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Winning at gift buying; the shift towards gifts that mean something

It’s a bit of a cliche, but the same question comes up every Christmas time:

What do you buy for the person that has everything?

It can be a real head-scratcher. We all want the presents we give to be memorable and something the giftee will get really excited about, but in practice, it can be pretty hard to think of a gift that fits the bill and is something that they haven’t already got themselves!

That’s why Australia has seen a huge uptick in giving ‘experiences’ not ‘things’.

Here are ten great ideas for Christmas presents that are thoughtful, memorable and won’t end up in an op-shop when the new year rolls around.

 

Charitable Gifts

You’ve probably seen these around for a few years. Instead of buying your friends and family presents you take the money you would have spent and buy gifts for a community in need like a goat, medicine or school supplies.

It might seem like it isn’t the right present for everyone but when $620 million is spent on unwanted gifts in Australia every year, there are certainly worse options to spend your money on.

There is also a fair bit of research that shows that giving is highly linked to happiness.

 

‘Once in a Lifetime’ Experiences

If you’re looking for a way to make someone happy with your present, science says that giving an ‘experience’ is the way to go.

There are a few reasons why:

  • The excitement lasts longer: When you get a shiny new gift, excitement peaks when it is unwrapped and then tails off every day after. But when you get a once in a lifetime experience like skydiving or a hot lap in a racing car, you still get excited when you get it on Christmas Day, and that excitement only builds as you move closer to the experience date.
  • You’re less likely to compare it: If you buy someone a pair of Beats by Dre headphones, they can always compare them to other brands or even different colours. Sure, they might still love their new Beats, but is green really their colour? By contrast, how many bungee jumps or helicopter rides have they been on? They call them ‘Once in a Lifetime’ experiences for a reason.
  • They are more memorable and often more social: When an experience is unique, we usually remember it for a long time. On top of that, if you buy someone an ‘experience’ gift, you’re usually not just sending them off on their own. That means your not just buying them concert tickets to their favourite band; you’re buying them a night out with you (or another friend) to ‘experience’ their favourite band together.

 

A Night Out

This one is particularly great for couples with kids.

If you’ve got little ones running around, you’ll know how hard it is to eke out some quality time alone. By buying them something like a restaurant voucher or Gold Class cinema tickets, you force them to plan a night out together. The voucher’s expiry date gives them a deadline to book!

It is like an excuse to spend a little time on themselves (and, let’s face it, kids or not who isn’t going to love that?).

 

A ‘Better Yourself’ Gift

Almost every person has that interest that they’ve always wanted to get into but never felt they had the time.

Whether we’re talking about learning French, how to play guitar or making your own pasta from scratch, buying a lesson for someone gives them the excuse to start working on themselves.

 

A ‘Put it Towards…’ Gift

Sometimes you know exactly what a friend or family member wants, but it is a little too extravagant for your budget.

So why not just help them on their way to their goal instead?

The best way to execute this gift is if you give them funds in a way that represents what you want them to put it towards, so it doesn’t seem like you just took the easy way out and got them cash. For example, if they are planning to build their own greenhouse or garden shed, buy them a Bunnings voucher. Or, if they are going on an overseas holiday, get them a travel card topped up with the currency of the country they are travelling to.

If you do need to give them cash, decorate the envelope a little in the theme of what the funds are going towards.

 

Weekend Getaway Gift

An upgrade on the ‘Night Out’ gift, if you really want your friends or family to treat themself, why not buy them a couple of nights out of town?

The same logic applies as the dinner date. By getting them an accommodation voucher, all of a sudden the clock starts ticking. They have to book their getaway or they are ‘wasting’ your present.

 

Membership Gift

A final gift idea, if you really can’t think of anything for a friend or family member, just buy them something they are already paying for.

From gym membership to magazine subscriptions, most people have extra monthly expenses. You already know that it is something they want to spend their money on, so as far as gifts go, it is a pretty safe bet.

Sure, you might not feel like this kind of present rates very high on the ‘thoughtfulness scale’, but at least you know they’ll use it.

 

Have you got any stories about giving or receiving ‘experience’ presents? Let us know in the comments below. And if you’re looking to spread the cost of the ‘experience’ gifts you’re buying friends and family, don’t forget Nimble offers a simple, stress-free way to borrow up to $5,000.

 

You should read this bit: Sometimes we use links in our blogs that belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website, meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in our blog posts. The information in our blog posts is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

9 Toys That Kids Actually Want For Christmas in 2018

Remember when you were a kid and your aunty or uncle got you the ‘wrong’ present? Sometimes it was a t-shirt from a TV-show that was only cool two years ago, or maybe it was a figurine that looked a bit like a Power Ranger (but totally wasn’t a Power Ranger).

We all remember having to thank them with a fake smile, all the while regretting a precious Christmas present wasted.

You don’t want that to be you! Your heart breaking slightly as you realise they don’t like the present, and you’ve potentially lost your title as ‘the favourite’.

But now you’re a grown-up you realise how hard it is. What are kids even into these days? Do they still like fidget spinners? Who can keep up with this stuff? It all moves so fast! Christmas presents for kids is tough!

Well stress-less, we’ve got you sorted. We’ve done some digging and have listed out the top 9 Christmas presents that kids actually want in 2018. Follow this guide, and you’re sure to see those genuine pearly white smiles when they rip open the wrapping paper this festive season.

 

Harry Potter Hogwarts Express LEGO set

Price: $139.99

Ages: 8-14

The Harry Potter range was released in July this year, so this is the first Christmas where the toy combination of two of the world’s biggest franchises will be sitting under Christmas trees, and our advice is to GET IN EARLY.

Already the LEGO website has a one set per customer limit on the Hogwarts Express set, you can also pick up a range of other Potter-verse LEGOs like the Whomping Willow, the Hogwarts Great Hall or even the whole Hogwarts castle ($649.99)!


Monopoly: Fortnite Edition Board Game

Price: $77.99

Ages: 8+

You’ve got to give it to Monopoly. Their business model is to make the same game over and over again, with only small changes, and somehow it works! At over 3,000 different variants to date, Hasbro’s profits from Monopoly keep on growing!

Our prediction for the most popular new variant on kids’ wish lists this Christmas is the brand new Fornite version. It was the top selling board game on Amazon during the Black Friday sales and we don’t see any reason that this will change this December.

It is one of the rare Monopoly variants where the rules aren’t exactly the same as the original. You receive health bars instead of money, acquire properties automatically if you land on them and players roll one ‘action’ die that gives a player certain abilities. It is also a LOT shorter to play than regular Monopoly, which is great news for most of us.

Another shout out goes to the Monopoly Cheater’s edition, which is a version of the game that officially sanctions all the rule-bending, sneaky tricks and outright cheating that has gone on since the first Monopoly boards were sold in 1935.

 

Poopsie Slime Surprise Unicorn

Price: $79

Ages: 5+

In a year dominated by massive trends from Bitcoin to fidget-spinners, it might be a surprise to learn that four of the top-ten ‘how-to’ Google searches in Australia were about slime. Apparently, kids LOVE slime.

So don’t be surprised if this sassy unicorn that poops rainbow slime is one of the hottest items this festive season.

There are four different unicorn ‘characters’, and as with a few of the other toys on this list, you won’t know which one you’ve got until the little one unwraps it on Christmas Day. The packaging promises 20+ magic surprises which range from accessories for the unicorn, like brushes and clothing.

But the main selling point of this present is, of course, the making of the slime! Trust us, this one is going to be a sure-fire hit!

 

furReal Munchin’ Rex

Price: $79

Ages: 4+

We know it is only just December, but this one is so popular a lot of retailers are already sold out online, so searching one out might need to be your Christmas mission.

Dinosaurs have always been popular with kids, and the FurReal Munchin’ Rex is no exception. It’s a robotic baby dinosaur that has over 35 different sound and motion combinations based on how your kids interact with them, a lot of them based on feeding him his different ‘snacks’.

Expect to see a whole lot of them around after December 25th and, as we mentioned, start looking now so your kid doesn’t miss out.

