What do you do in the plane? Is travelling by air easy?

Did you say sleep? But not always right and if you travel very frequently then you would know what I mean. Who loves the window seat. I do but only when its a short flight. If it’s a couple sitting next to me then I prefer to take a aisle seat to make sure I don’t have to knock to go to washroom or a stroll in a long flight. People love the window seat from where you can see the view when plane is landing and taking off. But do you ever think the use of it when its a night flight. I see so many people booking the seats mindlessly as if they are going to watch a movie in a theater and the choice of seats are always fixed – center back. I have learned this lesson long back when people on long flight like to sleep and to go to pee you have to keep trying to wake them up in most polite way and then once again if they fall asleep till you come back. So what’s your preference for seat when you fly?

I like to keep a book handy in case I get a cheap deal with flights and then they would not have any movies to play without buying each one of them. Also I like to keep my camera handy as you get free view from the sky, like a helicopter tour in case you are sitting away from the wings. If movies are free and good quality then I don’t mind watching a few and keep myself updated. But then you would also want to get some sleep in a long flight, whereas people get a bit anxious in a short flight as its too much hassle for an hour or so flight to check in and then looking for checked in baggage. I travel light with only a carry on backpack which people stare for long when I get in the queue. And quiet a few times I have to either throw stuff (I do have spare things in case I don’t get time to check the weight in advance) or wear some more clothes. I do not prefer to let my backpack get out of my sight as it otherwise can turn into a loss of property which in turn might ruin my short trip anyways. And for few days we don’t need much anyways so carry on is a good way to save money and travel easy with no worry.

Do write about what you like to do when you fly. I would love to hear all about it.

Regards,

Kavita

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How to save money to travel

 

