Lifestyle

Business benefits of coffee





Whether you line up at Starbucks or you spend your mornings whacking the coffee machine in your kitchen because you refuse to buy a new one, coffee is part of many people’s lives. For some, it’s viewed as a crutch, and for others it’s a legal addiction. Either way, it’s not a bad thing, not at all.

Coffee offers a huge number of health benefits, along with a boost in your productivity. Join me as we look at all the ways it can help you and your business before diving into an infographic that further showcases the benefits of this wonderful brew.

The Hidden Power of Coffee (Infographic)

Once you’ve settled into a career, it’s time to start taking steps toward success. While it may seem like something small, coffee is a great start on that path. We all know it’s ability to wake us up, but it goes far beyond that.

Everyone drinks coffee, or at least, 64% of U.S adults over the age of 18 drink it. Here are some of the big reasons why drinking this brew cold, or hot, is a great idea:

  • You’ll live longer according to studies.
  • It helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease
  • It boots your attention span and your concentration
  • It lowers the risk of several types of cancer.
  • Coffee before an exercise helps you recover better

No matter how you slice it, a cup of joe is a good thing. Check out the infographic from On Blast Blog below for a deeper look into the magic of this delicious drink.

Coffee-infographic

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save money for travelling

The decision to take a year out from your studies or to put your career on hold in order to go travelling is an exciting one – but it can also be expensive! In fact, a lot of students and young professionals cite prohibitive costs as the reason why they worry that a world trip might be out of their reach.

My first travels to the states gave me some friends and memories that will last a lifetime but it would never have happened if I hadn’t put in the hard work to saving to save enough for my flights, food and accommodation out there.

Worried that a year of travel is too expensive for your pocketbook? Stop worrying and start saving! Here are ten savvy tips that can help to make your travel dreams a reality faster than you ever dreamt possible

1. Set a Budget and Date!

It’s time to stop dreaming and start planning! Getting a date in the diary will motivate you to start saving and setting the budget early on will inform you of how much you will need to save each week/month to set off on your travels

The costs of different countries and regions can vary wildly, so consider spending the bulk of your time in more affordable parts of the world. Your precious pounds will stretch further in India than in Iceland! Here is a great guide for how much money you will need for your travels.

2. Get Frugal

So much of your money ends up in the trash in the form of wasted food. Only buy what you need, and try to use everything in your fridge before it goes to waste.

The freezer and the stockpot are your best friends! Buy a thermos or flask for your teaTea bags quite literally cost pennies but a cup of tea at a café can cost you pounds! Take your own hot drink with you in the morning and save heaps throughout the year.

3. Take on Freelance Work

Do you have a talent for proofreading, social media or digital design? Try PeoplePerHour or similar websites such as Upwork. Even if you just rake the leaves from neighbours’ yards – every penny counts!

4. Have a Wild Night….In!

Having a fun night in with your mates can be just as satisfying as a night out, and it will be infinitely cheaper. Try making exotic cocktails, having a sushi making party or watching some great films with craft beer.

5. Give Up Smoking

Smoking can cost up to almost £3500 a year if you are spending between £9-£10 a day on cigarettes. That is a saving of nearly £300 per month that you could instantly add to travelling funds.

If giving up smoking seems almost impossible to you, consider trying Smoko electronic cigarettes to help you in the process of giving up smoking. Other products that you could try include a Nicorette patch, vaporizer, tablets, lozenges, gum and even nasal spray. What are you waiting for?

6. Have a Car Boot Sale

Your closets and drawers are probably packed full of great articles that may not make you happy any longer but are still in good shape. Sell your gently used clothing, shoes and household goods at a car boot – or even on ebay, Gumtree or Craigslist.

7. Save Your Pennies

And your shrapnel! Set up a piggy bank and empty your pockets every night. You’ll be amazing how quickly your pocket change adds up.

8. Make Your Lunch Exciting!

Bringing a packed lunch can be monotonous and boring but oh so affordable! In order to keep your stomach and your wallet happy, ensure that your lunch is delicious and fun. Bring leftovers of yummy dinners, make interesting sandwiches and never stop experimenting!