 

L.O.L. Big Surprise

Price: $89

Ages: 3+

The surprise Christmas present smash hit of 2017 was the L.O.L. Big Surprise and with 10 extra surprises in the 2018 version it is sure to be just as B.I.G! If you’re unfamiliar with it, it plays on the online trend of ‘unboxing’ videos and brings it to the world of kid’s toys.

The key factor: you don’t know exactly what you’re buying. You get a big sparkly case that contains 60 smaller surprises that all need to be opened individually. It’s like 60 presents for your kids inside one!

Most of the surprises are clothes and accessories for the L.O.L dolls that come in the middle of the packaging, but there are a bunch of extras for your kids to work out (like text that can only be seen with a special magnifying glass) making the unwrapping experience even more exciting.

Hatchimals Hatchibabies

Price: $79-$59

Ages: 5+

Another ‘mystery’ present, Hatchimals Hatchibabies is the toy that unwraps itself.

The Hatchimal’s brand was first launched in October 2016, and the demand was crazy, leading it to be designated the ‘hottest’ toy of that year, and the craze isn’t showing much sign of slowing down.

The toy comes as an egg and when it is activated the baby Hatchimal ‘hatches’ its way out.

You can get a whole bunch of different Hatchimals from a ‘Chipadee’ to a ‘Cheetree’ to a ‘Ponette’, or if you are adventurous, you could buy a Mystery Egg to really heighten the suspense.

 

The Original Tamagotchi

Price:$29

Ages: 8+

A blast from the past, the original Tamagotchi is back!

Bandai America, The American arm of the company that first thought up the digital pet released a new updated version of Tamagotchi last year, but it did not go over that well. According to the company’s marketing director as soon as the new version was released, fans began clamouring for the original.

So they did (with a few extra features).

Granted there are probably going to be just as many nostalgic adults as there are young ones excited about unwrapping a Tamagotchi from under the tree this season, they are still expected to be a hot seller this Christmas across the board.

 

Star Wars Ultimate Co-Pilot Chewie

Price: $280

Ages: 4+

The new Disney Star Wars movies have introduced the characters from a galaxy far, far away to a whole new generation of kids, and as a result, there is a whole new generation of high-tech Star Wars toys out there.

The pick of this Christmas season is Hasbro’s Ultimate Co-Pilot Chewie. Chewbacca has always been a franchise favourite, so this should probably not be too much of a surprise.

Like many of the ‘Fur-real’ toy range, Chewie has a variety of different actions and sounds that can be unlocked by different actions from scratching his head to playing him music.

 

Fingerlings Untamed Dinosaur

Price: $20

Ages: 5+

Fingerlings were one of the breakthrough toy hits in 2017. They are little interactive monkeys that sit on your kid’s finger and respond to a range of different words, noises and actions.

Well, it’s hardly surprising that the folks responsible for Fingerlings over at WowWee didn’t stop at monkeys. Following Fingerling Unicorns, Australia now gets the Fingerling Untamed Dinosaurs.

As could be expected the Dinosaurs are a little more growly and chompy than their furry predecessors but they are just as cute in their own way and are expected to be just as popular.

 

Have we missed any hot Christmas toys for 2018? Let us know in the comments below! And don’t forget, if you’re looking to spread the cost of your Christmas gift expenses, Nimble can help with simple, stress free loans up to $5,000.

 

You should read this bit: Sometimes we use links in our blogs that belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website, meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in our blog posts. The information in our blog posts is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

 

The 7 best second-hand, hidden treasures of all time

Every serious bargain-hunter has a story or two about an amazing op shop or garage sale find. From dollar-rack designer clothing to a full kitchen set at a fraction of the normal price!

Sorting through endless rows of preloved jackets or digging through boxes of household goods in search of hidden treasures is part of the thrill of second-hand shopping. When you find something great, it doesn’t just feel like you’re buying something. It feels like an achievement.

At Nimble, this got us wondering: what are the greatest vintage hidden treasure finds of all time?

So we scoured the net and came up with seven of the savviest scores from around the globe. Strap yourself in for some blockbuster bargains!

A True Master – A bit of sporting history for $5

The Masters, a prestigious golf tournament held in Augusta Georgia, rewards its annual winner with cash and the iconic green jacket. While I’m sure most winners have their jacket mounted somewhere in a trophy room, in 1994 one was found at a Toronto thrift store and purchased for the hefty sum of $5.00!

Quick question, who’s paid more than that for their morning coffee?

The jacket was sold at auction in 2017 for just over $139k. An op shop master without a doubt!

END RESULT:

 

Fancy a cuppa? A historical artifact for just $4

One lucky and local Sydneysider took a chance on an interesting looking carved cup they found in a local op shop. It had a little chip on one of the ends, but the anonymous buyer still thought it looked interesting enough to hand over $4. As it turns out the cup was carved from a Rhinoceros’ horn, making it worth a LOT more.

Called a libation cup, the 17th-century Chinese relic was quite the find. It was purchased for two gold coins and sold in 2013 for $75k. Would you have dished out the dough for this little cup?

END RESULT:

 

We declare this an incredible find! The rarest of documents for $4

A man shopping for some old artwork got more than he bargained for at a flea market in Pennsylvania. He purchased a framed artwork, unbelievably not even for the actual picture, but for the unique frame. However, upon trying to remove the frame from the canvas, it fell apart and revealed a folded piece of paper hidden inside.

The piece of paper as it turned out, was a genuine copy of the Declaration of Independence (a document so famous it’s in a movie with Nicolas Cage!)

via GIPHY

With only 500 known to be created and less than 30 known to be in existence, this lucky lad turned his 4 dollar purchase into $2.42 million at an auction in 1991.

What could be hidden behind the frames at your local op shop?

END RESULT:

 

The unicorn of Nintendo games

Bandai’s Stadium Events could be the rarest Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) game of all time.

It was released for a brief time before being recalled and then replaced by a similar game World Class Track Meet. You might wonder what’s so exciting about an old video game no one wanted to play? Well, few copies are known to exist and depending on the condition they can fetch upwards of $40k.

One copy was found and purchased by a lucky bargain hunter at a North Carolina thrift shop for $7.99. The shopper who couldn’t believe what she was seeing, quickly snatched up the coveted title without even letting the cashier take it out of her hands to scan it up!

She managed to find a buyer for $20K. And just think of how many times our parents told us that  “games were a waste of money!”

END RESULT:

 

A picture is worth more than a thousand words (much more)

Even if you don’t know a lot about art, you’ve probably heard about a guy called Picasso, right?

One shrewd gentleman in Ohio bought a print in an op shop when he spotted what looked like Picasso’s signature in the corner. The print, which was promoting an art show of Picasso’s work was purchased for $14.14.

Not long after making his find public, a private collector purchased the unverified piece for $7k. While there is some debate if it is really Pablo’s work or not, no one can argue with turning $14 into 7 thousand!

END RESULT:

Time is a valuable thing

We’ve all seen the classic bin of watches in our local op shop. They’re usually filled with cheap quartz watches that are scratched up with missing parts and generally not worth looking at.

Well, next time you spot one it might be worth a second look. One lucky punter in an Arizona thrift shop, took the time (get it?) to look through the watch pile and was rewarded big time.

He found a one of a kind model of a rare brand: the Lecoultre Deep Sea Alarm Automatic. Sounds alright, huh? Well, what’s even more impressive was he was able to turn his $5.99 find into $35k.

We can all agree he must have had a great time (wink) and has given us all something to watch (last one we promise) out for.

END RESULT:

 

A big bowl of cash for three bucks

This one is special because the bowl is pretty underwhelming to look at…wouldn’t you agree?

 

Would you give that a second look if you saw it sitting on the shelf?

Well, a New York family who purchased the bowl at a garage sale risked their $3 dollars on a hunch. After having the bowl reviewed by experts, it was found they had picked up an extremely rare piece of Chinese history.

From the Ding dynasty, the bowl was over a thousand years old, and the only other similar piece known in existence is in a museum. Initially, the bowl was expected to sell for $200-300k but surprised everyone when it sold for $2.2 million.

3 dollars into $2.2 million, on a little bowl, now THAT is crazy.

END RESULT:

And there you have it! Nimble’s 7 most valuable second-hand discoveries. Do you know of any we’ve missed? Or maybe you’ve made one of your own? Either way, drop us a line in the comments below!