  1. Cut back on the movie night outs and get a DVD with friends and family and enjoy at home.
  2. Try to prepare healthy meals more at home – saves the cost and you might get into more cooking and that will really help when travelling for long and guess what it will also help you make new friends as people love good food 😉
  3. Make sure that you check your wardrobe before going for shopping as most of the times you might already have enough clothes or other stuff that you might be thinking to buy. So better give the existing stuff a try.
  4. Subscriptions – So many times we subscribe for magazines or other things and pay for them month after month that we never even use. Try to find out if you are paying for something every month and not really using it as much. It’s better to buy it once or twice when you really want it then a monthly or weekly supply in that case.
  5. Party – Many of us love partying, but it is always possible to throw some economic ones where everyone can bring their own booze and something to share. More variety to share and no one has the burden to do a lot.
  6. Alcohol – This used to make a big hole in my pocket every time I used to go out as this used to deduct a good amount from my budget while travelling. Now it wouldn’t be the case as I quit drinking, but you can also save some money by making sure that you do not drink too much outside as it is far more expensive to drink in the pub or bar, even better if you can get your friends at home and buy from the wholesale shop as that’s cheaper as well. Dry July in Australia is also a good way to stop drinking for a month as it will immensely motivate you to save and then once you know how much you can save by not drinking, you might be tempted to do it more often.  Just keep a jar in the kitchen or a place where you can see it regularly and put the money in the jar whenever you think of drinking and label it a picture of your dream destination – mine is Greece 🙂
  7. Try to take a walk every now and then instead of warming your car every time you get out of house as this will do some good to you health wise and also will save you some bucks.
  8. Make a list of things that you do on regular basis – hobbies, outing with friends or family and try see the activities where you might be spending more money and see if you can reduce the frequency of those activities and replace them with less expensive activities. Example: Go outdoor rock-climbing than indoor that way you can save the cost for entry every time you go for rock climbing and will get more experience in the real world.
  9. Many times when we are free then we tend to spend more money without realizing at times so my advice would be to take upon some hobbies like hiking, cycling or running as this will give something to utilize your time and will be good for your health at the same time.
  10. Make new friends with the similar objectives to save money either for travelling or house or something else. As this will help you to get motivated and also you wouldn’t be forced to spend more money each time you go out.
  11. Many creative activities are not so expensive as writing, photography or painting etc. This way you can still live a fun life without getting bored and still saving for your travel.
  12. Make sure you are staying in reasonably priced place as this can be a big part of your weekly/monthly expenses whereas you need a place to sleep every night and relax really. I myself live in a place which is comfortable enough but not very expensive on the other side. At times I get tempted to get my own place but that means easily three times the expenses and when I travel I live in backpackers anyways so why spoil the habit way too much. So it is very important that you choose carefully where you live.
  13. Make sure your phone plan is according to your usage as sometimes we hardly use the credit we pay for or we get a plan for everything but we never even use much of it. This seems like small thing but we have number of such expenditure that accumulates into big money.
  14. Also because you are planning to travel so make sure you do not buy anything extra unnecessary that you might have to get rid of soon.  If you can cut back on any new expenses then do that. I have not bought even a single piece of furniture other than a single bed since I moved to Australia for last 2.5 years. No TV not evens a heater. People think I am rich but I would say that I am really good with savings as I have no support but myself to do all the things I have been done in my life since a very early age so I would give credit to my ability to save and know my priorities well.
  15. Use online banking often to see how much money have you got in your account and try not to use credit card too much as it makes you lose account of the money you owe very easily and next thing you know – you are in big debt and that becomes another reason not to be able to travel. Also if you do use credit card then sign up for rewards on credit cards.
  16. If you put your heart on travelling then it’s a good advice to be extremely cautious before taking any loan as that can restrict you with time and money both. Go for house loan only when you are sure you can rent it out for good amount of money when you go away and still pay the mortgage as that is one of the biggest reason people can’t travel many times. Once you are done travelling there will be plenty of opportunity to think about such long time commitments but till then it’s better to keep an eye on your ambitious plans about owning things.
  17. Make a list of things you might like to do before you travel and then prioritise them as many times there are things that make you happier and are less expensive to do so this will give you a clear picture as to what you might like to do to save money and still stay happy.
  18. Open a saving account and transfer some money to that account when you get your salary and forget about it as this will make sure that you are saving some money every month no matter what. And then either you can contribute to it more or take out from it in case of emergency.
  19. Take up another job if you can and also think of starting something new that can help you support while you are travelling. Example: online business, travel blog etc.
  20. Keep an eye on the flight deals for the various destinations. Also few airlines give cheap tickets on certain days of the week so better plan accordingly as it can easily make difference of 10% to 50% sometimes.
  21. See if you can do without the gym membership as sometimes a good gym can cost quite a bit. And if you are already doing hiking or running outside then you can keep some weights and few other things at home and make a mini gym to work out for no fee at all.
  22. Buying used stuff can sound not so good but at times it is worth considering for furniture and other stuff if you really need it. Also make sure you can differentiate between the things you may want and things that you need. As many times we have huge expenses over things that we want and not really need.
  23. Deals and coupons’ are a great way to save money. Since I have moved to Australia I myself have done so many things with some very good deals. And if you are flexible enough then you can get yourself a very good deal for the things you want to do or for food outlets.
  24. Sometimes we have so many things that we can use so go for a garage sale and try to get rid of the stuff you don’t need. This is a win-win as you make money and also get rid of extra stuff.
  25. Make a diary if you can with some pictures of various places you want to go in the front few pages and write down the inflow and outflow of money every month. You can do it with the online banking and see how much you are earning, how much you are saving and how much you are spending. Once you make this habit then you will start thinking in the direction of saving money and you will be able to come up with new ideas to save money as a way to go to these dream destinations. Think how much fun it would be to sit in one of the most beautiful locations in the world and think about all the smart thinking you put in all this planning that successfully got you there. It is worth doing I promise.

Is money more important than happiness?

