Archive for February, 2017
Humans require clean, easy-to-breath air in order to live. And just like humans, vehicles also need to be able to “breathe” clean air in order to survive. While human lungs make it possible to breathe, a vehicle’s air filters do just the same. But after some time, they begin to accumulate mass amounts of dirt, debris, and other airborne particles, which eventually decreases their quality and function. For this reason, it is critical to have your vehicle’s engine and cabin air filters inspected and changed on a routine basis to promote safe and efficient driving. Continue reading to learn more about the importance of routine automotive filter changes.
Keep in mind that your car’s air filters are your first line of defense against irritating and obstructive airborne contaminants. Dirt, dust, pollen, mold spores, exhaust gases, bacteria, and more are examples of airborne contaminants that have the ability to negatively affect the quality and performance of your engine and vehicle as a whole. And according to Community Car Care, there is a 1 in 5 chance that YOUR car needs an air filter change right now! Many drivers are guilty of overlooking this small but highly-necessary scheduled maintenance.
The long list of airborne contaminants can have a powerful impact on your vehicle’s engine, and in a very negative way. Everything from pistons, cylinders, and cylinder walls, to piston rings and bearings, are just a few areas of a car engine that can begin to lose performance value from clogged or dirty air filters. Over time, neglecting to change them can lead to serious engine malfunctions and breakdowns, which means frustrating, costly repairs.
If you like to have clean, breathable interior air that smells good, you need to change your air filters on a routine basis. Once they start to become clogged, they begin to slowly lose their ability to do their job. So once they are entirely clogged, you can suffer some mild but irritating consequences, such as musty smells, sore throat, coughing, itchy eyes, tightening of the chest, and more. Changing them regularly keeps the interior environment of your car fresh and easy to breath.
Refer to your vehicle’s owners’ manual for the manufacturer recommendations on factory scheduled maintenance. The general rule of thumb is to have your air filters inspected and changed every time you take your car in for an oil change. In fact, it is often a part of oil change packages. This should be every 3,000 miles or so. Talk to your mechanic for professional advice.
Cash is the lifeblood of a business. No business owner wants to see their business struggling because of lack of funds or in debt due to mismanaged finances. What they want to see is a regular flow of profit but this is easier said than done.
With many years of experience as chartered accountants and business experts, we’ve seen many financial mistakes that business owners make. Here are some of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them:
Not having a business plan including clear financial goals
Business planning is very important. If you want to be successful in your business, you need a roadmap. It is also important to set clear goals and targets. In particular, you need to have financial goals that will help you measure how well your business is doing. Furthermore, your financial goal should be clear and realistic. Goals should be phased – weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly. You also need to involve your whole organisation in your business strategy. Give your team goals to aim for.
With these plans and goals in place, you will have a clear view of how your business is performing which will eventually help you make important financial and growth-management decisions.
Not keeping proper financial records
This is one of the most common mistakes of business owners and also the most crucial. Most business owners are so busy focusing on managing their business that they neglect the importance of financial record keeping. If you don’t have time to update your financial records, hire an expert to do it for you, such as a Chartered Accountant. They can set you up with proper systems and help process your transactions accurately.
Combining business capital and personal finances
Some business owners, especially those who are struggling with their business capital or finances tend to merge their personal savings with the business. Business owners should avoid doing this, as it will only make it more difficult to track how much money the business is making. Also, it complicates IRD and tax obligations.
Starting too big
Starting a business can be overwhelming. You put everything in that you have before you actually start. You may rent an office or other space and hire employees thinking about the future. You want to start big. But you have to understand that starting big doesn’t necessarily ensure your future success. It may put undue pressure on you and your business. The best thing to do is to start small and once your business becomes financially stable, you may then consider expanding. Make sure that your expansion can be justified by your profits.
Not having an expert to assist you with your finances
Accounting, bookkeeping and tax compliance – these are just some of the financial responsibilities that you need to take care of when you start a business. These are critical and timely business processes. But some business owners are so busy managing their business that they often neglect these. You don’t have to stress yourself in thinking and doing everything. You can hire experts to do it for you.
Some business owners are hesitant to hire experts to do these things for them and only realise they need help when it is too late. So hire a trusted Chartered Accountant to help you with your finances so you can focus on your business, as well as having more time to relax.
These are just some of the common financial mistakes that business owners make. Make sure to avoid these financial horrors to ensure the success of your venture.