 

You should read this bit: Sometimes we use links in our blogs that belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website, meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in our blog posts. The information in our blog posts is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

Eating healthy on a budget: 10 tips from the experts

Ever noticed how expensive healthy foods can be in comparison to the dozens of fast food options that are, well pretty much everywhere? Or how many pseudo-expert health bloggers there are out there, that claim to have unlocked the secret benefits of the ancient Mayan diet of activated almonds, juice cleanses and cabbage soup?

We hear you loud and clear! Changing your eating habits and actually sticking to them can not only be mentally exhausting, but a real strain on your budget.

That’s why we’ve combed through all the noise, to bring you Nimble’s 10 tips for eating healthy, without breaking the bank, from none other than the most qualified health experts.

 

#1 Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

It’s pretty easy to say things like ‘it’s too expensive to eat healthy’ – but is that really true? Or is it just an excuse to eat what we want?

“We sometimes make excuses for the things that we don’t want to do. Choosing an apple over a chocolate bar is not only a healthier choice, but it is a cheaper choice too.”

Fiona Tuck, nutritionist.

It might be hard to choose an apple over a sweet when picking out a snack, but using price is a poor excuse. There are tonnes of cheap, healthy foods out there if we are willing to change our mindset and look for them.

 

#2 Shopping hungry is a big no-no

One of the best ways to save money is by watching your shopping.

Never shop on a hungry tummy. It can lead to impulse purchasing comfort foods (like that bag of chips to eat on the way home) and simply overspending in general. Click here for more information about saving money on your groceries.

“We all know how tempting it is to buy unhealthy foods when you go to the supermarket hungry. So one super tip is to eat before you go shopping, as you’ll find you’re much more likely to stick to your list this way,”

Anna Debenham, dietitian from The Biting Truth.

 

#3 Plan before you shop

Next to ‘not-shopping-hungry’, the next best healthy/thrifty tip is to plan your meals.

This will make sure you have a line up of super healthy dishes every day and ensure you don’t blow money on food that you don’t need.

A great shopping trip starts at home. Check your pantry and fridge first so you know what you’re working with. No one likes that feeling when you just get back from the store to find that there is only a splash of milk in the carton or that you’ve just bought a brand new box of couscous when there is still two half-empty ones tucked behind the cereal boxes.

“Planning meals ahead and food prepping is a fabulous way to help stick to New Year’s resolutions of healthy eating.”

Fiona Tuck, nutritionist.

If you have a plan and a pantry full of healthy food, you will also be less likely to grab that take away burger and chips on the way home (note: some will-power will still be required!)

 

#4 Don’t waste food

One of the biggest unnecessary expenses in the home is food wastage.

Australians throw out 20% of the food they buy every month. That adds up to over $1,000 in groceries every year.

Food doesn’t last forever, particularly fresh produce and meats, if they go off and end up in the bin, that’s your hard earned money you’re throwing into the rubbish.

“If you can’t find that box of quinoa when you want to cook it or if that wild salmon fillet gets pushed to the back of the fridge without being cooked, it’s all wasted money.”

Frances Largeman-Roth, R.D.N., nutrition expert and author of Eating in Color.

Get a system! Organising your fridge and pantry so that items nearing their use by date are moved to the front. Go out of your way to put them in your meal plan for the week.

Not only is it gross when you find that bag of soggy veggies in the bottom drawer, it’s wasted money.

 

#5 Don’t be a fusspot

Keeping it flexible when it comes to following recipes will save you big time in the long run.

Shop the weekly specials. Sure, Jamie Oliver says you need Tuscan kale for his frittata, but you know what? Silverbeet is on sale this week. So, go for the silverbeet! We promise Jamie won’t take it personally.

“You don’t have to stick to recipes completely. Modify them to your taste as well as your budget.”

Chloe McLeod, a sports dietitian.

On top of saving you a few bucks, a slight change can make an old recipe seem new. Keep your eyes open when you shop and don’t be afraid to tweak and experiment.

 

#6 Stay away from the “superfoods”

There is no lack of trendy (and pricey) products being labelled as the next ‘miracle cure’ these days. Unfortunately, there is often little evidence to the benefits of these foods, and certainly not enough to justify the huge mark up in price.

“Healthy eating becomes more expensive when people become fixated with new trends and fads. Fad foods and ingredients are often marketed with a superior price tag and, more often than not, lack the scientific evidence to support any health claims around them.”

Alexandra Parker, dietitian from The Biting Truth.

Avoid buying into the hype. Don’t pay tonnes of money for trendy ingredients when there are plenty of great healthy foods that give you the same health kick for a fraction of the price.

 

#7 Look for generic and home-brand items

Many people overlook the savings to be had from home-brand foods.

Advertisers spend lots of money to make you brand conscious, but you can save quite a bit  by ignoring them!

“You would be surprised at how many generic-brand food companies are making foods as good as, if not better than, their big brand competitors. The great benefit of buying generic brands will be apparent when you pay for your shopping at the checkout. Generic brands are a great deal cheaper than their big brand counterparts. I would honestly say half of my weekly shop is generic-brand foods.”

Emily Skye, Australian trainer.

 

#8 Check your portion size

It’s not just what you eat but how much of it that you consume!

Apples are healthy, but they still have kilojoules. Don’t just assume that because you are eating healthy that you can go crazy with the portion size.

This goes double for those on a budget, if you are eating what should be two meals for dinner, you could also be wiping out tomorrow’s lunch.

“Portion control is important. Often people think because a type of food is healthy they can eat as much as they like, but piling up your plate with brown rice or adding spoonfuls of coconut oil to meals all add calories.”

Fiona Tuck, nutritionist.

 

#9 Get some egg on (in) your face

Eggs: simple, humble, versatile, cheap and the perfect options for the health conscious saver.

While meat tends to be what people think of when talking about protein, it isn’t the only place you can get it.

“Eggs are an excellent source of protein, 11 vitamins and minerals, the long chain omega-3 fats we know to be essential for good health, and the yellow colour of the yolk comes from a group of compounds called carotenoids that are beneficial for eye health. Studies have also shown that when people eat eggs for breakfast they tend to feel fuller and more satisfied, helping them to eat less and eat better for the rest of the day.”

Dr Joanna McMillan, PhD qualified nutrition scientist.

Eggs can be cooked in a tonne of different ways. Great scrambled up for brekkie, hard boiled for lunch snacks, or mixed into rice and veggies to make a stir-fry.

 

#10 Make it a double

But don’t eat it all!

When you are cooking a meal, consider how well it freezes  Soups and stews are great as a meal today and then to whack it in the fridge or freezer for an on-demand dinner later.

“Bulk cooking also saves time. When I make any meal that can be frozen, I always make double so I have a whole meal ready in the freezer ready to go. This means I only end up having to cook 3-4 times a week which with two little kids is essential as time is very short in my life as it is for many people.”

Claire Turnbull, nutritionist.

Buying in bulk can often result in a larger total bill, but a lower per meal cost and if you are freezing a portion, it can also save you from having to cook when you are too tired or busy to be bothered.

 

Got any other tips for eating healthy on a budget? Let us know in the comments below!

You should read this bit: Sometimes we use links in our blogs that belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website, meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in our blog posts. The information in our blog posts is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

Trading for Treasure – Everyday people who started from the bottom & traded UP

Every day, people are making trades.  

But some people take trading to a whole other level. You may have heard of The One Red Paperclip Project back in 2005? One guy set himself the task of turning a red paperclip into a house he could live in (spoiler alert: it actually worked!)

What’s more, is there are many other so called “trading legends”  who have traded their way up to success! who feature on Nimble’s list of the best trade up stories of all time. The beauty of these stories is these trades are something literally anyone could do.  All of them started with something of little value and then found someone out there who wants it more than they do.

 

The original: Paperclip into a House

Probably the most publicised trader on the list, Kyle Macdonald, traded his way from a single paperclip to a two-story farmhouse over 2005-2006. You beauty! Now trading your way from a paperclip to a house is impressive but this legend did it in only 14 trades.