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After having read the basics about money in my last post  Money is a good servant, but a bad master, I would like you to take a moment and think about todays situation. Why is that we feel that money is very important. Even when we are growing up, money seems to be very important in life so we always have the desire to have money and to save it if possible for the times when we can spend it for our various needs. But what do we do at times, we become so obsessed with money that we start loving it and try to save even a single penny and avoid spending on ourselves. So either we are on the other side – extravagant or we are too cautious to spend it at all. If any of us have seen financial crisis while growing up or have gone through such times at any point of our lives we start taking money as a source of happiness and security. No matter it does make us secure financially but to some point. As after that we need to be able to spend it on our requirement to grow every now and then. I have been one of those people I guess who have given too much importance to money, not that I start mistreating people or something but when it used to came to myself I would hardly spend any money. It is from last two years that I realised that it’s my money and it’s OK to spend it on myself or to fulfil my needs and desires through it if needed.
It struck me today that I am on the path of being free from the fears as part of my bucket list for the year, but then I also realised I am not free at all. I do have my own attachments and one of them is money. There have been such times that I avoided having food when I am travelling to stay on budget. And I am sure everyone has gone through this at least once when we feel like it’s better to save money for something better than using it for some immediate needs. I am on a mission to find everything about being happy so this is also one of my concerns. This doesn’t mean that we need to go to 5 start hotel everyday to have the best meal, but it does mean that doing small acts like saving a meal at times can also make us fall in love with the attachment of money and start trading our needs in terms of money.
I have been trying to imagine a world without money. Wired right, but then I was thinking about the original purpose of money as well. Why we invented this tool – to fulfil our needs. Right, and what are we doing with it? Accumulating a lot of times. People coming from rich background might not understand it fully that there are emotions attached to money at times. What happens when we start storing it for endless future – people who are not able to earn enough go through poverty. How would be life when there is a balance in terms of money? Don’t you think people would be happier? Did we invent money thinking that there might be people who are buying aeroplanes and on the other end there are people who don’t even have enough food for a meal or shelter for shade? Was this the purpose of money that our immediate family is only the owner of our stored money whereas some of the people around the world are starving to death? How did we let this happen? We didn’t want this did we? That money – piece of paper will become more important than life. How is this fair to mankind that we start trading people for money and selling ourselves for money? Didn’t we devise this tool to make it easier to exchange daily good and food and not to make nuclear bombs? Haven’t we have been spreading unhappiness by creating lack of money in certain countries or areas?
As I am writing this my heart is crying thinking about those new born babies who have to see poverty growing up and who will come to learn that we humans have made money everything and they are nothing without it. My soul is feeling so cramped with this notion that we have limited the natural happiness that is universal and unlimited by our own invention called money. I can’t make people happy today as all they think is if they have money then they can be happy. I can’t bring smile on every face today as they haven’t eaten for few days without money. Why things can’t be simple and we can use the things given to us by nature to feed ourselves and grow rich spiritually. God or whoever made this universe didn’t put a price tag on anything but we did. Everything in universe is really free to survive and live but we are selling even water. We love to own things and trade it later whether it’s land, water or even forests. How can I bring people close to themselves when they are lost in this vicious circle? Share your thoughts on this.

Money is a good servant, but a bad master

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The Meaning of Money

The American Federal Reserve System of Federal Reserve Banks is one of the government institutions that attempts to control inflation so that we Americans will continue to accept our money as having value. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, money has three functions:

1. it’s a medium of exchange. We accept coins and currency in return for goods and services.

2. it’s a standard of value. We can use it to determine the value of a good or service.  For example, a computer selling at $2500 has a value 2 1/2 times what one selling at $1000 would have.

3. it’s a store of value. We can save our money and spend it for something we want in the future. [Reference: http://library.thinkquest.org/28718/history.html%5D

The History of Money

The history of money begins around 2500 years ago with the first minting of coinage in about the seventh to sixth century BC. Money is any clearly identifiable object of value that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts within a market or which is legal tender within a country.

Since ancient times people have swapped items of value either in the exchange of gifts or else in markets where a commonly shared system of tokens is more convenient.

Many things have been exchanged in markets including, for example, livestock and sacks of cereal grain (from which the Shekel is derived) – things directly useful in themselves, but also sometimes merely attractive items such as cowry shells or beads were exchanged for more useful commodities. Precious metals from which early coins were made fall into this second category. [Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_money%5D

Barter

The first people didn’t buy goods from other people with money. They used barter. Barter is the exchange of personal possessions of value for other goods that you want. This kind of exchange started at the beginning of humankind and is still used today. From 9,000-6,000 B.C., livestock was often used as a unit of exchange. Later, as agriculture developed, people used crops for barter. For example, I could ask another farmer to trade a pound of apples for a pound of bananas.