Windshield Wipers and Fluid – Fog, snow and rain will cut down your visibility in winter, causing you to use your wiper blades and washer fluid much more than normal. An antifreeze solution along with winter wiper blades will help to fight ice build-up. Keeping extra windshield washer solvent on hand is helpful too!
Battery – A thorough inspection of your battery, cables, terminals and fluid will help to make sure your car is ready for winter. The cold weather puts more stress on your battery. Many automotive parts stores will test your battery capacity free of charge.
Inspect Your Tires – If you’re not mounting winter tires on your vehicle, be sure to examine your current tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing and cupping as well as checking the sidewalls for cuts and nicks to help you to know if your tires are ready for the harsh weather. The colder weather will also reduce the pressure within your tires, causing them to perform poorly in the snow. You should frequently check your tire pressures.
Coolant – Along with regulating the engine temperature, a vehicle’s coolant system is responsible for protecting your engine against corrosion. For the winter season you will want to make sure that you are using the right ratio of coolant to water in your system as well as using the right type of coolant for your car. If you are unsure, you can check the effectiveness of your coolant with a simple and inexpensive test found at any car parts store.
Ice scraper – Keep your ice scraper in your vehicle and always clean off your car completely, not just a little peephole in the windshield. You must be able to see all your surroundings, your side mirrors and through your back window. Snow on top of your car could slide down and cover your windshield while you are slowing down or fly off onto someone else’s vehicle while you are driving. In some states it is the law that your vehicle is clear of snow and ice.
Survival Kit – Especially during times of slick road conditions and below freezing temperatures, you will want to keep a survival kit in the car at all times in case of emergency. Some items to consider include extra gloves, boots and blankets, flares, tire chains, a flashlight and extra batteries, car charger or portable cellphone charger, and a whistle. Also check your spare tire and make sure that your car jack is in good, working condition.
Keep Your Gas Tank Above Half – If you get stuck or stranded, the car’s engine will be your only source of heat and you will want to be sure you have enough fuel to keep you warm. In some cases, it may be necessary to remove snow from behind the tailpipe and keep it unobstructed to prevent lethal gas from accumulating in the vehicle.
The best of all possible worlds is for the government to stay out-of-the-way of commerce, industry and business, and very rarely institute regulations. There are some times when government and businesses, industry associations should collaborate for the sake of standardization, but again, very rarely. The tendency to allow industry collusion, create monopolies, duopolies or quasi-cartels is just too easy. Further, once you create one regulation it’s hard to prevent the add-on affect, the temptation is just too great to add exceptions, additions, clarifications as lawyers, unions, and consumer groups work to lobby legislators to intervene with the regulatory apparatus.
A few years back this was a big conversation at our Think Tank, and one think tanker Andrew stated: “I would have to agree that businesses do need some form of standardization, but we must also understand several concepts! A business must have the capability to micromanage for maximum efficiency. I believe states should be granted the power to standardize businesses, not the federal government.”
Okay but, where I see the definite need for standardization are with things like Internet Protocols, railway track width, freeways for intrastate travel, airport runway markings, frequencies used in communication, food safety, etc. In a big state like TX you could get away with doing almost everything counter to the overall prevailing way of doing things, it’s practically large enough to be its own country, and some Texans would prefer it to be still. Pretty independent minded, even with the population’s mindset of succession from the union. It even has its own electrical grid.
Still, with regards to the flow of energy, transportation, distribution, communication, currency, etc. we need standardization. And to the point of having each state decide, what about every county, every city, or every HOA, down to every person, where do you stop the breakdown of centralized standardization.
The argument for state level standardization could be argued against by someone who is a County Supervisor telling the State to go to hell, we want to do it our way, especially a county like the County of Los Angeles, with 16 million people in it, also larger than most countries. How about a city telling the county where to go, again as an example, let’s take the City of Los Angeles VS County of Los Angeles, see the point.
And realize I am not making an argument for a global government here, but we also need some standardization there too, for aviation, which we do have, maritime, trade rules, and having the Central Banks work together so no one Central Bank doesn’t destroy the entire global economy. See that point. We need SOME standardization, but we MUST retain regional variation. We do this at the Global Level, but we don’t do it enough at our Federal Level with regards to the states in the US and that’s why we have issues now. Think on this.