  1. On July 14, 2005, he went to Vancouver and traded the paperclip for a fish-shaped pen.
  2. He then traded the pen the same day for a hand-sculpted door knob from Seattle, Washington.
  3. On July 25, 2005, he travelled to Amherst, Massachusetts, with a friend to trade the doorknob for a Coleman camp stove (with fuel).
  4. On September 24, 2005, he went to California and traded the camp stove for a Honda generator.
  5. On November 16, 2005, he travelled to Maspeth, Queens and traded the generator for an “instant party”: an empty keg, an IOU for filling the keg with the beer of the bearer’s choice, and a neon Budweiser sign. This was his second attempt to make the trade; his first resulted in the generator being temporarily confiscated by the New York City Fire Department.
  6. On December 8, 2005, he traded the “instant party” to Quebec comedian and radio personality Michel Barrette for a Ski-Doo snowmobile.
  7. Within a week of that, he traded the snowmobile for a two-person trip to Yahk, British Columbia, scheduled for February 2006.
  8. On or about January 7, 2006, he traded the Yahk trip for a box truck.
  9. On or about February 22, 2006, he traded the box truck for a recording contract with Metalworks in Mississauga, Ontario.
  10. On or about April 11, 2006, he traded the contract to Jody Gnant for a year’s rent in Phoenix, Arizona.
  11. On or about April 26, 2006, he traded the year’s rent in Phoenix for one afternoon with Alice Cooper.
  12. On or about May 26, 2006, he traded the afternoon with Cooper for a KISS motorised snow globe.
  13. On or about June 2, 2006, he traded the snow globe to Corbin Bernsen for a role in the film Donna on Demand.
  14. On or about July 5, 2006, he traded the movie role for a two-story farmhouse in Kipling, Saskatchewan.

Just think, this all started with just two paper clips..Imagine what he would have done with seven of them!

 

PlayStation 2 into a Camaro

Rachel Dempsey who was 15 at the time (and they say kids are lazy), was inspired by hearing the tales of others trading their way to fortunes.   

She looked at her old and dusty PS2 that wasn’t being used and thought, I’m going to turn that into a new set of wheels!

What’s particularly interesting with her trades, is that at one point she receives a cash payout which would have satisfied most, but not Rachel! She used that money to buy a dirt bike and an old car that she planned to continue trading. Once she got into cars, she traded her way between half a dozen vehicles before ending up with an insta-worthy classic Camaro.

Love your work, Rach!

 

Phone into a Porsche

Steven Ortiz might be our favourite of all. Because Steven traded his mate’s phone. It wasn’t even his!  

This guy’s mate says ‘you want this phone’ and Steven says ‘sure, I don’t need a phone, but I do need a car’.  

14 trades later and he had his car. And not just any car – a Porsche!

He even traded down for it! Yup, it’s true, he bartered his way to a 75 Ford Bronco, which was worth more than the Porsche he traded it for. But when Steven wants a Porsche, Steven gets a Porsche.

Wherever you are Steven, [slow clap] BRAVO Sir!

 

Tub of McDonald’s sauce for a Volkswagen

If we were to tell you that McDonald’s Szechuan sauce was a rare thing, would that surprise you?

Because it surprised us.  

The sought-after sauce has been out of production for years.  However, in 2017, the sauce spiked in popularity because of an episode of Rick and Morty and McDonald’s brought it back for a single day with fans into the thousands wrapped around participating restaurants.  

Sadly, McDonald’s didn’t plan for the incredible response there would be to Szechuan’s return, with restaurants only receiving 40 units. This led to many upset fans, and not enough sauce.

In fact, the sauce was so rare that Rachel Marie traded her tub for a Volkswagen. If that wasn’t impressive enough, she did it in one trade.  She didn’t slowly trade up piece by piece, nope, Rachel traded the sauce for the car, in one transaction. It was just that simple, she took to Facebook with her sauce and said she was open to trades. BOOM! She’s got a car.

Well done Rachel! While you didn’t taste the Szechuan sauce, you did taste greatness….

 

They even teach a class about it!

At the University of Chicago’s Business School, students can be assigned the ‘barter’ assignment.

The assignment instructs students to make one trade per week for ten weeks, and the trades should be made with people they don’t know. Students are told to try and trade up, to gain another object of superior value (which to tell you the truth sounds like a fun challenge).  

The assignment aims to fight several issues salespeople often encounter. The students have to ask people directly, ‘Will you trade me this for that?’, and sometimes the answer will be “no”.  

This teaches students about rejection and resilience. Seems like a great challenge for students or anyone wanting to improve their selling technique. Keen to learn more? You can  read more about it here.

 

So you wanna trade?

If you are inspired to take the barter challenge or if you have any great trades you’ve made, tell us about it below!

 

You should read this bit: Sometimes we use links in our blogs that belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website, meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in our blog posts. The information in our blog posts is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

Simple Budget Tips You’ll Actually Stick To!

In pretty much any personal finance guide the first step will always be to ‘make a budget’.

Well, let’s be honest, that’s not really very helpful. It might seem like the first obvious thing to do but saying ‘make a budget’ is as helpful to some people as ‘start a diet’ or ‘stop procrastinating’.

That’s why at Nimble, we’ve decided to start at the beginning and put together a guide to building a budget that you’ll actually stick to…

 

Step 1: Make it as simple as possible

There are plenty of ways to draw up a budget.

You can get crazy with spreadsheets and track your expenses down to your very last cent, but in our experience, the more complicated you make your budget, the less likely you are going to stick to it (you can thank us for that brilliant tidbit later).

To get you started, we’ve set out to sort through all the online budgeting schemes being promoted by financial gurus (hot tip: there are a LOT of them). We wanted to find one that was super simple to understand, implement and maintain.

And here it is:

  1. You write down your total expected monthly income and split into three income ‘types’.
  2. The first ‘type’ goes on essentials. Like rent, bills and groceries.
  3. The second ‘type’ gets saved for investments or ‘big’ purchases.
  4. The third ‘type’ is spent on luxuries. Things you want and entertainment.

Now, don’t stress too much about the exact percentages of each category. That will depend on your specific situation. The important point is that we’re splitting up your money into three categories: Fixed, Save and Splurge.

 

Step 2: Get your ducks in a row (and find out how much they cost)

This will be the most time-consuming part of your super simple budget but don’t worry, it only has to be done once. Then you’re set!

To get the low-down on how much you’re spending on the essentials each month you need to crunch the numbers. So, make yourself a cuppa, sit down with a pen and paper and get down to business:

  1. Rent/Mortgage
  2. Groceries
  3. Bills (Power/Water/Heat)
  4. Other Essentials (Other payments, Transport, Pet Food)

You might want to include non-essential bills like TV subscriptions, mobile phones, internet or gym memberships. The most important part of what we’re doing here is getting a list of predictable monthly costs, not the bare minimum you can survive on.

 

Step 3: Make the tweaks you need

Now you have your Fixed Costs.

The less money that has to go towards your fixed cost fund, the more you will be able to Save and Splurge, so you might want to look at downsizing a few things to get the most out of your budget.

Whether it’s working out how to spend less on your weekly grocery shop or finding a cheaper energy provider, finding ways to pay less for your fixed expenses is going to make the next few steps a lot easier.

If you really can’t find any wiggle room, then you may have to downsize your Splurge or Savings, but at least you’ll always know what you’re working with.

 

Step 4: Put your plan into action!

OK, now you know how much it costs you to live your life every month. That’s your Fixed Costs. Take that off how much money you get each month, so that you can work out your Save and your Splurge too.

Just make sure you separate these little suckers up so you’re not always spending out of the same pot!

And the simplest way to do this is to have different bank accounts for each ‘type’.

To do this, you want to sign up with a bank that will let you set up a high-interest saver account and two standard accounts, each with their own card, without hitting you with too many fees. Check out finder.com.au to find the best option for you.

Once you’ve arranged your accounts, it’s just a matter of creating recurring transfers after payday and you’re budget ready!

 

Step 5: Track your ‘splurges’ (but don’t let them stress you too much)

First of all: congratulations! You’ve already made your budgeting life a lot easier.

You’ve got your ‘Fixed Cost’ bank account. If you’ve crunched the numbers on your monthly spend, this should go like clockwork.