Shells

At about 1200 B.C. in China, cowry shells became the first medium of exchange, or money. The cowry has served as money throughout history even to the middle of this century.

First Metal Money

China, in 1,000 B.C., produced mock cowry shells at the end of the Stone Age. They can be thought of as the original development of metal currency. In addition, tools made of metal, like knives and spades, were also used in China as money.  From these models, we developed today’s round coins that we use daily. The Chinese coins were usually made out of base metals which had holes in them so that you could put the coins together to make a chain.

Silver

At about 500 B.C., pieces of silver were the earliest coins.   Eventually in time they took the appearance of today and were imprinted with numerous gods and emperors to mark their value. These coins were first shown in Lydia, or Turkey, during this time, but the methods were used over and over again, and further improved upon by the Greek, Persian, Macedonian, and Roman empires. Not like Chinese coins, which relied on base metals, these new coins were composed from scarce metals such as bronze, gold, and silver, which had a lot of intrinsic value.

Leather Currency

In 118 B.C., banknotes in the form of leather money were used in China. One-foot square pieces of white deerskin edged in vivid colors were exchanged for goods. This is believed to be the beginning of a kind of paper money.

Noses

During the ninth century A.D., the Danes in Ireland had an expression “To pay through the nose.” It comes from the practice of cutting the noses of those who were careless in paying the Danish poll tax.

Paper Currency

From the ninth century to the fifteenth century A.D., in China, the first actual paper currency was used as money. Through this period the amount of currency skyrocketed causing severe inflation. Unfortunately, in 1455 the use of the currency vanished from China. European civilization still would not have paper currency for many years.

Potlach

In 1500, North American Indians engaged in potlach, a term that describes the exchange of gifts at banquets, dances, and various rituals. Since the trading of gifts was so important in figuring the leaders’ community status, potlach went out of control as the gifts became more extravagant in an effort to surpass others’ gifts.

Wampum

In 1535, though likely well before this earliest recorded date, strings of beads made from clam shells, called wampum, are used by North American Indians as money. Wampum means white, the color of the clam shells and the beads.

Gold Standard

In 1816, England made gold a benchmark of value. This meant that the value of currency was pegged to a certain number of ounces of gold. This would help to prevent inflation of currency. The U.S. went on the gold standard in 1900.

Depression

Because of the depression of the 1930’s, the U.S. began a world wide movement to end tying currency to gold. Today, few nations tie the value of their currency to the price of gold. Other government and financial institutions now try to control inflation.

Today

At present, nations continue to change their currencies. For example, the U.S. has already changed its $100 and $20 banknotes. More changes are in the works.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow is already here. Electronic money (or digital cash) is already being exchanged over the Internet.

Reference: http://library.thinkquest.org/28718/history.html?tql-iframe

Why do we use money?

We use money as payment for goods or services. Today people use coins, banknotes (bills), checks, credit cards, and debit cards (the cards used at automatic teller machines, or ATMs) to pay for things. Before money was invented, you could only get something from another person by bartering or trading something else for it. It was hard to make even trades and the deal had to be made on the spot. The introduction of money offered people greater flexibility when trying to get goods or services: it made it possible to put standard values on things, and money could be saved and used for future purchases. [Reference: http://www.answers.com/topic/why-do-we-use-money#ixzz2UXjTicdl%5D

Money Wears Out

It doesn’t take long for money to wear out. In fact, money can wear out in as little as 15 months. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta shows the approximate life of paper currency denominations and coins.  A table based on its information follows:

Denomination

Length of Time

$1.00

18 months

$10.00

18 months

$5.00

15 months

$20.00

2 years

$50.00

5 years

$100.00

8 1/2 years

Coin

25 years

Commercial banks send worn-out notes to a Federal Reserve Bank to be replaced. Then, the Reserve Banks sort the money they get and decide whether or not it can be reused. If it can be, they put it in vaults until it recirculates again through the commercial banks. Reserve Banks then burn the unusable paper money and return the damaged coins to the U.S. Treasury.