Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Tax-free shopping in the UK

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You can actually purchase some goods in the UK and get the VAT charged on your purchases back. You can enjoy this if you meet any of the conditions below: 

* You live outside the European Union normally and you are just visiting the UK for a short period.

* You are an European Union resident and you are planning to leave the EU for 12months or more.

* You are a non-European Union resident but you study or have a job in the UK and you are planning to leave the European Union for 12 months or more.

It is good to note that some goods are not entitled to VAT returns they include:

- Goods you made use of in the UK
- Cars
- Charges from services provided
- Gold that weighs more than 125gram
- Goods sent to another country for business transactions. These goods must be worth more than £600.
- Goods that require an export license to transfer them out of the country
- Gemstones (Unmounted)
- Goods you purchased via the internet.

In order to be able to get your VAT refund you need to obtain a VAT 407 form from the retailer you purchased your goods from. They might ask you for proof to know if you are eligible for it, this could include your passport, visa. At the airport you will then show the custom officers the goods you purchased, the receipts you received and the VAT 407 form you filled. If the custom officers have no issues with the evidences you provided then your form will be approved.

The VAT can be paid back immediately at the airport which is the best option, however  you can send the approved form to the retailer and you will be informed on how you will get it back.

Keep checking my blog regularly. Cheers!

Friday, 25 September 2015

9 Celebrities that started out broke

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today, I decided to write about celebrities that started out broke and ended up achieving financial growth. When you see celebrities it probably never occurs to you that some of them started out broke. While some have been blessed with wealthy wonderful parents, went ahead to still achieve financial growth for themselves, some other celebrities had nothing to start with. Here they are:

Celine Dion
 The youngest of 14 children was born into poverty, her father was a butcher and her mother was a homemaker, her father earned just $160 a week to support his children, wife and himself. Celine Dion has a wonderful voice, no wonder Rene Angelil was so moved when he listened to her song, that he mortgaged his house to finance her first record and coached her to fame. As of December 2014, she was worth $630million.

Leonardo Dicaprio
This talented actor known for his role in a popular movie 'Titanic' . He had a fairly stable childhood. When he was a year old his parents got divorced, as such, he lived with his mother who worked several jobs to feed herself and Leon. Today he is worth $220million.

Mariah Carey
She normally say it was difficult for her growing up.  Her parents were not together, as a result she lived with her mother. Her mother had to struggle to provide for herself, Mariah and her brother. She is one of the best artists in the world. She is now worth $520million.

Sarah Jessica Parker
She was born by parents that were not financially stable. Her mother was a full time housewife and her step father was a truck driver. She had 7 siblings (half siblings inclusive). She is now worth $90million.

Sean Combs
He is popularly known as Puffy, no I think Puff daddy, don't mind me I know its P.diddy.  He came from an unstable home, he lost his father at an early age. Today he is worth $735million.

Tom Cruise
His family was not really financially stable. Today he is worth $480million.


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

An estate sale could make you thousands of dollars

Image courtesy of gubgib at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
An estate sale is an event where a individual sells his/her belongings. It could also be a family. This sale could occur as a result of wanting to move from one country to another or when cash is needed. Based on a research, some individuals have made money from estate sales. This is because, the items sold are usually below their market prices. When you attend an estate sale only items of real value should be purchased such as appliances, artwork, cooking utensils, dishwares, furnitures, silverwares and others.

After purchases have been made, they could be sold on amazon, ebay, gumtree and the likes. I was informed that an individual went for an estate sale, bought an item for $5 and sold it for $25 on ebay, repeated the process and ended up making $14,000 from it in 6 months. I do not know how much costs he incurred in all, costs could include transportation fees, percentage paid to ebay and the likes, however if he only incurred $5 and sold the items for $25, I find it unacceptable. Nevertheless, you can still attend an estate sale, buy valuable items at very good prices and sell them at ethical prices and overtime you will make your thousands.

The way payments will be taken should always be asked for before committing to buy an item I have been informed. This is because most of the individuals that carry out an estate sale only accept cash, however, some do accept debitt card.


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Calculating the UK Income Tax

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Employers deduct a particular percentage every month from your salary or every week from your wages based on your taxcode. However, they do not pay the HMRC (the body responsible for taxes in the UK) till the end of the tax year. At times taxes could be overpaid or underpaid. When taxes are underpaid you will be required to pay the money  back and when taxes are overpaid you will get your overpaid amount back at least two months after the end of the tax year but it could be more. It feels good to get money you did not expect, however, it could be spent lavishly if you had no plans for the money. You can plan how you will spend the money if you know what you will be expecting.

