Tips & Resources

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.

 

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.

Cheap Textbooks & Other Back To Uni Cost Saving Tips

When the start of a new semester rolls around it can be a tricky time for student finances. Summer is over and, if you’re like most uni students, you’ve had way too much fun on your break and ‘back to uni’ has crept up on you, with not enough cash set aside for textbooks and supplies.

Whether you were travelling overseas or just making the most of the long holiday breaks, chilling at home, these costs were probably the furthest thing from your mind but now reality has kicked in and you’ve got a list of expenses to get sorted before your first class.

We totally get it, and have created this list of hints and tips to help you make the impact of back to uni costs as minimal as possible.

Textbooks

Textbooks are a major cost with the average student forking out around $600 a year. Unlike the old days where text books could be passed down through generations until the book disintegrates, things are changing at such a rapid rate that publishers often bring out new updated editions each year. So, we’ve come up with some great tips to help you spend less on your textbooks this year.

Do you really need it?

Now, we’re not trying to encourage you to slack off before the semester has even started but the truth is a lot of textbooks are bought only for them to sit on bookshelves in share houses unused. They might be listed as ‘required texts’ but once the actual unit starts you’ll sometimes find that they are barely used. Ask around to talk with people who did the unit last year, have a good read of the course guide and find units on Student VIP to get an idea of how crucial the text is.

Version control

Only buy the latest edition if you’re 100% sure you need to. Check for differences and see if most of the information is the same. The old version will usually be enough to get you through and you’ll be able to pick it up for a lot less money.

Make use of your library card

Check out if the library has the required texts (hint: university libraries usually will). You could grab the text for the start of the year and then gauge if you need to buy it. Sometimes you’ll only need a text for part of a unit, so see if you can grab it from the library for a few weeks and return it once you no longer need it.

Make money to spend money

Sell your previous years textbooks to give yourself a bit of extra cash for your new courses. Most online platforms like Student VIP, mentioned previously allow you to not only buy second hand textbooks, but sell them as well.

Another way to do it is to use the notice boards around campus. As there will be a new cohort of students coming through doing the same classes as you, this can be an easy and effective way of getting some money back on your old books. A great time to get a notice up, is just before O Week!

Don’t lug it around

Search the web for eBook versions of the text. These are usually much cheaper, and a whole lot lighter.

Get a bargain

If you think you’ll need the physical version of the exact textbook, then check out the online resources listed below where you can buy discounted texts (or even rent them, although that isn’t always that much cheaper).

You can also check local classified websites like Gumtree and of course the notice boards around the campus.

Websites to find second hand textbooks:

Laptops, computers and equipment

Face it. You can’t do anything without a computer these days. Whether you just need a basic laptop to do your web surfing and essay writing, or you need a set up with specialised features and software for your course, the costs can really hit hard.

What do you really need?

It’s tough to reduce the amount you spend on a computer or laptop while still getting something that you can trust not to fail when you’re in the middle of your final assignment.

The best way to ensure you don’t overspend is to do your research and buy a computer that is suited to the course you are studying. A creative writing course won’t need a powerful expensive computer, but a basic, cheap one won’t work for a film editing course. Consult your friends, tutors and those ‘in the know’ to make sure you know what you need.

Soften the software cost

In many cases part of your course will be learning how to use new types of software relevant to your future career. In these situations, don’t rush out to buy expensive full versions of the software as there will almost always be an avenue to get these programs through the university at a discounted price, or failing that, through the developer at a student price.

For other standard software programs check if freeware, or online versions are around. These exist for just about every type of program you could need. Check out this link for some of the most useful freeware programs.

Use your resources

Universities obviously have a huge amount of technology that you can access for free, in libraries and computer labs.

Spend a bit more time on campus using their computers and you’ll save money and rid yourself of some of the distractions you face at home. Courses that need more powerful technology like film, animation and design usually have appropriate computers available on campus, with all the latest software you need to succeed.

Non-tech

Don’t forget to apply the same rules with your non-technology equipment. If you are buying equipment that is required for your entire course, consider paying more and buying quality. Things like stethoscopes for medicine, drawing tools for architecture, and lab gear for science will be needed for a long time. It can be tempting to go budget and save but if you buy quality, they will last you well into your career.   

