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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.

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.

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.

 

Short-Term Loan Terminology: “Finance Speak” Simplified

Applying for your short term loan but confused by all the finance-speak and jargon?

To help you better understand what it all means we’ve put together a comprehensive list of common terms and phrases, with some straightforward definitions in plain english.

Don’t see the word you’re looking for below? Leave us a comment below, keep it relevant of course, and we’ll add it to the list.

 

Annual percentage rate or APR

When we talk about an APR, we’re talking about the interest rate that’s charged to the borrower expressed as an annual rate. For a Nimble Small Loan of $2,000 or less, an APR doesn’t apply as these loans are fee based only. For more information see our FAQ.

 

Applicant

The person who is applying for the loan.

 

Direct debit

An arrangement setup to automatically transfer funds from your nominated bank account to a third party account (e.g. the Lender) , as a one-off or recurring  payment.

 

Bad credit

When we talk about bad credit, we’re referring to your credit history. This is also known as a “poor credit history” or a “black mark” against your credit file. It can be affected by a whole range of things including missed bill payments, defaulting on a loan or bankruptcy.

 

Borrower

A Borrower is the person who borrows money from a Lender and is responsible for repaying the loan.

 

Comparison Rate

The Comparison Rate reduces to a single percentage figure the interest rate plus most fees and charges relating to a loan. The comparison rate allows you to compare loans from different lenders to find out how much it will cost. But it is important to consider all of a loan’s features.

 

Credit contract

A document containing all the details of your loan, including the term, interest rate, fees, charges and repayments. This is also known as a loan contract.

 

Credit file

This is a file kept by credit reporting bodies that details your credit history. Lenders can access this information to help them decide whether to lend to you or not.

 

Credit guide

Anyone providing credit or credit assistance must give you a credit guide by law. Credit guides contain useful information about the lender, including license numbers, the lender’s complaints handling procedures and a description of the lender’s key obligations before entering into a credit contract with a borrower. The Nimble credit guide can be found here if you want to take a quick peek.

 

Credit rating

A rating based on your borrowing and repayment history which may be used by lenders to help work out whether you should or should not get credit. It is also known as a credit score.

 

Credit report

A credit report details your credit history, including a history of credit you have applied for, and any times you have defaulted on a payment.

 

Credit reporting body

A credit reporting body is an organisation that collects, holds, uses or discloses personal information about you for the purpose of providing an entity (such as a credit provider) with information about your creditworthiness. In Australia, the main credit reporting bodies include Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax and Experian.

 

Default listing

In Australia, if you’ve failed to make a payment under your loan contract within 60 days after the due date, then a default can be recorded on your credit report with a credit reporting body. This is known as a “default listing”. A default listing is different to an event of default.

 

Default fee

A fee you might be charged if you fail to make a repayment when it falls due. At Nimble, we believe in making things crystal clear. We’ll always show you the costs upfront, so there are no sneaky, hidden fees to worry about. Want to learn more? Check out our Fee Statement.

 

Dependant

A dependant generally refers to a person who relies on you for financial support.

 

Early repayment penalty

Some lenders will charge a penalty if you decide to pay off your loan early. Nimble does not charge an early repayment penalty.

 

Establishment fee

A one-off fee charged by a lender to cover the costs of the Lender setting up the loan.

 

Event of default

An event of default can occur when a borrower does not fulfil their obligations under a credit contract. Examples of events of default include not making payments on time, entering into bankruptcy and providing misleading or untrue information.

 

Fixed interest rate

This refers to when interest is charged at a fixed rate over the term of a loan.

 

Gross income

Your annual income before tax.

 

Interest rate

The proportion of a loan that is charged as interest to the Borrower, typically expressed as an annual percentage of the loan outstanding.

 

Lender

The bank, credit provider, financial institution or company who is giving you the loan.

 

Liability

Liability relates to the debt or money you owe on a loan or debt.