You’ve also got your “Savings” account, which you can deposit into and forget. Let the balance slowly tick up until you hit your savings goal.

So the only part of your budget you really have to ‘manage’ is your ‘Splurge’ fund.

Luckily, the only rule with the Splurge fund is that there are no rules. You can spend it on anything you want. Great, right? Who thought budgeting could be so fun?

But if you would prefer to have mini-splurges throughout the month rather than blowing it all in a blaze of payday glory, you still might want to track your spend in this department. You can do this with a simple daily budgeting app, like Daily Budget (there is an Apple and Android version, they’re from different people, but they do the same thing).

This app will take your Splurge fund and split it up across the remaining days in the month. When you have Splurge-free days, that amount will go up and if you treat yourself to a fancy dinner, it will go down.

But the beauty of this is everything you buy with your Splurge fund is ‘optional’ anyway. If it runs dry by the end of the month, you just have to wind things down before your next pay date. You can’t accidentally spend your grocery money or savings because they’re in completely different accounts. Just make sure you don’t overdraw to avoid and account fees and you’re golden!

 

And that’s our five simple steps for a foolproof budget that anyone can actually stick to. Give it a go and let us know how it works for you in the comments below.

 

You should read this bit: The above post contains links to a variety of application software (“App, Apps”) that is not affiliated or associated with Nimble. We do not have any control or responsibility over the content of the Apps. Use of the Apps may be subject to further terms and conditions imposed by the App provider, the owner of the mobile operating system and/or other related parties. The above links belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in this blog post. The information in this blog post is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. For tax advice relating to your specific financial situation, Nimble recommends seeking the services of a qualified Australian tax accountant. The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

7 Super Simple Steps to Better Health & Wellbeing

Most of us would like to have a healthier lifestyle, but when we’re all so busy, prioritising yourself over everything else isn’t as easy as it seems.

A 2017 survey by Livelighter showed that tons of Australians want to be healthier but so many of us still fall short of the mark. The main reason? Let’s face it… doing everything ‘right’ can be a drag, and most of the time life just seems to get in the way.

But a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be a huge disruption on your routine. Here at Nimble, we’re giving you the low-down on 7 super simple things we can all start doing right NOW to improve our health and wellbeing.

 

Sleep isn’t optional, so get the ZZZ’s you need

Experts recommend that the average adult should get between 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night (and no, watching Netflix in bed doesn’t count). It’s time to wake up to the realisation that most of us probably don’t get enough.

Getting the right amount of sleep affects your metabolism, memory and of course, how much energy you have throughout the day. As an added bonus, it also means you’ll get sick less often and have reduced risk of health problems like diabetes or heart disease. The importance and impact of sleep on our everyday lives can seriously not be overstated!

So stop scrolling through your social media, turn off the TV and when you get into bed, actually close your eyes and get some rest.

For ways to maximise your sleep routine, head on over to the Sleep Foundation.

 

Get some colour on your plate

Find it hard to keep track of what foods are and aren’t considered “healthy”?

You’re not alone. There is a big split between the type of foods the Australian public think are healthy and what the average nutritionist will say. And then the latest hot new diet comes along and makes it even more difficult to keep up.

Source: LiveLighter

Well, we’ve got a super quick trick for you that will help you eat well without having to memorise what hour of the day is best to eat carbs or how to activate the micronutrients in your broccoli.

All you have to do is eat a rainbow every day (cue confused looks).

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet are the colours of the rainbow and the colours of a varied and healthy diet. We could bore you with the science of why nutrients and minerals give fruit and vegetables their different colours, but all you really need to know is that eating a colourful palette works!

One catch: the colours have to be natural..like carrots, bananas, oranges, apples, corn, etc. So before you think that Skittles can help you ‘taste the rainbow’, let us be the first to tell you that it CAN’T!

 

Breathe your way to better health

Take a breath. In through the nose and out through the mouth. Well done, you’re already on your way to a healthier you.

You breathe every day but how often do you actually think about it? Seriously, take another breath, a nice long deep one, feel your chest fill up, hold it, then exhale slowly.

Breathing can do more for you than just keep you alive. Deep conscious breath can reduce stress, and even provide feelings of euphoria. It’s like doing yoga without the time commitment and sweaty floor mats.

Find more breathing for relaxation techniques here.

 

Get moving any way you can

OK, now we’re going to talk about exercise. If that makes you anxious, take a moment to breathe. Feel better? You’re welcome.

The big hurdle most people face when trying to be more active is thinking they need to go straight from couch-potato to gym-junkie. There are no rules when it comes to being more active other than ‘doing something is better than doing nothing’.

Maybe you go to the gym, and that’s great, but the point is to set yourself a goal no matter how small. It could be taking the stairs instead of the lift, or doing 10 push-ups when you wake up in the morning. Whatever small step you choose, just know you are taking one in the right direction.

 

Head up, shoulders back

Hey! Sit up straight, we see you hunching! And no, we don’t have to be peering through your window to know this because slouching is something most of us do, MOST of the time!

If this feels uncomfortable, that’s your body’s way of telling you that your posture could be better.

So straighten up, get your shoulders over your hips, improve your circulation and breathing, and look taller. Pop a little sticky note on your computer to remind yourself. After a few weeks, you’ll wonder how you ever used to sit so curled over.

 

Catch some rays on a daily basis

The sun gives us many things, life, warmth, light – but also vitamin D.

While being sun smart is extremely important, getting some sun can also help boost your vitamin D levels which is surprisingly a common deficiency in Australia. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to heart disease, depression, and weight gain.

So pop on your sunscreen and a hat and get a bit of sun! Even go for a walk to combine getting your vitamin D and exercise in the same activity (look at you, you little multitasker!).

Getting and staying healthy is a lifelong goal, and the best time to start was yesterday! There’s no need to focus on having washboard abs or a booty like J-Lo, and feeling like you’re failing if you don’t get there. Just focus on being healthier than you were last month. Got any other simple tips, drop us a comment below.

 

You should read this bit: Sometimes we use links in our blogs that belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website, meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in our blog posts. The information in our blog posts is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

When the Price is Right: The BEST Time of Year to Buy those Super Pricey Items

Whether you’ve noticed it or not, the time of year you buy something can have a serious impact on the price you pay.

From purchasing your Christmas decorations in January to your air conditioner during Winter, there are tons of tricks to pay less for stuff!

We’ve even itemised our shopping list by month, to make it really simple to set your alarms, plan your budget and get ready to save!!

 

The low-down on Savvy Shopping

  • Purchase your “big” items against or just after the season to maximise your savings! For example, shop for your:
    • heater in summer
    • bathing suit in winter &
    • Easter Eggs, the Tuesday after well..Easter
  • You can get lucky with some sales promotions like Back to School, that usually occurs just after Christmas (or before school starts) which is pretty handy, but compare prices online ahead of heading out so that you can be certain that you’re getting the bang for your buck!
  • Grab the best deal at the end of the month by purchasing items where there are sales quotas and commission incentives for the staff.
  • Take advantage of seasonal discounts online, when ordering from places like the US! Just watch out for those exchange rates!!
  • Use price tracking software and browser extensions to be alerted when prices drop.

 

January

Probably the best known time for savings. The Christmas frenzy has died down and so have the prices.

Stores ramp up their inventory for the rush, and in the aftermath are looking to get rid of their stock for much less than they were just days before. It’s a great time to get a deal on furniture, bicycles, carpet, flooring and car tyres.

 

February

Love is in the air and savings are at the stores. The end of the month is an optimum time to secure some yummy chocolate and lollies for less, usually due to the Valentine’s day overflow!

While on the topic of love, February is one of the least in demand months for wedding venues on the calendar making it a pretty smart time of year to tie the knot (June and July are also very quiet, but the weather is better in Feb!).

Gamers can also snag a deal as the big pre-Christmas releases begin to drop in price and could save you a bundle!

 

March

Summer might be ending but the deals are still HOT. Travel slows down, so luggage is the go. While everyone else is doing laundry and uploading the photos from their summer trips, go get yourself some new bags and plan your next escape.

March is without many big “gift giving” occasions, plus it follows Valentines Day so if you need jewellery or perfume, this is the month to score yourself a bargain!