For your income tax to be calculated you need to deduct your personal allowance from it before applying any rate. The personal allowance in the UK is £10,600 and it increases every year. This is the part of your income that is not taxable. For example, if you earn £30,000 in a year the only amount that will be taxed is £30,000 -£10,600 which is £19,400. However, if you earn above £100,000 your personal allowance goes down by £1 for every £2 your income is over by £100000. Thus, you do not get any personal allowance if your income is £121,200 or above. The tax system in the UK is a progressive one as such the higher your income the higher the tax rate you get. There are three tax rates which are the basic rate (20%), the higher rate (40%) and the additional rate (45%).  20% is charged on £0 to £31,785 (Basic Band). That is any amount that falls within the basic band after deducting the personal allowance if you are entitled to any is taxed at 20%. Thus if you earn £25000 in this tax year (6 April 2015 - 5 April 2016),  £10,600 will first be deducted which will leave £14400 which will then be taxed at 20%, thus, your tax for that year will be £2880. 

40% is charged on £31,785 to £150,000 (Higher band). As such if you earn £50000 in a year, the personal allowance (£10,600) will first be deducted which will leave £39,400 to be taxed. Since £39,400 exceeds the basic rate band. Both the basic rate (20%) and the higher rate (40%) will be applied. £31,785 will be taxed at 20%, then (£39,400 - £31,785) which is £7,615  will be taxed at 40%. 

A.Basic rate               (£31,785 × 20%) = £6,357
B.Higher rat(£39400-£31785) ×40%  = £3,046
C. (A + B)                                                 = £9403 
The addition of £6,357 and £3,046 will give you £9,403 which is going to be your income tax paid for that year. 45% is charged on any amount above £150,000 (Additional Band). That is if you earn £160,000. Remember, that £160,000 is above £121,200 so you will not be entitled to any personal allowance. All three rates will be applied on this amount since the income is above £150,000

A.Basic rate                (£31785 × 20%) = £6,357
B. Higher rate(£150,000- £31785) ×40% =
                                                                  £47,286
C.Additional rate(£160,000 - £150,000) × 45% =                                                                   £4,500
D. A+B+C=                                               £58,143.

Thus, your tax for the year will be £58,143. Now you are fully equipped to calculate your income tax if your only source of income is from your employer as such your income will include your salary  or wages and taxable benefits if you are entitled to any benefit. Other sources of income and how you calculate their tax will be discussed in another article. Keep checking my blog regulary.




Saturday, 19 September 2015

The Impact of Colours on Purchases


It is known that colours have a psychological effect on the emotions and behaviour of human beings. For example if you see a drink that is blue in colour, you will most likely not drink it. But if a drink is orange in colour you will most likely drink. It works that way with other products as well. 

Black: When a product's pack is black in colour it exudes luxury. Some business owners try to make their product appear luxurious by making use of a black pack so the product will appear to be of high quality, when really its of low quality. That way they will be able to charge higher prices. Reviews will be good when you want to pay for a premium product. Researchers say it also makes impulsive shoppers buy more.

Red: This colour catches the attention of everyone, that's why it is used to denote danger or to make individuals stop. Researches say it creates urgency, thus giving an individual a urge to buy the product. So take caution and do not let red make you buy more than usual (smiles).  It also makes impulsive shoppers buy more.

Orange: It combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow, thus making you feel good. It exudes warmth, a feeling of excitement and enthusiam. Thus, it will motivate individuals to buy the product.

Blue: When a product's pack is blue, it makes an individual feel like they can trust the product, they say. It has also been known to make impulsive shoppers buy more.

Green: This colour makes individuals feel relaxed. It is associated with growth. Researchers have observed that people tend to buy more when they are  relaxed.

Read my article on impulsive purchases if colours motivates you to make purchases. However, the right colour can help you gain a competitive advantage over your competitors, if a customers wants to buy a mascara, all products on the aisle have similar prices but the colour of your pack plays the trick then its all good so for business owners or people that want to start a business. I will write about choosing the right colour to promote your product in another article. Keep checking my blog regularly, cheers and enjoy your weekend!


Thursday, 17 September 2015

How to deal with debt collectors/creditors





Debt should only be taken for something that will yield you income, debt can also be taken if thats the only way you will be able to sustain yourself. I always say that you should always pay your debt as soon as it is due but I do know that in some situations an individual or an organisation might not be able to pay their debt back due to financial difficulties. When this occurs do not avoid the debt collectors or creditors cause when you do that they might think you have the money and do not want to repay the debt back. This could lead them to start taking actions against you, as such you should let them know about your financial difficulty. 

