national parks and unique wildlife on their doorstep, all shared out amongst just four million inhabitants. With such an abundance of natural beauty, it seems hardly surprising that legendary director, Peter Jackson, chose his native country as the backdrop to his incredible The Lord of the Rings trilogy. See the true Middle Earth and experience just why New Zealand is constantly cited as an unmissable travel destination with our guide to the most beautiful Kiwi attractions!

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Abel Tasman

There simply aren’t enough adjectives in the dictionary to describe just how beautiful Abel Tasman National Park is, so visit Abel Tasman National Park and see it for yourself! One of the world’s best hiking destinations, the entire National Park lies on the coast, offering a fantastic selection of beach and mountain trails.

Milford Sound

Located in the South Island, Milford Sound is one of the country’s top attractions and it isn’t very hard to see why. You can visit it by water, air, or even hiking if you’re feeling adventurous. As well as breath-taking scenery, the Sound is also home to an abundance of wildlife including penguins, dolphins and seals.

Kaikoura

Though not as conventionally beautiful as some of the other attractions listed here, Kaikoura is still well worth a look and is a real haven for any seafood lover! The town is small, but there’s plenty to see and do, and you can buy delicious fresh seafood from local fishermen including mussels, blue cod, and lobster. There’s also an opportunity to spot fur seals, sperm whale, dolphins and albatrosses of the coast, all against a backdrop of gorgeous snow-capped mountains and a dramatic coastline. Kaikoura is definitely one not to be missed!

Waipoau Forest

Waipoau Forest really does feel like something out of The Lord of the Rings, and a wander through here will explain just why Peter Jackson chose New Zealand as his filming location. The forest’s Kaouri Trees are some of the oldest in the world, and though most of them were destroyed by early settlers who used them for making boats, the ones that do remain are truly remarkable. Tāne Mahuta is the most famous and, at 168ft tall and 45.1 feet in diameter, it’s the biggest too!

Punakaiki

We all pray for good weather when we go away, but Punakaiki is definitely best explored when the weather is terrible. Come at high tide when the wind is strong and you’ll see the waves crashing against the rocks, forcing the water upwards like it’s being spouted from a blowhole.

Routeburn

Walking is something not to be missed while you’re in New Zealand, and it’s the best way to take in the country’s incredible beauty. There are nine official Great Walks which will take up between two and four days, but Routeburn is particularly special, taking you through two national parks, Mt Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park. It’s an exhausting walk, but most of the hike takes place above the line of the trees, offering magnificent views at any time of the day.

 

Why it’s Important to Save Money

Before learning how to save money, it is essential to know the many reasons why saving is such an important aspect of our lives. Regardless of how much people are earning or spending, almost everyone needs to save money.

Many people have found themselves in a situation where they have no other option but to borrow substantial amounts of money from banks or other financial institutions. This is mainly because they did not have money put aside to see them through any unforeseen periods of financial difficulty.

Life can present us with periods of challenging financial times at any moment, and it’s imperative that we are adequately prepared to outlast and overcome these periods of financial strain. Given the state of the current financial economy, it is even more essential that we learn how to save money effectively. Having money saved to get you through such periods of financial worry might just be your ticket to survival.

Why is it so important to save money?

Financial troubles can occur at any time, to anyone, and for a wide range of different reasons. People seem to be in need of money most when they are unfortunate enough to have lost their primary source of income. In difficult times like these, having additional money stored away in a bank account can make it a lot easier for them to bear the cost of their daily expenses until they get back on their feet and start to have a regular source of income again.

People who do not have enough money saved to see them through a period of financial difficulty may become stressed and feel burdened by the whole situation. The stress level that can be obtained from long-term financial problems can ultimately lead to serious health issues. Therefore, it is always a good idea to try and save money at the right time in order to avoid such worry and unnecessary health complications.

Money Saving Tips

The majority of people find saving money to be an extremely difficult task to practice. It doesn’t have to be such a problematic part of life, here are some tips and tricks to help get you started with your savings:

  • You need to get organised. Start my taking note of your income and all of your expenditures. Tracking them on a monthly basis will allow you to clearly see where all your money is going.
  • Set yourself some saving goals and targets that you would like to reach within a certain timeframe.
  • Loose change should not be disposed of. Get yourself a money box and watch it fill to the top in no time.
  • Saving plans should be designed to be easy and hassle free.
  • Bargains should always be taken advantage of, and don’t let any form of free money slip through your fingertips.