Spending Less Across the Semester

The initial costs of getting back to Uni are steep, but there are the everyday costs of being back on the books that can also drain your budget.

So we’ve listed a few simple and quick ways to tighten the budget while you’re still absorbing the back-to-school costs, and maybe if you stick to them, who knows, you’ll even have a bit put away by the time you do it all again next semester.

Transport

A 2012 study on student finances found that after tuition, transport is the biggest expense for people at uni. Consciously cutting down on the money we spend on transport can make a big difference.

Save on PT

Students will be able to receive concession or student public transport rates which will significantly cut the cost of travel. Don’t forget to crunch the costs of long term tickets on public transport and buy monthly or yearly passes if it is more economical.

Share it

Most universities offer carpool matching services, with some like the University of Newcastle even embracing apps like Liftango . Check to see if your university offers any carpooling services, or chat to your classmates and try to organise it yourself. It’s a great way of making new friends, reducing costs and saving the environment.

On ya bike

Buy a bike and ride. If you’re sticking to roads and bike paths, a decent bike can be bought for under $250 and will quickly pay for itself when saving on fuel or public transport. You’ll be able to exercise off those post lecture beers and reduce your carbon footprint as a bonus.

Student discounts on EVERYTHING

Most students are well aware of student discounts in the obvious places (public transport, movie tickets, etc) but there are plenty of other student discounts, companies offer that aren’t always taken advantage of. Check out myunidays for a constantly updated source of student discount offers.

And finally...Feeding Yourself!

We all know students who just moved out of home are very unlikely to cook for themselves, but the amount of money spent eating out can really hit the piggy bank hard. Cooking at home and packing your own meals and snacks can save you heaps and most universities will have student room facilities where you can warm up your food if necessary.

Check out our other blogs for delicious dishes that will help you save money.

Have you got your own student secrets for reducing the wallet burn while you learn? 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.

8 Cheap Date Ideas to Impress Your Valentine

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and we know what that means… romance, gifts of love and epic date nights!

If you’re looking for some inspiration to impress that special person in your life, or even get to know them that little bit more, without blowing the budget, we have some great ideas, just for you

Because let’s be honest – dinner and movie nights might be classic but you’re in risky territory with it becoming a little too ‘routine’, especially when you’re out to get to know someone better.

So we’ve put together our list of creative dating ideas that will not only deliver a wow factor but are also designed to help you break through the ordinary to really get to know someone. Maybe you’ve only been on a few dates or perhaps you’ve been with someone for years and just want to shake things up. Either way, this list will get your creative dating juices flowing for the big “V Day” reveal…

 

Create a new experience for both of you

Routine leads to boredom. There is no avoiding it.

So one of the best ways to make a date more memorable is to do something neither of you have ever done before. Learning something together is a unique way to bond and the atmosphere is instantly more relaxed. You can laugh at your own mistakes and compete to see who can get the hang of it first.

There are plenty of free or cheap unique activities in most cities that are catered to beginners. Anything from life drawings, modern dance classes, Tai Chi in the park, indoor rock-climbing, ice-skating and DIY workshops – the more out-there the idea, the better.

As long as you’re both open to giving it a crack, you can let your guard down and have some fun. And if it turns out that pottery making wasn’t for you, it’s ok, because neither of you were particularly invested in the idea in the first place.

Below is a list of classes and workshops available across your capital city:

 

The low-key “hang-out” date

When you get down to the basics, the real reason you go on a date with someone is to spend more time with them, right? The activity you actually do on your date is really just an excuse to make that ‘time together’ happen.

So, when you’re setting up a date don’t put as much emphasis on the ‘what’ of the date. Head to a playground with a swing-set, buy an ice-cream and take a walk along the beach, or find a park with a lake to feed the ducks or skip some stones.

The informal setting will relieve the pressure to ‘make small talk’ and your conversation will be allowed to develop naturally and organically. There is also something particularly romantic and sweet about spending time enjoying the simple things.

 

Trivia night at a bar

Meeting up with someone at a bar is a pretty common go-to for a date when you don’t know what else to do.

But you know what? It just isn’t that memorable or romantic. Great for a first or second date maybe, but after a while you really should be upping the stakes if you want to move past small talk.