Before I go on, I am going to let you know actions that debt collectors/creditor are not allowed to do. First of all, always make sure you do not deal with interest, it is bad for you. They cannot call you before 8am and after 9pm except you have given them the permission, they cannot call you when you are at work once you tell not to do so, they cannot use offensive words, they cannot call you repeatedly. Thus, if any of these should occur you must let them know actions will be taken against them if they do not desist from taking such actions. All creditors are human beings, thus if you handle the situation well you could be able to buy more time. You should read my previous article on dealing with debt. It could provide you with ideas on how to clear your debt. 

Based on the views of researchers, most creditors or debt collectors will turn you down when you try to change your payment date. However, with proofs like your wage slips, proof of other sources of income, existing expenses and when existing expenses will reduce in order to be able to pay your debt, you should be able to persuade them to give you more time. Researchers say you will be able to get at least 3 to 6 months worth of time. In other words, let them know about your financial difficulty and how you plan to get out of it in order to be able to pay your debt when the additional time given is up

If you have different debts and they are all due for payment you can prioritize them, creditors which whom you signed a contract that has stringent terms should be paid first with any spare money you have. Debts that are not of high priority are overdrafts, unsecured loans, credit card accounts, money borrowed from family and friends and other debts. You must let your creditors whose cost of not paying their loan is low know about your financial situation and you must let them know you will pay them as soon as you pay the creditors whose consequences are higher.

Debt collectors or creditors are not permitted to treat you unfairly even if you owe them money. Some might even make you think they have legal power than they actually do. If debtors try to take your properties to sell them when you have not signed any contract that gives them such power you must contact the financial ombudsman in the UK , find similar bodies in your country if you do not reside in the UK.  

Keep checking my blog regularly, cheers!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

How to diversify your investment portfolio

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Everyone should diversify their investments this is because investing in only one type of asset and market will make your investments highly risky. Diversifying your investments will minimize your risk to the lowest, thus the losses made from one investment will be eliminated by the profit from another. There are various types of assets you can invest in; First of all, save your halal bank account, share (halal), properties (halal), gold and others. The money you save in a halal bank account should cover one year of your living expenses in your bank. 

After you have saved enough cash, you can now invest in other assets. The percentage you normally save should be used to invest in other assets. 30% of the money should be invested in gold, 30% should be invested in shares (halal) and the remaining 40% should go into savings (halal) that will be used to acquire a property when it is large enough to buy one. When investing in shares you must not only buy the shares of one company or one industry or one country. It will be highly risky to buy the shares sold in only one company or  industry. 

The best industries to invest in are as follows: Construction Industry, Internet/Online Industry,  Leisure, art and hospitality Industry, Oil and gas Industry, Pharmaceutical Industry, and Telecommunication Industry. 

Halal means anything lawful Islamically.

Monday, 14 September 2015

The saverholic

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It involves minimal risk saving your money. I always say first save your money in an halal account, once it has reached a particular threshold start investing. The saverholic only saves and saves and saves and cannot afford to take risks. Because, all you do is save money. Invest in other markets, the higher the risk the higher the return, diversify your investment portfolio. 

All individuals that have achieved financial growth of great heights are risk takers, and they know that some risk might turn out negative but they know is all part of the process. They learn from it and apply it to the next risk they take and eventually they become experts at the risk they take. Then they end having 80% success rates which is good enough for me, I do not know about you.

Halal means anything lawful Islamically.

Keep checking my blog regularly. Cheers!


Friday, 11 September 2015

The suave look (Fashion) and Finance



I wrote about packaging in a previous article, it is not just about your products, it is also about you. I am going to talk about the way you look affects your finances. Two guys have been invited for an interview, they are both qualified for the job. One arrives in a gorgeous bathroom slippers (smiles). Another guy comes in a nice shirt, all tucked in, wearing nicely polished shoes. They both had wonderful things to say during the interview, so they both have equal chances. Of course, the way the former was dressed will make them pick the latter over him, thus improving the financial status of the latter. The way you look has an impact on the opportunities that will come your way. 

I know that individuals financial capabilities vary, so it is not really about the most expensive clothes. I personally think buying very expensive clothes is a waste of money. However, I won't say go for cheap clothes, just go for quality. Here are the tips you should always adhere to

* Do not wear dirty clothes, when I see someone dressed in dirty clothes I normally think the person is insane.
* Guys do keep your hair nicely combed.
* Ladies do wear your make up, it gives you the suave look. Make sures its not heavy but medium.
*Always wear the right footwear and accessories.
*Don't wear wrinkled clothes.
*Keep your nails nice.
*Take good care of your mouth.
*Treat people nicely (always stand up for yourself) and wear a smile.