The above tips are designed to enable you to gather up extra cash in your bank account. There are many other forms of saving money that should be considered if you’re serious about putting money aside for them rainy ahead.

Money management and saving are two things that are within the control of every individual. Saving is certainly not going to be easy at the beginning, but a little bit of guidance and a lot of determination will see you through it.

Top places to get pub grub in Newcastle

In my opinion, there’s nothing quite like good old-fashioned pub grub. With many of the UK’s pubs struggling to stay afloat and the price of beer sadly rising, many venues are turning to food to help keep their doors open. While I’ve seen lots of places offering fancy fare, personally I think you can’t beat the traditional British classics that have been served in alehouses for years.

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The joy of classic pub grub

For me, the joy of pub grub is threefold. Firstly, if you find somewhere offering fantastic home-cooked food, it just tastes that little bit more authentic and warming than ultra-sophisticated dishes. Secondly, I love the atmosphere of traditional pubs – so welcoming and cosy. Thirdly, pick the right venue and you can pair your pie, fish and chips or sausage and mash with a delicious real ale. What could be better?

Newcastle is a haven of traditional pubs, and if you know where to look you can get some absolutely amazing – but always down to earth and classically British – food. Below, I’ve listed a few of my favourites.

By the way, if you don’t live in or around Newcastle but are intrigued by its pubs (as you should be!), I’d really recommend taking a trip here, even if only overnight or for a few days. There are plenty of affordable hotels in Newcastle, as well as great attractions including breweries, castles and museums.

The Bridge Hotel

First on my list is the Bridge Hotel, which has been going for more than 100 years – pretty impressive, hey? You’ll find it next to the Castle Keep around two minutes away from the scenic quayside, where it regularly hosts live music.

In terms of food and drink, this is a great place to come if you, like me, are a fan of real ales. Regulars include Golden Sheep and Deuchars IPA, while they also have guest ales and craft beers to boot.

Food is served daily and includes home-cooked hot meals as well as delicious sandwiches, and if you come in on a Sunday you also have the option of tucking into a good old British roast. Choose from chicken (my personal favourite), pork or beef.

The Broad Chare

Next up we have the Broad Chare, which you’ll find on the Quayside. This pub prides itself on serving classic British food – and does so with aplomb.

One of my favourite things about this place food-wise is that as well as offering hearty main courses like steak and chips, it also serves up some seriously satisfying snacks. Things like scotch eggs, oysters and hand-raised pork pies – yum. As a testament to its achievements in the kitchen, it snapped up a Michelin Bib Gourmand award in 2012.

There are plenty of cask ales available too; these change regularly, but at the time of writing Black Sheep Bitter and The Writer’s Block were a few of the staples.

The Redhouse

Last on my list is the Redhouse, which is also on the Quayside. This grade II listed building is a traditional pie and mash alehouse, which has the added bonus of having gorgeous views over the Tyne Bridge – presuming you have eyes for anything but pie, that is…

You’ll have three key decisions to make when eating here. Firstly, you’ll need to pick your pie. Options include chicken, gammon and leek, as well as sausage, apple, onion and cider pie. Next up, you’ll need to tackle a mash-based conundrum in deciding whether to go for mustard, cheese or straight-up creamy. Then you need to pick how you’d like your peas and what liquor you’d like the whole lot doused in. Pie perfection!

 

Day trips out of Sharm el Sheikh – where’s best?

The port and resort town of Sharm el Sheikh located at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt has established itself as a firm favourite among British holidaymakers looking to escape the cold and rain of home throughout the year.

Its popularity has rocketed in recent years as more people discover the hidden treasures of the unique and stunning destination, offering tourists the chance to make the most of scorching temperatures and exciting attractions at almost any time.

St Catherine's Monastery

St Catherine’s Monastery

Travellers making the most of Sharm el Sheikh holidays (like those offered by Cosmos) have the best of both worlds, soaking up Egypt’s ancient culture while enjoying the modern perks of luxurious and exquisite accommodation.

Thanks to its constant high temperatures and exciting opportunities, the resort is brimming with tourists hoping to top up their tans all year round. However, the best times to go are usually before and after the summer months, as these can be extremely humid.