 

April

If your laptop only turns on when its plugged in, sometimes the space bar gets stuck and you have to pry it loose with a fork, then April is the month for you.

Japan’s fiscal year ends in March, so last year’s models have to be cleared. Buy one online and say goodbye to your old friend!

And finally, investing in a good, strong vacuum this time of year, won’t be such a suck on your savings! New model vacuums come out in June so you can take advantage of the savings on the – soon to be obsolete – models!

And, if you don’t have a vacuum, then go get a one… seriously you’re an adult now.

 

May

Winter is coming, which usually means curling up on the sofa, putting the heater on high and settling in for some extreme TV binging. Luckily there are some mid-year sales on electronics running from the middle of May into June. If you have to replace big electronics like TVs, microwaves, or even your coffee machine, holding off until May sales can save you up to 50% or more.

 

June

Can you believe it’s been 6 months since new years? Well the gyms certainly can. Their rush of “new-year-resolutionists” has faded and gyms are looking to pump up their numbers. Compare your local spots online to find the cheapest deal.

June in general is also great for EOFY sales across all sorts of industries. The best things to look at are electronics, household goods, cars, fashion and white-goods.

And with the peak wedding season just a handful of months away, instead of buying your gifts in the days before or of the event, now is the time to pick out some nice homewares. You might be able to get your friends something a bit nicer for less than you would have spent in peak spring wedding season. You get to look generous and save some coin at the same time… #winning

 

July

Time to re-decorate!! Furniture shops start putting old stock on clearance, so if you had your eye on a new couch and coffee table, there’s a fair chance you’ll be able to grab a bargain.

 

August

It is not easy to predict when airlines are going to have one of their crazy discount sales. But if you’re looking for something you can count on, travel comparison site – Expedia found that flights to various holiday spots in Europe, Asia and America are cheapest when you fly in January, February and March.

But the reason we’ve put this tip in August is because how far in advance you book your flights is extremely important. Skyscanner did a bit of their own research and discovered the best time to book an international flight is 22 weeks prior to departure, which makes August the best time to book for flights that take off at the start of the year!

Aside from travel, this is the perfect time to plan home improvements like interior painting or renovations. The colder months are a slow period for labour and many will be happy to try and make a deal!

 

September

Remember when you borrowed your Dad’s screwdriver? Then you also remember how you never gave it back, and hoped he would just forget that you still have it. Well he hasn’t forgotten, so why not buy your way back into his good graces by taking advantage of Father’s Day tool sales?

If you missed the new line of vacuums in April, you can have another shot at them in September. New stock tends to start arriving now, so start looking for a deal on last year’s models.

 

October

If you’re thinking of moving home, the best time to sign a lease for renters is mid to late spring. There are less people looking at this time of year and it’s also when a lot of people that signed 6-month leases during peak periods will be vacating.

Less competition means you’ll not only find cheaper rates, but there’ll be less demand for the ‘perfect’ place, so you just might get the first one you want!

 

November

Cars are a huge expense, but unfortunately not something a lot of us can do without, in our daily lives. With only two months left of the year, those “latest” models start to become heavily discounted to clear the way for a whole new and shiny range!

This means dealerships are going to be pushing out the old stock, leading to an increase in trade-ins as well as the further discounts on ex-demo models, giving you a better chance at a great deal.

And what’s more, the holidays are just around the corner and retailers start discounting cookware. So if you’re looking to stop ordering takeaway and start becoming your very own master chef, now is the time!!

Electronics like computers and printers also tend to see price reductions. Retailers try to clear their current stock before the new stuff arrives ahead of the Chrissy rush.

 

December

Happy new year! Time to break out the bubbles! Surprisingly champagne hits its lowest cost in the weeks before New Years. With the crazy increase in demand, prices actually go down on the bubbly as the different producers price cut each other in an attempt to be a part of your celebration.

Finally, if you’re studying it’s a good time to look at picking up cheap textbooks to get the jump on people looking to offload their old book at the end of term.

Do you know of any great savings opportunities we’ve missed? Leave them in the comments.

 

You should read this bit: Sometimes we use links in our blogs that belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website, meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in our blog posts. The information in our blog posts is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

 

10 Toolbox Essentials For Every Household

Have you ever called a tradie to fix something in your home and been charged over $100 and a hefty callout fee, for 15 minutes of work only to think, ‘I could’ve done that myself’?

The truth is, for the majority of home maintenance tasks, you probably could have. And with our list of 10 tools that deal with 90% of household tasks, your thoughts can become a reality, you’ll be saving yourself some serious cash and basking in the glory of a job well done!

 

  1. Screwdrivers – to tighten up your work

Have your kitchen cupboard doors come loose? You’ll need a screwdriver. Bought some IKEA furniture? You’ll probably need one for that too. Need to open up the back of an appliance? Yep, you guessed it: screwdriver.

The first and most essential piece, is a good screwdriver..well maybe a few, in case you lose the first two!

Key features to look out for:

  • You’ll need both a phillips and flathead screwdriver for different types of tasks.
  • Magnetized heads, keep your screws in place and from falling into hard to reach places.
  • A master handle screwdriver that takes multiple sized bits is a great space saving option.

 

  1. Measuring Tape – to make sure it fits

As the famous tradie mantra goes: measure twice, cut once!

A good, reliable tape measure will be the sort of thing you clip to your belt when working and use half a dozen times.

Always remember that just because it fits in the room doesn’t mean it will fit through the door. When moving things like refrigerators and beds, pay attention to measuring doorways and turns in staircases…you’ll thank us later for it!

Key features to look out for:

  • A five metre tape is good enough for most home DIY jobs.
  • Heavy plastic or steel casing that will take a few drops.
  • Wide metal tape that can hold itself up over large distances.
  • Auto lock feature (to keep tape in place once you’ve measured the correct distance).

 

  1. The all important – Utility Knife

From getting into boxes and packaging to breaking them down, you simply cannot overlook the benefits of having a utility knife.

Other things you’ll use your knife for include, cleaning out built up gunk in narrow gaps and sketching out starting guides for bigger cuts.

Key features to look out for:

  • Retractable blade that can be cheaply replaced (as opposed to fixed-blade or flip-blade knives).
  • Compact design for cutting in tight spaces.
  • Grip handle to avoid slips when working.

 

  1. Pliers – to get you out of a pinch

There are a few different types, but let’s just start with two.

Pick up a pair of needle-nose pliers for small fiddly jobs and pair of slip-joint channel lock pliers, which are better for gripping, squeezing and bending.

Key features to look out for:

  • Made from forged steel (like screwdriver tips, pliers consistently get put under a lot of strain).
  • Pay attention to the size, bigger isn’t always better.

 

  1. Stop. Hammer time…

While it’s main job will be to knock in nails, you’ll be surprised by how many times you’ll find yourself reaching for your trusty hammer to sort out small tasks around the house.

Key features to look out for:

  • A standard claw hammer is best for simple home DIY use.
  • Steel or fiberglass handles for durability.
  • At least a 450g head weight (no point in having a hammer if it doesn’t have enough striking power!)

 

  1. Hand saw – cutting things down to size

A standard hand saw is great for quick, rough cuts, such as trimming wall battens or cutting a shelf to length.

You can also look into buying a back saw, which will be smaller and more rigid, allowing for better precision when creating joinery and getting your angles right.

Key features to look out for:

  • Blade made from carbon steel.
  • Hardened teeth (this means the blade will stay sharper for longer).
  • A bit of bend in the blade (but not too much).

 

  1. Get a Grip with a Shifter

A shifter is a spanner that has an adjustable grip. It’s designed for tightening and loosening bolts, but you’ll find yourself using it for a lot more than that. Pull it out to fix your old push bike, adjust the garage door and even tighten up the legs of your table.

Key features to look out for:

  • Made from an industrial-grade alloy.
  • Moving parts means that things can easily go wrong. You don’t need the most expensive one, but investing in a mid-range shifter will keep your grip nice and firm!

 

  1. Spirit level – Keeping everything on an even keel

Ever put a framed picture up on the wall and spent hours trying to make it look straight?

Grab yourself a spirit level and straighten out just about anything!