Okay I could jump out without my makeup if I am just going to grocery shop near my house. Enjoy! Keep checking my blog regularly. Cheers!


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Changing the taste of your product might be a bad idea



Image courtesy of tiverylucky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Coca-cola company is a multinational company that was set up John Stith Pemberton (a pharmacist) in 1886. Their first product which is commonly known as Coke  has had a great global presence since 1886 till date. If coke were to disappear from the market it will definately affect most people. 

In 1985, after 99 years of continuous success, the managers at Coca-cola decided to change the taste of coke. Changing the taste of a product that had worked for almost a decade amuses me. Yes, it was known that they were losing shares to Pepsi, changing their product totally was a no no. A similar product could have been introduced, like today we have Coca-cola vanilla flavour, prices of their product could have been adjusted, promotions could have been carried out, the container of the product could have been made more attractive but no they went for the taste.

They carried out their research, got a focus group to find out if the new taste was better than the former, they got a postive result and introduced the new product. This did not go down well with customers, they got a hostile reaction, some customers rioted, some carried placards and protested at their headoffice, some got bottles of coke and started pouring them away. This is to tell you how people get attached to a product.

That same year, Coca-cola re-introduced its old product and their sales skyrocketed. The thought of losing the product and finally getting it back must have created a need for customers to buy more of the product. Some speculated it was a strategy to increase sales, it was no strategy, I watched the documentary and key management staff were interviewed. They made a mistake. Thus changing your product totally is no no but introducing similar products while you still keep the existing one is a yes yes.  By the way if you must take Coke take it once in a week. Keep checking my blog regularly. Cheers!




Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Marketing tips for launching a new restaurant



Image courtesy of Suat Eman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Setting up a new restaurant could be a challenging tasks, cause there are numerous restaurants that already exists. As such, a marketing strategy that will help you achieve success must be developed. To attract customers the following must be taken into consideration.
  
* The food sold must be of good quality, it must taste good and the way it is be delivered must also be of high quality. The menu list must also be attractive.

* The prices of the food must reflect the value of the products (food and service) provided in the restaurant. Thus, a restaurant that sells expensive food must leave customers feeling very very good. The quality of their food and their services must be better than those of restaurants that sell cheaper food.

*The staff whose roles are to deliver or serve food, wait tables or cook meals must be nicely dressed and they must treat customers nicely. Selling the food comes with also providing a service. Customers could leave a restaurant whose food taste nice but their staff provides horrible services for another restaurant. I once visited this Thai restaurant, their food was good and their waiters/waiteress wore thai attires just to probably give you a thai experience I guess. I was indifferent about their thai attire, however, I had something to feed my eyes with. You know how it feels when you see something different and unique. I liked their food and their mannerism. The service provided by your staff goes a long in securing the loyalty of customers. You can always have a nice way to differentiate your product via your staff.

* The ambience of restaurant must be good. If you are selling cheap food, I dont expect your restaurant to be luxurious but I do expect it to be clean and tidy. Customers wont eat or buy food from a restaurant that is not well kept. 

*The time it takes the staff to take an order from a customer and when it gets delivered or served to a customer must be short. You do not want your customers to wait so long for a meal. It could discourage them. At times a delay might occur due to an unforeseen circumstance, when that happens customers should be compensated with a cheaper item.

* The place where your restaurant is located matters, if you want to sell expensive food, it has to be located in an area that is expensive. The location of your restaurant will also influence the type of customers you will attract.

* You must make the restaurant known to the public. You could distribute flyers or even have a launch party. While having your launch party you must give out free food (the type of food you will be serving).




Thursday, 3 September 2015

Great businesses that require little capital to start

Hello readers, I decided to write about businesses that require little capital to start. today they are:

Baking Cakes
Cake that sounds delicious (eat cakes once in a while). You could take a short course on baking cakes. You can bake cakes for weddings, birthday parties and others. Individuals make good money from baking cakes and it requires little capital to start.

Grocery Shops
A grocery shop could be opened with minimal capital, it depends on the scale you are willing to take it to. Start out litte and start to grow the business

Web Designing
Some individuals attend courses to develop skills on designing a website. However, you could develop skills by practising online. A huge amount of money is made from designing websites.

Dry Cleaning
This is another business that could yield a lot of money. You only have to purchase laundry and dry cleaning equipments. You should start out small and then grow bigger.

Event Planning

This also require little capital to start. You do not neccessarily have to attend a course to develop your skills on event planning, if you are organised and you pay attention to details then you can easily start planning events. It could range from planning a big business meeting to weddings to parties.