Why not add a little bit of competition to the mix to create a more exciting night! Hit up your local trivia night and you’ll soon find all the social awkwardness drift away. You’ll be too busy racking your brain to remember the year ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ was released.

You may also find that people drop their guard a little more when their competitive streak kicks in and their true personalities shine through a little stronger (for better or worse), but let’s be honest, the quicker we get to the bottom of this sort of stuff, the better, when it comes to the dating game.

Check out this massive list of trivia nights for one near you.


Geocaching

If you really want your date to be unique and memorable, the world of geocaching gets our thumbs up!

Like a treasure hunt for grown ups, you hunt down a ‘geocache’ (usually a waterproof container full of various types of ‘swag’) based on a series of clues and GPS coordinates.

You’ll want to wait until you get past the initial stages of a relationship (you probably don’t want to be dragging someone into the woods on a first date!) but when it comes to sense of adventure it is a pretty hard idea to beat.

Sure, maybe it’s a little dorky. But if you’re worried about being a bit of a dork around the person you’re dating –  this will get you loosened up in no time!

You can find everything you need to know about geocaching at their official website.

 

Volunteering together

If the most important part of a date to you is getting to know someone, suggest the idea of volunteering with them for a night.

With the right mindset,  giving your time to a good cause is an amazing way to spend quality time with someone and you’ll get the chance to see a more kind and gentle side of their personality, even if you have been dating for years.

Finding opportunities to volunteer at the drop of a hat isn’t always simple, but the concept of micro-volunteering is a relatively new idea that lets you help out by doing small, short-term tasks.

Consider any of the following:

  • Take dogs at an animal shelter for a walk or a give them a bath
  • Work at a soup kitchen for the night
  • Spend time with someone in an aged-care facility

It might not be the right idea for everyone, but even if it doesn’t work out at least at the end of the day you’ll have done something to make the world a better place.

Check out this volunteering search engine for a cause that appeals to you or if you’re looking for help on how to pitch it to your prospective date – check out this website.

 

Be tourists in your own town

We’re usually so busy in our everyday lives that we don’t really explore the town we live in.

Once you look at your city through the eyes of a tourist, you’ll be amazed at how many hidden wonders your hometown has to offer. Find out whether your city does free walking tours or visit a landmark that you’ve never been to but always thought you’d end up visiting ‘one day’.

Walking around your own city and seeing it with new eyes is a great way to appreciate the things we can often take for granted. Not a bad reflection to have with someone you’re on a date with, huh?

Useful links

 

Try something different

When trying to keep your dating expenses low, sometimes simple really is best.

But simple doesn’t have to mean boring.

Telling someone that you want to meet up with them for a coffee or a sausage roll isn’t going to fill them with anticipation of what’s to come. But what if you tell them you’re going to try Melbourne’s only smurf latte with blue algae (which is actually a thing) or other superfood latte, or the 2017 winner of the best sausage roll in Sydney?

Sounds a little more enticing, huh?

To make the date even more intriguing, meet up at a common location and make the trip together. Extra points if it’s at the end of a train line, in some suburb or town you’ve never been before (although make sure you’re date knows what they’re in for before you start taking them too far off the beaten track).

 

Go out on a limb (and actually let them know a little about you)

The weird culture humans have built around dating means that we often try to impress our dates by doing things we wouldn’t generally do ourselves.

I mean, does taking someone to a fancy restaurant you would never usually go to tell them much about who you really are?

So, if you’re brave enough, why not deliberately turn that idea on its head?

Agree to meet up at a second hand bookshop before you go out for coffee. The mission is to find a book to buy for your date (and they do the same for you), based on what you already know about each other. When you get to the cafe, spend a little time flicking through the book, and explain to each other why you picked the one you did for them.

Not a bookworm? Substitute a book for music, or anything really. The point is, that you’re getting to know each other on a more personal level.

This is a great idea for early on in a relationship, once you’re past the 4th or 5th date and you know at least a little bit about them. It might seem a little out there but it’s better than going to multiple movies together before realising you’re not really that compatible.

 

What is your go-to awesome date idea when you want to get to know someone a little better 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.