 

Loan

An amount of money you borrow from a Lender to assist with planned or unplanned events. Once a loan is accepted it then becomes a debt.

 

Minimum loan amount

This is the minimum amount that a Lender may offer you as a loan.

 

Maximum loan amount

The maximum amount that a Lender may offer you as a loan.

 

Minimum payment

The lowest amount that must be repaid by a certain date, which is often specified in your repayment schedule.

 

Net income

Your annual take home income after tax.

 

Personal loan

A personal loan is typically a loan obtained for predominantly personal, household or domestic use, such as buying a new car or going on a holiday. .

 

Principal

The principal amount is generally the original amount of money borrowed in a loan.

 

Product disclosure statement (PDS)

A PDS is a document that financial service providers provide when they offer or recommend a financial product to you. By law it must include the product’s key features, benefits, risks, commissions and a complaints handling procedure.

 

Repayment schedule

A repayment schedule details how and over what period of a time your loan must be repaid.

 

Secured loan

In a secured loan, the Borrower grants the Lender a security interest in an asset owned by the Borrower. If the Borrower defaults under the loan, the Lender may be able to exercise its security interest by selling the asset to help repay the loan.

 

Term

The period of time over which you must repay the loan.

 

Total amount repayable

The original amount you borrow plus all interest and fees. This is usually specified in your credit contract.

 

Transaction fee

Charges for transactions on your account. This includes things like, depositing funds, withdrawals and transfers.

 

Unsecured loan

A loan where there is no asset required to be used as security for your loan. Since personal loans are usually a smaller amount, they’re more likely to be unsecured.

 

Variable rate

This is an interest rate that can fluctuate during your loan repayment term.

 

 

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.

12 Cheap Holiday Activities For You & Your Kids

With the school holidays just around the corner, you’re probably starting to wonder how you’re going to fill up all of your kids free time, and just how expensive each of these activities will be!

That’s why we’ve put together our list of easy and affordable holiday ideas to have fun with your kids, without breaking the bank! Keep them entertained for hours and maybe even teach them a thing or two whilst they’re not at school.

 

  1. Paper plane making contest

Start by grabbing some A4 sheets of paper from the printer or around the house and you’ve got a fun, creative holiday activity for your kids that will even get them outdoors.

Either keep it simple by seeing who can design the plane that goes the furthest or print out some more complicated guides from the internet to make planes that can twist, flip and do tricks.

Resources:

 

  1. DIY science experiments

Depending on the age of your little ones, science experiments can be the most exciting thing they do all day and can even have them working away for hours. Unlike the majority of adults who remember science as the boring old subject they had to endure through high school, a child’s mind can be full of weird and wondrous possibilities.

You can foster this interest with some simple experiments using ordinary household materials with a couple of these classics:

  • Make a bouncy egg: This one takes a little bit of time but it is a lot of fun:
    • Put a raw egg into a jar.
    • Fill the jar with vinegar.
    • Wait for about 24 hours.
      • Tell the kids to check on the egg in the jar periodically. They will see bubbles coming off the egg and the shell of the egg slowly dissolving.
    • Once that time has passed, take the egg out and rub off the remaining shell.
    • The part of the egg that’s left, will bounce just like a bouncy ball (providing you don’t drop it from too high)!
    • If you can get your hands on a black light, you can make it even more exciting for the kids my making their bouncing egg glow!
  • Make your own gooey slime: kids will love getting their hands dirty and playing with their own slime. All you need is to:
    • mix a little PVA glue, water and some borax (which can be found at most hardware stores).
    • Add food colouring, and you have a delightfully colourful gooey slime of your own making.

If you like these and want to discover more, just head to Hoopla Kidz Lab

 

  1. Family hikes

It can be easy to forget that there are things to do outside your home that won’t cost a thing. Make the most of the beautiful parks, beaches and nature we have in Australia these school holidays, and you might help to ignite life-long love affairs with the great outdoors.