From hanging pictures to installing shelves and building fences, wonky projects will be a thing of the past.

Key features to look out for:

  • 600mm spirit level will be the right size for most jobs around the house.
  • Visibility of the bubble and vial, which is made even easier with contrasting colours and LED lights.

 

  1. Cordless Drill & Drill Bits – Your toolbox must-have!

A high quality cordless drill with rechargeable batteries is a must have for the home DIYer. Buying a reputable brand will ensure the battery life is solid, that the drill is up to taking a few knocks and bumps, and that it has enough power to get the job done.

Key features to look out for:

  • Lithium-ion batteries for cordless drills are the most efficient option.
  • Some drills come with batteries and chargers, some don’t, be sure to check.
  • A large range of quality drill bits to handle different material (bits are not usually sold with the drill).
  • If you need something to drill into brick or cement, be sure that your drill is up to par and comes with sturdier drill bits.

 

  1. Last but definitely NOT least – The all important TOOL Box

There’s nothing quite as frustrating as not being able to finish a job because you can’t remember the last place you left your screwdriver.

Key features to look out for:

  • A sturdy plastic body (metal boxes are heavy to lug around and rust easily).
  • A durable metal latch (usually the latch is the first thing to break through heavy use).
  • A decent size – big enough for the tools you have and the ones that are yet to be.

 

Are there any other tools you can’t live without? Or maybe you have some other handy tips when it comes to using these tools around the house?

We’d love to hear them, so just leave us a comment below…

 

You should read this bit: Sometimes we use links in our blogs that belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website, meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in our blog posts. The information in our blog posts is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

2018 EOFY Tax Tips to Get the BEST Return Possible

It’s that time of the year again…

Time to start digging out those receipts and gathering your details to lodge your taxes.

Whether it’s via the Australian government’s myTax program, which makes lodging taxes online pretty simple, or setting up an appointment with your accountant, getting back everything you’re owed in deductions is, well let’s face it..pretty tricky!

At Nimble, we believe every cent counts, so here are our top tips for some simple things you can do, to make your tax return bigger and better than ever!

 

The most painless way to collect receipts 365 days a year

If you want to get the most out of your tax return, you need receipts.

Without them you won’t know what to claim and more importantly, you won’t be able to prove to the ATO that you actually bought the things you’re claiming.

But paper receipts are a drag. By the end of June you’re usually extracting tattered receipts from your wallet, searching through all your drawers and digging out those shoeboxes from the back of the cupboard to track everything down, only to discover that the ink has worn off and you can’t make out most of the details!!

That’s why it is time to go DIGITAL. Here are some great apps that will help you keep everything together and paperless, for tax time.

  • Get Pocket Book – An app that can link with your bank accounts, automatically track your purchases and let you tag them to make it easier to find later on. This is a great way to get all your relevant expenses in one place. The major drawback is you still have to hang onto your physical receipts because bank records are not enough for the ATO when it comes to claiming.
  • The ATO App – Because this app is designed by the Australian Tax Office there are a lot of cool features that are super helpful for when you’re lodging your return. You can upload all your recorded deductions directly into the myTax program and there are special features to let you add work vehicles and record car trips.
  • Expensify  – A powerful receipt scanning app that lets you snap a photo of a receipt and convert all the information into searchable text.  Also has an automatic GPS mileage feature for tracking deductible travel. Free personal version lets you smart scan 20 receipts a month.
  • Evernote – The most simple of all. Download the app, create a folder called ‘Tax’, and every time you have a receipt, just take a photo and put it in the folder. Not the most high-tech solution, but it does the job just fine!

Another quick tip for online purchases is to create a custom folder in your inbox for any relevant e-receipts. This is simple to do with most email types and it means all you need to do is drag and drop the right ones, and you’re sorted for tax time.

 

Becoming a Clever Claimer!

There is no point having a receipt tracking process if you don’t know what you’re allowed to claim. So before you start sifting through your receipts, get up to speed with what sorts of things are actually deductible in your line of work.

But rather than providing you with a full list of things to claim, especially since they can vary so much across different industries, we’ve put together the most common items that most of us either don’t know or forget about…

Sunscreen

If you work outdoors, you can claim sunscreen and any other sun-smart items, on your tax-return. This can even include your makeup, as long as it is in some way sun protective.

Laundry

If you have a work uniform, or some type of protective clothing you have to wear when you’re working, you can claim up to $1 for every load of washing, drying and ironing you do. This is true even if you do the laundry with your own washing machine (although you have to keep a diary for tax purposes).

Magazine subscriptions

If it is related to what you do for a living, you can claim the cost of any magazine or journal subscription. In some industries, such as media, it is even possible to claim pay-TV subscriptions.

Your electricity bill

If you do work from home you can claim part of your electricity bill. The accepted formula is 45c for every hour you work at home.

Your handbag

If you are using it for work purposes (eg: carrying papers or a laptop), then you can claim your handbag just like you could claim a briefcase or any other item you need for work.

Education

Any course or degree you undertake that will help you in your current position or could lead to you getting a better job in the same industry can be claimed on tax. That goes for anything from a weekend barista course to a Masters in Accounting.

Donations
In Australia, donations to certain registered charities and non-profit organisations are 100% tax deductible.

Most organisations that qualify will send you an EOFY statement to make claiming easy, so if you’ve been generous in the last financial year, make sure you reap the benefits at tax time.

Your own income
Income protection insurance is the only type of insurance that can be claimed on a tax return regardless of what you do (other types like car or home insurance can only be claimed if the asset is being used to help make income).

 

Got a big purchase to make? Do it now!

Whether you need a new laptop for work, some new tools or even just a new work uniform, now is the time of year to buy it.

If you wait until June 30th it will mean you have to wait a whole 12 months before you see those tax deducted dollars back in your bank account.

 

Get a great accountant

Like we said at the start – doing your tax yourself isn’t all that hard.

But when you start looking at claiming more items, it can start to feel like it is getting a bit too tricky to worry about.

It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but the secret to finding a great accountant is that, in most cases, the amount they get you in extra claims will more than cover their initial cost. And the kicker is they can even claim their services on your next tax return!

Sounds great right? Just make sure you know what to and what NOT to look for, with these quick tips:

  • Do it in groups: Most accountants will give you a discount for group sessions and referrals so having a bunch of people over for a ‘tax-return dinner party’ can lower the costs.
  • Don’t rush: Great accountants are going to be very busy at tax time. If the one you call can’t fit you in when you ask, it’s worth waiting rather than just scheduling in another option who has more availability.

 

The final thing to remember is that tax planning really is something you should do all year round. There are so many things you can do each year that will help you get more back when it comes to tax-return time, but you have to start doing them when the financial year begins, not as it’s wrapping up.

If you haven’t been practicing your 365-day-tax-planning for this financial year, don’t worry, as it’s definitely NOT the end of the world! Just remember, the quicker you get started, the easier it’s going to be for you to make the most of your tax return.

 

You should read this bit: The above post contains links to a variety of application software (“App, Apps”) that is not affiliated or associated with Nimble. We do not have any control or responsibility over the content of the Apps. Use of the Apps may be subject to further terms and conditions imposed by the App provider, the owner of the mobile operating system and/or other related parties. The above links belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in this blog post. The information in this blog post is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. For tax advice relating to your specific financial situation, Nimble recommends seeking the services of a qualified Australian tax accountant. The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

Ways to Save on Energy Costs: Shedding Light on Reducing Your Electricity Bill

Power bills. They’re about as popular as ants at a picnic.

For a lot of us, when a bill appears in our letterbox, we just pay it and put it out of our mind again until the next one shows up.

But have you ever stopped and looked at what you’re actually paying for? Better yet, have you ever tried to compare what you’re paying for against what other energy providers are offering?

If you’ve answered “no” to both of these questions, then keep reading, sit back and prepare to be enlightened!

  1. The price of turning on a lightbulb ain’t what it used to be

If you feel like your energy costs seem to go a little higher with every bill you pay, don’t worry, you’re not going crazy.

Residential energy prices have surged 63% in the last 10 years, which is bad enough, but the real problem is that energy costs now take up 26% more of the average Australian household budget than they did in 2010.