10 Delicious Dinners to Keep You Satisfied ‘Til Payday

It’s happened to everyone at one stage or another. You’re faced with something unexpected and you suddenly have to tighten the purse strings until your next payday.

Cutting out things like a night out at the movies or your lunch-break latte is easy enough, but saving money on your “three-square-meals a day” can be a bit trickier.

Don’t head straight for the baked beans and two-minute noodles just yet – we have 10 delicious dinner ideas you can whip up on the cheap to keep you fed and satisfied until payday rolls around…

 

Fried Rice Without the Price

Rice doesn’t cost a lot, and with a few more extra ingredients and a bit of flavouring added, it doesn’t take much to turn it into a meal. With a bit of culinary creativity with what you’ve got around the kitchen, you can create an excellent meal for not much at all!

Using a base of rice and frozen mixed vegetables, you can quickly whip up a batch of meal portions that will last you the whole week. Anything goes in a fried rice, so you can also fill it out with whatever meat or veggies you already have in the fridge.

Check out these examples and fry away:

 

No meat but plenty of heat: Vegetarian chilli

Meat can bust a lean budget, so a few good meatless options are great to have in the repertoire. A vegetarian chilli is so delicious and rich, the local carnivores won’t even realise they’ve gone without!

Lentils or beans give the chilli it’s hearty and filling punch, plus throw in some tomato, capsicum, onion, garlic and chilli flakes to ensure a flavourful and spicy kick.

Get started with these great recipes:

 

Versatile pasta sauce with all your favourites

When it comes to an easy and delicious meal, a simple tomato based pasta sauce is king. Dried pasta is cheap and keeps for a long time so you can stock up on it when it is on special.

You can customise the sauce with any of your favourites; olives, anchovies, greens, vegetables, spices. Then throw in some left-over mince, bacon or sausages for that meaty bite. The pasta sauce is a great all-rounder and very tasty, so you can raid the back of the pantry and throw in anything that works.

Try out these ideas:

 

Put it between the sheets with cheesy lasagne

With similar ingredients from your pasta sauce you can make a cheap, simple and tasty lasagne. A pack of dry lasagne sheets is pretty inexpensive and it’s easy to load up your baking dish with all your delicious favourites.

Find some cheap mince for a classic lasagne, or for a vegetarian version try layers of eggplant, pumpkin and other roast vegies. These recipes make huge servings and stores great in the fridge or freezer, so you can enjoy it throughout the week.

Have a go at this one:

 

Creamy dreamy pumpkin soup

A good pumpkin is pretty much all you need to buy for a delicious pumpkin soup. Add some stock cubes, onion and garlic and you get a classic creamy soup.

You can throw in any other veggies you have in the house and play around with the flavours. Carrot, sweet potato, lentils and beans all add different elements, and with the addition of some toasted, buttered bread, you get a rich hearty meal that will really satisfy both your taste buds and your budget!

Mix it up a little with these suggestions:

 

Bake it ‘til you make it: Pasta bake

Back to the dry pasta – if you’re getting sick of having it with red sauce try a cheesy pasta bake. Just throw your favourite ingredients in an oven dish with pasta and some cheese and you’re ready to go.

It’s easy to make in large batches and is very filling. You can combine what you have around the pantry and fridge into a delicious and easy meal. For a cheap and delicious alternative, tinned tuna is a great filling that will keep you happy until payday.

Throw these in the oven:

 

Unleash the quiche

If you’ve got a few eggs, a frittata or quiche is a great meal to whip up on the cheap. Throw the eggs and all your spare meat and veg ingredients in an oven dish, and you’re all sorted with a  filling and tasty meal!

To create a quiche, simply put these ingredients into your own homemade pastry, or spend a few dollars on a store bought base. It’s a tasty meal to reheat and eat later and keeps well in the fridge.

Try whisking these up:

 

Curry without the worry

It’s not hard or expensive to whip up a delicious curry. You can cook up some simple ingredients with whatever meat or veggies you can get on the cheap and have a rich, delicious meal.

While curry pastes aren’t exactly expensive from the major chains, many international or specialty supermarkets sell affordable curry mixes for even less and are usually tastier. Starting with a base of rice, you can add lentils, chickpeas, vegetables and meat. As already mentioned, going vegetarian for a bit is a good way to tighten the purse strings, and with a good curry you won’t feel like you’re missing out!.