Most national parks have trails with difficulties for all ages and there are plenty of different barbecue sites and playgrounds along the way.

 

Resources:

 

  1. Cupcake making and decorating

Get the kids started in the kitchen early and teach them the basics of baking with some easy cupcake recipes.

With a few ingredients you can show them how to measure, mix, stir, bake and most importantly taste their creation, before popping them in the oven.

Then, once the cupcakes are out (and cooled down!) the kids can decorate till their heart’s content. Theme the cupcakes with spooky decorations for Halloween, get festive with Christmas cupcakes, or just let them go wild with lollies and icing.

 

Resources:

 

  1. Teach your kids to sew

The key to getting your little ones interested in sewing, is finding something they actually want to make. Help them create something they will actually use like clothing for their toys or a protective case for their iPad. Keep the early projects simple so they don’t lose interest.

Start with the basics of a needle and thread and when they start to feel confident, you can move on to a sewing machine, if you have one that is! Not only will you have them designing new patterns from their imagination, but they will also be learning a pretty useful, lifelong skill.

 

  1. Local Council, Library and Shopping Centre Events

Most libraries, local councils and shopping centres have weekly free events and activities aimed at kids, especially during school holidays.

From concerts and movie screenings to access to community facilities, just check your council website and your local shopping centre to find a great day of free entertainment for you and the kids.

HOT TIP: Organisations that run these type of holiday activities often have email newsletters you can sign up to, which makes planning a lot easier.

 

  1. Op-shopping

Shopping with the kids is prime tantrum-time.

Kids will always manage to find something in a shop that they “NEED you to buy”. So why not hunt for some bargains amongst the many pre-loved items available?

Op-shops can not only save you money, but they also encourage recycling and the proceeds go towards people in need.

HOT TIP:

Donations are usually made by residents who live nearby, so traveling to wealthier areas will, more often than not, help you find better quality items.

 

  1. Fire Station open days and weekly fire safety displays

No kid would say no to being a firefighter for a day, right?

Well, fire stations all around Australia have open days where kids can see fire fighting equipment demonstrations and take fire truck rides.

Search your local station online and see what events they have, over the school holiday break. If you can’t find anything, just give them a call. You’ll soon be riding shotgun on a fire engine with the kids.

 

  1. Plan a treasure hunt

Keep the kids entertained by creating a treasure or scavenger hunt.

Hide a series of notes or clues around the house or close by in the street, then let the kids discover the clues in order, one by one, leading them to the ultimate treasure at the end.

HOT TIP:

You can get creative by making the clues math problems, word games or different types of cryptic riddles, and the hunts are a great way to encourage teamwork.

Resources

 

  1. Camping in the backyard/living room

You don’t need to go trekking for you and the kids to enjoy some quality camping time.

Pitch the tent in the living room or in the backyard and let your imaginations run wild. You can still do all the fun camping activities you would usually do, like belting out some campfire songs, preparing some classic camping food, and scaring the kids with some light-hearted ghost stories around the lantern.

Resources

 

  1. Make lemonade for a stall

Bring back an old-fashioned favourite and teach the kids about making their own money by setting up a lemonade stall.

You don’t have to stop at lemonade either. The kids could utilise their new skills in baking or sewing and add those products to the menu, or include any other drinks or snacks.

Sounds like a good day’s work!

Resources:

 

  1. Teach them magic tricks

There is nothing quite like the look on a kid’s face when they see a magic trick for the first time. The only thing better is giving them exclusive, insider knowledge as to how it actually works.

You can start simple by showing them some easy card tricks and making coins disappear. There are plenty of ideas online for cheap and simple tricks that kids can create and learn. Then once they master the basics you can buy them a few cheap magic kits or trick books for them to really get lost in.

Not only will they be impressed with your magic techniques, but they will love impressing their friends with these illusions, when they get back to school!

Resources

 

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.