9. Hit the Road

Cycling and walking are not just good for you, they are also good for your bank account. Bypass the car, busses, taxis and tube – you can save at least 50 pounds a month by getting around town this way.

10. Shop the Sales

Try having a look at websites and circulars to determine which grocery stores have your favourites on sale – you can save tons of money each month by buying in bulk (but just make sure you don’t waste any!).

These are just a few great ideas to help you on the way to a trip of a lifetime. Do you have any ideas to add? Have your say in the comment section below.

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AThePoint

Got some extra cash that you are looking to invest? Here are 15 things to do with your funds!

The Investor

warren buffetImage Source – Isobel Ramona Holmes

1. Put it into an Instant Access Cash ISA

These tend to return around 1.75% pa so you would get an annual return of £87.50. This is a low-risk and low return investment; it would be a good place to hold your emergency fund or to build up some savings for a large investment. Click here for one of many cash instant access ISAs you can choose from.

 

2. Lock it Away in a Fixed-Rate Bond for 5 Years

You can generate around 3.25% on your savings in here. This would give you £867.06 after the 5 year period. This is a safe option to ensure some increased income for the future but remember, if interest rates increase during this time you may be missing out on some big opportunities!

 

3. Invest in Mutual Funds.

You are trusting your money with the decisions of an investment company here so it is important to know that your return can be negative. That being said mutual funds are often a safe option for a passive investor and you could expect returns of around 5% from many UK mutual fund companies.

 

4. Actively Invest your Capital.

Do you research on the stock market. Read some books, talk with other investors and diversify your investment portfolio over a number of stocks and shares. Your return capability here is unlimited. It’s worth noting that you should only be actively investing if you’re sure you know what you are doing as there is a greater possibility of loss.

 

5. Lend through Peer to Peer Lending

Peer to peer lending is where you use a third party to lend your money to a borrower for an agreed rate. This used to be a little risky as your money isn’t insured like it is with banks and ISAs. But now companies like Zopa can guarantee a fixed rate that has a legal safeguard for your cash. You can get a guaranteed yearly return of 4.9% on your investment if you can lock it away for 5 years and if you reinvest your interest for compounding you can gain £1054.87 after tax by dropping the £5000 in here.

 

The Entrepreneur

bransonImage source – Edward Murphy

6. Buy Some Land

Okay, well maybe only a small piece of land. You could turn this into an outdoor car park, a small storage facility, a golf course or any number of outlets. Maybe even somewhere to build your home at a later day? Check out these 49 acres for £5000 per acre!

 

7. Buy a Website

Online real estate has seen enormous growth with many high authority sites providing enough active income for webmasters to quit their jobs. If you are handy with web design and can tell a good backlink profile from a poor one you can often pick up one of these high authority sites for around £5000. Flippa is a great place for you to find these deals.

 

8. Put a 5% Deposit on a Mortgage

With £5000 you can now get a deposit on a £100,000 house through the Help to Buy scheme. This could be your first home or a potential rental property. I certainly do not advocate 5% mortgages due to the HUGE interest that comes with them but maybe you can find a real deal out there on the property market.

 

9. Create A Garden Service Business

A rake, a shovel, some shears, a wheelbarrow and some printed fliers. £10 to the boy next door to deliver the fliers around your neighborhood and there you have it; you’ve built a new garden service business. This is a very quick and easy business to start up where there is always demand from those busy folk with their overgrown gardens. Requires minimum investment and can provide you with a great return if you put the legwork in.

 

10. Become a Business Angel

Make a mix of your investment knowledge and entrepreneurial flair. If you feel you can spot a good business in it’s early stages you can make enormous returns on investment by buying equity in a startup. There are a number of online platforms where you can find new businesses to invest in, some of which offer moneyback guarantee. You would typically invest a little more than £5000 to get a good amount of equity in a company. However, if you keep your eyes peeled I imagine you could probably gain 5% equity in a small profitable start up with a £5000 investment. Check out some examples of funded campaigns here.