Try these recipes:

 

Prepay tuna mornay

Tinned tuna is a cheap and handy way of adding a large amount of protein to your meal and tuna mornay is a tasty comfort food that you can cook up quickly.

Tuna mornay is another recipe where you are likely to have all the ingredients at hand without having to go to the shop. Just throw the tuna into an oven dish, with cheese, breadcrumbs, flour and some milk and you’re away.

Check out these recipes:

 

Kick a goal with a casserole

Ok this one is kind of cheating…Casserole can really mean anything, but it usually involves creating combinations of food you have lying around to make delicious, easy and large meals.

The beauty is you can see what you have in the pantry and mix your different items to create a cheap and tasty meal. Go classic with a chicken and veggie casserole, or mix it up with vibrant nacho dishes, or a classic mac and cheese.

Here are a few to try:

 

Have you got your own go-to recipe for when things get a bit tight coming up to payday? We’d love to hear about it 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.

7 New Year’s Resolutions to Shape Up Your Finances

Budgets! Ugh! Are we right?

But we’re well and truly into the new year so it’s a great time to start changing the way you handle your finances (and try to make them finally stick).

So we’ve come up with these 7 resolutions you can make to help shape up your finances in 2018 that might actually work!

 

Build a budget that you can actually stick to..

Budgets are a lot like diets. They’re tough to stick to and they usually don’t work unless you find one that suits you. And to get one that is the right fit you’ll have to put a bit of time looking into your 2017 spending habits.

First, use a budget planner to break your budget down, like this one. Now you have a clear map to assess what you spend money on and can start sorting them from most to least important.

What could you never live without? What are you willing to sacrifice? Place expenses alongside each other and battle them out..to the death!! For example, cinema tickets versus wine with the work colleagues. Perhaps you’ll realise that the movies help you relax and, to be honest, those weeknight hangovers are starting to take their toll.

Now everything’s in writing, you can shift things around feeling confident that it’s all accounted for. Tomorrow you might decide you really need a wine and you can cancel the cinema that month and suddenly you’ve got the skills of an organised accountant!

Our tip: don’t get down on yourself if your budget goes wrong initially. Instead, examine why it didn’t work and change your budget accordingly. Through this process you get to learn a lot about your values and priorities and you might just be surprised by how much of a self-awareness exercise this turns out to be.

 

Shape up your bills..

Bills are boring but they are a part of life. We don’t think about them until they are due and they just become a part of the slow routine of life that we rarely question.

But a shape up of your monthly bills can be a great way to get more out of your finances. Many people let things like their mobile plan, internet, electricity and other bills roll over without giving them much thought and they miss out on cheaper alternatives and huge discount opportunities.

Our tips will make you a haggle expert when it comes to your weekly bills:

  • Read the fine print and find a deal that suits you. There’s no point paying extra money if it is for things you’ll never use. For instance: how much internet do you actually use on a monthly basis? Do you actually need an unlimited plan or do you just feel like you do?
  • Do your research. Scan the cheapest options as well as what they offer. Find out what the competitors of your current provider are offering. Many competitors, particularly energy and internet providers, will offer a discount if you switch.
  • Most companies will offer incentives if you bundle your products, but make sure they’re offering enticements that you’ll actually take advantage of.
  • Before you agree to any deal, let your original provider know you’re thinking of leaving so they have the opportunity to price-match. We bet you’ll suddenly feel like the most popular kid in town!

 

Aim to have less stuff..

Everything we’re surrounded by creates the feeling that the more we have, the happier will be. From magazines to television and social media, we are in product heaven. But studies have proven that owning more stuff does not improve happiness and, in fact, it usually makes us miserable.

Enter minimalism, a new trend that has surfaced in response to the increasingly cluttered world we live in.

Courtney Carver, in her thought-provoking blog be more with less provides evidence to show that living with less creates space for more important things to enter your life. Next time you have the urge to buy something, question where that urge came from. Do you need it? Could you live without it?  

Minimalism is good for the heart, good for the apartment, and especially good for the savings!   

Money Money Money…Don’t just sing it, talk about it..