Don’t be a beach bum

Sharm el Sheikh’s ideal location makes it the perfect destination for travellers hoping to explore the wider parts of Egypt during their holiday. Not only are the resort’s hotels among the best in the world, they also provide fantastic links to a whole host of activities.

What many first-time travellers do not know is, the town is world-famous for its diving opportunities, while a trip into the desert is an unforgettable experience for all involved.

St Catherine’s Monastery

Tourists may find themselves flung into Egypt’s ancient history during a trip to Sharm el Sheikh and need only travel a few miles to witness the grand ruins and stunning architecture that put the nation on the map.

St Catherine’s Monastery, a high-walled structure at the foot of Mount Sinai – where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments – is among the favourite stop-off points for travellers.

The landmark is rich in biblical references and also provides the home of the Burning Bush, the spot where God was said to have appeared to Moses.

Constructed between the years 548 and 565, the Monastery is among the oldest of its kind together with the Monastery of Saint Anthony – which is situated across the Red Sea in southern Cairo.

Tourists can marvel at the overwhelming architecture during a visit to this historical site, while the small town of Saint Katherine City is located just minutes away.

Get active in Egypt

For those tourists who prefer to keep their holiday enjoyment in a higher gear, Sharm el Sheikh certainly will not disappoint. Although the ruins and old buildings are a must-see for some travellers, the biblical history does not appeal to everyone – but this does not bring about a shortage of fun.

Included among the most popular activities in the resort are the Tiran Island Cruise and Snorkelling Day trip, which provides the perfect combination of sunshine and snorkelling for those hoping to top up their tan while getting in on the action.

Alternatively, thrill-seeking travellers are able to check out the most popular sites of the town with a difference on an exciting Desert Jeep Safari tour.

Taking place on a Saturday, Monday or Thursday, this fantastic opportunity sees participants drive a jeep through the dunes of the desert and take a walk in the White Canyon before lunch in a restaurant and taking in the sights and sounds of the bazaar in Dahab.

 

De-cluttering your House: Make a Profit Spring-cleaning

We all have that drawer or cupboard in the house that we’re scared to open because its contents might spill out. There’s the bookcase crammed with books that haven’t been read since your kindle arrived, and the stacks of DVD’s that are burned on your laptop. But the prospect of sorting through all this old clutter is daunting. So instead, look at every item as a potential few dollars, because someone somewhere is willing to pay for that old mobile phone or CD collection.

 

Break it down.

Usually, your clutter is never as chaotic as you think. All the old tools are in the shed, unwanted toys in the kids’ toy boxes, old kitchen appliances in some dusty kitchen cupboard. Assign a few hours one evening when you’re free and chose the most cluttered place. Once you have this area sorted, and it won’t take as long as you think, all those little junk drawers and cluttered corners won’t seem like a big deal.

A lot of old CDs, DVD’s and video games you have might be taking up unwanted space, but they could be valuable collectables. You probably cannot even use any of those Nintendo 64 games or relics from your first Playstation, but even though they don’t have cases or seem a bit tattered, there is still a market for old goods.
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So after all these items have been sorted into groups of binned, keeping and selling, it is time to decide which is the best market place for selling your products. The most obvious solution is using the internet as a platform for selling, and there is no shortage of websites to sell on. It’s best however, to do a bit of research on the particular website, for there are niche websites designed for selling specific items. If you post products on these websites, they have a better chance of being seen than on more commercial websites where they are overlooked due to the sheer volume of products (maybe these websites could do with some de-cluttering).

Top Tips for Removing Household-Clutter

  • If its broken, bin it
  • If you can’t remember what it does, bin it
  • If it’s not broken, sell it
  • If it’s not yours and you don’t know how it got there, get rid of it!

When de-cluttering, don’t get distracted by old photos or things that stir up memories. You will probably be keeping these, so stay focused and put them in a box for later.
When you’re finished and have put all your nicely separated items in specific boxes, do not put them into the store closet to be dealt with later. Sort it out that da

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De-clutter a small area when you find yourself bored with some time to spare. Don’t leave reorganising your house for your precious weekend, or you might not do it at all.

Try not to lose motivation. Remember why your started and think of that free space you wanted, or the extra cash you want for those new shoes.

Get online and start selling today. You will feel much better with a tidy, uncluttered house!