The Explorer

explorerImage Source – childofthewhimsical

11. Backpack Across the US

See Chicago, be dazzled by the Grand Canyon and admire Miami. The states has a vast landscape and once you’re there you can get around for some time on the cheap. If you plan in advance, tickets to the states can cost you around £300 and with a strict budget you could be looking at just $60 a day including transport and accommodation. See Nomadic Matt’s Guide to backpacking across USA. The disciplined budgetters out there could probably survive for almost 4 months providing they could grab a temporary visa.

 

12. Buy a Boat

Embrace the sailor in you! Granted, you may not be able to find yourself Captain of the Flying Dutchman at this price but you could get yourself a good deal on a secondhand yacht. Pimp it into a party boat or take it for a quiet weekend fishing trip.

 

13. Travel Australia

Take a walk on the wild side! A little more costly than a trip to the states, tickets to Australia will set you back around £500 if you plan well in advance. Unless you have friends or family out there, expect to be paying around $130 a day on accommodation, food and entertainment. Click here to find out a little more about the cost of traveling oz.

The Big Spender

big spenderImage Source – Aubs Photos

14. Drink one bottle of Perrier-Jouet Champagne

Retailing at $7000 per bottle; this is speedy way to guzzle your small fortune!

 

15. Spend 4 Nights at ‘The Point, Saranac Lake Hotel’ in New York

the_point_new_york_l

At just $1848 per night, you could have an expensive break in a ranch hidden away in New York. A cosy option for our overpaid popstars or those with a little more money than sense.

What about me?

A couple of years back I had a cash sum of £5000. I took three months out and booked tickets to New York with 3 friends. We spent a few days seeing the amazing landmarks of NY and experiencing a culture that is beautifully different to the UK. We flew to Miami and found a reasonably priced house share near Miami Beach where we lived for three months with two pugs and a french bulldog. Amazing weather, fantastic food and a beautiful beach; once you’ve had a taste of luxury you don’t stop searching for a way to have this forever.

This was a quick way to turn £5000 into £0, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Travelling for that period of time gave me a real taste of what I’d love to do in the future. If I could become financially independent or even just work from my laptop I would love to spend time travelling from country to country (especially the states!).

There are million other options out there for you to invest or splurge your capital on. What would you do if you had an extra £5000 spare?

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The following post on evaluating whether to move house or extend has been contributed by Nemo Finance.

House Ext

For many families, there comes a time when their home starts to feel a little too small. With a lot of couples, this is when they start a family, or that family expands more than they might have foreseen. For others, this is because they choose to start a home business and struggle to find office space to accommodate them on-site.

There are two clear solutions to this problem: moving house or making your current house bigger. But which option is the right one for you?

Extending

One of the first factors to consider if you’re weighing up the benefits of extending versus moving is your location. In some areas, cost will be a deciding factor. In London, for example, bigger houses cost more than almost anywhere else in the country, and finding the funds for them can be almost impossible. The discrepancy between building an extension in London compared to anywhere else is much less dramatic, which can mean that taking advantage of unused loft space or an empty basement makes a lot of financial sense.

However, cost alone should not be the defining factor in making your decision. Take into account, too, the sort of property that an extension will create, and whether it could solve your current logistical challenges. Having a large family house with enough bedrooms for everyone in your current location may not be the best solution if you have small children and are left with no garden, for example. Equally, if you need a car for running the children to school and no parking is available, bigger or more bedrooms would not be the perfect solution.

From a purely practical perspective, building an extension may simply be unfeasible. It’s important that before you set your heart on doing so, you check that planning permission, if necessary, will be granted, your property’s drainage is suitable and that you have the available finance, without selling your property, to make the necessary changes.

Moving

Moving home involves an awful lot of upheaval, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not the right move for you. Living in a building site is arguably just as stressful, so this alone should not be a deciding factor.

According to Brendan Cox, a Managing Director at Waterfords; “It’s not always sensible to extend. When I value a house people often ask me about the two options, and I can usually demonstrate to them why it is better to move.”

One of the main reasons that so many are opposed to extending is that, on a purely financial basis, it is often cost-neutral at best. This means that unless you know you won’t be moving for a long time, you simply may not get your money’s worth.

Although you would, of course, have to spend a potentially significant sum to upgrade to another house, you could select a property that meets all of your criteria, rather than working within the confines of the building you already have, which may be limited in ways that cannot be fixed through paying for an extension.