Cruises are some of the most exciting vacations you can choose to enjoy. They offer unbeatable value because you do not have to think about constant transportation needs from place to place and neither do you have to pay costly airfares to your destination. The cruises give you the chance to enjoy refreshing sea air helping you relax and simply enjoy the warm ocean breezes whenever. With so many ports scattered around the world, you can place a cruise travel to visit areas that you have always wanted to visit.
If you love water and water activities, then cruises will prove to be most rewarding to you. But then to enjoy the most pleasant experience you still need to plan properly for your cruise. When everything is in order from the initial stages, then you are bound to enjoy a fulfilling vacation on a ship.
1. Know the number of people cruising with you
If it is just a few of you, then planning should be easy, but you will need a lot more planning and coordination when you plan to travel with more family members and friends. If you are bringing children along, then you need to make sure that the cruise package has plenty of activities for them too. You can plan for a private kind of cruises or you can choose to pay for cruises that accommodate lots of other people headed the same direction you are. The important thing is to choose what works for you and the people you are tagging along.
2. Choose the best cruise length
Cruise packages differ in length and the vacation time you have available should help you select the length that is most suitable. A cruise can be only a few days or you can choose one that goes for a week and more. A weekend cruise can be a great choice for those with little time to spare. With so many destinations and packages, you should be able to plan a cruise length that you can afford and enjoy to the fullest.
3. Pick the best stateroom
People have different preferences when it comes to cruises and your stateroom choices should be guided by your vacation preferences. For instance, if what you dream of is lounging in a private balcony as you enjoy the gracious tropical views, then a balcony stateroom is the ideal selection. Couples can cruise in a suite or a penthouse to get the most from the cruise vacation. If you are a little pressed on a budget, then you can always settle for an inside stateroom. Some cruise packages can offer you additions such as 24 hour butler for your luxury experience.
4. Consider onboard activities
Even when you are going on a romantic cruise vacation, you will definitely need activities to fill your time on board. Find out what activities you will find on-board and how exciting they will make your cruise. Spa services, wine tasting, bingo, culinary demonstrations, live entertainments and others are some of the most popular on most cruises.
When you receive an inheritance, it is important to figure out what will you do with that money. If you do not plan properly on how to spend that money, it will slip out of your hand within no time. If you have already got the cash, or you are about to inherit the money, here are some five tips for using it properly.
Don’t Rush Your Decision
People generally do not allow the money for a cooling-off period, after receiving the cash. This is one of the worst mistakes that people usually do. They are always in a hurry of spending the money without thinking twice. You can save the money either in a money market account or savings for at least two months in order to plan your options. You can also put the money into a short-term deposit for saving it, because you have to pay penalty if you withdraw it before time.
Assess Where You Are
If you analyse your present financial situation, you can get an idea about your future move. You can plan to start a college fund for your children, add the money to your retirement savings or keep it as an emergency fund. Make a goal in life, so that you can achieve it with the help of your inheritance.
Be Realistic About Your Inheritance
A sudden chunk of money will you lead to towards a changed lifestyle. The things like a new car or a luxury vacation that you could not afford before will now seem to be very tempting. You have to be careful to control your temptation and save your money for future needs.
It is evident that when you receive an inheritance, many people come with a try to have a share in the money. Bank or financial sales people may call you so that you invest your money in their products. You may also be asked to make a huge donation by any charitable organisation. So, it is very important to set boundaries and prepare yourself for saying no to the people.
You may need some professional help to figure out how to save your inheritance. It is absolutely fine to hire a financial advisor, but do not make your decision solely as per his guidance. In the end, it will be you who will take the final decision. Do some research and set your goals before taking professional’s help.
Thus, though an inheritance is like a blessing to you, but along with it comes responsibility. Plan properly to make sure that your money lasts for a longer time.
Getting to the airport isn’t the easiest thing and can be more difficult for those travelling with a lot of luggage and family members. One option to forget about the logistics of reaching the airport on time is to make use of an airport taxi service. This can remove a lot of the stress and worry, but is still important to schedule the pickup to match the specific needs.
Here are a few tips to make sure the airport taxi service provides a prompt and timely package:
A simple step that can make things go smoothly is to book the taxi well in advance. Make sure there is enough time to easily reach the airport without feeling rushed. Try to calculate the travel distance and add an extra hour or more in the event of heavy traffic. Also, if travelling during busy travel times, such as bank holidays, it may be worth adding a little more time.