Over a quarter of Aussies have trouble talking about finances, according to a recent study. Money, like death, sex and Game of Thrones spoilers, has become a taboo subject that people shy away from. But conversing helps people learn as they talk through their problems and, also, discussing Game of Thrones theories is really fun!

When children aren’t exposed to conversations about finances it teaches them that it’s a subject to be avoided, and they end up being poorly educated on the topic or having to do double the amount of work to learn about the impact of managing money.

The more we talk about it, the more we learn about it, and the more we become motivated to find ways to improve our financial situation.

Be aware that money can be a source of shame for many people so approach the subject with sensitivity. Visit this site for some great tips on how to talk finances with the kids.

 

Money isn’t everything..

There’s nothing more annoying than being told to bring your lunch every day to save money. Thanks for the advice, “Jan from accounts”, but it’s not exactly rocket science. And you know what else, for some people going out for lunch with friends is the thing they look forward to most in a day.

Furthermore, we all have a tantrum-throwing inner child that does not respond well to discipline, especially when it comes to things like money. But what if you could increase your bargaining power by catering to your inner child’s deeper desires as well? For example, if you adopt some of the tips below you’re not only going to save money but you’re going to look great this summer. And Jan will be so jealous!

Get healthy, lose weight, improve your mental clarity and save money with the below ideas:

  • Ride your bike to work and save around $40 per week on public transport fees.
  • Cut back on booze, experience all of these benefits and save a fortune. 
  • Reduce processed sugar. If you need motivation, just read a list of all the reasons processed sugar is bad for you. If you traded a chocolate bar for an apple every day for a year you would save $547.50 (that’s not even including the dentist’s bills you avoided).
  • Replace coffee with tea. If you did this with one coffee per day, you’d save around $1642.50 per year.
  • Replace juice and soft drinks (see sugar-is-bad list) with water and lemon, make it fizzy if you have a Sodastream.

Other ideas that might help influence your inner child

  • If the weather’s nice invite friends who work nearby to eat lunch with you at the local park. Sure, you’re bringing lunch (don’t tell Jan), but you’re also socialising and it’s easy to pack something cheap and healthy.
  • Instead of purchasing a TV show or movie on iTunes, read a book. It’s better for the mind and costs less. Borrowing a book from the library costs you nothing! And before you ask..YES, libraries still exist!!
  • Instead of going out for dinner to see friends, suggest a picnic in the park.
  • If you have a friend that’s always keen to catch up for a weekly wine, suggest going for a seaside stroll together instead.

 

Find a hobby that will improve your finances..

Borrowing from the above idea of dual motivation, why not look to your passion to save or earn money? See! We told you budgeting could be fun!

Bake your own bread, brew your own beer, grow your own veggies, sew your own clothes, take on a DIY attitude and you’ll tune in to your creative flow while simultaneously saving loads.

This can be especially effective if you pair it with something that takes up a big part of your finances. If you’re a massive caffeine addict, then roasting your own beans will directly impact an area of your life you’re already spending money on.

But most importantly the savings involved are a byproduct of your hobby, instead of being the sole reason for it in the first place. It is much easy to keep up a New Year’s resolution if it’s something you enjoy doing.

 

Make happiness the most logical pursuit..

We humans are simple creatures. Strip us down to our bare essentials and you’ll find that we just want to be happy. As long as the basic things, like food, water, shelter, and security are looked after, the next thing on the list is usually just being happy.

Unfortunately, the modern world gives us confusing messages about what ‘being happy’ actually means. It seems strange to ask, but do you really know what the things are that make you happy?

Focussing on happiness over earning money or buying new things might not sound like a financial New Year’s resolution but it does a few things that impact the way you spend your resources:

  • It leads to higher levels of satisfaction, lowering the impulse to spend money on things we don’t need when we’re bored or unhappy.
  • It gives us greater perspective on what’s important in life, making it easier to follow through on some of the previous steps.

This is the hardest of our 7 tips to actually implement. ‘Finding happiness’ is not quite as straightforward as ‘building a budget’. But in our busy lives it is sometimes important to remember that the most effective changes we can make are sometimes the simplest.

Have you got any plans to change your finances in 2018? Let us know by posting 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.