Finding Funds

Whichever option you choose, you’re going to have spend money – quite a lot of it. Different finance options are available based on the choice you make, and it’s important that you fully understand these, and the impact they would have on your long-term finances, before you make any decisions. This, perhaps, should be the deciding factor when it comes to making your choice. Be sure to explore everything from the cost of extension loans from companies such as Nemo Personal Finance to the feasibility of taking out a new mortgage before you decide either way. Keep in mind however, that a loan from Nemo is secured on your home, so make sure you are able to afford the repayments.

Once you’ve made your choice, it’s time to start planning the home of your dreams…

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10 Inspiring Home Office Design

Over the past 6 months I’ve found myself spending a great deal of time working from home, however, one element that has been missing from my freelance quest during this time is a functional home office space. I’ve been thinking more about what my ideal working from home environment would look like and I think it’s time to share some of my findings.

Here are 10 of my favourite home office designs:

1. The Executive Living Room

Okay, I have a confession. I often find myself working from the sofa in the living room. Mixing work-life and home-life is a cardinal sin I know. However, what about a combined living room and office experience? If you’ve ever watched the TV Series ‘Suits’ then this is what I imagine Harvey Spectre’s living room to look like…

luxury living room office(Source: DecorBizz)

2. The Apprentice

Nothing screams power more than an enormous shiny, wooden desk partnered up with a big leather executive chair. There’s something incredibly comforting about having a great deal of desk space with nothing on it.

executive home office design(Source: Next Daily Deal)

3. Take it to the Next Level with Mezzanine Flooring

It’s time to think outside of the box, if you’ve got the ceiling space then why not add another dimension to your living space? This concept is desperately tempting. The important consideration here is to ensure you have enough light. After seeing this, I actually looked at www.warehousestoragesolutions.com to see what it would take to get an extra floor installed. One day…

mezzanine home office

(Source: Brink Rad)

 4. The Midnight Oil

Remember my confession about working from my sofa? Well here’s another, I often prep for the next day from the comfort of the bed. This layout would be an awesome place to tidy up some meeting prep for the next day

Luxury Bedroom office design(Source: Home Design Bee)

 5. Designed for Two

This beauty has the usability of a kitchen with extra room for your partner or spouse. A great use of space to create a more inviting home office environment where it’s not just you vs the screen.

Double Home Office(Source: Snugg)

6. The Bond Villain

Brace yourselves, this one is impressive. From the beautiful view to the perfect wood finishing this home office begs the question ‘does the owner even have to work at all?“. The desk itself gives off an impressive stature and the whole room radiates this feeling of warmth. If there’s one thing we can all take from this, it’s that you don’t always need to push your desk flat up against a wall; sometimes it’s nice to have a bit more perspective.

fireplace home office design(Source: Losing Horns)

7. Sleek & Simple

Something a little more achievable in the more common of spaces – this office looks both comfortable and functional. Putting the desk against the window is often a good idea as it helps to relieve an element of isolation that often comes with the home office environment. The spot lights at the bottom of the desk and drawers are a simple touch but are mighty effective.

Home office floor lights(Source: Luminns)

8. The Full Spread

What this lacks in character, it makes up in generous space. Whether you’re looking to brainstorm or lay out your financials for the year, this curved beauty can accommodate for your plans. Having workspace on either side of you would also make the working day more dynamic and physical which is great to keep those energy levels flowing. I’d be inclined to station a large mac screen on here and certainly make more of a feature out of the back wall.

large receptonist style desk

(Source: Luminns)

9. His & Hers

Another two person working environment great for the inspired, entrepreneurial couples out there. This setup has a neat, contemporary feel. A great use of light and a nice combination of homeliness and productivity.

contemporary home office(Source: Next Daily Deal)

10. The Organic Office Space

A very modern look with a striking desk design. The success of this room lies in between the well crafted colour scheme and the clever use of light. Th mirror does a great job of adding space to the room and the panel lights mixed with the spot lights seem to give a very natural effect.

organic elegant office space

(Source: Anon Feed)

What does your home office currently look like? Any plans for a refresh this year?

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