But it isn’t all bad news. There are things about the energy industry boom that you can use to your advantage (if you know what you’re doing).

For instance, in the last ten years the number of registered residential energy companies in Australia has almost doubled, going from 19 to 37 – and they all want your business!

More competition means better deals. Search around for who has the best rates and discounts and start talking to them today.

It’s actually a lot easier to switch your energy plan than most people think. Once you get started, your new provider will do pretty much all of the work for you and that includes ending your relationship with your current provider (just like getting your best-friend to break-up with someone for you in grade 4).

 

  1. How to be smarter about energy

In the average Aussie household, heating and cooling accounts for a whopping 40% of total energy use. 40 cents of every dollar you pay!

Now, we could give you the usual tips here about ‘rugging-up’ instead of turning on the heater (brilliant, right? If you’re cold, just put a jumper on!) but instead we thought we’d give you a few tips on how to make some more permanent climate control changes in your home.

First things first: there’s no point warming or cooling your home if all that lovely air-conditioned goodness is going to escape through every nook and cranny it can find. Insulation and draft-proofing ensures that every cent you spend will stay within the walls of your home.

Another option to look into is a split system air-conditioning, which is by far the most cost-effective option. If you live in a rental property this might seem out of your reach, but if you’re a long term renter, it’s still worth raising with your landlord. However, if your only option is using a plug-in heater, make sure you buy the right size to heat your space for the most energy and cost efficient results.

 

  1. It’s a lot easier being green these days

Fun fact: before 2010 the average solar panel took more energy to build than the amount of energy it could produce in its lifespan. Not the greatest tagline for sustainability.

But in 2018 that kind of technology is already considered a thing of the past. The amount of research and incentives that have gone into green power means that now the average time it takes for a solar system to pay for itself in Australia is under 6 years.

And, as a little added sweetener, if you install a solar system on your roof, there may be times of the year where you generate more solar power than you need. In most cases, this energy will be fed back into the grid, giving you an energy ‘credit’ on your next bill!

 

  1. Learning the jargon isn’t fun but it will help you get the best deal

There are a lot of numbers on your electricity bill, but the only one most of us bother looking at is the big one which tells us how much we have to pay.

Well, we’re here to tell you that digging a little deeper can go a long way to helping you figure out how to save. To start with, it is important to know that not all energy plans are set up the same. You could be charged in the following way:

  • A flat rate at all times.
  • A multi-flat or block tariff which involves pricing that decreases the more power you use.
  • A flexible or time-of-use tariff which is billing that involves different pricing based on when you use your power.

Depending on what your household’s energy use looks like, the type of rate you pay could have a real impact on that big number on your final bill.

But if that wasn’t already boring and confusing enough for you, there are also two separate types of charges involved with any power plan:

  • Set daily supply charge – covers connection to and the use of the electricity network
  • Usage charge – changes based on how much power you use

When you are looking at changing suppliers and evaluating their prices, make sure they apply their discounts to both charges and that the discounts are offered on an ongoing basis.

 

  1. ‘Vampire power’ can suck your bank balance dry

No, we’re not talking about their super fast speed, glistening skin or immortal life span… “Vampire power” is a name for the energy used by devices in your home while they plugged into the wall but are not being used.

Advances in technology mean most modern devices use less power on standby but ‘vampire power’  still accounts for 5.9% of residential power use in Australia. This is because more things in our homes use power in ‘standby mode’ than ever before.

Game consoles are big offenders as they automatically download content and do constant Wifi checks. Home entertainment systems and computers can also be expensive because they aren’t ever just one device but a combination of screens, set-top boxes, hard-drives and more.

Rounding off the ‘worst-of’ list are dishwashers and washing machines, which often sit in standby after a cycle, and your Wifi modem, which is technically ‘in use’ 24/7.

By knowing what your most demanding devices are, you can switch them off at the wall when they’re not in use and avoid the dreaded power bill suck of ‘vampire power’. Check out more vampire devices and how much they could be costing you here.

 

  1. Shooting for the stars can save you a bundle

When it comes to buying new appliances for your home it can be tempting to go for a cheaper model to save a few hundred bucks.

But if you’re thinking long-term, the energy efficiency rating is pretty important to consider.

You’re probably already familiar with the Australian government’s Energy Rating star-system that you see on appliances like air-conditioners and washing-machines. But do you really know what those ratings mean for your power bill?

The standard ratings run from one to six stars, with certain models allowed a ‘Super Efficiency Rating’ that goes up to ten. When it comes to their impact on your energy costs, the different ratings are worlds apart. A one-star fridge will cost you over $1,500 more to run than a similar sized six-star model over the course of a decade and if you can find a ten-star model the difference is around $1,850!

So, if you’re buying a new appliance, it’s worth doing research into the full-life costs. You can check out the Energy Rating website’s calculator for more comparisons.

 

Have you noticed your electricity bill rising over the last few years? Share your story with us in the comments below.

 

You should read this bit: Sometimes we use links in our blogs that belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website, meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in our blog posts. The information in our blog posts is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

 

Bank Feeds – How we use them to make your application quick & secure

Applying for a loan with Nimble is super simple. We throw away the mountains of paperwork and stuffy face-to-face meetings you get with the banks, and streamline the process for the simplest, most secure and fastest way to short-term loan approved.

However, with so many advancements in technology, it’s normal for people to have questions about the application process. In fact, one of our most common topics we receive enquiries about are bank feeds…how they work, what we use them for and most importantly, how secure are they?

So we’ve listed our most commonly asked questions below, and just like our mission statement… To delight people by making borrowing simple, fast and stress-free”.., we’ve answered each one with this in mind… so you can get to the end without having to Google any definitions.

 

First off…what is a bank feed?

A bank feed is a tech tool that extracts data from bank statements. They are widely used, especially in the world of accounting, allowing businesses to sync transactions from bank accounts into accounting software automatically. It saves a massive amount of time, removing the need for you to manually send your bank statements to us.

Bank feeds are used throughout the US, Australia and other parts of the world, servicing millions of individuals and hundreds of the world’s largest financial institutions.

 

So, why does Nimble use bank feeds?

We do this as part of our obligation as a responsible lender and to remove the necessity of having you send multiple documents such as bank statements, payslips, tax returns and lease agreements. Nimble is also required by law to collect and review at least 90 days worth of bank statements, among other things, for all Small Loan applications.

We use this service to verify the information you’ve given us, such as your income and expenses, and allow us to assess your suitability for the loan and your ability to pay it back.

To save you from sending envelopes, emails and carrier pigeons with your information, we use bank feeds for fast, secure, read-only access to your bank statements. Bank feeds allow us to provide you with a straightforward application, which can be lodged with just a few taps and clicks, from any device at any time. The process is so simple that you can literally apply online for a Nimble short-term loan from anywhere in Australia.

 

But is it definitely secure?

Of course! Your security and privacy are always our number one priority. We ensure your personal details are safe and secure throughout the entire process.

All of our systems and processes are engineered to ensure you and your financial data are fully protected.

The fancy term for this is called “end-to-end encryption”, which means your connection between your browser and our servers is constantly safe. We also employ daily 3rd-party security scans from McAfee – this is exactly the same level that banks and brokerages use to safeguard you and your financial data, meaning your profile and details are safe with us.

 

What external providers does Nimble use?

Bank feeds are enabled by our external service providers, Yodlee and Proviso Pty Ltd (trading as Bankstatements.com.au). Using an external provider for this kind of purpose is extremely common in business and banking, and the providers allow us access to the best in specialist bank feed technology and security.

 

What can Nimble do with my bank account?

When you input your login information the external provider effectively logs in to your account, but in a read-only capacity. Essentially, we receive a screenshot of your banking transactions, so we have absolutely zero ability to move funds around or change any of your account details. Nimble will also never see your internet banking passwords or credit card number details.

So if you’re interested in a safe, stress-free, fresh approach to lending, check out our smart cash loans from Nimble!*

 

* This is not a loan offer. Loans are subject to meeting Nimble’s lending criteria and suitability checks.

 

You should read this bit: Sometimes we use links in our blogs that belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website, meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in our blog posts. The information in our blog posts is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.