Pay attention to reputation
Investigate two or three different companies and aim to identify one that is highly rated for providing a reliable deal in the local area. Use online reviews to get an idea of the quality and reputable of a potential company. Find one that has the courteous drivers and appreciated for providing timely pickups and drops-offs.
Most companies are quite similar, so it helps to ring around and get a price for the ride to the airport. Many quote a flat fee to travel from home to the airport, as well as any other pickups on the way. Also, make sure the preferred company has the necessary licensing and credentials to offer this particular type of service.
Amount of space
One of the important things to check is the amount of space for passengers and luggage that the vehicle can accept. The vehicles can vary significantly in size with a standard vehicle able to accept a couple with minimal luggage to the larger vehicle that can easily take six or seven passengers in comfort.
For those travelling with a lot of bags, it may be necessary to ask for a larger vehicle.
Call before pickup
Even if the airport taxi service has been booked and reserved in advance, it still may be worth giving the company a call a few hours before it should arrive at the pickup address to make sure it will be arriving on time.
Wedding bells are ringing everywhere! If you’re someone who is planning to get married on the coming year then you need to read what we have to say before you make any further wedding plans. For all us, the day we get married is probably the most important day of our lives and we want to make sure it is arranged that way as well. To do that, you don’t necessarily have to throw a grand wedding at the most expensive place around. A simple and much cheaper alternative is to get married at one of the following locations which are known for their exotic beauty and their services all of which are at your beck and call for very economical prices. And before you move on, here’s a tip – if you’re planning a destination wedding make sure you book flight tickets well in advance!
This place is on top of our list of wedding destinations and the reason for that is because it offers so much for so little. The place has some extremely beautiful destinations and rainforests as well as old Mayan ruins. Oh and let’s not forget that this place is also home to the second largest barrier reef in the world. The best thing about this place is that instead of being filled with expensive resorts like most of the other exotic travel locations, it has a lot of economical lodges and the sea food here is divine yet cheap too. So you can even host a wedding feast filled with exotic sea food but still save a lot in your pocket.
The best thing about Jamaica is that it provides you with a choice of two very different and equally beautiful locations. You can choose to get married on the white sandy beaches or near the Rocky Mountains depending on what you like. Or maybe you could get married on the beach and throw the dinner or reception in the mountains to get the best of both worlds. And on top of that, the arrangements here are really cheap as compared to other travel destinations.
This small collection of beautiful landscapes and homey villages is probably the best travel destination to get married in. The scenic beauty here gives you the perfect backdrop to take your wedding vows and have a fun pre or post wedding shoot too. There are a lot of cozy and warm bed and baths here as well as halls where you can hold your wedding party. And the best part of this is that you can get all of this at very very economical prices.
Now that you know the best places to get married in, we suggest that you start planning for your perfect destination wedding and make sure you book flight tickets well before time so as to avoid any unnecessary delays and problems in your plans! All the best! Cheers to new beginnings!
If you have made up your mind and you are 100% certain about starting a home business, then you might have in mind what product or service you want to market. You should also know that for the first two years you will be devoted to making your business grow. If you are willing to take a huge risk such as this, you will need to be motivated, determined and confident. There are numerous obstacles that you could run into if you don’t take the necessary precautions.
To work your way through the start-up of your business you will need to take the following steps
SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). By knowing and using this method, you will be aware of what competition you are facing, where your business can grow, and you will get a better understanding of the business market.
Form a business plan. Forming a business plan can be overwhelming and slightly confusing. A business plan should include the audience that will be looking at your plan, an outline of the business plan, a collection of research and data, a general abstract of the market, an inquiry profile, finances, and finally the executive summary.
Funds for the business startup. Do you have the resources needed to start the business or do you need to find the money or money lender?
Naming your business. What will be the name of your business? This is a crucial and significantly important element.
Electing your business structure. Sometimes people get confused due to the business types. You will need to elect the right business partners. The choice you make will cause an impact on your business.
The license and permit. This entails registering your business, you might also need a business identification number, and may also include other tax licenses and zoning permits.
The location. This step also entails many minor tasks such as finding the right location for your business, buying office supplies and equipment and designing your business place.
The insurance. You are responsible for any risks associated to your business. Getting a business insurance will protect your office of any disasters or litigations that could occur.
Lastly, create an accounting system. Many individuals that want to start their own business tend to fail because they get caught up with location and buying supplies and other details that they forget to keep an account of money going in and out. A good option would be to hire a professional accountant that will keep track of the businesses finances.