How to save on your biggest expenses

Few of us are so rich that we can afford houses or cars with one off payments. Sure, some of us can save over a long time but more often than not we’ll need to focus on savings and loans to help acquire necessary items, appliances and so on.

Yet, there are ways to save on these without it becoming too much of a hassle, that are often merely lifestyle decisions.

Shop around

The most obvious response is to shop around. Whether you’re looking for the right car, home loan, gym membership and soon, exploring your options is the obvious smart and easy way to try find the best result.

But just because you’re looking doesn’t mean you’ll find it. Speak to representatives from the relevant institutions; do extensive Google searches; sign up for news alerts regarding specials.

What is essential

A lifestyle change can have an incredible ripple effect. Cut out non-essential activities and behaviours: reconsider whether you need to go to an expensive restaurant; learnt to turn off your geyser when you’re not using it; consider what leisure activities that aren’t essential you’re paying for that can easily be avoided.

The point isn’t that you’re saving toward a large amount but that you have enough to live comfortably while paying off a loan of some kind.

Target the loan itself

Lots of organisations also suggest you focus on shrinking your loan as much as possible. As we noted, you can first try this by finding out the best deal on offer.

But from there you can also, according to MAS: “Make the payments as big as you can afford… Put any extra money towards your home loan… Negotiate your interest rate… Split your loan… Be aware of fees.”

Making large payments is one of the best ways to reduce it, since it means your total comes down faster. Naturally negotiating your interest rate is also key, since you are, in the end, paying more if you’re paying back a loan – than you would if you bought a home or car once-off.

Of course, even people who have the money at the time, might prefer to choose a car or home loan because it makes sense for managing finances. With a large lump some given away, you can’t prepare for the rest of the days absent that amount – whereas managing a smaller amount over a greater time gives you more control.

 

How do cities secure themselves during festivals?

Everyone in cities enjoys it when their cities come to life. This is often what occurs when tournaments, festivities and other celebrations occur. Yet, with this added life comes increased risk to security – since more people are out and about, more likely to leave valuables unattended and more likely to, for example, use their car.

Consider the Telegraph’s Favourite City Worldwide, Cape Town. With a vast number of tourists visiting everyday, it particularly rose to prominence when it hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2010.

Well before the World Cup started, the city was already putting in place various measures to help combat various security issues. As Cape Town Magazine notes: “The City’s safety and security resources have been significantly enlarged to the benefit of all Capetonians and visitors to the soccer tournament,” says Councillor JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security.”

In response, new security jobs in Cape Town were created and managed.

“More than 440 jobs will be created as part of the City of Cape Town’s safety and security plan. But what they specifically did is our main concern:

“Fire and Rescue Services have received seven new fire engines and is awaiting a new Hazmat vehicle and a hydraulic platform. In addition, 122 fire-fighters have been appointed.

“The Disaster Risk Management team has acquired a new mobile Incident Command Vehicle for on-site emergencies, Smith said, adding that it was large enough to house representatives from all the relevant emergency services.

“According to the plan, City Traffic Services have appointed 35 trained traffic officers and another 70 will be appointed soon. It has also acquired five Golf GTi patrol cars, 10 bicycles, protective clothing and equipment as well as 40 motorcycles.

“Metro Police received 16 new Chev Optra sedans plus horse-box trailers for its equestrian unit, while the Law Enforcement received 19 bicycles, four mini-buses, four Chev Optra sedans, five Segways and a light delivery vehicle.”

The city has also considered other kinds of security responses such as drones, which can be utilized in especially populated events – since they’d be occupying airspace not ground space.

Other places and festivals around the world have themselves come up with solutions, such as Onam Ramzan festival in India – where security officials use bike patrols, instead of either cars or on-foot. This allow officials to not worry about petrol, but still maintain speed and effectiveness.

Security responses will always be dictated to be the festival and city itself – and no matter the response, it remains important to keep that what works in one space might not work in another.

Car sales trends for 2015

carsThis year is expected to be a challenging one for the South African automotive industry, says the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers in South Africa (Naamsa).

 

The outlook for 2015 remains uninspiring with the best case scenario, at this stage, one of marginal volume growth in domestic sales.

“Naamsa projections are based on expectations of an improvement in South Africa’s economic growth rate to between 2 percent and 2.5 percent in 2015, relative stability in automotive industry industrial relations, stable interest rates and credit ratings as well as prospects for moderating consumer price inflation,” says Naamsa in its flash sales results of cars for sale in South Africa.

 

But, Naamsa cautioned, these positives factors were expected to be offset by higher than inflation new vehicle price increases as a result of the weakness in the Rand in 2013 and 201. This resulted in cost pressures in respect of imported content used to manufacture vehicles locally.

 

Provided the expectations materialised, aggregate new vehicle sales volume growth during 2015 could improve by around 4 percent. This would represent a commendable performance in relation to the fairly high sales base established over the past few years.

 

According to Naamsa, vehicle exports would remain connected to the performance of global markets.

“Signs were emerging of a modest improvement in the global economy led by a recovery in vehicle sales in the United States and continued growth in Asia.

“Demand for light commercial vehicles in African markets were also expected to show above average growth and these trends were expected to support 2015 Industry export sales.”

 

An improvement in exports was expected for this year with 600 000 vehicles to be produced this year, compared to the 542 000 produced in 2014.

“The projected higher levels of vehicle production are consistent with the official vision for the Industry which is to remain a premier supplier of high quality, competitive automotive original equipment parts and accessories and vehicles to international markets and, in the process, to achieve an annual domestic vehicle production figure of close to 1 million vehicles by 2020.”

 

One of the most important factors for the realisation of South Africa’s goal to produce more than 1 million cars per year is the stability of labour relations and close cooperation between employers and unions.

This after the automotive industry suffered crippling strikes last year and in 2013 over wages for workers.

 

The good news for consumers is there are plenty of specials and deals available as car salespeople are keen to secure deals.

 

Navigating the seas in the modern age

Mostly we do not yearn for the experience of transportation so much as we do for arriving at our intended destination. But one of the issues of travel, beyond the method of travel, has been navigation. Today, we take for granted we can enter an address and have road navigation dictated to us. But what are and were alternatives? How do marine travellers navigate ever changing oceans?

The stars are forever

While the ground might be changing, the skies above do not. You might not be able to point to a wave, but you can point to the moon – and this principle has allowed marine navigators to use heavenly bodies’ positions to navigate the Earth.

Celestial navigation, says GlobMaritime: “involves reducing celestial measurements to lines of position using tables, spherical trigonometry, and almanacs.” And by this reduction, you can use the maths to calculate your own position and adjust your trajectory accordingly.

But this is only one kind and navigators have to use more than one method to be effective. GlobMaritime notes:

“Electronic integrated bridge concepts are driving future navigation system planning. Integrated systems take inputs from various ship sensors, electronically display positioning information, and provide control signals required to maintain a vessel on a preset course. The navigator becomes a system manager, choosing system presets, interpreting system output, and monitoring vessel response.

In practice, a navigator synthesizes different methodologies into a single integrated system. He should never feel comfortable utilizing only one method when others are available for backup. Each method has advantages and disadvantages. The navigator must choose methods appropriate to each particular situation.”

Those methods mean things like chartplotter, which specifically “executes an important function of assimilating GPS data with the aid of an electronic navigational chart.”

Navigation is an essential part, obviously, aside from being able to actually steer – that’s why you’ll find navigation as a central focus for many qualifying degrees and courses, such as Yachtmaster ocean courses.

These aren’t just skills for yachts or boats and can be useful skills in general, as you acquire and utilise skills you otherwise might not.